Tag Archives: Gratitude

Wondering, Loving and Praying

5:00 Wednesday PM:   Headed home.  Grateful for 4 day weekend.   Praying for friends and family.  Wondering if the traffic could go any slower.

6:00 Wednesday PM:   Putting together chairs.  Grateful for new furniture.   Wondering if anyone will notice if they wobble.   Hubby notices.  Hanging upside down trying to balance chairs.  Huh…made in China.  Praying for the persecuted church in China.

8:00 Wednesday PM:   Still putting together chairs.  Wondering if anyone will notice my hands have permanently cramped into the shape of an Alen wrench.   Grateful for my father who has worked with his hands his whole life.   Praying the doctor can help him with the new treatment for his curled fingers.

10:00 Wednesday PM:   Tucking in my daughter.  Loving her eyelashes, loving her goodnight prayers.   Wondering if she’ll ever have a sibling.   Praying for Christine in Rwanda.  Praying this other daughter will have a good night.

11:30 Wednesday PM:   Making cranberry sauce.   Loving the smells of cloves and cinnanmon.   Loving the sound the cranberries make when they swell and pop.   Making cinnamon rolls.  Grateful for 16 years of cinnamon rolls with this man standing beside me.   Praying for the marriages of friends and family.

8:00 am Thursday AM:    Running a mile.  Cold.  Wondering if a mile constitutes actual excersize enough to work off the meal headed my way.  Grateful for sidewalks, friendly neighbors and a track at the local school.   Wonder if the school tuition in Rwanda is caught up.

9:00 am Thursday AM:     Getting ready.  Blowdryer.   Its pink. Praying for a friend facing tests for cancer.  Loving my daughter’s little toes and big smile.  Grateful for warm clean water.   Praying for the 18 people headed to our house.

10:00 am Thursday AM:    Breakfast with family.    Loving the cream cheese frosting on warm cinnamon rolls.   Loving Greek yogurt, bagels, fresh fruit.   Hoping next year sausage and cheddar are back in my diet.   Praying for family not present at the table.

11:00 Thursday AM:     Cleaning out a turkey with my mama.   Loving 35 years with this woman.   Wondering if the marketing departments know I’m aware that they leave the fat chunks for extra weight.   Praying I get to clean many more turkeys.  Praying for friends who no longer have their mamas.  Missing my grandma, first thanksgiving without her.

2:00 Thursday PM:    Cleaning out the garbage disposal.   Wondering why its only me that clogs it up.   Grateful the only time I cook is at holidays.    Praying for patience.

4:00 Thursday PM:   Nineteen people in our house.   Grinning at the pile of coats and shoes and scarves.    Praying.   Eating.   Loving the full plates and full tables.   Grateful for a place to include everyone.  Wondering where the pepper went.  Praying that these guests feel welcome and loved.  Praying that they know how very much God loves them.

10:00 Thursday PM:   Hugs.  Lots of hugs.   Putting away piles of games.   Wondering whose crystal dish I found.  Grateful for a country where prayer and thanksgiving are free.   Praying for our leaders.

4:00 Friday AM:   Turning off the alarm.  Why was I getting up?   Oh yes, its about the socks.   Wondering if it might not be worth paying normal price.   Grateful for friends who are as crazy as me.    Praying for safety.

1:00 Friday PM:   Tired now.   Wondering why the bank didn’t tell me I had a daily spending limit.   How annoying.   Grateful for a sister who has a debit card too.   Praying friends and family will enjoy the gifts.   Grateful for the first and ultimate Christmas gift.

5:00 Friday PM:    Eating pizza.   Loving pineapple and mozarella.   Grateful for old friends.  Praying for their teen group and ours.  Praying for wisdom for parents.

10:00 Saturday AM:   Running three miles.   Did I already mention the cold?   Grateful for coaches.   Praying I’ll be in charge of my body, not it in charge of me.

11:00 Saturday AM:   Eating a cinnamon role.    I think I already mentioned the cinnamon roles.   Really they are that good.   Wondering when I last blogged.   Praying for my niece and nephews.   Grateful for time to sit.

2:00 Saturday PM:   Craft bazaar.   Wondering where all the hats came from.   Wondering if its right to feel guilty for not buying a pot holder from the little Grandma.   Grinning with my kiddo at the tiny Christmas tree for her doll house.   Grateful for fun days.

5:00 Saturday PM:   Sitting by the fire.   Wondering if I can finish all my shopping this weekend.   Probably not.   Praying that in our house, that the miracle of Jesus doesn’t get lost in the ribbons and bows.   So very grateful for Emmanuel.  God with us.


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To Whine or Not

I brought home a souvenier from Rwanda.   Well.  Maybe.  Maybe its a souvenier I’ve been carrying around for who knows how long.   At any rate, its official.   I had two positive skin tests for tuberuclosis.   I would like to state the next sentance in very large letters.  I AM NOT CONTAGIOUS.  I HAVE NEVER BEEN CONTAGIOUS.   I thought about getting a T-shirt that had the same thing but decided a blog post might have the same effect.   I have dormant TB and am on nine months of medications.  At the end of the nine months I will gratefully be finished and will never again have to think about TB.   I’ll also never have to have another TB skin test.

The last several days I’ve had an internal battle with myself.   The whiney half of me wants to tell everyone that I think it stinks that I can’t have a whole pile of foods I love for the nine months I’m on the meds.  I have learned all about Tyramine and Histamine and liver swelling and high blood pressure.   I’ve read and reread the drug information sheet several times.    The pitiful half of myself is staring at my coffee pot and wondering if really one cup of coffee will really interact all that much and isn’t cheddar cheese worth a little severe high blood pressure?

I had another reminder this morning that gratitude really is the way to go.   I had a conversation with someone who had tuberculosis as a child.  Not the dormant kind.   Okay fine. Keep the chocolate and the coffee.   I’m grateful.

A couple of days ago someone who has already traveled this particular path emailed and said something that just made me smile. He said “welcome to the positive side”.   Another TB survivor told me its great I’ve converted and welcome aboard.   The fact is that once I’m done with the treatment, bring it on baby.    This particular body is set to go.  I have immunity now to Yellow Fever, Hepatitits A and B, Typhoid, Polio, Tetnus, and a whole pile of other prevoiusly deadly diseases.  Doesn’t this make you grateful to live in this century?   As a personal protest and committement to myself to try and not whine, I signed up for next year’s Warrier Dash.   3 miles.  Lots of mud.   This is fabulous.   This whole adventure makes me want to get on a plane and go somewhere to help push back on the darkness.    Wanna come?


Filed under Home, Rwanda

Macs and Trash

My first computer was a Macintosh Performa.  This computer was a closeout my then boyfriend now husband talked me into buying.  It was pretty slick and served well for writing random college papers and speeches for debate team.   I am a Mac fan partly because they are quite simply very cool computers, partly because I’ve never had one break at a critical moment  and partly because if I wasn’t a fan I’m not sure my marriage would survive.

The single biggest thing this particular Mac had going for it though was a little program attached to the garbage bin in the bottom right hand corner of my desktop.   When you dragged an item down to the corner to throw it away Oscar the Grouch popped out and sang a little song about how much he loved trash.

I would like to go on record that unlike Oscar the Grouch, I do not love trash.   The moment this came to me was about two weeks after our wedding.   We had a wonderful wedding followed by a spectacular week in Mexico for a honeymoon.    We came home and my gracious inlaws allowed us to crash at their house for three weeks while we waited for a housesitting job to open.   We were penniless newlyweds.    That weekend, my husband was out of town for a work conference, my inlaws were out of town for something I don’t remember and I offered to take the trash to the dump.

It was raining.   I was too short to reach into the back of the pickup.  I ended up standing at the dump, in the rain, all muddy and wondering how in the world  a week ago I was a bride and now I was a garbage woman.    Something similiar probably happens to all brides.  Its probably healthy.  I didn’t like it.

Having lived in the boonies for the last eleven years, I’ve taken many more trips to the dump.    I’ve gotten used to it.  The lady at the dump loves my dog.  She gives her dog biscuits and asks about my daughter.    Its still the dump.

The last several trips to the dump, I dragged all sorts of assorted Mac parts.  I love that the dump has a section for computer parts.    I feel better about leaving an old much loved and worn down computer all separate from the regular garbage.  Its more respectful.

This week something revolutionary happened.    I dragged our garbage and recycling to the end of the road and some very nice and very strong man came and hauled it away.    People tell me this kind of treatment happens all the time in town.  It certainly makes me want to check around for a new add on to my Mac’s recycle bin.   I could use a new Oscar the Grouch.

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I have not blogged in over a week.  I feel like a failure but I can’t find my laptop nor do I have internet access at home yet.   I also do not know where an entire box of my daughter’s clothes are but on the upside I know where my daughter is so in the big picture everything is good.

The entire moving process is such a bizarre experience.   To put it simply, you beg everyone you know to give you large cardboard boxes.  You then put every single thing you own into these boxes.   Then you beg everyone you know into helping you carry around the pile of boxes.   You stay up into the wee hours of the morning unpacking these boxes.  Lastly you beg everyone you know to take away the large pile of boxes.

Last night, I was looking at my pile of cardboard boxes.  When we were in Rwanda, I met a woman who had lost her home in a mudslide.  She had a whole pile of children and basically nothing else.  She had no boxes.  I stood staring at my boxes wondering how now to help the people we met in Rwanda.  The needs are overwhelming and its hard to find the energy to mount a fresh attack on fundraising and organizing.   But the disparity between my pile of empty boxes and her lack of boxes is continuing to haunt me.

I’m grateful for our new house.  I’m grateful for clean water.  I’m grateful I know where my family is sleeping tonight.   I’m grateful for the freedom in this country to talk or blog about what I’m thinking.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Rwanda.   It’s painful. But  I’m grateful.

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The House that Jim Built

My cat has been acting very strangely.    He is suspicious of moving furniture and belongings in boxes.   He’s taken to shadowing me when I go from room to room.    This cat is eleven years old.  He’s been through one move with us before when we remodeled this house.

I remember when Jim, our good friend who owns a contracting company, first came to look at our house.    It was then an 850 square foot A Frame.    It had a sparkly gold sink and gilded golden frame in the bathroom.   The shower was tucked into the corner of the A-Frame.  This sounds harmless but it meant that if you took a shower you had to lean sideways the entire time.    I showed Jim this shower and told him I really wanted a claw foot tub and could he somehow make that happen.   Jim had the good grace not to laugh at me. He took our rudimentary “plans” and crafted them into a house plan that the county approved and the remodel commenced.

One day early in the project, Jim was at our house talking about the next few steps.  He ripped out a pen and started writing a list and diagram on one of our walls.   He must have noticed our surprised face because he laughed and said “That wall’s not going to be there anymore, you know that right?”

We moved out of the house when Jim ripped a hole in the side of it (purposefully) and we spent the next two months camping out at my parents.  My old bedroom housed me, my husband, our dog, cat and chinchilla.   It was cozy.   The cat did fine.

My father graciously agreed to wire the house for us.  Actually, I think what he said was, “I’ll wire your house if one of the rooms is a nursery”  Subtle.    My husband and I helped pull wire, and we both learned how to wire electric switches.   I wrote Bible verses on the beams and studs while we wired.

We moved back in right before Christmas.   What a great Christmas.   Jim came in on time and on budget.   Jim is a craftsman.   My father in law paid him the best compliment I’ve heard when he stated that Jim somehow added 800 square feet to an A Frame and made it look like it was original.    One of the things I love best about this house is something Jim did as an afterthought.   When our concrete steps were poured, he pressed three leaves into the corner of one step, one for each of our family.

Right now, I’m sitting on the couch of this beautiful house listening to the Washougal River.  Sitting on the deck, drinking coffee, are the new buyers.   They told me that if I’m ever back in the neighborhood to feel free and come sit on the deck and they’ll make me a cup of coffee.  I appreciated the offer.   I love this house.

My husband and my daughter are, by nature, both forward thinking people.  They both love to plan adventures and get excited about things to come.   I’m more like the cat.  A little wary about change.

We move in six days.   The most important parts of this home are coming with us.   My great grandmother’s piano, a few quilts, my husband’s computer full of all of our family photos.   I’m thrilled to be moving.  The sale was a miracle.   Our new house is close to everyone and has room for tons of family and friends. It’s gorgeous and has amazing potential.  It has a garage and a flat driveway!  It has a backyard for my kiddo to run.    You know what it’s missing?   Some leaves pressed into the front concrete.  It needs some bible verses written on studs.   It needs some personal touches and some history.  I love history.   There are a few things that the house needs practically speaking as well.   We’re going to call Jim.   Maybe he can press some new leaves in concrete for me.   Maybe then the cat will quit following me constantly and can curl up and purr.

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Whenever I think about praying I’m amazed that God actually hears and responds to us.   I don’t for a minute believe that by praying we can force God to do what we want but I do believe the Bible when it says that the prayers of a righteous man are effective.   Like everyone, I’ve had prayers that God answered with a No.   I’ve had prayers that God answered with a Wait.   I’ve also had the joy of having some prayers answered with a resounding YES.

When I was about four I had one of those answers.  Our car wouldn’t start and I prayed and asked God for it to start.  As the story goes, my mother was a little nervous, she didn’t want my foundling faith rattled if God didn’t respond with a miracle.   God wasn’t worried though and the car started right up.

At seventeen, I was driving home from Portland when the wheel on my cool Cutlass Supreme fell off the axel.  (I also believe in angels because I didn’t crash, I just pulled over).   Sitting there in the car in the dark on the side of the freeway in 1993 I did not have a cell phone.  So I prayed a very simple plee.  God….send someone to help who won’t hurt me.   I got out of the car to walk and try to find a pay phone and guess what….my dad pulled up.   He’d been called out to an emergency late call which never happened and driving home noticed my car on the side of the road.   When God decides to answer sometimes He does it with style.

We’ve been trying to sell our house for about two months.  If you watch the news then you know that this is the worst time to be  selling a house.  About a week ago, we had several showings which ended with absolutely no interest.   We also had our one “backup plan” turn into a “never gonna happen”.   Last Wednesday, we asked some friends and family to fast and pray with us.   That same day we had a showing and now a week later, we have a cash offer, no inspection, no appraisal, moving in two weeks agreement.

My husband told my daughter to never forget this miracle.  I pray when she is in her thirties that she’ll still remember this day.  I pray that she’ll have her own list of times when God heard her.    I echo a prayer that our pastor frequently uses “Lord, Give us our Kids for the Kingdom”.


Filed under Family

Rain, Rain

The fall is here.  Yippee!  I love pulling out sweaters and coats and cozy socks.  I love hot baths and warm fires.  I love soup.  I had tomato soup today for lunch and for dinner too.   I like back to school shopping, changing leaves, football season and rain. Actually, I love the rain.  I like how it sounds and how it smells.   I like how everything shimmers right after it rains.   Allergies are better, gravel driveways are less dusty, the whole world looks brighter.   I spent a while today with a loved one who shall remain nameless searching the parking lot for a lost car.  It was raining.  We were all wet.   I didn’t mind a bit.

When I was a child I loved jumping in rain puddles.  My mother told my daughter this recently.  I think it may have been to get back at me for all the shoes I wrecked as a kid jumping in rain puddles.   My daughter however is not really a jump in the rain puddle kind of girl.  She’s more the “laugh at the mommy who jumped in rain puddles” kind of girl.   Now when it rains, she points and says “there is a big puddle mom, don’t you want to jump in it?”    I do actually but that takes a certain level of commitment.  Is the moment’s joy worth the soggy pants and squishy socks?

I have a new book.  It’s called Taste and See by John Piper.  It includes 140 meditations which are to help with “Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life”.   If you need something to read that gives you a short thought that will remind you to be grateful then get a copy of this book.   You can borrow mine in about 136 days.  Mark your calendar.  Today’s thought was all about rain.  Job 5 : 8-10 talks about the amazing and unsearchable wonders of God and includes rain an example of a miracle.   I grinned when I read it.  Not only does rain provide a great way to irrigate crops but I think God knew that we couldn’t have sunshine every day.  Rain provides a way to cool down and rest.   It’s a lot like grace.

Todd Agnew’s song Grace Like Rain sums it up nicely.

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me
Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away

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