About Me

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I love Jesus. I love my family. I love photography. I love books. I love thinking. Probably in that order. I have a wonderful husband, five beautiful daughters, a house, and a camera. I enjoy spending time talking to my husband, playing with my girls, redecorating my house and shooting things with my camera. In my spare time, I sleep.

Monday, April 18, 2022

"It is Finished"

 

Easter makes a person reflective...or at least I think it should. The Creator of the universe became like one of the created things to be humiliated, abused & killed so that he could demonstrate His love for us and demonstrate the power He has over death. And most of the time I'm just over here complaining about how annoying ads are.

God's been doing some big things in my life the last couple years...rearranging my life & my heart--showing me the depth of my sin and giving me so many opportunities to be more like Him. To love sacrificially, to endure humiliation with grace, to forgive. So this holy week as I reflected on the cross, I felt it all a little deeper as I've fought God on some of the elements of my soul remodel.

This past month He has been prompting me to offer my forgiveness to someone and to offer them His love. And I have resisted....because I'm fleshly and human and I didn't want to. God would prompt me and I would resist. I didn't even want to acknowledge what I felt the Spirit was asking me to consider and it caused so mush spiritual turmoil within me. I felt a bit like Jonah...trying to run from God's call and being tossed by the violent sea. 'Maybe it's not really God?' 'What if this person reacts badly?' 'Seems unwise to go to Ninevah...right? I would advise against it.' But the calling was still there and it began feeling more urgent by the day. And like Jonah...maybe deep down my resistance was because I knew that the point of this message is to draw this person to repentance and I am a little bitter at the thought of their salvation?

But, at the same time, I know the power of Christ and I desire to see good come from all the bad. I want to see redemption come. I want God to redeem all aspects of my hurt. And I worry about the consequences of ignoring this call and finding I've waited too long to obey.

So after weeks of the flesh & the spirit warring within me...I let the Spirit arise strong within me and I offered forgiveness and Christ's love to this person who wronged me. And the result? Rejection. Denial. Blocked. And my initial reaction was relief. And I said out loud to myself, “Welp, It's done. It's over. I did what I had to do and now it's finished.”

Later, I remembered the Easter story...and how Jesus uttered similar words on the cross before He died. “It is finished.” And I wondered to myself, what did Jesus really mean by that? Because...I'm guessing His “it is finished' didn't have the same undertone as mine. When I uttered those words it was...'whew! I did my part, I can wash my hands of this person's soul now.' but while I'm sure there was a breath of relief in Jesus' words as he reached the culmination of a plan as old as time itself...I know it wasn't because His part was over. And just like my offer of forgiveness was rejected and was met with denial that they had done any wrong...so do millions of people treat Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus died and offered propitiation for ALL. And while He's not going to force anyone to accept it, I know His heart is longing for theirs.

And if His heart longs for theirs; if He is was willing to be humiliated; if He loves those who abused Him, rejected Him and denied Him—well, then I am meant to follow that example.

When it comes to my personal situation...I did what God asked and that part is finished. I can move on with my own healing knowing I did what I was called by the Spirit to do. But I cannot harden myself to the heart of God for this person. His heart is for them to be saved and therefore that must be my heart for them as well. I may never have another interaction with this person ever again...but in my soul I can release all bitterness and pray for their salvation. I can choose to not be like Jonah whose story ended in anger & frustration at God's mercy for the evil-doers of Ninevah.

The spirit indeed is willing but OH how the flesh is weak...so, so weak. I've seen God work BIG. I've watched God answer some of my “impossible” prayers. And I've seen repentance happen in hardened hearts & miracles happen as a result. But..I've also seen how weak my flesh can be. I've watched my heart fail so many times. I've gone from pouting Jonah to Pentecost Peter and back again more times than I'd like to admit. I know well the battle described in Romans 7. “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I sometimes wish I could end the battle. Say I'm done and be done. But to end the war means giving in to the law of sin. I cannot let the eyes of my heart be clouded by the wisdom of the world.

I don't know what is going on behind the scenes. Jesus let the world believe it had won. Jesus let them mock Him for not saving Himself off that cross. And though He was oppressed & afflicted He did not open His mouth to defend Himself. Because He saw a bigger battle. He had a bigger spiritual law on His mind. “It is finished.” It has been paid in full. He endured it all for something bigger. He did it for me. He did it for them. He did it for you.

So I will too. I will keep waging the war within. For HIM.





Thursday, February 3, 2022

42

It’s my birthday. I always get pensive & philosophical on my birthday…this year is no exception.
I’m 42 today. My life isn’t what I imagined it to be. So many more heartaches and disappointments and losses than the young, naive version of me thought I’d face. People haven’t lived up to my expectations and I have discovered that it’s impossible for me to live up to theirs.
Turning forty-two naturally makes me think about the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and how 42 was the ultimate answer to the ultimate question…but no one knew what the question was! Life is kinda like that. I’ve gotten a lot of answers this year…God has been doing a lot of work in me…and I certainly feel like I’m re-learning what really matters in this life and what doesn’t.
My forties have brought a new wisdom for me…the realization that I have no idea what I’m doing; I literally can’t count on myself for any kind of right, any kind of stability or any kind of understanding. And this is why reliance on Jesus is so important….because He is Right, He is Stability & the He is the only One with true Understanding. All MY answers are wrong and, for me, His answers sometimes don’t make any sense. He says the answer is 42 and I’m like, “what?” because I don’t have any concept of what the REAL question is. So I have to just trust that His answer is correct—
even when I don’t understand…
even when I don’t like it…
even when it hurts.
I hope, while this newly acquired wisdom makes me feel far less comfortable than I once was, that it actually creates an environment within me to become much more a person after God’s heart.

In spite of myself…Jesus has chosen me.
In spite of myself…He wants to use me.
In spite of myself…I love Him and offer my broken self up to Him.
I pray that 42 is the year that my roots grow deep in Him and that the only fruit on this old weary vine are His.



Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Finishing Work

 A couple weeks ago I was in the hospital with my parents. My dad had fallen off a ladder and severely broke a vertebra in his back, broke several ribs and a toe. He was in severe pain and we were unsure at that time how it would all turn out. My mom made a comment about why we don't see more miracles. Why can't we pray a prayer of healing, in faith, and have the doctors come in and wonder what happened? 'This man's back is not broken! No cracked ribs! What is wrong with our X-ray machine?'

God spoke to me in that moment and the answer that became so obvious to me is this: It's because we are a culture---a generation---that needs to learn perseverance.

I've been going through a lot lately. Life got real and life got hard this past year. Covid certainly played a role but all the stress I was absorbing because of the shift in our world in 2020 seemed like a dream when the challenges got really personal last fall. My whole reality was shaken, my self-image was shaken, my pride was revealed, my faith put to the test. And I got real up-close with God. The question we all face in times of crisis is, 'what am I really made of?'; 'How am I going to handle this?'

Here in America we are a culture that is defined by instant gratification. We want it our way and we want it now! We are not the generation that need those kind of miracles...the lame to walk and sight to the blind. We would outright reject it with reason! We would mock it! We would take it for granted. We'd get our miracle and turn around and give credit to something else! We would turn around and complain about our privilege.

Here in America, we need to learn steadfastness; we need to learn perseverance; we need to learn faith, hope & love. We don't need more instant gratification. That's the last thing we need!

James says, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (Jms1)

Paul wrote in Romans that “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame.” (Rms5)

In 2 Corinthians we are reminded not to lose heart because “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all...this is why we fix our eyes not what is seen but what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2Cor4)

To Timothy he wrote that “if we endure, we will reign with Christ” (2Tim2)

Our calling in all things is to hold on to faith in Christ and to love...because God is Love. And when trials come—when your world is shaken, when illness comes, when death comes, when those closest to you betray you, when you've fallen off a ladder and break your back—when you're daddy has fallen off a ladder and broken his back...when trial after trial and bad news after bad news seems to be targeting you... and you're not sure how to react in the rush of all that adrenaline, that emotion, that fear—the answer is always to keep the faith, to keep hope and to love.

And we know that “Love is patient and kind...it does not envy...it is not self-seeking, or easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love always protects, trusts, hopes and it always PERSEVERES.” (1Cor13) Love is the one thing that the Bible says never fails. Because He is love and He never fails.

This does not come naturally to us. When life gets hard...it is our natural inclination to do the exact opposite of this. We get REALLY impatient. We get short with others and treat them badly. We look at the lives of others and long for the lack of chaos we see in their lives and maybe even get a little upset that they have it so easy. We get really focused on ourselves and our own pain and forget that others have needs and troubles too. We get angry and we list to God and others all the injustices we perceive in our lives—how we've been wronged. We complain and despair and want to give up. But God has not called us to this kind of life! If we want to triumph...we must rise up! We must see our trials as an opportunity to be more like Christ who suffered many things FOR ME. Who sacrificed his own comfort for MY sin. Who forgave MY utter depravity just because.

I may not always act rightly but I cannot just give up and let the pain be wasted. These are exactly the times in which we have the GREATEST opportunity to be molded into Christ's image! Peter writes about this and reminds us that “since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind...rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you also may be glad with exceeding joy.” (1Pet4)

Bad things...suffering...tragedy...other people's sin...death...illness are not things God wants for us but when they happen I know that they are the struggles that He (in his Divine understanding) has allowed in my life and therefore...if He has allowed it...it serves a higher purpose and I must take the perspective that good can and will come from it.

Even in my hardest moments, I want to be like King David who sang, “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord...I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I do hope” (Ps130) “My eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; In You I take Refuge” (Ps141) “My flesh and my heart may fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps73) I want to strive toward and live out what James admonishes us to. “Be patient until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand...we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (Jms5)




Thursday, February 4, 2021

Fasting

 

Why fast?

We need food to live but how much more do we need God? Oh, how we are slaves to our own bodies—within hours we are set searching for food!

When we feed ourselves regularly, in the very habit of it, we take it for granted. We forget in the mundane nature of eating how reliant we are upon it. Our habits spring from the needs, wants & desires of our flesh. True both physically & spiritually. When we don't think about it, we are prone to forget that we are slaves to it. We are slaves to our flesh. We become blinded to the spiritual, to the miracles and we forget how the Lord sustains us. Without Him—we would have no food. Without the One who holds our very cells together—we literally would not be.

I think about the Israelites—Oh, how we criticize them! They witnessed with their own eyes the parting of the Red Sea! They literally walked on dry ground as the water was 'piled up' on both sides of them! And yet just 2 months later, when their bodies became hungry, they complained that they should have stayed in Egypt! When their bodies became hungry, their flesh (to whom we are all slaves in the natural man) made them forget what the oppression was like in Egypt; it overshadowed their memory of their miraculous journey through the Red Sea! Our flesh is just so, so weak!

I fast & pray to remember that—to remember that I do not serve my flesh (it is not my God) but I serve El Shaddai, Adonai, Jesus, the Great I AM. I fast to remember that “though my flesh & my heart may fail; GOD is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) I fast to remember how quickly I forget—to see my own blindness and to realign my priorities with His. Today, He will be my food; He will be my portion; He will be my sustainer. I will hunger & thirst for righteousness and be filled with the Bread of life.






Monday, January 4, 2021

Books I read in 2020

 

  • 01) 'Gregor the Overlander' by Suzanne Collins (audio)1/3
  • 02) 'Strands of Truth' by Colleen Coble 1/4
  • 03) 'Gregor and the Prophesy of Bane' by Suzanne Collins (audio) 1/9
  • 04) 'Glittering Promises' by Lisa Tawn Bergren (audio) 1/12
  • 05) 'Unclutter Your Life in One Week' by Erin Rooney Doland 1/13
  • 06) 'Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods' by Suzanne Collins (audio) 1/14
  • 07) 'How to Pick Up Women with a Drunk Space Ninja' by Jay Key (audio) 1/19
  • 08) 'The Door Within' by Wayne Thomas Batson (audio) 1/26
  • 09) 'Gregor and the Marks of Secret' by Suzanne Collins (audio) 2/3
  • 10) 'The Door in the Wall' by Marguerite de Angeli 2/4
  • 11) 'Gregor and the Code of Claw' by Suzanne Collins (audio) 2/7
  • 12) 'Will Destroy the Galaxy for Cash' by Yahtzee Croshaw (audio) 2/13
  • 13) 'Slaughterhouse Five' by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr (audio) 3/3
  • 14) 'Flirtation Walk' by Siri Mitchell 3/3
  • 15) 'Submerged' by Dani Pettrey 3/7
  • 16) 'I am Number Four' by Pittacus Lore (audio) 3/7
  • 17) 'Dad's vs. Zombies' by Benjamin Wallace(audio) 3/10
  • 18) 'A Study in Sherlock: Stories Inspired by the Holmes Canon' by Laurie R King (editor) 3/28
  • 19) 'The Cross of Lead' by Avi 4/7
  • 20) 'Shattered' by Dani Pettrey 4/16
  • 21) 'Your Teenager is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen's Brain' by Jeramy & Jerusha Clark 4/16
  • 22) 'Stranded' by Dani Pettrey 4/20
  • 23) 'Silenced' by Dani Pettrey 4/24
  • 24) 'Sabotaged' by Dani Pettrey 5/2
  • 25) 'Deadly Intentions' by Lisa Harris 5/9
  • 26) 'Mycroft and Sherlock' by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (audio) 5/19
  • 27) 'Super Powereds: Year 1' by Drew Hayes (audio) 5/29
  • 28) 'Super Powereds: Year 2' by Drew Hayes (audio) 6/5
  • 29) 'Super Powereds: Year 3' by Drew Hayes (audio) 6/14
  • 30) 'Super Powereds: Year 4' by Drew Hayes (audio) 6/23
  • 31) 'The Road Home' by Beverly Lewis 7/5
  • 32) 'Forget Nothing' by Jason Anspach (audio) 7/7
  • 33) 'The River' by Beverly Lewis 7/10
  • 34) 'The Love Letters' by Beverly Lewis 7/18
  • 35) 'The Ebb Tide' by Beverly Lewis 7/22
  • 36) 'Once More Upon a Time' by Roshani Chokshi (audio) 7/22
  • 37) 'Introverts in th Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture' by Adam S McHugh 8/7
  • 38) 'Mama Bear Apologetics' by Hillary Morgan Ferrer 8/13
  • 39) 'The Phantom Tollbooth' by Norton Juster 8/20
  • 40) 'The Pilgrim's Progress' by John Bunyon (audio) 8/24
  • 41) 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency' by Douglas Adams 9/1
  • 42) 'Nameless Queen' by Rebecca McLaughlin (audio) 9/7
  • 43) 'The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul' by Douglas Adams 9/15
  • 44) 'The Dispatcher' by John Scalzi (audio) 9/18
  • 45) 'Taken' by Dee Henderson 9/23
  • 46) 'Murder by Other Means' by John Scalzi (audio) 9/21
  • 47) 'Murder at Melrose Court' by Karen Baugh Menuhin (audio) 9/25
  • 48) 'Blessed are the Misfits' by Brant Hansen 11/5
  • 49) 'Didn't See That Coming' by Rachel Hollis 11/
  • 50) 'Love & War' by John Eldredge 11/28
  • 51) 'In His Image' by Jen Wilkin 12/6
  • 52) 'Ready Player Two' by Ernest Cline (audio) 12/14
  • 53) 'It's Not Suppose to be this Way' by Lysa Terkeurst 12/16
  • 54) 'The Holy Bible' 12/30

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Whisper Goodbye

 Whisper Goodbye 

By Gina K Campbell 

12-31-2020


As the year takes the stage for its final bow

Let us whisper our goodbyes with reverence 

A moment of stillness & a measure of awe

As this time reaches its severance.


This year’s show may have been filled with pain

Disappointment headlining on the marquee

But perseverance & self reflection are the rising stars

Teaching us who we should be.


A new day may await us

But yesterday was our seminary-

A training ground for the roots of our souls

The lessons learned, discretionary.


Perhaps new life is promised

In the fresh-faced year we welcome

But it too will have its heartaches

Happiness will not be it’s only outcome.


Every moment we leave behind us

Every joy, every sting, every loss

Planted something deep within our soil

That we should not rush to toss.


So let us not push & shove this year away

Instead let it settle softly in our hearts

Its deathbed is our stepping stone

And we should embrace it as it departs.






Friday, September 11, 2020

Bones

 

"Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Life"

Bones...

that has been a running theme in my life this week.

I'm not sure exactly what God wants me to see here but when attention is brought to the same word over and over...I have to sit up and take notice.   

I recently started watching the tv show, Bones, in which an FBI agent & a forensic anthropologist solve crimes based solely on information that can be extracted from the bones of the victims.   The life of the person is gone, the flesh removed and yet the bones still tell a story.  One of the running themes of the show is how the lead character, aka "Bones" (as she is affectionately called by her partner), scoffs at peoples' belief in God.  She is brilliant and can discern things about dry bones that you'd think impossible yet she is blind to her own "dry bones".

In the midst of watching this show...I have thought a lot about how many people in the world are like her...feeling as though it is irrational to believe in a creator...and how metaphorically they are like those dry bones--each with their own unique story to tell but lacking true "life".   

This week's Scripture reading plan took me through Ezekiel 37...and the vision he had of in the valley of bones.  As Ezekiel is standing in the valley surrounded by an innumerable  amount of "very dry" bones, God asks him, "Can these bones live?"  

Can you imagine?  Naturally, the answer is NO...obviously.  Dr. Brennen would certainly say, 'no'.  But Ezekiel (knowing His God) answered "Only you know!"  And what happened next?!   God asks Ezekiel to speak to the bones on His behalf!  "Tell the bones what I am saying!"  "Tell the bones that I will give them flesh!"  "Now, tell the flesh covered bones that I will give them breath!"   "Now they shall LIVE!"  

Wow!  In Ezekiel he is specifically using this to show what God intended to do with Israel but it is also not a stretch to see this same imagery as applying to what accepting Jesus does for all... "I will put my Spirit in you and you will live"   Obviously it is only God who can bring life but we (like Ezekiel) are asked to speak on God's behalf--telling the "bones" of the one who can breathe them to LIFE!

The following verse from John 6 was spoken on at my cousin's funeral,  "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing."   In the Ezekiel story, the bones came together and were covered in tendons, flesh, skin--but there was no breath...and thus--no life!  The flesh counts for nothing--only the Spirit gives life.  And WE (God's army--who were also once nothing but dry bones ourselves) have the words others need to hear...Jesus' own words, "The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life."

It was yesterday when I realized that I needed to dig deeper here...                                                            I was listening to worship music in my car and 3 songs nearly in a row referenced the story of the dry bones...so today I wrote this and I pray with humility that God will teach me what I am meant to see.


Dry Bones (Come Alive)



Grave into Gardens



Great I Am




Friday, September 4, 2020

Sorrow for Lane

I don't know what to write.

But the need to write has been pressing on me...I can feel it in my heart, my mind, my soul.   

I know that putting words down has always been a type of therapy for me when my emotions are more than what my mind can process.  Writing slows everything down and helps me reach a point of clarity and coalescence that I cannot find in the simple day-to-day expressions of living.

Over a week has gone by and I have not yet felt like the words would come...  They aren't coming.

But here I sit in front of a blank page...just hoping that this simple act will help me find words.

Healing words;  words that can help make sense of the senseless;  words that bring some meaning to the loss;  words that can put order back...  

But what is there to say?

Loss in any form is painful.  Loss in this way is chaos.  It's like sympathy & anger are holding hands.  Grief & despondency are pulling my arms in opposite directions.  I cannot think of my aunt & uncle without feeling a tug of both horror at what they're going through & relief that it's not that bad for me.  And then of course..guilt at how little this affects my life and pain at the changes this does bring to the cadences of our family. 

Questions hide in my subconscious...all the whys.  But I think I'm afraid to let them peek around the curtain that I've hung in my mind to conceal them--not because they are unanswerable but rather because maybe they are and I won't like the thoughts that those answers will bring with them.    

Tomorrow I will come face to face with those suffering most.   What can I possibly say to them when I don't even have words for myself?   

I'm afraid this is one of those times in which clarity will never come.  Our hearts forever will feel the sting of this unexpected, unwelcome, unfair loss.   This world (tainted, neigh drenched, in sin, as it is) is always going to be bombarding our hearts with senselessness, violence, injustice & darkness that cannot be made okay with anything it has to offer.  I'm so grateful that my family knows the One outside the world who weeps with us and for us and has promised redemption to us from all this darkness & brokenness that the world has subjected us to---the Rock, the Redeemer, the Bread of Life; Light of the world, God with us, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace--because He is the only one who can make good grow from this sorrow.

"Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.  For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone."  Lamentations 3:32-33

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Cute things my kids have said: Part 17



1-6-20
Bria: “Mom, I need to tell you something.” (Her favorite way to get my attention lately.) “Look at me.” (I look at her.) (She begins to stroke my head) “You need to love your forehead when it’s on you. It feels weird.”

1-7-20
Bria: “Mom! Get off your phone! Don’t make me sit on you.”

1-16-20
Watching Parks & Rec, Chris Trager (Rob Lowe) enters...
Jasmine: “He’s kinda handsome. But I don’t like his chin.”

2-1-20
Jasmine had a dream that she got a boyfriend named Raiven who was African American with bright green eyes; black curly hair with blond streaks.

2-26-20
Why is this toddler crying?
It’s because we won’t put mustard on her peanut butter & jelly sandwich...


2-27-20
I was pondering to myself (out loud in front of my two challenge kids) “Do I want a Starbucks today?” After some some debate with Eden about whether the question should have been, “Should I have a Starbucks today?” Jasmine speaks up with contempt & sarcasm in her tone, “You should make an ANI chart.”

3-13-20
Kira (singing “I saw the sign” by Ace of Base): “What if the sign she saw said ‘No more people crossing the road’ and she got real mad about it so she wrote that song!”

3-15-20
Eden: “That yard looks like a hairy leg.”

3-15-20
Going through the drive thru at Runza, a young man serving at the window. He takes my money and goes inside. From the back seat Bria says, “He is really handsome.”



4-3-20
Talking to Bria about her friend Cooper. Bria: “I kinda feel like dating him.”
A little bit later...
Bria: “I want to go to Cooper’s house.”
Me: “Why”
Bria: “Because he’s handsome.”
Jasmine & I laugh.
Bria: “I know why you’re laughing. It’s because I said he’s handsome”
Me: “Did you say it because you knew we’d laugh or because you really think he’s handsome?”
Bria: “Because you’d laugh.”
Jasmine: “So you don’t really think he’s handsome?”
Bria: “No.”

4-3-20
After our home alarm was set for the night the cat started whining because he wanted out. We told him no. After Kira explained to him why he couldn’t go out she sang “who kept the cat in” (to the tune of who let the dog out!) 

4-9-20
Talking about movies, Kira: “They always say ‘I’ll never leave you’ but then they find an idea and leave.”

4-10-20 
Bria: I want to go to church now.
Me: They won’t let us go to church right now because of germs.
Bria: Can you buy a mask for me? So we can not get germs.

4-21-20
I was making cinnamon rolls and had flour all over my hands. Bria was watching me from the couch. “Do you know what your hands are saying? They’re saying, ‘Shake it off! Oh oh, shake it off!’”

4-21-20
Bria (from the couch...in a serious inquisitive tone): “Do you have protectors from the lava?”

4-24-20
Bria was flicking her face and saying “it doesn’t really hurt to flick your face” so I flicked her face and asked her if that hurt and then Russ said “What about this” and he flicked his face to make the “bwoink” sound. Bria got all excited and exclaimed, “That’s flicking good!”

4-29-20
Russ was pushing Bria really high on the swing. Bria: “Woah, this faints my brain!”

4-29-20
Bria’s newest thing is to answer questions with, “Of course I can” or “Of course I will”! It’s too cute!

5-2-20
Me: “Bria, will you make me a grilled cheese sandwich?”
Bria: “Yeah! I tried it before and I was really good at it!”
Russ: “You made a grilled cheese sandwich before?”
Bria: (with a snarky smile & her eyebrow raised). “Yeah..duh”
Russ: “When did you make a grilled cheese sandwich?”
Bria: “5 years ago.”

5-3-20
Bria wanted to pray for supper... “Dear God. Help the hail, storm & tornadoes not to get here. Whatever, whatever, whatever. Blah, blah, blah. Amen.”

5-3-20
Bria: “I have an angel on my buttcrack.”

5-8-20
Bria just told Harlee, “Your breath smells like gold.”

5-10-20
“Im Silly mctooterson”. Bria

5-11-20
Bria to Kira: “I didn’t ask you; I askeded myself. Sometimes people like to say stuff out loud!”

5-12-20
Bria: “Please help me wash my hands so my fingers don’t taste bad when I suck them.”

5-14-20
Bria: “Smell my hands. They smell like lotion. Baby lotion. Baby bee lotion. You know, bee lotion—not B like the number; bee like the animal.”

5-18-20
Bria puts her hand on my shoulder and looks right into my eyes with a serious look and says, “The chunks in your body are your ankles so don’t bother them.” *pause* “And don’t bother us either because we don’t want to go to bed.

5-24-20
Jasmine (looking at Eden’s egg drop soup): “What is that?! It looks like snot in a bowl with tissues in it.”

5-28-20
In a public bathroom.
Bria: “It smells like fart sushi.”

5-29-20
Walking the monument trail and Bria keeps falling behind so we keep challenging her to a race to catch up. She stops (exasperated): “This is cracking me open!”

5-30-20
Jasmine made some meringues and gave one to Bria.
Bria: “Mmm...that’s pretty dope.”
Jasmine: “What?!”
Bria: “‘Pretty dope’ means it’s good.”

6-27-20
Bria’s new favorite phrase: “It all makes sense!”

6-29-20
Eden was talking and got some phlegm in her throat. Bria "How do you jiggle your breath?”

6-30-20
Bria: (while looking through a little Gideon New Testament): “Did Jesus say bad words?”

6-30-20
Bria: “My chocolate milk tastes like...good stuff!”


7-13-20
Bria (while taking a bath) randomly asks me: "Why did Jesus buy us?" and then "Why did Jesus build us?"


7-15-20
Bria: "I just wanted to play with Jasmine & Kira but they wouldn't let me. They broke my heart."

7-16-20
Bria comes in carrying a glove and hits my arm with it. I said, “Hey, why are you hitting me?” Bria: “I’m not. I’m slapping you with holiness!”

7-18-20
Bria was taking pretend pictures with her toy camera and had me pose. She looked at her “screen” and said “You were happy-facing.”

7-26-20
Bria just referred to my Bible as “your Jesus book”


7-29-20
Bria was singing, “I love my mom & dad but I’m going into the world.”


7-31-20
Reading a book with Bria,
Me: “What letter is this?”
Bria: “B!”
Me: “Yes! What sound does a B make?”
Bria: “buzzzzzzz”

7-31-20
I was baking banana bread with Bria. As I was pouring the batter into the pan she says, "I want everyone to taste this when it's done ovening up!"

8-2-20
While driving down the road Bria speaks up from the back seat, “Eeww! It smells like farts mixed with gas station mixed with cleaning supplies.”

8-9-20
Bria: (watching tv) "They are making out! I'm not suppose to see that!"

8-10-20
Bria: "Your tickling makes me want to poop."

8-23-20
Bria: “I want to lay on it like a mannequin!” (She meant hammock). 

8-27-20
Bria: “Your breath smells like carrots mixed with diapers.”

9-1-20
Bria’s prayer at breakfast this morning: “Dear God, help the hail & storm not to get here. Help Jesus to get here. Help everyone to not get sick and to just calm down. Amen."


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

"Birthday Flowers"




"Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

This woman.   

She was born at the start of the Great Depression.  

She was a young woman as the events of World War 2 unfolded:  The Holocaust, Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.  

She left a somewhat unhappy home as a teenager and began working as a nurse.  

She married and  raised 4 kids in the 50s, 60s & 70s:  as wars waged in Asia and a "live free" Woodstock revolution began to dominate the culture of America.  

She read the stories in the newspaper during the Cold War, saw the footage of 911 and is currently isolated from her family at a local hospital on her 91st birthday because of Covid-19.  

And while I’m struggling right now with everything going on…this woman…this woman who I admire so much for so many reasons,…when I called her today to wish her a happy birthday and lamented on how this isn’t the ideal birthday situation…do you know what she said to me?   

She said that this birthday is going down as a good birthday…  

Because her infection is getting better.  

Because she doesn’t have to fix her own meals. 

Because her hospital has gluten-free options.  

Because her daughters sent her plants.  

Because she got over 60 cards in the mail.  

Because people she taught in Sunday School 40 years ago took the time to tell her about how she touched their lives.  

Because she got to see my brother’s wedding pictures today after not being able to attend the wedding.  

Because she got to talk to me on the phone….

She told me that she thinks that I’m like her and that makes her happy. 

And that brought me to tears as I told her that, while I don’t feel like I live up to all her positive qualities, she is one of the people I wish to be most like.  

And in her typical style,  she responded by saying that those words were  just “another flower in her birthday cap!”   

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I love you, Grandma! 
Thank you for your positivity, encouragement & unconditional love. 



Monday, February 3, 2020

Forty



Lordy, lordy…I am a quadragenarian.

Part of me is a little sad that the “young” part of my life has passed and I’ve reached what is (hopefully) “the middle” of my life.  On the other hand…the middle of the sandwich is the best part (especially when you’re gluten free!)  According to the Facebook page, Bake Me I’m Yours, 40 is “when women acquire a special depth and level of wisdom, grace, confidence and success.  I think they are correct. 

I may be a little flabbier in the middle and acquire a back injury backing out of my parking space at Target but I have never felt as confident and self-assured as I do at this point in my life.   Recently, I have spent much time reflecting on who I am and on how I got here and it’s obvious to me how correct Ralph Waldo Emerson was when he wrote, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”   The biggest growths in life do not often happen by accident.   Rather, they happen when we decide to change; when we decide that we can be something better than what we currently are and we take the first small steps toward becoming that.  And how much greater are those steps when directed & blessed by “El Roi”, the God who sees me (and loves me anyway!)    

If this is the middle then that means I have just as many years in front of me as I have behind and I want to enter this half with anticipation and not dread.  For I am going to keep improving the content of my mind, the sensibility of my emotions, my attentiveness to my body, and the depth of my character.   I want to know that I will hear “Well done.” when I finally see my Savior face to face.  



So today I am going to celebrate turning 40…

I am going to wake up a little earlier so I can study Exodus before breakfast.

I am going to drink a Starbucks chai and then maybe go to the gym.

I am going to help my kids with their math and not take it personally when they yell at me when they still don’t understand.

I am going to take my vitamins, eat my vegetables and then enjoy a little dessert instead of a big one.

I am going to wait politely in line, smile at the cashier and tip generously because I recognize that they just might be having a bad day, too.

I am going to feel overwhelmed, get frustrated & angry but I am going to take a deep breath, slow down and remember that I am in control of my emotions and they are not in control of me.

I am going to accept the help of others and I am going to offer to be the help they need in turn.

I am going to laugh, love, compliment & thank a little bit more than I rant, rave, worry & fear.

I am going to fail but I am always going to try again.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Books I Read in 2019

Books I've read in 2019

  • 01) 'A Star Curiously Singing" by Kerry Nietz 1/1
  • 02) 'The Superlative Stream' by Kerry Nietz 1/5
  • 03) 'Wildcard' by Marie Lu (audio) 1/8
  • 04) 'Freeheads' by Kerry Nietz 1/12
  • 05) 'Outlander' by Diana Gabaldon 1/21
  • 06) 'Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity" by Kathi Lipp & Cheri Gregory 1/27
  • 07) 'The Gender Game" by Bella Forrest 1/27
  • 08) "The Hiding Place" by Corrie Ten Boom 1/28
  • 09) 'The Gender Secret' by Bella Forrest 2/2
  • 10) 'Rippler" by Cidney Swanson 2/4
  • 11) 'Chameleon' by Cidney Swanson 2/6
  • 12) 'Unfurl' by Cidney Swanson 2/7
  • 13) 'Skyward' by Brandon Sanderson (audio) 2/7
  • 14) 'The Gender Lie" by Bella Forest 2/15
  • 15) 'Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace' by Sarah Mackenzie 2/18
  • 16) 'The Gender War' by Bella Forest 2/21
  • 17) 'The Gender Fall' by Bella Forest 2/28
  • 18) 'The Gender Plan' by Bella Forest 3/7
  • 19) 'Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds' by Philip E. Johnson 3/11
  • 20) 'The Gender End' by Bella Forest 3/15
  • 21) 'Once Upon A Prince' by Rachel Hauck 3/22
  • 22) 'Unlimited' by Davis Bunn 3/25
  • 23) 'Mark of the Plague' by Kevin Sands (audio) 3/26
  • 24) 'Breathe' by Sarah Crossan 3/28
  • 25) "Princess Ever After' by Rachel Hauck 3/30
  • 26) 'Man Made Boy' by Jon Skovron (audio) 4/1
  • 27) 'Resist' by Sarah Crossan 4/3
  • 28) 'Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking' by Susan Cain 4/4
  • 29) 'How to Catch a Prince' by Rachel Hauck 4/11
  • 30) 'Words Aptly Spoken:Short Stories' by Classical Conversations 4/16
  • 31) 'Raising Girls' by Melissa Trevathan 4/25
  • 32) 'The Sidekicks Initiative: A Comedy Superhero Adventure' by Barry Hutchinson (audio) 4/26
  • 33) 'Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warriors' by Benjamin Wallace (audio) 4/30
  • 34) 'Knights of the Apocalypse' by Benjamin Wallace (audio) 5/8
  • 35) 'Pursuit of the Apocalypse' by Benjamin Wallace (audio) 5/10
  • 36) 'Space Team' by Barry J. Hutchison (audio) 5/17
  • 37) 'Watch Your Junk and Other Advice for Expectant Fathers' by Benjamin Wallace (audio) 5/17
  • 38) 'A Quiet Life in the Country' by T E Kinsey (audio) 5/19
  • 39) 'Young Elizabeth: The Making of the Queen' by Kate Williams 5/28
  • 40) 'Outside the Jukebox: How I Turned My Vintage Music Obsession Into My Dream Gig' by Scott Bradlee 5/31
  • 41) 'The Mystery of Alice' by Lee Bacon (audio) 6/4
  • 42) '#IMomSoHard' by Kristin Hensley and Jen Smedley (audio) 6/11
  • 43) 'The Vexed Generation' by Scott Meyer (audio) 6/20
  • 44) 'The Witch of Blackbird Pond' by Elizabeth George Speare 6/22
  • 45) 'The Choosing' by Rachelle Dekker 6/24
  • 46) 'The Calling' by Rachelle Dekker 7/7
  • 47) 'Lock In' by John Scalzi (audio) 7/18
  • 48) 'The Returning' by Rachelle Dekker 7/25
  • 49) 'The Case of the Damaged Detective' by Drew Hayes (audio) 8/2
  • 50) 'Second Hand Curses' by Drew Hayes (audio) 8/9
  • 51) 'Head On' by John Scalzi (audio) 8/14
  • 52) 'The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimentional Insurance Agent' by Larry Correia (audio) 8/18
  • 53) 'Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanic by Nick Carr (audio) 8/19
  • 54) 'Patmos Deception' by Davis Bunn 9/1
  • 55) 'Capital Gaines: Smart things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff' by Chip Gaines 9/5
  • 56) 'Butterfly Palace' by Colleen Coble (audio) 9/10
  • 57) 'The Question-Teaching Your Child the Essentials of Classical Education' by Leigh A. Bortins 9/11
  • 58) 'The Young Elites' by Marie Lu (audio) 9/23
  • 59) 'Agent to the Stars' by John Scalzi (audio) 10/2
  • 60) 'The Austen Escape' by Katherine Reay (audio) 10/16
  • 61) 'Number the Stars' by Lois Lowry (audio) 10/21
  • 62) 'Through Gates of Splendor' by Elisabeth Elliot (audio) 10/28
  • 63) 'A Reluctant Bride' by Jody Hedlund (audio) 11/2
  • 64) 'Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection' by Alexander C. Kane (audio) 11/17
  • 65) 'A Murder of Manatees' by Larry Correia (audio) 11/26
  • 66) 'Starsight' by Brandon Sanderson (audio) 12/13
  • 67) 'Glamorous Illusions' by Lisa Tawn Bergren (audio)12/25
  • 68) 'Best Christmas Pageant Ever' by Barbara Robinson 12/28
  • 69) 'Grave Consequences' by Lisa Tawn Bergren (audio) 12/30