grab a cup

grab a cup
kick back and relax

Friday, March 19, 2010

Gusts of grace to glory

The craziness of life hit hard the last couple of days.  Exhaustion, lack of preparation, caught off guard, omigoshihavetowork!  I only work one night a week for my husband, so he can get ready to go back to school soon.   I need to learn his route so I can do it when he needs me to.  I am grateful that it is only one night, but the infrequency suprises me still on the days I realize an hour before I have to leave - that I need to leave.
Hurry up and wait, pressures of 'once-in-a-lifetimes' and constant interruption of sleep and no opportunity to rest.  My sister in law is due yesterday for her first baby.  Her parents arrived from Uruguay last week.  They are so precious to us, and we rarely get to see them.  English is very broken, but not always necessary.  We went mall walking to try to induce labor. 
Swinging from one cup of caffeine to the next.  Only 4 hours of interrupted sleep - getting too regular these days.  Can't even remember English at times!  No bad stresses that shatter my world, but just life...
THEN... to my pleasant suprise, this craziness leads to a simple but delightful discovery. 
I couldn't put my challah dough together at my usual time.  I had gotten my iPhone (finally!) and my calendar settings weren't synchronizing correctly.  My "Make the challah dough" reminder went AWOL.  I was mall walking when I normally would be doing it.  I was so exhausted that I totally forgot!  SO I had to quickly throw it together between homeschool class and playdate today.  And it raised SO beautifully at room temperature, instead of the fridge.  It was SO much softer, and much easier to knead and braid, that it just purely made my week!
I could have just picked up some bread at the store as I scurried home to make Shabbat dinner.  But we have come to just love the smell of the baking bread as we set the candles and cup out for our family meal, I just couldn't bear to not have the comfort of that smell today.
Now I sit and enjoy the spoils of my battle with this week: challah dipped in gravy of carne de panella, leftover chocolate pie, and the strains of Paul Baloche's Greater Song. 
Lifting Him higher in my heart...
Shabbat shalom!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I tend to be a very 'keyed up' person, always moving, always driven.  If you come to visit my home, I rarely sit.  I try, I really do.  About the only way to get me to sit involves a hot beverage and either a good book about whatever topic I am currently passionate about, or, a great friend with the promise of great conversation.
So I'm learning to relax a bit.  Its truly a learned skill.  And I think I'm making SOME progress in this area, even though I am shocked at where its come from.
As a kid, I grew up in a very conservative home, and on Sundays it was a given that we would be in church, come home for a big homemade lunch, the required nap, and then perhaps a cup of tea before choir practice and evening service.  I guess it was our ritual.  But there were definitely things we didn't 'do' on Sundays.  We didn't go to restaurants, malls, gas stations, rarely did we have a friend over, we didn't watch sports, and for a long while we didn't even watch TV on Sundays. 
When I met my husband, his family had a very different way of 'celebrating' the Lord's day.  They took mom out to eat every Sunday after church so she wouldn't have to cook, and did not hesitate to stop by the mall before heading home. 
So how did we meld these?  Probably a lot wilder than my family, and more sedate than his.  
And now we go another direction altogether.
My progress has surprisingly come from Saturday.
We've begun attending a messianic synagogue.  The worship services are on Saturdays.  Oh yeah, that's when the Sabbath was celebrated in the Bible.  I've never had a problem or conviction for or against either Saturday or Sunday worship, so I was open to either.  But I've always been in the institutional church on Sunday - my whole life.  It was almost a naturally biological routine.
Changing to Saturday has disrupted my routine completely.  But it allows us to do what is most important to us during the first part of our weekend.  Worship.  And it puts the first things first, right where they should be.
Who da thunk it?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beautiful mess

New year, and HIGH time to get blogging!
So much has happened....

How many changes can happen to a person before they, well, change themselves?
And yet the more things change, the more they stay the same.  I still believe in my Saviour, though I think of him more as Yeshua haMashiach now, rather than as Jesus Christ.  My thoughts deepen on this continually.  I am SO glad to know his well never runs dry!
I listen to Rabbis more now.  Never really did before. 
I avoid listening to reverends, pastors, preachers.
Kind of leave me nauseous.
I am on a journey and accepting it as such.  I don't expect to 'arrive' now until I am Home in Yeshua's presence.  I am okay with being imperfect, with making mistakes, with not having all the answers, with not living up to expectations.
And I've found that others are not okay with that, and despite how painful that can be sometimes, I am okay with that now too.
I am learning to extend grace that I have not extended before.  I am reserving judgement.  I may not know what others are facing when they offend me.  I will initially assume that the offense was unintended instead of jumping to conclusions.  Perhaps its my new year's resolution.  Unofficially.
For now, the journey is imperfect.  I expect it to stay that way.  But it is temporary, permanently temporary - at least for this life!  But I also expect my journey to improve.  It is so full of peace, of YHWH, of knowledge of his presence and spirit.  So full of blessings.  And G-d will bless us even more as we bless him.
And I am SO blessed.

To live in this beautiful mess!

Shalom, y'all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weirdness of Wind

How weird....
This blog has been nothing like I thought it would be.
And yet it seems to be fulfilling its purposes even in its absence.  And in its absence, purposes are refined.  Bear with me.
Let me tell you about the wind.
It blows.  So does my life lately.  I've gone through some real low places of discouragement in recent weeks.  I keep thinking I really need to blog!  But I couldn't think of anything that I actually wanted to share.  But now I need to share.  I'm starting into this headlong, having no idea where its going.   You've got to hear this.
If you've known me for any length of time at all, you know I like to be busy, and involved.  If you've known me for a bit longer, you know I am a music lover, and that I have a degree in it.  And some of my close friends will know that despite my drive to get that degree, I've always been a bit conflicted as to how to use it.  Teach?  I have a lot of strengths in that area.  But I'm not certified for a public school.  Besides, I might burn out on it.  Perform?  Too much competition.  No way I could "make it."  Church music director.  The geographic area I live in doesn't really allow women to do this.  I've applied.
I prayed about this for years as I took a totally different turn with my 'career' and went into medical and publishing industries.  But the conflict always remained under the surface.  A few years ago we went ahead and followed a church plant call, and another.  We believed it was of God.  Still do.  Little did we know where this would take us.
We've gone from serving the church, to leading in it, and pastoring.  Now we feel like leaving.

Conflicts arise.  Sometimes making every effort to be at peace, and following the biblical plan for resolving the conflicts still don't work.  Sometimes people react out of pain and become unreasonable.  I like Wayne Jacobsen's quote: "Anyone who is engaged in real body life will get hurt at times. But there are two kinds of hurt. There's the kind of pain that points to a problem that can be fixed with the right care - such as a badly sprained ankle. Then there's the kind of pain that can only be fixed by pulling away - as when you put your hand on a hot stove."  (
Well, we decided to take our hands off the stove.  It was obvious that despite our best and most Godly efforts, the problems would never resolve or even end.
We've no intentions of becoming heathen, and we have a loose plan.  But we are truly waiting on God.
Waiting on the wind.

Sarayu.  The common wind that takes you by surprise.
Some book readers out there will know what I am talking about.  One of the editors of that book also wrote another book: So You Don't Want to Go To Church Anymore.
Hmmm.... maybe I should read it.
But I tried staying home.  And that blows too....
I miss choir.  I miss the huge group of people singing and worshiping God together.  I still love God!  I still want to express that.  He created me to want to.
But what happened to His church, His bride?
And that common wind took me by surprise.
Sarayu.  Papa.  Jesus.  Trinity.  The three living in Holy Community.  Communion.  God wants to commune with us.  Not as an afterthought twice a quarter after the Sunday evening service.  Not on Easter and Christmas.  Not as Eucharist service, as part of an order of service, a sacramental rite, or an agenda.
He wants it all the time.  Without agenda.
He wants nothing in return.
He just wants us.
He doesn't want anything but you!
So I am celebrating my Savior.  Our communing.  And just being His, without agenda.  His wind tends to encircle, and not blow away.  Kind of like the triune in communion, encircling with a special fondness.
I've heard it said there are no perfect Christians and no perfect churches.  Really.  I hadn't noticed.  So I am learning to find the good, and avoid incriminating anyone, any ministry, any church.  We all have our faults.  We all have our off-days, our comments muttered in anger.  Myself very much included.
Find your place in the body, find the place where you can be.  Just be.  Find the good parts and embrace them.  Try to reconcile the parts that don't seem so good, but don't let your spirit be dragged down by them.  Enjoy the beautiful mess.
That's what the west pole wind blew in this week.  Month.

Monday, September 21, 2009

No wind, All rain; Ark-building

Ugh. Eight solid days of rain here. I am noticing arks going up in backyards around here... Next hope for sun isn't for about 5 more days. Feelin' soggy!!! I am grateful to live UP on the ridge.

Ok, so here's what's going on around here lately. Kiddism: (overheard from bathroom) MOM! THERE'S POOP ON THE TV! Mom's thinking OMG, WHAT has happened to my bathroom. I go running in and the little stinker is referring to a politician - ROFL. Papa has some strong opinions about politics, and they are catching on!
Learning has been getting increasingly fun around here. We have put our curriculum on hiatus while we focus on lighting fires instead of filling buckets. And when the learning is fun for them, its fun for us, and the lovely cycle continues. When they get closer to high school we might get the buckets back out. Hopefully by then the learning will be self-motivated. We've turned to lapbooking and their creativity has just exploded. When I told them we'd be looking into the constitution this week because last Thursday was the anniversary, they decided we should make our own constitution up for our family. How cool is that!?

The biz is still hangin' in there. We got a few new shirt designs up on the site from the Michigan connection: check them out. Also check out their site direct:
I have tons of ideas for designs to get out to you, and I'm hoping to get them up soon. Running out of sample materials.
We would like to hear from you: what's the best bumper sticker you've seen lately? Send us the bumper sticker slogan and the best one from this week will get a free shirt!! (Winner announced October 1.)
So here are some goals for us too: You Tube - hoping to get our current ad polished up and also to add some more. Research - getting more marketing research reading done. Everyone seems to want to sell you something, so we are looking for the most objective course, as well as the cheapest/most effective. Development - hoping for some more feasible and durable jeans designs options. Although the screen printing is incredibly durable on the denim, it is sometimes not perceived as such.
Mostly our goal is increased design quantity. If you fancy yourself an artist, send something our way.
Waiting on the next West Pole Wind to bring sunshine... Tchau!

PS: Some totally random needs we have: mannequin (top half and bottom half) for a really good deal; jeans for samples and product testing (if you have some that don't fit anymore and want to just get rid of them).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Stinging Winds: The Reality of Mortality

Most of us have noticed that a lot of high profile folks have passed over the last several weeks. Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Billy Mayes, Ted Kennedy, Ed McMahon, Steve MacNair, and the list goes on. Some young, some very old. Many of the celebrities were baby boomers. My parents were part of the last few years of that 'boom.' In my head I still feel 19. My parents are still young - aren't they? My kids are still babies. Am I really going to be a member of the 'sandwich generation' soon? Taking care of my kids and my aging parents at the same time?
Alas, the beating of time marches on. Friends, parents, in-laws, celebrities, friends' grandparents, my grandparents (and myself!) are all aging. Illnesses that I saw while working at the children's hospital that were generally speaking cured, are taking lives at that later end of the aging spectrum.
The other fascination I have is the legacy that these folks are leaving behind them.
One leaves behind crushed little girl emotions and a legacy of abandonment. The abandonment continues in the family's complete denial of her existence, along with her 4 children and 3 grandchildren.
Another will leave behind decades of dedicated service to God, hundreds of beloved church members, dear children and grandchildren and countless ones who were like 'one of his own.'
Another will leave sooner than she should, and she won't even know why or who is even around her, most of her memories erased.
And despite the fact that I have learned over the years of my life - even from the age of 6 - how to deal with death of close loved ones and family members, I am not sure how to handle this part of life.
I don't know how to do this part. I feel like the little girl sitting at the kitchen table struggling with math homework, only its much more important than that. And I feel like there is no one to guide me to tell me how to do this one. I really have to figure it out for myself. And I want to cry. I want to go out to a cold and stormy ocean pier and let the stinging winds beat against my face in a cathartic exercise seeking relief, seeking a way to order this grief and find a way to go on with life.
But the teachers that I once had did give me one thing: Christ. They may have failed in their humanity to live perfect lives. They may have dealt with their own difficulties, and not always risen to the occasion. Sometimes they made the wrong choices. But gratefully I accept the one theme that repeated itself - himself - through the corridors of time. Christ. This is the guide that they learned to turn to, and the One that I need to seek more often than I do. As these folks coped they turned to Him, and it worked, just as He promised it would. He was there for them. He is there for us, and for me.
So, Teacher, how do I do this part?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spirit Wind

Oh the irony...
We started school today and the topic is Wind.

While getting ready for school this year, my summer was spent re-organizing and cleaning nearly every inch of my home. While pulling things out of my closet, I discovered a handwritten phone number for a friend I lost recently. I did not get to talk to her before she passed, and this will always remain one of my greatest sources of sorrow. Her memory lives on in the name of my daughter, a decision made en route to her funeral while I was 7 months pregnant.

Her memory lives on, too, I've discovered, in many of the songs we sing in worship. I am a die-hard alto and automatic harmonizer. But in recent years I've had to fight that tendency and sing melody for church worship leading. There is a gift I am given now in a Spirit wind that only she and I can hear as my angel-friend sings in my ear now as I lead the music many times on Sundays. I can almost audibly hear her voice in my ear many times as I recall the many hours we spend singing together, and the ease with which things always fell together for she and I. We had a natural collaboration unlike anything I've ever experienced with anyone before or since.

Things began to ramp up for us. We had someone interested in recording our first CD. We had a guitar player and a drummer. We did a photo shoot for the album cover. We were singing in coffee houses, churches, and other events. After years of writing songs together and dreaming together, we were seeing things start to come together. Then the winds of change picked up.

She married quickly and unexpectedly one weekend shortly before her betrothed was shipped off to the warfront. She called me from her new home. She had moved several states away. We unwittingly lost touch as we began our families and dedicated our efforts to their raising and rearing. But we had an unspoken understanding that this was a higher calling than even our music had been.

At her funeral her father and I spoke of this high calling, and how despite the depth of the calling we both had in our younger years for our music, we both focused on our children and husbands with great joy and dedication. There was no shame in redirecting our previous musical efforts toward recording an album to the church bodies we served. Some might say we had 'settled' for lives as dowdy wives and mothers. Yet she and I would raise our coffee mugs to toast the highest calling we had come to know.

Though I miss your hugging arms, and sharing the laughter with you around campfires, I thank you for singing in my ear as the wind of the Holy Spirit moves through our worship. I look forward to harmonizing with you for ten thousand years above, angel-friend.