Monday, April 27, 2009

Crying alert...

Read this. It will make you cry. More than that, it perhaps is one of the best articles I've ever read that sums up the true heart of adoption.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Look who made it!

My tulips made it through a Colorado Spring! (Unless we are still in for it, which is always a possibility.)

They are in full bloom, moving their heads toward the sun (I never knew tulips did that until I had them in my yard), opening during the day, and going back to sleep at night. And today it's just cloudy, so they are closed up tight ... staying nice and warm. I think tulips are cool. I also think it's cool that God designed flowers to have a personality, so to speak. (I know, I'm weird.)


A closer look ...........

After all they (and me) have been through trying to survive the last month or two, a culprit of a different kind may win in the battle of killing off my tulips. I'm very annoyed, and at a loss of what to do. The tupperware trick won't work this time around. Notice the batches of tulips with just wilted leaves, no flower.....
Now notice the large patch of dirt. I've cleared similar patches 3 or 4 times, only for it to reappear within hours. I have no idea what kind of animal it is. It's sibling croaked in my garage though, or so says the strange odor we've been dealing with. If I find this thing, it may have a similar fate. Whatever it is is feasting away at the bulbs from below the ground ... thus no flower. If he continues to have his way, this may be the last year for my tulips. I hope I figure this out before he sinks his teeth into all 150 of them! Arg....


Oh, one more random tulip fact. I just read the other day that you can use tulip bulbs in place of an onion when cooking. Cool.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Contentment

This weekend at Church, our Pastor spoke on contentment. Anyone who knows me, or has read every other post I publish, knows that "contentment" does not come easy to me .... at all. So, forgive me if this is all same old, same old to your reading eyes. I often am annoyed with myself at the same old, same old that I just can't figure out.

Anyway, there was a 2 sentence point that has stuck with me since Sunday morning. I just can't stop thinking about it ... and I probably shouldn't just yet. Thus, I blog. Pastor Tom (we'll call him Tom to keep his identity secret) stated - "If you are wired for stuff to be what makes you happy, you will NEVER be happy. Because money and stuff has not been wired to do that for you."

Wow. That probably seems like a "duh" statement. But it smacked me upside the head just the same. God did not design money and things to be the be all, end all source of my joy. Yet I so often make decisions that seem as if I believe it might just be that way for me anyway. Right ... like I'm the exception to the rule.

The cure? Contentment. Easier said then done if you ask me. For me that's like telling me to not be annoyed with my kids, just to find joy in them and their childish ways. This is a whole other post that I won't really get into now. The point is .... I don't know HOW to just make myself do the right thing, make the right choice, feel the right emotion, have the correct response. Again, another post. So as it pertains to contentment ... what to do, what to do. I live with the mindset that certain things will result in me finally being happy. It's not me that needs to choose a different response ... it's stuff that God needs to throw in my lap.... THEN I'll be ABLE to choose joy. Again, as if I'm any exception to the reality that man cannot love both God and money. Darn.

Example: I think that having a deck (or flagstone patio ... whichever is cheaper, of course...I am thrifty you know) will make me happy because I envision sitting out by the fireplace with a glass of wine while the kids catch fireflies. Also, the wasps will be so amazed my new structure that they will find a new place to live. Pure joy.
Example: I think that if I had the Yukon Denali (more specifically, the pimped out one with leather heated seats and a DVD system) I would be truly happy while I cart around my kids. Their screaming, hitting, and whining will no longer bother me, because I will be 10 feet away from them anyway. Road trips will be better, grocery store trips will go more smoothly, hey ... I could even sleep in the thing when I feel I need a night away. Pure joy.
Example: I think if I had a new leather wrap around couch in my basement with a big screen TV hanging on my empty wall that I would feel less self conscious when we have our small group over on a weekly basis and everyone will just like me more. They'll want to come to my house all the time because it is so comforting and inviting all because of my furniture and TV. Pure joy.
Example: I think if I had a new bed I'd wake up in the morning refreshed, not needing coffee, speaking kindly toward everyone in my household and have no more back pain. Okay ... actually, that one really is true. Kidding.
Example: I think that if I had all new sleek black appliances, the oven of course being a double oven, I'd cook better, clean better, and probably lose weight too because I'd be too afraid to put fingerprints on my nice refrigerator that I'd just stay away from it. Pure joy.

Contentment Check: A patio or deck has nothing to do with the fact that I have a roof over my head (and a nice one), a yard for the kids to play in, and the wasps will still attack, thus driving me inside rather than sitting on my new deck. Joy is now gone. Thank God I have a house.
Contentment Check: The Yukon will still get dirty with crushed goldfish, only now there is a bigger space to trash, thus clean. The kids won't hear me when I yell at them to stop whining, and I'll just be annoyed. Joy is now gone. I have a van that has sufficient space for our large family to get from point A to point B no matter how much distance is in between the two. Praise God I have a vehicle.
Contentment Check: How great that my house gets to be used to host friends while diving into the word of God on a weekly basis. The wrap around couch will hold the same amount of people as my old green couches, only now we are all kicking each other. The TV we currently have was graciously given to us by some friends. And I rearrange too often to hang anything on the wall, let alone a TV. Joy is now gone. Praise God I have a comfy place to sit while I blog, and the TV is on. Praise God that people return to my house for whatever their reasons may be ... hopefully the reasons have to do with us, not my furniture.
Contentment Check: The bed. Yeah, that's hard. We really need a new bed. No, really, Praise God that I have a warm place to lay my head at the end of every day. Praise God I get to sleep next to my best friend, and wake up securely next to him every day. Praise God for coffee and pain killers.
Contentment Check: The new appliances would just put me in debt I would soon regret. The kids would get their fingerprints all over them, and I'd be annoyed. Joy is now gone. I still am a great cook, even with my single oven. Praise God that I don't have to hand wash my dishes. Praise God that I don't have to light a fire just to cook food. Praise God that I have more food in my refrigerator TODAY than most FAMILIES in the world would consume in an entire month or two.

The biggest contentment check - Praise God that I have a husband who works to provide and support our family. Praise God that we are able to make it work while we live out our convictions of me staing home with our children. Not many people can say that today. Praise God that the ways we've chosen to sacrifice financially (no deck, no couches, no new appliances, etc....) have nothing to do with eternity. But rather sacrificing these things in order to make a difference to our children, and to us ... that means something for eternity if you ask me.
Contentment sure seems like a better route to pure joy. I hope I gain a better grasp on that before I leave this world with none of it anyway.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tulip Update

We seem to be in this small pocket of the Denver Metro Area that DID NOT get hit by this storm. We have had mostly rain (and a lot of it), and a total of about .5 inches of snow, which is already gone. If we drive 5-10 minutes in any direction, seems the snow piled up as expected. Strange. So, while the neighbors are all laughing at my ridiculous rubbermaid walkway, I feel good knowing I was prepared. Too bad the weather man wasn't.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

April Showers Bring ......

...April Snow. At least in Colorado. A few weeks back, we got dumped with about a foot or two of snow. My entire front walkway is covered with tulips. This year I'm expecting 100-200 in bloom! Needless to say, snow is not a welcomed event on my walkway. It's unavoidable though. Anyway, a few weeks ago, the tulips only were showing about 5 inches of their strong leaves, and thus did not require any covering.

Tonight is a different story. They are showing a foot of leaves, stems, and buds that were going to open any day. And now, beginning in a few short hours, we are under a winter storm warning that holds the potential to be the worst storm we've seen all winter. It is expected to bring a wet, heavy, 10-24 inches of snow. How sad. This time around, I was forced to find a way, as ridiculous as it looks, to try to protect my helpless flowers. I might be forced to cry if I lost them because of this storm. They are incredibly fragile right now. I snapped one poor little one just trying to cover them. (And why am I talking about flowers like they are "My Precious" or something? Hmmm .... something is wrong with me.)

Hopefully the coverings are enough. And hopefully the weather man was right, otherwise I will be the laughing stock of all the neighbors. Oh well.

Easter Celebrations and Bees

Easter has come and gone. We had a great Easter this year. It was incredibly meaningful to me, and hopefully to the kids as well. As with this past Christmas and Halloween, I've been reminded that the kids are still young enough, that they expect only as much as I do around holidays. In years past, I'm fairly certain I made a bigger deal out of buying new Easter outfits (that will never be worn again) than I have out of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Pitiful. We skipped the Easter outfits this year for my hearts focus more than anything else. And what grabbed my attention in this, is that the kids never asked about it. We'd walk through the stores and they would see the sweet dresses and ties and hats, and never ask when they got to get there's. Huh. Well, I'm glad they are not accustomed to that tradition. Aside from the fact that those clothes have little to do with Easter, it'll save me about $100 every spring. Ouch! What did we do then? We talked a lot about spring, the beauty of new life, appreciating the weather (as strange as it is in CO), and anticipating the true meaning of Easter. Most meaningful, I think, would be the Resurrection eggs. It's sort of like Advent for Easter. 12 days prior to Easter, the kids got to open an Easter Egg that held a small item for them to begin to picture the time leading up to the Empty Tomb and a piece of paper explaining it with a scripture verse attached. We did it several years ago, but this year, the 3 older ones really got it! It was sweet to watch their excitement as we learned what all went into what Jesus did for us. We did do an Easter Egg hunt on the Saturday before Easter. Then finished with one of the best worship services I've ever had the privilege of sitting through. I felt so blessed to be there. (And the worship leader was really cute!)

All in all, we've had a sweet, Christ-centered few weeks that I wouldn't trade for all the pretty dresses on the shelves. Here's some pictures that I captured of our times together.




Okay, so this picture has nothing to do with Easter, but Eden makes the funniest faces, I had to start with this.


Providence had a magazine that held a recipe for Peanut Butter Bumble Bees. For someone so afraid of this form of creature (too close to the wasp), I was surprised I agreed to this project. They were yummy though. We formed the bee, then drizzled chocolate for the stripes, chocolate chips for the eyes, and almonds for the wings.



Provi and Sam are pretending the tray of finished bees are chasing them. Not so funny in my opinion. I remember it happening in real life all too well last summer. Only, the bees weren't made of peanut butter, and they weren't bees either. They were wasps! Okay, enough about that. :)





The Easter Egg Hunt! (Malachi's first!!!) I got to hide the eggs. I love doing it. Aaron thinks I'm a little weird in that I find a small amount of pleasure hiding them in 1)hard places, and 2) places that I think make me hilarious. I am hilarious. This hiding place proves it. :)


Then there were the bird feeders that housed an egg of the same color. So sneaky!!!



Are they balls? Are they maracas? Are the eggs? All of the above if you ask Malachi. Upon realizing that the eggs broke open and there were yummy things inside, his "hunt" ended. The eating began!



Eden found the Golden Egg! Now if only I knew what the story was behind the Golden Egg, that would probably be more meaningful. Oh well, Eden was thrilled!




Sam found the ball-like eggs! He's asking if he can have it, because I told the kids that there were big ball eggs laying out in the open that were for Malachi. However, Sam found this one cleverly hidden under the actual soccer ball though. Yes Sam, it's yours!


Provi was having a hard time realizing that this year, the eggs weren't all hidden on the ground like years past. Do you spot the egg she was missing???? Look up!



Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marriage and Men (By someone not me)

Perhaps it is not highly appropriate for me to post a sermon entitled "Marriage and Men". But then again, maybe it is. Either way.... Aaron & I have both listened to this message, and both walked away blessed, and convicted, and questioning a few things even. So, this isn't one of those cases where the girl is posting something hoping the guy will look at it. We both have. I'm posting it because while it is geared toward men, as I said, I gleaned a lot from it myself. It is something, in my opinion, every married couple should watch together. If you aren't familiar with Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church,
you are in for a surprise. He isn't like the preacher you probably listen to. However, he points you to Jesus every time- so that is what matters! Just wanted to give you a heads up. :)

Enjoy, and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Untitled

My brain hurts. Thus, I blog. Yeah, I know, brace yourself, right? Unloading my thoughts in the form of a blog usually means a long, jumbled, confusing to everyone but me post. Oh well.

K. So, here's the thing. I've been feeling convicted lately about being convicted. Funny thing, huh? I've often thought that as Christians, we make up our own set of sins ... you know, the kind that don't always look that sinful. We don't murder, we don't steal (really), we are faithful to our spouse. We say we love God and love our neighbors. Sweet. Everything else is all about freedom, right?

There is a passage in several areas of the bible that state a similar idea as what is found in Mark 7:20-22 - What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.

I laugh every time I stumble across these verses. I mean, seriously, look - you've got murder, and adultery sitting next to coveting, envy, and foolishness. Foolishness? Really? There is actually somewhere in my Bible where a verse similar to this is found that I had the nerve to underline the sins I struggle with and leave the rest for the real pagans to find. Um, notice Pride was in there too.... cuz I missed it obviously.

I'm somehow capable of Christianizing my sins. (I know, that's not a word. I made it up, because I can.) What I mean by that is that I take the verses in Romans 14 about being fully convinced in my own mind (14:5) as this major freedom to run with to do what I am fully convinced of. There are lots of things I'm fully convinced of. But most of them probably aren't very honoring to God. Now all of a sudden, it becomes sort of easy to overlook the little things. Sadly, it's the little things where the Enemy most often seeks to steal, kill, and destroy. With every passing "Christianized sin", my heart grows a little colder, my mind a little weaker, and my hearing of the Spirits voice a little fainter.

It becomes easy for me to make my walk with Jesus this checklist of things I'm getting right. Not murdering anyone - check. Remaining faithful to my spouse - check. Not stealing anything - check. Great. What about the miriad of other heart issues the Bible speaks to? What about selfishness, bitterness, envy, covetnous, anger, a quarellsome spirit, my stupid dripping faucet, glutony, "prayer gossip" (ouch), judgemental spirit (that's another big one for me, I confess). There are millions. We all have our own issues too. We all have a role before Christ that we aren't really doing our best with. Our role as a friend, as a husband or a wife (big passion of mine), a mom or a dad (another big passion), a sister or a brother (in Christ and as earthly family), a daughter or a son, a child of a living God who died for more than we give Him credit for. I know that I'm so quick to become enslaved to my way of life and the things that I cherish and value ... that I MISS what He values. I miss what His way for my life would be. Only most of the time I don't realize I'm enslaved, because I think I'm just living out my freedoms. Again. My brain hurts. Am I willing to let the spiriling motion begin of cleaning out the "little things"? Am I willing to let go of the sins that "aren't that bad" to live a better fuller life? Am I willing to give EVERYTHING to gain whatever it is He has for me? (Which, in all reality, might not be much here on earth.)

One of my favorite verses through the years has been Romans 1:18. It says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." WOW! Unfortunatly, our culture, the day in age we live in, and especially the current economic climate make it fairly easy for the truth to be surpressed. The unrighteousness? Well, that's those darn christianized sins again. One of the verses shortly after this one (1:20) states that the truth has been "clearly perceived". The commentary in my Bible sums it up nicely.
It states : It is not that the truth is sought but cannot be found, but rather that, confronted with the truth (which is "clearly perceived", v.20), fallen humanity seeks to hinder and obstruct its influence, and is therefore "without excuse" (v.20) The "excuse" in view is an appeal to ignorance.

May I have no such appeal. Ignorance is not something I think I can claim more often than not. I know full well (most of the time) when I'm making decisions based out of fear, pride, selfishness, my own desires, etc ... NOT so much by the righteousness that has been revealed to me throughout scriptures. There I go with that supression again.

So what now? Well, hopefully a life lived in community would provide people in my life that would call me out. In all honesty, I don't know if it would happen. Maybe because nobody thinks they have the right to "judge" me (even though it's not judging, it's presenting a truth to be pondered). Or more likely, I'm not all that inviting of others to actually do that. I don't like either option here. I desire a community of people who will call me out if they see something big or small. I desire a community of people who will be open to me returning the favor. Another favorite verse - Proverbs 27:6 - Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. I desire friends who are willing to wound me, not enemies who kiss all my boo-boo's (aka - sins) and tell me everything is okay. I desire a community of people who loves me regardless when it's all said and done. I desire for change that results in true freedom, lasting freedom. And I know I can't do it alone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'm not down with that, yo.

Wuddup yo? How you been? I'm dope.

Seriously, if I actually just said that, everyone (and their motha) would be making so much fun of me. Yet, there are so many that attempt to use slang as their way of communication. I have no problem with such language, just the people that try to use it. It works for some, but not for most ... especially us older folks. Okay, and maybe not some younger ones either. Too bad that by the time I realized the kid who called me "Phat" really meant I was cool, my eating disorder was already out of control. (kidding)

This all came about in my mind last night for 2 reasons. One, I heard an older, professional business man use terms he just shouldn't be. Very funny. I still laugh when I think about it. And two, on the TV I heard for the first time of an "artist" called Flo Rida. (I'm probably not even spelling that right, I know nothing about this person ... don't even know if it is a man or woman.) But I began to laugh and throw down my shizzalator lingo. Yeeeeaaa. I (very sarcastically) said to Aaron:

"Haha, get it? Flo Rida, like I'm from the state of Florida, and Flo Rida, like I ride the flow, yo."

Aaron just laughed at me. He said it really was just about the state of Florida, and the play on the word "flow". Whatever, what does he know? He's not down with us peeps anyway, dog.

Anyway, back to reason one why I'm writing such a ridiculous post.... Maybe there comes an age when it just sounds stupid to talk this way. Maybe it's just where you grew up that makes it okay. You know, all you homies from the South Side. (Or is it East???) I don't know why some people who never used to talk in such a fashion, feel the need to be cool by doing so ... um, I mean TRY to be cool. It makes me laugh every time! From the phrase, "Oh snap" (sorry shnukums), even to the ever popular word, "awesome". Okay, so I know, awesome? Really? That doesn't really fit into the same category as Snoop Dogg 101. But it is still one of those words that when I hear someone like, oh, my mom (sorry mom) use ... cracks. me. up! That became one of those words that was overly used, thus turned into a meaning of only midly cool and usually holds sarcastic undertones... no longer actually awesome. That's why it's funny to hear some people use that word - they are still trying to use it for it's literal translation. I digress.

There is nothing wrong with trying to stay "hip", or for a better term - relevant. Just don't dig outside your roots to do so. This coming from the mom of 4 currently wearing the chunky Lisa Loeb glasses that I'm positive people make fun of behind my back. But you know what? I wore Lisa Loeb glasses before Lisa Loeb did. Always have! I'm so down with staying fly.

Anyway, can you dig it? I'll stop talkin' smack now bout all you playas. I know you feel me. Word. Peace out.