To Read on the Journey

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Million Yeses

For as long as I can remember I envied other children who were loved in every way by their parents.
For as long as I can remember I wanted that too.

And for as long as I can remember I've thought, "they have something I don't have," and asked, "why don't I?"

Over the years I've come up with about a million reasons why they do and I don't.

I now know those thoughts were from the devil,  and for a million reasons I wish I would've "shut him the hell up" back then.

But I didn't.  

Soon, I started looking at, well, just about everything through a blurry lens of "they have what I don't," and "why don't I have that too?"
 
They have good parents. Why don't I?
They have nice houses. Why don't I?
They have the stylish clothes. Why don't I?
They have popularity.  Why don't I?

This is how it went when I was younger, and the only thing that has changed over the years is that there have been more "they haves" and more "why don't I's" added.

They have money.  Why don't I?
They have health. Why don't I?
They have ability.  Why don't I?
They HAVE HAVE HAVE!  WHY DON'T I?!!

The real issue was... no, is,  that I have been ticked off at God, for, from my {blurry} perspective, showing them favor and withholding it from me.

"Ticked off"  is actually the nice way of putting it.  Truth is, of the million reasons I came up with as to why good things were withheld from me, about 900,000 of those reasons were because of God.
 
Recently, I heard a song that speaks what feels like a million truths into this area.
It's another Sara Groves song- Open My Hands.

Before you listen to it (Oh, and I hope you don't skip that part, and that you do... especially if you've had blurry vision, too) Sara shared the following in an interview regarding the inspiration of the song.

From Psalm 84:11
"the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless."

Sir Richard Baker comments, "but how is this true when God often withholds riches, and honors, and health of body from men though they walk ever so uprightly?  We may therefore know that riches and honors and bodily strength are none of God's good things, and the good things of God are chiefly; peace of conscience, joy in the holy Spirit, fruition of God's presence, and a vision of His face in the next.  These good things God never withholds from the godly. 

"riches and honor and strength of body are none of God's good things"

My vision has been so distorted as to what "good things" are.

Now listen

     

 "I am nodding my head and emphatic yes to all that You have for me."  

I am nodding my head a million yeses!

A million yeses to God's good things; to peace, and joy in the Spirit, to present God, to the promise of one day being fully with Him.

Oh, His good things are the best things.

 Live in Peace,





Saturday, April 5, 2014

Remember that time...

Wednesday morning my mother-in-love Instagram'd a photo of Bass Lake covered in 4.1 inches of snow... 

I blame her for what happened next.

The wheels in my mind got to turning...'What if??'
I called my m.i.l. to check on the road conditions in Bass Lake (30 miles away). I told her, (a former president of a local school board), what I was considering. Her response was "do it!"

That was just the nudge I needed.  
I shouted to Josie, "We're going to the snow!"  
My lone-homeschooler was ecstatic. 
She and I loaded the back of the car with the snow clothes and sled, making sure they were out-of-sight. Then we hopped in our Outlook and headed toward Noah and Emilie's high school.
Once there we donned our most serious faces (Smiley Josie had a difficult time with this), walked into the school office, and signed Noah and Emilie out for the remainder of the day for "personal reasons."
A few moments later a concerned Noah and Emilie met us in the courtyard with their backpacks slung over their shoulders. 
Emilie expressed her worry, while Noah asked, "Mommy, what's going on?"
With a non-emotional tone I responded, "I can't talk about it right now," then proceeded to walk to the car.
A little further down the road they implored me to tell them what was happening.  I kept my eyes on the road, remained straight faced, and calmly replied, "I can't talk about it right now."
I drove a little further.
Their imaginations were running wild.  I could feel their anxiety rising...
 and that's when I broke and exploded,
"We're taking a snow day!  
We're going to Bass Lake to play, 
and then 
to The Forks for lunch! 


(The Forks is a seasonal hot spot at the lake, which had just opened the weekend before)

They both sighed with relief and then shouted with excitement!!
And that moment...
it was
 Priceless.



 

Just look at them!
So happy. 



Oh how I  LOVE them!

 Only God could love them more. 
At the end of our time, just before returning home to the piles of laundry waiting for me, and before the kids returned home to a bit of extra homework, we chatted about how this was a very good day; a needed day. 

We went on about how this day will go down as one of our "remember that time..." stories. {love}
This mama is glad to add another to our history book.  

And it goes without saying, that the kids are really glad Nana posted her snow covered Bass Lake IG pic. :)
 


 Live in Peace,
 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

And I can't afford it, but it's mine (savoring)

In it I expressed that these lyrics had caused me to replace worry and comparison with the question what is mine that I can't afford?   
The answer too much.   

I've been thinking that documenting my 
"And I can't afford it, but it's mine" 
moments should be a regular occurrence here at Victory Rd., 
because these are moments I want to fix in my mind.

Michael reaches over, kisses me, tells me again "I'm so glad that you're my wife."

And this miracle of a marriage- I can't afford it, but it's mine.   

Noah reaches over and strokes the back of my neck as I drive.  He gives me the look.  It's been a while.  A long teenager while.  I savor it.

And being cherished by my son- I can't afford it, but it's mine.

I've got 2 hours to get dinner made and the house tidied before our "small groupies" arrive.  Josie joins me in the kitchen to make cookies for my guests.  She bakes in a sing-song voice, floating around the kitchen as she preps.

And the way she refreshes me with her joy- I can't afford it, but it's mine.

After dinner we celebrate the birthday of a small groupie by speaking words of blessing to Megan. I watch her face as truth and delight is spoken.  My heart filled with gladness as I watched her hear and embrace who she is.  The Spirit revealed to me how the Lord is OVERJOYED when we embrace His blessing spoken to us. 

And living blessed- I can't afford it, but it's mine.   

Receiving sweet texts from Emilie while she was away over the weekend for a school activity. She invites me into the details of her life through texting.

And her friendship- I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

We discover a bill that should have been wrapped into our mortgage has not been paid for.  We owe a good bit.  But I don't freak out!  I recall what I've learned- "nothing has permission to take my God-given security from me."

And this peace- I can't afford it, but it's mine.  
Coffee with a friend.  We share our painful, fragile, never should have been.  It's messy but safe because we share the same merciful God.  And He fills the questions and the ache with Himself through each other.  He makes beauty from our ashes.
 

And God- I can't afford Him, but He is mine!

 
Tell me, 
What are your
"And I can't afford it, but it's mine" 
moments from this week? 


 Live in Peace,
 


 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Winter Vacay

I don't know whose idea it was to take a week vacation from school in February, but to whoever you are, I LOVE YOU!

We took FULL advantage of our time together last week and ventured off to Newport Beach, where we stayed with Jones family friends at their lovely beach house.

Waking up and being greeted by this view each morning was a treat,
but the real gift was the hospitality and rich conversations shared with our hosts, Dean, Barb, and their family.  They are a people that are generous with their lives. 

We packed a lot into our 5 days in So Cal.
 We enjoyed delicious worship with Michael's Uncle Jack at the Bridge in Rancho Santa Margarita.
 I'm still chewing on the message, which was EXACTLY what my heart needed.  I was also SURPRISED when I realized that I was at the church with fellow blogger, Julie, from "Joy's Hope!"

After church, Michael's grandmother and aunt joined us, and we headed down to beautiful Dana Point, where we enjoyed brunch together.  We're so grateful to have gotten to spend some time with family we love but don't see as often as we'd like.

On Monday we met up with my Melanie and her family.
 Our friendship dates all the way back to 1990.  What made our bit of time together so refreshing is that we can just be together.  I adore her.

For Christmas 2012 we received tickets to Disneyland (Thanks Gramps & Nana).
 We thought we'd avoid the Presidents weekend crowds by visiting the mouse on Tuesday... boy were we wrong! The park was packed.  On the plus side, we ran into a handful of folks from our neck of the woods.
I think they were excited.

So here's something funny about us (I say funny, you might say cruel)
When our kids were little we told them the mouse at Disneyland's name was Marvin.
We even sang to the tune of the Mickey Mouse song "M. A. R. Are you coming to see me. V. I. N.  N' bring a friend.  M. O. U. S. E."
We figured that because our children were being raised by us they'd absolutely be in need of counseling, so we thought we'd go ahead and provide them with some good material!  We also had them believing their Nana's name was Cinderella, and that Cindy was her nickname (The girls are still devastated that her name is actually Cynthia). 

We headed home Wednesday, but not before stopping for "Snunch" (snack/lunch) at Ruby's on Balboa Pier.
Those fries dipped in that Oreo Cookie Malt helped ease my leaving the beach blues.

So did a stop at Ikea,  a.k.a.- "Disneyland for Mommy."
 Thursday we were all tuckered out, so we hid out at home.

On Friday, the kids and I headed north for the day, and squeezed in a visit with my grandmother, sister and her family.

It's become a tradition for my sister, my girlies, and I to take off for some girl time together when we're together.  Hobby Lobby followed by fraps at Sbux was our destination this time.

At one point on Friday, Emilie commented that she sees that Toni is one of my best friends.
It was absolute sweetness to me that she sees that.  Our friendship is a miracle.  I treasure it.  I am grateful that God is our God, and for His healing and restoration.

Live in Peace! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

...my soul to keep


It had been longer than I wanted it to be when I walked the mile loop in our neighborhood last winter. Every step was painful, but I'd been cooped up inside with an aching body for too long.  The sunshine and change of scenery was now a necessity.

I was only a quarter mile 'round when a physically fit friend jogged up.  She was out for her usual 7 mile run.  She paused to say a hello, then proceeded to inform me how important regular exercise is, and that I should be at it everyday.  I didn't bother explaining that there was a mutiny in my body.  A dose of compassion and encouragement would have been a kinder way to cheer me on, but she didn't know.  She returned to her run, and I returned to my hobble -discouraged.  

For 16 years I've endured one medical issue after another.  It's been rough- to say the least.  And last winter was on the "pain level scale of 1-10"  a 30.  No joke.   

As I walked at the pace of a snail, the quote "You don't have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." came to mind.  

'You are a soul, and not this body,' I thought. Phew.   

And then I remembered this scripture 
"Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far exceeds them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 
II Corinthians 4:16-18
 
These thoughts were from the Lord. How sweet of Him to interrupt what could have been another pity party with sweet Truth.

He continued to chat with me, and caused me to glimpse a bit of the beauty from the pain of the past 16yrs: 
He's used the medical issues to cause this control-freak to relinquish control, and depend on others (especially my husband); ultimately leading me to depend on Him.
He used each illness to grow my children in compassion, thoughtfulness, in prayer, and as servants. 
He's expanded my faith by providing financially for surgery and other expenses.  Many times the financial provision didn't come, but hindsight showed how He'd provided deeper needs with Himself.  
He's shown me glimpses of how He wants to be glorified (made known) through me- often in a waiting room or a prescription line.
He's taught me in the last year that nothing has permission to take away my God-given security-and that includes any medical issue.
And most recently in the wrestling (because really, the pain that is the hardest to bear is the emotional pain) He brought to light the bitter root of entitlement, and asked am "I your God even when..." Because "when" is going to happen. Suffering is going to happen. And I have resolved THE LORD IS MY GOD even when. And not just that, but I HAVE EVERY THING I NEED BECAUSE HE IS MY GOD.

 

After the glimpse a thought "would you prefer your body or soul to be fit?"

My flesh had been struggling with this for some time, but I knew my honest answer; the deeper desire- "my soul."

The Spirit lifted my head, "your soul is gorgeous." 

My response "Really?  I want that."  

I desire a gorgeous soul more than I want an attractive body... more than I long for a healthy body.

Because this body- it's temporary.  

But my soul,
my soul
I keep.

Here's what I have come to realize- when we finally make it home to heaven, we'll see in each other what we should have been nudging to health all along- 
we'll see each others true selves- our souls. 

I want mine to resemble Jesus'.

I've got to fix my eyes on that.

On the unseen.

The eternal.

So I praise the LORD my God for the sufferings, because though outwardly I am wasting away, inwardly I am being renewed day by day.  
 



 Nudging you, 

 
Side note: I am not implying that when we die we are only souls.  Revelations 21 speaks of "no more pain" and  that God is "making all things new!" I look forward to kicking pain to the curb and being made new. However, in the meantime I NEED TO  put less emphasis on being whole physically, and more emphasis on being whole spiritually. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Josefiney Tortellini


12 things I adore about you on your 12th birthday!
Pix from Josie's Slumber Party
  1. Beautiful
From the inside out, you are beauty.  

2. Sunshine
Josie, you illuminate our lives with grace and joy.
 3. Song
You fill our home with music every single day.  When you sing you jump-start worship!
Oh, it is good having you around. 

4. Wonder
Your curiosity about the LORD, and the way you know Him inspires me. 
 
5. Surprise
Everyday we're entertained by your silly clothing ensembles, comical words, 
and your affectionate love.   

6. Thoughtful
You are a thinker.  You seek Truth, ask questions, and speak with wisdom.
And when you pray, Josie, Jesus' heart pours out of you.

 7. Friend
You are kind, and express favor for each one of your friends.   
With Noah and Emilie at school, and you the lone home schooler, it has been sweet 
seeing our unique friendship grow. I like our talks and the comfortable quiet we share too. 
I'm glad I get to have you all to myself.   

8. Servant
You consider others before yourself and always look for ways to be helpful 
(clearly, you get this from your daddy.  Btw-It's the first thing I loved about him).
9. Foodie.  
 The kitchen is your territory.  You're confident and patient and talented when it comes to cooking and baking.  I like our system-you cook, I clean! 

10. Smart. 
 Jo, you are bright!  You make home schooling a breeze the third time 'round. Thank you! 
You're also a smarty pants when it comes to playing games... are you sure you don't cheat?! ;) 
11. Witty.  
Girlfriend, you crack us up!  Where do you come up with the funny things you say!! You often have us roaring with laughter!  
My favorite convo from the year: 
Me: If I had a ton of $ I'd surprise you with a fancy Kitchen Aid mixer
How 'bout when you get married I'll get you any mixer you want?!
Josie: Any mixer?!! 
Me: Yes, any.
Josie: Than I want a Hobart!
12. Gift. 
I remember holding you in the hospital room the evening you were born.  Cradling precious you in my arms, introducing you to every little thing, and then with a full heart singing over you  "Morning by morning, I wake up to find, the power and comfort of God's hand in mine. Season by season I watch Him amazed, In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways. All I have need of His hand will provide, He's always been faithful to me."  This 4th time mama was amazed by the depth of my love for you. You were a gift, Sweet Josefine, and have been a gift every day for the past 12years.
 I adore you! 


Photos from top to bottom: 1. Slumber party at the Bass Lake house- because playing Sardines at the BL house is a blast! 2. Josie's terrific gal pals. 3. the result of not double tapping- impromptu dance party. 4. Telephone Pictionary (just one of the dozen games they played). 5. Spin the {nail polish} bottle. 6. Ice Cream Sundays 7. The whipped topping and Maraschino cherry's we forgot to put on the Sundays were perfect toppings for b-fast. 8. My silly girl in her lens-less glasses. 9. Sweet gifts.  


I praise God for His generosity in "adding" you to our lives 12 years ago. 
Happy Birthday! 

Love, 
Mommy

( Shout out to "Mel Mel" for giving Josie her adorable 
and oh-so-fitting "Josefiney Tortellini" nickname).