To Read on the Journey

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And I can't afford it, but it's mine (pause and see)

It's easy to look at folks around us and compare.  I do that.  I compare what I have to what others  have.  I compare then want what they have.  I can get so consumed with wanting all I perceive they have that I miss out on all I do have.  And I'm done.  Done comparing and done missing all the good things God gives me.

Over the last year the words  "And I can't afford it, but it's mine"   (click text and read original blog post), have transformed my thinking. They have caused me to pause and see and celebrate how very blessed I am.

Read another "And I can't afford it, but it's mine" post here.  
Follow my hashtag #andicantafforditbutitsmine on instagram here

Here are some recent "And I can't afford it, but it's mine"  moments.
Oh, He really is so incredibly good to me!

Skipping across a field of whimsical hot air balloons with Josie, each of us with a camera in hand, ready to capture beauty. Photography is worship- it causes us to pause and see and celebrate.  And sharing this with my girl ~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine.     

 Listening to Michael, Noah, and Emilie share about their backpacking adventure.  Hearing about the vastness of beauty they experienced in creation AND in each other~  and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

An exciting opportunity was offered to Michael.  I'm beyond thrilled for him.  My guy works hard, does so much for us, faithfully, never grumbling, never complaining.
And something "wild" for my good man~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine.  

While washing dishes, out of the corner of my eye I watch Emilie and Josie sitting together at the kitchen counter. I see Josie generously share her yummy treat with Emilie.  I watch Emilie thank her, then lean over and kiss her sister's cheek. I see Josie smile, take in that she is beloved.  Oh, the way they adore each other~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

 Michael and Noah seated beside each other on the couch in the early mornings, reading their bibles, sharing what they've learned~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

An old classmate becoming my dear dear friend.  Our friendship is long-overdue, and yet right on time.  Our friendship is changing me. And the deep love God has filled my heart with for her~  and I can't afford it, but it's mine

One early morning a week, with a few women who are wild about God and His word; sharing how it's teaching and nudging and changing us, while drinking the best coffee this side of the Mississippi~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

18 teenagers at our casa for an epic Nacho Libre night...and that my kids want their amigos here~  and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

Michael and Josie in the kitchen making Cinnamon scones. The gentle way he teaches her, the delight in her voice just being with her daddy, the smell of scones baking.  So much yummy happening in our kitchen~ and I can't afford it but, it's mine. 
  A health issue surfaced.  The physical discomfort was rough.  But God.  His Spirit kept bringing to mind, "In me you have Peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33. He kept reminding me that Peace is already mine, and if I want it then I must grab hold of it.  Want to know something?  Even though I wasn't improving physically, I felt so so so much healthier.  Instead of letting the usual guilt, anger, sadness, bitterness, and frustration grab hold of me- I grabbed hold of Peace. Oh, sweet Peace~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine.  

After realizing there weren't dinner plans-
Noah: girls what do you want me to make you for dinner?
Girls: speechless due to SHOCK! 
Noah: Waffles. I can make you waffles (not Eggos, not from a box, from scratch folks).
Girls: Uhhhhh, okaaaayyy.
And Noah taking care of his sisters~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine. 

A friend coming over, just to be with me, interrupting the nagging pain with her sweet presence for a few hours~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

18 married years to Michael-  we had sweet plans for our 18th anniversary, plans that were disrupted by my health issues. So I laid down all day while he shampooed the carpets and upholstery (which by the way is exactly how we spent our 1st anniversary).  And we were both so okay with it.  At one point during the day I was thinking about our wedding day and the vows we made- "To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; for as long as you both shall live," and realized how very very blessed I am to be married to a man who cherishes me and delights in keeping those promises~  and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

Noah's hugs- He's taller than me now, and I just love being able to rest my head on his shoulder and nestle into him.  Our roles here have swapped.  And he likes that. He's likes being my young man, caring for, and holding me. The way this kid expresses his love for me ~ and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

Live in Peace!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. 
Colossians 3:15

Friday, October 10, 2014

Rattling Around

"I’m really hating that I don’t have time to write much anymore. I write half a blog post
 in my head while I’m making coffee or driving the girls around, 
but I just can’t seem to make it back to the computer and take the time
 to actually write the whole thing out. I don’t know what’s worse—not writing, 
or having all those words rattle around in my head all the time. 
There’s enough stuff loose up there already."

My longtime friend, Melanie, shared this on her blog yesterday.  This is so me, except I usually write half a blog post while I'm drying my hair or washing the dishes. Sometimes the other half of the post wakes me at 3:30 a.m. and I lie in bed writing when what I need to be doing is catching some z's.

Melanie, I agree " I don't know what's worse- not writing, or having all those words rattle around in my head all the time."  And you know me well enough to know that, like you, "there's enough stuff loose up there already." 

So today, I'm writing. I'm removing the words from the noggin and putting them on this page. Maybe you'll see them, maybe you won't (because much of what I do write is never published).  But maybe by doing so when 3:30 a.m. rolls around I'll sleep through it like a baby, but not like Melanie's baby.   Because apparently, her little one is currently "training for an Olympic event for not sleeping."

Here are some of the things that have been rattling around in my head. Oh, and to entertain you I'm including photos from a backpacking trip Michael, Noah, and Em went on weeks ago, which also happen to be on my mind begging to be blogged. 

I've been thinking about a Facebook post I saw weeks ago. A friend was tagged in it, so it showed up in my news feed.  The post was about an elderly woman, Margaret, who'd passed away (stay with me, this isn't a sad story).  Some words written about Marge have stuck with me, "She lived her life devoted to Jesus, she loved and lived Scripture." 

Wow.  "She loved and lived Scripture." 

What a legacy And could there be a higher compliment? 

Margaret, you inspire me.

I want people to see that and say that of me. I want them to say "Denise loves the Word and lives the Word." 


One scene from a couple weeks ago keeps rattling around in my mind.  It was a weekday morning, and I'd just finished reading a chapter from the Bible to the kids. I was in a world of pain at the time, and didn't have it in me to pray, so I asked Emilie to pray for the day.  Emilie always says the sweetest things to God.  I hurt too much to say anything to Him.  After she prayed Michael, Noah, and Emilie kissed me goodbye then gathered their things to head out the door. As they gathered their belongings I made my way down the hall to my room. I was hurting so much that I couldn't hold back the tears. I moved slowly down the hall crying.  And then I heard the LORD whisper in my ear, "Jesus?"  

Jesus. We speak His name to each other every single day.  We've spoken, whispered, sung, hollered, cried, claimed, clung to His Name since before Josie was born. For 13 years.  But would I today?  

Maybe today I wouldn't.  Maybe today I'd cry and hurt and cling to the little bit of strength I could muster up myself.  Maybe today I'd hurt too much to say anything to God. 

Or maybe through the pain and the tears, as my family made their way out the door, I'd give them the Name that is all that I am and all that I have...


And one by one they hollered back, "Jesus!" 


I talked to my dad on the phone a few weeks ago.  He told me he's happy at the new facility he's in. He asked me, as he usually does, if I smoke crack? I don't even know what crack is.  I had to Google it.  He asked me what drugs I'm on?  I told him none. I tell him I've never done drugs, not even when he offered them to me when I was a little girl.   He tells me he liked using drugs, and that he will if he gets out because he likes feeling "up."  I didn't tell him that while he was "up" everyone else was down.  He still couldn't believe that I'm not using and asked what I'm on.  I answered, "Jesus."  He laughed.  Then he said he didn't want to talk about Jesus.
He went on to say that until 8 years ago he was an atheist, then he began believing there's a God. He thinks God created the Big Bang, that there is no such thing as the devil or hell, and that all people go to heaven when they die. 

I told him that sounds like just the kind of thing man would make up. Isn't that how we'd want it to be if we were God?   

"That is one reason I believe Christianity.  It is a religion you could not have guessed. 
If it offered just the kind of universe we had always expected, I should feel we were making it up.  But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up." 

My dad also thinks Jesus is a myth. 

It's too bad. He'd like Jesus if he knew Him. 
Jesus is the only reason I talk to or visit my dad. My dad has been awful to me. But Jesus puts His own love and compassion for my dad in me. It is not from me.  Nope, if I had it my way I'd hate my dad.  And no one would blame me for it.  It's a miracle that I love him.  Proof that Jesus is not a myth. 

Anyway, like my dad said, "until 8 years ago I was an atheist, then I began believing there's a God."  So maybe it's not entirely impossible that he'll come around and believe in Jesus too.


I was talking to Emilie, who's in Cross Country, about running.  Now, I don't know a thing about actual running. To prove my point, Emilie came home yesterday thrilled that she had run a mile in 6 min. 48 sec. I shared that when I was in jr. high we had to run the mile-and-a-half for P.E., and that I would set out at the beginning of my first period P.E. class (we ran off campus) and not return until sometime after my second period class had started. I think my time was 58 min. 34 sec. So...

However, there is another type of running I've had quiet a bit of training in- 

"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame"
Hebrews 12:1-3 
I told Emilie to run like this. And to keep running.  Keep running no matter what. I told her rough seasons will come. I told her I've found myself in some dark allies; off course. I told her stay the course. Walk. Limp. But whatever you do fix your eyes, fix your eyes, fix your eyes on Jesus, and stay the course. 

I told her I know people who use to run. I admired how focused they were.  Like Margaret, they inspired me.  And then they got mad.  Mad at the church.  Mad at God because He doesn't do things their way. They started fixing their eyes on that instead of on their First Love. And then their eyes wandered to all sorts of things. They live for themselves now.  They're off course.  And I miss them.  I loved running with them. 

A guy on Emilie's Cross Country team told me that when Emilie's running with the team, and "everyone is exhausted and wants to drop dead," she enthusiastically shouts, "come on guys!"  I told him, "Emilie's tired too. She wants to quit too. But she listens to that other voice telling her to keep going."  Emilie, keep listening to that other Voice. And Emilie, keep encouraging those around you to run and stay the course, too. 

I think another way we encourage people to stay on course is by being like Margaret- by "living a life devoted to Jesus, loving and living Scripture."  I also think it's really something that Margaret was elderly and  that this was said about her.  So many many many things are nipping at our heels, and I think it's really something that Margaret stayed the course; fixed her eyes on Jesus until He took her home. 

 I really want to be like Margaret.
I want be like Emilie, too. 


Last night I got in bed before everyone else and shouted to them, "if you want a kiss goodnight you have to come to me to get it!!"  Within a few moments Noah and Emilie had jumped onto my bed and were snuggled up on each side of me.  Josie arrived a few minutes later, but Noah and Emilie staked their claim on me, and were barricading their little sister from her mama. However, in classic Josie fashion when she arrived she shimmied her way between them.  Josie likes being at the center of attention and affection in our family. She thrives there.

We could each learn to be more like Josie, especially when it comes to our relationship with Jesus.  We should shimmy, squirm, and squeeze our way through anything that tries to barricade or keep us from Him.  We thrive when we're planted in the center of His attention and affection.   
 After goodnight kisses were shared the kids skipped off to their rooms. And as the lights went out and the bedroom doors closed I could hear the sweetest name being sung down the halls -the Name that is all that we are and all that we have "Jeeeesuuuus!"

Live in Peace!