Monday, April 06, 2015

Fallen Branches

When I moved, my dear friend Laurie gave me a book with a chapter in it about pruning.   No, not on how to trim the hedges at our new house, but how God in his love and wisdom prunes things in our life to eventually allow us to better produce fruit!  It was comforting to know that through my move, God would be going deep with me and cutting away unneeded attitudes of the heart, assumptions of the world, and other spiritual misconceptions.

I did take comfort in that.

And Yes, he cut.

Then he kept cutting.

Kept pruning.

And is still cutting back.

Here are some fallen branches, each of which I saw as an important and identifying part of my life.

*Friendships: The first big branch to hit the ground was my beautiful network of friends.  Now, my friends back home will always be my friends. They love me and support me. But there is something about doing life 500 miles away that muffles things. And really, I needed to rely less on them and make friends in my new community.  Which I have (and am SO thankful for!) ... but friendship... deep friendship, fill-up-your-refrigerator friendship, go-through-the-muck-and-yuck-friendship takes TIME. Takes years.

*Family togetherness: There is nothing like spending the evening with family.  To see your mom and dad loving on your kids and your kids playing with their cousins... it's just preciousness in action. It's a moment from the scrapbook of time.  While I had a surplus of this family time,  I still couldn't get enough of it.  Some people get annoyed by family but not me. For me it was the very elixir of life.  However, now this family time comes over weekends and when living out of suitcases.  Now family time is joyous but on the other side of the pillow it hurts.  Because I know it won't last long.  This was one of the largest branches to fall.

*Serving: In Tulsa, I was busy to the hilt. I served. At school, at church, in the community. Everything was done to a "T."  But mine was a capital T in pretty font! And I loved every minute. I absolutely LOVED doing things for others, making them feel special, being creative, and feeling needed.  Service is good, right? Chop.  God took that busy-ness away from me too.

*Kid activities: One of my favorite things was running my kids around like a chicken with my head cut off. I truly loved the never ending stream of play dates, Bible studies, birthday parties, special get togethers, mission trips not to mention sporting practices and events.  But God said "no." Our relative lack of activity here is still foreign to me, but God has his purposes.

*Basketball successes: For whatever reason, the basketball world has not cooperated with us here as well as we had hoped.  Coming off one of the most brutal seasons in my memory, I just could hardly muster the strength to go to the games.  There is nothing more important to us than basketball and ladies and gentlemen, twelve wins does not a good season make.  That branch hurt.

There we have it.... friendships, family, service, activities and even livelihood.  Can you imagine having those things turned down a notch or two in your life? Taken away? When we are missing what "fills" us, is Jesus truly enough? But God, I plead, those are 'good' things! He says, "I am the only thing that is good." Trust in me.  The fruit will come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I Wrote a (really emotional) Poem Yesterday

Here it is:

The end of the world
is coming –
and has been
since 1969,
when my sin
of emotional wrangling
was born,
screaming like a
mad, red, spanked

Oh my goodness, isn't it awful? :-)
The drama of it really makes me laugh.
But what isn't too funny is my very real struggle with emotions.  
It often does really feel like the world is ending!  Typing it just makes me shake my head at myself! 
It seems absurd when I'm blogging about it.  

More and more I believe that I've got to separate myself from my emotions.
But being an emotional person that is ever so hard to do. Like cutting my leg off or something. 

I think emotional people like me feel 13 things in a situation when maybe one or two emotions would do.  The emotions linger even when I refocus, like a brick sitting heavily on my heart.  Yes, God made me the way I am.  The emotions enable me to do things like write crazy poems (that came out in about 2 minutes flat), but I just don't believe my emotions in general are glorifying to the God who made me.  

I have long known the verse Colossians 3:20 "Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things." I also know that I need to hold my thoughts captive: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it  obedient to Christ." ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

I know it, but am I practicing it? Taking negative thoughts and fears that creep into my consciousness and just put them to rest! It seems a struggle, but I think it's all about disciplining the mind.  A mind that seems drawn by 1,000 wild horses.  Any other minds out there like this? Would love to hear of your God-glorifying strategies for dealing with emotions that hinder peace and joy.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

{No Exact Title}

I have no exact title yet.

Mainly because for the last two and a half years, {I've had no words}.

But recently, I've been feeling a slight tug on my heart to find them.....

So just in brief--- since my last post on August 1, 2012.....

The biggest lesson I've learned is that {moving isn't for weenies}.

I can also say with certainty that {sometimes a lot of times, life doesn't make sense life is bonkers}.

and through it all, we are called to seek Him {Wholeheartedly}.

{Praise God for all His blessings!!!}.

{Moving isn't for weenies}

Haha and I am one.
A big, fat weenie.
Exploding with selfishness
when put over the campfire.

Man, I am not proud.
And strangely, I DID KNOW
this will be hard.
I must put my big girl panties on.

But I quickly traded the big girl panties
for a pacifier and dirty diapers.
Ugh. Again, I am not proud.
Wish I could have passed the test
with flying colors.
Wish I could have integrated into
this small town
like a red ant on a populated dirt hill

But William Wordsworth's sonnet keeps ringing in my ears:
"The World is Too Much With [Me]"
I felt and sometimes still feel every judging eye upon me.
I heard and sometimes still hear a loud cacophony of doubt in my own heart.
I mourned and sometimes still mourn the widening distance of old friendships.
Yes, the World is Too Much with me.
And to quote Taylor Swift, I can't shake it off.

It's funny, two different people whom I told I was moving,
had reactions that replay like a DVR in my mind....

These were people who had experienced moving
and who didn't seem like big, fat weenies to me,
..when I told them I was moving, they both
whispered, in hushed and horrified tones,
like hearing the news of an early and unexpected death "oh, I'm soo sorry."
One's eyes grew large and she shook her head slowly, pityingly...

Well, it was. It was!
And that's no reflection on the state of Illinois!
Or the southern region in which we reside.
Or the tiny town in which we settled.
It's just that this place wasn't home.
And it's missing the comforts of home.
And the friends of home.
And the restaurants of home.
And the boutiques of home.
Now we're really getting to what matters.  The shopping.
Ha.  Kidding not kidding.  Shopping matters.
Big fat weenies feel better after going shopping. Right?

Moving isn't for weenies.  I will preach it to the mountains.
It's true, through and through.
But it doesn't mean we weren't SUPPOSED to move
or that I am destined to be a weenie all my wiener long life.

Or that I wouldn't move with my family here to this place all over again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

{I've had no words}

There have not been many times in my middle-aged life I've been without them.

But something about this life event (moving) took a toll on me and my loquaciousness.








The thought of blogging didn't even enter my mind.  Truth be told....I didn't even know what to say to my sister, much less how to express my words on a public blog.  I never really grasped a "moment of silence" or "period of mourning" until now.  I just unconsciously needed time to process.

Moving away from home certainly doesn't compare to many of life's other transitions, but moving reformats the human hard drive in a most painful way.  Moving strips one down to the barest of bones.  Truly and embarrassingly, I haven't even had the heart to listen to much music the last couple of years.  All music did was remind me of home - those memories brought pain.

But in the end, I think the reformatting and the stripping down an the hurting and the loss will give me more to offer than it did before.  I'm not there yet, but this is a start to getting my {words} back.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

K-Kauai ~ Year Three

So K-Kauai, also known as Kanakuk family camp, might become a bit trite and boring after two years. The third year we might decide we've been there done that....?...... Hmmmm.... let's see....
We loved spending the week with families so special to us.... here are the Hankins and the Kittlemans.... also known as the Hanklemans.  We literally did everything together all week long. I know, a bit cheesy, but we loved every minute of it. 
We dressed up for theme nights ~This was Palmstock
This year I scored and my actual family was there too! My sister and her hubby and mom and dad even came for an evening.  This was spy night. Like my mustache? Attractive.
My too-cute niece on spy night. Who could still look cute with a crooked mustache, head lamp and purple plastic glasses? Maggie, that's who.
 Here she is again in all her cuteness. Her shirt says, "Have a Nike Day."  Hee hee.
Ahhh. love my mom and dad. They really enjoyed getting a peek at what family camp is all about.
And what is it all about? Well, Fun with a capital F. It's a lot about fun.  
It's about challenging yourself too.  Proud of my Elle Belle on Diamond Head.  Yes, I did that too, not once, but twice! 
My sister and Scott go off the zipline. 
Kami and my other adorable niece Hallie went right before them. Kami let it rip with fun! Ok, you obviously cannot tell how radiantly beautiful Hallie is from this picture. And I can't find another one right now. But trust me, she is the eldest of the three princesses. :) Sorry, Hallie!
While I'm at it, here's Lauren, my other niece. See her cute little curl on her neck? My mom wanted me to take a picture of it.  She's gorgeous.
 K-Kauai is mostly about growing closer with God.  One of Kanakuk's mottos has always been: "I am Third." God first, Others Second, I Am Third.  We all need reminding of that don't we.
One of our favorite things about camp is getting to know the awesome counselors and leaders there. This is GT, one of the directors of the camp. He is FAN-TAS-TIC. A great guy.  Most importantly, loves the Lord and lives to serve.  
This is Billy.  He somehow put up with these little urchins all week.  Well, especially the one in the Kanakuk hat.  Like I said, these staff members live to serve. 
They even brought in Justin Beiber. Big Time! ;-)
Will we go back? Absolutely.
Should you and your family go? Without question! But they are already booked for the entire summer of 2013. So start planning for 2014. You will not be sorry. Best week of our summer.  And maybe our year.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not Sure if They Make Em Quite Like This in Oklahoma

Buzzing Yellow Sunset....
   Feels like you could Catch that Light....
      Rainbow Loping through the Other Side of the Sky....
        An Upside Down Smile...
            Dazzling Raindrops Falling...
                 Cool Shocks to the Face....
                      Yellow Firing Up to Red Overhead....
                               Praises to the One Who Made it all special for us....
                                       Here in Carterville, Illinois

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Blues

It seems like we've got a little case of the blues around here.  Just a line in a song or an old picture or a stressful moment can start the tears flowing from just about any one of us.  We miss home!  But we are busy doing our best to create a happy new home, in this case, Kami's new blue bedroom.  Tantalizing Teal is the color by Sherwin Williams.  And it involves black and off white and a really cool chair from Pier One.  Can't wait to have it finished up for her.  In the meantime, we'll just paint our blues away.  

James 1:2 ~ Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.