Friday, April 27, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - The Fog and The Music


The fog has returned.  The fog that sometimes drifts down and makes everything fuzzy.  It permeates through my day.  I walk around lost and in a daze.  I have no energy.  I have no motivation.  I just want to lay in bed and read or watch Mad Men (I'm almost done season 4).  

This is what it feels like.  I'm traveling down a road I can't see.  I can't see.  I don't know what to reach for or look for.   I feel lost.  I feel unsure.  I feel lonely.  I feel tired.

I have been trying to focus on going to forward.  I have been trying to focus on the Father and praying for wisdom and focus.   I have been trying to trust Him and His plan for our lives.  But it is hard.  I want to scream.  I want to sit and cry.  I want to lose it.  Instead I dance.

I know it's silly isn't it.  It's not very spiritual.  It's not really what they tell you to do when you are depressed, for that is truly what the fog is.  I dance.  I put on 90s dance music and somehow the music moves me - literally.  I can't even explain why it's 90s dance music and not some other decade.  I can't explain why.  It's not even worship music.  There's nothing deep about it.  There's nothing meaningful in it.  Just music.  Just a beat that makes me want to move.  I hope I'm not alone.  Let's dance!

Come link up and share your randomness today.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Messy Mondays - The Next Round..

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

Last week three famous people passed away. People pass away everyday. Death is an absolute certainty no matter what we do to try to avoid it. However, one of the deaths really affected me – Chuck Colson's. This is man who didn't always live a very “Christian” life. He was involved in one of the worst scandals to hit history which has changed politics ever since.  However, he was a man that spoke about grace. Grace that he had been given. Grace that God gives freely daily. From his mistakes and from “doing time,” he worked actively in prison ministry. He advocated for those in the prison system. Making sure that that they were “fed” in the way they should be fed.

He was also a man who stood up for his beliefs. Since becoming a Christian, whenever there was an argument in the government or courts that could affect how we worship and what we believe, the first person I always heard stand up was Chuck Colson. He fought the good fight we should all be fighting but many of us are too afraid to. He was unafraid of what people said and what people thought. He was fighting for a greater purpose.

We have lost a great man. Who will take up the fight that he was fighting? Who will stand up for those who can not stand up for themselves? Who will fight to make sure our rights are protected? Who will be the next man of integrity? I pray that we do not have to wait long.  However, I pray that we don't just wait for the next man of integrity to come. We also have an accounting for our actions before God. We need to fight for our rights. We need to trust God to lead us and use us in the battle before us as we are going to be facing more and more battles. We live in a world that is against us and an enemy who is fighting to make sure that we fail. God is mighty. God is powerful and God will win – with or without us. I would rather be a part of this fight than not.

If you are interested in standing up, read the Manhattan Declaration and sign it. It is a powerful document that many people have already signed. It is controversial as it talks about supporting traditional marriage, rights for the unborn and the erosion of the marriage culture that we live in. We need to stand together. Now. Not later. Chuck Colson lead the fight and now we must take up the arms and continue to stand up for God in a godless culture. To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and to remember who's laws are the ones we need to follow first.
Friday, April 20, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Thanksgivings


This has been a few weeks of wide eye information.   A friend lost her house to a fire.  One friend is being hospitalized for anorexia.  Another friend is having to deal with something no parent should, the sexual assault of her child.   Last weekend I attended a conference about inclusion of special needs individuals within society and read some horrendous stories of institutionalization and sterilization.  I could go on and on, but it's just more proof of the brokenness of our world.  That sin does live among us.  

There are times I just want to sit and cry.  Cry for loss of security.  Cry for the loss of innocence in a little girl's eye.  Cry for the pain of a friend being separated from her child.  Cry for loss of humanity and equality by people who should have known better.  Then I get angry.  I want to lash out.  I want to hurt the people who hurt others.  I want to yell at the top of my voice.  I want to change things.  Then I think who am I?  I can't even deal with my own struggles.  There are days I just want to stay in bed and hide from the things that hurt.  From the struggles that seem to control our lives.  

The world is messy.  Life is messy.  I am messy. 

Last year everyone was raving about Ann Voskamp's "One Thousand Gifts".  I have seen so many of you making your lists.  I don't normally jump on any bandwagons.  Sometimes they aren't worth it.  They're pumped up and then I feel let down.  This last week I have been slowly listening to the audio version of "One Thousand Gifts".  I will admit that it started out slowly.  I wasn't sure if I really was interested in going further until she started talking about eucharisteo - Thanksgiving.  That's when I realized that I don't give enough thanks.  Like Ann Voskamp, I look too much about what's wrong and the hopelessness.  I don't look at the little things.  The things that show me that God is still there.  The things that show me hope.  Not just an illusion of it, but the breath of it.  

There is evil in the world.  But there is hope.  True hope.  Hope that  may seem small.  Hope that may seem illusive.  It's all around us.  In the small things.  In the large things.  We breathe it in.  We see it. It's alive.  Sometimes it may only be in the eye of the beholder.  Sometimes is glorious and breathtaking.   Because of this hope, I'm formally jumping on the bandwagon.  I don't know how often I'll post my list.  But I will be posting my list periodically.  I'm hoping this list will enable me to remember where hope is.  To become content with what I have.  To focus on something larger than just myself.  To start thinking positively in the messy world we live in.  To see the light in the darkness.

1.  Fresh spring rain bringing life.

2.  Little snores from the back seat.

3. A smile even when she's been hurt.

4. Windows letting in spring air.

5. Babbling while playing out in the sun.

6. Little ottoman to put my feet on.

7.  Two birthday invitations in one week for middleman.

The gift list is thinking upon His goodness--and this, this pleases Him most!  And most profits my own soul and I am beginning, only beginning, to know it.  If clinging to His goodness is the highest form of prayer, then this seeing His goodness with a pen, with a shutter, with a word of thanks these really are the most sacred acts conceivable.  The ones anyone can conceive, anywhere, in the midst of anything.  Eucharisteo takes us into His love.  I am struck and I long chime:  Daniel is only a man of prayer because he is a man of thanks and the only way to be a woman of prayer is to be a woman of thanks.  And not sporadic, general thanks, but three times a day eucharisteo. (pg. 61, one thousand gifts, Ann Voskamp).

What is bringing you hope?  What are you doing in your expression of thanks?  

Come link up your randomness and thanksgiving this week.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - I'm a Rockin Momma


This week I went and saw Trans Siberian Orchestra. I love them. They are amazing. If you haven't heard of them, you are missing something. They take traditional classical music and arrange them with Hard Rock rifts, guitars, drums and back up singers. Their arrangements and original music combined with classic music is mind blowing. That's right – MIND BLOWING. You can't help but become the rock fan you were meant to be.

I will admit that I have never been that much of a rock fan. I grew up during the hair band days. I listened to pretty tame bands – Bon Jovi, Poison, and a bit of Guns and Roses and Motley Crue to jazz it up a bit. I was more a person who listened to pop music. It had to have a beat and I had to be able to dance to it. I also enjoyed listening to soundtrack music. That's right, soundtrack music. The music in the background of the movies. If you listen to enough of them, you are able to distinguish who it is. Williams or Barry. Doyle or Jablonsky. They each have a singular style. It was my belief and I still hold to it, that soundtracks are the new symphonies. No one goes and writes long pieces of music anymore. They all write quick tunes that are able to fit into a 5 minute video (if that long). But soundtracks can go on for a while. They are meant to express the feelings that are not vocalized by the characters or to set the mood. I mean, you really can't forget the music of Jaws and not get a little scared while you are swimming in the ocean or even in the lake.

Those same feelings are expressed in symphonies. What do you feel when you hear Beethoven's Ode to Joy or O Fortuna. The reason we stand during the Hallelujah chorus is because the King was so moved by what he heard that he stood up and when the King stands, so must everyone else.

While, I've digressed about my Rockin Momma story. When I hear TSO, I have to bash my head, clap my hands and give the hand sign for for I love you – the sign of the devil as many thought back in the 80s. I screamed, I hooted and I clapped along. If I could have, I would have moshed with someone. Of course, I'm sure the Evil Twin wouldn't have minded since she went with me (we went on a double date). I think the older I get the louder I like my music. Which is funny, considering it should be the opposite. However, I think TSO just has that affect on people. Most of the musicians used to play in back up bands for many of the 80's rockers. We are all reliving our glory days vicariously through them and their music.

At the end of the concert, we even got to meet the band. It was awesome. We kept hooting and hollering while we were waiting for them. Yep, we were housewives who knew how to rock. When we met them the Evil Twin even got to shake their hands. I'm still pretty jealous of this. I don't hink I'm even sorry anymore for eating all the asparagus on her with out her telling her. (She knows what I'm talking about). My hubby bought a souvenir book and we got the whole band to sign it.

My only regret during the concert is that I didn't get a rockin picture of the two of us with our better halves. But I do have pictures of the light show.

What is your favourite music? What music moves you?

Come join and and rock out your randomness today.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Messy Monday - I Thought I Was Older

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.

Yesterday, while driving to church I silently prayed for each member of my family.  When I got to Sam, God gave me an epiphany.  Not one about Sam.  No, about myself.  You see lately I have been complaining about Sam.  He's up and at em by 7 am every morning and makes himself quite noticed.  He runs here, he runs there, especially when he knows its time to get ready to go.  Just when you think you have him, you guessed wrong.  He quickly shoots to another direction.  If we work as a team we can usually corner him, unless he decides to "hide" in the couch (this means he lays on the couch with his head in the cushions.  He can't see you, so he thinks you can't see him).

I'm like this with God.  I run around dodging Him.  I run around in circles while He is trying to lead me in the direction He wants me to go.  When I hide, I don't do a very good job at it, because He knows where to find me all the time.  He follows me around and corners me, just like Sam does with us.  The only difference is that I am almost 38 years old and Sam is 3.  Sam is expected to run.  I am expected to listen and behave and follow when told or commanded to.  I am not to try to dodge what is expected of me, which I have been doing lately. 

Another way I am like Sam is when he attaches himself to the wrong mom.  If you are a mom of a toddler you know what I mean, for all others let me explain.  When we pick up Thomas from kindergarten, we have to pick him up inside the school.  The little kids run up and down the hallways while we wait for the kindergarten kids to be dismissed.  From a toddlers perspective that's a lot of big people and legs.  So often a toddler will cuddle in eventually to who he/she believes is mommy because aren't all big legs their moms.  Unfortunately when they finally look up, way up, they realize "that's not my mommy" and go and locate their mommy. 

You see, when I do slow down and look for God, I grab onto a set of "legs" I think are His.  It's only after while do I actually look and realize I haven't been following who I should be.  During these times I feel lost, lonely, broken and defeated.  When I am walking with the Father, I feel loved, secure, peaceful and hopeful. 

I need to grow up.  I thought I had reached that spiritual adolescent or teenage age where I asked questions and longed to know more about God.  I didn't think I was still in the toddler phase, running around like a chicken with my head chopped off wanting security, but dodging it as well.  I know this has a lot to do with my prayer life.  I realized that today as I finished my Good Morning Girls study on Ephesians 6:18. 
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[ NLT]

As I wrote last week, my prayer life has been sporadic.  This verse reminds me to be alert and persistent in my prayer life, not just for myself but for others as well.  It reminds me to pray at ALL times and on EVERY occasion.  Not just when I need something.  Not just when it gets hard.  But to pray daily.  Pray about what I need, what I long for for my children.  Praying for my husband.  Praying for family and friends.  Praying for my government.  Praying for God's kingdom and will.  

I thought I was older.  Apparently, God has other ideas.

What do you think you're spiritual age is?  What do you think you have been dodging that God wants you do?  Have you been heading toward the wrong "set of legs?"
Thursday, April 5, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - True Easter Traditions


A few weeks ago I read this on a friend's Facebook status:
Easter is a day of chocolates and eggs. It is also a day of celebration and family reunions. Make your Easter special by sharing some funny Easter quotes with your family. Teach your children the importance of Easter traditions and customs
Then a few days later that same friend's status read:
Easter brings back memories of a happy childhood: the beautiful spring morning and a Sunday feast. If you are celebrating Easter with your family, make the celebration truly special. Inscribe these Easter quotes on the Easter eggs. Each Easter egg can carry a special message. Children would love to find their special egg with a special message.
Easter is a day of chocolates and eggs” and “Teach your children the importance of Easter traditions and customs.” It sounds as if I'm supposed to teach the children that Easter is about some rabbit that jumps all over the world delivering chocolates to children (sounds familiar to a guy in red). I was outraged and angry. Then I remembered something, this is what my husband reminds me about every year. Easter is about Jesus not presents. I suddenly realized that He was right and I was wrong.

I did not grow up in a Christian home. Easter was all about the Easter bunny and eating chocolates. We always got some kind of present and a new outfit, beside the basket of chocolates and jelly beans. The only way I knew it was about God was through TV. Every Easter the 10 Commandments with Charleston Heston was on and my whole family would watch it. As well, in the afternoon there was this cool movie about Jesus where everyone danced and sang and at the end He dies (yep, we even watched Jesus Christ Superstar).  As I grew older, I learned what Easter was “based” on. It really didn't matter. Wasn't it a story anyway........

When I became a Christian, Easter became so much more to me. It became the celebration of all that Jesus did for me. The sacrifice He took in ultimate love for me. This was never made clearer to me than when I saw the Passion of the Christ. I sobbed uncontrollably with ever lash He took. I finally acknowledged the full resolve of His sacrifice and the full consequence of my own sin.

However, when we had our kids, I focused more on the bunnies and less on Jesus. Christmas I focused more on Jesus and then Sinter Klaas (Dutch Santa Claus). I bought the kids the chocolate bunny, some small toys and clothes. Occasionally I would purchase a book from a Christian book store and put in it their baskets, but really what was the focus for the kids? Was it the cross? Was it the sacrificial love? No, it was on some silly bunny.

When we told Nicole this Christmas the truth about Santa Claus, she took it well. A short time later she asked about the Easter Bunny. We said the same thing – not real. “I knew it! There were never giant tracks in the snow on Easter.” she said. Now that I have had the epiphany that my husband was right and I was wrong, I need to focus on the truth not just for Nicole, but also for the boys. Not that I'm going to deny them chocolate, I wouldn't do this to anyone. I bought them each a Giant Kindersurprise. But this year, I wanted to help them each in their relationship with God. I purchased a study of Proverbs by Vicki Courtenay for Nicole. I can't wait to work with her through this study. I also purchase two Veggietales movies (one each) for the boys about Easter. I can't wait to watch them with the boys and talk to them about Jesus and His love for them. 

In fact, I am taking the advice of my Facebook friend. Just not the way she intended. I am teaching my children about the true traditions and customs of Easter which are not the ones I was taught. Honey, you were right and I was wrong!

What are your families Easter traditions? What is your favourite Easter memory from growing up?
Come join in and share your Easter randomness.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - India

Hostility for believers increasing in India(Source: VOM-USA)
Three vicious attacks against Christians in India in recent months reflect a growing anti-Christian sentiment.

A pastor and his children were attacked last February in Kerala state. Pastor Titus Ignatius Kapan and his family were eating dinner in the home of a convert to Christianity from Hinduism when Hindu extremists stormed in. They abused the pastor and his children and then dropped large boulders on the pastor's car.

Days earlier, Hindu extremists disrupted a prayer service in Pandhi village in Chhattisgarh state. For two days the attackers threatened and assaulted attendees with their fists and leather belts. They also tore down the believers' tent.

 Finally, a group of Christians in Haibasa district in Jharkhand state were forced to leave their village after a series of attacks by local villagers. The Christians took refuge at a local church but at last report are living without necessities. In the last of the attacks, the violent mob shut down all exit points to the village before assaulting Christians with iron rods, axes, arrows and other sharp weapons, severely beating four Christians. Other believers, including children, were locked in a room where the assailants attempted to burn them alive. Thankfully police arrived before they could carry out the murders.
Please pray that Christians in India will find strength in Christ to bear the persecution and to continue to proclaim the Kingdom.

Please pray that God will soften the hearts of the persecutors and draw them to repentance. 

Pray that our suffering brothers and sisters in India will trust God to enable them to proclaim the gospel even while suffering (2 Timothy 4:16-18).

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.
He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion.
He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Monday, April 2, 2012

Messy Mondays - Finding What's Been Missing

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us. 

This last week has been very messy, literally.  Potty training has been two steps forward and three steps back with Thomas.  Just as it seems he's about to get it, we spend two days cleaning up underwear and pants.  And now this problem has crept up in school and there are more demands on my time in regards to this. 

While we wait for Sam's diagnositic assessment for ASD, he is becoming a little Dictator.  I'm going to start calling him Il Duce soon.  He may not be able to talk but makes it very plain what he wants and likes and what the consequences are when he doesn't get them. 

The "A" word is getting to us.   It controls everything we do and how we do it.   Do we go out or stay home?  Do we take the kids or get a babysitter?   Do we leave when there is a meltdown or do we just excuse ourselves until it finishes?   We are at our wit's end.  In fact, last Friday in the middle of the messies, I texted my husband with "I'M DONE!"  I was done.  I was laying on my bed.  I was finished.  I couldn't take anymore at that point.  Then I prayed.  Actually, more like I asked God the eternal question WHY?  Why us?  Why two?   Why do we have to deal with this?  Will it ever get better?  Will it ever be "Normal"?  (It probably didn't help that I had been suffering for over a week with a pinched nerve and strained shoulder and I had just lost my voice to laryngitis).

After struggling through the weekend and somehow maintaining some sanity (I think it helped that my husband bought me a cute new purse), I read Kelly Langston's blog (she is the the author of Autisn's Hidden Blessings). 
He knows that we will encounter trials and hardships, but He has already overcome them, promising rest, guidance and wisdom when we need it.

Our Advocate—Jesus—longs to help you. I know, because He helped me, and He helped my son. 
These words screamed out to me.  I knew immediately what had been missing for a while in my life - Jesus.  It's not that I had turned from Him.  I have been getting up and studying his word daily through the Good Morning Girls study.  What's been missing is prayer?  I've been getting to know Him more and more, but I have put Him within arms reach and still expect Him to be there for me in the messiness.  How can I expect to receive peace and comfort when I don't ask Him for it.  It seems lately I only talk to Him in crisis, when I should really be having an ongoing conversation with Him regarding every area in my life. 

Jesus is calling me.  He is literally hitting me on the head and telling me to call Him.  To let Him in all the details.  To let the Father be in control.   I need to let go and trust Him.  I need to tell Him this more often so that when trials hit (Ok, tornados hit) then I will be given peace and guidance that I need to work through mess of autism.
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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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