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28 February 2010

February Photo Challenge

And "challenge" is correct.
I had to really think and search and hunt to meet all the requirements for the February challenge.

Favorite moments in the hunt-
the unexpected fire engines in front of our church one evening.  (Just a gas leak false alarm- no worries!)
GIMP edits that helped a blah sky against a gray building look completely change a photo.
The treats from the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile.
Searching county backroads for a landscape scene.
Making the b/w selective color work!  (though I need more practice on that!)

The color in this collage surprises me, because I have so very many photos from this month in shades of gray.

All of my photos can be seen close-up in a Picasa web album here.  And be sure to enjoy the work of the other participants too!  Be sure to visit the Photo Hunt Challenge site to see work from all the participants- including a few friends of mine!

27 February 2010


A dear friend sent me a couple of articles this week- Refining Moments and Refining PossibilitiesThey are articles that impressed her.  They are articles that write of things familiar to me, and leave me pondering for a while. 

The author writes of the experience of falling down the stairs while holding her baby and how that fall prompted her to stop and consider life around her.  That is familiar to me.  I once slipped on the stairs while holding my twin baby girls.  We were fine.  Well, mostly fine.  I had huge bruises on my back, but my girls landed on me without injury.  But in that moment after landing on the stairs, I lay there and cried.  I cried because it hurt, immediately.  I cried because my girls were not hurt, and I was grateful.  And I cried because sometimes crying out to the Lord means really crying. 

In the articles, the author writes about refining.  She writes:
Refinement means losing the extras. It’s about focusing your sights like an arrow. If anything, your aspirations become even greater when they are not diluted by all of the possible things you could be doing.
She writes that refining is "considering the balance" of what we want to achieve each day.  It is looking at our list and deciding what to focus on, and what we won't be doing right now.

The list.
Isn't there always a list?

I am certain that part of God's love and grace is seen in how He has allowed me to grow older and grow more comfortable in who He made me to be.  I am certain that  it is how He helps me to see that there are things that others do well and I do not, not in this season, anyway.  At different times I have tried to make bread, and do crafty things, and look a certain way and, and, and...

But at this point, right now, I know that I can't really knit or sew.  I can't scrapbook.  I know that I can write notes to almost anyone, but I am lousy at making phone calls to anyone but about two people in my life. 

I know that I feel goofy, as if I'm playing dress up, if I wear heels or mascara.  I know that I am most comfortable in my leather loafers and my convese sneakers and long sleeve life is good shirt.  I know that I'll probably always pick at my cuticles.  I know that I'll probably never wear nail polish.  Except on my toes.  And only in the summertime.

I know that to sweep and vacuum the floors is a good step towards order in our house.  But daily mopping is not a priority.  I know that I'll always be behind on laundry.  I know that a boxed cake mix tastes pretty good if it has homemade buttercream frosting on top. 

I know that His grace is sufficient for me.

The author writes,
I remembered how ocean waves wash over the beach, leveling rumples in the sand and filling in trenches and holes, smoothing it over. Ever since then, I’ve been praying that God’s grace would wash over all those details in my life, smoothing them over and filling in the gaps, making the details less distinct and noticeable.
I am entranced by that image, and agree, that it is only God's grace that can smooth out those rumples in our life.  But at the same time, I'm thankful for the gaps that remain.  I am thankful that as consistently as the tide, He is faithful to provide those waves of grace that smooth the human sized divots created when I am knocked over time and again.  I'm thankful for the waves of grace that comfort, even after I think I have my feet firmly planted in that sand and I’ve braced myself for the coming blow.

Refinement is, indeed, a continual process.

(photo credit to barbaragordon @etsy)

23 February 2010

Get Away

It happened quickly, more quickly than I expected- only the amount of time needed to get from the front door of the store to the car, and to unload the groceries into the trunk.  Of course, it was compounded by the need to fill the tank with gasoline and wash the windows coated with the gray brown grime of winter.  It happened that fast.  My ears were numb.  Oh, I know, I should have been wearing a hat.  But even so, my ears were numb. My eyes were watering.  My cheeks burned.  How is it possible that when it is frigid outside, freezing cold, windchill making the "feels like" temperature to be one solitary digit, my cheeks feel as if they are burning?

My solution?  Turn the car heater to 85 degrees, park in a sunbeam, close my eyes, and go far away, at least in my mind.  Far, far away.  Well, at least until my ears thawed, until they stopped throbbing with the blood once again flowing to warm them up.  Yes, for a few moments at least, I was here, and it was lovely.

I might go back tomorrow...

22 February 2010

Multitude Monday (13-28)

In his sermon yesterday, our pastor continued preaching through Colossians, 3:15-17 this week. 
"And be thankful," Paul exhorts us (v. 15), "...singing with thankfulness in your hearts (v. 16)," "giving thanks through Him to God the Father." 

Continuing that theme of thankfulness...

13.  seeing the sun peak over the horizon of my neighborhood at dawn.
14.  holding my morning mug o' latte,
15.  and drinking it too.
16.  the blessing of Numbers 6
17.  the promise of Psalm 46
18.  Wifi...
19.  . ..and meeting my husband at Panera to work
20.  dinner in the oven.
21.  unexpected surprises
22.  a poem that makes my children (and me) giggle
23. children content and satisfied and growing in many ways
24.  physical healing in friends
25.   one of my favorite hymns on a new download
26.  the storm that passed us by
27.  watching her figure out how to do it herself
28.  the family cheering on the Americans, and the underdogs, and a good performance

The list at Holy Experience grows also.
How 'bout yours?

21 February 2010

oh I wish...


the Wienermobile.

Today, while out and about looking for photo ops, K sighted the elusive Wienermobile parked in front of a grocery store.

STOP the car!

We sang the song, and earned our whistles. 

I do love the Wienermobile.

16 February 2010


"It stands to reason. As faith grows—as we see how big is God’s heart, how lavish His inheritance, how powerful His arm, and how willing He is to be involved with us in the moments of our days—we join a long line of believers who suddenly realized the same thing. They turn on a dime from being fearful and self-deprecating to being avaricious in a godly way: “Send me!” said Isaiah, who had just a moment before wanted to die. What did John Piper call it—Christian hedonism?"

and more! 
(from "How Your Devotions Get Leggy," by Andree Seu, WORLD mag blog, 16February2010)

Simple- 16February2010

FOR TODAY, Tuesday, 16February, 2010...

Outside my window... snow on rooftops, snow on trees.  shades of gray.  winter.

I am thinking...  about a conversation last night with a man from Haiti, about friends contemplating a diagnosis, about travel north on marginal roads today.

I am thankful for... morning.  my husband.  my latte.  The Word.  Quiet.  and peace.

From the learning rooms... research papers.  plant dissection.  spelling lists.  ogden nash.

From the kitchen... beef roast in the crock pot.  dishwasher needing to be emptied.  dirty dishes needing to be put away.

I am wearing... layers.  several.

I am going... north, with a bunch of basketball players this afternoon.  praying for good roads.

I am reading... in fiction- The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, in non-fiction- With Justice for All by John Perkins, in the mornings- The Glory of Christ by John Owen, and still, W&P.

I am hoping... to see sunshine today. to feel sunshine today!

I am hearing... the shower running upstairs.  the tap of keys.  can you hear quiet?

I am smiling... thinking about sliding under my van, again, while trying to get in yesterday.  for the fourth time this month!  ridiculous!

I am enjoying... the Winter Olympics on tv.  Especially freestyle skiing.  And snowboarding.

I am remembering... Psalm 40:5- "Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts towards us; There is none to compare with Thee..."

Around the house... barely moving.  Only 3 of 7 awake.  the calm before the rest of the day.

One of my favorite things... getting into a car warmed by the sun.  that hasn't happened here for a good long while, but it sure sounds nice...

A few plans for the rest of the week: basketball. wednesday night dinner.  soccer.  birthdays!  dinner with friends!  prayer.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...  this, with toasted sourdough bread, and a cutie orange, and coffee.  mmm!  breakfast. 

15 February 2010

Multitude Monday (1-12)

So after that last bit of complaining...
I really want to be known for something other than complaining.

And just in time, my friend introduces me to Multitude Monday at Holy Experience.

Remembering the psalmist who asked of God,
"You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle
Are they not in Your book?
(Psalm 56:8)
Ann Voskeamp very purposefully states, "If God makes a list of my laments, I will make a list of God's love. If God has a list of my pain, I will make a list of my praise. If God writes a list of my tears, I will write a list of my thanks."

And so will I.
Because I am exceedingly abundantly blessed.
I am thankful for His many graces, His many gifts.

1. a sunny afternoon after a dismal morning
2.  the pink and orange and peach and lavender sunset that spread across the horizon
3.  my husband...
4.  ... who brings home a piece of chocolate cake for me.
5.  babysitting my friends' kids
6.  my two piano player who really do make music now
7.  a surprise phone call from my sister
8.  delicious valentine sugar cookies from a friend...
9.  ...and the recipe to make them myself
10.  the opportunity to know folks from all over the world, right here in the middle of the US
11. friends that serve cheerfully
12. clean sheets

and working towards 1000...
care to join?

holy experience

in general...

(credit to Mark Tatulli & Heart of the City, 15Feb2010)

12 February 2010

vancouver 2010

We're Olympic geeks. 


(photo credit to AP via FoxNews)

10 February 2010


Over at Life is a Patchwork Quilt, my friend Val writes of being asked by her son, "What is the most daring thing you did as a child?"  Val had a truly daring answer- but that's her story to tell- click over to her blog to read about it.  She then challenged others to think of what daring deeds they might have done in childhood.

I confess that most of the things that I can think of from my childhood that might qualify as "daring" were really simply "foolish."  And most involved heights.  I liked to go back behind my grandpa's garage and climb up on the cement brick wall, and then climb up on the top of the clothesline pole, and then climb up onto the roof of the garage, and read.  It would then just be me and the sparrows, with a bird's eye view of the neighborhood.

Later we moved to a house at the very foothill of the Sandia mountains in Albuquerque.  My sister and I would get home from school before my parents did, and occassionally we would forget our housekey.  On those days, we would stack two patio chairs on top of each other on the back deck, climb up on the electric box, climb up on the roof, crawl in through an upper window, jump over the alarm security pads in the bedroom, and go downstairs to turn off the alarm and open the doors correctly. 

That house was great for playing hide and seek.  It had thick beams that extended over the living room, accessible from the upstairs above.  We could crawl out onto the beams, and although we weren't really "hidden,"  it was a strategic place to wait, because from that point, you could either jump down to the couch below, or get back over to the upstairs and make a run to base. 

"Daring"?  Maybe.  A little bit.  But mostly- foolish.

I look at "daring" different now.  The dictionary defines daring as "brave and adventurous; courageous; bold."  Baptist theologian William Newton Clark wrote, "Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see."  For some, to step out in faith is daring, but for me, that step is simply obedience.  To not obey would be the true risk.  I think of David when he wrote in the Psalms, "On the day I called Thou did answer me; Thou did make me bold with strength in my soul." (Ps. 138:3)  That is the thanksgiving I sing as well.  My prayer is "Please, Lord, make me daring for the glory of your kingdom."

(art credit:  Do or Do Not There is No Try by LeslieLeeArt on Etsy)

08 February 2010

If you give a blogger a link...

Alert readers might notice I changed the header yesterday.  Now that I know how to do that, I can do that!  It took a bit of wandering to find it, though...

First I visited my friend who has a link to this sweet family.  And she has lots of neat links, including one to this project, which several of my girls will love.  I really liked that site, so I decided to look around.  And, what-do-ya-know?, a couple more clicks, and I found myself here, with those cute, and free, Twitter backgrounds.  Of course, I don't Twitter, but gave the download a try, and it worked!  

Reads kind of like a children's book... 
Does that ever happen to you?

super duper

Like 95 million other folks around the world, you could find the H family watching the Super Bowl 44 last night.  It's sort of become a tradition, a reason to eat Velveeta cheese dip and other junk food we pretty much only have once a year.   The kids laugh at the halftime show- "how old ARE those guys?"  We were mostly rooting for the Colts, though we tend to pull for the underdog, so that seemed to change at any moment.  And who would have thought that by the 4th quarter, the Colts would be the underdog?

But mostly, we like the commercials. 
I thought the Focus on the Family Tim Tebow ad was well done.
The adults laughed at the Snicker's ad with Betty White playing football, just because it was Betty White.  (do you remember Betty White from Password?  I loved that show...)
We all laughed at the LeBron James/Dwight Howard McDonalds ad, especially "and Olympic style landing..... ahhhhhhhhh!"
Brett Favre playing in 10 years...  :-)
I liked the Flo TV "Moments" ad- because yes, I was there.  So were you. (even so, it doesn't come close to convincing me I need tv in my car!)
Yes, that was me who thought the Burger King King was jumping into Dante's Inferno.  I missed the first few seconds of the spot and all I saw was the crown falling into the inferno.  (but honest, wouldn't THAT be a great commercial?  that King creeps me out!)
Everyone cheered when the bull busted through the fence to run with the Bud Clydesdales.

My favorite commercial?
Because I love that Google so kindly corrects my spelling.
And they got married, and then had a baby. 
See them all at the CBS Sports website.

ps.  enough of and Denny's screaming chickens!

07 February 2010

ready for worship

Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming to the upright.
Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings,
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is upright;
And all His work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.
Psalm 33:1-5

Holy joy is the heart and soul of praise, and that is here pressed upon the righteous. Thankful praise is the breath and language of holy joy. Religious songs are proper expressions of thankful praise. Every endowment we possess, should be employed with all our skill and earnestness in God's service. His promises are all wise and good. His word is right, and therefore we are only in the right when we agree with it. His works are all done in truth. He is the righteous Lord, therefore loveth righteousness. What a pity it is that this earth, which is so full of the proofs and instances of God's goodness, should be so empty of his praises; and that of the multitudes who live upon his bounty, there are so few who live to his glory!
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible, on Psalm 33:1-11

05 February 2010

The Horse and His Boy

"Who are you?" asked Shasta.
"Myself," said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook; and again "Myself," loud and clear and gay; and then the third time "Myself," whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it. 

My family is reading The Horse and His Boy outloud, again.
I never tire of the Lion.

04 February 2010

three things thursday

1.  we discovered these on clearance on an endcap at Target.  Oh my!  Chocolate on clearance?  Bite-sized nuggets of extra creamy milk chocolate on top of special dark mildly sweet chocolate?  Could this be true?  I did not resist.  But, I am pleased to report, I have not hoarded this find (uh, well, as I usually do...) but shared it with my family.  SO tasty!   

2.  "Then a man from India appeared at her door, and when she opened it, he looked her in the eye and said, “What a privilege to meet a person whom God has entrusted with so much suffering.” That, finally, was helpful." 
I am only starting to consider suffering in such a way.  It challenges me.  You can find the entire commentary from Andree Seu here.

3.  Had a great evening with friends enjoying 88Improv.  I'm not sure anyone else could take ideas from the audience - "a lousy boss," "a foreign exchange student," and "cancer", and create a three act play that all came together at the end and was funny!  If you are here in O, they are at the Pizza Shoppe, right in my 'hood, twice a month.  Go! 

02 February 2010

getting there

Most acquainted with my family know that we are in the process of raising up the financial and prayer support to go as full-time missionaries to the US/Mexico border.

Support raising.
"Are you still here?," ask folks I haven't seen for a while.
"We're getting there," I answer.

It’s a long process.
It is a process that reminds me, every single day, that my dependence is on the work of God alone.
It is a process that reminds me, every single day, that He is so very good.

We are charged with challenging churches and families and individuals to become part of our team, to partner with us in ministering to the people at the border, in growing new churches, in showing Christ’s love and mercy to people in need.

Oh how we want to be on the border.
The thought of being there takes a bit of my breath away, in excitement, in anticipation, in wonder.
Our team leader is already there, learning every day, clarifying vision, meeting people, making plans.
We hear the news, and the needs, and it spurs us on.
Oh how we want to be on the border.

Its a process. Sometimes I think about the missionaries of years past, those who packed up a trunk, and said their goodbyes, and simply went. Sometimes I wish that is how it would be for us.

But, God is growing us, growing me, through this process. It’s so beautiful to see His people respond to need. We are so thankful, thankful for those who stepped out in faith from the first time we spoke of God’s plans for our family. Thankful for big checks that have made us gasp when we saw the amount. Thankful for monthly commitments that we know are sacrificial.  Thankful for those that don't really know us, but see the need and respond.  Thankful for those who do know us, and confirm this call through their giving.  Thankful for family that doesn’t understand what we’re doing a bit, and yet trust us with their gifts anyway. 

We’ve spoken to churches, to pastors, to mission committee members, to congregations, to Sunday school classes. And God has encouraged us in every step of that process. We have church partners that are already dear to us. We’re excited to share this journey with them.

And now, we’re really praying for families and individuals to come alongside of us, as well. We need about 50 more folks to join our financial support team. We are asking God to go ahead of us, to move in those who would have a heart to give before we even speak to them, to prepare the way ahead of us. We are certain He will be faithful to do that.

Amy Carmichael, missionary to India, one of the great cloud of witnesses I am sure, is credited with saying, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.” Of course, giving looks different for different people. We cannot minimize how very thankful we also are for those who have committed to praying for our family. We wouldn't dare step forward without that partnership either.

If you have questions about what we hope to do, or perhaps are interested in joining our team, let me know.  It's easy to give, and we'd be pleased to send our monthly prayer list to you also.

Little by little, He is getting us there.

01 February 2010

photo hunt #6

Photo Hunt Challenge.
I'm giving it a go again.

We have a new camera, and I'm eager to put it to use!

Any other joiners?

Glorious. And indeed precious.

All that may be known of God for our salvation, especially his widsom, love, goodness, grace and mercy on which the life of our souls depends, are represented to us in all their splendour in and through Christ.  No wonder then that Christ is glorious in the eyes of believers!...

But I ask those whose minds are better attuned to heavenly things, Why do you love Jesus Christ?  Why do you trust in him?  Why do you honor him?  Why do you desire to be in heaven with him?  Can you say why?  If one of your reasons is that in him you behold by faith the glory of God which otherwise would have been eternally hidden from you, especially the glory of his love in sending Christ to atone for your sins, then he is indeed precious to you.

John Owen, The Glory of Christ