Thursday, October 20, 2011


So it took me four hours to get home from Lincoln last night.  For those of you who don't live here, it's a 90 minute drive from Lincoln to CC.
Well...I was talking on the phone to Allie, and I heard this weird thumping noise.  My tire was flat.  Like really, really flat.  Hmmm...  I wonder how long I'd been driving on it like that?  So I pulled off on the interstate exit and York and called Caleb.
If you know me, you know.  I have NO talent at fixing anything.  That's why I married a man who can fix everything.  =)
So, the last time I remember anyone trying to show me how to change a tire was in highschool.  My dad and I were on our way back from track practice or something at school when the tire broke.  It was freezing.  And I stood there thinking, "Why do our cars always break?" while he showed me how to change dead tires.  He has lots of practice.  =) 
Since then I've just let Caleb take care of all mechanical things.  It's so much faster.  And easier. 
But last night Caleb was an hour away.
So armed with my Odyssey's manual and Caleb's directions on the phone, I went to work.
I pulled the spare tire out of the van and found the jack.
Then I found the spot to put the jack (that part was not easy).
I had to kick the thing that unscrews the lug nuts (I think that's the right word...) to get them unstuck.  Apparently Caleb tightens things much tighter than I can untighten them.
He kept saying something about 100 foot pounds.
Whatever that means.
And I was spinning the little thing on the jack to make the van go up when this nice man appeared.
By this time I was freezing and wishing that somebody who actually had a clue what they were doing would show up and rescue me.  But I was also VERY impressed with myself.  I had just changed half a tire BY MYSELF! 
So, this man is the director of Christian Heritage (a Christian adoption agency here in Nebraska) and took pity on me because he has a wife who doesn't know how to change tires either.  He didn't figure he'd want his wife sitting on the side of the road trying to change a tire while his three kids ran around like psychos in the back of their van (which is what Julia was doing in the back of our van...) 
And I was thankful. 
Thankful that he knew what he was doing.
Thankful for the help. 
Thankful that he was not creepy, and I was not scared of him.
Thankful for a man to choose to be late to his meeting in order to be God's hands and feet in my life.
Thankful that God takes good care of me. 
This has been a hard week for alot of reasons.  I feel on the verge of panic about different things at different times.  God does not seem the least bit interested in what seems to me to be best.  And I was desperate for a reminder of God's goodness. 
That man walking up to my van was God stepping into my life saying, "See?  You could do this by yourself, but I'm paying so much attention to even the little details of your life that I'll help you.  This man will be Me walking into your life to remind you that I take good care of you." 
I needed that yesterday. 
And I wondered...  Something had to go wrong for God to point that out to me.  So maybe the things that seem terribly wrong in my life are the setup for God to stun me and those around me with His goodness and mercy and kindness and love. 
Just  maybe.
Doesn't really feel like that most of the time.
But here's a quote I read today.
Our feelings do not affect God's facts.  They may blow up, like clouds, and cover the eternal things that we do most truly believe.  We may not see the shining of the promises - but they still shine!  - Amy Carmichael

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday Afternoon

 I took a nice Sunday afternoon nap, and this is what I woke up to.  Apparently 60 degrees in the middle of October is not too cold to play in the mud daddy makes in the driveway while washing the van.  Julia was blue. If they're not sick this week, it'll be a miracle.

We went for a walk across the new bridge.  It's gorgeous! 

We probably should've taken the stroller...

Ava climbing.

I have no picture taking talent, but the sunset was gorgeous.  All I had to do was point and shoot.  =)

Friday, September 23, 2011

What happens when I forget my camera

Long, thin wisps
like paintbrush strokes
trailing behind a massive dark cloud.
Bright white strands intertwined with dark grey-blue ribbons.
Ends swept up on one end as if in a shrugged smile.
Stretching from east to west.
Brush strokes over cool, bright-blue fall air.

And corn
not quite brown 
but dying.
Readying itself for it's end:
Used to sustain life going on after its death.

I'd like to be the clouds. 
Delicate beauty
vibrantly displaying the glory of God.
Showing off.
Am I willing to admit that I'm just vapor?
Glowing pink for mere minutes
but for that minute, the most glorious thing in the sky
drawing praise
turning eyes to the Creator.

But who wants to be the corn?
One of millions exactly like it
standing row by row
whose purpose is growth
then multiplication
then death.
Fun, huh?

All this beauty. 
For us?

And then:
"God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
[And] God saw all that He had made,
and behold, it was very good."
Gen. 1:27, 31 (italics mine)

Monday, September 12, 2011

An afternoon in the backyard

So I seem to have run out of words to write.  Maybe that means I'm talking too much.
Or maybe I just feel so confused about life that I'm not very sure what to write. Maybe when I get a little smarter I'll start writing again.  Or maybe you'll end up having to listen to me sorting out my confusion by writing.  But for now...
Be excited.  =)

Monday, August 8, 2011

For His Glory!

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts."  Isaiah 55:9 (NAS)

I've been thinking alot about this verse lately.
It seems that God does not do things the way I think I would if I were Him.

Probably not too surprising to you. 
But I am constantly surprised by how surprised I am when God doesn't listen to how I think He should do things.

Today is the five year anniversary of the day we bought our home in Lincoln.  The last $1,500 of our "fix-up our trash-hole of a first home" mortgage is forgiven today.  Too bad we've paid an extra...oh...probably $4,000 for a house we're not living in the last six months. 
No one seems to want to buy our home.  We've started asking everyone we know. 
Wanna buy our house??? 
Here it is!!!
It's not fancy, but it's cheap!  And it has new siding and windows and kitchen cabinets and flooring and doors and pretty paint.  And I killed most of the spiders that have moved in over the last six months when I was there Saturday. 
Sorry... I got a little carried away.  =)

Anyway, the point of this is that we should not be able to pay the combined rent and mortgage on two homes. 
Not for six months.

On top of that, after months of debating back and forth, we've decided to send the kids to NC.  I think we seem a bit crazy.  Because obviously we have no extra money right now.  And there's nothing wrong with the (free!) public school four blocks down the road. 
But Caleb and I have prayed for God's direction, and we both came to the conclusion that this is what God is calling us to do with our kids for this year.  So I thought we'd have to find some extra money lying around.  Goodbye carefully saved "romantical vacation for our 10th anniversary" fund...  =(
Anyone have a rich great-aunt who would like to adopt us?

And I am amazed by God. 
I'm not sure you need all the messy details.  But in ways that I would never expect, in timing that I usually think is too slow, He's providing for this decision. 
Without our house selling. 
And without using my not-so-necessary romantical vacation fund.
Things I did not think were possible.

And He's getting the glory for it.  Because it obviously isn't our decision-making talent that got us here. 
We did not move to Central City to send the kids to NC. 
We almost bought a house out in the middle of nowhere before selling ours in Lincoln. 
We almost just stayed in Lincoln forever.
But I have this feeling that God knows what He's doing in the middle of all this craziness.  Like maybe the end result of all this moving and job-changing and church-switching and lack of absolutes on the plan for our lives (none of which I wanted, by the way) might turn out to be pretty great. 
For His glory!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Loving the least

So they seem to have  managed to do something.  Made some sort of deal that doesn't fix the problem at all - just extends their opportunity to fix it.  That is, if I'm understanding what happened right.
Beneath all the front page headlines - buried underneath "important" stuff like:
"Blazing Heat Scorches Midwest, South"
"Biden Criticized for 'Terrorist' Tea Party Remarks"
"Machine Turns Air into Water"
"Miley's Tattoo Starts Twitter War"
"Putin: America's a Parasite on World's Economy"
(These are all front page headlines from Fox News and CNN this morning)
Half way around the world.   Something no one seems to want to talk much about.  I literally could not find anything about it on Fox News.  And one article buried in the World section of CNN.  I had to google it.
People are dying.  Starving.  In Somalia and much of eastern Africa.  I've heard stories of mothers walking six weeks to find a filthy refugee camp with at least a small amount of food - leaving their children dying on the side of the road on the way.  A five year old can't walk for six weeks with little or no food or water.  Can you imaging the heartbreak?
And men who HATE preventing willing aid workers from helping the most desperate.  Those men will face God some day.  
Why is it so hard to see?  We like sensational news.  We like graphic news.  We like unique news.  We like to be entertained. 
We do not like hopelessness.  We're not really that interested in people half a world away who have nothing.  People die in Africa all the time, right?  At least it's not me.
But these are people.  Created in God's image.  Loved by Him.
As God's children, we had better care.
If Jesus were a man on earth today, He would care.  He would weep with the suffering.  And He would do something - what He could do - to help. 
That's why I was excited!  When I googled "Somalia famine", guess what the first link was?
So I clicked the link and was led here
God's people being His hands and feet in a part of the world that desperately needs Him.  While our politicians (the "powerful" people in our country) try to make each other look bad, God's people take it upon themselves to do something. 
God's challenge to me is Pray!  Give!  Do something!  In My name!  To bring Me more glory!
How can I ignore?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My political soapbox

I love to watch the news.  Maybe it's kinda geeky, but I think newspapers are cool.
I grew up watching Dan Rather and Ken Siemek on CBS with my dad while he stretched after running.  Now my kids watch cartoons while I make supper during this same time frame.
But I still like to keep up with what's going on in the world.
So I've been watching the people we've elected attempt to come to some kind of deal over the budget issue.
And I have to say I'm puzzled. 
These are supposedly the best qualified people in the country to lead us.  Men and women of wisdom and purpose and integrity - I would hope. 
And they're sitting around Washington squabbling and pointing fingers like a bunch of preschoolers.  It seems no one actually wants a solution to the problem.  They simply want a giant disaster to occur and to be able to point the finger of blame at their rivals.  The Republicans want Obama to be remembered as the President who defaulted on America's debt.  And the Democrats want to blame the inflexibility of the Republicans for the fiscal mess we'll be in (no doubt) during the 2012 elections. 
It reminds me of my kids "playing" in the basement yesterday.  They wanted to play together.  But Ethan and Kylie were being too rough.  So Julia was screaming - alot.  Which those of you who know Julia will know happens quite often.  So no one pays much attention anymore when Julia screams.  Anyway, none of them were nearly as interested in playing nicely together downstairs as they were in running upstairs and blaming all the screaming on everyone else.  It was never their fault - and they wanted me to know it.  So I got a running newsreel of the blame game. 
"Ethan pulled my hair!" 
"Kylie sat on my arm!" 
"Julia kicked my knee!"
All in overdone whiny, nasly voices.
Sound familiar?
Now I expect my kids to play together nicely and enjoy spending time together.  But I also expect some level of bickering from them.  They're kids.  They haven't learned how to be unselfish and kind.  That's what I'm for - to teach them. 
But it seems rather ridiculous that our elected representatives (well-educated, wealthy adults) can't do anything because they've paralyzed themselves with partisan bickering and just plain stubborness. 
It seems to this stay-at-home mom who obviously has no clout in Washington that a few things should be perfectly clear to them. 
You can't keep make $2.6 trillion a year and spend $3.8 trillion (Pretty sure those are the  numbers I heard...) 
Just like I can't buy a $3 million home on the beach in California.  It doesn't work to shove the mortgage onto a credit card and only pay interest forever. 
Doesn't take a Phd or 3 million votes to figure that out. 
"But I love the beach!" 
"It's my favorite place in the world!" 
"Other people have beach homes!" 
"I want one too!" 
(Hear the whining??)
Too bad.  Not in the budget.
Sooner or later something has to be cut somewhere.  Maybe that cut will be painful to you and me.  But we can't keep spending imaginary money.
The other thing I think Republicans and Democrats should realize is that all of them are quickly losing the trust and respect of people worldwide.  No one's coming out looking good here. 
So grow up people!  Act like men and women of integrity and wisdom and make some tough decisions that might not be popular in the short run but have the best interests of the country in mind.  Just do something - besides all the constant arguing!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan

Wow!  It's been NINE months since my last book review blog!  I've been busy, I guess, but the book I'm reviewing isn't that long.  Confession: I had a hard time finishing it.  Blame it on the NOOK Caleb bought me for Christmas.  Or the fact that we moved.  Or that we have four kids.  Or that I'm a slacker.  =)
Ok, so the review. 
"Then Sings My Soul" is a compilation of 150 hymns with the stories behind them.  I learned all kinds of things about hymn writers.  Many of their stories are amazing!  Stories of faith and trust in Jesus in the midst of the most difficult circumstances of life.  Like Horatio Spafford who wrote "It is Well with My Soul" after his four daughters drowned while crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
I enjoyed reading the individual stories and singing through the hymns - some of which I hadn't thought about in a very long time.  I remembered that I love the words to old hymns! 
I was disappointed with the way this book is organized.  The hymns seem to be arranged in no order at all.  So I learned little bits about Fanny Crosby (who wrote multiple hymns) here and there - some facts repeated over and over.  I wish Morgan had organized the hymns by author in chronological order.  It would've helped me put all the hymn writers in their correct time frame and relation to each other.  And I would've been able to see all the hymns a particular author wrote in one place. 
However, I think Morgan's purpose in writing this book is more as a reference book for a worship leader to look up a particular hymn.  For that, this book would be a great resource!  I'm not sure I'd recommend trying to read it straight through. 
This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze book review blogger program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I've expressed are my own. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I've been waiting...

I'm not very good at waiting.  I figure if something's best, then it would be best if it happened now.  Obviously God does not agree with me on this most of the time.  Good thing He knows what He's doing! 
So, here's something I've been waiting for almost TEN years for!

No, not the furniture - THIS!

This is my Grandma Johnson's china.  Grandma loved to entertain.  She had TONS of fancy napkins and tablecloths and dishes and serving plates and party decorations and silverware - and this china.  I wish I knew what she used it for.  Whether she liked it or not.  Where she got it. 
Ever since Caleb and I got married, I've been wanting a spot to put Grandma's china.  Besides the box I wrapped it so carefully in and hid in my closet.
Saturday, my dad loaded up the cabinet in the picture and brought it to my house.  I wasn't even home, but Josh helped him bring it inside and now, here it sits in my dining room!
Now I must admit.  This cabinet (I'm not sure exactly what to call it...) is not exactly the style or color I would choose if given a gift certificate to Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel or even Target. 
But since I'm not likely to be able to afford this or this anytime soon (or ever) - and I don't need to ever spend that much money on anything just to look pretty anyway - and they would look rather odd next to my dented, colored-on Shopko-quality table - I'm super excited about my free...buffet??
It has all these cool little drawers and shelves for different sized and shaped objects.  And eventually I plan to either paint or re-stain it and replace the hardware to update it a little.  I just can't decide what to do with it quite yet.  Ideas anyone??
As I look around my house, I think of so many people.  You see, we've hardly bought a single item of furniture in 9 1/2 years.  So I look at the love seat and think of Grandma and Grandpa Merchant. 
The TV stand reminds me of my Grandma and Grandpa Johnson's basement and their bright yellow leather chair.  If you ever get tired of the chair, mom...  =) 
The two odd dining room chairs remind me of Oma's visit to the thrift store. 
Kylie's pink dresser used to be my dad's dresser/desk as a little boy.  I'm sure he never imagined that one day his daughter would paint is PINK for his granddaughter.  =) 
So many memories stored up in our mismatched furniture.  And hey!  It matches our mismatched wallpaper pretty well!  =)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Haiti through Becca's eyes

If you're not already reading my sister's blog, you need to click this link right now and go read it.  Becca's in Haiti for the summer.  She's seeing God work in amazing ways. 
After reading, I wondered why God seems to display His power in so many real ways in Haiti while here in America we seem to lack His power so often.  I think it's because we put so many layers between us and being desperate for God to show up.  Savings accounts.  Government disaster and bailout programs.  Health insurance.  All too often, we trust these things instead of God. 
In Haiti they have nothing.  Either God shows up or they die.  So they fervently and passionately beg Him to help them, and He shows up over and over again. 
Sometimes I wonder if we in America with all our "blessings" are really as blessed as we think we are.  The believers in Haiti are seeing God.  Daily.  And Becca sees Him work and writes it down beautifully.  So read it.
Enjoy!  =)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I'm messing with the look of my blog again.  I'm not talented at computer stuff...  So I can't tell how to get the GIANT pic of me and Caleb to shrink down to normal size and get down from on top of this post! 
Come to think of it, you probably can't see anything I'm writing anyway.  Anybody talented enough to know how to do that?  And to get a pretty picture at the top of my blog.  And change the www. part to something easier to remember.  I figure if I can't ever remember it my own self, neither can you. 
Maybe I should just pay a web designer to do it for me.  So my kids would get something healthy to eat for supper.  And I could keep my sanity.  But for what??  11 readers?? 
Not sure it's worth it, Melody.  =)

30 seconds later:
Ah!  When I viewed my blog after posting this post,
the picture has shrunk itself!!!
I have no idea what I did. 
YAY for miracles!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

30 Things

I've been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts- slowly.  It's a bit much for my brain to absorb all at once. 
For those of you who haven't read it, it's basically one woman's journey towards thankfulness and contentment and joy.  She's a farmer's wife, a homeschooling mom of six kids. 
Her words resonate in my heart, challenge me to fix my eyes on Jesus and practice thankfulness.
Work at it. 
So, in an attempt to move myself in that direction, here are thirty things I am thankful for - in honor of my thirtieth birthday.  (Yes, Micah, I'm old...  =)

1.)  Being 30 instead of 20 again.  I was not as smart or as mature as I thought I was when I was 20.

2.)  Moms!  They took me to Lincoln for a day without kids.  Yay!  I am so incredibly blessed to have two examples to follow of the Spirit of God displaying Himself through real women in real life.

3.)  A break!  My wonderful husband has noticed that I feel a little overextended right now.  He's taking me to Colorado this weekend.  Just the two of us soaking in the glory of God displayed in the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains.
4.)  Small children keeping me on my toes and my knees.

5.)  My dad taking time to practice baseball with Ethan.  He can hit the ball great now!

6.)  A huge house and great neighbors.

7.)  An absolutely gorgeous day for a birthday.  I hate to be hot, so usually I hide inside on my birthday, but today was 75 degrees, sunny, and perfect.  I wish it would stay this way all summer!

8.)  Plants from my mom that are NOT DYING - yet anyway.  I have a bad record with plants...

9.)  Birthday song texts from a friend.  =)

10.)  I don't have to  homeschool in the fall!  ( I may be a little too excited about that...)

11.)  Free furniture. 

12.)  Baby snuggles and kisses. 

13.)  Caleb's in charge of putting the kids to bed.  I am NOT a night person.  =)

14.)  Kids who are excited to read "The Little House on the Prairie" series with me.

15.)  Robins and cardinals and blue jays  and hummingbirds outside my windows.

16.)  Music!  Ava has started singing.  "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"  "Jesus Loves the Little Ones Like Me, Me, Me"  "My God is so BIG!"  It is the. sweetest. thing. EVER.

17.)  My mom and dad and Kristi being excited to watch my kids for the weekend - even after VBS.

18.)  The Word of God!  And His Spirit challenging and comforting my heart through it.

19.)  Chocolate chip cookies.  Ok, any kind of chocolate.  =)

20.)  Mountains and sunsets and ocean waves and trees and flowers.

21.)  Swings!

22.)  The MANY people who have spoken truth into my kids' lives.  Thank you, thank you for all your time and hard work and the willingness to just do it even when it's not easy to chase a whole ton of psycho little children. 

23.)  Our realtor's perseverance in trying to sell our house in Lincoln even when no one seems to want it very badly. 

24.)  A husband who can fix ANYTHING!

25.)  Naps.  =)

26.)  The chance to live close to my grandma and grandpa again.  I'm forever grateful for my grandma's wisdom and unconditional love and my grandpa's loving and godly example. 

27.)  Food to feed my kids.  I think often of the utter helplessness of many mommies around the world who have no way to feed their hungry kids.  I need to be reminded to pray and give more.

28.)  My brothers and sisters!  Even the one who told Anna it was my birthday so all 250 or so VBS people could sing to me...  KAYLA!  =) 

29.)  Dancing little girls twirling around my living room in ballerinas. 

30.)  God's never-ending grace freeing me from my natural bent to try really hard to live up to some standard that I've made for myself. 

Wow!  That took longer than I thought it would!  I thought it would be easy to come up with 1,000 gifts, but 30 took quite a while.  And it's a really long blog post, I know.  Most of you are probably not still reading...   Oh well.  =)
That's it!  
I challenge you to take the time to write a list of things for which you're thankful.  It's good practice at being grateful.  Practice in contentment and in seeing the world through God's eyes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Small things

I just think some things my kids do are adorable.  And I want to write them down so I don't forget them...


-The way Julia says "swimsoop" instead of "swimsuit." 

-Ava toddling around calling her sisters "Lula" and "Lylie."

-The way Ethan can make Ava giggle so hard she can barely breathe.
-The way Kylie and Julia giggle right along with her.

-Kylie's guilty little grin when she's done something she knows she shouldn't have.

- Julia tucking her hair behind her ear so carefully.

-Ethan running around in his first baseball uniform.

-Kylie and Julia cuddling while they sleep.

-Kylie's gasps of joy over flowers.

- Julia's little face looking up at me while she hugs my legs.

-Ava laying her head on my shoulder as I carry her to bed.

-Ethan trying to keep his sisters from hurting themselves.  He's such a protective big brother!

-Kylie diligently rescuing stranded earthworms and carefully re-locating them to new homes.

- Ava's puckered "kissy face" lips.

Little pictures of life floating around in my head.  I hope forever.  =)

Monday, May 23, 2011


Yesterday was a perfectly gorgeous day.  And it was Sunday.  I love Sundays! 
I got up early and made pancakes and eggs for breakfast while listening to my favorite worship music.  No one ever picks all the songs I want to sing for church on a Sunday morning (as if it was their responsibility to keep me happy...)  So I sang along with my favorites before I left.  =) 

Then church, lunch at Subway with Tam and Alan, a short drive to a house for sale in Clarks, and then the all important, two-hour Sunday afternoon nap.
No, I did not really get to sleep for two hours.  Ava fell asleep in the van and wouldn't go back to sleep.  But I put my ear buds in and listened to music so I couldn't hear her playing (in her crib...she was safe and happy!) and slept for a little while at least.
So after supper last night, we had a extra-crabby, exhausted toddler on our hands.  A 15 minute nap is not enough for a 16-month old. 
In an attempt to keep Ava awake (and because I was crabby that I had to do dishes instead of play outside after my nap), we walked to the park.
Ava's favorite thing to do at the park is swing.  I love to swing her because I get to stand back and watch as I push. 

I smile as three little girls, two in frilly Easter dresses and one in her pajamas, fling themselves as high into the air as they can go.  "Look mommy!  My feet are touching the sky!" 
I remember touching the sky with my feet as a little girl, my hair blowing in my face and the wind swishing in my ears.  I remember the feeling of flying and uncontainable joy.

I laugh with my husband of nine years because we used to come to this park and swing just for fun when we were dating.  I've always loved to swing. 
And now I never get the chance because all the swings are taken by our laughing kids. 

The sun is shining, but small drops of rain splatter my face.  And Caleb points out a rainbow.  I switch to pushing from the other side of the swing so I don't have to stop looking.  I feel as if God says, "Isn't it pretty?  I made it because I love you and I know it makes you smile." 
Like He painted that rainbow in the sky just to remind me, an average mom with a crazy life, that the God of the universe loves me extravagantly. 

The rainbow fades and I turn to face the bright sun disappearing behind dark clouds.  They too are beautiful.  Wisps of white floating across dark blue, almost black, foaming towers. 
Maybe it's going to actually start raining...again.

So we grab our kids, their shoes, Ava's ba-ba, Ethan's scooter and race the clouds home.

Some moments I just want to freeze and relive over and over. 

Happy kids playing with their daddy.


Sunshine turning to long shadows.

Rainbows and clouds and raindrops.

Unhurried beauty soaked up by weary, dry souls. 

A glimpse of heaven. 

And I forgot my camera. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cooking Adventures with Melody

Welcome to the first (and possibly only..) episode of Cooking Adventures with Melody!  Today I will be showing you how to make Melody's Made-Up Meatballs.  Start with any normal meatball recipe.  I chose a recipe from my sister-in-law (love you Allie!) that uses six pounds of hamburger.  It makes around 200 small meatballs.  I freeze most of them for quick meals later. 
Here's the recipe:
6 pounds hamburger
3 cups bread crumbs
2/3 cup milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup minced onion
2 Tblspns garlic
1 Tblspns salt
2 Tblspns pepper
I have learned from previous experience that two tablespoons of garlic is WAY too much!  At least if you cheat like me and substitute garlic powder.  Another tip:  Use onion powder too.  It saves all that nasty onion chopping. And it saves your ears from listening to your whining children screech, "EWWW!!!!  Onions!!!"
Today I have slightly over six pounds of hamburger, so I open the fridge door to grab another egg.  That's when I spot the leftover refried beans from supper last night.  ", low-fat protein snuck into food the kids actually like."  Genius!  I dump them in. 
Then I spy the leftover oatmeal from breakfast last week.  My mom always tells me she puts oatmeal in her meatloaf.  Pretty sure she means uncooked oatmeal, but it'll probably turn out about the same...  In goes the oatmeal  - which I realize as I mix it into the hamburger probably has brown sugar in it.  Oh well.  A little brown sugar  never hurt anybody. 
One more trip to the refrigerator, and look!  Mashed potatoes!  But as I open the lid, "Ewww..."  Weird smelling mashed potatoes.  Down the garbage disposal they go.  Maybe next time. 
Next, spend a while mushing all these ingredients together with your bare hands.  They might get cold, but the slimy feeling is kinda fun.  =) 
Then grab your small scooper and start making balls.  This takes a long time when you're making 200 meatballs.  I hope the kids aren't destroying too many things in the backyard... 
Shove a tray in the oven for 30 minutes at 350, and you're done!  My suggestion is to throw the first batch in the crockpot with your favorite sauce and supper's finished.  Ta da! 
Anyone want to come to our house for supper tonight?

Storm Chasers

It rained here the other day.  ALOT.  The tornado sirens here went off twice in two days as the sky turned completely black mid-afternoon.  While Kylie convinced her sisters to cower in basement in fear of the giant tornado swirling toward them that would probably suck them up just like it did Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz", I stood on the front porch unimpressed at the lack of thunder and lightening and pretty much any storminess at all.  Hard rain does not count as a great thunderstorm.
I LOVE to watch thunderstorms.
After Caleb came home and listened to me crab about the lack of cool storms at our house, he made a crazy, spontaneous decision.  We got in the van with our girls (Ethan was with Mimi and Poppy) and drove towards the hail, tornado warnings, high winds, and flooded roads.  Just for fun.  =) 
We saw ditches full of rain water with hail piled in little drifts at the edges.  Waves blew across freshly planted fields turned lakes.  Water roared under bridges usually spanning placid streams.
I wish I could figure out how to upload video from my phone onto this computer.  Then I could show you what it looked like.  I guess you'll have to use your imaginations...
We stopped at Tam and Alan's long enough to let their soaked dog into the garage and learn about the tornado warning in York headed straight toward us.  (By the way, I don't know that there ever were any actual tornadoes.  Just lots of warnings.)
Then we drove home.  On the way we stopped at Oma's (Caleb's grandma's) house.  She lives right across the street from the church where Caleb's grandpa's (Opa's) funeral happened over a year ago.  That day seems to have made a huge impression on my girls - Kylie at least.  She saw the church and said, "Mommy, is that the church where we went to Opa's...what was it?"
"Funeral," I said.
"Yes, Opa's funeral.  That's where I saw Opa in his treasure box."
She thought for a second and then continued, "And when I'm really old like Opa, I'll get to be in my treasure box too."  She smiled and moved on.  She has such a short attention span.  =)
But I was stuck on the treasure box thing.  My sister Becca has a treasure box in her room, full of the best things in the world, Kylie is sure.  When my kids go to my mom and dad's, the first thing they want to do is go to Becca's room to see the things in the treasure box.  What are we going to do without you this summer, Becca?
Who but a child would link the excitement of Becca's treasure box to Opa's body in his own treasure box?  Who would think in those terms? 
An innocent child.  Trusting when she can't see and doesn't understand.  Simply trusting that God who loves her and always takes care of her and is always with her knows what He's doing even in death.  Life is so uncomplicated from Kylie's perspective.  I clutter it up with "Why?"s and "What if?"s and ragings against God for doing things His unfathomable way instead of something I can understand.  And she sees "Jesus loves me, this I know" and rests.  Comfortable with His treasures in all forms.
I make excuses for myself.  "She doesn't understand the finality of death.  The sorrow of living without someone who's shared your life.  The lonliness.  The longing."  And I'm right.  She doesn't.  But Jesus said He treasures faith like a child.  How do we cling to simple trust in the midst of the ache of loss? 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Messy Messy Messy

So I have another confession to make.  (Which I just realized is exactly the way I started my last post.  Be more creative, Melody!)
I am the opposite of a clean freak.
This morning....drum roll... I cleaned our bath tub.
For the first time.
Caleb's 80 year old grandma cleaned it before we moved in - just so you know I'm not a complete pig.  Thanks Oma!  Love you!  =) 
Now we've lived here since the end of February, so what... 2 1/2 months?  And I kept look at my bathtub kinda hoping that Mimi cleaned it the week I was in Bellingham... 
Are you interested in hearing my excuse?
Take a look at my bathtub.
Yes, this is AFTER I cleaned it.  My normal goal when cleaning a bathtub is to make it white and shiny.  Well, as you can see, it's not ever going to be white - or shiny. 
And the spots where the surround stuff is coming off and you can see the brown stuff underneath is not my responsibility to fix.  (The joys of renting!)
So I've been looking at the tub for the last 2 1/2 months thinking, "I should clean that.  But if I do, it won't look any cleaner than it does now, so why should I bother?"
Like I said.  Not a clean freak.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Princess watching

I have a confession to make.
I've been watching video and examining pictures of the future king of England marrying his bride all day. Poor Caleb got no breakfast because I was too busy watching them say, "I do."
Sorry, honey!
I'm just fascinated by the whole thing. First of all, I'm a girl, so I'm pretty much fascinated by any wedding. But I can't stop wondering, how do you actually meet a prince and get to be a princes??? Do you plot, plan, and train your whole life in a carefully orchestrated dance intended to put you in the right place at the right time? Or are you just hanging out with friends one day when the prince walks in and the two of you fall instantly in love? What does it feel like to have the eyes of the whole world watching your every move, examining your dress, makeup, and hair? Talk about pressure! Are the grace, poise, and formality the public face of just normal people? What will they do in their family room at 9:00 at night after the kids go to bed?
See, maybe I'm obsessed...
I was thinking, though, that my girls have this dream of being princesses.  They put on their princess dresses and sparkle shoes and twirl around our house.  I remind them to use their princess manners at the table and help them remember that princesses are always kind and  never scream or hit or throw things or kick people.  Princesses always sit like ladies when they wear dresses.  And they never call people names.  I've held up princesses as a high standard. 
Kylie has a book called, "Gigi, God's Little Princess" about a little girl who thinks she's a princess and wonders why she hasn't been given any royal jewels.  At the end her dad tells her that she's God's princess, that He's the king above all kings, and that girls who belong to Him are all princesses. 
So I'm a princess too, right?  I'm a girl and I belong to God. 
But why is it that I have this desire to be the one in the gorgeous dress on a perfect day in a lavish celebration of the love the prince has for me? 
As I fixed the toilet paper roll that Julia messed up this morning, I thought, I bet Kate Middleton (I just realized I have no idea what her last name is now...) never have to do this again - unless she wants to (of course she may never have had to do such things in the first place).  As I vacuumed the over-used, VERY ugly carpet on my front porch, I thought, a princess would never even walk on this carpet.  When I looked in the mirror at my stained, over sized t-shirt and faded yoga pants, no makeup and frizzy hair, I thought, a princess probably looks better than this just rolling out of bed in the morning. 
I don't feel like a princess.  At all.  My life looks more like Cinderella's before the handsome prince.
So does God really intend for us to be His little princesses?  Well, I'm pretty sure the Bible doesn't say anything about princesses at all.  But...
The New Living Translation of Ephesians 1:5 says, "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure."  God, the most magnificent king of the entire universe, decided long before the world was created that He wanted  me as His child.  It brought Him joy to go to terrible lengths to pay the penalty of my sin so I could be with Him forever.  If I'm the daughter of a king, I'm a princess, right?
God's plan for His daughters (and sons..) here on earth; however, is not to live pampered, glamorous lives of ease and self-gratification.  Philippians 2:5-8 says "You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.  Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.  When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross."
He is our example of royalty.  He is the One we are to imitate. 
I have to say, from an earthly perspective, the English royalty version of being a princess looks alot better than Jesus' version. 
But look at the eternal perspective. 
Keep reading Philippians 2: 9-11.  "Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."  For all of eternity everything that has ever been created will be busy doing one thing: WORSHIPPING the God who became man and lived a perfect life of giving until exhaustion and sleeping on the ground and doing jobs no one else cared to do.  In eternity, we will gain a true understanding of what it means to be royalty in God's eyes. 
Will I wait patiently for my King to reveal his eternal perspective to me?  Or will I waste my life envying what looks better now? 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

For Easter

I've always loved Easter. What little girl doesn't love getting a new Easter dress? And candy (especially chocolate!) is always good. And spring is my absolute favorite time of the year. Flowers start to bloom and birds sing outside my window again.
None of those are the real reason to celebrate Easter, though. In my journey closer to Christ, I've started trying to re-live Easter through the eyes of the people involved in the story that we all mourn and celebrate.
So I spend Friday being Mary as she looks up at her mutilated, humiliated Son dragging Himself up on mangled hands and feet for another gasp of air. And Peter overflowing with grief when he realizes he's done exactly what he thought he was strong enough to never do. I think of the average townspeople who must have wondered what was going on when the temple curtain was torn and the earth shook and people they knew were dead were now walking around Jerusalem. What did the parents tell their children about the Man who had welcomed them to sit and play with Him when they saw him hanging, dying for all to see?
I miss the Tenebrae Service at Faith this year because it gave me a quiet chance to sit and meditate on the death of Jesus and what He did for me. (Not that I ever got to actually sit through an entire service. Last year all three of the girls started screaming during communion...)
Saturday I think about the disciples huddling in their hole, too numb and afraid to move. Jesus was their life. They embraced Him as God. Can God die??? They must've questioned everything. And wondered, "What on earth will we do now?"
And then the JOY of Sunday! Although the Jesus' followers were probably more confused at first. Worship and adoration and fear must've raced through their hearts.
I think many of us live in Saturday. Terrible things happen in this world, to us and those we love and strangers on the other side of the world, and we have no answers. We question God just like the disciples must have. We hide in holes of depression, wondering "Why?"
"Why sickness?"
"Why starvation?"
"Why terror?"
"Why cancer?"
"Why persecution?"
"Why death?"
The only hope for any of these questions is to look to the glory of the resurrection and the HOPE of Jesus' return. Just like the disciples, though, we don't get answers on Saturday.
Just for fun, here's one of my favorite Easter songs. This is by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I love their music! Their words are wonderful, and I love Kristyn's voice. Ok, so it might be partly the accent... =) But pay attention to the words!

And here's another one!

I'd better quit. I have too many songs I love... =)

Thursday, April 14, 2011


My girls are enamored with the tulips and daffodils blooming on the south side of our house. Enamored is a fancy word for really, really excited. I so could write "Fancy Nancy" books. Jane O'Connor has stolen my calling in life. If you have girls, read them these books. If you don't have girls, get some, and read them these books. =)

Sorry...I got a little distracted...

Here's Ava "smelling" the flowers. Yes, she's trying to eat them instead. That's how she gives lovies. If you want a really slobbery, open-mouthed, licking kiss, ask Ava for lovies. I just love this picture. Ignore the fact that it's not exactly in focus and there's snot crusted on her nose. It's pretty much perfection. I know I'm biased, but isn't she the cutest thing ever? And again with "smelling" the flowers... My favorite thing about living in this house so far is that someone spent alot of time landscaping this yard. It hasn't been well taken care of for a few years, but hostas, columbines, mystery bushes, rhubarb (?), tulips, daffodils, and a bunch of other stuff I can't name are springing up all over the place. It's like an adventure to walk into the back yard and see what's growing now. On the downside, it's supposed to snow tomorrow. GRRR.... Nebraska weather can be so annoying. I hope all my beautiful plants don't freeze to death!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Moving back (home?)

We ran out of groceries the other day. It was bound to happen eventually. That meant a trip to Grand Island. I found someone to watch the kids, and off I drove in my minivan. I haven't driven Hwy 30 in a LONG time! The first thing I noticed is that my mother was right. She always made me take what I was SURE was the long way to school because she didn't want me driving on Hwy 30. I thought she was a typical overprotective mother. But she's right. Hwy 30 is a death trap. In the first 10 miles of my trip, I was forced to hit the brakes to avoid oncoming traffic coming at me in my own lane. And I had two giant vehicles fly around me at 70 miles an hour.
Death. Trap.
After I decided to petition my brother-in-law who has some (important, I hope) managerial position in the Nebraska Dept. of Roads for four lanes all the way to Central City, I started looking around me. And random, strange, funny memories hit me from all around.
I remember sitting forever at the Pump and Pantry in Chapman waiting for someone to pick me up. I know exactly where the pay phone is. Highschoolers did not have cell phones 10 years ago.
I remember thinking it was SO embarrassing to have to ride the bus to school. And thinking we were going to die while swerving down a VERY muddy road in that bus. And sitting FOREVER at the YMCA in downtown Grand Island waiting for my dad to come pick me up. If any of you have ever seen how much my dad likes to talk, you know how long I waited.
I remember alot of waiting, I guess.
I remember the guy who worked with me at Arby's and insisted my eyes were "violet". He was probably trying to flirt, but I thought he was crazy.
I drove by the Berean church and remembered sitting in my mom's office, crying, and declaring that she could not make me go back to school. I refused. (I was an emotional junior high girl. And my poor father was my teacher...)
I remembered Brad "proposing" on the basketball court and Mike kicking the soccer ball right into Kiel's face and her falling flat on her back. I remembered the 12 Dancing Princesses (speaking of embarrassing..) and singing Point of Grace songs with Leslie and youth group games with baby food.
I drove past trailer parks and wondered about my Head Start kids whose families I had visited there - and about the new families living there.
I drove past the house we lived in for 6 years - the longest I've lived in any place in my whole life. I remembered sharing a room with three little sisters - and Becca hogging most of the space for her plastic horses. And how Windsong tried to bite me. And jumping on our trampoline to very loud Twila Paris music. "God is in control!" Don't make fun of me... =)
I drove over the creek where my dad almost drowned me and my sister by insisting I could swim across with her on my back. (In his defense, he was a lifeguard who probably could've rescued us if he'd needed to. But I thought I was going to die. Kristi was shoving my head under the water, trying to climb me to get to air.)
I remembered hanging my head out the passenger window of our orange, shag carpet van in a snow storm trying to see the edge of the road and instruct my dad how not to drive off it. And how the van died and I had to walk the last half mile home in my dress shoes.
I drove by the road to Andrea's house and remembered painting her dad's barn one summer. And the running feud I had with her brother over whether the Chapman bar was a bar or a restaurant. It's a bar, Nate! =)
I drove through downtown CC and remembered how I chopped ALL my hair off the afternoon before HS graduation and when I met Adair at the flower shop, he didn't even recognize me.
Then I drove past the tiny house Caleb and I lived in when we were first married. I remembered long walks around those streets.
Band practice. Riding bikes to Dairy Queen. Speech meets. Long walks. Driving in the ditch. Hitch hiking back to the gas station with my dad. Coffee shops and Bible studies. Marla's mom waking us up with silly string.
Ok, that's enough. It's funny what little things I remember. Random corners and buildings trigger small pieces of my life to pop into my head. They're not usually the big things... Just glimpses of my life here and there. Enough to convince you that I was a strange child... =) And to convince me that just maybe I've moved home? Not quite sure about that yet...

Best Friends

I'm afraid this blog has been rather neglected. Sorry. So many thoughts are swirling around in my heart and mind that I'm not sure where to start sorting them out. Usually I do that by writing, but they're so confused, I'm pretty sure my rambling would be.... BORING!
Plus most of you I'm sure are not interested in the stressed-out, often sad, questionings of an almost 30 year old (yikes!) mother of four.
SO... To get me back in a happy blogging mood, here's a conversation from my day today.
Julia marches up to me in the kitchen (where else would I be?)
"Why do YOU get to be his best friend???" she asks in an indignant voice.
Assuming she's talking about her daddy, I reply, "Because I married him."
"But I don't know how to do that!" she whines.
"You can't. He already married me. You'll have to find somebody else." Reality is harsh, I know...
Just then Kylie walks by. Julia runs over and grabs her hand.
"Let's get married, Kylie!" she says happily and they skip off hand in hand.
Obviously we have some work to do on the whole marriage issue...
Coming next...musings on my drive down Hwy 30 - something I have not done for a VERY long time!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I know some of you have been waiting for new house pics, so here goes. Disclaimer: At first I thought I'd wait til my house was clean to take pics to show people, but I finally decided that was never going to happen in the forseeable future. So my house is a disaster. Live with it. Moving with four kids (or without...) equals CHAOS! Sorry. =)

The backyard from Ava's bedroom window upstairs.


Dining Room with 5 (yes, including the ceiling) kinds of wallpaper!

Dining Room, Living Room, and sunroom. Again notice the wallpaper. Four more kinds in the living room. And paneling and horrible carpet in the sunroom. =)

Living room from the entryway.

Entryway. Isn't the woodwork pretty?

What you see when you drive up.
So there it is! It's a beautiful old house - with some rather horrible decorating choices. But we're renting, so I'm not doing much about it. It's temporary. And God is giving me humor to look at it and laugh instead of cry. Although when Caleb put the borrowed rugs down in the living room, I chose the latter. The poor man (and Alan) slaved over the wood floors in the dining room so I wouldn't cry over them too. Love you guys! =)
This move has not been easy for me. I'm pretty sure Caleb thinks I'm losing it. I keep crying for no particular reason at random times, and he keeps looking at me like I'm crazy. Hmmm...maybe he's right? Or maybe I'm just an overly emotional woman....
So, in the midst of the chaos and meltdowns, here's the things I am most thankful for in all of this.
1.) A HUGE house! Tam and I cleaned our Lincoln home on Friday, and I seriously have no idea how we all fit in there. We were getting on each other's nerves because we were on top of each other all the time! The kids love to play in their basement playroom here. And the fenced backyard is perfect. And I need MORE FURNITURE! I actually have spaces I don't have furniture for! AMAZING! =)
2.) Family close. Kayla and I took the kids to the park twice last week. Oma dropped by with lemon poppy seed bread. Yum! Becca stopped by for fun and went to the park with us. My mom and dad gave us furniture they weren't using. And Tam and Alan have spent so much time helping us move and clean and unpack. We would not have been able to do this without all of you guys!
3.) Caleb's job. He loves working on tractors and combines. And he likes the guys he works with.
4.) A good church. Although this church doesn't feel like home to me yet, we've been so blessed by welcoming people and solid Biblical teaching.
5.) Friends for the kids. People here have been so kind - inviting the kids over to play. We have neighbors (one of the pastors at the church) with kids almost exactly the same age as our kids. A boy and three girls. Ethan waits every day for Dakota to get home from school so they can play. Ethan and Kylie practically stalk their front door. Sorry JJ and Carol! Please send my kids home if they start to annoy you! =) I've tried to impress the importance of inviting others over to your house instead of inviting yourself over to theirs to the kids. So far it's not working. Apparently last time they went over, they rang the doorbell and announced, "We're here to play!" Nice.
6.) Friends from Lincoln who want to come visit us. Yay! We miss you guys!
7.) So many things being close. We walked to the library, the park, and the grocery store this week. I drove out to my mom and dad's in less than 10 minutes! And grandma - you're next! =) I suppose that balances out the extra hour it takes to get to Super Target now...
Hmmm....that's what I can think of for now. I have alot of thank you notes to write. I'm just so grateful that in the midst of all the chaos and stress, God has proven Himself faithful and gracious and loving. He is our perfect provider. He knows exactly what we need. I'm learning to trust Him more and more through this. That's the point, right?

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's happening

Well we're doing it. As of sometime next week, we will be moved in to our new house. I'm kinda surprised, actually. I don't know why, but I really never thought we'd live in Central City again. When I was in highschool there, most of my good friends wanted to get as far away from CC as possible. And I was pretty sure I wanted to go with them. And the year we lived there after getting married was pretty much a complete disaster.
Hmmm.... I really didn't know I wanted to move back.
But apparently I am anyway.
I'm not sure I'm really excited, but I'm ok with it.
I'm excited about some stuff. The house is HUGE (maybe big enough to ignore the yellowish/greenish stove and the flowery wallpaper everywhere). It's a perfect location - far from the train tracks and walking distance to all the important things (library, park, pool, church). Family close.
I'm sad to leave Lincoln, though. Our house is way too small for us, but I have happy memories here. And it's really hard to leave our church and move away from friends.
God doesn't always call us to do the easy thing, though. I feel like He led us down this unexpected path. My confidence in Him gives me peace and comfort and hope when I would otherwise be freaking out!
Looking back through the other moves in my life, I'm recognizing a pattern of coping mechanisms I use to deal with things that make me nervous or that I don't really like. I hide in my house, cry, and eat lots of chocolate trying to avoid actually having to say goodbye to anyone. I refuse to make friends in the first place so that when we move, no one will care.
My plans aren't working so great this time. Too late not to make any friends. And on top of that, they want to have going away parties for us. =) No hiding for me.
And I'm realizing that it's good for me to walk through this process. God is reminding me of His faithfulness and His goodness and His love in ways that I would never have needed if I'd spent my time hiding. He is walking with me, holding my hand, and reminding me that I'm being rather pathetic for only moving 90 minutes away. I mean, for all my over-emotionalizing this (yes, I just made that word up...), Lincoln has much better shopping options than Grand Island. We will be driving back and forth. If for no other reason than I love Target! =) Hopefully some of my friends will think the hour and a half drive to CC isn't too terribly far to make every now and then.
And God will provide. New friends. A new church. A new pattern of life. And it will be good, but not perfect. Heaven will be perfect, and I guess that's what I really want. To never deal with separation or distance or fear again. I guess I'll be waiting for that for a while still.

Friday, January 21, 2011


We welcomed my newest nephew into the world yesterday! Daiven Barrett arrived at 7 1/2 pounds and 20 inches of perfectness. I know...that's probably not a word. But after holding all four of my newborn babies in my arms, I know that their slimy, red, smashed little bodies are the most precious and amazing gifts from God. I'm thousands of miles away from Daiven, but as soon as I knew who he was, I loved him. The second I heard he was a he and not a she, God made a spot in my heart for him. This aunt is longing to hold her tiniest little nephew right now!
I know that instant connection from a mommy's perspective too. The instant you find out there's a microscopic baby growing inside you, you're in love. There might be some panicking involved if the news was unexpected. I've done some of that. But even so, it's amazing how quickly you fall in love with a tiny person you've never met.
By contrast, I read the news this week about the abortion doctor in Pennsylvania who murdered babies and mothers alike in his attempt to promote "women's rights." I swayed between wanting to cry and wanting to throw up as I read the article. I just cannot imagine anyone greeting a baby's arrival into the world so callously and with so much hatred. What kind of seared conscience must a person have to stab scissors into the back of a helpless baby's neck? It hurts me to even write that. How I wish I could have lovingly held those babies for just one minute of their lives so that someone touched them the way a baby deserves to be touched.
What baffles me is that the media does not seem to particularly care. They reported it, but no more than the usual, everyday news. The weather, Miss Nebraska winning the Miss America competition, the new season of American Idol, the shooting in Arizona are all much bigger news. I'm not saying those are bad stories.
But shouldn't someone be OUTRAGED?!?!
Someone should be standing on a street corner crying for all the lost babies dying in such a disgusting place in such a horrific way.
Someone should cry for their mothers who were led by the system and a money-hungry madman to believe that killing their babies was the best option.
Someone should be screaming for prosecution against those in authority who knew something was wrong and shrugged it off, looking the other way.
Someone should be begging God for mercy on a country where innocent lives are thrown away so callously.
Maybe that someone should be me. Maybe you?
I praise God for Daiven's healthy, perfect body and his loving mommy, daddy, brothers, family, and friends who welcomed him with joy! And I thank God for the comfort of knowing that those babies who were loved by no one during their very brief lives on this earth were celebrated into heaven in the arms of Jesus.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bagging groceries at Super Saver

I have been an anxious wreck lately.
Bad, I know.
I have quoted every verse about "Be anxious for nothing" and "Do not worry about tomorrow." I have prayed and prayed. And still I find myself walking through a perfectly normal day and then panicking.
Caleb and I are considering moving. Only an hour away from Lincoln - and closer to family. But I do not do change well.
Would you like to hear my history?
The first major change in my life was when my dad decided to move our family to West Africa for a year. I was 7 (old enough to know better) and threw the only meltdown screaming fit I ever remember throwing in my life.
It was pretty pathetic.
That about sums up my feelings about moving.
We moved alot when I was young. I went to a different school every year through 7th grade. Every time we moved, my dad would have everyone vote. Every time he tallied the votes, the results were same.
Seven people say, "Let's go!" and one "No way!"
Guess who?
When I was a sophomore in highschool, my dad had an opportunity to work at an MK school in Thailand. I freaked out. Instead of throwing a hissy fit like before, I calmly told my parents that I would not be going with them to Thailand. I'd live in the dorm at my highschool and live with my grandparents over the summers.
I meant it.
I was not going.
After trying to set me up with some 17 year missionary, motorcyle driving boy in Thailand over the phone, my dad gave up and we stayed in Nebraska.
Ok. So now that I'm almost 30 you'd think I'd have the maturity and faith to handle change calmly and rely on God for strength. And I'm fighting for it. But I seem to vacillate between panicking that the details won't work out for us to move away from Lincoln and panicking that we have to leave Lincoln in the first place.
By the way, this is where it's great to have a husband who is not an emotional wreck. He does not freak out every other minute and reminds me to imitate him. Thanks honey! =)
All this long introduction to get to the point of this story.
I went grocery shopping today.
You thought it was going to be something more interesting, huh?
Just wait a second.
I had a few things to grab, so I ran into Super Saver quick with $34 in my pocket. I really did not want to spent more than that $34. But I kept grabbing a few things here and there that were on sale. And then it was 3:00 and I was hungry, so I grabbed a snack. I got to the checkout and...guess what?....worried.
Surprising, I know.
"I should've paid closer attention to how much I was spending!" I berated myself.
The checkout dude rang everything up and the total was...
...get this...
This probably seems really silly to you, but I almost cried right there.
Talk about an emotional wreck...
It was like God spoke directly to my anxious heart.
"See? Look and see what I can do. I care about your grocery money.
I care about your big decisions too.
Will you stop worrying and stressing and running and just look at me?
I can do it.
In My way and My time.
And when it's done, you will know that it was Me all along."
I'm so thankful for a God who speaks to me while I'm bagging my groceries at Super Saver. I'm in awe of his love and grace poured out on my anxious untrusting heart.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Old Testament Superhero?

I read Genesis 6 again this morning. Once again I was struck by verses 5-6 and 8-9:

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that
every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart...
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD....
Noah was a righetous man, blameless in his generation.
Noah walked with God."

I'm always floored by the thought that people were so depraved that everything they thought was evil, ALL the time. I like to think that the world around me comes up with some good ideas sometimes. There are alot of good people out there giving their lives for good causes - feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, loving orphans, feeding the homeless. I suppose the people in Noah's day did things that looked good on the outside too. That doesn't seem to be God's standard, though. He says "every intention of the thoughts of his heart". The motives in their hearts were wrong - even if they were doing good things.

This doesn't have anything to do with my point, but God always reminds me of part of his character when I read that He was grieved in His heart. How I'd hate to be the one who grieved God that deeply!

Ok, so Noah's living in a society that made God sorry He'd ever created them. All of them constantly disobeying God all of the time. Sometimes I feel like I live in a society like that, too. Like the powerful people in the world continue to think up one idea after another that goes against everything God says is true.

And then (I love this!) "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD."

Somehow in the midst of all the evil, Noah alone (well, leading his family) found favor with God.

Everytime I get to this part, I wonder: What did Noah do to find favor in the eyes of God? Did he avoid all the wrong movies and stay away from the bars? Did he only watch decent tv shows and listen to Christian music? Did he walk the streets downtown passing out sandwiches to the homeless people and always treat his kids with patience?

Then I get to the last part of verse nine and I remember: "Noah walked with God."

That's all it takes.

Maybe he did those other things. But the part that made Noah find favor with God was that he walked with God.

Do I walk with God? Matching Him step for step? Sharing my faults and joys? Asking His opinion on the things that come up in my day? Enjoying time with Him?

Enough that when He asks me to spent a majority of my life doing something that looks to be absolutely insane, I obey?

How much time do I spend trying to avoid the evil in the world by conforming to externals like listening to good music and being nice to the poor? I'm not saying those are bad things. But maybe I should make my one, all-consuming goal to walk with God.

I love Psalm 27:4 (my dad's favorite verse):

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell
in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the
LORD and to inquire in His temple."

That's how Noah found favor in the eyes of God.

Not by being some kind of Old Testament superhero. By walking with God.

That is my goal for 2011.