Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Olympics Are Finally Here

So the thing that someone in our house has been highly anticipating is finally here.  

The Olympics in Sochi, Russia are on the air (well, sort of--whenever NBC decides that we should see them) and our DVR is going to be very busy over the next 2 weeks.

My daughter is 16 years old as of last month.  As I recall, being an adopted child who is 16 is about the perfect age to be totally into returning to your roots, finding out who you are in the scope of the world in which you live.  At sixteen I was really into reading books about adoptees who had searched and found their birthparents.  I gave speeches in speech class about it and about adoption.  It truly is the peak time to be finding yourself, whether you are adopted or not, I suppose.

Well, at our house right now, it is all about "the Russia".  

For her birthday we gave her a language program for the computer for her to play with so she could learn Russian or at least try to revive it from her brain a little.  I'm sure our search engine is filled with requests about Sochi and I know that her singing in the past couple of months has been totally focused on the Russian singers she has found on youtube that she loves.  

After this last big snow she went out in our front yard and trudged out the letters SOCHI 2014.  The anticipation has been dripping from her every pore.

Last night after we got home from her basketball game we stayed up really late and watched the DVRed opening ceremony from the Games.

It was fabulous and beautiful.  Sure, it was filled with government propaganda that glossed over the darkest part of the country's history, but it was a fantastic use of modern technology focused on an event showcased for the world to watch.

The music from Russia's history is gorgeous and moody and dark and bright all at the same time.  The dancing was awe inspiring and the singing was tear inducing in its sheer beauty.

Though I am not a lover of world travel, it felt comfortable somehow that I was seeing people from a region of the world to which I have been, knowing that the people are what matter in a country, not the government.  

The people of Russia are wonderful, generous and kind.  

I should know, I live with one.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

9 Years

I feel sick to my stomach.  

It has been a long week around our house.  My dear and precious friend, our 9 year old Saint Bernard has been slowly, but surely, going downhill and fast.  

She hasn't eaten in several days.  For about 3 or more nights she seemed to be "sun downing".  She would sleep through the day and then roam restlessly all through the night not really knowing where she was going or why.  Plus, her back legs just are not working right.  

Today she walked from our bedroom to the front door and hit every single thing on her left side as she went along.  I watch her struggle to walk and know it is inevitable that her life is soon going to end.  But it breaks my heart.  She is a most dear friend to me.  We've spent most every minute together since we brought her home.  Where I go, she goes.  

That was true quite literally when she was new and a puppy we couldn't leave alone in the house for hours on end.  We took her everywhere we went when she was a pup.  That made her love going in the car with us.  Her sadness at not going with us always has made me sad too.  

The look on her face when we leave her in the garage if we are going to be gone for many hours cuts me to the core.

I fear there are no more car rides in her future.  If we need to call our sweet vet Erica to put her down it will have to be a house call.  

And that will mean not seeing her romp out of the garage to greet me every single time I return home.  No matter how old she has gotten her excitement at my return has been ever exuberant. 

  That hasn't been happening lately because we are not leaving her outside in the garage anymore.  We go away in shifts so that we don't have to worry that she may wander away, lost in her inability to know where she is going.  It has been so cold that many nights I feared if she wanted to go out in the middle of the night to potty that I might not see her return to the door.  But she has so far.

Today we realized that she hasn't eaten any real food for several days.  She goes outside and licks the snow for a long time.  She drinks water a little.  A little while ago our postman came to the door with a package and made note to us that it seemed as though she had made a mess of herself and indeed she had.  

She is lying in front of the front door which she often does.  Holding down the fort.  Protecting her loved ones.  It is thankfully much warmer today and I'm sure the sunshine feels good to her.  

My heart is aching at the thought of losing her and yet I know it will be soon.  It is hard to say goodbye after 9 years of loving a friend.

I feel sick to my stomach.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Getting Ready for Fall

Just wanted to post a picture of my mantel as I have it right now.  Might do some tweaking (no r in that word)  but I love the printable letters I found online that spell out HARVEST.

What do you think?

The Antidote

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, I tell myself
I will praise the LORD as long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath.

Don't put your confidence in powerful people;
there is no help for you there.

When their breathing stops, they return to the earth,
and in a moment all their plans come to an end.

But happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, 
whose hope is in the LORD their God.

He is the one who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He is the one who keeps every promise forever,
who gives justice to the oppressed 
and food to the hungry.

The LORD frees the prisoners.
The LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads.

The LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects the foreigners among us.
He cares for the orphans and  widows,
but he frustrates the plans of the wicked.

The LORD will reign forever.
O Jerusalem, your God is King in every generation!

Praise the LORD!

Psalm 146

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Worn Out

I've been feeling worn out lately.  Not so much physically, but mentally.  Life is beating me up a little and it can be so tiring.

Since this is the music from my heart I like to share things that speak to me through music.  This song really ministers to me right now:

And then this.

If you're feeling like me, remember, we can turn to the only Hope we have in this life and the next.  Jesus.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Has Moved You?

Yesterday at our church we had a great guest band who were both the worship leaders and the message for our entire service.  They are the representative road band of Indelible Grace.  

The music was great as was the message.  They are known for making new music and putting it to the words of old hymns.  That sounds cool and kind of unique if you just know the basics of what that entails.  But there is so much more to it than what it appears to be at face value.

I came home yesterday and looked on the Indelible Grace website and learned what a truly unique ministry this has been over many years.  The best way to learn about what IG really is you need to watch this video.   Sure, quite a few of our modern Christian music "celebrities" are represented in this group of songwriters and musicians.  But more than that, they consider themselves part of a movement.  This movement  grew out of a college Bible study group who were learning about themselves and God and how to make theology and their lives converge.  

If you watch the video you will see how completely the Gospel has been instilled in these people's lives through the music that they sang together with the words coming from very old hymn texts.  THAT has grown into a ministry of music infused with the Gospel of historic texts being taken to churches and individuals all over the world.

Kind of sounds old and dusty if you don't realize how powerful the music is that these folks have woven and crafted together over the years.

What is a movement anyway?  I've always thought it would be amazing to be part of something so organic and thriving as a group of people who were of common mind and heart in connection to the Gospel.  As I got to thinking I realized that my life has been touched by a couple "movements" in the past--one that merely touched my life and the other which shaped my life.

When I was a little girl there was a similar movement to IG that happened in my home community.  No, they didn't write music, but they sang it.  A local pastor in our community started a Bible study for high school students which grew into, yes, a movement.  In fact, they were called Mountain Movers.  I was young and didn't really know all the details, but from what I do know, it was a group who got together, studied the Bible and desired to share their faith with people through music.  They went around to local churches and other gatherings and shared singing and testimonies.  

I LONGED for the day that I would be old enough to join Mountain Movers.  When our extended family (who had members of MM in it) went on camping trips and we sat around the fire singing Mountain Mover songs I felt like I was in heaven.  

But, alas, as many movements go, MM disbanded at some point and I never got to be a part of it except to receive the blessing of hearing them.

Throughout my childhood there was another movement that affected my life and ultimately my destiny.  It was the ministry of a group called Lutheran Evangelistic Movement (see there, it is even in the name) that really has affected my life dramatically.

LEM's website today looks like this.  But their movement began in the 1930s which you can read about in their history.  Its imprint on my life happened in the 1970s when they started sending out youth ministry teams in the form of singing groups to churches that were hosting Bible conferences or outreaches.  There would be a visiting evangelist, a singing group either large or small, and sometimes even a youth minister.  The singing groups were usually made up of college students taking either the summer or an entire school year off to be part of the ministry team.

As a child and then later as a teenager I looked up to the members of those youth teams and thought they were such amazing, spiritual leaders.  Then, when I was 19 I got the amazing privilege of being ON one of those youth teams.  My team, The Living Dimension, was supposed to be different that year, though.  Instead of focusing so much on the singing we were supposed to be more of a ministry team to the youth and adults that we came in contact with during our year long commitment.  We were also pretty diversely different than their "average college student" makeup.  We were in age from 31-19 and were not all singers though we did sing.  Many times over our year of travel we joked about how we never dreamed when we were younger that the people on LEM teams were really just normal everyday people like us and not spiritual stand outs.  But they were.

Being a part of that ministry changed my life in many good ways.  I met people from all over the U.S., Canada and even a little way into Mexico.  My teammates and I are like family even to this day.  The memories we made over 9 months traveling across the country in an extended full size van could not be duplicated in any other setting.  The people we met and were able to minister to as we sang and did youth ministry in churches, youth centers, nursing homes, and other venues are still locked deeply in my heart and mind.  

We got to live ministry on a day to day basis unlike most normal life experience.  It would take a book to put into detail the many sacred, hilarious and growing situations we encountered.

Those are the movements that changed me and are still changing me today.  Learning about Indelible Grace helped me to see how God has touched my life.  

Oh, and I met my husband on that year long journey across the U.S.  That's how I ended up in Kansas.  

What movements have changed your life?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I Love My Country Life

Some of you would be bored to tears with what has been my life of being a stay at home mom and wife for the past almost 30 years.  (Yikes!)  But it is the life I dreamed of having even as a young child.  My mom made it look easy because she was so efficient at doing it.  But she loved us well which is the only thing that really mattered.

A few minutes ago, I gathered up the trash in my house and went out to burn it.

  I stood a safe distance away from the barrels to watch over the fire lest it get away on the lovely breeze we are having today and ignite the rapidly ripening cornfield just a couple feet away.  Normally, wind is the word I would use here in the wheat state.  Wind is a daily part of our lives generally, but today it can only be described as a beautiful, fall breeze.

I moved a potted plant to a better place to get sun and spent some time tickling the cat.

As I stood under the magnificent maple tree that has lived here far longer than I, the only sound I could hear was the crackling fire and the sound of cicadas chirping in the background.  No traffic noise.  In fact, a car passed by my house while I was standing there and I heard the lone sound of it on our gravel road long before I saw it.

We were up long before the sun as we must in order to be ready for the school bus to arrive around 7 a.m.  Today was my day to send treats for the highs school volleyball team and we got those packed up as our daughter got ready for school.  She had too much heavy school related baggage already so I decided to drive it to school soon after the first bell rang.  The quick trip to school took 30 minutes out of my day but the drive was pleasant on this beautiful autumn morning.  When I was nearly home a coyote almost ran right into the side of my car but took note of me and ran around me to cross the road.

It is the time of year when I officially have lost the battle of weeds in my landscape and I'm just tired of maintaining it all at a modicum of perfection.  Every year I get to a point when I just want to enjoy my yard instead of being a slave to it.  Since we have had more heat recently,  I still water it when it needs it but mostly, just enjoy the fruits of my summer labor.

The tomatoes are on their last offerings of deliciousness.  I dread the day that I can no longer eat as many fresh tomatoes as I want to eat from my yard each day.

I'll be doing some loads of laundry and tidying up my mostly neat house.  Clean?  Not really.  Neat.  Yes.

Later this afternoon I will travel the road back to our school and watch a couple of volleyball games before we return home to do homework, take showers and go to bed and prepare for another day tomorrow.

Long behind me are the days when I cooked for seven and waded through the mess that was a life bursting with kids and their constant activity.  I've done that life.

I'm loving my life now.  The simple joy of a clean, empty sink and modern appliances.

It is time for living for the joy.  It is time for autumn bonfires.  I'm so ready.

I LOVE my country life.