Monday, March 18, 2013

Over Myself

I've attended a new church recently.  I'm thankful for the friend who kept on me to give it a try. It's a certain denomination, and I'm a little used to the no-name churches so it's somewhat different for me. For some reason, I have always had a problem with corporate responses. I'm not sure why, maybe I am missing the beauty in it.

Or maybe I just need to get over myself.

But, I like what I see so far. It's a real slice of life. I'm drawn to it because it includes a few special needs people. There is a man there who reminds me of Aidan with his bandanas tied around his neck. He has several layered on and they just get peeled off as the top one gets wet from his drooling.

He doesn't talk, but he makes a lot of noise. No one seems to mind, and if they did..well, I guess they would just need to get over themselves.

He has a huge smile on his face and he laughs out loud. Sometimes he makes a sound that seems to come at just the right time in the sermon as if he is adding an exclamation mark to what the pastor just said. Everyone sort-of smiles...because we are all getting over ourselves.

When the band starts up, he runs up to the front and lifts his hands. I guess he is praising the Lord, and he is loving the music. He is all freed up. He's making a joyful sound. He is shouting his praises. He is singing his own song to the Lord. A woman comes up and stands next to him so he is not alone. A part of me wants to go up and stand on the other side of him because his joy is contagious.

But, I guess I'm not quite over myself....

The pastor is a great teacher and keeps things interesting. Yesterday, as he was speaking, he walked over to a table that was set up ahead of time. He started to crack eggs into a bowl and whip them up. The worship leader stood next to him peeling bacon apart and fried it in a pan. He kept to his topic on what our faith looks like on the outside. How are we applying it to our everyday lives? Are we involved? Are we committed?

"The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed!"

And then something happened that I thought about all day long. A young girl was baptized. Again, this church does things a little differently and I was fascinated by what I saw. As the young lady stood in front of the witnesses (us) the pastor pour out water from a lovely piece of pottery. The water flowed into her long dark hair, over her face, down her body and spilled out all over the floor. Something about it brought tears to my eyes. We are born through water...and born again through spirit.

Baptizem is a public demonstration of what has happened inside a person. She chose Him. She wants the world to know. Christ has claimed her and it's the beginning of a new person. She has put on Christ.

An odd thought popped into my head as I watched. Being baptized is a lot like getting your passport (I said it as odd:) You are all freed up to travel, but in your new identity. Will she be excepted everywhere? Probably not...but, her identity isn't given by her friends at school anymore, Christ has claimed her as His own. Talk about homeland security:)

And, this time....I got over myself. I walked right up to her and hugged her wet body and kissed her cheek. I told her how much I appreciated being apart this act she will never forget. Nor will I.

" and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.~1 Peter 3:21

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


It seems to be hanging around a little too much lately. It appears to be at every turn. It creeps into our everyday life, it's in the blog I just read and it's a short walk down my hallway, alive in my own home. It's in a conversation I recently had with a friend who is broken hearted over a love lost. The kind of grief that engulfs a person. Like a death. It's waking up in the morning wondering why you feel so badly and then you think, "Oh yeah...THAT".

She talked about her sadness manifesting it self as physical pain, spreading across her chest; her heart breaking into a million little pieces. As she talked I picture jagged pieces of broken glass. I wanted to reach in and remove them for her as carefully as possible (with little tweezers like in the game "Operation") doing the least amount of damage, so it wouldn't be just a complete bloody mess.

 I knew my role was to listen, and listen, as long as it takes. I knew what not to say. I knew not to say "it's been a long time, you should be over this by now." I knew not to say that time would be the  healer, although it's absolutely the truth. (Sadness flees on the wings of time) My other job was to keep her sane, because she was feeling like she was becoming unhinged. I wanted to help her keep her self respect. Keep her from saying the wrong pathetic thing to the wrong pathetic person. Keep her from complete devaluation of self. She feels sick, crazy, empty and aching. Love lies bleeding.

I remember my first taste of grief. I was a child when my father died. I remember my aunt trying to  teach me a prayer. It started with "Our Father who art in heaven" :) I could never remember the rest, but I would look out into the night sky at one particular bright star from the big window by my bed. I didn't understand that the scripture was taking about our Heavenly Father. I thought it was a way to talk to MY father. My father, who was "art in heaven."(my masterpiece:)  I thought I was apart a special club, the club of the fatherless children. I began my conversation with my father with the phrase "Our Fathers, who are art in heaven"...and then we'd just have a chat.

Later in life I would meet my Heavenly Father. I learned that to bear one another's burdens was to fulfill the law of Christ and that a friend loves at all times. But, sometimes bearing peoples burdens is well, a burden! I mean, how much can one woman take when she has her own heavy burdens?

“Count the garden by the flowers, never by the leaves that fall. Count your life with smiles and not the tears that roll.”

Today, it all felt very heavy. So, I called on my Father (who art in heaven:) and I told him I needed a touch (and make it real Lord) a written or spoken word that I would know would be from Him. I do this often, just to test the waters, from the one who walked on the water, because I am his problem child, the one who is always asking for proof. Are you real Lord? I think you should show me..(we have only been together for about 30 years now, still on our honeymoon and getting to know each other:)

So, I would just like to thank the person who spoke the perfect words to me today. They had no idea they were being used to speak truth and love into me, but, I know the source. I hope I can be that very same vessel for someone else someday.

Sometimes, it feels good to be used:)

Friday, March 1, 2013

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling..


"The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff."~Britney Spears 
Thank you for sharing Britney!:)
  I have such a fantastic son; he decides to do things like move to Dublin Ireland to earn his MBA at the University College of Dublin. Due to of some details in my life  I did not expect to be able to make a trip to Europe durning the year,  but to quote Emerson: "Every wall is a door." And, sometimes things work out even when you least expect, and I had the opportunity to travel with my son and his wife for his graduation.

 I just needed a passport,  and fast, which wouldn't have be so bad if I could just find my birth certificate.  Considering the hot flashes I was experiencing, I must be closer to death than I am to birth (Excuse me while I put my hair up...) but I doubt I will ever be in the position to have to look for my own death certificate:) but, if I could lose it, I would. 
I knew I was born, because I was living and breathing and have even added three extra people to the population of the world. I just needed to find the paper that said when and where!

Geez, details, details....
I looked everywhere for my missing paper.  I emptied draws and boxes and files. I laid eyes on all kinds of treasures, notes and letters and little hand drawn pictures from my children. I took the time to organize it (after all, my lack of organization is why I couldn't find this rather important document. I mean, there came a point where I started to doubt my own existence....)  I decided to break for lunch and try again later in the afternoon. I ordered chinese and cracked open my fortune cookie:

I listened to the wisdom of the cookie.  My home state of California didn't fail me and quickly sent me (for a small fortune for rush service) my birth certificate.

 I  started to believe this trip was actually going to happen. I realized I must have given one of my children my suitcase so I rushed to Belk the night before my trip and bought the largest one I could find. The suitcase is the size of a crib mattress. If it had fold out legs, we could easily fit four around it and complete a 500 piece puzzle:)   Go big or go home, as my friend Heather would say. She was talking about handbags (which goes without saying) but, it wasn't the best choice for Europe where everyone packs a month worth of living into one small backpack. The cars are small (my one suitcase filled the entire trunk of a car. You don't see many Hummers or gas guzzling SUV's)  The staircases are small and there may or may not be elevators where you stay. (Not).

Even if I can get it up the stairs...will it fit through the door?

Here are some thoughts on travel:
1: Sleeping on a plane is not the same as sleeping in my bed.
2: The only way to get over jet lag is to sleep
3: The city of Dublin is so fantastic, you don't want to waste time sleeping. 

                              The city of Dublin is beautiful~cold in December, but, beautiful. 

                                 But, three perfectly poured Guinness's warm us up quickly:)

                                      Hm..someone can find a chocolate shop in any country...

I want to keep this post short and sweet and there are more than 300 hundred pictures to choose from so let me just share the most important ones with you:)

                             That's right, tea time and bath time are the same thing in my Castle.

Basically, I just went from having tea in tea in the bath. Notice how many trays you see. Room service knew me well by the time we checked out.

                           The country roads are dotted with sheep. So much easier to see than squirrels:)

    The city is beautiful, the countryside  is beautiful and the cliffs  are beautiful. I mean, look at this view.

The Irish are so friendly and we received such warm welcomes wherever we went. Like this gracious sight after a long cold drive.

                           We pretty much know how to make ourselves at home. In any country:)

                       It seems like every small town has it's charming pubs. No one meets a stranger.


                                                  Did I mention the people are friendly?     
Cheesy sandwich board for cheesy tourist like ME! Some of the best live music I have ever heard.                                              

And here he is..the Graduate! Toasting to a job well done and a life well lived. He makes me very proud.

They say you live once, but we have a way to life it three times.
First in anticipation
Second in the actual moment
Third in recollection

There is a spiritual lesson playing over in my life. It seems when I finally let go of something and just give it up to the Lord, often, He wraps it up in something beautiful and gives it back to me in a way I could have never expected. (or deserve considering my utter lack of faith) That's what this Ireland trip was for me.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.