Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eyes to See

I posted the other day about God Sightings, and the practice of watching for God in our lives.  I believe it's a habit that can be developed--to look for God.  But first, the belief that God is active in our daily lives needs to be fostered, and the expectation of His involvement needs to be nurtured.

During Aidan's life, one of the ways God took care of us was that He gave us eyes to see His presence and His involvement in the whole situation.  This reassured us that He was aware of what was going on, and in control.  We could trust Him, because He was there.  And although He didn't answer our prayers how we wanted Him to, we could rest knowing that He was intimately involved in each aspect of our experience.  He had not forgotten us.

Since that time, when I hear of other's struggles, I have made a point to pray that they would have "eyes to see" God active in their circumstances.  This last week I have been praying that God would give my dear friends Jeff and Karyn eyes to see His work.  {Jeff and I used to work together in IL, and he was also the youth pastor at our church here in CO.}  

You see, Jeff is a pastor now, and a week ago Sunday, right before he was to preach, Jeff suffered a grand mal seizure.  {ummmmm...that's one way to get out of preaching, huh?}  Tests later revealed he had a brain tumor on his right frontal lobe--cause still unknown.  Thursday morning, Jeff had brain surgery, and is currently recovering at a rehab hospital.  Oh, how I pray that in the midst of so much uncertainty their eyes see God's presence.

I popped over to Jeff's blog to grab a link for you all if you are interested--and guess what?  God has already been answering my prayers!  I believe this post is Karyn's account of a God Sighting!  God is just SO cool,  isn't he?

Have you had any God Sightings lately?  I pray, dear bloggies, that whatever you might be facing right now...that God would give you eyes to see Him.  He's there.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the good kind of tired

me at VBX

I tell my Vacation Bible eXperience team every year that at the end of VBX week you will be the "good kind of tired".  It is the kind of tired that comes from knowing that your energy was well-spent.  Well-spent on something worthwhile, something that made a difference--rather than spent on frivolity or fretting.

That's me today.  The good kind of tired.  We finished our High Seas Expedition on Friday, and had it all cleaned up within a few hours.  Yet Saturday held a six-hour push to get a video recap done (my brother-in -law actually did it--I just sat by his side and chose clips and pictures.) for church this morning.  Today was an early morning--two different lessons to prepare, hair to color (I know...Sunday morning??), and speak at both services about VBX before the kids sang.

So, it wasn't really until this afternoon that I felt it.  The adrenaline eased up.  The yawns came.  The weight of responsibility lifted.  The tired was allowed to come.

You know, it does feel good to be this kind of tired.  It feels good to allow myself rest.  I am spent.  But well-spent.

And I'm realizing the good kind of tired is a gift to be felt fully and enjoyed.  I'm going to relish it.

I'm sharing this Sunday-post with emily at Chatting at the Sky, cause it's still the gift I'm unwrapping on Tuesday.  

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Thursday, June 24, 2010

God Sightings

At VBX, one of the practices we are teaching the kids is to "watch for God".  Each day the kids report their "God Sightings" to their leaders.   Today I heard one tell of a sunset God made, one said God led him to a good VBX, and another talked about the money God provided at his popsicle stand for the missions project.

Yesterday, my son said "tetherball" as his God Sighting.  I wondered about it for a second ( in that "seriously? that's what you said? kind of way) and realized that he is learning to give God the credit for everything--including a good time he had playing with his friends.  The kiddos are learning to look for God and expecting to see Him!

Here are some of my God Sightings this week:
* three sweet ladies who have provided supper for us this week to lighten the load of a busy week.
*  A little girl who I don't know brought me a rose today to say thank you for VBX--and she had tears in her eyes as she gave me two big hugs.
*  Many instances of things working out, just in the nick of time. :)
*  The opportunity to sit for an hour with a visitor's mom who really needed prayer and encouragement.
*  a VBX staff that truly loves God and kids and that bring energy and enthusiasm each day!
*  God giving me the words to say today as I talked to the kids about the gospel.
*   A diet-coke-bearing friend. (thanks Bethie!).
*  The mom who thanked us because on Monday night, while she sat in the ER for a scary allergic reaction, was encouraged by her daughter with what she learned just that morning at VBX.

Do you watch for God?  Do you expect to see Him at work?  He's there...

More on this soon...

Monday, June 21, 2010

We've set sail!

Our High Seas Vacation Bible Experience began this morning!  Whew!  It's always good to get to the first day and always good to get through it!

It was great fun--and I'm looking forward to the rest of the voyage.

Thought I'd share with you some pics of the way we left things last night.  Finally ready to go...

Don't I have the coolest job ever??  I'm the good-kind-of-tired tonight.  Can't ask for more than that.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

happy birthday to my hubby

This is my hubby.  Isn't he handsome?

He's awesome.  And it's his birthday today.

He's been dealing with a lot this year.  Terrible back issues, work stress like he's never known, and you know, me {smile}.

I just want to publicly say how much I love him, how proud I am of him, and how much I appreciate all he carries on behalf of our family.

I am praying that this coming year is one of great joy, healing and provision.

Happy Birthday, babe.  I love you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

time to listen

A few posts back, I mentioned how our pastor is challenging us to observe sabbath.  He says, "pick a time, pick a place, and enter in."  Don't get all hung up on the details--does it have to be a whole day?  does it matter which day??  Sometimes we get caught up in the particulars and don't actually practice sabbath.

What is sabbath?  As I've learned from my pastor, it is stopping, resting, playing, listening.  Stopping...all the things that pull on you day in and out.  That could be working at the office, or cooking dinner or whatever.  Resting...slow down, take a nap, whatever is restful to you.  Playing...that means different things to different people.  It could mean taking a walk, playing monopoly with your kids, or dancing around your living room.   Listening...this might be the most important.  We need to slow down, change our regular mode, do something different than normal in order to have the space to listen.  We need to listen to God.  What is He saying to us?

Well, I've been doing a bunch of reflecting on sabbath lately and not a lot of practicing it.  VBX next week.  Hubby's back pain affecting life.  blah, blah, blah.  Yes, it's busy and stressful right now, and time is short--but all the more reason for sabbath.

Today I grabbed an hour by myself.  Three hours would have been better.  A full day would have been lovely.  But rather than whine about how an hour was all I had, I stopped.  And entered in.  And listened.  And ate a cinnamon crunch bagel--mmmmmmm.

And God was there with me.  He spoke gentle words to my soul.  He helped me align my perspective to His as I journeyed into the day ahead.  It would have been a different day without that hour in His presence.

I am unwrapping the gift of my mini-sabbath today with Emily at chatting at the sky with the hopes of encouraging you to stop, rest, play and listen.  Pick a time, pick a place and enter in.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Friday, June 11, 2010

Company Girl Coffee 6.11--pickle pride and paint

I can't believe it's June 11.  I should be more stressed than I am...Vacation Bible Experience (VBX) is just over a week away and I am in charge.  I love, LOVE! VBX.  But, we are not ready yet and now is push time.  Yet, I feel relatively calm, I'm not working too crazily, and am getting time with my family.  I am not getting time to blog or read blogs--but that will come.  It's mostly on the post-VBX list. :)  But today I wanted to give a quick update and check in with the Company Girls.

First, I want to tell you how proud I am of Pickle this week.  She is a lot of wonderful things, but risk-taker is not usually one of them.  She prefers to know in advance how everything will go before she decides to proceed.  Obviously, she doesn't always get that preference, but when she can opt out of situations that are completely out of her comfort zone, she often does.  As I've mentioned before, she is heading to a new school for high school next year, and that alone is a bit anxiety producing.  This school has an excellent (6x state champion) volleyball team.  She casually mentioned to us that she'd like to play.  She has never pursued any athletic endeavors--she was a dancer only.  She has little volleyball experience--basically only PE class.  We all sort of dismissed the idea, thinking that she might be out of her league on this one.

Then I helped with Field Day at the elementary school and met the PE teacher there who helps with the volleyball program.  She asked if Pickle played and told me of the C team that often doesn't have cuts.  Hmmm.  Pickle dismissed the news--saying she had given up on the idea.  Fine.

Fast forward to this week, when a discussion about keeping fit led to Pickle saying that she still wanted to pursue volleyball.  We hop on the internet and find out the volleyball camp was (of course) this week. She had missed half of it--but hubby was able to find out she could attend for the last two days.  SO, my non-risk-taker daughter, with no volleyball experience, knowing nobody, halfway through a camp that the girls had been at for days--walked into the gym and gave it a go.  She was super-nervous, but decided that it was worth pressing through the anxiety.  That is the part I am proud of--that at this point in her life she has begun to figure out that sometimes you push through fear to pursue a dream. 

And, she liked it.  She is sore and bruised--but she did it.  She made a new friend or two.  She has plans to work hard this summer in preparation for the late-summer tryouts.  I don't care if she plays on the team (okay--I'd love it, cause it's my favorite sport!), but what I'm proud of is that she is going for it!

Today, we are off to a VBX work day.   Tomorrow too.  We are working hard to paint and build and set the stage for a great adventure!  We will be doing some of this:

and this:

and this:
can you believe they let me touch power tools??

and lots of this:

What are you doing today??

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

pulling up weeds

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Am I seriously going to post about weeds on a Tuesday?  The day where I try to join in with emily and others at chatting at the sky and celebrate everyday gifts?

Yes, I am.  And I thought I was pushing it celebrating laundry a few weeks back...

Last night, I was a weeding machine. (OK, that might be a huge overstatement, but let's go with it.)

We have a large mulch area around our patio that I may or may not plant something pretty in one day.  In the meantime, the grass grows in it very well.  Our yard is struggling to green up this year, but large tufts of very green grass are thriving in the mulch bed.  Have you ever tried pulling up grass?  It is all connected by a web of underground roots.  It doesn't just come straight up.  A week or so ago, Bubba and I made an early Saturday morning of starting the job of getting the grass out of there.  We made progress but there was a long way to go.  I kept meaning to get back to it...but hadn't yet.

Yesterday was HOT--record breaking heat in Colorado.  We don't have air-conditioning (not that unusual here, but yesterday was one of those days you wonder why...) so we ate our dinner outside on the patio.  Our patio is cool in the evenings--something I love about our home.  After dinner, we sat around chatting for awhile.  As we talked, I pulled a tuft or two of grass.  No plans to weed that evening.

But I didn't stop.  My family disappeared.  I had no gloves, was still wearing a skirt, and was wearing hubby's way-too big-for-me flip flops.  (I took them from him for a "sec" cause I was barefoot).  I was definitely making a strong weeding fashion statement.  If I stopped to go get my stool to sit on or to change my clothes, I probably wouldn't have come back to the job.  I just kept pulling.

part of the pile of grass and roots I left in my wake...

And I finished the whole mulch bed!!! Just kidding--do you KNOW how long that will take?  But I kicked it's butt--and the grass that still lives in the bed is seriously afraid of me now.

And I enjoyed it.  Not the weeding per se, but the cooler evening weather, the slight breeze, the burst of drive I was feeling when I didn't "have to" but wanted to.  I enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing not only tufts of grass come up, but long roots that were connected to other tufts of grass.  And the quiet.  And after a day of lots of thinking at work--the mindless task of pulling grass.

I was able to reflect--thinking things like:

It doesn't do any good to just get rid of what others can see...the roots need to be dealt with if we want to really tackle the problem.  Hmmmm.

We want green grass in most of our yard.  But green grass in the mulch area is no longer grass, it's weeds.  The right thing in the wrong place is no longer the right thing.  Double-hmmmm.

So today I am celebrating a small burst of desire to weed, the satisfaction of working with my hands instead of my brain, and a quiet, cool hour of reflection.

Even if I was less than lady-like squatting in my skirt, with dirt in my fingernails and wearing way-too-big shoes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

We are not ants.

"Ants don't sleep."

That's what Bubba read me from the cool facts app on my ipod as we drove down the road.  Really?? I didn't know that...although I do know that those little guys are busy, busy little guys.

On Saturday, Bubba and I were weeding (you know, pulling the grass out from where we don't want it to grow even though it's not growing well where we want it to).  Some of the grass was growing from below a stepping stone, so we lifted it up.  We found ant-land.  We saw tunnels and ants running around.  We saw larva and as soon as we lifted the stone the ants scurried over to the larva and carried it deeper under ground.  It was cool and gross at the same time--perfect entertainment for a young man.  They were working hard and fast.

see the larva?

Then two nights ago--Pickle found a few ants in our kitchen.  We looked closely and realized they were just a few of the many parading through our home.  We followed the parade backwards and learned they were marching along the crack of our wood floor and carpet, along the wall, the crease at the bottom of the stairs, again along more wood floor and carpet to the front door.  That's a long way for those little legs!  Those ants don't stop!

(Sorry, insect-lovers, but armed with super-spray, we happily killed them all. )

Ants don't sleep.  Ants don't stop.  They keep going, keep marching, keep working.  They jump into action when a crisis arises and the babies need to be carried below.  The are willing to walk and walk and walk in search of some crumbs.

We are not ants.  I know you know this.  But do you?  How do you live your life?  Do you act like an ant?  Do you think you just can't stop?  Are you afraid of stopping?  Feel guilty for it?  Do you only stop when the super-spray of exhaustion or illness takes you down?

We've been talking a lot about stopping at church lately.  We've been talking about Sabbath.  Our pastor has been leading us down a road of exploring the gift of Sabbath that could just revolutionize our lives and relationships with God.

I can't wait to share more with you on this...but first:  Are you too much like an ant?  Do you practice Sabbath?  Talk to me!

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