Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Costumes & brownies (and passing the baton)

Oh, the drama of fifth grade boys!! It's all coming back to me now......not the boy part, but the "I'm not going to be your friend anymore if you don't do what I want" drama. Uggh. I had forgotten about all that. Nick was stressing last night about Halloween and who he would be going trick-or-treating with....and somehow I am to blame! I shouldn't be shocked by that, I usually am to blame in some way, but here's the deal. Apparantly, some of his friends don't want him to go trick-or-treating with them because I won't let him dress up as something scary, and they think that I will insist on coming along because I did last year. That is true, but in my defense there were at least two other mom's of Nick's friends who walked with the boys last year as well! So why do I have to take the rap for this?

Anyway, I reminded Nick that I had already told him that he could go without me this year, but he said when he told his friends that, they didn't believe him. Now Nick is feeling left out and I feel bad that it's sort of because of me, but not really?? Uggh. So, wanting to make it "all better" as mommies do, I had the very logical idea of offering to talk to one of his friends and assure them that I would not come along. To which I got the crinkled nose and the "NO MOM! They will so make fun of me if you do that!" So I need to stay out of it (do I hear me??? STAY OUT OF IT)! I know that if I tried to help the situation at all he would be embarassed and horrified. Here's where I have to sit back and let him work it out on his own. Mama bear needs to back down and let him fight his own battles.

But I still have issues with the costume thing and to a point, Halloween in general. I don't necessarily have a problem with the boys participating in trick-or-treating, although I know many Christians do. I know all about the origins of it. But the tradition of dressing up in a costume, going around the neighborhood and getting candy from our neighbors can be innocent fun, can't it? As long as you leave the evil out? That's why I don't allow the boys to dress up like anything evil, including anything that celebrates witchcraft or death. I had a talk with Nick last night about this, and he seems to understand and is compromising by going as a football player who forgot his helmet - which will allow him to show off some cool sports injuries! Yay! Happy mom, happy kid! I think that's much better than his original idea, which was to go as a "bloody geek"............ I know. That's what I said too.

All this reminds me of brownies. Vince has a great story to share about brownies that would pertain very much to this issue. I think I may be able to talk him into posting his story, so here I go.....passing the baton to you, hon! Let me know if you get it ;)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Heroes, holodecks, and knowing where I am

Well, it was another great weekend in Iowa.....how often do you hear THAT phrase??? Oooops! SORRY!! Some Minnesota smart-talk coming out there ;) Pardon me while I clean the tomato splat off my computer screen......

Ok, better. Now seriously, I meant what I said ~ I had a wonderful time with Vince & the kids in Iowa! We went down on Friday and spent the weekend at Vince's sister Donna & Dave's house in Cedar Falls. We were able to spend some quality time with them, as well as his other sisters Debbie, Denise & Randy and their kids. I had such a great time talking with everyone (and giving Dave some much deserved crap)! On Saturday we attended Vince's nephew Blake's wedding and had such an awesome time. Hopie was a flower girl and oh my, what a CUTIE PATOOTIE she was!! She was stunning...and daddy got a little choked up seeing his little girl looking so grown up, which I found to be just as precious as she was. The entire wedding was beautiful - it was held in an old theater in downtown (Waterloo? I still don't know where I was for sure, but it was either Cedar Falls or Waterloo...) Anyhoo, wherever it was, it was just gorgeous! Lots of special touches, including the groom singing "You Needed Me" to his bride...which his father sang to his mother at their wedding. Tear. And the father of the groom and mother of the bride also sang a couple songs. The moment Hopie walked down the aisle was so precious....you could just see the excitement, nervousness, and anticipation on her face as she had her moment of glory ~ a princess! I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet many of Vince's former in-laws, who were so very gracious.

On the way to the reception, Vince gave me a tour down "memory lane", driving me past the home where his family lived during his highschool years ~~ Oh! Oh! We were in Cedar Falls, not Waterloo! Whew! I feel better now that I know where I was. We also drove past his old highschool & college stomping grounds, which was very cool to see. The reception and dance was awesome. It was such a joy watching the kids interact with their cousins, aunts & uncles and grandparents....meeting more family & getting to know them a bit....having a very yummy dinner of spaghetti & fettuccini alfredo (the bridal party had bibs with their names painted on them - how cute was that?!) But the highlight of the evening (and of the entire weekend actually for me) was dancing with Vince for the first time ever. And to the YMCA, no less! Ha! And no, honey, you did NOT look like a dork on the dance floor as you feared you would.....even tho you can't do the YMCA ;) What were you doing in the 80's anyway? Playing with your Star Trek figurines??? As Jessie said....you need to go to the Holodeck and type in "1980's dance club" or something and learn it. There WILL be a quiz at our company Christmas party, you know that don't you?? Muah...! I love you, baby!

The only bummer was on Saturday when I had a melt down about missing my boys. I hate spending entire weekends without them when they are at their dad's. I miss them so much sometimes it hurts. Sigh. Tears. But Vince loved me through it, as heroes often do =).
Aside from that, it was a wonderful weekend and went by too quickly, as they always do. Always wishing that there was more time together....and there will be when we go down again for Thanksgiving, this time WITH my boys (yay!)
We.....have.....been.....talkin' it out......on the Barry Gibb Talk Show......talkin' bout chest hair......and crazy cool medallions................

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Purification in God's Eye

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. As hard times come, just remember who is holding you and waiting to see His reflection in you to know that the purification process is complete.

~ Author unknown

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Sweater

This is a quote from one of my favorite musicians, Rich Mullins, who died in 1997 at the age of 42 in a car accident. I found this story online, and thought I'd share it. He often told this story in concert when he sang his song "Ready For The Storm". I never did see him in concert, unfortunately, but I love his music and the ministry that he had. I don't actually feel like a "lonely sailor" at the moment, although I have at times in my life. I just love the message in this story (and the song)!

In Ireland, the women would knit their own special designs into the sweaters the men would wear to sea, because the waters there could be so very rough and treacherous. So treacherous that if by chance their ship were caught in a storm and the crew lost, their bodies would be beaten and broken beyond recognition by the time they reached the shores. The only way at times for the women to recognize them would be by the designs on the tattered remains of their sweaters...

You know, one day, after all our trials and tribulations here on earth, we're all gonna wash up on that other shore, beaten and broken beyond recognition. A couple of angels might walk by and shake their heads saying, "Man, we really need to get this garbage cleaned up..." And as they stoop to carry away the tattered figure, Jesus walks up, stopping them in their tracks. He stares quietly for a moment, then, with a loving smile he points and says "No, wait...I know that one...don't you see...that's my sweater..."

"Ready For The Storm" - Rich Mullins

The waves crash in, the tide rolls out
It's an angry sea, but there is no doubt
That the lighthouse will keep shining out
To warn a lonely sailor.
The lightning strikes and the wind cuts cold
Through the sailor's bones, through the sailor's soul
'Til there's nothing left that he can hold
Except a rolling ocean.

Oh, I am ready for the storm...

Oh give me mercy for my dreams
'Cause every confrontation seems
To tell me what it really means
To be this lonely sailor.
And when the sky begins to clear
The sun it melts away my fear
And I cry a silent weary tear
For those who mean to love me.

Oh, I am ready for the storm...

The distance, it is no real friend
And time will take its time
And you will find that in the end
It brings You me, this lonely sailor.
And when You take me by the hand
You love me, Lord, You love me
And I should have realized
I had no reasons to be frightened.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hey, this ramble actually turned into something!

What to write, what to write.............hmmmmm..........I have the desire to write something, but now that I'm here I don't have a clue what I'll write about. Is that what they call "writer's block"? Anyway, I'm really not sure where this is going or what will come spewing out....just so you know and can prepare yourself accordingly!

I've had this feeling many times throughout my life....the need to write. Almost a compulsion. I remember as a teenager I would sit down with a notebook & pen and just start writing. Lists were my favorite. I love to write lists, to read lists, and to cross things off my lists. I always have a "to do" list going. There is a sense of satisfaction in crossing things off when I have done them. I have even been known to write things on my "to do" list that I have already done just so that I can cross them off. I think that could possibly qualify as some type of disorder, but I'm not sure on that. Dave, maybe you could ask your dad?? Then again, I may not really want to know :\

Anyway, some cool news in my family....my sister Donna just got engaged!! She is divorced, as am I, and has been through alot in her life. So to see her so incredibly happy with Mike is very refreshing! It was quite a romantic engagement...he flew her up to Portland and drove her along the Pacific Coast highway for the afternoon. They walked along the beach and visited some lighthouses. He found a beautiful little cove, invited her in, dropped to his knees and in tears told her how much he loves her, how much she has brought to his life, and asked her to be his wife. I talked to him this past weekend and told him how romantic and special that sounded and he said "everyday with her is like that". Awwe! A year ago I would have heard this story and felt a twinge of sadness, emptiness, longing, uncertainty....wondering if I would ever experience love again. Would anyone ever truly love me? Know me? Want me? I didn't know....I wanted to believe that God would bring love into my life someday, that's what everyone told me. But quite honestly I doubted it. And even if He did, I didn't know what that would look like, how it would come about, and if I would recognize it when it did. I trusted God that He had a plan for my life, but I didn't trust my own heart. Thankfully, I don't have to wonder anymore, because now I know what it's like to be loved like that!

As I write this I am reminded that, contrary to what my own emotions would tell me, I have ALWAYS been loved like this....even more deeply, more romantically, and more completely than anything I have ever experienced or imagined. And so have you! Our Father, our Savior loves us more than we can imagine. He is so in love with me, with you, that He can hardly contain it! Do you know that? Do you believe it? It has nothing to do with how loved you feel, or how lovable you think you are (or aren't). You are loved by the Creator of the Universe, the One who formed you in your mother's womb. The One who thought of you even before the first star was born. The One who had a purpose in creating you, who anticipated you, who rejoiced on the day of your birth, who has thought of you everyday of your life. The One who promises to never leave your side, who cares about every detail of your life. The One who sings over you. Who thinks you are beautiful. "The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 It doesn't matter who you are, what you have done, or even if you recognize or return His love. You are loved.

"Never Been Unloved" - Michael W. SmithI have been unfaithful
I have been unworthy
I have been unrighteous
And I have been unmerciful
I have been unreachable
I have been unteachable
I have been unwilling
And I have been undesirable

Sometimes, I have been unwise
I've been undone by what I'm unsure of
But because of You,
And all that You went through
I know that I have never been unloved

I have been unbroken
I have been unmended
I have been uneasy
And i've been unapproachable
I've been unemotional
I've been unexceptional
I've been undecided
And I have been unqualified

Unaware, I have been unfair
I've been unfit for blessings from above
But even I can see the sacrifice you made for me
To show that I have never been unloved