Sunday, October 28, 2012


The last time I saw Kaitlyn before her accident, she was at our house and I was laying on my bed watching TV and she came and got right in the bed with me and curled up really close to annoy me.  I said in my "joking grouchy" voice, "Kaitlyn, get the crap out of my bed".

If I had that moment back, I would kiss her forehead, tell her I love her and THEN tell her to get the crap out of my bed.  :-)
Me and Kaitlyn
The time before that when I saw her, I was eating at the restaurant where she is a hostess and she came over to me and said, "Mom, can you give me $5 to buy a new tie for my uniform?"  I grumbled and handed her a twenty and told her to bring me my change.

Kaitlyn lives life to the fullest.  She is funny and smart and caring and rowdy and annoying and beautiful!

She is like a member of our family. Over Spring Break, she went to the beach with us.

Sarah, Kaitlyn and Libby in Gulf Shores
Twice now I have taken her with me when I went to Michigan without my own kids and dropped her off at her grandparents house, because they live in Michigan. 
Kaitlyn and Rufus on the way to Michigan
We spent the hours together laughing hysterically.  She made signs to hang in the window.  We took videos of us acting silly.  The most recent time over this past summer, we sang Taylor Swift's "Last Kiss" over and over and over.  Now when I hear that song, I think only of Kaitlyn.
Kaitlyn letting the world know Hell Is Real
She is Sarah's "Forever Friend". 
Kaitlyn and Sarah.... Forever Friends
And Jacob's first "girlfriend".
Kaitlyn and Jacob at church a couple years ago
And Libby's second older sister.

Libby and Kaitlyn
We love you Kaitlyn!!!!  Get well soon and come make us laugh again!!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Seeking the Kingdom

So, since my last post, I have been seeking God's kingdom and righteousness.  Being a straight-forward kind of girl, I thought about how one typically goes about "seeking" something and one thing I think I would do is just to ask someone where it is.  One night in (boring) Legal Research class, I was thinking about it and just decided to ask.  I even wrote the question in the margin of my notebook.  (I'm a doodler).

One thing I know about God is that if you ask him an honest question about his kingdom, He will answer.  He will never leave you to wonder.  And you won't have to wait long.

Recently, my friend M, who...
- was once homeless himself
- is now in the recovery program for which I work
- who now has a passion for the homeless in our city
- and who works for the man next door to my store

.... asked if we could start setting aside the winter coat at my thrift store that we are going to salvage, so he can take them to the homeless.  I agreed (and the boss agreed) and my only stipulation to him was that he collect them regularly because I don't have alot of storage space.

Late in the day yesterday, he came into the clothing room and asked me what I was doing after work.  "Nothing.  Going home.  Watching TV", I replied.

"Do you want to drive me to tent city [homeless "community" under a bridge] after work so I can distribute some of those coats and then you can take me home?"

What?!  Don't we need to sign up through an agency with the city to do that kind of thing?  Clear it with the elders?  Plan it at least a month in advance and get a big group together?  Sell candy bars to pay for the trip?  Pray about it?  Order matching T-shirts?  Something???

We can't just show up under a bridge and hand out coats.  We'll get shot.  Mugged.  Raped.  Eaten.

"Tonight?!  Right now?  Just like that?" I asked.

"Yeah, it won't take long.  I know who needs what."


So after work, we gathered the coats, and my friend L came along with us once she heard where we were going and I drove us to tent city.  I didn't even know where "tent city" is.  Turns out, it is under an expressway that I have driven over 1,000's of times (often on my way to church) and I had no idea it was down there.  There were perhaps 20 tents at the most.  Little "households" set up.  And M used to live there. 

L prayed in the back seat for God to protect us.  I felt surprisingly at peace.  I think it's because M used to live there so I know he wouldn't take me some place too unsafe.

And we got out of the car and M said to the huddled people, "Hey, we've got some coats" and they came and took coats and were grateful and chatted and hugged us and we left.  Changed.

I ask and ask and ask God what he wants me to do about "church".  Which one to go to?  Where do I fit in?  And I haven't heard any clear answers- I admit I am quite frustrated by the whole thing.  I am perplexed, because one thing I know about God is that if you ask a question about his kingdom, He will answer and never leave you to wonder.   So why do I wonder which church to go to?"

And last night I realized that "church" is not the kingdom.  It is something all people in the kingdom should do.  And I believe I will find the right one eventually, but I believe more strongly that God has me where He wants me right now... "churchless".... so He can teach me about the Kingdom.  The kingdom that lives in the hearts of his people... the ones who know the homeless, even though they are all strung out on drugs and drunk on alcohol.... need basic necessities.  They are cold and hungry.  And that means tonight.  That means, put the coats in the car and let's go now.

It is in the heart of the nephew of my best childhood friend who received a death sentence from cancer at 13 years old and knew that only left him a few years to preach about Jesus and share the Good News... and so he did.  And as he lays dying, thousands of people are hearing his story on Facebook and being encouraged.

It is in the hearts of the ones who welcome foster children into their home.
It is in the hearts of the ones who smile at the sad-faced, grumpy cashier at Walmart.
It is in the hearts of the ones who are on the college campuses sharing the good news that changed their life.
It is in the hearts of the ones who work in recovery programs where the rewards are few and the work is hard.
It is in the heart of the hockey coach, who, a couple years ago, prayed with my son who was crying in the penalty box.

It is in the small things, usually.  In the "Here's a coat and a hug".
It is a perspective.
It is action.

It is time for me to go to work.
Ha ha.

Sorry this is so long, but when you get a taste of the Kingdom, you want to tell about it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Seek Ye First

Most recent conversation between me and my very patient therapist who has put up with me for over three years and knows more about me than anyone should:

Me:  "I am so overwhelmed by life right now.  I have no peace.  I want to lose weight.  I need to handle my money better. I can't even afford to pay for this visit today.  My job is stressing me out.  I don't have a church family anymore.  I don't have any friends.  I don't have time for any friends even if I had them.  My house is a mess.  My physical family is 600 miles away.  I am struggling spiritually.  My bff in Kentucky is sad.  My bff in Huntsville is sad.  I am tired of being alone.  I hate having to pay bills.  I hate making decisions by myself all the time.  I am lonely.  Did I mention I am fat?  How did I get fat?  Why can't I lose weight?  I can't stick to anything.  I don't know what to do with my life.  I don't want a career, but I am forced to make one.  I don't know what career to pursue.  I need to spend more time in meaningful conversation with my kids.  I spend my days running all over the place.  I have college classes, homework, many things at my job to think about, many things at my job I am not good at and I question whether I should even spend the time to be.  I am tired all the time.  I am not exercising.  I'm too tired to exercise.  So-and-so made me mad.  Then this other so-and-so made me mad.  And I am SOOOOOOO tired of dealing with so-and-so, you have no idea.  I keep making bad relationship choices. I am not close to God right now.  I don't even have time for God.   I miss my mom.  I miss my dad.  I miss my sister and brother and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews and my best friend from college.  I hate eating out so much, but I am too tired to cook..... blah blah blah.  Yada yada yada".  

My patient therapist, nodding sympathetically:  "Well, where do you think you could start to get this stuff under control?"

Me:  "START?????  Are you crazy?!  There is no place to start.  Everything is a mess.  I am completely overwhelmed... I wouldn't even know where to start!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just want to go to bed and pull the covers over my head.  This is what I am trying to tell you... I have no idea where to start!"

My patient therapist, gaze fixed on me:  "I'd start with Matthew 6:33".

Me:  [crickets chirping]

My patient therapist:  "Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God...."

Sometimes we just need a reminder and I'm thankful I got one.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Quick Update

Travel Hockey is in full swing and Jacob spends alot of time in the car going to and from the ice rink and to games and tournaments.  He amuses himself by taking his own picture.

Sarah with her date, Jessie, on their way to homecoming.

Libby and her friend, Brianna, ready to go to homecoming.

Libby's pretty feet for homecoming.

Libbinardo Newvinci is back in art class and I feel she has real talent.
This is my textbook.  I spend alot of time with it. :-)