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Showing posts from 2009

Northward, Ho, The Wagons!

Okay, so I'm not above piggy-backing on a friend's blog. Especially when it is timely. First, go check out Melanie's blog (and be sure to read her links, too).

Now to how this touched me today. Today is a day that the ability to stop circling the hill country became real. Today, the last string that tied me to the past was cut. Today, our bankruptcy was finalized. Today we rejoiced and turned fully north.

Yes, I said rejoiced. This has been a huge weight in our lives and one that I have not felt free to share. Partly because with all the things I've shocked my friends about on this blog, this was the one I felt may result in some consternation among them. Partly because this financial circumstance has symbolized the combined whole of things that have been the cause of much hurt and bitterness. Partly because I figured that if I shared that I saw the fact of our bankruptcy as a huge, unadulterated, GOD - GIVEN blessing, it would begin a firestorm of reproach and proof tha…

It Could've Been a Screenplay...

It had all the elements: action, drama, suspense, conflict, emotional range, heroes, villains, innocent bystanders, and a moral woven throughout. I'm thinkin' God's a pretty good playwright and somebody had it close to dead-on when they said that "All the world's a stage and the men and women merely players."

The Setting:
Field #1 of the Under Armor American Youth Football National Championships.
Game 2 of the series. The semi-finals.
It is a sunny, breezy, beautiful day. The grass is green, families are cheering, the air is filled with the sounds of pads colliding and whistles blowing.

The Cast of Characters:

Kissimmee Kowboys - the long-shot underdogs. They had not made the playoffs in their regional division, but won a wild-card slot at these championship games. It was not known that they would play until 3 days prior to the start of the championships. Every other team has been playing non-stop; our heroes turned in their gear four weeks ago and squeezed in 2 ho…

Balance...

...it's a topic that's been on my mind a lot lately. Probably because I've been feeling particularly UNbalanced!

There have been so many changes in my life in the last two years: changing states, changing employment for hubby, changing from house-dwelling to rv-dwelling, changing financial status, changing views on what is and is not my calling as a wife/mom/homeschooler/Christian... the list goes on. Most of these changes have required a letting-go in some area or another. A relaxing of my grip on the reins of my life and a relinquishing of my illusions of what I can, in fact, control.

It has left me wondering if I've relaxed a little *too* much. Through all the change, I have seen quite clearly that I am in charge of pretty much nothing. I cannot control weather, cannot control circumstances, cannot control whether employment opportunities arise, cannot control what others think of my decisions, cannot control my children...so I stopped trying to control those things. …

A Friend Said it Better...

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...than I ever could have. At least in as few words as she used! :P

So...I'm going to just send you over to Melanie at Seeking Contentment, let you read her blog (and my overly-long comment to it), and enjoy the pics that follow here.
Arriving at Downtown Disney Our 1920's mobster later found a perfect carnation to add to his ensemble. Thanks, Disney gardeners!

Racing Cars at the Lego Store All the kids worked on one car as wheels were scarce. So fun to watch them work together, not bicker over who would have the privelege of "launching" it in the race, and then cheer the Jamesmobile on to the finish line.

Super Silliness Daddy was buying an awesome caramel apple for the parents to share. Much silliness ensued. We thoroughly enjoyed our First Annual Family "Rock or Treat." It takes its name from "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown." The Peanuts all go trick-or-treating and at each house, the same scenario is repeated: "I got a chocolate bar&…

*Sigh*

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Here's what I'm missing today as I nurse some strange neck injury:

My Big Guy, the Center.
He's Number 57; the guy with his hand on the ball.



My Middle Guy; Defensive Line.
He's Number 27; the small guy with the big heart. "Let me hit the big guys, Coach!"



My Little Ones; The Entertainment.
As crazy busy as Saturdays are, I love the time to play together, cheer each other on, and visit with both sets of grandparents. We are so blessed to have a family that loves being around each other and I'm sorely missing this today. My neck had better shape up quick; this redhead won't stand for this much longer!

'Tis a Gift to be Simple, 'Tis a Gift to be Free...

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Below:The view from our main room, through the kitchen, to the master. The cabinet on the left houses our dvd/cd collection. Anything that keeps kids from running down the "hallway" while parents are occupied is a great thing. The ill effects of TV overload are nothing compared to the ill effects of two children hurtling in opposite directions at high velocity in an enclosed space.
I know whereof I speak.





Above: Our Bathroom. It is situated on the right side of the coach, immediately behind the kitchen. Yes, that is a removable showerhead. And, yes, we have had to dry the entire bathroom after certain unnamed children have "forgotten" to close the shower curtain. There has also been a learning curve regarding hot water usage: water on to wet yourself and your soap, water off while scrubbing, water on to rinse. Any other alternative yields VERY COLD rinse water; a 6 gallon water heater only lasts so long!

Below: Our Refrigerator and Wardrobe. The refrigerator accommodates…

I'm NOT God.

I know. This is a shocker to all of you. But it's true. I'm not. And to prove it, I'm going to show you how little I know.

I was so proud of myself last week. I started on Monday and determined that the whole RV was going to be dust-free, dog-hair-free, and organized if it killed me. We've had a crazy few weeks with football and life in general, and things had gotten to where we were moving things out of the way constantly just to function. This gets old. Fast. So I decided that it was going to end then and there.

I stuck with my plan, with a minor interruption on Tuesday with a Migraine (yes, it deserved a capital letter), and had the whole thing glistening by Wednesday. Aaaaah...peace, tranquility, and cleanliness. For a while, anyways. What a great opportunity to snap some pictures (finally) and show my bloggy friends just how we manage to live with 6 folks in this space. The kids thought I'd lost it when I got out the camera and rolled their eyes as I got into so…

Rude Awakening

5:20am. It's a full 25 minutes before that annoying alarm is set to jolt me into a new day. My husband saves it the trouble by shaking the whole bed as he startles awake, panic-stricken that he's missed the alarm, and demanding to know what time it is. Um, it's 5:20. *sigh* He dozes right back off, and I'm left, heart pounding, restless, and unable to relax until about 30 seconds before...the stupid alarm does it's job.

As he was showering and I was preparing his work clothes for the day, my attitude stunk. Why is it MY responsibility to keep up with what time it is? (um, because I took it over. Dan's more than happy to have the clock on his side of the bed, but he will let that alarm buzz until he's darn good and ready to shut it off. I smack it after the first buzz so it won't wake all the kids, too!) HE can drift right back off; while he sleeps and tells me to snooze the alarm, I lie there desperately trying to still my mind and body to get that misse…

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Ever have one of those things happen that reinforce how little you have control over anything? That emphasize the loving hands of an Almighty God who really is looking out for you? And that you would *never* live through again if given any choice in the matter?

Today, one of those things happened at our house. I'm alternating between shaking and praising. It was terrifying. Michael ran off.

No big deal, you say. Michael runs off a lot. It's his coping mechanism of choice. And you always know where he's going: the bathhouse. Except for this time. This time it happened while I was in the laundry room, so he specifically avoided the bathhouse because that's where I was. This time, not one of the other kids hollered at him to stop, thereby alerting me that all was not well 30 yards away on our little lot. This time I had no idea where to start looking.

I returned from the laundry room, opened the door, and saw 3 of my 4 kids. "Where's Michael?" ...silence... &qu…

How Do You Respond to That?

This telephone conversation took place last week but it just keeps running around in my head. So I decided to get it out. Hopefully it will have fun running around in your head, too.

Thrift Store Proprietor:"Hello?"

Customer (Me): "Hi. I was wondering if you have any of those pop-up canopies that are used for sporting events, etc.? " (Yes, I *do* call ahead rather than rummaging through thrift stores while herding cats, er, kids.)

Proprietor:"Yes, I do have one of those."

Me (excited to have finally found one): "Great! How much are you asking for it?"

Proprietor:"Oh. It isn't for sale. I use it for cover when I set up displays out in front of my store. Those things are really handy!"

So...how in the world do you respond to that?? I chose stunned silence followed by a stammered "Thanks." Click.

Happy Birthday to Me!

Another year older. So much has happened in the past year. So many changes, adjustments; so much growing up! Some of those changes were reflected beautifully in my birthday celebration.

When you think birthday gift, what do you think? Be honest. The first thing that popped into your mind was some form of "stuff", wasn't it? Well, we don't have room for more stuff. There's only so much stuff you can stuff into a 33foot RV. We've prioritized our spending to the point that we don't really have the cash to spend on more stuff, either. And, honestly, the less stuff we've had in recent months, the more free we've been, so we desire stuff less and less. Hmmm. If that's the case, what's a hubby to do to celebrate his wife's birthday? We're treading new ground here on what it means to give a gift to someone. And, oh man, if he did this well the first time around, I can't wait to see what the future brings!!

So...what was my hubby's bi…

The Road to Healing - Fin.

The wait is finally over. You can take those worms out of your mouth now. (Sorry - reference to a bad joke from my childhood: "waiting with bated breath". Get it? Bate = bait = worms. I know. It's bad.) Where were we? Oh, yes. The next chapter in the healing story. The one I've been avoiding like the plague. It's one thing to feel the release of living through it and quite another to be willing to share it in print. You're still only going to get a sketch with few details on this one, but much of this involved the marriage relationship, and, well, some of it is just going to remain there.

When last I wrote on this topic, I left us in a new career, a new definition of our walk with Christ, a new understanding of who we are to be as the church, a new focus on our family FIRST as our mission field, and a new seeking of the Lord in how we were to proceed in life rather than in "ministry." And I told you that's when things got tough. As if they hadn&#…

Yet Another Aside...

Okay, so I must be avoiding writing the next chapter of the healing story...


I'll admit to that being somewhat true. I'm going to have to self-edit a *lot* to keep things from being too personal and too lengthy. But, really, I'm finding so many things going along with what I've learned through the healing process and I'm so excited to have affirmation of these things that I'm anxious to share them with y'all.


So, what am I anxious to share today? I came across a real, live, positive news story today in our local paper, The Orlando Sentinel. Yep, they do still write those things occasionally! And it ties in beautifully with the starting point of this humble little blog. Do you remember? It was all about focusing on the "whatsoever things"; those things which are lovely, beautiful, right, true, of good repute, excellent...the "good stuff." The realistic, practical, somewhat-cynical, tell-things-like-they-are side of me never likes to candy-c…

**Aside** Knights and Ladies (back to the healing story soon)

Recently my hubby and I went shopping for clothes together. It's been a LONG time since I got new things and I've lost 20 lbs and several inches in the last months (hooray for a more active lifestyle!!). One of his faves is a simple, straightline sundress with a pretty floral print. Today was the first time I'd worn it. He enjoyed seeing me in it this morning, left for work, and the kids and I ran out for some errands.

The following conversation ensued after I ran into the front office of our RV complex, leaving the oldest in charge of the littles outside:

Me: Okay, y'all, onward to the next stop.
5-yr-old son: Mommy, did any of the boys in there kiss you because you look so beautiful?
Me (trying hard not to laugh): No, sweetheart. Nobody kissed me.
5-yr-old: I think some of the boys wanted to kiss you. Did they?
Me: No, honey. Mommy won't let anybody but Daddy kiss me.
5-yr-old: Good. 'Cuz if they did, I'd punch 'em. Then I'd tie them up and step on them.

The Road to Healing, Part III

So what now?...


What indeed. Have you ever read Pilgrim's Progress? or Hinds' Feet on High Places? Did you notice that each of the main characters, while on their journey, seemed to be feeling their way along? There were helpers that came and went along the way, there were short-term instructions, there were times that they *knew* they were on the path but couldn't really honestly say they could even see which way they were going and certainly couldn't make sense of WHY their path led this way. (when Pilgrim endured the valley and when the called-out one had Sorrow and Pain for travelling companions) Yet, in neither case, did they ever see the whole way that lay ahead of them. Yeah, it's been a lot like that.

And I've come away with a new perspective on the "Thy Word is a lamp unto my *feet*..." verse. Have you ever noticed what a tiny piece of real estate your feet actually occupy?? I know that the rest of the verse goes on to say " a light unto m…

The Road to Healing, Part II

What's a girl to do? Short answer: NOT what I did.

What did I do? I listened to teaching because it was coming from people of note, people of great education. But I failed to double-check it for myself. These were folks that had thriving ministries, were holders of high offices, had endured much in the ministry to which I believed we were called. So I soaked in every bit of advice, every stricture on my personality, every social lesson in "how to support your man by being the kind of wife every church wants to see in it's staff." And I didn't realize the chains that were growing tighter and tighter. I didn't see the lie I was buying. Because I trusted too much in people and not enough in the Holy Spirit that says that he will teach *me*. That if *I* seek Him in His Word, He will reveal Himself directly to *me.* Not once did I question that what I was soaking in was truth. And I was busily squashing down my inherent penchant for debate, practicing keeping my mo…

The Road to Healing (aka the Path of Pain) part I

Hmmmm...I'm finding it harder to blog these days. Not because nothing interesting is happening; more because I'm so busy actually *living* my life rather than lost in depression and reflection about *how* to live it. The last of the walls have crumbled (Praise God!!) and I'm finally free to live the life God has called me to live.


You'll recall that the beginning of this blog was an accountability thing. A tool to get me to consciously focus on the GOOD that God had brought into my life. Unexpectedly, focusing on that also brought a lot of the ugly to the surface. The more I desired to see the good, the more the hurtful was made apparent. The more I didn't want to focus on my pain, the more God nudged me to DEAL WITH IT, ALREADY! You see, I thought that hiding it, pushing it aside, denying it existed *was* dealing with it. It wasn't. It wasn't even being "spiritually mature" as I had so labeled it. God never asks us to "suck it up and press on…

Selah

What is there to say? When you've been praying and blogging and struggling...and God just up and lifts the burden? When you've been in pain and it's just...GONE? When life is so sweet you almost can't stand it? When you feel like yourself again - the long-forgotten, joyful, adventurous, smiling, laughing, play-in-the-rain-like-a-kid person you used to be...before all the bondage, hurt, anger, bitterness, expectations, betrayals, YUCK happened in your life and made you feel like you were drowning? When the doors to healing fling wide open and you literally feel the burdens of the past fall from your shoulders? When your marriage is more amazing than ever before? When your kids are truly a blessing and you don't have to squint to see how? When you're interested in exploring and growing and being creative again? What do you say?

You don't. You can't. It just is...and you bask in it. And kneel. And cry. And sing. And dance. And sit in silent wonder. And brea…

Put on Your Dancin' Shoes...

We had a day full of the "whatsoever things" yesterday. And it's proof that God is helping me in this area because there were some definite rough spots. Not little potholes but major construction, sections-of-the-road-missing, type of rough spots. Then I woke up this morning, checked facebook, and one of my new friends had left this gem of a quote, "I believe that no matter what the terrain, our feet can learn to dance." Sigh, smile, tears... Yes. We can choose to dance even when the road seems to be missing under our feet. Yesterday was proof.

Dan had the day off for the first time in over a week. In the mornings all week, we have been spending his before-shift time handling family business. It's been stressful. It's meant dragging kids to office buildings. It's meant rushing to get Dan to work on time after the morning stuff was finished. It's meant begging kids to be quiet so we could handle phone calls. We needed a break. In our family, that …