Monday, October 25, 2010

A list of the everyday

1. As a rule, I don't like doing laundry. Who really likes to do laundry except Martha Stewart and that is probably because she has one of those amazing rotary ironers and if I had one of those I might like it too. Laundry does rank above sweeping. Dishes will beat both anytime. One thing about laundry that I love is folding dishtowels and dishcloths. I do a separate load of kitchen related laundry: the towels, and napkins, and rags we are always using to clean up Aaron's my spills, and the occasional tablecloth when we are feeling fancy. Actually, we never use tablecloths. I just threw that in there to make my list more interesting. I like folding kitchen linens because they fold so uniformly, nicely, and politely. And they look pretty when they are all stacked up. There's no lone ranger socks, no holey t-shirts, and no bulky sweaters that I can't decide whether to fold or hang. Very satisfying.

2. About dishes: I like washing them especially in the fall, because I am cold and the water is warm. It's a nice feeling, and I almost think I could stand there all night, washing dishes.

3. My husband thinks this post is boring. I just read it to him, and he said, "Huh." I said, "You think it is boring, don't you?" He said, "I just would never write about that." And lest ye think he never does the laundry, he does. He just wouldn't write about it.

4. I recently realized a new pet peeve of mine. I usually don't collect pet peeves. I think they are a rather grumpy thing to collect. But I have a few. And the latest one is when people don't run/walk on the left side of the road. I always thought that was a universally acknowledged guideline. By universally, I mean in America where we drive on the right side of the road. Pedestrians on the left, so as to face cars, so as they don't smoosh you right over from behind while you are jamming to your iPod. I run on the left, and when I meet people coming toward me (on their right), then I always feel obligated to move over to my right. Oh my goodness, I know. I have to move a few dozen feet over. See? Pet peeves are grumpy.

5. I have a tendency to drool when I'm bending over. I guess my mouth's resting position is open, and when I bend over, out comes the drool. Once, I did this while reaching into the freezer case to pull out a box of Blue Bunny ice-cream. I thought the lady down the aisle saw me, and so I quickly covered the drool with my foot. All better.

6. Does anyone else with a Mac take pictures of themselves with Photo Booth? (Photo Booth is an app that takes pictures from a camera inside the computer screen.) I do this when Aaron's not in the room, and it is very vain. I try out different poses and different facial expressions and pretend that I am a model for Anthropologie. Then I delete them so he doesn't know I took a million pictures of myself.

I think that's all. This started out as simple pleasures and took a swerve to pet peeves and ended up at embarrassing habits. Maybe I should have stuck with the first theme???

Thursday, October 21, 2010

why we do what we do

This job we have can be tough.

Oh we love it, but we struggle.

Ministry as a job. There are a lot of facets of that which Aaron and I wrestle with. While we love being able to spend time with people and get paid while doing it, a certain pressure comes along too. Do more. Do more. Do more. And then the question arises, "Am I doing (fill-in-the-blank) out of love and a leading from the Holy Spirit or out of a sense of obligation because it's my job?"

Sigh. The layers of my heart regarding our job are many and messy. There's the joy pulsing in my chest when a girl sees God in a new and truer way. There's the deep bond of community and family when leaders stay after meetings to play games and drink chai. There's listening to my husband teach the Bible and realizing again that God speaks through the ready, humble heart.

But then....

There's the defeat of not being able to change someone's choices. Watching a girl we deeply care for trapped in the cycle of poverty and abuse. We invite her over, we take her to church, we love against the hate and tension she receives on nearly every side, but there is only so much we can choose for her. There's the ugly competition I feel with a good friend who helps us with K-Life. "She does things so much better," I think. "She's always hanging out with girls. Why am I even trying?" There's the bone-tiredness and emotional spent-nesss at the end of a week when we have been with people much and the mustering up of grace to be with them some more.

I love this! We have purpose here! Thank you, Lord!

I hate this! Nothing we are doing matters! Why are we here, Lord?

I tend to live in extremes...can you tell? :)

God keeps bringing me back to the place of Him. The place of Him, where the only things able to stay are those done for Him and through His power. It doesn't matter what people think of us. It doesn't matter how they think we're doing our job. It doesn't matter how many "people-hours" I log in a week. It doesn't matter if I'm doing better than so and so. What matters is HIM, and if I am following His voice. This job may not always look successful to the world. That is okay. Our numbers may go down. That is okay. The question we must ask: Are we abiding in Him and are our good works flowing out of that relationship?

Paul's words encouraged me this morning:

"Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way:
in great endurance;
in troubles, hardships, and distresses;
in beatings, imprisonments and riots;
in purity, understanding, patience and kindness;
in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;
in truthful speech and the power of God;
with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;
through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report;
genuine, yet regarded as imposters;
known, yet regarded as unknown;
dying, and yet we live on;
beaten, and yet not killed;
sorrowful, yet always rejoicing;
poor, yet making many rich;
having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you."

-2 Corinthians 6:4-11

I am reminded of the presence of God in hills and valleys. Of my purpose in both. It doesn't change based on the scenery. I am guided by a transcendent purpose. To know God, to love Him, to serve Him out of that love.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

little things

Normal is tough to put on again. Adventure is a flashy coat, and when I wear it, life feels exciting and fresh. It's a light layer, not cumbersome, and I can flit from here to there.

I love airports. I love that feeling of going somewhere, it doesn't matter where. I love seeing new things and watching people, imagining their stories full of love and pain and regret and hope. Where are they going?

Home is hard today. Oh, it is wonderful to be back with my husband. That is a deep joy. But the physical place, my little address of siding and stone, feels tight. Returning to the pot-holed pocked streets of my Mayberry is hard. There doesn't seem to be much spice here, and I want curry and cinnamon and turmeric and tarragon and sage and nutmeg, and gee golly, just throw the whole dang spice rack my way.

This, though, is where the life of Christ intersects my story. In the sink full of dirty dishes. In the voicemails I need to return. In the returning question of "what am I called to be and do here?" Bending down to furrow the soil and dig the hole and place the seed is not glamorous. I strain to recognize the lie that I am believing: over there, somewhere else, the soil would be better, my purpose would be clearer, the joy would be deeper, the reward greater.

Is that lie not just a fist shaken in the face of a Sovereign God? A "what You have given me is not enough" flung at the One who alone gives good things? So I ask for His eye-glasses and peer at these streets again. What life is here that I am quick to miss? His life is here. His contentment is here. His "triumphal procession" that leads me in grace and gives me the chance to "spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him."

"Be faithful in the little things, for in them our strength lies. To the good God nothing is little, because He is so great and we are so small. That is why He stoops down and takes the trouble to make those little things for us -- to give us a chance to prove our love for Him. Because He makes them, they are very great. He cannot make anything small; they are infinite."
-Mother Teresa

No, this life is not the stuff of movies and memoirs. It will not be making history any time soon. But it is the life of faithfulness, and it is that to which I have been called.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twice As Good

Kyndel got married.

It was beautiful. The scenery was coffee-table-book worthy. Her face was radiant, peace and joy dancing in the little lines around her eyes. Dannon held her arm and led her down the aspen leafed aisle. The anticipation of months swelled and was met by a lovely bride and a good man.

I was blessed to be there. Blessed by the witness of the best picture we have of Christ's love for His church. Blessed by the change of pace, a break in the mountains from busy Missouri life. Blessed by the nearness of my three dearest friends, who are flung far out across this country, making reunions triple-thick sweet.

Life keeps changing, but these girls are forever friends. We've been across the hall from each other and across the ocean. We've been through seasons where we tripped over a misunderstanding every five feet and seasons where we couldn't go to bed for all the laughter. We've argued over boys and cried together when the breakups came. We've prayed our way through hard classes, family troubles, post-college decisions, and the big question of "how do I know he's the one?"

Three of us our married. We've been there. Two of us are getting ready to go overseas as long-term missionaries. We're still praying. Babies will come someday, and I hope I'm in those waiting rooms. I love these girls to no end, and thank Jesus for His life which links us together with more longevity than we could ever create on our own.

when I am down and need to cry till morning
I know just where I am going
when I'm in need of sweet commiseration
to speak out loud

raise a glass to friendship and to knowing
you don't have to go alone
we'll raise our hearts to share each others burdens
on this road

with every burden I have carried
with every joy it's understood
life with you is half as hard
and twice as good

with my good news you're dancing on the table
babies born to celebration
the joy of life oh what a sweet communion
shared with you
I know we're growing older
can you imagine what that will bring
it's all a mystery to me now
but this one thing

will be half as hard, and twice as good

-Lyrics from "Twice as Good" by Sara Groves

I love you, friends!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

from the land of golden trees

Here I am, back in our beloved Lake City. It's my first Lake City fall. I've only ever known this lover in summer. But fall has my heart now too. The aspens are gorgeous. Pictures don't do it've got to see these golden lovelies in person.

Here's a picture anyway. To whet your desire to come to Colorado in the fall.

I'm here for my best friend's wedding. Sounds like a movie, huh? Oh wait...

I met Kyndel our freshman year of college, a week or two in. My first impression of her, like many first impressions, was totally and completely wrong. I walked into her dorm room, and she was putting her hair in curlers, and a makeup bag bigger than any I owned was lying on the floor, contents spilled across the cheap blue carpet. I was all like, "Blush? What's that?" Okay, maybe not that bad, but Kyndel was definitely girlier than me. I read that as snobby.

It didn't take long for me to see her heart of gold beneath all that makeup. :) I found a friend that hungered for the heart of God and pursued Him wholeheartedly. I found a bosom friend, to borrow Anne Shirley's phrase, that would cry and laugh and dream and scheme with me. For the next seven years, we would build a friendship with the bricks of late night talks, trips to each other's homes, laments over boys, an epic journey out west after college graduation, and when we lived farther than three doors apart, long phone conversations. She drove eight hours to surprise me when Aaron proposed. She came farther than that the next summer to be one of my bridesmaids and curl wire into little strands to hang dozens of tea lights. That is true friendship right there.

I love you, Kyndel Nicole. I am so blessed to be here as you say yes to Dannon and become his wife. It's not what we imagined back in Mayfield, sizing up the boys over at J. Alvin with a careful eye. But, oh, it's so much better. It is beautiful to be here for this page. Your friendship means so much to me. In the years since we were wide-eyed, silly college freshmen, you have become my sister of heart.

Kyndel and me, circa 2003