Browsing the blog archives for February, 2011.

It’s a Might Bit Different, but It Feels Like Home

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It really does.  It’s been almost 3 months, so it probably should by now.  It’s so funny how I hardly connect this place to the place we spent almost all our weekends at in 2010.

The other day we were talking about ordering in and I was trying to think where I keep the take out menu for the pizza place and all I could remember was where it was before – before the house was livable.  Yep, it was in the back bedroom on the dusty unfinished floor in the corner by the dusty card table where we ate many of those pizza meals.

I like this finished product for the most part.  Even maybe kinda liking the “lavendar” room.  I hate lavender.  I didn’t paint the room lavender.  I painted it silverish blueish something.  It changed to lavender of it’s own volition.  I remember the night I first realized that it was “lavendar”.  I began to think about repainting.  And as I kept hearing others notice that it was lavender and no longer silverish blueish something, I really wanted to repaint.  The funny thing is that, most of the people who see the lavender room, say they like it.  I like the room, I think.  I just don’t like lavender.  Maybe when I get real curtains instead of gaudy pink and white flowered sheets, it will look silverish blueish.  But what color curtains do I get?  Is it lavender or is it silverish blueish?  I hate colors like that.  I had a dress that I for a long time thought was gray.  I found out it was green.  I probably clashed in that dress many times.  Now that I know it is green, I were gray or brown or cream with it – never red.  I had another piece of fabric that I was going to make into a dress.  I thought it was grey.  My sisters and mom told me it was – don’t remember what, but – something else.  I gave it away.  I think I”m gonna repaint the “lavender” room.  When I decorate, it will completely clash, cause to me it is silverish blueish.

I like our little house in the big city.  It feels like home.  I like coming home to it after a particularly long day at market.  Actually, today was 15  minutes shorter.  Got out 10 minutes early.  And had gotten there 5 minutes late due to over-sleeping due to my husband drugging me up the night before, due to my serious head cold, due to that walk we took without coats because it felt like spring, when it really wasn’t.  I don’t handle benedryl very well.  Actually, I do.  I sleep so well.  Just want to keep sleeping when it’s time to get up.

But I do like our house.  It’s a far cry from the dusty bare shell of a place we saw almost every weekend last year.   People have asked me if I like the city or the country better and I usually say, both.  I love experiencing things and so I love that I get to experience living in different settings.  I actually spent the first seven years of my life in a village.  What’s a village you say?  I would probably just call it the country except that we did have close neighbors.  Then I spent 3/4 of a year living in the woods – acutally the edge of a woods, but we could take walks in the woods.  That was a fun experience.  And then the biggest bulk of my life (15 years) was spent in town.  That where most of my childhood memories take place.  Town was fun.  We always had people to play with.  Then at the age of 22, I transferred to the big city for 4 1/2 years.

The first 2 1/2 years of marriage in the country was really really fun.  That farm was so fun.  We had our own spring – a few of them actually.  We had a creek which I never went to cause people saw snakes down there.  We had free strawberries.  We could go for walks out the field lane by the light of the moon.  We had really nice neighbors for a year and half and then no neighbors for a year.  And that year we had a really big garden.   My friend asked me the other day if I miss the farm.  And I don’t – not yet.  Cause there’s really neat things about the city too.  I love that we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to experience so many different things.

Picnics on the back porch were fun.  Picnics in the city I do believe will be a might bit different.  But different is good.

So many beautiful sunset’s out our front door.  Sunset’s in the city are a might bit different.

(Joe, this one’s for you)

My how the country was fun.  We would almost always take our guests for walks out the field lane and some of them enjoyed exploring other parts of the farm as well – the graveyard, the barns, the spring house.  I’m sure we’ll find plenty of things to do with our guests here, but it will be a might bit different.

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Many waters cannot quench Love

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It’s almost seven years now since I met him – the man who changed my life in so many ways.  My first impressions of him that day when I saw him walk in with that teal shirt on (yes, I can still “see” what he was wearing) was that he seemed very nice – very polite, a gentleman.  Friendly too.

Yeah, he seemed nice enough.  After a year or knowing him, my first impressions were confirmed to be who he truly was, except that he was way more then that – way more.   It was from him that I first began to really understand the differnce between a Calvinist and and Armenist.  I don’t know that I had even heard the term Armenist before.  And about the only thing I knew about Calvinist was that we weren’t that.  Except that that wasn’t true for this man.  He agreed with some Calvinistic thoughts.

Based on the way I was raised, that should have scared me away from him – but it didn’t.  I liked him.  He was smart.  It made perfect sense to agree with the views he was agreeing with.

He had a real relationship with God.  You didn’t have to be around him long to figure that out.  He was passionate about God.  He was passionate about Grace.  He got upset when people became very works focused.  He got upset when people were outward focused – when the way you appeared mattered more then the heart.  And I liked that about him.

He didn’t like that certain dress style was required because we are supposed to be “separate from the world”.   He had a good explanation for why 2 Cor. 6:17 wasn’t talking about outward dress appearance, but a way of living thats different.  He had a lot of “new” idea’s.  He even had some crazy idea’s.  I should’ve run away.  But I didn’t.  I liked him.  I trusted him and his new idea’s.  He made me think – said things completely different from what I heard growing up in my church.

And I guess a lot of his idea’s made sense and didn’t scare me, cause I grew up in a somewhat untraditional thinking home.  Though my anscestors were conservative they left a pretty untraditional legacy.  I have a great-great-great-something-great grandfather who was known to believe theories about the earth being round, long before it was an accepted idea in conserative mennonite circles.

So maybe I trusted his new ideas, because I never really held to the traditional ones very tightly.  Whatever the reason, I did trust him and he became a pretty important friend.  I could talk to him about spiritual matters.  I could talk to him about my frustrations.  We talked alot.  We were friends.

I liked him.  I liked the way he thought.  I liked the way he walked with God.  I liked the way he was alive.

So why I was completely shocked when he asked to take our relationship to the next level, I’ll never know.  Ignorant, blind, oblivious.  Don’t know, but I was shocked.  And due to a vow I had made to myself about how/when I would date, I said I couldn’t.  So flippantly I stuck to my vow, never realizing the repurcussions it would have for me – and for him.

After a week or two of akwardly figuring out what our friendship would look like going forward, we fell into, what felt to me, like our normal friendship.

I still liked him.  I still went to him with tough questions.  We still talked about spiritual things.  We still talked alot.  We were still friends.  But confusion had begin to set in for me.

When I told my sister about that akward time (the time between the times we were friends) she said something strange – something that made no sense to me.  She said that if we were meant to be, God would work it out.  What a silly thing to say!  My vow – remember?  How could we be meant to be?  So silly of her.  I brushed it off – or tried to.  The confusion increased.

Then the day came – the day I realized that he was the one I wanted to climb mountains with.  His friendship wasn’t good enough anymore.  The vow disinigrated.

We continued to talk alot.  But we were just friends.  I continued to go to him with hard questions, but sensed him pulling back.  Was the friendship dying?  Had I started this death when my vow was more important than relationship?

More months of confusion – some grieving of what could have been.  Wondering if my hearts desire would be granted.

He went home for a week.  It was a long week.  No instant messaging, no emailing, no talking.  But then – the phone call.  It was just a friend calling a friend, but oh, how it made my day.  He had a good cancer report.  He was having a good time with his family.  He would see me soon.  He was a friend – a good friend.  But just that.

A couple bikes, a bunch of friends, and a long bike trail marked the night that changed the course of our friendship – forever.   We biked together, as friends.  We talked about our futures (or was it just mine), as friends.  He walked in my apartment later that evening.  I somehow knew what he wanted to talk about.  And this time there was no silly vow standing in the way.  This time I was more then ready to move on from this confusing akward friendship.

And so we went out to Olive Garden to begin our new level of relationship.  And we talked and talked and talked and talked.  And my food got cold long before I was full.  Words were way more important than food.  I ate spagetti noodles on my first date.  A “no-no” I’m told for first dates.  But we were friends, remember?  I could slurp noodles in front of him if neccessary.  :)

And at this level of relationship, my impressions I had of him when we were friends were confirmed.  He HAD a real relationship with God.  He WAS passionate about God.  He WAS passionate about Grace.  He got upset when people became very works focused.  He got upset when people were outward focused – when the way you appeared mattered more then the heart.  But there was more – way more.  The hellish circumstances in his life had molded him into the most Godly man I ever had known.  He was a man with incredible faith in a God who at so many times in his life, made absolutely no sense.

And that man is the man I”m still in love with today.   And we look back on our lives, on his life, on my life and so many parts of the story still don’t make sense.  But the places we are now because of those yucky parts – we wouldn’t trade it, really.  Oh, somedays when the pain of remembering and the pain of the present is too intense, I wish with all my heart I could go back and rewrite history.  But most days, I marvel at a God who is larger then life, who is writing a story for His glory.  And I’m honored to be a part of His story.

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Making life work

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Church this morning was pretty cool.  Due to family health problems, the scheduled preacher couldn’t make it, so we had a time of worship that included much singing and testimonies.  It was really neat to hear from so many different people about what was current for them.

In Sunday School, we studied Genesis 37.  We’ve been studying Genesis for. . . 37 weeks now, I guess.  It’s been so interesting digging into very familiar stories and learning new truth.  Genesis 37 is a very familiar story – the story of Joseph being the favored son, annoying his brothers with crazy dream stories, and finally being sold as a slave.

For some reason, hearing this chapter being read this morning, I had empathy for the brothers.  Oh, I know, some of Joseph’s brothers were very evil.  Simeon and Levi had previously decieved and murdered a whole town full of men.  And they all, with the exception of Reuben, were planning a murder.  Yeah, pretty evil people, I’d say.  But I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for them.

They’ve got this cocky annoying little brother who thinks he’s all that.

He tattle’s on us to dad.  He’s dad’s favorite.  Dad even made him a special coat.  He tells us these crazy dreams implying that he’s better then us and will actually be over us some day?!

It’s enough to make anyone feel a little upset.

And when dad hear’s the crazy dream, he rebukes him – sorta.

So they set out to relieve themselves of this annoyance.  If they kill him, they never have to hear another condescending word out of his mouth.  They no longer have to watch the “special” relationship dad has with him.  Maybe dad would actually notice the rest of us.

Reuben, the eldest, must have had a softer heart.  When he heard of the plan to kill him, he convinced them to throw him in a pit instead.  His intent was to rescue him later and return him to his father.

Judah, upon seeing a group of traveling merchants, came up with another plan.  Sell him, and they wouldn’t be guilty of his death.

So they sold him and put blood on his coat, took it to dad and he assumed, as they hoped, that a wild animial had killed and devoured his son.

Finally, the brat was no longer apart of their lives.  They no longer had to see him prancing around in his fancy coat.  They no longer had to watch the special father-son moments that they all longed for but never recieved.  They no longer had to hear his crazy boastful stories.  They no longer had to deal with him reporting their behavior to dad.  He was gone.  They were free of this bothersome guy.

Except. . .
They weren’t.
They watched their father mourn, for days, this special son of his.
They heard him declare that he would go to his grave still mourning for his son.
They once again felt their dad’s rejection as he refused their comfort.  The brother was gone but. . .

-he still doesn’t want us.  Nothing has changed.  He will always be here to haunt us.

And the guilt. . .  Oh, the guilt and shame they must have lived with.  What they thought would bring relief only brought more pain.

And I guess I empathized because I see a bit of them in myself.  No, I never considered murder, and I have never sold any of my siblings.  But I find myself strategizing and scheming and rearrainging life so I can rid it of any painful.

I want my own way and don’t always like God’s way – the way that sometimes seems surrounded with pain.  I long for the pain to go away.  I want Him to make it stop and when He doesn’t, I take matters into my own hands.

The amazing most wonderful thing of all in this story (and my own) is that God is bigger then man’s choices.  He uses us – our messed up selves, our evil choices, our self-protection – and continues to write the most beautiful story.

In the midst of the most painful difficult times, God is writing His story – His story of redemption.  And He makes something beautiful – because He can and He loves to do good to us.

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