Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Sex God

Ok....did that title get your attention? I'm onto a new book. My tight christian boundaries are seemingly being refined and broadened at the same time. It is an interesting dichotomy. How familiar are you with Rob Bell? I did not know of him but listened to him this morning on a video in prepping to read the book Sex God. Now I know you are asking what this book is really about. I'm not totally sure but this is from the intro:

"Something deeper. Something behind it all. You can't talk about sexuality without talking about how we were made. And that will inevitably lead you to who made us. At some point you have to talk about God. Sex. God. They're connected. And they can't be separated. Where the one is, you will always find the other. This is a book about how sexuality is the "this" and spirituality is the "that". To make sense of the one, we have to explore the other. And that is what this book is about."

Interesting.....I'm teaching on sexuality in the Winter. I'm interested to see if the Lord uses this book to broaden my perspective or refine it.

Are you familiar with Nooma. Really cool short movies (8-10 minutes) by this pastor Rob Bell. I watched one with a friend this morning. Incredibly relevant and thought provoking. It was about breathing. Yep.....breathing and how God lives in our breaths. A great presentation of the Gospel without you realizing it. You got to watch it. Go see the folks at the Parable and pick up a couple. Our church should be viewing these in small groups....the discussion will take off.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Emma, Jacob, Elena and I experienced a lot of this picture this past weekend. We were in Long Beach for a soccer tournament. I don't know how people do it down yonder.....the traffic, the cement, the noise. I thought our travel day on Friday was going to be really bad traffic wise as we were in very slow moving traffic starting just north of Calabassas (that is not a good sign!). Susie Theule slowly passed me on the left as they were heading down to some extended family gathering. It was funny to be where we were and look over and see them. We managed to wade our way through that, catch the 405, get in the carpool lane and zip through. Coming home late Sunday afternoon was interesting. Lots of cars going north bound, but traffic was moving. Southbound on the other hand was at a standstill on the 405 and 101. As a matter of fact 101 was barely moving southbound from Camarillo all the way up to and through Santa Barbara! I've never seen so many cars.

Long Beach is interesting.....it is readily apparent they are trying very hard to clean up the city. We were down by the water. Lots of fun things going on , but not a place to wander. I was amazed at the amount of kids and young adults just hanging around. That is so foreign to me. It was way, way hot and very humid. I kept thinking, "don't you have something better to do then stand in the sun and just hang out!" Apparently the answer is no. Unfortunately some of my daughters team witnessed the tail end of some violence in traveling to the fields. Nothing like a lot of police with weapons drawn and a body lying in blood on the street.

Funny yet stressful moment of the weekend. Once again (yes, it is an ongoing challenge) we were given incorrect directions to the fields from the tournament host. Our club is known for having it somewhat together and being on time etc... Every family was driving around the scary part of Long Beach looking for the fields. The cell phones were ringing off the hook! Finally with me stopping and asking for directions in which I just got a blank look in response and tagging behind a family with a GPS, our minivan and surburban parade made it.......to the wrong part of the fields. We had to load back up and move down a few city blocks. Oi....

The girls won the tournament, though! We were happy for them, but glad to load up and head back to SLO. Now onto life......

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Prayers for the Study of Daniel

OK you prayer warriors out there. I am putting a request in front of you. The evil one is attacking hard at the moment. We shouldn't be surprised by that. He doesn't want the truth to be made known. Please pray for the following:
  • A stirring of the holy spirit in the ladies to attend this Fall (your life will be changed!)
  • Strength and courage for the bible study leadership
  • An abundant trust in His provision for the study
  • Small Group leaders who have a heart for the women of our community
  • That lives will be forever changed by His Word
  • A unity of spirit
  • That the details of our physical space be planned out to the best of our abilities given the major remodel starting sept 1 at our church
Thanks in advance for your diligence in prayer. To God be the Glory!

But is it safe....?

This was Elena's idea of appropriate bike riding gear. Yes, she is wearing swim goggles. What you can't see is that she put on socks with her sandals. She felt it covered the family rule of no open toed shoes on bikes....

She really did ride around this way. Of course, she put on soccer shin guards with pants and leotard to jump on the trampoline. Go figure!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Toes Have It

Emma was given a birthday present in March. The gift was a certificate for a pedicure!!! My type of fun and unusual present. Four months later she and I finally made it to the nail shop this morning....

I haven't had a pedicure in 18 months! There just isn't room in the budget, but I decided to splurge this morning. It was really, really nice....

Of course, she got the really cute flower on hers....I'm not into the nail polish as much, but I do like the foot soak and massage. Bliss....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

What is Your Definition of Hope?

  • "the general feeling that some desire will be filled"
  • "someone or something in which expectations are centered"
  • "Intend with some possibility of fulfillment"
  • "Hope is a desire for something to happen, while expecting or being confident that it will come true"

Listed above are some web definitions for hope - with a friend I have been trying to nail down the definition of the word hope. It is harder than you think to do. You might ask why the difficulty. Well, I think because all the definitions seem somewhat hollow to me. My friend recommended a book entitled Holding On To Hope, by Nancy Guthrie. I have listed it in my current reading list on the right side of the blog. I recommend this book to you as well. It is a short read (just over 100 pages). It is an emotional roller coaster, though so have your kleenex ready. The book is worthy of your time.

The author comes as close as anything to defining hope.....

"Gabriel, like his sister, Hope, told us that the significance of a life is not measured by its length or by what a person can accomplish or contribute. Gabriel, said, "Children are a blessing from the Lord." That blessing comes in different forms--some joyful, some frustrating, some disappointing, some charming, some disarming, some expected, some unexpected--but all a blessing. Gabriel told us that God uses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:27). He showed us that God could use a child to communicate the most important truths of the universe to the world. If God can do that, perhaps he can use you and me to accomplish his purposes in our corner of the world if we yield ourselves to him.

...Gabriel of the bible brought the same message three times. It's Jesus. "Don't be afraid, Jesus is coming." And for you and me, as we seek to find God in the midst of our pain, the message is the same--Jesus.

....because it was so important that you and I get the message, he sent more than an angel, or a baby. He sent his very own Son. John tells us: The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. We have the entire message, everything God wants us to know, in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself is the ultimate articulation of God's love for you and for me. Nothing else is needed. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is everything God wants to say to us."

Hope is the expectation of His coming. But unlike some of the definitions above, it will be fulfilled and Archangel Gabriel will announce His arrival.

What are your thoughts on hope?

Birthday Boy Bowling Bash

A few fun pics from the Bowling Bash.....

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Second Birthday

The Sea of Gallilee


Well, actually his is the first birthday. My brother Greg shares a birthday with my Jacob (albeit 40 years apart!). I just received an email from my bro.....not unusual except he is in Israel. It was good to be able to wish him a happy Bday via email.

Happy Birthday, Jacob

He is child #3 and uniquely his own. He came into the world big and fast.....he hasn't slowed down. He is trying to find his way in our crazy world. He has already found his place in our Father's eyes. Happy 8th Birthday, Jacob!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Summer Flowers

Blue skies and summer flowers.....from my garden....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cerro San Luis

Took a hike up Cerro San Luis yesterday afternoon with my son Joey. It was good to stretch my legs and lungs. It was very hot as well. It is very interesting to hike up this mountain starting on the East side. You get a lot of hot up draft thermals as you make your way around the mountain. As soon as you come to the Southwest side the ocean breeze kicks in and the air has a totally different feel to it. The views are incredible. We only saw one snake. I don't like snakes....

Joey and I had a good time talking. I think he is all talked out on his Hume Lake experience. They studied Daniel this past week. I am stoked about that because I am deep in the study for Daniel as I prepare for bible study this upcoming year. He put me to shame by rattling off several long passages of scripture he memorized. I am convinced the Lord is going to use this boy in ministry. He just seems to have a depth of understanding scripture as well as interpersonal relationships that make for a very good ministry combination. I am thankful for the leadership in our church youth. They are a bunch of Daniels themselves!

It is not often Joey and I get to spend large amounts of time together without other siblings. I am thankful for the afternoon. He needs more of this as we are heading into so many changes with him physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yosemite Pics...

A few pics from our trip to Yosemite. I'll buy a latte for whomever can guess what is missing (0ther than me) from each picture! Also, check out the pic of the three kids with Elena in the middle and half dome in the background. She is crying....she pitched a fit just as we got out of the car at Glacier Point. She said her foot hurt. I wouldn't carry her (I'm really not a bad mom, but I had just kind of had it with everything...) so she went into a tantrum. Initially she wouldn't even stand next to Emma and Jacob. Had a lot of people staring at Elena and I as I tried to get her to stop crying. No one ever said patience was my strong suit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Great are the Works..."

"Great are the works of the Lord; They are studied by all who delight in them.

Splendid and majestic is His work, And his righteousness endures forever.

He has made His wonders to be remembered; The Lord is gracious and compassionate."
Psalm 111:2-4

I spent the past few days in a little bit of heaven here on earth.....there is a reason they come from all over the earth to visit Yosemite. Words will never suffice.....except for Lord, you are Holy!

Friday, July 06, 2007

This post is for those who have been reading Pastor Tim's blog recently. He submitted a post asking some thought provoking questions on evangelism. The comments section of the post has some really good thoughts. Ted and Penny....this post is for you. I have mentioned in earlier posts that I have been reading the book Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning. I am nearing the end and had to post on what I read today.....

"the music of what is happening can be heard only in the present moment, right now, right here. Now/here spells nowhere. To be fully present to whoever or whatever is immediately before us is to pitch a tent in the wilderness of Nowhere. It is an act of radical trust-trust that God can be encountered at no other time and in no other place than the present moment. Being fully present in the now is perhaps the premier skill of the spiritual life. More often than not, I do not hear the music of what is happening now because my mind ricochets between the past and the future."

"In Luke's Gospel, Jesus heard a beautiful melody the only place it truly exists: Nowhere. 'When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins'. The music created by the widow's mite entered deeply into Jesus. The present moment was not a narrow crack between yesterday's confrontation with the chief priests and scribes over tribute to Caesar and tomorrow's betrayal by Judas and the feast of Passover. The two words
he noticed offer profound insight into the person of Jesus, highlighting his full attention to the present moment, his watchfulness, consciousness, sensitivity, perception, and unbridled appreciation for an unobtrusive old woman who tossed in her two coins and scurried away."

"It is through immersion in the ordinary-the apparently empty, trivial, and meaningless experiences of a routine day-that life/Life is encountered and lived. Real living is not about words, concepts, and abstractions but about experience of who or what is immediately before us. The self-forgetfulness that such experience requires is the essence of contemplative simplicity."

I'm fairly certain that is all about evangelism....bringing the church to the people and bringing the people to church.

Can You Name It?

Can you name the tree to the right? We have many of them in SLO and they are in full bloom at this time of the year. It is called a Jacaranda. They grow big and are messy, but they have one particular redeeming feature - they have beautiful lavender blooms. This tree and my son Joey are inextricably inner twined. His 12 year old birthday is tomorrow July 7.

When my sister came to visit after Joe had been born she commented on the trees. I said what trees? The beautiful lavender ones all over town she said. I had never really paid attention. They are everywhere and very noticeable at this time of year.

Us moms have a tendency to have our heads down a lot. Our little ones are rarely above our heads. What happens, though, is that we forget to raise our heads. There is an entire world that is above the 3' level! I know I need a break when I get the sense that I have been looking below the 3' level for too long. I was driving early this morning and guess what caught my attention? Yep, the trees that are in full bloom. I gave quick praise to the Lord for his gentle reminder of his faithfulness to David and I in this journey with Him. A journey of parenting that started 12 years ago.

Joe is having a few boys over for a sleep over tonight. Hamburgers, a little outside hide 'n seek, and a star wars movie. Oh, how different the birthday celebrations become as they grow older!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy 4th

I saw several of you at our church picnic today.....we had a good time. I was surprised it wasn't hot. I think this was the first year I truly enjoyed the time without any stress. I was able to let the kids just run around (including the youngest) and know they would be just fine. It was good to catch up with a few people I haven't had much time with lately. Hope your day was a fun, relaxing remembrance as well...