Category Archives: What God Did

That Thing You’re Not Supposed to Do

DSC_0034I did that thing you’re not supposed to do.

I saw an intriguing blog title on Facebook and went to read it. I was immediately encouraged and inspired but then that little whisper from the enemy slithered into my brain because of the pictures the author shared of her house.

That’s the home you’ve always wanted for your family. It radiates peace and comfort. Look, and see all that you are not doing for your own family.

Comparison. It’s deadly.

  After I sunk into despair and bemoaned my plight to a go-to friend I was ready to fight back with truth:

No. God has not put me in the place where my house looks like the picture above. To further prove this point, I had to scroll through several hundred pictures of my home, and finally choose this one which is of a HOTEL.

I have no peaceful, cozy pictures with coordinated fabric to post.

I aspire to, one day. And by God’s grace and with skilled people’s help, I hope my home gets there.

Until then, I relish in the place God has given me, and I share it with you. If you are like me, take courage. If you are not like me, thank you for being an inspiration to the rest of us.

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And now, why you came here: what the camera finds when I point and shoot around our home:

20130809-DSC_0157Take comfort. He’s behind bars at last.

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20130809-DSC_0148Don’t worry that it’s merely a rabbit cage.  It’s been double locked with a super-hero, dollar store, monster-proof, bicycle lock.

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20130809-DSC_0158This is a humane prison, with carpet, and ambient lighting.

But don’t let that fool you, every precaution has been taken to ensure the prisoner can’t escape.

A guard is on duty 24/7.

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20130809-DSC_0149Forget about the guard. He’s only part of the fail-safe plan.

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20130809-DSC_0143The real deterrent is keeping watch up on the kitchen cupboards.

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20130809-DSC_0147Who can get past those laser goggles, I ask you, who?

Oh, and look, I just noticed an added bonus…

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20130809-DSC_0161His fatigues blend so nicely with my black appliances and pumpkin painted walls.

Maybe I”m not as far from my dream home as I thought.

Notes from a Trampoline

Flipping

Bouncing

Twisting

360’s

180’s

None of these will be seen here today.

The trampoline has been re-purposed.

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It is now a vitamin D station, where I lay perfectly still and heal in the sun.

Like a raisin.

Without the color.

While I was laying there I thought to myself, what would happen if I had my camera in my hands?

“Sawyer!  Go bring out my camera and a knife.”

(The knife was for something unrelated here, but maybe it will surface in another post.)

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It’s a big honkin’ camera and I was hesitant to trust the little guy through the obstacle course of our backyard, but I risked it.

“Thanks, buddy. Give the knife to Tristan, you can put the camera right here.” I  motioned to the trampoline canvas beside me.

What do pictures look like when you don’t lift the camera?

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I probably never would have taken this shot unless I was under the stress of laboring lungs.

Squashed parameters make for untapped creativity.

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I would have missed capturing the gold here, but it’s a perfect compliment to make blue eyes pop.

Thank you, God, for surprises in the hard times.

He gives us glimpses of sunshine to see us through.

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You find interesting things when you lay at this level. It looked like these ants had been poisoned to death after drinking the milk from this dandelion. Then Mckenna informed me that they were aphids “and maybe a few ants taking care of them.”

I thought they were like me, stuck in place and presumed dead, but they were really little nurse maids.

What happened to nurse maids?  What happened to those people who sat in a chair by your bedside like a literary character?

Time.

We don’t have it anymore.

This is the age of the trampoline, where flipping and bouncing are an art.

Maybe this pneumonia is God’s gift of time given back to me.

Breathe.

Look.

Rest.

See.

I recommend re-purposing your trampoline at least for just a little while.

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You’ll be amazed at what you see from this angle.

Secret Garden

This is what our deck looked like last year, bedecked in flowers galore.  This year we didn’t buy a single flower.  Other things took precedent and the deck went untended, much like Tristan’s hair in the above photo.

This year we were so busy there was no time for tending flowers. We expected a barren and uninviting place, but God had His own plans…

These little guys made an unexpected appearance.

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This type of  flower use to grace our hanging planter.  Somehow the seeds dropped to the pot below that use to hold the daisies. The daisies were long since gone and nobody had bothered to remove the empty and desolate potting soil.

Empty and desolate is one of God’s favorite places to perform miracles.

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I was at the kitchen window one day scrubbing pots, and the sun gleaming off something red caught my eye.

Surprise, surprise.

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What a gift, and we didn’t even have to do anything to get it.

Beauty prevailed.

These past few days as I have been planning curriculum for homeschool my mind was ripe for doubts and negative thinking.

“What if” and “if only” ruled the day.

What if I’m doing it wrong?  What if I’m ruining my kids forever?  If only I had done it right.

Then Angie stepped in. Or rather, God stepped in, using Angie as a gentle reminder. I will quote what she said:

“In Galatians 1 Paul writes ‘But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…’ What? This twit who persecuted the church and caused the death of so many? Separated from his mother’s womb? God has an equally amazing plan for our children. We may not see it from where we are in time and space. But pray that each has been separated and will be called in God’s time and for His glory.”

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 Just this week I was talking to Tristan about how God says He created him before the foundations of the world, and prepared good works for him to do.  It’s my favorite thing to remind him of as I give back scratchies and he stares off into space, dreaming away.

Yet, here I was worried I was ordering the wrong math program and ruining  him forever.

Silly, silly, me.

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Every mom has doubts. I know moms too sick to tend their children the way they had planned to.  I know moms too depressed to give to their kids all they hoped they would.

God knows.

He takes the barren ground and brings beauty.

Trust Him.

His plan cannot be thwarted.

One day you’ll look out the window and see flowers you didn’t plant, reaching their faces to the sun.

 

Into the Unknown

She’s nervous.

She’s nervous because this is where she is…

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And this is where she wants to be.  Between her and her goal is a big gulf of the unknown, untried and scary looking.

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Will she do it?

Will she get her feet wet?

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Yes!

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Go, Tonka, go!  Keep you eyes on the prize, my dear.

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I love that she didn’t worry about what was going to happen when she got there, she just knew that’s where she needed to be.

The draw was big enough.

It was the love for her master that drew her on.

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She knew she’d be taken care of if she could just get to her master.

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She got a standing ovation from everyone on the shore for making it so far.

Uh-oh, looks like we forgot someone…

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It was a very long distance for a little guy.

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Helps’a comin’ Sawyer.

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Big sister will see to it that you reach the raft.

These roads are so much easier when you can share the traveling, aren’t they?

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Let’s go!

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Almost there!

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You made it!

Now that you’ve come this far there’s only one thing left to do.

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Do it again.

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It’s going to be a little harder this time because there’s no easy way in. You’ve just got to trust us and make that first big jump.

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Or not.

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How about a little help?

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Yay!

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You did it!

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Let’s all go home together.

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Safe and sound.

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A girl and her dog and a lesson learned.

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God may ask you to wade into the unknown bit by bit, or jump in cold turkey.

It may feel like this.

Alone.

Without footing, and there’s no telling what lies beneath the surface or how deep it gets.

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But He has the eternal perspective. He sees it like this.

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And He sends helping hands when you need warming up and comfort.

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Not just what you need, but more. Tailor made for you.

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You are His baby.

His presence is tangible in the hands and feet of his servants sent to minister to those in need.

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 It is His goal to make you complete and perfect like Him. No matter what life throws you. It’s not a surprise to Him.

He’ll walk you through fire and water and try you in the furnace of suffering.

All the dross will burn away and out will come shining gold.

Some day you’ll be strong again. He guarantees it.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

Like Tonka looked to her master without a thought to what was going to happen–

He is waiting.

He is enough.

Take Refuge

Life has been a little… knotted up lately. I read something this morning that started unraveling the knot.

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“He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

I realized I wasn’t behind the shield. It was there all along, I was just dancing around in front of the shield which is a pretty stupid thing to do when you’re on a battle field.

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It struck me that Psalm 18:30b could have just said, “He is a shield”, period. But it was that added clause that captured my attention.

Like an arrow to the heart. Conviction! And a command: take refuge in Him.

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David wrote this, and he is extoling God after God saved him from his dreaded and very real enemy, Saul.

“By my God I can run upon a troop. By my God I can leap over a wall.”

I’ve been running upon troops and leaping over walls in my own strength lately.

And it ain’t been pretty.

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“He trains my hands for battle so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”

David knew where the skill for his job came from, he knew where the strength came from.

And he knew where the rest and peace came from. In the midst of fleeing for his life and the pursuit of his enemies, David had a shield.

No wonder I’m exhausted and cranky all the time.

I”m not taking refuge!

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Knots are just part of the landscape. God wouldn’t say He was a shield if there wasn’t anything to be shielded from.

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b

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Being a mom means being in a battle. I need a shield. I need a refuge. I need to acknowledge where my strength and skill come from. Daily.

For me, that means taking the time to draw from Him before the kids get up and life begins.

It’s as simple as my bible, a pencil, and prayer.

If I start my day like that, it helps me to remember to duck behind the shield when:

everybody needs me at once,

accusations  are flying

little eyes are pouting

answers are not being accepted

breakfast is burning

and the clock is ticking.

We face a myriad of flaming arrows every day.

Take courage!  And take the Shield.

Life Lessons From a Garden…

I thought my garden was normal.

But then I looked closer…

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And saw something strange going on.

It seems the dead material that’s supposed to nurture the plant was still hanging on for dear life.

Get back on the dead leaf pile where you belong!

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 I saw it everywhere I looked.

Man, those leaves are STRONG!

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Oh, look. They’re coming together for support: Do you have a dead leaf? I have a dead leaf.

I think everybody has a dead leaf.

Dead leaves are part of life.  They’re designed to nurture the roots to make the growth even more beautiful.

But sometimes they don’t stay where they belong, sometimes they cling on and won’t let go.

And then they become the thing that strangles the natural growth out of you, the thing that hinders your upward focus and push toward life-giving light…

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 Sometimes…

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 They can’t be removed alone.

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The scar is there, but so is freedom!

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You don’t look so powerful from this perspective.

I’m so glad the story of Joseph is in the bible because I’ve used the pinnacle verse for my own life so many times. After hard blow one, hard blow two, hard blow three, four and five, after he had endured so much hardship it was almost laughable, Joseph says this:

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20

Joseph put the focus on Who, not Why. Who’s in charge, not Why is this happening?

We may never understand the Why and aren’t promised an answer, but Who is always available.  And His end plan is this…

Beauty for ashes.  Beauty for dead leaves.

I guess my garden is normal after all.

Icy Roads Will Bite You Back

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I woke up wishing I was a goat.

Let me ‘splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up:

I had a fender bender, repaired the car and thought it was over.

The insurance company then surprisingly declared the car a total loss and said they are dropping it from coverage.

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I have five days to find another car for our family.

Scrambling.

I am scrambling.

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My nose was glued to the computer all day yesterday as the kids ran wild. (sorry, couldn’t resist.)

I was surfing madly back and forth between consumer websites, car specs, trim packages, seating capacity calculators and craigslist.

Needless to say, nothing else got done.

 I can tell you that the current Ford Expedition chassis was rolled out in 2007  and that it has absolutely no cargo space unless it is the XLT edition.  Isn’t that what life is really all about?

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So you can see why I woke up this morning at 3:00 thinking of goats.

Actually, I was thinking how many things there were yet to do: wire transfers from the states, driving 1 hour west to see the green car, and 1 hour east to see the gray car, scheduling a mechanic’s evaluation; did I mention the bridge is closed down and it’s Tristan’s birthday?

While my thoughts were racing I started praying that God would make a way for us. That He would find a broad, wide resting place on a rock like Habakkuk 3:19 says:
“The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.”

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These goats finally made me realize how much there is to that verse. When we find ourselves in precariously impossible situations, we know that He created the mountain and He can see to it that we are perfectly fitted to travel it. There may not be a broad, wide resting place. I might be on the slimmest of edges, but He’ll give me what I need to stay there.

HE is the broad, wide place, not my surroundings.

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 I mean, does this goat look worried?

He was designed for this. It’s what he does.

I was designed to give glory to God by trusting in who He says He is:

Provider

Sustainer

Director

Keeper

So today, I will think of God, and goats, and chew my cud in peace.

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Who’s with me?

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Photos courtesy Twenty Two Words

It’s a Portable Hobby

What in the world are you looking at here?

Recently, the kids needed a driver for their summer camp, so I volunteered.  Even though it meant driving across our dreaded bridge that has been condemned so traffic has been re-routed and the commute is always a surprise, but not a good surprise, more like a Russian Roulette surprise.

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That Russian Roulette commute made me leave 2 hours early for a one hour drive so I wouldn’t be late.

I got there an hour early.

I sat outside on the lake and waited.

But while I waited, I pulled out my trusty camera and snapped away.

So. You are looking at a feather that came floating by.  But I can never just let it go at that…

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It’s what you see in the feather.  Do you notice that one delicate tuft as been mussed?  Instead of tucking itself away in perfect alignment with all the other tufts?

Be the tuft.

Live the Truth, even if it means you stand alone- and mess up the symmetry, and bug all the obsessive compulsive people.

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We can picture a feather

we might even picture a feather floating on water,

but God does stuff like putting a perfect drop of water, on top of a feather, on top of it’s buoyant bed.

When you run dry with the promise of how He’s holding you in His hands and He will never leave you or forsake you,

just remember His promises go further than we can ever imagine or think.

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Whenever you feel like a pile of rusted useless chain set on the side of a dock,

remember– you are part of a bigger picture.  God is using you in ways you may never know.

(And it’s probably for a much bigger purpose than providing symmetry and contrast and interest.)

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And even though you can’t see it, something you are doing is being linked into someone else’s life and it may stay with them forever.

My kindergarten teacher noticed my empty, abandoned, little heart and bent down and whispered in my ear one day while all of us were standing in line:

“You’re my little princess!”

I walked out to recess like I had a crown on my head. I’ve never forgotten that day.

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I don’t really have a story to go with this picture, except,

honestly, do these capris make me look fat?

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I’m just going to leave you with this last very important life lesson–

mildew: it grows.

Wipe Your Tears Away…

Guess what’s happening again?

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It’s gotten to the point where I don’t wonder any more, I just wake up expecting it to be raining.

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Is that a bad thing?  I certainly hope it doesn’t reflect a new take I have on life.

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Although… I did feel like crying today.

It’s that dog.

(Not the one that follows us around with soulful eyes and acts like she would die for us.)

I’m talking about the dog in the Groucho Marx glasses.

Rainy weather is perfect for curling up with a good book.  Except that books are hard to come by here, so we fixed that by getting a Kindle.

With a Kindle you can have almost any book you want at your fingertips.

It’s changed my life.

But then that dog came along.

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I sat my Kindle on a little table.  The dog got her leash wrapped around the table and pulled it over.

The Kindle landed on the floor.

Dead.

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I couldn’t believe it happened.  And even though that dog couldn’t have known what she was doing I was still thinkin’ about the long list of things she’s broken.

And then I had a fleeting glimpse of what life would be like if SHE had landed on the floor, dead instead.

I’m so mean.

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But God gives us things to thaw our mean hearts and you know what He gave me?

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I went into the bedroom to feel sorry for myself and mourn all the books I’d never read, and I found this on my bed.

Tristan and Sawyer had taken all their money and stuffed it in a ziploc so I could buy another Kindle.

That’s all it took.  I couldn’t feel sorry for myself anymore.

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I went back out and hugged those kids so tight, back out into my Kindle-less life–

and what really matters.

 

(There’s been an amendment since I wrote this post. Amazon is sending me a NEW Kindle, for free!  I’m really glad I learned my lesson about being happy with what’s really important before I found out how it was all going to end.  Isn’t that a really cool ending, though?)

 

 

Lessons From a Dog

 

I can’t remember the last time life was this easy.

Maybe that’s why God gave us dogs, so we would slow down, and chill.

I’m going to remember this picture next time I’m in the middle of:

“Mom, I need to leave right now!”

“He just kicked me.”

“I barely touched you!”

“What are we having for dinner?”

“I can’t find my shoes!”

“We’re out of towels!!!!”

“How do you spell matinee?”

“Can I have a guinea pig?”

Yep.

I’m hanging it on my fridge.