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Friday, December 2, 2005

Parenting Secrets


Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, though he may depart from you, he will not depart from it.

~Proverbs 23:6 (words in italics mine)


We have had two exercises in letting go of growing children this week.  Thankfully, they have both been good experiences so far:

The first, as readers may know, was the trip to take Larry's fifteen-year-old son to a boy's ranch.  Long story long?  -- Read my previous post.  Long story short?  -- He is beginning a program that will last 12-18 months.  It will give him structure and accountability with lots of hard work, and responsibility.  The goal is to learn to make better choices, and get his life back on track.

Wednesday was the day -- but I am getting ahead of myself.  We had the pleasure of taking him shopping over the weekend for clothes and supplies.  Just the three of us.  It was just what Dad and I needed.  We saw a new kid, as he made trips in and out of the dressing room trying on jeans that don't sag or reveal his boxers. (Yeah for ranch rules!  I've been trying to enforce this one for two years.)  It's seems he's laughing more, smiling more, hugging more.  I think he's relieved and excited to be headed in a new direction.

So, Wednesday was the day.  We took two cars. (Mom in one, Dad, son and myself in the other, another blessing!)  Dad and I had written a letter to him about being proud of him, making good choices, and new beginnings.  He read it carefully in the back seat, and then smiled.  (It's been a long time since I've seen him smile that way.)  He told us thanks, and that he's going to tack it on his bulliten board in his room, so he can see it every day.  You would have thought he said he was naming his first-born after Dad.  It was a great moment for Larry.

We took him in, got him set up, signed paperwork, unpacked, and said our goodbyes.  It was tough, but there was so much hope in our son's eyes, that, talking later, we agreed that seeing it felt really good.  Walking away wasn't nearly as hard as we expected, because of that hope.  I think his relief stems from that feeling that he's turning a corner, and starting an adventure -- and he's doing it all without betraying mom by moving in with Dad. 

Our other experience was not nearly so dramatic, or painful:

Sarah, our 18 year old, is in Los Angeles.  She flew out from Tulsa early (dark-thirty a.m.) Thursday, on her own.  (She's flown to Ecuador and Peru before, but with a group.  She's flown alone, but only to Dallas.) 

After a five-hour flight, she waited at the airport for one of her girlfriends, who had a later flight in.  They met up with a whole group of girls who are attending this PBS taping for "the amazing Chris Botti".  (Sarah's own personal trumpeter, who extended an invitation and front row seats for her and a guest.) 

I am so thrilled for her.

But think about it.

How many things can a mom get anxious about in three days? 

-- Airport weirdos.

-- L.A. traffic.

-- Earthquakes.

-- L.A. weirdos. (every city's got 'em.)

-- Terrorism.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I am not stewing in constant, unreasonable worry.  But thoughts do cross my mind.  So I deal with them by giving her a call on the cell phone,  praying for her wisdom and safety, and being really thankful that she is so ecstatically happy seeing Chris, Sting, Paula Kohl, Gladys Knight, Billy Kilson, and others.

She's so (almost) grown up.

I am reminded that soon, she will pack up her things, and move away, to an apartment, or a college dorm, to another town, or another state...eventually marry, have children, live her own life, under another roof.

The closer it gets, the more I realize I will never be ready. 

But I am so excited for her.  May she always be this happy.

How do you deal with watching your first-born child, the one that changed your status from person to parent, as they prepare to launch out on their own, and leave your happy little nest?

Anyone know the secret?  Willing to share?

Friday, November 25, 2005



“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."

~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NKJ)


Sometimes you find the man of your dreams the second time around.  And sometimes he has kids.  And you love them like they were your own, but you aren’t the one raising them.  Sometimes they make bad choices, and start down a road that scares you, but being the non-custodial parent, you have to be careful how you deal with it all, because, after all, they have a mom, and she’s really trying to do the right thing by them, and although you would love the chance to take over and be the parent, you can’t.

Sometimes your role is to be a good influence… to encourage them to make good choices… to do what’s tough, just because it’s right.  Sometimes you can see that Mom is really struggling, and the kid’s choices aren’t getting any better, and all you can do is pray.

Sometimes it takes a lot of struggle and heartache before someone decides that something drastic has to be done.

That’s where we’ve been the past several weeks.

Larry’s son needs help learning to make good choices.  He needs to change direction, change friends, give up the bad choices, the experimenting with marijuana, the wanna-be gang activity, the decisions that get him suspended from school.  It’s obvious that this situation is way beyond Mom’s control, and maybe to far gone for Dad to take over.

We spent several days last week and this week meeting with the counselors, house parents and a case-worker at a nearby boy’s ranch.  They have an opening, and Larry’s son might be a good fit.  It’s a voluntary program, and he has to agree to placement.  It’s an awesome program.  But it’s all up to him.

We started out with, “I’m not going to do it.  Absolutely not!”  We progressed to, “maybe I’ll give it a try this summer, but not now.”  And, after a prayerful weekend, and some really good advice from family members and a couple of the good friends he still has, the decision was, “Yes, I will do it.”  So, the application and preliminary screening is finished, and we should know tomorrow whether or not he will be accepted for placement.  

It’s a sigh of relief, and a heart/gut-wrenching cry of sorrow.  This is going to be the toughest thing we’ve ever had to face with this kid.  Although we know it is his best chance for success, it will still be so hard to pack him up, and move him in, and walk away.

But at least we’re headed in the right direction.  At least he has a chance to turn things around.  At least we got help before it was too late.

God is good.

God is faithful.

God is able.

Thank you, God.


P.S.To all those whose continued prayers have helped us keep it together and reminded us to focus on trusting God, the words “Thank you” seem so inadequate.  But, “Thank you, a thousand times.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2005



(Steven Curtis Chapman)
[John 3:30 / Galatians 6:14]

How could I stand here
And watch the sun rise
Follow the mountains
Where they touch the sky
Ponder the vastness
And the depths of the sea
And think for a moment
The point of it all was to make much of me
'Cause I'm just a whisper
And You are the thunder and...

I want to make much of You, Jesus
I want to make much of Your love
I want to live today to give You the praise
That You alone are so worthy of
I want to make much of Your mercy
I want to make much of Your cross
I give You my life
Take it and let it be used
To make much of You

And how can I kneel here
And think of the cross
The thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear
The infinite cost
To purchase my pardon
And bear all my shame
To think I have anything worth boasting in
Except Your name
'Cause I'm a sinner
And You are the Savior and...

This is Your love, oh, God
Not to make much of me
But to send Your own Son
So that we could make much of You
For all eternity

JOHN 3:30

30He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]


14But far be it from me to glory [in anything or anyone] except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) through Whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!


When I hear the words to this song, my eyes fill with tears.  They speak so profoundly to my "inner-man" to my spirit, that I am not sure I can adequately express it.

I know that so much of the time, my mind is on the day-to-day busy activities, that I lose my focus.  I forget that it's not all about me... my activities... my obligations...

Editing deadlines, papers to grade, laundry to fold, meals to plan, bills to pay, library books to return, emails to read, comments to post, appointments to keep, Christmas shopping to do...

I know these are important things.  I know it's good to live responsibly and manage my time well.  That's not my point.

My point is, I spend so much of my mental energy on these things... I get out of focus...

When Paul wrote to the church at Colossae, he encouraged the Christians there:

"And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth."                                       

~ Colossians 3:2

And sometimes, this is where my challenge lies.

How do I keep my mind on the higher things, when so much of my activity is down here?

And today, this song reminded me...

"I'm just a whisper, and You are the thunder..."  

"Think of the cross, the thorns and the whip and the nails and the spear, the infinite cost to purchase my pardon..."

"How could I stand here... and think for a moment the point of it all was to make much of me..."

And everything changed........

My prayer today:

Forgive me, Jesus.  I lost focus.  The very idea that You would choose me, love me, save me... that You busy yourself with my steps... 

Even my redemption is not about me.  Instead it shouts aloud Your mercy, Your glory. 

Remind me.  Remind me. 

"I want to make much of You, Jesus.  I want to make much of Your love.  I want to live today to give You the praise that You alone are so worthy of.  I want to make much of Your mercy.  I want to make much of Your cross.  I give You my life.  Take it and let it be used to make much of You." 

Monday, October 3, 2005

For Love of Autumn


Rather than post a quote, I thought I would share an amazing poem with you.  This poem was written by a lovely and gifted young woman, whose gentle spirit and artistic grace leave me in awe.  I “met” her through my daughter’s xanga, and I so enjoy what she writes. You can find more about her here.


"The Dawn of Autumn"
© 2005 Kristine Lang

How bright! Dawn wakes with the tremor
Of Autumn’s sleeping whisper –
The taste of his cool breath more dear
Than the memory of Summer’s stolen kiss.
As she stretches her careful arms
Towards her lover in slumber,
Her rigid frame lights with the gleam of a silver dollar
Set against a shimmering blanket of sky.
Night’s shadow hides in fear of the tender gesture –
Darkness found only in the deepening shades of her growing shame.
A lengthened visitor unwelcome, she is,
With striving measures found lacking, at best.
And instead, color floods and fills Autumn’s eyes
As they open to Dawn’s beauty:
Her astonishing and simple grace,
Nearly forgotten, as now is the enemy’s lie.
In their early morning tryst,
There sings a song of familiarity and of hope.
Old lovers meet again under the guise of a new season,
One more welcome and promising than any besides.
Time seems to escape these moments,
Much like it ever does with passion’s return.
And so, they settle their love in the contours of a long embrace –
The horizon of her gentle air and his strong earth as bodies ever entwined.


To attempt to comment on the advent of the fall season, after such profoundly beautiful imagery seems a daunting task, but I will try:


He’s coming. I can feel it.

I have had a life-long love affair with Autumn.

As September draws to a close, the temperatures begin to tease me.  The still warm days are occasionally interrupted by a cool breeze, or a chilly evening, --- The problem is that it never lasts long.  Just when I think I might throw open the windows and air out the house…the thermometer creeps up over eighty degrees, and summer lingers.

And though summer hangs around rather longer than she is welcome, I know her days are numbered.  Eventually she will have to sleep, and then Autumn will finally blow in on the breeze.

He will bring me mementos --- all the sights and smells of fall.Wet leaves, logs burning, the scent of rain on the air, hay-rides, county fairs, pumpkins, apple pies, squash and high-school football.  He whispers on the wind, and in my ears I hear… “Look, I’ve set the horizon on fire with red and orange, brown and gold.  There’s a chill in the air, let’s go for a walk."

What is it about the crunch of leaves beneath my feet that makes me feel as though everything is absolutely beautiful?

So I linger in the evenings and watch the sunset.  I shiver slightly, and pull on a sweater as the stars turn on their lights, one-by-one.  I listen to the sounds of fall, and already, it is a bittersweet moment.

Because I know…

Autumn never stays long in Oklahoma.  He floats in on a breeze, plays with my hair, and my heart… He whispers to me of steaming bowls of stew and chili, happy family gatherings and holidays…I almost believe he’s going to stay a while… but in little more than a week he has left me again.

The color fades.

The temperature falls.

Winter begins to announce his arrival, and dear, sweet Autumn slips away when I’m not looking….


And still, I love him.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Master Plan


"...for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax my hold on you)!  [Assuredly not!]"

~ Hebrews 13:5b

"But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said You are my God.  My times are in Your hands..."

~Psalm 31:14-15b


Funny how parenting is always just on the edge of this great precipice of  the unknown.  "Never been here before, hope I am doing this right."  "Wow, look what's happening, didn't know it would be this way."  "Oh, how I wish I could go back and have more time to teach him/her more about THIS or THAT."

For the most part, I am very thrilled and happy with the people who live in my house, and the amazing almost-adults they are becoming.  Of course, I find things to worry about.  Things like character flaws I know they learned from me, and I wish I could change.  Now I worry about teaching them to deal with those flaws in themselves...do I have enough time before they leave?

There's another side to this experience if parenting almost-adults, too.  It happens when you see them getting ready to leave...  You can see things falling into place.  They are looking at careers, or schools... they are being prepared for the future husband or wife...  It's an exciting thing to watch events unfold, and wonder where things are leading.

Funny feeling.  Fear and joy.  Anticipation and dread.  This season of change used to be about what it's like to be graduating high-school and leaving home with your whole future ahead of you.  I remember what that was like when I was 18 or 19.  Now, from the parent's perspective it's totally different.  Watching, wondering, what will her/his future be like?  Where will she/he go?  What will she/he do for a living?  What will my son-in-law, or daughter-in-law be like?  What if she (my daughter) marries him, what if he (my son) marries her?



Then I am reminded that there is a Master Plan, planned by the Master who loves me, and my children.  His attention to detail is unbelievable!  I just need to keep praying that He doesn't let me interfere with the plan.  I so want to watch Him work wonders in the lives of my children, without messing things up.  I am still anxious and excited to see what God is doing...but determined to point my children toward Him (again), and not allow my limited perspective to influence their decisions.  I want to influence them toward that Master Plan, more than anything else.



(Slightly) Unnerving.

And then there's the peace that comes from absolute trust in a God that will never fail me, or let me down.

I am profoundly grateful.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My Town


"I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests."

~ Pablo Neruda (Nobel Prize Winner for Literature, 1971) 

"...Where I was born, where I was raised, where I keep all my yesterdays...this is my town..."

~ Montgomery Gentry, My Town (Now Playing)


Inspired by the "Grownups with Content Worth Being Featured" blogring, the following is my post for the "My Hometown" theme.  To find out more, go to this exceptional site .

Bartlesville, Oklahoma is where I keep all my yesterdays. 

Though I was not born there, it is the only home I ever remember.  It's where I grew up, played, learned, dreamed, wrote my poetry, went to school, met my husband (A.K.A. Childhood Sweetheart) married him the second time around, had kids, met my Savior, found myself and learned the value of family - not necessarily in that order. :-) 

My parents and grandparents still live in Bartlesville, as do my brother, sister and her family, as well as my husband's family.  It is also where two of my children live with their mom.  (I am blessed to have married into two wonderful children, in addition to the three wonderful children I brought with me.) 

I return to Bartlesville at least once or twice a month, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas.  There's nothing like the feeling I get when I come over the rise where you can get your first glimpse of the town...I am home, coffee is waiting at Mama's table, and if everyone is not there, they will be before the afternoon is out. 

Everyone gather's at Mom and Dad's!  We've been known to all show up on a Sunday afternoon, with no warning, and Dad (who is the cook) has enough Sunday dinner to feed all sixteen of us.  (Mom, Dad, Grandpa, my brother, my sister, her husband and three kids, my husband, my five children and myself.)  Their kitchen table has seated as many as sixteen at Christmas or Thanksgiving, with about ten the kids sitting at the 'kiddie table' in the living room.

Bartlesville is an oil town in the middle of  Indian Territory, with a rich history.  Founded in 1907 by Jacob H. Bartles, it found its beginning on the bank of the Caney River, where in 1870, Nelson F. Carr built a grist mill, the first business establishment in what would become Bartlesville.  Jacob Bartles purchased the grist mill in 1875, for $1,000, and built a store nearby.  Bartlesville was born.

Here's a photo of the present day spot where the city was born.  The stones you see are the foundation stones for Nelson Carr and Jake Bartle's long-ago business venture.  If they could only see her now!

Bartlesville was the first town in Indian Territory to have electricity, natural gas, running water, and telephone service.   Not far from this bend in the Caney River, you can see Oklahoma's first commercial oil well - the Nellie Johnstone No. 1.

The company that brought my family to Bartlesville from West Texas when I was but a babe of two years, was, of course, the Phillips Petroleum Company.  My father started working at a Phillips gas station in Texas, and has worked for the company (now ConocoPhillips) ever since.  Here is a shot of the old Phillips building downtown.

Some of the favorite local tourist attractions are pictured here:

Frank Phillips Home, now a fascinating museum.

The Price Tower - designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, now a upscale hotel and an art museum.


The Johnstone & Keeler General Store, restored and now home of Oklahoma's own Red Dirt Soap Company

The old train depot, which now houses the Chamber of Commerce, the Development Corporation and the Community Foundation

And, of course, the nationally famous Bartlesville Community Center, renowned for it's annual "OK Mozart Festival"

I loved growing up in Bartlesville.  Those were really good years, although I didn't know it at the time.  There used to be two high schools in Bartlesville.  College High, and Sooner High.  They combined in the eighties, when the Sooner High building housed the mid-high grades 9-10, and the College High building housed the high-school grades 11-12. The Sooner High Spartans and the College High Wildcats became the Bartlesville Bruins.  Good, bad or indifferent, we survived the merge.  My graduating class was the first to attend all four years in the new system.  Here's a pic of the high school today.

We were proud to be Bruins!  Although I wasn't athletic, I did letter in Choir, and go to state in Speech and Drama.  Funny how you spend anywhere from two, to four, to as many as twelve years with the same people, and then after graduation, you never see them again.  I often wonder about some of those really awesome friends with whom I spent my high school days.  I see some of them occasionally.  They seem familiar, yet different.  But the ones I really wonder about are those with whom I celebrated graduation, one warm almost-summer night in 1986, and then never ever saw again.  Life is a mystery.

I am also a proud mom and aunt to four current and/or future Bruins who live in Bartlesville now, and are or will be football and basketball players or cheerleaders.  I can't wait to go to some of the middle school and mid- high games this fall and cheer my nephew and son as they play for the old blue and white!  My youngest daughter, whom I gained by marriage to her father, will be down there in her cheerleading skirt and tennis shoes freezing and jumping and yelling her guts out, while her mother, her father, her grandparents and I (the other mother) are in the stands doing the same! 

It will be so nice to go home to those games again!

Well, if you were in my car, and we were in downtown Bartlesville, we couldn't leave without stopping by Murphy's Steakhouse.  I recommend the 4 oz. open-faced, junior hot-cheese-burger with hand-cut fries and brown "gravy-over-all".  It's what Murphy's has been famous for, for more than fifty years and is the very best!  Of course if you're really hungry, you could go with the full size instead of the junior!  Oh, and if you get the salad, try the house-blend garlic salad dressing.  We eat the dressing on club crackers while we're waiting for our food!  The other thing I will never forget about Murphy's as long as I live is the candy drawer.  All little guests of Murphy's Steak House get a trip behind the counter to the candy drawer.  It holds such treasures as Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy, mini Chick-o-Sticks, Peanut Butter Logs and my favorite-- Sixlets!  I miss the days when I was young enough to leave Murphy's with a fistful of candy!  Now I have to settle for two peppermint patties for a quarter from the jar by the cash register.  Oh well, you can't stay young forever.

So, I hope you enjoyed my tour of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

It's "where I keep all my yesterdays...This is My Town."


Montgomery Gentry's "My Town"

There's a "For Sale" sign on a big old rusty tractor.
You can't miss it, it's the first thing that you see.
Just up the road, a pale-blue water tower,
With "I Love Jenny" painted in bright green.
Hey, that's my Uncle Bill, there by the courthouse.
He'll be lowerin' the flag when the sun goes down.
And this is my town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

There ain't much goin' on here since they closed the mill.
But that whistle still blows ev'ry day at noon.
A bunch of us still go down to the diner.
I wonder if that interstate's still comin' through.
Come Sunday morning service, at the Church of Christ,
Well there ain't an empty seat to be found.
And this is my town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

Well, I bought and painted up that rusty tractor.
You can't miss it, it's sittin' right there in our yard.
The County came and took that water tower,
And that's Jenny, with a baby, in the car.
Ah, we're off to Sunday service at the Church of Christ,
And if we want a seat, we better leave right now.
And maybe later, me an old T-roy will show you around,
Our town.

(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
Yeah, where I was born, where I was raised.
Where I keep all my yesterdays.
Where I ran off 'cos I got mad,
An' it came to blows with my old man.
Where I came back to settle down,
It's where they'll put me in the ground:
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)

Yeah, this is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
This is my town.
(Na, na, na, na, na.)
My town.

Friday, August 19, 2005

He Speaks


A guy is shipwrecked onto an island, and arrives unconscious.  When he wakes up, he's on a beach.  The sand is dark red.  He can't believe it.  The sky is dark red.  He walks around a bit and sees there is dark red grass, dark red birds and dark red fruit on the dark red trees.  He's shocked when he finds that his skin is starting to turn dark red too.

"Oh, no!!" he says.  I think I've been marooned!"

~ www.cleanjokeoftheday.com

"Humor is the great thing, the saving thing.  The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentmens slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place."

~ Mark Twain


I hate those days when I am not sick enough to enjoy staying in bed, and not well enough to feel like I am accomplishing anything important.  This week has been full of those kind of days, while I have been taking antibiotics, and gargling with salt-water and listerine.  Food doesn't taste the same, I can't find a comfortable spot in the house, and sleep is fitful and intermittent, even in the middle of the night.  About the time I think I could actually muster up the energy to say, rearrange the furniture, I crash, and feel like I've been hit by a truck.

What is is about our inability to be still...to rest...to recuperate without feeling guilty or frustrated, or obligated to get up off our duff and do something?  I think I maybe should have spent more of this week practicing that "be still and know" attitude.  I think I missed too many opportunities to just rest, and listen for God's heart, God's instruction, God's whispered words of romance.

He did speak to me this morning, in those fuzzy moments between asleep and awake.  That's usually where He catches my attention.  Just some whispered instructions about the spiritual truths I am teaching our teenagers this saturday at Youth Outreach.  It was really refreshing to hear His voice.  Makes me wish I hadn't been so impatient to get rid of these symptoms and get back to my busy life. 

Oh well.  Once again I am grateful for new mercies and endless opportunites to get it right this time.  God is so good.

Hope you are having a wonderful day, and still find time to sit (or lie) in silence with God.  He's whispering something profound.  Are you listening?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005



Majesty, worship His Majesty,

Unto Jesus be all glory, honor and praise!

Majesty, kingdom authority, flows from His throne,

Unto His own, His anthem raise.

So exalt, lift up on high the name of Jesus.

Magnify, come glorify Christ Jesus the King.

Majesty, worship His Majesty,

Jesus who died, now glorified,

King of all kings.

~COPYRIGHT 1987, Songs, and 1981, Rocksmith Music, Words and Music by Jack Hayford

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

~ Eleanor Roosevelt


I used to go to the mountains of Colorado every summer as a kid for youth camp.  I remember it was amazing.  I felt like I was in a place where everything in creation stretched up into the clouds in an effort to declare its praise for our Creator.  I remember standing on a mountain, in a clearing of pine trees, with the sunlight filtering through the branches of the trees and thinking it was the most perfect place of worship I could ever find.

This weekend we went to a family reunion in Durango, Colorado.  I love getting together with family, people who belong to me.  We share memories and play games.  We eat and laugh.  It was a good reunion.  But even better, was the reminder of how awesome God's Creation is.  How it shouts of the love of a Creator, who sculpts the earth and paints the skies with us in mind.  This Majestic Artist, our God, calls to us from the mountains and the seas, painting trees, flowers, and the clouds so that we might notice and understand His great love for us.

July had been a stressful month.  Larry and I really needed a vacation.  We looked forward to loading up the van and starting off down the highway, leaving our daily stresses and obligations behind to spend a few days with each other and our children.  It was something we had looked forward to for so many weeks!

But what God had planned for us was so much more than a relaxing road trip and a weekend vacation.  He wanted to paint the skies and sculpt the earth, to shout His love for us, and remind us how Awesome and Mighty He is.  His Majesty shouted to us from the mountains to the valleys and back to the skies.

He was in the clear blue skies, the gentle rains, the breathtaking landscape.  He comforted us with views of mountains blanketed by fluffy white clouds. He refreshed our spirits with the crisp cool mountain air, that tasted unlike anything we've ever known.  He romanced and wooed us with sunrises and sunsets of every imaginable color and hue.  He awed us with the sheer majesty of His creation. 

And we are speechless.

And we are grateful.

And we are loved.

What a refreshing we have recieved from the hand and heart of such a Mighty God as He.

Here are some pictoral highlights from our weekend in the mountains:

View of part the city of Durango from the top of the mountain.

Mountain top view of Durango's beautiful Animas River.

I love this shot of the view of the mountains behind this great green shed.  The colors are so amazing!

As we left and headed toward Albequerque, New Mexico the clouds and the rain were amazing.  I especially love this shot of a hole in the rain clouds.  Notice the rain pouring down in the lower left hand corner.  Cool!

We stopped for the night in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  There we found this amazing place called the Blue Hole.  It was a natural spring, with the bluest water!  Here's some info from the website:


"The invitingly clear water in the 81-foot- (25-m-) deep bell-shaped spring well is produced from a cave system near the well's bottom that generates about 3,000 gallons per minute. The surface of the site is roughly oval-shaped with a diameter of 80 feet (24 m) at its widest point and approximately 60 feet (18 m) at its narrowest. The Blue Hole widens the deeper it goes until the diameter reaches 130 feet (40 m) across at its deepest depth."

Here also, are some of the pictures I took from the Blue Hole:

 I have to admit that I had a panic attack at the Blue Hole.  It defies all reason, and wasn't something I could rationalize away.  But when my kids stepped out on the ledge over that hole, my heart stopped.  I lost it, and began to tremble and cry.  I had to walk away, and not watch them, as they peered over the edge into that 81 foot deep well.  Now my brain knows they can all swim.  And my brain knows that if they fell in, Larry would be there in a second, diving in and pulling them out. 

But this fear didn't listen to reason.

It reminded me that I have other fears that I have to face.  I have to deal with things like this that worry and often frighten me.  I can't walk away and hide my eyes from life. 

My mother told me a story this weekend of an encounter she had with terror.  She was riding a few days ago with my father on the back of their Gold Wing bike, through the mountains of northern New Mexico.  The wind was terrifying.  She panicked.  She lost it.  She clung to my dad in sheer terror and cried while she prayed.  She made it through safely.  They found a place to pull over and she finally calmed down.  But for a few moments, she was overtaken and controlled by terror.  When she finally got it back together, she realized she had conquered her fear enough to get back on the bike and go on.  It was a turning point for her.  She felt strong and powerful, because she had faced the fear that only moments before had gripped her with terror.  After a couple of days with us in Durango, she climbed back on that bike with Dad and headed down the mountain with my two aunts and two uncles on her way to Sturgis -- a stronger woman.  I am amazed at who she is becoming.  She is chasing life in all its glory!  She inspires me over and over again.  And this weekend, she taught me about faith in the middle of terror.

Faith is absolute trust in God, in spite of what fear is shouting in my ear.  I want to be able to experience all the amazing wonderful things God has to offer me in this life.  God help me to face the fears I ignore, so that my faith might be strengthened in You.

Hoping you've gained, in some small way, a sense of the profound love of God and the awesome power of faith in Him,

Friday, July 29, 2005

Along for the Ride


Holy words long preserved / For our walk in this world / They resound with God's own heart / O let the ancient words impart / Words of life / Words of hope / Give us strength / Help us cope / In this world where'er we roam / Ancient words will guide us home // CHORUS / Ancient words ever true / Changing me and changing you / We have come with open hearts / O let the ancient words impart // Holy words of our faith / Handed down to this age / Came to us through sacrifice / O heed the faithful words of Christ / Holy words long preserved / For our walk in this world / They resound with God's own heart / O let the ancient words impart //

~ by Lynn DeShazo (from Worship Again - Track #4, recorded by Michael W. Smith)


It's amazing to me what a difference it makes when I start my day with worship. Just to sit in the presence of my Father God. To focus my fickle heart on His. It clears away the cobwebs of struggling through a day's activities, and reminds me of my purpose, and the goodness of the One who drew the plans.

Focus. FOCUS. There must be some spiritual sounding acrostic-designation for that awesome word that would explain how it helps me get perspective on my life, and God's plan. But I confess that I don't know it. And for me, for today, I think a cute little acrostic would tarnish the sense of awe I feel.

It's like I've had a slight blurring in my vision corrected. I am reminded that the things that I tend to focus my time and energy on, the worries that plague me, the details that I feel I must control, all serve to blur my vision, and keep me from seeing God's plan for me today.

Today, the stress is melting away. It doesn't really matter if my plans go awry. If my day doesn't go according to my plan and the timing gets all screwed up, or there's an inconvenient interruption -- there's no need to panic. I gave up control today.

God's got the map, and He's driving. For today, I am hanging out with my Father, in the passenger seat...fiddling with the knobs on the radio, setting the climate control, and the adjusting the lumbar support seat. I am along for the ride.

And you know the best part? When I took my eyes off the road, and focused them on the Driver, I remembered what it's like to hear and understand His Words. They call to me. They whisper in my ear. They laugh with joy and cry with love. They speak to the deepest places in me exactly what my inner-woman needs to hear.

He loves me. He loves me. He loves me.

No romance was ever more sacred.

I needed to hear those ancient words today. I am glad I took time to focus and listen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Coming of Age


"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

~ Author Marianne Williamson (From the Movie Coach Carter, 2005)


My husband really loves this quote. We watched the movie over the weekend, and last night he did a google search to find it. it really spoke to him. I think that's cool!


Tomorrow, my first child turns eighteen. The very idea, fills me with a sense of profound wonder. Part of my heart is thrilled and excited at Sarah's growth and maturity. She is absolutely amazing! But the other part of my heart wants to scream at time to STOP -- if only for a while. Every day, she is closer to leaving me. Days like yesterday are precious. Why? well, yesterday we were the only two in the house, and we talked for hours, like college room-mates. Our discussion was serious and funny, and even sometimes goofy.

We discussed her upcoming senior year in high-school, class rings, college, dating with a purpose (courtship), faith in God's plan and her future husband. Lately these are the topics of our more serious discussions, as she tries to make sense of the choices ahead of her, and the direction her life is supposed to take. I must confess that when I think about her future, I am not afraid. I know she is smart, determined and level-headed -- a citizen of the world, though it is not her home. She has the brightest of futures, and is more ready every day to face it and succeed. But talking with her yesterday about the future was a little scary. Because every day, she is closer to leaving me.

As excited as I am about what God has planned for her, a part of me cries out against the loss of all the little things I enjoy every day; like the way she laughs, and chatters incessantly about her latest discovery in the world of jazz. Or the way she bounces into the room and calls me "mommy" out of the blue. Or the way she loves to watch America's Funniest Videos and laugh so hard that she's out of control.

I am comforted when I consider the relationship I have now, with my own mom. We are such good friends, and so many of the things we have shared over the years are precious to me: the same sort of little things, just different. I look forward to the relationship Sarah and I will have when she is out on her own, when she is a wife, and later, a mother. I look forward to the late-night phone calls when my grandchildren are preparing to enter the world. I look forward to the questions about things like fevers and rashes, and all those scary, new baby things. We have a lifetime to share our special friendship, and I wouldn't miss a moment of it.

So in truth, I am really not losing her, I know that. And I want nothing less than God's very best plan for her, which I am sure requires that she leave my home eventually and follow Him into her new life. This is just one of the many joys of motherhood, and I want to expereince them all!

But still, that small part of my heart longs to stop time -- if only for a while -- because every day, she really is closer to leaving me. . .for the exciting new life God has planned, and when all is said and done, I will rejoice with her, as she goes. (Then I will retreat to her bedroom and have a good cry.)

Saturday, July 9, 2005

It is Well

Quote for Today:

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture."

~ Psalm 95:1-7


I have spent the better part of the afternoon and evening watching the Weather Channel as hurricane Dennis heads inland off the gulf coast of Florida. I would not usually be so interested as to spend the whole evening on the Weather Channel, but my most precious relatives are in Orlando this weekend, and I want to know whether they will face storms and flooding on the return trip home. Don't misunderstand me, I am not really afraid. I just want to know what's coming.

As I watch this storm coming in off of the ocean, I am amazed at the power of the wind and the sea. This earth amazes me, and literally shouts the truth of a powerful and creative Maker of the universe. It is so good to know that He holds all these things in His hands. His plan for those who love and obey Him is for good; and His plan will not fail.

Sometimes it seems like a hurricane of circumstance blows in along the coast of our lives and threatens to blow down our hopes and plans and leave us without cover. Isn't it good to know that when things go awry that God alread knew the plan. It's frustrating sometimes that we don't know what's ahead. We make arrangements, and plan our days based on what we think we know. Then, suddenly, new information appears, and we must adjust.

To be perfectly honest, I tend to panic, when my plans have been made and life suddenly switches direction on me. I really hate it when things don't go the way I planned. I am an organizer at heart, and that's a good thing. But often, God switches things around on me, and waits to see how I will react.

Will I trust Him, and stay calm? Usually not -- I am sorry to say. I am learning, ever so slowly, but I am not there yet. The good thing is that He knows. Did you ever notice that God doesn't get impatient with us when we don't respond immediately in faith. He knows me so well! He waits me out, and then reminds me that He has everything in His hands. His mercy floods the situation, and I realize that I lost sight of His hold on me and my life. I come to Him and apologize, and there it is -- more than enough mercy to cover me.

I used to wonder why His mercy was "new every morning". Now, I know. I need new mercy every day. I used yesterday's up -- yesterday. And God, in His love and wisdom planned ahead. He knew what I would need, and provided it -- new mercy...every morning...isn't His love amazing?

So as I watch the Weather Channel, I wonder what's ahead for all those people on the gulf coast, and for the missions team we have in Orlando this weekend. But somehow, I am firmly grounded in the faith that God holds the oceans in His hand, and His plan for me and those dear to me is for good. And that good plan extends to all those who love and obey Him. I know, if things go awry, I am apt to panic, and be upset by circumstance. But whatever emotional hurricane buffets my heart, I am safe in the shelter of His new mercy, even now. And as for tomorrow, His mercy is already there, waiting for me.

That's a profound revelation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

A Heritage


Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

~ Psalm 127:3-5



The last couple of weeks have been so “twilight zone”, I don’t even know where to begin; except to say that I have three of the most amazing children in the world, and a husband that is beyond comparison.

Funny how I always knew, and repeated it often, my kids are so awesome; intelligent, beautiful, compassionate, loving, godly, wise, mature, etc. But seeing these qualities through the eyes of another, I am even more amazed and thankful.

Sarah, almost 18, recently made contact with her biological father and his family. It has been fifteen years. Though we knew she was ready, and that this was a necessary and even good thing, we did not know what emotional turmoil and stress this reunion would cause for our family.

Outside of the Jerry Springer show, who gives instructions on how these events should proceed, and what should be expected.We have been so overwhelmed, it’s like we’re coming out of a daze. Emotions have been running high with anticipation, worry; even a little anxiety. Tempers have been shorter, tears have been more frequent, and a sense of “clingy-ness” and a desire to hug hard and often has pervaded all five of us.

The good thing is everyone involved in this reunion process is amicable, and even generous. No blame casting, no bad attitude, no resentment or anger has been exhibited. We are all desiring the time for Sarah, Jotham and Jericho to get to know the people from the past who have been absent for so long. Everyone is responding with a great deal of love and excitement.

And then there’s Dad. Larry is the amazing husband and father who for fifteen years, has daily made these children his own. Who has labored and loved, laughed and cried, disciplined and educated and alongside myself, has helped shape these three incredible children into the near-adult, wonderful people that they are today.

Imagine, now, after all this time being the father who is willing to share them. Larry is truly a man with a generous heart and spirit. This whole process has not been easy for him, or for me, for that matter. But he has been generous, patient, and open. When it would have been easier to close off his heart, and withdraw, wounded; he stayed and experienced this whole process with heart-breaking unselfishness, because these are, after all, his children.

Well, after a hundred or so emails, a handful of IM sessions and phone calls, the big reunion happened, this weekend. Biological father, his wife, half brother, grandmother and a host of cousins met with our family on two different days at McDonalds and at the zoo. Larry was there, through it all, at the kids’ request. Everyone got a chance to get to know everyone a little bit better, and have some fun.

And so, a new chapter in our lives has begun, one that includes a whole host of people who want to get to know our kids, and share their love with them. And though we do not know everything that will come in this chapter, we know the chapters that have been written up to now have been obviously orchestrated by God’s loving and generous hand. He will write this chapter for their and our ultimate good. He is that way with us.His love is indescribable.
So we attempt to move on with our days, in as normal a manner as possible, leaning heavily on each other and on God for wisdom and peace. He has seen the unknown, and will not release us out of His hand as he guides us through it. We are, after all, His beloved children; and His plan is beyond our comprehension, but promised for our good. We trust Him. His mercy is PROFOUND

Monday, June 20, 2005


"Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on."

~Samuel Butler - English composer, novelist, & satiric author (1835 - 1902)

If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

~George Bernard Shaw - Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)


Last weekend was the long awaited, much anticipated and only slightly dreaded family reunion. Isn't it funny how whether we like them or not, we can't choose our family members?

Well, for the most part, I like mine. Of course, there are a very few who I'd rather not spend a weekend with, but the really awesome ones far out-number those.

I spent three days with somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 of my cousins and relatives, and eight of them stayed in the same hotel room with me. (Those eight were my mother, my aunt, my sister, her two kids, and my three kids.) In the next two rooms were a cousin, another cousin, her husband and daughter, and my grandfather.

We spent the days at the local community center eating and talking with five generations of people from age 86 to age 2. Then we spent the evenings and wee hours of the mornings with just the 12 or 13 of us in the hotel rooms talking and eating! We hit the swimming pool, the diner, the mexican restaurant, and the dollar stores. But mostly we just talked, and shared laughs. We gleaned wisdom from my mom and aunt, and passed it along to our teenage children. We told stories, and laughed at each other. We complained and rejoiced about life. We shared a few hours of our busy lives and made memories that will be the stories told next year, and hopefully ten or twenty years from now.

I am so thankful for the women (and the men, but mostly the women) in my family, and the relationship we have. We talk about everything, and because of those mothers, sisters, aunts and cousins, I like who I am, and am thrilled beyond words to see who my daughters, son, nieces cousins and nephews are becoming.

Family is precious. Too often we forget. These are the people who I trust with pieces of me. They hold them in memory, and pass them along to those who share our name and our history. I love them!

Go make a profound memory, and then write it down for the family members you love to read to their children, nieces, nephews and grand-children.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

To See A Mockingbird


"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up peoples gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

~From "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee (chapter 10)


We have babies! Just outside Sarah's window, in the middle of a holly bush we heard little baby bird cries. After some investigation, we found them. Three baby mockingbirds, vigilantly guarded and fed by mom and dad. We spent the better part of the morning watching and taking pictures. What fun!

Reminded me of the book, "To Kill A Mockingbird". I read it in High School, and then again last year with my "BooksAMonth" Yahoo group book club. It is a classic, and worth a second and third read!

Books like this add so much to my enjoyment of life, as do my BooksAMonth freinds! Maybe I will go read something profound!


Monday, May 2, 2005

April's Charms


April's Charms

When April scatters charms of primrose gold Among the copper leaves in thickets old, And singing skylarks from the meadows rise, To twinkle like black stars in sunny skies;When I can hear the small woodpecker ring Time on a tree for all the birds that sing; And hear the pleasant cuckoo, loud and long -- The simple bird that thinks two notes a song;When I can hear the woodland brook, that could Not drown a babe, with all his threatening mood; Upon these banks the violets make their home, And let a few small strawberry blossoms come:When I go forth on such a pleasant day, One breath outdoors takes all my cares away; It goes like heavy smoke, when flames take hold Of wood that's green and fill a grate with gold. ~ William Henry Davies


Today's quote courtesy of my
BooksAMonth reading group buddie, Mary Osborn.

Check out her blog at:


I have two sets of cardinals and three to five mockingbirds in my yard this spring. They are usually outside my big picture window in my front room. One of the mockingbirds, a slender, bold, handsome fellow, sits on the railing and watches me through the glass. He cocks his head to the side, as if to say, "Aren't I looking dapper today?" He is a crafty one, though, stealing little morsels of dog food from the bowl, while Phoenix and Mercedes nap in a patch of sunlight on the lawn. Many people dislike the mockingbirds, because they are so territorial and because they sing at night, keeping humans awake. I, however, like their music, and their personality. Also, they seem to think they are quite attractive, and I tend to agree.

Out my back window I see six or seven red squirrels scampering about. There is a rather large stump in the middle of the yard, probably eleven feet tall. I believe it is either home to some of them or clubhouse to all of them. I hear them often, barking at each other and at other backyard creatures. They are very serious about their games. A big black crow sits on a branch above the tool shed, and scolds all intruders, including the squirrels, the sparrows, the dogs, and the occasional dreaded starling. At the corner of the shed is a rusty colored bird of medium size very diligently combing through the recently mown grass. I may have to google him to find out what he is. (My apologies madam, if you, in fact, turn out to be a madam.)

My sister and her husband have recently taken great pains to attract purple martins to their yard. I did not know much about these birds until we visited them yesterday. I wonder, would my little yard with so many bushes and trees be a suitable spot for a purple martin house? I wonder how they would get along with the squirrels, cardinals and mockingbirds. I really love the cardinals best, and would hate to lose them or the mockers. But I am considering a construction project. It's a nice neighborhood, after all, and maybe a few martins would love to be my neighbors!


Bookcrossing is going really well. I had a wild release caught just the other day in Broken Arrow, OK. How very exciting! Otherwise, Tyler and his friend have started a mowing business, Larry is back in school taking online classes at University of Phoenix, and I am planning to steam clean my carpets. Life does go on, doesn't it!

How nice, though, to take a moment and notice the creatures who share this property with us.

Go outside today and read something profound with the birds and squirrels!

Monday, April 18, 2005



"The most celebrated message ever sent concerned a young sailor in 1784, Chunosuke Matsuyama, who was stranded on a coral reef, devoid of food and water after his boat was shipwrecked. Before his death, he carved the account of what had happened on a piece of wood, then sealed the message in a bottle. In 1935, 150 years after it had been set afloat, it washed up in the small seaside village in Japan where Matsuyama had been born."

~ Nicholas Sparks "Message in a Bottle" a novel, page 2


I picked up this book on the way to the park on Saturday, and read it straight through from Saturday afternoon to Saturday night. It was a pretty satisfying read, and since it was a paperback, I decided to check out a website that had been mentioned by some of my book club friends in the BooksAMonth yahoo group -- www.BookCrossing.com.

I registered this book on BookCrossing, then I "released it into the wild". The idea is that you pass the book along to someone else, or you leave it in a waiting room, or at a coffee shop, for someone else to pick up and enjoy. The new reader visits BookCrossing.com, and adds a quick journal entry, which I can track, and then the new reader releases the book again. Just imagine, books traveling across the city, the state, the country and the world, all because we decided to share. Isn't that inspiring? (awwww!)

So anyway, check out BookCrossing.com -- my ID there is pileofphrases -- and think very seriously about releasing some of your books into the wild so someone else can . . .

. . .read something profound!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Off The Map


"The sea was as still as an inland lake; the light trade-wind was gently and steadily breathing from astern; the dark blue sky was studded with the tropical stars; there was no sound but the rippling of the water under the stem; and the sails were spread out, wide and high;—the two lower studding-sails stretching, on each side, far beyond the deck; the topmast studding-sails, like wings to the topsails; the top-gallant studding-sails spreading fearlessly out above them; still higher, the two royal studding-sails, looking like two kites flying from the same string; and, highest of all, the little skysail, the apex of the pyramid, seeming actually to touch the stars, and to be out of reach of human hand. So quiet, too, was the sea, and so steady the breeze, that if these sails had been sculptured marble, they could not have been more motionless. Not a ripple upon the surface of the canvas; not even a quivering of the extreme edges of the sail—so perfectly were they distended by the breeze. I was so lost in the sight, that I forgot the presence of the man who came out with me, until he said, (for he, too, rough old man-of-war’s-man as he was, had been gazing at the show,) half to himself, still looking at the marble sails—“How quietly they do their work!”


“The Southern Cross we saw no more after the first night; the Magellan Clouds settled lower and lower in the horizon; and so great was our change of latitude each succeeding night, that we sank some constellation in the south, and raised another in the northern horizon.”

~ Richard Henry Dana, Jr. Two Years Before the Mast. Chapter 33 “Cracking on—Progress Homeward—A Pleasant Sunday—A Fine Sight—By-Play”


“The summer my father was depressed, the face of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared on a tortilla at the Morning Glory CafĂ©.”

~ Off the Map. Opening Line. Directed by Campbell Scott – www.offthemapmovie.com


We spent Tuesday evening at the theater viewing a special advanced screening for which Larry (my husband) had received free passes. We had no clue what the movie was about, but figured, free movie, Tuesday night…pop a tape in the VCR for American Idol (still waiting on our DVR.) …and let’s go!

And am I glad we did.

Off the Map is the story of an 11 year old girl and the summer of 1974 at her home in the New Mexico Desert. Her father is depressed, and doesn’t know why. Her mother tends the garden in the nude, and the tax man comes to audit them for not filing taxes for several years, and decides to stay and become a painter.

The cinematography is breathtaking. The story is exquisite. You find yourself laughing, and then wanting to cry at the same time. There are no mind-blowing special effects, none of the carefully orchestrated product endorsement you normally see in today’s films, and no “agenda” as my daughter, Sarah, so succinctly put it.

Joan Allen and Sam Elliot are brilliant, but the real star is Valentina De Angelis, the young girl. One of my favorite threads is the mother sitting by the kerosene lamp, and later, on the boat, reading from the classic 19th century novel Two Years Before the Mast. I did request this one from the library this morning.

I left the theater last night wishing the movie Off the Map had been based on a book; one that I could check out from the library and read at my leisure. Sadly, after googling, I found that there is only a screenplay, and that all but unavailable. So I will have to be content with returning, once again to the theater, (buying my ticket this time.) and looking forward to the day Off the Map is released on DVD.

If you get the chance to see this independent film by Campbell Scott, don’t let the mixed reviews fool you. It will be well worth your time and money.

So, go read (or watch) something profound!

~ TaunaLen

Monday, April 11, 2005

Quote of the Day:

He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God."
~ Asaph (By the Holy Spirit of God in The Bible, Psalm 50:23)


Isn't it amazing how you can read scripture time and again, and suddenly, in the middle of a very familiar passage, revelation JUMPS out at you, and you are in awe? This is what happened to me yesterday afternoonm, with the quote above.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice to praise our Creator. We don't feel like worshipping the God who directs our steps. Things didn't turn out the way we wanted, and now it all seems to be a mess. But when we praise him IN THE MIDDLE of our circumstance, or our attitude, or our situation...we are setting ourselves up! We are giving Him free reign to SHOW UP, and to SHOW OFF in our lives. He is able to step in and fix us, or fix it, or both. Isn't He incredible?!

Why is it so hard to remember that sacrifical praise formula when we are worried, or disappointed by the way things have gone? Father, help me to remember that You know exactly what You are doing, and that Your love for me demands that You do no less than Your best for me. I want what You can see, not what my limited vision interprets as the best for me.

He really is better at running my life than I ever could be.


Yesterday was an awesome Sunday! We took a ministry team to the Hispanic Youth Services, Pastor CJ was a riot, and two young people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, and decided to fall in love with Him! (That's what it's all about!!!)

We had a surprise cook-out birthday party in the park, in the rain, and the guest of honor slept through it! (Somebody dropped the ball on that one, but I was just a guest, and not the host, so I don't know what the arrangements were with the accomplice.) We had a blast in spite of everything. The burgers and dogs were good, because my sweetie is "Master of the Grill!" Even better was the relaxed fellowship with some of the most awesome people on the planet - volunteers in VCC SOUL Youth Outreach Ministries! I love getting to know how crazy and wonderful these people are outside of our church services! I rarely ever have so much fun as I do with these guys!

Last, but not least, we spent the evening at the home of a couple of friends, and instead of helping them repair a toilet, we hung out on the couch and watched tv, because the toilet was miraculously healed right before we arrived. (At least, that's what it's lack of symptoms would indicate.)

We headed home in the most awesome display of rolling thunder and flashing lightning, (the kind that makes you call ahead to ensure the kids unplug the televisions and computers.) And after checking the weather, and finding that all the storms were past us, and the warnings and watches had expired, we slept peacefully all night long! Thank you God!

So, anyway, that's about it. Hope you were inspired to smile, or believe, or shake your head in wonder, or maybe go read something profound!

Have a great Monday!


Saturday, April 9, 2005


The sea is emotion incarnate.  It loves, hates and weeps.  It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles.  No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can't."

~ Brom in Eragon (p. 169) by Christopher Paolini


This book, (Eragon) is so good!  I am really enjoying it.  My son, Jotham, read it in a day and a half.  He was intrigued by the fact that it was written by a 15 year old boy.  He decided to try his hand at writing, and emailed me the first 1000 words of his story yesterday.  It is really good.  I can't wait to see what happens next.

Today was a busy day, and I am exhausted.  But we had fun taking senior portraits for two beautiful young ladies!  Woodward Park is gorgeous this time of year, and I can't wait to show these girls how their portraits came out! 

Our Youth Outreach service today was awesome.  These teens are really learning how to worship God, and the praise and worship today was powerful.  God moved strong today in the lives of the teenagers and we had almost fifty at the altar.  I see so much growth, and it encourages me!  God is SO good.

Tomorrow we are going to take a team to minister at the Victory Hispanic Youth Services.  I can't wait!  It's going to be an exceptionally good day.  I wish I could think of something else to write about . . . wish I had something profound to share . . . but since I don't, I think I will go to bed.

Friday, April 8, 2005

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
~ George Washington
Thanks to my beautiful daughter, Jericho, for this awesome quote.

Okay, it's already noon, and I am going crazy trying to accomplish something on my to do list. Either there are too many things on my list, or my brain just can't seem to get focused. Or possibly both!
I should be working on lesson plans. I should be working on our ministry website. I should be grading assignments. I should be wading through all the emails in my inbox. I should be ....
But all I want to do is go crawl back in bed and read my book and be lazy. Of course, I won't do what I want to do. I will find a way to successfully complete at least a few of the tasks on my list. So I guess I should get to it.
Have a great day, and be sure to stop and read something profound!

Our Pets


"A good dog never dies, he always stays, he walks


"A good dog never dies, he always stays, he walks besides you on crisp autumn days when frost is on the fields and winter's drawing near, his head within our hand in his old way." ~ Anonymous

"God made the cat in order that man might have the pleasure of caressing the tiger." ~ Fernand Mery


Okay, so I am supposed to be doing something constructive and worthwhile,

but I just had to share some of our latest family portraits:

Top Row L-R: Sequoia - a female Tortise Shell Tabby, Mercedes (Sadie Blue) - a female Blue Heeler Cattle Dog, and Tamarisc - a female Grey Tabby, daughter of Sequoia and Mau.

Bottom Row L-R: Phoenix Fire - a female Red Heeler Cattle Dog / German Shepherd Mix, Bagheera - a male Black and Orange Tabby with green eyes, and Mau (or Mouse) a male Grey Tabby.

In reality, they rule the house and just let us live here...

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