Thursday, August 18, 2011

Encountering Love.....

 My house is quite this morning. It is not normally like this but Angel-girl is not here today. I have the windows open. The weather is giving us a reprieve from the heat by blessing us with a cuddly grey sky. I have quiet worship playing and the fuzzy boy dogs are flanked on each side of me as I sit here on the couch with my (San Antonio Starbucks) coffee cup and you.  Hmmm….It makes me let out a contented sigh.

………Goodness, I lost myself in picturing you here with me.
What shall I write about this morning?

Can I share something with you? Last month I had an encounter with Jesus. I have been trying to figure out how to put it all to words and have now decided that it will happen as I type. I want to share it because I believe with all my heart it is something that is meant for you too. 

In this encounter, I found myself standing with Jesus. We were in a grassy field and I had the freedom to shake off my own self doubt concepts and know that I could talk with Jesus about anything. Specifically I was told that I needed ask Jesus what He thought of me. That can be a bold and intimidating thing to ask but only because of those self doubts. The reality is that we can ask anything at all and He is right there to answer.

In response to my question, Jesus didn’t say anything. Instead He looked at me and smiled. It wasn’t a full faced smile but more of a soft smile that hints emotion filled eyes. He took me in his arms and gave me a big hug. You know the kind of hug like Daddy would give, where it was a tender safe hug that wrapped around you and filled you with a sense of protection that never ended? IT was that kind of hug.  At the same time He hugged me, He pressed my head against his chest so that my ear was on the sound of His heart beat.  This is the part that overwhelms me every time. His heart beat was not the regular “bump-bump” sound that we are used to. Instead of that sound, His heart beat was the sound of my name. With each beat of my name a wave of His glorious love rippled out around and beyond us. That ripple affected change to everything in its path.

In the exact moment that I heard and felt that experience, I also knew that it is how He feels about each one of us. That image and feeling is made for each one of us.  He jumps up and down for us in His excitement. He is wildly in love with us. He moves mountains for us and created the world for us. But more than that, He is passionately tender over us and carries us in His heart.  He is our reason for living. And I realized WE are HIS reason for being.

The whole experience lasted only a split second. It is amazing how much God can deposit into us within the folds of our finite measurement of time. Though it was a second of time, it has been my most constant thought ever since.  I want to encourage you to do the same. Carry it with you and know that you are loved at this very moment just the way you are; complete in Him.

 Better yet, ask your own question to God and wait for His answer. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthdays Galore.....

Yesterday, Miss Angel-girl (now officially 2 years old) and I played in the back yard. I was trying to capture a glimpse of her happy self in the sunshine but realized afresh that it is next to impossible to click a picture un-blurred. Instead I opted for this action photo that captures her every day happenings.  Good golly she is a healthy and energetic little thing. She loves to "bouncy-bounce" on the trampoline, "cook" in the playhouse and admire "flutterflies" before the sun gets hot and her tummy hungry.

Yesterday we celebrated Pippin's birthday....20 years old. My, my, my.....  It wasn't her official day but we had postponed festivities since she worked a double shift on her celebrated day to cover for someone needing time off.

While Angel-girl was napping I sort of went nuts with cake decorating. Normally my bend is to leave the cake in a 9x13 glass dish and frost the top of it. If I remember to buy candles then it is really special and the birthday person feels quite lucky.  As you can see; something got into me this year. Chocolate inside with fresh strawberries in the layers and cream cheese frosting outside with yummy color and pizazz.

 Here is a fun shot of Puddin', Pippin and (hmmmm what shall I nickname him) The Poet. The Poet is...The Guy.....the one that seems to be stealing my Pippin's heart. He made her some jewelry for her birthday, bought her a favorite book she has been drooling over AND showed up with a dozen orange roses.

The 3 of them together all had fun cracking jokes through the evening, creating impromptu games at the dinner table and then learned how to play jacks while sitting on the kitchen floor with my mom and Nana. 
 Pippin my lovely baby-girl, which you will always be no matter how old you are, I have so much in my heart I want to say and can't find the words to express them. I love you and am so very proud of you.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


 Last night I was at the office multi-tasking. I had SOZO Ministry, Youth Ministry and general admin. thoughts rolling through my head and onto my keyboard while a youth worship session was revving up in the next room. The night was super charged with emotion and expectation. It seemed as though time hung still in the air as youth shifted their focus away from all of their normal distractions. That alone was a window of time to be privileged in witnessing, but then I became involved in another matter entirely.

I was introduced to a visitor named Patrick. His life has been so very rough thus far; in and out of homes and currently in yet another halfway house. His red eyes were filled with tears and swam with unbridled emotions of vulnerability, shame and awe. He wanted to stay but had told his shift leader at the home he would be back by 8pm. He was 45 minutes late and without a ride. I showed him to my car and silently drove along while I gave him space to process and swallow all he was wrestling with.

Finally I said, "Patrick I think you have had an experience tonight with God. I am so glad you enjoyed the evening." 
That brought on a new wave of emotion as he tried to calm his breathing and said, "I don't know why I am so emotional at church. This always happens to me. It scares me. I just.....I mean.....I know this is where I want to be but I have done so many wrong many......I have to make up for that. It is really hard."

"Patrick, I think that maybe being emotional is scary because when we show our heart feelings like that, we show our vulnerability. Society gives the impression that we are supposed to be strong and act untouchable. But when we show our emotions we are sharing our inner most tenderness and leave ourselves exposed to the possibility of being affected.  Patrick, you say that you have things to make up for. What is really so very cool about God is that.....all those things....He knew them before they happened.....and He loves you anyway just the way you are at this very moment. He loves you with more than a 'hey I love you man' type of attitude. He loves you for real with an emotion that makes Him burst from the inside out with passionate intensity that doesn't end. He jumps up and down with excitement for you and is ecstatic because you are His. He is proud of you and wants you to know it."

That brought on a fresh wave of tears as he said, "But you don't know how much I have been hurt. Being emotional like this brings up all of those hurts......and it REALLY hurts."

"Patrick, being hurt is horrible. It stinks, it sucks, it isn't fair and should never happen. But it does happen because everyone else is hurting too. Everyone hurts each other first so that they don't get hurt themselves. It is so wrong. But here is the deal; I don't know if you have had opportunity to hear this from God just yet but do you know that because God is always with us, He feels everything that we feel. He cries when we cry, He hurts when we hurt and He smiles when we smile. Plus because He loves us so much and has such passion for us, He feels all of those things even more than we do."

Patrick's eyes got really big as he tried to take all of that in; the knowledge that his pain is never alone, that his heart is not a dark secret. 

All too soon we were at his home and I smoothed the tardy curfew over with the shift leader. It ended with that person saying as long as Patrick is doing church related events he can be gone as long as needed.

I don't know what will happen next for Patrick. But I know that God loves him, has His hand in his life and won't let go. He promises to make good come out of all things.

God bless you and your day today.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Can't Sleep.....

Every now and again I have a day where I can stay in my pajamas all day and play hide-n-seek from responsibility. But by and large I feel the word "busy" accentuates my every day. I know it is my own doing and I am the only one who can truly say "no" or "stop" or "go away". So why don't I set better boundaries with myself?
Maybe because the first thing I always think of is that I never want to look back on life and wish I would have done more.

........I am sitting here staring at the screen and wondering how to put to words what I am feeling and ........oh I don't know.

Here are some random thoughts....

Last week I took my brother and his family to the airport so they could go visit family back east. I was absolutely floored with the memories that were triggered when I stood on the curb hugging him goodbye and praying with him. Dejavu' washed over me as I remembered the last time I did that. It was when they were flying to Texas to see Daddy.  I mustered up the biggest smile ever as I waved goodbye and tried to shake it all off.

Yesterday Hubby mentioned, "Hey I saw your dad when I was driving home today". It was so weird how I know full well he was referring to my dad, my mom's husband, the man I love so dearly and has been such a centrifugal part of our lives for so long.....but in my mind I pictured Daddy and it took my breath away that made my adrenalin rush and hands shake.

Despite what those to situations would lead you to believe, I don't think of Daddy every second of the day anymore. And I can think of him without despair or swallowing pain.

While my brother and his family were gone on vacation we took care of their golden retriever. I forgot what it was like to have a big dog around here.

Speaking of dogs; I have been making food for Kekoa and Conguito instead of buying bags of kibble. I know, you can laugh. My friend Rose said, "Wow that is a whole lot more than a doggie car seat," which is an inside joke for us. The fuzzy boys love it of course. It costs slightly more than the kibble and takes more of my time but it sure is turning out to be more healthy for them.

 Icca Chou, the girl that is currently living with us, is now engaged to be married. It has been an interesting time. The wedding is set for February of this next year. There is lots to plan and do. I am trying to make suggestions without being pushy. I am not the mama.........I don't know how to finish that thought.

Tony, is now in a half way house. He comes by once a week or so to do laundry and get a good meal or two. He is trying to fight his way through recovery and I am so proud of him. He has times when he wants to spiral and I have to be oh so very hard on him.

Pippin has found herself quite taken with a young man. It has been adorable to watch things unfold. Five months ago they caught each others eye and played awkward with blushing glances and silly cheesy smiles. Last month they decided to "officially" get to know one another more. I really like him too. He has upstanding character and enhances her qualities. He challenges her to stretch her independence without causing her to become someone she is not.  I must admit that after some things happened a few months back with some other young men in our lives, I really didn't want to like this one. I wanted to live on planet No Boys Allowed where the hurts of complications don't happen. But he has chipped away at that protective layer and gained my respect. Only God knows what will happen from here.

A couple of days ago I started working on a baby quilt. It is one I had bought material for back in April but hesitated on starting because of the sadness of my old machines. Now that I have a handy dandy new machine I figured it was time to learn how to use it.  This is for our newest grand-baby, Isabelle born in November. Another day or two and it will be finished. I will mail it off to her and she will have it before she turns a year. That is okay isn't it?

I bought material today to make flags for dance worship. I have completely come to love dance worship. It transports me out of myself, my circular thoughts and reminds me that there is so much more that is bigger and better to dwell on. I am anxious to try and make these flags. I hope I can make them well.  I have hesitated for a while because I feared messing them up and wasting money. But I have decided that not trying is the bigger mistake. I must just try and learn from there.

My cello lessons are going well and I am so encouraged. I have learned that it really is a good hobby for me. Because I am left handed AND administratively minded, bridging both sides of my brain can be quite the ordeal at times. Some days it takes me a good 10 minutes of warm ups with my brain telling my hands, fingers and arms to do different things before I stop screeching and play corretly. It is therapy. It soothes me.
I sold the cello (Carlotta) that was too big for me and am renting a 3/4 sized one at the moment. I dislike the idea of renting but I want to learn a few more months of appreciating sound and quality before laying down money on the perfect instrument for me.

Okay, I think I can sleep now.
God bless you richly and know that no matter what, you are infinitely and completely loved by the Creator God.