Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Haven't I Read This Before?

I just began reading Christy, by Catherine Marshall. I cannot believe I haven't read this phenomenal, all-engrossing book before now. If it weren't for the gobs of hours at work and the little boys crawling all over me, I would have it finished by now. Maybe I could get the area under my desk fixed up - just like George on "Seinfeld" - crawl under there and escape into the beautiful world of Cutter Gap.

Ah...Marshall's descriptions keep me glued to the pages. Her words flow like the water through those smoky mountains - free and clear. I am drawn into another world for a short, valued time. How I love to read!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Missing a Beautiful Lady

We traveled to Denver a few weeks ago to bury my Step mom, Lynne. She passed away after a year long bout with lung cancer. It's an understatement to say she was a trooper. She never complained, and lived each day as if it were her last. Not being able to play golf, toward the end of her battle, made her more upset than the illness. I believe I learned more about courage, endurance and beauty in the face of such overwhelming odds from Lynne.

She and my dad were married twenty-three years. I cherish all the memories I have of her. From helping me pick out my first prom dress, to helping place the Christmas ornaments on the tree each year - in just the right place. Although divorce is never easy on anyone, she always made us feel welcome and loved in their home. She embraced life, and through her example I believe I am a better person.

It was tough being home and having to lay her to rest and I don't think it truly hit me until I arrived at the house. I have had a great deal of time to think about all the ways she changed my life. As I sat listening to the preacher during the service, I continued to struggle with the fact that we were sitting at HER funeral. To this day, I struggle. But, in the Lynne fashion, we ended the service with one of her favorite and "requested" songs, "I Feel Good," by James Brown! She takes care of us even after she's gone.

The following day we laid her ashes in a beautiful nitch facing the Rocky Mountains. My dad released some doves and as always, one dove watched and waited for the others as they flew - just as Lynne has always done for us. But now it's Lynne's turn to fly. Seeing the doves was beautiful, dancing through the sky, as Lynne always loved to dance across the room. It just felt like Lynne. She was a beautiful person and will never be forgotten.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Smart Parenting From a Different Angle

Mary DeMuth, author of, "Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture," grew up in Seattle, but has lived as far away as Nice, France. DeMuth has seen many novels published including, "Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God," and "Building the Christian Family You never Had." DeMuth, wife and mother of three, spends her time writing books, periodicals, and poetry. The following is from a recent interview.

In a country where parenting books are published in droves, what perspective do you have to offer in your new book?

I don’t parent perfectly. But, we did live through two and half years in France, the hotbed of hyper-postmodernity. We had to learn how to parent our kids in that culture. It occurred to me that the things we learned would be helpful to American parents too.

What is the definition of postmoderism? Why do you believe parents should listen?

Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. According to several postmodern scholars, what we are shifting to is not yet fully defined.

Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. They are skeptical, and often question whether science is something to be embraced or feared.

The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

How can parents help prepare their children for the changes they will encounter in their futures?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story.
Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them.
Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children.
Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

You admit that parents need to apologize when they are in the wrong. Are you saying that authentic parents don't always have it together?

Yep! We are all frail, needy humans. If we present ourselves as perfect parents, never failing, always doing this correctly, we show our children we have no need of Jesus. We also set up a standard of perfection—that to be a Christian, one has to be perfect. This can lead to our children creating elaborate facades or hiding behind masks. I’d rather have my children see that even mommies make mistakes. Even mommies need Jesus every single day.

What do you mean when you talk about the twin values of engagement and purity?

Many parents subconsciously believe that true parenting means protection at any cost. We received a lot of flak for putting our children in French schools because the atmosphere there wasn’t exactly nurturing. Believe me, the decision was excruciating. But through it all, I realized that Jesus calls us all to be engaged in the culture we live in, yet not to be stained by it. That’s the beauty of engagement and purity.

Abraham understood this. After God told him to leave everything and venture to a new place, he obeyed: “From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the LORD and called on the name of the LORD” (Genesis 12:8). Oswald Chambers elaborates: “Bethel is the symbol of communion with God; Ai is the symbol of the world. Abraham pitched his tent between the two.” As parents journeying alongside our children through a postmodern world, this concept of pitching our tent between communion with God and engagement in the world should encourage us.

What about postmodernism do you have a problem with?

I happen to believe in absolute truth, so that’s a problem! But more than that, I worry that all our rambling about it, trying to discern what it is, has caused us to rely more heavily on our own intellectual pursuit of God than our heart. When I get caught up in that, I remind myself of my friend Jeanne’s son Jacob, whose heart after Jesus takes my breath away. Living with a brain injury, Jacob throws off pretense as he worships God, arms vaulted to the sky in unashamed heart worship. That’s the kind of believer I want to be. That’s the kind of heart I want. I love this verse: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For me, for my children, that’s my prayer, that we’d be simply and purely devoted to Jesus no matter what worldview we find ourselves in.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Join me tomorrow as I share an interview with Mary DeMuth, author of the new book, "Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture."

Visit Mary's helpful and fun website here.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

I'm Back!

It has been an interesting few months. I am now back at work for the first time in two years. My brain has moments of recognition but they are few and far between. Having children zapped a few of those brain cells - at least that's what I can blame it on.

We can now call ourselves the traveling circus. I work for a company that builds natural gas pipelines and we work all over the country. Right now, we are hanging around Louisiana for a while. It's always fun to see and discover new and interesting places. As long as there is a Starbucks in the driving vicinity I will survive.

I have been offered a few new "delicacies" down here in the South. However, my rule of thumb is: If you can't pronounce it - don't eat it. So far, I can't pronounce these words, so I grin and say, "no way!"

My kids have been crammed in our fifth wheel, bursting at the seams. The playground calls their name on a continual basis and we get over to it as often as we can.

I miss home, but I know it will be there when we return.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Today I headed over to my mom's and helped clean her house. We did a quick clean, but it's always wonderful to come home and relax in a clean house! Great motivation to have a Tackle it Tuesday!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Ouch! That's Hot

I'm HOT! I've been hot for over a month now. No, it's not menopause. It's Florida, plain and simple.

I am figuring out that although I like it here, I am a Colorado girl through and through. I love the snow, I love to ski, and I miss my Fall colors.

Lets find some positive attributes of living in the humid climate we call Florida:

  • Wearing shorts in the middle of winter does have its advantages. I can go out and get the mail in the middle of winter and shave 30 minutes off my time. The Colorado layering system will eventually make you sweat - no matter how cold it gets outside.
  • With the lack of ice down in these parts, the only time I will ever skid on the road is when I zip around the corner to get home in time to watch The Office. I try to keep all four wheels on the ground, but sometimes getting around that corner into our neighborhood is a little sharper than I would like it to be. The kids think it's fun though!
  • I can still ski, but it's on melted snow. I think they call them lakes down here.
  • I went up a hill the other day. It was above sea level. I think the sign at the top of the bridge read 15 feet. I felt a little lightheaded from the altitude, but I made it down and returned to my regular breathing where the air is thick.
  • My salt clumps up in the shaker, so I am forced to take the lid off. When the clumps fall in one spot it makes it handy for bigger bites.
  • We can ride our bikes around town to check out the Christmas lights. No - there's nothing good about that. It's just wrong.
  • I can wear a bathing suit at the beach. Guess what people? I'm not even going to wear one of the those in Colorado in the hottest part of the summer.
  • My hair finally stays in one place. The sweat helps clamp it to my forehead where I always thought it looked best.
  • And finally, we can have bugs as pets. They are much bigger and they don't eat a lot. It's a win-win situation.
Yes folks, living in Florida is wonderful.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Blog on With It

I used to pride myself on keeping up with technology. The latest gadgets, trends, and devices were all I could think about. Then I had kids.

Now I spend my days trying to figure out what the word blog means, and mocking my ever-so-professional Dad as he zooms to the nearest AT&T store to snag the latest iPhone. Telling me his place in line somehow equalled standing around waiting for rock concert tickets - something I never imagined him doing. He now scoffs at me for not knowing all about

As a writer I noticed all the other pen-to-paper friends were blogging, which led me to warm up my computing skills and get busy doing the same. There was a glitch...what is a blog? Could it be a new hair salon? Perhaps a new type of computer - just for writers. Once again, I found myself behind the times.

I found my way to the Internet and keyed in "blog." My jaw smacking the floor in surprise woke up my napping boys. I felt a bit overwhelmed. I remembered Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I wonder if Paul meant blogging when he scratched out those words on papyrus. I'm guessing they probably didn't have blogs back then.

Finally my blog came into being and I stared at the blank screen...wondering. What now? Discovery pulled me around the corner and showcased a never ending array of blogs to link to.
But alas! I found pictures and Bible verses to add to the site. How thrilling, but again troubling. "Which one should I pick?" I screamed aloud. Oops, I hear stirring in the other room. Better keep my voice to a minimum while I sort through the piles of choices. I'm sure if I wake the boys, they will be more than willing to pick some pictures to add to the site. Spiderman would be the first to arrive onscreen, and "shoot the web."

Well, as you read this post, I hope you can sort through the myriad of tags I chose to add to the site. Come back often and I am sure they will be different. I better finish my ramblings - we all know that technology moves so fast blogging will be out of style by the time I hit "publish post."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Oh, how I love to ski!

Flying Legs and Christ's Love

I have to admit, I love the fact that I have spent the past three years dodging flying toys, empty baby bottles, and the occasional body part whizzing centimeters from my head. After growing up in a houseful of girls, I learned with the birth of my first son John, that testosterone is an animal in and of itself.

Those tiny legs are power packed, especially when they miss the mark and nail me on the side of the head. After shaking off the dizziness, I regroup and help point John's five little piggies in the right direction - and away from my second ball of energy, Ethan. After all, isn't that what moms do best?

In between the bouts of energetic Olympics and Sesame Street, I try to get a bit of Jesus in there. Like many moms and dads, my husband and I have a deep desire to see our two boys grow up shining with the light of our Lord. It says in Deuteronomy 11:18-19, "Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

What does that mean? Does sending him to Sunday school to learn from the teacher count? Sure, but that's not enough. How about teaching him to say the blessing at every meal? Okay, that counts for something. But we must get the message from our lips to their hearts.

Like his mom, he has an insatiable love for chocolate. You can't blame the kid. He knows it's junk food. He calls it junk food, and he knows too much is a no-no.

One afternoon he asked his grandmother, Nana, for some of his leftover Easter bunny. Against her grandma-will, she said, "No, you're Mommy doesn't want you to eat any more today."

He then held out his hand and added, "Here, hold Jesus. He doesn't need to be in the kitchen." Moseying into the other room, John grabbed the Easter bunny and reveled in the decadent, "Mommy said no" dessert. He licked the last drop of melted chocolate off his hands (all under the interested and watchful eye of Nana) and headed back to the living room.

"Okay," the little sinner said, "I'll take Jesus back now," and he stretched out his palm and waited for the deposit from Nana.

It reminded me that Jesus wants to be there every moment. He's desperate for our relationships. Jesus is watching long past the blessing, and after Sunday school lets out for the week. He's even there when we are doing something we know is wrong.

We must share with our children that Jesus is there when we dip into the forbidden leftover Easter candy, and during the times of obedience. Even at the age of three, children need to have His words on their minds and in their hearts. It's our duty as parents to show them how to grow into a loving relationship with the One that made them. His greatest desire is to be with us at all times.

When the events of that day were relayed back to me I giggled. But I also realized that a three-year-old taught me a valuable lesson. Christ is to be the center of our lives. We can't push Him aside when His truths are inconvenient.

As the toys continue to whip past my head at a record speed, I pray that I will be able to keep Christ's words on the tablet of my children's heart.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Breckenridge, Colorado

A Reason to Write

There are days I plop in my desk chair and just stare aimlessly at the computer screen. I seem to be lost in a foggy, sleepless world. I forget words, lose my train of thought, and faithfully respond when I hear the couch, cookies, and a good book calling my name.

As writers, we crave to spill words out on paper, weave stories, and share our innermost thoughts with others. But it’s not always that easy especially when we have crying babies and dinner to get ready before the night is over.

With a one-year-old and a toddler life has changed. There aren’t too many nights I get to sleep all the way through or finish a hot meal. It’s tough to get my kids to nap at the same time, and distractions seem to come in droves. It’s especially hard to find the time to write. I love being a mother, and I feel - along with writing - it is what the Lord called me to do.

Just like missionaries are called thousands of miles away from home, we are called just down the hallway to our desks each day to put on paper what He fills our hearts with. When I sit down to write I start first with time for the One who gives me the passion to write. I let His words sink into my thoughts, and let a constant flow of prayers fall from my lips.

Shutting off the phone and the television, (putting a lock on the cookie jar), and concentrating on what I would like to get accomplished can lead to a productive writing time.

All throughout history, the Lord had people writing to get things accomplished, even in the most chaotic times. Paul spent time writing to the churches in Corinth, He gave David the ability to write poetry, and Mordecai was handed the power by King Xerxes to write an edict saving his people from destruction. All throughout the Bible God has given people a reason to write. Searching through each page of the Bible, I know that when something was written, it was ultimately for the Glory of God.

I try to remind myself that Paul was busy walking everywhere, David probably spent most of his time ruling the kingdom and I’m sure Mordecai stayed on his knees in prayer the majority of the day. When I am tired, I think of Paul and the others. When I spend time cleaning crayon off the walls, I brainstorm my next story or devotion. When I have a hard time sitting still in front of the computer, I try to remember what I believe I have been called to do.

It most likely won’t ever be as important as those in the Bible, but God did call me from the couch and laid it on my heart to place words on paper, even if they trickle out slower than a snail at times. He will make the words clearer, He will pull me out of the fog, and He will teach me how to write for five minutes at a time, between diapers and dinner.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.