“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Saturday, October 30, 2010

For My Dear Sister-In-Blog

When my dear sister-in-blog, Elaine, at peace for the journey announced that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer on August 24th, I knew I wanted to make something special for her.  Knowing that she would soon be losing her hair to chemo, I thought a hat would be a good idea.  Perhaps something pink... and soft... and then I thought... I bet she would like an ILG Hat.  (For more information about the ILG Hat stop by this post.)

I e-mailed her and asked her if she would like an ILG Hat and what color?  She said she would treasure whatever was gifted, and so I went about making her one with the creamy off-white color I have used in the past.  I have two of my own.  One in the creamy color and one in pink.  (I've lost count on how many I have made in total... I think this is my 10th.)

But as I looked at the pattern of the single cable crossing over one another, it appeared to me that the pattern could easily be made into a breast cancer awareness pink ribbon.  How wonderful!  So, I retrieved the left over pink I had used for my pink hat and trimmed the hat in pink and then added the pink yarn into a "ribbon" using a crochet hook.  I am tickled PINK with the outcome.

My tradition is to pray for the recipient of the item as I am knitting it.  When I am done, I wear it around the house and pray for the recipient... and I even wear it one time out in public.  Now, that this routine is completed, it is time to wrap it up and send it on its way to its rightful owner. 

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming to a close, I realize that I will never think of it in the same way now that such a precious person in my life has been affected.  If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, I encourage you to stop by Elaine's blog for encouragement.  She is the epitome of braveness, authenticity and hope.

Friday, October 29, 2010

...and it looks like I can safely turn the radio and heat back on.

Fall.  It's here.  Rain.  Darker days.  But beauty all around as the colors change and leaves are still on the trees.

I've missed being here.  At The Leaking Window... and visiting your blogs.  But you know what it is like when the gas tank is way past empty and you start turning everything off in the car and try to become as aerodynamic as possible?  You turn off the radio and the heat (or a/c) and hold your breath hoping you'll make it to the gas station barely making it on fumes?  That's been me the past couple of days.  I've had to cut back on a lot of things that in and of themselves would not drain me at all, but combined together... well, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to the station or not.  But I did.  And here I am.  In the process of being refueled.

Actually, it was accidental.  My husband was expecting a package and it needed to be signed for  delivery.  He had meetings.  Was I busy?  Yes, I was.  But he needed this package today, and so I canceled my plans and waited.  And although I missed out on some fun, I have been relaxing a bit today... and feeling like I can breathe, again.  And don't have to worry quite as much as about being  aerodynamic.

Busier than I would like to be.  It was the "perfect storm" of commitments running into one another. But the jog-a-thon and 50th anniversary party (which included a trip to Maryland) have successfully passed... and successful they were!  And now it is on to those commitments I pushed to the side... which include rest... and blogging my thoughts... doing the laundry... and various other sundries.  The adrenaline kept me going, but it was exhausting.  I feel like I have forgotten birthdays and friendships and let people down... but that is still the exhaustion talking.  Deep breath.  No condemnation.  New day.  New mercies.

Well, I certainly do have a lot to recount from the past week, but that will wait for another post.  Especially the jog-a-thon.  Especially the anniversary party.  And I am very excited to show you a little project I worked on during the flights to and from Maryland, but that will wait, too.  Right now, I need to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer.  I need to take a couple more deep breaths... and it looks like I can safely turn the radio and heat back on.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

As of Late - October 17, 2010 (aka 500th post)

Time to Celebrate!

As of late... I have published my 500th post!

Lately, I have been enjoying this crazy sunny weather.  Our tomatoes are seriously still ripening on the vine (and they are delicious!)... I am not suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder (relief!)... and the days seem longer than usual.

Lately, I watched my husband complete his 10th marathon on 10/10/10.  (Don't forget that next year we get to go to Boston!)  Christopher and I did the Family 10k.  They dropped us off at mile 20 and we walked the last 6.2 miles alongside the runners.

Lately, I helped to organize a jog-a-thon fund raiser at my son's school.  And let me tell you that I am really popular, now.  The kids love me!  Well, it might have something to do with all those silly bandz that were handed out... but we had a beautiful day and the kids had a lot of fun!  And the parents and teachers, too!

Lately, I have been looking for photos for my in-law's 50th anniversary.  I am so excited that Christopher will be able to be there for the celebration... to see two people that he adores celebrate a wonderful milestone.  (Plus he can get ideas of what to do for his parent's 25th in 3 years!)

Lately, I have been considering a train trip to Seattle to visit friends (who recently moved due to a job relocation).  Hoping that Seattle isn't really all that far away from Portland :(  

Lately, I have been made more aware of the human trafficking industry in Portland.  It is painful for me to get my brain around it, but I feel the need to start praying... knowing that God will...  

bring good news to the poor... 
comfort the brokenhearted... 
proclaim that captives will be released 
 and prisoners will be freed... 
tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, 
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies... 
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, 
a joyous blessing instead of mourning... 
festive praise instead of despair... 
Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT

And lately, I have been hearing of how the Lord is answering prayer... after prayer... after prayer... and I am rejoicing with those who are the recipients of these answered prayers... and my faith is growing and becoming more emboldened as I pray for those whose prayers have yet to be answered.

 Post Script...
Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past 500 posts.   I think of all the times that I quit blogging... wondering why I was blogging at all...
Ray Kinsella: What are you grinning at, you ghost?
Shoeless Joe: "If you build it -" [gestures toward catcher, who is Ray's father, John Kinsella] "- he will come."
Ray : "Ease his pain. Go the distance." It was him!
Shoeless Joe: No, Ray. It was you.
And I guess this is my very own Field of Dreams... and although I thought my blogging was meant for someone else... it was actually for me... for my benefit.  "To ease my pain."  And for me to "go the distance."  Thanks for coming along for the ride!  

Saturday, October 16, 2010

1st & 15th Scripture Memory 2010: Verse 19

To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
planted by God to display his glory.
Isaiah 61:3 MSG

I am currently memorizing Isaiah 61:1-4 NIV.  But I love to read scripture in different translations of the Bible.  Gives a different viewpoint, doesn't it?

I'll be at least a memory verse short this year.  I took four weeks to memorize my last verse instead of two.  And looking at the length of this verse... perhaps I'll take four weeks for it, too.

Beth Moore will be hosting a Siesta Scripture Memory Team next year.  It definitely behooves me to do this as part of a team.  Maybe you'll join me?

I hope you enjoy your bouquet of roses, today!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Then Neither Do I Condemn You, Again

This was the original follow-up post to I Can't Remain Silent.  (I try to add the word "Again" at the end of the post titles that I am re-posting.) 
I just realized that the verse from Isaiah is my current memory verse.  Remember, I love you.

...bind up the brokenhearted,
...proclaim freedom for the captives
...comfort all who mourn,
...provide for those who grieve

...bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness

instead of mourning,
...a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

condensed from Isaiah 61:1-3

I didn't mean to make you cry. But some of you did.

For some of you... the previous post easily could have been your own story. You've been there. Your tears were for the mother and daughter I wrote about... but they were also for yourself.

And then... there are some of you... and this is where my heart breaks... that made a different decision. You had the abortion. And you haven't told anyone. Not even a soul. And sometimes it seems daily that you struggle with the decision you made. And you wonder how could God forgive you? Because you can't even forgive yourself.

And if anyone knew... especially in the church! Well, the scorn and the shame... it really would be too much to bear. And you keep your struggle to yourself. And you are barely getting by some days.

I want you to know that I pray for you. I think of how hard it must be for you. Especially sitting in church or Sunday School. Hearing people gasp at the thought of a Christian making a choice to have an abortion.

I know you are there. The statistics tell me. But it will never come up in conversation. And I understand that.

But after listening to the testimony of another woman at the Pregnancy Resource Center's fund-raiser, I knew I had to let you know... that you are on my heart.

The second testimony was a precious woman who spoke of her three abortions. And I have to admit the rest of her story slips my mind... because all I could think about was her. Being there. Sharing her story so that others might share in the abundant life she found through a Bible Study called HEART.

Whenever I hear women speak of HEART their eyes glisten with tears when they talk of it. And you know that their lives are not the same because of HEART and they are eternally grateful.

HEART provides safe and confidential post-abortion support groups for men and women -- offering hope, comfort and healing. If you live in the Greater Portland, Oregon area you can call 503-22HEART or visit their website. For any other area stop by this website to find a local Pregnancy Resource Center.

If you or someone you love is facing an unplanned pregnancy, I want you to know that the Pregnancy Resource Centers are compassionate and caring. They are truly a resource. I had the privilege of volunteering at our local Pregnancy Resource Center and I was touched by the love that enveloped each woman... no matter what her decision. No condemnation. No persuasion. Just love. God's love... Jesus... poured out through human vessels.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
"No one, sir," she said.
"Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:3-5, 7, 9-11

Dear sisters, you are so precious to me. If it were not for Jesus, we would all have the imprints of stones on us. Death itself. But we don't have to live there.

There is hope. There is help. There is Jesus.

I love you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Can't Remain Silent, Again.

I've been thinking about this post lately... it was originally aired November 1, 2009.  I was in the midst of the Esther Bible Study when I went to the annual PRC Gala.

"For if you remain silent at this time,
relief and deliverance for the Jews
will arise from another place,
but you and your father's family will perish.
And who knows but that you have come to
royal position for such a time as this?"
Esther 4:14

I sat there amazed.

A Reversal of Destiny. Chiastic Structure. Divine Insomnia. Peripety. A Story Worth Telling.

No, I wasn't sitting there reading the book of Esther or working on my Esther Bible Study. I was at a fund-raising event for our local Pregnancy Resource Center.

I sat listening. Entranced. There she was on the stage... an Esther of sorts. Telling about a hinge in her life that redirected her path.

She had been 19 when her boyfriend sat her down and told her that there were only two options. Abortion or adoption. And truth be told... he wanted her to have an abortion.

She had been raised in a christian home. Her parents were active in their church. Her heart hurt over the shame she would cause them... so she remained silent.

They secretly set up an appointment with an abortion clinic. After hearing the details, they decided to schedule the abortion for the next day.

The next day? The tomorrow? That sounded familiar.

If the king regards me with favor and
if it pleases the king
to grant my petition and fulfill my request,
let the king and Haman come tomorrow
to the banquet I will prepare for them.
Then I will answer the king's question.
Esther 5:8

And then she said... that in the night... she thought to herself... I need to talk to someone else before the abortion. But who? And then she recalled seeing brochures around her home about the Pregnancy Resource Center.

Not sleeping? Divine Insomnia? Brochures... chronicles?

That night the king could not sleep;
so he ordered the book of the chronicles,
the record of his reign,
to be brought in and read to him.
Esther 6:1

She told her boyfriend that before she had the abortion, she wanted to go to the Pregnancy Resource Center and talk to someone. And so they did.

And the counselor asked her if she wanted the abortion. And she said no. And the counselor asked her why she was having the abortion. And she said she wanted her boyfriend to say STOP! But he wasn't going to stop her... so she decided to do it.

She decided to stop herself.

And my heart is in my throat... because I am so like... PERIPETY! Here it is... here is THE HINGE! The hinge on which the reversal of destiny turns! Can you believe it?

And THEN she tells us that she hadn't told her daughter until recently. She decided to tell her -- after her daughter threw a Tea Party (or a feast/banquet of sorts), and asked that the money raised from the party go to the Pregnancy Resource Center. Her high school daughter didn't know the story. The Story Worth Telling!

And I am so like... GET OUT OF HERE! Chiastic Structure!? The very place (Pregnancy Resource Center) that had rescued her... she is now trying to rescue (by raising money).

The Reversal of Destiny. A precious daughter destined to be aborted...

And there she was... the precious daughter... in the room with us. Standing there. And she was beautiful and lovely. An Esther of sorts. Who had sat through her mother telling us Her Story Worth Telling.

With my heart in my throat, I quietly thanked the Lord that I was privileged to hear this story... and to hear it within days of learning about Reversal of Destiny in session six of the Esther Bible Study. And that it would be seared in my mind. Not just a lesson to be learned, but a story to be told.

A story of life. A story of redemption.

A story worth telling... and I thought... I can't remain silent.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I have a reputation of being a prude.

It happens in a blink, It happens in a flash...

You may want to skip this reading this post.  I'm getting on my soap box... I'm a little emotional... and most of you will find this contentious, so here's your way out... S T O P  READING NOW!

I have a reputation of being a prude.  Although I disagree with that assessment, I will not deny that many times I may come across that way.  Actually, I like to think of myself not as a prude... but as prudent.  

Anyway, I'm not sure if I'm angry or incensed or mad or frustrated.  Why?  Because there is a current Facebook message that is circulating around that says something to the effect of:  "In order to increase awareness of October Breast Cancer Awareness month: Women will be posting to their Facebook status where they put their handbag the moment they get home... ie likes it on the couch, likes it on the kitchen counter or likes it on the dresser."  For those of you unfamiliar with Facebook, basically a status would look like this
Sheri Kaetzel likes it on the kitchen counter.
And here's the big joke... we are NOT supposed to let men know what we are talking about... as if they are imbeciles.  And in reality men aren't even concerned with what we are talking about because the innuendo is obvious... and intentional... my status has now become a sexual innuendo.  I have caused someone pause to wonder... What exactly does Sheri like on the kitchen counter?

Perhaps this wouldn't bother me quite as much but last year to "encourage Breast Cancer Awareness" this same type of message was sent around but this time it was encouraging women to write the color of the bra they were wearing as their status.  And again... hee hee, don't tell the men.  Of course, the men did find out... and that meant that my husband and the rest of the world knew the colors of the bras that young girls in my church were wearing that day.  Sad.  All in the name of "promoting" Breast Cancer Awareness... not.

Why this bothers me so much?  Because I have a history of sexual dysfunction in my generational background.  I am bound and determined to break that cycle for the generations to come.  And that includes my son.  We are raising him to be pure of heart and soul and mind... and body.  And to one day look forward to a loving marriage without sexual baggage to take along... and to find a young woman with the same heart and soul and mind... and body.

And if you have ever read Shaunti Feldhahn's For Women Only:  What You Need To Know About The Inner Lives of Men... you'll know what I am talking about... men's minds are wired a certain way... which is much different than women's minds.  We think we are being cute or funny... or supposedly promoting a good cause... but what we are really doing are leading men's minds to think on things that are not really lovely or pure or honorable...

And you know what, you can disagree with me all you like, but the thing is that I was raised thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo whether it was or not... and then I started making sexual innuendos with  men... not caring the least bit whether they were married or not... just wanting their attention.  So when I made a decision to stop the sexual dysfunction in my own life... one of the things that had to change was sexual innuendos.  I had to stop thinking EVERYthing was a sexual innuendo... and I had to stop causing others to stumble, too.

Now, you may think this is my problem.  And I need to get over it.  And you are right.  But the thing is if you take a look around... this is a huge problem.  And these little innuendos may be cute for the moment... but they may assist in the downfall of someone else.

And I'm truly sorry if this makes anyone feel guilty about their status.  That is NOT my intent.  My intent is to help you have an awareness of the slippery slope that a lot of us live on... and to remember that we are in this world, but not of it.  And that there are better ways to promote October as Breast Cancer Awareness month.   Maybe with a status something like:
Sheri Kaetzel would like to remind everyone that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  And she thanks God that there is HOPE... and a future... for those who have been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. 

Okay... I'm done now.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Perfection, Again

Originally "aired" on October 3, 2008... and currently on my mind...

 I was accused of being a perfectionist. I was shocked and aghast! I have never considered myself to be a "perfectionist"... why just look at how imperfect I am!

Look at how messy my car is! or how unorganized my spare room is! or how I leave dishes in the sink... and don't make my bed! How I normally just want to get the job done more than I want a well done job. I mean, really!

But the person who pointed it out... is very truthful... and she knows me... very well... and I have given her permission to call me on the carpet. So, I really had to consider it. She didn't say it flippantly or without thought. She saw it in me... and for my benefit... confronted me with it. In love. Having prayed over me.

I immediately thought about my blog... especially my Substandard post. All the unwritten words... or written and kept in draft because they just weren't good enough. Words that could have brought hope or healing... left unsaid... because I am afraid of what you might think.

I think of my friendships. How I want everyone to like me... and when there is someone who continues to reject me... how might I win them over?

I think of Christopher and how I want him to succeed in school. But deep down... not only succeed, but to be better than most.

I think of my health and how I want to not have to deal with the ups and downs of having Thyroid Cancer, and low calcium, and clinical depression.

I think of how I feel after leading my Bible Study table on Tuesdays... wondering if I made a difference or did I offend someone?


And why did my friend see the need to talk to me about it? Because, she wants me to relax. She wants me to depend on God and not myself for the outcome. She wants me to be okay with the ordinary because sometimes that is what is called for... and she sees it in herself... and wants me to pray for her, too.

So, what about you? Is there an area of you life in which you are a perfectionist? Let me know... and we can pray about it together...