Monday, September 28, 2009

She Held It In Her Heart.....

Last Friday, Puddin' and I were on the drive to school when we witnessed a hit-n-run. It was a small accident but shocking all the same. I was so shocked in fact that it didn't even occur to me to get the license number until it was too far away to see.

We pulled over to make sure the one who got hit was okay. Poor thing was wiping back silent tears and shaking her head in disbelief. She said she had been home sick all week and had decided that morning she should get back to work. I apologised for not being able to get information on the car that hit her but shared my name and phone number as a witness in hopes of helping to file a police report.

I really wanted to pray with her but the timing just didn't seem right. So after once again observing that her neck seemed fine, I walked back to my car. Puddin' greeted me with concern, then a sigh. we prayed together for the woman as we drove on towards school. Then Puddin' said, "Mom how could that girl just drive off like that? That was so!"

As I searched for a correct answer while feeling within myself the irritation of wanting to give that girl a few thoughts of my own, I heard God say, "Think about it for a minute. What would make someone run away like that?"

(Actually if I could digress for a minute, we are avid movie fans and I often think of movie clips that cause me to relate. So it was like in the movie I-Robot when Detective Spooner was asking questions of Dr. Lanning's hologram in effort to solve the crime and the final answer was, "Now THAT is the correct question.")

I mulled that over as minute-marts and grocery stores blurred through my side vision and then posed the thought to my daughter.

Yes the accident was a bummer and shame on that girl for leaving. But it was a simple accident. How many of us have seen the turning lane go out of the corner of our eye and caught ourselves starting to go as well? It would have been so easy to jump out and say, "Oh my gosh are you ok? I am so sorry." So what happened in her life that taught her it was okay to not answer for her actions? How must she bee feeling inside after leaving and what is she compromising in her heart to pretend that all is okay?

We ended up recanting our previous condemnations and praying for that girl as well.

The day went on and as school usually is, it was emotionally draining for Puddin'. She got in the car after school and talked about a fight that broke out in the commons area. In most high schools here there are police that serve as security. She said that the police had to get quite physical to pull the youth off of one another and it shook her up. "Mom I didn't see the fight because there were so many people around. But friends told me that the police grabbed the kids by their hair and hit them. Aren't they supposed to protect?"

I explained that 2 things happened. The first was that she was told the story through the eyes of excited teens and that can honestly make events be a little more elaborate than what really happened. The second thing that happened was that police officers must contain the situation before others get hurt or a riot breaks out. If the youth were not responsive to verbal calls then something had to be done. Dare I say it is the lesser of two evils. Even a life guard is taught to hang back until a drowning victim passes out if that is what it takes to keep overall safety a priority. And besides, we see all kinds of things happen in movies. Officer Joe Shmoe takes his attitude out on someone and gets away with it while everyone cheers. In real life if that happened, a police officer would be in jail before school even let out and it would be national coverage.

Later that evening we went to a church service and focused a couple of hours solely to worship. Puddin' collapsed and cried for a majority of the time. She released frustrations of things she had seen, frustrations of school, frustrations of being around so many youth that hold onto attitude and selfishness. She questioned the point of being there and entertained the idea of home schooling again.

Then I watched as a young man, you know the one that is so special, went to her and shared a vision he had just had about her. Without knowing anything that she had been struggling with moments earlier, he shared her purpose. He said that he saw God dancing with her. They were spinning in joy. Then God picked her up and tossed her skyward in a climax of delight. When she reached the pinnacle of height she burst into a display of light and gold dust fell everywhere.
The young man then asked God what such a vision could mean and God told him it meant that she will cover her school with God's light and dust everyone with the treasure of His truth.

She giggled, her eyes sparkled and tears ran silently down her cheeks as renewed hope and purpose coursed through her. Then a girlfriend grabbed her hand and they ran to the front of the room and began dancing in praise.

My mother's heart felt so full of emotion. I volleyed from my original crippling pain and frustration of not being able to fix all hurts for my children. Then I was hit with a smattering of wonder at once again watching the purity of their relationship unfold an inch more while completely keeping God in between them. My final emotion was sheer gratefulness to God for always knowing and always orchestrating our lives. How well He knows what we need to hear and when we need to be lifted up.

Jeremiah 29:11 says....
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Long before it was our church foundation verse, it drove me through life and situations. I can never say enough how grateful I am that the author of the heavens and the earth, the creator of the universe who breathed life into all things and fashioned every molecule with purpose.....loves, watches, and guides over me and my family.

Know today that you are loved.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Prayer Works....Even In a Cave......

So much to write about, so many topics and I don't want them to disappear in the back of my mind. Do I write many smaller posts or one big one? Yeah.....why not one big one.

The Bed

Before Pippin and Rixxi moved back here from the beach a couple of weeks ago, Hubby and I set to the task of converting the bedroom into something fit for two young ladies to share. One major renovation was to acquire a bunk bed. For the last year as these plans were in the making, Pippin had her eyes set on a specific model of bunk bed that Ikea sells. The frame alone runs $300 and we didn't have that.
But we thank God quite often that someone had the foresight to create a web site such as Craig's List for there the bed frame was waiting for us. It also happened that the seller sold me the lower mattress for the bed for a mere $85 when she had purchased it new at Ikea for $230. Now please let me throw in a disclaimer here for I am not one to normally go around quoting prices on things. But for this story, the prices are very relevant.

Hubby and I drove over to the seller's home after work to pick up the bed. While Hubby was doing the loading, I visited with the seller and completed our transaction. She told me that she had purchased the bed set for her girls 5 months prior but was getting rid of it because they never used it even a single night. (Oh my goodness I thought. I am getting a bed that has never been used for such a lesser price!)
"Here is the $185 that you asked for", I said as I handed her the cash.
She responded with a smile as she stuffed the money into her pants pocket, "Cool! Now I can go and buy that pair of sunglasses I've been wanting."
It still makes me shake my head in wonder. I was able to purchase $530 worth of bed for only $185 because someone wanted a pair of sunglasses. Now, I am certainly not knocking the blessing of having the kind of money that can afford $185 sunglasses. It is just that it is a completely different world from where I live. I look at that $185 as an electric bill or 2 weeks worth of food.

The Prayer

My mother-in-law has been having stomach problems the past few months and the doctors are working to figure out how best to solve her issues and relieve her pain.
I was on the phone with her the other day while she was asking me computer questions and I could tell it was a rough day for her with her stomach. I interrupted her talking to ask what was wrong and she blew me off saying that she was fine and then redirected me back to her computer. I let her talk for a few minutes and then interrupted again with another concerned question. Again, because she is one to not like being the center of attention, she side stepped and changed the subject. My 3rd attempt met with success though.

Poor thing, she said that she had made a superbly wrong choice with what she chose to eat for lunch and had never experienced her stomach hurting as much as it did then. Plus she was in their motor home at that time in a hot part of the country side and their air conditioner was broken. The combination of extreme pain and heat was quickly zapping away all her will power and energy.
I asked her if I could pray with her for a minute. With her permission I prayed for her comfort, relief from pain, and that she could feel the cool relief of God's presence around her. Then I thanked God for hearing and answering our prayer and I said that we were looking forward to to hearing His praise in the issue.

She said amen and thanked me and we got back to the subject of computers. Within about 30 seconds though......she interrupted herself with this statement, "Hey my stomach feels better. It isn't hurting anymore." I praised God for the work He did and then we got back to the subject of computers again. In a matter of another 30 seconds, she interrupted herself again and said, "Oh my word! It's not hot in the motor home anymore! It feels so much cooler! How did you do that?"

I was smiling and thrilled. I of course didn't do anything. It was God that did it. When we speak in positive expectation it gives God more room to do what He like to do best. God's presence lives in our faith and our faith is made stronger and bigger by what we believe. Our words are powerful and the more we speak things then the more we believe it. So by speaking of expectation, we increase our belief which then increases our faith........that all equates out to less of me and more of Him. To me that is a great balance.

The Cave

Last Saturday we had plans to take the youth group on one last hike before the fall cooler weather set in. My plan was that we hike to Mirror Lake up on Mt. Hood and relax/swim the afternoon away. It was a great plan too except for the weather. Every day leading up to Saturday and for a few days afterwards were all really hot days. But Saturday woke us up to rain with the forecast of 60% chance of rain all day and 50 odd degrees for most the day. I had already made lunches for the 25 people that had planned to meet at our house for a day of fun so we switched gears real quick and changed the event to spelunking Ape Caves in Washington.

I had completed the lower cave a few years back which was nothing more than a 3/4 mile stroll in the dark so I figured the upper cave couldn't be that much different. Wow was I wrong! If I would have realized what I was getting myself into then I never would have entered the mouth of that cave. But then I never would have had such an amazing day and felt so accomplished when it was all said and done.

Here is a graphic map of the upper cave which is what is left of an old lava tube. We hiked up to the upper entrance and entered there so that we could work our way down to the stairwell. The length of the upper cave is 1.5 miles long and though you can't imagine that distance taking a huge amount of time; we spent a good 3.5 - 4 hours in there.

These pictures were both taken at the entrance of the upper cave.

And this one is inside the cave when we were just getting started.

There were so many rock formations to climb over. Up down and around we went trying to pick our way through the rubble that the harsh and amazing forces of nature left behind. At one point we used the rope that my hubby had brought to drop down a distance where the footing could not be felt. Every one's "guess-timates" were different but that drop was somewhere between 7 and 8 feet.

In the beginning of the walk, there were times when I felt panic rise, you know that small voice that tells you you're stupid to try such a thing. But then I could hear God on my other shoulder whispering memories to me of other successes. "You are right God. You are my big God and creator of the universe. If you can help me navigate a high rise obstacle course through the trees then you can surely help me find my footing on a few loose rocks."

If you go here and click on TDE Ape Cave Hike you can see all the pictures.

Pippin and Rixxi seem to be settling into their home environment. They love the bed and room set up. They are working hard at filling out job applications and I am giving advice and cheering them on. Puddin' is presing forward in school and loving being the youth band drummer. It is a strange new time for us all but we are having fun with it.

Blessings to you today,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Time Goes Zipping By....

I am so sorry. You have been so kind and wonderful to be praying for me. You have been concerned for me, and I have been non-existent. May I please explain my warped sense of thinking during all of this time?

Surgery really did wipe me out for a few weeks. But by week 3, my schedule was beckoning to me and I was itching to stop being a zombie. From that point on, there has been so much happening that I have barely sat at the computer to check emails much less be able to do any writing. The thing is this....even when I have had a few minutes to write and even think on the possibility of blogging, I felt too guilty to write with not having the time to visit others' blogs. How one sided of me to write and share but not enjoy visiting with you. So my solution was to not write at all. I am sorry. Can you forgive me?

If you would like to know the highlights of events during the 2 months that I "purposed" to recover just keep on reading. I have to laugh because with all the joys, memories, and things to is a good thing I "purposed" to take time off or I would have really been busy.


First on the list was family camp. All I can say is "wow" when I look at this picture. There I was almost 3 weeks after surgery and still filled with Oxicodone when my hubby took this picture. We had pulled into camp and I moved from the passenger seat of the borrowed camper to the camp chair and there I stayed...half asleep and enjoying the outdoors while others ran around me playing volleyball and singing campfire songs. (Notice Kekoa being my ever present protector)


The following week was our annual youth adventure to the YWAM ropes course. I think you can look at the pictures I posted by following this link. (If that doesn't work then go to this link and click "TDE at YWAM Ropes Course".) I didn't participate this year. It was hard to not gear up and jump in. But making the food and supervising was enough for my energy level. The later half of the day found me sleeping in a shaded grass area and shrinking away from the 95 degree weather.

Next on the calendar was to immediately put the finishing touches on planning and putting youth camp into motion. It was a blast. Was I tired?....yes. But God put wonderful people around me to help with all the cooking and implementing of meals. Shopping for, preparing, and feeding 25 people for 4 days went off with great ease.

At the same time camp was happening, I received joyous news that my brother and sister-in-law had their baby girl. I am now an auntie! We were hoping that I could be there in the delivery room but Little Angel-girl had different ideas and came early.
When I became a mom, I thought my little girls were so perfect when they were born.....but something sure pulls in my heart every time I hold this precious one in my arms.

My brother and sister-in-law formally asked Hubby and me to be Angel's god-parents and said that if anything ever were to happen to them that we are the only people they would want to raise her. Oh how I cried.

Did things slow down then? Nope not a chance. It was time to celebrate Pippin's 18th birthday. She had been planning all summer long to take a few days off from her beach job and spend time with us. My plan was to surprise her with a big party.

Surprised her we definitely did. Here is what happened when she returned home from a few hours of distractions and found a house full of people and decorations.........

Yes, she was so surprised that she completely ran out of the house in shock. I caught her in the driveway and dragged her back in to enjoy the fun. She warmed up quickly and enjoyed all the joys.

She would give me such an embarrassed death glare for sharing this picture.......

This is a picture of a picture that my mom had been saving for "Pippin". It was taken when she was 9 months old. (Yes the red head is me. I know I look nothing like that these days.) So the true story goes......
We were in a photo shoot taking tons of pictures and she was getting bored. Innocently, she looked up at me and grabbed at those dangle earrings that sparkled ever so greatly. I had just told her a firm "no-no" and pushed her hand away when that look went across her face and the photographer snapped the picture. That giant picture was posted in the studio in an Oklahoma City mall for 3 years because of the funny candor on her face.


The following week I hosted a party celebration for my new little niece. I love this picture of her and me together. She had so much expression already in her face and only being barely 2 weeks old.

The dress that she has on is the same outfit that both myself and my brother were christened in. Then my girls were dedicated in it as well. I washed and ironed it all up so that Angel could do the same thing. Our youth pastor came to the party and performed such an amazing dedication. He held Angel and rocked her as he told her first bible story and prayed over her. He spoke destiny and purpose over her life and taught that just as little boy Samuel heard from God, Angel too can be sure of never being "too young" to be used in great things. There was not a dry eye in the house.


The next day my mother-in-law came into town for a couple of weeks. It was fun to spend lots of time with her and her girlfriend. We shopped, giggled, ate out a lot, and spent a few days at the beach visiting Pippin.

While we were at the beach, my step-daughter and her beau came for a visit as well. So there we were all at the beach and a wonderful thing happened.....they got engaged!

(I think it is really interesting how this picture came out. It was simply a quick snap with my cell phone. I love the highlights and shadows.)

While we were shopping and beach combing, Puddin' was spending the week in California doing something of a missions trip. She and 91 others gathered just outside of Fresno at a YWAM gleanings farm and processed something like a "bazillion" peaches. All week they worked the conveyor belts that sorted peaches and then set them on pallets in the sun to dry. Those were then packaged and shipping to countries in need. she had an amazing time and is already talking about doing it again next year.
This is one of the many sunrises that she was privileged to be able to see as she woke up and got ready for a full day of working the conveyor belts and turning peaches.

The peaches couldn't just be thrown into the machines. They had to be sorted from good and bad. They had to be on the belt system a certain way so that when they went through the corer there wouldn't be wasted fruit.

This will give you a small idea of just how big the project was.
All of those pallets are filled with peaches drying out in the sun.

So that just about brings you up to date with my summer spin.

What is on tap now? Well Pippin and her friend Rixxi are in the process of moving back here this week and getting set up for all things normal now that their summer jobs are finished. From here they will be focusing on college and jobs while Hubby and I will cheer them on in the best way we know how.

Puddin' is back in school and working on her sophomore year of studies. She is much more comfortable and easy going about it all this year. Well, as comfortable as high school can possibly be anyway. She enjoys her classes but the highlights of the week are youth events and worship practice where she is the regular drummer now.

Soon, my sister-in-law will be finished with her maternity leave and I will have the joy of being Angel's daily caregiver. They emailed me this photo 2 nights ago. Look at how much she has grown already in just a month.......

At the moment, I need to go pick up Kekoa from the groomers and then pick up Puddin' from school. I will be back SOON to share more events and thoughts.
I pray my blogger friends are doing well and I intend very soon to be able to visit each site and do some catch up....if you will still have me.