Tuesday, July 29

Courage & Humility

In the midst of a prayer I heard recently, a portion struck a deep chord and has been resounding in my ears ever since. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Give us courage when you ask us to face a giant.
Give us humility when you ask us to fetch a donkey.

Friday, July 25

BFF: Thirty-something Years & Counting

Growing up can be tough. There is learning to share, surviving mean teachers, managing arguments with peers and siblings, and the dreaded teasing and playground politics. Then comes puberty - navigating fashion trends, enduring new and frightening hormones, and all those important firsts: first bra, first period, first major crush. A little later and there's discovering a personal faith, fighting body image issues, relating with parents, learning to drive. Which job? Which college? Which sports? Which boy? Which party? Which standards?

Three people in particular helped me navigate these years. Our friendship started early in elementary school, and we stayed close by each others sides until we donned our caps & gowns. Through those turbulent years of childhood and adolescence, these girls had more influence on making me who I am than anyone else outside of my immediate family. And their influence? Golden. Godly. Strong. Feminine. So very, very funny.

One evening in early 1990, we sat on the beach in our cheerleading uniforms and dreamed of our future, which included a white picket fence in front of all four of our houses, all lined up in a row; our children were to grow up together and marry each other. It was to be quite idyllic.

We spent this last weekend together, close to that same beach. This was the very first time that the four of us had gotten together by ourselves since high school. We came with a little bit of nerves and a whole lot of excitement (and Three Amigos!).

Our high school dream didn't, or at least hasn't, worked out. But reality hasn't turned out too bad. All four of us still live in the Northwest. We all entered into the helping professions - social work, teaching, nursing, and counseling. We all four are married to wonderful, Godly men. So far, there are ten children (six boys, four girls - so we'll need to figure out that arranged marriage thing) who are healthy and bright and beautiful. And most importantly, we are all still deeply in love with Jesus.

Friendships really do make a difference. If you have children, involve yourself in their peer relationships from an early age. Guide them, as much as you are able, to friendships that are positive and will lead them closer to the Lord. I would not be the ____ (amazing? fabulous? insert positive adjective here) person I am today without these three girls walking alongside me for so many years.

Tuesday, July 22

What a Pain in the Neck!

It started with headaches. Not your run-of-the-mill ache, but a full-blown migraine. Almost every day. For three weeks. Then my neck tightened up to the point that I was unable to lean my head one way or the other. Even though they started weeks apart, I suspect that these two unfortunate symptoms were related. I got chiropractic treatment, urgent care treatment, major pain relievers, and major muscle relaxers; but no healing. We thought we'd glop on a bunch of icing on the cake and got rear-ended on the freeway (the kids thought it was pretty exciting). Unlike this picture which shows the healthy curve of the upper spine, mine is perfectly straight. Apparently that's bad.

I'm having a little pity party for one tonight, and I thought I'd invite you over.

Thursday, July 17

This is a Recording

Every year Allan and I get caught up in watching the Tour. This week I noticed something significant - the coaches who ride along in cars right behind the participants are constantly speaking their cyclist via an ear piece. We got to listen in for a bit as one coach spoke to his cyclist. It went something like this: You are strong! Be courageous! Take it easy on this hill and then take them. You can do it. Be courageous! It used to be in sports that it was just the participant and his or her own thoughts that either would propel or discourage. When I ran cross country, I would have benefited from constant positive reinforcement in my mind or, at least, in my ear. My thoughts went more like: This is ridiculous. You are not a runner. Why are you even doing this? You are not any good. How can I get out of this with some dignity? Or something like that. I needed an earpiece with someone replacing those thoughts with: You are strong. Be courageous!

I have often talked to friends and clients about the tape recorders we carry with us. Maybe it was a harsh parent with one of those statements that stuck. You aren't college material. Maybe like one of my friends, a teacher held up your artwork as an example of what not to do. You are not creative. Don't try. Maybe it was a build up of personal losses. You know, no one really likes you. Our tape recorders flip on at random moments it seems and can get stuck playing these messages over and over.

The cool thing is that we actually do have a coach who speaks into our ear. The Holy Spirit is in us, whispering the truth. You are redeemed. You are worthy. If we get in tune with the Spirit through prayer and Scripture, we will more easily hear these messages that are constantly being spoken to each of us. You are a child of the King! So, if you need to, change out your tape recording. This coach is one with whom you want to listen. You are strong. Be courageous!

Tuesday, July 15

Life In Six Words

Ernest Hemmingway was once asked to write a story in just six words. This is what he penned: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Wow - that's just sad. So I thought I'd try this exercise, but I'm making it autobiographical.

She birthed three times. She's tired.

Raised in faith. Passing it on.

True Oregonian, she loves the rain.

Thirty-six and counting. Hotter than ever.

Rich past. Pleasant present. Hopeful future.


Now, how about you? How would you describe your life in six words?


Friday, July 11

Time For Another Story

Okay, let's write a story together again! This time let's try this: no more than ten words per comment. Don't worry if you end in the middle of a sentence - that can make it more fun. Add as many comments as you'd like! I'll wrap it up when it seems like a good stopping point, I need to write about something else, or it gets lame. Whichever comes first.
Getting a monkey seemed like a good idea when...

Tuesday, July 8

We the Church

There's a lot online that is trivial. There's a whole lot online that is downright terrible. Every once in a while one can come across something online that is truly good. Simple, effective, community building, and glorifying to God. I found one of those sites a while back; tonight as I was glancing through it's posts I saw this : "God bless the school in Uganda where Chris and Kami are teaching." That made me smile. Someone else, someone I presumably know, found this good tool, too.

WtC.org was created to unite the church in prayer.

Need prayer in your ministry?
Submit a prayer

Thankful for something?
Submit a praise.

And while you're here why not pray for a few things on the prayer list?

It's that simple.
Just us, the church,
praying for each other.

Monday, July 7

Get Your Blog On!

People seem to primarily fall in one of two camps - they either love blogging without reservation or they respond with something like, "Why would anyone want to hear about my boring life?" I think that everyone has something interesting to say; some have just figured out more creative ways to say it. But now there is one more reason you should stop lurking and start writing. It's good for you!

From Newsweek:
Why do people write confessional blogs? It's a creative outlet. It's a forum to vent. It's an exercise in exhibitionism. To mental-health experts, though, it's more than that: a blog is medicine. Psychiatrists are starting to tout the therapeutic power of blogging, and many have begun incorporating it into patient treatment. A forthcoming study in the journal CyberPsychology & Behavior even suggests that bloggers might be happier than nonbloggers.

Saturday, July 5

Prayer Cloud

Allan introduced us to Wordle, a site that allows one to create beautiful word clouds. It is cool how random words can be used to make an artistic and interesting creation. These were some of the topics that I took to God in prayer this week.