Sunday, January 23, 2011


1. Dean's dad had another health scare.
2. Hospice called, coming tomorrow.
3. We did sneak Allen Park!
4. Tried a new produce market and saved about 50% of our usual budget.
5. Finding some great recipe ideas googling "whole food recipes" instead of "low fat" or "Weight Watcher."
6. Today is all about Netflix, chicken pot pie and pajamas.
7. Mac made a pot of vegetable soup and cleaned the back half of the house while I cleaned the front half. So grateful.
8. Dean has introduced our new budget and it seems that shampoo is now a luxury that I have to take out of my allowance. Absurd!
9. It's cold.
10. God is good.

Return to rest oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. Psalm 116:7

Image: Dean's dad, summer 2010

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I could never.

Be careful of the thought, "I could never..."

This morning I was thinking about someone in my life about whom I usually think, "I could never..." This person, a woman, destroyed the marriage of another woman. I could never. Let me elaborate. This woman had an intimate relationship with a man that she knew was married. She pursued this man methodically and intentionally until his marriage finally ended. Until a wife and children were left to pick up the pieces and find a new life to replace what they used to have. I could never. Then this woman married the man and together they started a family. I could never.

Oh I could certainly never...

And, uh, well; I still think I could never. I know I know I shouldn't think I am incapable of anything without Jesus but I am not without Jesus and so I could never. But there is more to it. There is the initial thing. Let's call it what it is, it is sin. There is the sin we allow ourselves in a moment of weakness or in a life of lostness. But there is something worse than the moment. There are the lies we tell ourselves that change more than a moment in time. They change who we are. And those lies, I could...

I will be honest with you and tell you, that woman? I don't like her. And it's not just what she did to a family that causes me to not like her. I don't like who she is now. That's what I was convicted of this morning, not liking her. Can you imagine? I get convicted of not liking someone who did that? I wonder suddenly how much that first moment of sin changed who she is now, years later. All of the things she had to become to try and keep control over the events she set in motion. Who might she have been otherwise?

It makes me wonder about her now. I don't like her. But maybe I would have liked who she was before or who she could have become if her life hadn't been defined by trying to hold her home together without a foundation. Fear makes people desperate and I think she has lived day after day in fear. I haven't got a new outlook. I just have this thought that I want to tell her that I understand why she behaves as she does. And I bet her life has been pretty difficult. And that she started this run-away train. And it's not too late.

It isn't too late to be brave enough to fall face forward into vulnerability and trust that God's love really is enough to catch her. Of course, if she is going to be that kind of brave, I have to prove her trust in God to be right by accepting her. Learning to love her. Giving her another chance to be the person she almost erased when she did what I could never...

The thing is, when it comes down to being her friend, I am a little worried that I could never...

I've got some praying to do.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dear Young Mother,

No matter how hard each stage is, it will pass just before you do.


Teach the love of God, show the forgiveness of God, live the joy of God.

Share your troubles with other grown-ups, your child's shoulders are not wide enough to bear them.

Hug, kiss, laugh with, gush about and be loudly in love with their dad. Whenever possible, embarrass them with public displays of affection. You will know you are successful only if they are rolling their eyes.

If you were caught off guard with an unexpected pregnancy, be very sure that God was not.

If you don't feel that you can do enough for your child, you are right. Be very sure that God can.

Establish a bed time and stick to it.

Teach them to be someone others will like so that they will learn the pleasure of friendship instead of carrying the heartache of loneliness.

Teach them to be slow to take offense instead of dwelling together in pain. Teach them by example, words won't work for this lesson.

Don't wonder what you will do for this child, wonder what this child will do for the world. That's the reason they were born after all.

Tell them the truth or tell them nothing. And tell them when the truth is none of their business.

Insist on respect but be brave enough to hear their heart.

Hug them and if they don't hug you back, hug them harder and giggle while you do it.

Don't ever be so arrogant as to believe you can create life. But be very sure you have everything needed to create a life worth living.

Image: My unplanned baby.


Load of laundry in the wash, cup of coffee in my hand and enjoying these quiet first moments of the day. It's my day off but the Mr. has the day off as well in honor of Dr. King. We are going to snuggle, watch a movie or two and just rest after a busy few weeks. This evening is Weight Watchers and then out to dinner. But that's 12 hours away...12 whole hours to enjoy each other and our home (and Daboyz who are sure to be somewhere in the scenario.)

Going to prepare a meal or two for the week ahead to make for easy and healthy dinners after work. Mac made a huge pot of veggie soup yesterday which will take us through the week as well. We picked up a large bag of frozen berries for easy smoothie making and after this day of rest and quiet there is a successful week awaiting us.

I developed a new system at work to keep me organized and minimize those moments of being overwhelmed so I actually enjoy going to work now. Last week I had several projects going at once so part of that organizational plan included taking advantage of working the weekend with no meetings to interrupt my progress. The best laid plans... The weekend was busier than the week and those hours reserved for desk work were chewed up with other priorities. It's still ok because my new system will make it easy to put my office back in order and find the spot where I left off so I can pick right up and get things back on schedule.

And now what you've been waiting for...the romance update! LOL! I'm not sure what impression other people have of our marriage but it's perfectly imperfect. The past few weeks have been too busy for dancing by candle light, actually I don't recall us dancing by candle light very much even when we aren't busy. But with Dean's dad's hospitalization and newly diagnosed cardiac problems, we have had to switch gears emotionally as well as in practical ways. Dean has been confronted with a new phase of his dad's illness that brings the fact of his limited time into focus which has been difficult. I have needed to take on the reins of keeping the house on an even keel because this is where we come to think and to heal and to renew ourselves. So we've both been doing slightly different tasks internally and externally. So where's the romance? Praying for, caring for and giving room to our partners is romance of a sacred kind. I have prayed for Dean even more than I usually do as he has made his way through his dad's new needs. I've done my best to minimize the home-front demands by doing the grocery shopping, meal cooking and kitchen clean-up which are jobs we usually share. And yes, I have given him room. I've given him my insight medically and then let him make his way through the decision-making. I've not taken offense at his distraction. As things are now settling, we are drifting easily back to a more "normal" way of life. It takes a solid foundation to be blown about without damage when the storm passes over. That's why the easy times are more important than the hard times. This is where we make the plans to help one another when difficult days come.

Home, work, romance...and spirit. I am reading the Joyce Meyer Confidant Woman Devotional. I am not a devotional kind of person but felt that this was something needed for me right now and it has been a good daily dose of the Word to focus. Like the earth orbiting the sun, we need to find easy and realistic ways to ensure that our hearts caught in the pull of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds of years ago, it was believed that the sun and planets rotated around the earth. This may sound silly now but we still tend toward a spirit that is only comfortable when life is caught in our own orbits and we are at the center. Or we feel caught in a solar system where the sun that should be Jesus is replaced by the latest crisis. How exhausting and frustrating life is when I feel that I am forever circling the latest concern. I've made plans to read the Bible, study an hour daily, learn the history of Israel or master prophecy. Right now, at this time in my life, I don't have the time or the ability to take on such demanding goals. But the purpose of the Bible is not to have achieved a sort of honorary theology degree but to find all that we need there and to have the Word of God master us-not the other way around.

And so, this morning I am going to get a second cup of coffee and put my laundry into the dryer. Some time meditating on my devotional for the day and then if all goes as planned, several hours of renewing of my mind, spirit and body. Then again if all does not go as planned, it'll be ok. Because the plan is really not mine anyway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Psalm 33:11
But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1. Slow blog week for me apparently.
2. F-I-L spent a few days in ICU, has developed cardiac problems. Not unexpected but still sad.
3. Head. ache.
4. Working. Argh.
5. I do not get the auto show. I just don't get it.
6. Got my hairs did yesterday, always a good thing.
7. Two more weeks until Grand Rapids.
8. Really don't feel like leaving my house.
9. I can't think of two more things to say.
10. The End.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Psalm 48:1,2
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


1. I am going to try the Olay Regenerist microdermabrasion treatment today. I've heard good things, we'll see!
2. I am also going grocery shopping today, love a fully stocked pantry!
3. I have recently developed a love of pajamas. Not wearing them to the grocery store mind you! I just like having different options. I am currently wearing my clearance green and white thermie pjs and my clearance purple owl print robe.
4. Dean's dad is in the hospital because of an abnormal heart rate and rhythm. Hopefully home today if the medication has worked, please pray for him. Hospitalization is a nightmare with him because of his dementia.
5. I have cramps. Figured you would want an update on that.
6. We (Trish, mymom, Kellerbell and her sister) are going to Grand Rapids this month to see the Princess Diana exhibit along with Mac's girl Lexi!
7. Once home today I will be doing house work, cooking and intend to not leave until Monday.
8. Home mani-pedi today. Boy, I should be stunning by the end of the weekend:)
9. Does anybody make steel cut oats in their crockpot overnight for breakfast the next morning? What do you think of it?
10. Time to sort the laundry and start the day, have a great Saturday!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Grown up by virtue of quitting

My Thursday night chores have had an addition the last several weeks, another bed to change. Mac usually sleeps in his basement lair but during our first cold snap he settled into the guest room and hasn't left. I consider that a sign of maturing in the kid. Forever we'd say it was way too cold down there during the winter and he'd say it wasn't. When you stop wearing tennis shoes in 3 foot snow drifts, put on gloves and a scarf and decide that the sub zero basement isn't fit for human winter're on your way to manhood. Then again, his new found wisdom means I have to change the guest room sheets!
As for my own growing up, I have realized the wisdom of quitting. Time was I'd go go go until bedtime after work. You'd think I would get a lot accomplished but the list just never ended. Now, I have my chores, I do them and even if other things need attention; I quit. Tomorrow needs something to do after all. Every evening I shower, iron my work clothes for the next day, clean the kitchen and prepare my coffee pot for the morning. This evening I've done most everything on the list including changing the linens on TWO beds and it's relatively early. I'm not exhausted. I could push on and do a little more. But I know when to quit. There needs to be some time that is reserved for enjoying and as soon as I have posted this blog and put coffee in the filter for the morning, it's my time.
I have a stack of new library books waiting. I have some lovely Bath & Body Works smell-goods for the shower. I have a candle burning. I have dishes in my dishwasher that are clean and a couple of dirty dishes in the sink that need loading.
The dishes will wait.
So find somewhere warm & cozy to sleep and then and just quit. That will prove you are a grown up.
Or it will prove you are this person...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

God is my portion.

This morning I woke up with a thought on my mind, "God is my portion." I googled it and found so many verses that I couldn't narrow it to one that explained what was in my heart. But while I was still in bed, my thoughts traveled from these four words to the Prodigal Son who took his portion of wealth and found it couldn't sustain him.
2011 seems to have come to me with a heart of reconciliation. If there were a theme to my prayers lately, it has been for families to be put back together and for all of us to draw nearer to God. It isn't unusual for Believers to pray for those who are far away from God and in danger of eternity but what I have been meditating on is the sweetness of Jesus and the goodness of dwelling in his temple. By temple I mean each of us, individually, being a place that the Holy Spirit lives and rules. Our hearts beat inside of God's house. Can we comprehend it?
There is therefore no condemnation for those who love the Lord. And perfect love casteth away fear. So why should we be gripped with what we deserve or who has burned their bridges or the terror of our loved ones in hell forever?
God is my portion. And he is the portion of every person. He is what sustains us when, like the Prodigal Son, we have followed our own wisdom until we have found ourselves sleeping among pigs. He is the perfect peace and joy that shouldn't survive inside imperfect warring hearts.
And what of us who didn't wander? Those who remained in the dwelling place of God while others walked away with their own ambitions gripped in their hands like a bag of gold; quickly spent and buying only momentary satisfaction?
We know that no one can take the God that is really our portion. And because we know that we cannot truly be robbed, we can be like the father in the parable. He gave his son the gold he demanded instead of holding too tight and waited in the doorway for his return. I imagine this dad knew that the lesson needed was that his son's true inheritance couldn't be spent away. And the sooner learned, the better. But before he gave his son the money he wanted, he had to be willing to give it up himself. I don't think the father prayed for God to protect his money, he knew the moment he put it into his sons hands it was gone.
If I can begin to know the worth of Christ's blood and the holiness of God, I might find the mind of Abraham or David or Paul...God is my portion.
What more do I need?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ok gang, I need some help. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is looking for ways to combine antiques and interesting pieces with technology. Our television is mounted above our fireplace which leaves us with the question of where to put our various electronic devices. In this picture from Christmas 2009, you see the TV with the electronics tower to the left.

This year I am looking for a more aesthetically pleasing solution. The problem is that I am not willing to part with the pieces I have and I have a general dislike for newer pieces. So how do I repurpose vintage to accommodate contemporary? I have a small butcher block table that was once on The Farm (here we go again.) I have recently moved this into the family room and made it into a small desk area for our laptop which had previously had no permanent home and so was usually found on the coffee table or on an end table. When we got our new bedroom set, I had to find new homes for the pieces that made up my grandmothers set and would not all fit into the guest room. One of the two low boys became a family room end table which I'm happy with. It's got a lot of surface and is substantial enough to have a presence in the room.

This displaced the butcher block table/desk to here

I've never really liked the tower being that it looked out of place among the older pieces and it's shelves were not deep enough so the electronics hung over the front shelf always looking sloppy. Also, it is narrow and doesn't fill the space next to the fireplace making it feel unbalanced and creating this void in the corner where stuff tends to just pile. The butcher block fits snugly here and is nicer on the eyes. But what to do with the electronics? I would like some kind of storage mounted above the desk and it would need to have a portion with a door to hide the DVDs and video games. The electronics would need to be on open shelves so the remotes will work. I started thinking in terms of kitchen cabinets and haven't given up on it but can't quite come up with a design that doesn't look like, well, kitchen cabinets. The shelves for the electronics would have to be 15 inches deep. In my head is a vague idea of the top or bonnet of a hutch mounted on the wall. Too bad the idea is so vague as to be un-explainable. And also too bad that only electronic media shelving is usually deep enough. I've tried internet searching ideas but I'm coming up with nothing, probably not googling just the right combination of words. The discussion is officially open, what do I do with this space to accommodate this stuff?

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Saturday, January 01, 2011


1. Continuing losing weight.
2. Wake up earlier in the mornings for reflection and meditation.
3. Kick our retirement plan up a notch.
4. A deeper prayer life.
5. Let God's perspective be my reality.
6. Mentor.
7. Write.
8. Eat whole & healthy.
9. Organize.
10. Serenity.