Five minute Friday – last

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We are a good team doing a very reluctant task.

We are a good team doing a very reluctant task.

I have fallen into a black hole of despair

Beyond depression

This abyss

Has left me wondering where I went

But I’m not the one with a brain disease

So it’s weird…

Sometimes the Hubs and I feel like we’ve lost our minds

While caring for someone who is losing his

It’s the last thing I want to do

photo copy 3But oddly enough, it’s the first thing I want to do because I have no choice. And I love him and I know it’s the right thing even though Alzheimer’s is the last thing I would ever wish on a person.

Comfortphoto copy

Encourage

Problem-solve

Discover

Feed

Understand

Restore

Calm

Those are first places in my heart

But here I am doing the last things

Removing rotting food from a fridge

Counting pills to help prevent a medical emergency

Cleaning poo off a toilet seat for the millionth time

Being afraid of what’s going to happen next.

Abba, Father!

There’s so much more…I’ll save it for next time.

So what does the word "last" make you think about? Join this writing community and share! You'll feel better, trust me!

So what does the word “last” make you think about? Join this writing community and share! You’ll feel better, trust me!

Weird people

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This is cool, join me in this life-changing journey!

This is cool, join me in this life-changing journey!

As I begin the 21-Day Challenge on YouVersion and read the book of Mark (or Marc en francais) in the Bible, I want to occasionally articulate what God is saying to me. I will share bits of the process and encourage you to check out the different Bible reading plans. Maybe one will work for you!

Looking funny
Acting strange
Eating weird stuff

John was clothed in camel’s hair.
He ate wild honey and bugs.
He spent time in the wilderness.

I wonder if he smelled funky too. John led a supernatural, “crunchy” natural life and encountered Jesus personally. In modern days, he could have his own reality show. I would have watched it, that’s for sure.

God uses unusual people for His purposes. He also uses regular people. Sinners, tax collectors, adulterers, murderers became some of the Lord’s redeemed children.

I’m somewhere wedged between the weird and the wild. Former feminist/abortion rights activist, blasphemer, scoffer, mocker aptly describe who I was before Christ came into my heart.

Sitting on a table in France. Just one of the many dumb things I did.

Sitting on a table in France. Just one of the many dumb things I did.

Everything changed in December 1997 when I invited, pleaded with Jesus to enter my sorry soul.

Somedays I

Look funny
Act strange
Eat weird stuff

My cursing days are gone and I have told thousands my story of victory and redemption. Still a HUGE work in progress, I am a new creation because of Christ!

IMG_3493Each day we are to answer questions after reading the assigned Scripture. After reading Mark (Marc) 1:1-8, here’s are my thoughts.

God would have me start doing – Be more attentive to His opinion of me rather than others’ assessments of who I am.

God wants me to stop  – Squandering my time. I need to recognize how the Lord wants greater intimacy with me. He does not speak to me in a distant voice.

As I read the Bible in French (with my English Bible and my French dictionary close by), I notice how the Lord uses the familiar pronoun when speaking to his disciples. He “tutoies” his followers. It’s like when someone uses my favorite childhood nickname when speaking to me. I won’t tell you what this nickname is, you have to know me well enough and you probably don’t, no offense. Most people who use this nickname do not even know how much it blesses me.

Or like when my olive shoots though young men call me “Mommy” or “Mama” and not “Mom.” I feel that they REalLY like me, they know me. I let down my guard, my facade. It’s a sacred place even if we’re laughing and being silly. We have history and are connected. My heart is warm, I want to draw closer.

The Lord is tutoie-ing ME. I’m flattered, humbled, blessed.

What does God want me to continue doing? – Read the Bible in French and English. Note the subtle differences in words. Abide, rest, listen.

This is what I learned in just eight verses of God’s Word in one day. Merci bien Mon Seigneur! Je t’aime!

One-word prayers

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Before having our first dinner of 2013 –

photo copy 4And after the Hubs had prayed,

I had an idea

(A truly beautiful idea if you ask me)

Initially it wasn’t warmly received

But I insisted

And so we went around the dining room table

Falafel, salad, mung bean sprouts and such, they paused

Cherishing these moments together

Cherishing these moments together

Three precious olive shoots

– A Soldier

– A ministry-minded middle

– An orange hair, freckle face sophomore

The Hubs and I

Offered a one-word prayer for the person to our left

Here are the brief utterances we spoke to each other

The one-word prayers we shared for each other. I am curious to see how these words are fulfilled.

The one-word prayers we shared for each other. I am curious to see how these words are fulfilled.

A simple, carefully selected word emerged from our lips individually

Handpicked from God, I’d like to think

A collective sigh of relief

And blessing manifested

As we feasted (finally) on all we had been given

photo copy 2

What color was your dinner?

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“Hey everybody, this is important!”

Food is on the table

Getting ready to pray

When I look at the spread before us

And notice

Hey, this is a bi-color dinner!

Quick, grab the camera!

People need to know!

Edamame – green

Massaged kale salad – verdurous with splashes of bright yellow (mango) and sage green (pepitas)

Italian quinoa salad – social butterfly yellow, green pepper green, yellow corn

This is my unintentional bi-color dinner, everybody!)

Within arm’s reach, a shaker of homemade celery powder, made in my dehydrator

Over to the side

Popcorn – hints of soft yellow amidst the white explosions speckled with Fire Dancer seasoning

Then I realize, WHOA!

Coincidentally

The plates are

Green plate swirls

Garden spot green

Witty green

and

Optimistic yellow!

The Pyrex bowl containing the roasted kale (brown green), you ask?

Cut the Mustard gold

I love all the beautiful colors in Pyrex!

I exclaim, “Hey, guys! This is really important!

But no one else noticed,

Neither, the Hubs nor the orange hair, freckle face OS cared.

They were just hungry. Phooey.

This blog post was brought to you by the colors yellow and green and by the word observant

Find your colors at Sherwin Williams and this amazing app on Sherwin Williams ColorSnap. I didn’t know about this app until I started writing this post. But you can use your smart phone to match real-world colors with paint colors. All for free! You can take a picture of your dinner (like I did) and it will tell you the names of the corresponding paint colors! How cool is that! 

Five Minute Friday – celebration time, come on!

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As much as I miss the high-pitched voices of my OS when they were little –

As much as I cling to those chubby snuggles and hilarious toddler sayings,

I’ve got to say, there are things about this stage of life that have perks!

“Woo hoo! Gonna take my beautiful sweetheart out for a date night!”

I got a text from our oldest OS on our 25th anniversary. A $100 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris was on its way!

He and his brothers had pitched in to make this possible

When I was a kid, I remember celebrating my parents’ wedding anniversary but my OS haven’t done this before.

2/3 of my OS even publicly acknowledged our special day on their facebook pages and it sincerely made me happy.

Because it’s not like we made 25 years easily.

In the past, we threw the “L” word and the “D” word with regularity. When my oldest OS was a toddler, we took him with us to the marriage counselor.

He played with a little toy on the floor as the Hubs and I sat on separate couches. We were at impasse. Would we stay together or would we go our separate ways? As we celebrate this hallmark anniversary, I can still see that toe-headed fella on the carpet. He is now an Army officer.

I began reading the card and then Ike took it from my hands and said he wanted to read it out loud to me. ❤

So as the orange hair, freckle face OS stood in front of me (the Hubs had to go to DC to attend to a speeding ticket (!) he got on the way home from Nate’s graduation from West Point), Ike presented me with a homemade anniversary card.

It’s unlikely Ike will be a great artist in the future but we love him anyway. I love these goofy cards and I really, really hope I don’t look like this in real life!

Funny how his drawings look kinda like Tess the Guinea Pig Girl dolls

Here’s what he said,

“Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for setting a wonderful example for us on what a faithful marriage is. Raising 3 great children and the last one possibly being the great is not easy to do.   You have shown us what leadership and sacrifice is and have blessed us by walking beside us in our Christian walks. We love you and thank you for the love you have given us. 

Isaac, Nate and Aaron 

PS. Thanks for making us”

Ike has always been such a funny guy!

Ike’s drawings look quite similar to my Tess the Guinea Pig Girl doll collection, don’t you think? Not sure what to do with that!

Jesus alone has salvaged the Hubs and me. Individually, the Lord has also redeemed my children’s lives when they repented of their sins and asked Christ into their hearts. Aaron and Ike exist today because of the mighty work Christ has done in this really human family.

My OS know our story and they see our flaws on a daily basis. And they celebrated our marriage anyway. I’m looking forward to a festive date night.

Here’s the link if you want to see more of the Guinea Pig Girl doll collection!

Purple, silver and green anniversary

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“We just got married and have no idea what that means!”

When you’re a 25-year-old bride

walking down the aisle

scared, excited, feeling as if it’s not your own feet that are walking toward a guy

who will soon be your husband

You don’t, you can’t fast forward to

25 years later

three children

OUR awesome olive shoots too long ago…

three SONS!

three awesome olive shoots –

a Soldier, a ministry minded guy

and an orange hair, freckle face ginger -WHAT???

And you don’t expect that

25 years later

you’d go to Whole Foods

Excited to buy organic purple kale

for a green smoothie

with your Hubs

on your anniversary

And no one could have told you that

while you were talking to the produce guy about brocco-sprouts

Your husband would make a funny face and interrupt your conversation

No, when you were a young bride, you wouldn’t have believed that a quarter century later

You’d go over to your husband

by the apples

Dramatic re-enactment of the box. I had already torn off the bow. I was completely flummoxed!

And see a box

A small, black box with a bow

And that your first thought would be “Hey, you’re going to buy the WRONG apples! I said GREEN apples!”

And your second thought would be “Hey, don’t mess with that little box in the apples. That’s not ours. Leave it alone!”

But then you see that man you love, beaming

It’s your box

At the Whole Foods

and yes, you did say GREEN apples…

but you’ve moved past the offense and you open the box

You see THIS

“Ok, that was a weird/awkard/wonderful sparkly surprise!”

The produce guy is as confused as you are

But everyone is smiling

The Hubs and the sweet man at the produce aisle. He was so happy for us when I told him what had just happened. And guess what? He had gone back to the back room and found fresh brocco-sprouts for us!

You place another ring on your finger

Kissing the man you love

An assortment of yummy things and a sparkly blue diamond ring – this was the best grocery trip EV!

AND you get some brocco-sprouts along with your green apples and organic purple kale

That walking on air feeling

You had when you were dressed in white

Happens again

Different place, more casual attire

But the same man is still there

And then just as you are getting ready to publish this post

The doorbell rings

Bells of Ireland, delphinium, rubrum lilies, roses, a breathtaking bouquet!

And this is delivered to your door

You think to yourself

September 5th is truly a momentous day

So you press the publish button because you have to tell everyone

How blessed – really, really blessed you feel today. ❤