Feb 26, 2007

Flicka, The Film

Flicka is about Katie and her horse. Katie lives on a ranch with her caring family. She finds a black mustang and names her Flicka. Katie's father doesn't let her go near the wild beast because he is protective of her. Katie rebels against her father's rule and does the opposite. Every night she tames and trains Flicka. Katie feels free when she is near her horse. Katie's father doesn't understand that she needs Flicka like humans need air or fish need water. When he understands...they have peace and run the farm together. I like this movie because when I watch it I also feel free. I recommend this movie because it teaches wonderful lessons. Katie follows her dreams and learns that a father's protection is special and important. Katie's father learns to trust in his daughter and her dreams.


Praise Dance

Swirling around with my colorful, twinkling tutu.
Leaping in air when my feet touch the heavens of God.
Skipping with my knees doing hopscotch moves.
Reaching with my hands to the Savior.
Stretching with my legs in the sky.
Praising the Lord with my dancing.
My brown, long, streaked hair twisting in the mirror.


Feb 21, 2007

2 Chronicles 16:9

"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him."

The Gift of Family

How blessed...joyful...pleased...honored.... I am to have a dad who picks up the boys after lunch to play a game of tennis...or who runs around in cammies on many a Saturday....... getting shot up by paint balls with them and their friends... or jam packs the car tight with snacks and supplies for overnight hunting trips. It's so special that my mom watches Zion on Mondays so that the older kids and I can go to classes...without three year old distractions. Not only does this support me and minister to me...but my baby gets to be with her grandmother...as the big girls so often do. They look forward to their lunches out...shopping trips... and sleep overs. How about our dear friends...offering guitar lessons to Bria without charge...because there's just no way exchanging money with family feels right? And my girlfriends...they give themselves to my children so tirelessly week in and week out. I am so blessed! What a supportive family and extended family we have been given! Thank you, Lord...for meeting our needs in such loving ways.

Feb 15, 2007

Fathers, Sons, and Brothers

Lord, may their hearts be turned towards one another. Please strengthen their bonds and place a hedge of protection around their relationships.

Valentine's Day

Home-Educating Mothers

Thoughts taken from an encouraging blog.

1. Educating children at home is a full-time job. Don't get irritated if she consistently allows the answering machine to do its job. If she were a teacher in an institutional classroom, you probably wouldn't think of calling her during school hours, so try to realize that while still at home, she is keeping regular school hours, too.

2. Unlike homes in which the children are gone for eight straight hours, her home is in a constant state of activity. The children are not only home, they are home making messes. All day long. Their mother doesn't even have the opportunity to go into their rooms while they are at school and weed out the junk. And if she is like me, you might find odd homeschooly things lying around- like the month we had a dead turtle in the garage fridge.

3. Housekeeping and homeschooling are mutually exclusive. If she is doing her job educating her children academically, then her house is not being cleaned. If she takes the day to clean the house, then school wil not be accomplished.

4. Place realistic expectations on her- she cannot simultaneously teach school, make three square meals, keep a house that looks like it has sprung out of the pages of Architectural Digest, have her nails done, drive children to extracurricular activities, and have all the clothing laundered and pressed. Something's gotta give, and in my experience, it is usually her personal care. So don't expect her to don the latest styles, have her roots meticulously dyed at just the right moment, and her aforementioned nails filed and polished to perfection. And while most of us aren't slovenly, we just tend to put some superfluous aspects of personal care at the bottom of the to-do list.

5. For many of us, homeschooling isn't an option. Many believe it is not only the best way for their family, it is the only way. Many see homeschooling as a Scriptural directive. When sharing a particular struggle unique to homeschooling, comments like, "Well, why don't you consider putting them in school? Maybe homeschooling just isn't your thing" aren't helpful. Instead, offer a listening ear and your fervent prayers on her behalf.

6. If you are truly concerned about the state of her emotions, home, children, or marriage, offer practical help to ease her burden. Personal time is at a premium for her, so consider offering to take her kids for the day so she can recuperate. If you like to do laundry, offer to come over and get the loads going, fold, and/or iron. If you like to cook, consider putting together some meals that she can store in the freezer for days when time is at a premium. If she teaches a broad spectrum of ages and grades, consider offering to come in once a week or more to teach preschool to the little ones. One grandma I know created "Nana U" for her preschool grandson (number five of seven) and not only did it ease her homeshooling daughter's burden, it created a special bond between grandma and the child.

But there’s a caveat here: ASK her what would be most helpful to her. Don’t presume to know what would help her. Taking the oldest children for the day might be fun for you, but it’s quite possibly not at all helpful to her. The living room might need to be vacuumed, but it’s not helpful if she’s trying to take a nap. Someone once told me, “If it’s not wanted, it’s not helpful.”

7. Think about what a financial burden homeschooling may be placing on the family. The loss of her possible income can be a real struggle nowadays, and you might be able to buoy her for another year by offering to purchase little things like simple school supplies. Gifts for the children like books on subjects of interest to the child, field trip fees, museum memberships, and the money to pay for music lessons or other extracurricular activities are the best thing you could give a homeschooling family. Not only does a homeschooling mom not need one more thing to manage or pick up, she would be thrilled to see you take an interest in the many academic items on her wish list.

8. Simple questions like, "How can I pray for you?" and "Is there any way I can help you?" are like a cool breeze in her life. Don't assume you know her needs- ask. You could just be the vessel God uses to carry her on through this very demanding and ultimately rewarding season of her life.

Feb 13, 2007

Ugly Thoughts

If only the thoughts floating through my brain were lovely...but they are not. Not tonight. I'm sickened by sin this week and it's only Tuesday. I have all sorts of evil, gross things maneuvering around my brain. Things I don't want to know...things I don't want to see...hear...dwell on. I'm sick to my stomach. This state we walk around in...this state of pre-glory living...it is so marred...so bruised and scarred. Left to ourselves...we do no good. Lord, protect us from ourselves. Help us to desire to submit to your will for our lives no matter the cost. We know this desire can only come from You. And, Lord, please let us not be deceived by our own wayward hearts. Lord, turn your sinning church back...Lord, bring discipline upon your children. And by it...let us testify to your correction, protection, and undying love.

Feb 10, 2007

Gospel Colors

Black= Our Sin
Red= His Blood
White= Purity
Blue= Holy Spirit
Green= Growth In Christ
Gold= Streets Of Heaven


Feb 5, 2007

Grow Where You Are Planted

New York City is where we were married. I have an affinity towards a Coney Island Nathan's hotdog, 0rangeade and potato knishes smeared with deli mustard. Chestnuts don't seem quite right unless they are served piping hot out of a brown paper bag from some guy standing on a corner and the Atlantic seems to fit me somehow. I have fond memories of seeing Lady Liberty from my backseat window everyday as we commuted over the Verazanno and of knowing that the Twin Towers would always mark the skyline. Later on, when we moved further away...out of the boroughs...across state lines...it was normal to pass by a doe and her fawn drinking from a pond...or to read the barely readable names of Revolutionary War-time families on backyard, moss covered tombstones. The mile long country road which started at my bus stop...was lined with centuries old, grown over, hand stacked, stone walls on either side... and led to my Connecticut Yankee home situated on a secluded cul de sac where not a city light shone...and the moon was hardly visible due to a canopy of lush foilage.
L.A. is where we owned our first home...a 1928 remodel with an art deco fireplace right off of Crenshaw... and had our first baby. Bradley feels peace at the beach. It's where he, his brother and his mom would spend their week-ends after the divorce. It's where we got to know eachother better... one Saturday morning...early in our relationship...on the sand...talking for hours...under the cliffs of Malibu. The scent of salt water...the thick, morning haze which burns off in the afternoons, the Santa Monica Pier...to him, the Pacific seems right...like a fit. Much like the San Fernando Valley does...with houses built in the seventies...a bit run down now...and maybe smaller than remembered...but still filled with families and their dreams. In L.A., it was a Carney's hotdog and chili-cheese fries...eaten at 2 a.m. on your way home from some club on the Sunset Strip...or climbing the Hollywood sign on the week-ends to spray paint your name above the City of Angels...or so you could just say you did it while high-fiving your friends. It was where you and they were the characters in "Valley Girl", "Less Than Zero", and "The Breakfast Club" without even realizing it.
Russia...the land of onion dome churches and age segregated rooms in run down places. The location where dogs growled and snow covered the ground. Where things are now foggy and far off...like Kazakhstan...distant memories of yearly national costumes...dances and music...of playgrounds covered in broken glass...discarded needles and orthodox nannies with orthodox orphans...Muslim nannies with Muslim orphans...hurriedly passing each other in the dark, stinking hallways while smiling in their different languages. Both places introduced two girls to their parents..Bradley and I.

Arizona is where we live life now...us and our five kids......amongst mountains, blooming cacti, coyotes howling over jackrabbit feasts...javelinas on the driveway...double rainbows and summer monsoons that take our breath away. There are hikes and snake holes...bob cats creeping along the backyard fence and tarantulas caught between the screen and its door.... jogs through the saguaros...rattlesnakes on the front doorstep...scorpions in the closet and wild mustangs at sunset...but no beaches.

Does where we spend our time affect our leanings and affinities? Of course it does. Does He have a purpose in placing us where He does when He does? Of course He does. Is it an accident that I love learning about history, Ellis Island, our wars and all things nostalgic? That I am thrilled and mesmerized with black and white images of days long ago? That I see the world as a melting pot of stories? No, I don't believe so. My placement has contributed to His purposes for my life.
Is it an accident that Bradley breaths a deep sigh of recognition whenever he merges onto the 1O and heads west? Of course not. That place represents what could have been for Bradley. What might have been for his broken family. What might have been for his dreams. It represents all his happy memories too. It is the home of film...a strong passion of his... born and nurtured in the place where he came from.

If I had been born and raised on Kauai...would my passions be different? If He had placed me on an island in the middle of the ocean ...might I love the sea and all its creatures? Might I have a heart for surfers and a longing to share with them? Possibly. If Bradley grew up in Sudan, might he have a desire to fight back, stay and rebuild and... preach in the surrounding refugee camps? Possibly. The thing is...the Lord places people all over His creation so that they might live out His will for their lives.

How will He use Arizona in our lives and the lives of our children? I do not know. But I know He will. He is an intentional, strategic and purposeful Father who sees the larger picture and wants to fit us into it. May He use our histories and current circumstances to glorify Himself any way He sees fit. May we grow where we are planted and be willing to let Him uproot us any time He sees fit.

Feb 3, 2007

The Barn

Not to us....but to Your Name..... be the glory.
Lord, please direct our talents, passions and abilities in a way that pleases you. Lord, please direct us and make a way for us...according to your will.
"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands."
Psalm 90:17

Proverbs 14:1

Oh Lord...please give us wisdom as we travel the road of motherhood. Thank you for the blessing of stewarding these precious hearts you've entrusted into our care. Remind us daily that our role is indeed a blessing. Lord, I ask for endurance for each mother I know...to walk in the light of your truth.
Lord, when we are overwhelmed or underwhelmed by life's ins and outs, when we're fearful of what the future holds, or prideful in the moment,...stir us to bow our hearts and knees to you...Abba Father.
Lord, thank you for walking with us. Thank you for carrying us when we feel as if we can go no further. You teach us how to be loving mothers by being such a loving Father.

"The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands." Proverbs 14: 1

A Friend = One Who Loves

For Cate:
There are many ways in which the Lord shows His love for me. One way................He gave me a sister. She gently guides me back when I wander.
"But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24