Tuesday, August 19, 2008

It just makes "sense"

I played on the worship team last Sunday for the first time since before our wedding ~ it was wonderful to be back! I took the past couple months off to focus on the wedding & moving in and such. I hadn't even been playing my piano very often until I started preparing for last Sunday, and I really missed it. It is such a part of my soul....creating music. What an incredible gift God has given us...what would the world be like without music? It would be pretty quiet. Have you ever thought about what a gift EACH of our senses are? And the countless blessings that come with each of them? What if we didn't have ears to hear music, or the sweetness of a loved one's voice? He has given us so many special things to make life sweet - things He didn't have to do. He didn't have to put flavor in food, we would eat it anyway just out of necessity. But He decided to give us so many incredible flavors to taste and smell and enjoy - herbs, spices, sugar, fruit...CHOCOLATE! And colors...so much beauty in the world to enhance our experience. He didn't have to create flowers and breathtaking sunsets, but He did. And the power of touch...how we respond to a hug, a kiss and....well I'll just stop there ;) He didn't have to create us that way, but He did! I've never understood how anyone could argue the existence of God...the evidence is all around us, it is overwhelming and undeniable to anyone who is truly paying attention.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20
So, we can understand the nature of God by merely looking at His creation? Well then, here's what I see (and taste and feel and hear): God values beauty. He loves to make things special for us, and expresses His love for us in so many extraordinary ways! He goes the extra mile and does far more than just meet our needs. How many days and years have I walked through this life not realizing this? Not really paying attention? I am so glad that, by the grace of God, He caught my attention...that He opened my eyes and heart to see the truth and believe it. But what about those who never do? According to this verse, man is without excuse. When we meet God face to face at the end of our life here on this planet, not one of us will be able to say "but God, it's not my fault! I didn't know!" Yes you did.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Trevor told me to call this blog "Pears", so I did

Recently, Vince wrote an incredible blog about dangerously bold prayer. Our pastor did a two week series on this topic that spawned some conversations between Vince and I. One night he asked me what was the most dangerous prayer I've ever prayed. I had to think for a moment and several came to mind. Just remembering them and the events of my life that prompted me to pray them brings tears to my eyes and quickens my heart!

Without a doubt, the most dangerous prayer I've ever prayed is "whatever it takes." I have asked God for many things in my life, but I usually attach things to my requests - stipulations, instructions, and limits - as if He'll miss something if I don't point it out. "God, please change my life in this area...but don't let it be too painful, don't take me out of my comfort zone, don't go too far, and don't take too long, ok?" Wow. When I really think about it, it is pretty presumptuous of me to ask the Creator of the Universe for something, and then try to micro-manage Him. It really shows lack of faith. It's telling God that I don't trust that He knows what He's doing with my life. Praying "whatever it takes" just pulls out all the stops and gives God free reign over my future. It takes complete surrender. It's the most scary, vulnerable position I've ever been in.

There have been only a few times in my life where I have surrendered enough to pray that prayer, and sometimes it has cost me alot. "God...whatever it takes...soften his heart. Do what it takes to break him so that he finally realizes that he needs You." Whoa. That was a costly prayer. One that to my knowledge has still gone unanswered. "God...protect my heart. Don't let me get involved with the wrong man. Until you bring me the man that you have chosen for me, let me remain alone...as long as it takes." That one was costly as well, far more than I ever imagined when I prayed it ~ but oh so worth it!! And potentially the most costly of all...."God, please save my children. Don't let them grow up and reject You. If that were to happen, I don't think my heart could bear it. Save them, Lord...whatever it takes."

It's scary for me to trust...maybe I'm revealing too much about myself here, but I may as well be honest. I have trust issues. Vince understands this about me and he is so very patient and loving and thankfully he doesn't take it personally. I know that I can trust him completely with my life and with my heart. But that did not come easily or quickly. It took some time for me to let down my guard, to truly let him into my heart without reservation. Not because I saw something in him that made me cautious, quite the opposite. And it wasn't necessarily residual scars from past hurts. It was something within my own heart that didn't trust God enough. I didn't truly believe that He would bring someone wonderful into my life...didn't trust that He would come through for me, or that I was deserving of a love like this. But God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, saw something different. His plan for my life was far more than I ever imagined for myself! And I wonder if any of it would have come to fruition had I not been willing to surrender to Him and pray that very dangerous prayer....whatever it takes. It was risky, but I thank God every day that I prayed that prayer. Even tho now I have to live with a BOY!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Loud birds and other ridiculously unnecessary noises at 5am

We have psychotic birds here. I don't know what is going on, but we do. One of them decided to chirp ~ one loud chirp, every 6.2 seconds ~ right outside our bedroom window this morning until it woke me up...at 5am. Darth was peacefully sleeping through it. I didn't even remember to tell him about it before he left for work. This is the second of what I am convinced will be a series of odd bird behavior that has occurred since we moved in. Ok, maybe that wasn't odd in bird world, but it was very unecessary in the human world, namely mine. The first psychotic episode was several weeks ago...I woke up to what I thought was someone knocking at the door. Three fast knock knock knocks.....then silence. For about 20 seconds. Just long enough for me to go into another room in search of the source of the noise. Then knock knock knock again.....aaaand silence. After going to the front door, then the kitchen, and doing alot of standing around with a confused/annoyed look on my face, I finally determined it was coming from Hope's room. So I opened the blinds and waited...until it came. A cardinal. Flew directly from the tree in our backyard right smack into Hope's window. Thunk. Flap flap flap. Retreat. It flew back to it's tree, composed itself, thought "what the...?" and then tried again. Thunk. Flap flap flap. Retreat. Every time it did this, it hit it's head on the window exactly three times. Wierd. How many times does a bird have to do this until it gets it? Or knocks itself out? Hope woke up in the middle of this, and I went and got Kyle so we could all watch and laugh. It was pretty hilarious.

I didn't want Vince to leave for work today. We need some time together. It's been a long while since we have had any significant amount of time alone. I miss that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Birthday traditions ~ old and new

If you have already read Vince's blog, then you know that yesterday was Nick's birthday! My son, my first born, is 11 already. And Kyle, my baby, is 7...sigh. The boys' birthdays have always been very nostalgic & sentimental for me. They are only three weeks apart, Kyle's was July 15th, but three weeks ago I was still in the throws of honeymoon bliss and the mayhem and chaos of those first few weeks of family blending and didn't blog about it at the time. But both of their birthdays were great - we blended some birthday traditions from both of our families, as well as started some of our own! Vince & kids have a red "You are special today" plate, as well as a "happy birthday" mug, so the person of honor gets to use those all day. The boys and I some time ago acquired a "It's my birthday today" pin, so they wore it on their special day. I made each of them a cake (I've usually done a "theme cake", or whatever they wanted). This year, Kyle's was a round layered chocolate cake with white frosting and red icing to make it look like a baseball. Nick requested his favorite cake - chocolate with chocolate chips, whipped cream and chocolate chips sprinkled on top. By the way, it's Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate Chips and nothing else. If you've never had them, you need to go out and buy a bag right now. I'm serious.

Speaking of chocolate I just have to take a rabbit trail for a moment and tell you about this totally lucious treat that we happened upon....we were at Woodman's grocery store on Sunday and at the end of an hour long grocery shopping session, and a cart full of groceries, I was tired and needed a chocolate fix. One of us spied some chocolate marshmallows on display along with some chocolate dipping sauce...sold. I was a little hesitant because it wasn't Ghiradelli, it was Baker's chocolate, but I thought it was worth a try. We got home, unloaded the groceries, popped the dipping sauce in the mic and ripped open the bag of marshmallows....can I just say it was AWESOME!!! Wow! Diabetic shock in a bag, but it was totally worth it and my husband thankfully survived. (I promise to take better care of him, but this had to be done.) We also tried it on a banana and can I just say, YUM!

Anyway, back to the birthdays...something new that we started was to make a "Happy Birthday" sign and hang it on the patio doors (the marker looks really bright with the light shining through it) and everyone signed it & wrote birthday wishes. I also put pictures of them on the cupboards around the kitchen, starting with their one year pics and each of their school pics =) Pretty cute to see them "grow" through the years! Hope kept asking "will you do that for MY birthday?" Yes, honey, we will =) I have always let the boys choose what they want for supper on their birthday as well (within reason). This year Kyle chose, above all things, salmon! This child will not eat mac & cheese, but he loves salmon! So after his baseball game, guess what we were doing at 8:30pm on July 15th? Yep...grilling salmon on our deck. We didn't eat supper until after 9 that night, but it was yummy! Nick's birthday supper last night was easier...Little Caesars Pizza and crazy bread! After supper it was cake & presents time! I am so very impressed with Vinny and Hope and their creativity and giving hearts. For Kyle's birthday, Vinny spent quite some time creating a lego baseball guy for him, Kyle loved it! And Hope, in addition to her home made cards and art projects, has started a tradition of her own of spelling their name out on a piece of paper with moon sand and hiding it the cabinet =)

One more birthday tradition that I've done with the boys is watching videos of them when they were little. I LOVE doing this, but it always makes me a bit sad to realize how much they are growing up. We did this as a family last night and we laughed and laughed watching baby Nick learn to crawl, and little 3 year old Nick dancing to the Lion King (with some Elvis-like moves) and singing "If You're Happy and You Know it" at bedtime with the hick ups...and many more cutie patootie things =)

The next birthday in the house will be Trevor's in November...by the way, you should ask him about his babysitting adventures yesterday for our friend Kari's kids who are 1, 2 and 6! And yes, there were dirty diapers involved! Oh what he will do for cash =)

Happy Birthday, Kyle....and remember that you will always be my "baby boy"! And Happy Birthday, Nick...and remember that you were the one who made me a mom!