Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rainy Day Walk

Every Tuesday my daughter has guitar lessons and I use the 30 minutes to get in an extra walk...while also praying {multi-task!}.

Today it was raining but not that hard. I certainly did not want to just sit around for 30 minutes...My sciatica began to hurt a few months ago and has been acting up ever since. There is no explanation for it but it pretty much hurts no matter what I do; sit, stand, walk, sleep...etc.

I finally had to admit that certain exercises seem to aggravate it more, and cut back on my 'morning crunch' routine. I started using the time to walk and pray (which I used to do but had gotten away from)...this way I am still exercising but in a gentler manner.

I bundled up, grabbed an umbrella and was on my merry way. It was actually a gorgeous day. Sure it was raining...but everything was lovely. Bright flowers, colorful leaves of autumn, in brilliant hues of yellow, red and orange paved the side walks.

Who need rose petals when you've got these amazing leaves? He leads me along the path of righteousness...

The lover of my soul was before me, with glorious displays of His love, just for me. It was breath taking. Everywhere I turned, looked and paid attention, I saw His love, in the details.

I always enjoy my walks but this was one of the best walks I'd had in awhile. Spending time with God isn't just in sitting down, reading the Word...it's getting out there to SEE His Word in action. To commune WITH Him. Meditate on the wondrous beauty and majesty around us, right in front of us.

Be blessed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Our self-timed groupie...the best we could do.
We didn't get to go camping this summer, like we usually do, so I took the opportunity to get away for the Thanksgiving holiday.

We've camped for Thanksgiving when oldest was younger but the other three never had.

Personally, I was using using it as a bit of escape too. I didn't want to have to face the idea of another holiday, *all together* when we aren't *together* the way we should be. It's too hard on everyone. At the last minute I made a reservation at O'Neill Regional Park.

In my family, I don't know if I have a reputation or what but I am usually assigned to bring the 'bread rolls'. It's lame because I love to bake desserts but I get stuck with that. It's convenient though, for sure.

Well, it was interesting to plan a Thanksgiving camping menu. The weather was unpredictable. Were we going to need more hot foods or cold foods? I cooked more for this camping Thanksgiving than I have any other Thanksgiving...and I loved it!

Our Thanksgiving table.
Our meal was fabulous and it actually wasn't that hard to do. I cooked the main side dishes the night before we left so they only needed to be reheated. We ran into an issue when our one burner camping stove ran out of butane after our first breakfast.

We had to cook over the fire in a make-shift way. It took a long time but remarkably, every thing stayed warm on the table.

Our Thanksgiving breakfast (that took 2 hours to cook) menu:

Pumpkin Pancakes, bacon, Hawaiian rolls and orange slices.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu:
Turkey melt sandwiches
wild rice with cranberries
apple-sage stuffing
potato medley (sweet, yellow, and red)
corn, baked beans, pumpkin & dutch apple pie, pumpkin pie mini tarts,  tri-color tortilla chips and a toast with Sparkling Cider. Oh and Red Vines. lol

Our camp site is down there...view from our hike.
I didn't make or cook everything from scratch. It was a mix of scratch made, store bought and canned foods. (Come on! It's camping!!!) Everything was absolutely delicious! We couldn't even finish it all, much less our sandwiches...they were piled high with 3-4 different flavored turkey meats from the deli and various sliced cheeses.

The weather was quite warm during the day light hours. We seemed to have the only campsite with out shade! haha. As soon as the sun went down though...bbbrrrr...it cooled down quickly. We didn't realize how much wood we would have to burn through.

The camp ground itself was wonderful really. A great 'beginner' site. Family friendly. Very bike and hike friendly. It was like a little treasure hidden away in the middle of suburbia. We found a grocery store and pharmacy only 10 minutes away (perfect for last  minute needs you didn't realize you had or when you forget essentials like...soap, shampoo and need more firewood!) It had great (ie: real & clean) restrooms that included free, warm showers. There was a play ground and nature center on site as well. Though the nature center states it is only open on the weekends and weekdays via reservation. We showed up on Saturday before we left, at the designated *open* time and were disappointed when it didn't open.

Emotionally, we all felt a bit 'off'--which I think is to be expected under the circumstances. We handled it like we usually do---> talking it out, taking a walk and with humor.  It didn't help that we forgot CHAIRS! Of all things. haha. We improvised and used the bench seat from the van but with out shade...we found ourselves often sitting IN the van...that wasn't fun but it made our trip memorable for sure. In the end, everyone agreed that we enjoyed the place and would like to return again...even next Thanksgiving. Maybe we will make this a new annual tradition. It helped that is was also ONLY about an hour's drive away, if that.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloweenie!

We did this last year and it was a big hit. I want my children to not be self centered, to learn to serve others willingly.

I've also, always thought of Halloween as such a wonderful opportunity to bless so many people at one time...how many other times do you have random strangers coming to YOUR door, willingly?

With those thoughts in mind, we turned up the music, brought the 'party' outside and set up a canopy and tables to serve and love our community and neighborhood.

Last year it was chili, this year it was weenies! aka hotdogs. We had nearly 100 hotdogs and we gave  awaynearly all of them, minus a few we ate ourselves, to complete strangers. We had to shut it down by 8:30, which I felt was pretty early.

Then we walked around our neighborhood 'trick-R-treating' but most homes were not giving out candy at all, which was strange. Plus, it started pouring rain. That was fun for a little while. I am so proud of my kids. Not one complaint. Even Kurtis really enjoyed climbing up in the front tree 'hiding' and 'scaring' people. Which meant most people did not see him until he made some funny voice that a 5yo would consider creepy and then they saw him. It was hilarious.

The rain was quite nice actually. A great way to usher in a new month. I have great expectations for this month of 'thanksgiving'.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Red Sky at Night

'Red sky at night, sailors delight.'

My phone doesn't do this fiery sky justice...which may just be the point. Some beauty is not meant to be contained or captured. Stepping out of work to encounter this brilliant view, was the best thing that happened to me today.

I know that God is good all the time...sometimes He just makes it more obvious. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Burdens We Carry

What if the baggage, burdens & concerns of life we carried around, were as obvious as this man's? 

Some of us are good at hiding but what if we couldn't? What if our burdens were in plain sight for all to see, and judge and examine closely?

For some, it is obvious. Our brokenness, our failure, our blatant sin. Does it make us any less or more righteous depending on how obvious we are about it?

 Psalm 68:19 NIV Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Exercises in Forgiveness

Soul Work is hard work. It requires going deep inside and bringing the wounds to the outside. As I work more on myself, I become more capable of leading my children along this path of healing with me.

After an unexpected incident, which led to more opportunities for healing and growth, I knew we needed to seal our hearts a little tighter. The wounds needed mending. It was also a good way to release the wounds of and say goodbye to, August and hello to September, a new month, a fresh start.

One exercise I have developed and found helpful in aiding the work of forgiveness involves actual fire.

I had my children join me in an exercise I have done myself. We make a list, two actually. One side is all the offenses, hurts, and wounds we can think of, remember, or the Lord reveals, that have been perpetrated against us. It doesn't matter if they are real or only perceived. Whatever it is, it gets written down.

The other side is creating a list of offenses, hurts, wounds, we have perpetrated against others. We take these lists and bring them before the fire. We say a pray confessing these wounds and declaring FORGIVENESS of every offense. We physically tear the paper to bits and pieces and we throw it into the fire. We set our hearts free from resentment, bitterness and or unforgiveness.

We do the same for ourselves, we repent and receive forgiveness as our 'sins' are torn to shreds and burned in the fire. We verbally speak aloud, forgiveness, release from repayment or obligation, repentance and freedom.

At the end, we make declaration of life and blessings on our offenders and over ourselves as we watch the evidence of our wounds disintegrate into ash. It is a raw reminder of God's promises of restoration to us:

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. 

Beauty comes from the ashes. God created man from the dust, the dirt, perhaps even the ashes of the earth. He created something remarkable and breathed His life and image into him...into us.

My children will walk in freedom. They are free to love, to forgive, to laugh and be themselves. They are free to know their value and worth in Christ...enough that they will not harbor bitterness nor tolerate the weakness of another mistreating them.

It's a symbolic gesture. A gesture of our commitment to healing and freedom.
Always moving forward.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Road to Freedom

Wow...the road away from dysfunction and toward health is hard and painful...very painful at times. Having such hard talks with my kids this weekend...You know the path to healing requires honesty-admitting what is or has been broken.
Walking around with a broken leg, insisting you don't need a doctor and all is well...only exacerbates the problem and leaves you with an improperly healed leg...a permanent disability.
It's painful to admit what we have been through...it requires admitting that we have been hurt at times...physically, emotionally, mentally.  I made mistakes and didn't protect them how I should have. Didn't protect myself. I was confused. I didn't take some situations serious enough...
I can't go back and change the past. We are finally brave enough to be honest with ourselves and each other and admit help is needed. It wounds deeply, it sux beyond measure.
If we remain dishonest. then we block forgiveness and healing. We must admit offenses that have been perpetrated against us so that we can engage in forgiveness. To deny an offense, is to deny true forgiveness. When we release forgiveness, we open our heart to healing and allow love to come where only pain held the space before. There is where we find freedom!

I am taking one step at a time...this is the step we were strong enough to take this weekend----> Honesty.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Family night
Family vacations
Family time
Family is everything
Everyone wants our Family
Everyone loves our Family
Christmas picture of the family at the Grand Canyon.
It's just a big hole.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Boundaries For Love = Self-Control

"This is not a good time to talk. I don't know what to think. I think you should leave. I am not in a good place right now. This is not a good time." My heart was racing, my hands trembling as I tried to concentrate on keeping my arms from appearing to flail wildly while I spoke.
The Mr. had shown up at the door unexpectedly yesterday, to do some damage control with our kids after we were all exposed to some hurtful information about him. He refused to leave...
Everything escalated after that, though I believe none of us truly wanted it to. I don't regret anything I said, because I spoke truth but I was too frustrated and wasted too many words that were not received and didn't want to be heard. Pearls to swine...
I am still figuring out the whole healthy boundaries and relational health 'thing'. It doesn't come naturally to me yet.
While I feel and one could say my husband didn't respect my boundary-the truth is, I didn't. It's always about self control. I could have (and should have) removed *myself* from the situation.
I also realized I have done the same thing my husband did many times...He has expressed in tense moments, that he didn't want to talk-and while there was some rejection and avoidance at play there, it never went well nor did it build trust to not respect the limit he was trying to convey.
Controlling ourselves with boundaries is not meant as punishment or emotional manipulation like the 'silent treatment'. It's meant to preserve our love and prevent damage to relationship.
My path to healing and relational health involves leading my children along this path with me. The Mr. ended up giving them permission and respecting their desire for 'space' (a healthy boundary) after yesterday's upset. The middles long for relationship with their dad but not at the cost of their own emotional health, well being and personal value system. They have decided they are OK talking on the phone to him when he calls but not hanging out with him.
When we create space, teach our children their worth which includes valuing their feelings, how to adequately manage them and use self control, they can then feel confident to recognize and stand up for their own boundaries/limits and learn to safely disengage from mistreatment.
We were able to convey that we all love, respect and forgive my husband and he is free to continue on this negative path along with the consequences of that choice, which includes a lack of intimate and close relationship with us, his family. He did not like that nor want it, he wants it *all* with out consequence...but surprisingly, so far, he accepted their decision. He also tried to reassure *them* of his love, though his actions convey only *self love*. We all accepted his choice as well.
We all, including the Mr, looked a bit battle worn today. The Mr was subdued and possibly remorseful and humbled as he came to get the kids. Only the 5yo went with him. I suspect this is affecting him, as in the past he would have approached arrogantly and upbeat, as if nothing had happened.


Keep pursuing healthy love and healing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

In Memorium: Alien

My father-in-law
was an alien.
I remember when he took his citizenship test.
I still couldn't relate to him.
He became a saint when he died
Now I recognize him even less
Though I see his hand print on everyone
He's a permanent resident in their heart
They put his skeletons in the closet.
I don't think he fits in there, either.