Sunday, August 31, 2008

Everlasting (a day late).

(scroll down and turn off my playlist first!)
My favorite line in this song is "You will always be the same, Your love will never change...." I need the comfort of that knowledge and since I am only human, I occasionally need to be reminded of how faithful really God is, particularly as we await the storms in the Gulf. Pray with me for the safety of our friends in the south.
Tea today: Green with pomegranate

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2 Good for U 2 Miss.

Thanks to Jon on SCL for this post. Saves me from having to take a sledge hammer to the writer's block and still allows me an awesome post for the day. Besides, it's all I've thought about all day. God is the same, every day, no matter what we do. Awesome, huh?
Tea today: Tazo Zen

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fingerprints of God

This song reminds me of someone who warmed my heart this week (it was oh, so cold and spent this week!), because I can see how God has softened her heart. Warmed it. Blessed it.

Put His Fingerprints. All. Over. It.

He has worked through her in the most beautiful ways. I will never doubt that our perspective, heart, or mind can be transformed by His grace. Where there were prolonged whines, there are now simply factual statements that move on. Where there was scowling disagreement when compliments were given, now there is gratitude laced with humility. Where there was sadness and hopelessness, there are now new hopes and "just one more surprise" that push the darkness back to the old places where we refuse to go again. Where there were memories that caused despair and "whys??" there is now an appreciation for growth and understanding and "so whats?" Loneliness morphed into a blessed, prayerful solitude where we are never alone. There are new awakenings to life happenings that are in no way weird or strange or coincidental, but simply a vibrant new awareness to His presence and His plan. Living a life of "me" is gradually pointing toward serving others. "I can't" is now "I will." I prayed for this day for so long. I know how sometimes three steps forward means two steps back, but it still means one step ahead. I know. I've understood this in my own heart for a very long time. I'm so grateful and blessed with this transformation that oozes the love and mercy of our God who gave everything He had for her, knows her name, and claims her as His own. And everyone else sees it too.

Because that's just how God rolls.

Had I posted this a year and a half ago, it would have been Casting Crowns singing Does Anybody Hear Her? because she was "running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction." Thank you, Lord. You have rocked my world to tears today. And wow, do I love Colossians 3:15-17 at this moment.
Tea today: Young Hyson

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grow Old Along With Me...

"It seems like only yesterday..." Who would have thought that at age 22 I could actually make a decision I've never regretted? OK, so the ribbon sandwiches at the reception wouldn't have passed muster with many palates today. But it was the ultimate "wedding on a shoestring." I had second-thoughts about so many decisions before then (and if I'm honest, so many after that) - how can a person so emotionally and spiritually underdeveloped and malnourished, make a choice of a lifetime, and make the right choice? Well I did, with God in my heart guiding me to make decisions. I thought perhaps it was the fear of my father, but now I'm certain, it was the love of my Father that directed us to plan the marriage much more deeply than we planned the wedding. Happy Anniversary, Ron Burgundy. 35 years, 3 kids, lots of hair, a few teeth, and what seems like a ::blink:: later, it has been an honor to be your bride.
Tea today: Green with citrus and ginko

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Slow Fade

This is an awesome song and the video is so very powerful, though heart-wrenching. Wouldn't it be nice if we could be sure that all of God's children could "be careful little eyes what you see?" This makes me sad for all children who didn't get to experience the life that God had intended for them, but I know He has something bigger planned for them in His time.

Peace to you this Saturday night.
Tea tonight: Sencha

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thin Skin Thursday.

Nobody likes criticism, but I like to think I'm pretty practical about the source, the truth, and the intent, so I usually take it in stride. I try not to let things get to me, but perhaps it's my current state of exhaustion, the job, and the bad day yesterday that carried over despite 11 hours of sleep. I've compiled some comments said to me in the past couple days that are really digging at my heart. Perhaps if I write them down, I'll get over it and I can quickly flush my pity pot.

What was said

What I heard

What was (probably) meant

“I’ve always liked that sweater on you!”“You’ve had that sweater a very long time!”“Geez, she's wearing that again??”
“You must be really busy these days.”“You look horrible.”“You have bags under your eyes and dark circles, get some rest.”
“You’re wearing your hair darker these days.”“Going to get your roots done soon?”“Your roots have grown out and I’m not sure I like it or I’d have said that I did and not what I did say.”
“If there’s anything I can do to help you out, please let me know.”“I’m totally inept at anything you would remotely need, but I got a bad evaluation and I’m trying to suck up for the next one.”“I’m giving you lip service because I was told by ___ that my communication skills stink.”

“You’re usually a lot more tan. No tennis this summer?”

“Hey Queen of Pale, ever heard of Vitamin D?”“You’re a hermit. A very pale hermit.”
Tea tonight: Jasmine

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I'm Not as Good as I Once Was, But I'm As Good Once As I Ever Was...."

That Toby Keith song by sums up my brief (2 hour) return to the tennis court tonight. After a hiatus of over a year, I succumbed to threats and begs from old friends to make a return to what was once a joy I couldn't wait to feel again. Maybe I anticipated it too much. The trouble is, it wasn't joyful. It was painful, and for a variety of reasons, and I don't care to return again, at least for a while.
  1. I arrived 5 minutes late, rushing in, no water, no visor, no towel
  2. My first three shots hit the net
  3. My next three shots went wwaaaayyy out
  4. Seven must be my lucky number
  5. The noise from my shoulder during my serve (that amazingly went in) sounded very similar to the popcorn I made last night. Sadly, the serve kept coming back to me - with a vengeance.
  6. My forehand was errant to the max
  7. I left my backhand at the office
  8. I won 4 games out of about 26 played (that's the "I'm as good once.." part)
  9. I had surges of unexplainable emotion that literally brought me to tears, wanting to enjoy the game like I used to, but couldn't
  10. Begged off fall league because of some "balls and chains" in my life right now
  11. Found out one of my tennis "cronies" has bone cancer - pretty much ruined the night for me
The first few months I didn't play, I mourned and missed it like an old friend. Tennis was who I was, where I found pleasure and release from the daily grind, where I could kick back with people who laughed with at me hysterically, and with whom I shared so much in common besides The Game. And if I say so myself, I was really pretty good competitive. Tonight we all still laughed, shared stories of new grandbabies, recent weddings, engagements, fabulous vacations, and I went through all the motions like a good teammate. Motions, but not e-motions. Only when I got in the car and drove home did the flood of tears hit me while listening to "Made to Worship" and I realized that things are different now.

Tennis apparently isn't who I am anymore. Maybe it never was. I've found some other comforts, other priorities, other peace. But I still love it and the fabulous memories of laughter and the "high" it always gave me. The sound of a bullet off the sweet spot. And that unforgettable smell from the new can of balls. BFFs. I can live with those memories. This is sort of like when your children grow up - you accept it and never forget the memories they created in your heart. Tonight I'll pray on it a bit. God can always change my mine, my heart. And if He does, perhaps He could tweak that forehand a bit, too. Surely He saw the need tonight.

Tea today: Revolution Acai Green

Sunday, August 10, 2008

cOrN dOg.

Lucky loves it when I freeze corn, or when I fix anything, really. He's underfoot whenever I have a knife or spoon in my hand. He knows my antique electric (is that an oxymoron?) knife will make some random moves and throw a helping or two his way. He stands with his head between my legs to catch the kernels as they fall on his snout. He slurps and licks and my kitchen floor is as clean as a whistle when he's done. The green beans and tomatoes? Not so much. And if he looks at me saying "More, please?" he knows I'll throw him an ear of corn all his own. Golden gems for a puppy in his golden years. I have to be careful, though, because he's terrified of the silks! I guess that's the weiner in my little corn dog. Iowa State Fair's got nothing on my corn dog!
Tea today: Young Hyson

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On Becoming my Mother

Other than my desk time at work, this was not a sitting day. It's no wonder I get tired by this time and want to curl up with my Bible, my puppy, and my iPod, in that order. It was Mom who taught me to wear out, not rust out. I'm trying to keep up with her, I guess.
  1. Up at 5:45
  2. Stretched and exercised back
  3. Ate grapefruit, peanut butter toast, tea
  4. Packed lunch (LOL- black currant yogurt, not much work there!)
  5. Showered and went to work (story for another post)
  6. Errands to Target and Walgreen's
  7. Drove home, changed clothes, walked an hour of God time
  8. Made 6 dozen ham balls for family reunion
  9. Finished cooking and freezing 4 qt of sweet corn (free - thanks Mary!)
  10. Cooked and froze 4 qt of green beans (free - thanks Mom!)
  11. Cleaned up the kitchen (ugh - lots of pans)
  12. Did my exercise ball, washed my face, and now I'm crashed in bed, short blog. I love my bed.
  13. Remembered I forgot to eat supper - oops. Mom wouldn't have forgotten that.
  14. Laid here feeling a bit like chopped liver (story for another post)
  15. Hi's me.....You knew that....

Tea tonight: left-over Genmaicha

Visit Lucky's DoggySpace page

Lucky said he needs some new friends, so I fixed him up with his own spot on DoggySpace. Stop by and visit! He would sure like some of his friends to join him, too!
Tea tonight: Genmaicha

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The guy at the lake

He was young, 20ish, tanned, muscular, in a white tank top, sandals, and sitting with a forlorn posture looking out over the lake, chin in hands, elbows on knees. I thought about him as I passed by on my walk. Was he praying? Was he crying? Is he broke? Is his mom sick? Did his girl dump him? Something big was obviously on his mind, because as I returned to my car 45 min later, it appeared he had not moved a skosh. By his posture, I don't think he was out there singing praises. For the half mile he was in my line of vision on the way back, I contemplated walking the 30 yards across the grass to tell him.....what? What would I say? Ask if he's ok? If he needs anything? Just tell him I prayed for him for 2 1/2 miles? Would he be offended? Angry? Lash out? So rather than having bold "Jesus feet" I just kept walking. But I did pray for him (lame, I know - ultimate passive/aggressive). I hope he's ok. I regret not saying anything to him. You just never know when you're going to touch a heart, help a lost soul -- but the
skeptic, untrusting side of me said :::stay back:::

I believe now I was wrong to keep walking. Maybe he'll be there tomorrow. This is going to haunt me all night. I know there were times when my kids could have used a friendly stranger.
Tea tonight: Stash Green & White Fusion

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prayer Request

I've been lurking (albeit politely) at this beautiful woman's blog for almost two weeks now. Not sure how I got to it - divine intervention perhaps. But it is the most heart-wrenching, Lord-loving, raw and honest blog you will probably ever read. This family needs your prayers. Please lift them up and know that the power of prayer is remarkable. It has been awesome to see so many people literally on their knees in cyberspace praying for this family. Don't be surprised to see yourself wrapped in God's arms by the time you make it through a couple of the posts. His strength is so evident in her blog.
Tea tonight: Green with citrus and ginko

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Act of Service

Many years ago, upon recommendation from a friend, Ron Burgundy and I listed to the audio book of The Five Love Languages during a long road trip to who knows where. That was back in the day of vacations. It's a book every couple needs to read. Not that it has been the "secret" to a healthy 35-year marriage, but it certainly can't hurt, particularly in today's culture. I digress...

My primary "love language" is Acts of Service; running a close second is Receiving Gifts (I don't hear that one spoken around here much). Today R talked to me in a language I could hear loud and clear. Together we washed all of the outsides of the windows, including the 25 ft tall ones, and he did 80% of the work. It's gruelling, except it was made easier with all of those nicely trimmed shrubs :-] and the yet-to-be identified tree that allegedly needs trimming. Then he pulled up dozens of big thistles from around the pond and we filled yard bags with the harvest. Wow, that feels so good. Manicured. Pristine. Sparkly. Birds will awaken me at 5 am tomorrow - smackin' into those transparent windows.

I pray, my friends, that your S/O speaks your language. Now that the act of service is done, s'pose I'll get a gift next? Nah, that's too much talkin' for that boy. I did get a Bomb Pop once. Maybe a Dilly Bar from DQ another time. No problem, today was plenty. "You can't look a gift-husband in the mouth," someone famous once said. I am so humbled, grateful and blessed for this dorky, strong, energetic, bald, sometimes-drive-me-crazy, dehydrated, did I say dorky(?), running man of God that the Lord thought I deserved to have. Thanks, Big Guy.
Tea tonight: Green with strawberries

Been There. Done That.

Found this on PostSecret today.

I have been this person.
I have seen this person.
I have prayed for this person.

There are so many abandoned carts, each with their own story. I get a lump in my throat whenever I see one.
Tea today: Jasmine

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Meaningful Dialogue, Part 2

After doing some hedge trimming of Olympic proportions this week, this conversation ensued (Part 1, in case you missed it):

R: We should cut some back from that one tree, too. [we have 8]
Me: Which one?
R: The one the branches stick out from.
Me: In the back yard?
R: No, not really.
Me: Which one?
R: The one we trimmed before. [We have trimmed 7 of them]
Me: The spruce?
R: Uh...maybe.
Me: Where is this tree located?
R: In our yard.

End of conversation. He can prune it when he finds it.
Tea tonight: Earl Grey Green

Broken and Beautiful

This is one of my favorite songs by Mark Schultz. I really love all of his songs and feel so blessed to have met and talked with him in person when he did a concert last year in Iowa during his "Mark Across America" tour for the James Fund. He is so genuine, so real, and just an awesome person. Not too shabby at song writing and singing, either! Don't ever miss a chance to see one of his performances. I'd give anything to go see him in Iowa City next week :(

As I was trimming the hedges this week, that song just wouldn't leave my head. You can hack away at shrubs and get rid of all of the gangly, useless branches that detract from that neatly manicured look, and no matter how deep the cut, no matter how big the "oops," they will bounce back. Re-bloom. Re-leaf. Re-branch. Sort of like us - we get hurt and broken and violated but through God's grace we come back. Most of the time, more beautiful, but always, with His help, stronger. We know we can depend on the strong roots and nourishment He has provided for us.

Though people are really the true testimony to Broken and Beautiful, one that reminds me every day of this is my flowering crab, or "Aunt Crabby." Most of my plants have names. Harold reminds me of this song a bit as well. But this tree we planted was so beautiful, so perfect, until the ice storm of 2007 that made it so heavy that it split smack down the middle. A huge part of the tree was gone. Broken. Lopsided. Unable to bear the cruel icy burden cast upon it and the winds that finally brought it to submission. In the spring, we took the chain saw and finished off what was hanging there, leaving a huge scar, a wispier tree, and lots of hope that it would somehow bud and blossom again. It did. The leaves are actually a deeper green now, with a crimson gloss on the undersides. The crab apples are more bountiful, and the view from inside the house allows me to see my pond a lot better. It was supposed to happen. And it happens to all of us. Whether someone has intentionally taken a "Hedge Hog" to you, or whether it's God's will, it happens. I don't remember praying for that tree, but I have certainly prayed for the brokenness in our lives and the healing that follows. The scar on that tree is tough and healed, but always a reminder that "He is the vine, we are the branches." And as I write this in the cool Saturday breeze while sitting near that tree, my puppy, who is walking on all fours with only a barely discernible limp, is also reveling in the healing of the broken. A few days ago I imagined us burying him under that tree by now. How foolish I was to think that His plans were not mine.

Where do you see God's healing? How has He spoken to you lately?

Tea today: Tazo Green Ginger