Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guilty Pleasure

I love Dancing with the Stars.  Not just for the dancing, but for the stories and journeys of the people who participate.  I hardly ever watch the results show, but I get so drawn into the competition night... seeing obstacles overcome and seeing people growing, learning, and pushing their limits to create something fun or beautiful is amazing.

But what I watch mostly for are moments like this.  
Moments of astounding beauty and vulnerability.  
Moments that capture my heart and make me hold me breath.

Kellie Pickler, I applaud you.
Knowing that you cut your hair in support of your friend who is fighting cancer,
and seeing that friend in the audience with tears running down her cheeks after this performance
was extraordinary.

And Derek Hough, you are an incredible dancer, teacher and choreographer.
I am often left speechless after watching your artistry come to life.

For completely different reasons, this was my other favorite dance of the season.

Are you a fan?
What's your guilty pleasure?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Midnight Mischief

When I look at the stars, the stars...
I feel like myself

Oh, my sweet boys...

Do you remember that night back in August?  Gramma said there would be a meteor shower.  It would be so beautiful to see in a desert sky, removed from city lights.

We stayed up far past your bedtimes... even past when your daddy and I usually dose off.  Giddy, we took a blanket and sneaked through the foliage and onto the greens.  The frogs were croaking and the crickets were chirping, and we lay side by side in our bathing suits and gazed into the dark void, hoping to see a streak of magic dancing across the sky, among the twinkling star-lights.

"Oh, did you see that?"

"I just saw one, too!"

"We are going to get so busted for being out here," Josh mused.

"Well, I didn't see any 'No Trespassing' signs, and if someone asked us to leave, we'll leave," I replied.

And then we heard a pop, followed by sprays of water in every direction.  Squealing, we ran to dry ground on the edge of the lush grass, and resituated ourselves to gaze back at the heavens.

Then, another pop... right under daddy.  Eeeeeeek!!

This time, we embraced the aquatic shenanigans, drenching ourselves in the cool, misty rains.  

Jumping, twirling, running, dancing... until we were out of breath.

We finally took our respite up on a mound next to one of the putting green holes.

Daddy started singing, and we joined in, gazing skyward once again...

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

 As we finally made our way back through the shrubs, the warm desert wind gently blowing us dry, I remember thinking that I didn't want the night to end.  

It will always be a treasured memory, my loves.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Make 'em Laugh

How do you get a great photo with a comedian?  Let him give his knee a little pop!
(Oh, and do you notice how muscular my right forearm is looking?  Man Arms, I tell you!)
(Part of my Journey to Charis: Evidences of God's Grace)

On Saturday, I took the 101 south, with my family, to go see Tim Hawkins perform live.  I met up with my friend, Ruth, and her entire family (including her 7 kids... yes, 7, she is amazing!)  I have known Ruth since childhood... we have had many, many laughs together!  I had no idea this one would be so powerful though.

I talked about this concert (Can I call it that? Tim's an amazing musician, too, so I say yes.)  with Patrick, and he didn't seem overly excited to go.  Don't get me wrong, he thinks Tim is hilarious, but he wasn't so sure about driving about 2 hours to get there.  But for some reason, I really felt like we needed to be there... it was just one of those things that I couldn't let go.

Tim walked out on stage, doing some weird sight gags, and I literally laughed non-stop for two hours.  I'm not talking little chuckles, either.  I am talking belly laughs, laughing until I was coughing, and laughing so hard my cheeks hurt.  Patrick was laughing so hard he was crying, and Ruth was giggling behind me to no end.  It was uproarious laughter.  It was the exact opposite of an ugly cry (which I had just last week, by the way).

I haven't laughed this hard in years.  It changed something in me.  It was as if God lifted a burden from my heart and lightened my entire being.  I began to catch another glimpse of who I know I am inside, and it felt really amazing. 

Ok, I have to confess something.  You know how I said I laughed for two hours straight?  Well, that isn't entirely true.  There was a window of about 8 minutes when Tim got really serious and started talking about burnout in the church.  I stopped laughing and tears welled up in my eyes, because he was speaking to me.  I don't know that I've ever mentioned church burnout here.  You see, I want to love the church, and I don't want to come off as a church basher, but to be honest with you, burnout is a big part of my story.  There are many components, but burnout is at least part of the puzzle.

I also didn't want to mention it, because it makes me feel weak and ashamed.  I thought that my husband and I were doing all we could do to minister to people, to be good leaders, to put others before ourselves, but the truth is, I was in way over my head.  As in drowning.  Lonely and overwhelmed, I didn't know what to do or where to go, until my mind and body gave out on me.  I used to teach Bible studies, and now I struggle to sit through a sermon... it's a very humbling and painful thing.

God has taught me many things through the dark and broken places I have walked and I am thankful for those times.  Saturday night, I couldn't help but be even more thankful that He was breaking chains and filling me with laughter.  At one point, Tim said that he used to try and "get laughs," but now he sees it is more important to "give laughs" to others.  To feel some of that restoration, and to have it be so tangible, was an amazing gift from God through Tim.  To sit in a church building full of so much joy was, to me, nothing short of a miracle.

"A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

Today I'm keeping my heart and eyes open to truly enjoy more of God's joy in my everyday.

Has God given you any unexpected joy lately?

Friday, May 3, 2013

I've Got Man Arms

 (This is not a portrait of me, but it's close.)

I see a bunch of different doctors.  They are like my team or my posse or something.  "Team Linda and the Mission to Get Her Well"... it could make a fascinating mini-series.  Maybe I should look into selling the rights for that.

One of the doctors on "Team Linda" has been trying to balance out my hormones, because they are wonky or something.  For a while I was using progesterone cream and now I am on testosterone.  Testosterone is the hormone that men have a lot of,  you know.  By and large, I think it has been a helpful treatment, but the other day I was looking down at my forearm, and I noticed that it looked more muscular and that the veins were kind of popping out.

"Where have I seen this before?" I asked myself.  And then I remembered.  I went and sat down next to Joshua, my teenage son, and I looked at his arm.  Yes, my arm was resembling a boy-man in the midst of puberty.

This wasn't the first clue that I now have too much testosterone in my system.  I am partly French, so I have a lot of hair.  My Filipino husband and boys, on the other hand have barely any hair.  Their skin is as smooth as a baby's behind.  Because of the testosterone, I am growing even more hair.  Now I have enough hair for all four of us.

The other day I plucked 64 hairs out of my chin.  64 hairs.  It hurt.  It made my eyes water.  I am not even exaggerating.  I am fairly certain that this is a lot more hairs than I used to have.  And then to make matters worse, I caught I glimpse of my lower lip in the van's rear view mirror the other day.  There is a very small patch of dark hair under my lower lip and I am slightly mortified... I'm not sure what to do with it.  I don't need a Fu Manchu, or whatever those things are called.

"I think I am becoming a man," I told Patrick.  "Ya, I'm pretty sure I am."

The doctor didn't seem to be particularly phased about my transformation, but he lowered my dosage, so he must have been somewhat concerned.  I'm sure he doesn't want to read a headline that says, MIDDLE-AGED, PARTLY FRENCH WOMAN MORPHS INTO MAN, and feel somewhat responsible for it.

I'm not sure what the point of this story is. 

I hope my voice doesn't start cracking.

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