"Thanksland" and a test in hupotosso-ing

It's been three days of prepping for our road trip tomorrow plus the daily things a mom of two boys home on summer vacation do.

I know it sounds kind of goofy, but the Parent For A Day game was a such a success so I went with it and we played "Thanksland" on Monday.

 I am weary of the constant complaining in my house and am aware of my own lack in giving thanks. Ann has really inspired me to pay attention and receive everything as a gift of God's grace for my good and His glory. So I told the boys Monday that we were going to play "Thanksland" from breakfast till lunch. In "Thanksland" everyone speaks Thanksese. Whatever your choice of words, it had to contain a verbal giving of thanks. So it began, "Mom, thanks for the cereal, but can I have eggs?" And when the complaining wanted to start coming (about the same time as the chores started), warnings were handed out like citations. Three citations equaled an unpleasant chore.

It was funny hearing us give thanks out loud in literally every sentence, but I noticed two things:

 1. There was no complaining.

2. There was a lot more smiling and laughing.

I need to give thanks out loud more often! What would it be like if literally every sentence I spoke contained some form of saying "thank you" or "thank You Lord" or "I'm thankful for..."? I'd probably get some raised eyebrows but there'd be less frown lines around my brows.

Today I attended a "total conditioning" class at the gym. It was 75 minutes of non-stop movement. I'm completely spent. Crossfit leaves me feeling the same way but in only 30 minutes.

I feel really bad for my husband. He had filling fall out a few weeks ago and a week ago his dentist put a temporary crown on it. Yesterday he went in to have the permanent crown put on but somehow, in the yanking off of the temporary one, some of the build up fell off and after painful attempts at re-building, they told him he'd have to live with another temporary for a couple more weeks while they send off the new mold of the broken, but rebuilt stub under his crown.

He said the appointment was sheer torture. He's not one to complain of pain, but tonight, while eating, his tooth pain brought him to his knees. He said the 2nd temporary crown is now loose. And we're leaving in the morning for a road trip.  Not good!

I despise dental pain! I really hope his tooth isn't killing him the whole trip. You know the saying if momma aint happy... Well in my house its daddy who keeps the thermostat for that. I'd be a grump too if I had a stabbing pain in my tooth my entire vacation! On the up side, maybe he'll get to eat some good clam chowder.

I'm looking forward to being with my sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, and nephews, but I am really going to miss my Pathway family.

Connor's All Star experience was an experience. When parents act like tantrum-throwing toddlers regarding their 9 year old's baseball I realize who so many kids are so disrespectful to each other and adults. His team lost both of their tournament games pretty badly. The coach is a very patient, nice guy, unlike some of the dad's of the kids on his team. He choked back tears after last night's loss, saying people told him if he coached All Stars he'd loose friends. I couldn't bear the silence and spoke up amongst the disgruntled, but respectful parents gathered round to listen. We all felt the same way- we felt he'd made wrong choices for the games, but we respected him as the coach, kept our opinions to ourselves, and cheered our kids on. The adult toddler had yanked his son out in cursing rage on Monday night and wasn't there to hear this well-meaning man explain. I offered, "We appreciate your patience Coach! Good work!" My husband clapped in support and the kids he coached came running to give him a good hug.

You can disagree and still show respect for the person doing the leading. That's what it means to hupotosso. It's easy to tear down a person in a position of leadership or authority. It doesn't require any strength to cuss and yell and make a scene. Strength under control is displayed when you voluntarily carry a burden of living with the decisions of a person in authority.  Lord give me the grace to do just that!


Counting Gifts

55. an uninterrupted hour this morning to look in the mirror get washed clean

56. cool shelter from the summer heat (it's 90 by 8am... going to be 106 today)

57. the collection on the shelf reminding me to trust in His grace and the folly of trusting in idols

58. looking forward to whatever lies ahead

and three gifts on June 25th in someone older than me:

59.  mom's life pointing me to mercy

60.  my pastor's words to the congregation as best as I recal, "I'm not a touchy, feely guy... But this pastor loves you!"

61.  my dad's work-worn hands that will squeeze me with a yearning-for-his-Father-father's hug in a couple weeks


Second living of the past few weeks

I have been planning our yearly summer trip to Oregon, trying to keep a semblance of order yet keep the vacation in our summer break, doing the daily things that keep a home running and in the back of my mind through it all I have blog posts going through my brain. Smile. Sigh.

Time budgeting is much like money budgeting for me. I find if I don't set aside the allotment for the necessary I'll spend it all on the unnecessary. But then usually the necessary uses up so much of the budget that there's not much room for the unnecessary. Writing isn't unnecessary to me, but if I don't get up early enough or stay up late enough the opportunity to write is missed. Problem is its usually throughout the day that I think of things I want to write. I find myself jotting down thoughts on scratch pieces of paper or in the many journals I have floating around wherever I go. I have a bunch of pictures of meals I've made in iPhoto. One of these days...

There's a terrible bunch of knotted up muscles descending from my left jaw, down my sternocleidomastoid and trapezius accompanied by a hideous grinding/crepitus sound from the base of my skull on the right side when I turn my head. I'm convinced this is all due to the damaged TMJ on my left side that, after years of gab, grind and grub is permanently flawed. I don't know what to do about it. Do I see a dentist? A chiropractor? An ENT? A physical therapist? My family practice doc? What would they do about it?

About 2 months ago I started experiencing pain with squatting in my knees- left worse than right. I ignored it and joked about approaching 40. Its gotten worse to the point getting up from a sitting position or sitting down is causing a stabbing pain in my left knee. A week ago we went fishing, I climbed up the rocky trail to our car, pushed off with my left leg in a lunge position and the pain just about brought me tumbling down the trail. Since then, I cannot squat, lunge, sit, climb stairs, get out of my car...anything that involves bearing wait and bending my left knee to a 45 degree angle, without some serious, eye-watering pain.  This is really messing with my plans to keep doing Crossfit style workouts 3 days a week. My husband thinks its a torn meniscus. I know what they do for that. I don't like that option.  And I thought men were the stubborn ones when it comes to medical stuff.

I'm only 38, but my body feels things I didn't expect to feel until my 50's.

We're planning to drive the famous Pacific Coast Highway in California, from Morro Bay to San Francisco next week. I love the ocean view. I like mountain views too, but if I had to choose, I'd choose ocean. Desert view isn't very high up on my list... but it has a beauty.

I am so looking forward to this trip. A Geek Squad guy at Best Buy named Connor (with an O like our Connor who umps Little League) helped us buy a GPS for the trip and wrote out some must-see places in Santa Cruz, San Fran and Half Moon Bay for us to consider stopping at on our trip. Apparently he's from the area.

At the end of our PCH California trip are my precious nephews, sister and her man. The boys can't wait to go fishing. I can't wait to hug my sister and nephews and listen to their sweet voices. I treasure the time I get with my family in Oregon. I wish I could just stop by and visit Aunt Kandace or head to grandma's house for the day. I'm very thankful for the friends in AZ who have become family to my boys. Nevertheless I wish I could be closer to my mom and dad and family.

After my sister we'll move up to where my mom, dad, brother, grandmother, grandfather, nieces, nephews, sister-in-love (as opposed to law... saw that written somewhere and loved it!), and house full of more nephews are. We miss them all! My boys would literally move in with the house-full clan if they could! They look up to my now graduated from high school nephew Ethan, and the next in line Nolan. They treasure the play time with Avery and feel like big brothers when they get to be with Liam and Quintin. The always leave that house wishing they had "10 brothers." Sigh.

I've been thinking about what my "voice" is. Writers talk about finding their voice. It feels weird to call myself a writer. I write, but I guess I wouldn't consider myself a writer unless I was published. Is a person who rides bikes a cyclist? I guess. I feel more comfortable with calling myself a journaler. Maybe that's my voice. Journaling.

Ann Voskamp is one of my favorite blogger-writers. She's definitely a writer. Her voice- poetic, encouraging, meditative. I leave her blog encouraged, agreeing.

Pastor Craig is another favorite blogger-writer. In fact, right now, theirs are the only blogs I read regularly. I've also read a book from each. Pastor Craig's voice is humorous, insightful, editorial. I leave his blog smiling every time!

I don't know what my voice is. A few people have told me I have a different way of putting things that helps them understand. Interesting how that works. Interesting how a person can use words to open doors of understanding.

 Hupotosso is a word. We unpacked it a bit using an online Bible Study Tool at the last ladies Bible study for the summer last night.

The Bible really is a living book!  It's inspiration is inexhaustible.  God's word opens doors of understanding that no one can shut and shuts doors of understanding that no one can open. To voluntarily yield yourself to the authority of another is God-like. To fight for your rights is human. To suffer for doing what's right is divine. To fight back is fallen nature. To entrust yourself to the One who judges justly is Christ-like. To strive to prove you're right is what we all do. To be a Christian is to be a hupotosso-er. We do not follow a weak, mousy, doormat. We follow the Creator of the Universe who humbled Himself, who bent low to lift us up, who huppotosso-ed and saved us.

I read Ann's post about an encounter with a stranger in an airport. He asked her what "kind" of Christian she was. Her answer resonated with me:
Isn’t being a Christian rather like being pregnant? You either wholly are or you really aren’t — is there an in between? How did we become known as “kinds” of Christian instead of being simply, humbly, loving Christians? What if following Christ was about a living faith not about wearing faith labels — about living Christ-behaviour, not living in Christian boxes?

Burned chicken, my story and Israel

It's been an interesting day.

 I'm sitting here trying to get a hold on how I nearly burned down the covered patio by barbecuing bone-in chicken breasts while I planned and prepped other things in the kitchen. I know time can get away from me sometimes, but I tell ya I was in here for 30 minutes and I set the burners on low!

I probably shouldn't post today's attempt at making something real on my new recipe blog. Or maybe I should. Keeping it real. Real, even if it is burned, leads to trust.

Like standing in front of a congregation of missed-the-mark makers like me (many of whom I don't know), telling my charred story, knowing it'll be recorded, knowing my family will be listening. It's a burnt offering, my homologeo. A sum of all that I can put in appropriate words at this time offered up to the Refiner's fire who's been keeping me real through it all.

A very dear person to me asked why Jews and Christians don't agree about Jesus recently. The analytical soul wants to know who's right. How's one supposed to make a decision when millions of people hold to one opinion and millions of others hold to another. My answer comes with too much history... not easy to receive. I pointed the questioner to some "experts" and another homologeoer.

I'm no expert. I'm a blind woman who finally sees she's blind. All I know is I once thought I saw but was really blind, until the Light of the World revealed my blindness and restored my sight.

Sheila is Gaelic for: blind.  Once I read it comes from a word referring to a blind woman who loves music. My mother's honoring of her twin friends in naming me was unknowingly meaningful.

I was a blind woman, I am still blind in many ways. I see in part, but I hear the music. The heavenly music of a Redeemer. Soul ears full of the chorus of many waters.  The Voice of truth sings in me.

Israel heard His voice too:

Today if you will hear his voice,  'Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.  As in the day of trial in the wilderness. -Psalm 95:7-8

Israel, the chosen people. The people through whom came the Savior of the world.  Israel the cut off branch.  Me the grafted in wild blind woman.  Warned through her (Israel) not to become haughty.

I'm not an expert at cooking or explaining why I believing the Jesus of history is the Messiah who came through the Jews. I'm just a blind woman who loves the redeeming music I've heard from the Word.

I used to think I was an expert.  I thought I could see too.  The blind leading the blind.  Now I just know Christ is saving me from my blindness.

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.- 1 Timothy 1:15

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see. -John Newton


Changed the name

I remember when I was a kid my mom used to change the arrangement of the furniture and house decor pretty regularly. You never knew when you'd come home to a whole new look.  I liked it!

I guess it really is a woman's prerogative to change her mind.

I've been keeping a journal since I was a kid. Sometimes I look back on the journals and am embarrassed. I keep them to remind myself of God's grace over all my years of foolishness. But when I started blogging about 7 years ago I basically put my journals out for the world to see. Sometimes I look back at old blog posts and think, "I was a crazy lady!" I don't delete those old blog posts though, because it reminds me that I am utterly dependent upon the mercy and grace of God. I have been immature and foolish in many of my writings and professions, but God has been faithful and gracious to me!

So I changed the name of my blog today because I'm a woman (smile. sigh. honored). I'm a woman humbled by the merciful refining of my faithful Father. And I'm more aware of the pleasant places the lines have fallen for me in this life. I make a home. I love a husband. I nurture children. I support. I stand by. I feed. I show affection by whipping up something good in the kitchen. I grow in God's word. I think better when I write. Hence: a homemaker's meditations.

Here are some good stuff I whipped up this weekend:

Albacore Tuna Fish Tacos

- 4 corn tortillas
- 1 can albacore tuna
- 1 small tomato diced
- 2 T. diced fresh cilantro
- 3 T. diced red onion
- 3 T. mayo
- juice from 1/2 lime

Mix 1 can of tuna with mayo, onion, tomatoes, cilantro and lime juice.  Heat corn tortillas until slightly crisped in a tablespoon of oil.  Scoop 3 T. tuna mix into corn tortilla.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies
 (inspired by this recipe at How Sweet It Is)

This is a delicious, rustic, salty, chocolaty, not-too-sweet cookie that satisfies my chocolate craving and is just plain yummy!

- 2 c. brown rice flour
- 1/2 c. white rice flour
- 1/2 c. tapioca flour
- 1/2 c. almond meal
- pinch of xanthan gum
- 3 T. cocoa powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1/2 c. softened butter
- 6 T. creamy natural almond butter
- 1/2 c. honey
- 2 ripened mashed bananas
- 1 egg yoke
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- handful of crushed almonds
- 1 pkg semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl. Set aside. Mix butter, almond butter, honey, bananas, egg yoke and vanilla.  Slowly mix in dry ingredients. Fold in almonds and chocolate chips. Spoon tablespoon sized scoops onto cookie sheet. Press to slightly flatten.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Rest on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing to plate. 


Just another religious blabbering blogger?

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to write on my 145:4 blog. 

I've been challenged by my own desire to write these things down. Why? Why do I want to write it down so much? Why not just live life and do "normal" things like crochet or something? Why writing... and Bible stories re-told at that?

I guess in part its the gift God gave me. I have a desire to write and I love the Bible. It's a source of inspiration that never runs dry (and much more). Its my world view. But as I'm thinking through what I want to write I'm realizing its not just my re-telling of the Bible stories to my boys. It's me writing out my homologeo. Its me putting to paper the reason for the hope that is in me. Its me penning my explanation of what I believe.

I want it written. I want it out there. I want it recorded.

I know its not going to be complete. Because till I'm perfected seeing my Savior's face I will not know my full homologeo. I will not be able to fully explain the reason I confidently await the coming good of all things being made new- even me! And I also know that if I don't live it out, loving other sinners like me in the name of Christ, it really means nothing.

Oh love through me Love of God!

If I can't suffer long and be kind, it doesn't matter that I can unveil some of the meaning of Your word to my children (or anyone else). If I'm envious of others it doesn't matter that I'm getting a grasp on the mystery of the Trinity. If I'm proud and think I'm all-that it really doesn't matter if I'm self-sacrificially giving to others. If I write my 145:4 and it makes sense and is a good explanation of what I believe and tells Bible stories in a way the points my kids to Christ but I'm rude and selfish, I'm just another religious blabbering blogger.

For Your Name's sake Father, grant me the grace to love as Christ has loved me!


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