Monday, May 26, 2008

Bitter Sweet


Last night was bitter sweet. I was a bundle of different emotions... laughing, crying, happy, sad. All in a few hours time. I had the wonderful opportunity to sing at a Memorial Day concert at the PAC with "Gracefull." We sang with an orchestra and a guest performer, Jubilant Sykes, who was so moving... his amazing, powerful voice still resonates in my mind a day later! I smiled as we sang vibrant, patriotic and Americana songs and moments later, I was fighting back tears as we remembered fallen soldiers and honored those in our audience who had served, or are currently serving in the military. I spent time reflecting on the brevity of life and how I am so joyful that through the sacrifice of Christ, God has provided a life for me beyond this one.




Along those lines, my favorite song of the evening was titled "No More Night." I believe it is based on Revelation 21-22, and it speaks of a day when we can dwell with God in all His glory, pain and darkness dispersed by His astounding light... so weighty and wonderful and full of great hope. It takes my breath away!

"No More Night" by Walt Harrah

The timeless theme, earth and heaven will pass away.
It's not a dream, he will make all things new that day.
Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell;
Evil is banished to eternal hell.

No more night, no more pain,
No more tears, never crying again.
Praises to the great "I AM,"
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing.
The only sound is the praises to Christ, our King.
Slowly the names from the book are read;
I know the King, there's no need to dread.

Chorus

See over there, it's a mansion prepared for me
Where I can live with my Savior eternally.

Chorus

We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.
Halleluiah to the risen Lamb!


It has been such an incredible blessing and honor to sing with Gracefull this year... I can hardly begin to put into words what it has meant to me. It has been incredible to be welcomed into this musical community, to learn so much scripture, to glean from men and women of all ages, to listen to all the voices around me working together in their own melodies and harmonies to bring glory and honor to God. Also a great honor, was having the opportunity to sing under Glenn Pickett, who will be leaving this summer to take a position at a university down south. While I learned and was encouraged so much musically under his direction, what I will truly always remember about him is his beautiful heart to shepherd and pastor God's flock, building them up in love and with grace.

May the Lord truly bless you, Glenn and Julie, as you venture into this new adventure for the Kingdom.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adventure is Potty Training


The little J-Bear has been on a crazy potty training adventure the last 2-3 months. I am now going to describe a very comical morning we had a couple of days ago and you will receive some free advice. Now if you do not have a baby or a toddler, you may want to bypass this post and read about some cute kid quotes instead. If you become squeamish and grossed out by potty talk, you will definitely want to stop reading at this point.

Are you are still reading? You are not deterred? Ok, then, I warned you.

Here is the very valuable free advice you've been waiting for: While potty training, do not feed your child watermelon. It is as simple as that. Let me illustrate why.

8:00am Jason eats a lot of watermelon for breakfast. Patrick leaves the house saying, "You are going to be having a fun morning." "Oh, he'll be fine," I shrugged.

8:45am We return from dropping Josh off at school. I went into the house for 4 seconds and by the time I returned to the van, Jason had climbed into my seat and peed in it. It took me 10 paper towels to sop it up. It was like someone poured an entire cup of water on it. "I am mad," I said, "No more watermelon for you!"

9:30am Jason asks for watermelon. "I told you, there will be no more watermelon, but you can have applesauce intead," I quipped. To my amazement, he agreed. As he sat in his booster seat eating it, he let go again!! "No!! We need to get to the bathroom." "I'm peeing," Jason said. It proceeded off his booster through the rush seat on the chair beneath and into a lovely waterfall which pooled into a pond below. No, it was more than a pond... I think I could have fished for lake trout in the body of liquid he produced.

9:40am We are hosing off the chair outside and moping the kitchen. "Why does your father have to be so right, Jason???"


10:15am "I have to go potty," says Jason. I scoop him into my arms and run to the bathroom. "We made it," I exclaim with a satisfied grin. Jason sits on the potty. A stream then flies across the bathroom and hits the opposite wall. I can't believe this... I try to hold myself together and completely lose it. I am laughing uncontrollably, Jason is hamming it up, and the stream is still flying.

10:20am I wipe up and disinfect the bathroom.

10:30am I put Jason in a diaper.

10:35am "I want some watermemin. Can I have watermemin??"

10:36am "Nope!"

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Slow Poke...


I'm kind of behind on the goings-on, as I am posting this weekend what actually happened last weekend. I tend to be slow like that. My mother used to sing a song to me called "Slow Poke," and I would have to admit that it was pretty true. For Mother's Day, I compiled a whole CD of songs that my mother used to sing to me when I was young, including the Slow Poke song. We sat and listened to them together a couple of days ago, and it was great fun reminiscing with her! She sang songs about the Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, Yellow Ribbons Around an Old Oak Tree, a Bicycle Built for Two, an old Sea Shanty, having High Hopes, a damsel who pined after a Soldier, being Down By the Old Mill Stream, and many others. She used to dance with me and sing to me "my song"... Linda. She even sang the French National Anthem, making up the French as she went along with a spot on accent which convinced even my father that she actually knew it. I'm sure there were also the typical Row, Row, Row Your Boat, and Itsy Bitsy Spider, too, but those also belonged to everyone else. I liked that I had special songs that I only heard my mom sing... I felt like they were "our songs."


My darling boys (the big one and the two little ones) blessed me with another Lisa Leonard necklace on Mother's Day. It's so sweet! Because it took me forever to pick out the first one and decide if I wanted to do scripture or the kids' names, Patrick said they would love to get me a kids' names one for Mother's Day. Hmmm... let me think about that one for a sec! Go out to lunch or get an adorable necklace?? Necklace for sure!!! I love it and I especially love my cute boys!!


I also participated in Miracle Miles last weekend... it's a fundraiser for Family Care Network. I walked with Patrick, the kids (J-bear in a jogger), and my friend and her son. It's a 10K walk (or a little over 6mi for those of us who prefer standard measurement) from Morro Rock to the Cayucos Pier. I had never done this before and it felt pretty miraculous that I actually made it all those miles... and I did it in only 2 hours and 7 minutes. What is that? A 21 minute mile?? I am aware that it's a completely pathetic time, and yet I really felt like I was trying to walk pretty fast!! Having never entered a race before, it did give me some new perspective on Philippians 3 in terms of pressing on toward the goal. It didn't matter how fast I went, but that I pressed on and finished. It was encouraging to have friends and family alongside me, helping each other keep the goal in sight. Just like life, really. I am so blessed to have friends and family all pressing on toward our goal in Christ together. Let's keep pressing on... let's finish strong. If I happen to grow a turtle shell along the way, that's me... the Slow Poke!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sisters at Sunset


Recently, I had the opportunity to get away with some dear friends. We are all connected to one another via our husband's ministries and in serving the Lord together in women's ministry. We went to a little beach town together and ate, laughed, prayed, and fellowshipped for an entire weekend.

I am grateful for sisterhood. As I look at the faces in this photo I am reminded of how we all have our own beauty, how we are all uniquely gifted and how we are unified to bring glory to our Savior. I have grown in the presence of each of these women. They have sharpened me and challenged me. Often they have been God's hands and feet and mouthpiece in my life. Thank you, dear ones.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Wearing the Word


I recently got a Christmas present. Yes, I do realize that it is May, and it certainly wasn't the fault of the giver (my parents... thank you soooo much!) You see, they gave me some money, and I knew that I wanted to get a Lisa Leonard necklace (It's so lovely... thank you, Lisa!), however, I couldn't make a decision about the style or what it would say. I am quite indecisive like that, especially when it comes to permanently stamping words into my jewelry.



I love words. I think I got that trait from my mother. She has the biggest dictionary I have ever seen, and if she doesn't know the meaning of a particular word, she is drawn like a magnet to that monstrous book and will not rest until she has completely satisfied her curiosity. She also loves safety and grammar, but that would be the topic of an entirely different post.



A few years ago, I was teaching 3rd and 4th grade Sunday School, and one of the lessons involved learning about how the Jews would actually wear the Word of God, binding it to their forehead or wrists. (See Deut. 6:4-9) I like the idea of being perpetually reminded of the Word, actually wearing it!! And it is far more preferable to eating it... Ezekiel style. I started reading the book of Ezekiel today, and discovered that God actually had him eat a scroll (3:3) which filled him up and tasted like sweet honey in his mouth. Hmmm... His Word is sweet, though, isn't it??!! ...It penetrates our souls, our spirits, our hearts.



In any case, I'll get back to the necklace... I chose 3 words that remind me of some of my favorite portions of Scripture. Words I want to think on often:

SOAR

This one reminds me of a verse that became part of me during my college years. Often weary, bogged down with multiple projects and studies, I was many a time encouraged by the words found in Isaiah 40.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

ABIDE

This one became a part of me just a few years ago at a Calvary Women's Retreat. Patrick and I had gone through a difficult church split which left us disallusioned and with a pervasive lack of trust. That weekend, I finally understood, through John 15, that I must stay connected to and abide in Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. As I drew close to Him once again, He drew close to me, forgave me, healed my wounds, and brought forth fruit.


4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless
it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for
without Me you can do nothing.

SHINE

This one was quite recent. I just completed a study of the book of Daniel with my Women's Bible Study, and our leader asked us to think about what impacted us from the study. I learned so much, and I couldn't seem to pinpoint one specific morsel... they were all so rich. But if I had to, I would have to choose this verse...

12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

Oh, how I long for more of His wisdom, to shine brightly for His Kingdom and glory. May He continue to refine me so that I can reflect more of His beautiful light.

And that's why I'm... Wearing the Word!!
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