Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
HOW TO KNOW GOD'S WILL
We were created by God, in His image, for a purpose.
Just as God set apart from birth Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and Paul (Galatians 1:15) for a specific purpose, he also has a specific plan for your life. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11).
The Bible says that God's will is “good, pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
God's will, first and foremost, is that we have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
God wants us to be Christ's disciples.
This means Christians must be committed to following God's will daily, whatever the cost.
“If anyone would come to me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
The Bible will help us to know God's will.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
God promises to give us wisdom if we just ask Him in prayer, believing that He will give it.
Sometimes we need to just ask God to give us wisdom to discern His will.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).In Philippians 4:6, God tells us that we can pray about everything.
God has given us the Holy Spirit for guidance.
“...when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:13a).
We should listen to the advice of godly men and women that God has placed in our lives.
Many times the advice of a parent, pastor, youth minister, Sunday School teacher or other mature person is just what we need to hear to help us decide what God wants us to do.
“The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15).
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
The Bible says that there is a peace that comes when we are pleasing God with our lives.
When deciding between two alternatives that you have been praying about, sometimes one of the options will give you a greater peace. That option is probably God's will.
“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
We should trust God in faith that He will accomplish His will in our lives.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
God has given each of us gifts and abilities to use in His service.
God always equips us to do what he calls us to do. If you aren't gifted in a certain area, God is probably not calling you to minister in that area. (see Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 and Ephesians 4:11-13 for lists of spiritual gifts and a discussion of them.)
Remember that God's ultimate purpose for all of us is that He would be glorified (1 Corinthians 10:31) and that the gospel and God's kingdom would be advanced (Genesis 50:20 and Philippians 1:12).
Sure sounds simple enough. Right.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Camp is an exoskeleton. A shell of the haven that I remember. Though the spirit is still vibrant with the souls of decades of Christians who retreated here, the very essence eludes me. It is somehow foreign and impervious. For I am not who I once was. Life and maturity and dreams and nightmares have passed before me. Come and gone and changed the very core of my being. I treasure the memories that permeate the space between my head and my heart. The place that swells with a knot of nostalgia. I rejoice that a newer generation is using this ground to be twisted into submission, but, perhaps, my own obsession can be laid to rest. For in these cabins are not my friends but rather the remembrances of acquaintances past...some fanning the flame of faith and others lost. In the dining hall is the memory of meals shared and desserts devoured in fellowship. In the main deck are messages, spoken long ago, but lingering on the horizon of my own understanding. I can only recall fractions of late night talks that now echo my past. And in the twilight I can experience again but I cannot connect to the way things were.
Campus by the Sea is, in many ways, exactly the same. But, it is also incredibly different. I won't bore you with the details of what changed and what stayed the same. It would take hours to chronicle and you wouldn't really care either way. Instead, I will simply list some observances.
1. Camp is built on a giant dust bowl. I know this because my son was covered in a layer of dirt from Sunday afternoon until Friday night. I never really realized this before.
2. I no longer speak "Teenager." It's sad but completely true. While I do understand what, "OMG. Whatshewant? Hehehe."
"IDK. I so DK."
means, I would never, EVER, dream of speaking in such a manner. It's sad, really, that I've gotten so old.
3. CBS food is still really good.
4. Antonio's is still really good. And still really overpriced. And the service still stinks. And now all the dollar bills are gone off the walls because it's a fire hazard and, also, peanuts aren't allowed outside anymore because it's a bio hazard. There are a lot of hazards associated with Antonio's.
5. Susie is still there. She's just eight years older and eight years cuter and sweeter and I love her.
6. Staying in Sand Dab is really, quite amazing. However, the ants have also uncovered this little known truth.
7. I gained two pounds from eating my body weight in dessert. I will now promptly try to lose this unwanted poundage.
8. My baby hates life vests. He looks like a constipated turtle when you make him wear one.
9. The nautical ropes in the Main Deck are still hung from the beams. They look as though they haven't been so much as rearranged in the past eight years. This was a great relief to me.
10. The voyage to CBS is now taken on Catalina Express which gets you there in one hour and ten minutes and is quite a lot better than the previous three hour tour we were forced to endure.
All in all, fun was had. Troy did a great job with his talks and Jason did a great job leading worship. Garrett and Nevaeh had fun being filthy babies together. They did not have fun being bathed in the "leg shaving" sink. There were first time commitments to Christ and rededications. And that, after all, was the real point in being there.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
It's been four years. We've paid a lot of bills. We've caught a few colds. We've disagreed, on occasion. We've eaten a bunch of meals and trained a dog and put many miles on a car. We've prayed. We've cried. We've laughed so much more. We've brought a son into the world. We've wondered at the Father's plan for our future. We've learned what it means to truly see the other and, possibly, the blemishes make the view that much more interesting. I am headoverheelscrazyinlove with this man. I am honored that he waited for me--in every way that matters. To watch him loving our son is to experience a slice of heaven on earth and every day I am blessed by his incredible strength, integrity and devotion to us and to his walk with the Lord. If I knew, on that wedding day, what I know now, I would have screamed, "I do!" long before his father ever got to that part of the ceremony. I would not have been able to wait another second to start my life with him.
He is my dream come true, my knight in shining armor, my best friend. He is my fairytale, my Hollywood ending, my fireworks. He is my husband. And for that, I am eternally thankful.
I know that it's been used a multitude of times, but we danced to "From This Moment On" by Shania Twain. The lyrics still speak my promise...
From this moment life has begun/From this moment you are the one/Right beside you is where I belong/From this moment on/From this moment I have been blessed/I live only for your happiness/And for your love I'd give my last breath/From this moment on/I give my hand to you with all my heart/Can't wait to live my life with you, can't wait to start/You and I will never be apart/My dreams came true because of you/From this moment as long as I live/I will love you/I promise you this/There is nothing I wouldn't give/From this moment on/You're the reason I believe in love/And you're the answer to my prayers from up above/All we need is just the two of us/My dreams came true because of you
Happy Anniversary, Troy. I'd marry you again in a heartbeat. (Especially if it meant we got all those gifts and a yummy cake all over again!) To anyone who was there when we tied the knot...thank you for supporting us. And yes, we're still madly in love.
How I Married Periwinkle
So awhile ago I read some blogs and a few people were telling the story of how they met and married their spouse....since I'm already forgetting details of the nothing-short-of-miraculous events surrounding Troy and my marriage, I thought I'd give it a whirl.
The very first time I met Troy was at Elaine Swatniki's house for our very first rehearsal for our very first Good Friday show that we did in 2001. I can't remember the exact date but it was a Sunday and it was probably in January or early February. I was in a relationship. Troy made fun of me (fueled by Jon Judd and Jason Winters who had permission to make fun of me because we'd known each other for years. Troy did not ask for my permission, he just did it). And he was ten years older than me. Needless to say it was not love at first sight. I did not look across the room and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my future husband was looking back. I wish I had, it would have saved some heartache.
We worked on the Good Friday play. I remember he said things like "gal" and "bag" which he pronounced "beg." I also remember that while he seemed genuinely committed to the things of God, he was old. I don't mean old like he played shuffleboard and wore dentures, just that I always felt like I needed to step it up to impress this "adult" with my theatric ability and spirituality. He never made me feel that way, I just like to attempt to live up to ridiculous standards set forth by myself.
Time came and went and flew by, as time is wont to do. My other relationship became more serious. I got a ring. Another Good Friday came and went. Then I wrote a play. And I needed a God. For the play, that is. I asked Troy. He agreed. At the time I guess I thought it was more because he found me a superbly talented playwright and less because he liked me. That's probably because I didn't know he liked me. But he did. He still made fun of me and I was pretty okay with it by this point. I've always known I'm an easy target and what's life if you can't laugh at yourself and allow other people to laugh at you too. And I guess, looking back, grown up boys are still a lot like little boys on the playground. They don't pull your hair and tease you if they don't like you. But just for the record, Troy never pulled my hair. We rehearsed all summer. I was still engaged. But really, the relationship was on the fritz, we just didn't know it yet. As the summer dwindled to an end, my fiancé started showing me his true colors. And they weren't colors I was terribly fond of. In fact, they were colors I generally despise. Colors like phlegm green and hot pink. And, I mean, hot pink is ok for some things, like leg warmers. But it's bad for others, like lipstick and bridesmaid dresses. So maybe someone out there likes that he's hot pink. I just wasn't sure I wanted to be married to hot pink, you know? And at the same time, Troy started showing me his true colors and they were more like periwinkle and wisteria and a really good earth brown. Like my brown sweater that I love, only better. Now, I certainly didn't want to marry Troy. For one, I thought I was way too immature for him. For another, he still said "gal" which made him seem old because no one my age actually referred to women in such a way. But he was Godly. He was mature. He was stable. He was predictable—in a fabulously good way. He was, what do they say, father material?
But I went back to school. I booked a florist. I was getting married. I knew the guy. He knew me. It was comfortable. It hadn't yet occurred to me that comfortable makes a great pair of old jeans but not always the best husband. And not long after I started my senior year at PLNU, Troy and I got together to write the Christmas play. (Remember how I had written and Troy had written, well now we were writing together). He came over so we could finish the play and apparently I made him a hot pocket. (That's how much I was still with the other guy and not with Troy. If I had been with Troy, or thought that I ever would be, a pocket sandwich would not have been my choice for lunch). We began rehearsing the children's Christmas musical starring Troy as Uncle Yule and the adult Christmas play starring me as Mary and Troy as Joseph. Needless to say I was seeing him a lot—on a strictly professional basis.
In October my Dad went to the Men's Retreat. When he came home my mom asked him who he'd hung out with. He replied, "The guy I wish was going to be my son-in-law." I, of course, didn't know that until much later. Troy was the leader of my parents small group at church and they'd gotten to know him through that. My Dad, apparently, preferred him over hot pink.
Around the same time, as rehearsals continued, Troy chose to tell me about how his sister had married "comfortable" and "comfortable" had turned into "crazy and not at all a good decision." He told me about how a day came when his sister woke up and thought, "I have made the biggest mistake of my life." I hadn't told Troy that I was starting to question my engagement. Troy hadn't told me he liked me and, in fact, planned never to do such a thing. The story just, kind of, came up in conversation. It wasn't even a story I'd never heard. In fact, I think when it came out of his mouth, it was the third time I'd heard it. But it was the first time I truly heard it. I spent the entire drive back to Point Loma in tears. It wasn't an easy decision to make. But when I made it, when I realized that the relationship was on life support, when I admitted that I was tired of hot pink not being periwinkle, I knew, instantly, that the right decision had been made. I didn't know I wanted to be married to periwinkle, I just knew it existed. I knew that there was a color out there that I wanted to wear for the rest of my life and it wasn't hot pink.
So here is where the story really begins…
I'll spare all the gory details surrounding the room when the pink hit the fan. It was a pretty nasty situation but it always hurts to set the bone. Turns out hot pink liked to tell not so much of the truth and make me look…you know what, it really doesn't matter because it just so turns out that periwinkle liked me. He liked me so much he asked my father for permission to date me. My dad must have fallen off his metaphorical rocker because this was the same guy he'd hung out with at Men's Retreat…the son-in-law material. And, it just so happens that when you've had the bad and you find the good, the bad makes the good much more obvious and much more clear. I knew Troy. Troy knew me. We'd worked closely on several plays and for better or worse we knew what made the other tick. We also knew ourselves, so we spent the first few steps of the Let's Get Together dance attempting to dissuade the other from pursuing the relationship. It didn't work. We're both rather stubborn individuals. We officially called a spade a spade on December 7, 2002…a mere 38 days after I stopped wearing hot pink.
He came down to see the one-act I had directed at PLNU. Afterward, we went to Bennigan's in Mission Valley and talked for so long I thought we'd have to help them close. Sitting across the table, Troy asked me if I'd date him…officially and exclusively. I thought people would think it was too soon. I told him there was probably some rule about waiting a respectable amount of time before jumping into a periwinkle ensemble. I could see in his eyes that he didn't agree. But he'd waited a long time for me and, it seemed, he was willing to wait for as long as I needed. Well, within reason, of course. I excused myself and took a trip to the restroom. That was all the time I needed. He was perfect for me in all the ways that mattered.
Before I even agreed to call it official, I knew that if Troy was crazy enough to have me, I'd have him. Forever. For always. So I marched back to the table and told him we were together. Hereby and henceforth and so on and there was no law about appropriate amounts of time between significant others and…yah. Bennigan's will always hold a special spot in my heart. And every time I eat there, I make a particular point to use the restroom. It's important to revisit the site of epiphany.
A week after we made it official I started Christmas break. Every day, and usually for multiple hours, Troy and I were together. I can't remember the details of the days but I remember talking for what seemed like glorious eternity. I never grew sick of his voice, his face, his intellect. It was as though we wanted to devour each other's life, everything that had happened right up to the point where we sat across from each other at Bennigan's. I remember the first kiss. I remember certain conversations. I don't remember the first time we said we loved each other but it was sometime during those three weeks. And I can't speak for Troy, but when I said it, I meant more than "I love you." I meant, "I will go to the ends of this earth and back with you and honor and cherish and respect and adore you. And yes, I will love you." That's what I meant.
And then I had to go back to school. And like, practically the whole church went out to lunch at Sizzler that day. And I was in the worst possible mood ever because I did not want to leave his side. But he kept loving me. Even though I was a royal…you know.
It's alarming that I passed my classes that semester. I think pretty much every thought was about how much I adored periwinkle. I managed to get my homework done, while simultaneously conversing with Troy on instant message. I managed to stage manage The Sound of Music all the while daydreaming about getting back to my apartment so that I could call him.
We talked about marriage pretty much from day one. And on April 1, four months after we started dating, he asked me. Sitting on the rocks, outside of Tom Ham's Lighthouse, with the moonlight bathing the water, he gave me a fortune cookie. It's true, I suspected…just a little. And the fortune read, "Will you marry me?" And I asked it if was a mean April Fools joke. And he said it wasn't. And I said, "There's nothing I want more in this whole world than to marry you." Because periwinkle is a pale purplish blue. It's blue. Which is good and dependable and a lot of people like it. But it's pale and purplish and different and calm. I'm really probably more bright yellow than anything. Like how you can you stare at the sun but only for a minute before it gets annoying. I'm animated and fiery and you can wear me to the beach on a warm Southern California morning and no one complains. But sometimes, blinding yellow really needs a peaceful periwinkle to tone it down. And so we somehow found each other—and it was kind of like we made our way down an overgrown path and met in the middle.
And on August 10, 2003—just eight months after we sat across from each other at Bennigan's—we stood across from each other on the stage at Mountain View Community Church and pledged our undying love and commitment to one another. It was perfect. Three and a half years later, it is still perfect. I mean, periwinkle is a little cluttered. He procrastinates. He can't fix cars. And he doesn't like to cuddle in bed at night. But aside from these things, he is the single most perfect person for me. When you find your soul mate, you know it. You know it when you look across the table into his eyes. You know it even before you know you know it. That's my story. That's how I met and married my one, true love.
And oh. I just read it all. And I forgot so many things. I forgot about how when I first told Troy that I stopped wearing hot pink this look flickered across his face and—hindsight being 20/20—he might have already loved me in that split second. I forgot about how on Thanksgiving day I spent like an hour and half getting ready to go watch Troy play football. Because, yeah, like a guy in grubby sweats playing football is going to take notice of the girl who's perfectly done hair is flying ridiculously in the wind. I forgot about how his nieces--now my nieces--ages 6 and 9, told him they approved. I overlooked so many details that somewhere along the way I forgot to remember. But it doesn't matter because that's what they mean when, at the end of fairy tales, they say that they lived happily ever after. Because all we really remember is the big picture and how much we're in love forever. We forget the details. And that's ok. Because together we make this brilliant periwinkle sky with a giant blazing sun smack in the middle. And together it is beautiful and calm and vibrant.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I am not working this summer. Remember? Remember how I won't get a paycheck until the end of October? Remember how we don't have any money? Car: I am very sorry that we neglect you. This is partly because we don't know how to take care of you and mostly because we don't have any money to let someone else do it. Please forgive us and stop leaking antifreeze. We have to drive you to Long Beach on Sunday so that we can go minister to youth! Isn't that important to you? *Pause* What? Well, you say that it is but your antifreeze spouting actions are saying the opposite. Dog: We do not neglect you. Oh sure, you haven't gotten ALL the attention since the baby was born but we feed you. We walk you. We brush you. We give you water. We take you camping. We don't even beat you when you cheat the rules. How do you choose to repay us? By first developing some bizarre pooping technique that requires monthly dealings with your anal glands--don't even get me started. And then by getting gross-and-nasty-ear-condition. Please refrain from having any other costly medical occurrences.
P.S. Dishwasher, Washing Machine, Dryer, Refrigerator, Oven, Cat, Stove, Pipes, Water Heater, etc, etc, etc...thank you so much for valuing our dedication to ministry and, of course, eating, and choosing to continue functioning. We greatly appreciate it. I promise. Keep up the good work!
Sunday, August 5, 2007
2. He, angrily, flung himself forward, thus tipping the basket.
Remember how I'd been just about to get in the shower? I don't know if many of you shower fully clothed but, I, for one, do not. Blood gushing baby screaming unlike anything I'd ever heard. Naked mommy. It was really, a thrilling combination. Troy--by the way--was three hours north on his way home from winter camp with some elementary schoolers.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Speaking of toddling little boys, did you catch in my last post that he'd finally taken more than two steps? WELL HE DID! His preferred method of transportation is still crawling because he is quite the master of that particular vehicle. However, if you stand him up and make sure he's steady, he will now take somewhere between six and twelve steps before toppling forward or falling backward onto his hind quarters. It's the most adorable thing to watch. Although, his Uncle Jon does think it more resembles a shuffle than a walk. It still counts! He did it a couple of times at Sea World thanks to the aid of the backpack, which he used to balance himself before shuffling off.
So he has now been to every "animal" park this county has to offer and, I think it's safe to say, Sea World was his favorite. There are certainly things he enjoyed about the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park but his two favorite things in all the world are being outside and being wet. Both of those were quite easily accomplished at Sea World.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
You see, I was just watching Parent Trap on the ABC Family Channel and she was so fresh and young and new and, you know, not a druggie. At least, I very much assume that at twelve-ish she was not yet using cocaine. My friend, Kristin, was visiting me on Monday and we had a conversation about Lindsay's Parent Trap days and so, when flipping through the channels, I decided to catch a little of it. To remind myself of how cute she once was. To have an innocent image of Ms. Lohan in my head, instead of that over-baked-half-dead-sprawled-in-the-back-of-a-car-looking-like-something-that-comes-out-of-a-blender image that was thrown on the cover of every magazine by every check-out stand in every grocery store in every town in the United States. You know the one I'm talking about. So I was watching and thinking about how, on the one hand, we really can't control our children but how, on the other hand, we can try. Right?
Because I just kind of feel like if my kid was a coke addict (and by coke, in this post, I mean the actual illegal substance...not a carbonated beverage) I'd...I don't know...do something to make it stop.
But then, I know people who raise their children the exact same way and one turns out mostly pure and mostly good and walking with the Lord and the other is, I don't know, in jail or in need of rehab. Or both.
So my kid is twelve months old and darn it but what if someone offers him marijuana or beer or a cigarette when he's thirteen or fourteen or twenty and he decides it's a good idea. I'm going to try my hardest to raise him not to. But what if...
What if one day I have to pop in an old home video. The one from today. The one where he took six steps in a row on several occasions!!! The one where he's new and young and pure. Just to remember. What if? I know my emotions and I'll feel like a complete failure whether it had anything to do with me or not. I mean, there's almost a part of me that feels like it's my fault that Lindsay Lohan is addicted to cocaine. I mean somewhere, in some parallel universe, isn't there something I could have done?
It will break my heart if I ever have to deal with my child looking like a blended smoothie gone terribly wrong. And it begs the question: How much do my "little" sins, my "white lies" break my Father's heart?
You're talented and beautiful. How about you kick the habit. And also, I have something to tell you about Jesus.
A Paranoid Mom Who Desperately Needs You To Get Clean For Her Own Peace of Mind
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Funny how the turtle is so much smaller than I remember... So I took Holly with me and this is what they looked like at the start of the day. This is before it got warm. Before he yanked his hat off. (Which he has to wear backward anyway because if he can see the bill it comes off in two seconds). Before he took off his shoes. Before he got filthy dirty petting zoo chunks on his shorts and ended up wearing only the "Going Ape" onesie that I found highly appropriate for a Zoo day.
We saw lions and bears and rhinos and turtles and meerkats and okapis and giraffes and monkeys and orangutans and, well, hippos.
We ate bananas and nectarines and gold fish crackers and shared chicken fingers and french fries. We walked up hills. We walked down hills. We walked up more hills. I have decided that the word "hill" effectively describes the World Famous San Diego Zoo. Garrett has decided, lately, that he likes to use his only two teeth to chomp down on fingers. It's highly exciting. We're working on it. In any case, I thought this picture was appropriate...
All in all, we made it just over four hours before Garrett had a colossal meltdown in the middle of the petting zoo because, of course, I should have let him keep crawling toward the deer poop because my child would never have tried to put it in his mouth. Noooo. So anyway, we loaded him back into the stroller, went and visited the humming birds, and left. He was asleep before we got out of the row we'd parked in. But I think he had fun. I'm glad we got passes.
And I'm even more glad that my Sea World working brother got us free passes to there. Passes that we will be using on Friday. I'll keep you all posted. All, two of you who read my blog~