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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Deer Fever

The weather is cooling off. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And deer fever is running rampant at our house. Shawn is gearing up for his yearly trip out to the deer camp in Arkansas. This is a highlight of his year. He gets to hang out with men, spend many hours alone in the woods with God, and totally leave responsibility, worry, and stress behind. And shoot guns. A dream vacation for a male.

I desperately miss him while he is gone. I have been married all of my adult life and am not used to being alone and get really lonely. And...running the household alone is not one of my great gifts. However, I am glad that he is able to recharge and refocus. This year he will be traveling with worship dude and drummer boy and our son to the camp. It is a little weird for me that these guys all go hang out with my extended family while I am still in Texas working.

All this to say.....I will be taking a forced vacation from blogging. Shawn is taking the computer with him and thus my Internet connection will be severed. I will "see" you all again late next week when I hook back up with Shawn in Arkansas for Thanksgiving. I hope you are blessed with plenty of food, friends, and family this Thanksgiving.

Much love,

The Big Road Trip

The day dawned cool and crisp. I had to put in a few hours at school before I could hit the road. There were a few catastrophes to set right. One student's dog had died and several students were afraid about riding the bus because of a bus wreck the night before. So I spent the morning reassuring them all that life would be okay.

Finally noon arrived. Time to head to Houston for the Tenth Avenue North concert. Just a girl trip. Me, my buddy Rachel, and my daughter Grace. We struck out on the big adventure. It was an adventure because I was in charge of the trip. And...I am a wee bit directionally challenged. Many of my friend joked that I would know I had made a wrong turn if I saw a sign that said, "Welcome to Canada."

On the way down, we chatted and listened to the cranked up music. It was a good trip. I only got lost twice and both of those were not exactly my fault. The first time the directions were a bit unclear, and we figured it out quickly and turned around. The second time I was on the phone and not paying attention for my turn.

The concert was awesome. Tenth Avenue North is a very musically talented band. They opened with a new song, titled, "Dirty." I thought it was a risky move to begin a concert with a new song....typically you try out your new material after the crowd is already hooked. However, it seemed to work out okay. The lead singer had a lot of great insight and wisdom that he shared throughout the night as leads into their songs. I did think that the band showed some inexperience in their stagecraft. At times they moved from worshipping to rocking very abruptly. Their transitions were still a bit awkward. However, for a young, new band....I was very impressed! I think that these guys are going to be big news in another year or so! Loved hearing them live.

One of the stories that the lead singer told as he went into "Beloved" really caught my attention. He said that when Jesus told the disciples to drink of his covenant that he was proposing marriage. He said that a young Hebrew male would propose to his bride by drinking from a cup and then passing it to the girl for her to drink as well. Then the groom would return to his hometown to prepare her a home before they were married. So in Jesus sharing the cup with his disciples, he was showing his commitment to his followers and at the same time letting them know that a separation was coming.

After the concert, we had dessert and coffee, and headed to bed. The trip back was uneventful. We listened to some music and just hung out. My friend Rachel wanted to listen to a country song that she knew. I endured it...but reluctantly. Then as I was flipping channels, I found a station of the great country legends. It reminded me of being a little girl, listening to my mom's eight tracks in the kitchen. To repay Rachel for the country song earlier, I tortured her with my Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton sing-alongs. It was really, really funny. But I think you probably had to be there.

We bumped into old friends in Corsicana at lunch. It was cool to get to see them. We spent way too much money at a teacher store in Dallas, then we headed home.

A great trip. It was awesome to watch Grace transitioning into a worshipper. It was fun to hang out with Rachel. Life is busy, and it is hard to find the time to hang out with friends as often as we should.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everyone deserves a night off

Reasons I should take a night off from blogging

*long day
*sniffles and sore throat
*need to pack for trip to Houston
*taking cold medicine - about to fall asleep while typing
*have nothing to say
*can't formulate sentences to converse with my family, much less coordinate my thoughts for a good blog!

Have a great week - since I will be out of town, don't expect anything until the weekend. Love you all!


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a good day

Even though I don't want to still be teaching in 30 years, I love to see God at work every year in my classroom. He does such incredible things that are so much bigger and better than anything that I could ever do. Today I saw a student begin reading, that has a learning problem so severe that we doubted he would ever read - much less start reading before Christmas. I was so excited. I screamed, I danced, I high-fived. It was awesome. It is so cool to look at my students and know that for whatever reason, they were each hand-picked by God to be in my classroom for 177 days this year. That I have the privilege and great responsibility to love them in a way that many of them have never before experienced as I love them with Christ's love. It is incredible and so humbling to walk among them, praying for them, and then to see God begin to do amazing things for them.

I am preparing to chase a new dream, and I don't know where that road will end up. But for today, I want to try a little harder to see God where I am, and be thankful that he is present in my present. I don't have to wait on my future to experience Him. I want to work a little harder at loving where I am, while at the same time seeking where He wants me to go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

my leftover thoughts

This one will be short. I just hate to contaminate my Crazy Love blogs with other stuff.

*Saw outfit from Target on a teacher today (see "I'm jumping off the fashion train"). Tried not to laugh. Ducked into the restroom instead.

*I cooked supper. The smoke alarm only went off once and nothing burned. I will be really glad when Shawn is feeling better.

*I ate sopapilla cheesecake at school today. yum....yum....made meetings bearable.

*About two hours ago I walked by the piano, and I somehow found myself sitting down instead of headed back to the bedroom to do schoolwork. I started with just playing while I was praying, and then I got to thinking about the little country churches where I started out playing. Traditional doesn't seem to correctly describe them. Music was always upbeat and fun. There were no robes on the choir and the preacher would holler out into the congregation, "Hey, brother Bill, why don't you lead us in some music today." Bill or Tom or Joe Bob or whoever got lucky that day would look in the hymnal, pick a song on the spot, and I knew what we were doing when he called it out to the congregation. Then my fingers had to fly. I don't think we did anything slow, and they had to bounce because boring was unacceptable. And the notes on the page had very little to do with what the guy might sing. So while I was reminiscing, I dug around in the piano bench and found my well-worn hymnal and looked up some of the old songs. I just wanted to see if my fingers could still fly after years and years of playing traditional, classical, and now contemporary, and alternative styles of music. I was having a lot of fun, believing Shawn to be asleep back in the bedroom when he entered the living room. He had his phone in hand, calling worship dude to out me. Just for the record....I do not want us to do any of that stuff at the Crossroads.....I just wanted to see how fast I could still play. Now my wrists and fingers are sore and my cuticles bloody from running the keys. But I have to say.....I've still got it.....more or less.

Crazy Love, chapter 6

This chapter hurt a little less than the two previous chapters. This one was titled, "When you're in love." Chan discussed being desperately in love with God, and what that looks like.

Ps. 63:1-5, "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."

I loved this verse. It was such a perfect description of what love looks like. The answer to an intimate relationship with Christ is not trying harder to do more, but in being absolutely surrendered to a Holy God. Sometimes I think that all the stuff we try to do just gets in the way of an intimate walk with Christ. Kind of like laundry and cleaning house tend to diminish the romance in a marriage. These are things that are necessary and good, they just need to be given the right level of importance.

I had an aha moment on page 104. Chan says, "In the same way, you have to stop loving and pursuing Christ in order to sin. When you are pursuing love, running toward Christ, you do not have opportunity to wonder, 'Am I doing this right? or Did I serve enough this week?' When you are running toward Christ, you are freed up to serve, love, and give thanks without guilt, worry, or fear."

Here's my deep thought of the day. As Christians I think a lot of us have the running idea down. But the problem is that many of us are like the girl in the horror movie running away from the monster. We are running from our past sins, mistakes, and burdens. We are consumed with doubt and fear and when we turn around to check on the monster, we fall flat down - back into the sin that so easily entangles us. Instead, I think we should be running like long lost lovers who spot their lover from afar and run desperately to enjoy an embrace in his arms. One type of running is burdensome and exhausting, one is freeing and exciting. How are you running?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Dinner with a gorgeous woman

After a long afternoon at church, I was slammed with school work tonight. I had stacks of papers to grade, and tons of materials to prepare. Supper was the last thing on my mind, and my husband was too sick to worry about it either. Definitely a cereal night!

Then I heard little footsteps coming down the hall, and my gorgeous 8-year old, Katie came into the bedroom. She wanted to know if she could cook supper for me out of her kid cookbook. She was making stuffed baked potatoes. I said sure, not really even listening, because I was so busy.

After awhile, she came to retrieve me for dinner. When I walked into the kitchen, I realized how hard she had worked to create a special meal. She had a reserved sign on the table for the table and place cards for the two of us. She had poured my diet coke into the "special glass" - a glass originally designed for an ice cream sundae. Missing key ingredients, she created her own special sauce for the potatoes with sour cream and ketchup. (the sauce was pretty good, the potatoes had been microwaved until they were too dried out to eat - think hard as rocks - swallowed two entire potatoes out of love.)

We had dinner together, alone, and I realized that she is quickly turning into a gorgeous woman. Inside and out. She loves to contemplate ways to be kind to others and delights in discovering imaginative and creative ways to make other people happy. It was a beautiful meal that I will remember for the rest of my life.

I am so overwhelmed by the richness of my life with my children, especially when I think back to the visits with the fertility specialists and the realization and acceptance that I would never have a child. Then God gave me four - incredible, amazing children.

Monday Morning Updates

Services at the Crossroads seemed to go well. I missed "big church" by being in children's this week. However, that was pretty fun. I had the opportunity to spend some time with one of my new students from school. That was an awesome opportunity to bond with him without the constraints of school and 20 other children. I think it was also beneficial for me to see the children's curriculum and experience the time needed for preparation. And, it was probably pretty good for my ego to learn that the band can do just fine without me.

It was interesting that this week while I was out of worship, God finally made it crystal clear to me my calling and what lion he wants me to chase. Then gave me the urging to share it with two different people who said, "Yeah, I can see that." It's like obedience led to clarity. Pretty cool, huh!

Today we had our first new members' class. As we sat there eating lunch and hanging out, I looked around the room and realized that all of these awesome people were not a part of my life a year ago. Then I began praying for all the new friends that God is going to bring into my life this next year. I have been so blessed this year with the ability to make new friends, to move beyond my discomfort with strangers to connect quickly. God is good, all the time.