Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

pronunciation: /ˈpɛtrɨkər/;
from Greek petros "stone" + ichor ("the fluid that is supposed to flow in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology")

the name of the scent of rain on dry earth.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

beauty from pain

"After all this has passed, I still will remain. After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain. Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again.... You will bring beauty from my pain."

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, an the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; ... that He may be glorified." (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Friday, September 25, 2009

we better keep an eye on this one.

Right now, it’s the little moments that matter.

Like when the cats scrambled passed me after hearing the clank…. clank. “OHH MAN.” clank. (silence) wooooooshhhhh. clankclankclankclankclankclank as the twenty-four pack of Dr. Pepper fell off the shelf and slammed into the tile, flooding the pantry in a sea of carbonation. Like when we (C2 and I) then spent a good fifteen minutes on our knees laughing and mopping as another can exploded and sprayed sticky liquid in our hair. Like when he asked if he’d get in trouble because of the accident. Asked if that sort of thing had ever happened to me before. Asked if I could relate.

Or yesterday, when C2 started cracking up as acorns rained down from the tree I read beneath, giggling as I dodged the pellets that flew toward my head at angles which could only have come from a family of vindictive squirrels spread out all over the branches to take their shots. And when he covered his head and explained how “A squirrel attacked me one time. It hurt… He scratched my arm and stuff. Like this.” Like that. My forearm may forever be scarred. But he wanted me to understand so, as inspired by an angry rodent, he dug his nails into my skin and let me feel it too.

We spend more and more time together, and his stories burst out. I’m supposed to catch each one and toss it back. He watches my throw, watches to see if I can get it back to him on target. If I’m paying attention. If I understand. The everyday stories have become the deciding move: if he makes the pitch, and I let it fly by because it’s "trivial" and "unimportant", I’m out of the game.

Because the little moments determine whether or not he’ll ask later about a problem that's "meaningful", that matters even to people older than eight. These day-to-day, ordinary situations determine whether or not my young friend will hurl a heavier topic my way with the confidence that I’ll be there to snag it. That I’ll be on the other end to hold on to what he throws until he wants it back.

Most likely I will have never played the position he asks for, but generally all that's needed is someone in the outfield, someone to keep him from playing alone. That's what matters.

“GOD, …I'm an open book to You; even from a distance, You know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of Your sight. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and You're there, then up ahead and You're there, too — Your reassuring presence, coming and going. You know me inside and out….” (Psalm 139)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

episode 3: social integration

Have YOU seen A Talkshow with Caleb and John yet? It will change your life.

Don't forget to become a Facebook fan and follow their Twitter account. You won't regret it. "Stay beautiful!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

and it scares me to think that i could choose my life over You

I've reenacted the "lemonade stand" story so many times this week that I finally broke down and wrote it out with good ol' paper and ink tonight. But I'm going to save it for a later post (finally - I know, I know - a "Nanny Diaries" update). I realize this sounds like an intentional hook to reel you in, but it's not. I promise. (Besides, if I was trying to catch your attention, wouldn't it have been smarter to dig for more desirable bait? For example, mentioning that my Mary Poppins duties this week included filming a movie? But I digress.)

With my cluster headaches (still occurring about 17 hours of the day) lately, I've been studying as much as possible the actions needed to fight off our enemy. "For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Cor 10:3-5)

Though my body is under severe attack right now, I feel like what is being hit the hardest is my mind. I'm exhausted and growing increasingly weaker, but I think the enemy targets my thoughts to a more concentrated extent than my physical strength. Because it's where I'm most vulnerable. Because if my mentality and outlook is twisted and what I know questioned, fear takes over and all focus is lost. This is what makes 2 Corinthians 10:5 incredibly important.

Taking that a step further, Ephesians 6 lays out the entire armor of God, but the only piece of weapon that is intended for the offensive is the Word of God. The verse following the mention of the Word says in all circumstances we should be "praying at all times in the Spirit...."

"I am utterly convinced that the two major weapons with divine power in our warfare are the Word of God and Spirit-empowered prayer." (Beth Moore)

Over the last few days, I've been learning (slowly! very, very slowly) the importance of praying the Scripps when in trials, as well as when everything is seemingly fine. We have been given what's necessary to break through strongholds, current and to come.

On a personal level, it's hit me that though we're given weapons to fight for deliverance, my relationship with our Healer is more important than my actual healing. My tiny brain is having a very difficult time swallowing this concept. But all in all, prayer doesn't always change our circumstances (I may be stuck with this physical pain), but prayer always, absolutely changes us.

(The following prayers are taken from Moore's Praying God's Word and based on the verses in parentheses)

"My Father, You are the the Lord my God. I desire to love You, listen to Your voice, and hold fast to You, for You, Lord, are my life." (Deut. 30:20)

"Father, by faith in the name of Jesus, make me strong. Help me to realize that it is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that heal me." (Acts 3:16)

"I love You, O Lord, my strength! You are my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; You, my God, are my Rock, in whom I take refuge. You are my shield and the horn of my salvation, my Stronghold! I call to You, O Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies!" (Ps. 18:1-3)

"I trust in You, Lord, so I'll let You rescue me. Teach me to delight in You and deliver me, O God." (Ps. 22:8)

One last Scripp I'm prayin' tonight (focusing on the last paragraph):

"I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and He will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted....

"You hold my eyelids open; ... I consider the days of old, the years long ago. I said, 'Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.'

"Then my spirit made a diligent search: 'Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has His steadfast love forever ceased? Are His promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His compassion?

"Then I said, 'I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.'

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old. I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known your might among the peoples. You with Your arm redeemed Your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph. When the waters saw You, O God, when the waters saw You, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder; Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, Your path through the great waters; yet Your footprints were unseen...." (Psalm 77)

Love you guys.

Monday, September 21, 2009

episode 2: going places

Remember these guys?

Check out the second episode of
What is Your Problem? a talk show with caleb and john:

Become a Facebook fan.
Check out episode 2 on Youtube.
Follow their Twitter account.

And as always, don't forget to leave them a comment with your opinion and your problem.

"Stay beautiful!"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

that's a wrap

Last night, my little town showcased an impressive amount of blue. Mustang-blue. We moved here about two years ago, and it still amazes me that most of the town stands behind the local high school football team. (Stars Hollow, anyone?)

Tradition holds that the band upperclassmen (with parental permission) wrap the houses of their freshmen the night of the first home game. This isn't the first middle-of-the-night-excursion. We started off the school year with nineteen band guys lined up outside my bedroom door at four in the morning to kidnap my brothers. Except I have twin brothers, so everything that happens must happen twice. Early this morning, our yard was TP-ed not once, but two times (despite, please note, our hilariously severe lack of trees).

(All pictures were captured around three o'clock this afternoon after the majority of the toilet paper had spread all over the neighborhood.)

I really should have helped clean up...,
but I found it too great a Kodak moment to pass up

and thus spent the afternoon standing in the grass, cracking up at their newly found, tree-poking skills.

Welcome to high school, M&M. I love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

psalm 97.

The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.

The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

episode 1: a talk show with caleb and john

I'm so jazzed about this

because it's the brand new, official website for the talkshow my good friends and fellow bloggers Caleb and John started. "A Talk Show with Caleb and John" began as a Facebook favorite, and last week (with recent sponsor Sugar Creek Baptist Church's student ministry LYF behind them), their new site and show launched.

These guys are awesome.

Become a Facebook fan.
Follow their Twitter account.

And don't forget to leave them a comment with your opinion and your problem.

"Stay beautiful!"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

send Your fire, send Your fire

I had stories to add to the ever-growing Nanny Diaries tonight, but my body is refusing to let me capture them for you.

After I said goodbye to my kiddos this afternoon and hopped in my car, I felt a small stabbing pain begin to grow behind my left eye. It’s been a month since my cluster headaches ceased to interrupt my daily life, and today’s attack surprised me. It’s been hours since it occurred, and I’m still not sure if my brain has fully absorbed the fact that this will most likely be the first of days and days of horrifically painful episodes.

Until this information sinks in (and especially when it does), we’re on our knees. While my enemy's assaults could be far worse than even nasty cluster headaches, we’re praying for God to utterly destroy as promised. ("There is none like God.... who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is Your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And He thrust out the enemy before you and said, Destroy." Deut. 33:26-27) I’m running out of words this evening, so I’ll let Cece Winans' lyrics speak instead:

"I'm tired of principalities messing with me;
I'm tired of the devil stealing from me.
I promise he won't get one more thing.
I'm taking it back, taking territory.
I'm ready for the battle; I'm ready to win.
My weapon of power: He lives within.
I can't be defeated; the enemy gotta flee.
I'm taking it back, taking territory."

"The LORD is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; the LORD is his name. Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power, your right hand, O LORD shatters the enemy. In the greatness of Your majesty You overthrow your adversaries; You send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble. The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.'

"Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; the earth swallowed them. You have led in Your steadfast love the people whom You have redeemed; You have guided them by Your strength to Your holy abode." - Exodus 15:2-3, 6-7, 9, 11-13

"Fire by night,
cloud by day.
My Strong Tower, send the latter rain.
Lion of Judah,
Lord God, mighty in battle,
since You did it back then
we know You'll do it again." (Cece Winans)

Monday, September 14, 2009

first of all, i would like to make one thing quite clear. i never explain anything.

Around a mouthful of Skittles (literally the entire bag resting within his cheeks), C2 asked of a Cartoon Network character's claim, “'I stand corrected.' Hey, what does that mean?” I told him. “But she’s sitting.” I told him in different words. He nodded.

After the Skittles were (eventually) swallowed and a knock on the door interrupted our air-conditioned peace, the daily game of neighborhood hide-and-seek kicked off. We walked down the sidewalk to face the babysitter from next door and her kiddo. C2 plopped down onto the grass and counted our feet, circled up, in order to decide who would be “It” first. Little B from next door groaned when his foot remained alone in the circle. C2 popped up and watched him. “Who are you going to get?”

“Her.” He pointed at me and started giggling. (Maybe I played incorrectly growing up, but we always checked for hiding spots in order to find people. In general. Vengeance was never sought after one in particular. Maybe I’m old. ) C2 snapped back, “You can’t go after one person.” B smiled.

Should we play in teams? C2 started moving. “No, but we’re going to beat y’all. We’re your minikins.” (Minikins? Minions?) As B crawled next to my car and called out numbers, the rest of us took off running. After a few minutes of sitting in a bush, scratched-up and bruised, I moved to the garage. I stood in the corner wiping off sweat and waited for sounds of tiny tennis shoes.

B sprinted up the driveway yelling, “I know you’re in there, Katie! You might as well come out!” (He totally peeked.) He ran into the garage and stopped, confused. I could have stretched out my arm and grabbed his red shirt, but he never turned his head to the right. Still, he threw his head up and with confidence shouted, “I saw you! I know where you are!” and hustled right back down the driveway.

After a few minutes, I crawled back through the bushes and crept towards base. He spun around and noticed me after I tagged it. “Where did you come from?” I can’t say. “Why not?” I’m hiding there next time. “That’s not fair.” Yes, it is. And you were right there. I could have touched you. “No way.”

We all walked back inside for water. C2 skipped to my side and asked where I hid. When I refused to tell him, he said I had to tell him. We headed back outside, and I told him that if we formed teams, I would take him to my hiding spot. He immediately ran ahead and said, “We’re on teams now. I’m with my babysitter, you [pointing at B] are with yours. C1’s on his own team.”

We split. I jogged to the garage with C2 close behind. Once in our station, C2’s breath matched mine, and for a moment, we truly became a team working for one purpose.

But then he got bored and left to meet B whose search had brought him close to our spot. C2 began jumping up and down, “I know where Katie is! I know where she is! Follow me!”

He proceeded to narrate my exact location. The utter glee in which he spoke simply echoed throughout the garage. United? I stand corrected.

“Starting from scratch, He made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find Him. He doesn't play hide-and-seek with us. He's not remote; He's near. We live and move in Him, can't get away from Him! One of your poets said it well: 'We're the God-created.' ” (Acts 17:24)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

dudes ask, "why you chase Christ instead of status?"

(Read the original article HERE. And if you would like music to read with the article, check out Trip Lee's Satisfaction (Hedonist) ... just 'cause.)

"One of the marks of our church is the aroma of Christian Hedonism. This is the biblical truth that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The basis for this is deep, and the implications are as high as infinity and as long as eternity (both directions).

"One place to see the basis is Philippians 1:20-21, where Paul says his 'eager expectation and hope [is] that . . . Christ will . . . be honored in my body . . . by death. For to me . . . to die is gain.' His passion is that Christ be magnified in his death. Paul’s explanation is that for him 'death is gain.' The reason death is gain is that to die is 'to depart and be with Christ' (verse 23).

"Therefore, Paul believed that Christ is magnified by his being so satisfied in Christ that leaving everything else behind in death is not loss but gain. So he says in Philippians 3:8, 'I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.'

"So I conclude: Christ is most magnified in us when we are most satisfied in him—especially in suffering and death.

"...The implications of this are pervasive. One of the biggest implications is that we should, therefore, pursue our joy in God. Should! Not may. The main business of our hearts is maximizing our satisfaction in God. Not our satisfaction in his gifts, no matter how good, but in him. Here are eight biblical reasons to pursue your greatest and longest satisfaction in God.

1) We are commanded to pursue satisfaction.

Psalm 100:2: 'Serve the Lord with gladness!' Philippians 4:4: 'Rejoice in the Lord always.' Psalm 37:4: 'Delight yourself in the Lord.'

2) We are threatened if we don’t pursue satisfaction in God.

Deuteronomy 28:47-48: 'Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart . . . therefore you shall serve your enemies.'

3) The nature of faith teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Hebrews 11:6: 'Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.'

4) The nature of evil teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Jeremiah 2:12-13: 'Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.'

5) The nature of conversion teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Matthew 13:44: 'The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.'

6) The call for self-denial teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Mark 8:34-36: 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?'

7) The demand to love people teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Hebrews 12:2: 'For the joy that was set before him [Jesus] endured the cross.' Acts 20:35: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

8) The demand to glorify God teaches the pursuit of satisfaction in God.

Philippians 1:20-21: 'It is my eager expectation and hope that . . . Christ will be [glorified] in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (final and total satisfaction in him).'

"Therefore, I invite you to join George Mueller, the great prayer warrior and lover of orphans, in saying, 'I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord.' In this way, we will be able to suffer the loss of all things in the sacrifices of love, and 'count it all joy.'"

- John Piper

Friday, September 11, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led? (part three)

"The reason some of us are such poor specimens of Christianity is because we have no Almighty Christ. We have Christian attributes and experiences, but there is no abandonment to Jesus Christ."

- Oswald Chambers

"Daily you must trust Me, surrendering everything, including the blood in your veins and the breath in your lungs, for Me to do with as I see fit. If you want to join up with Me, you must let Me lead." - Luke 9:23

Thursday, September 10, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led? (part two)

I'm a little sleepy this evening, so I'll let some wise men speak (the words I'm currently, desperately trying to absorb) instead:

"In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength." - Isaiah 30:15

"Patience is more than endurance. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, and He stretches and strains, and every now and again the saint says - 'I cannot stand any more.' God does not heed, He goes on stretching till His purpose is in sight, then He lets fly. Trust yourself in God's hands. Maintain your relationship to Jesus Christ by the patience of faith. 'THough He slay me, yet will I wait for Him.'"

- Oswald Chambers

"Be still, and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

boar-d? dis-grunt-led?

My family has futiley resisted cracking pig jokes since the media went berserk and began spamming the airwaves with news of the swine flu epidemic at the beginning of the summer. After so many (sooo many) puns, I knew someone in our family was bound to come down with the illness. (But trust me, it was almost worth it.) Right now, it appears three of us have been hit.

What causes swine flu?

Just kidding.

By the way, the Nanny Diaries should be back soon (hopefully tomorrow as previously scheduled); as of right now, this flu makes it hard to bring home the bacon.

(... I apologize. That last one was just bad.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

that's what I said, sir. go fly a kite!

On happy days like this afternoon, watching C2 simply meander from point A (the bus stop) to point B (his front porch) is like watching an ADHD chipmunk in search of an acorn. He’s distracted by the teensiest sign of life, but every moment is a new adventure. No worrying about what happens tonight or tomorrow or in the future; but only questioning whether or not his grub worm farm will continue to prosper in the orange bucket, how a proper magic carpet should operate (with built-in wheels and hubcaps for land, obviously), and why my jeans have holes in them. The day-to-day is a chance to explore and experience the remarkably exciting.

My eight year old buddy displays this unexplainable freedom, literally flipping and somersaulting off couches. His life isn’t on hold as he waits for future plans to come to pass; he's not holding out for what should occur next week, next month, next year, next five years (if accepted, if called, if needed, if it works out). He breathes this air, at this time, right now: no ifs. I may be ten years older than C2, but the kid's the one reminding me what it means to really live.

"You've trusted Jesus with your life, now live that life in Him. Inhaling Him. Exhaling Him. Making Him your life-source each and every day with the faith of a little child! You were planted in the richest of soils and watered with the amazing Truth of His Kingdom. Don't hide the joy-filled life of Jesus beneath the soil, but grow and bloom for all the world to see." (Colossians 2:7)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

from one pot to another

"It is not the level of our spirituality that we can depend on. It is God and nothing less than God, for the work is God's and the call is God's and everything is summoned by Him and to His purposes, the whole scene, the whole mess, the whole package - our bravery and our cowardice, our love and our selfishness, our strengths and our weaknesses. The God who could take a murderer like Moses and an adulterer like David and a traitor like Peter and make of them strong servants of His is a God who can also redeem savage Indians, using as the instruments of His peace a conglomeration of sinners who sometimes look like heroes and sometimes like villains, for 'we are no better than pots of earthenware to contain this treasure [the revelation of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ], and this proves that such transcendent power does not come from us, but is God's alone'" (2 Corinthians 4:7)

- Elisabeth Elliot

"As we have a high old time..., may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility."

- Nate Saint, Through Gates of Splendor

Friday, September 4, 2009

why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple?

“Katie, do you have a Porsche?”

This was the greeting I received from a certain munchkin, as he wandered up the sidewalk. C2, turn around. He hopped around to stare at my car. I had anticipated a car question. Yesterday, as he left for a friend’s house, I secretly watched him walk around my car, peer in every window, and smash his nose to the glass (teensy smudges still appear with the morning sun).

“But do you have another car at home? Like… do you have a Porsche?” No, Sir, my other car is a bike.

His chin fell a little. He was disappointed for me. I tried not to giggle, as he absorbed the information, nodded, and continued into the house.

I don’t have a Porsche. I do have the unique powers of every Gormiti action figure memorized. (Magmion has a blade on his arm and a rock for a tail.) I do have the permanent mental visual of one tiny blonde kid tucked into a tree only to soar out of the branches and onto the shoulders of his terrified brother (with the sound effect which could only be described as possessed squirrel). I do have 4:13 this afternoon when the eight year old not only decided I could share the couch with him but also curled up next to me, so I wouldn’t miss a minute of his story.

“What did that guy mean? What’s 9 out of 10?”

Flipped upside down on the couch, C2 paused in the middle of his narration and tilted his head at the TV. He meant the group needed to have ten objects, but they were missing something.

“Why did they say that one guy had 10 out of 10?” He found the piece that was missing.

Right after C2 inspected the insides of my car yesterday afternoon, I took advantage of the quiet house and was struck by this:

“I walked out to the hill just now. It is exalting, delicious, to stand embraced by the shadows of a friendly tree with the wind tugging at your coattail and the heavens hailing your heart, to gaze and glory and give oneself again to God – what more could a man ask? Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth! I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him, if only I may love Him, please Him. Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children that I may lead them through the vast star fields to explore His delicacies whose finger ends set them to burning. But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments, and smile into His eyes – ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself.

“O Jesus, Master and Center and End of all, how long before that Glory is thine which has so long waited Thee? Now there is no thought of Thee among men; then there shall be thought for nothing else. Now other men are praised; then none shall care for any other’s merits. Hasten, hasten, Glory of Heaven, take Thy crown, subdue Thy Kingdom, enthrall Thy creatures.” (Jim Elliot, Through Gates of Splendor)

He found the piece that was missing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

so when the cat has got your tongue, there's no need for dismay

In the midst of an intense Sorry tournament (the board game, not a lesson in apologizing), C2 stood up and announced something was missing. He slapped my hand, and I obediently followed him up the stairs and past the pencil-sketched “Keep out!” sign, a piece of faded notebook paper Scotch-taped to the door. He marched onward into the room, painstakingly stepping over the perfectly arranged Bionicle men and Lego masterpieces carpeting the floor. He then brought out my new best friend.
Meet Rainbow. (Please note the hammock in the upper righthand corner. The lizard's got it good.)"Ya gotta wash your hands after, Katie. Rainbow will give you salmonella."
It didn't take long for the cats to join us. They pressed their noses against the glass and pawed at the cutie inside. The lizard would, in turn, puff out his beard and throw himself against the glass. It was intense. C2 rooted for the cats. I'm still for the little firecracker.
But really, y'all. If we had a showdown, who do you think would win? This gal?

Or this one?

I rest my case.

"Remember the last few verses of 1 Corinthians 3: 'For all things are yours... and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's.' Throughout all our personality we are God's, and since God has made our whole selves, there is great joy in realizing who is our Creator. This realization is to permeate every area and level of life. In appreciation of beauty, mountains, music, poetry, knowledge, people, science - even in the tang of an apple - God is there, to reflect the joy of His presence in the believer who will realize God's purposes in all things." (Pete Fleming, Through Gates of Splendor)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

you think. you wink. you do a double blink. you close your eyes... and jump

I didn’t expect to be so fond of C1 and C2. I started watching them to assist their mom and to replenish what has disappeared from my college savings account. I didn’t expect to love the munchkins. Jesus said to, but when insults interrupt every conversation, sometimes you forget. (Jesus also said to not be surprised when the snubbing occurs, but those Scriptures sometimes fly out of my mind as well.)

We, C1+2 and I, met nine days ago, but experiencing intense vulnerability with another creates a sort of bond. The boys hit their daily low-point while we’re together. I am the first person they see after the long commute home after a relaxing seven hours in the public school system. Do you see where I’m going with this? Our eyes meet as they walk through the door: hunched, backpack covered shoulders; sad, hungry faces. Vulnerability. They couldn’t pick the definition out of 100, but it’s there.

We’ve connected. Yesterday, I drove down the street and saw a few scattered kids dilly-dallying to their houses. As I parked, I realized no one had waved to me because no one was left outside. Everyone already had their children, but the sidewalks in front of my house breathed silence.

I’ve never lost a child. Technically, I’ve never had a child to lose. In that moment, I threw my purse over my arm and clicked speed dial for my mother, a woman who, to my knowledge, never lost her kids. She calmly listened to me panic, as I nearly knocked down the closest neighbor’s door. No answer. I literally began running down the street; fear of great magnitude taking over. I couldn’t stop praying over what had happened to my little buddy. He wasn't half of my paycheck, but a crazy eight year old I loved.

A mom, loading her suburban, glanced up from her driveway and asked if I was C2’s babysitter. I cringed as pride kicked in to defend against the condescension floating my direction. I fought my ego as it whispered back, I actually arrived on time, but the bus showed up early. I’m not a horrible nanny; seriously, woman, stop looking at me like that. C2 stuck his head out of the lady's front door and grinned. “Hey Katie, I’m gonna play at T’s house today.”

They say the stress of motherhood and taking care of little ones uproots gray hair and extracts wrinkles. Mary Poppins must have had an excellent colorist.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

we can’t have them gallivanting up there like kangaroos, can we?

It starts like this: at five 'til three, I make the left turn into the neighborhood and wave to the sweet woman waiting for her grandson, weave around the parked cars in the cul-de-sac, and throw on the brakes in front of the orange brick two-story. The cats lounge on the windowsill above the door, peeking outside, their eyes following me as I vault out of the car with my phone (shoved from my purse to my shoulder to my ear, textbook in one hand, keys in the other,) shuffle to the front door, circle back around to my car and pick up the consistently forgotten notebook, spin around toward the back door because the front door is double-locked today, try to jump the wooden fence, regret the decision instantly, hug the dog, and walk inside.

Dumping my purse on the kitchen table, I slip off my shoes and jog up the stairs to make sure the bearded dragon is locked up this time, notice the bus creeping down the street, and fly downstairs, through the study, out the door. At the corner, three little boys leisurely climb down the bus steps and stop in a tight circle once they reach the bottom. They continue their trek down the street toward their respective houses with bent heads, happily plotting destruction. With a stance mirroring my own on the opposite side of the rounded road, another teenage girl awaits the arrival of her very own babysit-ee. C2, the younger of my kids, looks up and carefully examines me and the girl, who’s new to her job as of this afternoon. He studies the way we are positioned, a parallel reflected on opposite sides of the grass-covered median. He moves closer and yells, "Hey, look! Y'all are the same!" He pauses and checks out the two cars parked in front of our respective houses, "Except, Katie, her car is better. Yours is way cruddier." And so it begins.

He abandons his two partners-in-crime for air conditioning and wanders into the living room, talking about how his future car will be a convertible mustang with spinners and heated seats. Can I drive it? "No way, you'll wreck it." Will you drive me? He grins. "Maybe."

He finishes the conversation from the master bedroom and saunters back out with an Ace bandage trailing behind him. He plops down in front of Cartoon Network and narrates the events of his weekend; the highlight being a friend's birthday party at the local skate park where he sprained his leg. You hurt your ankle? “Nope, my leg. Can you help me wrap it?”

We then start to wrap. He holds the material in the middle of his thigh and spreads it to the base of his ankle. Because he sprained his leg. His whole leg. He wraps the first time, and I pin. The results are clearly not up to his standards, so he lets me try the process from the beginning. I wrap, he pins. He grips the safety pin and jabs it into the cloth… and yelps. Thankfully, the cloth serves not only as a sprained-leg-relief, but also as a means of stopping the flow of blood from the prick he didn’t see coming. We wrap again; he is annoyed because I leave wrinkles in the fabric and decides he’ll wait for his mom to do it right. Eleven attempts later, we’re set. He limps to gather his supplies, a loaded air-soft gun, and throws the weapon over his arm like a wounded soldier once again facing battle. Chin up, he waddles out of the house, decides it’s not yet time, removes the bandage, and skips into the kitchen.

I hear the microwave click on and start to buzz; I lean in to make sure nothing’s on fire but have already learned by trial and error that this eight year old can cook better than I can. The microwave runs for a long time. Too long. And when light smoke pours out of the microwave, and C2 delicately removes his cinnamon roll with tongs, I realize we have a problem. He sets it on the counter, and we watch the bread bounce. No, really, the pastry gets serious air. He hands me a knife to cut off the more-than-roasted bottom crust, and then jumps on my back to add to the weight needed to move the knife through the bread. The knife gets stuck in the roll, the kitchen reeks of burnt toast, the phone rings, and he collects his guns and retreats to the front yard.

I write all of this from underneath the tree C2 has scrambled up, gleefully yelling, “Hey Katie, I’m going to shoot the cat. I’ll aim for his whiskers, no wait, just the top of his fur. Watch THIS.” He hops down from the branches, as I rescue the cat and make it clear that if he even points his air-soft gun at me or the pets, he’ll stay in his room and do homework. “Katie, I don’t have homework.” Then you'll do mine. “Okay, deal.”

His older brother, C1, (plus four friends) emerges, dashing across yards. C2 ducks behind a pile of bricks. He thinks I can’t see him, so I look away when his head bobs up. He crawls out, stands up, and dives behind a tree, then repeats the process by plunging into a bush.

His mom pulls into the driveway with a rolled down window and asks where her boys are. I point to the plant with two sets of legs.

I start my car, as my little buddy leans against a tree. “I need a medic. I’ve been shot.”

His friend hears the words spoken and wastes not a minute, perking up and springing across the road, knees lifting higher with each stride. “I know CPR!”

“Good, it’s my leg.”

I cruise past them and honk; my injured one bounds up and stares at me, annoyed at my interruption. He then smiles and waves.

Until tomorrow.