Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Yes, I know Easter is Sunday.
But it has taken me a bit to get this posted.
As in, it's taken me since November. Of last year.
But I knew you'd understand.
So warm up that coffee cup, press play and celebrate the true meaning of Thanksgiving with me.
Just a little late.
But please do know, when I'm teaching history here at home to my kids, I usually don't wear heels.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Red carpet moment.
Rock star crowds.
That was the scene as Jesus arrived in Jerusalem just five days shy of the Passover.
He was in vogue at the the moment, His approach sparking adulation from the crowds. They cheered Him, waved palm branches, called 'Hosanna' and blessed Him as the King of Israel.
Fickle bunch, this gaggle of groupies.
In a handful of days they will be part of the crowd screaming for His crucifixion.
Or they will be part of a crowd remaining silent.
We are sometimes made of the same stuff as they were. At the amazing worship concert, in the halls of our churches, in the presence of an admired teacher, we 'hosanna' and 'hallelujah' to the beat of peers. We join the chorus, proclaiming Him our Lord, talking the talk.
But when Jesus is controversial, we sometimes hang back. At the dinner party where the intellectuals are smirking at the latest evangelical scandal, in the office break room when someone is proclaiming the benefits of the latest guru they have found, the latest meditation practice, the latest positive thinker, we hesitate.
When the tempo of the crowd turns, we falter.
This morning, I will celebrate Palm Sunday with a frond waving in my hand. I will symbolically welcome Christ into the New Jerusalem again and welcome Him as King.
But when the palm frond dries out to a dull brown, when the music ends and the adulation pauses, what will be my cry then? Will I soft-shoe my love for Him? Will I hesitate in the tide of the crowd?
May I proclaim You, Lord, when a surge of spurning swirls around me. May I proclaim you in gentleness, in hope. May I proclaim You King amongst a people who are elbowing for their own way.
May I proclaim You beyond the sway of the palm fronds.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
As I sat in the cool dark of a performing arts center last weekend, watching 2 of 8 flow through her steps, I watched the piece as a whole.
But when we got in the car to drive back to the hotel, 2 of 8 began to unpack her performance, piece by piece.
Step by step.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Let's just say that we are off to a running start.
As in, running training toddlers to potty chairs, running to get training toddlers over tile, running to the laundry room, running the day by a timer set to go off frequently as reminder.
New ground for this veteran mama.
So far, we've learned this: 8 of 8 can rock the Sponge Bob Square Pants underwear look.
Until said Sponge Bob is, ah, training tarnished.
And we've also learned that no princess underwear in heck is enough to convince 7 of 8 that potty training would be a handy skill to master.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
7 of 8 is just about to receive therapeutic Botox injections to her left arm to help treat some of the muscle rigidity she experiences as a result of the ischemic stroke she had pre-birth.
I've been keeping her occupied here at the children surgery center by taking our pictures on my computer.
If you have a moment, we'd love a little good wishes and prayers sent our way. 7 of 8 will need to be under general anesthetic for the procedure. We're hopeful that in a few days, the Botox will allow some of the muscles that hold her arm at an odd angle and crimp some of her fingers to release and relax, allowing other muscles to strengthen.
It's something of a dance.
But for now, we're playing in the prep room, making silly faces on the computer, sporting purple hospital jammies.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
We're a week away from the beginning of the Passion Week.
But what of this week?
What was Jesus doing as He prepared for the Triumphal Entry?
What was He doing in those days before He would bear the sins of the world?
How did He spend His time as He began writing His opus of grace?
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Since we became the accidental neighbors.
I was five weeks away from delivering the twins, making a fast move for Mike's work.
And there was a house for lease on this street that we could take immediately.
We figured it was a place to park the moving boxes and let me sit out the last few weeks of the pregnancy. And once things calmed down a bit, we would start a hard target search for the Perfect House.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
And what happened to our well-intentioned plans to have no plans?
We were going to stay home for Spring Break, take a breather from the hectic pace we've been keeping with my teaching and speaking schedule, 1 of 8's university regimen, Mike's crazy work, 2 of 8's dance, 3 of 8's soccer....
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Congratulations to Jane at Winning Readings! She has won Work in Progress by Kristin Armstrong! She was entry number 9 and her number was generated by Random.org. Go over and wish Jane a big congrats~she runs a fantastic blog on all things books and reading.
And be checking back here~Kristin's newest book is coming out soon and maybe we should just throw ourselves another little giveaway in honor of the occasion!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
If you gasped, then I know you're going to be late for church.
Here in the U.S., the practice of setting clocks ahead an hour in the spring and back an hour in the fall was adopted in 1918. The idea was to devote the waking hours of our clocks to optimal sunlight, giving us longer day-lit work and leisure time in the temperate months.
With some of our extended family in states that do not observe Daylight Saving Time, we go through seasons of the year when we have no idea what time it is at a certain grandparent abode or uncle casa. Are they two hours behind or one? An hour ahead or two?
We talk about mastering our time, scheduling our days. We save time. We squander time. We tell each other that time marches on until we say that it flies. It is the unseen byproduct of an unseen phenomenon called gravity. And yet we continue to try to manipulate it and characterize it in human terms.
And we even think it is an absolute.
When the Chilean earthquake occurred just a few weeks ago on February 27th, the magnitude was significant enough to shift the Earth a bit on its axis and to shorten our days by 1.26 millionth of a second. Earthquakes changing time. It's a bit unnerving.
Unnerving because we want to believe time and its continuity, its consistency, is the one constant. Eons, epochs, eras. In uncertain ages, we fight time's effect on us but welcome its routine. It keeps us thinking we have some control, some ability to predict.
But there is only One Constant in the universe.
When He wanted to, God pushed the pause button on Earth and caused a battlefield to stay lit like full noon for a twenty-four hour period, allowing the nation of Israel to defeat their enemies. When He wanted to, God had Hezekiah's shadow go back ten steps, a personalized sign to Hezekiah that God would indeed heal him of his illness. Habakkuk writes of God holding the sun and moon still.
As the Psalmist writes, our times are certainly in His hands.
So we can set and reset our clocks. We can tell ourselves we have made our days longer. We can marvel at the fact that this time yesterday, it was already dark, and here we are at the same time tomorrow with the sun still up.
But the God who created the whole idea of gravity and tectonic plates and orbits and axis and rotation and revolution, He is the holder of our days. And nights. And how long and how short they are.
The Watchmaker indeed.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
I'm Spring Cleaning....and Spring Cleaning.
While I'm shoveling my way through the space most people would call a 'garage' and what I would presently call 'one ginormous pillaged and tossed storage area', I'm trying to also be spiritual about it and think through the things that need spring cleaning in my heart. Until I get distracted by the next mystery box that I find in the depths of the garage.
I'm also trying to reduce our library load. We are book people. Books and books and books. And unless we're going to build a library room on par with the library in Beauty and the Beast, I've got to cull the collection.
It surprises me the titles I have trouble letting go of. There are books that are staying. Period. And then there are tomes that I've read and are not something I'll refer back to or are volumes that I can access the information online. But it still irks me a bit to let them go.
Why is that?
In the depths of spider webs and random pieces of board games and archives of school work and all the rest of the flotsam and jetsam of the garage debris, I may have hit upon something.
Well, yes, possibly that I'm a book hoarder.
But it's also possible that for some reason, owning the book makes me feel like I own the knowledge from it. That those boxes of books that won't be read again and should be passed on are some tangible catalog of what I feed my brain. And if I let go of those books, then I may not have a way of remembering what I already know.
I'm taking 'em to Goodwill. I'm going to trust that if there is information I need, God can give me recall and Google can give me links.
And so that Charles Kuralt autobiography is going, along with the marketing trends of the '90's hardcover. And I'm going to let some of the mystery novels go. And some of the 'How to Homeschool' stuff. And the duplicates found in our Berenstain Bear collection. I'm making progress. I'm figuring myself out. I'm making discoveries into my codex caching ways.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Isn't it a blessing?
I love being a part of women's ministry. I love hearing the hearts of women, learning from their strengths, hearing their struggles, watching them grow in their understanding of their Father's love for them.
And I also love women's ministry because sometimes I get to be a part of something cool like this.
Meeting that gorgeous blond up there in the picture.
That's Kristin Armstrong, author, mom, marathoner, speaker, blogger, dog lover. She came to speak to our women's group and I figured out pretty fast that I like this lady. A lot.
Kristin has a powerful and honest and wise walk with God. She spoke to us on Spring Cleaning, the most important kind, the kind of cleaning of our hearts and perceptions and expectations. Blending a combination of new thoughts, passages from her book Work in Progress and a powerful question and answer session, Kristin led us through a enlightening exploration of true Confidence, Beauty, Softness and Courage. In the days since the event, I've heard many of my girlfriends who were there repeating things Kristin spoke on and have received numerous emails telling me of how much her teaching touched the women of our church.
As I said, I like this gal.
And she's run five marathons.
And an ultra marathon.
Which, for the uniformed, is a marathon of 50 or 100 miles. Yes, there are 50 mile ultra marathons and 100 mile ultra marathons. And she's run one of them.
I know. I'm still getting my mind around it. Let it soak a minute.
And in honor of Kristin and marathons and ultra marathons, how about a giveaway?
I picked up an extra autographed copy of Kristin's book Work in Progress, just to give to one of my blog readers. So let's come up with the rules, shall we?
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We do a lot of bath time around here. A. Lot.
Some legit because the twins are covered in any variety of organic material. Spaghetti sauce. Ketchup....Catsup. Contraband chocolate.
Good ol' fashioned dirt.
But there is also bathtime that is simply playtime. A chance to splash and blow bubbles and play with the bath toys.
I can't cast stones.
I'm a bath girl myself. Minus the splashing, bubble blowing and bath toys. Plus a good book and candles and bath salts.
I'm sure I can't be objective on this. But I do find this bathing twin to be one cute guy.
And I think his twin sis is pretty cute too.
Not that I am an unbiased source.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Apparently, this is called a metate. It's a trough made in stone from the grinding of corn or other grains by Native American women, back in the day.
I came across this metate while stomping around under some boulders during my recent trip to Arizona.
I was so excited. It felt like I had scored on a treasure hunt. It felt like I had entered a shrine.
Monday, March 8, 2010
What a beautiful Bride.
And one of things I love most is our pastor's commitment to missions and to the arts.
Which came together in a gorgeous celebration of dance and music yesterday.
I still find my eyes welling up.
Spirit of Uganda came yesterday to worship with us and to bless us with their music and dance. This is a troupe of performers, all kids between the ages of 8 to 20 years old who have lost one or both parents to AIDS or warfare in Uganda. They have been given the opportunity to receive education beyond primary grades and tour the U.S. and Canada every two years, displaying the gorgeous musical traditions of the Ugandan culture.
But their performance on stage was only part of the story.
I was so honored to speak at a luncheon afterward for the group. My precious friend Kristi and her amazing husband Russ are in the process of adopting to little girls from Uganda. You can read more of their story here. They asked me to speak at the luncheon, which I was thrilled to do, and there made a treasured discovery.
These kids from Uganda, they that don the authentic dress and they that dance to rhythms that thrill the soul, these kids are simply amazing human beings. They loved on my kids. They entertained my restless twins. They asked questions, listened, laughed and spread joy.
It's making me feel a little weepy again.
They head back to Uganda after a stop-over in Dallas. They won't be back to the States until 2012.
Mike told a few of the guys that he might try to come see them next year.
Pieces of our hearts.
It feels like some bits may be going back with them
Godspeed, Spirit of Uganda. You blessed us deeply.
Against The Odds from Empower African Children on Vimeo.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
The dry places.
We all wander them from time to time.
Jesus spent His time there.
The Israelites ambled there for forty years.
The desert serves as a strong visual reminder of the necessity of water for the sustaining of life. Whatever has a bit of life to it in the desert is the fortunate recipient of water's presence. And whatever is dry and brown and bare is evidence of its absence.
I think it's why God had His people, His prophets and His Son spend time there.
For a reminder. A reminder on the absolute truth of His provision, His sustenance.
Even in the dry places.
I hiked throughout a dry landscape this time last week. Scrambling over huge boulders. Kicking up dust. Taking in vistas. Pondering the geological record. Listening. Being still. Being quiet.
My allergy prone sinuses opened in the application of dehydrated drafts. To breathe in afresh without the population of pollen. And my skin seemed to wizen before my eyes, a glimpse of the possible future of my largest organ, the history of sun and wind speaking on my epidermis.
Everywhere around me arid affirmation of the challenges in surviving in such an environment.
The granite boulders stood quiet around my impromptu sanctuary, their shadows the walls of my prayer closet.
That night, it rained.
Buckets. Copious cloudbursts. Thunder as percussion. Drops as timpani.
I had Mike climb with me the next day during a cloud break, back to the path I had traversed the day before.
We arrived to a scene changed.
Where the path had been dusty the day before, it was now a soft cushion of pebble and soil. Where dry trenches had etched the earth the day before, there were now small reservoirs. Cacti had plumped up in the flooding feast. Dew clung to bristles, baubles of sapphire, ruby and diamond sparkling in hesitant sunlight.
And the boulders.
Overnight, they had donned vests of green.
In my previous climb, the dried ash of lichen clung to the coarse surfaces of the crags. But in one pouring, that which was depleted and desiccated had burst into mossy softness.
Just add water.
The stony places of my heart, the places I keep fixated on the dry, searing heat of hurts, they still bear the remnants of something softer, something with life. It seems a shadow at best, a shading of rocky places.
But He comes to water, to wash me in the Word.
Sometimes the refreshing seems immediate.
Sometimes, the dew of the Word takes a while to soak into my sapped surfaces.
But after the thunder rolls and the clouds break, you can see His imprint there. Green, Fresh. Life. Clinging to the rough patches of my heart.
Even in the desert, He gardens.
Even in the desert, He waters.
Even in the desert, He makes life grow.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
I don't even know that we could be called recreational golfers.
As in, I haven't picked up a club in a couple of decades, except to move it to a different spot in the garage.
And Mike plays one a leap year.
But the greens called to him on our trip.
It always befuddles me how he can do that.
Never been snow skiing in 1988. By the middle of the day, to black diamonds.
Play golf every now and then.
Picks right back up.
Which is good.
Because this place was gorgeous.
If you like lush, green, perfected manicured vegetation.