Thursday, May 31, 2012

Throwback Thursday MacGyver Style

This week you get a double dose of throwbacks. Today it is MacGyver,'ll just have to come back and see!

Source: Pinterest

A few nights ago I was working on an application for an adoption grant. I can't express to you the amount of hours and paperwork this involves. References, tax forms, home study copies, personal statements of faith...this was going to be a long night. I had my trusty diet coke with me but I needed something more...I needed MacGyver. Thankfully, there are two seasons of MacGyver available to watch instantly on Netflix. I jotted down a few of the valuable lessons this iconic hero taught me. They are listed below in no particular order:

1. The Russians are always bad guys. Never ever ever ever trust a Russian. Especially do not make one your confidant regarding nuclear information...MacGyver did this in the first episode I watched & it didn't work out well for him. If a Russian only goes by one name like "Andre" or " Big Misha" get out of there ASAP.

2. When you are in another country and a child beggar comes to hug you and welcome you to their country...they probably have just stolen something from your pocket. Twice in one episode this happened to him. And the second time it was a watch that the Russians (I refer you to the first point) were looking for. He did get it back, but it was a nail biter.

3. Leather jackets are always in style.

4. Only purchase furniture that is lightweight and can easily be used to barricade a door quickly. My friend Kendall Hopkins obviously had never watched MacGyver before she purchased her huge armoire.

5. The most important lesson : Whatever you need to get the job done is usually right in front of you. Pen caps, ice cubes, fertilizer...think twice my friends. These can be deadly weapons when in the hands of a skilled master. This may sound cheesy and a bit far reaching, but it REALLY DID enter my brain as I watched him dismantle a bomb with a coconut or something... Thats exactly what God does in my life. He takes things that seem random and insignificant to me and does something really heroic with them. The breakthrough that I need for my situation usually comes from letting Jesus take the random bits and pieces and do something creative with them.

I'd rather not say how much of my adoption application I got filled out. BUT, judging from the lessons learned above, I think we can all say it was a good use of my time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!


Today is a day to ponder the power of a life lived on behalf of others. May we all be inspired by the men & women who gave everything for another. To all who have given their lives - Thank You. To those who have lost loved ones - Thank You. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Ministry Of Armpits

Here I am with Erika & Kendall. ( Yes I am blonde in this pic ). They are two of my armpit buddies.

I know you are all wondering what in the world this post will be about. I'll cut to the chase. I got to talk to one of my best friends today. Her name is Erika & she lives in Haiti. It was so nice to catch up and really let her in to all the things going on in deep inside.

Amazing how powerful the simple act of letting people in is. Sharing with them the unimpressive, broken and humiliating parts of you. Not just telling them, but allowing them to get in there with you & hold you up. Much like Aaron & Moses. Moses was tired, but Aaron held his arms up until the battle was won.

That is what true community does. They get in there & support you when the battle feels like too much. We love the idea of being vulnerable and supporting each other. It is an idea often talked about but rarely done. The reason for that is quite simple. For someone to hold me up, really hold me up, they would have to support me under my arms. In the armpits.

For someone to support me I will have to be incredibly vulnerable. If I want to support someone else, I will have to be selfless and get in there. Into the sticky, smelly, and gross parts.

I have to let go of hiding my weakness. I have to let go of feeling impressive and embrace my need.

My guess is that most of us have lost battles. Perhaps a battle with sin, fear, discouragement, a battle in marriage... In my life I can tell you a key to whether I won or lost a fight was directly related to my allowing someone to hold me up.

If you are in a fight, let someone in. They can't hold you up by your smile or your manicured nails. Let them hold you up under your arms. Tell them the ugly bits. Confess the sin you are embarrassed by. Admit the failures that haunt you. Be unimpressive. Need God more than you need an image.

Loose your shame & win your battles.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There Is A God...So, You Never Know.

Welcome to Throwback Thursday. This one is an oldie but a goodie.

Yep, there I am in Paris. I'm the one in the middle of the human pyramid. That baby is my eldest when she was 10 months old.

There is a, you never know. You could do a human pyramid at the Louvre Museum in Paris with a few friends...and your baby...You just never know.

Here is what brings this post about. Tonight at dinner Jady and I were talking about how we are 30 and we are in the middle of this great adventure where anything could happen at any moment. After dinner we were watching this video on Martin Smith & Delirious. They were this little nobody band who used to just play in schools. Then they got an invited to play at a prayer conference & God launched them into being a massively influential band. Fast forward a few hours...I was watching a Hillsong promo for a conference (shocker) and one of the guys said " I don't think I can make it, but there is a God so, you never know."

Hmm...I thought. So very true. We really never know. Anything can happen with God. At any time. I loved living in Seattle and the thought of leaving Mosaic had me crying for a year and a half. God had amazing things for me there and there are still amazing things continuing to happen. But now I am here. In a field where God can plant anything. Although the season of transition was so painful, God had things for me in a new season. In Seattle, I was too busy to write. Now I have time & I'm really enjoying it...and people read it...who knew. Other things are starting to emerge that didn't have room before. There is a God, so I just never know.

If you ached on Mother's Day because you long for children. There is a, you never know.

You have a heart for reforming education, but you have taught the same first grade class for 20 years now. Maybe one of the kids you invested in will go on to become the Secretary of Education . There is a God, so you never know.

You lost your job, and can't seem to get another one. Could be that God wants to take you in a completely new direction. There is a whole new arena you never thought you could enter with your life, but He is about to invite you in. You never know.

You follow God to a remote place. Nothing seems to be there. But He is about to plant a garden in a desert. And He wanted you to have a front row seat. What seemed like exile is now honor. There is a God, so you never know.

Keep hope fresh. Keep dreams alive. And keep your soul full.
There is a, you never know. He may surprise you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Have You Met My Sister Sarah?

No, that's not Sarah. That's my daughter & I after an Easter confetti fight.
I have a sister.

Sarah is her name.

Okay, I don't have a sister. I'm lying. I'm afraid of what you would do if you knew my story - my real & unedited story. The truth about who I really am & what makes me tick. The truth about who & what I love. If I am completely honest, I think you will respond in a way that would crush me. 

Kinda like Abraham did. He told a lie about Sarah. Saying she was his sister when she was his wife. Genesis 20 if you don't know the story. Basically, Abraham's insecurity got the better of him. He told the king that Sarah was his sister. Sarah must have been a looker because the king took her to be his wife. 

Fast forward. King finds out Sarah is Abraham's wife. When Abraham is confronted with his lie he tells the king that he assumed the king's response would be envy. Instead, the king gave Sarah back & blessed Abraham. 

His fear of being attacked was proved wrong. He was blessed & provided for. 

His assumption & vain imagination caused him to look foolish in front of a bunch of people. Plus, I'm pretty sure he had to do some serious damage control with Sarah. Flowers won't make up for giving your wife to another man because you got nervous. They didn't have Anthropologie back then, so I'm not really sure what he gave her to make up for it.

I read this story the other day and connected with it more than I would have liked. I get intimidated & assume I know what is going to happen. My defenses blast into full gear & I figure out how to solve my own problem. 

Usually I am wrong just like Abraham. I give my assumption the same value as knowledge. Maybe I will be met with blessing if I don't pretend. I think I'll give that a try.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Queen Victoria Would Hate Me

Source: Pinterest
Queen Victoria would have hated me. She wouldn't have liked you either. We have two opposing ways of thinking. Victoria once said this:

"...We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat..."

Sorry, old girl, I have to disagree. I am way too interested in the possibility of defeat. In fact, it is the thing I am most interested in.

If the girl in the photo were Queen Victoria, she would have been confident. I can't wait for this ship to come in! It is going to be a fantastic journey. Better than I imagined. I've got my picnic basket & I'm ready to go!

If I were the girl in the photo, I would have been getting all wound up. What if the ship doesn't come? Or what if it sinks? Then I'll be stranded & all I have is this stupid picnic basket. I can't survive on that. Do I have enough money? If this ship goes down, I'm gonna need some money to bribe a way into a lifeboat. I hope I bought travel insurance. Where is this stupid ship? Anybody have an Advil?

I think of the potential failure rather than the potential victory. So do most of my friends. What if I date this guy and it doesn't work out?  What if I move and I don't like it? If I risk and fail then everyone will know. I will be so humiliated. What if I have a baby & turn out to be a horrible mom?

The 'what ifs ' are endless. We so quickly focus on all that could go wrong. We dream in muted colors for fear that our boldness may be too much. We sing on silent in case we are off tune. We love in controlled spurts so that we don't get brokenhearted. Our obedience to God is in small increments because we are afraid of burning out.

Queen Victoria would not have invited me over for horseback riding & tea. She wouldn't have liked my thinking. To be honest, I don't like my thinking either. There is no joy in focusing on possible defeat.

Sure, I could step out and fall completely on my face. I could be a complete failure. My decisions could be all wrong. There is a large chance that I won't measure up.

Or maybe it could go the other way. I could have a victory. I might love it. I could be better than I thought I was.

Either way, I know this. God will be with me. If I face defeat, He will pick me up & carry me back into the race. If I see victory, He will celebrate with me. God is the one who sustains my heart.

When my eyes are fixed on Him, I am no longer interested in defeat.

Thanks for the reminder Vicki. I'd love to grab tea sometime.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Most Beautiful Woman I've Ever Seen

This might be the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Oh, the stories she must have to tell.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Global Warming. I Solved It.

Hey, its Throwback Thursday again.


Okay, so we all know about global warming. We hear about it everywhere and it really freaks us out. I mean, is it the end of the earth? Honestly, some of you think so. Others of you believe its a hoax. But, here are a few facts:

  • Temps have climbed 1.4 degrees since 1880. May not sound like much, but the polar bears beg to differ.
  • In 1910 Montana's Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers. Now it has 27.
  • At this rate of warming the arctic will have an ice-free season by 2040.
Now, maybe you are getting really stressed about the pending peril. Or perhaps you are getting mad at this massive political scheme that you think global warming is. Everyone calm down. I know what we can do. 

My solution to curb global warming involves lots of cars, lots of people and lots of beer. Or maybe I should say it involves stopping lots of cars, lots of people and lots of beer. That can only be one thing. NASCAR.

I hear all the time about how I need to avoid the drive through window at the bank. Or that walking is better than driving (which it actually is). But no one ever talks about all these cars driving around in circles for hours, burning gas , and tires.

Here are some NASCAR facts:
  • 6 million people will attend NASCAR races this year. Thats a lot of cars driving from out of town.
  • The Daytona race is 500 miles long. 
  • Cars go up to 220mph
  • The average race is: 250 miles. Cars get 2 miles to the gallon. That is 125 gallons per car and there can be 40 cars at a time. This is 5,000 gallons of gas used per race.
  • On average there are 10 races per week. That is 50,000 gallons of gas that NASCAR uses each week. (this doesn't include practice laps)
All those tires, all that gas, all those emissions just to watch people drive really fast in circles. I think that we can come up with something better to do than watch other people drive around and around. I mean, thats a lot of waste.

So, next time someone criticizes you for driving a Tahoe tell them about NASCAR. When they pull the plug on auto racing, we will all buy a Prius. Even if you think global warming is a myth, you must admit this is a good point. And if you are sweating thinking of the earth completely shutting down, go recycle something. You will feel better.

That's What I'm Hoping

After days like today, I certainly hope so.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

10 Things My Mama Taught Me

Well, it is time to wrap up my week of Mother's Day posts. What better way than to tell you things my own mother taught me. Mama, you are the best!!!

1. Say 'Yes' To Jesus Always - I saw my mom spend time with Jesus every day. I looked in her Bible which was marked all over with my name next to different verses. I knew she prayed for me. Jesus always came first. When God spoke to my parents about moving to Siberia in the early 90s, my mom's response was 'yes'. Her response to Jesus is always 'yes'.

2. Flirt With Your Husband Every Day- I don't think I have ever seen a marriage as fantastic as my parents. They love each other. Every day growing up they would flirt, hold hands and tell us kids how much they loved the other. It brought such security and taught me how to love my husband. Not just the 'for better or worse' kind of love. The 'leave you notes throughout the house/ a sweet message on the answering machine/ a love note written on the mirror in lipstick' kind of love.

3. Let your kids be kids. When I was a kid , I was really a kid. I made forts, had lemonade stands, got poison ivy, had mud fights with friends, and imagined fantastic adventures. I was allowed to act my age. Unlike other kids, I wasn't pressured to excel at a sport at age 10, keep perfectly clean or be at the top of my class. I had to work hard & finish what I started, but I didn't have to be the best. I was free to be a kid.

4. Make Home The Best Place To Be  There were always people in and out of my house as a kid. Visiting missionaries, people my mom was discipling, or our friends. Our house was a fun place for people to come.  In fact, once in high school, I came home one evening to find my friend Stephen sitting in the living room hanging out with my parents. People just wanted to be there.

5. Cook Dinner & Eat Together  My mom made dinner every night & our family ate breakfast and dinner together until we graduated high school. It might sound prehistoric, but my family is closer than any other family I know.

6. Never Leave The House Without Lipstick  My mom isn't obsessed about her appearance . She didn't criticize the way she looked and talk about what she needed to change. But, my mother always looks pretty. She always puts on lipstick & fixes her hair. She understands the importance of having groomed eyebrows. Thanks mom for teaching me to take care of myself.

7. Honor Your Parents  My mom does a great job of loving her parents. She is a great daughter...I think she learned that one from me...

8. Always Make A Plan My mom always has a plan. She knows the details and probably has several version of her plan should something not go as expected. Real Simple would be blown away at her organizational skills. Sadly, this was not an inherited gene.

9. Always Be Up For Adventure Once when I was in high school I really wanted to get a dress for Easter. We drove around my hometown and couldn't find anything. It was early afternoon & I threw out the idea of driving to Austin ( which was 2 hrs away ) to shop there. So, she called my dad & told him he was on his own for dinner. Down to Austin we went. We spent the late afternoon dress shopping ( I did get a pink dress from Banana Republic & I STILL have it) then grabbed a nice dinner before heading home. Moments like that are priceless. Be up for the adventure.

10. Do What You Can We didn't have a lot of resources growing up, but my mom always did whatever she could. I remember sitting in the back seat with my brother driving home with my mom from the grocery store. Along the way we passed a woman on the side of the road who was obviously quite poor. My mom pulled over & gave the lady all the groceries we had just bought. My mom taught me what it is to love others.

I can't tell you what an honor it is to have her as my mom. I love her with every ounce of my being & want to be her when I grow up. Thank you mom!!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

To The Children I Do Not Yet Have

Another post for Mother's Day week...

Source: Pinterest
I have four children. Two are sleeping (well, supposed to be sleeping) right down the hall from me as I type. The other two are just a few hours away from waking up. They live in Uganda. We have been in the process of adopting for over 2 years. We have not been matched with the specific children yet, but know that we will get one boy & one girl. My son is named Ford & my daughter is named Etta. I think of them on Mother's Day eve...

To The Children I Do Not Yet Have,
When you wake up in the morning, in just a few short hours, you won't know I shed tears for you tonight. While you dreamt, I imagined your sweet & peaceful faces. Faces I long for.

You don't know it yet, but you aren't an orphan. You have been sought after, chosen, fought for. You have had 5  billion forms filed on your behalf. I don't know if you are 6 months old or two years old. I don't know the events of your birth, or what happened to your biological mom. 

If you are a fussy kid, don't worry, I will hold you as much as you need. If you are cheerful as a lark, then we can spend hours laughing together. I don't care what your personality is. Shy, outgoing, funny or somber. I just want to be with you.

I don't know what makes you scared. Whatever it is, I will keep you safe from it.
I don't know who loves you most. Whoever it is, I will love you more than they do.
I don't know what makes you special. I do know that you will be cherished regardless.
Perhaps you have never been the favorite. You are my favorite.

I wish I could wake you up in the morning and tell you how you are the best Mother's Day present in the world. How nothing makes me happier than a smile from you.

I want you to know that you aren't overlooked or forgotten. No matter how tiring this journey has been at times, your mom will never give up on you. You are mine. 

I want you to know that you have other siblings. That you belong to a family. That you are a Griffin.  If you are lonely today, know that my arms ache to hold you. 

Someday you will go off to Kindergarten & I will cry. Cry for happiness that I have the privilege of watching you grow. 

I have to warn you about me. I will kiss your cheeks so often it annoys you. I will make you eat your veggies. I will read you books from the library and then forget to return them. I will pray for you every day. When you start making artwork & crafts, I will turn into a hoarder ( how can I throw away something you made?). I'll sing you to sleep loudly even though my voice isn't particularly lovely. I have been known to get overly emotional at Hallmark commercials. I will pin 1,000 fantastic projects on Pinterest that I will never do. I will make mistakes. But not you. You would never be a mistake. I'd choose you again every day.

I wish you knew. I wish you knew how many people have given their own money to help pay for your adoption. How many people pray for you. I wish you knew how many people care. 

Your mom & dad love you very much. Your sister Sophie talks about you almost every day. She can't wait to meet you. Your brother Tait, well, you will love him too. He plays drums like dad...hope you don't mind loud noises.

I dream for you. I ache for you. I carry you in the deepest places. I love you. 

From a heart that will never let you go,

Your Mom

Friday, May 11, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Painstaking Excellence

It is a week of Mother's Day inspired posts & yesterday was Throwback Thursday. However, I was at a conference out of town with no I am just now posting it. Better late than never!

There was this diaper the other epic diaper. The kind that wouldn't be cleaned with a single wet wipe. This was a ten wet wipe job. Whatever my son ate didn't just come out, but it stuck to his skin like cement. Stinky cement. I spent quite some time trying to scrub it off. I actually thought to myself, "I could stop here. No one will know if I got all of this will come off in his bath tonight anyway." Certainly Tait wouldn't care.

I find myself feeling this way a lot. Not wanting to fold the mound of laundry...we can just pull it out of the basket when we need it right? Or, why do I need to clean the high chair? It is snack time in two hours and I'm sure it will get just as nasty again. I really don't have time to call my friend. I have one hour when my kids are napping and I know that this friend will need to process for a while some of the difficult things that are happening in her I really need to call her back?
I think it is interesting that God knew we would feel this way.

Galatians 6:9 "Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

God didn't have to tell me not to grow weary going on vacation. Or don't get weary pursuing my own ambitions. Don't get weary going He knew that doing good can be exhausting. It can be monotonous. It takes a long time. That's where the don't give up part comes. Usually doing good gets boring & we want to chase shiny glittery things instead. Like visiting Anthropologie instead of washing smells really good in Anthropologie.

I came across this quote the other day. It's awesome.

"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Isn't that awesome??? I think the word "painstaking" was in there because he had the foresight to understand how dirty my son's highchair gets. But how powerful. Anything that uplifts humanity should be done with importance and excellence. Investing in friends, cleaning your house for the people who live there, caring for an aging parent, staying up late to help a roomate when they are crying...again...

Don't just do good or do the right thing. Do it with excellence. Don't get tired & don't give up. When I think about the fact that wiping my two year old's nose is actually giving dignity to another human, it is much easier to do it. To provide people with clean clothes and clean living spaces is uplifting to humanity. Walking with broken people in your lifegroup as they figure out who they are in Christ ... it is giving dignity to that person. And it should be done with excellence.

It's much more motivating when I think about it that way. And sometimes I need motivation.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Little Inconvenience

Continuing with our Mother's Day inspired blog posts...

Having children is inconvenient. If you don't think so, then you don't have children. The early mornings, the late nights. I am pretty sure every parent can relate to this:

Source: Pinterest

Despite the constant requests for help and questions regarding everything ranging from space travel to dinosaur poop, we love our kids. The amount of joy we feel far surpasses the cups of coffee we consume to make it through our days. 

Inconvenience isn't bad. I love to watch my son's face when he digs up a worm. Yep, it means he is covered in mud, but I love discovering the world through his eyes.

This quote is a nice reminder for me on the days that I get small minded. When I see my kids as another outfit I have to wash and another picky eater to please. The cartoon above is funny, but this is what it it is all about.

Sure, some days may be hard. But, in the inconvenience there is huge blessing if we look for it. I am raising human beings who will change the world. After I get the mud out of their ears...

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What I've Learned From My Kid's Feet

Continuing on with our week-long celebration of Mother's Day...

Source: Pinterest

Both my kids were late walkers. Are you ready for this? They didn't start walking till they were 18 months old. For those who don't have kids, that is late. That is past the point of people asking if we have gotten them evaluated for development problems. That is the point you begin to be paranoid that your child has something horribly wrong with them.

Finally they decided to give walking a try.

I learned something watching them take those first steps. I learned that baby steps go somewhere. They may only come one, two, or three at a time. They are often followed by a sudden fall.  They wobble and shift in the direction they take, but baby steps take you places.

I'm happy to report that both my kids now walk exceptionally well. They know how to balance, how to pace their speed , and how run. They can even do cool tricks like walking backwards, jump, stand on their tip toes & hop. They aren't behind anymore.

Their little feet that now roam the back yard on various adventures or dash around in a game of chase didn't start out that way. I remember their humble beginnings. They began with all their focus and energy to simply figure out how to get one foot in front of another. A single small achievement at a time. They kept trying & eventually those fumbling baby steps turned into confident strides.

I have a lot to learn from them. I have so many goals and dreams I want to achieve and accomplish. But I resent baby steps. I want to run full speed into them, not slowly put one foot in front of the other. So often I am frustrated the movement forward is mundane & small.

But if I keep at it, one small step, by one small step, I will move forward. Eventually I won't crash into so many barriers. I will stop awkwardly shifting directions mid-stride. It will become natural.

I just have to remember to stop being so frustrated. To stop complaining that I am not 'there' yet. I just have to keep moving. One foot at a time. One idea, email and conversation at a time. 

I remember that even baby steps go somewhere, so I just keep walking.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's A Mama Kind Of Week...

Source: Pinterest
Last year I did a series about motherhood the entire week leading up to Mother's Day. I had a different guest blogger each day who shared what they learned from being moms. They were all incredibly different, very funny and had profound messages to share. My intention was to do it again this year. 

My intention didn't turn into action in time for that to happen this time around. So, it is just me this week. Posting a little something about motherhood each day. Tomorrow, I will tell you what my kids have taught me about baby steps. See you then!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Throw Back Thursday... Hell, No.

Well, it is Throw Back Thursday. This post was written last year. The current events have changed, but the prayer hasn't.

I'm not cursing. I'm literally telling hell 'no'. I was reading facts this morning about the world's poor and oppressed. Yes, I do that in my spare time...and so should you.

Over the past four days 1,000 people were killed in the Ivory Coast , Libya is in shambles, Japan has nuclear meltdowns, 70% of the world's poor are women and children. In the whole earth, women hold only 1% of the property. Looking over the numbers of people starving, orphaned, dying by violence, trafficked into slavery...I felt my blood boiling at the injustice. It isn't right. Not on my watch or in my generation. I found myself wanting talk to hell itself and tell it 'no'. I would look it in the eyes and say:

Hell, no more will you control people. Cloak men with shame so that they take their own lives leaving behind families. You will not rob another child of their parent due to the violence of hatred. Too many father's have died defending their children from angry armies. You will not take the innocence of another young girl sold into prostitution. Hell, you will not destroy marriages with selfish perversion. You will not take another child from the arms of a desperate mother helpess to provide them enough food. Hell, you do not have permission to whisper in people's ears that they are forgotten and unwanted. You will not terrorize the widow and the orphan. You can not destroy the soul of a nation with lies and despair.

Watch out because the church is about to show its teeth. We will not trade our birthright as overcomers for a bowl of comfort. The tide is turning and you will be the one having nightmares about us. We won't let you act like you have dominion over this earth. The earth is the Lords. And everything in it. Everyone.
I'm not hopeless when I read about the devastation because the Gospel is enough. It is enough for every orphan, addict, slave and slaveholder. God is not idle. He is moving in these broken places on our earth. Breathing life into dry bones and telling them to live. He has life and dreams for them yet.

Broken nations are dreaming. I say 'Let your Kingdom come. On earth as it is in heaven.'