Sunday, March 9, 2008

Best idea ever?

I have had family here all weekend from Michigan. I've eaten like I was going to start a diet the next day. Ugh. Step mom brought pizza from up north. She and her brother own an authentic Italian pizzeria up there, Detroit Beach Pizzeria.'s my comfort food so I've taken lots of comfort the past few days. Since then, I've felt my love-handles growing and when I sit down I can feel them being pushed up on the sides of my bottom into my waist. It's an awful feeling and so clearly that is why I'm sharing it with you. Anyhow, I think I can feel my butt getting flatter. I really can. So it dawned on me. If I were to lie down on my side most of the time, rotating from left to right and vice versa, I would actually be smashing that excess back into my hips, giving me flat hips instead of a flat butt. What do you think? Can I rule the world from the couch? I might need a firmer surface, not sure. I'll try it and let you guys know how it turns out, K? Off to give myself my first flattening treatment...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Keep Me Needy (March 12th, 2008 article to come)

You guys get a sneak preview. Lucky bummers, man.

I felt the Lord murmur something to my heart Saturday evening, He said, “You need the needy as much as they need you.” The words sundered my heart and quickly brought low my haughty ideas of what it means to be a minister of Christ. I hung my head in shame as I realized that I’d appraised my life in such a self-righteous way. I have many times thought that my job was to repair and repurpose those in my life who seemed impoverished or helpless; almost assuming that I had my act together and my role was to swoop in and rescue those that could not do for themselves what was needed. And all the while there I was, laboring selflessly, (or so I believed) giving all that I had to those who had less than me, whether it was spiritually, financially or emotionally. But the Lord saw differently. He saw beyond my transparent ideas of service. He exposed my need forthe destitute, making sure to elaborate on how poor I really was. The Holy Spirit began pointing out to me a handful of scenarios where I was foolish enough to think that whatever I was faced with, be it a difficult situation that required all of my attention or resources, or a friend in desperation, that I had indeed perceived it to be a partisan affair. As if the trial had little or nothing to do with me but was simply another serving opportunity. I admit that I’ve been self-righteous in my heart at times, thinking that I was the only one giving and doing and laboring. When all along God was trying to show me that these things were intended just as much for me as they were for the people whose lives I was touching. It’s meant to flow both ways; the ministry of hearts. This type of wisdom really scrambles my brain all while revealing the junk in my heart. I spent much of the next day rehashing all of the “needy” people that have ebbed and flowed in and out of my life over the last decade. I recalled the occasions where I was the one who was contrite in spirit; some even being terribly recent. And then I repented before Him for my pride. The Lord was faithful to show me a handful of scenarios where He had done a greater work in my own heart, even more so than the miracles done in the heart of the broken one He had sent to me. Who was I to assume that God could not answer my prayers for fellowship with Him through a crushed spirit? He reminded me of the seasons that I cried out, “Lord, make me more like you!” with reckless sincerity of heart. And He was faithful to hear my prayers. He was faithful to answer them. He was faithful to make me more like Him, in righteousness and selflessness. He has given me the greatest answer to prayer. He’s given me the needy. And with that He has given me the key to the very heart of the Father. May I be trustworthy, Lord, to minister and to be ministered to. Keep me teachable and pliable. Continue to reveal the depths of my heart before the luminance of yours. And under my breath, I pray…”keep me needy.”

From Up Here

March 6th, 2007

At my hip or clinging to my knees,
My little ones stay close.
Tower of safety at times I am,
More often than not I’m simply the”BASE!” in a game of tag.
Somehow it all revolves around me, the mom, as I’ve become the center of their obscure little universe.
What ever did I do to deserve the title of mother?
Seems I am sorely under qualified.
Most times I feel ill-prepared to answer, deal or cope.
I wonder if my children know this, and yet love me still.
I hold their hearts, the most vital organ,
To be shaped and protected,
To be cherished and nurtured,
I have been entrusted as one, who is able,
Though I am so unable.
Big blue eyes beckon me all day long,
To give any part of me.
I draw deep from precious reserves.
I pray there will always be enough.
Lord, may the well never run dry.
In the midst of chaos, and Legos, and baby dolls,
I can behold the future…vivid and vast.
At times my heart grows faint.
Other times, I pray to live to see it manifested.
But most times, I’m reigned in by the very present mess that swirls about my ankles.
Sometimes I’m full of fear…as the unknown taunts me.
Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed before my feet hit the floor,
And then there are times, when I feel we could conquer the world,
One load of laundry at a time.
Lord, make us a force to be reckoned with.
How can it be, that such jewels have been placed in my hand?
That such wonder and insight and beauty, could be rendered to me?
And my role, as knee-kisser and peanut butter and jelly sandwich maker,
How does this hold rank in light of eternity?
Oh, how I question my relevance with these fragile little seedlings, sown into my dry bed.
We allow life, following one moment after another,
As the Lord kneads tears, laughter, bumps and bruises,
Making it something brilliant,
Something I do not know how to make,
Something with promise.
So many questions.
“Why?” unending. “How come?” never ceasing.
And though I seem dimly, I sense an adequate answer, spoken quietly within.
“Just because”….and it’s enough for us all.
Child-like faith; my gift from above and below.
The things my children need, I need as well.
The things they want, I pray I can give.
Overwhelming grace comes with overwhelming need.It’s the way I stand; it’s the way I crawl.
It makes up most of my being.
The abandonment that comes with not knowing anything other,
I witness this in their everyday.
It’s admirable. It’s beautiful. It’s the way it ought to be.
It’s how I want to be.
It’s where I long to stay.
At His knees, my tower of safety and refuge.

So Stinken Smart

April 24th, 2007

So I'm in the post office today and behind me is a line of about 10 people. The post office is quiet, minus the whispers of my four children. After I finished my business at the counter with children swirling about my ankles, I do a quick glance over to count kids. I have a lot, ya know. I say, "Ok girls, let's go." and then look over my shoulder and circle around, looking for the baby who I thought had wondered off. I say, "Where is the baby?" to which Tessa replies, "In your arms." Then the entire post office burst into uncontrollable laughter!!! LOL. I turned bright red and moved down the counter to mail out my letters, baby on hip to the laughter of complete strangers. The postmaster had tears in her eyes she was laughing so hard. We had some banter back and forth, myself and the line of people that is, about how we all forget important, obvious things. I just could not recover from it. I snickered and giggled for like the next 30 minutes. Truly, one of my shinning moments. Oh, and I meant to tell you that I had a similar moment of brilliance at the Wal-Mart earlier this week where I actually walked off, pushing somebody else's shopping cart!! What's the matter with me?!!! Don't answer that.

Smells Like Jesus

I have a basketful of precious childhood memories and a number of those moments were structured around time spent with my loving grandmother. I confess that my brothers and I like to give our grandma a hard time as she is one of the easiest people to poke fun at, excluding my scatterbrained self, of course. But it’s all in great affection for the grandma that shaped our impressionable spirits at a very young age. I find myself sentimental even as I type this article. Grams, thank you for showing me Jesus. You were the one to sew the first seeds into my heart so that a loving relationship with God could be nurtured.
Grandma was always the type to root for the underdog. Seemed her friend list consisted of the least of them. She was always dropping off groceries and sacks of clothes anonymously to unfamiliar front porches as I would wait in the car and watch her from a distance. As a young child, I remember her volunteering her time at the local Damascus house, which is like a Salvation Army. Most of my clothes came from Damascus House as money was sparse back then. Grandma was always picking out nice items for me as they would come in. I can remember pillaging through large black garbage bags, strewing out “new” old clothes when she would stop by the house.
I can still vividly recall the dilapidated building she would take me to as a 5 year old girl. It was a putrid shade of green, located right along the tracks on the east side of town; otherwise known as the bad part of town. It smelled to me like old people and vintage clothing such as polyester and wool and there was a narrow staircase, dimly lit, that lead us to the upstairs. I remember that it felt as though the floor might give out below me as we made our way up to the second story. I could smell coffee and I felt warmth coming toward me as we made our way through the make-shift kitchen area to a room filled with folding chairs. Grandma called this the upper room and so, I did too. She told me about the story in Acts where the believers were gathered together and how God sent his Holy Spirit as they tarried there. Grandma told me everything I would need to know about God at that age. I felt honored to be with her in the upper room, as she led me to my seat, my hand in hers.
It was a humble church service that we would attend in that unstable upstairs. Grandma often would swing by and pick up Sister Netty on our way. Sister Netty was an elderly black woman who always wore those neat little hats from the 1950’s. In fact, I can remember thinking that they called her Sister Netty because of the netting on her hat. I remember that Netty also had a distinct smell to her as well. She smelled like oil to me. Not engine oil or anything like that but, I believe it was the oil she put in her hair that was memorable to me. And so her soft leathery hands also smelled like oil. I can remember observing her hands as they were so unusual. On the outside they were dark and aged and on the inside, they were a faded shade of brown, proudly showing every crease and line in her palms. I was intrigued by Sister Netty and memorized her visually. She was so very kind to me and a dear friend to grandma.
As we would prepare for the service to start, which usually only consisted of a handful of unique characters, grandma would take me to the kitchen so I could make myself a cup of coffee. This was the highlight of my evening. I felt so very grown up as I poured at least as much cream and sugar into my cup, as there was coffee. Then I’d carefully take my seat next to grandma and Sister Netty. The preacher man was a round fellow and as a child I remember thinking he looked at though he was melting. He would often perspire in that warm upstairs room, dressed from head to toe in his Sunday best. I thought it was odd that he wore his belt around the widest part of his belly, making him look like a bit of a weeble wobble to me. Funny, isn’t it, the way we perceive things as children? He had a very bad comb-over on the top of his head but it was evident that he did not place much emphasis on earthly things. In fact, the folks that flocked to this service were only there for one thing, and that was to meet with Jesus. Before too long, we would be asked to pull out our hymnals and stand and sing together. I remember struggling to read these King James Version-type songs, chock-full of words that made no sense to me. But I sang to the best of my ability. I can still hear grandma singing. She would close her eyes and raise her hand. I once asked her why she did this. She told me that she was telling Jesus how much she loved Him. I closed my eyes too, and raised my hand as an act of love. I knew God was in that place. He felt warm, he smelled old, he looked funny…but He was there. I just knew it.
Thank you, grandma, for showing me what Jesus looks like, acts like, and even smells like. You have given me something so very valuable and special, and it won’t be taken from me.

Spare Room Pics

This used to be Tessa's room but we moved her upstairs with the other girls so NOW, this room is for guests :) I have a few small things to do still, like put my mats and pics in some of the frames but,'s a done deal :)
I used things I already had too! Very little expense in this room. Oh, and the vanity I repainted! It's been my vanity since I was 5 years old :)
And you may recognize my bistro set from the laundry room in there. I moved it to the guest room as it seems to be a more practical fit in there. AND, the trickiest part of this room was designing around 3 doors! One to the laundry room, one to the bathroom and one to the dinning room!


September 8th, 2007

I have always been a very lucid dreamer. I can remember dreams from when I was a 5 years old. I have had the same dream more than once. I have certain houses or locations in my dreams that I visit again and again, though I've never visited them in real life; that I an recall anyhow. And somehow, in my dreams, I can remember that I've been in a certain place before. I've also dreamt in black and white before. It was so strange. It baffles me how the subconscious works. I've always been intrigued with the connection between mind, body and spirit. Anyhow...
I have a tendency to dream about antiques. Perhaps this is just part of who I am being that I enjoy old things and have a handful of old, vintage items in my home. I have also been passed down some beautiful antique pieces of furniture, linens and dishes. I truly love old things. So, I suppose I should not find it that bizarre that I dream of old things and am always in a position of pouring over them as I discover them in my dream. For example, I can remember off the top of my head 3 recent dreams concerning antiques.
1. I have actually written this dream down. I do this because God also speaks to me through my dreams and I want to be sure I keep record of anything significant He is sharing with me. Anyhow, this one specific dream included a scene where I wondered into the basement of an old church that was under construction. There were wood beams all over and a baptistery being built, which I thought was strange since it was in the floor of a basement. How can you build any further down from a basement? Anyhow, significance in that but what I'm getting to is the part where I discovered some old antiques. The most vivid item I found was an instrument that I had never seen before, however, I knew it was a musical instrument. I even sketched it out when I woke up. It was so unique in my mind, for never having any concept of it in real life. Anyhow, in my dream, it was mine. It was something that I didn't know I had but had been there the entire time. I remember picking it and by faith, I began to play it though I had no idea of what I was doing. It was an amazing dream and spoke volumes to me about what God had to say concerning my life. But again, it was a priceless antique.2. I was again in the basement of a church. It was actually supposed to be the church I used to attend. It was a GIGANTIC basement, old and stuffy and dusty. I remember Tim and Teague were with me this time. We scaled an outside wall to get in there. lol. It was an almost untouchable place. Nobody had been there for years; forgotten. Anyhow, I can see it in my mind as a movie now. It was filled with unbelievable antiques: dressers, frames, mirrors, tools, etc. And the strange part was that everything had a price tag on it, like in a flea market. The prices were unbelievably reasonable for authentic antiques. I was blown away by this treasury and for such an amazing price! I began to browse over every piece. It went on and on. I couldn't believe the span of the room. I wanted to run upstairs and tell somebody what I had found. End of dream.
3. I had a dream last night about antiques. I was personally shipping antiques from Michigan, with the help of my mother. There were a number of items from my great-grandparents and extended family. We made a pit stop at what we thought to be a storage unit. I began to unload all of these things, one at a time and stack it all together in this little area of the store house. Around me were TONS of antiques. i couldn't believe my eyes. As far as I could see, there were antiques. It was a warehouse full of them. There were other people there bringing all of their belongings in there as well. All of a sudden, a group of people came and began to move our antiques and scatter them throughout the warehouse, mixing them with other people's items and marking them for sale! I was in a panic. My mom was nowhere to be found. I began to canvas the store, looking for things that belonged to us but knew it was almost impossible amongst the thousands of items. I saw a large trunk being tapped up and ready for shipping. It was something of ours! I found a "sales lady" and told her the situation and that our family's belongings were not for sale and that I needed to get them all back together. I told her that we thought our antiques would be safe there but didn't realize they would become available for sale by unloading them into the house. As she sent off others to help me find my family's stuff, I once again found myself pouring over extraordinary antiques. I couldn't believe what I was taking in. When I am viewing antiques in my dreams, I am filled with awe. It's almost like I am in looking at breathtaking jewelry. I actually get a sense of fear at times when I canvas an old painting or a majestic piece of furniture. It's like I realize that I am in the presence of something very valuable and am honored to even know these things exist! It's so bizarre. I mean, it's the same feeling every time. So anyhow, with the woman's help, we painstakingly found each piece and gathered back the family "jewels.' End of dream.
So, I just did some research, nothing to take to heart, but out of curiosity I found a dream symbol interpretation site. I don't take these interpretations to heart but realize that many of them are very relevant by using context clues. However, I thought I'd type in antiques and see what came up. This is what I got. Interesting!
To dream of antiques, represent your time honored values, tradition and wisdom. It symbolizes something genuine or proven. It also symbolizes things in your past that may be worth holding onto or worth keeping. If you do not like or appreciate antiques, then is suggests that you are moving away from outdated childhood conditioning or old modes of thinking. On a negative note, you may be discarding or rejecting something of value that you should really be embracing and heeding.

What do YOU dream about?