Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back in the saddle again

It's been about 2 1/2 years since I've been on a work weekend at Pine Cove. This weekend Ben, an amazing young man who also loves jr hi kids, and I loaded up 10 teens and we introduced them to a weekend of serving and fun.

I loved getting to know the new folks there and spending time with these great teens. I loved watching the whole group work together on a big project:

They're remodeling the old dining hall into offices so our kids spent literally hours helping clean up the construction site. It took 10 of them to heave this old carpet onto the fire.

Then they served in the kitchen:

And had enough leftover time to enjoy the swing!

It was amazing to watch the transformation as the teens worked and played together. The girls are really excited about our own Big Girl/Little Girl and overnights and just getting together.

Have you ever experienced the feeling of satisfaction when you're doing what you know you were made to do? That's how I felt this weekend. I know it's a gift from God and I love watching Him at work in jr hi kids' lives.

God is good and I am truly blessed.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Recently, I've been thinking about family traditions. When Kevin was a kid, he loved visits with his grandfather. He always knew that each day he was there, his grandfather would take him out for an ice cream cone. It was such a special time for Kevin that he delighted in continuing this tradition with his grandsons.

Russell and Randall spent the night last night. Jaime and Slade joined us to watch Monk and Psych. We kept the boys so they didn't have to be awakened. Kevin got up with the boys in the morning and took them out to breakfast. He's done it more than once and it's become his special tradition with the boys. I think Kevin may enjoy it even more than the boys!

So it made me think about traditions. I think they're important because they give a feeling of belonging and a sense of purpose and a continuity to our lives.

I remember making my own tradition as a kid. On Thanksgiving Day, I'd watch "Miracle on 34th Street" on TV. I watched it by myself but I loved it. It was one of the first videos I every bought so that I could share it with my family.

Some traditions lasted for so many years that it's become a part of our lives that we can't imagine otherwise. Christmas morning will always involve powder sugar donuts and a stocking to open. Some traditions were done only for a special occasion. I wrote a devotional book for each of the girls their senior year filled with stories of how God showed Himself to us through the years.

My grandmother gave me a light mint green blanket when I was born. My mother wrapped me in it when I came home from the hospital. I saved it and wrapped all my girls in that same blanket when they came home from the hospital. Then each of my girls wrapped their babies in it when they came home from the hospital. To be able to be wrapped in love from 3 generations past is a very special tradition.

For years the girls have posed like Charlie's Angels. And when they were little, they sometimes had matching outfits. A few years ago, they put those 2 traditions together for one of my favorite gifts - a picture of my girls and a reminder of years of tradition.

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.

If you have traditions you enjoy, work to keep them alive and well. If you don't have any special traditions, establish your own, that will make the kind of memories that you will cherish when you look back on your life.

Traditions are good for your heart and your soul.

Friday, September 04, 2009

God? Yes, there is....No, there isn't

Facebook is a great tool for reconnecting with old friends. I've been able to connect with family scattered all over the country and with classmates all the way back to junior high. It's been a joy getting to know folks again. I love hearing about their lives and where they are now.

Reconnecting brings surprises too. This person is married, that person is no longer married, this friend is living halfway around the world, etc, etc. Every once in a while you read something that totally throws you for a loop. That's what this post is about.

When Kevin went back to college, he was almost 30. We had 3 school age kids, but we really wanted to be involved at LeTourneau. For 3 years we were a part of most campus activities and got to know lots of other students. And it's been great to reconnect with them too.

One college alum posted something about his 'deconversion' that caught my eye. I don't think I'd ever heard that term before. This young man graduated with Kevin, then went on for further Biblical studies and then to the mission field in Africa. Since then, he's come to the conclusion that there is no God. He's even written a lengthy book about his story. I took a few days and read it. It was a lot to absorb.

This post isn't about him. That's his story and his journey. And it's not about trying to prove him right or wrong. It's simply about the things I've thought about since reading about his journey away from God.

I truly can't get my mind around not believing in God. For me, when I consider the universe and it's incredible vastness, I realize we are seemingly insignificant in the whole scheme of things. And knowing that makes it amazing that we are significant.

It's like the 'half empty, half full' perspective. From the 'half full' perspective, I believe that we are so precious to God that He created us to enjoy creation with Him. I tend to be simplistic.

I see the amazing changes in my life since accepting Christ at 24. I see the family we have that is so, so different from the ones that Kevin and I grew up in. I don't think I'm that smart or wise or good enough to have made those changes by myself.

A young man from our church recently told the teens something that has really stuck with me. He said, "God is so amazing that I can't understand how amazing He is. And that's ok because I wouldn't want to serve a god that I could understand."

In her book The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom tells of an event that took place when she was 10 or 12 years old as she traveled with her father on a train from Amsterdam to Haarlem. She had stumbled upon a poem that had the words "sex sin" among its lines:

And so, seated next to Father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sex sin? "He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but, to my surprise, he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case from the rack over our heads, and set it on the floor. "Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he asked. I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. "It's too heavy," I said. "Yes," he said. "And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you." And I was satisfied. More than satisfied—wonderfully at peace. There were answers to this and all my hard questions; for now, I was content to leave them in my father's keeping.

God is mysterious not simply because he is God, but because we are children. And in his love our childhood is protected. We should view both childhood and God's mysteries as a source of wonder and even comfort; there is a creator and we are among the created. There are answers to all things safely in our father's keeping.

About Me

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Longview, Texas
In the autumn of my life, I am very content.