This Where the Nonsense Turns to Makesense

..A large family working to perfect our sweet skills: Loving others, making an impact, parenting on purpose, living simply, and embracing sarcasm.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Conversations Before Coffee

I have limits, people. I can't handle certain conversations before coffee or 10 aye em. 

The lady next to me just said the phrase "making love sounds better. Sex is too worldly." 

It's before the coffee time, but she is a 70 year old mother to five; she can say anything she wants and we listen. Usually I am with rapt attention, but Ellen. It's before coffee. 

It's the morning after the birthday party for one of my best sisters. I would add her link here, but the blogger app also has limits before the coffee hour. But if she was here she would say great words like, "you might be a wreck, doll, but you're God's wreck" or "you just gotta put one foot in front of the uthah. Now. Pass me an olive". 

Do you see the people I have to keep up with? I'll never make it. 
Send coffee. 
Send waffles. 
No. Just send the coffee. 
With "syrup". 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Darn You Perfectly Brewed Americano

Some places just know how to coffee. Yes. I used coffee as a verb. Try and stop me. No don't. I bruise like a peach! 

Photo cred: I stole this photo from the web. 

I had a meeting at The Coffee Bar last night around 4:30. Just a quick stop to meet a new friend who gave me the low down on all the information I'll need for a smallish major new ministry with which I am helping. 
I love them. These women love Jesus in a major way: with Grace and practicality. With heart and hands. Faith trudging through disbelief. 
So far I am all talk and coffee, but come Sunday I am jumping in. Two women are temporarily setting aside their high heels and heart breaking career of turning tricks at $200/hour to take their GED. 

Too big to grasp? Too contrary? Too "why should they even bother if they are going to go right back to that old life?" 

Yah. Well. I'm not in their shoes, but I know what baby steps are, and these girls are taking them. And for some reason, God is letting me help. 

So between an angelic Americano and this buzz of "what am I getting myself into? My heart is about to get vulnerable, I just know it. Lord, is this another mascarade that seems like I am the one helping, but really I'm about to get helped?" I find myself not sleeping. 

All through our meeting I kept saying, "the devil wouldn't be trying so hard to keep these girls down if they weren't about to make a huge difference for Christ. He wouldn't even care." And it's true. 
And by that, I mean if you don't feel the devil messing with you in some way, just maybe you don't matter enough to the kingdom. Just maybe a couple of 20 something year old prostitutes are closer to changing lives for Jesus than you are. 

Right along with that though? If you are enduring some heavy about now, there's a good chance you are in God's will. Youve tapped your chest and said "come at me bro" to a real enemy. Stay the course. You aren't alone. 

I feel shaken up by this. I feel like these girls are on the verge of something amazing. Noway am I getting left behind. 

I wanna jump up with my hand raised and shout "Let me come!" Like a typical little sister. I'm pumped. 

Photo cred: I stole this photo from the web. 

And then. I can't sleep. So I hang out on my twitter and the worst news story comes across. 120 children died last night. Six teachers. 
Taliban (tomato). These jack asses (tuh-mah-to) who think they are changing the world. And they are. And honestly, there is little I can do to change how they spend their lives. Waste their passion and faith. 

I can be their opposite. 

Now I see. A few more pieces just slipped into the puzzle. I'm to be contrary. I'm to be their opposite. 

When they spew darkness, I'll shine light. 

When they breed hate, I'll work harder for unconditional love. 

When they bring death, I'll breath life. 

When they marginalize, I'll be a peacemaker. 

When they shower depression, I'll pour on joy. 

In the same way they are too big and too far for my hands to affect them, my God is too big and my faith is too committed for them to touch me. 

Get behind me satan; you know your place. 

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Louder Isn't Always Better

I listened to a girl preach this weekend. It was an exceptional treat for many reasons, the least of which being the fact that I actually got to sit in service and partake in church like a usual suspect. When you are in charge of the kids in your church family, you miss a few weeks. But she was great. I shouldn't be surprised really; for years people have been saying, "you know Ally, right? You two would hit it off." 
They mean we are the same. They mean we appear to have the same giftings. 

Honestly, I've said hi from afar, but I've never met her. I can't even tell you why we've never officially been introduced. I certainly don't need help speaking to strangers or strange people. She lives out of town and visits often. But she became part of our church when we were off church planting with my brother and then still when we moved to Idaho. She got married and left right as we moved back. Bummer. And after listening to her speak, I mean it. Major bummer. 
We could have been all those things Tiffany sang about in the 80s when rock love ballads were legit and steeped in hairspray and emotion. And lip gloss. I think that we could have been good friends, but there's a little nagging voice that reminds me she is an introvert. 

What? Wait. Hold yer phone, Tiffany. 

I need a minute to decide if I can be friends with an introvert. 
Ok. Yes. We need each other, actually. Ok. ACTUALLY I need her. Maybe it's just me, being part of the loud collection of humans called extroverts, but I've always had the understanding that introvert equals negative and they are really just striving to become extroverts. I feel maybe Ally knows something I don't. 

She isn't striving to be an extrovert. There's nothing wrong with the very vert she already is. Additionally, I am not trying to be an introvert. However, I am striving to mimic some of her greater qualities. 

Humility and genuine heart. Truth speaker. Clear. Meek but not a pushover. The meek shall inheret the earth. Meek isn't bad. Meek is the new patient. 

I am so grateful for the skills and talents I have been given. I am thrilled for the chance to be an encouragement and light and sometimes even that straight forward, in your face, never minding words truth sayer. I want to be who God created me to be. I want to embrace my extrovertnessingly * and be used in the best possible way. 
I love that Ally was just being her. Whichever vert you are, embrace it. We all need each other.  
*extroverts make up words. Embrace it. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ready. Steady. Quick Recap

Ok. First we

Ran into Effie Trinket and the angry chick from district 7. Late night showing of Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1. 

Then we

Witnessed downtown become just a smidge brighter with the lighting of the tree. Followed by

Laughing. Pizza. And a lot of laughing. When I say a lot of laughing, I don't mean someone told a joke and we laughed longer than the average person for that minute. I mean in our house we laugh SO MUCH. When we aren't laughing we are singing. And sometimes we are yelling. But only sometimes is that yelling angry. And to be fair sometimes the laughing is facetious and full of mocking undertones. And I'm sorry. I'm just sorry. 
And then it got real. Folks, I'm going to level with you. I was a little shocked to look over and see The Man had taken on this position a little early even for Thanksgiving. This man doesn't sprawl. I should know. I've secretly and obviously watched his every move for 21 years. Ok. More obviously. I don't even try to hide it!! In fact, yep. I'm about to confess something. When we were in high school, I heard he worked at Walmart. I went every night for a week. Never saw him once. I was so irritated that I sucked at stalking a guy who barely knew I existed that I very uncooly asked when he was working and where I could find him if I happened to stop by. Insert air quotes where you think best. You should probably use more sets than you think for that sentence. Also. Who even thought to check the garden section??!!

Seven times a charm, I tell you. anyway. One thing lead to another and 

We are winding down another year of being Mike and Shontell. Sometimes I lay in bed and wonder how he found me and what ever made him think that he should break up with my best friend and ask me out. Out of my hands people!!! Would you believe me if I claimed innocent bystander? 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Drop In the Ocean

I've accepted that my arms are the lengths they are. I mean, I am 38. They aren't going to grow. I accept it. I know my limits. I also know that even though my arms measure a smooth five feet seven inches in wing span, my reach still has potential. Today, I decided to stretch my skinny hands right out in front of me and into my closet.

I am joining women across the world to raise awareness for girls held captive in the lie and bondage of sex trafficking. The statistics would cause your heart to bleed.

Awaken can fill you in on those and what is happening here locally to put an end to this darkness.

Dressember can help you be a drop in the ocean. Sound too small? So is a mustard seed. So is a chicken pock. So are two tiny little lice bugs who love each other very much. Do you get my point?

Dressember is a drop in the ocean that raised $165K last year. I am putting my dress on one leg at a time just like all the other girls on this team. You can help by sponsoring me. Make a flat donation or pledge a dollar or more for each day I wear a dress in December.

For some girls, this is easy. For me? Not so much. I lost my heart in a pair of 501s when I was in middle school. I have committed to love them forever, and it is going to break their hearts when I ground them to their hangers. Dear button flies. I can't quit you. Except for the month of December.

All of the money collected will go to these guys. 

Won't you help me send a message?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oh Rebekah

I love reading through history. Women and men that changed the world and made mistakes and learned and were still so integral to writing a great and crazy, all wrong and all right, history. I appreciate their accomplishments; I welcome the challenge to match them footstep for footstep.

Maybe I appreciate their screw ups just as much. Or more. I am good to learn from them in this way, too. This is the perfect scenario in which to live vicariously. And the amazing thing is how the worst and craziest seeming people get their stories repeated just as often. We know the infamous as well as the famous. We need to. Past improprieties are the bricks that build us.

This morning, I was reading about Abraham and his guaranteed blessings. Could you imagine that? Guaranteed blessings? Well believe, yo. We have it. When Abraham died, God sent an angel to tell Isaac he would be receiving all that was promised to his father. Whoa. What an inheritance. Brilliant work, God.
Then I moved on to reading about Abraham's daughter in law. When Abraham sent his servant to Canaan to find her, he was beyond confident in God. He prayed, his servant's prayed, and they all believed. This bride-retrieval-mission was bathed in God's will. Like a poorly kept secret, they were all in on it.
His servant arrived after days of traveling and spoke first to God when he arrived at the well. "Let the one who is to be my master's wife offer me water and go on to offer to water my cattle" (Shontell's English Translation). Bam. The first woman who approached, Rebekah, spoke his very words. The bible says even before the servant was finished speaking to God in his heart Rebekah walked up, water jar in hand.
Her words were God's words. Her heart full of the Holy Spirit before she ever met him or he ever really came here to live with us. She was smack dab in the middle of God's will for her. I know that feeling. It's overwhelming, like the ceiling can't hold you.
Nor your skin.
Your heart feels like a cartoon that keeps pumping through your fancy shirt. You're sure everyone around you can feel it. It almost hurts because you know you don't deserve it. You remember the bricks that build you.

Despite that, you sense that God is bigger in you than all of that. I am so grateful for that. That feeling that I will never again be that ignoramus out of God's will. Away from God's path. That assurance that I am complete in God's will and untouchable. And, yet.

I find myself falling for that little selfish whisper. Which turns into a murmur. And then we are having a heated dispute before I cave and believe him because that little evil genius is just a little bit louder than God. Suddenly, I am Rebekah.

Rebekah who went from so engrossed in God's will that her words were mirrors. Ventriloquy. Not a magic trick at all, but full blown Jesus Freak. But time passes and smoke clouds the glass, and she. me. I am at it again. Far from the will I know. Believing the nonsense that threatens to consume me.

Maybe I have never loved one of my twins more than the other. Maybe I have never taught my boy to lie to his brother and then his father in order for him to get ahead and cheat my husband out of his blessing and inheritance. But do the specifics matter? My sin creates space. A deep void only fillable by the one true lover of my soul. The guy that never quits or gets tired of holding me up. Even when my faith is tiny and I feel I need to take things into my own hands which inevitably fail. Grasping is always a mistake. White knuckling this world leads to death.

As always, it comes down to my choices. How do I want to be remembered? Would it bother me if someone, anyone, walked in the room and overheard me talking, working, watching, listening, debating, disagreeing, convincing. Who am I gonna be? More Rebekah or less of her?

In this minute, I will admit I am closer to the version I don't want to be. But I am letting the death consume me to make more room for the one who really matters.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Numbers. The Fall Version

7- the number of Fridays left until Christmas. (Sorry. That one was shocking. I should have started with something calmer). 

1500- ALMOST the square footage of my new house. 

7- the number of people living in that little space. 

55+- the number of times I look out my window and smile because I live in this house with this view. 

8- the tree count in our backyard

5- the number of times I have watched You've Got Mail in the past month. 

28- the number of 5th graders I teach everyday. 

5- the number of afternoons I leave with a huge grin from my job. My heart is full even on the toughest days. 

38- the number of birthdays I have celebrated in my lifetime. 

20- the number of red and white roses my husband secretly delivered to my home while we both were at work. 

Too many- the number of times I underestimate that man. 

60- the number of boxes we have unpacked in the last week. 

3- the number of furniture pieces we still have to sell because they don't fit in our new house. 

One Bajillion- the number of candies we collected last Friday. 

6- the number of costumes I created or coordinated to lend to one of the best Halloweens to date. 

1- the number of times I have seen The Box Trolls. 

2- the number of times I want to see the Box Trolls again before we buy it on DVD and make it one of our annual October movies. 

11- the number of boxes we have left to unpack. 

11- the number of times I've thought to myself "do I really need whatever is in this box? Can't I just chuck it?"

Look around you people. The best two months of the world are about to happen. Come enjoy them at my house. My coffee and my couch are always ready. Especially if you live far away and want to have a jumbo party sleepover. 
Yah. You heard me. Jumbo party.