Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Road I've Traveled

As I look back on this road I've traveled
I see so many times He's carried me through
And if there's one thing that I've learned in my life
My Redeemer is faithful and true

My Redeemer is faithful and true
And everything He's said He will do
And every mourning his mercies are new
My Redeemer is faithful and true
By Steven Curtis Chapman

Saturday, March 27, 2010

the test of grace


a friend recently commented that "the best friendships are those that stand the test of time."
i responded that "those friendships are wonderful indeed, but to me the best friendships are the ones that stand the test of grace.

i need grace.

too often my mouth takes off, spewing out words before i can catch them.

i'm working on self-control,
on mouth-control.

but in the meantime

i need grace.

i am a selfish creature. i like things my way.

i'm working on considering others before myself,
on trying things your way.

be patient with me,

I need grace.

i'm judgmental and prideful.
(i'm a recovering pharisee)

I'm working on humility.

don't be done with me.

i need grace.

i am insecure.

sadly my insecurity can cause me to be the ugliest version of myself.

i'm sorry.


the best friendships are those that stand the test of grace.

they stay.
see in me what i cannot see in myself.
love me,
and wait with great expectation as
the Potter shapes this clay...

With His Grace.

(photos of yarn taken during our weekend away).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


we don't date much.

we do life;
working, photographing, taxi'n, bills, cooking, cleaning,
yard work, weeding, laundry, homeschooling,
disciplining, grocery shopping, surviving, and hoping-

our dates consist of
two weary parents,
with kids tucked into bed,
falling on the couch
and into each others arms
every night.

weekends away together are a treat.
holding hands,
conversation and quiet,
delighting in our life together,
dreaming of our future,
being "us" again.

so happy together
at avila beach

nana& gramps (the sitters) loft in S.L.O.
so lovely and SO FREE!

Picnik collage
pix from avila beach and santa barbara.
i'm curious what is a "mind spa?"
(i'm sure i could use one).

i'm thinking of laying a beach towel out on a beach with a cardboard sign that reads
"stay at mom needs babysitting money!"
i'd toss my coins to that worthy cause.

bike slo
a sunday a.m. bike ride in s.l.o.
(thanks lindsey for letting us use your cruisers).

moonstone beach
moonstone beach in cambria.

ending the weekend in the most delicious way,
with a peace of linn's olallieberry pie
(linn's will air on the food network's "best thing i ever ate" in the fall).

do you and your husband date?

what would your beach towel say?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

beauty is a homeless man

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me...

I tell you the truth,
whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine,
you did for me.
Matthew 25:35-36 & 40

We met George Lucask in 2005. He had been a crippled, abused, toothless, homeless man living under a bridge in Fresno before a family from our church befriended him. They brought him to our mountain community, and arranged shelter for him at a local motel. They also made arrangements with a handful of families to visit with and provide one meal for George each day.

We signed up for Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

George struggled to adjust to a motel room as his home (long term arrangements were being pursued). Adjusting to sleeping in a bed, showering, using the toilet, and cleanliness did not come easily for George. The street had become his home. And though it was unsafe, he wanted to return to familiarity.

George battled demons (lies). He had a history of shame. At 18 he left his country of Hungary to avoid being enlisted in the military. He never saw his family again. This caused him much sadness. In addition he had been wounded shortly after arriving in the U.S., as a result he spent much of his adult life on crutches. The defeat caused him to seek comfort in alcohol.

George had become an outcast. His companions were loneliness and scorn.

BUT God...

The kids ( 3, 5 & 6) and I would arrive at his motel room with a meal, snacks, a bible, and EXPECTANCY.

We expected to see Jesus in George, and with George.

And we did.


As George sat to eat his meal, I'd read scripture, share my stories of battling lies, and coming into Truth. George received them. I saw the doors of grace opening in his dear life.

Each time we visited George, my sweet Emilie delighted in seeing him! She'd embrace him and hold his hand, nestle in close to him. Her genuine love made this untouchable, touchable.

The gray walls of George's motel room were quickly being transformed into a gallery. As a handful of children poured their love for him out in displays of art.

Washing George's feet became part of our visits. His feet caused him much pain, and had scaled over, increasing his pain. Tenderness, Compassion, and Love were invited into his room with each washing. I was humbled (a gift as i was coming out of the most prideful season of my life).

Once we brought George to our home. We had visited him many times in his home, but knew hospitality meant inviting him into our lives as well. He sat with the kids and I as we home schooled. And then we put George gladly to work, cutting strawberries for his favorite dessert- strawberry shortcake (he was adorable with whipped cream in his beard).

On another outing (which resulted in ice cream sandwiches and driving through a car wash) We were listening to hymns when George started singing loudly and clearly-

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Those words have had new meaning and power since hearing them flow from George's lips.

In George I saw that Beauty is a homeless man.

Before I met George I thought He was "the least of these," but during that season with George I discovered that I was the "least of these." I hadn't seen Jesus in ALL people, only in people that looked the part.

But George, a homeless man, was Jesus with skin on.

And Jesus was beautiful.

george 67
Where have you seen Beauty?
(George now lives in community, in a home for Senior Citizens,
where his physical, emotional, and medical needs are provide for).

To read more stories of Beauty or to share your own visit Best Days of Our Lives.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

green with envy

green2 collage
"smoochy"- noah's frog, our green view,
a green wall, my green boy (22 months)

green shirts collage
st. pat's day shirts
follow this tutorial to make your own.
yummy cookies in a green box, green thread,
green suitcase, green book- "the giving tree"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

crazy. wonderful.

as my sister, toni, and i got in her car and drove away from oakdale, she said, "i'm tired. this day feels like it began a long time ago." i thought about the weight of her words and responded, "it did, it began 26 years ago when mike became our dad."

the day caused us to revisit our childhood. together. which is much better than doing it alone. it is lonely to go there alone.

we attended mike's memorial service. we were recognized in his obituary and eulogy as step-daughters. we were included in the photo collage. we were recognized and embraced by family and friends. childhood stories were told and delighted in.

after the service we drove through our childhood. down the streets, past the many homes, and memories. together. it was important. we've both done it alone, but never together. and we extended grace to the other for how they experienced that time. it was good. healing. necessary.

our drive took us past the home of "dad" #6, larry. he was home. we wondered if it would be too much for this day, to stop by, but curiosity got the best of us. he was delighted to see us. just hearing his voice and seeing his face was a piece of home to me (my memory of home is a puzzle of pieces).

as larry introduced us to his new girlfriend he proudly announced, "these were my girls."

in the previous post i quoted beth moore, who says, "you can't amputate your history from your destiny." she says, "God wants to redeem your history."

redemption happened yesterday.

when the relationships with the "dads" ended, there was never explanation or conversation between the adults and my sister and i. the adults moved on, and we were required to move on too.
sadly this lack of consideration for the tender hearts of two little girls left a lot of room for lies to move in. i have believed all these years that i (we) was irrelevant, not wanted, and of no worth to the men who were dads (this of course has carried over into other areas of my life. i battle this lie daily).

but at mike's service our relevance to his life was shared.

and when larry introduced us as his girls that too spoke of our value.

the lie i've believed was being rewritten into truth.

God is redeeming, rewriting my story.

and i ask myself. 'why am i sharing this with you?'

and this is why...GOD.

look at me.

do you see HIM?

do you see God?

Oh, how i long for you to.

God has saved my life.

and given me LIFE.

i am a God miracle.

i feel like the crippled beggar (Acts 3) who was placed at the temple gate (called Beautiful) everyday. he begged for $ (for provision) but in Jesus he found what his heart really longed for, The Healer.
The scripture goes on to say that after his healing he went into the "temple court, walking and jumping and praising God."

do you see me? i am walking and jumping and praising God!

john 3:16 says, "for God SO LOVED the world, He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not die, BUT have everlasting life."

i live in that love!

i live that everlasting life!

and i only LIVE because God saved my life.

as we drove away from oakdale, toni said, "it's crazy. we have 7 dads."

"it is crazy, so crazy!" i responded. "but it's also wonderful. we have loved and been loved by many."

Thank you God for healing the crazy and making it wonderful.

May God heal the crazy in your life. redeem your history. rewrite it. make it wonderful,
and be glorified.

Friday, March 12, 2010


i usually crack jokes about it.

i don't know why i do this.

i think because it's such an uncomfortable thing to say, and i imagine an uncomfortable thing to hear.

so i crack jokes.

and when i do the other party laughs.

and that uncomfortable feeling-sorry-for-me moment seems gone.

but today i'm not going to joke about it.

beth moore says, " you can't amputate your history from your destiny." she is right. i've tried to sever limbs from my story, but God doesn't allow it (how i've wished he would). However, He causes me to live with my wounded limbs- my wounded history.

He wants to, and He does, REDEEM it.

so here it goes...

i've had 7 dads.

(long awkward pause)

joe- is my birth dad. he didn't claim me as his daughter until last year. he was a drug user for 25+ years. he is lives in a state hospital, he is paranoid schizophrenic.
he taught me how to throw a frisbee. he bought me my first car -it was a yellow convertible with pedals. he ducked taped it back together when it fell apart. he liked working on cars.

kenny (k-2nd)- was my first step-dad. i called him daddy. had his last name. he introduced me to jesus. made me a teeter-totter. he put a swing in the tree of our front yard. he'd push me so high my toes reached heaven. after he and my mom divorced he took my sister and i to columbia state park. that day meant a lot to me (columbia is still one of my favorite places to visit). i found a large fools gold rock with him that day. it is 28 years later and i still have that big rock.

manny (3-5th)- my mother was engaged to him. he was a quiet man. kind. he played guitar. he'd sit by my bed side at bedtime with his guitar and sing a song he wrote. i don't remember much else about manny, but this is a lovely thing to remember.

mike (5th-8th)- i called him dad. had his last name. he loved sports. taught me how to throw a football. coached my softball team. took my sister and i to the park, and made us learn how to slide into home base. he was a hard worker. had a lively family. he got us a basset hound, his name was mork. mike smelled like cocoa beans (he worked at the hershey factory).

tim (8th to Jr. year)- he was engaged to my mom. he never tried to be my dad. i liked that. he was a dreamer. he talked to me, listened, cared. once, i showed him a picture of a loft bed in a magazine, he surprised me by making that bed for me (he didn't sand it. he didn't measure the space between the mattress and the ceiling. i'd have to shimmy up the wall to get into bed, then lay flat on my back with my nose to the ceiling. this still makes me laugh). tim still calls me twice a year. he calls on my birthday in the fall, and again in the spring. it means a lot to me that he kept his commitment to be a part of my life.

larry (Jr. year -19)- my mom married him my jr. year of high school. he was stable. had a jolly laugh. he was a hard worker. he too didn't try to be my dad ( a good thing). he provided us with a beautiful home. he liked and built cars. my 65 ford falcon looked good parked next to his 34 ford cabriolet. we had a bartering system-he'd fix my car, and i'd pay by mowing the lawn.

steve (20-present)- hard worker. calls me "kiddo," loves and delights in my kids. i like to watch him worship.

i've had 7 dads.

i can't amputate them from my story.

there is much ache as a result of having seven dads that i have not shared.
just having 7 dads come and go brings enough ache of it's own.

i love each of them.

and i have mourned the loss of each of them.

this weekend i will go to a memorial service and mourn the loss of one of them again, mike passed away.

there is daddy whose loss i will never mourn.
God is the "Everlasting Father" (Isaiah 9:6)
a Father who will "never leave me or forsake me."
His love is unconditional and immeasurable!
He rewrites my story, redeems my life, and tells a better story.

Monday, March 8, 2010

baby love


Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Picnik collage
tutorial links:
cloth baby blocks
paper bows
paper flowers
(i used magazine pages, and scrapbooking paper for my paper flowers. i also used twigs for the stem)
applique onsies
(i used fusible fabric underneath, lined the top fabric to it, then stitched the perimeter with a zig zag stitch)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

her baby

"she's moving," melanie said, and i quickly placed my hand on her belly.

and waited.

waited to feel her baby.

melanie's baby.

melanie, the 10 yr old i met 20 years ago.

the 10 yr old who grew up in front of me.

and along side me.

the baby of a girl who by God's design was never my friend, but my God-sister.

i waited to feel her roll.

sweet baby girl.

and with my hand on melanie's belly, i remembered.

20 years of sisterhood;
oakdale church of the nazarene
church roof, laying under the steeple taking in the stars
mission trips
my first apartment
introducing her to michael
moving 2 hrs away
then her moving an ocean away
seeing her again on my wedding day
the penguin car
popcorn and kool-aid
driving her to meet her future (college)
not knowing that as i dropped her off my future was changing (noah)
christmas break, and my first baby belly
her wedding day
first homes/neighboring homes
coffee at her place
friendship that stands the test of time and grace
and the good bye hug.

and baby rolled across the palm of my hand.

melanie's baby.

i couldn't keep the floodgates shut.

melanie's having a baby!

and i love her already.

because she is my melanie's baby.

proud daddy steve, "mel mel," baby (in the belly of course), me, and michael.

baby shower pix to follow!

Friday, March 5, 2010


i have spent most of this past week preparing for a baby shower i'm throwing this weekend.

i waited till close to the last minuet to make banners, paper flower bouquets, and to sew baby gifts.

today i'll clean, bake, and try to figure out how to fit 30 people in my home for tomorrow's celebration.

i'll take lots of pix of the event, and send you links so you too can learn how to create your own pretties.

in the meantime enjoy a few handmade items from someone who use to be afraid of handmade.

one of my new favorite, creative blogs is How About Orange. where i have found too many handmade things to try my hand at. i have been surprised by what i can do! these gift bows made from magazine pages were easy-peasy! so easy in fact i may never buy a bag of a dozen gift bows for a $1 again.

we recently attended two first birthday parties, both with the cupcake theme.
i whipped up these darling little cupcake shirts for the birthday girls.
they look delicious to this fairly new appliquer.
and because i was going applicrazy i had to make each birthday girl
another shirt with an ME look.

What are your weekend plans?

Are you a fan of handmade or do you fear it?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Good Infection

(Originally posted Feb. 2009)
"This matters more than anything else in the world... The whole dance, or drama, or pattern of this three-Personal life is to be played out in each one of us: or each one of us has got to enter that pattern, take his place in that dance. There is no other way to the happiness for which we were made.

Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection. If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them.

They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry.


Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever?

Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?"

C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity

photo taken on my trip to Flores, Azores, Portugal - July 2007