“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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

discombobulated

Celebrating Christmas in Virginia with My Grandparents

Discombobulated.  That is how I am feeling.  Not thinking straight.  Going through the motions.  No clear thoughts.  No coherency.  Tired.

I returned home from Houston on Saturday night after a mountaintop experience with my Siestas and Beth Moore.  Being challenged and encouraged.  Meeting with wonderful women.  Creating memories.  Drawing closer to the Lord.  And tired.  I never sleep well if I am not in my own bed.  But it was such an exciting time... and I knew I would catch up on sleep when I returned home.

Sunday I woke up pretty much bright-eyed and bushy tailed.  Went to Sunday School and then to church service where our pastor challenged us to go on a 5-day fast of media.  Including social media.  Including Facebook.  Including Twitter.  My heart sunk.  Having just been totally on Facebook and Twitter to communicate with my Siestas, I knew I would miss out on all the after event discussion and photos.  AND I thought that what I post to Facebook and Twitter is glorifying to God, and He uses me as a vessel to others.  Surely, I would not go along with this... I would fast the Internet except for e-mail and definitely TV, but not Facebook.

Throughout Sunday, I saw many of my church family sign-off of Facebook.  And then, my senior pastor's wife.   "Lord," I said, "surely, you would not want me to fast Facebook.  You use me to speak to others through your promptings to post Bible verses and encouragement.  You use me to speak to them."  And then I felt a prompting... With you out of the way, Sheri, I can speak to them directlyAnd I closed my laptop and conceded.

Monday was quite an adjustment to not being on Facebook, but you can do anything for one day, right?  But I did find myself substituting other things for Facebook.  Perhaps work-arounds.  Definitely using texting and e-mailing more.  And finding some printed out Killer Sudoku puzzles to distract me.  Of course, the intent was to be praying more and being in the Word of God more, so I had to continue to adjust.  And although my brain wanted me to feel like I was being deprived... I knew ultimately, I was going to be the beneficiary of treasured time carved out in setting aside this time to focus on this new experience with the Lord.  It helped that I had recently studied Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst because she had taught on feeling deprived and on cravings and it was so applicable to areas other than food.

But then Monday afternoon came.  And through my mom's tears I was told that her father had passed away earlier that day.  We had known he had not been feeling well.  Going in and out of the hospital without diagnosis.  Anthony and I knew that we needed to set aside time to see him at Christmas when we returned to Maryland.  And so we did.  And to our surprise my cousins showed up and we had a real blessed time of fellowship with one another. 


It is at times like these when your mind is flooded with memories.  Especially of childhood.  To remember what moments you shared together and to realize that I am not a child anymore and that time is moving quickly.  And I am so glad for good memories.  For photos.  For stories.  And I feel like yesterday was one of those days that kind of defines your life.  Like the end of one chapter.  The beginning of another.

Anthony and I wondered if my grandfather knew that each moment was special.  He was so very grateful to see us at Christmas.  And he was recalling a time that I made a recipe book of some of his favorite foods.  (He had been born in New Orleans, Louisiana and was truly a chef extraordinaire.)  It blessed me to know that I had blessed him.

And tomorrow I hop a plane to Virginia to visit, again, with my family.  But this time, he won't be there... but we will celebrate him as if he was right there with us.

So, all this to say... of course, my mind has thought about jumping back on Facebook.  No one would think less of me.  It is a difficult time and I could connect with family members and it would be a good distraction, right?  But in my heart and mind, I wondered if there was a reason that this would be the week that I would be fasting and praying.  Pressing closer into the Lord.  And how I need Him even more right now... more than I need distraction... I need Him.

You know, Monday was also the Chinese New Year.  The precious gal that I visit for my mani/pedi is Vietnamese and her husband is Chinese.  I like to go in on Chinese New Year to bless her and she gives me a red envelope as is tradition.  This year, I decided to bless her with a word from the Lord.

The LORD bless you and keep you; 

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 

the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.  

Number 6:24-26 NIV84

So glad I had these verses on my heart before I heard the news about my grandfather.  They brought comfort to my heart.  Praying they do the same for you today.

God bless you today and always.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#SSMTC



I'm heading to Houston tomorrow. #SSMTC This spiral is my ticket into an exclusive event with Beth Moore.  And the anticipation has hit me like a wave.

What's the big deal?  Nothing really.  And everything.  At the end of 2010, I committed to memorizing 24 verses of my choosing in 2011and post them on the LPMBlog and record them in my spiral.  And for that... I get to attend the Siesta Scripture Memory Team Celebration.

This is my second SSMTC.  I wasn't sure I was going to attend this one.  But Christopher inspired me.  He would go and attend Summer Camp or Youth Convention with his church youth group and he would come back energized... filled up... having had an experience with the Lord that often left him speechless except to say it was spiritual and he had wished that Anthony and I could have experienced it.  And I thought to myself... I want to go to Summer Camp and Youth Convention!!!  But in a venue that is more geared to me than middle school kids, of course.  And it hit me... go to Houston this year.

Houston is just the celebration.  The celebration of a year that started out with needing to persevere in my depression (James 1:4) and ending in seeking the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:24).  The celebration that I am constantly challenging myself to do new things and grow deeper in Christ.  The celebration of meeting up with special siestas that I met two years ago and have kept up with over Facebook.

It's bittersweet because I am already missing my hubby and my son... and I haven't even left yet.  But knowing that taking this time away I will return inspired and refreshed (despite the TSA agents) and contagious with a desire to to share with others the abundant life in Christ.

Well, I better get packing.
Spiral ~ check!
Bump-it ~ check!
Pink Feather Boa ~ check!
Twitter hashtag #SSMTC ~ check!

Wishing you were coming with me... but knowing I will share it all with you... you are in my prayers, sister!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

As of Late - January 15th, 2012

"Morning High..."
Photography by Anthony Kaetzel


Lately, I am celebrating the 6th anniversary of "my dark night of the soul."  For more information about my celebration of January 15th, 2006 stop by here.

Lately, I have not been suffering with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Lately, Portland has been known for sunrises and sunsets.

Lately, I have been thanking God for everyday that I experience depression-free.  Knowing that I cannot take these days for granted.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Speed Dating

"Anytime hanging with Anthony and Christopher"
July 4th, 2011 - Sauvie Island
(Don't you love my little reusable strawberry bag?)

Hey, sisters!

Tuesday at Bible Study our fearless and wonderful leader, Terri, encouraged us to get to know some new ladies (aka out of our comfort zone!) by doing an exercise she found from a Speed Dating website.  I didn't get a chance to participate, so I thought I would share my answers now.  I would love to hear yours, too!

What is your FAVORITE...

Beverage... Anything Starbucks

Vacation Spot... Maui, Hawaii

Current TV Show... American Pickers

Body Wash...  Crabtree & Evelyn's Rosewater

Movie...  Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow

Holiday... Good Friday

Dessert... Creme Brulee

Food... Anything Maryland Crab

Toothpaste... Colgate plain

Smell... Cinnamon

Time of day... Anytime hanging with Anthony and Christopher

Season... Summer

Excuse... "I need to talk to my husband first..."

Book... The Holy Bible

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Lack of Isolation

Sharing a private laugh with my photographer...

Where have I been?

I had been wondering to myself why I had not been blogging lately... why I had not been writing lately.  Then this morning as I was reading the dedication and acknowledgements page of the Beth Moore Bible Study James, it hit me.  Melissa (Beth Moore's daughter) had written in the acknowledgements, that she had "learned how isolating and lonely writing can be..." and she was amazed that her mother could stay so happily engaged with her family "despite years of cycling in and out of writing projects."

And although I am not sure I would consider myself a writer per se... and although my posts are nothing in comparison to writing a Bible Study... it does isolate me.  Often having me run upstairs mid-thought with my computer so that I can shut a door and get out the thought that is plaguing me until it is all gushed out and I push the button "Publish."

And isolation has not been happening for me lately.  It has not been my calling.  My calling has been to a handful of women over the past year.  Mentoring.  Nurturing.  Listening.  Crying.  Texting.  Praying.  Studying.  E-mailing.  Meeting.  Talking.  And basically... Living.  Living life together.  Not leaving much time for isolation.  And because of the intimacy of the discussions, my greatest fear would be revealing something about my dear loves and bringing them cause for alarm.  Because they trust me.  They confide in me.  And I can't always say that I have been trustworthy or a bastion of confidence.  But for these dear ones, I must be.  God has called me to it.  And so I do it.

And I feel some relief in this thought.  Remembering that God can change our calling mid-stream.  And we can try and hold on to what He had called us to before and muddle through it.  Or we can take the new calling and move graciously ahead.  And sometimes I wonder if He just has us on a detour now and then.

And I have noticed that this newest calling has brought me more and more out of my comfort zone.  Not only in relationship to these precious daughters... although that is true.  But to other areas of my life.  Opening my home more often for fellowship.  Changing my regularly scheduled Saturday evening at home to going out to dinner spur of the moment with our friends.  And sharing a hotel room with two ladies in Houston!  (And it was almost three!)  For those who don't know me well, I totally love having my isolating alone time after an eventful day.  It helps me refresh and reset.  So to invite others into my downtime really feels like a risk to me.  But I am trusting the Lord.  Knowing that if He called me to it... He will equip me for it.  And I have to admit... I am excited to see what He has in store.

So, there it is.  Just me taking a little alone time today.  Having lots of thoughts to share with you... as I always do, but deciding to keep this post short.  And perhaps writing an "As of Late" post sooner than later...

I love you, sisters!