Friday, September 28, 2007

Stream Of Consciousness

I remember back in grade school when the teacher asked us to do a 'Stream of Consciousness'. She said we were to just write about whatever popped into our head at the moment. It didn't have to make sense, it was just to show how our thoughts trailed. So, I thought it might be fun. Here is my stream of consciousness today:

It is beautiful outside. I so wish I didn't have to be at work. I think I would rather be doing anything but stuck in the office today. OK...maybe not anything. I certainly wouldn't rather jump out of an airplane than be working. As a matter of fact, I would rather be doing just about anything other than being in an airplane. That is probably not true either. But..I do loathe airplanes. I think had God really wanted us to fly...he would have given us wings. It would be great to be a bird right now. Just enough breeze to keep you gliding. You probably wouldn't have to flap your wings as much when there is a little breeze. It would have to only be a 'little' breeze though. Birds seem to work really hard when it is windy. It would stink to be a bird when it is stormy and windy outside. I can't imagine trying to fly through a storm. Speaking of storms...I sure miss them. We haven't had one in awhile. As a matter of fact, we haven't had many this year. I guess the storm season is close to being over. It should be getting cold in the next month or so. Not today, though. Today is gorgeous. Oh, look at the dog in the back of that truck. She looks like Maddie. I sure miss Maddie. I am positive she is happier where she is, but I still miss her terribly. What a face she has. I wonder if my folks and Jordan are home yet? OOPS....I was supposed to call my mom back. I'll call her in a bit. What are we having for dinner tonight? I didn't pull anything out...but I'm not really hungry. The kiddo's might be. I'll figure it out when I get home. I cannot wait to get home. Thank goodness it is Friday. Time is going slooow today. Doesn't it always when you are working? The weekend will fly by as usual. What are we doing this weekend? Oh, that's right...leaves. I am sure that my house is the only house in Red Oak that is covered with leaves. It is ridiculous. I can't believe how many leaves are on the lawn. I've got to get those taken care of this weekend.

I was interrupted, so I will end this stream of insanity now! Sad thing is......this is what really goes on in my head most days. Hmmmmm......

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Witnessing Miracles

Yesterday was an amazing day. It started early as approximately 12 students and 4 adults gathered at the high school to pray for the school, students, and the community at the annual "See you at the Pole" event. (If you are unfamiliar with the event, please check it out: What an incredible sight to see students leading the adults in prayer and being bold in their love for Christ. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it. Is there a better way to start the day? I am inclined to think not!

After that kind of start, you wonder what the rest of the day will hold. Surely nothing can top it. Well, maybe something can.......Youth Group! Wednesday night at our church is dedicated to the youth. I attend a radical church that truly believes 'the children are our future'. Our church is used and abused weekly (and sometimes more!) by kids from Kindergarten through their senior year of high school. Our Senior Pastor, David, and his wife, Connie, currently serve as our Youth Pastors, too and are totally committed to seeing that the kids who walk through our doors are given every opportunity to know Jesus Christ. The kids love them (so do I!!!:)

Last night was our 2nd week of Xtreme Faith (high school youth group) this fall. We witnessed some of the teens getting up and talking to their peers about their own relationships with Christ and that alone was incredible. These are teens that, a year ago, weren't even sure where their relationship with Christ was. What an indescribable joy it has been to watch what God has done in the lives of these kids. We even witnessed one teen speak (with the help of Pastor Dave:) who has been sober for 84 days. She has had to make some major life changes to stay sober, including giving up some of her 'good friends', but with Christ by her side...she is doing it. I know there are people who don't believe in miracles, but some of these teens are definitely miracles of God. They are breaking the molds of what the teens of today look like. They are saying 'NO' to drugs, drinking, and pre-marital sex in a world (and school) that is completely consumed with these things. If that is not a miracle then I don't know what is. Still, some of the teens are struggling with their addictions. They are having trouble saying 'No' and they are giving in to peer pressure. However, they are still going to church and they are still confident that Jesus loves them. That may be a miracle, too.

Yesterday was an amazing day. So is every day that I spend with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing than watching Jesus work in the lives of those you know and love. Yesterday, I was a witness to miracles that, in my opinion, in today's world, parallel the parting of the Red Sea. As my eldest daughter would say...."Jesus, You Rock Socks"!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Welcome Home

I cannot even put into words how much I love this time of year. The smell of fall is in the air, the leaves are beginning to change colors, the weather has cooled down, church activities are happening more frequently, youth groups are starting, the kiddo's are bustling with excitement as they begin a new school year, and of course, Homecoming! What would fall be without Homecoming? If you have never lived in a small town, then you can't begin to really know what Homecoming is all about.

Being from California, I had never really experienced Homecoming. Of course, we did the usual Homecoming activities in school. You know.....each class had a different name (Did we really call ourselves the Sophomore Surfers?:), each day had a different theme, and there was a definite excitement during that particular week which caused every other week of school to fail in comparison. Except, maybe, the last week. However, Homecoming (or Spirit Week as it was known in California) was mostly limited to the school. It was for the kids. Then I moved to Red Oak, Iowa.

Today I had a meeting with one of my daughters teachers at the high school (we homeschool, but my girls are dual enrolled). When I arrived there were students everywhere. There were four or five trucks with trailers parked in front of the school, loud music, and kids working diligently trying to finish their floats before the Homecoming parade. As I entered the school I was immediately submersed into a sea of Black and Orange (school colors). School will be dismissed early so every student can attend the Homecoming parade and show their 'Tiger Pride'. Of course, you expect that from the students.

What is amazing, though, is the amount of adults that will take time off from work, laundry, running errands, etc. to attend the parade. Homecoming isn't a 'school' is a community thing. Office workers, store clerks, factory workers, and most everyone will be wearing the Tiger colors and those that can, will be at the parade to show their support. And, as a grand finale, the biggest majority of the town will attend tonights football game where we will listen to the, sometimes off key, marching band and see the Homecoming King and Queen and their royal court smiling and waving to the boys and girls who dream of being in their shoes someday. Even people who no longer live in Red Oak will come back this weekend to reminisce about their own Homecoming days. Which, if I am not mistaken, is really what Homecoming is supposed to be about. Welcoming home Alumni.

When I think of the word Homecoming, I can't help but think of the Homecoming we, as believers will receive when we leave this world and go Home to Heaven. I try to imagine it like it is here on earth.

Jesus, the Homecoming King, standing at the gates smiling and waving. The Royal Court, all our brothers and sisters in Christ, standing behind Him cheering as I approach. Everyone dressed in Royal Purple and White (team colors), showing their 'Heaven Pride' and Angels, the marching band, blowing their trumpets in perfect harmony. As I finally make it to my Savior and look Him in the face for the first time, He wraps His arms around me and whispers in my ear "Welcome Home Alumni". In that moment, my childhood dream comes true, I am Homecoming Queen.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Memory Full! More Space Needed!

So I decided that it would be a good idea to start blogging more frequently. I thought it might be good to get my thoughts out of my head on a daily (or at least weekly) basis. I am hoping that if I begin to get some thoughts out of my head, maybe it will improve my memory. I am praying it works much like a computer where I can delete some files and make some room. I sure need it!

You know how people always say when you get older...."the memory is the first to go"? Well, I am starting to believe it. When I was younger I always kind of laughed at that idea. However, as I am approaching 40 I am finding myself forgetting just about everything. I walk into rooms only to discover that I cannot, for the life of me, remember why! I make appts and forget them or I make appts at the same time I already have something else going on. I begin sentences and can't complete them because the thought has 'escaped me'. I know I am beginning to repeat myself because my children, being the sensitive little cherubs they are, can't wait to let me know in their most annoyed voice; "I know mom, you already told me!". My only question is.....

WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN? This is only supposed to happen to 'old' people. 40 is NOT old. Of course, when I was in my teens and early 20's, 40 was ancient. However, as I rapidly approach 40...clearly I was dumb in my younger years. 40 is definitely not old.

While I could do without the whole memory problem, I must say that I appreciate growing older. Every day seems to bring new challenges and new lessons. I love where my life is right now and look forward to seeing what God has in store for the future. Life is good, God is great. That, I will never forget:)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Faith Like A Child....Part 2

I decided to make this a two-part blog for several reasons. One, because there was a lot to write about and two, because I needed to really meditate on what God was trying to show me through all of this. There were several different lessons and I didn't want to get focused on one and miss out on what God was really saying. As always, this blog will end up completely different than what I intended to write. That's OK...To God Go The Glory.........
Jordan was scared to have surgery. She was scared of the IV needle, the hospital, and everything that was about to happen to her. As I said in part 1 of this made me feel completely helpless. Truth is...I wasn't completely helpless. I could've told the Dr. that I wasn't comfortable with the surgery and refused to let him do it. However, in the long run, that would've been the worst thing for Jordan. While it would've provided her with instant relief (happiness), it would not have relieved her for the long haul (peace). It wasn't that I could not change her circumstance, I would not. I knew what was best for her in the future.

God is not helpless in our lives, either. He created the universe and everything in it. His voice calms storms and moves mountains. Our daily strife is no mountain to move for God. With one snap of His fingers or flick of His wrist He could banish all of our woes to a far off place. So why doesn't He? I believe it is because He knows that if He did we would be happy (instant relief), but if He doesn't we will find peace (the long haul). He knows what is best for us in the future.

Even though Jordan did not want to have the surgery, she found some comfort in knowing that I was there for her and would not leave her. She had faith in me.....her mother and protector.
When I am struggling with a fear I find comfort in God. I know He is here for me and He won't leave me. I have faith in Father, Protector, and Savior.

And in the end, when Jordan realized that even her mom couldn't stop that dreaded needle, she placed her faith in the One that could. She called on Jesus.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Faith Like A Child....Part 1

My 10 year old daughter, Jordan, had her tonsils and adenoids removed last week. Jordan is the 'baby' of the family and definitely still my baby. It has been quite a traumatic experience for both of us. Jordan, of course, was very scared in the days leading up to the surgery. As her mom I felt so helpless. I knew this surgery was necessary and that once it was over and she was healed, it would improve her health. Knowing that, however, made it no easier when she would turn to me with crocodile tears and tell me she was scared. All I could do was give her a hug and reassure her that I would be with her when she went in and I would be waiting in her room when she woke up. While she seemed to find some comfort in knowing that, her fear of the dreaded IV needle seemed to trump my words of comfort.

Jordan made it through the surgery AND the IV and was released the next day. Before she left the Dr. made it very clear that if she did not have enough liquids she would dehydrate and she would have to go back to the hospital and have the IV put in again. Her eyes got wide and I knew that she would do what she needed to do to make sure she didn't have to have an IV again. I was wrong. Even though she was scared of the needle, she couldn't seem to make herself drink anything. It was 5 days after the surgery and she had become very lathargic and weak. I decided enough was enough and called the Dr. on day 6.

I took Jordan back to the Dr.'s office. Jordan was so scared she was going to have to have another IV that she began to cry in the parking lot of the hospital. Again, I was helpless. I was worried about dehydration and as much as I didn't want to see her have to have an IV, I was also very aware that dehydration could lead to something worse. The nurse came in and checked her vitals and Jordan said, in an almost pleading voice, "I hope I don't have to have an IV again". The nurse turned to her and said "I hope so, too, but you haven't been drinking". I could see the disappointment in Jordan's face as that was not the response she had been hoping for.

When the Dr. came in the room, I explained the situation and he immediately looked in Jordan's mouth. Turns out she has a yeast infection in her mouth which is commonly referred to as Thrush. He explained that this was the reason she was not wanting to eat or drink. He said he was going to prescribe some antibiotics and that she would not need an IV as long as she began to drink. When the Dr. left the room I smiled at Jordan and gave her a hug. I told her I was proud of her and I was happy she didn't have to have an IV again. She looked at me and said "I prayed mommy".