Sunday, December 30, 2007

What I Learned in 2007

Happy New Year everyone! Oh that we take what we've learned, remember it, and apply it to the new year. Pastor Mike preached this past weekend on how you can't move forward until you've taken time to look back. Reccommend listening to the sermon if you get a chance. It's free: So, using what I learned in the sermon, here's a little of what I've been thinking of.

First of all, I don't do New Year's resolutions. It's like knowing you have to do a term paper at the beginning of the semester but it isn't due until the end of the semester. It hangs over your head like a heavy rain cloud while the rest of the world is having a sunny day. Not gonna do it. Not gonna torture myself willingly. So, for those of you who are making resolutions....good luck and don't forget your umbrella.

Second, this year was a big one for us as we completely changed everything.
Let me recap:
I've moved from one state to another while downsizing my living space by 2000 sq ft.
My husband has changed jobs and consequently we changed churches.
I've left very dear friends and made new ones but kept the old (la la la).
I've watched my child change from a baby to a boy.
I still have girth on my hips that I wish was not there.
I wrote, acted and directed and it still brings me great joy.
I went on my first missions trip to Ensenada Mexico.
I've had sex with hopes of becoming pregnant and just for fun but to no avail...well we had fun.
I've rediscovered an urge to teach that wakes me at night.
I've learned to drive in LA traffic without fear.
I've become a kid again at Disneyland.
The beach has become a place of great fun and peace.

So, what has God taught me this year?
Smaller is better....louder but better. Also, moving requires purging. Purging is good.
Growth in a church is something we desire to be part of no matter the cost.
Friends are one's anchor. New friends build a fence around the hole in your heart left by leaving old friends. They can't fill the space but they keep you from falling in.
Childhood is fleeting and one must cherish it.
One's hips will not diminish without moving...significantly moving.
Joy comes from using your gifts.
Ensenada...that's the big one, I'll save it for last.
Perhaps we are not to "have" more children and sex is great. (I already knew that but just in case you were wondering.)
God's stirs you at night not to pee but to listen.
LA is just geography.
Dreams come true at Disneyland.
All God's children should have access to a beach.

Okay, here's the big lesson I learned this year. This was a HARD lesson by the way. This one didn't sit well with me for many many weeks. When I finally came to accept this lesson, I grew and learned something I didn't really get before. God broke my heart and began to mend it. Ensenada caused great fear in me. I did not want to go. Not under any circumstances did I want to go but God had it so I had no choice. I went. I went not kicking and screaming but more huddled in the corner in the fetal position sucking my thumb. I just wanted to get it done and come home and never think about it again. Oh, child of such limited thinking and ignorance to God's power and sovereignty and love. Poverty and dirt and illness do not cause God to tremble on his throne. My biggest hang up about the mission trip and what broke my heart was not getting an answer to WHY? I couldn't understand why just over an imaginary line there was such a colossal gap between have and have not. And honestly I still don't get it. I don't know if what we did helped for more than just a day, an hour, a all. I don't know. I may never know if painting pictures on the hands of little, dirty, kids will ever make any difference in their lives. I finally came to accept that it is not my place to know. My place was to be obedient. To take advantage of an opportunity to serve. To do it with a willing and glad heart. To walk away wishing to do more. To make a tiny stitch and help close the gap between the have and have nots. But that was not the lesson dear friends. That is not what I learned. That was what I was reminded of. I realized I already knew that.

Finally, here's the lesson. It is a lesson in altered thinking. It is a question of perspective and big picture. I came to realize by example, that my definintion was backwards. The definition of Have and Have-not is not quantified by measuring wealth, cleanliness, health or education. I know that sounds like it should be easy to grasp. I thought I knew that. Easy to say, however, most difficult to learn; espcially if you have much. The have and have-not is instead distinguished by a higher quotient of JOY. It is in Ensenada that I recognized and saw with my own eyes that joy comes in quantities. This is it...are you paying attention? "When you do unto the least of these you have done unto me." I, dear friends, went to Ensenada, crossed the great gap, ready to sevrve the "least of these" and discovered that it was I that was the least of these....I observed and watched these people who have nothing and yet have everything. A higher quotient of joy dwells within the lives of those who live on the side of the gap we consider the have nots. It is I, who walked away having been served. What broke my heart then was how unbelievably blessed I am and yet how small my joy was comparitively speaking. I'm still trying to wrap my heart and brain around how one goes about raising one's joy quotient. It is something I'm going to keep learning in the year 2008. I don't have it all figured out in my head yet. The lesson of learning that one can quantify joy surprised me. I always thought you either have joy or you don't. 'Tis not true! So I put it out to you. What is it that makes one's joy cup overflow? Must we suffer in order to experience a higher quotient of joy? Can we not learn and have this said joy without doing without? What is it that lets you rejoice in all circumstances? Friends...I have so much to learn. So very much to learn. It is here, I ponder and wonder and seek to understand so I can move forward. Move forward with greater joy.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Red Drums....

Wendel and Colin
Little Drummer Boy, age 2
New Drums, age 3
More Cymbals for Christmas

Most of you are familiar with how we aquired the first drum set. If not, here's a short version of the story: Colin had been playing on a set of bowls and pots and pans and a little thing I got at Target. He had dowel rods for sticks and was showing signs of obvious interest. He was not yet 2. Around 3 weeks before his 2nd birthday, we were at the church, Firewheel, for band rehearsal. Colin was on stage oooing and aweing over all the intruments but showed keen interest in the drums. Wendel, the bass player, told me after that he noticed how much Colin likes the drums. I agreed and confirmed his accuteness and said we would have to no doubt get him something for his birthday because the pots and pans weren't going to cut it anymore.

About a week went by. We got a call from Wendel. He left a message that said, "Hey guys, I've something to show you and it has to be in person and it has to be today!" I thought he either had a new girl friend or a new motorcycle. We said, "Come on over." He dropped in around 8:15pm, right before Colin's bed time. He knocked on the door. Colin went to the door, JD followed and as Wendel came in I heard Colin yell, "Dwums....Dwums!!!" I looked and there in Wendel's hands was a set of small drums. (see pic). I thought to myself, "Wendel, you shouldn't have." As Wendel was putting them together he told us, "They're a gift from God." What? Wendel explained. That afternoon as he was dropping off kids (he drives a school bus) there was a set of drums out on the street. He finished his route, then before going back to the bus barn he went back to the drums. He asked about them. This family, with 4 boys, was moving and they had all out grown the drums and were going to throw them out. Wendel asked if he could take them. They said sure. Wendel cleaned them up and brought them to our house. Colin has never benefited so much from such a gift. How wonderful that Wendel was aware enough of a little boy's dream to stop, to ask, to receive, to give. God has blessed that moment. Colin is a better drummer because of it.

As I mentioned in the Christmas letter, Colin received a new set of drums for his third birthday. We put the old ones in the garage, of course, until we could figure out what to do with them. They've been there for 4 months sitting....waiting.

Today, we began the task of cleaning out the garage. In the stuff, "not to throw out but not sure what to do with either" there sat the drums. As we continued to filter through the stuff, a man and his young son, on their way to work, stopped and asked if we were selling the drums. We, of course, said if they wanted them, they could have them. They were going to need new heads but otherwise could still be used again. The man asked if we would keep them until the end of the day when he could come back and pick them up. Absolutely. Then I asked if there were more children, little children. They had a baby and a toddler. Oh joy! We loaded them down with all kinds of things that Colin had out grown and there was no place to keep. They were so happy. We were so happy. It was a great day! Once again, the little set of drums was carried away by a boy full of great possibilities and potential.

The drums....the dream....the beat goes on and on.

Now Colin has a bucket of sticks, a new kit, and since Christmas, two more cymbals. Life is grand...Life is loud...Life is a one-man band!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas In California

Merry Christmas everyone. Most of you should've gotten our first Christmas letter but if you didn't, let me know and I'll send it. So as not to repeat myself, I thought I would add a few comments here for you regulars and any of you that might start dropping by as a result of the letter.

Another one of our new traditions will be visiting "Back to Bethlehem". Rocky Peak builds a small Bethlehem complete with actors, venders, the stable w/ Mary, Joseph and a baby Jesus, Roman soldiers, Angels, sheep, a donkey and camel. It is quite something. A beautiful contrast of how Jesus was born with Los Angeles in the background. We had such a great time. And the actor who played Joseph did so well, I left in tears.

The other obvious tradition will be going to Disneyland for their Christmas Display. See the picture? See the Santa in the background? We used this picture to remind Colin that "Santa is always watching." It worked. Disneyland is absolutely beautiful. Always such a good time!

Love to all of you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Uncle Homa

We went to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving and stayed in a little cabin with Granny and Pop. Colin kept saying, "our cabin is in Uncle Homa." We had a great time. It got cold, we built fires, we soaked in a hot tub, we ate too much and just had a blast. Colin especially loved his trip. I think this is the first airplane ride he remembers details of. He pulled his own little suitcase through the airport. Too cute. Getting so big! We are so Thankful for our many blessings. We are in awe of God's creation all around to remind us how big he is and yet how small he can be when you consider the color of each leaf, the sound of water running down a stream, the breeze that makes you zip your coat and wish for gloves, the smell of rain, the taste of pumpkin. So good. He is so good to us. Hope your Thanksgiving was reflective of His goodness. Hope you can retain that as you dive into the Christmas season.

Raise Up Holy Hands

It's really great when your kid can say their abc's or count to 20 or even 100, or learn songs from the Veggie Tracks and Sesame Street, Little Einsteins, or Mickey Mouse Club House. You feel proud and you know they can learn and you think their cute when they repeat them on command for an audience of family and friends. But there is no pride in your child like that of when from the back seat he sings words to songs like Raise Up Holy Hands, At the Cross, Majesty, and others. Colin is a born Worshiper. He gets it. He gets it better than most adults. He is an example to the adults at Peak Praise as we learn to humbly approach the Throne of God and raise our hands. It could also be that he just loves to see his Daddy sing and play. And he doesn't always get the words exactly right. For example he thought a chorus went like this: at the cross you beckon me, draw me gently to my knees, and I am lost for words, so lost in love, my wrist is broken, I need some mustard. ...Yeah, definite born worship leader because now when I hear that worship song I sing about mustard on my broken wrist. Who knew?