Friday, May 30, 2008

Sweetly Broken

Fear is a miserable companion. It begins in the pit of my stomach before my mind even registers it's existence. It cloaks itself in depression and sometimes anger. It insinuates itself into every response, masking it's true position as an idol in my heart with euphemisms like "worry" and "concern". The reality is that I have some major trust issues. The fact that I'm an oldest child should not justify my unwillingness to relinquish control but it's an excuse I often spout with just enough of a smile that I seem transparent and able to laugh at my own foibles.

Last night, our worship pastor, Ryan, slipped a song into the set that we hadn't rehearsed the night before. (We have Thursday night services during the summer.) It was the hymn (updated and accompanied by electric guitar, of course) "I Surrender All". Ummm. Yeah. Can we just skip that one?

Here's the thing. I don't want to. Surrender all, that is. It's too frightening for me, especially when what I see looks hopeless. I look at the fact that our house has been on the market for 9 months...that's right. NINE months... and it hasn't sold in a market where other houses are selling in just a few months. I mean, it's not like we're in Southern California where the market is tanking. Our house is gorgeous and in one of the best, most coveted developments in Granger and no. one. will. buy. it. Meanwhile, our family is apart 2-3 weeks out of each month while Larry travels to work. This puts serious strain on our family dynamics as we readjust every few days to different schedules and expectations. We also have one car. With brakes that need to be fixed. Then I find myself worried about arriving in San Diego and having nowhere to live. Or having to settle (something an oldest child absolutely hates to do). There is something in me that absolutely rebels against taking our children away from a beautiful home that they love and moving them into something less. I know it's shallow but it makes me sick (how's that for transparency?). Without selling this house we will not qualify for anything and even with selling our house, we qualify for very little (a result of a couple of very difficult years here in Granger). My fears start to compound and I am unable to see God working in any of this.

Now, I should make it quite clear that I know things could be so much worse. And you should know that Larry is an incredible father and husband and takes take of us in ways that I believe most men would not. Without his wisdom, the circumstances that blindsided and crippled us could have resulted in much more dire consequences. Because of him (and certainly not me because I have not the discipline nor the financial acumen) we have avoided bankruptcy, foreclosure, delinquencies, loss of medical care and much more. I know that God carried us through those times with a clarity that I wish I could hold onto for more than a brief moment.

So, returning to last night... we came out of communion singing "I Surrender All" and I was fighting it. My attempts to disengage started to erode somewhere around verse two:

All to Jesus I surrender
Humbly at His feet I bow
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Take me, Jesus, take me now

Slowly the layers of resolve began to peel away despite my best efforts to stayed pissed at God. The set was orchestrated to move from "I Surrender All" into "Sweetly Broken" (Jeremy Riddle) with me leading. By the time I hit the chorus I had to drop out. I broke. The tears streamed down my face as I was reminded anew that 'God is love and God is just.'

At the cross You beckon me
You draw me gently to my knees, and I am
Lost for words, so lost in love,
I’m sweetly broken, wholly surrendered

I was so beautifully brought into recognition of His sovereignty despite my willful distrust. I am praying this morning as the pit in my stomach takes up it's normal residency that Christ will invade my space moment by moment today. That He will reveal himself to me in ways that assault my selfish nature and infringe on my comfort. That He will continue to humble me and transform my yearnings until they align with His will. That His kingdom will come, His will be done in my heart and life as it is in heaven.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Isaac graduates from 5th grade and elementary school...

Two Best Friends acting goofy and showing off their new Discovery Middle School Shirts
(left: Zach Bonek; right: Our Isaac)

Nick, Zach and Isaac with their "diplomas"

Isaac with Mrs. Nash (His teacher for both 4th and 5th)

Monday, May 26, 2008

But I always thought that I'd see you again...

Today the nation observes Memorial Day commemorating U.S. men and women who perished while in military service to their country. For some of us it is much more personal. For my mother it is a loud reminder of a memory that is usually quietly tucked away in the safe recesses of her heart. A memory of a high school sweetheart, an earnest young husband, a new daddy and a war gone wrong. For me it summons stories told by a wistful grandparent who loved a boy as her own. Stories of love. A boy crossing the street hiding the Bible his dad hated under his shirt and sneaking to church. A teenager asking out the little sister of his one true love so he can tag along and watch his love with another. A young man in uniform vowing to have and to hold until 'death do us part'. The new father holding his newborn baby girl up to the large mirror in grandma's living room insisting, "Grandma, isn't she the prettiest baby you ever saw? Isn't she?" A dreaded telegram and a Valentine's card he sent but didn't arrive until after he was gone. This is Memorial Day for me. Today I honor Dana Randolph Barker (July 21, 1947 - February 13, 1969). 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Causality number 37551. The father I never knew.
I hope she looks like you
I hope she fights like me
Stands up for
the innocent and the weak
-"If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

mercy, Jesus, mercy

This is horrific news. The 5 year old daughter of Steven Curtis Chapman, Maria, was killed this evening in their own driveway (pictured to the right: Maria and Steven) Apparently, one of his teenage son's was backing out of the driveway in an SUV and didn't see her. I am sick. Jesus, sweet Jesus, please be with this family and this boy.

Larry and I had just worked his South Bend concert in March and were so moved by his passion for the orphan and adoption. For the full story click here or on the picture of Maria and Steven.

In the words of Jen Zug, "I think I'm throwing up a little in my mouth..."

Little did you know with the title above that we would be discussing American Idol 2008 finals! And, yes, fully knowing that my husband thinks I'm taking this a little too seriously, I have to say that I have never in my life seen such Flagrant pimping from the judges. And frankly, I'm not sure I understand the reasons why. In my mind, the mind of a consumer, I would think that David Cook is the bigger money maker with a more definitive radio-friendly sound. David Archuleta, who arguably has one of the most accurate and pure voices to ever grace the AI stage, is a "crooner". When was the last time you heard a guy sing a cheesy ballad on a top 40 station? And, yes, people. My radio is often tuned to top-40. I have kids and I can't always be listening to talk radio, NPR or alternative adult contemporary folk/rock. Besides, sometimes I actually enjoy it! And I would enjoy it even more if David Cook was on it!!!! Someone who takes more risks with his song choices and arrangements and is old enough to make those risks and choices on his own (without parental interference). I have a feeling I am going to be disappointed tonight.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Landen Leaves for DC

Landen taking his suitcase to the bus.

Each year the 8th graders at Landen's middle school go on a tour of Washington DC. This is his year! He left tonight in a caravan of 5 charter buses full of 8th graders. He is going to have SO much fun and I am so excited for him.

The Roomies (Landen is 2nd from the right in the "strongbad" shirt)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our little spring discovery...

We have three very new, very naked, very tiny friends under our deck...

Mama was close by keeping watch over her babies while we checked them out. We are very excited about watching them grow over the next few weeks!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My new favorite thing...

And I am NOT getting paid by anyone to say this (although those of you who try it and end up saving thousands of dollars in pedicures, may want to treat me to lunch... I'm just sayin').

A while back I saw this little device being reviewed on some morning news show and was surprised by the fact that it looked as if it actually worked.

Now, I am a barefoot girl. I hate shoes and the shoes I do like to wear are ones I can slip on and off very easily (didn't go so well living here in Indiana in the winter after being used to San Diego weather). Because of my distaste for covering my feet in soft socks and closed shoes, my feet are very tough and rugged. This means that on the rare occasion that I can get an extended amount of alone time and the funds to get a pedicure, the poor nail tech has to work a miracle to get my feet to look pretty and feel soft.

Fast forward to yesterday as I was picking up prescriptions at our friendly neighborhood WalGreens. Sprinting through the aisles my eyes glimpsed the PedEgg display on an end shelving unit with a SALE sign directly above. The SALE sign is what made me stop. I thought, in a impulse buying moment, "wth?" and threw one in my little basket.

Let me tell you, people... it is worth it's weight in gold and so much more! I cannot rave enough about the results... I will be saving SO much money on pedi's!!!!! My feet are like new... they feel fabulous and I am one happy little thrifty mama.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Empower Some Girls in Africa

Buy my friend, Jen's, zine today! I did.
There are limited quantities!
Read about it and buy here:
I am so proud of her and her dream!
* Illustration used with permission

Friday, May 09, 2008

My boys...

I picked Isaac up after 5th grade camp today. I can't believe he's going into middle school...frightening. He had a great time and arrived home tired and full of wonderful memories.

Isaac, Zach and Nick

Tonight is Landen's 8th grade dance. While one son is leaving elementary and joining the ranks of the junior high schoolers... this one is moving out of that world and into the scary world of high school. As he left, Maddie said, "he looks SO handsome..."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Love Thursday

This week our family fell in love. Our dear psuedo-sister, Heather, came out from California to visit and brought her two-year old, Kyler, with her. Now, don't get me wrong. He is definitely TWO! But he is also affectionate, clever, hysterically funny and the biggest Bret Favre fan on the planet. One of the funniest things was Kyler trying to get his mouth around "Isaac" which came out as "Ice-kick" but sounding eerily close to "Ass-kick" delighting all who heard.

Additionally, Emma enjoyed teaching Kyler tricks. Witness Kyler's knack for the vernacular.