Monday, April 27, 2009

Changes coming...

I've been polishing up my resume. Let me rephrase that...I have had one job that required a resume. I held that job from 1996 to 2001. I was a nanny for one year out of college, but they required an interview, not necessarily a resume. So, the job from '96 to '01 was my only job. Notice I didn't italicize 'only' because, well, anybody out there knows that is a joke! I guess technically, in addition to my college schooling, 'polishing up' should really only require me to add my one official job. The only thing is, since becoming a mama in 2002, I've had more life experience than my previous job experience combined. Technically speaking, I founded a non-profit organization, started two women's ministries, launched a freelance writing career along with public-speaking venues, became a self-made medical research associate and Lyme advocate, performed voice overs for a software company, have had some radio experience and will be launching my own show in June (more to come...stay tuned...) and have done fund-raising events for small and large charities.

Those things are all great or admirable in the work force, but really, what I want to put on a resume is: Qualified child of God, imperfect in every way but willing to use gifts given to me by the Creator of Universe to encourage others to aspire to their fullest potential. Willing recipient of the greatest love ever offered to mankind. Fearless leader with real life experience. Able to diligently work through the hours of the night for months at a time, if necessary, in order to make an eternal impact on future generations, physically and spiritually. Heartbroken and mended, able to walk alongside others in their disappointment with life and God. Wife to the most wonderful man in the whole world. Mother to one fantastic daughter who brings joy, laughter, and hope with each day. Mama to one sweet son who is living the ultimate life in God's physical presence, whose life and death lessons provide for my ongoing education. Daughter of the greatest parents on earth. Sister to the best friends a girl could ever ask for. Friend of some of the world's most wonderful people. High aspirations, yet not too lofty, to change the world one heart at a time. Mobile candidate, willing to go to the ends of the earth if He requires it of me. Hopeful romantic waiting on the return of the King of Kings to rescue us from this life of physical separation from God. Imperfect disciple living each day as fully as possible, one day at a time, trying to steward gifts and time for His glory, but making mistakes along the way. All inquiries email:

But, I'm not so sure that the above content would throw open the doors for an interview, so I'll trust the Lord and see if in His sweet sense of humor, He'll work with what I have got...He's done it before, I'll trust Him this time, as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just for fun...

So, I feathered my hair. You know you want to try it. And, that young thing to the left of the picture, when I told her that I 'feathered my hair' said, "What's feathering?" Which, mind you, came only days after Jason informed me that we were 'middle-aged'. Who knew 37 was middle aged?! I would beg to differ, Sweetheart! Anyway, not to mention, people, this all transpired maybe a week or two after I decided to stop plucking my gray hairs and let them grow freely on my head, since, I concluded that at this stage in my life, gray hairs are better than no hairs. (If you are bald, I am not knocking you...baldness is good, I just don't want to induce it, if you know what I mean?!) And besides...I have darn well earned every gray hair on this melon!

So, go have a little fun this weekend! Go feather your hair, just for fun, baby, and post some pictures! Let's bring it back, at least for one weekend! It felt good to step back in time and turn my curling iron in the opposite direction!

Feathering tip: Blow dry hair with big round brush in direction of feathering, then use a large curling iron to send those feathers way back. If you blow it dry straight and then try to curl it back, it doesn't have the same effect. Only apply AquaNet for nostalgia, otherwise, it's 2009, just go au natural and save the environment...

(Yes, I was bored the other day and thought, "I wonder what my hair would look like feathered..." Now I know. Not sure it'll be a repeat offense!)

Lighten up a little and have fun, will ya?!
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lord, will You DVR how You made the Earth, please?!

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

It's Earth Day. I am in awe of the One who made it, formed it, spoke it, designed it, created it and then decided it was a great place to share with beautiful animals that He thought up, you know, just one day while He was creating the Universe. And then, He was having such a great time, enjoying the beauty of what He had done, He decided He would take a spot of dirt, breathe life into it, and share it with humans...beings made in His very image. And then, He entrusted it into our care. All of it. To enjoy, care for and nurture. It's still an expectation of His.

I am saddened for people who worship the creation, lower case 'c', without knowing the Creator. It's this masterpiece that we all get to take in, but when you know the Artist, you get to actually learn just a portion of the reasoning behind the "why" He decided to do what He did. We get to know by getting to know Him better. It's like going to the Louvre and taking in the Mona Lisa, or seeing the ceiling in the Sistene Chapel, or gazing upon the magnificent structure of Notre Dame, but never getting a chance to meet and talk to or interview Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, or Maurice de Sully. I can read history books about these artists but they have no interest in knowing me today, in a personal way, and walking each day of life with me.

I pray that today as we look around at the beauty of God's creation, whether we know exactly how He did it or not, but just letting the awe and wonder of the fact that He did, soak in, that our hearts will give Him the glory for the beautiful bird that defies gravity, the new life that is making its way up through the Spring ground, the buds that are popping out on trees and plants left and right. The faces of the people that pass us by and the ones that we stare at every day. God made us. He formed us. He is creative. He is bigger than us. And He said it was good.

And in my limited knowledge, I really hope that one day He'll show us the IMAX of how and why He did it. I have a feeling, though, that many already know the 'why'...He loves us. All of us. And creation is an expression of His love.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Any "Green-thumbs"???? Help!

This is random but if you live in a well watered area of the world, but especially in the States where I can actually purchase your suggestions, would you mind helping me here, a little?! As you might recall, Jason and I purchased several trees to plant in our new yard last summer, two of which were Maples, one for Em and the other for Noah. Because we live in the Southwest region of the USA, our aim was to use Xeriscape landscaping and tree choices. Obviously not cactus like my homeland of Arizona but high desert, high elevation choices that need very little water. I like to do my part for the environment, it's also why I don't wash my hair everyday...I'm neat like that.

Well, that's all fine and dandy, even admirable to save the planet, but we also live in the run off zone of a hill. Any rain or snow that pounds our town makes its way into our back yard. It provides beautiful green grass, but, we have a lot of water in the low lying areas of our yard and as a result, all, I MEAN ALL, of our landscaping has died, save maybe a few Aspen trees and HOPEFULLY a cluster of birch, but that remains to be seen.

So, basically, for all you green-thumbs out there, I'm begging for help! What plants and trees love 'wet feet', as my mom called it? Now, I know the tropical stuff loves water, but as much as you know I love Mexico, I am not planting palm trees in my yard! Someone actually did that in another neighborhood...not only are they out of place, they can't take the freeze of winter and are now gigantic brown "statues" in their yard...not the look I am going for, here. Any gardeners out there, will you please send me names of perennials, trees, and bushes and plants that can take the sun, the direct heat of summer, the frozen tundra of winter, and a boat load of run off from the hills?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Love, but not the comfortable kind...

I don't love people well. I love the people I love and that love me in return pretty well, but certainly not perfectly. God said what good is that?! He's got a point. Actually, He's been talking to me for OVER A YEAR now about loving my neighbors.

God: Love your neighbors.

Me: Yep, I love 'em Lord. I pray for them.

God: Love your neighbors.

Me: Okay, Lord, I do. I love 'em! Lord, please bless so and so...

God: Get off your butt, get out of the freaking house and go love your neighbors! (Not really, but that was my interpretation and I'm assuming it's accurate!)

We've lived in this house for a year and almost 4 months. I have RECENTLY met more neighbors than just the ones next door. In fact, last month I took Em to the local neighborhood park and three dads were there. I introduced myself. One I had met a year ago, the other last fall, but was just meeting the one for the first time. The first guy said sarcastically, "You don't live in this neighborhood." The second guy said, "Did you just move into the neighborhood?" and the third said, "Are you visiting here?" I suck! I know! I have a tendency to be reclusive, especially in winter being that I grew up in AZ where there is only summer and spring! I also covet my privacy. It may sound strange, but I have been burned several times and so like to choose who I meet and don't meet. I know it sounds bad, but what am I going to do, pretend?! NO, at least I don't do that! Anyway, I know I haven't been loving my neighbors the way God has instructed so I am going to work on love, and love well.
As a result of the "Love your neighbors" conversation the Lord and I have been having for quite some time, here are some random thoughts I shared last night at The Well. I wanted to encourage anyone here with the same, to challenge you, but also to expose myself for accountability...take it for what it's worth...

Radical love, life altering, earth shattering, mind-boggling LOVE…freely given, willingly received, nothing less expected…nothing!

Many of us are able to accept the kind of love that God has offers us. It’s the part about, “Love each other” or “Love your neighbor” or “Love your neighbor as yourself” that makes us squirm a bit. But, this one, “Love your enemies and pray for those that persecute you,” well, that’s just over the top, isn’t it?! So when we don’t love the way God has commanded and shown by His very own example, are we essentially saying, “Lord, let’s not push it with the whole ‘love others’ business. I’ll do what is comfortable for me, because if You knew: my obnoxious neighbors, my crazy relatives, the psycho two cubicles down, the pedophile in the community, the lawn ornament lover next door, the bomb dropping terrorists, the person who defiled something precious to me, the woman who stole my: husband, job, boyfriend, best friend, You certainly would understand that loving them is just out of my comfort zone. Ask someone else to do it”. The only problem is God didn’t plant your neighborhood or community with simply delightful, lovely people, did He? I mean, I live in my neighborhood and I’m a recluse that likes my privacy sometimes. Actually, though, He does know all of those unlovable people cited above, including ourselves…and loves us just the same. Let’s face it, if we trace back far enough, even though we are astoundingly wonderful people, we all have a great, great, great uncle or distant relative that we most certainly wouldn’t advertise in neon lights. Hopefully by choosing to love our friends, neighbors and enemies, our future relatives won’t feel the same about us…

So what does it mean to love our neighbors? Why on earth would God include this sometimes seemingly impossible task in the Bible, and so frequently!? Or, is it one of those scriptures we can pick and choose? Aren’t there those? God wants to show His love to the whole wide world. Sometimes that enlists our willingness to love the people God has surrounded us with. His love in us is one of the tools He uses to reveal His love to others. Perhaps if we viewed ourselves as conduits to the blessing of God’s love instead of solely recipients, the command to love our neighbors would take on a whole new meaning.

Scriptures to dig deeper:
1. Jeremiah 31:33-34, Hebrews 8:10-12 One of the reasons we are asked to love our neighbors
2. Exodus 33:11-16 Friendship with God
3. Proverbs 27:5-6 Love requires truth
4. Matthew 11:19 Jesus didn’t get to choose who He died for
5. John 15:1-17 Love comes from being rooted in God
6. Matthew 5:43-48 Love for our enemies
7. Luke 6:27-36 If we love only those who love us, what’s the big deal in that?
8. Proverbs 14:20-21 Do our neighbors have to be like us?
9. Matthew 22:37-40 The greatest commandment
10. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13:13 Just because we’ve read it once doesn’t mean we have it mastered! Let’s read it again!
11. 1 Peter 4:7-11 Love in the end times

*When you think of love, what are some ways you have shown it to others?
*How have friends, family, neighbors, church, co-workers, even strangers, shown love to you?
*What are some basic reciprocal expectations when it comes to love?
*Does love ever disappoint?
*Have you ever had to love or be kind to someone you wouldn’t choose as a friend?
*What are some basic ways you can show love to your neighbors?
*Brainstorm a list of your neighbors, people you would rather do without, crusty relatives, you get the idea, and ask the Lord how He would direct you to love them.

Love is not always going to make sense. Sometimes it will feel great and other times it will feel like your heart was ripped out of your chest, squashed on the asphalt by a few semi-trucks passing by on their way to nowhere and then put back into your body. One thing that can make love richer in our lives is seeing that in our obedience to love others, even people we hardly know or really can’t stand, we are being used by God, our Heavenly Father who loves us, to show His love to others who may not get it yet. Love is the arch nemesis of hatred, envy, jealousy, greed. It’s a dirty word in the devil’s book. Love often is the last thing we feel like doing but as we pour it out, even though at times it is painful, we also are taught and trained by it. Even though love can hurt or be inconvenient, it is in loving others that we are able to learn more about the character of God. He didn’t choose who He died for…God loved the whole world and chose to send His Son, in love, for all of us. Loving our neighbors doesn’t mean we are expected to be BFF, in fact Proverbs talks about not setting foot too frequently in our neighbor’s home, but it does teach us a little bit about the Love that was poured out for us over two thousand years ago by a guy we’ve never even met face to face. It’s radical, but LOVE what we are called to.

God doesn't ask us to be crucified for our friends, neighbors or enemies...He did that for us...but He does ask us to love them. Lord, please help me love and to love well.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Who knew? He did...and I trust Him...

Sweet guy, who knew you'd walk into my life and leave shortly thereafter? Who knew you'd wreck my heart but that the wrecking ball would take me down to my foundation, me before the God of the Universe, the very One who knew this before time? Who could look ahead and see that the wrecking and rebuilding would be so beautiful? Actually, who knew that losing you would allow me to live the way I was designed to live? Who knew that 7 months and two days could be such a profoundly short, yet life altering amount of time? Who knew? Who knew, certainly not me, that in the wee hours of the night, when it was just you and I and the Lord, that those prayers I poured over you would be answered in my life time? Who knew they'd continue after yours? Did you know that I prayed that you'd be a mighty man of God, all the days of your life? Did you hear me talking to the Lord when I sought His perfect will for you? Did you have a clue, sweet boy, of the plan God had for you? Who knew that the tears that soaked your head each night in the hospital would be more to prepare my heart for what He knew? Who knew that no matter how much I wanted your healing, along with thousands of others, He still had a plan that didn't compute with my finite brain or even my huge faith? Who knew that what He knew didn't fit into my box? Who knew as a mom that I couldn't control your life or the life of anyone else, including me? Who knew that when God designed you, He didn't just have my heart in mind for someone to draw closer to Him?
Did you know that you were the only other man on this earth besides your daddy that I have ever been so in love with? Did you know that you would have such an effect on your mommy? Who knew that the party in the delivery room with mommy and daddy's friends would end up setting the tone for your life? Who knew you'd be such a sanguine?! Maybe Grandpa Steve, your namesake, knew? Who knows? Who knew you'd be an international world traveler before you went to go see the very One who made the world? Sweet guy, I always wanted to encourage people to not only accept the love of God but to fall in love with Him...who knew it would take a soft, sweet, beautiful, sick and dying little boy to inspire me to do it? Who knew?
If I had known, I would have done anything to fight it...I did do anything to fight it...If I had known, in advance, I would have said, "No Lord. Surely You must be mistaken! Surely there is a better way where we can all win?! Lord, do You know how much this will crush me? What about Jason? He is the most wonderful man in the world and a son like him would only make this world a better place? What about Em, Lord? She is so excited to be a big sister! Won't losing her brother crush her? How will I explain this to her? And what about our family? Haven't we had enough experience with death around here?!
I know You knew. I know You saw and can see the bigger picture. I know You know all about losing a Son. I know that Your heart was ripped out that day, too...the one 2000 years ago when Your Son died for the sins of the whole world. I know that You knew that even though it may not have made sense to the onlookers that day, that You had a plan, that it was good, that even Your Son sought You for an alternative, but You knew. You knew. You know. And in Your love for all of Your creation, Your Son was the Passover Lamb for all of us...

I'm glad You knew me before the dawn of time. I'm glad I know You. Lord, I don't just know You, or about You, or even just that You love me, but Lord, I love You, too! And I trust that the day Noah was born, the day he died, and every day in between and after is a day You designed. You knew his sweet short life had a purpose, like every other sweetie that has gone before their parents, just like the ones we live every day, one day at a time. You have a purpose for each one of us. It's is to love. Love...You knew. You know. Only the most radical love. You get it. That's why You set the example. Thank You for knowing. I trust You...

*Today, in one hour, at 10am Mountain Time, I'll be sharing live part of the story that God knew. Tune into and listen to the live feed. Or, check out at a later time for the archive show...thanks, in advance, for your prayers.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Little Miss Emily, fashion designer...

One of my BFF's, Kim Arnold: quilt maker, artist, pastry guru, good listener, chocolate lover, now Extreme Home Makeover'er', and wife and parent extraordinaire...taught me how to quilt the summer of 1998. I was grieving the loss of two people I loved dearly who died within days of each other...the best father-in-law in the whole wide world, Steve Graves, and one of the sweetest young girls who loved God and wanted to move to Africa and love on kids, one of my RA's, Elizabeth Munns. Kim lost her mom so she knew how important it was to stand alongside another 'griever'. That summer I went to Kim's house every day for several weeks to sew, laugh, cry and eat chocolate. I fell in love with making quilts and made several for friend's babies and a couple of bigger ones, one which a few of us collaborated on. I tell you what, learning how to quilt was part of my grief therapy. Truly, making something with my hands proved to be therapeutic.

Well, recently, okay, not really recently, for the last year and a half or more, Em's been asking me to show her how to hand. The request sounded excruciating! I would rather pull my teeth out one by one than sew something by hand...that's what I have a fancy machine for! A side note: the summer I was learning how to quilt, Jason's very sweet grandma, a master quilter and seamstress herself, asked me if I was learning to quilt by hand or machine. I said plainly, "Machine". She said with love and pity (J/K), "Oh, that's okay..." (She passed away 4 months after Jason's dad.) So, in the purest form, no, I am not a 'quilter', but I know how to sew and when I put material together, namely squares, somehow a 'quilt' appears. Either way, I decided Em was old enough to learn how to feed material through a machine under my close supervision, and in doing so, we'd avoid the whole needle through the finger/hand sewing experience. She is doing splendidly!

She wanted to use material that had meaning, so I let her pick out some material that I used in her curtains, from her baby quilt, from old pajamas, and stuff I had picked out prior to ever having kids that's all 'tea cup/tea party style' that I never used. She wondered about Noah's material from his bedroom, but I wasn't ready to deal with it. I told her we'd do something special with it...maybe her next quilt. Maybe I suck, maybe I don't...I just wasn't ready to deal...Anyway, then I cut the pieces into either 3.5" squares for four-patches or 6.5" squares for some larger pieces that would 'pop'. She laid it out on the basement floor and designed it herself! Below is the artist in residence with her design.

Posing with her soon to be blanket...

Here she is feeding material through the machine. I am not sewing any of it for her. I'm just directing and also doing the ironing between steps. Let's not push it...6 year olds can't iron! But boy when she is old enough, she can work on my pile from the last 3 years...

Here is her first complete row! Nice, huh?!

And, to finish the quilt off, we are binding it with the fringe from Jason's grandma's old chenille bedding, which was Em's idea. While the creative juices were flowing, she also sketched some dresses she'd like me to 'whip up' while I'm sitting around eating bon-bons in my free time. Actually, her sketches are pretty stinking cool, so maybe one day you'll be wearing them!

Thanks for letting me dote on my kid! Have fun doting on yours!

And by the way, if you have a talent, pay it forward...THANKS, KIM! I love you! xoxox

Radio Show

Next Wednesday, April 8th, I'll be a guest on a radio show on called "The Return". You can tune in right now, Mountain Time 10am to 11am, each Wednesday to get a taste. You can listen to it live on the web and they even have a video feed if your computer is compatible.

"The Return" is a play on words, really, meaning a few things. It's an encouragement for people to return to the local church, a place where no one is perfect but we can do life together and love each other through the day to day. Returning to the local church won't only be an encouragement to your life, but in doing so, you will also be a blessing to others as you see how you can use your gifts to help the people around you. "The Return" also speaks of the return of Christ one day for His Bride, the church, the body of Christ. Something that Noah's life has helped me look forward to.

Anyway, I'll post again about it soon, but if anyone is reading now, you can go on and hit the listen live button, but remember, I won't be on there until next Wednesday.