Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover - Karina Edition

Part 2- Tearing Down the Walls.

I've shared before (this post) that I'm a perfectionist. In addition to that I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. I have a drive to do things perfectly, and yet I know that I can never live up to my own standard of perfection, much less anyone else's. It's part of the dichotomy of me that makes me ineffective. There is also a sense in which this need to control and make things perfect has contributed to the situation that I now find myself in. In essence, I created the circumstance which allowed the actions and choices of others to become that destructive F5 that has spun my life out of my control.

But why?

That's exactly what my Bulldozer(aka:counselor) and I have been discovering. We've been taking things apart, looking at my behaviors, taking stock of my life, tearing down the walls in chunks. Then a few weeks ago it happened. We hit the main support of my crooked house and it all came tumbling down. Neither the house, nor the bulldozer expected this, but I'm sure that the project Foreman knew it all along.


So deep. So raw. I couldn't even speak the words to my bulldozer and it took me a full 10 minutes of sobbing to be able to tell my dearest husband what God revealed to me, what was happening inside me. I'm not sure I can even share it here, but I want to, maybe another day.

And now... it's time to start rebuilding!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Extreme Home Make-over, Karina Edition.

For many years I have known that there are things in my life that aren't right. Things that are hard to show other people. Things that I try to hide, brush aside, and pretend don't exist, because, well, they're just not quite right. Like the walls of a house that are so rotten they're about to fall down, but instead of fixing what's wrong, I just slap a fresh coat of paint on it, hang a pretty picture and call it good.

For the last two years it's been really bad, it's caused some very deep depression. My dear husband has tried to get me to go to counseling, and I have adamantly refused. We can handle this. We're committed. We love God. We'll get through this. Wax the floors. Throw down a rug. Add a lamp in the corner. Better.

Then a few months ago the storm hit. Not just a little thunderstorm, we're talking an F-5 tornado. I'm in counseling. For this I need counseling. No. Doubt. About. It. When I started counseling, I thought we were going to deal with the aftermath of the storm. Patch up some holes. Fix the roof. Good to go.

Not so much.

My counselor is going deep. She's like the bulldozer that God is driving to tear it all down. All the rot. All the decayed. All the crooked. All the bent. It's all coming down. What does that mean? Pain. We are taking a painful look at who I am and why I am the way that I am. It's tough. It's more than uncomfortable. It's all my bad habits. All the ways in which I seek to be filled outside of God. It's my relationships. It's my parenting. It's even my housework. We're not just patching up this mess, we're tearing it down to rebuild it.

But. There's a plan. There's a builder. This old bent house was falling apart, and the inhabitants need it fixed to better suit their needs. Think about it....

God and I live here, inside me.

God is using this storm to tear down the walls, to rebuild a home that will better suit His purpose, for both him and me! The foundation is still established in His Truth, faith in Jesus Christ, love for God and others. But the old habits, thought processes, relationship patterns, parenting, conflict resolution, speech patterns, it's all going. I am being made new in a whole new way. It's painful in ways I never imagined. But I'm so SO looking forward to what God will build in it's place. The new me will be better suited to God's purpose, stronger, able withstand storms better, more pleasant to inhabit, more beautiful.

It's not going to happen in a week. But one day God is going to turn me around and say, "Move the bus!" And when that bus rolls out of the way, I'm going to rejoice in every detail of what He has done from the inside out.


Sunday, April 17, 2011


Sometimes there are no words. Ok, well that that doesn't happen often. But sometimes though one wants to speak it's best to keep silent.

I don't really like that concept. It isn't really in my nature to not talk about anything and everything I want to talk about. So this season of my life has been an exercise in self-discipline, in more ways than one.

But I am learning. I am stretching. I am growing.

It's difficult. It's uncomfortable. It's even painful.

But if this is what it takes to bring healing, if this is what it takes to please my Jesus, if this is what it takes to obey my heavenly Father, then this is what I will do.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rebel Thoughts.

Last week was rotten. I had sick babies all week and after a good breakthrough in counseling, I got knocked down with an abscessed tooth/root canal/PAIN! So I didn't get to do much of the "work" I needed to do. I lost about 36 hours to the pain of my tooth ache, but it felt like I lost the whole week.

This week I was very self-absorbed in my own feelings and thoughts. Can you say E-MO-TION-AL? Man, I was a basket case. My counselor told me to put down my Bible for a month. What?! Yeah, put down your Bible and experience the presence of God. Ok. Now, I struggle with guilt in this one area; reading my Bible daily is difficult. Yes, I do my Bible study. Yes, I know the Bible reasonably well. And yes, I see my counselor's point. So, I put my Bible away.

Now, last week, I spent time praying that I would die rather than spend anymore days in pain, or be cured of said toothache. Not real spiritual, but real honest! This week I had more time to spend flat on my face. And I gotta tell ya, I longed more than ever to reach for my Bible and find words of comfort. Seriously aching.

Instead, after pouring my heart out to God, and frankly not hearing any answers, I just sat in silence and waited. After a long time of silence I began a time of confession. Sin I had kept in my thoughts, but not uttered. God really wanted that part of my heart. I seem to be confessing a lot lately. And you know what happened? Nothing. Just quiet peacefulness.

Later that day came the test. Sad to say, I think I failed miserably. How easily my thoughts betrayed me, jumping right back to the point where I told God earlier in the day that I didn't want to be anymore.

Jesus be near, I need more of you.

The last of my thoughts are this: six years ago my son was born. A little more than a year before his birth an anonymous couple gave us 5 embryos. Strangers gave us 5 of their potential children. And one of those precious embryos became our Kevin. The absolutely most precious gift we have ever received from human hands (also God's hand, who is the giver of life), the gift of our son. Unfathomable. Someone who knew only that we professed to be Christians gave us our son. I am forever grateful to that couple who gave so willingly. God is good.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Right Now, Tough Lessons.

The Lord disciplines those he loves. And hardships, according to Hebrews 12, should be viewed as discipline. And discipline is training. And this training is hard and painful!

Right now, I am learning the very hard lesson of silence.

Right now I would like nothing more than to scream what is right and true at the top of my lungs, with every fiber of my being.

Right now I would like to fight for my rights.

Right now I would like to be heard.


Right now I am being called to silence.

Right now I am being called to trust God to defend.

Right now I am being called to wait for God's justice.

Right now I am being called to peace.

Unity is not won by arguing with those who will argue. Peace is not given in fighting with those who desire to fight. When division is sought, it is not overcome with wise or persuasive words.

Unity only comes through the Holy Spirit, by each individual submitting to His authority and power. For the Lord will not be divided against himself. One person cannot cause another person to submit by force of will, it must come from each person's own heart acting in faith.

I firmly believe that our goal is unity. For when a body of believers submits to the Holy Spirit and begins to act according to the Holy Spirit, it is then that God removes all barriers that hinder us from accomplishing anything He sets before us. It was God, himself, that said at the tower of Babel, that if man could be unified in one language with one purpose, he could accomplish ANYTHING. (which incidentally is why he confused our language in the first place) It was also God, who at Pentecost, when the believers where worshiping and preaching the good news in accordance with the Holy Spirit, that removed all the barriers and allowed those there to hear each in his own language and the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being saved. Isn't that the goal? Why yes, yes, it is!

I firmly believe that I am right (just ask my husband, I am rarely wrong! ;) ). But, God is calling me to put aside my rights to be unified with Him.

Right now being right cannot bring unity.

Right now, I must choose. Will I be right? Or will I trust the God of the universe and be unified, reconciled to Him?

Though it goes against every fiber of my flesh, and I probably won't do it perfectly, I am choosing to submit myself to the Spirit. To be silent. To trust. To wait. Peace.

Right NOW.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Who Knew!?

I received a phone call yesterday from the friend who cut my hair about 6 weeks ago. She told me it was time for a haircut and to get myself in there! (Note: I am not accustomed to getting my hair cut every 6 weeks, more like every 3-4 MONTHS! And that's if I'm lucky!) Being a very obedient child, I set an appointment with her today. I figured if she wants to give me a free haircut 6 weeks after my last free haircut, then I am in!

I went in today. I got the treatment! Shampooing that felt like a massage on my scalp, a great haircut, and therapy!

This friend of mine couldn't be a bigger encourager if she tried! She listened to me lament non-specifically about our situation, and offered her support in prayer. She joked other clients until I was almost in stitches. We talked of parenting issues and gray hair. And when she finished blowing my hair dry, she looked me in the eye and told me not to worry about my gray hair, that God made me to be the exact woman that I am. In His eyes I'm famous! And precious! That the things that are taking place in my life are no reflection on me, but the choices of those who made them. That God will use this to make me more into the woman he has created me to be!

Seriously, tears rolling down my face! Who knew that a haircut could lift one's spirit from despair? This after reading this morning: "Don't spend time trying to figure everything out, leaning on your own understanding. Instead, acknowledge God, who He is with all His attributes and the fact that He is in the midst of everything that is taking place. Then He will straighten out your path." (Lynn paraphrase of the Message) God straightened out my path a bit today through the encouragement of friends.

In the words of Larry the Cucumber, "I laughed. I cried. It moved me, Bob!" Who knew all that from a simple haircut?!


Saturday, March 12, 2011


I grew up in a church that doesn't really participate in liturgical, high-church practices. Not sure if that's really a way to describe it. In short, we don't do Lent.

I was probably an adult before I even learned what Lent was all about. My understanding of Lent is about as basic as it gets; giving up something in your life that is a sacrifice from Ash Wednesday until Easter for the purpose of remembering the sacrifice that Christ made for you on the cross. So that every time you desire that thing you have given up you remember the cross and thank God for sending his son.

I have never seriously participated in Lent. It's a tradition that, while seeming beneficial in a sentimental sort of way, never seemed necessary. I don't know what's different about this year. Nothing, really. But I was inspired to sacrifice something this year.

Here were my top 6 choices: coffee, Facebook, chocolate, my children, Lois & Clark reruns, and Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Of course, I didn't start thinking seriously about giving up something for Lent until I had already snuggled my children, had a cup of coffee, checked my Facebook and ate a brownie! That left my favorite show and my favorite game. How to choose? It came down to two factors. I spend time snuggling my husband while watching my favorite show and I really didn't think he would want to give that up. And, my biggest competitor, Lynn, had already decided to give up Bejeweled Blitz for Lent herself.

I was inspired, really. Lynn was giving up her addiction in hopes of spending the time she would normally be playing Bejeweled for deepening her relationship with Christ. Not only thanking God for giving his son to die for us, but sacrificing something so trivial in order to spend more time getting to know and worshiping our Savior!

Yes, I gave up my countless hours of Bejeweled Blitz, and in my case, I determined to give up all games on Facebook so that I wouldn't be tempted to just trade addictions, but really make myself open to choosing to walk closer to my Jesus.

Today is day 4. I have noticed that gap in my time. And I have chosen to fill it by listening to some sermons that encourage me to a deeper walk. I look so forward to the next weeks to see what God has to teach me through obedience and sacrifice!


Thursday, March 10, 2011


I heard a sermon about worship a few years ago. The preacher talked about the positions of worship; standing, kneeling, and prostrate. Prostrate. Flat on your face. I have a few years of martial arts under my [hi-blue] belt, and let me tell you, flat on your face is the most vulnerable position you can be in. Flat on your face you are utterly defenseless. You cannot protect yourself. You can't get out of the path of what's coming. You can't see anything coming. It struck a chord in me to relate that to worship.

Worshiping flat on my face means putting myself totally at God's mercy. Utter deference to His will. Total surrender.

I had never been physically prostrate before God until that day. But, it has become one of my favorite positions for prayer and worship. And the bigger things seem, the more I want to fall flat on my face before my Father.

That's where I was tonight. The situation we are facing is overwhelming emotionally. There are times when I just can't wrap my mind around it. I needed some flat-on-my-face time with God. I didn't even know what to pray, so I just cried out knowing that my Intercessor would fill in all the gaps.

Beautiful One I love.

God met me there. He began by reminding me that He had given me hope to hold onto earlier today. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 (NIV 2010) And, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23 (NIV 2010) My God is a God of hope! This morning when I first read these verses I had no idea what was coming this afternoon. I had no idea that I would need to cling to that hope, hold fast to his promises.

In total surrender, I found hope.

I read on in Hebrews until I got into chapter 12, verses 5-11.
"“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
" (NIV 2010)

God intends to accomplish a purpose in what we are muddling through. Not only is it for our good, but he wants us to share in his holiness in the midst of it. He understands that it is not pleasant, that it's painful even. But his promise is that later we will reap a harvest of righteousness and peace, if we allow him to train us through this.

That's a lot to take in. I have some responsibility in this current situation. I need to learn from what I've done and what has happened, because that's part of my training. But I have this hope: it won't last forever and God is faithful to fulfill his promises, to give me a harvest of righteousness and peace. I need to see God's love for me in this, and I do. He has been with us every step of the way.

In putting myself at God's mercy, I found him to be merciful.

Prostrate before a mighty, holy God.

Flat. On. My. Face.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rebel Thoughts.

Weird. I haven't blogged in over 2 weeks. I've missed it and yet, I've had very little to say. Life is busy.

I play in a band. Did you know that? I play keyboards and sing. Last month our leader had to step down. This band has had such a growing effect on my life that I hated to just see it all fall apart. So I talked to the other band members and we decided collectively to continue on. One of the other members of the band is helping with the leadership, but the majority of it has fallen on my shoulders. I am totally out of my element here. I'm an organized person by nature, but I'm also a procrastinator! Those things create a dichotomy of sorts (which sums me up quite well, tyvm!). God is using this to grow and stretch me. To make me into a new creation. To develop self-discipline in me that I sadly lack. To humble me, by that I mean to get me over myself. And hopefully He will use me/us as a band to touch the lives of the people that we play for.

My "Kake" business is steady. It's another way that God is stretching me. I am not pursuing advertising or sales, I just take them as they come and trust God. I'm fully amazed by His provision, daily! Trusting Him for orders. He is enough!

As I was typing this, I just got word that progress is moving forward on our situation. This is a mixed bag of emotions for us. Mostly I'm relieved that we are not dangling in this void for a long time. Part of me is horrified at what is happening. Jesus be near.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Rebel Thoughts.

I've come to the conclusion/decision that I will not be going to Uganda in April. I'm so sad about it, but it just didn't happen and with all that is going on in our family life right now, perhaps it is for the best, though I am very disappointed.

On the other hand, God is so faithful to meet our needs at every turn. Saturday night when I posted I was so down and discouraged. The thought of going to church on Sunday and leading worship seemed too much. Normally I can't wait for Sunday mornings, but I was dreading yesterday. Seriously dreading. I kept crying out to God, "I can't do this. I can't do this." But the amazing thing about my Jesus is that He knows me. He knows just what I need, more than I know myself.

Sunday morning on the way to church a song came on the radio (I was putting on my make-up as I normally do ;) ), and all 5 of my kids started singing in worship. Their whole hearts engaged in singing to God. A-MA-ZING! For a moment I just sat and drank in the sweetness of it. In that moment I felt washed and blessed. Still discouraged? Yes. Still overwhelmed? Yes. Still lost in my pity party? No. Able to take my focus off of me and choose to worship the God of the universe? YES! YES! And YES!

And then this amazing thing happened when we got to church. God surrounded me with just the right people at the right times. Coincidence? I think NOT! It is not a coincidence that the new lady in choir stands next to me and that she is a very demonstrative worshiper, and in that we are kindred spirits. It is not a coincidence that just the right friends showed up where I was at the time and place where I was to meet each need that I had. By the end of the day, I was uplifted and encouraged! Go, GOD!

Our church has an annual "Pie Auction". It's to raise money for the youth department's mission trips. Last year they raised about $20,000! It's a crazy event to watch pies sell anywhere from $100 to $2500! There's also an opportunity to put pies in the faces of the pastoral staff! It's one of my favorite events! I donated a kake which sold for $200! And I got to help Kevin put a "pie" in the face of my favorite worship pastor! We also bought a blueberry pie at the end of the night, and when Kevin saw it he got all excited, "We have a pie? Who's face are we going to smash it in?" Hahaha! As if every pie we get must be smashed in someone's face!

Back to a busy week, fully charged, ready to go! If I get things worked out with my camera and photo editing software, I will try to do a Family Dinner Night post tomorrow! Should be fun!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

In the Middle of Waiting.

When you don't know when the waiting will end, you're always in the middle. Ever further from the beginning of your wait, and never closer to the end.

I was naive to think that I could handle the wait with ease. After all, I've waited before. Long waits. Emotionally charged waits. Waits when the end is completely unknown. I thought it would be easy compared to those other waits.

It's not.

I long for the end, when the outcome is past and I am on the other side of healing. When life seems normal again. When there are no sickening fears. When there are no private pow-wows. When I can talk to my friends and family freely without them wondering what the heck is going on in my life. When life feels safe again. When we can put this horrific ugliness in the past and leave it there forever. When I don't have to second guess every decision I make.

I'm in the middle. Trying to remember that God's timing is perfect. Trying to hold on to the promise that He works everything for the good of them that love him who are called according to his purpose. I'm in the middle. Trying to find comfort in knowing that God can do amazing things through adversity. I'm in the middle. Trying to be the person I think God wants me to be.

But I gotta tell ya... I ain't feeling it tonight. I feel like slapping somebody, and I know if I even started slapping somebody I'd end up beating the ever loving daylights out of them two or three, maybe five times over. I hope the intensity of this feeling is just PMS speaking.

Please, Lord, can't you arrange for me to have a spiritual and emotional Calgon bath? I need to be washed from all this. All my thoughts need a good scrubbing. My emotions could us a good, long, relaxing soak. A quiet respite from my inner turmoil. I just need to know that in the middle of this waiting, I'm also in the middle of Your will. In the middle of Your hand. In the middle Your protection and encampment surrounding me. Safe in the middle.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hiding God's Word in Our Hearts.

Once upon a time, a long time ago (well, not that long ago, since I'm only 24 ;)) I joined the teen Bible quizzing team at my church. In case you don't know what that is, which I suspect very few people do, it's like "Jeopardy", only all about the Bible. We studied a book each year, or in my case 2 books, 1 & 2 Corinthians. We had certain verses to learn and certain questions to practice. A quiz meet would consist of several teams coming together one Saturday per month to compete against each other. You had to really know your stuff. Memory verses had to be verbatim. I remember because the first time I stood up for a memory verse I missed it by leaving out 4 tiny letters, a-l-s-o. As in, "...when you are tempted, He will ALSO provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13(b) You could challenge answers from other teams, you could challenge the verbiage of the questions, if the question asked "according to such-and-such-a-verse" your answer had to be from that verse. It was all very cranial, and I completely enjoyed it. I built some good relationships that year, in fact, I think I'm friends with my entire team on Facebook, including the coaches!

The result of all that is that all these years later, I can still quote many of those verses, verbatim. While some of the references are fuzzy, the words are still very familiar. If you start talking about Corinthians chances are if I don't know it exactly, I can probably find it in a few page turns!

It struck me last summer that hiding God's Word in one's heart never leaves them. It also hit me that I have not been teaching my children scripture, and right now, while their minds are sponges, is the perfect time to teach them. And so we began as a family to memorize God's Word.

We began with a favorite of mine, 1 Corinthians 13. The whole chapter. Yes, my newly 3 year old Izaak, who could barely pronounce most of the words, learned the whole chapter. It took us about 2 months. Next we learned Psalm 71. It was something I was reading that had meaning to me. Those 24 verses took us from September until the end of the year. When we finished that my daughter recommended Proverbs 3. Currently we are learning verses 31-32, hoping to complete the last few verses by the end of February, making these 35 verses the fastest chapter per verse that we have learned so far!

It's kind of funny because every now and again when we try to start Proverbs 3, we actually begin the first verse of Psalm 71. Oops.

If you want to know how we do it, stay tuned. I'll write a post soon to describe our method. And maybe, just maybe I'll figure out how to get the videos off my phone and post the sweetest 3 and 5 year olds saying their chapters!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Words of Comfort

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; ~Isaiah 43:1b-3a

Praise to the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. ~2 Corinthians 1:3-5

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body ~2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Therefore, we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

New International Version 2010.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Holding Fast.

Just so all of you out there in bloggy land don't worry, I'm popping in to say HI! Hi!

We are holding fast. It's somewhat like a rollercoaster of emotion for me, though I still feel settled in my spirit. Each day seems full of moments of extreme pain, following and followed by moments when God's spirit sweetly ministers to our spirits.

I'm impatient. I want healing to come quickly. I want to work through all this and be done. NOW! But, healing doesn't work that way. TIME. Healing takes time and lots of it.

In the midst of all this we are trying to get back to a sense of normalcy. Life goes on. While we must take time when we need to deal with things, we also have to continue to live and function in the day to day. That will get easier as the shock and dismay wear off. Maybe.

Keep praying.


Friday, February 11, 2011


For three days I have wrestled with raw emotion. A battle between my flesh and my faith. Anger, bitterness and rage against justice, mercy and grace. Man I've been all over the map. Moment to moment swinging from utter heartbreak to rage so strong I wanted to destroy anything I could get my hands on. I have had no appetite, though I've tried to make myself eat, but a bowl of cereal in the morning and a brownie in the evening hardly counts for anything! Seriously begging and pleading with God to give me more mercy and grace.

God is faithful. Everytime I have needed grace, He has provided. Everytime I have needed mercy, He has given it freely. Everytime I was about to be overwhelmed by the flood of the rawness of my emotions, He sent someone to encourage and lift me up. God is faithful.

This morning I turned the corner. God finally broke through to show me the truth of where my anger could take me. And how futile it was. Then He clearly showed me the path of mercy, love and compassion. He also revealed to me by prophetic word, his protection and tenderness.

There is much more battle to fight. But, my heart and soul are settled. I finally have peace. True. solid. peace. God and I, we have a plan. He gave me his eyes for just one second and I saw what I needed most to see.

It's all settled.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Snowball Effect.

I feel like I'm a cartoon character stuck in a snowball, rolling down a hill. Picking up speed. Completely out of control of the path I take. Pitching and tossing this way and that. Bumping and plowing full speed ahead. My head is spinning. My stomach is full of butterflies. All over the place. Gathering chaos as I go. When will it stop? Will this giant mess come to a halt and give me a chance to get my bearings and dig out, or will it hit an immovable object and explode?

At least I'm stuck in here with my hubby. Hold on baby, this ride is just getting started!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Psalm of the Broken

Broken. Broken.
Helplessly broken.

Blind. And deaf.
Hopeless and broken.

Tattered. And torn.
Utterly lost.

There is no wisdom in me.
There is no peace.
Anger and hate fill me
where once were hope and joy.

My righteous anger
is ineffective.
Completely impotent
to bring any good.

I am undone.

I call to you
from my pit
in anguish.

I cry to you,
oh Lord
whom I love.

Do not cast me away
in my shame.
Do not be silent
to my pleas.
Empty me of all that
displeases you.
Empty me
of me.

I call to you Lord,
I, whom you love.
You hear my cry.

You answer me
in the darkness.
You who are faithful.

Come quickly, Lord
to save me.
Rescue me from despair.

You fill me with grace.
Your mercy overwhelms me.
In your hands are justice
and mercy.

You will stand before my enemies
with righteousness and truth.
You will destroy the evil.

You will bring healing
to the broken.
You alone.

My future is secure.
For I will trust in you.
You have refined me with fire.
I am wholly yours.

May all who hear of your mercy
fall on their knees in worship.
May your name be praised forever,
God of my heart,
Lord of my life.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Rebel Thoughts - Taking Care of Business

Next week is Valentine's Day. I'm taking orders for Kakes for your sweetheart. These kakes will be heart-shaped and you have a choice of chocolate or carrot cake for $40. If you'd like ganache filling in your chocolate kake it will be an extra $10. Place your order by emailing me at

I also want to give you the opportunity to support me on my trip to Uganda. The total cost of the trip is $3100. If you can help, please send your support directly to:

River Church
860 Plymouth Dr.
Durango, CO 81301

Please write "Karina P. Uganda April 2011" on the memo line of your check. If for some reason I don't go, the support you send will be donated to other team members who need support to go care for the orphans in Uganda.

Whether you can support this trip monetarily or not, please support me in prayer as I make preparations both logistically, spiritually and emotionally for this trip. I am SO stinking excited to see what God is going to do! Less than 8 weeks away!

We had a productive weekend. Friday night my band led worship at our teen drop-in center, Movement 5280. We had a blast! Saturday we got some much needed housework done, including some reorganizing and purging. That felt SO good! I hate when my life feels cluttered by STUFF. Seriously, we tossed our entire collection of cassette tapes. We have no way to listen to them and even when we did have a tape player it has been years since we've touched them. Years. Now I just need to do that in every other room in the house, every drawer, every closet. I wish I could just get it all done at once, but the thought of that is a bit overwhelming.

Sunday was another awesome day of worship, and a day of rest! I enjoyed having coffee with my niece and getting caught up on what God is doing in her life! She's an amazing woman and growing in her faith. She'll be starting her own blog soon and I can't wait to see how her story changes lives!

I think there was some big football game on, but it couldn't have been too important since the Dallas Cowboys weren't playing, though they did play on the Cowboys' field! I was rooting for my friend Leah's team to win, but sadly she was disappointed. Haha! And, now that football is over we will have to find something else to watch through our eyelids on Sunday afternoons for the next 6 months!

We had a funny conversation at breakfast this morning. It seems when you're little you don't really have the concept of dreams, or rather, your concept of a dream is a movie that you watch when you close your eyes!

Now it's back to school and life as usual.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ok! Ok! You Can Put the Sledge Hammer Down!

I lost my job in December, just before Christmas. Things have been tight. I did the whole Christmas cake thing to make money for Christmas, which turned out a be a beautiful experience. We've been praying for God to move, to show us what to do or bring income our way. It's been really hard on Todd, he just wants to fix it by jumping into a second job, but bless his heart, he's been praying and waiting on the Lord. I've been hoping to replace my income with more kids, thinking that an infant and toddler would be nice to have around, but also make ends meet. I did have a LOT of friends tell me that I should do cakes, even my bestie joked several times that God was beating me over the head with a baseball bat about it, and she thought He'd soon pick up His sledge hammer.

Last Wednesday I was telling a friend about Uganda and my lack of job and all that was on my heart. Her response was to sit me down and pray for me. (I love that!) We sat and she prayed, and I told God in my head that if He wanted me to do the cake thing that He was going to have to send me an order by the end of the week. People don't normally spontaneously ask me to make them cakes for money, so I figured I was safe. HA!

Later that night Todd and I got a chance to sit down and talk about finances, job, cakes. I was just about to tell him about my cake fleece (you know, like Gideon), when he jumped in and told me that his co-worker's daughter was getting married in June and they wanted to know if I'd do the cake. Nuh-UH!!

Now my biggest problem with going into the cake business is that, while I know how to make cakes, really good cakes, I have no idea how to run a business. So, I told God that a cake order in June was all fine and dandy but when I said an order by the end of this week I MEANT an order by the end of this week for next week.

My cell phone had rung earlier in the day, right about the time my friend had been praying for me. Of course, I ignored it, and tried to return the call to my friend Heather later. But we didn't reconnect until after my conversation with Todd. We shot the breeze, she couldn't remember why she had called. I told her all about the cake stuff, which suddenly sparked her memory. She'd called to order a cake! Nuh-UH!!! Nuh-UH!!

Seriously? While I was asking God to show me what to do by sending me a cake order, she was calling with a cake order? NUH-UH!!!

Alright God. You can put the sledge hammer down. I get it! Go into the cake business.

We're working out all the details, like website and marketing and a thousand other things. But God so clearly, undoubtedly answered my prayers, the ones I didn't even utter aloud, that I know He will provide what is needed. To His glory and His alone!


Friday, January 28, 2011

The Orphan - Part 2.

To my dearest Todd: Honey, please do not read this post. It's not for you. I love you. :) Yes, I'm serious! ~Karina

I have read Linny's blog posts about her adoption of Elijah and Elizabeth and Jubilee to my husband in hopes that it would inspire his amazingly tender heart to want to jump on the adoption train, I have asked him outright to consider adopting and his answer is a firm "I don't want anymore kids"

So, I have taken Linny's advice. I have shut up about adoption, an enormous undertaking. I fast and pray for God to change Todd's heart. I am still working on the part about not complaining to him about the children I do have, it's a hard habit to break, complaining. But I know that I cannot manipulate him, cajole him, convince him or push my way into adoption. He is going to have to come to that place by God's leading, and I trust that God has got that one covered, or I'm trying to trust.

Anyway. I began talking last month to MckMama about joining her on a missions trip to Kenya next month. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get to know my friend better and take pictures and even possibly get to meet the little boy that we sponsor through Compassion International. I got all the details of the trip and it looked like it was doable. But oddly, though I wanted to go, I did not feel an urgency to go nor did I feel compelled that I should go. Don't get me wrong, it would be a dream trip, the chance of a lifetime.

A few weeks ago Linny's husband, a couple of her older kids (Emma and Graham) went to Uganda. For the first few days Emma posted on her blog about their trip and every child she talked about, every story just pulled at my heart. I thought, "God, what are you doing? I want to run and get them all." Yeah, so realistic. Or not. Shortly after Linny's family returned home she posted about herself and Emma leading a trip to Uganda in April.

To my Dearest Todd: If you didn't take me seriously, start now. Do not read beyond this point. I mean it! I love you. ~Karina

I feel compelled to go on this trip to Uganda. I spent all day yesterday crying and praying over it. I'm scared. Financially, God is going to have to take care of the expenses of this trip, we simply can't, even more than that, I have been out of work for over a month and not only will God have to finance this trip, but our monthly budgets as well. Which, I must add, he is answering my prayers about that already! Todd and I have discussed the trip to Uganda, and he and I have agreed that if the monthly budgets and the cost of the trip are met, I can go. D for done!

What we haven't discussed and what scares me more is this: I feel certain that I will meet our next daughter on this trip. (wow, that's crazy to type) I have known for years that our next daughter is to be named Faith. I thought she was coming to us through IVF 7 years ago, but when I miscarried God told me our Faith would be a living child. I thought that one of the Cambodian twins would be Faith, but they are named Alena and Sophia, and those names are stuck. I could be wrong, and I'm not going on this trip to find a baby to adopt, but I'm just saying, if I meet a baby girl named Faith, I will know that she is to be ours and I believe if I meet her Todd will know too. And I'm not sure I'm ready and God's been doing crazy things lately, and it's just a LOT to process all at once!

So, I'm filling out and turning in the application for the Uganda April 2011 trip! I'm sending off to renew my passport next week. And I'm trusting God for all the rest. All of it.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Orphan.

My first experience with the Orphan came at a time in my life when I was desperate to have a baby. I wanted "my own" kids, and adoption to me meant failure. I was stubborn. I was also at the end of 3 years of trying to conceive. Todd and I sat down with a couple from our church that had adopted a daughter from Korea. We wanted to hear their story because it looked as if adoption would be our next step.

Their story was amazing and truly broke down my stubborn heart to accept that adoption could be everything that a pregnancy and birth could be and even more. I decided then and there that whether or not we ever got pregnant, I wanted to adopt someday.

The next month, I got pregnant. And now, over 15 years later, we have 5 children. I still want to adopt.

In 2007 just 2 short months after our Izaak arrived, I got a call from my husband. He began the conversation with, "How would you like to adopt identical twin girls from Cambodia?" I responded without a pause, "Where do I sign?" Then I realized what he was talking about, an email in my inbox from missionaries in Cambodia that I hadn't read yet. I opened it immediately and read it while he was on the phone. The minute I saw their picture I was smitten, and so was my husband. We have prayed for them from that day to this, 3 years, 5 months, 1 week, 2 days. They are not adoptable. For a while we had hope that they would be adopted by a Canadian couple, but it didn't work out and the doors closed. I tried to quit praying for them, but God has not released me from that yet. But still they remain unadoptable.

It's easy to say you would adopt when the children you want to adopt are unavailable. If these two precious girls were suddenly available to adopt I would be on the next flight to Cambodia to get them. I love them, I long to hold them and be their mommy. My children already consider them sisters, the sisters we long for.

But in the last few years, really since I began to read Linny's blog, A Place Called Simplicity, my heart has longed more and more to go and bring home an orphan from any part of the world and give them a forever family. It doesn't much matter from where, I love being a mommy and there are millions of kids who need a mommy (and a daddy, and a sister, and 4 brothers)!

God help me, I feel like my heart is torn out of my chest, laid bare for those who need a family.

To be continued...

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27 (copyright NIV 2010)


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Cute Enough to Eat!

Disclaimer: No children were harmed, cooked or eaten in the making of this blog post.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Comic Relief.

Every week (used to be Tuesdays, now on Mondays) we have FDN*. Eventually, I will have a weekly post with pictures and recipes that I will post here.

*Family Dinner Night, where if you come, you're family.

It seems the last several weeks I have had a headache every time FDN rolls around. It's getting pretty annoying. Today I had taken ibuprofen, tried napping and my headache was still getting worse. I sent one of my son's on a walk to Starbucks for some caffeine. I was in a pretty good mood, but having a headache was taxing even that. I was frustrated, and I wanted to cuss, but I just can't. Seriously, I cannot make myself cuss. Then things just kept going wrong.

I had planned homemade noodles for my lasagna, but after I had made the dough I discovered that last time I had used my noodle press I broke it. I wanted to cuss. Instead I hand rolled noodles. When I finished rolling the noodles, I realized that the double batch of dough was not enough to make 2 pans of lasagna, I was expecting 17 people for dinner. Before I could call my husband, who was at the store getting salad, he got home. I wanted to cuss. Instead my niece volunteered to run to the store to get noodles, while my sweet hubby gave me a neck massage and helped me cook the sauce. As we finished the sauce I realized that I had not bought ricotta cheese, about that time my niece walked in the door with the noodles. I wanted to cuss! Instead, I shouted a string of unintelligible syllables to relieve all my frustration and need to cuss.

In the midst of my tirade several people arrived for FDN, one of them being Josh. Surprised by my outburst he asked, "What was THAT?"

Without a thought it came to me, "Oh, it was just me, cussing in tongues!"

We all had a good laugh, and the rest of the evening went off without another hitch! my headache even went away. Sometimes you just need a bit of comic relief.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I've Learned from Abraham.

God said go. He went.

God gave him a promise. He believed.

God made him wait. He kept believing.

God's promise looked impossible. He believed anyway.

Abraham had fears. Abraham sometimes forgot to trust. Abraham sinned.

Abraham was not perfect.

God was faithful to his promise despite Abraham.

Abraham had questions. He asked God.

God fulfilled his promise. Abraham worshiped.

God tested Abraham. Abraham proved faithful.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Healthy Heart.

Well, my mommy instincts were off. While I'm not diminishing the beautiful gift of a healthy heart, I'm not exactly pleased with that answer. My son has health issues. And a minor (read: fixable) heart problem was the lesser of two evils for him. A healthy heart means unhealthy lungs. And unhealthy lungs, that's the diagnosis I didn't want for my baby boy.

Going to have to leave this at Jesus' feet. In the words of one of my favorite bloggers, Angie Smith, "My Jesus is the same now as he was when I walked in the door."


Rebel Thoughts.

I kinda miss MckMama's blog carnival "Not Me!" Monday. I have a few things I need to get off my chest. Like, it's January 18 and my Christmas decorations are all put away. I would never wait this long out of laziness to pack them all up. Nope, not me! It was not after 11 am before my children at breakfast today. Nope, I feed them in a more timely manner than that. It is definitely NOT the 3rd time this week that breakfast has been late. And I did NOT totally space my annual physical yesterday. I'm an organized, responsible person. This was NOT the appointment I rescheduled after the last time I forgot it. Heavens, only a space cadet would do that, not ME!

Ah, that's more like it. I feel better already.

You'll notice that some adds have appeared on the upper right column and under the most current post. Hopefully they won't be to intrusive. If you see something you like, feel free to check it out, otherwise ignore them. From what I've seen so far the ads should match the theme of this blog... but if for some reason you see otherwise let me know so I can have them removed.

I'm getting nervous about Izaak's cardiology appointment today. It's not that I want him to have a heart problem, but he already has a problem and I'd rather it be a heart problem that can be fixed, than asthma that cannot. Mostly I just want an answer. Ok, I admit, I want to be right. I hate being wrong. I've thought about this for almost 2 years. I've convinced myself that Izaak's reactive airway disease is caused by an ASD just like his sister had.

I've been talking to my daughter about her ASD. She remembers what it feels like to not be able to breathe. She described it one time as a full, heavy feeling that keeps you from breathing. She said she has never experienced that since having the ASD repaired. She gets winded during exercise, but it's like everyone else gets winded. I am still SO thankful that God allowed her to have pneumonia 2 years ago so that we could finally find the ASD and fix it. It still kills me that she lived with it twelve years. That is probably the reason I am so insistent about Izaak. If we can help him breathe better at age 3, then it will be worth sticking my neck out. And if we find he has asthma then at least I will know that I did everything I could to make sure it wasn't ASD.
And if I never have to see his sweet face behind this silly fish mask again, I would be ecstatic!


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sick Boy. Insistent Mama.

My baby is sick. I hate that. But I really hate that it's chronic.

Almost two years ago my daughter got pneumonia and her chest x-ray showed a lot more than we ever expected. She had an enlarged pulmonary artery, the result of a large ASD* (Atrial Septal Defect). It was easily repaired by cardio cath with an Amplatzer Occluder. Her quality of life has improved greatly.

At the time Izaak was not quite 2 years old. And I talked to the cardiologist about Izaak. He has an almost identical history when it comes to breathing issues. We have no family medical history of asthma, and the breathing issues have always bothered me. The cardiologist assured me that ASDs are not genetic, and that it would be unlikely that we would have two in the same family.

Two years later and I'm still not convinced. One of the symptoms of ASD is breathing problems and frequent pneumonia infections. The biggest difference between Izaak and Letha is that he has had pneumonia more.

Izaak has been sick this week. It started as croup. It is now a full blown cold with breathing issues, fever and possibly the beginnings of..... pneumonia. Again.

It just seems logical to me. Do an ultrasound on his heart to make sure. That's all. Just check. I don't want my son to live with asthma until he's 12 (or longer) if he doesn't have to. If this is fixable, let's find it and fix it. If it ends up that he actually has asthma, we will deal with that.

Fortunately, we have a pediatrician that listens to "Mommy instincts". So, we are going for an echo tomorrow! We will find out if we have another case of "cardiac asthma" or if this is the real asthma that can't be fixed. My gut tells me I'm right about this. Hopefully being an insistent Mama will pay off with better health for my son in the end.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

God is SO Faithful.

Two very wonderful things happened today! I have cried many tears of joy over them both.

First, my daughter of the heart, Meg, quit running from God today and gave her heart back to Him! WOOOHOOO! There are angels rejoicing in heaven tonight over Meg! (Honey, I'm so happy for you and so excited to see what God is going to do in your life!) Yippee Jesus! I got to be right there holding her hand and gave her the HUGEST hug afterwords. Totally filled my Mama's heart with pride, joy and happiness!

While I was talking to and hugging Meg I noticed a woman standing about 10 feet away looking on. She seemed to have a longing in her eyes and as Meg and I stood up she approached me. Keep in mind that I have never seen this woman before, but I was drawn to her because, well, it had to be the Holy Spirit, there's just no other explanation.

In my post a few days ago Preaching to the Choir, God was talking to me about loving others. And well, this lady, she looked like she could use a good dose of love. As she approached me she said she didn't know what was going on here, but that she knew that she needed to be there. I asked her if she needed to pray. She said she was okay on that front. Today was her first time to our church and she said she felt like she had come home. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the opportunity to lavish love on you in the form of a stranger. What I did next kind of shocked me. I threw my arms around her in a HUGE hug and said, "Welcome home!" I introduced myself and asked about her. She said she's all alone. She had recently moved from another part of town and was looking for a church. She felt she had found the right one. Yippee Jesus!

I am sure that if I look I will be able to find an unlimited amount of people to love in Jesus' name, but I am also sure that God planted this one in my path. She could have approached any number of people that were at the altars this morning, she waited for me, she looked me in the eyes, she was there for me. And God being God, I know that I was there for her. She showed me God's faithfulness and I showed her His love. It's crazy, but God's kind of like that!

It really reminds me of the lyrics to a Phillips, Craig & Dean song:
Who am I that you are mindful of me? That you hear me when I call?
Is it true that you are thinking of me? How you love me?

~"Friend of God" Phillips Craig & Dean.

Really, God, it is amazing!!!


Rebel Thoughts.

Ahhh, the weekend. Time to relax and enjoy home. Or not so much.

Friday was my middle goddaughter's 19th birthday. I, of course, had to bake her a cake. My bestie, Penny, wanted to go to the Melting Pot, but alas, it was not to be. In lieu of Melting Pot, she decided to serve her own 4 course fondue meal for my goddaughter and her close friends. I offered to help serve the kids and bake the cake.

I stayed overnight because my little pink laptop, Tabitha, was going to be ready to pick up on Saturday morning. I sent out a tweet to see if anyone in the area wanted to meet for lunch and low and behold, 2 of my new bloggy mom friends were able to meet me, in addition to the one who was bringing Tabitha back to me!

This evening I made another cake for the daughter of a friend. I was thinking back to when I met my friend Kari. She was the first online friend that I met IRL (in real life). While I've only been blogging for about 2 1/2 years, I've been a part of online communities and bulletin boards for almost 9 years! Crazy.

I was thinking tonight about the first time I met Kari. We were part of a mothers of twins board and discovered that we live in the same metro area, albeit opposite ends of the city. We chose to meet at a mall somewhere in between. I wore make-up that day. I was really nervous. It seemed so strange to meet this person I had been posting online with for months. We knew each other, but not really. Kari wore make-up too. About midway through our lunch and playdate she told me it was unusual for her to wear make-up. She'd only worn it in case I was a real fashionista. Same reason I wore make up! Now when we get together neither of us wear make-up! Haha!

It's not so weird for me to meet online friends in person anymore. I still get a little nervous, but it wears off quickly. It's totally awesome how the internet can bring people together who would never otherwise have met. Yeah, you have to be careful, but it can be so rewarding!

On my way home I was driving in silence. I don't get a lot of silence in my life, so I take every opportunity to enjoy it when it comes. I was listening to the hum of the car going down the road at 75 miles per hour. It was about a middle C. A very sweet spot for this alto. It inspired me to sing. So, I had a little praise and worship time based on the road noise that my car makes. Weird. Lovely. But weird.

And in a few hours I will get up and head to church to sing some more. I love Sundays.

Good night.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Preaching to the Choir.

As you read this, I hope one of two things, that you feel as passionately about it as I do or that it will be like having a bucket of ice water poured over your warm, sleeping spirit, so that you will wake up and take notice. A lot of what I share on my blog when it comes to spiritual things comes from what God is teaching me personally. So, please know my heart that if what you read here sounds like I'm preaching, it's because I'm preaching to the choir of me.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go 'round. And then there are the 'special people'. You know, the people that everyone cringes to talk to, or tries to avoid altogether. The mentally or socially interesting people. You know what I'm talking about. These people don't bother me. I talk to them, hug them, listen politely when they speak to me. And occasionally someone will ask me, "How do you deal with the 'special people'?" I just shrug it off and say, "I don't know. They're just people."

I was at a church function recently and talked with a couple of people like I just described. And when our conversation ended, my friend sitting next to me said, "Good job." I knew what she meant, but I wanted to see what she would say, so I questioned her about her meaning. "Well, several people have told me that they don't want to talk to them. You did it with grace."

I wasn't a bit surprised by her answer, but it did make me want to shake all the people that had said that, or thought it. What my friend doesn't know is that God has been dealing with me very strongly about 'special people'. While I will accept a hug or listen to them politely, I don't truly show love to them. I don't take time to learn who they are, most of the time I don't even take enough time to learn their names. They're just people. So, I turned to my friend and said, "God has shown me recently that those people are the least of these."


They are the LEAST OF THESE. The ones Jesus talked about. The ones that separated the sheep from the goats. The ones that represent Jesus. The ones that if you ignore them you're a GOAT! DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO GOATS? You DON'T want to be a GOAT!

I don't want to be a goat. Nope.

The Least of These. They are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. What if they are the hungry for love? Or thirsty for attention? What if the stranger is simply stranger than you? Or the emotionally naked? What if it's the hypochondriac? What if it's the obnoxious, complaining, legalistic, arrogant, loud-mouth that's imprisoned by his own bad attitude? These. These are the ones. The ones that we are called to meet their needs, to feed them, give them a drink, invited them in, clothe them, care for them and visit them.

Oh WAKE UP, church! Please, wake up!

Do you know them? Who are your least of these? Who are the ones you graciously brush off? The ones you endure but really can't stand? You know them. Sure, the least of these are orphans and widows around the world, the poor and impoverished, even the homeless. But that's not all, no that's not all. They are in your church, they are in your office, they could even be in your family. The least of these.

But listen. LISTEN!

Think about the goats. The goats ignored them, brushed them off, left them hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick and imprisoned alone. And bad things happen to the goats in the end, BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! He said if you don't care for the least of these, you don't care for HIM! We have an opportunity to lavish love on Jesus, and we are missing it! How can I say I love Jesus (and I DO love him), and not take every opportunity to LAVISH love on him?

I want to be a sheep who loves my shepherd.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
~Matt. 25:37-40
{whole parable: Matt. 25:31-46}


Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Best Christmas EVER!

DISCLAIMER: I am reluctant to share the following story, because I believe that in giving, "the left hand should not know what the right hand it is doing". Giving should be private. But people who read my blog were involved in this story and I think it will be a blessing to them and to others. This story is all about God moving. It has nothing to do with me.

It started with a mom trying to make a few extra dollars for Christmas. Actually, it really started before that. It started with the Holy Spirit and a man by the name of Francis Chan who spoke about what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I have lived in that conviction for the last 6 months.

Anyway, I wanted to earn some extra money for Christmas, so I set up my blog for local folks to buy Christmas cakes, and shared on Twitter and Facebook about it. My sweet friend/ Nancy, living across the country suggested that non-local folks be able to give donations so that cakes could be donated to needy families. I thought it was a fabulous idea, a way to pass on the giving. I had no idea where God would take this.

A few days after my post I had several orders for cakes, and a few donations came in. Then, I got a check in the mail, with the sweetest note. A gentleman from my church wanted to make sure we had a good Christmas. We were so touched but did not feel right about taking money without giving back. So I told him that I would make and donate cakes. That one check was more than enough to cover our kind of simple Christmas, and I had already determined that we would love our neighbor as ourselves. Later that week another such generous check came in the mail, though not from the cake post, just the prompting of God.

Christmas Eve arrived and I had determined which families were getting cakes and had made sure most of them would be at the Christmas Eve service. After the service Todd brought the cakes in and I began to deliver them. One family in particular, a mom and 2 college girls, was very grateful. They each hugged me and told me how much it meant to them. It was not a good time, they had just been turned down for food stamps and the refrigerator was nearly bare and there would be no Christmas.

I told them that we happen to have a turkey in our freezer that we weren't planning to cook for Christmas as we were going to friends' house for dinner. (Honestly, I have no idea why I bought that bird in the first place) I asked if we could bring it over later, we exchanged phone numbers and went our ways. I was touched by their gratefulness. It was just a cake, but you'd have thought I'd given them much more.

Later, standing in our kitchen I told Todd about how it touched me. I was all teary-eyed. We looked at each other and we both knew that we needed to take more than a turkey to them that night. It was 7:15 and we knew that Super Wally-world would close at 8 for Christmas. "Go!" he said. I went, taking Letha with me.

I had in mind that I needed to get groceries to last a week or more, plus some gifts, and a gift card for things they might need that we wouldn't foresee. God placed a figure in my mind of $300. Normally when I go to the grocery store I have a budget and we add things up as we put them in the cart and stop when we meet the budget. Letha and I started adding things up, but we were in a time crunch and every few minutes we heard an announcement over the intercom about how soon they were closing. I threw my hands in the air and said to Letha, "Forget about adding it all up. We will just throw things in the cart and trust that God will make it all enough." We just kept throwing things in the cart. I don't think I've ever had so much fun at the store, and I was practically crying the whole time!

The total of groceries and Christmas presents came to just over $200 and we got them an $80 gift card! Yippee Jesus!!!

It took us awhile to get a hold of them that night, but eventually we loaded the kids in the car and headed over with "the turkey". As we pulled up to the house they opened the door and came out onto the porch. We got the turkey out of the back of the truck and then started unloading the groceries. To see understanding dawn on their faces as they began to realize what we had done was priceless. Better than a visa commercial! We carried the groceries into the house and handed them into the kitchen. I confessed to the lady of the house that I had gone a little crazy, that God had blessed us and that we needed to pass on the blessing. As she began to unpack the groceries opening each bag was like Christmas morning all over again! She exclaimed over nearly every item, "You got us a chicken?" "You got us lunch meat?" "...eggs?" It was incredible! And then one her her girls started to jump up and down, exclaiming, "This is turning out to be the BEST Christmas, EVER!!!" And we all agreed!

And then these sweet ladies began to shower us with gifts. The kids each got candy canes, and a stuffed animal from the girls' collections, and Todd and I received with joy glass ornaments, that they had hand beaded, straight from their own Christmas tree! Beautiful! Now every year when we decorate our tree we will remember how the God of the Universe blessed us one Christmas in abundance so that we could bless another family abundantly.

As we drove home our children all agreed, this was turning out to be the best Christmas ever!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rebel Thoughts...

My laptop, Tabitha, is gone for a few days to be repaired by a sweet bloggy friend's husband. Bloggy friend, Melissa. Husband, Matt. A few days ago Tabitha started acting up and Melissa jumped at the chance to help when I tweeted about it. I was a little shy about accepting such a generous offer, but I did it anyway.

I used to post Wordless Wednesdays, which I haven't done in a while but will continue in the future, just not this week, because all my pictures are on Tabitha. In fact, I am missing Tabitha greatly tonight. I'm using the kids' computer and it doesn't have all my bookmarks and passwords and familiarity to it that Tabitha has. She has become like a friend in the last 2 1/2 years. And in case you're wondering, I name everything. I named her specifically because Todd told me that my laptop needed a name for the network. I'm sure he was thinking something boring, like Pleckers laptop or something, but I had to close my eyes and feel for a name that would suit my pink vaio! ;) I'm weird. It's ok.

So, what other inanimate objects have I named? My truck is Mercy (said in the same voice as it's said in the song 'Pretty Woman', followed by a growl). My coffee maker is Valentino Tassimo. My camera is Olyver Olympus. My cell phone is Sophia B. Berry. My husband's car, which I bought brand new 21 years ago and has over 250K mi., is Road Runner. I'm weird. I know.

Among other things, tomorrow is supposed to be Del Taco day. But I am out of funds for the week, so we will probably have left-over quiche from dinner Monday night. Besides, the new manager at Del Taco made me mad over something really stupid and I have decided not to go back, at least for awhile. I might get over it someday, maybe when that manager moves on. I really miss Eddy.

My Christmas decorations are still up. I'm hoping they get taken down AND put away before my friend Bonnie comes to visit from Canada in March. At least she got her passport app filled out. The least I can do is take down my tree. :)

I made a cake tonight for one of my daughters of the heart's birthday. We also put Mason's name on the cake since my niece was here for FDN (Family Dinner Night). I have another cake for my goddaughter's birthday on Friday. And a third cake for another friend's daughter on Sunday. I seem destined to make cakes. I think I could make them in my sleep.

Speaking of Mason. His heaven day is tomorrow. I still can't believe how incredible it is that he lived 5 days. Nor how sad that he didn't get to live here. Nor how glad that he changed the course of our lives. Bittersweet. Happy Heaven Day little man.

This post is plain without pictures. I miss Tabitha. It's stupid to miss a computer. That's all I've got. Ciao!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Second Mama.

The first time I became a mentor, it was by circumstance, but I went about it in a very intentional way. I sought guidance and learned how to be a mentor from a sweet lady that I've known most of my life and who I highly respect as a spiritual, Christian leader.

Thankfully what I learned in those sessions about mentoring apply to all mentoring situations. Because, in the last year my home has been filled with more mentoring than I could ever have dreamed!

I have to tell you that as an only daughter, with 3 older brothers, I always dreamed of sisters. And, eventually, I did get some sisters, but didn't have the opportunity to know them since they lived 600 miles away. When our 4th boy came along, my 1 daughter really lamented not having a sister. I explained to her that sisters don't have to be related to you. I have a couple of 'sisters' that don't share a single chromosome with me. Even while explaining this to my daughter, I was, myself, lamenting not having more daughters.

It dawned on me recently that daughters don't have to be related to me any more than my 'sisters'! Somehow in the last year I have become "Second Mama" to a handful of wonderful young ladies. Some of them are my daughter's classmates, some not. But all very special to me.

I was thinking about what it means to be a Second Mama the other day. It's a labor of love. Sometimes as simple as giving a hug. Sometimes as complex as psychotherapist. ;)

A Second Mama's first job is to always support and love First Mama. I see it as my job to bridge the gap of relationships between my 'daughters' and their moms when things at home are frustrating. I give a listening ear, understanding words and encourage them to step back and understand a different perspective. Occasionally, I even get the chance to encourage the First Mamas. It's important to me to help them honor their mothers and if possible understand their mothers. I never want to be a stumbling block in those relationships. Rather, I want to encourage and foster them.

A Second Mama's next, and probably most important job, is to always point my girls to Jesus. Whether it's encouraging them to pray, praying with them, buying them a Bible and walking through it with them, answering the hard questions of life, dealing with anger and frustration, broken hearts, whatever it is I gotta bring it back to the eternal. What is really important is your relationship with God. This is the little life, the big life is the one to come. So my goal is to make sure my girls are ready for it, and that they know how to live this life in Truth. A big part of that is living by example, and sometimes I fail miserably at that. There are times when I get caught in my own anger and don't deal well. Times when my words aren't as gentle as they should be. But part of living that example is getting right back up and on track again. We all fail sometimes, but how we deal with our shortcomings is as important as the things we teach and say, maybe more important. I hope my girls see that in me.

A Second Mama's third job is giving lots of hugs. Hugs make you feel loved and important. They can comfort you when you're down. They can relate shared joys. They can give you a sense of belonging. Face it, hugs just feel good! :)

This past year has been a life-changing year for me. God has grown me more than any other year I can remember. He has given my a heart for the lost, and a voice to speak boldly. He has opened so many, many doors for me to reach out to others who need Him. And being a Second Mama has been almost as rewarding as being a mama to my own children.

I am so proud of my girls and I love them all dearly,
Alysha & Ashley

The daughters of my heart.


Friday, January 7, 2011


It was 2 years ago today that my great nephew Mason was born. God has done many things in the last 2 years that He began with Mason's sweet, short life. And many things we have yet to see the outcome. But one thing is sure... God is faithful.

My precious niece, Mason's mother, is walking in relationship with God today. A relationship with God is something she didn't know she needed until Mason was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. It has been such a gift to me to walk with her through this journey, to discover this amazing young woman with incredible stamina and faith, to mentor her through the beginnings of her relationship with her savior. And to see her grow.

Thank you Lord for redeeming our pain to draw us closer to you.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rebel Thoughts.

First I want to update you on my Christmas cakes venture or adventure! I sold 10 cakes and another 8 cakes were given in donation to struggling families in our church, specifically in the choir. The week of Christmas was crazy as the ganache and frosting flew! My poor oven saw more action that one week than it usually sees in a whole year! But the cakes were a wild success! I even got feedback about doing the Macy's Bridal Show! Wow! Not exactly what I had in mind, but quite flattering! And well, the whole adventure really made our Christmas but not at all, but ever so much more, in the way I had intended!! (Maybe I'll share that story soon)

We had a horrible New Year to offset our fabulous Christmas! I was a maniac, completely not myself and about ruined it for everyone. I'm better now. I have my mind around the situation and realize that there are just some things about me that God's power will always be the only reason I live and breathe, that His power is made perfect in my weakness, and it will most certainly keep me humble.

I jumped at the opportunity tonight to have sushi with several ladies that I met through blogging. I jumped not at all because of the sushi, though it was better than the last time I experienced it, but because of the socializing. Me, little Miss Shy Social Butterfly. My guess is that not one of those ladies realizes how terribly shy I am and what a struggle it was for my insides to approach a table of women that I barely know. I nearly bolted for the door when I first walked to the table. But, because these ladies are so incredibly kind and lovely, the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable! Thanks, Sarah, Renee, Christy, Melissa, Lauren, Tiffany and Jen.

One of the topics of the evening was helping others. Giving. Loving. Sharing. To that end, I'd like to share an opportunity with you to help a family in need. Christy has told Hailey's story and opened a way to help. This is an immediate need, so if you can help, please do so.