Monday, April 28, 2008

For all who are thirsty....the bar is open!

for all who are thirsty
all who are weak
come to the fountain
dip your heart in the springs of life
let the pain and the sorrow
be washed away
on the waves of his mercy
as deep cries out to deep
we sing
come Lord Jesus come

Oh friends!
The good news of Jesus is too good to be true.
but it is.
It is true.

My friend Gemma posted an Easter sermon that just touched my heart right where it needed to be touched.

Oh friends, I am weeping as I type.
I have so many roles and responsibilities.
There is never enough time to do them all.
Something is always left undone.
I dodge bullets all the time. Deadlines. Customers. Vendors. Defensive driving affidavit that must be notarized and returned on time. I found out this weekend that my driver's license expired on my birthday. Gotta get that renewed. In person. For a photo. My desk is loaded with paper. It's the stuff of life. I'm not saying my load is any harder than anyone else's. But I realized today how much I live my life under the gun. Perpetually behind on something. If I can take care of the people I love and do right by the relationships God has blessed me with, and keep the most pressing paperwork needs taken care of, then I figure I'm doing all right. Relationships are very very important to me. So I make the other stuff wait their place in line. But I didn't realize how often I am mentally looking over my shoulder. Sort of a spiritually and emotionally "on the lam". I'm not breaking any laws on a regular basis. Well except for the fact that I have been driving without a license for quite some time (Lordy!) but in general, I'm doing good. I'm offering love and beauty and living a life that pleases God. So why do I feel so perpetually behind all the time? The line of people who want a piece of me is a long line.

I didn't realize all this was playing like background noise in my heart until I read:

For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.

The Lord gives rest to those who come at the eleventh hour,
even as to those who toiled from the beginning.

To one and all the Lord gives generously.
The Lord accepts the offering of every work.
The Lord honours every deed and commends their intention.

Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!

First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!

Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!

Feast royally, for the calf is fatted.
Let no one go away hungry.
Partake, all, of the banquet of faith.
Enjoy the bounty of the Lord's goodness!
—A PASCHAL SERMON by St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

It's as though Jesus is saying, "those of you who cannot or did not get it right, you come to the party anyway. Come and enjoy darlings, with no reproach or misgiving or ill will. Come and enjoy. Come and dine. Feast, even. Drink deeply and enjoy. My grace and paid the bill and invited you. The bar is open."

Oh thank you Jesus.
Yes, I believe I will.

And thank you Gemma. For yes I did need to be reminded that this fast paced overloaded culture I'm living in where the goals are not always achievable and the pace is not always healthy, just becuase my to do list runneth over doesn't mean I need to live under a chronic sense of lowgrade failure or disappointment. I'm loving God and loving people and applying my energy to all the tasks set before me knowing at the getgo that they will never all get done. I'm showing up and loving God and loving people and doing my best to do right by my responsibilities. And by the grace of God, that's enough. Heck, if I WASN'T loving God, loving people, and doing my best, by the grace of God that's enough. It's enough. He is enough. He is my enough. I have outsourced my enough and my vendor's name is Jesus. Bless his holy name.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

If the Van is Rockin'

We sold our van today. Traded in our plush comfy conversion van for an fuel-efficient 4 cylinder SUV. What we were paying in gasoline every month was enough for a car payment. No lie. So we traded it in. The guys at the dealership appraised our van right away, and then we went out on test drives. When the sales manager came back from inspecting the van and gave us a good offer, he smiled and said, "We see you really enjoyed your van." "Oh yes", we said, "it's so comfortable. We took it on several road trips" We didn't really think anything of their comment. We quickly told him about a vacation road trip story, and then got back to the business of car shopping.

After a long day and many test drives, we made a deal, signed the paperwork and went out to the van to move our stuff from the van to the new SUV.

I was taking some maps and magazines out of the 2nd row seat back pockets when something pink caught my eye. I looked down on the floor between the 3rd row sofabed and the 2nd row captains chair and favorite pair of panties! The lacy little panties had been peeled off in the heat of the moment on a date night that went very very well. I'd been wondering where those panties were! I sat down on the sofa and laughed and laughed and laughed. I showed them to Delighted Husband and said, "No WONDER the sales manager said We see you really enjoyed your van"! ;)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Treat Yourself, Queens of the Kingdom!

I took the day off today and treated myself.
I was Queen for a Day. (and every other day) but I've always wanted to say that
I took the kids to school and took the time to meet with DC1's counselor and principal to make sure DC1 is getting everything they need to succeed. This is not a parenting blog so I won't go into long details. Just to say that I went to bat for my kid and I did it with a calm won't-back-down stance. I was friendly, and smiled, and thanked the educators on the team yet I held onto myself and spoke my truth with confidence. I know what DC1 needs and I am determined they will get it. There was a big tangled up ball of yarn issue that I've been working on this week, and while the principal was walking me out, they thanked me for doing such a great job being a champion and advocate for my child. This from the person who had been stonewalling me earlier. I was gracious and kind, and I felt my crown sparkle as I walked through the parking lot out to my car. Yes! I am Queen! I may have been the only one who could see my crown, but I knew it was there. (Suzanne Sugarbaker smile)

As I drove home, I was a bit uneasy hoping my new cleaning lady would show. I had not called her yesterday to confirm (remind) her and I checked my phone for her number, realized I didn't have it, and made a mental note to look up her number on my desk as soon as I got home. I never needed to. I arrived home at 8:59 to find her waiting for me. Smiling on the back porch. A responsible adult who shows up promptly for their appointment made 3 weeks ago. THANKS BE TO GOD! I could have hugged her! and I would have but my arms were full of cleaning supplies I was bringing in from the garage.

Now my domicile has been more than a little bit topsy turvy lately. I've had lots of men wearing workboots and toolbelts with names like Bubba and Earl all OVER my house during the last month and they were all done for the foreseeable future and I was time me and my much appreciated new cleaning lady to put all to rights in my little kingdom. I want to point something out. Something very special and loving. I did it for me. I knew the kids and Delighted Husband would enjoy the lovely sparkling clean space all light and airy and organized. But I did it primarily for me. I did it for the joy of it because that is what Queens do: they put their kingdoms to rights. Set things in beauty and welcoming order. Now Queenly confidence aside, there is no frickin way I would attempt to restore order to THIS domicile all by myself. No ma'am. But with a friend, with a capable kind strong smart lady to help me? Piece a cake! Well, yeah a piece of cake but a cake you have to bake. From scratch. But you get to eat it.

My favorite Fedex delivery driver delivered a package today. I answered smiling, out of breath and sweating. a lot. "Girl what're you doin?" he said with a grin. "Oh hey. I've got a new cleaning lady." "Then why are you sweatin?" I looked ruefully over my shoulder. "There's a lot to do."

We cleaned.
and cleaned.
and cleaned.

I say we not in the royal sense. I mean we both me and the dear cleaning lady put my house in order one room at a time. She did the scrubbing and the heavy stuff. I put stuff away where I know it belongs and washed, dried and folded laundry like nobody's business.

And I enjoyed it.

Swear to God.

Now I know this could really sound Stepfordish. But trust me anyone who knows me would crack up laughing at the notion of ME as a Stepford wife. What I'm trying to say is that today, for the first time in my life, I enjoyed housework. Something shifted inside my head this morning and I thought, "Hey, I have to live here. I deserve somewhere beautiful and decent and lovely to live in so I think I'll just make this place decent and beautiful and lovely enough for the likes of me!"

So I did.

I've been reading this great book How Starbucks Saved My Life. About an unemployed Ad Executive who gets a job in a Starbucks store and experiences the unexpected joy of hard work and taking pride in a job well done. I guess it's rubbed off on me.

After I treated myself to a beautiful sparkling light airy orderly home, after paying DCL and hugging her and scheduling her return date, I treated myself to a bath in my sparkling clean jacuzzi tub. Blissed out on pleasure and smelling sweetly of lily of the valley, I put myself down for a nap.

I woke up to the sounds of the kids coming home from school.

This is one of the best days off I've ever had. I treated myself. I worked so hard I got in my target heart rate.

Will I enjoy seeing how encouraged and comforted Delighted Husband is when he drags his weary self home and sees our gorgeous little kingdom?
But I did it for me.
I treated myself.
(ting!) That's the sound of my crown sparkling. (grin) SW

Friday, April 18, 2008

I want him

I had a really good week. And the only thing different about this good week and last week terrible week was I scheduled a little time for myself each day, doing nice things for myself. I met one of my girlfriends for lunch. More than once this week! I took myself in for some scheduled maintenance at the salon. I took myself to the gym to sweat out my frustration over various vendor-created headaches. I'm telling you, this exercise-as-stress-relief thing REALLY works!

All the daily irritations of life still happened, but they didn't dominate my thinking or tank my attitude. All because I made time for taking care of myself.

And as a result, I'm entering this weekend, happy and horny instead of tired and grouchy.

In fact, I can't wait to get my hands on my man!
(grin) The weather round here is happy and horny!
(grin) (wave)
I'm putting nice clean sheets on the bed knowing full well I'll need to switch them again on Monday.
I don't mind at all.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why Beauty Matters

This is one of the things I love about blogdom.
The exchange of ideas and the intangible way someone else's heart calls forth a part of your own. This happened to me today. I was reading Alastair's blog Obscene Beauty and he was talking about Captivating and Women and Beauty. All topics near to my heart. Interestingly, the blog post that inspired Alastair was written by a woman I've admired for quite some time. Shawna Atteberry has a beautiful heart and a brilliant mind and she's not afraid to show us either! (grin) I always enjoy reading her blog. And this time, Shawna and I talk about this topic with somewhat different perspectives. And that's okay. Because, as I am learning, you don't have to agree with someone all the time in order love them, or like them, admire them, respect them. I know most of you have known this already, but bless my heart, just be happy for me that I am catching on. ;)


So on to beauty. and what it means to me.

After walking this out for the last 3 years, praying, meditating, seeking wise counsel, and doing the push/pull, 3-steps-forward-2-steps-back dance of discipleship, I have come to believe that embracing beauty, savoring it, and offering it to my world does matter to God.

Sarah Groves said is so well in her song Why It Matters, "sit with me and tell me once again of the story that's been told us, of the power that will hold us, of the beauty, of the beauty why it matters"

That's all flowery and Hallmark-cardish and nice, so I'll try to make this practical and clear. When I speak of offering my beauty to my world, what does that look like in behavior?

* Going for long walks or jogs along nature trails and drinking in the 200 shades of green with my eyes, listening to the birds singing and believing that with my sneakers pounding the pavement I'm praising God too.

* Caring for and cherishing myself enough to adorn myself in clothes that fit and flatter the body God gave me and taking a few minutes to care about adding some cute jewelry because it makes me feel good.

* Walking into the my sleeping children's bedrooms to check on them when I get home late from dance practice because I know they need my mother touch on their forehead and my kiss on their cheek even though their Daddy is the greatest and I'm sure he tucked them in just fine.

* Experiencing the freedom and discipline and joy of Christian sacred dance with a roomful of women of every color shape size and athletic ability.

* Sitting on a park bench watching our children play on the slides and swings while listening to one of my girlfriends share her struggles and really listening, squeezing her hand when it feels appropriate.

* Flirting with my husband by "accidentally" bending over to pick something off the kitchen floor thereby flashing him some cleavage and enjoying his goggle-eyed stare and delighted grins.

* Getting all muddy while coaxing color out of the ground in my garden

Nowhere in this list am I competing with Barbie, or defining myself by my waist size. And while doing these normal everyday things, do I feel I'm offering beauty that matters? You bet I do! (grin)

Shawna is a good woman, and a sister of mine from Emerging Women, Shawna's objections to Captivating echo similar concerns raised by others.

We live in such an image-concious culture. One of my girlfriends has a 10 year old daughter, a perfectly made, perfectly normal girl who has started talking about going on a diet. Anytime someone raises the topic of beauty, many women cringe, thinking, "Good Lord! This is where eating disorders come from!".

But, as Alastair said, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I'd venture to say we live in a world that is over-focused on image while being beauty-deficient.

But again, beauty can be a scary word. So many women have had the soul-draining experience of being seen purely as a hood ornament with their considerable talent, heart and brains being ignored. I'm very protective of Shawna's heart when she voices her concerns. Because it is true that 'man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart'. The same God, the same Bible also tells the story of Esther who prepared herself with a year of royal spa treatments before she offered her beauty to the king and offered her bravery to save Israel. Beauty and strength both matter.

Having said all that, since I have received such profound healing and restoration from God while reading and hearing all that Stasi and John poured into Captivating, I wanted to share my story.

I've also talked about Captivating in the long version of my story:

I've written so much about beauty on my blog, but I've never catalogued it as such. (makes mental note to add keyword beauty to several articles)

Oh and back to the song, I'll see if I can find a link to embed the song here. It really is one of those songs that gets inside your heart and lifts it up. Chris Rice (beloved lyricist in his own right) had some lovely things to say about this song.

Offer your beauty, one heartbeat at at time, ladies. It matters.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Warmth and Light

it's been more clear to me lately how important it is for me to shine my radiance and feel the light and warmth inside. And it's become increasingly clear how I can't make it happen by myself. All the radiance I ever shine, all the warmth and light I feel and share isn't my radiance at all. It's on permanent loan from God, I just have to renew my subscription. Check in and charge up.

And quite often the charging up I receive comes from people in my life.

But, and this is SO subtle, sometimes there can be this tiny or big shift in my heart and I start to look to the people in my life as if they are the source all feelgoodness or okayness or validation instead of perhaps being a frequent messenger from Himself. So I start to look to them instead of Himself and of course I am disspointed. What human—glorious and frail we may be—can compare with Himself?

So I start to feel cold and stung and dissapointed.

When the silent seismic shift took place in my own heart. It is my deal.

Then I remember this familiar ache and by the loving prompting of Spirit, I remember "hmmm, the last time I felt this achy sawdust in my heart it was because I turned one of the people that I love into an idol."


Then I bump Himself back to the head of the line where he belongs as primary lover in my life. And then all the other ones who love me look so precious and appealing and new. And I feel that borrowed radiance shining inside me again. Subscription renewed. Shine on!

and beloved Sara Groves said it better than I ever could, so I'll leave you with her sweet voice and haunting words.

I am the moon with no light of my own
still you have made me to shine
and as I glow in this cold dark night
I know I cannot be a light unless I turn my face to you

cause everywhere you are is warmth and light

Oh! It happens every time! Everytime I feel all alive and full of warmth and light, there are two things I want to do right away. I want to sing to Himself then I want to make love to Delighted Husband. Spread that warmth and light all over his dear self! ;)

Love y'all.
Have a good weekend!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Face to Face With Extraordinary Women

Ooooh! How do I describe the energy to be found in the company of women? Time set aside just to gab face to face. Time to play, which for us girls can be doing craft-y things like scrapbooking or cardmaking, or can be telling stories and just generally goofing off.

I met the most incredible women tonight. I don't know that they would call themselves incredible, but seen through my eyes, they are. I went to a scrapbooking party tonight. One of the women at my table was a twinkly-eyed grandma sporting a cute hat. When I told her I thought her hat was cute, she grinned and shrugged off the complement saying "oh this is just to cover up my motorcycle helmet hair".
Yep. You heard that right.
This amazing grandma and her man rode several hundred miles today. Having a real Wild at Heart moment apparently! and here she was sitting with us tonight, trimming pictures and selecting background pages and complementary stickers. After riding several hundred miles on a motorcycle. Today. Whoa! What a woman!

Another woman I met tonight was a soft plush girly-girl with a timeless Celtic face straight out of a book or movie. She brought fiftysomething different stamps three colors of inkpads and made these exquisite cards! And for part of the evening, she nursed her adorable baby while conversing with us, never breaking her stride. This woman created beauty and made it look effortless. and she did so while nurturing life and teaching me how to do stamping. While making funny charming conversation with the women at our table. Whoa! What a woman!

We women are an extraordinary tribe. We really are.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Oh my God I am the most blessed woman on the planet.
Feels that way to me anyway.
(blissed out vacant stare)
(contented sigh)

Today was one of the most painful and difficult days of my life.
You'd never know it by the look on my face.
Escaping into eroticism with Delighted Husband is a passport into a private world rain or shine. I am so deeply grateful.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Savor the Love, Scrap the Joy

I get tremendous joy from making things, the hands-on creative craftyness just thrills my soul. Cooking does this for me, the art of mixing different ingredients and the end result is I have created something of beauty.

I'm creating something of beauty in a different art form lately. Scrapbooking!

Several of my friends sent me emails or notes telling me how special I was to them and just what I meant to them. Of course, anytime something like this happens is a big deal and something to be savored. Well I'm learning how to savor it. How to feel the love longer than the 3 seconds it takes to say "awww! how sweet!" and give your friend a hug.

I do this by scrapbooking.

I take every sweet note my husband or friends give me and use them as raw material for a scrapbook page. That way, I have the card in an accessible form, an easily flipped page in a book instead of a card that will likely get lost in a dusty drawer somewhere.


Even better. By looking at the note, and taking my time to select a page and cutting out the note text and gluing it to a background cardstock in a coordinating color and then selecting all the fun doodads to glue or hammer on, I am soaking in the love, reading their words over and over. Looking at the picture of my friend and I. Savoring the memory.

Did I say hammer?
Yes I did!
Have you ever seen those cool little things?
They have little child-sized hammers that you use to punch a hole in the paper and them pound a cute little colorful metal thumbtack looking thing called an eyelet into the page. I never thought at my age, a thirtysomething wife and mom and wayyy girly-girl that I would enjoy SO MUCH the BAM BAM BAM BAM of using a hammer. Delighted Husband just looks over at me and grins. He can't believe it either.

It's just SO FUN to build stuff!
God, I love being human.