Friday, December 30, 2005

Overwhelmed, in a good way

Go here and find it very worthwhile, please. It's a surprise. Then open up the Christmas card that I sent you (if you don't have one, you can still get one by asking me.) Compare the pictures. Isn't that incredible?

I am overwhelmed. Not really, because I am quite controlled. Self-control. That is what I am trying to have. Well, I take that back. I am not "quite controlled." I am reminded of that song, the worship song that has a line in it that says, "I'm overwhelmed, overwhelmed with You."

I just want to open my heart and sing praises. Do you know what an honor that it would be to be given another child? Do you know that children are a blessing of the Lord? No matter what they do, or how they irritate, or aggravate, or annoy, they are a gift from the hand of the Almighty.

Please pray for us, because there are obstacles that can interfere and block this adoption. I want God's will. Nothing can stop God's will. So praise Him with me, and pray as Jesus did, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

I lift up my hands to the Lord
Palms out
I receive Your best for me
this sinner
this conniver
this adulterer at heart
for my heart is deceitfully wicked and corrupt
but I release it to You
make what You can out of it
make what You can out of me
And I pour myself out upon Your feet
Have mercy upon me
Have mercy upon me

You lift up my eyes
and look into my face
Tell me I need not be ashamed
for Thou has made me holy
holy and true like You
And in the mirror I see
Your own image cast upon me

Lord, I receive the good gifts from Your hand
A son not of my flesh
a son still my own
Though he has two mothers
in some ways even more
knit our hearts together
so it is one with the Lord

Let us pray together
laugh together
cry together all the years through
Let me love his children
read them stories
and tell them all about You

Let the years go by like a wave of love and grace
wash away the pain
the lost years
the tears
the seeming lack of gain
Tie together the confusion
and build a nest
for dreams to grow
for sleep to know
peace and solitude and needs met
and wings grown
and soaring expectations fulfilled

Let all who see our family
see one thing
that this is a family the Lord has blessed
That Your image is here
That Your expression flows
That peace rests upon it
That Your word in truth goes forth

And build up Lord
Build up in peace
in determination and perseverance
in love, boldness and abundant life
in glad tidings
in rich reward
in many, many blessings
this world could never know

Honor Thy Son through the works of this mother
Honor Thy name with the glory of Your ways
I lift high Your banner
Don't leave me now
I know that You won't
but realize I need You every moment
I can not go alone
Take me into Your right chest coat pocket
and there I will find my rest
my peace
my direction and my purpose

You are the sum of my life
You are my entire existence
I am nothing apart from Christ
my life is not my own

Fulfill Your purpose for my life
Complete Your works in me
If Matt is our son
deliver him into our hands
and pave the way
from our hearts to Your eternity.

That is the end of the poem. Don't forget to check out the post I did this morning about "My Food and My Body." God bless yall, so much.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:47 PM | 3 comments

My Food and My Body - some early memories

It was a Saturday morning in the early 1970's, probably around 1974. Like many Saturday mornings, I found it very thrilling to be able to make pancakes. I made a bunch and I think others in the family helped themselves to some. But what I remember is sitting at the table by myself (a typical state of being for that timeframe of my life) about 11:30 AM and eating 13 of them and feeling really, really full, and rather sick.

Another memory I have regarding, "My Food" was buying a half-gallon milk container size of WHOPPERS and eating the whole thing that same day. I ate them in my bedroom.

That day started out with me somehow having the 99 cents to buy the product at Target. I apparently went there with either my father or my mother. Once home, I felt a thrill of accomplishment that I had obtained that carton that I desired to obtain from the store. I couldn't believe that I actually had them. It seemed like a dream, a wonderful fantasy fulfilled. I brought the WHOPPERS to my bedroom and one by one I ate the entire box full and recall feeling sick to my stomach.

My mother and father never purchased fast food. I always recall desiring fast food. I memorized the McDonald's commercial and wrote the words on the chalkboard in my home, and drew a picture of the famous burger: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuse, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. More about fast food later. I think I feel sick to my stomach.

A word now about "My body." As a child I was thin and I thought that I could eat whatever I wanted and never get fat. I remember relatives saying that. "She can eat whatever she wants and will never get fat." It wasn't true.

When I think about "My body," I mostly don't have emotions except numbness covering anxiety. I am reminded about my mother and father and grandmother and all of my relatives and their culture back in Italy that they brought with them when they immigrated to the United States. My father, mother and grandmother seemed afraid that there may be sex and sexuality whereever you looked, if you looked too hard or too intently, but they never spoke about it, except in veiled ways.

My father and I used to be close and enjoy each other's company, until I entered puberty, and then I missed my father because he never seemed to talk to me anymore or do anything with me. I had changed. He had changed.

My body is sexual, of course, as is everybody's body. Except a kid's body isn't sexual (except to Freud - you know what I mean). These days when I look at my mother and grandmother and aunts and uncles and all of the Italian relatives that I am blessed to have, they don't seem to have the same problems with their bodies that I have. They are (almost all) thin and wear nice clothes and don't seem uncomfortable with their bodies. They don't act like their bodies are sexy - you know how some people can walk and flaunt their sexuality. They just seem comfortable. So what happened to me? I don't feel comfortable walking, thin or fat (like when you have to walk by someone, or whatever).

When I lost 70 pounds, did my hair and put on make-up and stepped out of my house one day, suddenly I realized that men noticed me and it flipped me out, because I never recalled that happening before. I wasn't overweight until I was about 28 years old, but I don't recall men noticing me before. However, I do recall not wearing make-up and trying to play down my appearance. Now, I try to avoid eye contact. Isn't that weird? I'm not saying everybody notices me like I am something hot or special. It is just that when you are somewhat fat and slightly dumpy, you are invisible.

I don't like people observing the way that I look, except I don't like them thinking that I am unsightly either. It is like there is no alternative. You are either invisible (fat), or visible (sexual/noticed). I think that it is my own hang-up that I think to be noticed is to be sexualized.

My dad, I discovered when I was about 21 years old, read pornography, as I found a stash of a whole bunch of it. My mother let me know that he had his share of sexual problems (like I really needed to know that - every hear of a thing called "boundries". You know, I'm the child here, or am supposed to be). She thought he was gay. He wasn't gay. He didn't have any gay porn. No, he was heterosexual, in my opinion. He and my mother had their marital problems, and in fact divorced when I was 21 years old.

My father's father once accused my godly grandmother of trying to attract attention to her sexuality by wearing a certain sort of belt. My grandmother is asexual for heaven's sake. My grandfather and my father were paranoid people, quite literally, and thought that people were out to "get" their wives, and desired them sexually, and they in fact had to go to some degree to protect their wives from others and protect their wives from the wives own sense of sexuality that may get them into sexual trouble. Two of my father's siblings have serious mental illness, and in fact schizophrenia runs in that family really badly and extensively. I myself am adopted and much to my mother's (and I suppose my) delight do not share the in their genetic pool.

Enough on "My Food and My Body" for today. Thanks for listening. Comments, feedback, questions?

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:10 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Crystal is the social worker in charge of the world according to Matt. She called and wants to meet with me to get to know me/us more. She is very interested in our family for adopting 13 year-old Matt. She has the day off on Monday, Jan. 2, but will meet with me at Denny's at 3 PM Eastern Standard Time, at a location off the 65 freeway, near the Louisville airport. She sounds real nice. I sent her a Christmas card with all of our pictures, BTW, but I'm sure she hasn't receieved it yet.

So, Bonnie, this is my schedule for Sunday and Monday, the 1st and 2nd of January. Sunday 7 AM: pick up three kids from the karate sleep-over. Go to IHOP for breakfast (the family of six). Go to church. Get final things together and get to airport. Fly out at 1:40 PM. Transfer through Phoenix and arrive Louisville at 10:45 PM. Get rental car and sleep midnight to 3AM. (Okay this is crazy, but doesn't it sound like fun?) Shower, dress, wake the kids, including the little boy named ALEX that we are bringing to the school who happens to live in the Sacramento region. Drive to the kids boarding school five hours away in Oneida, KY. Drop the kids off at 9 AM. Drive back to Louisville and arrive there by 2PM. Locate the Denny's. Go to nearby parking lot and sit and pray, and try not to nap. Check the make-up. Use the restroom. Reflect upon the verse that I memorized earlier that day, if applicable. Meet with Crystal, the social worker in charge of the world according to MATT and OUR FAMILY. Meeting goes well. Any hint that she is a Christian? No, I won't pray at the table (at least in an obvious way). When in Rome.... Leave the meeting by 4:15. After the meeting smile in my car, thank God. Drop off rental car. Get to airport check-in line by 5PM very latest. Flight takes off 6:05 PM. Maybe even order a drink on the plane, you think? Sleep. Transfer in Phoenix. Get to Sacramento 10:50 PM. Skip the 5:30 AM Tuesday AM spin class. Husband get kids ready for school and drive them. Sleep till 7 or 8, go to work.

I've told two people thus far about the meeting Monday. Husband sounds happy. He amazes me. Friend sounds happy. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... Pray for God's will. See yesterday's post for the first installment on "my food and my body" -

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:32 AM | 6 comments

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Introductory session in "MY EATING AND MY BODY": Definition and Elaboration of sometimes useful, but sometimes "not considered acceptable" terms

I will pause to officially alter my interests under my profile to include various diet terms, since it is obviously so much a part of my beloved life. Kind of like a friend that never goes away. But someday will. Reminds me of the neighbor boy who spends so much time at our house, that when I was buying "LUNCHABLES" at the store today, I almost counted him in the count, and he wasn't even there yet, since it was 6 AM!

A verse for today about real beauty.
"The Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people.
They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown.
How attractive and beautiful they will be!" Zechariah 9:116-17 NIV

And a verse about Who is our Restorer.
"I will restore them." Zech 10:6 NIV

"Dear Triune God, Holy Redeemer of Israel and me,
Grant me wisdom that I may know how to walk in this life. That I may know how to think and view things. That I may step purposefully, for Your ways are always with purpose."

First question: Is "triune" a word? I don't see it in my dictionary. Help me out. Okay. That is a good way to start. Humble. You see, I am not a humble person. When you get my Christmas card stuff you will see that. But in Christ - He can do amazing things - He can enable me to be humble. I need to be humble to accomplish ANYTHING OF WORTH IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

Don't you think God does things to us to make us humble? Reverently might I joke, "I'll give her a handicap when it comes to spelling and using maps, doing geometry, remembering faces, and that will help to humble her."

Now, about FOOD and all that "crap." But first another diversion. I regretted using that term yesterday, but I keep having secong thoughts, so now I'm not sure how I feel. Sometimes a bold term helps to express things boldly, and now the term seems somehow fitting, more fitting than I would like perhaps.

Dealing with food, eating, my body, my physical presence upon this earth, my "personal space," feeling my body being fit, being completely outta shape, not being able to walk up a flight of stairs, being able to sprint up several flights of stairs, eating, eating, abstaining, tasting the food, not tasting the food, can all be summarized - well, perhaps it is better to say - can all make me feel like IT/THIS is a bunch of crap that I have to deal with, and live with, or else I will die an early death and get diabetis, swollen ankles, heartburn, arthritis, back pain, and not be able to play with my grandchildren, not be able to see that my husband is attractive to me in a certain sort-of raw biological way, like when a Victoria Secret commerial comes on or when an attractive woman walks by and though he never seems to look, I know that his eyes can not help but dilate and I can't stand this whole boat-load of crap.

But I am mature. I am strong. I am WOMAN. (Helen Reddy, right? 1973 or 1974 or something - for those who were not with the rest of us at that time - it is a song that sort-of changed the culture, rolled in the era of the Mary Tyler Moore show who was "happy and fulfilled" in being a single working woman, or so it seemed to me because I wanted to be just like her, but it turned out that I also watched a whole lot of Brady Bunch and the Waltons, and Little House on the Priaire, and the LORD of the whole UNIVERSE who made me understood and saw that actually deep inside I was made and equipped to be a mother, a wife and although He would bless me with a really COOL career, He knew my heart would beat at the rate of the wife and mother that I am.

So, anyway, being mature, strong and a woman completely leaves me ill-equipped to deal with something so emotionally powerful as my eating, my body and all of that. But I am a child of God, and there, as that small child, I am equipped to come to Him and HE will help me and show me how to walk step-by-step through the material and "issues (dreadful term/or is it? - am I kidding?? Am I using that term??)" that resemble the word but not necessarily the actual material of crap. That is, the issues is the crap. Or is it, "the issues are the crap"? (Anybody want to give me editing lessons - where do I put the question mark, inside or outside the quote in this context? - feel free to just spell it out for everyone to see in the comments section, I'd love to learn, although don't be offended if I learn slowly, and the humility will serve me good. Don't tell me about run-on sentences, or fragments. That is a style that I am choosing on purpose. The good books, well the fun ones, say that you're allowed. So I am taking liberal license to do so. So there.)

What exactly is crap? Is it a foul word? Let's look it up, shall we? Oh my. We are really in trouble. No wonder the word "triune" was not in The New American Webster Handy College DICTIONARY third edition. Because the word "crap" is not there either. Only "cranny," then we move right along to "crane" and finally, "craps." "Craps" as in "a gambling dice game."

Let us try again. The BIG RED BOOK. I bought this book at Costco several years ago and it has never failed me. Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged DICTIONARY of the English Language.

Triune: adj. "1. three in one; constituting a trinity in unity, as the Godhead. -n. 2. (cap.) the Trinity.

Crap: Seven definitions! Does anybody have a scanner? This entry ought to be scanned and placed as an image at the top of this blog entry. Now that would be style. And a big diversion. Let's move on. We have a lot to cover.

Let me just summarize, besides the obvious "vulgar" meanings (of which there are two and of which I won't mention) there are these five OTHER, non-vulgar meanings, so therefore, the term isn't always the vulgar meaning. Other meanings include "nonsence:drivel," " a lie:exaggeration," "junk".

Oh! Here is the way that I think that I am using the word, this sixth definition seems so most fitting that I will copy it verbatim, almost like a scanner.

"6. to create a mess; cause to fail, esp. by excessive labor, material, etc.: Boy, did he crap the job up with a lot of junk."

Alright then. BTW (Do we have time for this diversion? Is it worth the reader's time?) Microsoft Word doesn't like the word, "alright," and criticizes it everytime that I use the word with a big red squiggly line under it like a middle school teacher with a big red marker, "No! Not like that! You did it WRONG!"

However, THE BIG RED BOOK says it is fine, or so the middle schooler in me would respond, "It's right here in the DICTIONARY, see? It has it's own spot and everything in the book."

But THE BIG RED BOOK can not help but agree with the teacher as it says in part, "...but it is not considered acceptable in standard English."

Well, so much more to say, but that is enough new material for our first introductory session. One summary sentence is this: Eating and body image and their associated emotions, can create a lot of mess.

Thank you so much for your attention. I can not wait to elaborate more tomorrow, or whenever we can get together again. God bless yall. (It's y'all to most of you, throughout most parts of the U.S. and the world, but it is "yall" according to the Websters Texas-Knows-Best DICTIONARY, or is that Texas-Always-Knows-Best DICTIONARY? It is bigger than the BIG RED BOOK.) We love you Texas! Praying for you and your mom, Pia.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:06 PM | 4 comments

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I got most of the Christmas cards off finally. I included the CD to about half of the recipients - maybe less. I removed statements such as "adoption" from the CD description and the Xmas card. There are implications of such, however.

Still haven't heard anything more about the adoption, or meeting the lady, or whatever. Anyway. God's plan will stand. Whatever He wants to do. I surrender. Wonderful place to be, surrendered to the Lord and His perfect, devine will. I wonder what He is up to. It has been good to be with our family of six over this Christmas break, because it has been unifying for us. I remember what Blackaby said in His "Experiencing God" book, that God waited so many years to bring Isaac into Abraham's and Sarah's life in part because He was preparing Abraham to be just the sort of father for Isaac and the leader of a nation. Likewise, God may be preparing our family to be ripe for the new child to come into the fold. Besides, we haven't waited long at all. It is confusing for me because I thought that the Lord was going to bring the child by Christmas, or that I should want or pray for that. I am reminded of when David prayed to build God a temple. Solomon said that God told David that it was good that David had such a desire in his heart, but God was going to build the temple through Solomon instead. Perhaps it was good that it was in my heart to have the boy by Christmas, even though God was going to do a different thing, or have a different time. It is God whom I serve, not my expectations, experiences, personal hopes or aspirations. So maybe I have grown more focused upon the Foundation. And more surrendered. And just ready for whatever He wants to do.

Also sent out were invitations for my husband's 50th birthday celebration crab feed dinner Dec 30, 2006 - now that is planning ahead.

However, I am waiting for about 40 addresses from my husband, so the Holiday and Birthday invitations will be going out anytime between Jan and March....That's okay. It is how I learn patience. God is great to give me practice in waiting.

Okay. This is what I've been thinking about to focus on for January and Feburary. Diet and Exercise in the Lord. And not over-planning or over-worrying. I was thinking about journaling about those topics for awhile. Sort of like a "unit study" as we would say in Homeschooling, when I was a homeschool teacher.

Maybe I will also write (brag) a bit this next year about my oldest daughter and our work together regarding her college prep stuff, but I think that I will demonstrate how over-invested and enthusiastic I am regarding her astounding performance in the high school years and her strong prospects to excel in a future career. That will get immediately DULL to all readers - except other similarly-minded mothers. Kind of like the Xmas card I got today from the friend with the new baby - "she giggles, she smiles, she looks like her father except she has my eyes...." The picture of the baby that "only a mother could love." Okay. Enough already. Let's move along.

No, diet and exercise in the Lord has a broader appeal, and furthermore, this blog will help me to be more possessed by Christ in this area of struggle. God has helped and redeeemed me so much in this area, but yet I feel like I am like a boat tethered to a dock, rocking and shaking with each passing wave. I want to be on His firm foundation. Confident with each bite and swallow. Bold with each denial. "No, thank you. I would not like a Hostess Ding-Dong. Do you have a Ho-Ho?" I could chronicle each exercise session - and count up the sessions per week. Elaborate upon the strange happening the occurs when I eat chocolate. I lose myself into a wonderful, magical abyss, never to be re-encountered until I eat the next supply. I want to try not to weigh myself for a month, but to just sense, using other means, as to what my weight is. I want to lost ten pounds in two months. Currently I am 2-3 pounds over my goal weight, but I would like to set a new goal weight, of 7 pounds less than my previous goal weight, for several reasons, that I don't want to get off into at this time. I want to talk about my actual weight with frankness and bluntness. Nobody knows my weight really. Nobody that really knows me as a friend/family member knows that I lost 65-70 pounds because I never tell them. Even when they ask. Thank God it has stayed off about 16 months now. I want to get more physically fit and talk about what that experience is like. What do you think? Anybody interested in hearing about that crap?

For those who responded to my plea to be on the Christmas card list, with delight I sent out the cards today. However, the international cards did not go out today, because I have to bring them to the post office, because the store where I normally drop them off, won't do international ones that are over 2 ounces. So tomorrow I will go to the post office and mail them. I wonder how long they will take to get there (to the country of destination - not to my post office, which is only five minute drive there and twenty-five minute wait in line). These are the countries that I will be sending the cards: Italy (for my aunt and uncle), Philippines, Australia and China. Isn't that exciting? These are the blogger states that I will be sending out cards : NY, AL, and TX (hope you are good with abreviations).

Okay. Well. Time to move on. So much to do. Life is fun and good. Praying for Pia and her Mom.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:42 PM | 10 comments

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A New - well altered- Christmas Card for this Space and Time

Hi again. I'm blogging from my TREO phone. Good news - a pithy blog will be the result. My family and I had a blessed ski trip, which is nearing its end, as we are now entering Sacramento. Skiing was beautiful and lots of fun. Reading and seeking God was fun also. All was summarized in the poem I wrote this morning, which basically said that when I reside in Him, then there is peace, no matter the circumstances, or our undersanding of the circumstances.

I figured out what I am going to do with my Christmas card booklet that I decided that I will finish up in the next several days, Lord willing. I won't be sending out a CD that I prepared, nor its six-page spiritual accounting of what all the songs mean to me. I did record about 100 CD's, but I think that they may be perfect for next Christmas, if all goes well. The Christmas book that we send out this year won't have anything to do with adoption, since nothing is far enough along to comment to most family and friends, in the form of Christmas greeting or news. This card will be like our trip was - an accounting of the unity and current blessing of this family that God has made. The Scripture reading will likely be from Ecles "a time for every purpose under heaven." So, if you haven't emailed me your address and you would like one of our Christmas booklets, do so in the next few days. The card will be loaded with pictures of our family, and my name and address, so when you're in the area you can drop by - after you call several days in advance first! (I may have to clean - don't tell my mom (about my needing to clean first, I let her assume when she visits and the place is clean that it is always that way.))

Well, soon I will be home. God bless yall!

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:23 PM | 8 comments

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Hi There

I haven't been able to tap into my blogger friends sites and this is my second attempt to create an entry. I'm up in the mountains and using a cell phone's internet connection. I miss yall! Skiing is beautiful in these God-made gorgeous mountains. I'm here with my first (only) husband, and children ages 15, 13, 12 and 9. I completed a 4 hour continuing education course. I've been cooking dinner every night and it has been fun. I've been reading my Bible Study notes, "When God weeps," by Joni Eareckson Tada, re-reading parts of Blackaby's "Experiencing God," Oswald Chambers "My Utmost for His Highest," and writing in my journal. Oh yeah, going to bed early and sleeping in late!" I miss y'all and am looking forward to being able to communicate with you on your sites.
"Dear Jesus, You say 'blessed are the poor in spirit.' I am poor in spirit. Why am I ashamed to say that I need You, and that I long for Your fullness? It is true. You have blessed me so much and I thank You, but Your presence is my greatest longing. I am a fish out of water without You here bodily. Yet, You have blessed me so much. Continue still more. Amen"

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:19 PM | 6 comments

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I can't resist sharing this

I read a story and wrote this on Corry's site this morning. "Such a moving story - I'm crying! This is actually why two of our children are at boarding school. The school has been there 105 years and ministers like that Pa ministered. My children are learning that book learning is important (they are very smart and do well in school,) and nice things are nice, but there is sometimes only one way to really learn that giving is more blessed than receieving and that is watching somebody receive help with their actual needs, and receiving it by way of someone ministering to the Lord. Thank you for confirming that again for me this morning. I think I'd like to copy this all and put it on my site. I don't think you'll mind. "

As promised:"This came in the mail. It takes a little time to read but is well worth it. May we all have that true spirit, not just for Christmas, but all year long:-)Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas.We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what. Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short,quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said."Here, help me." The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on. After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by theWidow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?" "I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out ofwood, Matt."That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand."What's in the little sack?" I asked. "Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence.I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. "We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out."We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said. He turned tome and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last a while. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared.The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us."God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes. Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs.wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away. Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will."Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough.Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children.For the rest of my life, Whenever I saw any of the Jensen's, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.~by Rian B. Anderson~Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. "

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:00 AM | 5 comments

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Child Given

I wrote this September 16, 2005, but I'll write it out here today, as a prayer, as unto - submitted to - the Lord's will. Oh, next week my family and I will be enjoying a week of skiing. I may be able to post and visit though. But if I don't, that's where I'll be. God bless yall. Oh, I should update yall (my new favorite word that I've used twice in my life so far). I never called Crystal. (See last previous blog entry.) She never called me back. "Be still and know He is God." "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding." God knows the plans that He has for me and they are good. God will fulfill the purpose He has for my life. He is God Almighty - the Lord of Hosts and the Lord of all compassion. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" Is anything too hard for God? Oh, and Happy Holidays - just kidding! Merry Christmas! (I'm sending out cards late this year - they may be coming in March - that will be so cute (I'm serious).

Like Peter and John,
no money in their pockets
only Your purpose in their souls -
by Your might
You made Your chosen ones whole.
My pockets are empty
my strength is done,
perform Your work through me
until Your purpose is done.
Let me watch from afar
Your great mighty hand,
With a look and a nod
Your will is what stands.
"Arise and make whole,"
I exclaim from within -
the depths of my heart,
the peading of my soul,
the cry of this mother
-desires to see You mold
a son to my bosom,
a son I never knew,
a son who cries out,
a son who needs You.
"Who dost cry for them?"
Your holy Word does say,
I cry for him
bring him home this day.
For You planned it long ago
Your purpose will always stand,
-this idea did not begin with me
but like a bird from far away
I have been called
and I must go.
I am responsible.
It is an honor I now know
so bring it to completion
that just like long ago,
Peter and John needed no money
for the Lord is Who calls and saves,
He does make us whole.
Go forth in power today
make Your name great
- for all to see,
add to this Mama's fold,
a child given to me.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:17 PM | 5 comments

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The run-down

Okay. Here's what's happening. My family and I are in the process, or at least we want to, adopt a 13 year-old boy named Matt from Kentucky. We thought that it would be nice to help a boy out that could benefit from being in our family of six. But actually, really, the Lord prompted me to proceed with this, my husband wants to do this also, and everything has worked out since. It has just been difficult though. In July we started the arduous process of all the paperwork, interviews, fingerprinting, health exams, letters of references and more. All the while, I was praying about two particular boys to become part of our family. Their names are Brent and Matt. They are 12 and 13 years old. They both have had their birthdays since I have found their pictures and stories on the internet.

Brent is not available at this time for adoption, because his social workers have decided that he is going to be staying for the time being in a home that they hope may turn into an adoption situation. So his case is on hold, and our homestudy report is on file as being an interested family.

Matt is available at this time for adoption. For the last couple of months or so, the social workers have been looking into possible families. Crystal, the social worker for Matt, received our homestudy report at Thanksgiving.

I hadn't heard anything until Monday, December 12th, about 9:30 AM. At that time our social worker from California called me to let me know that Karen, someone who works with Crystal, called me and let me know that their decision making process, regarding "referring" a child for adoption placement takes about 90 days, and so I shouldn't be thinking that Matt could be referred and made available to us by the time that we go on our family ski vacation December 17th. I really appreciated hearing something. Our social worker also said at that time that Crystal was very interested in our family, and would be calling him later for more information about our family.

I was really excited, that I didn't mind that they said that I shouldn't be looking to Christmas. I realized that things were really happening, in that there were live people at the end of the email, that live people received and read our home study report, and love people were very interested in our family. I called my friend and she was excited and we prayed. I emailed my husband.

About 15 minutes after I hung up the phone with our social worker, he called back. He said that He spoke with Crystal who is very interested in our family, and in fact would like to meet us when we were in the area. She even gave her direct phone line. I said to my social worker that my husband will be there on Friday. He said that is great, but it would be better if the two of us were there, as a husband and wife team, especially meeting the mother would be important.

At that time, I called my friend back and we prayed. I spoke to my husband about my going on Friday and meeting him in Kentucky and we could meet the social worker Crystal. He said that would be alright. I checked airline reservations. I called someone to watch my two of children for Thursday PM and Friday. The other two children we were picking up from boarding school in Kentucky on Friday. The woman who I wanted to watch my kids was going to be out of town herself. So then it dawned on me that I could bring the two kids with me.

Then I called Crystal for the first (and only) time. I got her voice mail. I was struck with the high-pitched voice and youth I perceived on the other end of the line. I left a message of who I was, of my husband's Friday schedule, asked if she wanted to meet with him, and I offered that I can fly out and meet her also, and in fact so can the two children, and low and behold, the other two children were going to around also, and would she like to meet the whole family? When I noticed I was beginning to repeat myself on the phone, I left my number for a second time, said that we were really excited about the "possibility" and hung up.

Meanwhile, back in Kentucky, Matt and about 29 other kids were going on TV for "Wednesday's child," a show about fundraising and about adopting. Crystal was going to be picking up Matt for dinner and taking him to the show that aired yesterday at 8 - 9 Eastern time. I rushed home to see it, as I was told it was going to be on internet web-cast. Almost backed into a parked car. Opps. Saw it just in time. Turned out that it wasn't going to be on internet. Missed the show.

My mind raced with possibilities all day long. Won't bore (or excite?) you with all those details, or with other stuff that went on. Except to mention, we got a notice from the City of Elk Grove "Community Enhancement Coordinator" that our dog barks too much. She really doesn't, but our neighbor thinks so. What a distraction. Why don't they just come to us, rather than calling out the National Guard, for heaven's sake. Anyway.

Last night I went to my Bible Study class. Sue spoke and I wrote ferociously various notes in my Bible, as everything she said I made instant application to me. In discussion section of the Bible Study, one woman said something that struck me in particular: "When God gives a victory, even though a lot of people may have helped you, God is the One to honor and your allegiance is to Him alone, not to all the people who helped you, even though you appreciate their help. This is the verse that stuck in my head today from yesterday's lesson: "...I am.. your very great reward." That is, God Himself is my great reward. Not the fancy, cool or heart-felt, wonderful things that He does for me. No matter the circumstances, God Himself is constant - my constant and ever-present reward, including hope for future reward in fullness of knowing and being with Him.

This morning, Tuesday, I was hoping that Crystal would call. I started to worry that actually, my husband would bearly have time to meet with her, since he has to go get the children, that is, on Friday, that is, if she even wants to meet with him. And does she want to meet with me? With us? Maybe she didn't call because she is realizing that in fact that she has enough information to make a formal referral of Matt to our family, and maybe the whole family could actually meet Matt on Friday and he could come skiing with us after all.

When I called my husband about "what if" details and planning he said, "don't bother me with stuff that you don't even know until you know. If she wants to meet with us, fine, then call me." He was right. I prayed and wrote a little poem to encourage myself, and pray that God would just calm me down. And make it through the day. So I made it through the day. I was calmed down. And the day has passed. It is now 9:30 PM Kentucky time.

Tomorrow is Wednesday. I have kept my schedule clear for Friday in case I am not here in California, but meeting Crystal in Kentucky. I don't know if I should change my call schedule so that I am not working (that is, working by way of telephone) on Thursday night, if I am flying then to Kentucky. It is 1500.00 for the three of us to fly to Kentucky. Just a little thing on my mind. Oh, but so exciting to hop on a plane and go. (It is 1690.00 to get the dog surgically de-barked - we're going to try the electric dog collar first, poor thing.)

So, Wednesday, do you think that I should call Crystal back and tell her that I was wondering if she wanted to meet me on Friday, because if she does, then I need to make the arrangements? (I am also going to be out in Kentucky, Monday, January 2, but that is a holiday, and I'm sure that she isn't working.) Or should I just let the day pass on by? Then it will be Thursday....Oh, what to do?

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him and He will set your path straight." Prov. 3.

"Dear Lord Jesus Christ,
The Risen One who is and Who is to come, glory and honor to You and to Your throne forever! You, indeed are my great reward! Help me to keep my eyes upon You. Guide me with Your eye. I am here to serve You and You alone. Help me, if it is your will, not have to call Crystal back, but please have her call me tomorrow - and at just the right time. Perfect timing so that I can accomodate her call appropriately. If it is best that I go out there with the little kids, let that happen, oh God. Let the child You want to be in our home to come to our home, a child that wants Jesus in His heart and a Christian family, who has hopes and dreams of good things to come, who wants to receive healing from Your hand and live for You and serve You -who, in fact, will do that at some point. Thank you so much for all of the people that are holding me up in prayer. I am so appreciative and really feel that I "need" it. But I know I have all I need in You, but please bless them and continue them in their prayers on behalf of my family. Help also my husband with his emotions, especially in connection with my emotions, during this time of adjustment and change. Lord, reign! Amen. We pray for miracles from the sky as a regular part of ordinary, every day Christianity. We are not great. You are great and You are willing to work greatly in us."

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 5:37 PM | 9 comments

Monday, December 12, 2005

Destiny's appointment

Circus sounds
as the train parades through town
Dogs in the village bark
but the train marches on
to its destination
onto its purpose
the circus is coming through town
and no matter how the dogs bark
their sounds echo and distract
the train is going forth
onto its destination
onto victory's celebration
onto the show that is prime-time live
onto eternity's appointment
the fulfillment of destiny
the riches of glory
newness of life and
Christ Himself before me.
So I won't get distracted
I won't steer off course
I won't worry about the weather
because I'm not going alone.
Christ Himself is my Light
He is my Faithful Guide.
He is holding my hand,
holding the flashlight,
He made the road,
He's got the map.
He knows the end from the beginning
He's got the presents wrapped.
Christ my King
is doing this for me
because He loves me
because He is working everything out for my good
because He is my Bridegroom
and He is for me.
So trust Him I will
Onward I will go
Looking to Him alone
The crown of my eternal soul.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:37 PM | 3 comments

An Update about Matt!

I have new information! I was typing and got even new information. I don't have time to write right now. Just pray.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:50 AM | 4 comments

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Real Life

You know what Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture sounds like? Ever been to the Grand Canyon and looked around? Ever looked at all the stars on a clear night while in the wilderness? Such is the life of the ordinary Christian - no not me necessarily - just every Christian, what he or she has readily available because of being "in Christ," and all the happenings in this realm and in the next, for now and for eternity's sake.

Did you know (rhetorical question) that when Ephesians chapter 6 discusses the full armor of God, that it really doesn't pertain to an actual belt, actual shoes with a little peace symbols upon them? There isn't an actual breastplate that literally stands for righteousness. Did you know that when Paul says "you can take your stand against the devil's schemes," that He is not speaking figuratively. No, that is real.

I rode the stationary bike at the club for 78 minutes. I stretched. I prayed and meditated upon these things.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorites, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." That is real. Bombs bursting in mid-air (as Tchaikovsky's song goes), magnificence of rock structure all around (as in the Grand Canyon). Stars as far as the eye can see, as numerous as the sand of the sea and as numerous as Abraham's descendants.

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

"watching thereunto with all perseverance"
"watching thereunto with all perseverance"
"watching thereunto with all perseverance"
"watching thereunto with all perseverance"
"watching thereunto with all perseverance"

See the color, shape and structure of the Grand Canyon, listen to the bombs burst in mid-air, see the stars - the multitude millions of Abraham's descendants.

"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliever us;" (2 Corinth 1:10). Did you know God is a deliverer? He has delivered in the past, is delivering in the present and will continue to deliver.

I thought to myself as I spun around in theoretical circles (well, the circles were real, but they didn't take me anywhere), how does God want me to pray, now that I have meditated upon these truths? I was desiring to be lead by His Holy Spirit. Does the Lord not want us to go alongside and pray specifically for those that He has called us to? If we don't do it, aren't we neglecting so great a faith (Hebrews)? When we hear the music, see the magesty, gaze into the stars, understand the truth of righteousness, of peace, of truth, of faith, and He says, "Stand." "Stand." "Stand." "Stand." Are we not to stand? Are we to throw away our faith? Is our faith perfect? (No.) Therefore, does that mean we throw down the bike and walk home? Is He not teaching us? Is He not perfect in patience towards us? Does He not tell us that if anyone trusts in Him, he will not be put to shame? Is God perfect in all His ways? (Yes.) Is He in control? Do not trials prepare for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison? Do you want that - or do you want only what you can see? Do you want to be the good Samaritan and walk with the wounded one for awhile? Do you want to give the thirsty a cold glass of water in Jesus' name? Is it hard? (Yes.) So watch, watch, watch. Watch like in a battle. In a battle, you watch your opponent and you stand. Take your stand therefore. It's real. Life is now and it's real.

So I prayed something like this:

"My Lord Jesus, deliver Matt from the abuse of the enemy, from the enemy's camp, from the perspective that the enemy wants him to have about himeslf, about the world, about people. Deliver him and heal him and build him up to stand upon Your shoulders, to see all the things that You might show him. To go where You say, to love with Your heart, to do what You do, so that all may know, on earth, above the earth and below the earth that it is the Lord Jesus who reigns and delievers, Who is and was and always will be, Who does what He wants upon the earth, Who hears the hearts of men and women and babes. By Your strips we are healed and are renewed. All that we see isn't the way that it is." There is only 1% that we see. Will you pray for Matt also, no matter where he ends up living, whether with us or not.

"I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother..." (2 Corinth 2:13).

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us:for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinth 2:11).

About five minutes before I left the club, my daughter came into the fitness area, walking alongside her nine year old brother. I said, "he's not allowed in here."

She assured me (convincingly), "they said it was okay, as long as he only went on the treadmill (and not the other equipment). I said that is was all right then. Three minutes later (you know what happened), the big commotion in the whole place was the hollering of my nine year old who went flying off the treadmill (told me later that he couldn't keep up with the eight mile per hour speed that he plugged in to the contraption). Next second, my daughter when flying off her treadmill and tumbled into her brother.

No, she didn't have permission that she said that she did. The nine year old was not allowed on the treadmill. Seems she made that up. I told her about David and his sin, and how she just has to admit it and face it and confess and go on. She, however, wanted him to wear a hat to cover up the nodule on his noggin. I said that she is just trying to cover up her shame. Turns out she sustained an injury also. She cried and said that she was sorry. Once home, she got him ice, a blanket, a band-aid and movie of his choice into the DVD player.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 1:24 PM | 4 comments

Friday, December 09, 2005

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the honor of being sustained through prayer by people I don't really know, both at my Bible Study and through this blog site, and also through my friends that I know better. It is Your love that I feel. Thank You for Your encouraging words. Like the same verse that my friend told me about - the "weight of eternal glory" on the same day that You gave me that verse already that day. And the "consider it pure joy" verse. And the lessons on faith, and enjoying your day in the midst of problems and situations. You speak through prayer, Your word, Your church and circumstances.

Thank You for Romans 10:11 and the truth that when we trust in You, You never put us to shame, and we will never be put to shame for trusting in You, for looking to You, for wanting to do Your will, even though we are only learning how to hear You better, how to walk with You more closely.

Thank you last night at my child's Christian school performance, when the principal announced that the purpose for the night was to honor You and Your birth. I wanted to hoot and holler like people do at a football game, or at least clap, but nobody clapped then, but I did in my heart and the angels did and You did. Oh, how You are humble and meek. Let me learn from You.

Lord, I realized last night that You have changed me over these months. I am a different person. I care more deeply. I am held by Your hand. Also, thank you for showing me, that I have given You everything that I have, or can think of that I have, and have laid it at Your feet - things that I can't control anyway, but I know that You can take care of those things. Things that are unreasonable to try not to contol, except I know they are safest in Your hands. Though I fail, though I am weak, though I am of sin, Your faithfulness and sufficiency are everlasting and complete. Thank You for teaching me not to overplan my day and my life, although that is a struggle for me.

Help me to walk in the light that You have given me, for You do not hide Your plan from us, though surprises You have in store - but help me to walk where You want me to, when You want me to, how You want me to, without struggling or fainting. Enable my legs to be firm and steadfast like the deer on the heights. And from that mountain's edge, to see all the things You want me to see, like Mary who pondered and treasured all the things of Jesus in her heart. Be with all the people who are praying with me, to provide for them a great blessing both now and for eternity. Be with Matt, and Brent, and with all my blessed children. Thank You for the ministry of being a wife and mother, and I get to be a doctor and a friend too. But the biggest blessing is to worship You. A worshipper of Jesus. That is who I should see myself as, Your worshipper. You fill me with love and an intoxicant that flys me into outer space. You are my Great Love. Thank You and go with me now.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:17 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I'm sustained

In Him, I'm sustained
Apart from Him, nothing is gained
Apart from the cross
Nothing to see and all is lost.
One with my soul-
The Lord this heart knows
My Maker is mine
I am His treasure
made from a mire of clay
chistled and refined
His heart in me is devine.
Oh Lord, I am Yours
Through Your eyes I do see
All on earth is lost
as my life in You is renewed
Go with me today
Fulfill Your purpose for me
Live Your life through me
Help me to be still
To be used of You
Fill me with Your joy
Above the clouds let me soar
Bringing to others
Your love brought to me
As You gave Yourself to me
That day You hung on the tree
Let me count it all joy
not a second is lost
all fullness in Him
the weight of glory awaits
I spread my arms for Him
give myself to His ways
Lord of life will bring alive
my carcass of death
that is hanging on the tree
right next to Glory's side
right next to Thee.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:18 AM | 8 comments

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Still as crazy today as yesterday ("while we look, not to the things that are seen, but are unseen...")

Well, things are better with my mom and I, and my distress over that matter that I wrote about in yesterday's blog. I told her that I wouldn't be inviting the biological relatives to that party. "Oh, okay," she said to me. "I hope it wasn't on my account, because you do what you want to do." Regarding L,L,L comment to me in the last blog/comments section, yes, I will agree in prayer that God may have it happen one day - that we pray it would happen, in unity in Christ! And this party is actually a year away, for my husband's 50th birthday party - a crab feed, so there is still time, plenty of it, but at this point I won't be inviting the biological relatives unless she asks me to. And that could happen. There will be also other events that will come up in the future too, so I'll leave it in God's hands.

This thing with my mother that sprang up, and the scare with cancer seem both like distractions aimed at throwing me off.

Yesterday was a really hard day. An unexpected event happened near the end of the day that really disturbed me. I hadn't been feeling well anyway. For two days I have had this headache on and off. I decided to rest in bed - go to bed early. There I cried, turned on the light and read a little, meditated on a verse (Rom 10:11: "Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame," isn't that great?), turned off the light, cried, fell asleep for a few minutes and woke up in a startle that I was driving and about to rear-end a car, cried, read, light on, light off. Phone rang about five times. Trying to be polite to a phone solicitor is useless - I said, "don't make me hang up on you - and I had to hang up as he didn't hear what I was telling him and spoke faster and faster.

My friend who I pray with on Wednesday mornings called and wanted to pray then instead, so we did. I wanted to share what was bothering me, but felt I really couldn't. I feel like nobody is strong enough to really sustain me when I am weak, except God and my husband. Everybody else flips out, because they expect me to be strong. Because I am stronger than them, and if I feel weak, they don't know how to handle it, which I think is really dumb. Also, I don't like being weak, because I feel like people are judging me. Also, I remembered what happened just a couple of days before when I was vulnerable to my mother and it blew up two days later. So, we prayed and I prayed and it was good. I wanted to pray again Wednesday morning but didn't ask. It was still a good thing that she called and prayed with me. That was nice.

Two thoughts came into my mind last evening during all of this. One was a thought that the devil tried to get me to think about. It was this: "Is it worth going through all this just to adopt a child?" I said to myself in response, "It isn't about adopting a child. It is about fulfilling God's purpose for my life. It is about following God and what I think is God's will for my life." He wanted me to take my perspective off of God's perspective. It isn't merely about what is happening in the here and now. It is about what is happening in the heavenlies - what is happening for eternity, for all of the big picture that God is working out, for the mystery He is putting together. It's His story. I'm in it. It's not what I am trying to do for myself.

The second thought seemed divinely inspired. It happened later. I was laying in bed having just read from Oswald Chambers daily devotional, Feb 15, "Are you ready to be broken bread and poured out wine for Him? Are you ready that nothing else on this earth matter except that you disciple other people for Christ?" (The second sentence is an approximate quote). I was laying there in my bed feeling broken. I didn't know how to respond to God. I didn't want to beg for a certain prayer, because I didn't want to error and beg for the wrong thing, outside of His perfect will (but I did beg some prayers, carefully - I begged for resolution/completion, and let Him know that I just feel like I can't take this anymore). I just laid there at His mercy. Then the thought came, almost like a voice but it wasn't a voice, but an impression "is preparing for you an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison." To that I stuck my face in the pillow and sobbed. I knew the beginning of that verse "this present trial is preparing for you an eternal weight of glory..." ( II Corth 4:17) The impression - the verse cited in my mind- felt like torture because it was a calling to hang on to the same. Not to throw away my faith, which meant holding on in limbo. Throwing away my faith would be relief. Oh well. No relief. I'm just as crazy today as yesterday.

As I did finally go to sleep for the night (8:30 - 5:15 I got to sleep!), I had a good dream that I was flying. The wind was blowing hard, but steadily, and because of the way the wind was, I could fly. There were people walking on the streets, so as to not bump into them, I flew above them. Then some money fell out of my purse and I had to stop. While there on the sidewalk, a man was there wondering about the money. It seemed there was some controversy about it. Anyway, it was still a good dream.

Gotta go. Hope to check into my blog friends sites tonight. Thanks for listening and holding me up to God and mostly for being a fellow follower of the Way.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 6:13 AM | 8 comments

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Feelings of shame in a mire of clay

I feel like griping about my mother, and all my trials and let-downs about how my needs aren't met in a relationship with her. But I won't. Instead I'll briefly mention how I applied the Bible Study lecture last night, and then move on to positive comments with regards to my husband.

Abraham gave Lot the best choice of land, when he didn't even have to give him any land. He had God's perspective. He desired peace in the family rather than asserting his own rights. In the beginning it looked like Lot made out. But in the end, Lot ended up with nearly nothing whereas Abraham was blessed in many ways and with many things. I will forgo doing what I wanted to do (invite my biological relatives to a party next year) because my mom really can't hang with that. (I was adopted as a baby.) I feel sorry for my biological relatives, because they all have such broken lives. My husband are going to have a big party next year and I wanted to invite all my relatives that I know and who raised me, but I also wanted to have an "opportunity" to invite all my biological relatives (that I located about 6 years ago). I have kept those biological relationships pretty distant, so there isn't any confusion with my immediate family (children)or with the people who raised me (adoptive relatives). The people who raised me are my "real" family, but I do have a heart for the people that I share blood with. I feel like I was rescued from the Titanic and they weren't. They all have broken lives and broken relationships, and in my mind it would be nice to just let people meet and let there be a rebuilding, or at least to be a light of what God can do.

With the adoption of Matt (Lord willing), and maybe another boy in the future, I thought it would allow him (them) a nice perspective for me to have a relationship with everybody.

So, my idea was to ask my mom her opinion if I should invite the biological relatives - if she would ever like to meet them, etc. She sounded a little negative, but not overwhelmed or anything. In fact, we had a really good conversation about the matter, or so I thought at the time. Well, two days later she calls me, on the verge of tears, saying that I don't realize that she loves me. "You and Johnny (my brother - also adopted) are all I've got! If anything were ever to happen to you, I would be devistated...we (she and my grandmother, age 92) don't want to be thrown to the sidelines as if we're nothing...I don't think you realize how much we love you..." I told her not to get carried away with conclusions that she knows not to be true, etc. She says, "You're a psychiatrist, I know you told me that you don't do family, but sometimes I need you to be my psychiatrist." (I feel like telling her, "Mom, I'm the daughter. You're the parent. Quit putting me into this role that I'm not to be in. Can't I just be the kid? (no, never)." I speak quietly, in a non-controversial and soothing manner and we conclude the conversation with my reminding them that I know that I am loved and they know that I love them, so quit saying like I don't, in not so many words. I decided then not to invite the bio relatives to the party, but resist calling her back and telling her so. I haven't told her yet, but I won't be inviting the bio relaitves to the party. That just ain't gonna fly.

In my opinion, when a baby is adopted, the parent has issues (and the kid, but I'm not talking about that right now). The parent, at least in most situations, has to deal with the fact that she was unable to have her own biological children and also has to deal with the fact that her child comes from another biological heritage. The parent can ignore both of these issues and just put on the kid the burden to make like these two issues don't even exist, and lay on the guilt trip that it is the kid's responsibility to pretend like they don't exist, out of respect and honor for the one who raised you. Okay. I'll pretend. But don't go asking how I feel.

The other day on the phone, when I was asking her opinion about whether to invite the biological relatives, she asked me, "you've been troubled about being adopted, haven't you? It's troubled you." Normally I would blow her off and minimize/avoid how I feel with her, because she is like a black widow spider in some respects, if I can use such an anology respectfully (okay, this blog will never have a future with her ever seeing this...since she can never see it - ) when it comes to how she interacts with me and my emotions. But I forgot about that red dot under her belly, and I told her, "yes, I've been troubled about it." She asked me more questions, and I answered her, feeling very vulnerable, but brave too, as I inadvertantly allowed myself into her web. She said, "I'm so glad that you shared with me, because I knew these things bothered you, but you would never tell me." I said, "I wasn't always strong enough and I didn't always understand enough, to tell you these things." Okay fine. So I went to bed happy that my mom and I have had "healing" in our relationship.

That takes us back to what I was just talking about, the fact that two days later she calls me on the phone, manipulating me saying that my grandmother thinks that I don't love her because of our conversation that she overheard. So my grandmother gets on the phone and in response to my question sounds very confused and taken back, "what do you mean I don't think you love me? What are you talking about?"

I said some disrespectful things about my mom today in the blog, I suppose. Do you think so? I'm not planning on her knowing that I said these things, let alone that I feel these things. I know nobody in blog land will tell her. See, she can't deal with the reality that I FEEL CERTAIN things. But the reality is, she did distort me, who I was created to be, by her emotional manipulation when I was a child. She wouldn't let me be me! Who I was created to be and it hurt me a lot. If my emotions didn't look the way she wanted then to look, she would threaten to leave me, which really, really freaked me out. So, I lost for a while part of the core of who I am, because I honored her and her needs. Many years later, God has healed me, and brought back a lot of that core person of who I really am, not who I pretended to be, who I was to satisfy her needs of me. I had to do that, or she would reject me. And I was only a kid. An adopted kid who was "rejected" once already.

The whole event of the last two days rekindled the memories of all of our past. No, healing did not happen in the conversation with my mother two days ago. It was another day in the way it always has been. An apparent "change" but more of the same. Oh, and I brought up again about how we were going to adopt Matt (2 days ago on the phone with her). She was negative. "Well, I don't see why you have to go and do that. But oh well, it's not up to me. But to me, I just don't see it."

Dear Lord Jesus, I didn't intend to get into all of these details. I am so sorry for dishonoring her, if that is what I am doing - but this is what happened and to ignore it or not understand it or not explain it at least to myself is like sufforcating me with a plastic bag or sticking me in a tupperware bowl in the fridge for 100 years until there is nothing but mold left. Lrd, protect me from the wrath of my mother. Or help me not to be so afraid of it. Oh God, you are my God and there is no other. Please do not have discord in my family. Lord, I am not going to invite the biological relatives to the party and I feel comfortable that is your will. But my heart longs for completeness where there is brokenness, for facts where there is disguise, for reality, oh Lord. Help me to be like Abraham and chose peace and your perspective. To give up my own rights, but I don't even have "rights" since my mom did adopt me and she does have the rights. Help me not to be like Lot and chose the best land and the hell with everybody else. But Lord, I do know that you will use this situation in the future. Bring peace to my family that raised me, and continue to be with my biological relatives. Be with Matt and Brent, whereever they are and whatever they are doing. Help Brad and I to love their biological relatives, and to have wisdom how to interact with them - wise as serpent and innocent as doves. Help us to pray for their wholeness and salvation and to realize who these boys are - their complete picture, to be a guide and a help to them, not a hinderence, or a manipulation to get our needs met. Let us lay down our needs and serve, oh Lord. Be with me four beautiful biological children. I am so blessed with what you are doing in their lives. They are like a lovely dream to me. Thank you, and go with me today and in all of these matters. In Jesus' name, amen. Tomorrow hopefully I will talk about my husband and the lovely thing that the Lord is doing. God bless.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:07 AM | 5 comments

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Birds, stockings, and a line in the cement

This was my faith walk for today. I am sharing this with some trepidation. This morning I was thinking, that it really is looking unlikely that we will have Matt in our home by Christmas, and especially not by the 16th, which is when our family's ski trip starts, and is the day my husband is picking up two of my kids from their boarding school in Kentucky.

The setting is this: I was sitting at the table this morning, reading my Bible Study homework and digressing to a time 18 years ago when I thought the Lord was speaking to me through Romans chapter four. (I was pretty freaked out at that time, because I felt this sort-of warm sensation in my heart, and it was quite striking. I was sure that God was impressing upon me to believe that my husband would become a believer one day. Three years ago my husband began attending church with me and has since demonstrated his commitment to Christ. Not smooth sailing the years in between.)

Although it wasn't in this morning's assignment, I turned to the verse in Romans ch 4 that said, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed, and so become the father of many nations." The verse went on to discuss that he considered his old body and Sarah's. I tried to figure out and think about what "against hope, in hope" meant. About that time a flock of unusual birds went zooming past on the lake outside the window, all flying tightly and speedily together.

For Abraham, the circumstances were like those flock of birds - the circumstances were all going in one direction, and with great force and that was like the natural hope in the world. If one were one of those birds, but going in the opposite direction - against all those birds going in the other direction, to me that would be like "against all hope, Abraham in hope believed." Abraham believed God against the natural hope that he could see.

I wrote out my facts. Why I should presume upon God to bring Matt into our home by Christmas? I numbered on the side of each fact (or detail) 1-10, depending upon the degree of certainty that I had that God orchestrated the fact or detail. The details were things revealed by God either through prayer, His Word, circumstances, or the church that pointed to Matt coming to us by Christmas. There were a number of details/facts. But no voice from heaven sounding like a phone solicitor told me details that my flesh wanted to know. There was so much mystery remaining.

Later in the day, going about activites with my family, I thought about how I wanted to believe God but what if I was wrong, and what if I am manipulating Him, or trying to manipulate Him, or what if I am like the evil and adultrous generation that Jesus spoke about who demanded a sign? What about the signs God already gave me?

I thought about how in the verse in Roman chapter 4 that seemed to imply that because Abraham believed, then therefore God was "able" to work to enable the pregnancy (and enable the whole "justification by faith" number and all of its ramifications). What if I was to believe God that Matt would be here by Christmas in order for it to actually come about?

Hours later as I was walking, I saw a line in the cement at my feet, and I said, when I walk over this line, I am simply going to believe and receive that God is wanting me to believe that we will have Matt by Christmas. (Isn't this a little wacky?) When I walked over the cement I really thought like I felt something in my spirit.

Later again, I was writing in my journal and I titled the next page, "things I would be doing if I knew Matt was coming by Christmas." A list of about six things suddenly appeared. I would buy the shelves for that closet and move out the rest of the stuff out of that closet. I would change the sheets. I would put the labels on the CDs, address the Christmas card "packages" (literally - Bonnie you want one? So far I am sending one to Pia, Dana and Kitty). I would buy that additional Christmas stocking that Matt would need for Christmas morning, that I had thought about buying one, two, three times before, but put it off.

Then I thought to myself, "what if he is coming by Christmas? I had better get these things done." I thought, "why should I not act upon the belief that he could come by Christmas?" Then I got a little afraid about how I haven't acted upon what God has shown me already. I said to myself, in perhaps an inspired sort of way, "I'm going to buy the very next stocking that I see."

Hours later, we were at the mall. I dropped the kids at "Build a Bear" and told them I was going to check at the information booth about an item that my child wanted to get with some reward money that he had, to see if the mall carried it. I looked up and in a window I saw the most wonderful Christmas stockings, and forgetting my earlier "commitment," I admired to myself how those stockings are just the kind that would be perfect for our home and children. Then, a flash later, of course I remembered that I said to the air and God who fills the air, that I was going to buy the next stocking that I saw. I went right into the store and there was a lovely woman who helped me.

The inner struggles started. I ended up purchasing the following: 6 individually unique stockings and 6 stocking holders. The holders were on a bit of a short supply and I had to mix and match styles. Then, when I was ready to purchase, the lady found out that they did have six all of the same style, but I stuck with my original decision. To purchase 4 holders of the cross type (for 4 boys) and 2 holders of the nutcracker type (for 2 girls). Later in the car, my daughter, seeing that there were 6 stockings (and there are currently 6 members of our family)asked which stocking did I want. I told her that I wasn't going to be choosing a stocking for myself.

Tonight, 20 minutes before "Linen and Things" was closed, I purchased the shelves for the closet.

"...he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah's womb was also dead." That is the way I feel. We haven't even heard that Matt has been referred to us. How are we going to fly over there, preferably with all six family members and have a conference, be chosen to let the timing happen "immediately" - or practically immediately and then for Matt to come over to California from Kentucky? In between all of that, our social worker needs to recieve background information to go over with us.

"Be still and know I am God." Well, if it is January 15th and nothing has happened, what do I say to myself then? What do I conclude? That I am not perfect, but God is. The flip is worse, what if I am to believe, but don't?

I may not be able to make everything happen according to a schedule, but I can make the preparations if God was wanting Matt to come by Christmas. So tomorrow, Lord willing, I'll finish that closet and the last details on his room. Oh, late in the day today I thought I had an inspired thought, "what happened today with the stocking was another sign." I mean, what are the chances of finding just the right stocking, right after making that crazy commitment - and get this - a 50% off sales price.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 8:49 PM | 3 comments

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Let this be pithy, oh Lord.

Well, I want this to be shorter than my other recent entries. I fear the dread as an individual or two opens my pages to see line after line of commentary like the New York Times rather than USA Today. Not even any pictures. And no cartoons? Well, maybe the servants will come (His servants) and may they receive something from the Master; (amen).

Yesterday I had the opportunity to pray and I want to remember and capture what I think God was perhaps trying to communicate to me. I'm not sure, but I will write down what I think, and then see if it seems confirmed by how Blackaby says that God communicates to His people: through His word, prayer, circumstances and the church. I think those are the four ways that He cites in His book, "Experiencing God."

Oh my. I feel a sermon coming on. And I'm trying to be brief. How can I boil this down. Like this:

I think that God wants to use me, yes, but that He really is going to be using my family. Or the emphasis in yesterday's prayer was that He would be using my family. David wanted to build a house for God and God said that it was good that he wanted to do that, but nevertheless, Solomon would build the house. David still did all kinds of preparations for the future building. God was faithful and fulfilled His commitment to build the temple through Solomon. Solomon remembered how God chose to build the house through him, that it was something He commited to his father, David.

Okay, God. So, I think that I need to press on with the preparations, as David heard Your voice, what Your plans were. He went on in Your vision for the temple and Your vision came to pass. Lord, grant me Your vision for my family. Oh, give me six children, oh Lord and let them all walk in Your faithfulness and fruitfulness forever! Let me be the mother with kindness and wisdom on her tongue (Prov 31). Let these children be like arrows from my husband and I, our side. Establish and protect them from an early age. Let none fall. And though we all faulter, let them rise again quickly, and let their faultering be used for immediate and tremendous learning that they may stand in righteousness and boldness before You, before Your throne of grace, upon their faces, in humilty before You forever, receiving help in time of need, which is ALWAYS. Amen.

God bless you readers! May you know His blessing upon this reading at this time.

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 9:26 AM | 5 comments

Friday, December 02, 2005

"Holiday" Party (Ghastly name, but that is what it was - no sign of Christmas, or anything, BTW)

"Thou will show me the path of life. In Thy presence is fullness of joy. At Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore." I meditated on that during my pedicure yesterday. It is from from Psalm 16 -a verse towards the end of the chapter.

The Bible Study homework fell into the foot water. I wiped it with a towel. I read the notes section with it sitting on a towel on my lap. It was about Genesis and Abraham. It spoke about the blessings of Abraham, in Genesis 12. That God would make him a great nation, and would bless him and all the peoples of the world would be blessed by him. And how he believed God. And about how he stumbled when the famine came.

It didn't talk about how Sarah trusted God, and did what was right, and did not give way to fear (I Peter 3), while she was stuck in the Egyptian camp, but I like to keep that in the forfront of my memory and mind at almost all times. It isn't my husband that I trust, no offense to him, but he is merely a man. It is God Almighty that I trust, as I obey my husband and seek to conform my ways to his desires. Almighty God, when my husband leads me to the Egyptian camp. Which will happen from time to time. Which I am in, in certain aspects of my life - our life, in our meatloaf of a human relationship, so to speak. But it is okay. God is able. So, I'm just keeping that thing I am praying about and concerned about and have been for as long as I have been married, on "simmer" on God's stove. (I've tried to get out on my own. That is wasted effort.) An incense of continual prayers going up to God, my Father.

"Don't forget about - "
"Don't stop sustaining us in -"
"Lord, thus far You have been faithful despite us, Lord. Don't leave us now in this matter - "

Oh Abraham, Abraham! How I love Abraham. And Sarah!!

I picked up my husband at the airport yesterday. It was raining. His plane was about 20 minutes late. I parked in the garage and waited for him to come down the esculator. Finally he did. He looked cute to me, by I remember what my daughter said over the phone to me last week upon seeing her Dad after a couple months. "Mom, you've got to do something about his hair." I thought to myself when I saw him, "I'm not going to do anything about his hair." Oh, a man's hair!

The conflict sprang up quickly and was unexpected. It was brief but potentially more difficult than it was. I prayed (no surprise.) He let it pass. So did I. So I won't discuss it anymore. Then we talked about what we were going to do that evening.

"This is what I had planned for tonight," I said.
"Did you forget I told you we have that holiday party to go to tonight," He said.
"Oh yeah. Well, that will be fine. It will be fun," I said.

Later at the party I looked into my husband's face and he looked at me like he did when we were dating. He looked at me like he were interested in me. Like he liked me. He was attracted to me.

For awhile I wasn't that attractive, because I let myself go to pot, to use an old fashioned expression of my mother's. But she always had kept herself looking nice, and my mother-in-law never did, so when I turned 40, I looked in the mirror and realized I had some serious work to do, and I had better get started. I had one of two roads I could take. One would involve effort. The other neglect.

I don't feel real comfortable at parties. My husband is a bit of an extrovert and always knows how to work a room. But he isn't "working" it. He is just a social kind of guy who likes people. That was one of the first things that I noticed about him when I met him, and what I admired, because I'm not like that.

At the party I wore high heel shoes. I only wear high heels about four times a year, since doing so makes me pretty tall. I am 5'7" normally. But my husband is 6'3", so when I go out with him I like to wear them. But I have to concentrate on walking without looking like I am going to topple over, because I am not used to them. I had on a gold skirt, black shirt, wine-colored jacket. The skirt and jacket were of a velvet -ie fabric.

My husband had jet lag, and had gotten up real early, so we got to leave by 7:30 PM, which is a wonderful time to leave a party for an introvert like me.

And now it is today. For the first time in awhile I didn't have to take the kids to school. Tonight is my child's sleep-over birthday party.

Now I want to pray and eat. Then make some calls for house repairs, orthodontist. Then work (another shortened day), birthday party. Tomorrow I will begin to exercise again. May God be with all I eat. I need Him to feed me. To pick out that food that I eat, and to enjoy the food He has chosen for me to eat, in Christ. Please do that for me Lord, today. You know that I need You in this.

"Dear Jesus the Christ, the Almighty God, the Single and Only God, the God that abides with man but is not man, the True God, my Father, the Son who is one with the Father, that God, my God, the God who ever lives and will ever live forevermore, the God who will marry the church of Christ and who has washed her with the Word. Thy Word is truth. You are truth. Jesus, my Friend, thank you for sustaining my husband and I for these 22 years. Thank you for Your faithfulness when I am not faithful. When we are not faithful. Thank you for sustaining us in our finances over all of these years, despite the fact that we are not like the good sower. We are like the bad sower, but You are faithful to us anyway. Help me to be like that to others. To show mercy and grace, remembering Your grace to us. Yet transform us that we may become like the faithful sower, the wise steward. Help make us like little children who come to You openly in our need and express to You our cares. Take care of us like a Good Shephard, and help us to take care of others in that same way. Sustain us in all the works that You want us to do. Make a great name for Yourself. Build a great nation for Yourself and bestow upon us, even all the blessings of Abraham, if such a thing were possible. Yet you tell me in Your word that it is. Lord, I believe You, even though, like Abraham, I can not see all the presents under the tree yet, but I see from afar - that city with foundations that will stand forever - my home with You in Paradise forever. Amen. And continue to be working the adoption matter out perfectly."

posted by An Ordinary Christian | 7:02 AM | 3 comments