Losing It Contest

Iraq Journey

Young Ladies Christian Fellowship

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Oh, Harry!

February 9, 2010

Concerning Blissdom, I have one thing to say.

Or rather, to show.


harry, crooning for us

He hugged me.

I died.

The End.

Hello and welcome, incoming Blissdom buddies. What a pleasure to have you stop in. It was a beautiful weekend filled with much laughter and connecting of hearts, wasn’t it? I feel privileged to have experienced it.

But I’m going to talk about all that tomorrow once I’ve had time to cuddle my little ones for a day, kiss my beloved (no, not Harry) and hear their stories.

If you’re looking for some of the life stories I mentioned in our conversations, you might click on the Iraq Journey button in my sidebar to find the posts from my husband’s last deployment. The posts relating to the pain of my father’s affair and my parents’ subsequent divorce this past year begin in the January 2009 archives and meander through the remaining year. In between those two Big Ones you’ll discover there’s a whole lotta craziness in these here parts.

Let me know you stopped by… I look forward to spending more “time” with each of you blissful ladies!

Best For Clickin’ and Other Such Matters

January 22, 2010

I keep re-reading the thoughts and comments and resulting emails from the Lost Innocence post.

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the ability to be honest and share my journey in this space. I know there are people who think I’ve jumped ship or that I’m abandoning all and, even, abandoning God.

Nothing  could be further from the truth.

Again, an untested faith isn’t much of a faith at all. It’s simply believing something, without experiencing it firsthand. Remember God’s gold refining analogy? Fire brings forth beauty.

God is taking me back (forward?) to the beginning, showing me Himself in ways I’ve never understood before. It’s breathtaking. It’s beautiful. It’s painful. It can be exhausting. It’s always so much easier to have the answers handed out on a silver platter than to have to go cook it up for yourself.

But I can tell you this:

I’ve never known my Jesus like I know Him now. I’ve never been as close to Him as I am today.

Even if only a few people stick around here while I sort out the questions swirling through my consciousness (I’ve had more than a couple recent unsubscribers!), that’s okay. I believe in the power of story and the fact that God uses our journeys to encourage and challenge each other. Your stories–about loving the Lord, about disillusionment, about divorce, about leaving legalism or forms of it, about finding Jesus in the midst of it all, often shared through comments and numerous emails–remind me that I’m not alone. And that God does call us into a simple, wholehearted relationship with Himself.

I know I’m not always right. I may take a wrong turn here or there. I will certainly make mistakes. But you can be assured that here, in this space, you will find honesty and transparency. And a girl who is seeking Jesus–He who is the Truth.

My sweet blog friend Katie left a comment on the Innocence post, and then came back a day later to share another thought. I wanted to be sure everyone saw it, because she managed to say in a few sentences what I couldn’t seem to make clear with 800 words.

Perhaps the faith we have as children is innocent and naive, and we lose that innocence as we grow.

Getting BACK to that childlike faith isn’t necessarily a return to innocence, or a “going back” – but a wisdom that moves beyond what people tell us – and takes us back to what God tells us.

So maybe it’s not so much a going back as it is coming full circle.

YES. What she said.

Now for some good linkage:

A tidbit:

A writer doesn’t become a writer by getting a steady stream of comments or a high-profile agent or a higher-profile publisher.

A writer becomes a writer by writing.

Someone else basically said the same thing to me last summer and it kinda sorta changed the way I think about… well, writing, obviously. But, truth be told, it challenged my thinking a lot of other things as well.

  • My dear and beloved friend Gretchen (who often puts up with my jaded ramblings and figuring out of  The Crazy) posted an excellent review of Josh Harris’ new book Dug Down Deep. She actually posted two, one at YLCF and one on her own blog–but it’s the latter that really hit home with me. Especially the quotes about “holding our beliefs with charity and kindness” and the reminder of the incredible necessity to figure out what we believe about God. I’m picking up a copy of this book ASAP. Go read the review.

That’s all I got, folks!

Except for this: On Monday I’ll have the update on the boots situation. And I’ll be in need of some help.

And this: We are kinda crazy people around here. Especially on Day 5 of the SoCal torrential downpour. For example, THIS.

Now really, that’s all I got.

All I Wanted Was A Pair of Boots

January 19, 2010

In less than two weeks, we’re moving to a snowy place. A place covered in white more months than not. A place that has been known to see flurries on the Fourth of July.

I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life. A place without snow. A place where, when the first solitary snowflake is seen at higher elevations, the roads are abandoned, offices and schools become ghost towns, and we sled down dirt or grassy hills on our trash can lids.

As a SoCal girl (like, totally, I mean, like, oh my gosh) my snow shoe collection consists of one token pair of snow boots. Cute snow boots, I must say, but snow boots just the same. Heavy, waterproof, thick soled, fuzzy fleecy lined snow boots. Great for tramping through snow, but necessarily much else.

So, I wondered to my San Diego self, What will I wear in Snow Land when I want to run to the grocery store? Or when I’m just stepping out to the mail box? Or when I’m hopping over to story time at the library?

I decided my flip-flops weren’t gonna cut it.

The alternative wasn’t hard to figure out, of course, being that even here in the Land of No Snow, people are wearing “fashionable snow boots” to walk the sunny streets every day. Our malls and sidewalks are peppered with faux fleece and colored suede, along with the customary crocheted scarves and colorful knit stocking caps.

You know, necessary stuff for 65 degree weather.

But I’d seen a wide enough array of boots to know what would be the best combination of style and practicality for me. I’d just get myself a pair of those and call it a day.

So I opened my laptop one evening and looked up the boots. I choked. On the price. Are there really THAT many  sheeples out there paying THAT much for a pair of boots that, frankly, aren’t even THAT cute?!?!

Apparently so.

But I wasn’t taking the bait quite yet. I started Googling. Clicking here, bookmarking there. I’d find them on sale somewhere. I wasn’t going to shell out that much dough on anything meant to cover my toes.

What I didn’t know was that a product in higher demand than bread or water–being I clearly don’t buy into fads all that often–never goes on sale.

Until–lo and behold–there it was! A Sale! A Big Sale! On the actual brand website!

I hadn’t even bothered looking at the company website in all my surfing and clicking, being I just assumed the people who made the boots would ask top dollar. Oh, how gullible and prone to prejudice! Here they were, having an after Christmas 50% off sale and I was just going to pass them over.

P’shaw. I seriously need to get over my judgements. Who was I to think they would be the bullies with the monopoly on the fuzzy warm boot market?

John was sitting beside me at this point. We rolled our eyes at ourselves and clicked ahead through the checkout pages.

Ridiculous us. We always look for the harder, more obscure way, instead of looking at the normal, well traveled path staring us in the face. There’s gotta be a life lesson or analogy or at least a blog post outta this one. I mean, seriously…

Click. Click. Type. Click. Order Placed. Confirmation email on its way.

I grinned. I’d have my boots. Warm. Fuzzy. Tall. Tan. And best of all, they’d look great with a pair of straight leg jeans tucked into the top.

John grinned. One more thing to make life a little easier on his wife as she moves to his frozen hometown during his year-long deployment. And best of all, we’d only paid half the standard price for them.

We heard the blllling of the confirmation email hitting my inbox.

We opened it.

The return email address was something about authenticboots@blahblahblah.blah.

It was all in Chinese.


The boots from the lookalike site are supposed to arrive–from China, instead of Australia–today. If, that is, there’s anything more than styrofoam peanuts in the box. We’re still not sure if we’ll be able to get our money back being, that we did, you know, place the order.

Although I’m kinda thinking I might keep them.

And wear them.

And remind myself every time I step outside in the Land of the Snow that perhaps it’s not always better to follow what appears to be the mainstream crowd with the easier plan and promises of less sacrifice. Counterfeits abound.

There’s that and about fifty other life lessons and analogies in this one. And yes, even a blog post.

And here all I wanted was a pair of boots…

The Real Me: Home Edition

January 14, 2010

A couple days ago I saw a bit of chatter on Twitter about a campaign to show people the “real me.” Or you. Or whoever.

Since I’m always up for a good dose of authenticity (I know, shocking, right?) and believe 99.999% of people are far less put together than they choose to present themselves (especially online–and that includes me), I clicked around and looked at the original post as well as a few of my blog buddies who have participated so far.

I love it.

No makeup. No pretenses. No perfection. Just everyday reality.

But since I’ve just recently posted a picture in all my makeup-less, ponytailed, glasses-wearing glory, as well as doing another home related video in which I freely admit I was day worn and weary, I figured I didn’t really need to beat the dead horse.

So I decided to do something that’s actually far more difficult for me than being fresh faced–I’m going to show you the real house. Smack dab in the middle of moving month, but not close enough to moving day to actually call this acceptable.

Here you have it. The Real Me… Home Edition.

Mine Eye Affecteth Mine Heart

Craziness, I call it.

It starts from the moment a footie-jammie clad little boy climbs onto my side of the bed in the wee hours of the morning.

“Mama? Snuggle?” he whispers. “I need you.” I push back the quilt, scoot closer to my husband’s side of the bed, and wrap both arms around this warm bundle of preschooler.

She wakes, opening her eyes quickly. She’s unsure of where she is. She sits. It hits her.

The tragedy. The horror. The chaos. How did she even manage to fall asleep in the midst of all of this? On this cold, hard ground?

“Oh. Man. I need to get up.”

I think I’ve barely dozed before John’s voice stirs me awake. A glance at the clock shows otherwise. 6:30. He needs to leave by 7:00. The past two weeks of 7-days-a-week, dawn to 10:00pm or midnight military training are starting to catch up with my Marine. And with his family.

She stands, her panic growing. The aftershocks haven’t ended. The rumblings and groanings of the earth shake her soul as well. Her head feels clouded. She scans the people, the masses of people, searching for faces. She doesn’t even dare hope to see the his face. The one she loves. She hasn’t seen him in months. But, frantic now, she begins to hurry through the horde of wounded, scraped, bleeding, muddy people. There are other faces, tiny faces, that she hasn’t been able to locate. The memory of where they were before the terrifying jolts began is clouded in fog. Was she with them? Were they with her sister? The thoughts fill her mother-heart with terror. She breaks into a run.

Within a half hour John has (thankfully) started his old temperamental classic car and left for work; I’ve given morning cuddles, fed two hungry boys, done a sink full of left-overnight dishes, fielded a phone call for a rental in Colorado, refereed brotherly wrestling matches, dealt with the dog and the rain, and emptied a full trashcan. Chaos, in only thirty minutes.

Groups of people huddle together, tending to wounds as they are able. Others climb atop piles of mortar and plaster, tossing back chunks of crumbled brick. Men carry bodies from the rubble. The sound of weeping fills the air.

I pour my coffee and settle into a quiet spot to spend some time with Jesus. Only a few interruptions later, we proceed to get cleaned up, dressed and ready… and then we hit full speed.

She feels ill. Standing still amid the spinning disaster, she looks to one side, then the other. She doesn’t know where to start. Her eyes spill over, muddy rivulets on her dirt-caked face. She sees a woman walking slowly, hoisting a small child higher on her hip.

A cry, sharp and painful, echoes from her lips.

She doesn’t recognize the faces. She keeps searching.

Tidying, vacuuming, checking in on the world via the computer, phones ringing off the hook, emails for Craigslist, phone calls from realtors, packing, snacks, feed the dog, feed the cat, mop the floor, more emails, checking Twitter, checking Facebook, mother’s helpers here for the afternoon, lunch time, nap time, packing moving boxes, sorting through old craft supplies, skim old journals, more emails, more realtors, listening to cupcake baking going on downstairs, another box, realize I haven’t eaten all day–something I’m trying not to do anymore–scramble a couple eggs to be breakfast and lunch, sort papers while talking with the girls about life at 15, snuggle waking two year old, finish packing office, take girls home, call my Marine, whom I haven’t heard from since he left this morning, can’t reach him while they’re training, dinner, sleeping children, finally hear from Craigslist buyers, load up Craiglist bike, carry sleeping and sleepy little boys to the truck, get text from that hard working Marine, meet bike buying lady, drive home, put two crashed out boys in bed, realize I still never ate dinner and get mad at myself, eat a cupcake, feel gross, shiver a little from the cold, turn up the heat, grab a blanket and my computer, open a window and click on a link to a news website.

Coverage of the earthquake in Haiti. I scroll slowly through the pictures. My eyes well up.

She thinks her heart might be gone. Perhaps it crumbled along with the houses around her? She is numb. She doesn’t feel her feet walking, running, scurrying beneath her. She doesn’t know the extent of her injuries. She doesn’t care. Dust hangs in the air and fills her mouth, her nostrils. She tries to spit it out but realizes she is so parched she can’t spit. Water. Where is water?

She walks for hours. The fog in her mind keeps her from knowing where she’s heading.

She nearly trips and looks down to see the wrinkled leg of an old man. He’s sitting against a car tire, head tipped slightly toward his shoulder. He reaches toward her. She steps closer and touches his hand, glancing at the blood on his arm and his head. He stares into her eyes, begging for help with a look. His clothes are torn and he has no shoes.

She catches the glimmer of moisture in his eyes and holds his hand tighter.

“My wife,” he says. His eyes fill and begin to overflow. “My wife.”

She looks at the sunken roof of the house behind him. She understands. Her eyelids shut and she tries to breathe through the smoky air. The tiny faces, one a little more mature than the other, flash before her. It becomes clear. She remembers where they were before the shaking began. She lets go of his hand and she runs again.

“My little ones,” she screams. “My little ones!”

I pull up Twitter and click on links to a few more sets of pictures. My heart aches. The tear streams become rivers on my cheeks.

I see messages typed about things that seem so trivial. Complaints, snark-filled comments, jokes. I think of my day, my crazy busy day, and suddenly it seems… perfect.

Then I see this:


I realize I’m no longer hungry. The only feeling filling me is a gut-wrenching horror. I wish I could help.

Then I remember…

I can.

I wrote this for myself. If nobody else reads it, it still served its purpose. Because sometimes I can get so caught up in myself, in my own craziness, that I think of a great tragedy like the Haiti earthquake in far away, disconnected terms. I feel bad… and then go on with my “busy” life. I figure someone else will help. I did this with the tsunami in Asia and even with Hurricane Katrina, in my own country–and I’m ashamed of it now. I’m not going to do it again.

Is your life crazy today? Are you overwhelmed by all the details of the busy worlds we create for ourselves? Perhaps taking a moment to contemplate the tragedies being suffered by precious people in a hurting nation, loved by Jesus, would help to put it all in perspective. And perhaps the knowledge of how much God has blessed you and a desire to share His love would prompt you to help.

“Mine eye affecteth mine heart…”

Lamentations 3:51

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