To Read on the Journey

Sunday, October 26, 2008

God came near

don't you LOVE when you randomly run into someone so dear to your heart!

one evening last week while visiting family in california's central valley, we went out for dinner.  after dinner  we piled into my van and and i proceeded to drive out of the restaurant's parking lot. as i drove i caught a glimpse of a man and woman who had just parked their car.  their faces were so familiar, "could it be?!" i thought.  without a word to my passengers i turned my nissan quest around, parked, and stalked the couple, who were still in their car.  i waited impatiently for them to get out of their car. i waited and waited and waited (it was a very long minute that i waited).  finally (because who can be patient when beloved people from your past could be near), i gave into impulse, got out of my van, and walked directly to their passenger car window.  the surprised couple looked over at me, then the man  got out of his car, looked at me and with question and delight asked, "is that?" to which i  i replied, "yes, it's me, denise!"

it was marty, my campus life leader from high school, 20 years ago, with his wife ernie ruth.
my heart was overjoyed at seeing him. i think i may have overhugged him!

if you have been following my blog for some time than you know my story (if not please follow the link and read).  when i met marty at campus life in 1989 i was 15.  i was a new christian with doubts  about Father God.  my doubts stemmed from my childhood, from being rejected by my own father, and disappointed by his many replacements.   at 15 i was on guard against men who made empty promises, and that included God. though part of me wanted to rest in the assurance that God was the real deal daddy, Who wanted me, i  wrestled with my own  history...

"what did i do wrong, why doesn't my dad want me?"
"why am i not enough?"
"why did this dad leave too?"
"why won't they stay?"
"why can't he love me?"
"i must be unlovable."

i had heard God was a father who loved unconditionally, but could he really love me?
i had heard God was a father who would not leave me, or forsake me, but where was he?

i so desperately needed God to come near, to love me, to see me, and to speak TRUTH to my tender heart. i needed the Father, but i was guarded.

after much persuasion, i went to campus life, at 7:17 on a thursday evening. after that first meeting, you could find me at campus life every thursday!

and it wasn't the games, the talks, the snacks, the great fun that kept me at campus life, it was marty. marty saw me, was a safe place for me to break, he spoke truth to my tender heart, delighted in me, and loved me.

marty loved Jesus, and his love for Jesus spilled onto and into me. God came near in marty.
and i began to understand what my Father really looked like- that my Father delighted in me, cared for my tender heart, loved me.

isn't it AWEsome how God writes people into our lives to draw us to Him!

so, you can't blame me for overhugging him. it is the Jesus in him that i love, it is the Jesus in him that i want to hold onto, because the Jesus alive in him, brought life to me.

Savior, He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever, Author of salvation
He rose and conquered the grave...
He is mighty to save

a time to play

noah is writing 2 paragraphs about the haitian revolt.
emilie is answering language arts questions about wilbur & orville wright.
josie is cutting, coloring, and glueing the rocky mountains on her geography pages.
and i am writing lesson plans for november, coordinating a harvest celebration, balancing the checkbook (on quicken! love quicken), and contemplating what i will make for dinner (okay, really i am procrastinating doing any of that and blogging).

yes, we are "back to life, back to reality."

(uh huh, that is the game of Life they are playing. and here michael is with the kids lives dancing around him).

here is a bit of what we did on our fall break!

we rode bikes around the neighborhood.

road to the park, and created relay races. i was not just a spectator this time, but a participant.
we stayed up kid late (9:30), and watched movies

we slept in till (8:00) adult late

we scootered across town and browsed antique shops (okay, the kids scootered, i browsed)

i discovered that i am too old to leap off of the park swing (sorry, no photo of me lying on the ground buried in woodchips)
we milked a wooden cow
exfoliated our feet in a corn kernel maze

fed farm animals

roller-skated hand in hand

caught up with a few old friends

and were well loved by family

Monday, October 20, 2008

"mountain" mouse and city mouse

some years ago our school district decided to implement a fall break as well as a winter break. this means that every october and february we get a week off! yes, we still do 180 days of school like the rest of you, we begin school a week earlier and end our year a week later.

the kids have worked hard, and these students and their teacher look forward to a much needed break!

this mountain mouse and her 3 little mice are going to the valley to visit city mice (i'm assuming you are familiar with the story Country Mouse, City Mouse). the van is loaded with bikes, scooters, and skates (mine too). we are going to enjoy sidewalks, streetlights, parks on every corner (maybe i'm exaggerating a little), running to the near bye market for 1 item (instead of a 30 min. drive to nearest market) target just 2 miles away (instead of the usual hour away), and starbucks just blocks away. oh, how i miss the conveniences of city living.

but by weeks end, i'll be ready to return to the sierra nevadas, to the birds i hear singing as i type,
to the rolling foothills, and purple mountains majesty (yeah, they really do exist), the fragrance of pine trees, trantualas making their fall appearance, coyotes at night. i'll want to be back in my community, with the sights and people i LOVE so much.

(btw- click on the link for Country Mouse, City Mouse and read along with the illustrated story. flip the pages by clicking the book)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

these are the people in your neighborhood

i "skype met" kristen, and she is terrific!
and now, i cannot wait to meet her in person.

and kristen, i'm sorry that my first words to you were, "i've got a wet spot."

i encourage you all to read this post from sarah, and know that i too am grateful for the fellowship i have with each of you, "the people," here in "blogville."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

visit Shells In Your Pocket's 100th post give away today!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Kristen and i have been bloggy friends for some time (Kristen is also the wife of my sister-in-law's husbands cousin...did you get that?). Some months ago, Kristen had a post about her great neighbor, and mentioned that there is a home vacant next to her. From then on i have imagined myself as Kristen's neighbor, we have even begun to refer to each other as "neighbor."
So you can't blame me if i want to meet KRISTEN! But there is no way this Cali. girl is gonna get to Idaho.

i'm suggesting we meet via SKYPE (which by the way has been my plan for a month, even before she posted this)!

Tune in next time to see Kristen and i finally meet (kinda)!

embracing thorns

you may have heard paul speak of the "thorn in his flesh."
..there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12 7-9

many of us have one (maybe more than one). i don't know about you, but i too have BEGGED God to take mine from me.

my thorn twists and turns, reminding me of the wounds of an abandoned little girl, that same girl now 34 years old, who still struggles to believe she is worthy of love.

i use to hate my thorn.
i was tired of being weak, because in my weakness i am the ugliest version of myself; insecure, needy, desperate, grabbing, hopeless, defeated...

but God will NOT take it. we've talked (mostly, i've cried), and He has flat out said, "no."
He has told me that though i see that my thorn makes me the ugliest version of myself, He sees that it it makes me the most beautiful version of myself.

there is always a point when i give up, and give my wounded self to Him.
and there my Father God does His Daddy thing, HE AMAZES ME WITH HIS GRACE, and LOVES me. He tells me who i am, and calls me "worthy."

there is nothing like living in this LOVE here, NOTHING!


so i will embrace my thorn, because it causes me to depend on my Father, who embraces me, with LOVE that is higher, wider, longer, and deeper than i can grasp or imagine.

"I cannot tell you how surprised I was the first time I felt my heart begin to warm.
It was real warmth, too, not imaginary, and it felt as if it were actually on fie. I was astonished at the way the heat surged up and how this new sensation brought great and unexpected comfort...
Once i realized that it came entirely from within, that this fire of love had no cause, material or sinful, but was the gift of my Maker, I was absolutely delighted, and wanted my love to be even greater. And this longing was all the more urgent because of the delightful effect and the interior sweetness which this spiritual flame fed into my soul. Before the infusion of this comfort, I had never thought that we exiles could possibly have known such warmth, so sweet was the devotion it kindled. It set my soul aglow as if a real fire was burning there."

From The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle (a.k.a. St. Richard the Hermit)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

daddy's girl

it's 58 degrees outside, and there is a full moon. it's too cold and too bright for a camp-out in the front yard, but he promised her she would have her turn too.
she is reading him bed time stories, as he is snuggles in close, LOVING every moment.

she knows she is his- what more could this mommy want for her little girl.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

my God

O God, you are my God,
earnestly i seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Your Love Is Better Than Life, my lips will glorify you. i will praise you as long as i live, and in your name i will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
i think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help
I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.

They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.

But the king will rejoice in God;
all who swear by God's name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63

Thursday, October 9, 2008

horses and trains

last week the kids had another opportunity to do some life schooling.
this time they went to traci wolter's house to learn about horses!

josie who is graduating from sentences to paragraphs wrote about her time-

"I went to Traci Wolters house. She has two horses. She taugt me about horses.

I learned about body parts of a horse, and to brush a horse, and scoop poop, and feed it hay.

This is how to ride a horse. Frest you put on the saddle. Secent you ride it ot the track."

while they were with traci, i had 3.5 hrs to do as i pleased. i needed the quiet, but what i really needed was that moment when i picked them up. i saw them- i saw their excitement for life, and for learning new things, their friendly personalities, and the way they care for each other. i saw that they are GREAT kids, and i am BLESSED!

always being with them is both the sweetness and sacrifice of homeschooling.
it can be hard to seperate who i am as mommy from who i am as teacher. yes, the two are so much intertwined, and should be, but sometimes i want to strip off all the hats i wear (teacher,taxi, nurse, referee, cook, maid, accountant...), and wear only the one that says, "mommy."

on tuesday we took a field trip with our homeschool academy. we traveled by train to california's state capitol in sacramento. we also visited the california history museum. it was a full day (traveling from 5:30 a.m. till 12:06 a.m., ahhh!).
if you live in ca. and have the opportunity to visit sacramento, i also recommend visiting old town sacramento, and the train museum.

what field trips or activities do you enjoy with your children?

do you recall a favorite childhood field trip?

Monday, October 6, 2008

In your eyes
The light, the heat
In your eyes
I am complete
In your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
In your eyes
The resolution of all the fruitless searches
In your eyes
I see the light and the heat
In your eyes
Oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
The heat I see in your eyes

~ Peter Gabriel

Saturday, October 4, 2008

celebrating julie!

before i moved to this mountain community i was involved in Campus Life. i loved this ministry where individuals reached out to me, formed relationships with me, saw something in me that i did not see in myself, and drew me into Christ.
after such an investment was made in me, it was only natural that i would want to be part of such a ministry. when i moved here, and discovered that this mountain community had a program that was very similar, i jumped in to YOUNG LIFE!

michael and i both served a very fun 5 years as volunteer leaders with Young Life.
to this day, many of the lasting relationships i have formed in this mountain community are a result of those years in Y.L.

One of those relationships is with julie hilliard
(a.k.a. family jules). l-r shirin, julie, and me!
it is beautiful to look back over my 15 years here, and to see how God has shaped our friendship. julie has listened, hoped, spoken wisdom, corrected, fought for, taught, and delighted in me... she has LOVED me. over the years she has become not only friend, but part of my tribe.

last night we got to celebrate julie and her birthday!

we took a little walk down memory lane, and sheffie (julie's husband, and the Y.L. leader from back in the day) lead us in some ol' Y.L. songs. here is a snippet from two of our favorites!

"sha la la la la la la la la la la ti ti da"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I am tired of reprimanding my kids. i miss them. i miss me. but this is part of life...
"i can't go over it, can't go under it, can't go around it,
have to go through it."

(from We're Going on a Bear Hunt)

i HEART josie

need i say more?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

You said all that follow You may find
Comfort and pain, blessings in hard times

Were I to leave, where else would I go?
The words of life and of truth You hold

All I want is love
I confess to this
I will take it, Lord
All You have to give

How great the love lavished on us all
That we can be the children of God

Give by Third Day