Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ellie this one's for you!

Okay, some will say I'm old and some will say I'm young.  Ten years ago I mourned the thought of this year.  I swore that at 28 life was over.  I said by this point I'll be married with children and my body would begin to fall apart.  Therefore as I would be tide down by these three things life would be over.  Today celebrates not my birth, but the completion of high school.  I know I'm a baby, right?

I graduated in a whopping class of 2.  It looked great on college applications as I was second in my class, and nobody in there right mind would think that meant I was last in my class!  I may have been last but I was the oldest in the entire school! Ha!

My classmate and I are states apart today and I don't think we've seen each other since my oldest was a months old.  After I put the hoolies to bed I dragged out the old year book to see how God has grown me and to find the underlying currents that my heart beats too.  As I read the letter I wrote for the year book I started with this: "Life is like an onion; you peel off one layer at a time and sometimes you weep." (Carl Sandburg)  How true this is!  without God I would have never made it to this point in my life.  Thank you, Lord, for ALWAYS being with me through thick and thin. "Blessed be the name of the Lord forever and ever!" (Psalm 113:2)  I went on to fill an entire page of thank you's, jokes, and happy memories from my teen years, but concluded with this:  Continue following God.  He will always be there for you even when nobody else is, Isaiah 41:10 & 13.--As I reflected over this book and those years it's refreshing to see that God is the current of my heart both then and now.  Those four years were hard years, but He never let go of me.

I wish I could post some of the pictures from that year, but here's an idea of what I was like my senior year...

~ I was president of Student council.--During our spirit week each day had a theme.  Because of a snow day we ended up with two themes on this particular day.  Theme one, wacky hair day.  Theme two, dress in your favorite color.  So that day I had sections of my hair in a dozen different ways from pony tails to braids.  Then to add to that chaos I was dressed in purple (not my favorite color of the time, but what I had the most of).  From purple shoes to purple lipstick I was covered in the color.  In between classes I went for a job interview just as I was and some how got the job...By the way, black was my favorite color.

~ It was the running joke that I would marry one of the Jr's. (For those who knew me back then-the one that was wearing a cast in the school photos in 2002.  Anybody know what he's up too these days?).

~ My fellow graduate, Ellie, was the head of the school yearbook.  When the crunch came her and I would stay at school until midnight many nights to get things done.  One night we were totally freaked out by her dad who was also a little freaked that something might have happened to us.

~  Ellie's parents were away for a few days and the two of us had a huge Spanish project to get done so our parents both agreed I could stay with her while they were gone.  It was February and we had gotten home from a game around 9 pm and we somehow got her parents van stuck in her driveway so in our dresses we were pushing the car out of the snowbank.  I have no idea why we didn't go change first.

~ The day before graduation we went to Portland together.  On our way home we somehow ended up on 95 south.  I think it took us like six hours to get home.  It should have been an hours drive at most.  To our credit we got the Starbucks (the only store in Maine at the time.)

~ That year as we studied The Book of Common Prayer the two of us were married.  That is the only time I have fed my groom cake...Something about marriage that year.

~ Any event in which whipped cream was involved I was always covered, and some how there were a lot of such events.  I recommend checking your water bottle for shaving cream before every game.

~ A prankster I was, but not always a nice one.  I got our 11th/12th grade class to cough every time one of our teachers said a certain word.  Everyday a new joke on her until she brought in the principal to straighten us out.  (I'm not sure she knew it was me, but she does now.  I'm sorry Mrs. Andrews, if I could go back I wouldn't have done it!!)

~ We used our Sr. class trip to go give an inner city school in New Jersey there first ever carnival and to help with the yearly SAT's

~ The saying of the year was, "I've got in my back pocket with my needle and thread"...I have no idea where that came from.

So there's my senior year high lights.  Ellie my dear friend, I hope these last ten years have been good to you and I pray the next ten will be even better.  Remember God is ALWAYS with you.

Two are better than one because they have a better return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

Going with the flow

Most Thursdays I pack a change of clothes for each boy and grab a hodge-podge of food from my cabinets as I long for some strong coffee made in only the way my Sister friend brews it.  When we arrive at her house the three big boys spend the day outside, while the two youngest learn how to share with others.  The only girl in the bunch doesn't belong to either of us, but fits in well hangs with us Mommas as we sip our coffee.  That's what most Thursdays look like, but this week called for a change up.

Strong man had the morning off from work as he needs to work into the night so we took the boys to a McDonald's play place a few towns away.  While they played for a hours we sat chatting of life and nothings.  It was good.  We even allowed the boys to have there first ever happy meals.  Did you know that along with the stuff we got as kids they now get apple wedges?  All for $3.39.  What a steal huh?  The morning was relaxed but still filling each of our love tanks to the brim.  It was good.

Just as we arrived home a friend from church called inviting us to spend the afternoon playing at the park.  The two of us have been trying to get together now for almost a year.  Since the sun was shining we said yes please heading straight back out the door.  These few hours were also good.

Now it being to late for naps.  We are all taking a rest time.  One boy in one corner with a snack, drink, puzzles, and books.  Another boy in a tent with his snacks, drink, baby, doctor kit, and books.  And me in my corner with my blog, drink and books.  None of us talking all of us listening to instrumental music.  It is good.

Some days the best thing is to throw schedules to the wind and just let the current take you were it wills.
2287.  Cancellations of the norm.
2288.  Grey mornings for a play place.
2289.  Four love tanks filled up.
2290.  Spontaneous play dates with the sun shining.
2291.  Quiet rest together.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"I rest in hope"

I have brushed shoulders with Death more often in the last 30 days then in the year before.  As I've spent hours driving winding roads spending those same hours in reflection of my own life and the lives of those I love most, I have slowed to admire and wonder at the lives that have gone before.

I find peace in cemetery's.  It's a bit odd I know.  Maybe it's from the many visits to my baby sisters grave.  It is after all my culture, as sweet baby girl died at only three months old.  I only know life with death.  Whatever the reason in these places I find rest, and clarity; A sharp contrast of the meaning of life and worthlessness.  I've found that often times the stones of remembrance have been set in the most majestic spots screaming the glory of our Maker while also giving the seeker a quiet place to hear.

This latest visit down home, a third in the matter of days, I stopped at the Chase cemetery.  It was a quaint piece of land.  The entrance closed with a chain hanging from the stone that marked the boundaries.  The boundaries the size of my living room.  The stones from the 1800's.  A life only remembered by the few words engraved on a timeless stone.

The last line: I rest in hope
All of them had words of peace, confidence, and rest.  May I be remembered in the same way.

We thought on Your lovingkindness, O God,
~ Psalm 48:9a

2283.  A country Cemetery.
2284.  Lasting words of hope.
2285.  A written challenge to live my life the same way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Down home, part 2

Down home the coffee pot is always on.  If it breaks the camp pot comes out until you get around to buying a new one.

Down home a visiter never leaves empty handed.  This past time I left with a socket wrench, loud bang snaps, two tea cups with saucers, rubarb, three books, and a box of popsicle sticks.

Down home only the natives know how to navigate the town square.  If you happen to be passing through disturbing the traffic pattern the natives shake there heads knowing who you are.
Down home a quick trip into town fills the afternoon as the closest grocery store is just over 15 miles away.

Fog on the Mountian.  View from my parents dinning room window.

Down home doing your wood means cutting the actual tree down yourself, stripping, splitting, and stacking. It's a family holiday that runs much like that of a fire bergade.

Fog rolling off the mountain.  Same window.

Down home doors are only locked to keep the critters out.
Down home everybody knows everybody.

Down home street names are full sentances: Round the Pond Road.  Or street signs are in the woods for only the native eye to see.

Down home Chances are good your mail box is a mile away.

Just up the road.

Down home is good.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Down Home by Alabama, part 1

Each time I have travelled down home this past month this song runs through my mind.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Thank you for your hand

Something I wrote a while back, but never posted...

May I hold your hand for a moment while I catch my breath?  This past year my path has been steep as I have fought my never ending sickness, Bi-polar.  As the hill becomes higher & the sky darker I am once again called back to the book of Deuteronomy chapter 6.  When this road began I thought all I was asked to do was to be diligent to introduce my boys into the meaning of life; the worship of our Creator.  Shortly after I realized I couldn't simply teach them to see God in today, but I also had to instill the miracle's of yesterday into them as well.

Once again I have been beckoned back to the summoning of Moses.  I realize that I alone am able to teach the meaning of life to these small hearts of mine.  Strong man and I still are not enough to teach them.  Moses called all of Israel to teach the children that "The LORD is our God, the LORD is One!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

It has been a hard lesson; one that stabs deeply into my pride, the hardest filth of my heart.  For five weeks I sat with you friend, broken as my expectations of motherhood were ripped from me.  As difficult as it was I can still say it was good.  Through this lesson many relationships have come into being.  Most of all my small men have seen the Love of Christ, through many.  They have seen this in ways that I alone could never have taught them.  For these reasons I once again say thank you to God.

Thank you, friend, for you hand; for walking with me through this darkness.  As the apostle Paul concluded many of his letters with I will also:  May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lie #8

Because I am the wife of one who ministers then the trials, suffering, and ugliness of my soul could hurt my Strong Man's life work.

If I had worded it like this: Because I am a wife of one who ministers then the trials, suffering and ugliness of my soul could hurt the expectations of those involved in my Strong man's life work.  If that is what I had written then my statement would be absolutely true.  We will hands down deflate expectations others have on us as couple "in the ministry".  We are after all just as human as the those that don't work "in the ministry".

Yes I could allow my Manic-depressive illness to ruin our life.  After all I have been at places where I wished God would take my life.  But, doesn't everybody come to a time in life where they wish they could be basking in the glory of our King rather then dealing with the grime of the here and now?  That is key, I have never lost track of my Creator.  I have never thought that I would take my life, only asked that He would.  I have never lost my Hope.  I have never given up on the power of Jesus' death and resurrection.  I know that His power has defeated all.  I know that the feelings of darkness were just that-feelings; not truth. 

As long as I hold to that truth, my brokenness will not ruin my husband's ministry.

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my Salvation; for You I wait all day.
~ Psalm 25:5

Friday, May 25, 2012

Truth is ugly

Yesterday's post has not sat well with me.  Not because I miss spoke, but because the darkness I spoke of is repulsive.  I know that people watch me, doesn't everybody watch everybody?  It's just what we humans do.  We know we are being watched and this is why we do our best to hide the ugly; to control what others know us to be.  Why do we hide as if we're the only ones who have blemishes?

I heard Henry Cloud speak once.  He talked about a study done on Monkeys.  When a monkey's cage began to shake with lights flashing and noise all around, its stress level went off the charts.  However, when two monkeys were in a cage and the same experience would happen the stress level would be cut in half.  If monkey's need each other in stressful situations, and we are even more socialist by nature then they are, don't we too need each other?  I ask again why do we cover our ugliness?

I was once again in the presence of Death. This time not in the hospital room, but in the memory of one's last breath and the hurt of a soul I am knit with.  I realized as I drove by the grave that my ugliness could be some other hurting soul's hope.  Could the saying--one mans junk is another mans treasure--be true of our emotions as well as our possessions?

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
~ Romans 12:15
2239.  My darkness to mold me.
2240.  Understanding of an unknown pain.
2241.  Ability to both weep & rejoice.
2242.  Ability to once again feel emotions.
2243.  My junk is another's treasure.
2244.  The soul I am knit to.
2245.  A husband that loves those I love.
2246.  To watch the love of many.-"The greatest of these is love"
2247.  Old back roads to calm the soul.
2248.  Nature to scream of a Creators love.-Tree's overflowing with green, purple flowers, pastures, sunsets, butterflies, calm lakes, & ducks.
2249.  Prayer-Many standing before the throne for the one my soul is knit to & myself.
2250.  Unexpected call of agreement.
2251.  Those who have walked this path ahead of me.-Words of encouragement.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A glimpse into the darkness...

I write often of the darkness I fight, but I'm not sure it's clear just how dark it truly is.  Do you know the story in the gospel of Mark about the father who comes to Jesus saying my son is possessed with a demon.  When he is brought to Jesus he immediately begins convulsing being thrown on the ground foaming at the mouth.  His father explains that he has been thrown into fire and water to be destroyed.  I firmly believe that I cannot be filled with the Spirit of God and be filled with a demon.  However I imagine it to be the same only more extreme and one without a Hope.  The only other way I can explain this darkness is that of a snake victim paralyzed by the venom and slowly being digested, the light dimming little by little.

This darkness is a monster.  A monster that fights to take over.  I have spent days laying in bed wishing that God would take my life.  Chanting in my mind that I have a hope.  It goes something like this:  I have hope, God please take me life, I have a hope, God please take my life, I have a hope God please take my life...Or something like this as I stare at the wall knowing if I move from the bed it would be to repeatedly bash my head into the wall to get the dark monster out.  To that I chant this:  God I believe, help me to believe, God I believe help me to believe.  Or the hours I refuse to watch the wall knowing if I do I will not have the strength to resist, the chanting becomes this:  God Protect me from myself, protect me from myself, protect me from myself, please take me Home, protect me from myself. 

A glimpse into the darkness I fought before medication.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8

2215.  A God who is big enough.
2216.  A Creator that knows no boundaries.
2217.  Only Grace.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Parks are for all ages

There's a park two houses down from us.  I've been a bit leery of it as we're not in the best of neighborhoods, but today we gave it a go. 

The boys spent a few minutes on the updated parts, but it was the old tin slide they loved most.

Seriously of the two hours we spent there at least an hour in a half was spent on this slide.

It didn't take long for Man of the woods to figure out how to swing off the safety bar to get extra speed.

The spider bars are where wanted to spend my time...I only hung upside down once...

While we played the grown men did too. 

Any who passed through stopped to watch.

It was restful to hear Strong man laugh from across the park.

Poor Laughter in love with flowers, but even with prescription allergy medicine his a running facet.

I'm in love with trees & there shadows.

A good restful day, just hanging with my hoolies.

Praise the LORD, all nations; laud Him all peoples!  For his loving kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD is everlasting.  Praise the LORD!
~Psalm 117

EFA 2.11

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Marriage takes three

Now that I am sane certain character traits are beginning to surface again.  It's good to see these old friends.  I wake up each morning with a plan of action for the day.  I look around at what relationships I have and ask myself how can this be stronger?  First my marriage.

I learned shortly after the grey began to cover my mind that I would not be able to live up to all that I had shown my husband I was.  It took less then 100 days to be so broken that I didn't realize I could drop any further.  It only got worse as the darkness became suffocating.  I was useless.  Our marriage survived only because we knew the truth of who we were and who our Creator was.  For Months I gave nothing to build our marriage up.  For months I fought just to get out of bed in the morning to go through the actions of loving our sweet boys even though I could not feel love.

The next strom will come, it's the way of the disease.  We made it through this time, but I'm humble enough to know that we may not next time.  After all we are human.  We are imperfect.  So while I'm sane I want to aggressively work to make our marriage excellent.  We've begun our journey from a good marriage to an excellent marriage by not simply saying the Holy Spirit leads our lives, but to beg of Him to lead by growing us to be one.  Gray Thomas is who grabbed our attention on the matter with this:

I wonder:  How would our marriages be transformed if we learned to listen to God on behalf of our spouses?  How might husbands feel encouraged if wives learned from the mouth of God what kind of day their husband was having and made appropriate preparations for his return home?  How might wives feel uplifted and strengthened if husbands would take time out of their day to ask, "Lord, what do I need to do today to better love my wife?  (From his book, Sacred Parenting)

And so taking our marriage to the next level begins.

In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
~ Psalm 5:3

2209.  Strong man who values our marriage.
2210.  A mutual understanding that God is big enough to handle our marriage.
2211.  Constant communication with God.
2212.  Because of Jesus we have an unconditional love for one another.
2213.  At the end of the day we are each others best friend.
2214.  Knowing the Holy Spirit more deeply because of our marriage.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Route 2 and the bends of life

There must be a healthy respect for Death.
When Death brushes ones face a pause and evaluation is in order. 

This happened to me last week, Death brushed by.  The one with whom my soul is knit to (see Samuel 18:1) was released from death with only the side effects of the common flu.  A second chance.  A Grace only God can give.

This called for an unexpected visit to the white mountains, a three hours drive.  The one I am knit to and I spent many hours together, mostly waiting, talking of life, and death.  As fatigue and hunger began to effect our mood the sillies began to come pouring out.  So in a hospital we sat laughing, only ours were heard only we had a Hope.  May we never forget the Giver of Hope.  May we actively seek to know Him in a more personal way.

As I drove home the next day, I slowed taking Route 2.  Meandering through nature began to revive my tired soul.  Nature and solitude are good.

I spent hours praising God for second chances while mourning that I can only sit and watch as those I love choose pain.

Again I asked My Maker why would He allow pain?  Why does He give boundaries?  Why does He respect them Himself?

Aahhh, but isn't that the joy of life?  I remembered how my pain and hurt allowed me to appreciate the love only one Daddy can give.  So I curled up into His sweet arms and let Him hold me close, mending my broken heart.  I drove on with the sun shining down and a warm breeze in my face.

That's when it began again.  Thank you Jesus for all that You have given me.~~Praying friends. A supporting husband. Laughter and an enjoyment of life when death is all around.  Old back roads to drive.  Winding rivers.  The new green life mixed with the dark steadfast life of the pines.  A lens to capture the beauty.  The white mountains.  Many who care for myself and those I love...(a few gifts 2181-2202, most are far too personal)

As the Eucharist began flowing through my veins again.  I found a hurting drunk lady walking in the middle of no where.  Before the car door even clicked she was pouring out her hurt.  She hasn't known love, true love, in a long time, if ever.  I listened.  As she already has a "christian" in her life that makes sure she knows she's trash, worse then most of us, I simply said I love you, & God loves you.  Why are we so quick to hurt, when Jesus was so quick to love? I've heard it said that the single greatest cause for atheism is christianity. 

After driving down three dirt roads to get to where she was going we sat in the drive way talking.  My part was mostly listening, allowing her poor broken soul to know she was cared for.  I didn't want her to forget that I cared for her, that there is a love she hasn't known before so my "Joy, Grace, & Thanksgiving" Bible is now hers.  A gift she wanted.  She held tight as she left my car.  May God use that book to bring Her endless Joy.

I encountered many broken souls this weekend, glaringly obvious.  Two things I learned from it.~One~Boundaries are in order.  If I had not known where mine stopped and others began I wouldn't have been able to love any.~Two~My eyes had become dim to the brokenness I see in my daily life.  Why does it take the brush of death to awaken my forgetful soul?

Now that Death has come and gone alone I am still able to say God is good.  God is always good.  God's love knows no bounds.  The broken are wanted as much as any other. 

May those I came in contact with crave His love as I do.  May I never lose my eyesight again.

Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.
~ Ephesians 6:24