Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Inconvenient Convenience of the American Option

So...let's get this out there first...just to be clear...I'm an American, and I love my country...


There's a drawback to our culutural love of "options".

Yep, I said it. There's a potential negative...

For some, those choices are a convenient excuse to 1) not grow up, 2) not deal with personal issues or challenges, 3) not work on relationships...basically hinder or draw out our development.

Why?...if you don't like something, move on! There might be less drama or angst where that green grass is...

Ugh. It's frustrating because it can contribute to a person potentially remaining immature, shallow and/or disconnected from others. Umm...self-focused.

"That which does not kill us makes us stronger!" It's SO true! Going THROUGH the tough stuff can actually unleash us...into maturity, depth, community...and a functioning reality of love...the kind that includes grace, mercy and compassion.

So...maybe the next time there's a challenge or frustration...instead of hiking up our skirts and getting the heck outta Dodge...we should hold hands and jump in. In addition to growing up, we just might make the world a better place...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This has to be one of my favorite speech scenes in a movie. I know she's referring to an ET experience...I like to think it's similar to how I feel about God. :)

Bike Ride Heaven

I was able to get my own bike rack yesterday. I've had a Trek bike for years (totally recommend, btw) and enjoy a good ride on occasion. I've had to go locally unless I've been able to find someone who has a, my options are endless. :)

For starters I went to my favorite local state park. Wild River!!! It's enough off the beaten path that not many people go there. They have trails of all types with a lot of great tree cover. Today, I enjoyed the peaceful privacy with a touch of a rain shower. It was so refreshing.

By the way...I've decided that nature sings classical music! I selected a nice playlist of classical pieces for my ride. Nature and the notes went hand-in-hand.

What a great morning!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Feeling Better!

It's amazing what a trailer, a cooler day and a little help from Dad can do to make a gal feel better! All my brush was pre-piled on Saturday, so my Dad and I were able to take a couple hours this morning to move the piles to the ENORMOUS brush pile at church.

Yep...this girl is no longer looking out of the house at a complete mess!!!! Oh my...I feel so much better. :)

I've had three very good conversations over the past two days that have given me great space to be "real". Between Steph, Jody and my Dad, I've had the opportunity to express things, be challenged, and laugh a little.

Now, I'm off to practice some intentional gratitude for my WHOLE life. The good, the bad...and the ugly. :) Strangely...that gratitude reveals God's presence in the light and in the darkness. Hmm...

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I have to say...there is great comfort found in shared experience. Loss of any sort has a way of putting people on an island of lonliness, but grief expressed with others provides comfort...and "togetherness". I ended up in a conversation with my neighbors this morning at church. They are much more concealed from the road, so I haven't known the full extent of their damage. Apparently, it's pretty bad for them. Add to that a scary car accident...they are wrestling with similar questions too. Well, my neighbor created such a bridge off my own island when she started talking about the sadness they were experiencing in the moment of the damage but also in this time of having to live in the midst of it. I picture it as she and I meeting half-way across. :) I so understood what she was saying that there wasn't a need for so many words. It was just good to be with someone else that "got it".

So...a moment of less frustration!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ridiculous Morning

Unbelievable. We planned to do a final bush-hauling extravaganza to clear our neighborhood. It was scheduled, and a variety of people were invited...

Boy, was I excited to get things cleared. It's been rather depressing seeing all of the destruction, but also having people say they are going to do this or that and then not follow through. For a single makes a challenging situation seem impossible. For a gal that often thinks she has to do things on her own because people can't/don't presents an additional challenge.

So...I get up this morning, bright and shiny, and start gathing brush piles in the lawn. 8am rolls one. 8:15am...still no one. 8:30am...hmm, no one. roommate comes out to ask why I'm working. Apparently she saw an email the night before cancelling it.


How am I supposed to know to check my email the night before???

I can't tell you how pissed off I am. For SO many reasons.

The good news is that a couple of others hadn't heard along with me. They came to work for a couple of hours. Troy had a chainsaw, and that made things MUCH more manageable. He took the big stuff with him! :)

Needless to say, I'll be borrowing my Dad's trailer and hauling the rest away myself when it's not so muddy. I'm done waiting, and it's something I can do.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Vacation

As an admin in a private school, I don't get the usualy "teacher" vacation...a whole summer. Instead, I get the month of July off. It's true...I can't complain. Between school holidays and my month in July, I've got it pretty good. It's just that (in order to make more money) during the 11 months of my work year, I work a 1.4 FTE (full-time equivalent where 1.0 is freaking full-time), so by the end of the school year I'M EXHAUSTED!

July is a welcomed reprieve.

Well, my first week of July was pretty much a loss. The roadtrip part of the journey to Colorado was absolutely wonderful. I had my sis all to myself. The funeral part?...woo, that was tough! And missing a chance to see my Wiebs because my stupid FB app on my iPhone decided it needed an upgrade mid-trip...that was REALLY hard. The return to a tree-stripped front yard and no power, though, made the rest of that week ALL WORK.

(Done venting...for now...hehe.)

So, this week...has been my actual first week of vacation. I finally got to sleep in, watch some movies and take in a few evening swims. Tonight...TADA!! Harry Potter (Oh my gosh, I'm so excited!). Tomorrow??...Womaning the GOP booth at the Chisago Fair.

Next week...well, we'll see. It's the family camping venture. Parts of that are fun, but other aspects drive me loopy. We're doing a bit different plan this year, and that might just make it more tolerable. As always, I'm so thankful for the handful of rellies that have my back against the bossies. Hahahaha! 


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Control Freak

Here's a shout-out to the control freaks in my life...

Step. Off.

Yep, I shove back now. ;)

Trees Falling

Well...the reminders of the terrible storm that rolled through still linger. Today, about 7 more trees were cut down and hauled away, bringing my yard total to around 20 lost. Some were pretty damaged and needed to go. Others made the house vulnerable should another bad storm come through. makes me so sad.

I know. I know. Some are asking why in the world trees falling would rock my boat.

The answer??

First, I'm a nature-loving girl. Trees. Wind through the leaves. The smell of needles and crunchy Fall leaves. Oh, they are heaven to me.

Second, I'm in love with sanctuary. The things I'm involved in tend to be a bit invasive. For an introvert...a little space and privacy are key to renewing the soul. My yard...had so much seclusion due to great tree cover. It was my hideaway.

Having so great a loss...well, it hit me where it hurt. (...and the timing couldn't have been worse.)

So...some blessings. (Gotta look for some highlights to broaden the perspective, you know.)

A little one today. The logger that came to take the remaining trees was pretty sensitive to my obvious loss. He's a tree-lover too. He did everything he could to save all of my gardens in the falling. He also left my lawn with a wonderful scent of pine. :)

The day of the storm. Well, I was in Colorado, so I was feeling a bit helpless. Apparently, my whole neighborhood turned out to help each other. A few men from my church came with chainsaws and huge trucks, as did my family. Not only did they attack my yard and Deb's yard...they went from house to house!!! They got so much done to open the roads and driveways. My church opened the property up to all of the neighbors to make a massive burn pile. There's going to be quite a bonfire in December. ;) Can you say "community"??? Amazing!

A few days after I got home. I put out a request on Facebook for anyone to come to help haul brush. I was really nervous that I'd be alone in that. You know...not everyone enjoys...well, work. I was so surprised!!! My nieces and nephews came. Former students came. Current students came. I was undone by their sacrifice.

So, I guess there've been a few blossoms in the sh## pile. More brush needs to be hauled, and I'll have to figure out how to seal my yard in again...but I'm still kicking. Still fighting a bit of the "sad's", but I find being honest about that actually helps the healing of it.

Here's to new growth!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wonder Class: Session 3

Amazed: Living a Life Full of Wonder

C.S. Lewis said "It is in worship that the presence of God is communicated to man." So often we fall into a rut that says that worship happens on Sunday mornings in a church service or in our personal devotional times. Formulas=Worship. That is so not true! While worship is very much possible in those places, it is absolutely possible in the moments of our daily lives. It's in our very basic human wiring to experience him. So we reviewed a bit from Wonder Class: Session 1 and Wonder Class: Session 2 and then took off into a tour of the senses.

This week?...HEARING :)

First, a clip explaining how an ear hears. Personally, it's one of God's fingerprints. :)

We take hearing for granted...maybe we should pay attention a bit more!

OK...the in-class assignment!! I handed out blank pieces of paper with instructions to jot down any thoughts, feelings, pictures (real or imagined), etc. that are prompted by the various clips for listening. Often God is in those little things, giving us insights, encouragements or reminders. He loves the little things! The key to this assignment is to close your eyes. Often by limitting one sense, we heighten the other. We want to focus on our hearing, so we are closing our eyes to listen.

Just sit back, relax and listen. :)
The sound of crickets slowed way down. Pretty amazing! :)

A Lauging Baby

A Thunderstorm

Car engines (Hehe...I figured someone must like that one.)

Talk about a musical genius...this composer "wrote" his friend in song.

Having God's word read to you

We took time at the end to share any of the things that came up during the listening clips. We also shared our "favorite" sounds. It was amazing to notice how the other senses are activated in the descriptions (i.e. smelling sawdust when prompted by the "favorite" of a saw cutting wood).

At the end we completed our enjoyment (see previous sessions for explanation...per C.S. Lewis) by offering thanks to God.


Have a great week...and get listening!!! :)


I find it interesting...the variety of music that can get me going. ;) I'm not usually a huge techno fan, but I do love it sometimes. For some reason this song has me on my way to a speeding ticket. Haha!

Innate Laughter

Martha brought up something interesting in class yesterday. We were listening to a baby laugh and laugh and were all giggling along. She noted that it doesn't seem to be something learned. It seems like laughter is something in our wiring.


So...have a little gigle today. You were designed to... ;)

Miss Annie!

So, so, so proud of one of my school kiddos! She took a HUGE leap and ventured off into a candidacy for a local town's Ambassador program (i.e. pageant). What a risk for this gal!


She did it!

Now begins a year of parades and community service. Being that she's pure sunshine, I know she can do it...and have fun all along the way. :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Little Visit

So...I've found something a bit peaceful...a place to sit in the questions, expecting no answers but finding some space. The cemetery where little Ben and my Grandparents are buried. It's a ways out of town with great trees and the sounds of nature. The other day I picked up some flowers and some strawberries and went to sit by Ben's grave. I'm sure I looked a little odd, but who cares? (That's a daily thing for this girl...hehe.) I just sat there eating my strawberries, listening to the wind through the leaves and thinking...

I didn't find any more answers, but as I was leaving, I realized that I felt a bit fuller. Not in my my heart.

Little visits are good for the soul.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fix You

The person that made this video on youtube said that it reminded him/her of the human's interaction with Real Love (i.e. God). I love it!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Wish

Steel Magnolias Clip

No one does it like the ladies of "Steel Magnolias".


Pretty sure I put this one to shame. ;)

Swept into a Tornado

The past week has literally been a whirlwind. Maybe this season actually. About a month ago my cousins lost their 2-yr-old in a terrible accident. Shortly after, my friend's dad came home from the hospital into a hospice situation. I then started working on Legacy letters with him because he loves his family so much. I finally finished the academic year (admins go a month longer and start a month earlier) which was stressful. Then my sister's high school friend was killed in a drunk-driving accident, and we drove to Colorado for his funeral. While I was gone, a terrible storm hit my neighborhood, and I lost 12+ trees. I returned to 3 more days without electricity. And finally...I got sick.

Pretty much, the "crap cup" runneth over...

I have to say that I've been wrestling with God over it all. Death, dying and destruction seem omnipresent, and my heart is having trouble making sense of it. I guess I struggle with my expectations that He keep all from hurt and harm...but that's not how it always goes. Keeping a handle on hope and wonder in the midst of it...well, it seems easier to embrace the "half-empty" glass and move on.

But...that's not how I want to live.

Keep in mind that God lets me hammer things out on Him. I have great freedom to tantrum. In that mix He sometimes give me insight and at all times gives me comfort.

Last night, when I was praying with a friend about all this, He told me that "there's a difference between resignation and surrender". My heart is still spinning a bit, but I'm hopeful that He'll help me process that one out a bit more in the near future.

So...a bit swept up into a tornado lately. It has left me a little sad and angry and confused...overwhelmed. But...He is here, so I'll keep moving.