Friday, January 30, 2009

The Crazy Cat at Our House

OK, it's been a while since I posted on "the queen." She has become more insane than I ever thought possible. Gracie is our rescued feral cat. We found her summer before last behind our church, a mere week-old kitten. That she survived was a surprise, although I'm not so shocked now seeing how feisty she is. She thinks the house is hers, and all who live here or who enter are at her whim. No guest goes unchecked, and usually gets a swipe of the paw and a hiss (just to put them in their place). Although she hates for us to pick her up, or pet her, or generally look in our direction, she doesn't avoid us either, and in fact she usually follows me from room to room. She does this even if I've just harassed her.

She LOVES paper balls! If I wad up a piece of paper she comes running and when I throw it in the trash she pulls it out and carries it in her mouth to whatever location she wants to play with it (usually one with a tile floor). She likes her water fresh, so she is constantly knocking the boys' water cups off the counter so she can lap the fresh water up off the floor. She isn't afraid of the dogs in the least, and usually attacks them just for fun. The German Shepherd cowers. She likes her dog food, but every now and then gets a hankering for dog food, so she bullies the dogs out of the way and eats what she wants. She always waits for me to finish my yogurt, ice cream, etc. so she can lick the bowl. She is a perpetual kitten, and several times a day has very playful moods where she runs around and trills, trying to get someone to play with her. When we do, she usually ends up attacking us.

She has every person in our house wrapped around her little paw, and she's so soft and cute that nobody can keep their hands off of her. You know, if I were watching all this from the outside, I'd think we were nuts to let an animal take so much control, but truth is, we love her. She's the queen and we are her mere servants. But it's OK to be a servant to the queen. Right?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

252 Used to Seem Like a Huge Number

Did I mention we've entered the high-tech world of text messaging? No? For Christmas Josh got a phone (from his grandparents, not me). It's one of those pay-as-you-go deals--a real scam if you ask me. So far it is still cheaper than putting him on my service, so I decided it would be a good "experiment" to see how he liked having phone service. A couple weeks ago, a friend of his showed him how to use messaging, and for some reason I still don't understand the company had given us a little credit, so he was able to have the cost of the messages deducted and thus able to try it.

Well, after checking it out, I decided it would be fun to add texting to the service for this month just to see if he and I liked it and if it was worth having. I selected an inexpensive plan for 200 messages, and with the purchase of his monthly minutes, that left about $5 credit on our balance. Well, he's been enjoying doing some texting, and I thought it was funny . . . until last night . . . when I discovered he's used all his pre-paid messages AND all the credit on the account (which was supposed to cover NEXT month's messaging).


He's used 252 messages. Boy, word got out fast! And his little fingers must be flying. And I'm left without the ability to message him now ('cause sorry, I refuse to pay for more messages!). That used to seem like such a huge number, but now . . . . So now we're looking at a plan with unlimited messaging . . .

I need to remember to thank his grandparents for introducing me to this world. Wonder if they knew this was a gift that kept on giving?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

999 List Update

OK. Been thinking about my list. Here are some revisions! I'm still a little short on fiction, but that's OK.

Fahrenheit 451 DONE!!
The Screwtape Letters
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (to Andrew)
Island of the Blue Dolphin
The City of Ember DONE!!
The People of Sparks DONE!!

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? DONE!!
Are You Liberal, Conservative, or Confused?
The Grand Weaver
The Ministry of Motherhood
Let the Nations Be Glad
Age of Opportunity
A Chance to Die
How the Brain Learns (this will be a hard one!)
When Life and Beliefs Collide
Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate
Crazy Love

My Big Mess

A poem God gave me in quiet time with Him today:

The Big Mess
January 25, 2009
as I reflected on how much I’ve messed up my life

It started as I worked on it, and what I thought I saw
It wasn’t much . . . well, maybe just . . . I thought it was a tiny flaw
I picked and poked determined that perfection was the goal
And then I realized all at once, my finger had made a hole.
I tried to make it better. I tried with all my might
But as I worked a little more, the flaw became a blight.
Now frantically I tried to fix the problems I had caused
Until in pieces there it laid and finally I paused

Now slowly I approach Your throne with only my big mess
I’d hoped to give what You deserve, a thing of loveliness
I lay it down before you, and mumble in my shame
It’s all I have, this giant heap, and for it I’m to blame
I wait, the quiet moments scream. I wonder if you heard
Fix it? I think but still you sit there saying not a word.
I look to You, impatience floods the recess of my soul
I wonder if you love enough to make my mess a whole
I look to you, and see you looking not at all the rubble
For just a second I am calmed that on your face there is no trouble

But then I say to You, “Will you not help me with all this?”
Why did you give me useless tools and let it all go so amiss?”
I wait and wait . . . it seems like days . . . to see what you will do
I know that I deserve to be sent out. I just blamed my big mess on You!
But as I start to watch Your face, I see there something more
It’s not at all what I expect: disgust, rejection, something more.
Instead I see compassion, concern for me—and love?
I see You open arms up wide, and beckon me above
I slowly feel my feet begin to move up toward Your side.
I feel your arms embrace me. I feel the tears you’ve cried.

I watch, You look me in the face, I hear Your tenderness
My child, don’t you understand I care not for the mess
But you, my love, you are my bride! What hurts you hurts me too!
So I will fix this mess you’ve made, but first I must fix you.
And as I melt into His love, frustrations disappear
My life finds meaning all because Beloved drew me near.
And what I have to show for it to those who gather ‘round
Means nothing, but His love for me will dazzle and astound.
And all the messes I have made will fade to nothingness
And I will give Him what He wants—my adoration to profess.

copyright 2009

Rambling on Trials That Never Cease

My sister is in a lot of trouble right now. Without going into it, she has made some choices, the results of which have left her once again severely depressed, hopeless, and nearing the point of suicide. It is a miracle that God has preserved her life thus far.

This weekend, the boys have all been staying with friends. I needed the time to pray--about school decisions, and training them, and Robyn. More too. Just lots of decisions and trouble. I actually reached a point of peace yesterday. It was weird--I had some errands I had to run, and walking through Walmart I felt disconnected from the frenzy and chaos around me. People scurrying like ants to do things that wouldn't matter in a day, a month, or a year. Although I was alone, I sensed my Best Friend alongside me.

I prayed this weekend that God would make me freshly aware of His presence. He did it in a strange way--mostly through forcing me to rehearse what I believe by reminding my sister of it. He is here. He is in control. He does love me. All is for His glory and my good. No plan B, only plan A.

I blew it for a while last night--got caught up in a show I like to watch. But today everything is quiet, and I've decided to keep it that way. I still have a lot to pray about, and lots of decisions pressing in on me. My sister is still a mess. I have to increase my income. I have to make decisions about school next year. So many things.

But for now I still have a few hours alone with my Beloved.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Christmas Blessings

Wow! Did we ever make Christmas memories this year! I was especially blessed to have my beloved parents-in-love (from here on out to be known and Mom and Dad--I think my parents would agree to sharing the titles!) come down and stay with the boys and I for Christmas. Not having much family to share the holidays with, I casually mentioned to them that I thought it would be fun to spend Christmas together this year. They JUMPED on the idea, and made plans lickety split, so here they were for a week. We had fun shopping and eating together, watching movies until our eyes bulged. AJ and Lilly played together until they argued like siblings. Papa and Josh were pretty much joined at the hip, and Josh is thoroughly corrupted politically now! But it was fun! I'm still recovering from the fun!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I have discovered that during seasons of spiritual drought, it requires much of me to find things to write. When I return to my First Love, suddenly words well up in me and I have lots to say. After my devotional tonight, this sweet poem came to me. May my Beloved find pleasure in it!

Wait Thou Only
based upon Psalm 104:27-28
and Andrew Murray's devotional Waiting On God

Wait thou, oh my soul take flight!
And rule with silence o'er the night
Stillness rule my every part
And in me movement find no start

Voice, be silent!
Hands, at rest!
Feet do wait!
Breath stay in breast!
Mind and thoughts
do not contrive
In stillness only will you thrive

Resist those voices whispering
Thick like burning 'round they cling
They call for me to rush, decide!
They call me coward here to hide
But hush them!
Pay attention not!
Remember where thy help is sought!

That place where one finds joy and peace
Where one can go when strivings cease
Return to where it all began
Creation found all in that hand
And give up all on His behalf
Find comfort in His rod and staff
So walk with Him on esplanade
And "Wait thou only upon God!"

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Reading Challenge

OK, having just shared my loathing for goals (because I so seldom seem to achieve them), I will say I rather enjoyed the reading challenge this year. Maybe because I thought of it as a challenge instead of a goal, or maybe because I liked crossing things off my list and seeing progress, even if I didn't read them all. So I'm forging ahead with the 999 Reading Challenge as I proposed it earlier: 9 fiction and 9 non-fiction in '09. I also liked that I could change my list (which I did frequently as new books caught my fancy!).

So for right now, here are the books I want to read (it's not complete yet, so I'll be adding to it later!):

Fahrenheit 451
House by Frank Peretti

The Ministry of Motherhood
The Mission of Motherhood
Age of Opportunity

New Year's Redirection

I hate the term New Year's Resolution. Have I mentioned that already? I like the idea behind a resolution--something you commit to do. The problem with the New Year's kind is that I commit for a couple weeks, or at best a couple months, then I forget and my committment . . . well . . . isn't. I've tried all kinds of things to allay the guilt that comes washing over me at the end of the year, as I realize that once again, my resolutions weren't exactly resolute, but to no avail. This year, I have been praying about my direction in 2009. What God keeps pressing on my heart is that all my striving and working are useless if they are powered by anything other than Him.

I'm fallen into a subtle trap. I'm doing some things--some very important things--and I say they are for Him. But the truth is, although I do believe they are His will for me, I'm doing them all in my own strength. I have yielded to a culture of over-communication. Information is seconds away, at my fingertips. I have inundated my brain with Google and Netflix and Facebook. While there is nothing wrong with these means of communication, God's Word . . . and worse yet God's presence have fallen to the wayside in my life. Communication with Him is hard, because it requires me to stop . . . to be still . . . to wait. I don't like waiting. Heroes don't wait. Successful executives don't wait. And well, mom's don't get to wait. Waiting requires an intense amount of self-discipline, and I'm not exactly that.

In our spiritual culture, we live in a mindset that has washed away the seriousness of our relationship to God. I have grown up in the church, and sometimes I sense that "Jesus loves me" and "Jesus saves me" and even "God is soveriegn" are washed out phrases that have become bland. Shame on me! Shame on us! Christ's love and sacrifice to save me are world-changing!!! If the idea of men I don't know fighting and dying on a battlefield half-way around the world humbles me into reverence for their sacrifice, the idea of the holy God of the universe CHOOSING to put Himself at risk and die for me should level me to my knees. Prayerlessness--the casual neglect of the relationship with that very God--should be considered a travesty instead of excused by my own weakness. It is sin! Chasing after all the things of this world is adultery, not mere choice made in freedom! Am I being hard on myself? No, I don't think so.

So my goal this year is a hard one. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." I only have one goal, one "resolution" this year. I want to seek after God's kingdom harder . . . more intentionally . . . . I feel certain that if I work at this one thing, with Providence's help, everything else will fall into place and I will see progress in more areas than I can imagine. Or at least, those other things bugging me? They won't matter, because my goals and desires will be more shaped by God's concerns.

I'm not off to a good start. But I still have 364 days to work at it. And ANY progress toward this goal is something to be pleased with! What have I got to lose?