Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A mess worth delving into

Human beings are messy. If you interact with another human being, some of their mess is going to get on you, and vice versa.

I suppose you could avoid other's messiness, by creating an austere life where you wallow only in your own mess, and avoid others. That might make you feel safe, comfortable and in love with your own mess, but you'd miss out on a lot. You'd miss having your life touched by others, and touching other's lives with your own. You'd miss out on love, real joy, growth, and pain (Yes, I wrote "pain"--sometimes pain is good.)

Will you get burned if you throw yourself into the world, and show love and kindness to your fellow human beings? Abso-friggin-lutely. No doubt about it. It happens on occasion. But that's barely a blip on the screen in comparison to all you get and give when you put on your waders, slog your way out into the world to build relationships.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear RAD: leave.

Dear RAD, I hate you. If I could, I would kill you in nine different ways. I hate what you do to my kid. He is so amazing and sweet and wonderful; he doesn't deserve the likes of you. You're probably suprised to hear from me. I know you thought you had me, and I'll admit you got some pretty good kicks in. You thought I was down for the count, but I wasn't; I was regrouping. I've an arsenal so powerful, you might as well leave now. My son has a God Who loves him. He has a loving and supportive family. He's got a kickass therapist. Deep down, I know he wants to truly love and be loved. He wants to be happy. Oh, and he has the most stubborn woman in the world for his Mama. I'm not going anywhere. I will fight you with my dying breath if necessary. You aren't going to get me though, and you sure as hell aren't going to get my son. Someday he's going to stop listening to your lies, and I'm going to be there to watch my strong beautiful son stomp you in the ground, and stand over you victorious. I cannot express how delightfully I look forward to that day. Sincerely, Mama Bear

Monday, January 24, 2011

When is God going to just call me on the phone and tell me what to do??

Really rough day today. I am so unbelievably tired. And unsure. Some days with CJ I can see the path we're headed down, but it feels like I'm powerless to stop it. I can read and read and read on RAD, but it doesn't seem to help me figure out his brain. After months of the frustration building on both sides, we've enrolled him in school. You can't really home school if your child refuses to cooperate in any way shape or form. He cried and begged me to keep homeschooling. I wanted to cry too. Part of me feels relieved about a plan that will be so much better for everyone in our family. The stress levels should reduce for every person in this household. ZeZe will get much needed attention. She and I will have much needed bonding time. CJ will be in an environment where he will be more willing to cooperate with his educational plan....and yet.

There are some BIG downsides. This school will eat up every penny of the raise hubby got a mere 3 weeks ago. The raise that was supposed to go directly to debt. We will SIGNIFICANTLY lose a lot of the flexibility we cherish with the home school lifestyle. Our days will become much more hectic.

Oh, and I feel like a failure.

Sigh. I am dedicated to homeschooling. I particularly believe it's important when your child has attachment issues. I feel like I'm giving up on my kid. I feel like I was just too stupid to figure out how to make it work for him. This school is expensive and inconvenient, and I feel like it's my fault. I'm both mother and teacher, and neither role could figure out how to make homeschooling work for him.

I just want to do the right thing. So when is someone going to tell me what the right thing is?

Friday, January 21, 2011

MUST reads....

My dear readers, I have some awesome reading for you...and none of it is by me. As a service to you, I have scoured the internet for the very best blog posts for your reading pleasure. Actually, I'm a blogoholic (seriously, click on my profile, and check out how many blogs I follow. I dare you.) and here are some posts I've read lately that have deeply touched me, ministered to me, or remained in my head loooooong afterward:

Russell Moore explains that Jesus has AIDS

Cate, from Gathered From Afar, shares how As followers of Christ, the things we do for Him should not be radical to other followers.

Christine from Welcome to My Brain discusses her life as a freegan vegan flexitarian

Jami, from Life With a Personal God, talks about Loving When You Don't Feel Like It

Christine, from Welcome to My Brain, saved my day by teaching me how to tap

I found a kindred spirit and encouragement in Sarah, from The Many Stars that Guide Us, with her post, The One Who Knows

Courtney, from Storing Up Treasures, made me feel less alone when she posted on her own struggles with depression

Ramey, from This American Diet, inspired and encouraged me when she discussed ethical eating, labels, and walking the line

Angela, from Expecting... inspired me when she took up the Rockin' Mama Challenge

Lynne, from the Accidental Advocate, reminded me that even on the hard days, I wouldn't take back one second with my kids.

What are you waiting for? Go read, so you can heal/think/be inspired/learn!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Great Amazon deal...

Today Living Social is offering $20.00 Amazon.com gift certificates for $10.00

Check it out here

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 19th, 1997

14 years ago today my life changed forever. That evening, I reluctantly went to dinner to someone's home with my parents and 2 younger siblings. I wasn't 3 feet in the door before I laid eyes on a young man, and it felt like my brain exploded. All I could hear in my head was "This is my husband. I'm going to marry him." I think if he'd asked, I would have gone to the alter with him that evening. :) He didn't ask until just over a year later, and I was thrilled to answer yes. Over our 12+ years of marriage, he has delighted and surprised me continually. This man is thoughtful, amazing, brilliant, hot, and fun. Without him, my life would suddenly go from color to black and white. He is confident, but not at all arrogant. In fact, unlike so many men, he is not a worshiper of genetic idolatry. When I told him that I didn't want biological children because there are so many parentless children in the world, he told me that he doesn't need to have genetic children to feel like a man, and that he'd be perfectly happy being father to the fatherless. And he is. He doesn't need to see his eyes or hair in a child, to know that child is his. And he loved our children instantly upon meeting them. I know with absolute certainty that he would not hesitate to give his own life to protect mine. He is an unfathomably amazing lover. He's an incredible dog owner to 5 dogs, even though I know he'd like only 2. He massages my feet most nights, even when he's tired and worn out from his job. This man loves my cooking. He works a job that he has no particular desire for, or draw to, so that he can provide well for our family. He appreciates me. Even though I'm not a very good housekeeper. Even though I'm disorganized. Even though I have a terrible memory. Even though I'm usually sleep-deprived and grumpy. He appreciates me for what I do for our family. He makes me feel beautiful. We talk about everything. He is my best friend. I have never been loved as deeply by any human being on earth as I have been by the man I first laid eyes on 14 years ago.

Matzati et she'ahava nafshi.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

When I mention to people that I'm a pesco-vegetarian, they get a look on their face. The look clearly says they picture us sitting around gnawing on twigs. I assure you, you absolutely can include more veggie-centric meals in your diet without feeling dissatisfied (or chaining yourself to a tree!) Here's what this week's menu looked like in our home (keep in mind we're low on funds and I've been sick, so it's not fancy, but filling nonetheless): Sunday: Bean burritos, salsa, fried eggs, cole slaw, and chips. Monday: Vegetable Frittata (eggs, mushrooms, red bell pepper, onion, broccoli and cheese) and a fruit crisp. Tuesday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup Wednesday: Caribbean black beans and cous cous with rolls Thursday: Harvest Soup (lentils, split peas, rice, tomatoes, veggie broth, cabbage) and bread Friday: Pizza and Salad Saturday: Leftovers We usually have breakfast for dinner (eggs, potatoes, and muffins) once a week by popular demand. Spaghetti, green beans and garlic bread shows up fairly often--as does split pea soup. We also eat fish, so salmon cakes with mashed potatoes, or tuna noodle casserole with peas make appearances fairly often in the rotation as well. The rest of my family is Flexitarian, so I sometimes get them frozen meals or meaty soups they enjoy while I forage. I'm allergic to cow dairy products, so our menu is fairly limited, but if you're okay with dairy, your options for vegetarian meals are wide open! Check out a few vegetarian cookbooks from your library, and see if sometime sounds good. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet is good for you and your pocket book. Even just 2 nights a week can make a difference. Try it--your body and your bank account will thank you! *The picture above is from dinner last night. ZeZe insisted I take a picture of the "beautiful" pizza before popping it in the oven. :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Recently the birthmother of one of my children turned 30. I thought of her all day on her birthday. Just 6 weeks before her special day, I turned 30 myself. 30 is a big age for reflection on your life. My thoughts turned to my accomplishments, my failures, my children, my relationship with God, my life's goals. I had a really wonderful birthday too; everyone in my life made it very special. I wonder what her day was like. Did anyone make it special for her? Did she think of her firstborn? Did she ponder her life? Did she have regrets or hopes or dreams for the future? I can't help but compare. Two women born 6 weeks apart in the United States. One born into a stable family and given many opportunities for success. The other never given a chance in life. I know enough of her life to know from her earliest memories, she did not have any kind of stability in life. These two women, so different in many ways, have one of the greatest commonalities possible: we both call the same child "daughter." Her firstborn, my first child. On her birthday, I said to my hubby, "X turns 30 today. I wonder what she's doing to celebrate her life." Hubby said "Honey, her life is so different from yours. The life she leads isn't one easily lent to reflection and celebration." I know he's right. I know she lives day to day surviving. I hope though, that despite many of the desperate circumstances that rule her life, that she thought of her firstborn. I hope she thought of her with affection, and I hope she knows that she's happy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


My Sunday school lesson today was based on the following, and I found it so encouraging, I had to share with the rest of the blogosphere :) The Strange Ways of Our Wonderful Builder October 31, 2001 by John Piper topic: The Sovereignty of God Was Christ building his church on September 11? The reason this question rises is the absolute, universal authority behind Jesus' promise in Matthew 16:18, "I will build my church." Who said this? The one who spoke and fevers departed (Luke 4:39), trees withered (Mark 11:21), demons obeyed (Mark 1:27), Satan was plundered (Mark 3:27), wind ceased (Mark 4:41), the dead were raised (Luke 7:14; John 11:43), thousands ate from five loaves and two fish (Matthew 14:19-21), and water became wine (Matthew 14:26) or a walkway for his feet (Matthew 4:46). This power over heaven and earth and hell is explicitly related to Christ's missionary commitment to build his church. "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:18-19). In other words, Jesus is firmly committed to use his power over heaven and earth and hell to make disciples. No event in the universe which Christ produces or permits is outside his purpose to build his church. But it doesn't look that way. His ways are not our ways. He seldom moves in a straight line from A to B. The way up is almost always down. The convoluted path of God in redemptive history brings Paul to these words, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Romans 11:33). For example, was Christ triumphantly building his church when he was killed by his enemies and buried for three days? Jesus answers: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). "I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. . . . No one takes it from me . . . I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again" (John 10:15-16, 18). In other words, what looked like failure and tragedy was total authority - plus the purchase of "other sheep." By the worst sin that has ever been committed - the murder of the Son of God - Jesus was triumphantly building his church. Was Christ building his church when the apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome? Paul answers: "What has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear" (Philippians 1:12-14). I am "bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!" (2 Timothy 2:8). In other words, what looked like defeat was Christ's strange design for victory. Was Christ building his church in China when the Communists triumphed in 1949, ending 150 years of Protestant missionary presence? "The growth of the Church in China [since then] has no parallels in history. . . . Mao Zedong unwittingly became the greatest evangelist in history. . . . [He] sought to destroy all religious 'superstition' but in the process cleared spiritual roadblocks for the advancement of Christianity. Deng [Xiaoping] reversed the horrors inflicted by Mao and in freeing up the economy, gave more freedom to the Christians. . . . [Today] the Church of the Lord Jesus is larger than the Communist Party of China" (Patrick Johnstone, Operation World). So then, was this all-ruling Christ building his church on September 11? I answer with questions that are not merely hypothetical. What if Christ saw the planes heading for the destruction of thousands and the upheaval of nations? What if, at the same time, he saw 200 million Hindu untouchables in India, the Dalits? What if he saw that his centuries-long work of dislodging them from Hindu bondage was about to come to consummation in our day and they were contemplating embracing Islam or possibly Christianity or Buddhism? And what if he foresaw that this Islam-related terror against civilians in New York would have the mass effect of tilting millions of Dalits away from Islam toward Christ? What if he withheld his power from stopping the terrorists because (along with 10,000 other hope-filled effects) he had a view to the everlasting life of millions of untouchables in India? And if not this, perhaps my grandchildren will tell a better story of sovereign grace. Joining Jesus with you on the Calvary road, Pastor John © Desiring God Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dark Days

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I don’t feel much like interacting with anyone. You know that depression commercial where people are shown in utter sadness, staring off into space? That’s been me lately. I’m not literally laying on the couch staring into space (I do have 2 eight-year-olds to care for) But I’m there mentally. I find myself withdrawing from everyone I love.

There have been some really dark times in my life lately. I don’t understand some of the things God has called me to. Sometimes I wonder how it’s possible He would call me to such a life. Did I misunderstand Him? I begin to doubt. I doubt Him massively. I doubt that my circumstances could possibly be the result of His will. I wonder how I can cry out to Him in agony, and just when I think I’ve hit bottom, things get worse. Why would he call me to some of the circumstances in my life? They hurt so much. I am not equipped.

Martin Luther struggled with depression his whole life. Often I find myself clinging to many of his writings. I can’t even do that right now. The pain is too big. Though I know He's not, God feels insufficient sometimes. I know I'm insufficient. I don’t understand why I’m even here.

When my husband can take the kids, I often find myself curling up with a dog, crying, and listening to Jars of Clay’s This Road:

All heavy laden acquainted with sorrow
May Christ in our marrow carry us home
From alabaster come blessings of laughter
A fragrance of passion and joy from the truth

Grant the unbroken tears ever flowing
From hearts of contrition only for You
May sin never hold true that love never broke through
For God's mercy holds us and we are His own

This road that we travel may it be the straight and narrow
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day
Shelter with fire, our voices we raise still higher
God, give us peace and grace from You, all the day through

Until I can somehow be granted a “do over” in life, this song is the closest I can get to feeling comfort amidst the pain.

Right now I feel like music is the only thing that can minister to my soul, so I’ve been listening to a lot of Jars of Clay, Superchick, and Burlap to Cashmere. It does sooth my soul, and makes me realize maybe God hasn’t completely forgotten me in my pain.