Tuesday, November 30, 2010


She was a good dog. Everyone said so. She was a great protector and faithful friend. She lived for 10 years and 4 months. The pictures below are when she first came to us, when we lived in our rental on Fountainbleau, her first home. She had the chronic disease, mange. She lived out her last five months of life in "retirement" at Bill & Sharon's. She loved us all. We all loved her. We know she is in dog heaven, and living out a wonderful eternity. We will anticipate meeting her again there.

Black Gold Documentary

Just finished watching this very thought-provoking movie:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Brielle!

It is so strange to think that three years ago Brielle came into our lives, in the most amazing way, and changed us forever.
This year, as she turns three we find her being sweet, sincere, witty, smart, amazing, beautiful, kind, generous, insistent, determined, and very vocal. She currently loves people, music, and creating art. She is tons of other wonderful things and loves tons of other things as well. But these are the ones that are in the top of my head.
We love her so much and celebrate her on this Special Day.
To read about her Birth as written in the Clarksville Family Magazine Click Here and scroll to page 14.
Happy Birthday Brielle!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sharing Loss with practical strangers

I have sad news. Recently, the Director of the Preschool where Brielle attends twice a week, lost her husband. I didn't see her for a week there and I have been praying for her family (she has three boys still at home, I believe) occasionally. She was there Monday when I went to drop off Brielle. Her teachers suggested I talk to her and tell her the news that Brielle's last month would be this one, November, which I had told them a week ago. They said they already told her, but that I should also. I thought that was strange, probably because selfishly I didn't want to have to talk to someone who was grieving so deeply. But I glanced around for her on my way out and happened to see her talking to the Donald in the kitchen. Instinctively, I first hugged her. Now, I don't really know her, so that caught me by surprise that I would do that. Then we talked about Brielle and as I went to leave I just rubbed her arm and she reached out to hug me again.
I walked out, quickly.
Tears began welling in my eyes.
Before I was out the door they were falling and as I began driving I was fully bawling.
And all I could think was, "I don't even know her."
And I don't. I really don't.
I kept crying for a good ten minutes. The pain was so intense and I couldn't hardly understand why I was feeling it. But in a way, I did know.
God moves through His people.
Sometimes it is not like we expect.
Sometimes it is to take the tears that we are just too tired to cry anymore. To take the pain that we are just too week to feel anymore. To share it with another, who isn't deep in the confusion. Sharing in Christ's sufferings. Sometimes that can take on a whole new meaning.
I hope she knows it wasn't a seemingly thoughtless act, that hug.
I hope she knows that the Holy Spirit is taking care of her. I hope she feels her burden lifted some, by each and every act of grace that He gives. It amazes me how He loves us.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tis the Season for whaaaaat?

Every year I get a little better or worse for the holiday shopping season. Better as in: I get better at snagging deals. Worse as in: I snag deals. How can they both be good and bad? .........I don't know. It's like all of these sale ads float around in my head and I start to get dizzy and missional. My world starts spinning and I start thinking, "where do I want to go?" "who am I getting gifts for?" "what would they really like?" The last question is the biggest one. I'm so tired of buying plastic for my children (and others) that is going to just get broken or discarded due to lack of interest one day! No, I'm beyond tired of it, I'm fed up with it! Not at the kids, of course, innocence victims of my thriftiness and the industries' pushiness that they are. I'm mad at me, the consumer. Am I buying anything they really need or care about (for more than a week - if that)? And if I get such a good "deal" on it, will it really last any length of time? But then, I argue with myself, what? Don't get them anything? Only one gift? Three? Like Jesus when he was born? And every family is different and has different incomes, ideals, and traditions. I've read ideas that you can take a trip, do something special with your family that they will remember, instead of giving more presents. Sounds great, but I'm not sure how we transition into that.
So, for now, I'm just going to pray that I will make wise choices. Frugal ones that even if they are a rocking good deal that I wouldn't buy in haste (especially if we can't afford it), but that God's Holy Spirit would show me how to spend wisely, and how to let go of any worldly pressure to consume. I know that might sound a little strange, but I can't do it by myself! I wish I were just blase about it all, like some people I know. But I struggle. I like good deals and I like to use them to bless others, even if it is a birthday 8 months from now.
I hope that God, in all His wisdom and because He can, will show me and my whole family a deeper meaning of the value of this holiday season. There is a greater gift to behold than the craziness I sometimes cannot see past and I want to just relax and receive it, selfish as that may sound to me. I hope that is also the gift that I am most able to give. And I pray that we all just ENJOY the people in our lives, who they are, and our time with them. Even if, no---especially if---, we see them everyday. God bless the Holidays.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The mess we made

Today was super Friday. I named it that just now. It's the once a month gathering of our MOPS table that was (in previous years) our 2nd MOPS meeting of the month. Our table has met once before, outside of our MOPS gatherings, at a local park. Our children are starting to know each other. We went to Jump Zone, six of us moms, nine of our children. Total fun. When our time had expired one of the moms, who seemed much more like a controlling sibling at that moment, demanded to know if we were going to go eat lunch someplace or just talk about the possiblity of doing it. Ha! So, some of opted out (for perfectly justifable reasons) and some of us headed to the unsuspecting services of Taco Bell. Four moms, six kiddos ranging from 20 months to age 4. What were we thinking? Who cares? We were hungry and had hungry children. I'm sorry if you were on your "adult" lunch break and happened to drop in there. Nah, I'm not really. Eating out is a treat that we rarely pay for, and while we tried our best to keep it tidy, there were workers there who had very good attitudes about helping us out and actually "working their job" (thank you workers for all of your help). And yes, I have worked in the fast food industry.
Speaking of attitudes. With that many kids 4 and under, there is bound to be a point of escalation. During ours, one mom was getting frustrated and we were trying to help, all the while I was hoping she wasn't wishing she hadn't come. I totally knew how she felt. Then a child's drink crashed to the floor. Moans rose from us all. Was this really worth it? Fortunately, there was a lady mopping not five feet away (coincidence?). Then at the other end of our long table another drink crashed to the floor. Giggle. Chuckle. Laugh o u t Loud. We had to! It was too funny, and besides there was nothing better to do.
Freeze Time.
This is the moment when you realize: We just aren't in this alone. Laughs. Cries. Spills. Giggles. We're all moms, spending time together for the social good of our kiddos and for the mental social good of ourselves at great costs sometimes. We all know what it is to be challenged, overwhelmed, unsure, and misunderstood (even by our own selves) in our parenting and in our character. We know it, because we've felt it, done it, and dealt it. There are days like that, moments like that. But when we can think about the bigger picture and piece it together with each other, it seems more befitting to laugh at ourselves than anything else.
When one of the moms retrieved extra cupcakes from her car (leftover from her daughter's school birthday party) and brought them in to share with us, we all cheered!!! We went through the endless stack of one hundred napkins in the middle of our table before we realized that none of us had put them there. (???) mystery worker?
Here is a vague example that Julie took a picture of, which I agree when she says, "It totally doesn't do it justice."

Turns out that the messes today provided the most joys.
For everyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tenth Avenue North

One of my favorite Christian Music Artist Groups is Tenth Avenue North.

They just released their new Album and you can buy it at Itunes for $6.99 I think (promotionally) but if you do nothing else today, put your headphones on, turn the volume up, and watch this video by them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two days: No Facebook

It feels longer, honestly. At first it was hard. Facebook really puts you on a guilt trip. Why do you want to leave? (Yes, "I spend too much time on Facebook" is actually an option to choose.) It warns you that everything you've ever done on Facebook will no longer be there if you deactivate your account. Then it shows you pictures of five random people. It says, "Donna is going to miss you!" above her profile picture and below it says, "Send her a message." Like you are going to get so distracted you will just end up forgetting what you were doing and never leave. Then you have to type out the weird letters and finally when you do get deactivated it tells you: Don't worry. You can always come back. Just type in your same user name and password. Wow.
Then it was FREEEEEING! Wahoo! I don't ever have to worry if I am missing some new status update, because I can just know that I am! I don't have to think about what my next status update is going to be...because I'm not going to update it. I can email and call someone if I want to connect. And I do. I talk on the phone and I meet with friends.
Then I find I am lonely.
No one is emailing me....(they are all on FB)....I only check my email during Brielle's nap time and nothing except emails that are Reply to All's. That's okay. I write emails to people. I write this blog. I upload pictures on here. I learn a few new things. I hope I'm connecting with others. But then I remember reason I closed FB (and why I'm only checking email once a day and slowly lowering my daily Internet and phone-talking time) is so that I can focus on what is in front of me, the life that God has given to me. And so that I can hear Him.
Monday night Tyler and I rode our bikes to his basketball evaluation at the local community center. About 8pm we were flying back, in the dark, under the stars, cool air in our lungs .... and it was a m a z i n g.
I've also been praying more for the people in my life and listening to more music. Cleaning & baking as usual. And soon I will begin the list of projects I've got in mind. I have already started a couple and will just listen to how God tells me this is the way it is to be. I like being aware. Of others. Of myself. Especially of Him, and I want more. That's what is on my heart right now.

Disclaimer: Shortly after posting this a dear friend who has been recently on my heart did reply to an email I sent her with a thought-provoking one. (I like that she challenges me.) And yesterday I did have an in-depth and at-length conversation with someone who's current situations have been greatly on my heart (she's doing amazing and giving God all of the glory). I have to believe that these (even once a day) are more important than spending an hour each day on reading updates and looking at pictures (see why I had to leave?) even though the people posting them are SO important to me, I am just going to have to trust that I get to connect with them despite FB.
I have to remember this, because I know there are going to be lulls...times when God intends to draw me out to Him alone. There. I am waiting in anticipation of this rhythm.

Veterans' Day

Waiting and watching for the Parade

She waved the flag at everyone in the parade

Can you find Josh?

November is turning out to be beautiful weather after all!!!

Josh White just released Nov. 9th

Have you heard of him yet? I hadn't. (Apparently he was in the band Telecast, but I didn't recognize their name) I get these free downloads in an email spam thing and so I always take them (hey after a few months it's like getting a free CD!). Is it ancient of me to type "CD?" We all still know what those are right? I mean, I'm glad they are being faded out, less trash.
Anyway, back to the album. It has been a very very very long time since I've purchased music of any kind. Think-- Budget. Confession: I have bought several $.50 paperback books. But not music. That's because I can listen to it free online...or I just think if I am meant to hear it, God will get it to me (and yes, I've heard of the Library). Well, I think He got this free song to me "The Wall" by Josh White and I am going to say that I actually feel compelled to buy the whole album off of Amazon. I can't believe I'm saying this. But I've never heard anything quite like it, therefore I'm qualifying it. I just have to scrounge up $5.99 first (even if I have to sell a few books). If you've got the $ and you like Organic Earthy Jesus-Loving music like I do: I'm going to highly recommend it.

Sweet pictures

Brielle in Clarksville, TN:
Silly Bands and stockings and time to brush our teeth (no, I don't like the Disney Princess thing, but we don't refuse other peoples' offerings) and fresh from her bath.

Can you believe she is almost 3???

I love spending my days with my children (yes, it would have matter if I would have been asked about an hour ago - right before nap time).

Monday, November 8, 2010

On the other side of the Lens

Yesterday we needed to get something we had signed up to bring to house church gathering and newspapers (for coupons) so we set out on our bikes. Josh & Tyler went on theirs also, to go to other places in the same area, and Brielle and I headed down the Lane to behind the Shopping Center that Aldi is located in. We were riding along the long stretch of empty backshop doors where trash and cardboard are taken out, where the trucks are usually pulled up to load in the merchandise. It was calm on this Sunday afternoon though. As we were flying along I caught a glimpse of my shadow along the pavement because the sun was to the side of us. There was my hair blowing wildly in the breeze, my long skirt flying (I also had on long pants) and the outline of Brielle's shadow riding on the back of my bike. I looked up into the warm sunlight and smiled.
It was at that moment that I felt like God, my Father, was right there, snapping a picture of me. Like He had been waiting just up ahead of me, just watching, ready. Like He saw us coming and thought, "oh, that's so beautiful."
I say this in the most humble way. As a person who struggles with insecurity and self esteem, it was amazing to feel God seeing me in that way. Just like when we see our children (or friends or friends' children or whoever) and we pull out our cameras because we are thinking, "that's so adorable. that's so worth capturing. that brings me joy! I want to remember that."
We all need to feel God seeing us in that way! Because He does!
So, my challenge to you this week is this: look for when you feel Him watching you, delighting in you, enjoying you, capturing you. Enjoy how it feels to be His child!

Note: After I wrote this blog, I was walking (jogging) with Brielle later that day and ran ahead of her to snap this picture. It seemed to capture somewhat what I was trying to convey, only with God it's of course even more amazing!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Facebook No More

If you and I are "friends" on Facebook, you may already know that I am closing my account tomorrow. I am waiting to see if anyone lets me know they still want to keep in touch via email, you know...just in case. I really do want to stay in touch with all 186 people that I have as FB friends (I mean that, because last month I loosed around 100 people who I never really talked to - ever - or who repeatedly said unmindful things (meaning, mean). Is this important? Probably not. The point is that I just cannot control myself! I mean, I check my email, respond to whoever, and then get some email from FB so I click over there to reply to a msg or something, then I hit "Home" and next thing I know it's an hour later. There are people who do NOT have this problem - who are on FB. I know there are. But I am not one of them, and I am not the only one who gets sucked in like that either!
The thing is that there are results in my life that I desire. The first being that I desire God's presence in my life, and I desire to know what His desires are and what that means to me. Then there are like 25 things underneath that umbrella! (Yes, I have written them down) It's just never going to happen if I am distracted all of the time. And not just FACEBOOK...there is: checking email, phone conversations, reading blogs, shopping/comparing online, and probably many others I can't think of. Then, when I don't want to be distracted anymore I look around me and think, Okay---what can I do with what time I have left? It needs to be the complete other way around. I have been hearing God prompting me to do this for several weeks now, and I really think He has been VERY patient with my bantering with Him and justifying all of the reasons why it would make sense to keep it "just to check once a week, or every other day, or daily, or twice a day, or............hmmmmmmmm...." Yeah.
It may be different if I were single, or my husband were in the military and deployed, or I didn't have three kids at home...or if I were housebound. I don't know. But I just know that I need to listen and I need to allow some things to be pruned from my life...so that I can hear my Father, just in case He chooses to whisper.