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

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Insomniac Ramblings

My insomnia is worse when I lay there with thoughts a-churning. So I found myself up into the night taking tylenol, praying, working on my to-do list before the funeral trip.....and reading Christian parenting resources? What in the world does that have to do with my uncle dying?

Well...after a late-night talk with David about fear vs. faith and what really matters (raising kids grounded in faith), I found myself in a strange way urgently drawn to evaluate this stage of our training. Reminded that as I wash the dishes and scrub the floor and see who's knocking at the door, I must not forget to carve out time for purposeful training.

I fear the swirling thoughts that were spilling out onto my pillow aren't spilling so well out of my fingers.

And who am I kidding about "somehow holding life more lightly"? True, I think heaven is more urgent, more beautiful for those who have greived. But as the shock wore off and the fear set in, I was reminded that sometimes in having lost many times, the fear of losing again is very real. So I sit in my dark kitchen and pray, "Lord, how do I give you my children again?" How does a mother hold tightly and let go all at once?

Many say..."the Lord will work it out" and "just trust Jesus" about these difficult matters. And oh how true (although trite-sounding). But when your reality includes the deaths of close people who were not "supposed" to die yet, your gut knows that trusting Jesus doesn't mean He'll wave a magic wand and make everything better. Sometimes everything is FAR from okay. Your roots have to learn to dig deep or you're in serious trouble. And you learn to live with the reality that you are not guaranteed one more day, one more minute with the ones you love. So you have to make them count.

What about those questions the kids ask when they're trying to process something like this? Bub...when I was in the weak-legs and crying stage, just said, "Momma, iss okaay. Momma, iss okaay." And Kayla just got big eyes and hugged me. But Karissa said, "Well, someday YOU'LL die and we'll have to go to your funeral." Yes. Thanks, dear.

I explained that as we greive we aren't sad for the one who died, we're sad for ourselves. Because heaven is FAR, FAR more awesome than we could ever imagine.

Later Karissa asked, "Mommy, do you want to see God?"
"Oh, yes, baby. I do!"

But then I lay in bed telling David that even that - spectacular as it it - is kinda scary. My recent reading in the Old Testament has reminded me that the OT God is.....well....scary! Of course, we have the balance of the incarnation in the New Testament and all that God is (with skin on) in his Power and Justice and Mercy and Love. But in my brain-spilling, I was immediately reminded of CS Lewis's powerful Narnia quote as Lucy and Susan try to comprehend Aslan:

“Is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr Beaver sternly. Certainly not. I tell you he is King of the wood and the son of the great emperor-beyond- the-sea. Don’t you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion - the Lion, the great lion.”


“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he - quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake” said Mrs Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Source: CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch & The Wardrobe


"'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
And letting that sink in - way in - is, I think, the balance between fear and faith.
If I get up in the morning and none of this makes sense, I can always delete it. That's why I don't like google reader. You can't delete that if you realize later how nutso you are. Let's hope I can go back and sleep this time or I may have to subject you to more ramblings. And all the people said, "Amen! - Lord, help the woman sleep!"
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Acquainted with grief

These are the times when words aren't adequate. My Uncle Stan (Mom's brother) fell 25 feet tonight and....he's gone.

Our family is familiar with sorrows and acquainted with grief. We've done this before. Many times. But it does not get easier with practice.

Many people, mercifully, never experience these griefs of unexpected tragedy. It does something to you. I think you cherish life more and yet hold it more lightly. I don't know many 31-year-old young mothers who long for heaven. Now - not later when you're 90. I have so much treasure there.

My words are faltering, my kids need to be put to bed and I need to think about packing for a trip to Kansas to be with those who are dearest to me. To cry together and say I love you a lot.

Uncle Stan has a wife and 4 kids about my age. And a bunch of grandkids.

What do people do who don't have an Abba Rock?

EL-ROI - "The Strong One who Sees"

He sees.

JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH - "The Lord who is present"

He's here.

JEHOVAH-ROPHEKA - "The Lord our Healer"

He heals.
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Ridiculous Ode to the Flu

How could a chest cough - When given its way
Turn into a menacing flu in one day!
It sounds sorta fun - to be lazy and calm
Lie down in the bed and use lots of lip balm
Watching movies and reading (if my eyes would stop burning)
Counting blessings - at least my intestines aren't churning!
My body can't tell if it's hot or it's cold
I feel like I'm ancient - a hundred years old!
Oh the aching and throbbing, the tissues and snot
When coughing, my chest hurts an awfully lot
No dinner and dancing for Valentine romance
'Tho pizza and movies were better to finance
If Angie will post of her date, I will see
How it feels to have romance vicariously
I wish that I had a small buck for each tissue
That lies in the trash like a used-up old issue
I've watched a few ditties from Bill and Mark Lowery
But I missed both fine sermons of Pastor Mark Mowery
I'm not sharing woes, or even complaining
I'm just bored to tears - all this resting is draining
So I thought I would bless you, dear blogging-world friend
With a Dr. Seuss-nonsensic-rhyme from my pen.


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Thoughts

I've had thoughts lately - really, I have.

The only problem is....every time I have a thought, it flys in one side of my brain and out the other - never to be seen again.

I've been wanting to tell you about my mother-in-law's recent open heart surgery (quadruple bypass). But the pictures are on David's computer and I want to include pictures....

And I want to tell you about the weekend Mom and Chelle came to my house and did projects like two wonder women. My house didn't know what hit it.

I need to catch David's laptop at home and kidnap it until I take the pictures I need from its dark depths.

I did a dumb thing this morning. I spent a few minutes checking out the blog of one of my perfect friends. I enjoyed the beautiful pictures and interesting stories. Then I found myself saying to myself...."Goodness! Her hair is perfect. Her kids are perfect. Her kids' hair is perfect. Her house is perfect. Her parties are perfect. Her marriage is perfect. Wow. I stand in awe."

But I have news for you, friends.

I ain't perfect.

So....I'm off to recite II Corinthians 10:12 to myself as I do dishes, clean, pay bills, brave the mud to feed the dogs, try to instill a shred of responsibility into my kids....

and generally attempt to be the best me I can be.

That's all I've got to say about that.
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New Picture Links

I haven't been much of a blogger lately, but here is some of what we've been up to.....

Jodi (Newton) and Josh Emery Wedding - January 31
The wedding was in Ohio. It was a winter wonderland - a beautiful wedding. David and I did the pictures - our first time to do a wedding together. We now have matching cameras, and it was a neat experience to be capturing everything together from two different angles. The families and bridal party were so totally easy to work with - no tension or grouchiness. It was a late wedding, so the bride and groom chose to do all pictures before the wedding - including family shots - so they could go straight to the reception. I was so excited that we finished all of the pictures (except for 2 family pictures that had to wait) an hour and a half before the wedding! Then everyone stood around and talked, rested and practiced their music. As the receiving line finished, we had the families in place ready for the picture. We added the bride and groom, took a couple of shots and went straight over to the reception. After a yummy soup bar, mocha punch and one of Marianne Brown's amazing cakes, we went outside and captured everyone tossing (or should I say pelting) snowflakes at the new couple. It was a fun day.

Zeb Bender - One Week Old
My best friend from 5th grade, Rachel (McIntyre) Bender and Jonathan were recently blessed their 3rd son. I got to visit him this weekend - he was about one week old. He's simply perfect - a "Gift of God Asked For." God is so good.
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