Thursday, May 31, 2007

A List Of Everyone I Can Change


Ephesians 4 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Class of 2007

It's Official!!

Left Bottom: Sarah (with superfluous h); Aunt Amy, Mymom aka Grandma, Mac, Mozug & Shane

Right Top: Grandma, Mac, Me, Miss B

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Commencements on Wednesday! Our youngest, Mac, will be an official high school graduate. How can that be? Time has flown. We are so proud of him and amazed that this is our kid! So here's a little bio.
In 1989 I was in a car accident. Six month old Jay and my mom were in the car too. At the hospital they wanted to do x-rays because I had hit my head. But beforehand they wanted to be sure I wasn't pregnant. And guess what? My mom told us we needed to watch more television. My kids would be fifteen months apart. Oy-vey.
Along came Mac on October 2. He was rather an ugly newborn. But he got cute fast. And he also got bad fast. He got beaten in every restaurant restroom from Northern Michigan to Alabama. It got to the point that when we'd ask him if he needed to go to the bathroom, he'd start crying.
He was not a good student in the early years being that he simply did not do his work. In first grade when I arrived for parent teacher conferences I held out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Mac's mom." The teacher replied, "I wouldn't brag about that if I were you." True. I hated that woman.
Mac got written up for saying "Sandwich" to his teacher once. He explained he said "sandwich" because he wasn't allowed to swear. Apparently, the intent was clear anyway.
Mac got written up for picking up a peer and carrying them in the lunch line.
Mac got written up for throwing food at lunch.
Mac got written up for watching a fight and cheering on the fighters.
Mac tunneled into a snow drift and I got a call from the school to bring him all new clothing because he was soaked.
Mac erased answering machine messages from his school but forgot to erase the caller id.
Mac knocked over the Christmas tree as a toddler and then in an escape attempt; ran over top of the tree slicing his foot open. Had to be strapped to a backboard for stitches.
Mac climbed out of his car seat whilst in motion and fell backwards resulting in a "pinpoint puncture wound." He had to have his entire head wrapped like a Civil War hero.
Mac tried to open the back car door and jump out because he was mad at me.
Mac put on his brother's coat, unlocked the front door and walked out of the house while his Aunt Kathy and I watched in amazement. He was not quite two.
Mac had his own pronunciation of the English language that required an interpreter...
Puc=cup. Girdl=girl. Squirdl=squirrel. Tee Tee=Aunt Kathy. Boo=Aunt Amy. Jorn=Jordan. Etc.
Mac had a long talk with Jesus in middle school. After that...
Mac was on the honor roll and eventually became a member of the National Honor Society.
Mac played varsity football for two years, quitting when the coach told him to choose between football and a mission trip.
Mac was named a Scholar Athlete for outstanding performance both on the field and academically.
Mac was the youngest person to become a junior high ministry leader and has been a Fuel leader for two years.
Mac has been on mission trips to Thailand, Appalachia and Chicago.
Mac is one of the top ten graduating students in his high school. Look for him the the News Herald June 9.
Mac has been accepted to Albion College and Eastern Michigan University. He was offered a scholarship to play football at Albion despite not having played his senior year. He will attend Eastern and major in mathematics. He wants to be a middle school math teacher.
Mac will graduate as a member of the National Honor Society and listed among the Who's Who of American High School Students.
Not too shabby for an unplanned bad little boy, huh?

Psalm 25:12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Hang On Kelly, Kelly Hang On!

This is Kelly whose blog you will find at your right by clicking on kellerbell. She is holding our graduating boy, Mac. This was back in the days of children's church and Christmas cantatas, specifically, Twinkle and the Allstar Angel Band.
Why, you might wonder, is a teenage Kelly in this production and holding this angelic little one? Because he was bad. Very, very bad.
Kelly actually held this kid for roughly two hours, through the entire play. It was the only way to ensure he didn't ruin Christmas and make the Baby Jesus cry.
It's true. Mac was a bad boy. Very, very bad.
I think there were times in his life when only Kelly loved him. Certainly she was the only one willing to stand there in a children's Christmas program holding him for two hours and wearing a white sheet cut into an angel robe so she'd blend in.
By contrast was Mac's older brother, Jay. Jay was Joseph in this particular production. Ah, what a sweet Joseph he was at that! Never a moment's worry did I have about Jay! He didn't require a personal prison guard. No, he just did what came naturally...was adorable!
Mac. Oh Macky. There was a time when I was seriously worried about his soul. Now I look at this picture of Macky and Kelly and think about the fact that we are never so alone and hopeless as it seems.
Like Jesus, Kelly loved Mac enough to hang on tight with loving arms when he would've walked himself right into another spanking and off the stage. She (and her sister and her father) also held him close so Kelly's mom, Pat, could cut his hair as he hollered and fought. There were lots of Jesus-people in that little boy's life that saved him from even more beatings from me.
I'm so grateful for a loving savior who takes the bad little kid in us and loves us into better people.
And man, am I grateful that Kelly had strong arms.

Isaiah 65:2 All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations-

Memorial Day

Being the grandsons of a firefighter, daboyz had childhoods filled with free run of fire stations and rides on the engine for Memorial Day parades in our hometown.
As I look at this picture, I am reminded again that there is much to be thankful for. My dad was serving in the army when I was born and serving his community as a fire fighter when his grandsons were born.
I am just one of millions of Americans who awoke this morning with a heart of gratitude for this country and the heritage I did not earn.
Have a blessed Memorial Day.

Gracious Father, Lay your hand on our soldiers today, both those on the front lines of battle and those who have laid down their arms. Bless them and give them rest and peace. Send your angelic host to stand guard around them. Keep them safe and give them victory. Let them know today that they do not fight in vain and they do not war alone, for you are their strong tower. Thank you God, for all those who serve. Amen

Isaiah 2
He will judge between the nationsand will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD.

Photo: Mac & Grandpa getting ready for the parade. Year? I think 1991?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

In My Life...

My son, Mac's, graduation party is coming up. Today I'm going through the disorganized box in which I've tossed several lifetime's worth of photos. Time to put together that collage that represents birth-graduation. Pictures really get to me. Often I end up in a puddle of tears sorting through. I stop to consider all kinds of moments that have no bearing on the job of graduation party planning. Knowing this was coming, I have skipped mascara today.
I think I'll write a few blogs as I sort through and consider the people and moments that God has used to form my life. I have to start with credit to my dad who has always been the family photographer because without him, the early years of daboyz would've largely been unphotographed. Between the turmoil that was my emotional state in those days and the disorganization that went with it; I either failed to take pictures or failed to get them developed. Yes, this was the time before digital cameras. I wouldn't have been able to afford one anyway.
So here's to the moments in passing. The images captured despite cries of, "Don't take my picture!"
Here's to being loved enough that someone wanted to remember us forever and to the ones we can't photograph anymore.
Here's to life and memories that would've been lost if someone hadn't stood out of frame to hold a moment in time...
There are places I remember; All my life, though some have changed.
Some forever not for better ;Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments; With lovers and friends; I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living; In my life I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers; there is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning; When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection; For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them; In my life I love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection; For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them; In my life I love you more;
In my life I love you more.
(In My Life by The Beatles)

Picture: Mac & Grandpa (my dad aka HH) circa 1992 up north
Sara & Dad (Mac's grandpa aka HH) circa 1968

May 27, 2007

Psalm 3:5
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Top Ten Meme

1. British accents give me a headache.
2. I love anything that smells green.
3. I HATE talking on the phone. I mean it. Don't call me Chris. Seriously.
4. I love deeply; express it poorly.
5. I have sock monkey sheets on my bed right now. I wash them and put them right back on.
6. I rarely listen to the radio or cds in my car. I like the silence.
7. I know the lyrics to every song ever written, can't sing a note.
8. I always feel like I should be doing something else.
9. I have developed a mid-life ice cream addiction.
10. I believe in love at first sight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Delish My Aunt Fanny

Dear Rachael Ray,
Shut up.

Psalm 59:15 They wander about for food and howl if not satisfied.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Out Of Balance

Do you ever feel like you're living on auto-pilot? Like every 24 hours is really just a list of tasks that rolls forward to the next list? That is how I tend to live. I am not one of those "life to the fullest" kind of livers. Should that say live-ers? Because I don't necessarily want to be a liver. Anyway...
I am pretty task-oriented and anyone who has the misfortune to be caught in my gravitational pull will tell you that I am entirely inflexible. I'm a scheduler and a follower of that schedule. I think my parents did that to me, along with the parted-down-the-middle hair and 9:00 bedtime they are also schedulers and task-doers. I'm all about a week's worth of work clothes being pre-ironed and lunches being ready the night before and lists, lists, lists! I firmly believe this is a really good thing for a family. I think it reduces stress on everybody and especially kids when backpacks, school clothes, lunches and homework are prepared the night before. In the morning, relax, eat some cereal and go to school. These families who scramble before school looking for their left shoe or permission slip? Sorry, I think it's anxiety-producing and bad-habit forming. There, I've said it.
Oh, and while I'm at people who are not prepared for your day and are chronically running late or can't pony up with whatever you are responsible are the supporting evidence for my theory!
By now you probably think I'm on yet another soap box about how I do things the right way. Well, you're wrong. This is more about how the good things in us can still be not so good things sometimes. I am so overly-structured in my life that I am pretty much without spontaneity. Sometimes Saturdays are the most stressful day of my week because there is a war in my head between the list of things I have to do and the stuff that I (or my family) would like to do. And if I just throw caution to the wind and leave that laundry behind to go to the movies, I actually develop a tension headache. That's no good.
I don't want to be a person who just lets responsibilities slide because I'm looking for something fun instead. I don't respect that approach to life. I especially don't like it when someone else has to pay for me not taking care of business.
On the other hand, I gotta learn to chill.
There will always be something that I should be doing instead. Something less fun that hangs over my head while I'm "wasting" time elsewhere. The to do list never really ends, does it? I'm trying at this point to attend to not just the external but the internal. Trying to tend to my own need for things that just plain make me happy, and then learning how to be just plain happy doing them. Dusty living room notwithstanding.
I woke up the other day, threw in my laundry,made the coffee and started immediately making that eternal list of what had to get done. Then a weird thought floated into my head...I'd like to get a nice bouquet of fresh flowers today to put on the kitchen table. Bouquet of flowers!! There's no time/money/reason to do that!
Then again; maybe there is time, money and a reason to do that.
I'm half-way through my life. It's time to be better balanced.
Time for more flowers and fewer lists.
You have no idea how that terrifies me.
And I have no idea how to do it.
Psalm 42:8 By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Two-Wheels & One Cross

It must be because of the warmer weather. I've heard two moms in the last week or so express their concern that their kids were not yet able to ride a two-wheel bike. A four year old boy and a seven year old girl are caught in an on again off again relationship with their training wheels. Moms are exasperated and starting to wonder how old is too old to not be two-wheeling it.
I reassured one of the moms that my sister, who is a very bright and successful nurse today; was eleven years old before finding success on two wheels. Amy says she was a bit younger than that, but she has no blog so my word stands.
I remember the day I finally took off on that purple Schwinn with the banana seat. I had lost my training wheels and if memory serves me, there was no longer an offer to reattach them. I had done the "loose" training wheels that makes you kind of wobbly and lets you lean dangerously to one side before stopping you from tipping. I had one training wheel for a while which is the most terrifying of all possible situations. Finally it was two wheels or two feet. My bike was in the garage and once again; on this summer afternoon, I decided to hop on and probably kill myself. My dad was not around to run along side and then behind me to give that push-off that feels like the final launch into the arms of Jesus. I climbed aboard I went! I was riding a two-wheeler! Down the sidewalk and around the corner with parted down the middle hair flying. Honestly, I've no idea how old I was. Given my athleticism and natural drive I'd guess it was the week before I started driver's ed.
I think learning most things in life continues to happen under the two-wheeler rule.
People can run alongside and try to steady us. They can give us a good hard shove that might get us a few feet of progress before we wipe out. They can tell us how to do it and cheer us on with promises of how great we'll feel when we accomplish our goals. They can give us training wheels that they take away and then give back when we fail a few times. Ultimately, we're gonna have to hop on the banana seat and do what needs doing, even if it costs us a skinned knee or two.
As a Christian who tries to counsel and teach others with what little bit I know; I find spiritual matters to work exactly this way. We rely too heavily on books with formulas and theories when we need to embrace the Bible. We want others to tell us what to do when what's lacking is we ourselves, on our knees waiting on God's counsel.
Surround ourselves with good teachers and mentors is important. But let's not settle for living our entire lives with training wheels. It's never going to feel like life is your own until you just ride it out for yourself.
The good news is that Jesus never stops running alongside us.
Go ahead, jump in the banana seat.

I want to learn only this from you: did you receive the Spirit from works of the law, or from faith in what you heard? Galatians 3:2

Sunday, May 20, 2007

May 20,2007

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Galatians 6:3-5

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'm Proud Of...

1. My kids.
2. Graduating nursing school with honors.
3. My marriage.
4. My heritage.
5. My writing.
6. My new pink bike.
7. My hair when it's big.
8. Being the clinical coordinator of my unit.
9. My church.
10. My Mr.

Tag, you're it...what are you proud of???

Friday, May 18, 2007

Baby Boy

Prom last Saturday...actually went with his friend Lexi to her junior prom. I take no responsibility for hideous white tux.
Commencements a week from Wednesday.
Graduation open house the Saturday after commencements.
Eastern Michigan University; here comes our Mac!

Psalm 144:3
O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I am quite old-fashioned. The busyness of the culture that I inhabit annoys me and I work hard not to conform. I don't like working a full-time job and I'd like to be home more than I'm gone.
When daboyz were small, I had the distinct and rare honor of being a full-time-stay-at-home mom. We were dirt poor and I would do it all again. I began working part time at a pre-school when the younger was in school all day in the first grade. I slowly increased my work hours as a contingent parapro from there until I started full time employment with our local school system a few years later. I worked with schools intentionally so my schedule would coincide as closely as possible with my kids. I never worked weekends, evenings, holidays or summers. If some of you are sighing with the great luxury by which I lived you are right to be envious. We exchanged expensive vacations, new cars and a large home for time. That's all it was really, time to be here and available. Time to be a presence to my children who was dependable, in a way ever-present. I wanted any forays I took into the world to be nearly imperceptible to them. I wanted them to feel that they were the center of it all.
I unashamedly drove them to school and arrived about ten minutes late every morning to my job. I will remain forever in the debt of the principal and teacher I worked with who never batted an eye at my insolence. If my kids were home sick, I took the day off too.
For the first time in their and my life, I worked through the summer in 2004. It seems that nurses do not take the summer off, nor holidays, weekends or evenings. It was an adjustment for all of us although my little boys were now fifteen and sixteen years old. I worked a few holidays too although I've been very good at sneaking out of those more than I should. I am blessed to work straight day shift and after two years on the job, my promotion changed my work hours. No more weekends.
Now I have a seventeen year old graduating high school and an almost nineteen year old in college and working full time. I work a forty hour week. I'm not here when they get up in the morning. I'm asleep when Jay gets home at night. Mac is on the go constantly between ministry, friends and just being a person who likes to be out there breathing in life.
I've been criticized more than congratulated on my stubborn greed concerning time. I've turned down lots of invitations to lots of things with no good excuse other than "them", this family of mine. I pass on over-time that would shoot my pay through the ceiling because I can't come up with a figure worth additional hours away from home. That standard forty is all I'm willing to give.
I've been judged unwise because I don't join in girls' nights out and clubs and get-togethers. I've frustrated more than one pastor who want me to take on after hours ministries. I've been told, "Your kids are grown, they don't need you at home."
I am no longer tying shoes and digging in sand boxes. I don't pack lunches or wipe snotty noses or chaperone field trips. My boys do indeed wake up to their own alarm clocks and drive their own cars to wherever they need to go. They also have their own cell phones to call if they need something.
So, they say, those grown up children don't need their mom anymore.
They are wrong. I am forty years old and I need my mom and dad. Differently but not less than when I was a child. I need to know they are around just for the sake of knowing it. I need to know they are available and yes, I believe there is nothing more important in the world to my mom and dad than me and whatever my current need is. Maybe I want my dad to make me a cup of coffee. Maybe I want my mom to go to Target with me. Maybe I want to ride my bike "somewhere" and their house four blocks away is the perfect destination and I want them there waiting for me. Maybe I assume they are always thrilled to have me around.
My kids still say they like having their dad and me here. Not to take care of them but just to be here. Smalltalk and a shared story of the day are not insignificant.
It is a foolish parent who ever defines time as empty.
In this family, children are always written in ink on our daily calendars.
1 Timothy 3:4,5 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Crazy Faith

I need to talk about crazy faith for a minute. I need to tell you that faith that isn't crazy isn't faith at all. For instance, when I got in my car this morning I had faith it would start. Well, it had gas, it doesn't have any mechanical problems, low miles, only a few years old....why the heck shouldn't it start? It took exactly NO faith to assume my car would start. Now, if my gas tank was dry but I went out there to crank 'er up anyway, THAT would be faith.
I am a total miracle junky. Even though I can't stand those televangelist types who yell and convulse and sweat in the name of miracles if you touch the television screen and maybe stand within 100 yards when they whistle or some such thing. Nonetheless, I love me some miracles.
I think you have to be a miracle watcher to catch sight of 'em. Like Loch Ness. Which I have total faith in.
I was healed of a hole in my heart. Miracle number one at age four and I was hooked. Miracles are my crack. After that, I figured, why the heck shouldn't I ask for a miracle?
My stolen van was returned. Miracle.
My air conditioning died when I was in nursing school. This was more upsetting than a hole in my heart. I prayed. It started working and it's been going ever since. Miracle.
Our furnace died. I prayed. You guessed it, miracle.
I had gall stones, Dean prayed. Yup.
I wanted a job on a psychiatric unit straight out of nursing school day shift no weekends. Again, miracle.
I wanted two children to grow up, do well in school, love God, make good decisions...done.
I wanted my bankrupt marriage to not just survive, but be remade. I wanted laughter and passion and understanding and joy...reunited and it feels so good.
I could go on for quite some time because you see, I love miracles so I go straight to miracle asking when there's a problem. No, I don't always get my miracle. Sometimes answers come along in much subtler ways. Then again, is that really not a miracle? Hmmm.
Here's how I see it. God created the universe, planned my part in it, predicted my sin and sent Jesus to die for me 2,000 years before I hit Ft. Hood, Texas.
Stop trying to make sense and avoid giving false hope. Offer up the opportunity for miracles.
Get a little crazy.
Matthew 17:20
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

Monday, May 14, 2007

Safe & Secure From All Alarm

Does no designer believe in elbow-length sleeves?

Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bicycle Built For Two

A few weeks ago on my fortieth birthday I got a fabulous new pink bike. It's a beautiful bike. Kind of retro 50s style with chrome accents and a pink and white seat. I love my new bike.
Around the same time I started noticing a sore throat and the long & short of it is that I ignored the sore throat that became the cough that became the hoarse voice that became the body aches, chills and fever. Two weeks later I landed reluctantly in my doctor's office with instructions to take my antibiotics (all of them!); two days of bed rest and three lost days of work. Those three days were ear-marked for vacation in July...sigh.
I'm much better thank you very much. I worked Thursday and Friday albeit at a slower clip than usual and I came home and basically straight to bed afterward. Just a little bit of running around town on Saturday left me worn out and sleeping soundly before 9:00 p.m. Usually I attend both of our church services at 9:30 and 11:15. I went to the earlier service today intending to stay on through but by 11:00 I was getting tired and headed home. Being a bright, cool Mother's Day I thought maybe a bike-ride around the block would boost my spirits and metabolism. I rode about fifteen feet before the coughing started and my legs refused to go any further. I forced myself home frustrated with this ongoing weakness. And so my beautiful pink bike continues to sit sparkling in the sun.
I'll tell you, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. How much longer can this hang on?
Then again, I wonder, if maybe sometimes the Lord puts the brakes on my body so he can have a day or two of my mind?
I have no choice but to be relatively still at the moment and so I guess I will do just that. But in my heart; me and Jesus are riding bikes.

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:10

Happy Mother's Day

  1. Psalm 22:10
    From birth I was cast upon you, from my mother's womb; you have been my God.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Oh Mother!

1. Relying on God.
2. Intolerant.
3. Passionate.
4. Homemakers.
5. Blunt.
6. Demanding.
7. Faithful.
8. Faith-filled.
9. Believing in big hair.
10. Will wack you with a hair brush in Jesus' name.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Me & My Mom

Are we not like two volumes of one book? ~Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Seek and Hide

There is a lot of talk about and more than a few sermons preached regarding hiding from God. Being raised in church this has always been a concept that has escaped me as I pretty much always figuring he has his eye on me.
I have a different perspective on God and hiding. That is that sometimes, God hides me. This may be my favorite part of God. Loner, reader, anti-social introvert extraordinaire; I am very fond of being hidden.
When I am frail I think God hides me from the enemy. He makes sure I'm never caught in a battle that I can't win. I believe that at my weakest moments; the devil can't even see me. This of course, leaves me foolishly figuring when things are dark and scary, I must be able to deal with it or I wouldn't be in it.
When I'm tired of body, mind or spirit God hides me from the world. He nudges me to go to bed, take a bubble bath, quiet down. He gives songs to people to sing over me whether it's in church or on a CD. He even gives me a quiet spirit from places I'd never think to seek it. Just the other day I was laying on my bed upstairs staring at the ceiling feeling worn when Mac came home from school and I heard him turn on his radio, to our local Christian station where he was listening to a Christian talk show. Just the voices of other believers in the background of my life hides me from the noise of the world.
When I am angry he tells me to hush and more often than I used to, I listen. He hides me from my own instincts and tendency to self-destruct.
Our problem is that we run to war when sometimes, we need to retreat. Not a retreat of hope or faith, but from the fighting. For just a little while we need to be hidden.
I have made mistakes when I thought hiding was for cowards and so I pushed through God's hands to stay in the game.
I am grateful now, to be hidden.
Psalm 17:8
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings...

Monday, May 07, 2007

How To Drown

Quick, what image comes to mind when you think of drowning?
Is it a lake? The ocean? Maybe a swimming pool or even a bath tub?
When you take a moment to think about it, the truth is that drowning doesn't come about by what is around us, but what is inside of us. Drowning happens because there is too much fluid in the lungs, not around the body.
I've been thinking about crazy faith and that decision most of us will have to some day make. The decision to jump over this chasm that separates our past from our future. There are moments of epiphany, the aha!s in life, as Oprah would call them. These are moments when the most tremendous pain we ever experienced comes to its peak. The ultimate betrayal or loss or devastation that changes who we are or thought we were. All we have to survive with are the things we have gained thus far in our journey.
I'm sure that some people arrive to those moments fully equipped and ready to push through and beyond that personal worst moment. But I think more of us look in the face of whatever that disaster might be and say, "My God. I cannot do this."
And there is the time for leaping and living. Or drowning.
This is where we come to the end of ourselves and only here can God fully redeem us. We are redeemed in portions, I think. Oh, we are wholly saved and so our eternity is redeemed upon accepting the sacrifice of Christ and thereby giving over all there is left of us. It is what is left that is more slowly redeemed. Being quite human, we forget that we are dust and unable to fend for ourselves. And so the moment of being emptied out. The chasm in front. The drowning.
In the worst pain we experience the tiny flicker of hope that Christ might be enough. This is the birth of faith and truth that will redeem the things we have gathered along the way.
Or we might hold on to what we already know and understand to wrestle with pain ourselves. Nothing new gathered to our hearts because there is no room, refusing to be fully empty.
We do not drown in what surrounds us but what is inside of us.
Breathe out what was, breathe in redemption.
Be rescued.

Matthew 14
22Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance[a] from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?32And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot

Over the past 183 years we've been together, there has been no shortage of drama that runs the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are, in fact, a small number of Smithophiles who are both fascinated and terrified by what have become collectively known as our "stories." I think some people only hang around with us because they know that it won't be too long until another story comes along to make them say, in the words of our good friend Wes, "Whenever I listen to you guys, I'm less discouraged about my own life."
Last Friday, another story was born.
I have had what I assume to be tuberculosis for about a week. My voice is only slightly more disturbing than Linda Blair in the Exorcist. The security officers at the hospital are dropping by the unit for no other reason than to see if I still "talk funny"; and then to mimic my own voice back at me. I've been coughing up small masses, as shared last week; my nose is a faucet and I can't sleep enough. So on Friday, I was worn out.
The Mr. now does his own laundry as you may recall from an earlier blog. So he came home Friday evening to throw a load into the dryer (which has been dying a slow death for a few months now). He was about to go get some carry-out for dinner when I smelled something funny. I went wandering to find the source of the smell and frankly, I assumed my beloved dishwasher, installed by the Mr., had burst into flames.
The Mr. was following after me when I noticed that the basement was filled with smoke. So I says to the Mr., I says...
"Dean! There's a fire in the basement!"
He ran down with me in hot (ha!) pursuit and proceeded to stand in the middle of the basement turning in circles. I assume his premise was that a. he would eventually spin hard enough to turn into Wonder Woman and save us all or b. he would create a downdraft to extinguish the fire.
As he spun (right round baby right round); I noticed smoke billowing from the dryer and informed him of such in a calm and collected manner...
He opened the dryer door (because exposing a fire to oxygen is always the way to go) and reassured me by turning to me and saying, "It's OK, no fire. Just smoke."
As I looked past him to see orange flames shooting out of the dryer into his general direction, I begged to differ and ran back upstairs to call 911 and suggest Mac and Jazz vacate, (Jay was at work.)
Side note, as I'm trying to dial 911 my sister is buzzing in and for just a moment; I considered taking the call to tell her what was happening.
So I told the dispatcher that my dryer was on fire and he suggested to leave the house IMMEDIATELY.
Meanwhile, the Mr. is in the basement in front of our gas/electric dryer fighting valiantly.
Mac went to fetch Jazz who is so far into dog Alzheimer's that she neither smells the smoke nor hears the fire engines nor notices the eight firemen clomping around in turnout gear.
Dean, in a stroke of genius had meanwhile thrown a bucket of water on the electrical fire of a gas appliance as this is always the way to go after exposing it to oxygen and standing in a basement with only one exit. Figuring I'm young and I can marry again; I leave him to it, clear out the kid and the dog and move my truck into the street so that the fireman can get into the yard and that my truck, which I love, will survive the explosion that is sure to happen at any moment. I, in fact, moved it half-way down the block.
The dog was wandering confusedly in the backyard, Mac was safe and the firemen suggested that my husband was not really qualified to handle the situation so they would take it from that point.
The neighbors have of course gathered so I shared the latest as they shook their heads in dismay. This is pretty much the ongoing nature of our relationship with our neighbors.
So the firemen made sure all was extinguished, carried the charred dryer to the backyard (anybody want to start on pool on when that will be disposed of?) and hooked up a giant fan to suck out the smoke.
I left the Mr. to discuss with them just exactly why our basement was on fire. Taking good judgement to epic proportions, he informs them that my dad is a retired fireman in this very city! Fantastic! On his way back to the engine, the Captain stops to tell me he knows my dad and in fact my dad's cell phone number is in his own cell phone and he could call him anytime, even right now.
Good to know.
Ironically, an hour before the Mr. had suggested cancelling one of his life insurance policies and I had over-ridden him. I am in love, I am not a fool.
By a show of hands, who is glad they are not us?
Psalm 21:9
At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery Kenmore dryer. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them.

May 6, 2007

2 Corinthians 10:3
The world is unprincipled. It's dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn't fight fair. But we don't live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren't for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

An Emotional Week

1. Worried about friends.
2. Hopeful for the same friends.
3. Joyous at God's goodness.
4. Tired...constantly.
5. Frustrated with Christians who don't have crazy faith.
6. Sad for Christians that don't have crazy faith.
7. Happy that Mars is back to work and healthy again.
8. Humbled that God might use me.
9. Afraid that my house was going to burn down.
10.Crushin' on my Mr., despite his part in item #9.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Flame On!

You think you've had a bad day?
The Taylor Fire Department just left. The Mr. has caught my house on fire.
I'll blog the details when the smoke clears.
Meanwhile, here is a picture of me being rescued.
Exodus 22:6"If a fire breaks out and spreads into thornbushes so that it burns shocks of grain or standing grain or the whole field, the one who started the fire must make restitution.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


Having just coughed up my spleen and feeling like I've been run over by my own fabulous bike, I don't feel like blogging.

The splendor of his forests and fertile fields
it will completely destroy,
as when a sick man wastes away. Isaiah 10:18

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


In the new and exciting post-modern communication stylings of blogs; what is the proper etiquette for blog liars?
The blogs I list at the right are those that belong to people I know and love, if not necessarily that I have met. In addition to these are blogs saved on my bookmarks that I check out regularly, and then in boredom I sometimes simply do a random blog hop. Oh, lest we forget, there is also the occasional drop-in-commenter whom I invariably click on to see what they're all about; on this blog and all of yours as well. Yes, I'm so lame I read the comment section on everybody else's blogs and then I read the blogs of the commenters. This is why I don't have time to work out.
It is not unusual for me to run across blogs that are clearly fabricated, exaggerated or in some cases, hijacked from someplace else. I've seen old comedy routines written as first hand experiences and obscure quotes claimed as original.
Then there is the blogger whose prose is so clearly embellished to present a certain front that it's offensive in its insincerity.
What to do? The real me wants to very badly to expose the blog vandal that I often end up either e mailing those I know personally and then erasing my e mail or commenting and deleting it. Ooohhh I want to confront them!
What do you guys think about bloggers that just won't be real?
And don't hand me that crap about "how do you know it's not real?" because a. I have actually done searches on things I suspected were blog-lifted from another source and b. I have super powers and cannot be deceived.

Anyway, you may now comment and I will continue to police the world at large.
Carry on.
Proverbs 16:13Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth.

A Forty Year Old Body

This body is forty years old. It is my favorite body of all the ones I've lived inside. I have had a very tiny teenager body that wore a size four which looks very cute in the photographs when I peek back in time. However, inside of that body was insecurity and immaturity. There was no wisdom in there because it was not old enough to have learned many lessons. Most of what that person had to offer was wrapped up inside of that pretty little cocoon not yet fully realized.
The body I inhabited in my twenties was as poorly cared for as the spirit and mind it housed. It was a big, fat sloppy body and inside was a mind as undisciplined as its owner's appetite. This was a woman who had been knocked around and healed from marital problems but still had a whole lot of learning and growing to do. Unfortunately, I grew physically much more than spiritually. Those were the years of making mistakes and learning the hard way. The years of deciding what I wouldn't tolerate but not knowing quite how to do that the right way.
My thirties were the transition time for the body that had known beauty and ugliness. The first half were spent still inside the fat but less willing to stay there. My mind became calmer and yet less satisfied with what was and more determined to move into what might be. In a way, my body was more of a sanctuary that it had ever been as it housed a spirit seeking God with more passion and hands that let go of my own agendas. At the half-way mark I was issued two instructions that seemed clearly to be the proverbial fork in the road. With submission to the two mandates before me I would find my way toward the next half of life. Or I could continue living inside of my head but just outside of my life.
I didn't' like the fat body or the almost-there life so I took a deep breath and leaped. I went back to school and on a diet in the same year. Both of which made the second half of my thirties really hard and really good.
All of which brings us to this forty year old body. It has been fatter and it has been skinnier. This body has to work hard to stay in a size ten but the woman in charge of it allows an occasional foray into a size twelve as long as it's temporary. This body is not attractive unclothed. It does not do well with Victoria Secrets undergarments as 100 pounds of fat stretched out skin that never went away. This body has a relatively small rib cage but wide hips and butt because that is where all the potato chips settle. It has big ankles because it just does and a freakishly skinny neck.
This body houses a peaceful heart, a joyful spirit and a confidant woman.
This body doesn't feel inadequate for looking like every one of its forty years.
I don't want the small insecure body or the fat confused body or the in-transition body. I look in the mirror and see nothing but good things now.
Because this body has eyes that see clearly.
Proverbs 14:30
A heart at peace gives life to the body...