Saturday, October 31, 2009

And oh, Auntie Em...

...there's no place like home!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Choosing Joy

Patrick and I recently had the privilege of doing pre-marital counseling with a couple we met just a couple months ago. They asked him if he would officiate their wedding last weekend, and despite my warnings that he has only officiated one other wedding in which he veered from the wife-approved script (No, I will never let you live this down, my darling!), it was still a go.

The whole family went to the rehearsal dinner which was held at Alisal Ranch in Solvang. It was like being transported to another world and time. The entrance road was lined with whitewashed bungalows with black shutters and plumply red-cushioned wicker furniture. We were transported by hayride from the wedding site to a beautiful lake surrounded by native oaks and dotted with reeds. The deck was full of picnic tables adorned with charming red and white gingham tableclothes and happy, bright daisies. It was truly an idyllic setting.

We took a little motorboat out on the lake and fished for bass in the well-stocked lake. The resident, majestic bald eagle swooped down to catch fish for his own dinner and chatter and laughter echoed from the other guests enjoying the afternoon.

"We've got to come back here for a little family getaway," we all agreed. In our conversations, we planned a trip and decided that in 4 years it could be the site for our 20th wedding anniversary. Great expectations.

As much as we enjoyed that evening, I don't think we fully embraced the experience, because we knew we would come back. Our intentions, however, were foiled when we came home and searched the internet and came upon Alisal Ranch's website. The least it would cost to stay at the ranch would be $495... per night. Ouch!

Had we known it would be a once in a lifetime experience, I would have...

brought my camera

taken part in more activites

lived it to the very fullest

...and I would have not delayed any joy for another time.

When my sister-in-law, Lisa, closes a letter, she writes:

Choosing Joy,


I really like that. I am often guilty of delaying joy. And I tend to not choose joy when I am going through a trial. I forget that I have a God that is weightier than any trial I may be facing, and I forget that he wants me to live life to its very fullest, infused with His joy... every day. There is not a time, after jumping many hurdles when I will arrive at joy. It is a choice. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is difficult, but it is my choice.

Nehemiah said it well...

"Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." 8:10

Are you choosing joy today?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out of the mouth of babes...

Josh: You hurt my feelings, Jason.

Mom: What happened, Josh.

Josh: Jason has been calling me a selfish jerk.

Mom: Is that true, Jason?

Jason: Yes.

Mom: Josh, were you being selfish?

Josh: Well, ya. But that doesn't mean I'm a jerk.

Jason: It means you're human.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He asked me out...

I was longing for some time away with him. It had been far too long and my well was drying up. Not sure where to go, I knew I needed a real getaway... to remove myself from the day to day normalcy and to see things with a new pair of lenses.

But where and when? And how?

I prayed. I prayed and I trusted that he had a plan. I needed to leave the details to him.

Then he asked me out. Unexpectedly. He surprised me with perfect timing and thoughtfulness. And he wooed me with song.

At the end of a choir rehearsal, Cara said, "Did you get my email?" I admitted that I hadn't received it. "Well, our church is having a retreat next month. I know you have a lot going on, but I was just wondering if you would be interested in singing with the worship team." You have to understand that this is not the church I attend, nor has Cara ever really heard me sing.

I told her I would pray about it, but I knew right then and there, that he had just asked me out.

"Yes, Lord! I can't wait!" Giddy and expectant, I reveled in the invitation. I couldn't wait to see what he had planned for our weekend long date.

In the meantime, he went through my journals... quite thoroughly. He took my joys and pains, triumphs and failures, and all the verses that have been my little treasures recently, and he wove them into every song and every message prepared for the weekend. Using beautiful human vessels, he spoke to my heart with intimate knowledge.
He saw me.

He held me.

He knew me.

We sat together under a majestic Monterey pine. I sat and read his poetic love letters... so touching, they brought tears to my eyes. Bowing my head, I began to pour out a heart of love, gratitude and passion, penning my own love letter in return. Then seemingly out of nowhere, he sent a sweet, gentle breeze to envelope me for the next few minutes. I was at a loss for words, so I let the minutes tick away, letting his spirit stir in my soul.

And then I simply replied, "Thank you."
I am so thankful for the lavish love of a Groom who continually woos his bride. He gives her his Bread of Life and Living Water, so that she has no need to be hungry and thirsty again.

He has brought me to his banqueting table...

And his banner over me is love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sweet and Savory

During the summer, my adorable, radiant and pregnant-for-the-first-time friend, Wendy, came to SLO for her 20th high school reunion. She didn't waste any time letting me know that not a whole lot has changed in these parts since she was last visiting. Wendy and I have this thing.

She doesn't like SLO, and moved away as soon as she could.

I love SLO, and jumped at the chance to move from LA.

I don't particularly enjoy city life.

She has lived in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and Chicago. She has also flown to most major cities as a flight attendant.

When she and her husband, Larry, left after their stay here, she gave me a bag of Garrett's popcorn. She put it in her suitcase and flew it here all the way from Chicago. Apparently, it is a famous gourmet popcorn with a secret, 3-generation old family recipe. Wow, this is going to be good, I thought.

And then I opened the bag.

All mixed together were two different kinds of popcorn... one a sweet caramel crisp and the other a cheese covered corn the color of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Oh, barf. This just can't possibly be edible.

And then I threw caution to the wind and gave it a try. Moment later, I tried it again... several times. I thought about taking it into a closet and eating all by myself. After all, it came all the way from Chicago... and she was *my* friend. Surely, she meant for it to be mostly mine, right? However, I was good and I shared it. Begrudgingly.

My friendship with Wendy has always been like Garrett's popcorn. It's unique and unlikely. There really aren't a lot of reasons it would work on paper, and yet it is a delicious blend of sweet and savory. Somehow our differences compliment one another and we're better when we're together.

Wendy had a word for this when she visited a few years back...


We laugh and we share...

We easily pick up where we left off...

We sharpen one another.

So, whenever I have an opportunity to spend time with a friend like Wendy, I gobble it up. Because a friendship as enduring and scrumptious as Garrett's popcorn just doesn't come along every day!
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