Archive for the ‘Post A Day 2011’ Category

I See a Mountain Crumbling.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

It is 3:05pm, and I am just having my first cup of coffee.

As many of you know, our family has had a rough six weeks of getting virus after virus. Levi is the only one who remained relatively unscathed, skidding through with nothing more than a sore throat and niggling cough. Until last night, when a tummy bug hit us all pretty hard, but was thankfully short-lived. Still, it hit at night. While we were supposed to be sleeping.

I didn’t do much of that. Instead, I spent half the night working with Levi to bathe two pukey kids, remove pukey sheets, and try to hunt down clean blankets to replace the puked-on ones.

We have an abundance of blankets in our house, but between getting hit by virus after virus for the past six weeks, and a cat with a tendency to pee on things, we’re fresh out.

I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, trying to ignore the nauseous feeling in my stomach, and on pins and needles listening for any more vomit eruptions coming from the rooms next to us.

At least our two oldest make it to the toilet now – it’s only the two youngest who have yet to master that vital life skill. It’s so much easier to minister with nothing but a cool cloth and whispered assurances than to clean anything (let alone regurgitated dinner) in the bleary-eyed middle-of-the-night state I was in.

Am I really blogging about vomit?

Yes. Yes I am. I apologize.

It’s just that I am so very tired of being sick. Just as we all begin to really feel well, something else hits. It’s been like that for so many families of our acquaintance lately. I think everyone has had a rough winter where this is concerned. Everything we’ve had has gone around every circle I belong to. It’s gotten quite ridiculous. A few friends of mine have theorized that these viruses are being passed around via Facebook.

It’s incredibly hard to maintain any kind of godly, grateful attitude about any of it.

A few things dawned on me the last time I was sick. Things that I’m certain only apply to me, myself, and I, so don’t take this as me telling you how you should feel about whatever you’re handling at the moment. Also, pardon me for any rambling. I blame the late coffee.

God is sifting me, showing me some gaping holes in my walk.

God can use even microbes to reveal me to myself. That self is not entirely…mature about this whole thing. I have thrown more pity-parties in the past six weeks than I have in the past year, I think.

You may think I’m over-spiritualizing things, but I don’t think so. It’s hard to explain, unless you’ve been there. There’s never a doubt when God speaks. It’s like labor – you may have a few false alarms, but when the real thing starts, you KNOW.

Through these illnesses, I’ve been forced away from my mainstay of spiritual nourishment – my home church – and have found that I have left myself nothing else to stand on, whatsoever. Godly conviction is growing in my mind. Conviction I don’t really want to give full voice to, here on this blog, for fear that I will overstep my bounds and assume I know what God is asking me. I know the parameters. I know the first step. I just have to take it.

That abundance of blankets I spoke of earlier? They have created a veritable mountain of colorfully soft stinky-ness in my hallway. A mountain that will only be conquered one blanket at a time, probably for days, before it is diminished to nothing. I look at it and sigh, anticipating the length of time it’s going to take to make any visible progress.

This conviction I carry is like that. I look at it and think, “Why bother? I’m only going to fail again”. Then, I realize that God is not asking me for forever. He’s only asking me for today.

Just today.

Still, even today is hard. Even today feels mountainous all by itself. A mountain that will only be conquered one step, one prayer, one simple act of faith at a time, until it is diminished to nothing in the day I finally stand face-to-face with the God who held me the whole way.

I praise God that it is He who is working in me. It is He who has allowed us to be laid out in sickness, for His good purpose. I don’t claim to know the whole purpose, but I know enough to see that part of it lies in His desire to see me grow, to become more like Him. To see me take action on a conviction that has been growing in me for a year. To reassure me that He’s not finished with me.

He’s not asking anything of me that He hasn’t asked of each of his children before:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. …May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23-24 (NIV – emphasis mine)

I’m so glad I serve a faithful God, who loves me enough to discipline me and get my attention (even if said discipline pretty much sucked). Who loves me enough to remind me of what His will is for me. Who loves me enough to ask all this of me, then pours out His grace by telling me that He will take on the largest part of the burden, and do His will in me and through me. All I have to do is choose joy, prayer, and gratitude.

I can manage that. After all, the Holy Spirit lives within me, and with God, nothing is impossible.

I see a mountain crumbling.

What is God teaching you lately? What mountains are you facing? How can I pray for you?


String of Random Thoughts

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

It’s been a few days. I missed you, blogosphere.

*breathes deeply*

Where were we? I don’t even remember.

It’s morning right now. I woke with a headache, but nothing a little peppermint oil won’t help with. I had a birth last night – a butter birth. (“That baby slipped out like butta!”) I was home in four hours. What a powerful momma to work so hard in such a short time!

I’ve missed four out of the last five weeks of church.

I hate that. (I can use it for that, right Sherry?) I get so hungry in between Sundays as it is! Missing this many is likely to end me soon! I’ll probably be picking up the CD’s of the sermons I missed. Next to praise and worship music, good teaching is one of my favorite things to listen to during the day, when I can.

There is something so invigorating and cleansing about taking in the Word of God through a good teacher, and our pastor is certainly that. It’s like taking a really hot shower with citrus-y smelling soap, after doing some really sweaty, grubby work.

I’m about as behind as a person can be on laundry. I had less than a week to catch up between family illnesses. This past month has just hit so hard, and it was convicting to realize I wasn’t quite up to the task. I’m not being hard on myself, just stating facts. It’s interesting amazing thought-provoking convicting to see how little it can take for my weaknesses to be laid bare. At least, now I know what the Lord wants to work on in me. A few things.

Self-discipline for one. Self-control. Gentleness.

Just when I think I’m doing well, look out! “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” ~1 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV)

With the Holy Spirit’s help, and by the grace and mercy of God, I’m working on it.

I could still use a big sister. The thought grows stronger in my mind, but I hesitate to mention what I think that might look like in my life at this point, because I don’t know what God intends it to look like yet.

I’m still in the market for a wing back chair to put in the corner of my bedroom. Maybe something a little on the cozy side, like this. Only, I think I’d like a solid color or something more floral? I don’t know. I just want my own little nook to curl up in and cuddle in my Abba’s lap for awhile each day.

I haven’t had that since we lived in D.C, and I miss it.

I love my friends.

They come in so many different packages. Some are closer than others. All are safe to be myself with.

I have yet to meet condemnation in any of their eyes. I have met only acceptance and grace. God has been good to me in all areas, but especially in the friendship department.

I miss Oregon, but Colorado has grown on me. It’s really quite big and open and awesome here. A very different beauty than the elfin, quiet, moss-covered valley in Oregon where I grew up.

I’m grateful that laundry can be a form of worship, because I have a lot of it to deal with today! May God be glorified in every pair of socks, every blanket, and every pair of jeans!

Now for coffee, a little prayer cover, and the starting of a long day.

Thanks for sticking with me. What does your day look like?


Day 22: My Favorite Book

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

If I take this Book of Books out of the equation as the obvious answer, I could no more choose a favorite book than I could choose a favorite among my children. It’s not possible for me. One day, Anne of Green Gables is my favorite, the next, it’s The Lord of the Rings.

Above and behind it all, though, is my First Love. The Word of God. Nothing has the transformative power the Bible does.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

It holds the power of rebirth.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” ~1 Peter 1:23 (NIV)

It’s applicable now, in my daily walk.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

It brings comfort.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ~Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

It holds precious promises I can look to when I need encouragement to keep going.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV)

It helps me find my way.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” ~Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

It tells me that I matter. That on this dirt speck of a planet in the midst of a nearly infinite cosmos, God’s eye is on me. His heart loves me, and He made me for Something.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

It tells me of God’s deep love.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” ~John 3:16,17 (NIV)

Most importantly, it leads to salvation.

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” ~Romans 10:9-11 (NIV-emphasis mine)

And there is so much more. There is always something new to glean. Some new conviction, encouragement, knowledge, comfort, or blessing to be found. It gets deeper and richer every time I open it, and I don’t open it enough!

How could it not be my favorite?

Do you have a favorite book? How about a favorite passage of Scripture in the Bible? Have you read the Bible at all? Why or why not? Any questions about where to start? Feel free to ask!

May God speak to your heart today.


Petty and Small

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

I am petty and small.
Good at making mountains out of mole hills.
Being childish when it suits my purpose,
giving way unnecessarily to emotions.

I can’t be as clear-headed as I think I am.
I can’t be logical more than rarely.

I am a woman undone.

Raw and wounded.

A monsoon of my chaotic thoughts stirs up everything within me,
yet I take it out on the faultless?

I make no sense.

Because I am petty and small.

I have blinded myself to the blessings around me,
discontented with the small and daily.

I grope and stumble around, looking for solutions,
wishing for a big sister to just come and tell me what to do.

I’ve forgotten how to pray in the middle of storms.

“Please God, help.” is all I can get out.

I don’t know what I need.
Do I want to know what I need?

What if it’s hard?
What if it’s too hard, and I fail again?


I am petty and small.
Not as good as everyone seems to think I am.

“Compromise is calling.
What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue, when my walk becomes a crawl?”

I am petty and small.

But God wants more.

“Everyone’s got to crawl when they’re up against a wall.”

I am up against a wall now.

Day 22: Something I wish I were better at.

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

There are a lot of things I wish I were better at. Pretty much everything I do, I wish I were better at. Many of them can be lumped into one word, however: Routine.

I wish I were better at maintaining a routine of some kind for more than a few weeks at a time. I’m a basically organized person, but have a hard time maintaining consistency. It’s a major weakness. Nothing I really kick myself over, but still something I would very much like to be better at.

Though we could never stick to a strict schedule, I would dearly love my family to have a foundation of consistency in their days. This is something I find myself praying about and working on more than anything else in my life right now, since it affects nearly every other aspect of my daily life.

What do you wish you were better at?


Day 20: Burned Into My Mind

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

I wish I could forget this movie. It was terrible. They took two hours to tell a story I could have told in five minutes, with more action.

I don’t mind movies that are slow, with little action, as long as I can be persuaded to care about the characters. I couldn’t. The only interesting part of the movie was the last five minutes or so. Even then, I didn’t care. At all. Mainly because the main character is a total loser. A cold-hearted, lonely, no-good, really-bad-word.

Then, there were several scenes we had to flat-out skip. Totally unnecessary, and there are images branded into my mind that I wish I could forget. Thankfully, I only had to live with the first couple of seconds.

Levi brought it home from redbox, having heard that it was pretty good. Boy, do we regret that $1.07.

We had to watch an episode of Firefly to make up for it. To wash our little brains clean of the horribleness of The American.

Anything you wish you could forget? I couldn’t choose anything from my life, really, because everything I remember is worth remembering. This movie is all I could come up with. Don’t watch it. For the love of all things good, don’t watch it! And if you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Day 20: Middle-Earth

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Today’s topic asks me to share where I want to travel. The answer is obvious: I want to go everywhere.

First on my list, though, would be Middle Earth, a.k.a. New Zealand. Yes, I know much was added via sets and CG in the movies, but to see the bones they built on would be worth it. The scenery alone is magnificent.

Other places I want to visit just as badly include the village in India where our sponsored son lives, Israel, the UK, Japan, and the northern Mediterranean coast. I would also love to visit dear friends I met when they were exchange students at my high school. Hong Kong, Russia, and Germany are their home countries. (Okay, Hong Kong isn’t a country, but you know what I mean.) Last, but not least, I would love to take a trip to Alaska, to finally visit the place where so many of my relatives live, work, and love – not to mention a very good friend of ours.

The most far-fetched place I’d like to visit would be the International Space Station. I don’t know why. I just think it would be cool to see Earth from there.

Alas that all this travel will likely have to wait until we are no longer supporting our children financially. Oh well, we’ll be older, more mature, and more appreciative of the experience anyway. Right?

What about you? Where do you want to go?


She’s a Whole Hand!

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

This is the first birthday in the family to fall on a Sunday in a long while. This matters greatly, you see, because of the way birthdays work here. Since Levi’s day off is Sunday, we tend to save their party, cake, and presents for Sunday afternoons. On the morning of the actual birthday, pancakes and perhaps one small gift are served up. Little Red got to have pancakes and cake in the same day! Lucky girl!

I seem to have a knack for getting a decent “blowing out the candles” shot. Not this time. Dangit. So, I jokingly asked Audrey to pretend really quick, and she obliged. Posed or not, she’s a cutie.

Her obsession with Hello Kitty continues. Especially very tiny Hello Kitty things. These are more pieces to a little town-themed play set.

AJ found a new favorite for her – a Hello Kitty that is purple! Purple being Audrey’s favorite color, this was quite the find, indeed! Bonus: she gets to color the dress!

Of course, there was also a pretty little outfit from Miss Sabrina – who always seems to pick something the girls would pick for themselves! It came with shiny purple shoes, but those are saved for “church time,” because they’re so fancy!

I can never seem to get over each birthday that comes along. Each one takes me farther and farther away from the baby stage. Further up and further into uncharted territory. Yes, I’ve had a five-year-old before, but not THIS five-year-old. I may be the best expert on my kiddos, but I’m certainly learning that they’re experts on me, too.

This journey we’re all on together is an interesting one, to say the least. There are challenges and delights around every corner, and signs at regular intervals that say in big, bold letters: “This too, shall pass!” I welcome these signs.

It’s the other signs, also placed at regular intervals that I tend to ignore. The ones that say “We’re growing up, Mom!” Yeah. I just ignore those most of the time. On birthdays, though, they cannot be ignored.

“I’m a whole hand today, Mom!” she told me excitedly, along with a very apt demonstration. I cried.

Happy birthday, my little Apple-cheeked Monkey Sunshine! You never fail to delight and exasperate me. Part of me wants to keep you pocket-size always. Part of me longs to know you as an upright woman of God. Part of me wants both at the same time. I love you so much, Little Red, and I always will.

Day 18: I’m ruining them for life.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

My biggest insecurity, surprisingly enough, is not my body image. Yes, I have moments of insecurity there, but I can tuck those ones away neatly for perusing at another time with one compliment from Levi. My biggest point of insecurity is in my mothering including, but not limited to, homeschooling my little brood.

I sometimes feel like Sam, that no matter what I do, I just keep making “huge mistakes, huge mistakes, mistakes that are huge.” Mistakes that can never be remedied. Even though I intellectually know that I’m a good mom, and that my kids are just fine, this is the insecurity that nags at me:

Rita: …It’s like every morning I wake up and, I fail. And I look around and everybody seems to be pulling it off, but I-I-I can’t! No matter how hard I try. Somehow, I’ll never be enough.

It’s to the point that I can’t even read a homeschooling blog without curling up into a fetal position and crying because I’ll never have it all together the way “those moms” do! The sad part is that I know, beyond doubt, that we’re doing just fine. I just can’t seem to get my heart to believe that most days.

I struggle wildly with this. I pray daily for my daily bread of strength and confidence to be based on the Lord, and my obedience to His high calling on my life as a mother.

Whew I said it. I feel like a bad mother half the time. The other half of the time, I know better, and walk in the joy of my salvation, that …

There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 8:1 (NIV)

And my kids are so wonderfully forgiving when I ask them! They take my hands in theirs, and pray for me. And I know God must hear them, because even in the insecurity, peace reigns. If only I could get my emotions lined up with that peace!

Please tell me I’m not the only one who struggles with this! What’s your big insecurity?


Day 17: Deep Impact

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Today’s topic in the photo challenge is to share a picture of something that has made a big impact on me recently. While my pastor and his wife are not “things,” they are what came to mind immediately. Technically, if I want to be precise, it’s the Word of God that has made the impact. However, it’s the Word of God spoken through the mouths and lives of this couple that has impacted me deeply lately.

I won’t go into detail, as the Holy Spirit and I are still hammering those out between us – and by that I mean “He’s speaking, and I’m trying to get the house quiet enough for me to hear what He’s saying”.

These two walk the talk. They practice what they preach.

Pastor Jim’s words challenge me simply because he speaks the Truth. No varnish, whatsoever. And sometimes, it galls and hurts and makes me uncomfortable. Then, when I let go, and listen, I find that I am set free by that uncomfortable Truth. And when Kathy speaks into my life, I can see in her face that she’s been where I am. That she gets it. That she knows that what she’s saying to me shakes me to my core, but she says it anyway, because she loves me too much not to.

My pastor and his wife know my name, but not much beyond that, but it is obvious that they love me. And that their love for me (and everyone else in their little flock) is the foundation of everything they say and do.

It’s hard NOT to be majorly impacted by that fierce combination of Love and Truth, tempered with Grace and Humility.

I thank God for them. Pastor – if you get a chance to read this, I want you to know that God is using you. I don’t know how often you get to hear that your words and what you teach from the pulpit matters. So I’m saying it now. Kathy, your life and walk matter to this young housewife. I love you both dearly, and only wish I could know you better.

I pray for this dear couple as often as I can. They are so good at what they do, that I cannot believe the Enemy will just let them alone. They carry so much, and I hope I can lessen their load, even a little, by my small prayers.

What or who impacts you?