Monday, January 30, 2006

Better weekend

This weekend was pretty good. Things with my friends are strained, but I think they'll be okay eventually. It will take some time to work through the trust issues, but I hope that in the end, it will be a healthier relationship overall.

Good weekend with the family. Jason wasn't feeling well on Saturday, so I took the kids to Wal*Mart. That's always a treat! But they were pretty good. Got to see the fish, get some new watches (on sale -- woot!), and enjoy some time out of the house. Also, it was nice weather, so they got to play outside a bit, which is always good for my sanity!

Church was good. Rich's sermon was (in part) about the balance of faith and truth. I'm still trying to work out how to get that balance. I think I need to sit down and talk with him about how he came to the place where he is. We have pretty similar backgrounds. Both grew up in pretty dispensationalist denominations and then did the Pentecostal thing for a while. At the end of the day, I know that even though I don't really believe that the Bible is the end of the work of the Holy Spirit, I still tend to live that way. I need to figure out how to work out a healthy balance of truth and faith. I think I'm getting some tools from B, but I'd like to talk to Rich about his journey, as I think it might give me some hints for my own journey. I might grab him tonight after rehearsal and see if I can't get a meeting with him some evening to talk about that.

Last night we went over to the in-laws for Daddio's Pizza (Kevin makes awesome homemade pizza). The other Wrights were there too, so I got to sit and talk to Megan for a while. I think we're going to sit down with a calendar and plan some date nights so we can watch each other's kids and go out. I know my four love going over to their house, and Lydia seems to do okay with us (especially if Mommy isn't around!), so there's no reason why we can't each go out once a month. I'll probably give her a call later this week and set up a few nights.

Nothing too profound today. Lots of soul searching that still needs to go on, but I feel good about the path that I'm on. I know that God has been waiting for me to get off my butt and seek Him out again. It's not easy, but I can already see glimpses of the communion with Him I've had and that's very encouraging.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Big Mouth

I suck.

I totally suck.

Like usual, I couldn't keep my mouth shut and couldn't keep my nose out of stuff that isn't my business. I violated a friend's confidence and trust and became the thing I hate most -- a liar.

I have reasons, too many to name for why I did this thing, but ultimately, I'm the one who made the choice. I know I will reap what I have sown and it sucks. Hard.

I pray that forgiveness will be offered and we can see reconciliation on all fronts.

Where is the bottom?

I've heard people talk about needing to "hit bottom" before things get better. The longer I live, the more I'm pretty sure there is no bottom. I've seen situations both with others and in my own life that seem to be the bottom, but somehow manage to continue to deteriorate.

I'm pretty sure this must be our glimpse of hell. Things that go from bad to worse to worse to worse with no end in sight. Knowing God, and then being so far from Him that He seems out of reach. Knowing what is right and paralyzed by the fear to do it. Complete hopelessness.

A friend of mine is here. I know that this person knows what is right. I know that this person knows God. How can I communicate to them how to get that back when all they see is darkness? How can I help show that God is there, even when they don't feel His presense?

I'm supposed to go for counseling tomorrow. Circumstances might keep me from making that appointment. I pray that I'm able to go -- I need it more right now than ever.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Could it be...yourself???

I absolutely love Dana Carvey's Church Lady character. Absolutely hilarious. When she does the "Could it be...Satan?" line, I crack up every time. Growing up in the church, I've met this woman. I thought she was a product of one type of congregation, but the older I get, the more I'm becoming convinced that she exists in all kinds of groups.

Lately, I think I might be her. I keep hearing one person after another saying that "God told them to" fill in the blank. And a lot of the time, I think it's probably true. Heck, I've said it myself. I believe that God does speak to His children today. The Word say, "To him (the shepherd) the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice." (John 10:3-4, ESV) The more time I spend with the Shepherd, the more I know His voice (I'm currently relearning what His voice sounds like -- exciting stuff!).

Where my current stuggle lies is in discerning those times when I want something and claim that it's God's voice? And what about when others claim that they hear God's voice, that claim effects me, but I don't believe that it's God's voice? Where does my obligation lie? My understanding of this passage is that we are to test whether or not what we're saying is from God is actually from God, and if that is the case (and I welcome any correction), is not the best test that of Scripture?

Okay, so I don't necessarily believe that some of these thoughts are from Satan, but what do I do when I really believe that they are simply from one's self, rather than from God. I know that I really, truly want to be at least made aware when others believe I'm completely off-course (whether I accept that or not, I want to be made aware!), but I don't know if my own personal desires are call for action.

More questions than anything today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sucky day

The Enemy seems to be working over-time at keeping me from believing that God cares about His people. I know it's not true, and I've been trying to immerse myself into the Word and to try to seek Him out, but people keep getting in the way. People that I know should know better are acting without integrity or anything Christ-like at all, and it just makes it so hard to believe that God actually impacts lives when I see this going on.

Then I look at me and have to wonder how anyone who knows me could possibly see Jesus in my life? What effect has He had on me that is visible to other people? How am I any different from those "in the world"?

I don't know the answers. I know I don't want to be fake. I think I'd rather people just know that I struggle than think I've got it together and then see me fall apart and blame it on God.

I will say that I'm seeing a greater, truer hunger for God in my life. I don't know that I've figured out how to get it met quite yet, but I'm starting to sense it again. I just need to remember that God's goodness isn't dependent on how others act. He is good. That's enough.

It has to be enough.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The New Van

We picked up our New Van yesterday. Man, this thing is awesome! It's all silver and beautiful. It's a good bit longer than the Nissan, which will be wonderful for grocery shopping. It's equipped with the entertainment package, so it has a DVD player and four wireless headphones (we haven't had any luck using the headphones yet, but hope to figure them out soon). Has the fully automatic doors, which is really cool. And it has a driver side door, which makes me super happy (after years of leaning around in the old van).

Of course, I've been thinking about the names of our vans a lot. The old van is a Nissan Quest. The New Van is a Honda Odyssey.

Now, when I'm out picking up those aforementioned groceries, I don't generally think of that as "an intellectual or spiritual quest." My mind doesn't generally see this as all that adventurous. So it seems somewhat odd to hop in my Odyssey for mundane things like taking Deborah to ballet or picking up more cat food and diapers.

But so much of parenting is an adventure. We are entrusted with these four little people and each decision with regard to our parenting choices is going to have some small effect on them. Another definition for an odyssey is "an extended adventurous voyage or trip." Each part of the trip might not contain heart-pounding action, but the entire journey is one of the most thrilling rides I've ever been on.

So I guess the New Van is aptly named. ;-)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Even Then

Despite not really loving "pop" music, I really enjoy Nichole Nordeman. I find her lyrics to move me. Here is one that has particularly spoken to me in the past week, called "Even Then":

It's a fear that keeps me wide awake
In the middle of the night
When the expectations are too great
And the bar gets raised too high
So I do the best with what I've got
And hope that no one knows
That I strain to see how high I can
Try to stand on these toes
Until I'm measured, but You know better
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when the pieces are broken and small
Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind
Thank You, even then
So I put aside the masquerade
And admit that I am not okay
Which may not be the thing to say
But I'm not ashamed to need You more each day
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when the pieces are broken and small
Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind
Thank You, even then
We raise the standard and try to reach You
But we'll never make it and we don't need to ...
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when You see us just as we are
Fragile and frail and so far
From who we want to be
So, thank You, Jesus
Even when the pieces are broken and small
Dreams shatter and scatter like the wind
Thank You, even then
Today I start counseling for myself. For the past couple of years, while we were struggling to figure out what was going on with Jason, I've pushed myself to bear most of the burden in our family. A little less than a year ago my mom had suggested that I seek counsel, but I was unable to see that it was necessary. Sure, I wasn't perfect or anything, but who is? And who is she to tell me that I need to see someone to talk about my problems? I'd been getting along -- I could keep getting along. Alone.
However, alone isn't a great place to be. Sometimes alone feels safe, but in reality, it's where we can do the most damage. In his song "A Beautiful Collision" David Crowder writes, "So courageous until now, fumbling and scared. So afraid You'll find me out alone here with my doubt." How true it is! Despite knowing the truth of the Scripture, that I am to cast my cares upon Jesus, I was holding on to them, lest He (or worse -- others!!) find out that I didn't really trust Him. Sure, I trust Him for salvation and I trust that He loves me and there are some areas that I trust that He cares for me, but there's a lot where I feel like I'm kind of expected to handle it. Because I didn't see regular people giving me reason to trust them with my emotions, I didn't trust God.
I'm not sure that I fully understand trusting Jesus today, but through the "Believing God" Bible study we have been going through at church, and through this counseling, I hope to come into a place where I can truly say, as the hymn-writer said, "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust thee, How I've proved you o'er and o'er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust You more."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thank you, Dr. King

In his famous and impassioned "I have a dream" speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

I am so thankful for Dr. King and the thousands of nameless folks who have helped to bring greater equality to our nation, and pray that while we have not yet seen his dream a reality, that we are growing closer to it. May each of us seek equality and unity within our own sphere of influence.

Being a shoe

Our pastor preached a really good sermon about being a vessel for God yesterday (well, that was part of it, anyway!). One illustration he used really struck me. He talked about hanging a picture and needing a hammer, but not having one readily available. He asked if we might grab a shoe to do the job. Not what the shoe was designed for, but in our hands, it works for the purpose. He then went on to say that we might see ourselves as shoes, rather than hammers in certain situations, but as we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, we can be an effective tool for God's work.

How wonderful! My first thought was of my mom. This wonderful woman has allowed God to work through her and she has been a missionary twice (once to Burkina Faso and once to Thailand) and is planning another trip this summer to Romania. Even though she hates flying, she has traveled to the other side of the globe to help those who experience lack. She might consider herself a shoe, but God has turned her into an effective missionary because of her willingness to follow His lead in her life.

My prayer today is that when I feel like a shoe, I will allow God to show me how to be a hammer for His purposes.

ETA: For more thoughts from our pastor, check out the Better Life Blog link to the right. Lots of gems in there!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Best. Game. Ever.

Okay, it might not be the best game ever, but today's match between the Steelers and the Colts was one of the most exciting games I've seen in a long time. That last half of the game was absolutely electric, and the last couple of minutes had me in cardiac arrest! As Jason said, someone has to go home with his head in his hands, and we're glad it's not Jerome Bettis.

My most sincere thanks to the Steelers for an awesome afternoon!

Now, off to enjoy some Sunday-night Subway (since our dinner got cancelled due to MIL's illness).

Friday, January 13, 2006

Holy Crap!

My grandparents just called to tell us that they bought us a new van!!! We're hoping to head up to PA to pick it up on Monday.

WOOT!!!!!

Edit on Saturday: We're actually going to go up next Saturday. The kids are going to be up there already, so we can drive the car up, pick up the kids and then drive home in our NEW VAN! And the kidlets can even watch a movie on the trip! ;-D

As promised, the awesome picture


Here is the wonderful picture I promised yesterday! This is a rare moment for us, in that all of the kids are looking at the right camera at the right time. Definitely something that doesn't happen very often. Usually picutres of our family have at least one person with a hand in an inappropriate place, one kid crying, one looking totally spaced out, and the fourth looking at some event happenning over to the side, while mom and dad are giving some fake grin because we just got through yelling at them to sit still and look at the camera!!! So to have a picture where we're all actually looking pretty decent is a moment of glory for me!

Dinner plans have been moved for tonight. MIL isn't feeling well, so we're going to try again on Sunday after the Steeler's game (Go Steelers!!!). I think we've decided on a Japanese steakhouse for dinner. Jason has never been and I think I'd like to brave some sushi (I've never tried it). So tonight I'm just going to make some pepperoni rolls. For those not from north central WV, these are basically buns with pepperoni stuffed inside. You can serve them plain or with cheese and hot dog sauce. They are not like stromboli, which is what I pictured until I had one.

In other news, I'm reading Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge. Excellent book, so far, and that's saying something, because I usually have a hard time reading non-fiction (I'm just not that smart!). I'll look forward to reviewing it more indepth once I've finished it.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Stupid computer!

I've been sitting here for the past twenty minutes trying to find the stupid scanner on my computer. The device is sitting right above me with a fantastic new family picture in it just waiting to move from the glass into my computer, and for the life of me, I can't find the software that will let me do that anywhere on my computer. So I guess I have to wait for hubby to get home to find it. *heavy sigh* Rest assured, as soon as I can find my scanner, you'll get to see a fairly recent photo of the Wrights! With everyone looking and all that jazz! But for now, you'll just have to live with some droning about what's gone on recently.

Yesterday I drove the three youngest kids up to my parents' house for a quick visit. Very nice. Bubba didn't want to sleep and stayed up til 9:30PM, which he never does, so that was less exciting for the grown ups. But other than that, it was a good trip. Pretty decent weather (small storm on Rt. 28 once we got out of Pittsburgh, but otherwise pleasant), pleasant kids, and it's always good to see family.

In even more exciting news, my parents are going to come back down next Thursday and pick up all three of the youngest for two nights! Woohoo! So my goal for the end of this week and the beginning of next is to have everything done, so I don't have to worry about doing anything but lounging around and watching six seasons of Seinfeld back to back! :)

Tomorrow night Jason and I are going out to celebrate our anniversary (at last!). Can't decide if we're going to do a dinner or a movie or both. Guess we'll have to see what's playing before we make that decision. But I've got to say, I'm so appreciative of family who will watch the kids and give us a break. We are so blessed to have parents (both sets!) who are willing to help out with the kids (and so much else). I know others don't have that luxury, and I'm so thankful that we do.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Here We Go...

Woohoo! The Steelers triumphed over the Bengals yesterday 31-17. So they advance next week to the next round of playoffs to take on the Colts. I know that I join all of the other Pittsburgh fans, both in the 'Burgh and across this great nation in saying that we expect this to be yet another win for our beloved Steelers!

And for all my readers (especially anyone from western PA), the Superbowl Chant! For more awesome Steelers songs, Myron Cope moments and more, check out this site.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Or four days later!

Okay, so I said I'd update that afternoon. Obviously that didn't happen! I was exhausted by the time I got home, and then life has just gotten in the way of getting back to writing!

The lunch was really great. Two others showed up and while we missed the fourth, it was wonderful for the three of us to get together and talk. I know that one of us lives a good way off, but really, we've got to make this a more frequent thing! But really, it was good for us to sit down, share a meal and get caught up on each others' lives. I really do appreciate these women and I'm glad I have them in my life. I hope to be a better friend in the future!

Life around here has been good. Jason and I celebrated our 9th anniversary on January 4th. It was a nice evening. We grilled some giant steaks on the George Foreman (I love that thing!) and enjoyed cuddling on the couch during the national championship game between USC & UT. Nothing major, but it was a good day. As always, I'm thrilled to have this man in my life! Here are a few of my favorite wedding pictures.

Our first dance:



Here's to many more years with the love of my life!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Blast from the past

I'm getting ready to hit the road for a little me time today. Three or four of us from SRU (and Swope!) are getting together for a post-Christmas lunch. I'm very excited about it. I've been pretty lousy about keeping in touch with all of them, but K, who is great about stuff like this, got ahold of the other three and as far as I know, we should be meeting in Cranberry for lunch today.

I'm going to swing by my client's house on the way north and drop off her copy of the birth story and some little gifts I bought for the boys. I like to do the homemade thing, but totally forgot about it til the last minute. Fortunately, I was able to get some really sweet little stuffed bears in the after-Christmas sales that I'll be able to give. Hooray for sales!

Tonight the Mountaineers play in the Sugar Bowl -- Go 'Eers!

I'll likely update once I get back from lunch later this afternoon.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year's Day!

Apparently, I'm not meant to have a pleasant new year's day. The way I feel today, I'd swear I was up all night funnelling beer and doing jello shots back at the Alamo instead of nursing a Zima all night long, eating some wings and watching the U2 Vertigo DVD at home. Honestly, I feel absolutely wretched today. Made it until after church this morning, but had a black and white cookie incident once I got home. That's a real treat.

Honestly, I don't have good new year's days. Something about it just doesn't work for me. You'd think I never get less than 6 hours of sleep as bad as I feel. There's just something about this day that makes me feel a little queasy.

But anyway, things are good. Deborah and Faith woke up and watched the ball drop on Time Square with us. The kids have been really good today while I napped and even now are just playing "Antarctica" upstairs. The Steelers clinched the wildcard playoff game today. It's 2006 and I have a great family, a loving husband, and a generous Heavenly Father. It's gonna' be a good year!
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I'm a wife to an amazing man, and mom to four incredible kids. I'm a Christian woman who sometimes struggles with doubt. I'm a musician and a writer who is sometimes afraid to play and write. I'm trying to be more authentic every day.
 
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