Thursday, April 22, 2010

Need a Mother's Day gift idea?

Sweet, sweet Katie....

I love (and sometimes cringe) to read what pours out of that girl's soul. So real. So challenging. So good for rich, American me.

She just wrote a beautiful post about some of the people she's serving in Uganda. It's the one from April 20th. (For some reason, she doesn't title a lot of her posts so I can't link you to the direct post, but it's easy to find.)

Reading about these precious women she's pouring her life into fills me with more compassion than I knew I had. Each one has a hard, hard, hard story, but they have reached in my heart and given me courage to try to help, and hope when it's not enough (and it's not).....because Jesus can make all things beautiful. Death, disease and poverty does NOT have to be the end of their story (or ours).

And as you read, you see how death is being defeated there....over and over and by one by one.

Ahhh....just so good to read.

Anyway, one of the many ways she's helping these ladies is by teaching them to make paper bead necklaces. Have you heard of them? They're apparently a big hit in Uganda right now.

And have you seen them?! There's no wonder! They're so bright and colorful and beautiful!

I mean, if anyone named JOSH was reading this, I certainly wouldn't mind receiving one... ;)

And they directly help the very people God calls us to help....

(from Katie's blog)

Katie has teamed up with 147 Million Orphans.

You can buy the necklaces on their website ($18), and Katie says that they'll be putting up more pictures of them soon. But don't just listen to me....go read her stuff! God is speaking through that girl.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ariosa de Isaiah

This was all I could get typing as fast as I could while he sang his little heart out, completely unaware.

Apparently, the bible stories have made an impression....and someone named Albert.

...she didn't know it was her daddy's plate
she didn't mean to break it
she wanted to tape it together
but she didn't know it was her other daddy's plate
but she didn't know it was Albert's plate.
oh, hey there!
but they didn't know
when mary was married and she was gonna have a baby
she went to there and she saw a shepherd
but they didn't know Mary was going to have a baby
but they didn't know
they didn't know
they didn't didn't ever ever know
they didn't know
they didn't ever not ever know
their dad did not know they broke the plate
but it made a sound
it made just one
traveling down to Timnah
but he didn't know there was a lion that was strong and attacked him
it attacked him
samson and the....
it hurted
it really hurted
but people did not know he got out...

Tips are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When life hands me lemons....

...I look at the sugar....look back at lemons....look at the cute glasses....look back at lemons....

and then proceed to jump up and down on them like a wild gorilla, screaming hysterically...

go pick them up, throw them forcefully onto any available hard surface, and beat them to a pulp with all my might (4 letter words might be uttered)....

hurl them at any poor soul within 2 feet of me and blame them profusely for the lemons....

cry, snot and blubber while simultaneously running back and forth over them with my car....

scoop up remains, slap into glasses and slam it down in front of my poor family for dinner....

cry and whine more at said poor family for not helping me clean up afterward.

That was, in a (somewhat dramatic) nutshell, the scene at our house last night.

Um, "not pretty" doesn't exactly capture it just right.


God is squeezing us and what's coming out is just short of The Wicked Witch of the West. And ya'll? Things didn't end up so good for her.

(I've actually had the thought that I should put one of those bumper stickers on my van that says "My other ride is a broomstick." You know, right beside the one already on there that says "I love my family.")

And honestly, the sad thing is that I'm really surprised at what's coming out of me. I don't want to be surprised by my sin, but somewhere along the line I've developed a pretty high opinion of myself. I don't mean this as a generic confession, but I'm really very prideful. I think that I'm right 98% of the time. I think I have the best plan. I think I am the most rational. I think I have very fair expectations. I think if people would just listen to me things would be SO much better. I think I deserve better than what I'm getting. I think all of my anger, frustration and moodiness is valid and justifiable.

Spend one day with our family and the evidence of this is clear and easy to see. And, though I wish it weren't true, it usually takes some awful, dramatic night like last night for me to really see how bad it is.

And this whole little thing called marriage and parenting brings it ALL out. Hard circumstances added to that creates a pressure cooker explosion that spills over into a nasty, burned up mess.

Sanctification hurts.

And I've hurt the people I love the most in this world. I'm thankful my boys are still young enough to not really get why mommy's turned crazy (and hopefully won't remember).

But God has been kind to remind me today that sanctification is so good. It is life-giving. It is a reminder that He's working in me. Evidence that He hasn't given up.

"For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."

And all of this brings me to say with great exclamation:


He is patient and kind to me. He understands my weaknesses. He doesn't leave me.

He forgives me! He still loves me!!!

Today kinda feels like the day after a big storm. Yes, there's still debris laying around and much work to be done, but there's that clarity and freshness and almost sweetness that only comes after you've been drenched.

I'm not entirely sure why I felt like writing that out except that it's somewhat therapeutic for me...

and I want to know if anyone else out there has had their own hissy fit with the lemons. :)

(Perhaps we can encourage each other and help each other make good use of those lemons.

Lemon drop, anyone?)

Monday, April 12, 2010


This song is back on repeat today. Our family got bad news this afternoon. A very sweet part of our family is really suffering with cancer right now.

I need this. In fact, I put it at the top of my soundtrack and turned on the auto-start because I'm asking you to please pray for my family when you hear the song come on.

Please pray....

~that the truths sink deep into our hearts
~ that we would know above all else that God is good in all things
~that we would know who rules over cancer and has won victory over death
~that we would have great hope because of Him
~that His presence would be real and felt right now

And while you're praying for us, pray these beautiful words for yourself too:

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

Thanks for your prayers, friends. The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective.

What having kids has done to us

Don't judge.

I know this is what ya'll do on spring break too. :)

Proof of life

The beginnings of chivalry :)

Read about the Proof of Life series here.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Spring break means...

--hurrying to mow lawn, pack bags, pack food, load up, change oil and wash... van (!).

--sipping coffee on the porch... looking at the ocean waves.

--hurt feelings, hard conversations, sin revealed, much needed marriage maintenance and sweet forgiveness.

--dump trucks, shovels, wagons, beach chairs lugged to the sand.

--fun food that's horrible for you.

--DIY channel, Food Network and, for Josh, the Science channel.

--a few sniffles, sore throats and mild fevers.

--milkshakes and cuddling.

--walk to the trench.

--beach "treasures".

--meeting many strangers on the beach...thanks to wondering toddler.

--great naps.

--sand spurs.

--boys trunks hanging out to dry.

--sandy gummies.


--wagon rides.

--losing track of what day it is.

--magazines and books.

--walking around shops.

--digging holes until you get to water.

--running from chairs to ocean and back again...over and over and over.

--planning garden and shopping for bedroom makeover items.

Soooo don't want it to end.

(Pictures soon!)

Friday, April 02, 2010

A few things I'm currently enjoying

1. This girl's cd. Her name is JJ Heller, and I think I might love her.

Her voice is addictive. Soulful, pure, puppies and butterflies, the perfect amount of spice and sweetness with a little Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday thrown in. I can't get enough.

Add that to the fact that her lyrics dig their way straight to my heart and somehow manage to perfectly articulate what I'm thinking....and some things I didn't even know I thought.

"Hope is holding on to You. And grace is You're holding me too."

You should listen to her.

No, really.

2. I've successfully made several batches of yogurt in my crock pot and we're LOVING it! In fact, we're flying through it!

It's incredibly easy to make, and then we add frozen fruit and honey. So, SO good.

So, if you were on the fence about it, you should totally try it.

I will tell you that low-fat milk makes thinner yogurt, and whole milk makes it thicker. I'm fine with the thinner stuff, but I have read that some people add powdered milk to thicken it up. I may give that a whirl.

3. This....

And then this....

And now this....

I'm pretty sure everything that is spring is trying to kill me.

A normal conversation between Josh and I in the car goes like this:

Me: Oh look. There's a pretty little tree that makes me want to die.

Josh: Uh huh.

(My poor mom is still in denial about my allergies because I was breastfed. Yeah, mom? IT DIDN'T WORK. But it's not your fault. You did the best you could.)

4. Speaking of MINIVAN! I feel like I'm part of a club that exists only in my mind...but hey, me and my mind, we have a good time.

This, by the way, was my fun little surprise from God the other weekend.

(if you were expecting something more significant and patiently kept checking for the past 2 weeks to see what, for the love, the freaking surprise was....well, you may now start cussing your computer monitors and throwing your bloggy tomatoes. that was it.)

(I'm sorry.)

I don't have any pictures of it yet because remember, outside = Dana wants to die.

I can tell you that it's an older honda odyssey with plenty of miles, but the way God worked it out for us to get it at a CRAZY price (via Josh's parents who are amazingly generous to us) and the fact that it was well taken care of AND (bonus!) had power doors (ohmygosh, I had no idea how that would change my life) has had me smiling every time I get in it.

(I apologize for my over-use of parenthesis and run-on sentences, but there was just so much to say. I teach music, ok?)

Not fancy-schmancy, but just perfect for our family. To me, it represents a daughter's sweet gift from her compassionate Father at a time when she was struggling to trust Him to take care of her.

In fact, that whole weekend was a picture of that. I need to write more about that weekend. Man, He really loves me.

5. And speaking of how much He loves us....

This is the second year I've gone through these little Resurrection Eggs with Isaiah. The idea is that you start 12 days before Easter, and each day you open an egg together. Inside each egg is a little something that symbolizes part of the Easter story. Think: donkey, silver coins, piece of linen cloth, etc.

I have to admit that Easter crept up on me this year. I didn't start the eggs with Isaiah until today (we did 7), and my own heart hasn't really stopped to meditate and prepare for the significance of what it means to me as a Christian.

I had to make myself pull these out, and that was mainly because my Mommy guilt was getting to me about letting the season come and go without taking the opportunity to really teach Isaiah what it means. He understands so much more this year and just seems to be more sensitive to spiritual things in general than he was last year.

After going through the 7 eggs today, I'm not convinced he really gets much of it, but it was just what I needed. As we read each scripture and explanation of what was in each egg, I was reminded bit by bit of the vastness of His love and the bitterness of his sacrifice. Tomorrow the little eggs will tell us of the wonderful, epic twist in the plot...the twist that is literally the difference between life and death. And not just for Jesus, the main character, but for us too. I can't wait!

So anyway, you can buy them like I did or make them yourselves. I've found tons of websites that lay out simple instructions to do just that.

6. And one more thing that's really more of an idea than anything else.

The creators of a current obsession of mine, Young House Love, decided to take a door off the closet in their nursery and replace it with an adorable printed fabric hung by a tension rod.


So here's what I'm thinking. Remember this closet door in our bedroom?

You know, the one that makes the possibility of Josh ever having his very own night stand a sad impossibility?

I'm thinking we ditch the door for a couple yards of swanky-ness, and make all of Josh's dreams of night stand equality come true.

What do ya'll think?

And while you're answering such important questions, why don't you tell me what YOU'RE enjoying right now?