Saturday, October 23, 2010

My heart is broken tonight by the ugly influence of our world on innocent children. I wonder how deeply our own children are affected. I wonder where we have been lax and our enemy has taken advantage of the cracks in our wall. There's part of me...part of my 'momness' that wants to spare our kids from all harm, all pain, and especially all sin and its effects. I am very well aware of the impossibility and even if it was possible, the detriment of this. I'm seeing as our two oldest are beginning their adulthood that some of the ways I've tried to spare them have actually worked to foster fears and prevented maturity. Ouch.

But I know that everything, EVERYTHING is redeemable. I know that when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him (Is. 59.19). I'm pressed tonight to seek God, to get serious. The fresh realization of The War that we are in has scared me - hopefully in a good way. Lord, have mercy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Wondering...

May I respectfully disagree with some of my sweet friends?

I don't get how the current 'secret phrase' being posted on Facebook is supposed to engender breast cancer awareness. The posting of bra colors last year made more sense...although I still believe the business of our undies is between us and our spouses!

And why would we want to post publicly something that might make anyone picture us doing something so private, so special, so sacred? If there's not enough innuendo and temptation out there, let's just add to the cerebral sleaze-soup that's served up everyday here in western society, shall we?

I just don't get it. That's all.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Summer Salsa

Ooh, the delicious vegetable-y goodness! This batch was obviously made with red onion. Please pass the baked Tostitos!

Here's the disclaimer: this is OF COURSE, so much better w/fresh tomatoes. Made it yesterday w/store-bought and it was good....but not fantabulously delicious like usual. This is a simple recipe that I got out of the Omaha World Herald years and years ago...It's really more like a pico de gallo. I tweaked it a bit with the oil and vinegar and sugar to suit my taste. It's not very spicy....but I LOVE hot food, so adjust the 'jalapeno-ness' according to your preference. Hope you like it!

4 small tomatoes, peeled & chopped (I usually don't peel them.)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/3 chopped onion (any kind)
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 t. oil ( I use canola or sometimes olive oil.)
1 scant t. sugar
1 T. vinegar
Combine all in medium-sized bowl. Serve @ room temp. Makes 1 1/2 c.

And here's a freebie, because it's written on the back of the salsa recipe card:
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, diced
1/2 c. onion, chopped (any kind of onion)
1/4 c. Pace picante sauce
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
Combine. Enjoy.
Okay, gotta go to HyVee and get me some avocados to make some Guac for our 4th of July celebration!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Thankful Trumps Crabby

Missing terribly our two travelers today.

Haven't slept well for three consecutive nights (night 1: worry & prayer for Nicaragua team. night 2: tummy & chimichanga disagreement. night 3: 2 am shower for itching skin.)


Lack of motivation to do the 47.34 tasks slated for the day which include: 5 loads of laundry, water plants, wash wall to ready for painting, go for a walk, do 5 lessons in my Bible study which are due tomorrow which I should have spread out through the whole week, painting Kristin's vanity.

My bed is calling out to me: "Napping is good! Napping would solve many of your ills!"

This is one of those mornings where I am tempted to look on the dark a 'glass half-empty' girl.

I am reminded that being thankful is my one way ticket out of this land of lethargy and irritability. AND I am reminded that taking time to allow Jesus to show me His love is NEVER a bad thing. He reminds me that I am WAY too hard on myself and agreement w/Him is humilty and obedience.

YOU are my ANSWER, Lord!...not accomplishing more, sleeping more, feeling physically better. It REALLY IS all about You!!!

Friday, April 16, 2010


(Do you like the homage to Star Wars? I readily admit it....we are a family of Trekkies and Star Wars Geeks.)
A dear friend sent this to me today:

"I think God is disappointed with me." What's wrong with that statement; why does it bother me?

It's so interesting that this would be brought up today because Dave and I were just discussing last night whether it is appropriate to tell your child that you are disappointed in him/her. We concluded that there are probably better words to use w/kids...words that do not bring shame.
Regarding the Lord, isn't His being disappointed w/us impossible? I mean to be disappointed implies that there was a certain expectation. If God knows what we are going to do anyway, how could He be disappointed? (Apologies to all you 'Moral Gov't' officionados.)
I know that Love hopes all things and that He always hopes we will make the best choices, but He knows us. We are weak. We have limitations and strongholds and difficulties and temptations. Rather than saying He is disappointed with us, I believe it would be more accurate to say that we are disappointed with ourselves. (Which, I believe, is a form of pride.) If He is Who He says He is, then EVERYTHING is redeemable and those of us who have screwed up our lives the most (HELLO, THIS MEANS EVERYONE!) have the opportunity for the most redemption. Reminds me of Isaiah 63:3b & 4

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

If there was nothing ruined, we would not see our need for Him. Having 'places long devastated' in our family background and in our own lives is not unusual...quite the opposite. The Bible is FULL of people who made poor choices or bore the brunt of the rotten choices of others. Some of them allowed God to make them 'a planting of the Lord' redeem their rotten, sinful choices and to become 'the display of His splendor'. Without redemption, there's no display. Without our weaknesses, His strength cannot be shown.
We have it all backwards: we try to be strong, we try to show that we are handling things well. We hide our weakness, even from ourselves. How silly to not live in reality, to not call a spade a spade and glady give ourselves over to the Only One who can save us from our silly, selfish selves.

2 Cor. 12:9,10 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Yes, at the very best, I've had poor judgement. At the least, I've been an evil, self-centered, selfish pig of a person and chosen to please me and me alone. I admit it. I fall short. I need help. And I will always need help. My realizing this of late has been a GLORIOUS freedom.
There was a time when I would have beat myself up because I should be 'further down the road'....that I should have made better use of all the teaching and help I've been so freely given. BUT I AM NOT FURTHER DOWN THE ROAD.
And I have to ask myself: have I given Jesus my heart? Is my intent to allow Him to direct me daily? If so, then where I am is HIS doing...I am in this place for His purposes. (AND if I am not yet His, not allowing His voice to show me the path every day, one choice, one prayer can put me on that path.)
Okay, stepping down from the soapbox...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Summer Longing...

Bree and me, studying & enjoying!
The hanging jars.

A big jar with a big candle!

It's like a vacation spot at home...

I'm excited to say that I do believe that for this year, our winter is past. We have a few daffodils and some tulips that bravely poked out of the ground immediately after the three and a half foot drifts that have covered them since December 24th FINALLY melted a couple of weeks ago! HOORAY!
Kristin (our 8y/o) and I watched the weather channel for a few moments together last week and rejoiced together as we saw 70 degree temperatures in the forecast. She and I both love the hot weather. I won't call 70 'hot', but its' a start. (I grew up in Southern California and LOVE the warmth.)
We are blessed with a lovely covered deck off our kitchen and living room...In the warmer weather David and I sit out there and chat and drink coffee in the am. Sometimes our kiddos join us and it's the best of times. We need to eat meals out there more often this year, I think.
We've hung some gauzy fabric curtains out on the deck that serve no real purpose except to make it feel more "homey". Dave's built us some Adirondak chairs that I LOVE. They are sooooo comfortable. If we're out there after dark, we have 15 or 20 jars of different shapes and sizes in which we place white candles. We hang some (by beaded wires that we've looped around the jar's opening) around the eaves. And we place some on the deck around us. We have two hammocks hanging out there too. Some times I take my guitar out there and make a bit of music.
During the day as we go about our business, our deck calls to us...'Come out and rest!' It's the perfect spot for a quiet moment. We love to have people over to hang out and visit out there. If you are in the neighborhood, come on over and experience the ambiance of the Reno's back deck! I'm longing for a bit of it myself. Won't be long and it will be warm enough...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Compassion vs. Judgement

I rarely remember my dreams. And if I do, they are usually innane and seemingly meaningless...easily blamed on last night's pizza (or in this case, German chocolate cake!). When our kids come to our room in the middle of the night for comfort from a bad dream, I pray for them and hold them and do my best to get them back to sleep as quickly as possible....but my empathy level is usually rather low. I mean how bad can it be?

I just had the most vivid dream...David and I were checking into a hotel. I preceded him into our room by a few minutes. There were two beds in our room and the one on which I was putting my stuff had drawers in its base. And I did not notice at first, but coming up from the foot of the bed were wasps. Somehow I ended up with wasps all over my left ankle and shin. I don't remember being stung but I was SCARED. There was a can of wasp killer in our room and I stared spraying it like crazy into the crack where I perceived the wasps were emerging before I realized that they were getting on me. When I saw them on my leg I sprayed myself over and over...then Dave came in the room and was asking what was happening! He helped me get them off myself and we were in the process of exiting and getting somewhere else safe to stay when I woke with a start...SO thankful to be safe in our little house.

It FREAKED ME OUT. So much so that I cannot go back to sleep at the moment (I got up at 3:45 am...). All my speeches to our kids in the past 15 or so years about 'taking thoughts captive' are ringing through my head...a simple choice, right? Or maybe not as simple as I've thought. Tomorrow morning I will certainly be asking forgiveness for impatience with them...and this is but one instance in a myriad that has certainly grooved our kids for the need for therapy somewhere down the line!

I'm frustrated with myself regarding my lack of compassion, my easy rush to judgement on things I am not familiar with. I'm tempted to list things I've been judgemental about in the past, but I'm afraid of alienating someone ("You judged me because of that?") Okay, I'll make a short list, but please don't take this's just my own obtuse insensitivity.

I tipped the scales this week at my all time high weight...YUP. In the past here's my thoughts: 'Losing weight: how hard can it be?' Well now that I'm here, it is hard. Very.

A few years ago I had the DESPERATE need to be on depression thoughts prior to that: 'C'mon people! Think a happy thought for goodness sake!' Now my experience says that I had NO IDEA what I was saying. NONE AT ALL.

Sad to say, I've also judged children of divorced families...I was COMPLETELY CLUELESS to the total devastation that rocks a child's world when parents divorce. Mine divorced when I was 38 and it made me feel like I was 8 years old. And though it has been 9 1/2 years since they've split, I'm a long way from being through grieving over it.

Hopefully the more I live, the more I will RELAX and quit judging. It's so tiring to judge all the time. Maybe I just won't have enough energy to do it after a while? (if only it was that simple!)

Then I think, hmmmm.....certainly this very subject may be one of the reasons that these verses are in the Bible:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

So I take this to mean that if we haven't received this comfort ourselves, WE AIN'T GOT IT to give out...(I normally don't use the word ain't, but it seemed so appropriate here...) My view is so narrow. I'm so thankful that the Lord's is not. I'm so thankful that

"...we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God...This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:14-16

Lord, have mercy! I desperately need this grace...probably most in the middle of the night (literally....and figuratively). Continue to show me my ungraciousness toward others. With Your help I want to turn away from this natural bent to judge. May I see You for who You really are. May I receive Your love and comfort that I may comfort others. May I give out grace as You do...liberally!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Held Close

We met when I was in 2nd grade...I was 7 years old. It was a brief meeting, after school one day and I didn't get to know much about him, but I loved him.
As 6th grader, I met him again through a mutual was an awful time in my life. My parents were going through very difficult financial times. We had moved to an area of the country where I was a minority for the first time in my life and I was picked on a lot because of it. It was scary to walk to and from school because of the teasing and threats and rock-throwing. It was at that meeting I think I knew we'd always be together...I started writing to him almost every day and he was so good to keep in close touch with me.
Through all the changes of my growing up years and beyond, he's stayed close and cared so sweetly, attentively. Even through periods where I ignored him, when he ended up last on my list, he's been there.
Most of the time I don't feel like an old person, but as I type I realize we've been together for forty years now. Only an old person can write that! Through the movement of the seasons, his careful, deliberate attachment has spoiled me. I am safe in uncertain times. When it's dark, he draws me even closer. Though I've known him all these years, there is always more to know, more to love, more to have of him...and I think maybe more of me to give.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wood-Gathering Adventure

Dan getting ready to sled for his life!!!!!
Kristi on the frozen tundra...

Bree and Easton

Dan heading down toward our truck.

Grandpa's truck, stuck by the barn (built in '47, in case you're interested...)

We heat our home with's just the nicest heat: such a close, cozy warmth. There is a lot of work to do and a lot of mess to clean up to enjoy this heat, but it's financially VERY cheap since we have an unlimited supply of wood at Dave's Grandparents' farm, which is about a 40 minute drive south of here. We love to stop in and hear Grandpa's stories of the old days and sample Grandma's delicious baking. They are 93 and 95 y/o respectively and they are a treasure.

It's been tough to get wood this year because of all our snow. We had a blizzard the 24th of December and another right after New Year's Day (extending Christmas vacation an extra three days!!) and we've still got about 10" of snowcover, plus GIANT drifts in some areas. Usually, we drive our Suburban (pulling a trailer that we borrow from some kind and generous friends...) into the woods to an area that has downed trees and we start hacking away and loading up! Attempting to venture into the woods with this much snow would be foolish, however and we would certainly end up getting stuck. We discussed biting the bullet and actually buying firewood this year, but just didn't want to spend the $$$. Grandpa mentioned that in one of his half-dozen or so outbuildings, there was a load of hardwood that someone cut a couple of decades ago that we could have if we could get it out of the shed where it was stored.

To get us through the winter so far, we had a little bit wood that we'd hauled last year. And we've bundled up like eskimoes around here (indoors!), trying to use the wood sparingly...but this last week was the end of our wood supply...either we needed to procure more firewood or start busting up the furniture. (We do have a fine furnace/heat pump that works fabulously, but we don't enjoy paying the we keep the thermostat at about 65 degrees during the day.) We've utilized a space heater and consumed gallons of hot chocolate and tea in our attempts to stay toasty!

Today we decided to load up the family and some snacks and a thermos of hot chocolate and the dog and a couple of sleds...thinking that if we couldn't drive back to the shed full of wood, we could load the sleds with wood and slide it the 50 or so yards down to the truck.

We arrived at the farm and greeted Grandma and Grandpa....Grandpa had a great idea...he'd hop in his 4 W/D pick-up truck, drive back to the shed, we'd load the wood in the pick-up and drive it down to our Suburban and load it into the Suburban. (Yes, our Suburban is 4 W/D. Yes, driving the Suburban back to the shed and loading it straight from the shed to the Suburban would have been less messing around. But when Grandpa gets a brainstorm, you go with it.)

Grandpa hops into his pick-up and sizes up his first obstacle: a 3.5 foot drift (the first of possibly 3 or 4 drifts). The snow has been on the ground so long that the top of the first foot or so is compacted into a hard crust that can be walked on...but driving on it? Grandpa got a bit of a running start and plowed into the drift and pretty much got stuck immediately. (You knew that was going to happen, didn't you?) He tried reversing it and putting it in drive again. He spun the wheels so fast...I was scared that if he did get the wheels to catch on something that he'd jump forward and plow into the barn. He spun the wheels so much that the snow under them melted and he got down to the mud and melted the frozen was flying everywhere. The wheels were steaming. There was a burning smell in the air. He was high-centered on that giant drift. David and I got shovels and tried to dig him out...meanwhile he kept spinning those wheels. I was hollering at the kids to stay far away for safety's sake but Dave and I were practically under the wheels...especially Dave...and those wheels kept spinning and spinning. It was HARD work. Good thing it was a balmy 25 degrees outside...and very little wind. I'm serious. We were sweating.

After about 20 minutes of this, Grandpa said we should go find as much chain as we was hanging in the southeast corner of the corncrib...a bit of a hike through the drifted snow. Dan wisely brought the sled and we piled about 67 pounds of giant, rusty chains onto the sled and dragged it down to Grandpa's stuck truck. We untangled the chains, David drove the Suburban near and we hooked them up...Dave gunned it on the driveway and the tires spun. No success. He tried again. Nope. Maybe Grandpa will be stuck there 'till spring. It's only forty-something days away. Grandpa doesn't get around too well anymore. Maybe we'd load him onto a sled and pull him out and leave the truck. David gave it one more try and what do you know!!!? He pulled Grandpa out! Celebration ensued. We all cheered and hooted and wooted and clapped and jumped up and down.

After that, Grandpa KNEW he could get through. (SERIOUSLY??) And I don't know what happened at this point...maybe David chatted with him and talked him out of it. But the next thing we knew, Grandpa was parking the truck and going inside.

We hiked up the snowy hill and opened the shed and found a glorious load of wood in wonderful condition! There was also a plastic kitchen, a SWEET 1970's bike with sparkley banana seat and sting ray handlebars (Ebay!!), a rusty old pedal-car in the shape of a fire engine with a very annoying bell on the front and various other junky items.

We'd load a sled with logs and then either Dan or Kristin would ride it down the hill on top of the load of wood. FUN! We loaded the back of our Suburban almost up to the ceiling. It probably took about 20 minutes....(about half the time it took to dig/pull the pick-up out of the snow!).

We were then ready to head inside and have a can of pop and chat with Grandpa and Grandma a bit. We heard today that the corncrib was built in '46 and the barn in '47. They got electricity in 1939. Grandma said that before that, they kept their butter in a 'cave' that was hand-dug out of the dirt in front of their home. There were a bunch of stairs down to the cave. The cave was also used for a storm shelter. Grandma was scared of that cave and very glad the day the electricity was hooked up to the house. Grandpa had pre-emptively bought a refrigerator from the Sears and Roebuck on 24th and 'L' Street, so as soon as they got power, they hooked it up.

They also told us stories about them having a woodstove in the room that's now their dining room. The rest of the house was so cold, they moved their beds into the living room for the winter. In the bucket of water (that they carried in everyday from the well), the dipper used to freeze nearly nightly in the wintertime. Sounds like 'Little House on the Prairie'. But it wasn't so very long ago.

On the way home, we chuckled about Grandpa's great idea and about how he'd had an adventure that he could tell the boys at the donut shop. We also discussed how if we'd just sledded the wood out in the first place, we'd have been home a whole lot sooner. But we also mentioned that our kids' Great-Grandparents aren't just great in name...they really are GREAT people. We count ourselves so fortunate to have them, to be able to enjoy them, to hear their amazing stories of a life that sound to us like something in a movie, to consume great quantities Grandma's DELICIOUS cookies (which she always stores in Maxwell House coffee cans), to just be with them. We don't know how much longer we will have them with us. And we don't want to take them for granted. Thanks, Lord, for such a sweet heritage. (And thank You that no one was hurt in the craziness today!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Moonless Darkness Stands Between

Moonless Darkness Stands Between

by Gerard Manly Hopkins

Moonless darkness stands between

Past, the Past, no more be seen!

But the Bethlehem-star may lead me

To the sight of Him Who freed me

From the self that I have been.

Make me pure, Lord: Thou art holy;

Make me meek Lord: Thou wert lowly;

Now beginning, and alway:

Now begin, on Christmas day.