"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All is grace...

Today
This moment
This day
this day of waiting for conveniences to return to my home,
having bathed with a box of wipes 
washed my hair with a gallon of bottled water
dressed by the light of a lantern 


EVEN today
All is Grace...


{Pause music before clicking on link}

Monday, August 29, 2011

still "flex-ing"...

It's been a while...my keys are a bit cob-webbed.  Life has kept us at a pace and sitting and writing some days seems a waste of my time.  But, in keeping with the theme of my last post, I figured I'd remind myself that I'm again in the state of being flexible.  

We are 36 hours in the wake of Irene and still waiting for our power to come back on. And, if I let myself go there {which I MIGHT have done once or twice} I could really begin to hate Irene and her wrath.  Honestly, I KNOW we have minor MINOR damage to contend with.  Other than lots of limbs down in the backyard and leaves plastered everywhere, we have pretty much come out unscathed.  It could be worse...for sure.

But, I'm shallow enough to think that 36 hours without electricity and water is a big deal.  Being inconvenienced just makes me stew.  And I know that's not okay. 

So I figure that if I write it all out here and get it out of my system, then maybe it'll go away and I'll remember that I'm supposed to be flexible and get a grip.

Today is my kids first day of school.  
It's Nick's last first day of High School and Emma's first day of High School.  
And, because it's ideal to start the first day of school clean, we slept over at my parent's house last night.  
{I almost took it for granted- that's a blessing and something to be thankful for, now, isn't it?}
None of us slept well, which is not the ideal way to start the year off.  
{But, we did have beds, and that's something}  

There are certain traditions that I wanted to keep up with...and new ones I had hoped to start.  
But I'm feeling just kind of "off", you know?  Out of my element.  
And so the things I'd hoped to start out with this morning just didn't happen.  
{Although I happened to overhear my dad take Emma aside and pray over her day, 
and that's something that he would not have been able to do if we'd been getting ready in our own house...
so that's something to be thankful for, too.}


After dropping the kids off at school I stopped by the house to see if there's any clean-up happening down the road.  The source of the power outage is a huge tree that fell, taking wires down with it.  The tree AND the lines are still down.  The street is deserted...no bucket truck or flashing lights in sight.  

According to the PPL website, none will be seen for at least another day or two...or more:
"We estimate power to most customers in your area will be back on by 5:30 PM on 08/31/2011. This repair estimate is based on the latest information available, and could change if repairs are more difficult than anticipated. 
Thank you for your patience."

I'm trying...I'm trying to be patient, really I am.  
I'm trying to be flexible and not get grumpy over the fact that things are just not the way I planned for them to be this week.  I'm trying to remember that a few states over from us are people who have been WAY more inconvenienced than me. 

I'm trying to remember to be grateful for the fact that I'm sitting outside on my parents patio 
USING WIRELESS
 CLEAN FROM A RECENT SHOWER
WAITING FOR THE DRYER TO RUN ITS CYCLE
ENJOYING A CUP OF COFFEE

And if I have to do it all over again tomorrow
and the next day
{heaven forbid}
then, I can 
and I will.

I spent the better part of a week in the 
African jungle two summers ago.
No running water {EVER}
No electricity {EVER}
No coffeepot with an on-switch
No bathroom with flush mechanism
No little button for my garage door
No freezer
No sink
No wireless
No computer
No modern convenience of ANY kind...
and it was OKAY.

I WAS OKAY...
{Truth be told, I loved every minute of it}

SO, to myself I will say
SUCK
IT
UP
And find a place of continuous joy
even if it means being flexible
again

This too shall pass...

"Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory
 that is greater than anything we can imagine."
II Corinthians 4:17

Monday, August 15, 2011

flexibility...

Summer is waning...
Already the days are getting shorter
About this time every August, I begin to feel like I'm grasping at air...
warring between the desire to be back on a schedule 
and the desire to keep everyone nearby

This summer has been different in so many ways
the addition of my job has brought on schedule conflicts that we've never had to deal with before.
And while I LOVE my job
I don't love being on opposite schedules with my kids...
I need a Master Scheduler just to find a few minutes a week where 
all of us are in the house at the same time...
It's happened, but not often.

The up sides are obviously a paycheck and being intentional about connecting...
and really, it's all good...just something we're getting used to.

The other day the family had a picnic at the park for my sister's birthday...
my nieces wanted to do something special for their mom, 
so they made us all a Birthday picnic lunch...
BEST EVER 

We reminisced about how long it had been since we'd picnic'd with our kids there...
used to be what we did often, just to get them out of the house and give them something to do
Picnic fare used to be PB&J with no crust, made by moms

Now it looks more like this:

Grilled chicken wraps and veggie salads 
made by Eden...

Also, I'm pretty sure that in the old days
 we used to hover around the merry-go-round
when everyone got on...
just making sure no one fell off.

These days, it looks more like this:
{and us watching on, laughing}

Having grown {and growing} kids is a strange phenomenon...
You never know that it's "the last time" for something
until later...
till they haven't done something for a long time 
and then you see them do it again...

My nieces and nephews surprised my sister with a sentimental token 
priceless with the name of each child...

I think we'll look back on this summer and remember it fondly.
It brought new challenges to adjust to
but it was good to us.

There are about 13 1/2 more days of summer in my house
and I plan to squeeze out as much of it as possible.
It won't always be easy, but we'll have to do what we can...
things like making dinner at 1:50 in the afternoon
 because it's the only time we're all in the same place.

All in the name of being flexible

"If you haven't time to respond to a tug at your pants leg, your schedule is too crowded."
Robert Brault

Saturday, August 6, 2011

To God Alone...

I was reading something interesting this morning, and thought I'd process through it here....hoping not to offend anyone, but there are no guarantees.

I'm slowly reading through the book of Genesis, and doing a little "research" along the way on some things I've never really stopped to process through before.

This morning I was reading Genesis 35, the death of Jacob's wife, Rachel, 
while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin.  Rachel was Jacob's favorite wife. 
 {He got duped into marrying her sister, Leah, because she was the oldest sister and was unmarried at the time that Jacob THOUGHT he was marrying Rachel.  A switch was pulled, and Jacob found himself married to the sister of the woman he loved...creepy.  So he worked for 7 more years for Rachel's father in exchange for her hand in marriage.  Though he cared for Leah and her children, Rachel was his favorite...
and the mother of his favorite son, Joseph}

So, Rachel dies and Jacob {now called Israel} sets up a pillar over her tomb near Bethlehem.  Some say there are 13 stones placed over her tomb-one placed there by each of Jacob's sons.
I've read this before, but this time, this phrase caught my attention:

"...and to this day that pillar marks Rachel's tomb..."

Really?  There's a pillar marking her tomb STILL?  Or just at the time of the writing of Genesis?
So, I went to Google and started searching for Rachel's tomb.

And, in fact, there are countless entries on Rachel's tomb
"Kever Rochel"

Apparently, this is the 2nd holiest site in Judaism...which I found very interesting...
and honestly, somewhat confusing.
With all the wanderings and miracles of Jesus life and earthly death-
the 2nd holiest place belongs to Rachel?

I did a little virtual tour of Rachel's tomb...
which has since had a whole building built around it.
And I found it interesting that people will travel all over the world to enter the tomb so that they can 
pray to Rachel {who is deceased}.
They also receive letters from all over the world from those who cannot travel there.

The prayers are from women who are barren {like Rachel was for years}
They are prayers for healing.
Prayers from the lost and the troubled.

I mean no disrespect...
I love tradition and symbolism.
But, I wonder if anyone who visits "Kever Rochel" ever thinks about the fact that she is not really there.
I wonder if it would make a difference for them to know that Rachel served God.
And the God she served IS still there.

Rachel is deceased
God is alive.
And yet, the prayers bypass God...
and get "sent" to Rachel.

That troubles me.

And I can't help but wonder how God feels about it.
But, I think I already know...

"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. 
There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most."
Hebrews 4:16

Jesus death gave us complete access to God.  Where there once was a veil of tradition and law that separated man from God- at the death of Jesus, we have open access to Him.  Any other route to Him is useless.  He invited us to come boldly to HIM...because it is HE who holds the power to hear and to answer.

While I GREATLY respect the lives of those who have gone on before me.  And desire to take part in the great heritage of women who have followed God...I know that they can no more answer my prayer than the next person.  They have gone on.  They reside in heaven with God...but they have not become God.

Only God has the power to 
hear
see
know
understand
heal
change

I recently visited a Muslim Mosque.
And, like this tomb of Rachel, I found it interesting how committed the followers are to their religion.
They speak of their faith with great excitement and passion.
But, like Rachel's tomb, there was something missing...

It was the One True God,
Father, Spirit, Son...in ONE 
the Maker of heaven and earth
the One who WAS
 and IS
 and forever WILL BE.

I fear how deceived we have become. 
I wonder what it will take for us to stop looking to other things, people and places to become our gods...and see GOD. 

"Before ME every knee will bow;
   by ME every tongue will swear.  They will say of ME, ‘In the LORD alone are deliverance and strength.’” All who have raged against Him will come to Him and be put to shame.  But all the descendants of Israel will find deliverance in the LORD and will make their boast in Him."
Isaiah 45



"To God alone be Glory"
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