Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanks and Full of it...

I'm having a sad morning. This year so far has been full of surprises. So much amazing blessing yet plenty of the bittersweet and painful to keep us running for our Father's arms. While I spend most of my time amazed at all of our blessings, this morning I'm mourning some of the painful changes. I'm changing my focus. Thursday is thanksgiving. It's so easy to get caught up in the hoopla and commercialization of the holiday. Do you remember what it's about? Have you ever sat at the table with just five kernels of corn on your plate and wondered how they survived? Men, women, families watching each other slowly starve until they die. Willing to sacrifice all for the dream of freedom. Stepping out in faith and trusting God to carry them no matter what the cost, unaware of the depths of sacrifice he would take them to. It's not a story in a history book. It was real. It was tangible truth to those that watched it happen.And it's still happening. Everywhere. Families are watching their loved ones fly off into the sky not knowing if they will survive the war. Every moment spent wondering if they are safe. Every day watching the driveway for some mysterious car drive up with an officer in a cold military suit at your door to tell you the news.I don't care if this war is right or wrong. That's completely irrelevant to the families who are offering up their fathers, sons, husbands, lovers, soul mates and dearest friends in our defence. Each one is precious to someone. We go on and on pontificating about the validity of the war, while they take one day at a time just praying for the one they are without to survive. We're so self centered and pathetic.Anyway. That was a rant. Be thankful. Be humbled by the reality that most of us are completely oblivious to when we roll our eyes and say "yeah, whatever' every time our troops are mentioned. Who cares if you have the right kind of mashed potatoes on Thursday, really..


I'm thankful for the little arms that wake me in the morning anxious for discovery of a new day, and the way they've changed how I see the world. I 'm thankful for the honor of a real man who's heart is irrevocably entwined in mine. I'm thankful that we have enough to live in comfort and hope, yet just little enough to keep our trust and hope in the right place. I'm thankful for the friends who speak into my life and don't give up on me, regardless of my downfalls. I'm thankful for every person I see, knowing that their life has a purpose, too. I'm thankful and honored that chose me, and blessed me by making me, ME.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Then There Was Tom

There are acquaintances. You see them at church or the grocery store and catch up for a minute but you both know that you'll never make the time for a cup of coffee together. There are friends. You call every now and then. You have dinner and hang out or go shopping and feel free to call on each other in an emergency. Tommy wasn't either of these. Tommy is one of those deep root relationship. Life goes on with short glimpses of time to reconnect. We never hear from them, but when I know they are ok the world is safe and as it should be. Whether he is in Germany or Kennesaw doesn't matter. He's there. We can get together once a year and it feels like we saw each other yesterday. Travis is in on it. There's nothing secret or covert about the fact that I love Tom as dearly as one of my own brothers. Half the time Tom and Trav talk more than I do anyway. He's just very special to me.
Having said that, I don't really know him anymore. He's very different and detatched. I don't really understand how he thinks and the decisions he makes, but I'm still here for him.

Anyway, Tom called on July 29th to tell me that he and Monica were back from Germany with the boys and that they were buying a home in Canton. I was so excited to have them back that I seriously almost danced a goofy jig. That was a happy short moment. Because the next instant he told me that he was off to Iraq in 10 days. So breath, be calm... don't freak out... I'm a miserable failure at hiding my emotions and I know my shock showed. We made plans to get the families together the next night and I hung up just in time before the tears and panic came.

I know, I'm a wuss and there are tons of men in Iraq who are fine. It just shocked me. I called Travis. When he got home he reminded me that Tom is an officer, a Captain actually. He wasn't going to be out patrolling the streets. I felt so relieved and ridiculous.

That was until I talked to Tom again the next day. I apologised for the freak out. I hadn't thought about the fact that he would most likely have a bland desk job out of harms way. The dead silence on the other end was NOT reassuring in the least. Not so much. Actually, directly in the way of harm, specially trained to, ugh....well, stay alive.

So I'm seriously in awe of how strong he is, and how excited. Monica is so great about it, too. I would be a wreck. It's just amazing how God takes people down different paths and they just seem made for it. Me, not so much. Their relationship seems to have been tough from the beginning. I don't know how they've made it this far. If he's going, he's going. I'm hoping that I can be a friend to Monica while Tom is gone. I can't imagine a year without my husband, let alone with two young children. The boys are precious. Unbelievably so. But still. I'm exhausted for them, knowing how long the next year is going to be.

So, anyway. I'm very emotional about it. I have a picture of Tom when we were teens on the fridge, and the kids are praying for him with me every day. So, a long year it will be.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


It is such weird thing to have kids, and your friends have kids... and the kids play so well...like when you were kids.. bizarre, really.

We went to David's (Tom and Monica's son) birthday party. It was happy. I felt tense, but everything seemed fine. Tom looked like a hero. Monica looked beautiful. They boys are adorable. I guess it's going to be fine, right?

Anyway, Selah and Jacob just love David and Nicholas so much. They had a great time together. Thought I would share some photos.

Opening presents is always the highlight of the party...

My Selah The Strong
Monica looks so pretty here. It makes me happy.
Monica and Me, becoming friends, I think...
Tom The War Hero and Tally The "Practically a Pacifist" What weird friendships I have...

Monday, November 12, 2007


So what to do with this. Really. I’m at a loss.
I’ve been looking for some ladies that I can contract to make straps for my website. It’s been very difficult. The first person was a friend who helped me set the prices. They sounded fair. She said what was reasonable, I said great. Last week I gave her a stack that I desperately needed done. She handed them back two days later undone saying that she didn’t have the time after all, and that it wasn’t worth it for so little money. Confusing.
Someone from my church referred a grandmother to me who already works but is raising her 3 grandchildren on her own. Loves to sew and could use some extra money in the evenings. Sounded good. She came over and was just a lovely person. I enjoyed every minute with her. But she wanted to be paid $15 an hour and some assurance of steady work. Umm, not with this, yet…
By this weekend you can imagine I was pretty frustrated, getting behind on orders and had committed to doing another yard sale. I got a call from someone who had heard about it from a mom in my homeschooling coop. She sounded perfect. Like an angel waiting. It was a little awkward because she did not have Internet or a cell phone. Said they were too stressful and couldn't have them in her home. I could handle a little inconvenience in communication, assuming that she was reliable. I scheduled for her to come today and spend several hours sewing with me to get caught up.
The yard sale was at my mother's house and it was mush simpler for us to all spend the night there. I took my fabrics and machine to work away in the evenings. As usual I got caught up in girl time with Hannah and Naomi and didn't do as much as I needed. Yesterday afternoon we headed home, and I knew I really needed to get crackin'. As we got home I rushed in and started setting up immediately, when I heard a crash behind. I turned to look out the back door to see Travis coming through it with a look of horror, cursing badly designed sewing machine cases. In his hands, my machine cracked through the body. I plugged it in and it was a mess. I took a breath and chose composure.
Luckily Mary had mentioned having 2 great machines. I had one back up so I simply called her and asked her to bring one of hers to sew on. I told her what happened and she said she could absolutely bring her own machine. And that she would pray for me. She is apparently a very devout Catholic because, like several other times I have talked to her, she was on her way to church.
I put it all out of my mind for the evening an enjoyed some time with my husband last night, instead of rushing to my machine.
I woke this morning feeling confident that we would make headway. Mary has been sewing for 35 years. Surely we can breeze through. Um, not so much.
The phone rang at about 8:15 as I was clearing the table and setting up my cutting mat. I answered to find Mary at the other end.
Ok, I know that I don't have the words exactly as quoted. The conversation was so completely unexpected and bizarre. I've done the best I can with it.
Me: Hello.
Mary: Hello, This is Mary. I was just calling to tell you that I am not going to be able to accept the work you've offered me.
Me: I expected you would be here in a few hours. Have you been offered a full time job somewhere? You mean you aren't coming today?
I knew she had been unemployed for over a year, so maybe that was it.
Mary: No, I haven't found a job yet. I feel like I need to ask you something. Do you have a buddha shrine in your home?
We had spoken several times about religion, so she obviously know I was a Christian.
Me: A what? Definitely not. We did purchase this house from a couple who had a buddha shrine in the house.
Mary: Well, during prayer at church last night, I prayed for you and your business. God showed me that there is a Buddhist spirit on your house. Do you know any Catholics that can get you access to holy water? You need to have a priest come pray the prayer of (can't remember who). Make sure you open all of the doors and windows and get your children out of there!!
Me: We have had our home prayed over, and that spot specifically was prayed over.

She rambled on a bit more and then hung up. I'm shocked. As I said, I'm at a loss.

My instinct tells me that God did show her something. The fact, that there is a cubby that was built into the wall specifically for a buddha shrine when we bought it, and that this woman has never been to my house, cannot be overlooked. We have had some seriously hard circumstances in this home. Is it all because of a spirit hovering to destroy us? Of course it is. Satan doesn't want to see anyone who loves the Lord prosper. Not sure that it is all on account of buddha.

What I do not understand, is that she obviously was not coming because of this revelation. If God gave her this information, didn't she recognize he chose her for a reason? Doesn't she have some responsibility to act? When she asked if I knew any Catholics, I should have said, I know you. Part of me wants to call her back and confront her on that. Also, if she is so strong in her faith and so grounded in prayer, shouldn't she feel completely safe from the threat of some measly spirit? I don't know her past. Maybe she has some specific reasons in her history that she is not able to deal with this, and judging her heart it not mine to do. I just seriously question her fear. And her actions.
We'll call 'the guys' as we all call the pastoral team at Trinity I know they'll be up for a good ol' spirit ousting. I just feel shocked and overwhelmed. And still VERY behind.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Praying For A Miracle

So, there's this house. It's perfect in size, location, yard, color, brightness, EVERYTHING. Well, everything except the $268,000 price tag. Sigh....

I've been struggling with wanting to move. I know if really stresses Travis out and I feel so bad. I'm thankful for the house we have and I just don't know where else we could go outside a 3 mile radius and still live the way we live. I LOVE that we are surviving and actually ENJOYING having one vehicle. It makes us much more purposeful with what we are doing with our time and coordinating what we can do together as a family more. I love being close to the church and about the same distance from each of our families. I love our neighborhood, the good and the bad of it. I feel so lucky with my pocket of peace inside the big city.
The problem? Our house is 1100 sq feet. Smaller than many apartments. Two bedrooms, one bath. It's livable and I'm thankful for it, but I know that we can't stay here indefinitely. We have all three children in one room and no way of changing that as Selah gets older. While I am absolutely THRILLED with how busy Sugar Sprouts is getting, the setup is wearing on my family and it feels impossible to contain without a separate space for it. We can do it, and there are certainly people who have it worse off that us.

But this house for sale.. It's in our neighborhood so we could stay where we are comfortable. It's off of the main street, where we are now, so we wouldn't see 20-30 homeless men walking by ever morning. Not that they've ever been anything but respectful to us but others on the street have had incidents. It has FOUR BEDROOMS!! Can you imagine??? A boy room, a girl room AND a sewing room. Is has a fenced in yard and a better driveway. A pretty porch on the front, unlike the death trap attached to the front of ours.
So, I've been secretly praying that their house doesn't sell for a month now. I know there is no way that we could afford that. Well, unless we want to be completely irresponsible and impulsive in the purchase but I've seen that bite others in the butt. No thanks. But what if it sat for a year? And in that year we could save enough for a good down payment and fix our house enough to get a good profit? It's possible, right? And then they would be desperate to sell and take $230 for it? If we could have $50,000 between our sale and a down payment and get debt free (which we are close to) then we could do it!
And if not, in the meantime I know that God's going to provide somewhere we can settle in with this growing family. I just need to be patient. I guess the bottom line is that the possibility of this house for sale gives me hope. I'm not married to the idea. I'm just enjoying dreaming about it.
In the meantime, my poor neighbors sale is being prayed against. Poor things......feel free to join in and pray with me...wink,wink....

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Lizard of Boz

That's what my little crew called it, and they were determined to dress the parts. So, this momma stayed up until 3am the night before sewing her little heart out.

Selah really wanted to be Glenda cut wasn't comfortable with the 'witch' part. That's my girl. Instead she was the perfect, ummm... Dorafeet...
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The Tin Man was not interested in keeping the funnel on his head, or sitting still long enough to get a good photo
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The scarecrow, in copying his big brother, enjoyed throwing his hat off again, and again, and again....
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Their cousins, Anna and Samuel, blended in quite well as the Lion and a green version of Glenda? Well, she was Fiona from Shreck, but we pretended...
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We went to Mount Paran Church Of God that evening for their fall festival. The kids actually won part of the costume contest, which made this sewing momma happy. I was so shocked that it didn't occur to me that I should get a picture of them getting their gift cards to Toys R Us. Which, yes, means at some point I have to walk into that dreaded place to use it. Ugh...

So, yeah I guess many people would expect that I would ban Halloween costumes in my house, since I ban Santa, the Easter Bunny and the rest of their crew. Ironically I don't feel so strongly about this one. I think that we too quickly jump to calling things pagan and evil without looking at them closely to see if they are transformable. That kind of is a spin off of my belief that Missionaries should NOT change native traditions. So many things can be adapted to glorify God. Pagan rituals may be wrong, but to people groups who have never heard otherwise they are a way of life. Wouldn't Jesus USE that instead of crush it. Wouldn't he teach them that the tree itself is amazing and they can rejoice in it's existence and just shift the worship to the maker that they now know?
Anyway, I'll leave that be for now. Although it may sound wrong, I feel like banning Halloween with your kids can really backfire. I do want to research it and find lessons I can teach them about it, like I did with Santa Clause. But if you take too much away they will become resentful and just crave a freedom that is dangerous. Costumes are a huge part of childhood and their imaginations will dull soon enough. I want their hearts to feel the weight of their play. Don't you remember that? When you could make believe so passionately that it felt like all other reality melted away and the playing was all there was? I've enjoyed every minute of this Lizard of Boz phase, and I'll be sad to see it go