Wednesday, December 16, 2009

PRIMAL

So a few weeks ago I was asked to participate in a "blog tour" of Mark Batterson's new book, "Primal." If you remember, last year at this time I was singing the praises of his book, "Wild Goose Chase," so I was super excited to receive an advanced copy of his latest writing venture. So far, I have not been disappointed. :)
I say "so far," because I am not finished with the book. To be perfectly honest, I am only half way through chapter 4. Although it is a quick read, there's a lot to chew on, and I'm trying to take my time. Couple that with 5 children under the age of 6, Christmas, family events, a church plant, etc. and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, I did say I would blog about my take on the book, and that I would do it this week, so here goes...
In an effort to save time, and keep at least one eye on the little boys wrestling on the living room floor at the moment and a baby who is grunting in a way that makes me think a diaper change is looming, I'm just going to use bullets to share the parts of the book I underlined (meaning I agree, they struck a chord, or I wanna think more about them). I will, asap, write a more thorough review, but hopefully this will give you a taste.
Chapter 1:
  • "I couldn't help but wonder if we have diluted the truths of Christianity and settled for superficialities. I couldn't help but wonder if we have accepted a form of Christianity that is more educated but less powerful, more civilized but less compassionate, more acceptable but less authentic than that which our spiritual ancestors practiced."
  • "The heart of Christianity is primal compassion. The soul of Christianity is primal wonder. The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity. The strength of Christianity is primal energy."
  • "Go back to that place where God opened your eyes and broke your heart with compassion for others. Go back to that place where the glory of God flooded your soul and left you speechless with wonder. Go back to the place where thoughts about God filled your mind with holy curiosity. Go back to that place where a God-given dream caused a rush of adrenaline that filled you with supernatural energy." (just fyi... my "place" for most of these is Somerset Beach Campground)
Chapter 2:
  • "If you are in Christ, and Christ is in you, you cannot be okay with suffering or injustice or starvation. Why? Because His heart is in you. And His heart beats for the suffering, the victim, the poor, and the needy."
  • "Have you ever experienced a sympathy breakthrough? A moment when your inclination to hate was overcome by your will to love? A moment when proactive compassion overrode reactive anger? A moment when you cared more about someone else's pain than your own? Those are the moments when you recapture parts of your soul that you have lost. Those are the moments when you learn what it really means to love God with all your heart."
  • "...compassion is always the right reaction."
  • "Let me ask you a question: what will kill you if you don't do it? What makes you glad or sad or mad? What puts a holy smile on your face? What causes your spirit to sob uncontrollably? What makes you pound your fists on the table out of righteous indignation? Somewhere in the mixture of that gladness, sadness and madness is your God-ordained passion. Or maybe I should say compassion, because you are feeling what God feels. And once you identify it, doing something about it isn't optional. You can't not do something about it."
That's where I'll end for today, the baby smell and wrestling require my attention. I wish I could afford to buy 100 copies and give them to everyone attending Praxis Church as a Christmas present, because I believe if we were all got "Primal" in our faith at the same time, amazing things would happen! I can't, so I will say this, if your interest is peaked, click on the title of this post and it will take you to a site where you can buy it for yourself.

I'll try to post again tomorrow. I'll be praying that you find something primal in your life today... something stripped of all the excess and reminiscent of how it all began. Something pure, that brings you joy... GREAT JOY!

Until then...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

continuation...

Sorry 'bout the last post, but it kind of illustrated what I was trying to say... not enough time... or focus.

This past weekend I went to Traverse City to meet up with one of my good friends from high school and college. She was staying there for a media specialists convention and wondered if I might be up for a "girls night out!" Oh yeah! Cody told me to take the opportunity and stay an extra night at the hotel by myself. He thought I might enjoy some time to re-group and breathe just a bit. I needed it... I know I did. But somehow, after a day away from my husband and kids, I just wanted to be home. I knew when I left that I needed to get some intense one-on-one time with God and figure out where I'm headed, where I'd like to be headed, where God wants me headed, and how to get where I should be going. Did that make sense? Anyway, after parting ways with Rachel, I finished the last of my to-do list, and then drove to a scenic overlook on the bay, pulled out my Bible and a notepad, and attempted to make the time I've been missing. I made goals for 4 main areas of my life (all of them overlap incessantly, but oh well): spiritual, relational, physical, and personal. Each goal had 2 or 3 action steps.

What I realized as I processed was that I haven't been taking care of myself. I think that we are supposed to put others before ourselves, don't get me wrong, that's scriptural... but it says, "before" ---not to "ignore" yourself. When I am drained, I do not respect my husband the way I should. When I am tired, I do not respond to my children from the well-spring of love I have for them, but rather from the ragged edges of my last nerve. When I am overweight and generally unhealthy I do not treat myself with kindness or confidence. When all of the above overwhelm me, time alone with God becomes one more thing on the "to-do" list, instead of a welcome respite in my day. I say all this because I think its what women do... moms especially. I think it's the way we are most vulnerable. We get so busy taking care of everyone, that... eventually... we can't take care of anyone. All because we don't slow down long enough to take care of ourselves. To reflect on who we are, who we desire to be, and delight in our Savior who loving agrees to guide us along the way.

Much to my dismay, I spent my entire day today in bed. I have this inner ear vertigo thing that happens once every 6 months or so. I wake up raring to start the day, and then the room spins uncontrollably (like a head rush that doesn't stop), I start to feel like I'm going to vomit, and I wind up back in bed. I'm unable to sit up, open my eyes, or even talk for fear of more spinning and vomiting. I take some motion sickness meds, lay in the dark for the next 8 hours, and finally around dinnertime am able to eat a little, sit a little, and talk a little. Eventually, I feel fine, but weak.... that's where I am now.

And what did I learn today? Everything went fine without me. Don't get me wrong, I have a phenomenal husband who took a sick day and handled everything...and he did have his share of "what should I do about________?" questions, but it went fine without me. And maybe that's the point. I CAN take time for myself. It WILL benefit everyone in the long run, and it'll be okay for short bursts of time without me.
So... now I'm a "yes mom" who takes "me time." :) At least that's one of my new goals. Thought I'd put it out there to hold myself more accountable... and because I like to ramble on needlessly when I write. ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Enough Time

wow, it has been too long... (and this post probably will be too) and in the interest of authenticity, I don't really even want to write right now. The crazy thing is that I've been "intending" to write for some time and I keep putting it off. Today, out of the blue, I've had 2 comments on old posts. Strange. I'm taking it as a sign that I just need to do it.

I'm not sure if anyone else is in this position (although I'm willing to bet more than a few are) but I just don't have enough time. I feel like life has been in hyper-mode for a few months now and the cumulative effect is becoming a bit too much, on EVERY level.
Ezra is in first grade now (and no, he did NOT start the year with a mohawk... maybe next time I cut his hair), and Malaki started preschool 3 mornings a week. I should be "doing the happy dance and feelin' the flow" with all this extra alone time, but as is my style I have found ways to fill the time. Both boys are adjusting well to their new environments and continue to amaze me with their abilities to make friends with so little effort. Is it because they're males? Or kids? I don't know, but I envy them.

Ki turned 4 yesterday and I can NOT stress to you how much I HATE the 4th birthday. It happened with Ezra, and now with Ki, but something less than magical happens on birthday number 4 that changes my adorable little toddlers into equally adorable but significantly older seeming little boys. We had a wonderful time celebrating him, and I found myself thanking God almost once every 5 minutes or so for His hand leading Ki to us through adoption. I could not adore him more if I tried, and my heart aches to think there was ever a chance he wouldn't end up as my child. It sounds crazy given how much I disliked being pregnant with Ezra (love Ezra, just hated pregnancy) but I actually find myself mourning those lost 9 months with Ki. Anyway, he got an MP3 player and although I thought he was a little too young for it, he has done a great job taking care of it (yes I know it's only been one day) and has been thoroughly entertained for the last hour just listening to his tunes. Right now I can hear him singing, "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord... You are the everlasting God, the everlasting God, You do not faint, You won't grow weary. You're the defender of the weak, You comfort those in need, You lift us up on wings like eagles..." and just in case you think we're overly impressive or overly churchy... the song before that was "Sherry" by Frankie Valli. tee! hee!

Now my little ADD brain is struggling to find my train of thought while he sings...

gonna have to come back to this later... sorry. ;)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

PRAXIS update

Just wanted to encourage you to check out our new church website!
www.createpraxis.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Yes" Mom


So, I was challenged the other day by another mom to become a "yes" mom. I've been thinking about it a lot since then. The idea is that many times as moms we say "no" to something without really thinking about our reasoning. Sometimes I say no because I don't want to deal with the mess the proposed activity will create (ie. painting, playdough, putting the hose in the sandbox to make mud-castles, etc.). Sometimes I say no because of the time involved ("mom, will you read me this book?"- when its a 150 page novel), and sometimes I say no because of the extra work it will add to my already busy day ("mom, can I have a friend over to play?"- then of course there's extra food to make, a friend to go pick up, another mom to call and coordinate with, etc.). How many times do I say "no" with completely selfish motives? ouch. Don't get me wrong, there are totally appropriate times to say no... I'm just realizing that those times are far less frequent than I think.... and that I can be really selfish. So, I am going to try being more of a "yes" mom. I'm going to try to evaluate my motives BEFORE giving an answer, and I'm putting it out there for you to read because I want to feel accountable.

The above pictures are an example of a small step in the right direction. This was Ezra's last day of kindergarten, and he asked me to cut his hair to look like his daddy's. I wasn't totally sold on the idea, but I figured, it's just hair. So we buzzed it with a 1 guard and I felt happy to have given him something he wanted. Unfortunately, he cried because he had been hoping I would bic it the way daddy does. :) Since I don't plan on shaving his head with a razor (he would never sit still enough and I'm terrified he'd end up with a sunburned skull) it'll have to do. This morning he told me he wants a mohawk the 1st day of first grade... ;)

Also, I wish I had a photo of the tent we built to hide their bunk bed... I'm glad I didn't go with my gut response to that question... hours of fun for everyone! :)

So, "Just say 'YES!'" and if you hear me say "no" for no good reason, hit me. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

our life in a nutshell





We've had lots of "events" lately, and I know I am doing a terrible job of keeping the blog up-to-date... in an attempt to make up for it, here's a summary of our most recent actvities...
  • Ezra finished kindergarten and asked to spend the day golfing with daddy to celebrate--- Cody was happy to humor him. :)
  • Grandma and Grandpa Gascho bought 100 chicks, and we are attempting to help raise them... I'm wondering/worried about how the boys will react when it's time to take them to the butcher. I'm looking forward to the less expensive, organic, free range chicken this year... I guess I need to buy a freezer though.
  • The boys both played soccer this spring and it was hilarious. Ezra's getting pretty good for his age, and Ki... well, whenever the grass wasn't more interesting, he did fairly well. tee! hee!
  • I downloaded Skype yesterday so we can chat with friends who are far away... haven't used it yet. I'm hoping to get my parents using it.
  • Our foster care license FINALLY came through! We are now just waiting for a call...
  • Praxis continues to go well, and we continue to be exhausted and prayerful. Trying to discern God's will for us as we pursue this adventure.
  • We had our first campfire of the year tonight... mmmmm... smores....
  • My children are hooked on "Deadliest Catch." Ezra can name all the boats, their captains, and some crew members. I'm just thankful he hasn't asked why there's so much beeping when the men are talking. ;)
  • Ki is obsessed with the Styx song, "Mr. Roboto" and has an impressive robot dance to go with it.
I'm sure there's more, but I can hear Cody snoring in the next room and I can't think of anything else at the moment. Hope all is well with all of you!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

PRAXIS...

It has been a while since my last post, and because of that I am now avoiding posting at all. So much has happened and I'm not sure I have the time, energy, or focus to write about it all in a meaningful way. Still, I know that the longer I wait, the harder this all becomes, and I am LOVING the things that are happening in my life and want to put them out there for all to view and interact with. :)
So here goes...

Last Sunday (Easter) we held the first service of our new church. :) Not the first service AT a new church, but the FIRST service of a NEW church. For years we have been feeling called to do something different in our community. For much of that time, Cody was attempting to make some of those passions and ideas relevant to his position of associate pastor at the church he was employed at. We kept praying for direction, inspiration, etc., and it just never seemed to go anywhere. Small gains, but still not really doing the things we knew God was calling us to do.

This past fall, we felt God finally release Cody from his position at that church. We tried looking for (and interviewing for) other church jobs in other towns, but eventually realized God was releasing us from our church, but not from this community. That we were supposed to start intentionally meeting with people who don't like church, who won't come through the doors of other churches in our community, or who haven't yet found a place they feel like they belong. We assumed we would be meeting as a small group, hoped it would eventually become a couple small groups, and barely dared to dream it might become a church (although God had placed that desire in our hearts). Cody started looking for another job and immediately found one (has to be a God thing in this economy) and resigned his position as associate pastor. Well, one thing led to another rather quickly. Our small group wanted more... we knew God was calling us to more... we decided to risk it all and chase the dream! :) This has happened in the span of about 6 weeks...

So here we are... a church called Praxis. A bi-vocational husband and a million responsibilities. Over 40 people showing up for a first gathering, with only 2 weeks to spread the word, and no attempts at publicity other than word of mouth. 2 people decided to restart their relationship with God during the first talk! We are overwhelmed and humbled by God's provision and blessing. We are sensing something much larger at work and are excited to be in on the ground floor! We are hoping others will sense it too and want to join us... whether praying, moving here to help, praying, sending financial support, praying, attending our gatherings, praying, joining the launch team, praying, volunteering, praying... well you get the idea. None of this could have happened in our strength... so, we're hoping others see that too and will ask God if it's something they're supposed to be a part of as well. Now I'm rambling, but I warned this wouldn't be as eloquent as I'd like it to be... ;)

I have so much more to say, but really just can't find words. If you're curious to know more, I'd love to chat... Cody too. :) Otherwise, if you think of it, pray for us and for Praxis and for all involved! Thanks!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Soul Cravings...

So, I've been re-reading "Soul Cravings" by Erwin Raphael McManus this week. Actually, I've been re-reading all the spots I had folded the page corner down or underlined something. I find this to be such an inspiring read... lots about God, connectedness, and hope... what more do we need?

Here are some of my favorites from the book:

"The more we live disconnected lives, the more we become indifferent to the well-being of others."

"God's love for us is never passive, but always passionate; and passion always leads to action."

"When we are full of hope, it's not because everything in the future is certain to us, but because the future itself is filled with promise... hope comes only from something we do not yet have, something we have not yet attained."

-Quoting Viktor Frankl, "He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how."

"When we live beneath our humanity, we become inhumane. When we live genuinely human lives, we become translucent reflections of divinity."

"Our brokenness is not proof that God could not or would not love us, but proof that what we need is the God who both created and loves us. What our souls long to become is not something other than human, but to become beautifully human."

"It's a troubling thing when your soul demands what your brain rejects. I guess if you think about it, if it wasn't for God, we might find ourselves capable of drowning in despair and thinking it was our natural habitat. Instead, we will always be haunted by this soul craving, this seemingly irrational need for hope."

I couldn't have said it any better... hope you are filled with hope and longing today... :)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Answers

1. Lately by Jodeci
2. Playground by Another Bad Creation
3. El Segundo by Tribe Called Quest
4. Bed of Roses by Bon Jovi
5. Freshmen by Verve Pipe
6. Jane Says by Jane's Addiction
7. Desperado by The Eagles
8. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
9. Not Your Stepping Stone by The Monkees
10. Better Man by Pearl Jam
11. When I See You Smile by Bad English
12. Surrender by Trixter (this one I knew would be totally random for
most people)
13. Glory of Love by Peter Cetera (Karate Kid Theme Song)
14. To Be With You by Mr. Big
15. I'd Die Without You by PM Dawn

Oh and the last line of the blog is from the song Cantaloop by US3.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Name that Tune/Memory Lane





So, Cody introduced me to "Songza" last week and I am HOOKED! At the moment I do not have an ipod. To be honest and far more lame, I have NEVER owned an ipod, or even an mp3 player of any sort. Strange cuz I'm a music nut. Anyway...
My latest addiction is finding songs lost to me long ago, most of which remind me of a specific place or person. It's SO FUN! I'm most struck by random lines in the song that I had forgotten I knew... and somehow still remember! So, if you're out there, see if you can guess the song based on the line provided...

1. "I'm a man of many wishes, hope my premonition misses..." (hint: "some of you may know this song, it's an oldie... but a goodie...")

2. "I gotta break cuz my mother said, 'Be home by de-zart.'"

3. "It was a nice little pub in the middle of nowhere. Anywhere wouldda been better, I ordered enchiladas and I ate 'em. Ali had the fruit punch..."

4. "I'm so far away each step that I take's on my way home..."

5. "We try to wash our hands of all of this, we never talk of a lack in relationships..."

6. "...have you seen my wig around? I feel naked without it..."

7. "Don't ya draw the queen of diamonds boy, she'll beat you if she's able. But the queen of hearts is always your best bet..."

8. "I find it hard, it's hard to find, oh well- whatever- nevermind..." (doesn't everyone know this one?)

9. "You're reading all your high fashion magazines, the clothes you're wearin' girl are causin' public scenes..."

10. "she dreams in color, she dreams in red..." (okay, not the most random line in the song, but what can you do?)

11. "sometimes I wanna give up, I wanna give in, I wanna quit the fight..."

12. "You use words as weapons, I use love as a shield. So tell me, why're we on this battlefield?"

13. "Sometimes I just forget, say things I might regret..."

14. "Build up your confidence, so you can be on top for once. Wake up, who cares about little boys who talk too much?

15. "Is it my turn to hold you by your hands? Tell you I love you and you'd hear me..."


So many songs, so little time! HA! HA! Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane, there's just something fun about good music and good friends. :) If you're looking for a good song to remind you of me (you know you are) try "Amanda" by Waylon Jennings, Painted Orange, or Boston. tee! hee! I'm sure I inspired all 3... ;)

Just for good measure, I also have "Informer" by Snow on my list, but I had no idea how to write any lines from that song... :)

So, guess away and post any that you think you've figured out! We'll see if anyone can get them all! Oh and as you're guessing, just jump to the jam boogie woogie jam slam...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thought I'd Share...

Just got a parenting idea from a friend and thought I'd pass it along... if you can't find time for a "date" with each of your children as often as you'd like, make a date for "late night." Once a week, keep one of your children up 15-20 minutes later than the rest. Once everyone else is settled into bed, let that one child have uninterrupted mommy and daddy time. AND... let them choose how to spend it! This is something I KNOW we can do, and that excites me! And, since it excites me, I thought it might excite you too! :) Any other great ideas?!?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Connected?

So, after living here in the boondocks for 5 years, they have finally figured out a way to get us high speed internet! (and for only $10 more a month!) WOO! HOO! We've had dial-up all this time and it was getting old. We couldn't watch any video clips, download things with large picture files, listen to music, etc. without getting timed out and kicked off the internet. So... thanks to DSL we should do a better job of being "connected." Hopefully that means more photos on this blog and that I'll find an excuse to update it more frequently. :) Unfortunately, now facebook is giving me problems so I can't go through and look at all the stuff friends have posted that I've wanted to see! I did finally add pics to this blog, specifically the post about Ki's birthday. I think there are a few more that I need to work on as well. In the meantime, thanks for your patience and keep your eyes open for new posts and or additions to old ones! :)

Moments...

These are the moments I wish I would capture more often. Absolutely nothing exciting, just the reality of walking through the store with the boys... an unspoken tenderness, trust, comfort, etc. A moment where you realize, "this is the life I always wanted."

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sorry it's been a while...

I'm having trouble posting lately because I'm not really sure I have all that much to say. :) Those that know me would find that to be a comical statement, considering how much I TALK! Still, it's one thing to be a motor mouth in the moment with one or two friends, and completey another to write those same thoughts down and put them out there for who knows who to read. Not to mention the fact that I'm a little too ADD to write anything coherent when there's distractions around me... and there are ALWAYS distractions. Right now the boys are in here... Ezra's playing around on the piano and Ki's running in circles taunting the dog. It has taken me 20 minutes to write this little bit. Some of my longest posts have taken less time, but if you notice, most of them are late at night when everyone else is sleeping!
So, I promise, the moment inspiration strikes again, or I have a few moments without the chaos, I will be back...