Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Growing Up Girl -- in the 70's

This weekend I sat back and watched my girls – ages 15, 10 and 7 – BE girls.
Unique in every way, they only seem to have the fact that they are sisters, in common.
As I watched them BE, I thought about me, too. I thought back to when I was a girl, at each of their ages, and I did alittle bit of remembering ...
Remembering what it was like growing up girl.
So, today I present to you – 10 things about growing up girl (for me) in the 1970’s. 
1.        Like many little girls, I loved pink. When I was in fourth grade, I had a pink room, with a pink gingham bedspread and a pink beaded chandelier that hung over my bed. I was nuts about pink.

2.       I always wanted a horse. I never had a horse – but I had a very large dog. His name was Mister.  Mister and I would snuggle in and I would reach Richie Rich comic books to him. He was a captive audience. I loved that.

3.       When I was in seventh grade, I tried out for our community theater performance. I – much to my overwhelming surprise – was casted for the role of Snow White.  It was my first and last acting opportunity. Perhaps it was my fair skin and dark hair. I don’t know, but it was a lot of fun.

4.       I grew up in a family that liked to fish. Seemed like I was often the luckiest family member at catching fish. Problem was, I didn’t like to fish.  So, I would throw my line in to the lake with no bait.  When my father discovered that I did so, he was not happy. Someone had to catch the fish, I guess?

5.       When I was in third grade, I was on a float in the Apple Valley Parade in Winchester, VA.  Yes, that’s me with the cute red checked shirt and the overalls on the right.  I thought I was pretty special waiving to the little kids and throwing candy. I love a parade to this day (although I never had the privilege of riding a float again).

6.       I loved concession stands.  Give me a dollar and I was happy to make multiple trips back and forth.  Sweet-tarts, Junior Mints, and Necco’s, were amongst my top favorites.  Hard for me to pass a concession stand today without making a purchase.

7.       I loved to run and until middle school, I was the fastest kid in my class.  The boys passed me up after that, but until then – it was awfully fun to beat them.  Did I say I was a bit competitive at times – in a healthy way, of course …

8.       I thought astronaut food was cool.  Dehydrated ice cream and tubes of “nutritious” food to sustain on a long journey.  It fueled my desire to be an astronaut – like most kids in the 70’s, I’m sure. When I discovered I get motion sickness, it pretty much put a kabosh on that dream.

9.   I once read a book, (I think the title was “Sunshine,” although I’m not sure) about a young mother who died of cancer. I curled up in my pink fuzzy rocking chair and cried, page after page.  It still makes me tear up, when I think about it.

10.    I was determined to become a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings.  I played football with the boys and was a great receiver.  Now, being a Packer Fan, I don’t know what I was thinking. J  I should have been a Green Bay Packer.
Growing up girl, there were good days (years) and hard ones.  Watching my girls and remembering myself as one, reminds me of how God makes each one of us unique.
How about you?  What did you like about growing up girl? 
I love hearing people's stories. If you would like to share some memories of your "growing up girl" send me an e-mail at andreak54me@gmail.com with your favorites, and some pictures, too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Noise Pollution!

I woke up to the screech of a high pitched siren sound piercing through my bedroom window. It was not varied, like that of a tornado siren that intensifies and quiets as it rotates round and round, but rather, constant and persistent.
It made my shoulders tighten and my eyes squint.
It did not go away -- has not gone away.
I would liken it to fingernails scratching down a chalk board.
Anyone else reeling from the mere thought of it?
The kids woke up, noticing the same sound and wondered what it was.
The dog even laid in his kennel whimpering. 
Noise pollution. I don't know what the source is, but that’s what I am calling it.  I looked it up in the dictionary.
noise pollution
Environmental noise that is annoying, distracting, or physically harmful.

And I thought to myself -- barely over the noise that was driving me crazy -- life is full of noise pollution
and I don’t want to add to it.

I don’t want to add to the noise of sarcasm.
I don’t want to add to the noise of unbelief.
I don’t want to add to the noise of criticism.
I don’t want to add to the noise of lies.
I don’t want to add to the noise of complaining.
I don’t want to add to the noise of gossip.
I don’t want to add to the noise of busyness.
I don’t want to add to the noise of negative self talk.

You must admit –there’s a lot of noise out there – environmental noise, emotional noise, exasperating noise.

There are noises that both come out of our mouths and echo around in our hearts and minds – noises that are annoying, distracting and perhaps most often -- harmful.

They creep in, even when we try not to listen to them and agitate the soul.

I’m convicted. I may not be able to do anything about the high-pitched noise that is in the air today, but I can do something about the noise I make.

I don’t want to add to the noise and pollute the air and hearts around me.

I want to add to the peace. 

I want the sounds that I make to be edifying, encouraging and filled with hope.

Oh, Jesus, I need your grace to not add to the noise, but to bring peace.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rummage Sale Update

My friend sat down on an old chair, clutching a pair of used, white Canadian ice skates in her arms.
“I’ve always wanted my own skates!  Do you think these could actually fit me?”
She leaned over, and slipped her foot in to one of the skates and then the other.  True to the Cinderella fairy tale, they fit perfectly.
Tears ran down her face.  Tears ran down our faces. 
“Oh, my!” she inhaled with joy, “They fit! They actually fit!  This is a dream come true, since I was a little girl!”
It was so beautiful!  She was so beautiful!
Truth be told, not every sale at the rummage sale to help fund raise for our mission trip to work at the orphanage in Zambia was quite that exciting or touching. However,  it was definitely one of the many blessings that we – the members of the Zambia team and our happy helpers – received over the past few days.
The Lord and His amazing provision knocked the wind out of me!
AND … Whew!

I’m still trying to catch my breath.

·         35 families donated items to the sale.
·         Multiple people came by and helped price and organize before the sale.
·         Friends helped out during the sale, dragging more items out as they came in, and helping customers
·         Profits exceeded $2,100! 
·         People showed interest in our trip and we were able to share about the orphanage!
My garage – still – feels like the widows jar that never emptied.  It remains full (due to an early closure because of rain), therefore  … we’ve decided a BLOW OUT SALE is in order. We’ll drag the “stuff” out one more time this Thursday and try to finish off with a BIG BANG, before donating it to a local thrift store.
Deep breath in and deep breath out. That’s what we are doing. 
Stunned by God and humbled by His personal care, through people – people willing to donate, people willing to help and people willing to buy.
God is amazing. God’s people are amazing.
We find ourselves (almost) speechless.
Thanks for journeying along with us and supporting us through your encouragement and prayers. 
We are grateful to the Lord for you.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rummage Sale Mahem

That’s what I'm calling it.
I’m up and over my eyebrows with rummage. Rummage here. Rummage there.  Rummage, rummage everywhere.  We can hardly walk through the garage and we have more items stored outside in a covered trailer. Yikes!
My intentions were – are – good.  In an attempt to help raise funds for our team to travel to Zambia, Africa this summer, on a mission trip to help at the Villages of Hope orphanage, (click here to read more about the trip) I thought it was a good idea to host a rummage sale.
Really (I’m partly trying to convince myself, when I say this), I still do think it is a good idea, it’s just that – well, let’s say – organizing a rummage sale is not really in line with my gifting, and perhaps, not even in my skill set.
Overall, I am an organizer, but sorting and displaying the equivalent of a small store’s load of merchandise, is not my thing.  It stresses me out.
However, I’m leaning in to the process and along with the help of other team members and friends, we are making progress.
People have been so generous in giving us items to help us out.  From tables to tea cups and stereos to snowsuits, we have clothes, toys, books, pots and pans, pillows, furniture and much, much more.  You get the picture.  Basically, your common rummage sale fair AND some interesting items to keep it, well – interesting. 
There is one piece that has brought some added delight in to the process -- a bizarre little pink, ceramic weaner dog. 
We’ve yet to figure out its purpose, but I’m getting a kick out of it. I think it's cute, in a silly, whimsical way.
I’m thinking toothpick holder?
Someone else suggest it was a planter?
One other friend suggested that perhaps it would make a cute business card holder? I like that.
A Q-tip holder?
I’m open for ideas! 
Maybe I’ll even sneak it out of the sale and keep it as a reminder … a reminder that, even when we aren’t good at something, it’s still good to do it for the Lord.  I’m counting on the fact that He knows my motivation and will bless our team with some additional income, and teach me a little something in the process -- like maybe, patience?
Feel free to pray for us J -- and come and shop if you’re in the area. You just never know what  practical (or bizarre) treasure you may find. J

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's Just One of Those Days ...

It was a spelling word on my 4th grader’s list last week.
It’s the word of the day for me.
Let me be open and honest with you, I am immeasurably overwhelmed today.
My head is spinning, my mind is whirling, and even my legs feel like they’re twitching. I feel like this little sand crab (whose deep in the whole in the picture), digging and digging, throwing out sand frantically on to the shore, trying to get done what I need to get done.
I don't think I drank too much coffee, although do have some coursing through my veins.
Rather -- It’s just one of those days. 
I dropped the kids at school and rushed home to finish a writing project that I am working on, fine tune the study I am teaching on Wednesday morning and then off to wash dishes for hot lunch, followed by a 1:00 PM meeting, picking up the kids, dinner, another meeting at 6:00 PM … yada, yada. I won’t bore you with the details. I’m sure you have your own crazy day.
The problem is, It’s not just the things “to-do” that are overwhelming me, it’s the things “to-think-about”  that are bombarding my brain. Simply said – UGH.
And then I remembered what a friend told me lately, “God’s resources are immeasurable, Andrea.”
And so I went to the Lord with my immeasurable overwhelmedness (not a word, I know, but it seems to fit the feeling).
I called out to the Lord in the car – out loud.  Something about saying it and hearing it reverberate around the car that makes it seem more “real” to me. I don’t know.  It’s silly, I suppose, but it works for me.
Lord, I desire to love you and to serve you. I want to live for you, but I’m feeling very overwhelmed and in need of many things.
I need more grace, Lord.
I need more time, Lord. Could you multiply my time, please?
I need more patience.
I need more peace.
I need more wisdom.
I need more strength.
And on and on I went, calling out the One Who knows all that is going on and is willing and able to give me just what I need. He is the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20).
I’m not sure how the Lord is going to meet all my needs today, but I trust that He will, in His timing and in His way.
 I suppose for a start, He gave me time to write this and to remember Who He is. I’m encouraged.  I hope, in some way, it has encouraged you, too.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Musings

It seems to happen every year around Mother’s Day.
I am bombarded by emotions that I can never totally sort out.  Even sharing them makes me feel vulnerable and exposed and I fear, “What if I am the only one who feels this way?”
You see, I struggle with a combination of gratefulness and grief and guilt – and other yet-to-be determined thoughts and feelings when it comes to Mother’s Day.
I am truly grateful. I thank the Lord for my children.  They are a gift. I don’t want to minimize my joy in having them – I’m crazy in love with them.
I’m thankful for my mother.
I’m thankful for the women in my life who have mothered me in special ways.
However, my heart also tightens with sorrow.
Every year I grieve for those who want children and do not have them.
I grieve for those who struggle with infertility.
I grieve for those who miscarried. I have known this pain.
I grieve for those who have lost a child to death.
I grieve for the mother’s around the world who do not have food or clothing or housing for their children.
I grieve for those who lost a child to abortion, and now look back and deal with guilt and shame.
I grieve for those who have been hurt by their own mothers, either through abuse or neglect.  I grieve that, in turn, they often do not feel loved or valued.
I grieve for those who entered motherhood with hopes and dreams for their child, and who are walking a different path than they expected with a child with special needs, a child who rebels, or a child who is hurting. I know this sorrow, too.
I’m not sure what to always do with all this conglomeration of joys and sorrows, other than be open and honest with the Lord, letting them permeate the Heart of Heaven and asking Him to care for those who need His strength and love. I know He is the One who knows all and will bring comfort and joy, and so I am praying.
That’s where my heart is today, dear reader.  If there is something I can pray for you, specifically, please let me know.  I would count it a privilege to do so.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In to a Beautiful Space

I’ve been in some very beautiful places.
The Rocky Mountains.
On the beach with waves tickling my feet.
A kayak on an early morning on a lake.
A comfy chair in front of a fire place, surrounded by my family.
My backyard on a warm summer day.
Hospital rooms on the days my children were born.
But nearly nothing compares to the places that I would not really describe as beautiful at first, but after time, have become my most lovely of spaces.
They are not necessarily places that I have stood on – but rather places and times that I have stood in.
Places and times of sorrow and grief, when I thought my heart would melt, not being strong enough to hold itself together.  Places and times when an echo inside of me bounced back in forth in the cavern of my loneliness. Places and times of grave uncertainty when the bottom was not in view and the sky was occluded with darkness. Places and times of fear when my stomach churned upon itself and my head throbbed rhythmically, repeatedly in sync with my heart beat. Times and places of facing the impossible, in the face.
But oddly enough, it is in these places that outwardly – inwardly – were not destination places that I chose, that the Lord brought me in to a beautiful space.
A space of grace.
A space of trust.
A space of peace.
A space filled with Him.
A place and space that I would not have – could not have – known other than by walking down the corridor of those other times and places.
May I pray?
Dear Lord:
“… But You brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:12). Thank you for your tender care, for loving us so much as to teach us what we need to know and make us in to who we are, through all of life’s circumstances.  Help us to see that even during times of trial and heartache, you are with us.  Help us to believe that these are indeed places of abundance -- spaces filled with You.
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