He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

Why we moved

It occurs to me that some of you asked about the details of our move, and I was moving and never answered you!

It is probably obvious by now that we moved to Indiana. Frankfort, to be exact. It's about 45 minutes from Indianapolis (one of our fav cities!). David's home town (home of the HOT DOGS!!!) and home church and home school. For those of you that missed the earlier blog, the reason for our move is for David to go to school at TEDS in Chicago.

So he'll be helping out around here wherever he can - probably in the church's school. I think I'll take up bonbons and magazines. In addition to the challenges of that high calling, I am planning to keep my priorities as wife and mother at the top - holding things together while David is gone to school. And I may see if I can round up a few music lessons. Maybe teach some Kindermusik. And also try helping out wherever I can. (Just wanna be a blessing, you know.)

So there's the scoop.

We're glad we're here and we love these people.
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Moving Day & Tuesday

Monday went pretty well. Our caravan started off at about 7:20 - only 20 minutes late. We only had a few incidents - involving carsickness, credit cards and screaming (I won't tell you who was screaming).

Aunt Becky had a delicious supper for us as soon as we pulled into town. We ate and ran. Jody kept my kids while we went around the block to unload the truck. There were a PILE of men there to help! It was a blessing. And so fun to see all the old friends. And as far as I know, nothing too embarrassing fell out. When I went back to pick up the kids, I found them clean and smelling sweet! Thank you, Aunt Becky and Jody!

TUESDAY:

So now our stuff is safely stashed in the bus barn. (One poor bus gave up its warm bed and is braving the elements for a few weeks.) We're living with the Frys until we finish the house. Today when we left to take the "Big Yellow Truck" back, Kayla wanted to know why.

Me: "Because we're already moved and we don't need it anymore."
Her: "But we're NOT moved. We don't live in that house yet."
Me: Well.....Um.....
Her: "Do we live here?"

So I explained for the thirteen-thousandth time what's going on. She's trying really hard to understand it all - you can actually see her concentrating on it. I tried to explain it as when we stay here for vacation, but that didn't quite work...I'll keep trying. She's getting it.

Today while we were working on the house, she said

"Do you know what color I want to paint my room?"
"What color?"
"Green. Do you know why?"
"Why?"
"Because that's what color my room was in Alabama and I like the color green and since I'm missing it there, maybe if we paint my room green here it will help me not be so sad and miss it so much."

Sweet, huh?

It was great to walk around Frankfort this morning. (I haven't been walking much the last month.) Passing people, wondering if I should greet them in English or Spanish. Opting for English. Figuring I chose wrong after the blank polite smiles. Checking out the native yards - taking notes on what does well in this soil and what's blooming now. Passing the exquisitely beautiful scrap metal plant and being mesmerized by the giant magnet the size of a kitchen table. Being honked and glared at by an impatient blonde who did not find the giant magnet mesmerizing. Seeing a huge jack rabbit that looked like a yard ornament and going closer to make it run - just so I could see its long, hopping body and fuzzy white behind. Giving a typical smalltown Alabama wave to the people I passed on the road and finding that Indianaans are more comfortable with nodding or nothing. Feeling like a silly-smiling-waving Alabama girl.

So it was a full and busy day. And an absolutely gorgeous Indiana night. I took advantage of it to talk to my Abba.

The speaker at David's graduation made a comment about spiritual dryness in ministry. He referred to needing to "dig his well deeper." I'm not sure how it all works, but I think some digging is going on. But when the Lord shines his light on my desperate need for Him, I'm so glad and so thankful and so embarrassed of myself. I just wish I could rent a steam shovel and get it over with. I guess He knows all I can handle right now is a Gerber baby spoon.
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Backtracking...

Okay - after packing day (Thursday), we went to Mississippi on Friday and attended the graduates banquet at Wesley Biblical Seminary. David was honored with the "outstanding scholar in Biblical studies" award - or something like that. And received a book so thick it would make a good night stand. (Hey! There's one less thing we need to replace...) We had no idea about this honor, and I caught the surprise on video. He also did an excellent job speaking at the banquet and made us all laugh.

Saturday was graduation. It was such a wonderful time of remembering why we chose to move to a strange and ugly land to attend such an incredible seminary. We'd do it all again...

We headed back to our home in Alabama and whipped the last-minute cleaning. Aunt Tami was the drill sergeant. We had a list and everyone checked things off. Even Uncle Alex was scrubbing floors. I know, I should've taken a picture....

Sunday was hard. We really love our church people. Very much. And they have been so, so good to us. But over and over I've been glad that we're not leaving because things are yucky. We're just following the plan we've had since before we got married, practically.

We said goodbye to some dear friends: the Presbyterian pastor and family - our neighbors, partners in ministry, friends, and their kids - (Kayla's best friend, Esther.) The distinguished Eads Family, the Benders - and others. We have been blessed, indeed, these last 4 years in the deep south.
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HELLO!?

I'm not on my own computer, and I can't view any of my posts on my blog. It's like someone wiped me off the face of the blogging universe. Maybe I should catch a clue.....

WHAT'S GOING ON?

Okay...don't know what all THAT was about, but we're back on track now with my insomnia. (This posting backwards thing is really confusing. For you, I mean. If you read from the top of the blog it's really wacky.)
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Insomnia

I'm all a-jumble inside and can't sleep. So what better place to empty your brain than the World Wide Web? I'll probably have to break it up into bite-sized posts, to keep the noodle-braining from getting out of control.
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Stuff

What a day. I was happily surprised when I came to the computer for a little winding-down time while my hair dries that it is only 15 minutes past my normal bedtime!! It all started at 5:30 am. We finished up the loose ends of packing and most of the cleaning. I am always amazed at how incredible it is to work with other women! David's dad, mom, sister and brother are here helping and they worked like a pack of wild animals. lol.

We got the truck around noon, and everything went along swimmingly for a few hours. We packed slowly, trying to fill every nook and cranny of that huge truck. But then as the hours wore on, it became apparent that everything was NOT going to fit. I made a dripping faucet of myself, reminding that we needed to make some decisions if things weren't going to fit. But as the truck filled up and the house emptied out, things sorta fell apart.

I realized rather quickly that something drastic would have to be done. So I started carrying a few things out to the curb that hadn't sold at our yard sale. I put really cheap prices on them, and people dropped by and started buying. But then as the truck kept filling, I had to make really hard decisions and start putting out my STUFF. My beautiful desk, perfectly good tubs had to be emptied out, almost all of the girls furniture, most of their toys.....on and on. We sold some and gave away lots.
We had to be at our farewell church dinner at 6:00. And as it quickly approached the people started gathering. There was a major crowd of people sitting there - just watching us load as I methodically got rid of the beautiful things I loved.

We had already downsized - and I wanted to! This parsonage is big and beautiful and has LOTS of room - plus a huge study. But the way things happened I gave away hundreds of dollars of perfectly good, usable stuff. I was pretty strong, I'll tell you, out of necessity. But I remember thinking that I wish just one of you was here to just look at me and know that it was tough. That it would be expensive to replace a lot of it and that it was okay - but just hard. It's not that I mind downsizing more- but it would have been easier to be able to choose what went.

But they fit an UNBELIEVABLE amount of stuff in the truck. You'd all crack up. I took great pains to sort and pack and wrap and make sure there weren't many loose items. But by the end - they were emptying out tubs and cramming things into holes! So we're just going to open the truck door when we get there and jump out of the way! Hope nothing embarrassing falls out. (We're moving in with David's folks for awhile while our house gets fixed up. So all of this stuff is getting stuffed into bags or boxes again and loaded into a bus barn until we move it again into the house. Sounds like fun - wanna come?)

And by the end of the exhausting day, we gathered in the empty kitchen with our aching bodies and had prayer. And I cried with gratefulness. You know, it's all just stuff. I remember my mom saying that as they moved out of our gorgeous childhood home of almost 30 years and sold it all.

And I was overwhelmed at how blessed I am to have so many beautiful things. (I've been tempted to feel guilty for loving a beautiful home - but am learning that it is His beauty printed in us that makes us love beauty.)

And our family! What more could we want or need? I made a goal of keeping a certain amount of outfits for each kid - and am looking forward to less laundry! I have been hungry to learn more about living with an eternal view of possessions (Reading Money, Possessions and Eternity.) The Lord knows how much this girl loves beautiful stuff, and what a slow learner I am. So He just gave me a pop quiz today. I'm thankful. So thankful.

And tomorrow is a new day! We're headed to Mississippi for David's graduation and banquet Fri. and Sat. And we get to stay in a MOTEL!! (A major treat for this little family - Can anyone say "Cartoons"?! How 'bout "kids sleeping with Aunt Tami"?! ) Oh, yeah!
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Everything you never wanted to know

about our move:

Wa HOOOO! It’s Tuesday, and we’re almost finished packing the last room! I asked my husband to help me pack the cabinets in the kitchen and Vroom! He tore.it.UP! I had to scramble to keep up with him. He’s at the store now buying paper goods to eat on until we leave. We pack the truck on Thursday, leave Friday for his graduation in Mississippi, come home on Saturday in time for our last Sunday as pastors here, then head to Indiana on Monday with our caravan of vehicles.

We finished shampooing the last room yesterday – I love getting a room all finished up. I stop by periodically just to gaze in at the perfectly clean nothingness. Now I have to tie up loose ends, pack my desk, and keep cleaning everything I can get my hands on.

AND I have a violin gig this afternoon – two days before the big yellow truck arrives.
What was I thinking?? Oh yeah. Money
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Kayla-isms

Kayla Rose is 4. Her name means "Pure Rose" - and it fits her fine. She is artistic and perfectionistic. Her will is very strong, but right now we are in a "reaping" season. Sweetness abounds - for the moment. Sometimes her way with words cracks me up. Here are a few of her eloquent moments. (Not quite as cute without the big blue eyes, 4-year-old accent and that little hand that motions to the rhythm of what she's saying.....use your imagination.)

Pulling out of her violin lesson. Seeing a jogger go by:
Kayla: "Is she exursizing?"
Mommy: "Yeah, how can you tell?"
Kayla: "Well....look at hur. She's in hur......hur UNDERWEAR!" (peals of hysterical laughter)

Helping mommy clean my now-empty bedroom and closets. She made a list of everything we had left to do and checked them off as we went. Asking for something to do to help:
"You can’t just clean everything at once all by yourself like an OCTOPUS! So why don’t we help each other?"

Kayla was strongly against our move from the beginning. She just didn't want to leave. One night as I held my girls during bedtime prayers, I said...."And Lord, we're SO excited about moving to a new house..." Kayla kept her mouth shut until the amen, then promptly and adamantly said, "Well - I'M not!!"

But she has had a change of heart, primarily because of her eagerness to start school. Now she's ready to go, but still seems a bit sentimental. Being with mommy while she cleans:
"But it's been fun living here, hasn't it?"
Yes, Baby - it has been fun.

Asking for some more juice this morning. Mommy agreed to get it, then forgot. Reminding mommy, so mommy gets it and hands it to her:
"There you go....NOW you're liss-a-nin'!"

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Music, Mozart, Moshing & Mommies

Tonight I drug my tired self and my poor blistered foot back into the van to go take down the yard sale signs and buy some powerade for my part-camel husband.

I was cruising around in my super-cool grocery-getter, enjoying a tune by a popular CCM artist. But then typical Saturday evening Christian radio led me to endure what some would describe as music and others as Christian (both debatable).

Apologies to the toes of any of you moshing, head-banging moms out there….

And I was thinking about my philosophy of music-listening, and what I’m going to tell my kids when they’re teens when they want to crank it up in about 9 years. (Isn’t God good to give us a decade or so to prepare – or at least brace ourselves and stock up on cotton?)

Then I remembered that I’m totally programming them right now. I am developing their musical tastes by my own. Filling their fresh, young minds with the vibrations that their brains will literally grow around. (Maybe I’ll blog about the scientific truth of this another day….it’s powerful stuff!)

I do have some clarity on what I want to teach them. But sometimes I’m nervous because my musical tastes are bafflingly diverse. As I mentioned before, head-banging music makes me want to….well…bang my head! But other than that, it is difficult to find a style of music that I cannot enjoy or at least appreciate for a few moments or longer. But I am aware of the dangerous paths down which an ipod-mesmerized youth can be led. Vigilance is not optional. Right now – even when they’re 0, 2 and 4!

At this point in my meager parenting development, I am of the tendency to not forbid entire genres of music, but rather to teach and model the principles that will guide the practice. That idea basically summarizes the philosophy of my husband and I in all lifestyle issues. (Not that there aren’t absolutes….I won’t digress).

I am also of the opinion (ducking from possible rotten vegetation) that God did not design our bodies so powerfully to respond to music in every way if He had already sanctioned THE music that is “okay.” Translation: Dancing is good! Please don’t freak. I’m being funny. Sort of.

Many of you have heard my Dad’s sarcastically famous reference to “The Seven Songs that God Likes.” So much he taught me makes more and more sense as life goes along. I am so convinced that God does not fit into a neat and tidy musical box. So many parents push their children away from being spiritually and intellectually thorough in their music choices by FORBIDDING instead of TRAINING.

Today I was also reminded of the “do what I say, not what I do” phenomenon. My children are not allowed to make negative comments or noises about food they are given. But I tasted something today and said, “Blech!” I think it was Kayla who caught me. I am trusting in the fact that kids also learn powerful lessons from hearing their parents back up and apologize when needed.

You’ve all heard about the "Mozart Effect." I, of course, have opinions about all that, but I’ll spare you. But I do know about “The Mommy Effect.” I’m not saying my kids will grow up to love the same music I love. But it is possible. And those 6 little beady eyes are watching….6 six crusty ears listening (uh....ear infections).



It makes me at once want to crank up the music with joy and throw out the speakers in fear. What an opportunity to introduce their ears and minds to the handprint of God. But mercy – I’d better have my musical ducks in a row.
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Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho....

I'm cracking up. David bravely agreed to take all 3 kids to the doctor this morning while I set up our moving sale for tomorrow. (Our doc is a LONG drive from here). I just got in from some errands, and called him at the Dr's office to see if they had any questions (not that I doubt my husband's intelligence, but he may not be as up-to-date on the mom details like how long have the noses been green instead of clear and which ear is the baby pulling and what is the consistency of the eye gunk). Anyway....the baby does have an ear infection. And when I asked about the other two girls, he said..."I'll have to get the list and read it to you later." lol

I knew my kids were really sick, but a list? Oh great.

I'm a firm believer that the body was designed to heal itself if you treat it right and give it time. But there are days when a doctor is....well...just what the doctor ordered! Sounds like this was one of those times. I decided when the constant fussiness turned into constant screams that I'd better send them to the doc or go to one myself for my ulcer!!

After they left, I was walking through the house and had that wonderful realization wash over me that I'm all ALONE!! Oh joy, oh bliss. "Thank you, Lord!" I said out loud.

Now I'm headed back into the blistering Alabama sun to prepare the moving sale of the century.
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Today's Utmost

This is what challenged me this morning........

"You Won't Reach It On Tiptoe"
Oswald Chambers - My Utmost For His Highest
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Real

I'm in a blogging predicament.

I'm afraid of whining - or of being perceived as a whiner. This blogging thing is a great outlet for me. I've loved to journal all my life. But I love (and miss) the freedom I have when I can write my heart out without any thought whatsoever as to what negative reactions or perceptions might be experienced by my friends/readers/lurkers/whatever.

It's easy to blog when something crazy happens or when I've had a brief moment of clarity or inspiration. But I'm in a rather stressful season of life these last few months. There are many days that I want to blog, but find that someway or another, something of my stress will probably come out in my writing. And I'm scared.

One reason is that "Oh-you-poor-dear-you'll-get-it-together-one-of-these-days-just-hold-on-'till-Jesus-comes" reactions embarrass me and make me feel incompetent. But there is something inside of me that fights to be free of those insecurities and be real. Blogs of friends like this one who share the truth of where they are in a way that makes us all sigh and smile or cry and say..."I'm not the only one. We're all more alike than we let on. It's okay to not be perfect. She understands and won't judge me."

I've been deeply hurt by gossip and not being able to correct other's conceptions of myself. (Not looking for sympathy....just telling you my story.) And I'm struggling to be bigger than those hurts and be real. Realness is one of the things that makes me really feel proud to be me. (There's a sentence for you.) But I'm so afraid that ME will not be accepted.

This has turned into a little more than I had expected. I wanted to say that I'm majorly stressed out and arguing with my husband and my house is a mess and my kids are....there are no words to describe my children right now. But I also want to be able to defend myself and say that I do some things really right, too. I know I do. But all of the things I'm not doing so whoopy at right now are making me feel buried. And I KNOW that you understand and I know that you've been there. And I have a sneakin' suspicion that those who criticize just feel all of this more deeply than they know how - or are free -to admit.

So there's the real me for tonight.
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A Mother's Day Funny

I'm not huge on forwards, but I got this email today that gave me a much-needed belly laugh. Hope you enjoy it, and that no one is offended. Don't know who this original story happened to....But what mom can't relate at least a little?


Why My Lips Stayed Chapped on Mother's Day

"So, we had this great 10 year old cat named Jack
who just recently died. Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around
and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all
day long on this mat in our bathroom.Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this
story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli.
Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it. He kept asking to use my chapstick and
then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my
chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it
right back in the drawer when he was done..
Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box.
I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up.
Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful
day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood. We finally have the
older one and and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have
searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And
there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear
end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said 'chapped.' Now if you have a cat,
you know that he is right--their little butts do look pretty chapped. And,
frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that
point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or
the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment
ever, because it reminds us that, no matter how hard we try to civilize these
glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize
they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt."
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A Favorite....


"Cherish your visions; Cherish your ideals; Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts, for...if you remain true to them, your world will at last be built."
~ James Allen

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Swahili

I was in the mood for some variety in my Sunday Morning Music today, so I'm trying out a Swahili Christian Music station. David's not sure he's impressed. I think it's kinda fun. Multi-cultural enrichment for the kids, a jammin' beat for me, Tylenol for Daddy.
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Laying Down the Rails Comment

Just for the record - those of you who are considering buying Laying Down the Rails.....

1. It's worth it! I feel myself being stretched, but they give it in little bites that you can handle. I'm loving it. The only irritating thing is the common reference to the "nurse/governess/house maid" common in the Victorian home. Gotta get one of those! If I had one, I would surely have the time to train the bajeebers out of my kids!

2. You may want to consider spending the extra money to get the pre-printed version. I chose the download (mostly because I'm impatient) - and there are some benefits. You can reprint it if you ever need to, store it on a disk, jump to any chapter through the book links, and all that good stuff. But 227 pages is a LOT to print! Before you decide to print your own, look at a new ream of 500 sheets of paper. Then think about printing half of the entire ream for one project! Then make sure you have an extra ink cartrage on hand. Just a thought.
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Fingerpainting!!

It's a mess...but oh what FUN!



I used to only let the girls open 1-2 colors of paint at a time, to keep the messin' and mixin' down. Then I got the idea to put a little bit of each color in an egg slot. Then I don't have to be always bugging about putting lids back on. When they're done...it's easier for them to help with clean up. They just put the old egg carton in the trash! The mat covering the table under their artwork is one of those 'splat mats' you use under a high chair. They wash off very easily. An old plastic tablecloth works well, too, and you can just throw it in the washer. When the girls are doing messy play (play doh or paint) on the floor, we use my mamma's old trick.....an old cardboard fabric-cutting board. Just shake it off outside and fold it up! You don't even have to wipe it off - the dried paint is just a memory of many fun hours.

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Lists and Schedules

Arrrrggggghhhhh!! I miss my schedule! We are making some wonderful progress, getting the packing and projects done and "painting our way out of the parsonage." But I feel so...lost with out my schedule.

I'm a lists and schedules person. It helps to keep my scattered, noodle, global, leftish brain together. It keeps me focused and gives me positive reinforcement when I get to use that lovely highlighter to mark something else off. I even add things I've already done just so I can highlight them! (Don't roll your eyes. You know you've done it.)

But not everyone loves my lists as much as I. When my mom was here I showed her my list of virtually EVERYTHING I had to do before moving day. She told me later it blew her away...I thought it would help because she could choose from the list. (She totally doesn't need lists, anyway. She's an incredible worker.) And then yesterday, after David finished the last project for school he was ready to pitch in. I was so excited....Okay. Now. Let me walk you around the house and show you where all the projects are, and then come in here and I'll show you this yard sale stuff that needs moved and then come into the kitchen and let me show you the list of what's left to do....Well. Needless to say, he was not impressed with my list.

Hurt and frustrated, I just wanted him to see what was left to do and HOW MUCH PRESSURE I'M UNDER!!! But he calmly explained to me as he walked out the door that my list does NOT help him.

Him: "What does that have to do with what I'm doing right now?"
Me: "Well, nothing...I guess. I just thought it would help you to keep in the back of your mind everything that needs done."
Him: "But I DON'T keep it in the back of my mind. I just want to do one thing at a time."
Me: "Oh. Okay. I understand." (She said pathetically)

I sure married a man.

You've already figured out that I did not get the brilliant wife award on this particular day.

For more on my fettish for schedules, you can visit our website-in-progress.

Go to "Home Sweet Home" Page >>
Go to the Website Home Page >>
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I Am

I was going to blog tonight about my frustrating day. But things have changed. My heart is heavy.

I just got off the phone with a dear friend who has been dealt nightmares in her life that many of us cannot even fathom. Some of you can. The last dark place that swallowed her has nearly stripped her of her faith. Her hope is a thread. A tiny thread, but big enough to call me.

All of her life, she has been abused, neglected, ignored, ridiculed, abandoned, taken advantage of, overlooked. And she has fought. Since grade school, I have seen that girl fight like a cat for her faith, her life, her health....her hope. But her resources are almost gone. And I begged her to just have faith in my faith right now.

Don't talk to me about "your decisions determine your destiny." I know that. She knows that. She's a brilliant girl. But most of us have been given so many resources in our lives. Good parents or good training or good friends or at least a good break somewhere. I'm not crying the blues for her. I'm not into whining about these things. I'm telling you the truth about her life.

Look at us! Look around you right now. We have beautiful, colorful homes. If there's not a husband and kids driving us crazy, we can at least think of one person we could call if we were truly desperate who would be there in some way. Someone who we know beyond a shadow of a doubt loves us deeply and will be there for us. She has NO ONE! Even I failed to call her last night when I had promised.

We wrapped up our conversation after doing enough crisis management to get her through to a phone call tomorrow....and I returned to my life - of feeding mac and cheese to my baby and singing Zaccheus with my girl. I cannot even express to you how spoiled I feel.

Imagine right now....walking to your car from a job you're getting ready to lose....think of your parents who are worse than absent. Years of physical and mental illness to overcome. Memories of sadness and terror. "Friends" who disappear when they know you're going through another "spell." Doctors and Cops who ridicule you. Acquaintances who abuse you. Now go home to the empty apartment you're getting ready to lose. TV is irritating. The fridge is empty. You look at the phone but cannot think of one person you can call who will be there for you. Then reach inside for your faith..... and feel complete and total emptiness.

ALL you ask from God is to know He loves you. But you don't know....can't find a reason to believe.

Now tell me about your bad day.

If you have ever had a friend who is a Survivor in anyway, or if you are one yourself, your heart connects more easily to this. If you've been close to mental illness, you know a bit about the monster and thief that it is.

If not, you may be thinking all kinds of ways to help her. And she's probably tried them all and will have to try them again to simply survive. But right now she needs to feel the arms of a God...an Abba God who really, truly loves her in a way she can feel and know and understand.

What if you lost your husband and kids (or your only close family and friends) in a car wreck tomorrow? What if you couldn't afford to live on your own income and lost your home. What if you were very sick and had a bad record and couldn't get a job that would allow you to survive? What if your support system - no matter how small you feel it is - suddenly gave you no response when you needed someone? What if your church was absent and distant? What if you believed that God is, but could not find even the tiniest reason to believe that He loved you?

What would you put your faith in? Everything that good that He does is gone. Now what? The only thing left is Who He Is.

We sing and chant, "God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good." I have learned to believe that when tragedy has struck our family over and over. He isn't good and trustworthy because He does anything good for me. He is only good because He Is.

And I cried as I told my friend that I still believe that is the God I know and love. He is the God who loves her just as passionately as He loves you and I in our safe and loving worlds. If we sometimes have a hard time letting His love soak in, how much more does she need His arms?

She talked to me about the 3 kinds of people in the world:
1. Bad people, who hurt others and are selfish and don't care.
2. Good people, who give of themselves and help those who need it (this is not a conversation about imputed righteousness or anything....don't over analyze that label)
3. And the "passive people" - who look very good, and sometimes help someone, but who do not want to care beyond their comfort zones.

This view of hers is, of course, influenced by years and years of being surrounded by #1 and #3 kinds of people. But dear God, please let me be a #2! Let me care beyond my comfort zone. Let me get outside my little let's-put-bandaids-on-each-other world enough to even see who's truly wounded and desperate. And give me the wisdom to know the balance of helping.

My faith is strengthened, but my heart is broken. God must trust her a lot. Please pray His arms around her right now.
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