Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The weight of the season...

The past 24 hours, I have felt a wee bit overwhelmed. By all the boxes coming down from the attic of festive decorations. By the elf lurking in the closet downstairs... I swear I can hear him cackling every time the kids mention his return. Is it possible for a little stuffed elf to mock me? Overwhelmed by all the secular activities that this holiday season brings upon us whether we choose them or not. So y'all aren't doing your Dirty Santa party this year? Have you got that basket ready for the annual auction at school yet? We need to sit down and discuss the class Christmas party soon. What is Santa bringing your kids this year??????

Throughout the day yesterday, my chest tightened. I couldn't find the extension cords. A strand of lights on the tree for downstairs is out, and I fidgeted with the tiny fuses for 20 minutes only for them to remain dark. The arthritis in my hands is flaring up with the bitter cold outside. I haven't purchased a single Christmas gift yet, and it's almost December. My Christmas Eve tradition at my grandmother's house is over. The bits of pieces of the holiday season began to fall like snowflakes on my soul and were rapidly accumulating. A heavy blanket of fear weighed my heart down. This isn't what this should feel like. I love this time of year.

I woke this morning with Luke on my mind. Read the story, Tamara. Read it again and remind yourself of what was done for you. So I sat down and began with Luke 1:26. I didn't have to get very far before the tears welled up in my eyes and I felt the message the Lord would have me pull from the Scriptures today.

And Mary said, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers." Luke 1:46-55

I amazed by Mary's faith each time I read this account. It was no easy road that lie ahead of her, and I am sure she realized it. But she had a direct message from the Lord via Gabriel. Sometimes I wish I had Gabriel to whisk down from heaven and tell me which way to go or what has been laid out for me. But then I wonder... would I have the faith of Mary even under much less stressful situations? Obviously not. That's what led me to her story this morning in the first place.

Dear Lord, Father of my Savior and Father of mine, I praise You this morning for your amazing gift of Jesus to our world so very long ago. I thank You for the divine Word you left for us to read throughout the generations and for the brilliant lessons found within it. Help me, your humble servant, to find ways to glorify You in the midst of this crazy world. Help me to remember that I am not here to serve the world but to serve You. In your Son's Holy Name... Amen.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Truths in nature...

The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.
The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea - the LORD on high is mighty.
Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O LORD.
~ Psalm 93

There are certain truths in life. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Every day. The waves crash on the shore, and tides correlate with the position of the moon. The rains come and go. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

I find comfort in these truths. I look for them in nature. Do you? Do you examine this amazing creation we stand upon every day and find the little things that are just simply true amidst all the things that can go so very wrong? Maybe it's the want-to-be poet inside of me, or maybe there are more souls out there {other than me} that find comfort in the tiny perfections of God's creation.

My family took a Thanksgiving get away to the beach. My parents rented a house big enough for our entire family to come and go as they pleased during the week. The kids and I left on Tuesday, leaving Scott at home as he had to work. My two brothers came the following night, the oldest with his wife and the younger with his daughter. We all worked together and made a fantastic meal for Thursday, and the kids enjoyed playing on the cooler than what they're used to beach. It was nice to be together, to be somewhere other than home for a change, and to watch the kids enjoy one another.

On Thursday night, I went out on the back deck to make a phone call. After hanging up, I sat in the darkness of the evening listening to the waves and studying the sky. The sun had already tucked its head below the horizon of the water, but its color still radiated from behind the curve of the earth. I was in awe of the beauty, and the longer I stared at it, the more defined all the colors of the night sky became. They were all present... red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. A horizontal spectrum had formed over the distant waves, lines of color blending together perfectly as though painted on a canvas. Another truth. Scientific fact. The order of the spectrum in any way it's ever displayed, whether shining through a prism or a rainbow, is always the same.

Truth is comforting. In this world of disarray and modern chaos, it's nice to know how firm our world really is, or maybe how firmly held it is in the hand of its Creator.

You see, the reason I was there was imperfection. My mother's cancer brought us there, together for a holiday we don't normally gather for in a place which we had never all been together. And there I sat, alone, thinking, in front of this magnificent creation, beautiful and glorious, powerful and overwhelming. Experiencing the truth of the earth. Experiencing Him. Hearing his voice whisper to me, "I am. I love. You are mine." More truths of His that are harder to accept sometimes than the scientific facts.

When I stop and think about it, it's all that really matters. He's in control. He is mightier than anything His very hands created. He is from all eternity. And I am His. I am loved. And so are you.

It's a truth.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tiny Prints!

I've been mulling over this post for several weeks now, looking through the multitudes of holiday options on the Tiny Prints website. If you have a blog, I don't think it's too late to get in on their holiday card giveaway. Shoot me an email for details if you want to join in on the fun (see my contact tab).

First I'd like to say that the website is so user friendly. One feature offered is the favorites bar at the bottom of the page which allows you to mark your favorites and go back to them with ease instead of searching back through hundreds of options and confusing yourself. I marked nine favorites, but I promise I could have marked more!!!

One of my favorites, mainly because of its original design, is below. I love the way the photo flips out as you open it, and the color scheme is so unique! I could imagine this one sitting on the mantle during the holidays instead of being stuck in the midst of all the other traditional holiday cards.

There were two others that made my top three, and both of them share a feature that I adore. You can pick from a few different color schemes. I don't know how many times I have found a card online that I loved but wished it had different color options. With the click of your mouse, you can see several different background and accent colors giving you so many choices! I love it! Some of the cards (like the round one shown below) also have the option of choosing what format you want, whether the ornament ball or a flat card.

Now to decide which one is my all time favorite. Oh, and to capture that perfect photo. I don't know which choice will be the toughest! Check out the Holiday line at Tiny Prints for all your holiday needs!

Little Words... Big Lessons

Hats off to the creator and marketer of the now infamous Pillow Pet. I mean, it's a pillow, it's a pet... what's not to love about that? Ironically, Madalyn had something identical to the Pillow Pet when she was a wee little tot. It was a grey cat head in the shape of a pillow, and, though it was smaller in size than the normal Pillow Pets we see in the stores now, it rolled up and velcroed all the same. She used it in her crib as a pillow when she was a toddler. Couldn't tell you where it is now, but it's long been replaced by a lamb and a lady bug.

Last night, we made a mad dash to Walmart. I only needed snacks for the kids for school. Madalyn had three dollars in her wallet, and she just knew she could purchase something of value with it. She wanted to look at the toys, which we rarely ever do, and I agreed hoping to find some ideas for Christmas but all the while explaining she most certainly would NOT be making a purchase and neither would I.

"Oh, I love this! I want to get this!"
"Madalyn, it's $49.95, and you have $3."
"Well, I could give you my money and you could do the rest..."
"Christmas is only a month away. We are not buying a toy."

Similar conversations went on about various items or differing prices. Since her brother wasn't with us, I was trying to let her look and keep myself patient. Patience is not always my top virtue, especially with Madalyn. We had finally made it through the girl aisles with sanity in tact, and we turned out onto the main aisle to get what we really needed when she saw them...

They aren't your average Pillow Pets. No... they are pets in little houses that unzip and break forth for play! When it's pillow time again, you can zip the little pet back into its home. I remember having something similar to this notion as a child (hello, Puffalumps?!?!) and thinking it was quite nifty, but looking at it as a parent, all I am thinking is, "Why in the world couldn't have I had this idea and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits that go along with it?"

We entered a mode of frantic we seldom visit anymore. The six year old just had to have the puppy that zipped into the dog house. Like had to have it. But she had two things going against her... 1) I don't have an extra $20 to spare these days (especially with Christmas literally right around the bend), and 2) she's already got 2 pillow pets at home. It's hard to feel sorry for a child that has as much as my little girl. Granted, she may not have as much as another, but she certainly has an adequate amount of things of things to keep her entertained at home. And I am not typically a mom that purchases toys just because. My kids may get to pick something at the dollar store if we go, but that's about it outside of birthdays or special occasions.

She cried and whined and pleaded and cried some more. All through the store, the whole way home, up the stairs, she carried on. And on. And on. I mainly tried to remain quiet because my voice has a tendency to rise in pitch and volume when she gets like this. But then, she began to say things like, "You're just a meany mama... you never let me get anything... you always buy stuff for you and never for me... I wished I didn't live with a meany mama like you..." It was the latter phrase that dug into my heart. I know that it shouldn't, but it did.

Just the night before, I had awaken to the pitter patter that her slender feet make on the short pile of the carpet when there's no other noise in the house. A little lightening and low rumbling thunder brought her to my side of the bed. I welcomed her in as I slipped out to visit the restroom. When I got back into the bedroom, she was nestled in to my spot in the king size bed, all rolled up like a burrito, and I couldn't bare to bother her. I made my way to the couch and curled up with a couple of blankets for the rest of the night. She doesn't understand that part of being her mama. She has no idea the things I have gone without because her legs and feet continue to grow and I want to to continue being here when they teeter off the school bus in the afternoon. She doesn't understand how her words stung my heart especially after a night of crappy sleep on the couch. The little words from her little mouth just hurt... they hurt more than they should.

I quietly put her in the tub, talking as little as possible. Her tears finally subsided shortly after we turned the water off, and within five minutes, she had called me back in the bathroom.

"Will you bathe me, Mama?"
"Now you need me to do something for you? And why should I do anything for you, Madalyn, after the way you have behaved and treated me tonight?"
"Well, I'm sorry..." {less than convincing, I assure you}
"No, you're not sorry. You're not sorry at all, or you would have called me in here to tell me so, not to get me to do something for you. I will most certainly not bathe you. You can do it yourself tonight."

I made my way down stairs to avoid causing her bodily harm, my blood pressure still rising by the moment. I sat down with my laptop and eased my brain with a little Facebook check. That helps any situation, you know... staring aimlessly at meaningless information on a computer screen. Five minutes or so went by, and there she came, nothing but a towel wrapped around her little self, big brown eyes with a little puddle of tears welling inside them.

"Mama... I am sorry I said you were a meany mama. You're a good mama."
"Thank you, Madalyn. I know you don't mean what you say sometimes, but it does hurt my feelings. You know Mama has feelings too. Let's go get bathed."

As I knelt down beside the tub to wash her hair, I heard this gentle voice... How do you think I feel, Tamara, when you do the same to Me?

Oh, Lord... forgive me when I act like a six year old child that doesn't get her way. Forgive me for the times I don't trust that You will give me everything I need. Give me patience in dealing with my children just as You have been patient with me as I spiritually mature. Thank you, Jesus, for enduring the pain of death so that I can experience the freedom of forgiveness through your Holy Name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Made {w}hole

Let me begin with this statement: I am grateful for my childhood in the church. My fondest memories involve fellowship halls, pot luck dinners, Uno with the youth group, church buses, flipping the light switches on or off. I firmly believe that I would not have the adoration of the Scriptures if I hadn't been born into the very family to which I was given; it's a love that my father, grandmother, and I share. I thank God that He has given me this trait as I know it's the one thing that sustained my soul through the years of doubting.

I've been reading this book... {w}hole by Lisa Whittle. If you've ever had negative experiences with organized religion, I urge you to read it. It's cathartic and reassuring. It's cleansing and hopeful. As I read the pages, processed the thoughts alongside my own memories, I felt as though I had put on a pair of prescription lenses made just for me. See, I, for so many years, looked at the Lord and His people through the lens of my own experience and disappointment. That doesn't work well. Take my word for it.

I've spoken here about Delores before. I don't even hesitate to use her real name, nor do I offer any apologies for doing so. She was Satan's first tool in my life at the tender age of eleven. My father was a dynamic preacher in those days. I have memories of him practicing his sermons at home, pouring over yellow legal pads of notes and his marked up Bible. I adored listening to my father preach, and I loved being churchy. Dresses below the knee, taking notes in my notebook in the pews, and acapella hymns. It was our life. We had packed up all our possessions and moved to a tiny town in Louisiana to follow my father's passion to preach. I don't remember and can't say I ever understood what Delores and my father had not agreed upon, but it was something, and she made her thoughts clear in front of the entire congregation after Sunday evening service. I was devastated. I can still feel the raw emotion in the pit of my stomach that welled up that night, the anger mixed with nervous frustration and disappointment, as I ran out of the building and into the parking lot. My little world was crumbling, and so was our church. My mother and I stayed at home one Sunday morning as my father went alone to formally resign to the congregation from the pulpit. Afterward, a small group of my father's supporters gathered in our home, and we sang together, prayed, and cried. I didn't understand all the details, but my heart knew one thing: even God's people cannot be trusted.

We built a church out of an empty space in a shopping center with a big grocery store, a little boutique filled with clothes my family couldn't afford to buy, and a vet clinic. We painted walls, cleaned things up, bought chairs, and named it. It was our life, and its members were our family. But something shifted, and my adolescent mind didn't understand those details either. My dad said it was time to go, so we packed our things and moved to Florida, out of the pan and into the fire. After a short year in a tiny town in the panhandle, my father decided to leave the ministry altogether.

Looking back through my fresh pair of glasses, I hurt for him so deeply. His passion for the Scriptures and the Truth written in them was undeniable. But the sad reality is that most Christians don't even bother to read the Word for themselves. They simply believe doctrine that's been handed down to them through generations of stiff, suit clad leaders. To those men, my father was a radical, one who believed in such things as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The first time I read through the New Testament, I was shocked to think there were people on the earth who would argue against that point. But there were a hand full to argue back then, and we ran into them all.

And so we went home. Back to our place of origin. No more moving. No more preacher's daughter for me. No more trust in Christianity. The picture of a Christian in my mind had become a man who walks several yards away from the church and hides behind a tree to smoke a cigarette, the Sunday school teaching woman who can't control her temper in front of the church on a Sunday night, the elders who straighten their ties as they deny the Inspired Word of God that's in plain black and white before them. I was confused to say the least. Confused about God, about why He would allow all of this to happen, why He would turn His back on us like this.

I had no faith in God. I felt abandoned by Him. I tried to find things to believe in, all the while maintaining my pretty little picture of goodness. By the time I graduated high school, I realized that no one was really who they appeared to be, that no one stood up for what was right. None of the Christian world around me made any sense, so I began to play the game myself.

Satan sent the perfect one to work on me, too. Handsome. Charismatic. Charming. It was as though Satan scripted it all for him perfectly, what to say, what to do, how to get me in the lowest position I had ever been in my life. He took me down. He sent my soul into a pit, and for years, even after I had finally rid myself of the embodiment of that demon, I remained in that deep dark hole.

I'm out now. I finally stopped scratching at the sides of the pit and just let the hand of the Lord Almighty lift me out. He has rested me on the edge of the pit in the soft green grass. I can still see the hole, but I am no longer in it. A part of me wants to get up and run toward the goal I have in my heart. But I am learning that I need rest, this time to learn and ponder, for Jesus to tend to my wounds. See, when you have wounds from every angle, the healing process is all the more complicated. I've got holes in my soul from Christian locusts and from the Devil's advocates as well. I'm trying to reconcile how they can come from both sides and hurt equally the same. One thing I am grateful for is that my Savior has experienced it all and even more than I can fathom. This verse in Hebrews resonated in my soul most of all: Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death - that is, the devil - and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (2:14-15).

Jesus didn't have to. He chose to. He shared in my humanity. He lived in a body just like mine. He lived alongside the Pharisees, even argued with them. He witnessed the hypocrisy of people, the lies, the pain, the bitterness. But you know what else? He healed the ones who came to him with the worst of the worst. He ministered to those that the Pharisees wouldn't even speak to. He reconciled the law. And He is currently reconciling all those years of disappointment in people that bore His name and the scars left behind from Satan's attacks.

I have a purpose. Just as the suffering of Jesus in His flesh was not in vain, neither is the sufferings of anyone who proudly carries the name Christian. I can't say when or how it will all come about, but I have a clear vision in my mind of what He wants me to do with all I've been through. But for now, I am resting. I am feeding my soul. I am waiting patiently. I am leaning on a fresh faith in my literal Savior who has lifted my soul from the deepest, darkest hole... I am longing for the day when my story is made {w}hole.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jury Duty...

I have a confession. I have jury duty envy. I know it's not right, nor is it normal, but I just can't help myself.

I was called to serve in 1997 at the ripe old age of 21. Bright eyed, fresh faced, 30 pounds thinner than I am now, and wearing a marquis solitaire on my left finger that I would learn to hate in less than a year. I was a lawyer's dream. Of course I was selected for a case, and it involved insurance fraud on the part of an Alfa Insurance salesman. I loved the whole process and actually longed to do it again. I've only been summonsed once since then while I was pregnant with my oldest. Though my heart wanted to be there, my pregnant body did not. I asked to speak to the judge, and told him that I would prefer not to sit on a jury at this time as I would be needing frequent restroom breaks.

When the little card arrived in the mailbox a few months ago, I was so disappointed to see my husband's name on the front. So was he. Being a commission only employee and only member of our family that receives a paycheck, he wasn't thrilled with time away from the job to listen to lawyers. And I get that. My bank account gets that, too. So he made a phone call to the number on the card. Unfortunately, the lady he spoke with didn't quite care about the inconvenience it may cause. She was glad to put it off a couple of months for him, so he went with that option.

Yesterday morning, he got ready to go, and I told him he would just fill out some forms and answer a few questions and get a phone number to call. He is a lawyer's worst nightmare, and I felt 100% certain no attorney in their right mind would select him. What I didn't bank on was the computer that randomly selects the grand jury getting a hold of him. Yep. You heard right. The grand jury.

Poor Scott. He just started this new job two weeks ago. He's been working so hard and adjusting to the new swing of things. My husband is certainly not one who likes to sit and listen to anything. And now he's forced to sit through five days of grand jury testimony while his mind wanders to all of the things he needs to be doing at his new job.

And I find myself at home, dreaming of filling in for him. I know it's wrong to think of ways I could dress up in his clothes and fool the legal system, but I must admit that it's crossed my mind. I think I would make a pretty good Scott, but I am not sure I could pull off his mannerisms.

So Scott's civic duty will end up costing us money. Loss of production at work. Having to eat out five days this week instead of coming home for lunch. I am thinking that it may be time to readjust the thinking of our county court system... when it's a burden for some to serve, they shouldn't be required to do it. Especially when their wife could fill in for them and is more than willing to do so.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inside my brain...

I've been a little quiet around here as of late. To be honest, I've been what they call busy, which is weird for me. I generally don't like busy. It's a state of life I try to stay away from... not because I am lazy, but because I feel like it's a state in which we lose ourselves if we're not careful. We create too much external work for ourselves that we forget the internal work that needs to be done. Time with God. Time with family. Time with our spouse. We look for outside sources to feed our egos instead of feeding our souls. That's one of the joys of being a stay-at-home mom; I was forced to let go of my concept of earthly value and focus on the things that bring us true joy as women. Not that I don't think women who work can't balance it all... I just think it would be harder for me as a woman to put being a wife and mother first if I had a job that made me feel valued (because I dare say that a job outside the home would leave me feeling more valued than the kids do most days!). Okay... I am losing focus here...

I've been busy with my little crafty business. I got this rather large order a few weeks ago, and it was incredibly intimidating. But, of course, I wasn't going to turn down an order, even if meant that my own hands would have to create 42 zipper pulls and the leather things that hold them to the zippers all by myself. 42. This was right after I had another fairly large order of 19. My CrazyMamaCreations deal is a lot of fun, but what people probably don't realize is how very time intensive it is. I mean, it's just me, after all. And it takes quite a bit of menial effort to make a plain metal washer into something cute! So to say that I am glad to be passing off this big, big order today is an understatement! I enjoyed making them, but it will be a huge load off my shoulders to have it 100% complete.

I've also been getting ready for a craft show this weekend. I have purposefully not done a show yet. Major issue is time. Time to prepare. Time to go and set up and work the show and take down. Not to mention the risk. It's a risk to prepare things specifically for on the spot purchase when you're not certain any of it will sell. I am a made to order kind of outfit on Facebook and Etsy, so there's not much risk involved in that. But to prepare an inventory and not be sure that anyone (except me) will like it, well, it's a little intimidating.

I find myself intimidated by the strangest things. Take, for instance, this morning, when I went to the elementary school to learn how to make copies for Madalyn's teacher. It's been eleven years since I've used a commercial copier. May not seem like a big deal to you, but I was a little intimidated. Not just of the copier but of the whole process. What if I copy the wrong sheets? What if I don't make the right number? What if I can't remember how to make a two-sided copy into two one-sided copies and have them come out into the tray in groups instead of collated and I get fired from being room mom which I really never wanted to be anyway??????

Do you see what I do to myself inside my brain? Why do I do this? It's pure insanity, I tell you...

Also on the agenda lately has been lunch. As in cooking it. Now this is something I have enjoyed doing. Since my husband is working so very close to home now, he's able to come home for lunch. And it's been fun {in a weird way} cooking for him again. He's not one that eats a lot in the evening, so I have long gotten out of the habit of cooking real meals at night. But now, I can cook for lunch, we eat together, and then the kids have dinner ready. It's been a really nice change of pace around here, and a big money saver. I feel really blessed with Scott's job change. Beyond blessed, really. Just hoping that it all works out in the end. I am keeping the faith that it will and not applying my crazy inside the brain questioning to this one part of my life. Seems strange that I am freaking out more about using the copier at the school than I am about my husband's new job. But that's just the way my brain works...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The One

I read this post yesterday, and it really got me thinking all day long about Jesus. Who He is. What He did. How He lived. How I should live because of who He was, is, will be and because of what He did.

I am just now getting to know Him. Even though I spent the bulk of my childhood in church, I never thought along the way that He was someone with which I could have an intimate bond. Jesus was another character in the Bible to me, and there He remained, in the pages, in the red letters of the New Testament. Not until a few years ago did I realize that the Bible is full of this amazing information, power, encouragement, and counsel. Oddly enough, it was my reading of Isaiah that brought me closer to Him and His Father. There is beauty in the promise of perfection, of sacrifice, of Zion to the people that you know will hand Him over and mock Him. There is beauty in the Father's pursuit of the people of Israel. True beauty.

You see, in many ways, I identify with the people of Israel. I felt like I was one of the chosen people in my youth. My father a minister, I was there every time the doors were open. I helped clean the baptismal and vacuumed in between the pews more times than I can count. I recall the day I stood proudly in front of the small country church my father first preached for and recited all the books of the Bible. I was so pleased with myself for having done so, my faith even in childhood based on my performance. I had a task driven perception of God; if I do good, God will be pleased.

But what happens to that performance driven personality when she begins to fail. To make the wrong decisions. To trust the wrong people. To seek the wrong things. To fall on her face. She unravels, and so does her faith and her pretty little picture of God and Jesus, those characters she had learned all about in Sunday School.

I was missing out on the reality. The grit of the Bible. The Noah that got drunk off his first vineyard once he made it out of the Ark. The Moses that all but argued with God about his calling and doubted himself. The way Paul spent the majority of his life before following Jesus. I focused on the good performances of all the characters and not on the realness of them. There's beauty in the realness, too, as there is a lot of realness in me.

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a new into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. {Mark 1:16-18}

Jesus is The One who can simply say, "Follow me," and people actually do it. Have you noticed that? Have you let it sink in that people literally dropped what they were doing, left it all behind, and followed a man they knew nothing about. Oh how I would love to have seen Him face to face! Can you imagine His magnetism? We experience it to some degree in the Scriptures, but to feel it in person... I just can't imagine.

... Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." {Matthew 9:12}

Jesus is The One who can stop the madness. His way is fairly simple, and he came to fulfill the rigorous performance driven law of the Old Testament. Where I fail, He makes up the slack. He pushes me to be better, but He wipes my tears when I fail. He was the sacrifice in the midst of chaos so that I can experience His peace. He loves me anyway.

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. {Hebrews 1:3a}

Jesus is The One. He sustains all things. He is the reason I haven't completely fallen to satan's tricks. He is the reason I seek, I long to know more, I try to live better, love better, be better. He is the One Sacrifice that trumps all others. He is the only One needed.

I am so thankful to be developing a relationship with Him. What about you? Do you know Him? The One? Want to know the absolute best place to find Him? In His words, in the words His Father has left for us. They are there for us to learn, to know Him, to hear what He has to say. Read them. They are beautiful, challenging, radical words. Soak in the whole story, not just the pretty pictures you may have learned in your childhood.

On a side note, there's a beautiful study of the words in Hebrews going on right now on Wendy Blight's blog... join us if you are interested! Week one has been incredible! And it's all about The One.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween and such...

I am shooting pretty bad this morning. My sinuses are killing me. And they're full of all kinds of strange stuff. I have ulcers in my mouth (possibly related to this nasty cold I am fighting). Oh, and I stabbed myself in the thumb with a needle while sewing a fuchsia feather boa to Madalyn's vampire cape, so that is inflamed as well. So all that combined makes it a good day to sit in my chair, read, and blog.

We did something different this year than we've done the past several years. We stayed at home. For the past four years, we've gone to a friend's house in another neighborhood. But several weeks ago, David started saying he wanted to stay in our neighborhood this year. I didn't react to it much at first, and I was a little worried about whether both kids would agree about what to do. But ultimately both of them told me they'd like to trick or treat at home this year, so we went with that. They had a lot of fun, and it was fun to be able to pass out candy at our own house again.

Madalyn was a vampire. When she first mentioned her costume choice to me, I was not impressed at all. But then my mind started spinning about how I could make it unique, and
I decided we could make it cute. I ordered a plain black cape from Amazon, and I found a hot pink boa I could sew onto the outside edge. I cut the shape of the collar out of a twenty cent
piece of felt and basted it to the cape over a line of fabric glue. I decided to cut the felt a little smaller than the actual collar just to make it look a little different. The best part about Madalyn's costume was that all the other pieces were just stuff from her closet or that she can wear in normal life. She wore a cute long sleeve tee shirt from Old Navy under her cape to
complete the sassy vampire look. She fought with me about the makeup, but once she saw herself in the mirror, she knew it rounded the costume out perfectly! For an idea I wasn't too keen on, I ended up enjoying putting her together more this year than I ever have.

David, being ten, opted for the weird mask
with jeans thing. He found this sleeve thing that has a nasty wound and a bolt running t
hrough it that he wore on his arm. Total expense for David's get-up... $10. I am liking the older age boy thing, even though I miss the cute costumes.

I cleaned out the buckets this morning. David ate more candy last night than he should ever down in an evening. He has self control issu
es. I also threw stuff away that looked weird. There was a fun size Hershey bar that looked like it was purchased in 2008. I always trow out that weird looking wax paper covered soft candy. Flavored Tootsie Rolls get tossed... I am still trying to find a human being that ingests those things and enjoys the experience. I Tootsie Roll should taste like chocolate not fruit. Bottle Caps are thrown out as well. I found one lone paper wrapped candy named Mary Jane, and I quickly tossed that in the trash pile. I have never heard of such, and I am certainly not going to allow my children to eat anything that has a name which doubles as a nickname for weed. I only found three peppermints this year. And the most nostalgic award goes to the pretty little roll of Royal Rolls in Madalyn's pumpkin... do you remember those? They are the Life Saver knock-offs and they taste awful. I can't wait to see Madalyn's face when she puts one in her mouth!

Hope Halloween was successful for all my friends out there, and that your kids have brought lots of your favorite goodies into your home for you to enjoy!