Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Silver and Gold

I'm having a nephew!
Actually, I'm having two.
My brother and his wife just found out that their baby will be a boy, due in March. Coincidentally, my sister and her husband are in the adoption process and they just may be traveling in March to pick up their son from Ethiopia. As much as I would love to have my sister's family be completed sooner, and have been praying for just that, the silver lining of the later time would be that I may be able to be present for my other nephew's birth! My sister and brother also have girls that are similar in age and are friends, so it would be a very special connection for the boys to have a similar time to celebrate even if they are different ages.
I saw over at Gitzen Girl a canvas that said "Too many people miss the Silver Lining, because they are looking for Gold."
How often do I miss the silver that God has placed for me in my greed for gold? Is my heart's desire really for what God desires, or is it what I want, period? I think I need to be open for the silver more often. I imagine it will give me much more to celebrate! There may be much more Gold than I realized as well if I can take my focus off of the one piece that I want and let my view expand to see more of the picture. I can't wait to see both those Golden Boys! Silver linings and all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bear Camp, Blazing Fire, & Spurs

He was home for a whopping 15 hours.
Now he is out at Bear Camp, in a blizzard, by himself, under a tarp.

I, on the other hand, am at home with a fire blazing, sitting on my chair with my mom on the couch, waiting for our Dish Satellite to acquire a signal for us to watch the news. Aside from the dish thing, it's pretty perfect.

I feel so thankful for the opportunity to gather with my group gals and share how our prayers are being answered! I am so thankful that we can encourage each other and live out Hebrews 10:24-25 "And let us consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another daily - even more as you see the day approaching." (from memory, so it may not be 100%!)
God has enabled us to reach out together to help out a sister in Christ tomorrow. This sister has lost her young son, as I mentioned here, and their family is in need of prayer. Their loss is becoming very real and painful. If you think of it, please send a prayer their way.
I think this is one of the ways I, or rather WE, can DO something to show God's love. I am so thankful that one of the group gals was able to hear from them and we can meet a need. It is a good spurring.
My husband, the crazy one on the snowy mountain hunting bears alone, used to ride bulls. Big surprise, I know. He didn't do it too long due to an injury, but it got him involved in the Rodeo scene. He taught me more than I ever knew I wanted to know about Rodeo's, gear, chaps (which are pronounced "shaps" by the way), etc. Spurring is an important part of the scoring process. You earn more points if you spur correctly. They are not typically used to "punish" an animal, as the rowels are pretty dull on any actively used spurs, but rather used to "strongly suggest" a particular move or just for show. I won't go into all the finer points, since I did not personally learn all of them, but I do know that spurs can be slightly uncomfortable. At least on the receiving end!
As I'm thinking of this scripture, I find it interesting that this is a pretty intense style of "encouragement." Different versions use different words, but it all means a very strong stimuli. This spurring is not to be a sweet, gentle nudge, but (if needed) a possibly uncomfortable push to get outside of ourselves and be Jesus to someone. This will cost us something. It may cost us time, resources, fuel, food, etc. It's not really up for discussion. I've never seen a gentle nudge at a rodeo. I'm not saying it's never effective, but we need to be kicked into gear. Talking about doing won't get it done. Giddy-up!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Missing My Man Monday

I'm pretty sad, really. I leave for 2 weeks on my adventures and it seems like it's not a big deal. This time, I'm the one that's been left at home. I'm in a little mini-depression. I haven't had the motivation to cook myself one single meal. Nope. Not one. Yes, I'm a little prone to laziness, but I think it's more that I miss my husband.
To make matters worse (for me), one of my sweet friends got engaged and is all gooey and sweet over her fiance (which she should be)! I couldn't be happier for her, and it's been so much fun to share in her joy. I spent some time with her and her man yesterday and then came home to my dogs. Have I mentioned that, although I love the dogs (like I love cheese), I don't love them like my husband does. They just don't fill that gap for me. I felt a little down. A bit bummed.
I wondered how much this mimics my feelings when I have had a disconnect with the Lord. I don't seem to lose it completely, but I get a little off. The nice thing about my Jesus, I don't have to wait til He comes home on a plane. I just invite Him to join me again, and He's there. He's always there, but sometimes I put things in front of Him and I seem to lose sight of Him. I hope I get as excited when I reconnect with Jesus as I do when I see my husband.
I can't go any deeper. I'm just missin' my man too much!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Still Processing

I am now back in contact with my husband, albeit only phone contact. I am anxious for him to get home. I feel like the last two weeks have been filled with...filling. Not cream or cherry, but Holy Spirit! It's way better!
It has been hard to go through an awakening alone. I try to share the passion, fire, excitement I have been feeling with others, but it's so truly a personal experience. I often wish I had the verbal skills to not only relay what is coming alive in my heart, but to pass it along to others as well. I want everyone I know to feel what I feel and be moved to action. We could brainstorm and figure out what God wants US to do and encourage each other to DO it! There's just so much to do. Where do you start? Where do you stop? Do you stop? Do you try to do a little in a lot of places? More in one place?
I have spent the last few days intently reading the story of Katie. I was first introduced to her through my sis-in-law's blog, but saw her in others' later. This is a girl who's passion and love for her God (who happens to be mine, too!) is contagious. Her story is one that spurs me. A little uncomfortably. But thrillingly. I want to have a love and passion like hers. As cool as it would be to meet her and spend time with her, what makes her special is her complete abandon of herself to Jesus. He is not only using her to minister to the children in Uganda, but to a girl in Alaska. That's how big He is. Even bigger. (Their ministry: Amazima Ministries International)
I have been pushed a little more to feel. I had begun to pride myself on the fact that I had toughened myself up so much that I was no longer a "weepy, weak woman." I wanted to be strong and be in total control of my emotions. Part of this is that I didn't want to be seen as emotional or weak by my husband, who has NEVER said anything of the sort and has NEVER put that expectation on me. It was all me. I reasoned that it was also much more rational to keep the emotions at bay. You know all the stuff it says in the Bible about the heart being deceptive? That was my basis. A bit off, I know.
Well, this last week my heart has broken. More times than I can count. Tears have fallen. More times than I can count. I feel so drained of myself. I feel so full of Him. I feel like I have been given a tiny glimpse of what Jesus feels like when He sees how mistreated and neglected His children are. I, strangely, don't want the hurt to go away. I want the hurt to develop something deeper in me. I want to love. I don't want to see and write a check and feel better. I want to love. Loving is so painful.
As much as I have fallen in love with Africa, I want to fall in love with those who live near me. Sometimes that is much harder. It can also require much from us. Am I ready? I don't think God is calling me to move to Africa, though if He did, I'd go, but I want to love with a holy passion. What does that mean for me? I'm not sure yet. I'm mostly praying that I will see needs and my heart will continue to break whenever my Jesus' heart breaks. I want to feel. I want to love. I want to be more like my Jesus.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Motivation

I don't know how one can watch this and not be moved to live out our religion as James 1:27 so perfectly states, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I see this verse over and over with my family's adoption stories, but it is so important. In all the Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, jewelry, Tupperware, and other parties that are driven by our desires to primp and gadget ourselves to oblivion, there are real live children who are wondering if they will eat today. I'm not saying the former things are evil, but are they really what we should be putting our money, time, & energy towards? I'm not pointing fingers, really; I used to sell MK. We are so invested in our self esteem, self image, self, self, self. I have just been so burdened these last weeks to not only pray for these who are truly the "least," (according to our inflated American standards) but to find something to DO. I feel so inadequate, but if I can, I should. James also states that "to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." The Lord calls us all to different actions, and I can only challenge you to fast and pray to discover what it may be that He is calling you to DO. I am taking the opportunity for the entire time my husband is gone, to "fast" from the grocery store. I am going to spend my two week grocery budget on a particular place that the Lord has shown to me. Just one idea. There are millions. Now watch and be motivated.

Ethiopian Orphans from Simon Scionka on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Alllll Byyyyyy Myyyyyy Seh -eehhh-eehhhllllf

Am I the only person who cracks themselves up?!
I just posted on my facebook page the title of this blog, and it made me laugh audibly. I was singing it to myself and thought you all might think it was funny too!
I have begun my little "heart-growing-fonder" time away from my husband. I miss him terribly already. I hate going to bed and tend to stay up way too late. We've been married 7 years and I always hate to be apart from him. He is on a trip with his brother-in-law to go Elk Hunting in his native (close enough) New Mexico. (He was born in Idaho, but moved when he was 5.) Anyway, my manly man is all outdoor's and has tried his best to make me the same way. I love how he encourages me and somehow manages to get me out into the most amazing places in the craziest of situations. This last weekend he took me out bear hunting, and he had me sleeping quite soundly under a tarp on a bed of hemlock boughs for my sleeping bag. For all you animal lovers, I apologize, but I live in Alaska and I married a serious hunter. It was bound to happen. I had never really shot a gun before I met him, and now I'm out hunting black bears, among other things. The funny thing, is that this was not the first time I had camped tentless. He managed to get me under a tarp in our canoe a couple years ago. One thing to say about that trip: bug nets.
I had a good friend of mine get engaged just recently and in her excitement I have been remembering all the sweet things I love about my husband. I also remembered the first year we were married. Gals from my small group would ask me how things were going, and I would usually respond, "O.K." I was having a hard time letting go of my independence and sharing. I'm not a good sharer. Especially with my candy. Moving on. My friend has been a very independent for the last several years. As excited as she is for this gift, she is nervous. I was too. I've been sharing with her how I had to tell my fabulously attentive husband that when I got home, I needed time to demob. and unwind before I could really engage with him. Fortunately, we were able to communicate fairly well with each other in all these little things! I say "we" but I really mean him. Somehow he disarmed me, calmed me, taught me. Still does. I feel his absence and wish I was as strong as I used to think I was!
Now I have the time to be by myself. What do I do with this independence?
I succumb to dependence. I don't know what exactly is going on, but my soul is stirring and I need to know what God is trying to say to me. I am nothing without Him, and for all that I have been blessed with, I am feeling that I need to DO something more. My heart has been aching for people I've never met and live across the world. My little life is so safe and insulated. I feel like I need to become a little uncomfortable. Still not sure what that means. I am taking this weekend to spend some serious time in reflection and prayer. If you think of it, I'd love your prayers. I may also ask if the Lord is asking you to look beyond your blessings and ask why you've been given what you have. He may ask you to do something crazy too!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Too Tired.

Sorry, no "M" alliteration.
If you'd like to see what I did over my holiday, click here!
Otherwise, you'll have to wait until I have gotten over my computer illiterate exhaustion and collect myself enough to post again. It will be soon, I promise, as my husband is leaving for 2 weeks to go on an elk hunt in New Mexico with his brother-in-law.
It's way past my bedtime!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Book Club!

I've always been an avid reader. When I was about 4 or so, I asked my sister to teach me how to read. She took the challenge and promptly began to teach me to memorize a certain paragraph in a book. Hey, she was only 6. How was she to know it started with learning the letters and their sounds? Anyway, the progress was severely halted when my memorization stumped me. Alas, I had to wait until I, too, could go to school.
Oh, how I loved school! I have to pride myself on being able to learn my letters with the swiftness of a falcon. So fast, in fact, that I got extremely bored. Was I gifted? Oh, no. I still don't understand those things called numbers, just letters. I don't exactly remember this, so take this with a grain of salt, but my mother remembers me in Kindergarten getting in trouble frequently. When Mom asked what my punishment was and it was revealed that my "punishment" was sitting up at the teacher's desk with a book, she simply laughed. My teacher was giving me exactly what I wanted. Oh, how we train those adults so easily! Unfortunately, my mother was in the mind to help this fully trained teacher in more creative discipline for me. My school behavior improved dramatically when I was given special reading times and actually punished for misbehaving.
My love for reading has never diminished, though my time to read has varied in different seasons. My ultimate dream is to have the library in Disney's Beauty and the Beast! With the rolling ladder and preferably a 4-story wall of books. Oh, and the fireplace. That would be nice.
Back to reality. I love books, of all kinds, so it should come as no surprise that I have finally joined a book club! This is a pretty informal, blog-o-sphere book club that I am very excited about! It is called Bloom and I put a button on the side. The first book is Crazy Love. I've read the first chapter and I can't wait to discuss! If you are interested, there is still time to get the book and read the first chapter before the Sept. 13th first discussion.
It's kinda hard for me to only read one chapter, so I've consoled myself by picking up a couple other books: Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz and Beth Moore's Get Out of That Pit. There is no real reason other than my fan status for Beth's book, though I usually get ton's out of it, and I was loaned the former by a friend at church. It has started out to be really good! If only I could get myself in trouble at work so I can sit at the desk and read...

Mocha on the Mount Medicine

Late again, I know.
This morning, this week really, we have been studying Matthew 7 in the Sermon on the Mount. It's the "ouch" part. Well, yes, it's all pretty tough, but this was particularly finger-pointing.
Does "the pot calling the kettle black" sound familiar? Yeah, that's the section that I have been mulling over.
I wonder if the measure I have doled out judgment is going to be applied to me? In some respects, I hope it is. My ultimate desire is to have the wisdom to use the Word as my measure. As much as I agree that we should "measure up," I also know that it is impossible. I know that it is not my place to pronounce judgment. Does that even make sense?! It does in my head, so forgive me if it is a bit disjointed!
All this to say, that I have been really pressed to carefully examine the potential for logs that require eye surgery. "Why do you see the speck in your brother's eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye,' while there is a beam in our own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from our brother's eye." I have seen anew the directions here. We ARE to help each other see more clearly, but only if we can see clearly ourselves. We are also to do this without a critical or judgmental spirit. That's my "ouch."
My own pride seems to be inflated when I can "discern" what someone else ought to do. I can surely see the situation much more clearly and my ideas are most certainly God's will. It just makes the most sense. And doesn't God always make sense to us?! While I can see the huge error of this thinking, I do think it is applicable to help each other. It just all depends on the heart attitude. I can only be effective in helping others if I am humbly seeking God's will for me. If it is God's will for me to help others, He will give me the tools to do so. That often requires eye surgery. I am then forced to see if I am living up to the standards that I want to set up. Of course, none of us can if our standards are God's standards. My heart is then put in check, and I can more properly discern if I should become involved or not. God will open the door if necessary.
Lord, help me not to worry so much about what other people do, but rather where my heart is. I want to honor you with my words and deeds, but mostly with my heart. I ask that if you call me to intervene in anyone's life, that it is all about glorifying you and truly helping them, not filling my pride. Keep me aware of my state of grace whenever I feel a critical spirit towards others coming. I still see the brevity of life and want to build my relationship with you that sustains me when other relationships fail me. Help me to continue to seek your glory, not my own.