Sunday, September 11, 2016

Between the lines of Faith

It's been a very long time since I've attended Sunday School.  You would think that after attending the same church for over 26 years, that I would be steadfast in this, but it's been a struggle.

Honey and I  used to teach K-1st grade together before we had kids, and it was just a joy!  The way the kids think and how they think is pretty hilarious at times and oh so refreshing.  Some of the first kids we taught are now 30 and have families of their own.  

Then I took some time off when we began our own family...  Okay, so I took a long time off, but Honey loves the little ones, and he has been teaching the same class each Sunday, for longer than we can remember. They love their Mr. D! He is easy going, goofy at times, and doesn't mind the noise, and is just lovable. But me? After being with our kids 24/7, and watching other people's children, working in the public schools, etc, I was worn and frankly, I had little tolerance for outright disobedience/disrespect that I saw in some of the kids. I know, it begins with the parents, but that is another time and discussion. 

Each Sunday for I've tried different ones through the years and each semester they do change.  Some are WAY too deep and philosophical and I was constantly lost and dread attending, some I struggled to relate to the direction or style of teaching, some had those who liked to debate and made me want to run away, and others left me wishing I'd slept in. One, I particularly really gleaned a ton from, was from a pilot who has spent time in the middle east.  He has the most wonderful insight to customs, the people, and when he puts it in correlation to the Bible, it really just becomes so clear.  One of the lessons that stuck with me was on the simple lesson on Zaccheus, a tax collector.  How totally bad it was for a middle Eastern man, to climb a tree, run, or or just be in the presence of Jews (because he was a crooked and wealthy tax collector).  Another was the lesson he presented on the Parable of the Prodigal Son - again, how the actions of the son, who would have been really dead to his family,  and brought much shame and disgrace to them, but Jesus used the story to show the most disgusting and shameful things, could and would be forgiven and how the wreckless/abandoned love of a Dad brought forgiveness and rejoicing.   

This morning, I decided to give Sunday School a try again.  Fruit of the Spirit lead by our lead pastor's wife.  I knew that she was real, focused, and had a passion for sharing.  I must say, this class is EXACTLY what I've been looking for all these years!  While the focus is about the Fruit of the Spirit, it is about each of our broken stories, how we cry out so many times to God, and without Him, we truly cannot do it on our own.   Then she shared her story, her struggles, and fears and I knew, this was the class I could not miss. This was not just a class, but it is about relational and personal.  She said we all have stories, a background, experiences, some are broken, some are healing...  Today she related and spoke simply about Faith...  

Faith - it is trust and it is intellectual
1. strong or unshakable belief in something, esp without proof or evidence2.  belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) :  belief in the Traditional doctrines of a religion
Faith is:
  1. An attribute of God - Psalms 146:5  How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
  2. A positive characteristic of men -
  3. A characteristic that men lack -
     Romans 1:31

    Luke 8:25   And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”

  4. A  characteristic of the Holy Spirit -
    2 Corinthians 5:7     We live by faith, not by sight.
    Hebrews 11:39-40    These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
If we don't have faith, we cannot do make it on our own. We cannot be victorious.  

John 10:10  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

I know I didn't take the best notes, but frankly, I was struggling to just breathe.  My heart was still, listening...  I've been thinking of the words she spoke all day, and I know...  For me, it's about lack of trust, self worth, forgiveness, purpose, childhood parental inflected scars and memories, search for approval, belonging, trust (yeah, there it is again), and let's not talk about fears yet (beside canned biscuits and balloons)...  

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I Felt the Earth Move Under my Feet

I'd been up for a few hours, with only three hours of sleep.  Brain just won't quit sometimes and it kept playing a Francesca Battistelli song, Write Your Story.  Finally gave up at 5:30 and decided to work on emails, bills, and stuff.  I was sitting at the computer at 7 a.m., suddenly the computer screen swayed, my chair moved and I felt dizzy.  I must have been drinking too much tea too early in the morning!!!  I looked around for the dog, thinking she had laid against my chair and moved it, but she was looking at me from across the room,  like I was kinda crazy.  I think I was...
Earthquake felt in seven states - CNN 

Getting on facebook, I quickly discovered that what I had felt was a 5.6  5.8 (updated a few days after the quake) magnitude earthquake centered in Pawnee, OK and felt in SEVEN states!!!

I've got to stop blaming the dog for everything!!!   What a way to start Labor Day weekend!  I will be very happy with some kind of normal for the weekend!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Mr C goes to college

Hard to believe, but Youngest started college this week. He resisted greatly having his picture taken, but I played the "mom" card and won out.  You only have one "very first day of college" in your college career.  
Tuesday evening, after he finished his second day of calculus (what 17 yr old takes a class like that his first semester?!)  and he was bouncing off the wall with excitement.  He tried to explain how awesome it was, but the words math and awesome do not belong in the same sentence in my world. This is the kid who solves a Rubics cube, in close to a minute, and says it's simple because it's just an algorithm... Who is this kid???  He tried to explain how fun and challenging it was to solve the problem below, but my mind couldn't fathom any of it.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Definition for $100 please

So I can be a bit snarky at times.  Sometimes it's in my brain and I mentally reply to a person who was a bit more than rude. Most of the time it happens when I'm driving.  Sometimes I think people really did get their driver's license from a Cracker Jack Box!!!  Other times,  I think I've mentally replied and, based on the look on the other person's face, it actually came out of my brain via my mouth.  sigh  I did it again! 

Before you Google Snarky, I'll help you out:
SNARKY:  A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term. sarcastic, impertinent, or irreverent in tone or manner

From what I can tell, I'm not the only one that has this issue... Doesn't make it right or acceptable.  I've often told Honey that I could not work as a automotive service advisor. I would be fired for telling a customer that, it is not our fault they didn't plan ahead and waited till the day before their vacation, which they planned 6 months ago, to have their auto problems fixed, new tires, or oil changed.

I've been snarky with my kids.  Their lack of planning is not going to cause an emergency on my side.  They may have inherited some of this from me.

Time and time again, I chide myself and wish I were kinder, sweeter, more Proverbs 31 (but honestly, this woman seems to be a bit beyond my reach), prettier, in better shape, easier to talk to, less distracted, blah, blah, blah...  You fill in the blank. One Sunday, I was talking to a friend and they made a comment about a subject close to my heart and their opinion just about seared my soul.  They weren't meaning to.  Maybe it was a due to a bit of honesty in their observations, but their words were stomping on my heart...

It was a tough week with my mom, school was starting back up, my regular school year kids were back in my care, too little sleep, a bit of loneliness...  Not the best week, but it sure wasn't hopeless!  Getting ready for church on Sunday, my playlist began running through some of my favorites...  Tripping over dogs underfoot, outfit change #4, foundation, some blush, oh shoot... chipped polish on my toes won't go with those comfy sandals...  then the first strum of guitar and beat of drum pulsed through the speakers.... "He Knows My Name" by Francesca Battistelli    Listen  I heard Him say to me.

Spent today in a conversation
In the mirror face to face with
Somebody less than perfect
I wouldn't choose me first if
I was looking for a champion
In fact I'd understand if
You picked everyone before me
But that's just not my story
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
I'm not meant to just stay quiet
I'm meant to be a lion
I'll roar beyond a song
With every moment that I've got
True to who You are
You saw my heart
And made
Something out of nothing
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh
He calls me chosen, free forgiven, wanted, child of the King,
His forever, held in treasure
I am loved
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
I don't need my name in lights
I'm famous in my Father's eyes
Make no mistake
He knows my name
I'm not living for applause
I'm already so adored
It's all His stage
He knows my name oh, oh,
He knows my name oh, oh

Listen...  He said again... though I heard her voice begin, picking up where she had just left off.  

                                                   "If We're Honest"

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay 
our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be

By the time I arrived at church, I was a bit of a mess.  First friend I saw was Miss "I", who visiting with her sweet Momma.  She gave me the biggest hug and then a mug with all these wonderful quips about friends (my favorite one was "Friends become our chosen Family") and I cried.  I cried as her momma hugged me.  I miss her coming here daily, but I am so thrilled for the new opportunity that God has placed their family in and thankful I do get to see them from time to time.  She is a friend of the heart.  As I turned from her, I saw a longtime friend, tears in her eyes approach me.  She just reached out and enveloped me in a hug and let me cry.  The frustrations and self-doubts finally came out.  She told me of her mom's struggle with dementia and her struggle with that, and as we talked,  she listened.  "My brain just can't wrap itself around why I would be good friend material.  We go from work to nursing home, do dinner and go to bed, only to do it all over again.  Late nights that Honey works, schedules.  I have no clue what is going on with anyone or even watch the news."   
Thyme is Honey blog

"Can I ask you something?  Those things that you say to yourself... Would you ever say them to someone else," she asked, understanding deep in her eyes. "No, of course you wouldn't!  Then why do you say them to yourself?"

This week is better.  Her question and challenge has echoed through my head all week.  My head is clearing and  I'm listening...  I'm working toward being less snarky...

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:12-13

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Fuzzy Memories

My brother and I at our grandparents in Kansas
As I get older, some memories seem to pull up less frequently, but given a nudge, they seem to explode.  

Last month, Honey and I took a weekend get-away to attend Niece's baby shower back home.  While there, we made a quick jaunt up to Mom's house to check on it.  Honestly, I dread going in there.  While it is cleaned up and pretty neat, there are still reminders and memories tucked in just about corner that flood my heart. Most of the time, I leave so sad.  My Momma should be there, hugging us when we arrive, her list of Do-projects sitting on the bar, standing at the door, waving as we drive away.  Now, all I leave are tears...  Alzheimer's just sucks.

As we were checking on  different areas of the house, I discovered her old Singer Slant-O-Matic 500 Rocketeer Sewing Machine shoved back in the corner of a closet.   It was the machine I learned to sew on a a very young child , Mom made most all my clothes, and my bridesmaid dresses were created on it. 
Mom's Rocketeer
Such great memories there!  Grabbing it, I started searching for the box of feet and accessories I knew went with it.  If I could get it running, I thought I'd give it to Only, since she doesn't have a sewing machine.  In my search, I came across a forgotten box of photos and slides shoved under some material.  Grabbing those, I added them to my growing pile of memories on the bar.  Behind the photos and slides I found the accessory box for the sewing machine! It was a great day for discovering! 

Honey grabbed a sturdy "vintage" 16' wooden ladder from the garage that was used out on the farm during the depression.  I wanted it to put my quilts on.  Because it was so incredibly long, we had to cut it into two 8' parts to get into the truck bed.  Since the smaller section was still too tall for the space I needed, I decided to put one section in my kitchen above the cabinet.

The forgotten Outhouse
My discovery in The old Outhouse, which Mom used to store tools, made me cry upon finding the old sled from my childhood, and begged Honey to let me take it home.  So many memories made on that during those cold Kansas winters. It should make it's decorative debut this winter on my front porch.   

Once home, I allowed myself an evening to venture into the box of slides and photos.  To my delight, I found this nifty Guild Mini-Master slide viewer and with each slide, memories came flooding back.  I found if I held up the Mini-Master up to the light and held my cell phone up to take a picture, I could awkwardly manage it.   Before I knew it, I was texting pictures to my brother and we spent a good two hours going back and forth. Many of the pictures that have Mom in them... She looked so incredibly young and, of course, she had this boundless energy that helped her to keep up with two active kids.

Boston Memories:  Santa was not a favorite of mine when I was younger, but I'm sure I was not alone in my fear.   I wish I could remember more of our time in Boston, but am thankful for the picture to fill in the blanks.  See the car in the background?   That dusty station wagon was our family vehicle until I was probably in middle elementary.  The dust would literally roll in through the cracks and windows on the old country roads.  I can almost feel the grit on my face.

Christmas:  If you look closely, past the cool toys that we got and some we still have (that doll and firetruck were AWESOME!), you might be able to see several Elf-on-a-shelf predecessors, that Mom put on our tree each year.   Since we had several of them, they really were just a decoration.  I'd like to say we were "perfect" children and didn't need Elf-on-a-shelf, but the spanking board and cut switches we had testify otherwise.

This one made me smile.

Time in Kansas
My childhood home
 At some point, we returned to Kansas briefly, to buy a house, start some renovations on the early 1900's home to make it livable.  We had no indoor bathroom, but an outhouse and cistern off the back porch served their purpose.  The 1970's avacado colored kitchen was about the size of a small bedroom, but the  suited us perfectly. Our baths were taken by hauling water from the cistern at the back of the house, heating it on the stove, and pouring it into a galvanized washtub.  It was always nice to be the first one in the tub!   The house doesn't even look like this now.  The two porches were remodeled for more bedrooms and a new kitchen, but the memories on those porches were priceless!  On days when we had summer thunderstorms, my brother and I would take our toys, games, and Barbie/GI Joe dolls, and play on the side porch.
side Porch and back of house

Hanging stocking on the door

Grandma and Grandpa Wilson

One of the best things about living in KS was having Grandma and Grandpa live directly across the street from us.   They had this huge tree in the front of their home with a wood swing under the front part and up by the trunk was a huge tractor tire filled with sand for grandkids to play in.  On beautiful days, one would find them sitting on the swing, just enjoying the day or resting from chores.

Ugh, Easter Pictures and lace

Most of my early childhood was spent sharing this bunk bead with my brother.  We had the most fun with that thing!   I learned quickly that I could aggravate my brother to pieces by putting my feet on the underside of the top bunk and push up quickly.  Probably pay-back for all the torture he dished out.  That baby doll I had was one of my favorites, but Mom told me that after I got her, I somehow pulled her hair out, and she used a marker to "draw" hair on her.

Easter Egg hunts were fantastic in KS, especially with the cousins!  There were tons of hiding places, old trees, old tractor tire that was our sandbox, flowers, porches, and more.  Mom used to count all the eggs she put out, to make sure we found them all.

Life was pretty carefree for us.  We loved our school, have a wonderful choir and piano teacher, a block full of kids our age (we lived on a military base), we walked or rode our bicycles everywhere by ourselves (choir, swimming pool, movies).  We knew which yards had the wonderful friendly dogs that loved to be petted, and frequently got chewed out by officers for my brother making me ride on his handle bars when we were out.  I'm not sure if Mom ever followed us in the car on our escapades, but she somehow trusted us.  Mom made us take Judo lessons, which I hated, but my kids think it's pretty funny.  I wanted to take gymnastics like all my friends and wear the cute outfits and dance, not wear a bulky uniform (which I still have).  Notice that after two years, my belt is STILL white!!!  

Our Choir and Piano teacher

This was one of our first Christmases
there.  Can you spot the vintage toys?  They were a blast to have!  That Barbie plane, Viewmaster, GI Jim RV, Barbie Camper, Blythe doll,...The nativity set under the tree was always the first decoration brought out before any other. until close to 2008 when it became too much to have Christmas at Mom's home.

Pinball machine we loved. 

Mom had just had back surgery the second Christmas there and she had to sleep in the pullout couch in the living room.  It made the best place to sit and keep her company, playing games and dolls, and reading books.

Back in Kansas
Kindergarten Picture
 At this time, the side porch of the was converted to an extra bedroom, and my brother and I, for the first time, had separate bedrooms. I remember when a septic tank was installed beside the house and we actually had running water!  The back porch and storage room were converted to an indoor bathroom with toilet and shower, and the laundry room for a brand new washer and dryer!  No more laundry mat and outhouse!!!  Mine was yellow shag carpet, with a yellow canopy bed yellow sheer curtains with white embroidered daisies, and posters of kittens, horses, and puppies on the white paneled walls.  We had chores of feeding chickens and gathering eggs, feeding the cows, tending to the garden, and keeping our rooms spotless.  Mom would tell us that the minister was coming over for Sunday lunch and he would be checking our rooms. I can't believe I fell for that! If only that ruse worked now!


One thing I loved about being back in Kansas, was being close to the cousins again.  Our extended family was pretty close and nothing compared to a Saturday afternoon to play with Raine, while the parents got together.  I always envied her blonde curls, but I later learned that those curls came with a price - sleeping in hard plastic rollers with pins stuck in them.  A few years ago, we had a good laugh during her visit here, when we figured out that we have the exact same desk as children, except hers is white and mine is brown. Somehow, her white one always seemed so much fancier than my brown one.

Off to school! 

Thanks for stopping by and going on a memory journey with me.  Do you have a favorite memory from your childhood that you could share?  I would love to hear about it!

p.s. I was able to take the sewing machine to our local Sewing Machine Center and $90 later, it was in good working order.  Only was thrilled to have it when we delivered it to her a few weeks ago and is looking forward to learning to sew more using a 66 year-old machine that was her grandma's.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016


Monday, I took Little K to VBS, knowing he would love all the fun activities and learning about Jesus.  On the way home, he stated "Jesus is mean!"
"Um, what are you talking about?  Jesus loves us and cares for us greatly!"
"Well, He told Zacheus that he couldn't play in the tree anymore and had to get out!" Little K stated.

Needless to say, we went back over that event and made sure he was clear on what really happened.


Day one and lego hand is forming
Two weeks ago, I had my first surgery for Carpal Tunnel.  Youngest has been so impressed with my Wolverine scar and my Lego positioned hand.  Not what I was thinking when he asked to see it, but the humor was welcome. 

I decided to watch some of my old DVR shows, after having carpal tunnel surgery two weeks ago.  I happen to be  watching one from Christmas  from the Hallmark Channel, when Youngest walked by and a Countdown to Christmas ad was playing.  "Are you kidding me Hallmark Channel!!!  It is not even the end of June!"
Paul and Tracy
Sunday, we attended a "sending off" to some dear young-at-heart, recently retired friends, Paul and Tracy, who are just the dearest.  Many people were there, telling stores, sharing a meal, and singing songs lead by Paul.  Tracy has been the biggest encourager to me in regards to surviving being a mom to boys, plus she loves to sew and do embroidery work on her machine.  I can't wait to hear of their new adventures as they travel the US.  There were not a lot of dry eyes, and my heart was aching a bit, but I'm thrilled for them.  After telling hugging Tracy, she looked at me and then at Youngest and laughed:
  "You know, the memory I will always laugh at with Youngest was during church.  He decided he wanted to sit with me during service, he must have been 3-4 years old.  Someone had made a hilarious comment during service and the auditorium was filled with so much laughter, but I looked down and he was completely stone faced.  So I asked him what was wrong and he said "I'm laughing inside my head."  I just lost it!  
I'd never heard that story before and was so thankful to hear it now.

Went to the Farmers Market this morning for some yummy corn and potatoes, and whileYoungest was buckling Little K back in his carseat... Little K said to him: "Don't mash my Peter." Lol!  Oh the joy of boys!!! 

Would you care to share a funny story that has happened lately?  Have you had a good belly laugh?  I'd love to hear it!