Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Promise I'm Not Ignoring You....

Our Internet has been out for a few days and will be out for a few more. I am actually checking mail today and writing this post from my office at church.
Wow! I didn't realize how addicted I am to blogging and checking in with everyone. I have felt like....why even bother to have the computer on if I can't be online. That is bad.
So, blessings be to you and I will swing by for a big hello as soon as I am able.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Today's Thought....

When Pippin and her team came back from Uganda, they brought back a huge bag of crafted bead necklaces. Every time I look at these beads I am so amazed.

The Ugandan women dye paper and then cut them up into long triangular strips. Then starting with the wider end, they roll them up tightly and soak them in a glue resin to make beads. They are so beautiful!
I love to make crafts and I think I am a relatively patient person.....but I cannot imagine the time and effort it takes to make just one string of beads.

When I look closely at some of the beads, I can see that some of them must have been made from newspaper or magazine print because I can see words running in and out of the bead wrap.
There are long strings with fat beads and shorter strings holding slender elegant beads with 2 or 3 strands together to make a single necklace. The Ugandan women at the Kampala church were selling these for the equivalent of $2.50 per necklace.

Our team offered to buy a big bag and sell them for a minimum donation of $5 each and send the money back to the church in Kampala as a much needed fund raiser.
It seems that everywhere I go, people love the beads and want to purchase a set even if they don't wear jewelry. I think it is a great way for people to feel like they are involved with trying to help and contribute even in our currently tight economy.

(click here to enlarge)

Every time I look at these beads I think about how we as a society live with so much and yet still find things to grumble about. When I think about making such beautiful pieces of jewelry and selling them for such a small amount of money for an makes me feel very humble.

I praise You Lord for your eyes that see and your love that covers us even when we are unaware.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birthday Celebrations....

Sigh.....the headaches are back with a vengeance it seems.
My physical therapy appointments have really been going well and I felt I was really making progress with my daily stretches and such. But now.....
I ended up back at the doctor yesterday trying to see through the foggy pain enough to explain myself. It seems that the muscles in my neck where my head sits at the base, they are so tight that they spasm rock solid and cut everything off. So the next plan of attack is muscle relaxants (praise God they cut through the pain) and a referral to a neurologist.

I am frustrated. Here I have all this time on my hands now and I am worthless. The girls are at school, hubby works,.......and I sleep. I hate it when he does the laundry. No he doesn't do anything wrong and he is glad to do it and just wants me better. I just hear failure in my own mind. I do it to myself.

But enough of that yuck. Before my pill kicks in I want to share something fun.......

Last week my mom and I were finally able to have our birthday lunch. Our shared birthday is actually a week before Christmas, but the snow and ice storms that raged over here for a while put a damper on our plans.

Oh my goodness we had such fun. Our standing rule is that she pays for the day and I make the plans. I always keep it a surprise and she always tries to trick me into saying what the surprise it. She is so funny.

This year I made reservations at Cheryl's Cup of Tea in Oregon City. Cheryl made everything so perfectly beautiful and tasty. We sighed at all the wonderful decorations and felt like lacy ladies in the dainty environment. Our special lunch had 4 different kinds of little sandwiches, a scone, and a fruity salad with champagne vinaigrette dressing. Cheryl made us a pot of eggnog chi tea and a pot of organic apricot passion fruit tea. Oh my we were so full when we finished eating. But Cheryl wasn't finished. She brought out two little surprise birthday cupcakes with our names on them and sang to us.

It was truly a wonderful and blessed day.....the food and atmosphere were definitely fun but the thing that made it a blessing was just to spend precious time with my mom.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hidden In My Heart....

Every day of being a mom is special to my heart. Though there are times when I am tired, I cherish each moment as a privilege and an honor. It is amazing to watch them grow up, make choices, learn from those choices, and set out to make their mark on the world. Sometimes it is torture to watch them go through the things I went through, and yet I know it is a "right of passage" so to speak. At other times, I see them going through things that I never experienced and then I get to live vicariously through them.
Now is one of those times.

My Rosie-girl, who at 15 years old is still so young in the world but becoming more the young woman every day, is experiencing the beautiful buds of love. (Oh my, just writing that sent a flood of emotion and adrenaline to my heart.) This journey, while still very much in the beginning stages, has been coming about for quite a while; and I have been stashing away the signs, signals, and images in my heart.

When she was 8 years old, my Rosie-girl and I were running errands one day and she piped up with this question from out of the seams of thin air, "Mommy when did you know you were in love?" Sensing her seriousness of the matter I carefully asked questions and gave advice the best I could......mother to daughter and heart to heart.
She blushed as she revealed the boy of her affections. Yes I smiled to myself. He was a nice boy, at 8 years old himself he was already showing serious signs of great character, honor, and integrity.
She relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief as I suggested that at 8 years old there is no pressure of expectations or purpose. I suggested that these growing up years are for building relationships and being friends. Don't worry about anything else for there are all too many times when our emotions take over and propel us forward into things we aren't ready for.
She liked that.......growing in friendship........perfect.

I then found out from his mom that the same sort of conversation had happened in their home as well.
Pause for 8 year old boy was having emotional feelings for my little girl..........

Time went on and as circumstances do at times, his family and ours lost contact for a few years. Nothing had happened. It was just that usual thing of life pulling in different directions.
An occasional mention from a fellow friend here and there was all the contact available. Life went on.

Last year, circumstances changed and it so happened that we became in contact again.
Over time I noticed little things. It wasn't what they were doing but more of what they weren't doing that got my attention and if I didn't know my daughter so well....well then I wouldn't even have noticed that.

What did I see? Well, they would fiddle foot when they talked to one another. They always seemed to know where the other was in a room and yet there was an invisible barrier wall that kept them from getting too close to each other. For example, when talking to other friends they would each stand at the usual casual friend distance. But when talking to one another, that gap increased by at least a foot.

Once when my girl was warming up to play on the drums at youth group, she was having a hard time simply because it had been a trying day at school. Sometimes, as much as a girl tries to conquer her emotions and push through, that night she just needed a small cry to set the day back in order. So, she welled up with tears, excused herself, and went to the restroom to breathe and freshen up.
What I saw next brought tears to my own eyes that I successfully covered. He became alarmed that she was upset. He paced and worried when she didn't come right back. He grabbed her sister and urged her to go to the restroom and not leave her alone.......after all she was in distress and NEEDED to be comforted.

For her birthday, he brought her special candy and a beautiful red (her favorite color) scarf to keep her neck warm. (She has worn it continuously since then and that was 2 and a half months ago.) A few weeks after that, he showed up at worship practice with a pair of gloves to match. He said, "I saw these in the store and knew they would match your scarf perfectly so I had to get them for you." She gave him a smile, a thank you, and a hug while he blushed and smiled his sweet dimpled smile of success.

He often shows up to whatever event with her favorite candy.......just because.
She notices too. She said one day, "Mom he makes a mental note of everything I like." That was followed with serious blushing on her part.
His little tokens are always presented with a humble smile and an air of, "really it wasn't a big deal. I just know you like it."

For Christmas, he trudged through the snow to make sure she received his present in a timely manner. On this day my own heart jumped ten fold. This young man had taken opportunity to shovel snow filled driveways in his neighborhood so that he could earn money to buy her ......a real diamond sterling silver cross necklace.
There was no formality in giving it to her. He didn't pull her aside and look deep into her eyes. He simply did his sweet and humble way of, "I thought you might like this."

She had me put it on her that day and it hasn't left her neck since. I often see her fingers fiddling with it as a subconscious smile plays at the edges of her mouth.

As I look at all of these things, sure on the one hand I find little motherly qualms of panic. But the other part of me is so grateful. He is a sweet and honest young man with a depth of character that is hard to find now a days. There has been no pushing of anything. They haven't asked to be alone, haven't kissed, or even held hands and yet there is obviously a deep devotion growing between them.

Now, I know you might think that I am kidding myself. After all I know when I was a teen I did many things that my parents had no clue about. But really, there is nothing going on between them. Either he is here at our house or they are with their youth group. And for all their social events I am the I am always around. Those are the only times they see each other.

Where will they be 5 years from now?........who knows. That is not for me or anyone else to say. For now, I am so enjoying watching a simple and pure love grow in my daughter.

(Wow! What an honor! David at Authorblog has made this his post of the day choice. Thank you David for sharing my thoughts and enjoying the adventure.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Gaggle Conference 2008

We are back! It is 10 in the morning over here and I thought I would try and post quickly while everyone is still sleeping. Isn't it funny how being on vacation throws all regular sleeping patterns out the window?

True to form, Cannon Beach was stormy and beautiful the whole time we were there. Each day brought a new array of sun, wind, rain, and snow. A typical view from the many large windows in our hotel gave us a front row seat to the mighty power and beauty of God's creativity.

Sadly not all of the families were able to be there this year, but the 4 groups that did attend had a great time creating a new batch of memories. Each family took a turn making breakfast and dinner for everyone while the children, ranging in ages from 10-18 years old, ran around conquering territory. Just float back in time for a minute to your childhood and think about how much fun it would be to play Hide & Seek in a 3 story hotel building with no one else around. One dad used the nooks and crannies of the building to play a rousing game of tag with his boys with air soft guns and another two dads decided that midnight was the perfect time to institute an energetic round of "keep rubber duckie away from the 11 year old girls".

I love Cannon Beach. The whole town seems to have a welcome mat out beckoning travelers to sit a spell and breathe in a slower way of life. Shops have signs on their windows that say they will 'open about 10-ish' and close 'around 5'. The locals roll their eyes at having to drive the long 6 miles to the bigger town of Seaside for the large chain grocery store. On the last day we were there, I even saw a man ride his horse into town to check his mail at the post office.

The Gaggle Girls decided to take a day in Seaside looking at shops, sampling food, and causing their giddy little giggly/gaggly trouble wherever they went. One of their goals was to go to a photography studio and have one of those antique style pictures made. This is just one of the many. (The photographer said we could post it online as long as we left his information on the edge.) When he snapped this picture, I am told that all the girls pulled the triggers of their, click, click, click, click. Good thing they are toy guns. I imagine that must happen to him a lot.

They really are a good group of girls and they bring out so much character in one another. I wonder how many more of these times we/they will have together, us as families and they as young girls full of ideas to change and affect the world around them. There is already talk of Spring Break plans and New Years '09 plans.

3 of the girls are graduating high school this year and one is hoping to enroll in a school in Manhattan. All too soon I fear that times will change. But no matter what happens, they have friendships that will click back into place even when the miles push away and will always look back on these days with fondness, giggles, and blushing cheeks.