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Friday, December 29, 2006

Friday Feast #124

How do you usually celebrate on New Years Eve?
Typically my husband and I (if he’s not working), have a nice dinner together, watch a movie (or two if I’m still awake) and turn in well before midnight. Occasionally the ‘girls’ will wake up to fireworks and we will wake up to calm them and ‘kiss’ in the New Year.

Name one thing unexpected that happened to you in 2006.
It would have to be re-developing a relationship with my brother. We hadn’t really been in regular contact until a family crisis and since then we have spoken regularly and realized we have much in common in terms of beliefs and thought process. I decided I LIKE him!

Where was your favorite place you visited in 2006?
Honestly, we didn’t travel much in 2006 due to final year of Paul’s school, but when we went back to Albuquerque to visit we stopped at the ‘tourist spots’ along the way and I really enjoyed the Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo. It was artistic and a bit spiritual actually. I also enjoyed the big cross in Groom Texas. We had never stopped and we did and aside from the ‘tick invasion’ it was inspiring.

What resolution is your top priority in 2007?
I don’t ‘do’ resolutions but my TOP PRIORITY without question it is to work on writing a book and submit short stories and articles for publication. Get my writer’s feet wet!

Using Just 3 words, Describe 2006.
Cathartic, closure, overflowing

Have a fun Friday and safe New Years Weekend!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Would You Like Fries With That?

We’ve all heard it before… “Would you like to SUPERSIZE it?” It sounds so wonderful…much more for hardly anything. Supersize has a positive connotation as it relates to the dollar, though admittedly not health wise.

Downsizing on the other hand…not so much. You probably will never hear the person at the drive-thru offer to remove some of your fries or give you half a coke for less and say: “Would you like to DOWNSIZE that?” Downsizing seems to have a less positive meaning.

We have an “efficiency expert” visiting our office right now and she made it back to my little space yesterday afternoon. I knew in a heartbeat upon her arrival to me at 3:30 that I would be ‘working’ late. I clocked-out at 6:30 p.m. She will be making the downsizing recommendations…among other things.

I was very honest with her about my own desires and how they didn’t seem to match up with this position any longer. I gave her recommendations about this position’s future either with me…or without. She seemed surprised that I thought I would already be gone.

Frankly she also seemed a bit disorganized and somewhat abrupt so I waited for her leading on questions prior to giving extraneous information. In my own experience these efficiency experts are a bit ‘black and white’ and she was no exception. She was also taking calls from her ‘regular’ office and that didn’t help with the timeliness.

I think these types of positions are interesting. I also find it very interesting a manager wouldn’t come to the employees, who are more likely the experts about their own work and how to perform it. Not only does it show respect for the people in these positions, but it also gives a better idea of the level of commitment to the employer. The many employees I visit with have some wonderful suggestions for work flow improvement and improving the ‘bottom line’. Sadly most of these ‘suggestions’ will never make it beyond my door.

I’m not saying there isn’t room for an outsider to come and make suggestions, but it isn’t typically received well (by the employees and often the management as well) and often the recommendations don’t make ‘sense’ once implemented, or are just never implemented. This particular ‘expert’ is actually recommending she come in and ‘manage’ the office once a week…or so. I almost laughed out loud as I listened to her phone calls.

So now we’ve spent more money and still have no solutions…hmmm…doesn’t really make sense to me. Additionally, I’m sure her salary for part-time management would probably exceed the salaries of those employees that have been ‘downsized’

It also reminded me the many reasons I stepped OUT of management. I am no longer the person who wants to carry her ‘work’ with her every waking moment. My life is so much bigger than any job could hold and to stuff life full of 8-5 issues seems to be in direct opposition to why God created me.

It will be interesting to see what this person recommends and how it is received from the top down. It will be interesting to see how much the ‘lighter fries’ and ‘half-coke’ cost.

Just observations from the edge of this side of the world! Have a SUPERSIZED Thursday!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Moving On...

Yesterday when I got off work at 4:30 p.m. we were two, possibly three staff ‘lighter’, as the first of the downsizing cuts were made. As I’ve mentioned before I feel a whole lot of peace about the whole thing, but man it hurts to see my co-workers in such strife and uncertainty. I tried to encourage them as they ‘packed’ and remind them that their heavenly Father has something greater and that THIS was never their destiny…but it still hurts.

I’m pretty sure I’ll get my ‘pink slip’ after I complete the year end close on Thursday. I have an interview for Friday and while I haven’t heard directly from God about it…yet…it’s a start in the right direction. Now if I’ll just trust that God’s desire is that thing, the aching in the middle of my heart that screams to get out of the analytical and INTO the more artful. AND if I don’t just accept some ‘replacement’ job that is utterly spirit-strangling and hang tight for the job He is aligning…then it will be all GOOD!

I’ll close with these reminders:

“The end of wisdom is to dream high enough not to lose the dream in the seeking of it.”
William Faulkner

“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.”

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.”
Arthur C. Clarke

I hope you find beauty in your whole day!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Feeling's Mutual...

I obtained my degree in Microbiology and worked in that field for many years before I got bench ‘burnout’. My natural tendency is to refer back to those lessons as I view my own life and the lives or those people around me. These are my observations as I close the door on 2006 and look out the window towards 2007.

Symbiotic relationships are defined as an interspecific interaction in which one species, the symbiont, lives in or on another species, the host.

There are five established types of symbiotic relationships (depending on which field you examine):

Neutralism: Both organisms are unaffected.
Competition: Neither organism benefits.
Parasitism: One organism benefits and the other is harmed.
Commensalism: one organism benefits, the other is unaffected.
Mutualism: Both organism benefits.

I think part of my ‘issue’ with 2006 was the many parasitic, competitive, and sometimes neutral relationships I not only witnessed, but in which I played an active role. When I think about my natural tendency to disengage from others when in conflict or facing crises, I think of the neutralism that is so easy to try to defend as being open-minded, or easy-going. Yet we criticize openly the politician who does this as a “fence-straddler”. Neutralism kills in its inability to affect or be affected.

I think also of my own natural tendency to compete. I LOVE to compete…unfortunately I also HATE to lose, so competition may not be the best, most profitable relationship for me…or others. In the words of this lesson…neither species benefits. Competition kills in its overwhelming need to win.

I think of parasitism. You may not see this one and if you don’t it could be you are either a host or parasite yourself. You see, the parasite is taking what it needs at a real cost to the host. There are unfortunately many parasitic marriages, friendships, even…unfortunately….parents. Another key problem with parasitism is the host will eventually ‘die’ from the parasite relationship, and not even sense it coming until it’s too late. Parasitism kills in its ‘take-take-take’ mentality.

Commensalism may seem more ‘acceptable’ and I suppose to the extent that no life is taken in the relationship it is less costly, however; it still takes a toll. It’s much like the person who takes and takes and takes; either emotionally or physically or spiritually and rarely or never gives back. The other party may not be harmed (to the point of death), and may think they are unaffected, but I would submit that there is still a cost.

I’m praying for mass-mutualism is 2007. I think the bulk of my marriage is mutualistic (except when one of us, usually me, gets a bit selfish). I hope to improve current relationships and form new relationships that are mutualism at its best. They are benefiting both parties and that benefit is spread to others. I think that’s what Jesus desires from humans.

Here’s to abundance in blessings in 2007…and I hope and pray the feeling is mutual!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Grace Mist

How I wish I could say it was a beautiful wonderful holiday. How I wish I could pull stories and tales of the wonder of my niece and nephew as they opened their gifts or my sister seeing outside the pain of her own holiday torment. I wish I could say it was restful and relaxing and full of photo-ready moments.

All I can say is: I’m glad it’s over. Between one over-tired child, one self-focused teenager, one emotionally detached sister and father, one over-worked husband, completely under-recognized Jesus and then my grandmother having a stroke (or so they thought)…I’m just glad it’s over.

My sister rushed home by 10 a.m. to spend Christmas afternoon with her estranged husband…my parents rushed away by noon to drive five hours away to be by Grandma’s side…my husband had to work yet another holiday shift at his short-term job, and I’m sitting in front of a computer feeling such let-down.

I don’t think I can do it again. That must be why Christmas only comes once a year. I already told Paul I would prefer to go on a vacation next Christmas and just do it alone…just the two of us somewhere away…no presents, no muss, no fuss, just rest, sight-seeing and wrapped in love and joy.

Remember how we learn the life lesson not to have EXPECTATIONS or we’ll always be let down? That’s my problem. I have HUGE expectations about the beauty of this favorite holiday of mine. Unfortunately others don’t feel the way I do. Honestly, not much gives me more joy than to find that one perfect little something for each person I love. I love to see each person receive it with such surprise and joy.

That just isn’t what happened…

It has been a rough few days. I was talking to my wonderful husband and the best way I could describe it was akin to a balloon deflating. I’m sitting here calling on Jesus to let me feel that mist of Grace that overlays and erases the dust and debris of humanness. I’m hopeful for a new year and all the upcoming changes. I’m hopeful that with rest and renewal a new day will dawn and once again I’ll feel the joy of this season.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I love when Charlie Brown asks Lucy about the Spirit of Christmas...and I so often
thank God that HIS help doesn't even cost five cents....though it did cost a life!

Here is my spirit of Christmas ode:

Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the place
The people were hurrying and scurrying at a much quicker pace.

The drivers were crazy with speeds above fifty,
The lights were distracting, but oh so nifty!

The mall was too crowded to approach without meds
The noise was inducing the throbbing of heads!

The crafts they were started but lacking completion
Glue-gun burns abundant led to silvadene depletion.

The cookies were baked, frosted, and sent out,
They were once again received with a gleeful shout!

Wrapping and ribbon were strewn here and there,
The housework was lacking without even a care.

The presents must be wrapped and labeled today,
Only for ‘so long’ can we keep the ‘children’ at bay!

The lists were reviewed, while filling one more cart,
Another regret uttered about the late shopping start.

St. Nick may be lurking, so don’t pout or fuss,
He can see and hear better not cuss!

Today find a time to stop and just pray,
Only Jesus can bring true joy to our Christmas Day!

Find the meaning of the season in the middle of your heart,
Feel Jesus there and the spirit of Christmas will get a jump start!

If your heart is still empty, now is the time,
To seek His forgiveness and leave the sublime.

He’s been seeking you all of your days,
Let Him lead you from here and leave the worldly maze.

Have a wonderful, JESUS-FOCUSED Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Today my blog is 300 posts old! I can hardly believe it. There is some pressure to write something meaningful and thought provoking today, but I’ve never been one to succumb to pressure, so I’ll just give you 30 random questions/thoughts I have at any given moment…I could easily do 300 but that may be somewhat overwhelming.

1. What is desire?
2. Am I the person God wants me to be?
3. What am I taking from yesterday into tomorrow?
4. How am I leaving a positive mark here?
5. What is the purpose of the external ear?
6. Why is so much of the good from the past discarded so easily in the quest for more?
7. What is the purpose of a porcupine?
8. Is 50% of God’s creation just for entertainment value?
9. Why are no new Christmas Carols ever written?
10. Do people still Christmas Carol?
11. Why is it easier to celebrate a sports game than it is to celebrate God?
12. What would worship look like if we had no inhibitions?
13. Who am I?
14. Why Brussel Sprouts?
15. Why IS gas so expensive?
16. Why isn’t their an available alternate fuel source yet?
17. Why are we so apathetic about politics?
18. Why do we choose to ignore child abuse?
19. Why are their starving people in OUR country?
20. Do you hear what I hear?
21. How can people NOT believe in God and creation?
22. Why do we (Christians) allow government to strip away the roots of our country?
23. Would I die for my brother/sister?
24. Would I die for Christ?
25. Would I sing for money?
26. Would I go an entire month without speaking?
27. Is it a greater challenge to be deaf or blind?
28. Are there people without a sense of smell?
29. Isn’t it amazing God knows the actual number of grains of sand!
30. Do the angels sing anything contemporary?

I don’t know if I’ll be here for another 300 but this has been a ride I wouldn’t have missed for the world! Thanks for being here with me!

Have a Wednesday full of questions; both answered and unanswered!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We've Got Spirit, Yes We DO!

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."~ Calvin Coolidge ~ Former President of the United States

I read a bit about this President as I considered my own contribution this week. It is said that Coolidge was a man of few words and when he spoke it was without intonation or inflection. He was also extremely intelligent and wise in words and actions. I don’t know any specifics about when or where he said this, but I have created the story in my mind.

I imagine that he used it in a December address to the public perhaps even at the beginning of the Great Depression. I imagine, much like today, the public was feeling the brunt of inflation-recession cycles and perhaps residual uncertainty about the Dawes Plan in the midst of so much poverty nationally.

Many people have talked about (myself included) the ‘missing’ spirit of Christmas. Is the spirit really missing? Is the spirit misplaced even?

I think the spirit of Christmas is what we make it. If we carry AND cherish peace, goodwill and mercy, all things Christ has admonished, we will ALWAYS have the spirit of Christmas at our disposal to be offered generously.

You see, I’d agree with Coolidge. Christmas is NOT a time, nor a season. Though I would even go a step further and say it’s more than a state of mind…it’s a state of heart, a response to the very seed in our heart placed there when we saw the nativity for the first time as the birth of…not just a darling baby…but our very savior.

Have a spirit-filled Tuesday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Silver & Gold

“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold. A circle is long it has no end, that’s how long I want to be your friend.”

This song was on my mind as I reflected on how to put into words the graduation party. I remembered singing it but I didn’t remember where. Apparently (according to a Google search) it was from my tenure in Girl Scouts. I vaguely remember the circle song and hand-squeezing…but only vaguely.

The party was a true representation of the past 10 years. My incredible Mother and a Cousin came to church to decorate and spared no time or expense in the preparation of the décor and edibles. We had quite a spread and I realized again what wisdom comes with age, in terms of hosting these events.

I was busy decorating another room at church for the “baby shower” and they created absolute magic when I returned to check in on them. I will add the pictures later…but I wanted to create the atmosphere verbally first.

It was decked out in red and white (school colors of course) and thankfully quite convenient for a December graduation. My husband would say his school colors are Crimson and Cream…but suffice to say…it worked!

I was able to visit with my aunt and uncle for the first few moments as they arrived with my parents to prep the last of the food…just before guests arrived. My ‘oldest’ friend was also there early to help ‘host’ and greet. She stood in the foyer with me as we greeted in the friends and family.

…then they began to come.

Paul and his family came first. They had spent the morning together ‘site-seeing’ and visiting. We did the obligatory pictures with every member of family and then I headed back to the front.

It was a culmination of those moments in your life when you run into someone you haven’t seen in 6 months to many years…and then…there they are! Children have grown, jobs have changed, moves have occurred, and yet the sense that time has been standing still between visits, hangs in the air. It reminded me of that old game show where you hear the voice of someone from your past and you have to guess who they are and the next thing you know…you are standing in front of someone from years gone by.

Hugs were exchanged in multitude and my cheeks were aching from genuine smiles and laughter. I kept many of them too long in the foyer as we greeted each one prior to their entry into the party down the hall.

The reflections came…I remembered meeting each person (when, where and how) and I thought about what they brought (and continue to bring) to our lives during this part of our journey.

God has been so good to Paul and me with our ‘family’ of friends and with incredibly supportive genetic family as well!

I don’t remember my heart being so full of joy and love in quite some time. I joke about how I’m basically not an outgoing and social kind of person. Greeting is NOT one of my spiritual gifts. I can be pleasant and kind and loving…but standing at a door greeting people has never been my ‘thing’. So this was outside my comfort zone and done out of pure necessity.

Don’t tell anyone this…but I had fun. Perhaps it was because I knew each one of these people on some level. Perhaps it was because of the celebration itself and how full of pride my heart was for my beloved. Whatever the case, the greeting wasn't nearly as hard as I expected.

After what seemed an hour (though probably more likely a half an hour) I made my way to the back to visit some more and play my ‘hostess role’. We visited and laughed and I got to spend some more time with many of the guests.

We then had Paul open the gifts and cards and more laughter erupted as he opened his new ‘hobby’ gift from me and some of our best friends. They gave him golf clubs and several accessories for practicing and I got him “Golfing for Dummies”. I figured that’s exactly what he’d want as the ‘engineer’ in my husband comes out frequently in his quest to understand things fully.

Side note: When he started ‘dieting’ some time ago he bought and READ the “Dieting for Dummies” book so I knew he’d put this ‘potential hobby’ book to good use. I have read many of the “God for Dummies” and “No-Brainer's Guide to Christianity” books and they are both informative and entertaining.

It was an absolutely beautiful, wonderful, much anticipated celebration.

As we sit on the edge of this journey’s turning point, basking in the afterglow of the celebration and in the restful arms of God, we dangle our feet in anticipation (and with such certainty) of God’s rise from the place of rest and leading into the next leg of our journey!

Have an expectant Monday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


We’re just one presentation and one final away from the last of school days and ‘daze’. My dear husband has been attending school for the past 9 years of our relationship and the past 5 have been full time while working full time. He is such a trooper and I am so proud of his accomplishment. He will have a B.S. in Computer Engineering.

I don’t know exactly what it means other than it is NOT computer science or programming. It is about the hardware and leans heavily toward Electrical Engineering. It’s WAY out of my right-brain mode and beyond the scope of my left-brain understanding.

We are having a celebration on Saturday and many of his family are coming to celebrate with us. Some of his family, who had never visited us in OKC, will be here. It should be loads of fun and a great time just being together and visiting!

My mother and a cousin have taken on the decorations and ‘food’ for the graduation party, as I had volunteered to ‘co-host’ a baby shower that ended up being that same day…in the morning (Yes, I may have bitten off more than I can chew) AND I am also responsible for decorations at our work Christmas Party on Friday pm. Busy, busy, busy!

I’m feeling better and better about the ‘ending’ of this job and just feel such peace about God’s provision and protection of Paul and me. I am listening with all my heart to His words of comfort and assurance as well as His leading towards this new chapter!

I may not be around these next few days as I’ll have company in the ‘office’ at home and I’ll be very busy at work…so I’ll post Monday about my ‘survival’ and thrill of the weekend activities…with pictures of course!!!

I’ll leave you with these….

Top 10 Strangest Lego Creations. These people have WAY too much time on their hands too!

Here are some funny Church Bulletin Mistakes that always make me laugh:

Thursday night - Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.

Bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

The preacher will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth With Joy."

Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

The church is glad to have with us today as our guest minister the Rev. Shirley Green who has Mrs. Green with him. After the service, we request that all remain in the sanctuary for the Hanging of the Greens.

Thursday at 5:00 PM there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All ladies wishing to be "Little Mothers" will meet with the Pastor in his private study.

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

Don't let worry kill you -- let the church help.

Wednesday the ladies liturgy will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing "Put me in my little bed" accompanied by the pastor.

And finally some useless trivia about the USA!

California has issued 6 drivers licenses to people named "Jesus Christ."

In 1980, a Las Vegas hospital suspended workers for betting on when patients would die.

In Utah, it is illegal to swear in front of a dead person.

Salt Lake City, Utah has a law against carrying an unwrapped ukulele on the street.

It is illegal to hunt camels in the state of Arizona.

The amount of concrete used in the building of the Hoover Dam is equal to that of paving a 4-foot (1.2 m) wide footpath around the equator.

The first license plate on a car in the United States was issued in Denver, Colorado in 1908.

Austin, Texas has the highest percentage of college graduates, 31 percent. Newark, New Jersey has the lowest, 6 percent.

There is a town in Texas called "Ding Dong."

Rugby, North Dakota is the geographical center of North America.

It is illegal to get fish drunk in Oklahoma.

Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday.

No matter where you stand in Michigan, you are never more than 85 miles from a Great Lake.

In 1997, Michigan became the 16th state to allow the blind to hunt.

The official beverage of Ohio is tomato juice.

Have a restful Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I Want MORE!

People go to church for many different reasons:

1. Social Hour. (Yes, believe it or not!)
2. Friendship
3. Education
4. Singing songs
5. Get out of the house
6. Everyone else does it.
7. The mall doesn’t open till noon anyway
8. Meet with Jesus.
9. Pray
10. Experience God
11. To serve.
12. To Preach.
13. To teach.
14. Escape
15. …

That’s just a few off the top of my head…I’ve been for many of these reasons myself.

When I go to church these days (granted it’s not as often as I should)…I go for more! I go to experience the very real presence of God and to worship Him in a corporate setting. Honestly, I also go to be recharged for the week. Sort of like a ‘spirit jump-start’. I’m hoping to really encounter the Spirit of the Living God each week!

I am not a particularly social person, so I don’t go to visit or to make or meet friends. I’m just not made that way. But church is one of the places I go to communicate with God… with others or alone.

I’m sure it’s my traditional roots and the idealism I hold from days gone by…but there is at least ONE thing I love about those OLD church buildings on each city or town corner with the giant steeples and the stained glass doors and windows…they were always open (or so it seemed). You could go up to that magnificent door and pull on its heavy handle and enter a place of refuge. You enter the building silently as every step left its audible mark. You could find a calming, peaceful atmosphere. It was ornate and full of ‘awe’.

I’m searching for that ‘door’ these days. I’m searching for refuge…but the doors seemed closed, locked, chained and sometimes nailed shut! I know (based on my own experience) that I can find and commune with God anywhere, even the most unlikely of places (let your mind wander where it will). God is everywhere. Think of where Jesus went!

There is just something really special about those old church buildings. The giant pipes from the organ surround the cathedral ceiling all the way around. What is even more interesting is I am not truly a traditionalist. As a matter of fact I rather prefer the house churches that are trying to blossom regionally, over the traditional church setting. Yet when I walk into an old church…my heart stills a bit, my nerves ease, and I find myself in a truly Holy place.

Am I romanticizing something I want church to be? Yes, perhaps a bit. Am I missing something I only briefly touched the pulse of? Probably. Is my soul yearning for more? Absolutely! It’s no surprise that I’m experiencing these things in the midst of some pretty major changes in my life in the very near future. It is surprising to put into words where I find comfort, and what brings me peace; old churches (and chocolate of course)!

And so I sit here today, Tuesday, waiting, wondering and praying that God would lead each step, each word, my very heartbeat towards Him. That His step, His word, His heartbeat would be mine.

Have a synchronized Tuesday!

Monday, December 11, 2006

This Little Light of Mine...


In the midst of a Holiday that brings not only joy and celebration, comes also the fog of depression, empty spirit, and skewed or missing understanding of the ‘reason for the season’. Christmas is my favorite holiday, yet I’m finding it hard to find the emotional ‘ups’ so typically accompanied by December amidst the spirit crushers.

I started to reflect on the month so far and in the words of a famous actress who recently split from an abusive husband. When asked what she’s most glad about 2006, she responded without pause: “I’m just glad it’s almost over!”

You know you may not be responding the way you normally do when you get ‘flipped off’ in traffic and take is as a personal affront against your very being. Any other time of year I consider it a ‘challenge’, but this month when someone blatantly ‘flipped me off’ in traffic, I almost burst into tears.

I’ve mentioned before that joy is defined as “emotional stability’ and I think my joy may have gotten wrapped in a gift inadvertently. Somehow the word stability, as it relates to emotion, is a farce!

So…this morning as I try to focus on the birth of Christ and the angel bringing this message of hope to a few select individuals….I hear the tune of an old Sunday school favorite….

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Won’t let satan “phht” it out,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Won’t let satan ‘phht’ it out,
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine.

Hide it under a bush, oh no!
I’m gonna let it shine,
Hide it under a bush, OH NO!
I’m gonna let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine,
Let it shine!

I pray you have a well lit & JOY-FILLED Monday!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Tree Treasures

I love the idea of sharing our favorite & most memorable ornaments on the Christmas Tree. I have been anticipating this post for awhile.

I went to the tree last night to pick my favorites and I realized truly...I love them all. I have weeded down my ornaments over the past couple of years and only hang the ones I really want to hang. Ideally (and perhaps someday) I'd have a decorated tree in each room... large ones...and decorate each one uniquely. That way I could incorporate all styles I love.

I selected 10 favorite ornaments to include in this post.

#10 & #9 is the dragonfly and the beaded 'ring' behind it. I love the dragonfly and have just three of them randomly placed on branches. I have always loved dragonflies and these ornaments just remind me of the little creature. They were a gift from my mother. The 'ring' of beads was a gift from my nephew...I believe he was 6 or 7 when he made it. He actually made us two...the other is on the other side of the tree.

#8 & #7 are the pink rose and the "dream" glitter ornament. I got the dream ornament after ogling it at one of my favorite stores. It's made from antique hollywood glass glitter. I love it. I finally broke down and bought it with a gift certificate. The pink rose is actually broken on the back side. I picked it for my mother and had to buy her a new one. I still love the little 'delicate' rose and it clips on the branch. It reminds me of friendship and how fragile it is. It reminds me to cherish each friend.

#6 & #5 & #4 are the ornaments one of my best friends made us last year. They are snow royalty! I love, love, love them. They are truly precious little snowpeople. Next to the'll see the "wish" ornament which is another favorite of mine (I told you they were all favorites). I love WORDS (as if you didn't know) and ornaments are no exception. My packages almost ALL have word ornaments hanging from them. Words speak...sometimes better than I could.

Behind the snowMAN is a little bear with a 'topaz' in it. It's the first ornament my mother got me when I was a child, when she started purchasing each of us one ornament a year. That year it was an AVON Birthstone Bear ornament. I put it on my tree each year and remember the year or it's 'birth'.

#3 is the cross. I love what it says and what it represents. Enough said.

#2 is the plastic cup ornament that says: Rancho Snafu. The picture is not as clear as I would have liked. A coworker/friend made it for me in 1997. It is an actual Ranch another friend built in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was her retirement home. A group of them spent a portion of the summer of 1997 in Colorado building the environmentally friendly ranch.

The ornament is especially important to me for a couple of reasons. The girl who made the ornament always includes some 'holy' dirt from Chimayo. It's considered blessed by God and 'healing dirt'. I don't know about it's 'power' but it is something special to go and retrieve this dirt each year.

The second reason it is so important is the friend whose "ranch" it is, died of a recurrence of Breast Cancer 2 years ago. She was a very dear friend and co-worker before we both moved away from Albuquerque. She had passion for life and such fierce love for God.

She really taught me so much about marriage (before I wed) and the art of being a good wife. She taught me so many things, both work related and life related. While she'll always be in my heart and in my memories...I miss her wisdom and smiles and words. I look forward to seeing her in heaven.

I hadn't seen her since she retired in 1998 and moved to this ranch. She was able to live in it for several years and enjoy many a grandchild visit prior to her return to heaven. This ornament will always hang on my long as I live. very favorite ornament (though it doesn't hang on the tree, at least that I'm aware of....) is this hunky husband o' mine! You already know all the reasons why he's the best 'ornament' in my life. He lights me up like the brightest Christmas Tree and adorns my life with love that shines bright all the way to Heaven!

Have a Friday that is Merry & Bright!

and get over to Morning Glory's place for more of thse Christmas Tree Treasures.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Friend!





Everybody help me wish HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our friend Tammy! Go on over there and give her a ‘Happy Birthday’ shout-out today!

Here is a Birthday Quote (or three):

”Live as you will have wished to have lived when you are dying.” Christian Furchtegott Gellert:

“May you live all the days of your life.” Jonathan Swift

“Your life is a gift from the creator. Your gift back to the creator is what you did with your life.” Billy Mills

where you can find out a little bit of what was happening on this date in other years…more than just “the day that will live in infamy”.

I hope you have a fantastic day of celebrating the day of your creation. Celebrate your birth and celebrate the Creator for marking this date especially for YOU! This is the day God breathed life into you and said… “This is MY creation! This is the definition of bliss!”

Happy Happy Birthday Tammy! May God bless you with the best year of your life, starting with today! To health, love, joy, peace, prosperity and overflowing blessings coming and going!

And don’t forget tomorrow (12/08/06), over at Morning Glory's place, is the Christmas Tree Treasures. So get over there first thing and … well in her words….

“The idea is to post photos, as many as you want, of the special ornaments that you hang on your tree each year. Share with us why they are special to you. Maybe they are family heirlooms, things your children made you or you had as a child, or special theme collections -- whatever it is that you put on your tree that brings you pleasure each year as you decorate it. Maybe it's the tree topper.”

Blessings on this Thursday!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Am I Irrelevant?

Several months ago my mother said something that has been lying dormant in the ‘lessons learned’ neurons until today.

We were driving along talking about a church she was a member of (at that time) and had been actively involved in for over 2 years. She said: “I feel like what I say doesn’t matter, like I’m not heard because I’m over 60.”

I remember thinking, “How sad to feel like you’re not heard.” If only I knew how truly important this lesson would become in a few months time.

Today I was reading a ‘submission guidelines’ for an e-zine I have considered submitting writing to and it had some information about targeted demographic (20 year olds) and I immediately felt like “I’m too old to be relevant.” And I heard it in my mother’s voice…

I also thought about marketing I’ve seen in the past few years that specifically spoke to and targeted 20-30 year olds. These types of things always incense me. First of all, if that is your lone target market…find out the demographic you’re delivering this information to and skip the homes of the 40, 50, 60 + year olds so we don’t waste our precious (and apparently limited) time on earth reading your unrelated information.

The second and more bothersome truth is the further division of an already severed generational gap. The more each generation tries to separate themselves and identify themselves outside the bigger picture, the less we can relate to one another and learn from one another.

I think of the way the Bible is written and the older men and women were called to teach the younger men and women. I think of the picture of a mentoring relationship and the value in this type of relationship. I think of my own recent feelings of missing leadership and discipleship, without an older woman to communicate with and learn from.

It scares me to think of the cost to our younger generations as they attempt to maneuver through life unarmed with the knowledge, and more importantly, the wisdom available by a generation 10-30 + years their senior. It scares me to think of my own misdirection without the presence of an elder leader.

I wonder if all the energy we expend trying to delineate ourselves and find what makes us different would be better spent in finding unification and using the differences to enhance the overall mosaic.

A quilt of one fabric is just a blanket. A quilt of many fabrics; old, new, colorful, drab, ripped and repaired, is a historical treasure and a real beauty!

Celebrate your elders today! Celebrate the WHOLE picture and have a glorious Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Foolish Fullness

"One response was given by the innkeeper when Mary and Joseph wanted to find a room where the Child could be born. The innkeeper was not hostile; he was not opposed to them, but his inn was crowded; his hands were full; his mind was preoccupied. This is the answer that millions are giving today. Like a Bethlehem innkeeper, they cannot find room for Christ. All the accommodations in their hearts are already taken up by other crowding interests. Their response is not atheism. It is not defiance. It is preoccupation and the feeling of being able to get on reasonably well without Christianity."
~ Billy Graham ~

“Jesus?” I called. “Where are you Jesus?” I was feeling really lonely and had some questions for my Lord and Savior.

I heard much of the regular beating of my heart, along with the buzz of the Christmas activity. I heard the anger of harried shoppers and the pain of many a customer. I heard the rush of my husband’s final school days and the cries of a sister torn in two. I heard my parents doting on this pained sister. I heard my brother applauding my own ‘seeming’ stability during this family upheaval.

I heard the radio blaring another Christmas tune and the lights blinking as I made my way home. I heard the television droning on with yet another commercial counting down the shopping days remaining. I heard the phone ringing and ringing as I chose to ignore it in my search for my Lord.

Somewhere in the distance I heard a familiar voice. I heard the comfort and the love that embodies grace and mercy in speech. I heard love louder and louder as I began my escape to its resonance.

I closed the doors to the center of my heart to stifle some of the noise as I ventured beyond the safety of the rhythm I had grown comfortable and accustomed to each day. I followed the twisting, turning, cavernous space listening for more of the comfort I heard only a decibel of earlier.

The closer I came to the doorway OUT, the stronger I heard the voice…louder and louder with each step.

“I am here. I am right here.” He called.

There at the doorway of escape from my heart was my Lord Jesus.

“Why are you all the way over here, Lord?” I asked with uncertainty.

“You put me here, my child. You chose the shopping, the lights, the music, your job, your decision making, even emotions to be the center of your life.” He answered honestly. How sad is the day when my heart is so overcrowded, Jesus must be forced to the stables…the outer court of my heart, and I don't even realize it.

“Please Lord, Please…come home! Forgive me and come back to the center of my heart, where only YOU belong. Help me see when the light begins to fade and the darkness prevails. Help keep me from getting lost in the deceiving lure of the world.” I pleaded with Him.

The Lord then took my hand and we walked together back to this place. I listened, as we walked, to what He had to say. I listened as He reminded me to renew myself daily with His word, His truth, His love. I listened and cleaned as we walked. The road somehow seemed longer on the way back to the center.

I discarded the music and television. I unplugged the phone. I prayed with Him at the places my family resides and held a little tighter to the hand leading me onward.

Eventually we made our way back to a newly refreshed and newly FILLED heart core. The Lord reminded me to seek Him daily, first thing…to look for Him there in the center and hold Him there in the center…each day.

I breathed a bit easier and more assured as I faced the day before me.
Today I pray that my foolish fullness would remind me daily how easy it is to push the Lord out to the ‘stables’, even when I think He’s in the center. I pray I would always hear His voice over the others. I pray I would seek and know Him more daily. I pray He would so pierce my heart and grow so large that the only way out is through my mouth and onto others.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Snow Daze

Thursday, Friday and Saturday felt like this picture.

The snow and ice are gone (at least off the roads). We left work at noon on Thursday in the midst of it all. Then I stayed home Friday figuring there would be no accounting emergencies.

It was a productive weekend at least. I got 90% of the Christmas cards written AND mailed…WITH the snowflake stamps. Have I told you lately how much I despise boring stamps? I also got all the out of town gifts made/bought/wrapped, packages mailed, with hubbies help of course. I got a birthday gift mailed. I got the house cleaned for incoming graduation family and friends. I got the laundry done (EGAD). I got the church ‘semi-decorated’ with what we had and again with hubbies help. And I attended a baby shower on Sunday afternoon (it was a rough one, #3 of 6), then took mom shopping for a few things.

I woke up exhausted but essentially ready to come in to work and ‘account’ for awhile. I also made a few decisions this weekend. I decided I have been sitting too idly for too long. Yes, a part of it was out of necessity as my husband completed his degree. That time has come. On the heels of his anticipated acceptance of a position (here locally), I have decided it’s time to take a hold of my own destiny.

I have to just let go of this dead-end job that is completely void of meaning for my life. I also have to breathe some life into my own ‘spirit-woman’. She has been choking for air for months now. I still believe they are directly related. I am uncertain if I will just take temporary positions (outside my current field) or seriously hunt for a position in my preferred field and work my way up from wherever I land initially.

I’ve also decided I need to be around some Christian people who will disciple me. I can’t do this self-discipling…it’s just not happening. I don’t know how all of this will play out…but life is in for some changes very, very soon and I’m looking forward to it…for the most part.

I have so much in my head but I’m finding words elusive. I’ll pray, ponder, meditate and hopefully find the answers I seek.

Let the games begin! Happy Melting Monday…

oh and do you remember these guys and their songs?

Snow Miser
I'm Mister White Christmas
I'm Mister Snow
I'm Mister Icicle
I'm Mister Ten Below
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch
I'm too much!

He's Mister White Christmas
He's Mister Snow
Snow Miser
That's right!

He's Mister Icicle
He's Mister Ten Below
Snow Miser
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch

He's too much!
Snow Miser
I never want to know a day
That's over forty degrees
I'd rather have it thirty,Twenty, ten, five and let it freeeeEEEEEEeeze!

He's Mister White Christmas
He's Mister Snow
Snow Miser
That's right!

He's Mister Icicle
He's Mister Ten Below
Snow Miser
Friends call me Snow Miser,
Whatever I touch
Turns to snow in my clutch...too much.

Too Much!

Heat Miser
I'm Mister Green Christmas
I'm Mister Sun
I'm Mister Heat Blister
I'm Mister Hundred and One

They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!

[Chorus]He's Mister Green Christmas
He's Mister Sun
He's Mister Heat Blister
He's Mister Hundred and One

[Heat Miser]They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch

[Chorus]He's too much!

[Heat Miser]Thank you!
I never want to see a day
That's under sixty degrees
I'd rather have it eighty,
Ninety, one hundred degrees!

(spoken):Oh, some like it hot, but I like it really hot! Hee hee!

[Chorus]He's Mister Green Christmas
He's Mister Sun

[Heat Miser]Sing it!

[Chorus]He's Mister Heat Blister
He's Mister Hundred and One

[Heat Miser]They call me Heat Miser,
What ever I touch
Starts to melt in my clutch
I'm too much!

[All]Too Much!

I am already counting the days til summer!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

God and Gravy

We all know about “gravy” it’s the good stuff that sits atop the good stuff…making it even better. It can also be used to conceal something less good and make it more appealing and tasty.

Gravy also flows and moves freely. It cannot be contained. If it is poured onto a plate it spreads to all perimeters. It is half liquid, half solid. It is smooth (if prepared carefully). Gravy is an ‘add-on’. You don’t have to have gravy to eat potatoes…it just makes them better. I’ve even heard stories from my mother about some chocolate gravy her mother used to make for pancakes! Yummy!

Why all this talk about gravy and what’s God got to do with it?

Let me elaborate…it’s a gift really!

You see I was sitting here at work this morning…listening to the ice pellets hit my window and beginning to get a bit unnerved and worried about my foolish commute in to work on such a weather-challenged day. Ice-snow-ice-snow…not my two favorite words in the dictionary!

So I’m stressed…what do I do…I pray! I pray and ask God for a safe commute and for an early release home and for the weather to improve and for all those things I W*A*N*T!

Then I thought of something I heard on “Bruce Almighty”. I may be praying for the snow to stop…and somewhere, someone is thanking God for the snow and ice (though I have NO idea why)…and asking for more of it. So if God says yes to me…then He’s saying “NO” to them.

Still no gravy….

I’m getting there…patience….

I was reminded that God doesn’t just want our prayer requests in NEED. He desires the ‘gravy’ too. He wants the good stuff. He wants to hear praise and prayers of thanksgiving amid the gravy. After all He provides everything for us…shouldn’t He be given the biggest bowl of gravy in the bunch…including but not limited to, Chocolate gravy?

God reminds me today to pray without ceasing. He reminds me to give thanks and to offer praise to Him every day, in everything! I’m working on it…now…when will this ice storm end?

Have a day of snowman building and safe driving!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I’ve done a bit of a ‘clean-up’ in my blogroll out of necessity and ‘difference of truth’. It’s a good, healthy way for me to find freedom to write not only what I’m ‘chewing on’ but also what God asks me to write.

One in particular regularly had me walking on eggshells. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, until she dropped me from her blogroll and that freed me to do the same. It was as though a weight was lifted from my keyboard.

Please know that if I have found my way onto your blogroll and you no longer feel what you read here is ‘truth’ or even slightly entertaining I will not be hurt to be removed from your blogroll (not that you NEED my approval…). Trust me when I say…it feels good to clean up what sometimes feels overwhelming.

What’s ironic about the whole thing is the first time I jumped over to a site (one I still love and continue to read covertly) and found I had been ‘dumped’ from her blogroll…I was so hurt and incensed. I couldn’t imagine what I had done (said) to be banished! Can you say “EGO”? Yes my ego was bruised. That in turn had me questioning why I was writing what I was writing…am I just seeking approval or validation.

All it took was a reminder from God that I am not called to sit on a fence (and a few moments of a pity party for 1). Journaling is one of the ways I seek and find truth. Once the word is written…or typed…it becomes a part of my journey. The blogger that had dumped me continually stated hers is not a religious blog, or any type of ‘platform’ blog…it is entertainment and a ‘mommy-blog’. I think we were just on different planes. I still go there and read about the antics occasionally and it’s glaringly obvious that our roads split somewhere months ago.

I think as my own space has ‘evolved’ I have found room to share what’s spilling out of my heart…good, bad, ugly…and every once in awhile…true beauty. I can’t take the credit. If it’s good it’s from and FOR God. I write because He speaks and breaths and lives within me. And when it’s bad…it’s just my flesh breathing a bit too loudly. And you know what…that’s okay too!

Have a dust-free Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Missing Zoë

"God has delivered us, He has parted waters for us, He has made water gush forth from rocks and sent us our own manna from heaven. He has brought us into our own Promised Land. Will I miss the opportunity to tell the story to our children?"

Almost every week I look at these quotes with an uncertainty that I have anything to offer and if I do, I fear it will be a bit too raw for such a public journal. This week is no different. In fact, this week I was drawn only to the last sentence as the previous lines became blurred words.

If I were honest I would admit that it makes me angry to see so many missed opportunities parents have with their children. If I were honest I would tell you my heart breaks in two when I see a child ignored; either directly or indirectly.

My family sometimes reminds me that I am not allowed to have a voice about parenting children, because it’s a skill developed and I have yet to experience the joys and struggles of parenting. You may agree. I believe that learned skills are important, though I don’t think they’re the most vital part of parenting. I believe the things God placed in us are the most vital things…and these are the things I hope to share with my own children…or with yours.

If I were honest I would tell you I miss the child with which I could share any story. I miss the daughter I would name Zoë, or the son named Eric. I miss the laughter, the hugs, even the tears. I miss the stories at bedtime. How can my heart miss what I’ve never known?

Today I will wipe my eyes. I will lift my head and my heart. I will trust God’s plan for my life. I will hear his voice. I will remember the stories. I will share them when God asks me to. I will remember them for His children.

Monday, November 27, 2006

It's All About Meme!!!

Thanks to Morning Glory for this fun Memes! I’ve been Meme-free for several weeks and figured it was a perfect transition back into the ‘deep thoughts’ that are a bit lacking following a weekend of food, family and of course mega-shopping and Christmas explosion!

So without further adieu:

Holiday Time Meme

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate of course!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
He wraps them though sometimes he also hides them and forgets where he hid them until later in the year.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored lights on the house, white on the tree (pre-lit to prevent frustration).

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No, it’s never been a part of my Christmas. I’m not opposed to kisses, just don’t need prompting to get them from the person I want them from!

5. When do you put up your decorations?
I put them up the weekend after Thanksgiving. I prefer to put them up on Thanksgiving evening/night, but this year they went up on Saturday as my husband was unavailable to do the ‘attic hunt’ until then. I have attic-phobia.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Probably broccoli casserole or ham. Because we have a large, traditional Thanksgiving dinner, several years ago we started a Christmas tradition of having ‘our favorites’. Everyone submits a favorite snack or food item to mom and either brings it to the Christmas gathering or she prepares it. We have sort of an Hors D’oeuvre meal that we snack on all day. We have ham roll-ups, meatballs, scalloped potatoes, chipped beef dip in hollowed out bread of choice… I much prefer this to a formal dinner. I would prefer to go out to dinner than see anyone stress over prep and clean up and that will be my own tradition one day.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
I think mine would be my brother and sister and I figuring out new and less conspicuous ways to ‘unwrap’ gifts and also trying to keep from ‘spilling’ about our crime until well after Christmas.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Santa has, and always will be a huge part of Christmas. The truth I learned is that even when the gift from Santa is missing, the spirit is present. Jesus is the reason for Christmas…Santa is the spirit of Christmas giving.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
We used to open one gift (parental choice) on Christmas Eve. Invariably it was pajamas…which as a child were a bit disappointing…but as an adult we have opened all gifts on Christmas morning…early!

10. What kind of decorations are on your Christmas Tree?
I have a collection of annual ornaments my mother has given each of us since we were children. I also have sparkly, bright words and some randomly collected ornaments from travels. I typically buy an ornament on a trip as well as each place we have lived. We have a mix of many different types of ornaments. Perhaps I’ll post a Christmas tree picture when the tree is lit up at night.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Dread it with all my heart. The only redeeming thing about winter for me is Christmas. I am a SUMMER girl. I wouldn’t mind snow if it came just at Christmas and then left by the time I had to get back on the roads…or if I were retired and didn’t have to go anywhere on ice or snow-packed roads. As we all shout: “It’s not ME I’m worried about…it’s all those other drivers!”

12. Can you ice skate?
Spending a few years of my early childhood (ages 5,6,7) in Alaska EVERYONE learned to ice skate. Our backyard was a skating rink throughout the winter. Our playground at school was an ice rink throughout most of the year and everyone took their skates to school daily. Yes, I can ice skate. I haven’t been in several years, but after a few times around the rink, it all starts to come back to me.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
I think my favorite gift memory is probably the year I got my bright yellow bike with the yellow banana seat and handles with the fringe on them. I loved that bike! And it was SUCH a huge surprise.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Being with family and the incredible joy I find in my search for the perfect gift for loved ones. I also love ‘creating’ things with my hands and gifts that are created by others.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Layer Dessert; the crust, cream cheese, chocolate, whipped cream…and 2-3(?) other layers of delicious-ness.

16 What is your favorite holiday tradition?
My favorite recent tradition (for the past 4 years) is “Cookie Saturday” where my husband and I go out to a small town just north of here and make cookies with two of our dearest friends. We spend the day baking, frosting photographing, and tasting our creations. Each year we each bring a new cookie cutter…or more...(My friend bought 10 new ones this year...EGAD!) and deciding which cookies are worthy of ‘gifting’.

The first year the guys only got to frost the broken ones…but we’ve eased up a bit since then. Last year we did Eiffel towers, Fleur de lis, snowpeople, little people, snowflakes, little dresses and miscellaneous other cookies and…well here is a picture of some of them.

17. What tops your tree?
I actually bought a new tree topper this year. We used to have a white tree (does anyone remember the real ‘flocked’ trees), it had a fiber optic Santa atop (not so much my style) the whole tree began to yellow so last year my husband bought a new green tree and it needed a new topper. Now we have a simple, gold (albeit sparkly) star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Giving…love, love, love giving! My favorite thing is to search and find the perfect gift for each person!

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
I think probably either “All I want for Christmas is you” (Vince Vance and the Valiants… or Mariah Carey), and “Santa Baby” (Eartha Kitt), and “I’ll be home for Christmas” (Bing of course)…and many, many others.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yummy?
Yucky…unless used to flavor coffee, or in chocolate bark.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Today on my drive in to work I saw, for the first time, the many trees on my route. There are so many trees. There is at least one tree in every yard I passed, many yards have several trees. There are big trees, little trees, sparse trees (it is fall after all), full and lush trees (go figure?). There are evergreens of many species. There are dead and dying trees and hardy, healthy trees. There are baby trees popping up that were seeded naturally. There are maturing trees being planted in entrances to neighborhoods. There are just so many trees.

God began to review with me the many trees. I thought about the places I’d visited and lived in my life and the various trees you will find that represent that region. I thought of the beautifully ‘sad’ weeping willows of the Deep South (one of my favorite trees). I thought of the cottonwood trees with their annoying seeds (at least when they fall in your yard). I thought of the ‘mighty oak’ trees that live so long and represent strength. I thought about the aspens of Colorado that offer a colorful show each fall. There are just so many trees around us.

While I’m no tree-scientist though I did take botany in college and learned the importance of trees in our existence and not just for their beauty. I thought about how God used trees from the very beginning of creation.

It’s amazing how fast the mind can work. All these thoughts occurred within a 10 minute drive to work. Imagine if I were living in L.A. and the commute were much longer, though I imagine my thoughts would probably be less civil while sitting in that horrendous traffic.

“Where does all this tree-talk head?” You may wonder.

Aside from the reminder that this weekend my all-time favorite tree goes up with as many lights and adornments it can hold on it’s little branches…for me it was also a redirection from a thought process that was headed to an abyss. I am still healing from last week’s pain; and God, in His infinite wisdom and love, pulled my mind from the darkness it was headed and back to His creation, His hand, His love!

Thank God for the realization that I’m covered and protected…I’m surrounded by trees.

Remember to appreciate the natural beauties God offers us each day and have a day among treetops!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

His Ways Are NOT My Ways

"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you
may not understand at the time."

~ Oswald Chambers~

When I think of deliberate confidence I begin to picture the overwhelming and overcoming spirit that dwells within me and drives me…when I’m at my very best. I also think of and remember how at odds my spirit and flesh seemed to be just a few short years ago.

It was 1995. I had been laid off of a job that had lost its appeal and the lay off was a golden opportunity for me. This was my opportunity to leave behind a city that had stolen a large chunk of my soul…A city that was literally killing me.

I didn’t even know where I was moving to, until about 3 weeks prior to the cross country journey. It was to be a launching pad for my future career…or so I thought. I moved to Albuquerque (before I could spell the name) with such certain anticipation for my future in Art Therapy.

It was February 17th, 1995, when I arrived in Albuquerque, and it was over 80 degrees. I was wearing a sweater as my friend and I had traveled from a much cooler climate in Baltimore.

I peeled off the layers and began to unpack in my little loft apartment. I spent the weekend with my travel friend…my best friend, until he had to return to Baltimore and his own life. I found a job fairly quickly and began the process of enrolling in a local college for some required coursework prior to my graduate courses.

I soon made the discovery that my coveted Art Therapy program was to be suspended at UNM and I was questioning why God would move me all this way for nothing.

The answer became apparent only weeks later when I met my future husband, the very love of my life and fullness of my heart. Mind you…marriage was the farthest thing from my mind. I didn’t have such a good track record in the ‘love’ department and had ‘given up’ on the whole prospect for my career focus.

We were married about 3 years later. I wouldn’t say it was ‘love at first sight’ but we were together almost every single day from that initial meeting till the day we said our marriage vows. It was a love that grew and grew until it became a synchronized heartbeat of three; him, me and God.

I have since never doubted, that the girl that left Baltimore, certain she was never to wed, even more certain she was destined to be a successful Art Therapist, was actually a girl, God was preparing to become a bride. To find that ‘soul completion’ He had created just for me, in my husband.

Every once in a while when I begin to doubt a path He has me on…I think of this period of my life. I think of the richness I dwell in, in marriage. I think of the richness God has already blessed me with and desires to bless me with even more. I have a DELIBERATE CONFIDENCE in the character of GOD and that is the very seed of my faith that is my life in Him.

Have a confident Tuesday!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Disenchanting Driscoll

I’m so disgusted with Mark Driscoll for his recent post and CLARIFICATION post. It just reminds me how incredibly easy it is to become pious in a position of authority and leadership over others. I was also reminded of the Pharisees and their obvious ‘personal agenda serving’ religiousness. You see, Driscoll actually states he had no idea what his readership consisted of and that his platform was intended to be his self-selected group of younger pastors that he mentors. He has also made it so you may not respond on his blog unless you are one of these selected MEN to which he speaks. That speaks volumes to me and I will leave his future books shelved in bookstores for the audience he prefers (and apparently writes for) as well.

The good that came of it, for me, is the continual reminder that I am to seek the source…in Scripture, prayer, and meditation to find the truth about a real LEADER…the only leader that matters. It reminds me how Jesus’ life was about servant hood and how all too often this seems lost among current religious leaders.

It’s one thing to hold a conviction about something; good or bad. It’s another thing, and frankly an art form, to be able to verbalize truth without personal agendas prevailing.

This past week has been one long lesson about forgiveness and while I’m ‘not there yet’, I am hopeful that my words would not mislead or discourage while I seek to understand truth.

Have a truth-revealing Monday!

Thursday, November 16, 2006



‘Hard days are hard. Even on the worst, if I really try, I can find some reason to feel grateful, some small miracle to help me make it through. Here is my growing list of the reasons. Feel free to add yours.’

From Lauren via DYM and to help once again refocus…I am ‘copying’.

Here are my REASONS to be grateful today:

Searching for the perfect Christmas gift. Hugs from children that always say “I love you to the moon and back”. Love of parents. A smile in traffic. A favorite song playing at work. A date night with my darling husband. An upcoming birthday to remind me that God created me just the way I am…for such a time as this. New wisdom gained through experience. Talents and abilities; known and unknown. Paul’s graduation only 3 ½ weeks away. Celebrating with friends and family this incredible accomplishment. Having my husband home in the evenings. Seeing my sister smile. The day after Thanksgiving sales and subsequent ‘tales’ of shopping victories. Ribbons, paper and all embellishments. Annual Christmas Cookie Saturday with friends and new homemade aprons. Sleeping in late on a cold winter’s day. Getting to chat with friends and family on the phone or in person. Walking the dogs in our neighborhood. The ‘artist’ reborn through 30-Faces challenge in November. The memories drawing faces evokes. Sensing I’m at the turning point of something very big…from God. Thought provoking questions; asked and answered. Weight lost and NOT re-found. Holiday peppermint coffee available again at the grocery store. A coupon for money off grocery staples...even coffee. A good box of hair dye. Puffs when you have a cold or need to cry. A job with freedom to write and breathe. A church with friends. A tenacious spirit. A heart full of Jesus.

Have a Thursday with many REASONS to be grateful!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Moment Please...

Lately I’ve been pondering the art of waiting. And it IS an art form. We are all waiting at one time or another. I’m waiting in line at a store. I’m waiting at a traffic light. I’m waiting for a report at work. I’m waiting for a phone call. I’m waiting for the weekend. I’m waiting for Paul’s graduation. I’m waiting for healing. I’m waiting to adopt a child. I’m waiting for an answer from God. I’m waiting for everything to make sense.

Oh, I guess this is where I should point out…waiting…not a strength for me. It does NOT come easy. I’m waiting for it to become easy. Yes, I’m joking.

What I’m BEGINNING to learn is that the actual waiting…the time between the starting point and the finish line, is called life, and that’s where I’m supposed to spend my time. The ‘mini’ waiting tests that occur along the way are really tools to teach me how to live life. My focus is once again skewed as I try to rush through the week without having actually lived my best in those days between Saturdays.

My life does not BEGIN when the waiting ends…that is when life is over. I think about the creation of the Universe. God took 6 days to create the Universe. He did it with a specific order. He WAITED to create man (and woman) until the rest of creation was complete. I believe He wanted it to be PERFECT for man (and woman). I believe God has order and a TIME for everything. Waiting is the meaning of creation after all.

Imagine a world where we didn’t have to wait. I thought about the many friends and people I know who are waiting the nine + months it takes to have a child. Now imagine the moment you THINK of a child…‘POOF’…a baby appears. As wonderful as that may sound to some certain 9 ½ month pregnant woman…it would be a living NIGHTMARE. You don’t have the room ready. There are no tiny clothes on tiny hangers. There are no diapers, for crying out loud! You have no food, no milk yet, you are NOT ready.

I began to see some merit and value in waiting. I thought about the waiting for a wedding. I thought also about the waiting for a divorce. I guess we must have learned at some point that a ‘waiting period’ is a good thing. It helps bring calm and peace and slows down the inertia that comes with emotion.

Today as I’m waiting…for something…I will try to recall this lesson and remember that life is found ON the journey…not at the destination.

On the Verge
By: kpjara





Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All For Him

"No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best... when in all gifts we find Him, then in Him we shall find all things."~ George MacDonald~

At first I thought… “I can’t think of one applicable story reflecting this quote in my own life…”

God laughed out loud. I could actually hear the deep, resounding laughter from heaven as He pushed ‘rewind and play’ on the heavenly DVR/DVD. Before my entire history was replayed…I grabbed a hold of one that is fairly recent and absolutely speaks to this truth.

I was attending a ‘start-up’ church, my first of that genre (at that time). A start-up church presents an interesting dichotomy. There is enormous NEED for ministry and servants and enormous OPPORTUNITY to serve in different capacities. There is a desire and passion sparked by the newness…which ignites many servant to find their ‘niche’.

I was one of those ‘servants’.

I began to take on many different service opportunities, all in the good name of ‘gifting’ and service. I cleaned, painted, organized, administrated, encouraged, taught, worked the nursery, trained, etc. I was a ‘machine’! I did more and more and more and more. I wrote for the church newsletter. I was developing a social service referral book for congregants. Any new ministry that popped up…I was all about trying it on for size. After all I had tons of gifts.

It never occurred to me what I was doing was out of God’s will. I actually believed I was doing all this for the good of the church…therefore the good of God. I began getting hints from God that I was no longer in His will. I was acting on my own arrogance and pride. My gifts were only serving me.

The seed of bitterness began to take root and I began to resent all the “work” I was doing for this church.

“God, do something…make them see how much work I have done for YOU!” I cried to God.

God said nothing.

Friends began to tell me I was taking on too much. I was trying to do everything and that wasn’t helping anyone. I was acting out of compulsion and it was no longer pleasing to God.

When I realized how much I resented making coffee and folding the bulletins one week, it was as though a light went on. I stepped back…I dropped all of my service activities but the one that I felt passion about. I repented to God and asked that God would lead me each week in the artistic displays I continued to do. The weeks I prayed and asked for God’s hand at my gift were the weeks it came together without a hitch. The weeks I tried to do it ‘on my own’…were dismal failures. They were hard to prepare, to display, and rarely noticed.

God reminds me daily that my gifts must be rooted in Him or they are nothing but weeds strangling the vine that need to be pruned and cut away. The gifts from God must be nurtured and led by Him and then they become something wonderful FOR HIM! They bless God and I see the doors swing open for the blessings He brings back to me.

We recently began attending another start-up church and it is a weekly struggle not to take on ‘too much’ as I endeavor to meet a need, but stay in line with the gifts God wants me to use. I have had to drop things; sometimes for a season, other times permanently. I have to trust that God has already put into someone the very gift that we lack and until we pray and wait for this person…this gift, God cannot move.

My prayer is that I will seek to find Him daily in ALL THINGS and I will recognize God for every gift He chooses to place with me and also hear when He gifts another.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Healing Scars

I just want to thank all of you for your prayers and words of encouragement and much needed reminders of a ‘hopeful’ outcome rather than tragedy and its subsequent path.

I still have been unable to call my sister because I’m still struggling to release all the anger to God. Not ironically, at church as we continue in a deep and meaningful series of Jonah. We got to the part where God puts a tree for shade for Jonah and then creates the worm to destroy the same tree. Jonah is angry and wants to die! I stopped there and thought about the many Scriptures in the N.T. that remind me to endure through hardship, and to encourage my ‘sisters’ and help bring them into light, from darkness. The reminders to get my focus off ME and on HIM.

I also thought of my own marriage vows… “to love…in plenty and in want…” Clearly my sister is going through a time of want. Will I love her through it?

I spoke to my niece last night and as I suspected she’s struggling to process this living nightmare. She is an artist, and that comes with experienced pain and angst (even at 16 y.o.). She is a gifted poet and is so full of mercy is almost frightening.

I listened to her and asked a few questions and she shared. I thought better of any advice giving…just listening…that’s all that is required of me as I hear her heart. Then I offered a few words of encouragement, a reminder that a new day WILL dawn. A new tomorrow will hold hope and renewal. Her mom will be home this week and they will begin to repair the severing of trust that a child maintains in their parents.

I’m so proud of her and her ability to process her own emotions and encourage her brother to do the same. Her brother, who is far too young to really know what happened (thank GOD), only wants an assuredness that Mommy will return by tomorrow and his world will be on ‘forward’ again.

My sister’s husband continues to ‘pretend’ nothing is wrong. He has never been able to show or deal with emotions. I picture in my mind a pressure cooker that has been left unattended for far too long and it is preparing to BLOW…. He has displayed this same behavior through the entire marriage. I initially thought it brought some balance to the marriage, now I see it is absolute denial.

On the way to work this morning God spoke through a new song…for me. I had never heard it. It’s “I Know” by Seventh Day Slumber. How fitting are these lyrics…

Wonder what can be so bad
That it makes you want to die
I wonder what could be so tragic
Makes you want to take your life
You have your Savior on the cross
While you sit on the throne
Put yourself up on that cross
Put your Savior on the throne.

And I know it’s hard to take what’s happening
And I know life is tough sometimes
And I know it seems like there’s no hope for you
And I know your life is worth more than you can see

It’s hard to see beyond your pain
When you feel so dead inside
It’s hard to see what you’ve been given
It’s hard to find the hope in life

And I know it’s hard to take what’s happening
And I know life is tough sometimes
And I know it seems like there’s no hope for you
And I know your life is worth more than you can see

And I say look at Jesus’ hands
Those scars are there for you
You know He understands
What you’re going through

Remember the scars today and have a blemish free Monday!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trying to Make Sense of It All...

I got a call last night on the way home from a friends…it was my mother…it was late. My mother doesn’t call late, so I knew something was ‘up’. Here is how it went…

“Kim, I wanted to let you know your sister tried to kill herself on Thursday evening.”

“She WHAT?” I asked, not really believing what I heard.

“She took an overdose of Zol%ft and tried to kill herself.” She repeated.

“Where is she? How did you find out? Is she okay? Where are the kids?” It all seemed to ramble from my numb mind.

My mom went on to give me the now meaningless details. I quickly explained to my husband, got into bed, told him I didn’t want to pray, and laid there thinking and just getting angrier and angrier.

My sister experienced a suicide of one of her best friends this past year, whose husband had died of an overdose not 3 months prior. They leave behind a son who is now in therapy and attending a ‘special school’ because he can’t cope with such loss…what person could, not to mention a 16-17 y.o. young person! She has seen what it has done to the remaining family and we have talked about the ‘survivors’ grief and subsequent tribulations.

Yet somehow this was the best ‘answer’ for her marital woes. I honestly don’t understand that. I don’t understand (and probably never will) how someone would risk the well being and health of their own children because they are having marital trouble. As much as I love my husband (and I love him FIERCELY), my life is not defined BY HIM. My life would continue if he broke our marital vows…either via forgiveness or dissolution of the marriage. And we don’t have children who look to us for support and love!

I just have a hard time imagining getting to a place of no return. A place where no other thought, except “I must die to escape” comes to mind.

Her 16 y.o. daughter has already pondered if it is her fault. I don’t know how her 10 y.o. son is coping. Her husband is acting as if nothing is wrong. I sit here this morning remember my sister telling me that she “would rather die than live without (enter husband’s name)”. I asked her, even then, about the kids…and she told me then (apparently without believing it) that she wouldn’t put her children through that. I wonder if I should have intervened then…if I don’t actually hold some blame here.

The truth is…who is to blame doesn't matter. It’s not about blame. My sister made her own choice under the influence of the enemy. God is a God of life. Christ DIED for us to live! This decision comes straight from the depths of hell. I am angriest at satan for his pitiful pleas to us daily to ‘come play paddycake’. For anyone who happens upon this and wonders…does satan really exist…I will affirm loudly YES!!!!!!!!!!!

The story is too long to process here…but I am so angry and my mom made it clear she doesn’t want me calling my sister until I can move to the next phase of this process. I promised I wouldn’t call until I could calm down. I have only this left to say.

There are 5 stages of grief, according to researcher Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. I am angry. This is my journal. This is my story. I am angry!

Please have a pray-full Sunday and thank you in advance for prayers for my sister and her family. And PLEASE...if you are considering suicide as a means to 'solve your problems' get help! Call a hotline, a friend, a pastor, go to a church, or even a hospital. And remember NOTHING is too big for God!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Labile Labels

I don’t ‘get it’. I don’t understand the many labels of Christianity. That’s not entirely true. I understand there ARE millions of labels for denomination, affiliation, worship, etc. What I don’t understand is the absolute loss of cohesion and unity in this effort to focus on the differences for names sake.

I was recently reading something about the ‘missional church’ and how new visitors are sometimes expecting a contemporary church and find something much different at a missional church. I got to thinking about what it all means. As of 1980, according to one researcher, there are over 20,000 different Christian denominations.

I read the “Bible for Dummies’ some time ago and it stated within 3 years of Jesus’ death and resurrection, there were already over 900 different ‘cults’ (the book used this word to identify separation from Jesus’ original message as taught by the disciples) solely because of misunderstanding what was taught.

I had a pastor preach about gifts once and I think it could actually have a more global application. His catchphrase was: “Same goal, different roles.” Maybe that’s it. Maybe we remain so inwardly focused on our role individually or our role as a church, that we lose the universal and Biblical GOAL as focus.

There are a few (and by a few I mean thousands) of words that could seem a bit more ‘role focus’ than ‘goal focus’ when it comes to sharing Christ with others. Some of these words are so misunderstood they shouldn’t be used. These include, but are most certainly not limited to:

Abba Abrahamic Absolution Advent Agape Amen Anagogy Animism Annunciation Anabaptist Antibaptist Antichrist Babel Baptism Beget Blasphemy Canon Catechism Celibrant Chalice CHRISTIAN Communion Decalog Deist Dogma Ecclesiology Emerging Church Evangelical Fundamentalist Gentile Gnosticism Gospel Illuminati Inclusivism Koinonia Liberal Christianity Liturgy Logos Mainstream Manicheanism Mennonites Naturalism Neo-orthodoxy New Covenant Theology Occult The 3-O’s Opus Dei (except from DaVinci Code) Pantheon Parousia Parthenogenesis Pentecost Pluralism Polemics Polytheist Post Modern Post Millennialism Quaker Rapture Rationalism Religion Rhema Sacraments Sanctification Secular Theist Transfiguration Unitarian Voluntarism Worship Yahweh Zealots… found here…

Trust me when I say; there are very few new Christians or non-Christians who would tolerate the use of these words without clear understanding. What’s the point of adopting a ‘theology’ without understanding what you’re adopting? I didn’t express an interest to learn more, until I understood what was being said.

Do you know the origin of your particular denomination? Do you know the theology of your church, or your pastor? Do they align? Do you know the beliefs of the person you sit by in church…or any of the people in your church? How much does it matter?

I sense a real need for unity and have for some time. For some reason, what I’ve read lately really has me wondering if it’s possible, and if I’ll see it in my lifetime. In the spirit of Thomas…I doubt it.

Just pondering…on this leg of my journey.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

CONSUMED: 'Welcome to Babel!'

*WARNING: This is my opinion and could be found to be somewhat offensive. Read at your own risk….you may want to close your left brain for a moment as Pandora's box is vented. Please comment appropriately.

I have read and reread some recent comments about my patronage to Wal-Mart and while I don’t feel any pressure to justify myself…I have done a deeper search of the claims against this giant; largely because the dissenters are people I respect and admire (from what I read and ‘see’ of them).

I understand the allegations of ethical compromise or complete lack of ethics, and I understand the ‘sweatshop’ allegations as well. I understand the sexual discrimination charges. I understand the support of homosexuals via advertising and market focus. I understand the questionable magazine covers and music sales. I understand the concern about some pharmaceuticals. I understand the boycott initiative and this. I even understand the extreme abuse of international and national employees all in the name of low-cost and the mighty dollar.

All I can think to say is: Welcome to AMERICA….welcome to RELIGIOUS America. I like to call her “Babel”!

In America the goal is to meet the demands of the public…at a cost. We are a society based on free-enterprise and capitalism. We will sacrifice our very mother’s name for the mighty, mighty dollar…let’s call him Buck, shall we?

Buck decides who goes where. Buck decides where we shop and how much we buy. Buck controls the vacation destination. Buck has been dieting…he may even be bulimic and he’s getting thinner every year. Buck is also highly coveted.

So what’s the problem? Well it seems Buck has been offending the church some; more specifically the AFA. I believe a part of Buck’s offensive behavior is his own elusive nature as he thins. The AFA would have me believe that Buck and Jesus are best friends and Jesus decides where Buck goes.

Here’s MY truth. My truth is the possibility that the allegations of sweatshop conditions and employee abuse could be more government related…than Wal-Mart related.

My truth is that sexual discrimination resulted in a class action lawsuit because Wal-Mart is HUGE…I have worked and am NOW working in an environment where this exists daily.

My truth is…I refuse to discriminate against homosexuality because it’s P.C. My (well-researched) truth is the Scripture used to defend the arguments against homosexuality is not translated correctly (and I’m sure that’s God’s doing).

My truth is these magazines, music, and movies are all a part of our country. WE (I) choose whether to pick them up and purchase them or look through them…Wal-Mart shouldn’t have to baby-sit me because I’m weak willed. My truth is I refuse to endorse censorship at the cost of my freedom.

My truth is…I would rather live in a world of questionable pharmaceuticals, than a world full of unwanted and extremely abused children. My truth is…I have chosen a country where I have more free-choices than almost anywhere else. Why would I now want to limit those choices through regulation and law that will inevitably hurt more than help?

My truth is if I boycott Wal-Mart…I will have to boycott every grocery store available in my region. Target has faced similar charges. Buy 4 Less is barely surviving amidst the scandals of the late 80’s and early 90’s. The smaller markets each have been bombarded with various allegations as well, about product safety and cost.

None of us should be surprised when a business grows and it results in the ‘exposure’ of some unsavory activity. It’s much like the search for an actor or actress or POLITICIAN who hasn’t compromised his/her own values and ethics in the name of entertainment and …and maintained success and appeal. Why do you think we have public polls of popularity? Trust me…you put anything or ANYONE under a microscope…you will find flaws!

Is that right? No! Does that change it? No! Does bringing down the fist of righteousness change it? Sorry…no. I have already been told I can’t possibly love Jesus because of my political affiliation…a label…a ‘loose’ label.

What’s a girl to do? I have to face my Creator one day. I won’t have an attorney present. I won’t have a hand to hold. I will stand before God and be held accountable for the things I have done…and not done in my life. If Wal-Mart and my ‘truths’ are my ultimate demise, so be it.

To God be the glory!

Have a reflective Wednesday.