Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sing them over again to me

Hello -

I find myself wanting to post about "This is Amazing Grace" by Phil Wickham again.  Again - out of all the songs in the world!  But it's a topic that never gets old.

Tell me again!

I've been reading through a series "This is the Gospel" from  It never ceases to amaze me how many shapes the gospel takes, and how that endless variety, creativity, and energy makes a story that cannot be over-told.

This morning as we sang it again, I rejoiced, personally recognizing the way that God brings my chaos back into order and makes an orphan soul come home.

It never gets old, because it is always re-creating, making new things, that astonishing power, doing what we'd never heard of or seen before.

Wonderful words of life.

Here's a video of Wickham performing his song.  I enjoy this album through Amazon Music and would recommend it.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Long hiatus

I was at a conference last weekend, and I heard the coolest word: rearborize.  It describes when parts of the brain that had died grow back like the branches of a tree in Spring.

Well, my blog is going to rearborize.  I'm ready for this and have lots of ideas.  Unsure about a domain name at this point, but I feel like I should just get going!  So here we go.

What's new with us?  Well, little mister is in Kindergarten.  So far he has done well, but I am still holding my breath.  Little miss starts first grade next week, and she and I have had such a nice time together this week.

I go back to work in two weeks, and will be teaching WRT 101, 101s, and 70.  I'm thankful that a few colleagues will also be teaching 70 because that is a totally new curriculum and population for me.

Husband and I went to a conference on autism and asperger's last weekend, and learned so much.  We feel like we have a million baby steps to take but are encouraged that autism is treatable.  I have always thought so and hoped for recovery.  We shall leave no stone unturned.

Hopefully, this will help little mister and little miss to grow as much as they are genetically capable, to be what they were made to be.  Our little family tree.

Here is a product I think it pretty great: it's a supplement.  We'll be trying different things.  Another route we want to go is essential oils.  Any suggestions?

Hope you're well - I'd love to hear from my friends in the comments.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This is Amazing Grace

As we are getting back into the swing of life after winter break, I feel the Lord has been opening up my eyes and my heart to more of what grace is.  Like a lot of believers, I profess and depend on grace, but find myself being gradually lifted out of a pit I didn't even know I was still in, my eyes popping and fixed on vistas I didn't know I was missing.

I should start by describing my son Stefan's progress.  I just talked to his new health inclusion aide at school, and she told me that from the second day she was there, she noticed a significant improvement.  She said he reaches out to kids who are having emotional difficulties - a kid who has a diagnosis of autism.  He is talking more and more - a kid who barely had five words at age 2.  He is participating in circle time and interested in the centers - a kid who could hardly attend to any task for more than 2 minutes one year ago.

I feel I should stop myself.  It isn't the point all that he can do or cannot do, and I don't mean to boast.  It's just that there are real evidences that things are getting better for him, and for all of us.  We have had a LOT of therapy in the past month and a half, and it has come without extra out-of-pocket cost to us.  We couldn't have afforded it, but clearly, it is what Stefan needed, and its changing all of our lives.

I wrote a poem a few years ago about the struggles I was having as a mom - maybe it will bless someone.

Melancholy mama; will I ever get it right?
Seems like every time I try, things just never turn out right.
Respite and releases only bring me clarity:
Time just isn't what it used to be.
Lord, I know your spirit hovered over chaos deep
Caused the world I know to be; could you order life for me?
Something's got to give, and now I wonder if it's me?
Life just isn't what it used to be.

Parenting is still burdensome, but less so right now.  Having a burden eased, I have been thinking back over the past three years, and realizing how heavily it weighed, and I wasn't even aware of how much of a false belief it was.  Oh, the things I did for image control - thinking that if I could just make it look like I had it together, it would be so.  All of the shoulds - all the pressure; it was crushing me.   It strikes me, though, that perhaps it was crushing me so it could get squeezed out.  For here is what I am now realizing: just like I was living with a burden of all of the good things I wanted to do - right things! - but could not, so a lot of people are trying to be good, to prove themselves, without the proper aids.  Just as Stefan's therapists have come into our lives freely, willingly, invitationally, to work alongside us and enable a radically different life, so the Holy Spirit and the word of the Lord come into a life to enable a grace-empowered, God-focused, divinely fruitful existence.  

Almost greater than that sense of a doctrinal analogy was the sense of better understanding my limitations - limitations I didn't really understand that I had, and therefore was not very well able to communicate.  I am so very grateful that there are people in the world who choose to go into professions that help families with given sets of limitations.  It really sets them free.  Please keep on being God's hands and feet in a grace-starved world.  We are so thankful for you.

Here is the song that has been on my heart.  It is about God's Amazing Grace.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


A week ago it was the 10th anniversary of my blog.  Even I had barely noticed.  Tonight I was cleaning up torn tissue paper and wrapping while my husband put the kids to bed, scrolling through Facebook at the same time, and found this video of Cloverton doing a Christmas version of "Halelujah."

Isn't it beautiful?  Aren't they having a merry little Christmas?  I wish my life was like that coffee house, where, subdued and chill, we could all just start singing, admiting the wonderful truth.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 06, 2013

'Tis the season

There is a time for everything - and I feel like it's been time for everything lately!  Finding myself posting as a very tired mama, decorator, teacher, etc.

Yet, I am inspired.  I thoroughly enjoyed posting a thankful thought per day on Facebook in December and think it is something I should continue to do.  Even when things are hectic.  Just to remember, and and shine a light.  I look back at my list and I enjoy those moments again.

I have been re-reading a Bible study on Esther over the past few months, and two days ago came to the part where Xerxes gives a decree that the Jews can defend themselves.  Much rejoicing follows this reversal of fortune.  The author of the study made the point that life can be hard, and that therefore, when a time or a moment of gladness comes, we should seize it and hold on to it.

That is how I am approaching this holiday season, and perhaps every moment of happiness that comes from here on out.  I will be grateful and I will go for it.  I remember a time three years ago when we'd had a very difficult season in our lives, and Christmas was a time of healing for us.  May it be so again.

So, here are some fun things I want to do this Christmas season: go see the lights at Winterhaven , take the kids to see Santa (tomorrow, hopefully!), go look at Christmas lights with friends, see "snow" in Tucson (a few of the malls have artificial snow at designated times - awesome!), decorate like crazy, and host!

Yes, I get to host Christmas this year!  I almost feel like my whole life has been building to this.  Over the past four years, when I have looked at a house to buy, one of the things I consider is where I am going to put a Christmas tree.  I am pretty sure that Christmas gives houses meaning and purpose.  So, to be having my extended family over to my house this year is positively epic for me.  Not the least important aspect of which is that my grandmother will be coming in from the midwest, and I have all these dishes she's given me over the year that I'll be able to put to use in her presence.  Hospitality is something I learned from her.

I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait I can't wait...

Right now I'm able to type this up because someone is watching Stefan and Scott is out with Kyrstin.  We've started a new therapy program with Stefan that is sure to be really beneficial and good but it is in the preliminary stages and evaluation would be premature.  I am thankful we have this help in our lives.  I'm thankful for so much.  And I'm gonna enjoy as much as I can.

What are you going to enjoy this Christmas season?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cherish every moment

I really felt led to sit down and watch a movie tonight.  By myself.  I thought I'd watch a silly Christmas movie.  I was right, but also wrong.

I love Christmas, and Christmas movies, and even silly Christmas movies.  Christmas movie: Disney's Christmas Carol (the motion capture one with Jim Carrey).  Silly Christmas movie: anything about dogs or animals, or made by ABC Family or Lifetime.  I've watched a few in that latter category, though, and found myself surprisingly heart-warmed.

Tonight, I did not know what I was in for.  I saw that this movie had Candace Cameron Bure in it, so I figured it had some kind of meaningful message to it, and I noticed that the film was sponsored by St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  I guess I thought the sponsorship was in the "laughter is the best medicine" vein.  I suppose somehow... but nevermind what I thought.

This morning I was reading in Beth Moore's Esther study abot peripety; that moment upon which everything else in the story hinges.  It's the dramatic shift - I remember from AP English the term "peripateia," which is when the tragic hero would come to his/her downfall.  Peripety is now always bad, though; sometimes it's just the turning point.

The movie I watched tonight featured one of those defining moments in the life of a real family, because it was based on true events.  It is a Christmas movie only because it ends at Christmas in a very surprisingly and loving way.  It is about a real family, the Lockes, who discovered that their little boy had leukemia.  They fought with him for an entire year at St. Jude's, and then when the doctors could do no more for him, they brought him home.  Knowing he would not live to see another Christmas, the neighborhood decorated and celebrated Christmas for the Lockes on Halloween.

What caused me to ache so much was watching the family go through the ups and downs - hearing a good report, then receiving another blow, then letting go.  The actress portrayed this whole process with grace as well as grief.  All inspired-by movies simplify things, of course.  The story was told through her eyes, but I wanted to know more about what went on behind them.  In the end, what the mother, Julie Locke, realized, was that life is uncertain, and that it is also a gift.  She prayed Psalm 90:12, "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom."  Her motto, "Cherish Every Moment," inspired readers of her blog (which began through Caring Bridge, which is one of the best support coordination tools ever).

So their story had a double peripety: first the total shock of living a nightmare of hospitals, sickness, and children dying before their parents.  Even before they lost Dax, their lives abruptly shifted into the world of medicine, procedures, probabilities, testing, and, if I can say it, the world of weird.  The world where the lifestyle is something no advertisement in a magazine accurately represents because it is so unique, and so undesirable that it can't be used to sell products.  Yet, there was a product: the inspiration that is born from desperation and suffering, when one person says, "This is where I've been, and this is what I know."  The Locke family now strives to raise money for St. Jude's, and their story is a testament to the realization of life's value.

I've never wept so much, so unexpectedly, at a movie.  I let myself go.  It mattered that the little boy looked like Stefan.  Maybe this is a peripety for me; it certainly struck a nerve.  I could go on and on if it weren't getting late and I wasn't already worn out from crying.  How difficult to even end a note about a movie about a family who suffered through such a battle.  What grace they were given by the Lord, and what love and was shown through their friends and family who reached out to their family during their 18 months of hospitalization.  What grace they gave me by sharing their story.

It reminds me of the very reason I started this blog.  The motto, "because life and lyrics mean so much" came from my love of songs and, in particular, Chris Rice's "Life Means so Much," the refrain of which is a paraphrase of Psalm 90:12.  Heading into the Christmas season, and beyond, what Dax's story reminds me is that life is a gift, to be lived on purpose.  I am convicted about my fretfulness, busy-ness, and missing-the-forest-for-the-trees-ness.  This season of striving for healing, for wisdom from the Lord, has tendered my soul so much to the issues that were represented in The Heart of Christmas, so I know not everyone will respond to it the same way.  If you have Netflix, and are able, I would say it is a beneficial movie to watch, because at the very least it tune your heart to be thankful for blessings you take for granted.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Even if he does not

Right off the heels of a revelation of God's blessing, a spiritually intense - and potentially rewarding - season follows.  I have begun to pray and fast for Stefan and also for clarity on whatever else the Lord may choose to shed light.  So far, what has happened is that the Lord has led me to a verse to pray or meditate upon for my little boy, as well as for my faith.

Today's blessing was from Habakkuk.  Of all unlikely places to end up this morning, I was there, glancing over most of it after a Bible lesson on patience and timing.  These verses from Habakkuk 3 were part of my wedding vows to Scott.

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

I sort of forgot about those verses until we were on our way home from a playdate.  It really had been a good morning, but toward the end Stefan started throwing fits, and then I got a parking ticket.  It was one of those situations where I was walking up as they were giving me they ticket.  They got some feedback from me.  It was ugly.  I cried from the frustration of the fits and the near-miss at getting the ticket. 

I prayed, and thought about it, and then was kind of okay.  Oh, I'll still try to appeal the ticket.  I think the fine is outrageous.  I'll probably still have to pay, but I gotta speak up.

More importantly (and kind of surprisingly for me to get spiritual about such things) I remembered these verses as I drove.  Okay, so what if I don't have a perfect morning?  What if Stefan still has fits sometimes, and we have to work through it.  Or bigger - I asked myself, "What if God doesn't...?"  What if what I want and what I get are very, very different?  I remembered the three Hebrews who proclaimed to Nebuchadnezzar that their God had power to save them, but even if he did not, they would not bow.  I remember a quote I read a few weeks ago and shared with some friends, "The enemy will always threaten us with what we fear if our faith is conditional." 

My fears often take the form of "What if?" statements.  I realize I need to turn my "What if's?" Into, "Then, God."  I can't deny the situation or bargain with God - I have to trust.  That's what Habakkuk is testifying here - If... then, God.

This has been my story for a long, long time; I may not always share about the lifeless trees and stunted buds, desolate fields and missing livestock.  I need to learn to be more honest about such things; more transparent.  When I fail to be so, it is partly because it is just so uncomfortable for me to share about, and partly because of this commitment, in feast or fallow, to "be joyful in God my Savior," trusting in God's future grace.  Whatever comes... God.