Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ever wanted God to talk to you in an audible voice?

Well, he did this morning. I dropped the kids off at preschool and was driving home. Henry is into a Christian Ska band right now, and that wasn't what I wanted to hear, so I changed it to a Christian radio station. I don't know who the speaker was, but he might as well have been God speaking directly to me.

Here's what I started drafting last night:

I just finished lesson 6 of the I AM...so you don't have to be Bible Study. It focuses on Moses meeting God in the burning bush on the west side of the wilderness. Once again, right where I am! Do you ever feel God has forgotten you in your 'west side of the wilderness'? This question really resonated with me right now. I don't know if I'm having a midlife crisis or what, but I'm feeling very unsettled about everything. The call was very clear for me to come to my job, but I'm just not "that into it" right now. The grass is definitely looking greener on the other side of the fence. I'd rather be staying home with my kids.

And here's what God was saying on the radio this morning, in a nutshell:

"Your job is a gift from God. He trained you and equipped you to be right where you are. What you do with your job is your gift to God."

Thanks, God. Sometimes I need your voice in an audible sense!

Now too bad I was to sick and dizzy to do much of anything at work.... :)

Lord, thanks for your written and audible Word, and for Christian radio stations.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Left overs

Tonight we had leftovers for dinner--I had leftovers for lunch, too. We'll probably all have leftovers for lunch and dinner tomorrow, while we're at it.

I feel like I'm kind of having a leftover life right now--everything is microwaved, and either too hot or still cold in the middle. There are not nearly enough hours in the day, and I'd really rather be staying home with my kids than working. Patrick and I did a lot of tag team this weekend to keep Harmony home, so we haven't had a real chance to talk about anything lately. It doesn't help that he got to go to a movie on Saturday night and to a concert on Sunday night, while my plans to go to a gathering at a friend's house today didn't happen...and I didn't get to go running all weekend either. I've not been getting nearly enough sleep, and I feel like sometimes God is getting the leftovers too.

Sorry for leftovers again, God. Please finish cleaning out my fridge of a heart and fill it with You.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

God working everything together for good

Harmony's been sick since Thursday--she seems fine, then randomly throws up. At first we thought she had just gotten overheated and a little car sick on Thursday night, but there was a repeat performance Friday morning (milk on an empty stomach--on her insistence), late Friday night, and in the middle of the night Saturday. Here's prayers for a puke-free night :)

But God worked it together for good. Friday was scheduled to be a crazy day--work in the morning, birthday party in the afternoon, and a three fork dinner for eight that evening. But Harmony being sick cancelled the first two events--(we thought she was non-contagious, so the dinner party went on, with Harmony mostly hiding in her room or attached to my side). That gave us some precious family time, and we actually managed to pull off dinner, which was more complicated than we thought :) It also meant that Saturday was simpler--only Henry went to the other birthday party for the weekend, and only Patrick, Henry and a friend went to the Taste.

So though I don't wish a sick child or cleaning up lots of vomit on anyone, I'm glad God worked it for good, and I really enjoyed the more relaxed pace :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday--Funny Feet

Pedicure by Harmony, Sandal lines by the sun...

Isaiah 52: 7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Here's hoping my exposure to the Son makes as visible an imprint as the sun has on my feet!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ever wondered if God is trying to tell you something?

Bible verse for Sunday School this week: 1 Chronicles 16:8: Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

My Bible in a Year reading: 1 Chronicles 16: 7-43...a fuller explanation of how to give thanks, call on his name, and make His name known among the nations.

Gotcha. I know what's on my to do list for this week! I know my Bible Memory program has a different verse for me this week, but this seems to be the one God's telling me to work on!

Thanks, Lord, for all the great things you've done! Help me call on You and tell others what you've done.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Back to school season

Back to school means a whole different thing when you're no longer a student...I can't park on campus (not that big of a deal, but less convenient since I'm in the car from taking the kids to preschool anyway); the neighbors and people walking by our house are louder; meetings, meetings, and more meetings; Fazolis for lunch after church is a thing of the past...sigh.

But the good thing about the Saturday before school starts is that it's the anniversary of our engagement! Neither one of us can remember the exact date, but I do know it was the Saturday before the start of school, 1996... Patrick decided he wanted to get a roommate to help pay for his house, so he had me read three ads he was thinking about putting in the paper, and the last one said something along the lines of, "I don't want a roommate, I want you. Will you marry me?" And the rest is history... :)

Happy Back to School!

Friday, August 17, 2007

ISO: Paul

Every person should seek to have three individuals in their life: a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.
A Paul is an older person who is willing to mentor you, to build into your life. Not someone who’s smarter or more gifted than you, but somebody who’s been down the road. Somebody willing to share their strengths and weaknesses — everything they have learned in the laboratory of life. Somebody whose faith you’ll want to imitate.
A Barnabas is a soul friend, somebody who loves you but is not impressed by you. Somebody to whom you can be accountable. Somebody who’s willing to keep you honest, who’s willing to say, “Hey, you’re neglecting your spouse, and don’t give me any guff!”
A Timothy is a younger person into whose life you are building. For a model, read 1st and 2nd Timothy. Here was Paul, the quintessential mentor, building into the life of his protégé — affirming, encouraging, teaching, correcting, directing, praying.
Do you have these three people in your life?
By Howard Hendricks, Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary in Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 1.

To answer the question, I have "Barnabas"s (what's the plural of Barnabas?), I have "Timothy"s, but not a Paul. I've been blessed with some great Barnabas's since we got back from sabbatical--it's great having friends who are going through similar things and that we can encourage each other. Many, many thanks, Jen, Amanda, and Kim :)

I also have a Timothy right now--today I had lunch with Julia, a high school student who "hung out" in my lab this summer. It was very cool to feel like I was actually mentoring someone--it was just a much different feel than with my students, and yet it was very natural. I'm also going to see if a new, junior colleague is interested in running with me once a week...we'll see if that becomes a "Timothy".

But I don't have a Paul. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever had a Paul. I have a history of leading things I've never participated in--4-H camp, Bible camp, Church Youth Days, sessions for students interested in teaching at small colleges...never done 'em, but lead them. I could really use a Paul somedays, someone who has been there, done that, and has some advice on what they'd do if they could do it all over again.

Lord, show me a "Paul" in my life--someone with wisdom and experience who can point me to You and how to live it out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thankful Thursday

This week's lesson for Sunday School is the healing of the ten lepers--only one came back to say "Thank you!" I want to be the one that says "thank you," not the nine that don't!
--Thank you, Lord, that you heal us even when we don't return and say thanks.
--Thanks for healing my ulcerative colitis last fall. That was such a blessing in so many ways.
--Thanks for the incredible windfall of being able to pay myself summer salary from a grant. Help us spend/invest it wisely. It's such a privelege and a challenge to use our resources in a way that honors you.
--Thanks for the opportunity to teach our children about you, and many, many thanks to Danielle's Place for the creative ideas that work so well in teaching our preschoolers.
--Thanks for giving us friends to be our Paul, our Timothy and our Barnabas.
--Thanks for guiding us and leading us, even when we don't know exactly where we're going. Help us to trust and rely upon you for manna today, not worrying about tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

"I Was"

I've been slowly working my way through The Preacher's Wife on-line Bible Study on Moses. It's been so powerful and exactly the issues I need to deal with! Although Lisa is done posting it, I'm on lesson 5 of 12...

The lesson focuses on Moses after he left Egypt the first time, in Exodus 2: 21-22: "Then Moses was content to live with the man, and he gave Zipporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son. He called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a stranger in a foreign land.”"

Two main points from the lesson--first, the word content. This is not the blissful content, this is "I'm determined to make this work" kind of content. Settling, perhaps. The second is the name of his son--it sounds like Moses is thinking of himself as a has-been.

My gut reaction to these questions is to not answer them--it feels too raw. But that would be defeating the point of the study, so here we go...

1. Have you ever found yourself 'in faith' yet bewildered or demoralized?
I think I'm kind of struggling with it right now. I feel pretty burnt out about everything--I'm not feeling as called to my work right now, research is aways three steps forward two steps back, and it's just frustrating.
2. Do you consider yourself content? Would you describe it as Decidedly Content or Dreamily Content?
Usually content. I love hanging out with my kids--that's dreamily content. I'm "decidedly content" with our house--we're in year 9 of a rennovation project, and the reason it's taking so long is I've decided to be content to move at Patrick's pace...which is sometimes very hard.

3. If you are not content, are there circumstances that keep you from this feeling?
The unending house project, aspects of my job. I have a feeling God is making us feel some discontent so that we'll be willing to go where he wants to send us, but we just don't know where that is. (Maybe that's next week study!)
4. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you looked back on a period of your Christian walk and believed a great opportunity passed you by?
Not a great opportunity, just lots of little, "why didn't I just..." moments.
5. Do you ever believe your faith was stronger in an earlier time in your Christianity and find yourself floundering now?
Yes. Is there such a thing as an eleven year itch when it comes to faith? It's not that I'm looking outside for satisfaction, it just is a bit of a dry spell right now--kind of the "blahs", going through the motions.

6. Can you recognize that this season may be one of great preparation instead of a period of "I Was"?
I suppose :) We've been feeling like God's preparing us for something anyway, but not quite knowing what that is.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Henry!

I can't believe he's turning five tomorrow! His party was today, and all went well.

The cake decorations were my first attempt at fondant frosting--it went well, but I should have read the second and third google directions that have you mix in some of the powdered sugar before you start kneeding it--it was a sticky (but yummy!) mess! I'll definitely be making it again--the reults are worth the mess :)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Is your blog loading slowly?

I know mine was today...and I finally got to the bottom of it.

I think I had a blog virus! When I posted my Thankful Thursday this (well, yesterday) morning, something wierd popped in the posting box. I deleted it and made my post, but all day my blog was taking like 20 minutes to load. I changed the number of posts on the front page to 7 so there would only be one picture on the front page, but that didn't improve it.

So I went looking for help. The blogspot help was not helpful, but a Google search lead me to http://tools.pingdom.com/ which evaluates how long it takes each element of your page to load. I discovered something called http://d5d1.com/b' embedded in my page was what the problem was...but what IS it? And how to get rid of it?

Luckily I found this post which described exactly how to fix it. It was kind of mind numbing looking for that little phrase buried in the template of my blog, but it was worth finding it--I'm back to loading in a couple of seconds instead of minutes.

Wow. It reminds me that I need to be diligent about seeking out my sin and removing it from my life. It may seem like a small thing, but it doesn't take much to ruin a life...or a blog!

Search my heart, O Lord; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Serendipity or God's hand?

Could you tell the difference?
Please pray for Sumba, Margaretha, and Abbie!

GPS camp

That's where Henry wanted to send his VBS craft--he didn't want to bring it home.

This was puzzling, so we asked him about GPS camp, and he said it's where you go if you're house has been blown up.

Aha. Refugee camp. The offering for the week was school supplies to be sent to refugee camps.

Thanks, Lord, for impacting Henry with your Word and showing him what it means to step out in it.

Thankful Thursday

--Vacation Bible School. The kids are learning God's word, the leaders are loving them, and we're getting a break! We don't know quite what to do with ourselves...
--Growth at our church. Stretching and exciting!
--An unexpected windfall
--Water parks! We had a great time at Tropicanoe Cove yesterday--and with family night, the price couldn't be beat!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

My Visa commercial

Flour, water and old newspapers: practically free.
A balloon: a few breaths of Henry's hot air.
Cleaning the kitchen: don't ask! too bad Matilde came this morning!
Henry's excitement about the Death Star pinata: priceless.

I think this is going to be one of those "it would have been worth it to buy the pinata" projects...

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Party Planning

Henry has been planning his 5th birthday party since...oh, two days after his 4th birthday party. The original knight party plans were very detailed, and involved me having to find horses to keep in the front yard and a dragon to tame in the back alley, and a guest appearance by Batman.

Plans have changed. I'm glad I don't have to find any fire breathing animals or superheroes, but finding Star Wars stuff is almost as hard. I did finally find some over-priced decorations at a party store today. $20 for a Darth Vader that will be destroyed in five minutes? I don't think so! I think I'll be up to my elbows in paper mache and making my own Death Star pinata (note to self, must find silver spray paint).

I've also discovered that it's a bad idea to have nine children invited to a party--all the stuff comes in packs of 8. It was hard, though, since we had to invite all three neighbor boys and one friend from school, plus the princess contingency (both for Henry and Harmony's sakes! Henry said it wouldn't be a party without Emma, Ruthie and Olivia there--who would be Princess Leia or Amadela?) Here's hoping someone doesn't show up, else Harmony will be eating on a princess plate instead!

So here's the plan:
--light sabers (savers, as Henry calls them) made out of pool noodles
*Jedi training: Use the force (and the light saber) to keep a balloon from touching the ground
*Save Han Solo (a picture of whom will be hidden in an inflated balloon--they have to pop the balloons to free him)
*Destroy the Death Star pinata (with the light sabers)
*Make your own Padwan (or should it be Jabba the Hutt?) Pizza
*Sith Salad
*Fruit Light Sabers
*Yoda Soda (sprite plus mint chocolate chip ice cream)
*Either a light saber shaped cake or a rectangular cake decorated with Star Wars figurines (arranged like a battle)
*Annakin Ice cream
*The pool noodle light sabers
*toys and candy from the pinata
*pretzel light sabers (pretzel rods dipped in red or green chocolate and rolled in colored sugar)
*Wookie Cookies (chocolate chip or toffee cookies)
*Star Wars stickers
*Star Wars Coloring book (I printed pictures off the internet)

Do you think I have enough or too much planned? The party is 3 hrs. I'm guessing an hour and a half for the games (pinata when the pizzas are in the oven) and pizza prep, an hour to eat lunch, and a half hour to open presents. I'm thinking that I'm short a game...any ideas?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Three dozen

That's how old I am now--my birthday was yesterday. I feel OLD! My friend Jen threw a wonderful birthday party for our family and hers. She made an awesome German chocolate cake--it was WONDERFUL! I am so thankful she organized it--it was much better than the pity party I was having for myself.

Patrick gave me a song--though I don't really feel like I fit it!