Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My daughter- Odd??

One of my favorite movies is Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Belle didn't fit the mold of the community that she lived in. Belle was filled with dreams but the village people questioned her, thinking she was beautiful, but peculiar.
She goes home to questions her father to see if he thinks she is odd. He comes out from beneath his invention, with great googly eyed glasses on and questions, "My daughter, odd? Where would you get an idea like that?"

This morning I was reading from the book "Messy Spirituality," by Michael Yaconelli.

He refers to a story actually found in another book by Robert Fulghum called Uh-Oh. I will paraphrase it. It's about an elementary class that is performing the spring play Cinderella. The teacher distributes the parts to the students, making up various extra parts to include all the students. All except a boy named Norman. He still needed a part, so Norman declared he would like to be the pig. His teacher questioned, "Pig? There is no pig in Cinderella." "There is now," declared Norman. And Norman became a barking pig. Yep, barking. He followed Cinderella around throughout the play filled with emotion. Then danced with joy when the prince carried Cinderella off at the end.

Seemingly an insignificant story. How many teachers would be annoyed with a student wanting to do this? Yet at the curtain call, he received a standing ovation for his barking pig. Odd? Yes. But Norman refused to believe he had no place.

Yacolelli goes on to say, this is how Jesus was. He didn't fit into the Pharisee's script. The script they had written for the messiah didn't threaten their religion, break the rules, act so irresponsibly, disregard his reputation, or befriend riffraff. But Jesus reply was "This messiah does." Our churches aren't filled with exclusively beautiful Cinderellas. But dancing barking pigs who follow the real Cinderella wherever he goes. Filled with odd inspiring, an earthly assortment of Jesus' followers. Sameness is a disease.

Sameness is the cemetery where out distinctiveness is buried. In the sea of sameness, no one has an identity. But Christians do have an identity, We're aliens! We are the odd ones, the strange ones, the misfits, the outsiders, the incompatibles. Oddness is a gift from God and sits dormant until God's Spirit gives it life and shape. Oddness is the consequence of following the one who made us unique, different, and in his image!

I don't know if stand alone in feeling odd. Perhaps. But I think that often we feel isolated in our oddities. The world expects churches to and services to be perfect. Yet here where the grayness the world would like to to trap us, is where Jesus paints: bright, beautiful, odd colors.

It is not going to be easy to listen to God's call. Your insecurity, your self-doubt, and your great need for affirmation make you lose trust in your inner voice and run away from yourself. But you know that God speaks to you through your inner voice and that you will find joy and peace only if you follow it.
Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love

His Daughter- odd? You bet I am. But isn't this where Belle's story is found?

From one religious camp we're told that what God wants is obedience, or sacrifice, or adherence to the right doctrines or morality. Those are the answers offered by conservative churches. The more therapeutic churches suggest that no, God is after our contentment, or happiness, or self-actualization, or something else along those lines. He is concerned about all these things, of course, but they are not his primary concern. What he is after is us- our laughter, our dreams, our fears, our heart of hearts.
Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens Brown paper packages tied up with strings These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings These are a few of my favorite things Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes Silver white winters that melt into springs These are a few of my favorite things

Can't you see them dancing around in their green curtain dresses? Love that movie. So today as I sit here at, uh, alm
ost 4:00, in my jammies, I am having one of those moments. When suddenly I think, it's time for another list! Tis the season I guess.

My favorite things:

1. Jammies. Of course. And the grace offered by my husband as he comes home from lunch and sees me in them, again. And the gas guy who has seen me way too many times with scary hair and no makeup, and coffee breath.

2. Gus. Who by the way is gianormous now. He actually is not my favorite thing. Well sometimes, but not always. But it is actually his heart. He knows how I suffer when I go to the bottom of the laundry shoot. I love his willingness to want to help by chewing underwear into a spit ball.

3. Jr. Mints. Need I say more? ..Well, actually Josh really wants to go to Indiana Jones tonight. So you know what that means. Yep, Jr. Mints. It is the perfect combo: Jr. Mints, Cherry Coke, and Popcorn. Health freak. ((but without butter Ann!))

Community. Yah, sounds strange. Growing up alone as kinda an only child cause I was a "tag" along. Such a dumb term. Anyway, not until now do I really realize that I like people. Actually I really love them. Maybe cause there are so many around me that are so easy to love. Huh, and I have realized that God loves messy people. Which means me. So that's ok. Anyway, I'm rambling. But I love the friends that God has blessed me with.

5. Outdoors. Grass, trees, mountains. God is amazing.

6. Rides. I love them. I can't help but grin ear to ear like an eight year old. The as you fly by the blurry faces of those around you. I am getting excited just talking about it. Come on, who wants to go??

7. Loud Music. The louder, the crazier, the better. I really want to go to a music festival this year. We'll see.

8. Josh. Duh. I had to say him. (or I wouldn't get Jr. Mints!) I hate the way he calls me 15xs a day. But I'd be mad at him if he didn't . I hate the way he always has to be around me. Yah, I'd be mad at him if he didn't. I hate the way he is overly passionate and obsessive, but I love that about him. In a few weeks it'll be 10 years. Crazy. Dorky 19 year olds, what did we know? What did God know? I love him so much more now. I know.. mushy mushy.

9. Yah, I realize that this is a never ending list. I haven't even started with the kids! Like from out of the blue when they start playing the piano and I'm not forcing them to. Well, Ailah does a lot I guess. And playing video games with them and them letting me win. And Panera. How I have brainwashed them into believing it's their favorite place too. And expressions kids do are awesome, like Oli does an great horse face when he's mad. Josh calls him Escaledo. Why don't I focus this stuff instead of on glitter painted bedding??

Ok, I'll stop now or I never will. Have a great weekend everyone. Maybe I'll rent The Sound of Music.

ps: my font is going crazy... i don't know what' s wrong.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Ok, so i have made it clear that i don't like lists. And after i thought about it, i think it's really the obligation of a list that i don't like. if you don't have one, you can just kinda float through life.. hum. Yah, so there's my problem.

Second problem:
For the last month, at least, I have told my sweet husband to wake me up when he gets up, cause he's all disciplined and stuff. Did i mention that he has a great sense of humor? it goes something like:

"i think i'm going to run in the morning, will you wake me up?"

"sure.... do you want me to really wake you up? "
"huh... i donno, we'll see."

You guessed it. Not once. Not once. i can't do it. and i have to take the blame, cause he tries, he does. But it is just so hard. i am willing to leave my soft, warm cozy bed for a few things, really. but not running. -sidenote, i had an awesome dream the other night that toby mac was leading worship at church and john rueben was standing next to me worshiping. it was fun, well, maja thought it was cool anyway.

i hate running.

it is so bad. bad. bad. bad.
i know there are like a kabillion of you out there who are so awesome and amazing, and i think you have so many skills. And i realize that as you so beautifully run along that you may not be grinning cheek to cheek, that "supposedly" (although i haven't experienced that to actually witness it's truth) the reward is at the end. But how do you do it???!

i remember my freshman year. i spent way too much time dorking off in track. (i know... can't believe it.) but i have never mastered the mental game. All that comes across my mind every. single. step. is "this is not fun!! it really really stinks. this is not fun." kinda like a breathing pattern.

and i wouldn't really care all that much, except there is this part of me, the part that realizes i am not 14 anymore, *cough*, who kinda would like to figure this thingy out. Not to run marathons, or anything crazy like that. But to simply become a "disciplined" adult who can wake up in the mornings, put on my shoes, and at least walk out the door of my house. Even if i just go around the block!

Hey- i guess i have a real list t-

things that i am not good at and that are simply not good:

1. lists
2. running

i would like to say that tomorrow will be different. but, well, ask josh.

Monday, May 19, 2008


When we lived in the church we had a neighbor, everyone called him Dicky. Dicky and his wife had the biggest garden. It went along side the entire length of their drive to their big farm house. There to greet you were the dozens of kitties that Dicky loved. On summer days, you would find him zipping down our gravel road to water the flowers at the cemetery across the road.

Alwin was the best old guy. He lived down the road the other direction, his house even bigger than Dicky's. He would come into the bank grinning ear to ear, and I would say, "Alwin, how you doing?" And his response every single time was, "I'm still a kicking." Soon his age started to catch up with him, then it was, "I am still a kicking, but not so high!"

We moved a couple years ago. Alwin died a few years before. Dicky can no longer rides his moped. I just learned as I sat here, that another sweet neighbor is no longer here.

I know.. this is kinda a morbid post. We all grow old right? How do I forget daily though that someday real soon I am going to see Jesus face to face? That someday He will return or I will return to Him.

Quite frankly, I don't get everything about God. He is a big old mystery to me. And that's ok. And much of the time I don't "get" much about myself either. But I am so excited to see Him one day.

Somehow, I don't think the next thing on my list to gain will gain me anything. And the security in living in a safe country will gain me safety. The comfort of my bed will mean nothing to me when I am made aware of the bigger picture.

Somehow we have been robbed of an eternal perspective. I really want to keep on kicking like Alwin until I can't, be tomorrow or years from now, but I want to do so everyday gaining less, less of me. I want to know, really know the Lord. I want to be close to Him, in Africa, Texas, or here.

Anyhum. I guess that's all I was thinking today.

Monday, May 12, 2008


i know that there are people and other people out there who love "lists". but i. don't. get. them.

actually i totally stink at them. i can see the benefits, really. but they just don't normally work for me. i make the effort to make them, then spend the day trying to find them, probably buried in the toilet paper isle at wal-mart, sabotaged by a toddler.

really, i think i have rebelled against them through the years . i refuse to conform to the pattern of people in my life who live according to them. i call it "freedom" from lists.

except is there "freedom" in lists?? cause when you don't have to think about the things that you are constantly thinking about, then you are free to focus on things you really want to think about instead of stupid little nagging things that you shouldn't' t be wasting your time thinking about anyway that should be on a list. right?

anyways, i thought i would practice on all of you, my week in *list* form!!

1. this week marks the end of josh's inste. yipeee!!! he has wrapped up every little detail of his last project and it's all done- i am so proud of him!!! no more studying, after 5 year, i officially have him back!! now he can join me on thursday nights when i put the kids to bed at 7, eat lots of yummy chocolate, and watch lost. he.he. ((if i let him!!))

2. i can officially wipe the words, "i'm so tired, not so good at this prayer thingy.." from my memory- and the kids can too, i think they can pretty much do every line. the "drama" is over.. but the crying out to God thingy will go on forever!!
side note: hey, i did buy 2 new "red" suitcases this week for bulgaria!! (20 bucks at younkers, yeh!)

3. my baby is two! i don't know where the last 2 years went. i think i understand now why the baby is called the baby. can't she just stay here??- well at least for just a little while...

4. i am trying to do a garage sale. i thought about posting sign: buy my junk, all proceeds go to injections. but that doesn't really sound too good. injections that are scary, but legal- for missions..

5. the kids have finished their last lessons in school!! and yes, i am still being a dork about next year. why don't you just decide for me already???

6. i bought the book "making the cut" but jillian michaels. it scares me. she really scares me. i think she could beat me up really bad. there goes my gladiator dreams.... but did you see that am gladiator was back this week????.. and oh with good new stuffs...

7. i was so blessed by two testimonies last night of former youth kids. makes me remember what it's all about. that God is still so huge, and that He is passionate, and that He just completely amazes me.

8. there i did it. eight things, not so bad. number 8: have an awesome weekend. in our little dot on the map, it is beautiful. blessings to you. now i am going to officially get off this thingy...

Friday, May 9, 2008

the oldest.

Was i mad. it's one thing to be the one dishing it out, but to be completely fooled by an 8 year old.

I was just telling the youth on wed about my dad. Sometimes it's easier to box in his memory, but really I miss him, and can't wait, can't wait, till the day when I see him!! He was such a fun guy. One thing that has always been a bummer is that he was one of those grandpa guys that would have loved grandkids and never met them.

So yesterday our oldest, lets just call her Maja, for those of you who actually don't know me personally, which is none of you, it's pronounced my- uh. She approaches me with a postcard and calmly tells me that one of our friends droped it in the mailbox. I never questioned it. First of all, my child lie? And with the insaneness of May Day just behind us. ((a another story.. involving lot of blood!!)) But mostly just because this friend's child is on me every. single. time. I see her about getting our families together. Recently, just the night before.

So it read something like, "Hey guys, we would really like it if your fam
ily and ours could get together May 9th. Maybe the kids could spend the night and it would be great." Complete with addresses, forged writing, and all the details folks. She is good.

And why didn't I see it coming?

She pleads with me, "is it going to work mom?"
"Honey, it's ki
d's night out." (the best nights of the year!) "and her mommy has a race the next day." (crazy girl)
"so no."

So I call our "friends". Duh.
"Whatcha up to? What's your daughter doing?"
Yah, you guessed it. She had been occupied for hours, doing things a whole lot more constructive than "mine".
After arguing for way too long, it finally dawned on me. Me, the scammer, taught so skillfully by my father, had been scammed.

Simple, yet done so well.

So after a brief message on the father of all lies, I realized her grandpa would be proud.

And this morning on the fridge I found my apology:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bulgaria Update!

Seriously, it is getting so close!! We had a meeting a couple nights ago, leaving like only 2 before the trip!! We had such an awesome experience. A couple opened up their homes to our little mission trip family. It was so great. The wife was raised in Bulgaria. They hardly knew us, and yet welcomed wouldn't be a word to fully describe their hospitality. They told us that they would be making a few Bulgarian dishes for us to taste. In arriving, they had prepared like a kabillion course meal. They were really a blessing to us.

As we listened to their perspective of the Bulgarian culture, I realized that this is who they are. They drop everything, to serve and lavish what little they may have on others. Even through generations of oppression.

I realized that I know so very little. The couple had photos of an elderly monk with an incredible beard, he just looked like someone that you would want to sit at his side and listen to for hours. Except I can officially speak one word of Bulgarian.

But then I think of the past week. How blessed that I have been by those around me. You all don't look as cool as the monk, sorry. But really. I think that the community God has given us is such a representation of the relationship He intended with man. Kinda a crappy one at times, especially in my selfishness. God loves messy people doesn't He? Cause if He can at all in any way be glorified in this dorky messy girl, and in my weakness receive glory, then that just is bigger than I can get.

The days are growing closer, and I pray my heart is growing closer to Him. Cause I really have nothing to offer the faces of the people that we will touch. Except Him. Which is everything.