Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

Blissdom Conference ~ Nashville ~ February 4-6 2010

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When I’m needing God, He often speaks to me through the "play" button

February 27, 2009

There are certain periods of my life that are completely defined by a certain song or set of music.
For example, I hear Keith Green and am immediately 12 years old, practicing his “Prodigal Son Suite” on the piano for hours each day. I think of being 16 and the songs of Nickel Creek start playing in my mind. I hear “Revive Us Again” and am transported back to the Mennonite cottage meetings we used to attend. Any song from Rascal Flatt’s first cd takes me to the Colorado mountains the summer John proposed to me, just as much as the harmony of Southern Gospel takes me to that last oh-so-hot summer we lived in the desert.

Yes, I know. My music tastes are nothing if not INCREDIBLY VARIED.

If there was a soundtrack for this season we’re currently in, it would probably include almost any song by Casting Crowns or Selah, the songs from what has become commonly known around here as “Angie’s Playlist,” and the medley of songs from my iTunes playlist I call simply “needing God.”

I’ve put some of those songs together in one place here, for my own benefit, as well as in the hope that perhaps someone else could be encouraged by them.

Because when I’m needing God, nothing ministers to my soul more than reading a bit of Ephesians 3… all of Psalm 16… 1 Corinthians 4… and a bit of good Jesus music.

I’d love to hear about the songs that have pulled you through difficult days or the ones that make up the soundtrack of your life. What are your favorites?

Get a playlist! Standalone player

Stuff and Junk

February 25, 2009

The problem with being too busy to blog is that the “writing-pointless-drivel-every-day” part of one’s brain isn’t exercised enough and one forgets how to use it.

That pointless-posting part of my brain is getting a bit flabby with All That Not Posting I’ve been doing.

But, lo and behold! Here, to the rescue, comes the good ol’ List of Links!

(I do actually have half a trillion posts in various stages of completion–but since I rarely actually post anything of the stuff I write ahead of time, you probably won’t ever see them. Like, the post I started about our crazy Sunday morning in which I was walking out the door with the boys–while J was already at church–and realized my keys were in the locked truck. This just happened to be Over-committed Sunday and I had–HAD–to be at church in precisely three minutes. And then, while I was out front trying some trick J said might work to unlock the truck via my cell phone (um, and HOW does he know these things? Should I be expecting to visit him in jail one of these days?) Troy locked the front door on me. And then when I finally walked back in the door, I found an entire book of stamps plastered to the entry way tile and my children’s church shirts. But hey, that was SUNDAY. Old news by now.)

So, to get myself back in the whatever-comes-to-mind mentality (and since I haven’t updated the “Best for Clickin’” page in ages and most people probably don’t even know it’s there) here are a few things YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS.

I know. Such drama.

  • Micheal Pearl of No Greater Joy has written a series of articles expounding, explaining and exposing the Patriarchy movement. As one who was very involved in that whole scene for quite a while, I’m telling you–if you’ve ever even HEARD the word “patriarchy,” you need to read these. The latest one on the balanced patriarch is the best.
  • Last week John and I took the boys to an awesome children’s museum here in San Diego. I wrote a review (with pictures!) over at the new San Diego Mommy Spot.
  • Animal School–if you have children or work with children, you simply must watch this. (HT to Karen)
  • On money-making and blogging from Newsweek–this totally says where I’m at with this whole blogging thing these days. For me, this is the season of being a mommy, not trying to make a business out of this hobby anymore. Because, in reality, the millions just ain’t gonna happen, peeps. (HT to Sophie)
  • Most of you YLCF girls have probably already seen this, but Gretchen posted some pics of our recent get-together. SO. MUCH. FUN. We get to do it again–for days, this time–in a couple weeks and I’m already wanting to squeal like a toddler just thinking of how wonderful it’ll be.
  • I’m sure many of you have already seen this, too, but my mom posted an update recently to our family situation. Thank you so much for all of your prayers, notes, and such. This week is going to be difficult, so praying specifically for peace and strength would be wonderful.

Tune in next time for more quality nothingness–it’s our specialty around here!

Well they do say we’re each a product of our environment, right?

February 18, 2009

All I have to say is that THIS WAS NOT STAGED.


by Ashleigh on Vimeo.

So I think Troy’s decided to call it “The TBlog.”

Catchy, dontcha think?

Valentine’s, Schmalentines

February 14, 2009

Okay, I admit it. I’m a bit of a humbugger when it comes to the good ol’ Lovey Dovey Day. Actually, both John and I are, so, hey, it works well.

We were talking this morning about all of our Valentine’s Days together and realized that, lo and behold, we’ve only really and truly made V-Day plans ONCE in the six years we’ve been together.

Year numero uno, we were engaged. John gave me some red roses, some chocolate and a uber-soft little brown stuffed dog holding a red heart in his mouth. The dog actually smelled like chocolate. I still have him, only the red heart is gone thanks to my oldest son swinging it around for hours at a time and the uber-soft fur lost its appeal after my nieces decided to give the dog a bath in the toilet. Which may or may not have been filled with clean water. We will never know.

(I had to retype the word dog five times just now before I got it right. My fingers want to type “god” instead of “dog.” Guess you can tell what word I type often around here, huh? Helpful hint: it’s not dog.)

So that was Hearts and Flowers Day #1. Oh, and, unbeknownst to me, John had planned to take me to the one and only fancy (yet still family-owned) restaurant in our little town. But we ended up being invited over to the home of our very first “couple friends” for dinner instead, so we did that instead because, hello? Being considered a real live couple by a real live MARRIED couple? Big deal when you’re only wearing the engagement ring.

I’m thinking it was a good thing, too, being that only a few months later, that nice little restaurant was rumored to be closing its doors due to failure to meet the health code. Nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day, future spouse!” like salmonella, right?

Red, Pink and White Day #2 found us married and realizing how seriously RIDICULOUS the whole cards, dinner, date, etc. thing was, so I did my best to make new-wife-spaghetti into something fancy by adding Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese and serving it in a heart-shaped Le Creuset dish. Fan-SAY. After dinner we made a split second decision to go see a movie, but ended up stuck in dead-standstill-the-highway’s-closed-ahead-but-there’s-nowhere-to-turn-around-for-miles TRAFFIC and missed the show. We made it in time for the 10:30pm show… but basically fell asleep. What amour.

Valentine’s Day #3 was the one and only time we actually made–and kept–our plans. We were out of town for a work trip of John’s and I was about a month away from having our first baby. I did my best to dress up and make myself pretty despite the burgeoning belly and we took advantage of being someplace other than the podunk Marine base on which we lived by livin’ it up that night. Nice dinner, gifts, cards, lots of chocolate and we even managed to make it to a movie. What we saw clearly made a lasting impression on my heart and life being that I can’t remember a single thing about it other than that it was animated (who said our taste had to be mature??) and had something to do with people (animals?) and Little Red Riding Hood (or was it the three little pigs?).

For the very life of me, I can’t remember a single, solitary thing about year #4. I know we were in the middle of moving, had just found out we were expecting Merritt, Troy was about to turn one, John got orders to a new duty station and was told he was going to Iraq in coming months. Can anyone say, um, maybe a bit stressed? We might have something Valentine related that year, but I doubt it. I’m guessing it was more along the lines of, “Wait, what’s today again? Something about hearts and love and flowers? I dunno. Okay now where’s another moving box….?”

And then there was last year. But you all know about last year. It was the best. Which is actually quite surprising, being that it was also the year my very own Valentine was, you know, HALFWAY ACROSS THE GLOBE. Anyway. Moving right along.

Which, my dear sweet enduring people, brings us to this year. This year, which finds us back together again. (Cue sappy music.) This year, in which we just opted out of the whole gift and card thing altogether because (sniff, sniff) we don’t need a DAY to tell each other how much we love each other. This year, in which we have two rambunctious boys who crack us up all day and we really just prefer to have near us. This year, when we don’t feel like paying a babysitter to watch them while we brave the crowds just because we’re supposed to get out and DO something. This year, in which we are closer than ever to each other and to the true definition of love. This year, in which we simply have a normal, nice day as a family. This year, which found us standing in the kitchen together making a nice little meal and then drinking milk from our “fancy” goblets with dinner. This year, when romance in our relationship is more alive every day than it’s ever been on past Card and Chocolate Days.

This year, when our version of a romantic night is sitting on the couch side by side, eating homemade blueberry pie (see? I did SOMETHING sweet for my Valentine.) and… you know… being the total geeks we are and hanging out on our respective laptops.

(Sappy music recording screeches to a halt.)

I know, the mushiness of it is astounding. I think I may well be the Scrooge of Valentine’s Day (or maybe not. What do you do? Love it or hate it?) but I’m here to tell you that real life romance is alive and well, my friends. Whether or not you made big plans or gave red and white gifts. Alive and well.

To part and live…

February 10, 2009

To die and part is a less evil; but to part and live, there, there is the torment.
~George Lansdowne

A friend posted this quote in a private journal a few days ago and it’s been swirling in and out of my consciousness ever since. I hear it like a record running in my head while I wash dishes, bathe babies, attend get-togethers. It plays on while I run errands and go to church.

“…but to part and live…”

It even made its way into my dreams last night, after I fell asleep on the couch listening alternately to the playlist on Angie’s blog and my own playlist I call “needing God.” Asleep, still clutching this picture in my hand.

How I wish there was an “off” switch for emotions. I’ve tried to create my own–stuffing it all down, back, out of sight–but the end result isn’t pretty. Lashing out at those I love, the ones still here, we who are supposed to be holding tight to each other in the face of complete and utter rejection from one who said he loved us most, serves no purpose. Screaming through tears, words that don’t even sound like me, stabbing at a bleeding wound. Pointless.

Today I’ve realized there isn’t any toggle switch. It’s either all on or all off. To turn it off means a cold, stony heart that misses not only the pain, but the joy as well. Surface happiness might last for a while as the heart tries to cope and pretend things are normal, just hoping to function.

But wounds take time to heal. A lifetime built in security doesn’t just crumble without leaving it’s mark. Simply because she’s married, has a family, has had an existence apart from her childhood home for five years doesn’t mean a daughter has to convince herself she doesn’t have a right to the depth of pain she knows is abiding in her heart.

…there, there is the torment…”

So I face the pain. The rejection. The despair. Knowing my Lord understands and has experienced far greater… from me. Believing that, though feeling again means experiencing what this pain is to me, individually, as a daughter who was very, very close to her daddy, and though the wound to myself and my family might look mortal to my eyes, my Lord will bring joy to equal this at some point down the road.

And yet, for now, feeling hurts.

Lord, bring comfort.