Thursday, June 28, 2007


I just got home from a bridal shower. It was for a girl that I had the pleasure of kind of 'big sistering' through her high school and some college years and it was neat to sit back and watch her as she embraced her new role as 'bride' and soon to be 'wife'.
It's funny to me that this particular night and this particular shower seems to have really drawn some deep waters up in me. I have been around alot of soon to be brides and showers etc in the past five years since it was my turn at the magical merry go round of presents and plans and smiles and bliss and dreams and optomism. My sister in law is even engaged and wedding planning as we speak. But being here tonight affected me deeply and I don't really know why.
The shower was 'Kitchen' themed and to go with it we each brought one food recipe and one 'Recipe for Life' sharing advice for the couple about marriage. Whew. Since my relationship with this girl has pretty much centered around advice and imparting wisdom and 'going before' her in this life to then look back and offer a hand up... I really wanted to offer some encouraging, thrilling, fool proof nuggets for her to keep and cling to. But as I sat and thought I knew, just knew that everything and anything I could possibly truthfully offer her of what I've found to be true of marriage and actually practically helpful 5 years in, she at this moment, sitting in that chair with her beaming smile and giggly tapping toes, will not think she needs or already think she knows it. I know because I did too. I actually don't remember a ton of 'advice' people handed to me when I was engaged, probably for that very reason that at the time I was receiving it I did not view it as advice but rather 'obvious' information that my fiance and I had already discussed, dealt with and perfected. We were good to go and I was too busy telling everybody how incredibly amazing we worked together to hear much of anything else.
So tonight, as I listened to the stories and watched her eyes sparkle in anticipation of all that was to come for her and her love, I felt so many heart heavy emotions bubbling up. I didn't really feel the need to warn her of all the practicalities and realities that come with the hum drum of everyday life, instead I kind of felt like grabbing some of that sparkle from her eyes (don't worry, she had plently to share) and putting it back into my tired ones. And as I watched her nod in somber agreement at the marriage advice she won't remember, I actually tuned in for myself. Cuz 5 years in; I have to be wise enough to admit the sparkle dust has settled a little around my eyes and it's made me see that some of these women who've been married 20,25,30,50 years... they got some stories to tell and some wisdom to drink in.
Maybe we should all have 5 yr anniversary bridal showers... they might be a whole lot more affective.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Every Sunday lately I have found myself moved by something our pastor says in his sermon or something in the words we happen to worship to that morning. I guess that says some good things about the church we're at.
I often intend to write on the things I feel the Holy Spirit impressing on me in that moment, but the quietness of that hour and a half vanishes with the chattering crowds just outside the double doors of the sanctuary. And it carries with it the strength of the conviction I felt just moments ago. This past week though, I was moved a second time by the same words as the week before, and so before we hit Wed. I am going to sit and think on them... thanks for joining.
We sang a grouping of choruses lumped into one song during worship. One part stated over and over "Lord, I wanna yearn for You, I wanna burn with passion over You, Only You." As I was singing this part of the song I was having a really hard time. These words are so true in my heart, I desperatley long to yearn for the Lord. I remember the days when I felt pure passion and motivation to go and be and do all for the Lord. I was truly enamored by Him, knowing Him, being with Him, just HIM. I know what life driven by that is like and I thirst for it. But as I was singing that morning I was coming before the Lord wondering honestly if I was asking something unrealistic. I have come to believe, whether true or not, that there are times of passion in life and times of mundane obedience and duty. I don't know if Ive been sold a lie or not. I guess I have begun to see our walks with the Lord as a wooing of children. Maybe when we were younger and more fragile; as I most definitely was in my first college years, maybe the Lord wooed me more with emotion, maybe I felt those passions and yearnings so tangibly because that was a phase of my walk I was to go through at that time...Christ sought me, won me, assured my heart and soul of His truths and goodness and received my absolute dedication. But now we have moved on from that, the Lord and I...and I am here in a place of calmed down...normalcy? A more relaxed, level headed version of myself? Time to buck up and walk this thing.
I don't mean to sound discouraged, or maybe I do, I don't really know. There is a part of me that misses the excitement of those days with the Lord, but the other side doesn't really believe it's fair or neccessary to expect them to have continued forever, because this life with the Lord is not about me or how great it feels to be a believer. And so went my wandering mind while my lips continued on...
But then the next chorus in this medley we sang rang out, "And I wanna be found faithful, I wanna be found steady, I wanna be found worthy, worthy for you." It's the steady part that got me. As I reflect on it right now I guess I'm not as wounded by the word 'steady' as I was in the moment. But at the time it really jabbed me. I felt like the conversation I was having with the Lord explaining all the reasons why I just "wasn't as excited as I have been in the past, and how that's okay" was brought to a harsh hault as I recited over and over to my Jesus that I want to be found STEADY. Like I said, right now Im feeling that means more of what I actually was talking about, holding steady with my walk and dedication despite the waning emotions and excitement. But that morning, man, that morning... and then again the following sunday, that word just hurt. Saying it literally ached in my heart, as though I have not been steady. I have not been true and firm and steadfast for my Lord. I have weakend and compromised and explained away my true Love. I have traded a love story for an acceptance of truth, reckless abandonment for duty and relatability. Instead of meeting with Him, I talk about Him and learn about Him and do things for Him.
See, my problem is that the alternative isn't even wrong or bad... but that sunday morning, I felt clearly convicted that I ought to be steady in my passion for the Lord. Thing is, I can't get anything but emotional passion to FEEL passionate.
Any thoughts out there?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Knocked Up

So here's my deal with the movie Knocked Up.

I've heard alot of reviews about it now and thoughts from friends and I've been really surprised by the reaction. Because I expected to like it and to laugh alot. I expected to have to defend the fact that as a 'christian' I found such a 'controversial' topic to be so funny and enjoyable. So I was all ready for that...

What I wasn't ready for was the fact that I didn't like it, and I didn't think it was that great of a movie. I actually was pretty disapointed because I think Katherine Heigel is an extremely talented actress and comedian. So I was so bummed to find alot of the timing off and the jokes so... easy, so obvious. I guess I'm just a fan of alot more clever humor. My drama teacher and director in high school had a big policy he pushed. It had nothing to do with rules of 'appropriatness', he didn't really care how 'taboo' it got, as long as it was smart and not just going for the easy laugh. I felt like alot of the script could be reduced to Jr. High boys taking turns screaming out the word 'penis!' while rolling on the floor in histerics because they are just so dang funny.

Now, I did enjoy and laugh VERY hard at certain points. I thought the story line of the sister and brother-in-law's marriage etc was witty and... true :-) and I thought the co-worker at the TV studio was flat out hilarious. So it's not like I hated it and didn't have some really good laughs, they were just spotty. And they were interupted by awkwardness and frusteration at the forced, obvious, for lack of a better word, bathroom humor, that it feels like they used to ensure a shock value and laugh from an audience they don't consider clever enough to catch on to anything but blatant dirty words, jokes and gestures.

Anyway, all to say, I feel like if I tell people I didn't really enjoy the movie, they will automatically assume it is because I am playing some sort of 'christian' card and I was just offended by the content. Sometimes I feel like our gneration is moving so much in the direction of this emerging thought, this mind set that it is all about Jesus and following Him and not judging or getting caught up in the pharasitical rules of 'right and wrong', that we turn off our brains and embrace anything and everything, just to prove that WE are not the kind of christians that can't have fun and enjoy a good joke.

I'm not saying everyone who liked this movie is saying that for those reasons, I'm just surprised at my own hesitancy to admit that I didn't...seems some things have flipped a 180. When I was in my 'God Squad' youth group in High School, we were careful not to admit that we watched and loved and quoted Billy Madison and 90210 (Im blanking on examples), now I feel a slight pressure to say I DID like a movie that in actually, I thought was pretty poor comedically, just so I don't appear too 'high and mighty'.

Just some food for thought.

*** Kudos to the maternity fashion though! You're right on Melis :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Serenity in a bottle

I just had a really long day. I drove back from a two day stint at my parents house, with the kids and no husband, we had late dinner, no naps and scant attempts at meals all day today, couple that with a marathon swim session earlier today (courtesy of my die hard mom) and you get two tired kids and a wiped out mom.

BUT I am sitting here right now smelling my hands in a kind of tranquil serenity of contenedness. Why? You ask.

Oh, because I gave the kids baths before bed. Didn't matter how late it was tonight because church is in the morning and so Saturday night is the one night (honestly sometimes the ONLY) night of the week that bathtime is guarenteed...( I really am a good mom, don't call protective services). And it is completley amazing to me how even after the craziest days, when all I want is to get the kids in to bed and relax, if I give them a bath... I end up sitting around after they're tucked in, sweetly thinking about how precious they are and even sometimes in a moment of sheer insanity... maybe I could just sneak in a cuddle with them a little longer.

The adorably drenched, tiny naked bodies and playful splashing giggles help set the mood, but really... it is the scent left on my hands that sends me into this swirling state of bliss. They really should make a car air freshener with this baby shampoo scent... it would put an immediate end to road rage I swear. Cuz I know other moms agree, I've heard countless ones gushing the same words as me, it's seriously universal.

So even though it's unoriginal, I can't help it, I just love it and I have to share. The way my heart actually reacts to the smell with a tiny little surge of love, it's kinda like a drug the way it can literally alter your state of mind. And hey, it's not like just cuz thousands of people get epidurals women stop gushing about how great modern medicine is as soon as THAT form of sweet serenity kicks in.

So there ya go... baby shampoo is like an epidural.... without the gigantic needle that has to be stuck directly into your spine.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Passion and Conviction

We dedicated Carter today. I love baby dedications and for some reason always get really emotional. I know nothing is spiritualy happening with my son just because I 'dedicate' him in front of our church, but for me it is a very spiritual moment between me and the Lord.
I know that I will struggle all my life with this gripping fear that seemed to root in me the minute I found out I was pregnant with my first child. Since that thrilling, undescribably moment when I saw the second pink line I have become an expert at creating worst-case scenarios. I have not been able to watch a movie about parents and children since then without blubbering like a baby. I've said a number of times that I feel like my kids will be the undoing of me because just thinking about not being able to protect them or about what I would do if I lost one of them, makes me feel like a crazy person. I literally don't know what I'd do.
But on the other hand, I have worked in too many youth groups and dealt with too many of 'those parents' that can NOT let go of their children and let us do our jobs, they don't trust us and most importantly, they do not trust the Lord, or atleast they're not modeling it for their children.
ANYWAY... when I stand before the congregation to dedicate my children back to the Lord, God and I are having a little coversation and I am willing myself to promise surrender of them into His perfect sovereign hands. I WILL model trust in the Lord to my children. They WILL see that I BELIEVE He is in control and I will not live in fear. (By the way since my daughter's dedication at 4 mo. old - she's now 2 1/2, the Lord and I have had this conversation many more times, but I'm still determined!)
Again, ANYWAY... dedicating Carter was also a little different because at this church the parents get to share with the church one word or trait that they pray for their child. There have been some good ones over the past few months, but the one Ryan and I shared today was Passion and Conviction. I thought I'd write a little about my heart and hopes for Carter.
If you know Ryan and I, you know that Carter comes from very passionate parents. That might even be an understatement, so chances are, he is going to wind up passionate about something (Macy too). Oh, if I could possibly explain in words how my heart pleads with the ever baffling and awesome mystery of predestination vs. free will, that my children will be passionate about knowing and following their Jesus. I don't want them to do the right things and stay out of trouble, I don't want them to give the right answers and get straight A's. I want them to 'get' their God and be enthralled with His ways.
When a person is passionate about something it usually taints their whole skew and direction of life, and they typically spend a great deal of their time and life focused on pursuing that one thing. As the song goes, I pray that my children will have "one pure and holy passion, one magnificient obsession, one glorious ambition for their lives, to know and follow hard after Christ."
I especially long for this for Carter because I think this world we live in is increasingly unfriendly to men who are passionate about God. It continues to be painted more and more as a 'girly' emotional thing to be 'religious' and 'into' God. Oh the battle He will have to face to become a godly man, passionate about His Jesus.
But none the less, that is my prayer for him. My sweet boy. My heart just surges with thoughts of the young man he will become and it aches for all the trials he will go through to become that very man. What challenges lie ahead for our precious little ones... whoops, there I go...see gotta go have that whole 'trust' in the Lord conversation again!
For fun I'll leave you with my 'runner' up words that I deeply hope are produced in my little man.
Kind (oh I want him to be a kind boy- they can be so mean!):-), a leader, fear of the Lord, compassionate, joyful, submissive, confident... and so many no particular order!