Monday, May 28, 2012

Joy Dare Monday... another interesting week

(re-posting after edits -- I left out the photos!)

Would that there were time to write something meaningful about the past week, but let's just say the theme ended up being discernment and leave it there for now. Besides, I've developed a headache from too much sun this afternoon, I think.

431. cool morning
432. air conditioning
433. the beautiful music from the TV Show "Smash"
434. new green maple leaves
435. booking tickets home
436. horchata (Mexican milk and rice milk drink with cinnamon)
437. camaraderie over breakfast
438. finches
439. great high school orchestra performance
440. peristalsis
441. a decision to be made.
442. Chuao's
443. discerning conversation
444. day out of joint, discombobulated
445.  the heart break of The Scottsboro Boys
446. strolling through Balboa Park

(yes, we go to beautiful Balboa Park and I take a photo of mustard "weed"....
447. family together, cleaning out garage
448. bringing crazy stuff home from garage clean out (happy coats, girlish locks of my mother-in-law's hair, hubby's Lionel train set and, sadly more...)

Alas, this is not all of it
449. words from my solo at church today: "Bring a glimmer of the depth of God's will. Bring understanding. "God's plan be fulfilled." (from "Holy Spirit Come" by Manibusan)
450. ocean breeze
451. dinner with EfM friends.

Am linking this up to Ann Voskamp's "multitudes on Mondays" (or will as soon as it goes up!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console...

And with this line, we enter the second half of St. Francis' prayer.

"Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console..."

There is a certain abandonment of self in this, but not total abandonment.

When my father-in-law died, any sorrow I had needed to be put aside so that I could be a comfort and a support to my husband and his family.

I had done much the same a few years prior when his grandfather had died. That had been easier because I'd only visited him once before.

But my father-in-law I'd gotten to know and care for, especially through his last long illness. 

So grief was kept at bay until late one night, in bed, in the dark, I cried. There was probably no reason to hold it in for all the time I did but I didn't want my grief to take precedence over my husband's.

Of course I wasn't alone in that night and my husband comforted me, consoled me, as I had consoled him leading up to that moment.

It is important to grieve and even in a shared grief, it important to let the other know that they are not alone.

Through consoling each other, we each can feel a little less helpless and a little less alone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

High Tea @ Good Sam

This is the third year my church has held a High Tea. The first one I was too sick to go, last year and this year I've hosted (hostessed?) a table. (You can see last year's tablescape here.)

I had grand plans as you might guess by my Pinterest board, but then I agreed to host a group of friends. They were all friends of a parishioner who passed away since the last high tea, and she loved birds, so my table design took a certain focus. You can see that focus change on the same Pinterest board as the pins go from various ideas to a bird theme. I mixed a bunch of elements from different photos together.

I also got to reuse certain elements from last year's table too, so the only thing I had to buy were the flowers (and they were from Vons)!

Royal Doulton blue & white china, Noritake china,
bird's nest chargers from Pottery Barn (might have finally gotten money's worth!)

teapot from Ebay, little birds nests from Pottery Barn (eggs bought at an etsy shop)

recognize the bird cage? (ivy is from my garden and there are ferns in there somewhere...)

close up of bird's nest -- hint of embroidery on tea cloth...
Each of my guests got a birdcage charm (from Karla Nathan's shoppe) strung with crystals, swallow charms onto beautiful blue seam binding. Of course I totally forgot to take a picture of them.

Can't wait for next year!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Joy Dare Monday

412. happy exhaustion from Bollywood workout (even if I didn't get close to finishing it)
413. learning more than 1,000 Moms were thanked
414. bloomers!

415. lunch with a friend
416. soft baby hair
417. laughter in the office
418. God's clue by four, just in time
419. enough, with God
420. Sloan River Project
421. holding baby
422. using "Free Candle" app during choir practice. A"Pentecost"al moment. (it was the choir's anthem for Pentecost, geddit?)
423. baby ducks at the elephant exhibit
424. remembering how lucky I am
425. easiest printer set-up. Ever.
426. pretty flower arrangement
427. broken bowl :(
428. nap
429. retrieval of lost pie and card
430. watching "The Choir", season 4, Military Wives Choir. Inspiring.

Am linking this up to Ann Voskamp's "multitudes on Mondays" (or will as soon as it goes up!)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God's Love Stories ... enough...

I am writing this a few weeks earlier because there seems to be this theme emerging in the blogs that I've read over the past week.

When are we going to stop believing the lies that others tell us, that we tell ourselves, that we believe of others? I hope these links help you, as they've helped me, remember that God is enough and it has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with love.

Friday, May 18, 2012

"where there is sadness, joy" - Prayer of St. Francis

When I first sat down to write this, I thought: "I got nuthin'."

Then I thought maybe I could show that clip from the Mary Tyler Moore Show about Mary laughing through Chuckle the Clown's funeral service. (I shared that here instead.)

And then, as part of my preparation of checking in with my spiritual director a couple of weeks ago, I discovered I'd written about "where there is sadness, joy" months ago.

Sadness happens with loss: of a person, of a dream, a world drastically changed, for example.

I keep forgetting:

  • that in the horror of the holocaust, the victims loved and praised God
  • that, as Jennifer at "Getting Down with Jesus" describes in her trip to Haiti, God is with the broken-hearted. They rejoice to live. They have upheld their faith, or rediscovered it anew amongst loss and disaster -- and living with that day in and day out.
  • that communities come together, offer endless cups of tea and help with donations and willing hands when a world is overset.
With God in our hears, we can bear all things, do all things.

But we have to ask Him and believe that what we ask can be accomplished.

Lord, transform my heart to serve you, to be your love to those in sorrow, to be your light to those in darkness. take away my selfishness, my concern for me and mine. Help me to love.  

(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Albums and Bloomers....

Hey, I know my blog has this new focus of being beloved by God, but I'm feeling a little retro today. So we'll be taking a step into the vintage/creative/mori girl world today.

I'm taking the Full Tilt Boogie class and have been doing practice signatures before starting "for real".  Here are the albums I got a super deal on Ebay. Can you guess which one I will find impossible to cut up?

inside of bottom album

inside top left album
inside of top left album
inside of top right album
inside top right album
So, were you able to guess which one I don't think I'll be able to cut up? Let me know in the comments...

Also, I have had this pinned to my Pinterest for quite a while....

... and made the first one today (forgive horrible iPhone photos, the light was going. The lace is hand sewn onto men's white boxers.

Lessons learned: pin vertical, not horizontal. Because I didn't I am left with "slits" on the side...

My plan is to wear these under skirts this summer. I have two more boxer shorts to convert. I'll see if I have enough lace of the same kind, and then I shall have to get inventive....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Joy Dare Monday... finding it hard...

I don't know if it's the sinus headaches (thanks SoCal weather!) or what, but I kept forgetting to look for God's gifts this week. So the list is a bit short.

Also, these purple poppies are all done. The seed heads are huge...

393. sleeping in
394. delayed doctor's appointment
395. 1000 Moms Project

396. heart-shaped buds
397. wriggly baby
398. wearing clothes from home
399. answered prayer
400. birdsog
401. crystalline water ruffled by breeze
402. far off butterfly
403. space in the day
404. cool evening breeze
405. realization of a conversation
406. six consistent days of logging food and exercise
407. British goodies
408. moisturizer that works
409. punching holes in signatures
410. hubby safe to his destination
411. carnations.

Am linking this up to Ann Voskamp's "multitudes on Mondays" (or will as soon as it goes up!)

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Way to Enough (The 1000 Moms Project)

I chatted with my Mum last night on the phone. And I learned something new about my Mum:

"I have enough."

"I have a roof over my head."

"I cannot afford to go and buy $100 shoes any more, but I have shoes on my feet."

She reminded me that what is fair and right isn't necessarily a 50/50 split -- and I realized part-way through the conversation last night that that was my "good girl" coming forward.

My Mum isn't rich. She has just enough money to pay the bills, and have enough food on the table.

She serves.

She is taken care of. Not just because her kids would ensure it, but because love is the center of her life. And, (she didn't say this so I'm extrapolating) God has shown her that she has enough. Because she has Him. Love.

She is showing me the way to enough.

Thanks, Mum.

[This is part of the 1000 Moms Project. I don't think multiple posts would technically count toward the 1000 Mums, but I hope this encourages you to go to Ann's site and find out how your Facebook status, tweet or blog post can count toward making a difference for mothers in Haiti.]

1000 Moms Project

"where there is darkness, light" - Prayer of St. Francis series

Today's guest blogger is Joe Pote. As a student of the Bible since early childhood, Joe was literally raised in church, attending multiple church services and Bible studies each week. Having also endured the devastation of a failed marriage, Joe combines a sound understanding of biblical principles with personal experience of the issues and concerns of believers who have experienced divorce. He would like for you to visit his website

I sat huddled at my desk, face pressed into palms supported by elbows propped on desktop, staring into the darkness of my own hands…feeling the darkness pressing in from all sides.  
The work day was ended.  It was time to go home, a brief ten minute walk from the office.  Yet, I lingered, dreading home…knowing the unfixable problems waiting there…praying that God would show me what to do.
My four beautiful children waited at home, bright lights in my life, who I was always pleased to see.  But their mother also waited there, with a cartful of unsolvable issues to add to my already overburdened load.
It was the summer of 1994, and my wife had recently announced her intention to leave our marriage of ten years.  She said she didn’t love me anymore…wasn’t sure she ever truly had…now she was pursuing a relationship with someone else.
How had it come to this?  How had all the bright hopes, dreams, visions, plans, work, counseling and prayers come to such dark and desolate fruition as this?
It wasn’t the first time our marriage had floundered…but it was the first time the situation appeared hopeless…the first time I knew I had done all I could do and been found insufficient to resolving the problems.
The word divorce shouldn’t even be in a Christian’s vocabulary!
God hates divorce!
The words of a former pastor rang loud in my ears, as I clenched my eyes closed…trying to shut out the darkness pressing in on all sides. 
Remember the statistics of problems for children raised in broken homes!
The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.
As the authoritative words of trusted men swirled through my mind, I began adding my own to the cacophony of accusations.
Some Christian you are!  Where is your faith now?  What a failure!  
The oppressive darkness closed thick and heavy, pressing down upon me, crushing my soul.
Jesus, help me!
Tears spilling down my face, I cried out to God for help I didn’t really expect to receive, but desperately needed.
Knock!  Knock!
I thought I was all alone, that everyone else had gone for the day.  Yet someone was rapping lightly on my office door.  Reaching for a tissue, I quickly dried my eyes and composed myself.  “Come in,” I called softly, not quite trusting my voice not to crack.
The door swung open as Rob shyly stepped inside my office.  Rob was a quiet young man who worked for me, in the Engineering Department.  Although I didn’t know Rob well, I respected him as both a cheerful worker and a brother in Christ.
Hesitantly, Rob handed me a typed sheet of paper.
I felt God telling me to give this to you.  It’s a poem I wrote a few days ago, after seeing you sitting in your office looking burdened…like you are now.
I read the poem… about crawling through a tunnel of confused swirling darkness searching for light…about Jesus leading and guiding us throughout the journey…leading us into the light of His love and hope.
I read the poem, and, with tears again running down my face, I hugged Rob, thanking him for his beautiful gift…the gift of light in the midst of darkness!
I walked home that evening with a lighter step than I had for many days.  My circumstances had not changed, but the oppressive darkness had been lifted by the light of God’s love and hope.
One small act of kindness can make a world of difference!
Lord, please use me in the lives of others the way you used Rob in my life…to shine the light of Your love and hope in times of darkness.  
…where there is darkness, light…
Who do you know in need of a little light?

(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The 1000 Moms project... my letter of thanks

Or as we say down under "Mums"...

1000 Moms Project


I twittered already with:

thank you, Mum, for showing what it is to love #1000gifts #moms

But thank you also for:

  • finding shirts at your Op Shop, one of which is marked small and yet miraculously fits
  • for sharing with me your love of nature and pretty things (and champagne taste on a beer budget!)
  • for letting one of us kids take the last piece of cake /  shrimp / whatever was on the table
  • for letting us make our mistakes and still loving us
  • for letting me move overseas even though that must've crushed you to see your only daughter go
  • for being the family communicator
  • for being a Mum to whomever needed it at the time
  • for showing what it is like to serve God
  • for accepting those phone calls: "Mum, I'm using Nana's cookbook. What's a gill of milk?" and having patience with basic cooking questions
  • for ironing so I don't have to
  • for loving me even though you were 48 hours in labor with me!
Your Favourite (and Only) Daughter,

I wrote another post for the 1000 Moms Project, but I figured adding it to her list would be technically cheating. It's called  "The Way to Enough". I hope you have time to read it too.

Want to join in the 1000 Moms Project at Ann Voskamp's A Holy Experience?

If you do, and share on Twitter (using the hash tags listed in the link below), the Facebook Gratitude Page or your blog (and link to this page), A Holy Experience will honor your Mum by giving a much-needed gift to a Mom and baby in Haiti. And if there are 1,000 Moms thanked, A Holy Experience will sponsor a Maternity/Child Survival Center in Haiti for a whole year.

1000 Moms Project

Joy Dare Monday: yay for May!

Oi. What a week. Beautiful moments, some hard stuff, and beauty brought in to center me and calm me. I am enjoying taking photos of my garden, but am finding that the iPhone 3GS that I have is really not up to snuff for such things. But it does give a kinda watercolor effect.

Poppies, mexican salvia in the front

corner of raised bed vege garden in our front yard, watsonia flowering and why yes that is a ton of weedy grass
371. dew on Iceland poppies
372. marine layer
373. aching body, slow, rough, bitter start to the day
374. may day cup

375. holding baby
376. beautiful old vintage albums (photos tomorrow)
377. time to pray
378. calming waterfall in a business park
379. a bee tasting strawberry flowers
380. "only wanted to help" [3 gifts with difficult people]
381. laughing until I cried with my choir buddy over things scatological 
382. muffins long hidden in the freezer still taste good [3 gifts before 9am]
383. 2 difficult emails sent [3 gifts before 9am]
384. dancing young green maple leaves
385. taking the afternoon off
386. full moon rising.
387. "do this for the remembrance of me" 
388. pretty moon, so white
389. churros
390. crow convention
391. He cannot make us love Him [3 gifts found in Christ]
392. art with heart heals (summary of online chat with Suzi blu)

Am linking this up to Ann Voskamp's "multitudes on Mondays" (or will as soon as it goes up!)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

God's Stories: May edition

Here are some links, some stories that I thought I would share with you this month.

  • my favorite benediction: our rector Chris says it at the end of service when it's his turn to bless us.
  • this moving reflection on faith, by Rachel Held Evans
  • this beautiful prayer shared by Ann Voskamp

So, I've been working on the next part I need to write for the Prayer of St. Francis series and at first came up with nothing and then I came up with this:

You'll  be pleased to know I did finally come up with something. But enjoy Mary Tyler Moore anyway.

Friday, May 4, 2012

"where there is despair, hope" - Prayer of St. Francis series

Today's guest post in my Prayer of St. Francis series is my Mum! After reading her story below, I think you'll agree she doesn't need any more of an introduction...

Once a week I volunteer at the Court House. I start out helping to serve tea and coffee and then go one on one in the Salvation Army’s Positive Lifestyle Program.
The foyer of the Court House is a good place to watch the agony, despair and sometimes joy and relief of the people brought together in this place. You get to hear their stories as they stand waiting, cuppa in hand.
The despair of the young girl who had been raped and didn’t feel she could go into court to testify. The tears of her mother were heart breaking.
The mother just wanting to take her daughter home: the daughter had lost her baby the night before in the cells, been taken to hospital but was back in the cells awaiting sentencing.
And the young man the same age as my youngest son, afraid that he would go back inside, angry with everyone especially God."Why did God let me get raped last time I was inside?" I didn’t have answers that he wanted to hear and I prayed for him.
Such despair and pain, and today as the young woman told me that the police would allow her to see photos taken of her when she was savagely attacked two years ago, I asked her did she really want to see them, and as the tears slid down her face she nodded yes she needed closure this may help.
How do you give hope in such situations?

The court chaplains going into the cells to pray with people to be with their families offering support. Prayer can be such a comfort, a healing place.
The support workers going into court with them, offering advice to family and backup.
Sometimes just the offering of a cup of tea, someone to listen, a smile, a hug if necessary.
I went on a Hope Women’s Retreat. The Bible verse for the weekend was Jeremiah 29:11:  “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans for a hope and a future.”
Hope and a future…..the teams members of course knew each other, but the invited women did not. They came alone, unsure what the weekend held for them. 

Broken women who had been battling abuse, addiction, break up of marriages, loss of children. It was to be a weekend when a group of women, each broken in her own way and in despair came searching for hope and a future. To be made feel whole and worthy, loved in God’s eyes, His chosen daughters. 

Many tears were shed as stories were told, nightmares relived. All of us carried our own hurts and despair. But with laughter, lots of love and care, we all came away renewed. Hope for better days ahead, for some direction and a place to go for support. 
What carried us through the most though was prayer. 
Where there is despair, please Lord, let there always be hope.

(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

In my garden...

Because I know you want to see all the pictures I've taken. (Or if nobody else, my Mum does.) All the flowers come from Annie's Annuals. Except for the foxgloves: they're from Home Depot.

Papaver rhoeas "Falling in Love"

Papaver hybridum "Pink Heirloom"

Papaver setigerum "Poppy of Troy"

"Black Gem" Bachelor's Button

Dianthus "Inchmery"

Papaver hybridum "Sugar Plum"


Nigella "Curiosity"
all the poppies -- too bad the yellow tree rose is not in bloom too!