Wednesday, March 27, 2013

For Obvious Reasons

This morning, I was reading some of The Picture Bible to Emily and Ryan as they ate breakfast.  Before Em woke up, I had been sharing with Ryan the meaning of Easter and the significance of this week in history, as well as modern day, so decided we'd read the days leading up to "Palm Sunday" and "The Passover Feast" and, of course, the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

We usually read to Ryan out of The Beginner's Bible or The Jesus Storybook Bible, then fill in details from Scripture we've read from our own Bibles.  (*Anyway, wow, I just got back from a ten minute detour while looking for the above links and there are some seriously intense people "out there" that have some jacked up opinionated freaking wonder some people are turned off by people who call themselves "Christians"...this is maddening and WILL be another post...)

Meanwhile, I'm just grateful Jesus spoke in parables and stories in order to communicate Eternal things which our limited perspectives can barely grasp...

...basically, I'm grateful for FAITH.

Back to the the self-righteous religious leaders were all up in Jesus' face, cranky and worked up because THE CHILDREN were praising God, saying, "Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"  

So Jesus said, "Yes, and have you not read in the Psalms that out of the mouths of children God brings perfect praise?"  
(*Quotes from The Picture Bible)  
(*see Matthew 21 for the whole story...)

So, I said, "Em, why do you think God called the praises of kids 'perfect'?  Why do you think He encourages grown-ups to be more like children, to have faith like them?"

Em said, "Because we aren't all stressed out...and, because we are cuter."

And so there you have it.  I don't really think I need to go into it much more than that.

  • Have we become so stressed out carrying burdens and worries we weren't meant to carry that The One on the road before us, the road laden with palms and garments that leads to Eternal peace, is blurry and The One leading us,  just not worth the stress?
  • Are we no longer cute, like a kid, because we've allowed the things of this world to steal our joy and our praises?
Every loving parent thinks their kids are the cutest.

How much more does God love us?

This Easter, let's all try to be a little cuter...

Friday, March 22, 2013

The "Golden" Years

Santa Fe was good for me.  I drove down by myself because Jason was there for a week and I couldn't get away that long.  At the library with a napless Ryan in tow,  I randomly chose Billy Graham's book on CD, "Nearing Home", "Heaven is for Real" by Burpo, and some Spanish lessons.  (*We're headed to Spain this summer for our 20th and I need to polish up on my conversational skills.)

On the way down I only listened to Billy's book.  My grandpa is "nearing home" presently at 96 and 113 lbs.  Reverend Graham said something to the tune of, "it would be dishonest and misleading to say that getting old is 'golden' but rather difficult and painful and sometimes lonely."  The way my gramps has said it is, "The 90's aren't all they're cracked up to be."  No.  I imagine the 90's aren't "all they are cracked up to be."  I'll post more on that another day.*

*(The above two paragraphs I wrote yesterday.  This morning my gramps weighed in at 110 and my mom called to tell me he wasn't bouncing back as he has in the past.)

Before bed last night I told Jason that after Em got off school we'd head over and hang out with my gramps for a bit.  This morning when I came down to the kitchen, this picture caught my eye.

My Aunt, Gramps, and Mom...60-some years ago

I've looked at it so many times, but my gaze took in how handsome my gramps was in his younger years.  He was 55 when I was born, so clearly he didn't look like that guy with the two cuties.  The picture above was taken some time over 60 years ago...that would put my gramps in his 30's.  He was dapper.  I mean, check out his pocket watch in the mid 1930's below:

Courting my grandma back in the 1930's
Though, this is how my gramps is mostly stuck in my head:

Lou and Dot, late 1990's

That is, until my drive home from Santa Fe, after listening to Billy Graham and his thoughts on "nearing home" and then listening to the little Burpo kid's comments about heaven and seeing his dad's "Pop" while he was in heaven.  And the more I see the picture of my gramps with my mom and aunt at the beach, young, healthy, and strong, even though I never knew him then, I'm able to see beyond the wrinkles which have set deep with time, the white crown of hair that's adorned his head since I was a baby, and the veins and knuckles that mostly make up his hands, and see the man who will welcome me at The Gates one day.  I mean, who really knows?  I haven't been there...I don't know exactly how it works...

Don't get me wrong, I don't know if everything the little Burpo kid says is spot on, but I have a nephew his age (the age he was when he went to heaven) and there's no freaking way he could know eternal, heavenly, supernaturally discerning things like that without coming face to face with Jesus.

Taken a little over a week ago, specifically on March 13

Because I read the post the mom wrote about not avoiding pictures just because you look like crap....

Grateful my kids have gotten to know my gramps, even if just a little...
I'm not sure the point of this post.  I just need to write.  This morning my gramps was mostly napping, not opening his eyes, and it seemed as if he was dreaming.  I snuggled into his ear for a big kiss and whisper, "Hi Handsome!", as I always do, and told him things he and I and Jesus know.  His eyes fluttered.  Then, I hoisted my 30 lb toddler over "Grampa You-ie," as Ry calls him, for a hovering kiss, always on the lips because that's just Ry's style, and a "I yuv you, Grampa You-ie" close to his ear.  My gramps opened his eyes, smiled, and puckered for Ryan's kiss.

I guess I'm the death blogger.  I mean, I've written a little about it here over the years.  And, since dying is the leading cause of death in the world, it may be a subject I continue to cover until my last breath...seeing as how we all have it in common and all.


It's just that he's my last grandparent.  And we have always been close.  And his hugs have always been my favorite.  And he taught me how to dance for my wedding in his kitchen.  I love him.  And I'll miss him.

He may not have felt "golden" in his latter years, but my life has been golden knowing him.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Travel with Intention

My Mom and Dad made it possible for me to join Jason for a few days down in Santa Fe, NM, while he worked earlier this week, by watching our precious offspring.  Jason and I are good about getting out for date nights thanks to generous family members and a fantastic babysitter, but overnights are few and far between, though we are intentional about making them happen rather than not.  Gotta do whatcha gotta do to keep a marriage going, right?

A sweet little token, a peace dove on our bed.  #rememberingnoah

Cricket apartments, aka, dried chilis

Stucco, courtyard, old Santa Fe

Sunrise in the East

Peering into an artist's courtyard

These two colors should always go together

The free-standing spiral staircase of Loretto Chapel

A 3oz Citrus elixir and a Bailey's gluten-free brownie

The Blue Horse which should be in front of DIA rather than our demon one...

Anyway, I love traveling.  And by "love" I mean, it is my all time favorite thing to do in the whole wide world.  Whether it's for leisure, work, ministry, or whatever the reason, besides the packing, traveling is in my blood.  It comes naturally, almost as if God designed me with an internal GPS for world navigation.  Jason's mom keeps offering to watch Em and Ry if Jason and I would just sign up for The Amazing Race, but I would miss my kids too much, so we'll let others play that game.  The money's just not worth the sacrifice.  I love people watching, different cultures, the architecture, food, most smells, and the sounds.  Even the deepest of third world countries, where others may squirm and constantly use hand sanitizer, I'm there, in the dirt, playing with the kids.

I simply was made to travel.  And the itch right now is so intense, if it was a rash a doctor would prescribe steroid cream.

Santa Fe has many reputations, but I'd like to believe I'm discerning and was able to walk away not only unscathed by the voodoo and spiritualists, but rather, inspired by God's creativity and filled with awe, more in love with Him than the day I arrived.  I do not attribute the blessing from God I received merely to the location, therefore pronouncing it a 'holy place' as others may.

No.  I think I was blessed because I went with intention.  This is my word for the year and it's one I've tried to weave into each day and setting, seeking God's will, being intentional towards Him and myself in the day to day.  In getting away to Santa Fe, I will share with you my intentions:

  • Silence and solitude with God 
  • Learning more about Jason and his work
  • Meeting some of his colleagues and learning their stories
  • Appreciating the architecture and history of the beautiful town
  • Soaking in the expression of God's creativity as shown through the many artists on street corners and in galleries
  • Savoring the yummy cuisine
  • Leaving with inspiration to get my own creative groove on
If the above bullet points were a check-list, there would be a slash through each one.  I wandered around the town, with and without my map app, in and out of galleries, churches, tea and chocolate houses, shops, through parks and neighborhoods, breathing America's cleanest air.  I got to sit in on Jason's presentation, gain insight into the work of Compassion, as well as meet people from around the globe as passionate about helping women and children in third world countries as my husband...and I prayed.  We enjoyed meals with several of these and learning their stories of faith and intimacy with Christ in their native countries was both rich and eye-opening for me.

I walked mile after mile around town taking in the awesome architecture that I grew up on in Arizona.  Why every house in the world doesn't have a courtyard and isn't made of stucco, it's a darned shame.

And the art.  Oh, the art!  Imagine:  we are all made in His image, so when 6 billion people are given thousands of different creative ways to express His creativity, wowza!

La comida:  Green chili.  Mexican chocolate.  Tequila.  Local wine.  Blue corn.  Guacamole.  Tamales.  Deliciousness.  I ate with intention, without guilt or obsession...this is good for me.  And, I now firmly believe God also gave me an internal Chocolate GPS.

As we drove over and through the rolling hills, gazing at sky scraping snow-capped ranges in the distance, leaving the creativity of Santa Fe in the rear view mirror, I brought with me inspiration for writing, sewing, relationships, jewelry making, Bevy Girls, travel, family, ministry, faith, health, community, and personal growth.

Sometimes you have to leave your day to day setting to find the inspiration.  Sometimes you don't.  Either way, life should be lived with intention.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

The Tortoise and the Hare

When I think of turtles, images from Eric Carle's books come to mind since I have a toddler and these are on my shelves and in my hands most afternoons before nap time.

If I said the word "turtle" to my husband, I bet you a zillion dollars visions of pecans covered in caramel covered in dark chocolate would immediately come to mind.

We've all read it, had it read to us, envisioned it play by play.  I'm not talking about Eric Carle or nuts and chocolate, but instead, "The Tortoise and the Hare."

Sculpture by Nancy Schon, on display in Boston, MA

And it's funny how in my own life, on different occasions and varying settings, the story of The Tortoise and the Hare keeps crossing my path.

But I've always been a hare.  Good starter.  Up for a challenge.  Fired up energy and especially boastful declarations of certain victory with time to spare.  This mentality is one I've coasted on for years, gleaning past strengths as resource energy, sometimes it working seemingly in my favor.

But pride comes before a fall...and I'm the most prideful of all.

I've applied this hare mentality to losing weight.  I've applied it to prayer.  I've applied it to temporary dietary changes, expecting long term lifestyle changes.  I've applied it to leadership positions and relationships and solving problems and test-taking and studying and college and more things than naught.

Because the turtle was a schlow-mo.  And schlow-mo is lame-o.  It's just so...slow.

photo courtesy npr

But turtle is:

  • Intentional
  • Determined
  • Steadfast
  • Diligent
  • Faithful
  • Enduring
  • Consistent
  • Disciplined
  • Strong
  • Focused
  • Persistent
  • Comfortable to be turtle, pressing on, not too slow but steady as she goes, accomplishing much
Recently while taking a Financial Peace University class, Dave Ramsey said he was having dinner with a billionaire and asked him how he made all his money.  The guy said that everything he ever learned about making money he learned from his favorite book.  Dave got a pen in hand to write down the title and author so he could go get his own copy...because Dave doesn't have enough money?

Anyway, the guy told Dave that he reads the book every chance he gets and loves reading it to his grandkids...

...his favorite book, "The Tortoise and the Hare."

I have a dear friend whose journey has been modeling this very thing to me.  Her blog is called, "The Girl Who Cried Skinny" and her journey is one to stop crying wolf and to press on towards health through diligence and determination, by walking and making healthy food choices, one day at a time.  Inspiring is just the start of a snowball of words which come to mind to encourage and challenge me not only in the area of taking life and health one choice at a time, but allowing that same turtle discipline to flood the other areas of my life, especially in prayer and studying God's word.

Hares are:

  • Intense
  • High-strung
  • Fast
  • Jumpy
  • Twitchy
  • Lean
  • Nervous seeming
  • Quick
  • Agile

Did you know the average life span of a hare is 8 to 12 years?

Did you know the average life span of a tortoise is 100 years?

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to slow down and start living my life with intention...because if I remember the story correctly, the tortoise wins.