Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The End of the Last Summer - the Beginning of the New School Year

We stayed at home all day today.  Since that rarely happens, it's notable.  I'm cleaning out Brielle's room.  We've hoped to paint it all summer, but now with so little time left, it feels like "crunch time."  Time to prepare.  Time to fit it all in.  Time to enjoy every last second.  Time to do something fun!
For me, that every last second is an all-encompassing time.  Josh will go into his Senior year of high school. Tyler will enter as a freshman.  And Brielle will begin Kindergarten - at a public school, something I never thought would happen.  I can't read the above sentences without getting choked up and tears making their way back again.  Earlier this afternoon, I had a moment.  While cleaning B's room I got to the books and had to stop.  I realized that I've been collecting (used) books for years with the intent to homeschool her.  I imagined teaching her, spending out our days learning, delving, exploring - right now- when she's just a sweet little sponge.  Before she dislikes learning any particular subject.
I thought I was at peace with our decision, and now my mind is like a whirlwind of second-guessing everything!  Should we really be sending her off to public school?  Should I be driving half-way across town to take Tyler to different school- just because we believe he's being given a greater opportunity?  Even if he dislikes the whole idea immensely?  Are we making the best decisions as parents with these children God has entrusted to us?
Parenting is such an emotional event sometimes.  Last night I was reading my friend's blog and thought, wow.....  She is doing exactly what she's supposed to be doing and she knows it.  AND she LOVES it! (She's homeschooling, of course.)  When I was a young mom with children, I had no idea there were other options than public school (unless you could afford private school).  Yet, when I put our firstborn on the bus that first day, my heart fell to my stomach.  I felt it fall.  I released him to the world, and it scared and baffled me.  That was twelve years ago.
Now that I'm older, I know more things.  My mommy-friends know things also.  They and I have talked about such.  We've felt torn and questioned everything.   We love our children immensely and desire the absolute best for them.  We've prayed and prayed.  Some of them chose to homeschool, some public school, and some private school.
Sometimes I am afraid I feel jealous.  This pains me, as deep down I know we all make the best decisions -for our unique families.
I'm still cleaning B's bedroom and she is all over the place, making messes in the living room, then the kitchen and I get frustrated.  Honestly, why all the mess?  I think to myself I should have waited until she started school: then I could clean without distractions.  I want school to start and I feel guilty.  Was I not just crying to homeschool her?  I'm so confused.
Then this song comes on and I realize.
I am moving into new ministry position this Fall, one that I have been a part of the past five years, but  will now be directing.  I'm certain this is God's plan and place for me.  I know I need to be available for our teen sons.  I know God gave me this wonderful life, full of blessings and responsibilities that He has entrusted me with.  I know He has a plan and a purpose.  And I know that trusting Him this upcoming year - and every consecutive year - is absolutely necessary.   I inhale deeply.  I exhale through tears of joy and I praise Him for the blessings that I have been given.  Thank You God- Thank You God.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summary of Josh's Mission Trip to Guayama!!!!

Josh and his team had a wonderful experience in Guayama, Puerto Rico last week!  I know that God heard your prayers as you lifted them up!  Many of his group were on their first mission trip ever.  The week has not worn off of them yet.  Randomly, Josh will say, "I miss Puerto Rico" or "I miss Charlie."  I know now that he's not just missing this island (where part of his family & heritage come from) but the island, the team of friends that formed a family while there, the natives who showed them love and joy while they worked, the efforts they collectively accomplished, the lunch breaks on the bay, and on and on......God showed them so much!
I didn't get any updates from Josh during the week.  His friend Brooke posted picture updates online, but I didn't really know what the stories were until Josh came home and sporadically told them.
130 Participants of July 15-19 Guayama, Puerto Rico
World Changers
Last Monday they arrived in Guayama at World Changers --a mission camp where projects are organized in each location (they are many all over the U.S. & the world).  They lodged in a church building - the guys in one large room (a balcony actually) and the girls in another.  Apparently cots had just been donated the week before, so they were the first group to use them.  The showered in makeshift showers outdoors.  There were 130 participants from eight states that attended this week of World Changers.  They were placed into groups of six to twelve people then went out on their "assignment."
The "Plumb Bobs" at Phillipe's house
Josh (and Brooke) were in the "Plumb Bobs" group.  Their group went to Philippe's house.  Philippe's niece, Mildred, went with this group.  The Plumb Bobs spent all four days there.  At first I thought, "how much work can eleven people do at one man's small house?"  But after seeing the pictures, it is obvious they had plenty to do for four days, and they did a great job.  Josh said Philippe was at first reluctant and wary of the group.  He didn't want them in the house much, only cleaning up the yard (aka jungle) outside and allowing them in to clean the kitchen.  But by day three he was sitting out on his porch anticipating their arrival and excited to see them coming!
They worked hard.  They only stopped for breaks when they tired.  Two participants in their group (who had been to four other World Changer camps sites) said this was the "least-complaining" most "hardest working" group they'd been with yet.  Though labor-intensive, Josh said the weather was great and they could feel the constant breeze coming up from the ocean a mile away.
Josh & Brooke taking a lunch break on
the bay.
They loaded up everyday at lunchtime and went to the bay where picnic tables under brick pavilions were located, not far from Philippe's home.  While there on one of the first days they met Charlie.  Charlie did not have a job, just a bike.  He asked Mildred what they were doing, and she told him.  He asked if he could come along?   She said that would be fine, but not to get in the way.  She said he'd have to work too and not be lazy.  Charlie agreed.
Charlie on site holding a crab!
(There is a video where he caught an iguana!)
When they returned to Philippe's house to chop down the yard with machetes, Charlie jumped right in.  Josh said he was the funniest guy.  He loved to laugh and to make others laugh.  And he chopped down most of the yard, a task Josh said would have taken the rest of the group a very long time to do!  By the end of the week Charlie
Bananas in Phillipe's back yard!
definitely became a part of their Plumb Bobs group it seems.  And though he had joined them to pass time and have fun, he affected their time there greatly, and they had a powerful influence on him as well, as Charlie was able to see Christ's love by spending time around this awesome group of young servants.  Josh didn't give me the full story, but did say that Charlie was not a Christian when they met him, but that he was by the end of the week.  Praise God!
Josh giving the basketball to Joshua.
sThe highlight of Josh's week:  The twelve year old (also named Joshua) who dribbled his basketball everywhere he went.  The basketball was tattered and worn, but the kid didn't care.  Here, when a basketball gets that worn, Josh will throw it out, as it's no longer worth playing or practicing with.  This may seem like some kind of snooty Westerner thing, but this is his sport, and quality of ball does matter, just like a marathon runner's shoes would.   So, the next trip to the local store Josh purchased a basketball for the boy, and his face -when Josh handed it to him- was the highlight of the trip for him.
Cage, Josh, & Michelle
On Friday it rained, so they couldn't work much, Josh took advantage of this and took a long nap.  On Saturday morning they left and headed to San Juan to enjoy an day of hiking, swimming in a waterfall, and sight-seeing.
Overall, from the stories I have heard (which you have now read), it seems to have been an awesome mission trip for all involved!  God is so amazing!  We are so thankful for everyone who supported Josh & his team, financially, in prayer, through encouragement, in EVERYTHING!
There is a web page of the week produced from World Changers if you want even more information.  The video is great - but long.  So we marked the "time starts" if you want to specifically see Josh's team:  minutes timed in at 4:17 & 4:45 (on this one look carefully at Philippe's face full of excitement!)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Smearing Calendars and Summer Whirlwinds

Wow, the days are just flying by.  Calendar pages are being flipped and summer is smearing right before is.  It was just April!  Now it's mid-June!?!  The Clarksville Downtown Market started with a BANG!  Loved it!  Love my new location on the lower level parking lot.  The traffic volume is higher and so my inventory is being taken out - which is SO GREAT!  It also means more work (to main that kind of inventory level) which was not the case last year.   Last year (on the upper upper lot) I had time to work on things, chat with other vendors, even walk around and shop a bit.  This year - very seldom do I get a break - and I'm super happy about it, because God is so good!   And the coolest part is that I love creating and sharing it with appreciative customers.  It's like art flowing from my life into theirs.  It's so beautiful.  I love talking to people and hearing their responses, their suggestions, and their ideas.  I like hearing about their lives!  It enhances me to be even more creative in my work.  I love it!
Back on the home front there are still household obligations and family schedules though.  Which means I have to juggle a lot.  Josh (the oldest) is pretty self-sufficient, getting himself to work and basketball practices, which is a blessing.  Tyler (currently at church camp this week) can also get himself to summer day camp, the pool, the store, etc...   Brielle, she's the one I have to really work with on scheduling, time, activities, and play dates.  She's playing T-Ball, attending Vacation Bible School(s), and is currently at Tumbling Camp.  All of this and my household chores haunt me daily!  I do actually mean haunt.  That means I'm barely getting them done, and when I'm not doing them, I feel haunted by them, nagged even. My sweet husband even noticed-- and washed the dishes yesterday.  (Bless him!)  So, I've asked the kids to help out some, and I'm currently reading, "The Entitlement Trap" which I hope to implement soon!
But just for this morning, I'm pouring into my blog as I sit looking out the window of the 2nd story of the Library, trying to capture -or slow a bit- of this summer.  The kids are each somewhere, and I decided that I would save gas by staying around downtown for while two of them await transportation rides home.  I did kind of envision a slower, more laid back summer, but I'm embracing this action-packed one too.
This week I'll also be making more coasters, laundry soap and play-dough!   And beads.  Always beads.    I hope to so see you soon & thank you for reading my blog through!  It means so much to me!  Have a great SUMMER!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Great News!

The greatest news is that Josh is fully funded for his Mission Trip to Puerto Rico!!!  Yay!!!!!!!!  We are so thankful for the generous support of friends and family who just amazing lavished him with prayer, support, and the funds to be able to take this trip!
Well, okay, the greatest news of ALL is that Jesus was born, lived an amazing life, did lots of cool things (like miracles) and turned everything upside down, then gave His perfect life as a sacrifice for ALL people for ALL time.  That His gift continues to give to us every single second of every day is GRACE FOR ALL TIME.  Yes, that is the greatest news of all!!!
But Josh getting to go on mission for Him, that's pretty freakin' great too!  :)
If, I could ask: Please keep praying for him!!!!  We would all super appreciate it!

Getting Ready!
In other great news:  The Clarksville Downtown Market starts tomorrow morning!!!!!  SOOOOOO Excited about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope to see you there.  Mention you read my blog and you will save $1 on any purchase!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I keep my prices as low as I possibly can, so this could help!   Thanks for your support!  My family and I really appreciate it!!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Josh's Mission Trip to Guayama, Puerto Rico

When we found out that Josh's group (Relevant Students) from OneChurch were going to go on a Mission Trip to Puerto Rico this summer, of course we asked how much it would cost.  When Josh found out it was $1,000 - he told me he couldn't do it.  Reason being: he could not ask people for money to support him. (This guy doesn't even ask for a ride.  Ever.  Even if there it's freezing rain, tornado coming, lightening striking wicked out).  Okay, maybe that's extreme, but it's true!  Josh does not like to ask for help.  (I have NO idea where he gets this from!) <sheepish grin>
But I really thought we could raise the money, if he truly wanted to go, which he did.
Then I discovered how vulnerable it makes a person to ask for support (especially the financial kind).  But I typed up a letter and posted it on Facebook and we started asking.  My friend called that very morning and I shared my apprehension with her and she said to me, "you know when you ask people to pray and support you (or your family) you are inviting them in to share the journey, the blessing, that will be experienced through God's mission.  For His Glory."  Wow.  So, asking for prayers became easier & easier, as I thought about her words.  And in just a short time Josh grew more confident and trusting.  He believes he'll get the support he needs.
Me, I'm trying, but I've been a little stressed out by it.  Then, I had lunch with a friend who had adopted a baby.  We were friends before this was even an idea, so I was involved in the whole process, somewhat.  I remembered clearly how anxious she had been and how apprehensive she was about raising the money for the adoption (it costs a LOT of money to adopt!).  She looked at me and said, "Don't worry about it.  My parent's mission trip was recently funded.  His adoption was funded."  She said this so confidently.  It stuck with me.  And I kept praying.  Then, a few days later a check arrived in the mail, from a friend of mine who'd moved away, who knew our family.  She had written words of encouragement and prayer.  And I thought, "her family is joining us in the blessing.  You can take this."  And honestly, it was humbling.  And so encouraging.
So, as hard as it is for me/us to take anything, it's much easier to invite people to join us in supporting Josh on this journey - supporting him in prayer, financially, whichever.  So that they too, can partake in the blessing of God's great commission, His heart for life changed.
If you would please PRAY we are so grateful.
If you would like to support Josh financially (he currently has $591.74 still to raise) there is a link at the top right of my blog or you can mail a check to him, just email or FB me for our address.  Thank you for just reading this though!  God bless you!

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Last Hour of Alone

It is 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon.   May 29, 2013.   Two of our three children are at their grandparents' house - six hours away - for Spring break week.  Our seventeen-year-old son stayed back for lifeguard training this week.  This afternoon he drove himself to the community center to play basketball.  His dad is at work.  I'm on the computer.  And it dawns on me.  This is it.  This is the last time I'll be home by myself for a while again.
And I'm checking Facebook.  Really?  I tell myself I need to get off.  I look around and think, "well, what DO I want to do this last hour at the end of this week?"  I can't think of it.
I've been listening to Spotify  (all week).  It's been great.  I've been cleaning, painting, working, you know - productive things...
Gungor's "Dry Bones" is playing.
My friend and I prayed together just this morning...
As I scroll my page, a post or two reminds me of an online friend, April Karli, and I realize I haven't seen her posts lately.  Maybe it's been months.  Is she off FB?   I search.
Nope, she's still here.  She just posted her own blog two hours prior!  Her blogs have greatly encouraged me in the past.  I scroll her page.  She's notorious (to me) for sharing other writers' interesting, encouraging, and thought-provoking blogs or articles.  I've never met April in real life.  She lives in Texas and I'm not sure about Texas.  But I like April.  I keep scrolling.   I find two blogs she's shared about teen boys.   I have two teen boys and I always want to be a better mom to them.  I always feel like I could do better.  In fact, during Spring Break I was reading the book, "Boys should be boys" by Meg Meeker (great book!), wondering if I am too late?  I want the absolute best for them!  I think of that often.  Pray for it often.  God show me and show them! This is every mother's prayer, right?
Three years ago at Dunbar Cave
Josh-14  Tyler-11
They are now seventeen and fourteen; I just love them wholeheartedly.
So I read the blogs.  I'm crying.  Then...I'm bawling.
And now- I'm typing about it.

Ann Voskamp's page is still up playing the piano, and I haven't even finished reading the full post yet!  I had to pause because it was so overwhelming.   It's an awfully good feeling.  But so hard.  But I know now that this is exactly how I would choose to spend my last hour.  I want it to sink in.  I want time to drink it in.  I want to know.  I want my boys to know.  I want my daughter to know.  How this LOVE is.  This love that pierces the heart and hallows the soul.  That digs deeper, and deeper, and becomes always more meaningful.  Always more beautiful.  Oh, how I long to feel it!  The growing.

And I cannot read this post my sister sent me without crying: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2013/01/how-to-be-the-parent-you-want-to-be-40-things-every-child-must-know-before-they-leave-home/

So, I pause, and I read on.  I cry.  I read.  I cry on.  I count it all as gain. And as Carol Kuykendall says, "the hurt is a good hurt.  The pain is a good pain."  And as strange as it may seem, I want to FEEL it.  So...I do.   And I'm truly thankful for it.
Bettered by it.
Battered by it.
Humbled because of it.
Thankful beyond measure.
God knows.

Oh, how He must know.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Season 36: Episode 5

Love this handmade gift from my sister with all Local
Business Cards - mine included!
The Fiddlers' Festival was great!  I heard the talent was amazing, and I did get to see the cloggers, but they were just a small portion of the amazing talent that I heard filled the stage!  As a Vendor, it went well over all, I met some new Vendor friends (always good!) and some new customer friends.  I love talking to older people (like those 70+) because they have just wonderful amazing perspective on life and are full of so much KNOWLEDGE!   There was one such woman  (from Evansville, IN) who really could have been my good friend, as we were definitely kindred spirits (thank you Anne with an E), and I just really enjoyed talking with her for a half hour or so.  It seemed we could have talked on for hours.  I would have loved to visit her often, like-minded as we were, especially considering she was FULL of wisdom and I am not!  You know....not like she was.  Only going through LIFE can we gain perspective on some things.   I told her to check out this blog, so hopefully she does & comments so I know she did!
Being there made me all the more excited for the Clarksville Downtown Market!  I'm still working on stocking & restocking my inventory.  I'm excited about some new things I have coming out!

In our family, Josh (our 17 year old), passed his drivers test!  A good thing, a milestone step, but it also makes certain things more complicated, while also making other things easier.
As I am parenting a toddler and a teenager simultaneously  I can still with great honesty tell you that neither is easier than the other, they are both quite difficult in different ways!  It's an emotional roller coaster, lovely and exciting, crazy and bittersweet.

Softball started for Spring season!  We had our first practice last Sunday.  It was so much fun, but my entire body ached from it!   Ha!  Playing softball at age 36 is not for wimps!
I hope to continue to write as the seasons of life progress.  Hopefully I can continue to blog once a week through the busiest season of my year (Spring).  I have a time set aside on Mondays to do it, and so far so good.  I love it.  It is like writing a letter update to a dear friend or cousin, somewhere far off, or not so far, but close to my heart, and I am so fortunate this is you, reader & friend!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


This weekend I will be vending at the Old-Time Fiddlers Festival.  After I committed to it, there were about three other invitations I received for events going on this weekend.  Popular weekend!  I am very interested to see how it is going to go at the Festival as it's supposed to last late into the night Friday and all day Saturday, again going late into that night.  I'm a little skeptical at how much time I can stay there!  (Especially since the weather is supposed to be awesome.) But, if you are near Rossview High School and enjoy Fiddlin' competitions you should definitely come check it out.  If you don't, I will be sure to let you know how it goes.

To the right is a sneak peak of some new items, styles, & colors I have coming out.  This is what my work table currently looks like (and I cleaned it this morning!).

This upcoming Friday I am taking our oldest son, Josh, for his actual driving test before her receives his official drivers licence.  We've been doing a lot of "practicing," so hopefully it will go well for him.

Spring is in the air!
Well, it is for me in my mind anyway, even though it was still bitterly cold yesterday.  I keep thinking of this quote, and I'm not quite sure where it came from:
How then can we truly appreciate the glories of Spring, if we have not indeed gone through the dead of Winter?

I'm learning (and always trying to learn) to appreciate the different seasons of life; however strange, lonely, or complicated they seem to be.

Also, I am still reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  Intense.  You should read it.  I can't really explain it, but if you read it we will have lots to talk about - because it contains life-changing content.

I've also been a Vegetarian for the past 16 days!!!  Totally accidental, of course.  Maybe that will be my next blog post! ;)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Give it up

Basketball season has ended, softball is just around the corner, then it's time for the Downtown Market!
Steadily building my inventory, I am excited about some "new products" I have created to share this upcoming season.
The Market begins May 18th.  The Vendor Fees have increased, so I do foresee that trickling into the prices of the goods, but it shouldn't be extreme.  Most vendors have always had such great prices to begin with.  That is, for handmade or home grown   These prices should be kept in line with the time it took to make or grow a product, and the money it cost to do so, for fairness.
My next vendor opportunity is the Old Time Fiddlers' show March 8th & 9th at Rossview High School.  I'm looking forward to it.  Every year I read about it in the Leaf Chronicle, but this is the first time I'll be there.  When I was nine and ten years old I took violin lessons, so I have great respect for the instrument and the talent required to play it.

Before yesterday afternoon (when a sweet friend enlightened me with a gentle reminder from the Love of God) I was thinking, thinking, thinking, stressing, and considering summer plans.  I really like to plan summer.  Our oldest son, Josh, has fortunately gotten a summer job, but they have asked him to commit to it for the summer, taking only one week off, because it is only a ten week job.  Well, that just throws a wrench into family vacation, church camps, basketball camps, and time at the grandparents' house.  I have felt so torn, how to help him have it all, knowing that the summer between his Junior & Senior year is so special.  So fleeting.  I have this fear that he won't have been given every opportunity, that he won't have experienced everything he needs to before his Senior year of high school.
How do I help?  What can I do?  The wheels in my head have been spinning and the wrench is getting worn.  It might have sounded awful in my son's head every time I tried to broach the subject, thinking we need a plan now!  I think he started avoiding me.  Still, I felt the need to tell him everything I knew about it all.
If he has to choose just one week to do what he wants to do this summer, he must choose very wisely!  Then I started trying to persuade/influence him (unknowingly, of course).
 Finally, he just said, "Stop.  Please.  Stop"
And I realized.
I (really) can't make his decision for him, ever how huge it may seem to  me.
NO coercing.   No persuading.  No intellectual/experiential advice.
It suddenly feels like when I put him on the bus for kindergarten that first day.  When my heart fell to my stomach as I realized I had to let go.  That he was going.  Then he was gone.
Nothing prepares you for that with your first child, whenever it happens.  As it continues to happen.
And though it is supposed to happen, and we can enjoy the process, it is soooooooooo bittersweet.
He has to make his own choices.  Though my intentions are good-- in wanting to be a loving, informative, giving mom--- I have to let go and give it up.  (My friend's words, "give it up.")  I knew exactly what she meant as the wrench was torn from my heart.
It's a scary thing.
Have I prepared him?
Have I taught him everything I know?
And who?  Just who do I think I am? I'm having to trust that I have done the best with what I have known.  Yet, believing and trusting that God will do much much more than I could have dreamed of doing.  That He will provide every good thing my son needs.  That He will take him to and through things that will forever change the man, and that He will teach and teach and teach him more.
I know it seems like I should have been prepared for this, but unbeknownst to me, this is one of those things that can only be experienced to be understood.  Fully felt.

Crazily, it is our greatest hope as parents is that when the time comes we can truly let go and give it up - stand back with tears in our eyes - and watch them fly.

My Hope.

So I waited.  Eight long days.   I prayed, but not nearly as much as I should have have.  I learned that I needed to pray more.   About many things.  SO many things.  That I should pray without ceasing.  I cease far to often!  I should pray.

I MUST pray.

Then he goes away for two days.
He returns.
He says he knows what he is doing now.
He has chosen.

Whatever.  I am content with whatever decision he has made.  Because I know it is God's hand.  God's will.  Our trust.  Amazingly led.  All along.  Praise God.  Thank You God.

Josh chose to go on the mission trip to World Changers: Puerto Rico with the Relevant Students group this summer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tell Them / Speak Life

We are temporarily down to one vehicle again.  So, I am currently utilizing public transportation.  The buses here are great, clean, affordable, and not that crowded.  I've only been on one other city's bus to compare though.  In Mexico we took their city bus to Market 29 to get some great deals from locals on souvenirs (if you buy souvenirs close to the resorts, you'll pay double).  That bus was CAH-RAZY.  The locals use it every day and they just cram into it to get to work, or home.  It felt extremely illegal.  But since we were sitting and it kept getting squishier, there was not getting off.  We had people holding on while hanging out the front door of the bus, and people at passing bus stops were still trying to flag our bus down to get on!  (Eye opening....considering most people  I know (myself included) have the luxury of riding around in a five to seven passenger vehicle with a/c and heat).
All this to say that Clarksville buses rarely have this problem.  I've been taking it nearly every day.  It allows for exercise, fresh air, some thinking time while waiting or riding, and personally I enjoy it.
But it also does something else for me.  It's humbling.  Many times I overhear people talking about how they are trying to just get a job, or a GED, or place of their own.  The bus I ride is en route to the local medical clinic that charges based on income, so a lot of people riding are in need of medical care also.
So it was last week when I got on the bus and heard a young lady talking loudly to a guy friend sitting in front of her.  She was in a wheel chair, and she may have been missing part of one leg, but I didn't want to stare, so I walked past her and sat down two seats behind.
She was talking so loud and so much, I went to put my earphones on to resume listening to music.  But then I could hear her over the earphone music, and Tobymac's song Speak Life came on, so I felt compelled to listen.  She was telling stories of her childhood, wrought with emotional abuse.  The stories were supposed to be funny, as she was loud in proclaiming them.  But every once in a while she would look out the window and I could see her eye.  And I knew that she knew.  She knew that the life she'd been brought up in didn't make sense.  That it wasn't right, but it had made and shaped her and she had resigned herself to it.  I could see the pain in her eye even as she laughed and loudly recounted the stories of her family's dysfunction.  She knew, somewhere deep down, that this childhood she'd had wasn't "good."
Then I thought of Tobymac's song and I wondered, "how can I speak life to her? I'm not even engaged in the conversation.  She doesn't know me!"
But I imagined for a second myself walking up to the seat across from her and time slowing for the moment, as I seriously told her what God wanted me to: "I have been sitting behind you listening to your stories and I feel God wants me to tell this:  You are so worthy.  You are beautiful.  You are valuable and you are wise. The experiences you have been describing don't sound stable, and so I sensed that God wanted me to tell you how truly wonderful you are."
Then I really wanted to tell her!  She need to hear it!
But then, I wondered, how would she respond to that?  I didn't want to offend her.
And I lost my nerve.
So, I just prayed that she would know it somehow, as I sat there wondering who would tell her.
I felt everything the opposite of brave.

Is it possible (for ordinaries) to speak life to total strangers?  I've heard stories of evangelistic people doing that.  Is it Personality? Gifting? Or simply being equipped with courage while being obedient to God?  What are some instances in your life where you have followed the Holy Spirit's prompting in a situation that seemed uncomfortable?  How did it turn out?

I know I don't want to be ordinary.  I want to be a rebel.  An ordinary rebel.  A fool.  A crazy God-loving kid, who is NOT afraid to speak the truth to perfect strangers.  I desire to speak LIFE.
Oh God, please give me the courage.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Passengers Seat

When my website went down for a few months I kept trying to figure out what was wrong, and honestly considered deleting it.  It's actually a blog anyway.  But I was not using it like a blog, or like a business website either.  Then I just wasn't using it at all.  So, I didn't know what the point was.  I missed my old blog: Blue Moments.  There, I was able just to express myself and write whatever I felt like.  It was like a freeing outlet and I felt connected with those who read about my life: the ups and downs.  I can think of a few friends who I grew closer to just because they read and heard my heart, as I wrote my life.
And ideally, it would be great to have two blogs.  One to report my business stuff (because sometimes I feel like there is SO MUCH good stuff to share!) and the other to write the ponderings that reveal themselves to me in the bluest moment of the day, the moment that feeling washes over me and time stands still.
But, Lord knows I can't keep up with two blogs!
So, I'm bringing my Blue Moments here.  That could mean I could be posting more often <gasp!> and I know it might be a bit confusing to people looking for a business website.  But I'm making the best possible choice I can right now.  So, if people come looking for Laundry Soap and find themselves reading about my son's basketball experience his junior, then okay.  I apologize now, I guess?  ha!
Riding on the passenger side.
Speaking of Josh, he'll be driving on his own soon.  He's had his trainers permit for nearly six months now.  I'm starting to enjoy having a chauffeur.   In the past we had  never encouraged him to get his permit, we figured he'd just do it when he was ready.  Which turned out to be about 16 1/2.  We just thought he'd be fine riding the bus, walking, or biking to his destinations.  Which was true, for the most part.  But the bus doesn't run on Sundays and it can't get him to and from basketball games.  So, yes, I am about to say it:  I'm looking forward (in some ways) to him driving himself.  He's a very cautious driver, so I'm not concerned there.  But he does have a really strange sense of direction (or lack thereof), so I am interested to see where he ends up!  But for now, I'm trying to relish the moments in the car with him.  This is a short (six month) season of life, where your child drives you around, and then they get their licence and you don't ever have to let them drive you again.  So, I'm storing these precious times in my heart.

Parenting is such an amazing experience!  Children are constantly teaching us, even if it seems we should be teaching them.  I am still learning how to learn.  Maybe I always will be, until the end of my days on Earth.  Oh, but it will not end there.  I can continue to learn in Heaven!  Oh, yes!  I have been reading this AMAZING book by Randy Alcorn, entitled "Heaven."  A small group meets to discuss it.  It's mind-blowing, really.  I can't tell you about it, you will just have to read it on your own.  But it will change your perspective, and ultimately your life.

Other than that book club, I have little spiritual community in my life, besides my accountability sisters, two who are the closest to me, and a handful that live in the area, and many more who live all across America.
It is a bit strange, this season, as other seasons I have been sooooo involved in ministries and had amazing Christian families that met together regularly.  My heart sometimes aches for that, and yet I know this is the season of my life that God has ordained and is using for His purposes.  I suppose we cannot understand fully the depth of Faith, in the shallow or the deep sense.  How often I wonder though if I am spinning my wheels, or listening well, or not asking the right questions, or, or, or........
And then I hear, "Be faithful with what I have given you."
And my heart crumbles as I am humbled.

Of course.  I have been given so much.  A wonderful husband, amazing children, warm-hearted friends, a home to care for, puppies, and my little Unearthed Roots venture.  That's so much!  Am I being faithful with all that I have been given?  Sometimes I just want to do more, more, more!  I want to do something that matters!  Something with others!  Something that I can see some results of!  Ouch.  Woah.  There it is.  I have been given so much, and here I am wanting more, just because I have experienced more.  I know I should just appreciate.
Give thanks.

And that is where I am, here on my knees again.
Learning to give thanks.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Reunited and it feels so good!

Often, I have heard my mother-in-law's voice, "Jenna, I have not seen you post a new blog in a very long time."  Then I imagine myself explaining that Yeah, I need to fix that.
I can't believe I am going to say this:  I sort of miss her nagging.
She nagged in a nice way.  And were she still alive, she would have pestered me enough to get my website back up shortly after it went down!  She would have.
And here I am, months later, just now tending to it.  Good grief!
But, now it's better, and we are back up and running!
I miss my friends, from the Downtown Market: Jim, Becky, Yolanda, Nick, and so many others.
But my inventory is getting stocked, and my family seems healthy & intact.
We are in full swing of the boys' basketball season.  Our darling daughter just started gymnastics.  The puppies eat, grow, terrorize me, and poop.  A lot.  Hey.  This is life, uncensored.  Well, somewhat.
Check out my Etsy shop!  I'm trying to save funds (already) for the boys' missions/camps this summer.  More info on that to come!  Thanks for being patient though and coming back by my site!!!!