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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.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Viral wind, RVs, and tees

One of our dear children attracted a nice friendly little cold virus late last week and has blessed us all with its joys and wonders, sniff. Sorry we missed the blog earlier this week. Nuff sed.

We've got more Michiganian submits this week on the order of retro gaming: very fun flashbacks to childhood! Orders are trickling in and giving us hope for better tomorrows!

So what did you do on your summer vacation? Its time for back to school, and we all remember having to stand in front of class and report, or fill that line on our first writing assignments. Has anyone ever gone on an extended RV adventure? What was that like? Was it truly a bonding experience for the family? Where did you go, and what was your M.O.? What's the most amazing thing you've done as a family?

We visited Fall Creek Falls state park twice this summer and the kids loved sliding down the natural waterslides at the bottom of the falls and swimming in the pools, climbing the rocks, and looking out over the vast river basins. God's artwork is so far superior to our own.

Alas, it is time to sharpen the pencils, dig out the paper, scissors, glue, and crayons.

Heading out in the a.m. to get stocked up for my own crew. I am way more excited than my kids over what we get to learn about at "Vick Academy" this fall. But more than the subject matter, I am totally geeked at the thought of just spending bonding time with them, learning THEM! I hope that my enthusiasm will eventually work its way over to them. I hope that I can get over the humps with the "I don't want to's" and the "this is stupid's" and the occasional long faces over stinky writing assignments. I'm all about unschooling, but man, sometimes ya just gotta do it!!

Well, here's to hoping for creative juices to flow to motivate my kids, and maybe some artists out there who wouldn't mind seeing their own creations on a shirt or pair of jeans. It's kind of fun - I can say from personal experience! You should try it! Encourage the doodlers and aspiring artists in your life to submit art to

I'll let you know what blows in on the Wind!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine

I think I smell newly sharpened pencils on the summer breeze! School is 'fixin' ta start' around these parts. I can't believe how early the public schools are starting now! Seems like it used to be after Labor Day, but now its August 3rd! The coolness of this year's weather really makes it feel as if summer has only just begun, and is now nearly ended.
But thank God for homeschooling. We won't start back for another 2 weeks yet. And I'm holding off on running out to grab school supplies. I'm waiting on that Tennessee 'tax free holiday' before I fill the list I'm working on.
This year we're going to go back to the unit studies curriculum that we started last fall and abandoned. It required a fair amount of prep from both mama and papa, and with our work schedules being so uber-demanding and mama being preggers, we felt it best to hold off and stick to the regular readin', 'ritin, and 'rithmetic. Now that we're all caught up on that, and the baby's here, we are looking foward to delving in to "Life in the New World" this fall.
And so.... with those last fleeting moments of summer before you, sit down with a sketch pad, camera, or computer and submit your favorite back to school art or slogan. Everybody is going to need back to school clothes in the next few weeks, so put your design in an email, and we might put it on a soon-to-be-popular shirt, cap, or jeans. And get your friends to vote for it. Go to the submit section on the website and send it on - in short order. Like I said - some of those kids will have to have clothes by next week. We can get your artwork up quickly so don't hesitate, and don't delay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Brisk Breezes

Whee! What a week! I've had a bit of writers cramp, but no more. There is so much going on around here, its a bit insane, but highly enjoyable. Loads of cleaning, scrubbing and reorganizing. Getting the unneeded items out and into a garage sale, and then getting ready for school to start soon. Its been a fun, busy, and productive summer. Still hoping to get some sewing projects done before school as well. We'll see...

We are THOROUGHLY enjoying the record low temps that are hitting Nashvegas. Walks with the kids after dinner, gardening, cleaning up the backyard. Usually can't even stand to be outside this time of year, but we have had the windows WIDE open enjoying the breezes. Papa's been taking the boys on daily bike rides too. Hoping they will keep this up when the temps rise again - its good for all those boys!

Papa's been busy: joined a business networking group. He had been a member of the same group with our previous business, and had really done well with it. He was so excited to bring West Pole to them. Something new and totally different from where we were. Reception was very warm, and encouraging. Its finally something we feel like we can seriously pursue.

Why? We really have a passion for our family, and as entrepreneurs we can truly have the best situation to raise our children the way that we believe we should. It gives us the flexibility both with our schedules and our geography. Income possibilities are generally not limited but by your own efforts. It allows us to educate our children in the best way we can with lots of field trips and hands on experiences.

West Pole also allows us to get the creative input from others we love to encourage. We are looking for back-to-school, homeschool, and creation oriented artwork and slogans right now, so get your thinking caps on. Kick around your ideas to some other folks, and then send them on to us. Then get everyone you know to get on there and vote for you!

And speaking of creation-oriented, some of you may know that we are highly interested in creation science. We follow the websites, blogs, magazines, and the museum news actively. We look forward to one day supporting this creation message in a really big way.

I mentioned above a previous business we owned. We had intended to use that business to fund this new one. Arrangements were made, but God saw fit that they were not fulfilled. We are hoping West Pole may be the starting point to head into the future of being a beacon to those who are dealing with the stormy winds of an uncertain life. Here's to hoping that these hopes will flow out into funding for that message of intelligent design.

Okay, so we are fulfilling some of our first orders, and customizing them too. We got some really great new designs on the site, so check them out and vote. Get your friends and fam to get on and vote too. And order one of your favorites!

More jeans coming soon...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let there be light

Let there be light.

That's how God started, right?

I've been thinking about how to start this whole thing, and who better to pattern after?

So, the light. We "hung a light out" figuratively speaking, starting up this website several months ago. Due to several circumstances, it had to move to the back burner until we could stir the pot.

Well, the pot has moved to the front burner, and I'm turning up the heat. I'm getting out my spoon and I've got my new screen printed apron on. I'm educating myself, and doing some online networking. Reading, finding other blogs, searching out designs, tweeting, facebooking, and cooking some meals for the family in between.

The Wind at the West Pole is a light breeze today. I hope to keep you posted on conditions: what is going on with us, with our website, our thoughts on politics, the educational system, my new favorite recipe, maybe the church, the way things ought to be in our opinion, and lots of other random ramblings - wind. Some days there may be tornadoes brewing, and other days - a light breeze.

We officially join a business networking group tomorrow. Michael will be speaking to them and introducing them to the West Pole. And hopefully the winds will be favorable!