Sunday, September 30, 2012


No...not a Scripture reference. 37:16 was my final race time this afternoon. I was hoping for 36 minutes, but I'll take it. I mean...I finished! That's victory enough.

It was a pretty warm day, which made my pace extremely slow. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could have walked (or maybe even crawled) faster than I was running. But I ran! Without stopping!

Suzy Favor Hamilton, former Olympian and 7-time US National Champion was there to kick things off. It was kind of fun meeting her after the race. (Of course, she looked fresh as a daisy, and I looked as red as a fire truck!)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What a Friend

I'm mourning the loss of a friend tonight. She's still alive...just for some reason has chosen to no longer be my friend. I've tried multiple ways to make things right (not that I have any idea what I've done.) Today, I was yelled at while she walked away. I guess I've done my part, so long as it depends on me, to live at peace.

It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt, though. I've had so much loss this year. She was actually a friend who helped me through it. This stings. Especially after some toxic words that were shared with me a year ago by someone else, to the gist of "by the time this conference comes around, you'll have no friends left."

So while driving home today, trying to give this one up to God...because it's obviously out of my hands...these words came to my mind:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

And so I'm clinging to the Friend who will never leave me.

I'm still praying for restoration, and should that day come, I will welcome her with open arms. But for now, I have to learn to let go. Again.

Working Again

It was a slow start to the year, but the sub jobs are starting to come in now. I've worked 3 times in the past week and a half. Kindergarten, Vocal Music (yeah!) and 3rd Grade.

It's amazing to me how naturally I fit into the classroom again. I was so beaten down by the end of last year, I was seriously questioning if that was where I really belonged. But now...being in a school with really sweet kids whose parents are involved in their lives...enjoying small class sizes...students who come to school and WANT to learn...I find I've been having a lot of fun. In fact, yesterday, I felt a little guilty for earning money! It didn't seem like work at all, and in fact, was a welcome break from all the work that's gone into next week's big conference.

I think this is exactly the perk I needed to remind me that I really am meant to teach. I just needed a change of scenery to find my perspective again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just Keep Rowing

Two years ago, I wrote about a conflict I was having.

Looking back at these words:

"It has been a very difficult spring, between job uncertainty and professional conflict that became very, very personal."

I realize that professional conflict never really ended. It's still very personal. Even when I don't share a professional relationship with that person anymore. It's amazing the power one person can have...especially the power of words. Even when you try not to let that person have power over you, their words still carry a lot of weight. Especially when they are constantly negative and tearing you down. I've tried and tried to be positive; I've prayed and given this back to God again and again. I'm not looking for personal validation or finding my value in what this person thinks of me...and yet, would it hurt to throw a kind word my way now and then?

So the words of the devotional I referenced 2 years ago come back to play again:

From "Devotions for Women on the Go" by Stephen Arteburn and Pam Farrel

When [Peter] looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. Matthew 14:30

When the Boat is Rocking

I once heard John Maxwell, founder of Injoy Ministries, say that those who are busy rowing the boat seldom have the time or energy to rock it.

If God places you at the helm of an event or organization, keep the people rowing and their eyes set on the goal, and the sailing will be smoother.

What happens to people when their eyes are off the goal? Peter and the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water in the middle of the night, and they were afraid, thinking he was a ghost. But Jesus encouraged and calmed them, telling them not to be afraid. And then Peter decided he would walk out on the water to meet Jesus. As long as he kept his eyes focused on Jesus, he was walking on the water, but when he looked out at the wind, he immediately began to sink and cried for help (Matthew 14:25-30).

Things will start sinking if your eyes or your crew's eyes are on the circumstances rather than on Christ. If you feel your idea, dream, company, or future sinking, turn your eyes and the eyes of your team back to Christ.

Pray together, study the Word, or bring in a godly specialist or teammate who can point the team back to God and his purpose. This is especially true if the crew starts turning on each other or on you!

Before you have a mutiny, lead your team to look to the horizon!

And so I keep rowing. And looking to the horizon.


Close to God's Heart

With my new season of life, I've been blessed with the opportunity to build relationships. I prayed many times last spring that God would show me the way to pay it give to others the kind of help and encouragement I received in my own time of crisis.

My friends, Paula and Amos, were in an ATV accident in early August. Paula sustained major injuries to her right the grace of God, she was able to keep it. Paula and Amos have 3 darling boys, 5 years and under. I'm sure if you've read this far, you know that this is a family that could use some serious prayer intervention.

I've been spending one day each week with Paula, driving her around and playing with her little ones. And the time I've spent with her leaves me in awe of her faith. She's been through so much, but is still looking for God in everything. Through laughter, tears, and a lot of medicine, I've seen her get a little better each week.

There's something about Paula's home that makes me feel welcome and loved. Everywhere I turn, I see a framed Bible verse. Constant reminders to choose joy. Even in the pain. I feel that I should be ministering to her, but instead, I'm finding a little more healing for my soul each time we're together.

I'm looking forward to seeing God in her journey (and mine!) and developing a closer friendship along the way.

If you want to read more about her progress, you can follow her blog, Close to God's Heart.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ABC's of God's Blessings

I am:

Accepted, Beloved, Chosen, Delivered, Enlightened, and Forgiven.

I have:

Grace, Hope, Inheritance, Justice, Knowledge, Love, Mercy, Nearness, Oneness and Peace.

I am:

Quieted, Redeemed, Sealed, Treasured, United, and Validated.

I have:


I will be:

Exalted with Him.


Yearns for me and is Zealous for a relationship.

(I got these from the BSF lecture this week. I didn't catch "Q", so I added my own from Zephaniah 3:17.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hard Things

We've always been open and honest with Dayna. When she asks a hard question, we give her a prayerful, thoughtful, age-appropriate answer.

Earlier this spring, we had a hard conversation about her first days. And because Dayna's story is exactly that...her story, I'm not going to share details here. But it started to sink in that her other Mama made a very sad decision. And she started thinking about her identity. We haven't discussed this further, because she's still processing, and frankly, isn't ready yet.

We have intentionally tried to build positive feelings in Dayna about her first family and her country of origin. We celebrate China for the wonderful cultural things it has to offer.

So imagine my surprise when Dayna and I were reading a juvenile non-fiction book about China that we checked out from the library. It talked about how families in China are small because they are only allowed to have one child. Innocuous enough...but my girl wants to know what happens to second children.

And now she's processing even more...wondering if she was a second child (we have no way of knowing.) I certainly don't want to hide anything from Dayna...but there's a time and a place. I'm just not sure a non-fiction book geared toward children needed to bring that up.

So...prayers are appreciated as we continue to be sensitive to Dayna's questions and give her appropriate, truthful answers that don't degrade the positive feelings she has about her first country.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Waiting and Trusting

Well, we're almost halfway through September now. I haven't picked up any new piano students, and I have yet to receive a call to sub. That means I am contributing nothing, nil, nada to the family income.

It's an interesting place to be. Complete trust and surrender. We are convinced that it was God's will for me to not be teaching full-time this year. The changes in my heart and home confirm that. But we're still a little short, according to the numbers. It's a good thing that God is bigger than the numbers. You see...I can't work unless I'm called. I don't know that God could tell me any more plainly that He's got it all under control. If I'm not called, I have a day to rest in Him. I'm feeding my family for a whopping $33 this week, using homemade laundry detergent and eating homemade pizza sauce made from tomatoes left on my doorstep...I'm very aware of just how careful we have to be with every cent. I'm also seeing just how faithful God is to supply all of our needs.

I love this familiar passage in the New Living Translation:

And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don't worry about these things, saying "What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?" These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Matt. 6:30-32

Thank you for the reminder, Lord!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lacing Up

Earlier this summer, I dusted off my running shoes and decided to give it a go again. I started with the Couch to 5K running plan and S-L-O-W-L-Y started to run. The first time I had to run 20 minutes without stopping, I thought I was going to die. Fortunately, my brother-in-law went running with me and cheered me every step of the way.

(Actually, I recall about 17 minutes into the run, we passed a house with a ginormous University of Oregon flag hanging out. Tom told me that if I stopped then, I'd have to be a Duck fan forever. Needless to say, I kept running.)

Well, it hasn't been pretty. I'm way out of shape compared to 2 years ago when I ran a half marathon. I've since hurt my back and gained 30+ pounds back. It's a lot harder to run with those pounds on my frame. But I keep running.
This week, I finally made it through a 5K. Today, I even finished about 2 minutes faster (judging from the point on my playlist when I stopped.)

I've signed up for my first race in 2 years. I'll be running Adam's Race on September 30. Adam was the brother of one of my friends who took his life a few years ago. Proceeds from this race go toward education on mental health and depression.

So I'm going to keep lacing up and hitting the streets. Eventually I might enjoy running again...for now, it's still miserable, but I'm pushing through.