Saturday, October 27, 2007

I am happy

Can you hear the song tuning in clear, and pick up the melody and sing along with all your heart? I can hear it now and I don't hold back.

So? Life has troubles, and now it's becoming obvious that they don't stop... therefore what needs to change is me. If I don't learn to live right now then I won't ever be able to sing along with the song that someone is playing for Him. Life's always been lived in moments, present-tense; but because of my immaturity all I was was tense in the present.

I have been aware that I need to let go for some time and I still am at a loss, several experiments later, as to how to do that--how to focus the soul's passions toward the exterior--but even that I'm not going to worry about.

I suppose it is natural to forget where you are with God. How cool it is to rediscover, as it comes spilling out of your mouth, your origin-stories of trust in Him as you happen onto it in conversation.

I remember how I used to be long ago. Do you? So frequently the right word at the right time for the right need, I felt like I had one ear in heaven, and my joy, in everything I did, was so full in the promises of God. How I miss that easy-access to learning at his feet; somehow I had that privilege before and I know it was wonderful. I am looking for my old-self, I wanna go back to the way it was, yeah. I've been waiting for some time but there is "no normal" -- God's voice keeps to a warp and a muffle before it trickles down from the sky -- yet, I am at peace finally. When all other lights go out, the past illuminates that the straight and narrow is, as ever was, before me.

There is abundant joy backing me up from the rear and mist and fog in arm's reach ahead. Somebody ought best to twist me around and have me start walking backward.

Faith is not easy to put into practice. But I like grace, which is the present-tense capture of its essence. I like how simple it is. It deals with the difficulties of the moment until the moment is gone. And then it sings a song that floats on the evening breeze.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


(On the beach last September)

Nicknames: Lizzy-Mae, Little-Lizzy, Squishy
Age: 4, on Saturday
Stats: 30 lbs., 40 in. tall
Toys: pen & paper, dinosaurs, magic wand
Food: all that resembles her (long and pale); bananas, mozzarella sticks

("Put your clothes back on right now, Lizzy")

Sports: absolutely lives for soccer and ballet
Aspirations: to be an artist-abstracts and profiles; to play sports

(Lizzy-art, at three and a half)

Famous last words: "No way, dude; heh, I just called you dude" "Can I have a cheese stick" "Look at me!" "Nooo, I can't sleep in my bed it's too squeaky" "I caaaan't!" "I wanna wear a dress!" "Gracie goes to her class and I go to my class" "You can go to the bread store and buy donuts" "Let's go to mcdonalds, yeah!" "Can I have a banana?"

(What does she do when dresses are confiscated? Make her own)

Oddities: I can connect my thumbs with my index fingers to make a ring around her waist (it is that small), she weighs as much as the average 1-and-a-half year old, she eats about 8 cheese sticks a day and little else
TV show: Curious George, of course (a fellow esteemer of bananas, feats of flexibility, and cute naughtiness)

(Camping and playing on the playground last August)

Obsessions: to finally get to the age where she can enroll in classes and sports, & to spend all her days at Chuck E. Cheese's

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quick clip in time

Here's a short clip of a portion of our visit to the pumpkin patch two saturdays ago:

I cannot believe how much Elijah is growing up....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A short collection of amazing scriptures

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 2 cor 4:10-12

Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:24,27

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself....
Phil 2:1-8

Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave.... I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. 1 Cor 9:19, 23

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Rom 9:1-4

For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:27-30

Friday, October 19, 2007

Just Say No

"What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' 'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. Which of the two did what his father wanted?"
"The first," they answered.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
matt 21:28-32

I have been meditating all week on this parable, trying to guess what lessons I should take from it.

The more I think about it the more amazing it is for me. I try and imagine people in church acting as if it were socially acceptable to say "no" to what they are being taught, and I just don't think it has happened but rarely....

How many months have I spent saying "yes" to God and then somehow not ending up doing it?

"Want" is a nice word

Since the end of September I've been in a bible study called "The Beloved Disciple: the life and ministry of John," by Beth Moore. It began on this passage:

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, "Look, the Lamb of God!"
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, "What do you want?"
They said, "Rabbi" (which means Teacher), "where are you staying?"
"Come," he replied, "and you will see." So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him.
John 1:35-39

One of many of the study questions in week one asked "Where do you see your life right now?" "In a routein and a rut... Living the great adventure (circle one)...." I thought about which one I'd circle. I even spent a lot of time in serious doubt that I would reach the other "option" ever again, even if I tried. I almost decided that I didn't belong. I'm not quite sure what got me to reconsider. Maybe it was the introductory premise:

"I love new beginnings, don't you? I am honored to embark on this new beginning with you. Let's count on God to take us places with Him we've never been and to accomplish a work we didn't know He could. As James and John cast nets on the sun-kissed waters of the Sea of Galilee, they had no idea that the Son of God was casting His net for them. Soon they would find themselves captured by his call and compelled by His love. Let's allow the same divine affection to catch us as we too are called to be disciples of Jesus Christ.

Allow me to give you the bottom line before we turn the first page in hopes that you might adopt John's attitude from the very beginning: John was free to love because he was so utterly convinced that he was loved. He called himself the beloved disciple. How differently would each follower live if we characterized ourselves above all else as the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ? This is the goal of our journey."

I thought, is there any hope for me? I wasn't sure if I should just skip the class altogether and do childcare instead of the study. Then I heard the lesson from Moore....

"Put your pens down!" she said (on video). In our notebooks there was a page full of empty blanks, but we weren't allowed to fill in the answers as we got them. Lest we fail to take to heart what the premise of the study should be....

"Let's sense Christ asking us the same question: '________, my child, what do you want?'"

Beth said that this is our assignment: go home and answer that question, or write God a letter if need be. I chuckled at the thought, then I sat silent for a bit. "[pause] I don't even need to say it. [pause] God, you know what I want." And then I realized that it might be an important point to communicate it anyway. So I did. And that was week one.

Week two we actually got into a multi-page bible study, the typical look up X-verse and answer the X-questions. Even though they were good questions, my heart has hovered ever at week one. Prayer requests at our table time came, and my request was "that the LORD would comfort me and encourage me in my circumstances."

Week three, again, the questions were just okay. That alluring premise of God caring for what I want formed the prayer request that I shared. I said I had praise, because God had used people in my life uncommonly to comfort and come alongside me in my circumstances, but that "I still would like the LORD Himself to comfort me, to reveal his heart and plans for me."

Week four, which brings us current: I asked for prayer saying "God showed me His plan for me, and I am very encouraged, I still would like prayer however that He would help me to understand His heart and that He does understand mine."

Did you ever feel like you were at a turning point? I have a feeling this study may be making all the difference.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keizer Rapids Park

My single most favorite class in college was reconstructing historical landscapes. I had one project of my choosing that consumed 80% of my grade. I chose the length of Lancaster Drive in Salem, Oregon as the area which I would research.

I wrote ten pages and scanned in old aerial photographs through the entire twentieth century, researched Portland-area history of home architecture and applied that information to estimate the age of certain neighborhoods, even used the research done by professionals to give it a prehistoric and preColumbian background. What fun that was.

Ever since I cannot see my hometown in the same way. The time spent in subsequent investigation has been nonexistant since I got married and had children, so now the mysteries I see all around me have become permanent fixtures in my mind. Time to clear them out!

A couple years ago I had read that the City of Keizer was in planning stages to create its own waterfront park. I had never gone though I had occasionally tried to gain access. My husband went and investigated it out and as a surprise took me there for the first time last weekend. It was fantastic.

A whole field of river cobbles like these awaited me; it's a very large floodplain which is covered in water in the rainy months.

I know they are mostly plain basalts, but Ben was able to find something that I could tell was petrified wood. How fun.

There are much more beautiful spots than that:

This is a place I could spend a lot more time at given the chance....

Monday, October 15, 2007

"There Is a Reason"

There Is A Reason by Caedmon's Call

late at night I wonder why
sometimes I wonder why
sometimes I’m so tired
I don’t even try
seems everything around me fails
but I hold on to the promise
that there is a reason

late at night, the darkness makes it hard to see
the history of the saints who’ve gone in front of me
through famine, plague and disbelief
His hand was still upon them
cause there is a reason
there is a reason

He makes all things good
He makes all things good
there’s a time to live and a time to die
a time to wander and to wonder why
cause there is a reason
there is a reason

i believe in a God who sent His only son
to walk upon this world and give His life for us
with blood and tears on a long, dark night
we know that He believed
that there is a reason
there is a reason

for the lonely nights
and broken hearts
the widow's mite
in the rich man's hand
and the continent
whose blood becomes a traitor

for the child afraid to close their eyes
the prayers that seem unanswered
there is a reason
there is a reason

Friday, October 12, 2007


In my own estimates this is how Riverfest went....

The week before they came up about $50,000 short of their goal, and out of the 2,000 sought counselor volunteers they only had 1100. That would be the only bad news to report.

The music was great, of course. Jars of Clay looked like a bad dream from 1985, but they sounded great. Avalon was so wonderful! They played for about an hour but the time went by so fast I thought it had only been 15 minutes, no more. I remember their perfectly pitched voices reverberating off the buildings downtown, and I was ecstatic.

I signed up to counsel on three occasions, and two of them were for children. Both times I got to meet a little girl and her family, and we talked about Jesus and the Holy Spirit and going to church; they had already accepted Christ before that moment. During Reid Saunder's invitation there were way more "friends of the festival" (as we are called) than there were those making committments, and just as I neared a couple of women, some other "friend" cut me off wedging herself in front of me and began talking. (?) That's okay, I was just fine letting someone else take pleasure in sharing their blossoming faith.

Big Daddy Weave was really fun. They had amazing voices and at that time (earlier on in the day) Ben and the children were still with me, as well as my friend Becky and her family.

Saunders was passionate. His body language was animated, and I loved to listen to him. He said "Today is a special day for me, because my three year old daughter, Mylie, received Jesus Christ as her savior." I grinned. Just that previous Wednesday Mylie had recited her first Cubby-verse during table time, "God loved us and sent His Son." What an amazing time for me to be right where I was.

I finished a photo album of the festival devoid of my personal friends and family shots (which I will put up later in my other albums). You can view it now here:


Thursday, October 11, 2007


I tried to teach my girls a favorite game, battleship, this summer.

This is how girls play the game:

Isn't it beautiful??

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Profile: ELIJAH

Nicknames: Mr. Slobbers, Mr. Boogers, The Littlest Man of All, 26 Inches of Goodness, Cutey-Boy
Age: 7 months (today)
Stats: 18 lbs., 26 in., brown hair, blue eyes
Toys: Paper, hair, spoons, keyboard, phone, food
Food: Fresh fruits and baby vegetables

Sports: Standing straight and slapping his chest, jumperoo with a wayward tongue, smacking anything
Aspirations: To have four limbs and a mouth in contact with mom at all times, and to learn to not be a scardy-cat with dad's rough-housing

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."
He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Matt 12:1-8

Briefly I mentioned this account in my introductory post, but it has long been a favorite passage of mine. I always thought of it as one that illuminates Jesus' authority over things like baptism in water and the law in general. Now I see it for much more. I see it for characteristics I'm hungry for; individual consideration and relativity of the rules. What is one supposed to do if they're doing everything they can and it's not enough to follow Jesus? Is it better to die or to live in such a spot?

The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rule Breakerz!

A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession."
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us."
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said.
He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs."
"Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Matt 15:22-28

Just looking for justfication to go to God with intact rebellion; let's see, my search criteria were: Individuality, Relativity, & Evolution.

This one resonates pretty well.
"Freely you have received, freely give."
Matt 10:8

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What if...

...christianity is meant to include breaking rules?

As I listen to the radio sing yet another diddy sending home the message "You shall not share your glory with another" and "the point was not to make much of me but so we could make much of you for all eternity," I feel rebellion rising in my heart.

I remembered the one time I really poured out my heart to God and I told Him what I wanted which contradicted His Word. Both then and now I think about all the built-up pressure that was released in one split-second. Immediately I expect God to punish me for admitting what I want that's not good. But, for those several days after the outpour, I experienced the opposite. I decided God was really listening because my situation got a little better in my eyes.

Since then I've gone back to the same-old trying to reconcile to His desires for my life instead of mine. But all that has done is cause a lot of pressure, a lot of heart-hardening, and a lot of wearing thin.

I could do that again, another outpour. I wouldn't mind getting a little closer to my goal, if that's what He really wants to give me by whatever mysteriously odd chance. That's not too shabby.

It's not quite conditional surrender, but, certainly I can say that if He wants more of those kinds of moments, where everything is out in the open, He's going to have to take me as is, bumps and boils and all.

Can't Jesus just flabbergast me and deal with me on an individual basis? Sure the rules are God's and God does not change, but in some kind of way they have, on the exterior. Think about how Nicodemus must have been grossed out to be taught that there is a second birth, and how the pharisees were taught that David was breaking God's Old Testament rules but was righteous. Then there was the parable of the father with two sons being given a command, and one told him yes and didn't do it. The other son said "no" but later thought better and went and did it, and he is the good one. There seems to be some evolution, some relativity, here, in the teachings Jesus gives regarding how and when the rules are obeyed.

Even His glory He shares with us; today is for exchanges of disobedience and righteousness, so it's not like He hasn't committed to handling the matters of lesser beings.

Evolution? Relativity? Individuality? Do these characteristics apply to rule-abiding?

What does Jesus want to do for me?

Have I been reading my bible the wrong way? Has everyone else, too just been reading it for the written-in-stone, and not the relativities? Is that what Christianity has done? God is supposed to be about love, and grace and peace after all. Real peace? Am I living in real peace when I know that my desires don't matter in light of His?

Maybe it's not such a bad thing to be frank with God.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Yes, I am one; though I am meaning neither the cultural norm or even a rejection in part or whole of it. I am talking about the focus for knowing and being that which is feminine. Of course every woman cares about being feminine in basic matters. But as for me, it is what I spend a lot of time honing toward perfection both ideally and practically.

Femininity drives nearly everything I do. Well, not nearly, Christianity both diverts and focuses my passion for feminism. Where Christianity becomes gender-irrelevant so I follow suit, but there is much to meditate upon in the scriptures so to enhance it.

I love every issue pertaining to femininity. Social graces, artistic expression, communication, relational nuance and avoidance, body language, dress, child raising, respecting my husband, cooking, cleaning, being learned, and more.

I have said before that I have loads of self-confidence. I know me, and I believe in me. I know exactly what I ought to be, as a woman, and yes there are weak-points, and I know what they are. I'm not trying to be the "perfect woman." That means, I don't hold all these categories with equal importance. For instance many times people come over to my house and... it's messy, and I regret it. I feel shame for the state it's in, but I'm not afraid of shame and I won't shame drive me. I let my natural positive passions drive me to be better.

Though I don't expect myself to be perfect, I admit I am a perfectionist. I can't let the drive go. Zeal for most things in life, is strong, and after being "a grown-up" woman now for about a decade, sometimes I am surprised to see all that I have dabbled in with mostly sucesses to show for it. I'm either lucky or else extremely conscious and devoted.

I have anticipated that as I grow older the way I magnify each of these realms of feminine expression should change to fit my season in life. Maybe I'll even see the need one day to not concern myself with the matters of being an excellent woman, who knows?

More and more persuing feminism is a solitary, unrecognized effort. The world seems to be changing, and it is becoming less aware of the natural reality or even the need to distinguish gender. While I find that sad, maybe a little upsetting even, my goal isn't swerved.

Results of Riverfest

This came via email on September 25th:

All for Jesus!

Two years of planning, praying, and working culminated this past Saturday
and Sunday at Salem RiverFest. Praise the Lord; this event surpassed
everyone’s expectations. Salem RiverFest was proclaimed by Mayor Janet
Taylor and the Parks Department as the largest event ever held at Salem’s
Riverfront Park.

The crowds have been estimated from 50,000 to 75,000 between both Saturday
and Sunday. Throughout all the Salem RiverFest events, over 1000 people
have made decisions for Jesus Christ! Praise God!!!

Please continue to pray for these new decision-makers to grow in their
faith and connect with a local church body. Thank you for your prayers
and support. Salem RiverFest would not have had such an amazing impact on
our community without YOU!

All for Jesus,
Reid Saunders

PS – Please save the date of October 18 and look at our website,, to see a few photos of the festival. Please also
check later this week for more photos and stories.

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