spring fever...

my kids have gone stark raving mad. i'm not even sure who they are anymore. non-stop giggling. poking. teasing. more giggling. running. wrestling. yelling. back to giggling.
as i type this, it's 40 minutes past their bedtime... and they've been laying in their room giggling the entire time. they can't control it. playing outside, the change in the weather, the promise of summer vacation, ... it brings out the worst [best] in them. it's a strange quandry for a parent to be in. on the one hand... they are pushing the rules to the absolute breaking point. willfully trying your patience. purposefully annoying one another. on the other they are living life to the max. finding joy in the silliest things. walking around in a slap-happy stupor. there are times i know i should be disciplining, and instead... i'm dissolving into giggles right along with them. do you think spring fever is contagious?


sharing freedom

have you ever had a splinter that you just couldn't get out? you poke and pry and pull and peroxide... but it's just not coming out. eventually it stops hurting. the skin starts growing over. you forget about it.

but it's still there. and eventually... it rears it's ugly head.

sin is like that. not too long ago i heard someone speaking about "unconfessed sin". needing to repent of it, and leave it at the foot of the cross. i honestly couldn't get my mind around the concept. how could you hang on to an unconfessed sin? why would you do that? who wants that junk?

why? because sometimes you can't admit where you've been. and last week, that's where i found myself. God gave me abundant time to spend with Him, and it was incredible. knowing that He was working in my life, in my heart... plowing ground and refreshing my spirit. and then He plowed something that was so deep, i hadn't thought of it in years. so deep that i had convinced myself it wasn't a big deal. so deep i had forgotten it was even there. but it was.

but guess what... it's not anymore. [can i get an amen?]

it was such an amazing experience for me... it left me thinking about a lot of things. i've been blessed with opportunities to really experience God. to fall to my knees in His undeniable presence. it's mind boggling that He would meet me where i am. and it's tempting to stay there with Him. there is certainly no better place on this earth that one can be... it makes me think about peter on the mount of transfiguration...Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." [matthew 17:4]

but that's not what the Lord was calling him to do... that's not what He calls us to do. at some point He's going to call us off of that mountain so that we can get back to work. no doubt, the emotion of experiencing God first hand IS incredible, but this has to be tempered with study and knowledge and the wisdom that comes only from Him... the wisdom to discern those things that are of God and those things that are not.

these experiences are incredible. it's the good stuff. divine appointments. and i can't get enough. yet i know that it's my study that has led me into a deeper relationship with God... not moving from one ecstatic experience to another. the better i know Him, the more often i find Him revealed in His Word and through prayer... the more intimate my experiences are with Him. the more sensitive i am to His whisperings. the mountaintop is for us. it's a refueling station of sorts, and i PRAISE HIM that gives us these opportunities. yet we have to remember that it's not all about personal edification... it's not about staying on the mountain... because sometimes He's going to call us into the trenches.

He's calling us, Church. He's calling us to take His Word into this lost and dying world. to show His unconditional love to those who need it most. love without strings attached. not an ad campaign to come to our church... just pure, unadulterated, extreme, love. the love of Christ. the love of this God that would carry my burden. my shame. my sin. that would meet me in my living room... and offer me freedom. freedom!

He wants us to share His freedom, the only real freedom there is, with this world. there's an urgency in His voice... "tell them i LOVE them"... can you hear it? He's calling us. He's calling me. He's calling you.

and i guess what i want to know is... who's in?

i love this kid...

this is so zach. my amazing little man. i'm telling you... this kid knows how to make me smile.

life without internet...

...makes me twitch.

no, seriously... i get this nervous tick when the internet won't come on. it goes like this...

open laptop
watch for signal
click on internet
wait for it to connect
blank white screen
say bad words in head
close laptop
wait ten minutes

God's way of convicting me to stop "borrowing" from the airwaves.
don't worry, i've repented and will be legit tomorrow.

for now... i have some catching up to do. happy reading, blogerotsky.


new layout

it was only a matter of time... i couldn't handle the blogger templates for another night. i'm not completely sold on the design i have now... but at least it's different than the few standards you have to choose from on here.

hopefully i'll either fall in love with this one, or find *the one*... otherwise, bloggerotsky, you may be in for a little design whiplash. ;)

friday flashback

this is something i've hoped to make a feature on my blog for a while... but alas i seem to remember about "friday flashback" on saturday! none of you who really know me are surprised, are you? hopefully i will do a decent job remembering. my idea is to include pictures & memories that are special to me. i tend to live in the today and it's nice to have a good excuse to take a glance over my shoulder at the path that brought me here.

today's pictures were taken on our honeymoon. check out how skinny we are! holy cow! we spent our honeymoon not in an exotic far-off location, but in beautiful brown county, indiana. we went to the mall one day and cheesed it up in one of those corny [yet irresistable] photo booths. i love the third one... you can just see how happy we were, how much fun we had. the feeling was and is indescribable.

marriage can be tough. eventually the honeymoon has to end. but i'm learning now that with a little effort, a bit of work, a lot of patience, and a smidge of grace... the joy, the love, the happiness, the closeness, the desire, the fun... doesn't have to.

thanking God today for jim. for the way that he takes care of my family. for his smile. for his sense of responsibility. for his loyalty. for putting up with me when it had to be difficult for him. for his friendship. for his love.


stuff christians like...

thanks to lauren who sent me a link to this blog
Stuff Christians Like

it's absolutely hysterical and worthy of a visit.
insightful stuff.


wanna dance???

YES YES YES YES YES! I just saw my first commercial for the new season of So You Think You Can Dance! The answer to that question is, no, I don't think I can dance... but I think I have a dancer's heart. I absolutely love this show. It's the one "Kids, please let mommy watch her show" show I have. Generally they end up watching with me. Tali, naturally is enamored with it and will often watch recorded shows over and over again, and Zach is a wannabe break dancer. Don't tell him I told you... but even Jim likes the show!

I've heard rumors of a season premiere party... [Lauren!]... and CANNOT wait!

when i say i am a christian, by carol wimmer

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not shouting, "I've been saved!"
I'm whispering, "I get lost! That's why I chose this way"

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't speak with human pride
I'm confessing that I stumble-needing God to be my guide

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not trying to be strong
I'm professing that I'm weak and pray for strength to carry on

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not bragging of success
I'm admitting that I've failed and cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, "I am a Christian," I don't think I know it all
I submit to my confusion asking humbly to be taught

When I say, "I am a Christian," I'm not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are far too visible but God believes I'm worth it

When I say, "I am a Christian," I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache which is why I seek His name

When I say, "I am a Christian," I do not wish to judge
I have no authority--I only know I'm loved

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

[note: a similar version of this poem is being circulated via email and bulletin boards, being attributed to either author unknown or maya angelou. i didn't think the maya angelou attribution was correct, so researching found this original version of the poem and the actual author. i've linked her site in the title of this post. isn't this just a beautiful statement of faith?]


monday mind dump...

i have too much running through this little brain to narrow today's entry to one thing. so, thanks lauren for the mind dump idea... here goes...

* i should be working... but i've done all the paperwork i can do and am waiting for my new clients to be sent to me. i'm excited to meet them. and am thrilled to get to re-organize my filing drawer (say "yes" to the center-tab only filing system!)

* purchased the new addison road cd today. and am LOVING it.

* i am ever-astounded by God's glory. by His work in our lives. by His presence. why would Someone so great, glorious, beautiful, perfect, powerful want to hang out with someone like me? can't figure it out... but boy am i glad that He does!

* i have the best friends ever. [just saying]

* i've got some things i have to get rid of [like internal things]. i'm thankful that God revealed this to me and am looking forward to the freedom He's promised!

* please be in prayer for Grace Robarge. she's going to the hospital today to have her labor induced. we look forward to welcoming baby Lily.

* please remember little Grace in your prayers as well. she's home sick from school again today and we're starting to really worry about whatever is behind this unexplained vomitting.

* i really wish i had something powerful and meaningful to say here, but i don't.

* my husband stayed home from the cheer competition on saturday to clean house. yep- even the bathroom. even the toilet. he's a pretty cool guy and i love him.

yep. that covers it for now.


why wednesdays are my favorite...

wednesdays after work... tumbling... sonshine kids... childrens choir... and dance practice... i get to hang out with some of my best friends in the entire world. the posse is not the same every week, but there are definitely some reccurring characters. it is a blessed, let your hair down, enjoy each other's company kind of time. i love it. i love this time to hang out, sing some songs with the praise band, talk about life (good, bad, and ugly), share concerns, laugh... whatever.

and tonight was extra good.

as people started to trickle off to home, a few of us were left in the sanctuary, seth with his guitar, and the girls with a song book. i'm not sure how it began exactly... but slowly we were drawn into this time of simple worship of our precious Lord. flipping through the pages, lauren identifying [another] favorite song... and together she and bev and anna would begin to sing. it was just precious, precious time. no agenda. no time constraint. no plan. the voices of angels lifting praises to the King [and i occasionally belting out in my typically off-key yet heartfelt way].

worship should be like that. start where the Spirit says to start. stop when He says to stop. sing beautiful hymns. sing off key. be full of joy. and love. and praise.

tonight i'm feeling full of all three.


fun with baptism....

please watch this...

pastor may be slightly annoyed.
but i'm thinking.
we should all enter the waters with that kind of enthusiasm!


giving God what is His...

[okay, i've typed, deleted, retyped, edited, deleted, and retyped this post. it's long. it's likely not even that interesting to anyone but me. but it's apparently supposed to be here because God isn't going to leave me alone. sorry.]

indulge me for a minute... [envisioning rita standing at the back of the church on sunday in her bright pink shirt, praisin' the Lord for a car created in the last decade. love that lady.]... i've got something to share.

the Lord has been good to me. better than i deserve. i have a job that i truly do love [even if my boss tells me i'm just a rookie and i'll learn better with time!]. a husband that works his hiney off and takes his responsibility of supporting the family very seriously. kids that are for the most part, not annoying... errrr... i mean amazing. He's given me a lot. my current job was made to order for me, in timing, in duties, and in pay.

do you see where i'm going with this? hold on tight folks, i'm gonna talk about tithing.

i have been a mostly-faithful tither for years now. i don't say that to toot my own horn- i'm not tryin' to pharisee my way into a giving parade here... because frankly it's not that hard to tithe from a part-time job's salary. the chunk doesn't seem so big. but when you are making considerably more. and it comes in bi-weekly increments.


that's a lot of money. i did pretty well at first- i mean i was really happy about my job. but then i missed a sunday of church, and i didn't so much double my offering the next week. [been there?] or i forgot my wallet and just gave what was in my pocket. some weeks i hit. some i missed.
and the Spirit nagged at me the whole time.

it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that although we were making more money, things were still kind of tight some weeks. others they weren't. i'll let you guess when things went well. then i made a big boo-boo in the checking account... and a few things bounced into the stratosphere. immediately i knew it was my fault--- not because of the mistake [well, that too], but because i wasn't giving to God what was His.

btw. confession sucks.

thank God for a beautiful christian friend who helped bale us out of a tight spot. and since then, i've been praying about it. giving to the Lord is something that my sweet husband and i don't see exactly eye-to-eye on. and i know my tithing off my new income could/would be a source of contentment in him. so i asked God to cover it. and guess what. today we got the tax check that our preparer told us not to expect til late summer. we had to amend our filing, and it holds things up. but the unexpected money isn't even the best part...

i call my husband tell him i have a confession to make. i talked to him about that financial strife. the not tithing. the knowing they were related. and he says "you gave $$ yesterday, didn't you". answering yes, i waited for the inevitable comment... that did not come. he was just quiet... [i asked Him to cover it, why was i surprised?] when i told him about the tax refund, he was amazed. absolutely blown out of the water kind of amazed. and then he says [fyi, this is the best part]... "well, when we went to that class at church, it said to give to God first, then pay off your debt, then worry about the rest. seems like that's the right plan, huh?".

if you know my husband, you know that's huge. if you don't, i'm telling you, that's huge. first, he definitely got it at the stewardship class. seeds were planted. second... he sees the connection too... he sees God working in our lives... he sees the good God has planned if we are faithful to Him...

big stuff folks. God's working.


puppies are fun, right?

look at this sweet little face.... seriously, isn't it the cutest thing you've ever seen? a little bundle of puppy love... that's our lily. she makes me smile every time i look at her. her open, honest, curious face. how excited she gets with every new thing... or recently forgotten thing that is new to her all over again. i love how proud tali is of her. how seriously she takes her job of caring for lily [even the puppy-poo part of things]. i love how God plopped her right in our back yard... a puppy with the personality we'd prayed for, a puppy that doesn't mind bows and seems to like dresses, and the face that stole jim's heart ... just the dog we'd been looking for.

but lest we not forget, puppies are not all kisses and wagging tails. puppies can be frustrating. they chew on things [the corner of a study Bible]. they poop on things [zach's cars the movie rug]. and they occasionally get on nerves, even of those who love them [jim].

over the last couple of weeks she's become a little obstinent when going out the front door without a leash, and has delighted in the game of chase that inevitably ensues. therefore she is no longer allowed outside the front door without being leashed.

today, as the kids prepared to go outside and play, i reminded them not to let the dogs out. zach immediately procedes to let the dogs out. screaming at her frustrating little brother, tali slides in to the nearest pair of shoes [flip flops] and goes tearing out the front door trying to catch lily before she gets off the porch. no such luck. immediately i hear jim pulling into the drive. engrossed in on-line blog-reading, i decide to let him catch her.

paying no attention, i was surprised when jim burst into the house about ten minutes later, face red, out-of-breath, and proclaiming that he was going to get his shot gun and get that [insert appropriate explitives here] dog inside one way or another.


i quickly slide on shoes and run out the front door to what can only be described as chaos. tali is walking in the side yard, sobbing at the top of her lungs "daddy's going to shoot my puppy! daddy's going to shoot my puppy!" zach has a stick chasing lily through the front yard [apparently he was going to knock her out? not sure???]. our neighbor girl is trying to corner the dog. her dad is leaping for lily as she darts underneath his car. and sammy is frankly going nuts.

jim bursts forth from the house, not with a shot gun, thank God, but with a bag of dog treats. apparently she's heard his threats and won't go near him, even if he does have a tasty morsel of canine goodness. he eventually hands me a treat, getting down on my knees she quickly ran over to me, able to grab her she came into the house for a lengthy time out in her kennel.

good news... she and jim quickly made up. i mean seriously, could you resist that face?


i have spent the last couple of hours (yes, hours) reading about an amazing little girl, audrey caroline. i met God in a new way reading about this family's journey. i am in awe at the power, strength, and peace that may be found only in Him.

there are simply no words to describe the power of this little one's story. although she only breathed on this earth a few hours, her legacy is a lasting one.

take a moment...

Bring the Rain: the story of Audrey Caroline


meet ruby and shirley....

i cannot even begin to guess what they were thinking. i cannot explain how "ruby and shirley" came to be. all i know is i laughed til my sides hurt. i laughed til i cried. and then, naturally, i took pictures.

tali came into where i was working. with great bravado she announced a show... living with tali, impromptu off-broadway productions are not uncommon. swiveling in my seat i braced myself for whatever was causing zach to giggle uncontrollably in the other room. and then she began...

[there was no drum roll, yet somehow, i heard one anyway]

NOW INTRODUCING.............




that's my dirt-lovin', truck-playin', frog-ownin' son... in a sports bra and a hannah montana wig. wow.

and i'm digging on the jazz hands as well. this is my life. quirky. blessed. h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s.

[for those who need to know. zach is shirley. tali is ruby. and i have no clue where those names came from.]

i was informed after this post, that zach's wardrobe was not accidental. the black bra is for batman... the red shorts for superman. i'm sure this is the bait used by his sister to convince him it was "okay".
and because i didn't think to include it initially, the song that accompanied the show, sang by tali, was in part...
i am ruby, she is shirley
i am ruby, she is shirley
i am ruby, she is shirley
he is my sister.


as we drive down the road, tali and zach will exclaim "look at all those dandelions!!!!"... and i will with great excitement note the dozens, or hundreds, or two, dandelions they've spotted. not fake excitement, great excitement. dandelions are, in my opinion, as pretty as any other flower on the market. little puffs of yellow sunshine dotting the deep green spring grass. they mean that winter is finally over, and the promise of summer is just around the corner.

i realize that most people do not share my view on dandelions. one only has to peruse the gardening aisle to reveal the level of dandelion hatred that is rampant in this country. sprays, powders, and concentrates specifically developed to rid your beautifully manicured yard of these nuisance weeds. jim will look longingly at these items, as i remind him that i love dandelions and there's no reason to kill them. after all, if he kills them... how will tali and zach get to experience the very real joy specific to "blow flowers"? seriously...! he rolls his eyes and determines this is not a battle worth fighting. i have no such control over lee. just the other day i pulled up at mom's house to see lee meticulously going through his back yard with a spade, digging each and every dandelion out of the ground. my heart sank. no convincing him that they're pretty. the world's already got to him

just a couple of days ago, the kids presented me with this bowl of "flowers". little puffs of sunshine. i remember picking bouquets of dandelions for my own mom. she'd proudly put them in a vase [or cup] of water and place them on the dining room table. sure, dad tried to explain to me that they were really weeds [it's a man thing] but i would not be convinced. tali and zach share in this simple joy now, and a kid at heart, i still get excited when i see the dots of yellow popping up over the spring landscape. and like my own mom, i love my dandelion bouquets.

and i think their daddy does too. after all... that's one bowl of dandelions that are no longer in our yard!


meet amp...

isn't this just the cutest picture? i love the look on zach's face. he loves his new pet frog, amp. for those who do not know, amp is dale jr.'s sponsor. zach originally wanted to name his frog junior, but since he has named every animal or stuffed creature to cross his path junior, daddy [who has ultimate veto power over any pet names] told him to pick again. so he picked dale. groaning, we tried to get a little more creative... and amp it is. he's a white's tree frog from the land down under. i've had these frogs as pets before, and so i knew it would be the perfect creature for z to take care of.... every morning starts with a bath with a spray bottle and every evening ends with feeding amp yummy little crickets. other than that, they are very low maintenance. the perfect pet for my little man. and given my not-so-secret obsession with frogs, i'm really enjoying having the little guy around myself!


poooooor heidi...

not only did she get the short end of the stick when it comes to puppy hair (lily-her sister-has a thick, silky, beautiful coat... tali affectionately refers to heidi's hair as "scrawny"). not only is she infatuated with a cat that hates her. not only does she fall off the couch and break her leg. but she must endure the worst of all animal humiliation.

the cone.

and she hates it. even more than that, she hates having to be crated almost the entire day. the poor little dear managed to get her cast off saturday night, and when the vet saw her insisted that she be crated. and wear the cone.

mom feels so sorry for her she called begging me for pretty ribbon. if she has to wear the stupid plastic cone, the least we can do, mom reasoned, was pretty her up with some ribbon in the process.

add to all of this the fact that mom ALSO hurt her hip and continues to walk on a cane... carrying heidi in a puppy purse to keep her with her and away from the other dogs (because they lovingly tried to chew the cone off of heidi earlier today. they were seriously just trying to help)... it's like a sitcom around here.


God is GOOD.

I don't know what else to even say. God is GOOD. Good beyond measure. Good beyond anything I know or deserve.

This weekend was a taste of heaven. Like a grain of sugar on the tongue... so sweet... leaving you craving more.

Being in His presence. Seeing His glow on the face of others. Feeling the breath of the Spirit.

God is Good.

And I love Him.