Thursday, October 29, 2015


I made oatmeal in the pressure cooker this morning for Rod. (Gosh, that is absolutely captivating!! Please, tell us more!! What happened next!!)
Honestly, I think it takes twice as long to make it in the pressure cooker as it does on the stove top. But it makes less of a mess so I am a fan.

We like steel cut oats so it's gonna take a while no matter what. But this morning I remembered to put in the 1 3/4 cups water which I forgot to remember yesterday, which ended badly. Rod ate stale toast for breakfast yesterday before he headed out to put in a day's hard work.(Are any of you even still awake?)

But, while he was gone it was "Yay! Hair cut/color day is here! Yay"
 I always like getting my hair done, especially because it is my friend, Jen, who does it.
 And I haven't spent much friend time with her for a long while.
She has been working on starting up a side business,Vintage23 ,and apparently has been quite busy! With important things!

So what, I have to pay her for her time? No big deal. She is worth it. I am not quite sure what that says about our friendship,though.
But never mind! It was hair day!

FYI, friends. Clear, concise communication is vital when speaking with your stylist. I went in with very precise instructions: "I want you to make me look 10 years younger and 10-50 lbs lighter. And I want to look like a rockstar.And I need for you to erase all my cares and worries for the day. Ready? Go."

After I delivered my carefully worded instructions I confidently settled  back in the chair, convinced Jen would work her black magic and do exactly as I wanted.

Everything was fine until I noticed another stylist gently rubbing her clients arms and hands as she leisurely rinsed her hair in the bowl.
Wait, what new, luxurious service is this?
As I turned to look questioningly at Jen,"what is this amazing new service, because, sister, I could soohooo use an arm and hand massage, she spun my chair so fast my hair whipped into my eyes and I couldn't see the expensive, moisturizing lotions the other stylist was massaging into the tired muscles of her client. And then Jen deftly changed the subject before I could demand for my own hand massage.
"Wow, Such cute boots you are wearing!"

"Yes, I know, right?" And just like a bird that sees something sparkly, the attention was now focused on these.
Totally understandable. Because these boots? I can't even.

But I didn't forget, Jen. I didn't forget. I will get my hand massage. Oh, yes I will.

Jen ended cutting off all my hair, enough so that Rod didn't recognize me while I was making his oatmeal this morning.

So, obviously, I must look like a rock star.
Well, an aging rock star.
One who has maybe lived a hard life with weird parties and illegal drugs and creepy, stalkerish groupies and self-assured, morning after mug shots from police stations all over the world.

So I look like Keith Richards.
Or maybe his mother.

But I feel like Gwen Stephanie, so that is good enough for me.

And, I don't want to boast, but I may look identical (I.DENT.I.CAL) to a certain Spice Girl ....

Except maybe a couple 2-3 of her. She is so tiny! Like barely human! But, I have to say, I'm feeling pretty darn Posh-spicy, and livin the rock-n-roll life style as I pressure cook David Beckham's Rod's oatmeal, sweep my Pergo floors, sip on my frothy cappuccino.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

No Apologies.

It has surprised me, during this dark season, of my seemingly endless capacity for pain.

 Max asked me last week if we could play kitchen, or if I wanted to watch him play MineCraft.

Without pausing for breath he then told me his mom and dad are getting a divorce. He searched my eyes as he then told me that it sometimes meant that kids don't get to see their daddies because because they live with their mommies.

My heart broke onto the floor.

Carefully, gently, fiercely I assured him that he would always get to see his mommy and daddy, and also his Nana and Papa and all his cousins and aunts and uncles. We would make sure, MAKE SURE that he and Lilli would always get to be with their family.

Then we played kitchen and read a book before I packed him up with his red and blue back pack and drove him to school. Lilli and I went inside the cafeteria where all the kids could have breakfast together. I didn't dissolve into tears when I chatted with his teacher this time. Win! I waited with him until school started.

Then I carried innocent laughy squishy stubborn Lilli back to the truck and snapped her into her carseat. Safe and sound. I wish it were that easy.

At least I made it to the highway headed home before I released the torrent of tears I'd had dammed behind my eyes.
Damn these tears. Damn this pain. Damn divorce.

It feels like I have been crying a lifetime and will it continue for a lifetime.
So, clearly I will never be the dainty person that will hold her pain privately, quietly so as not to make any normal situation, you know, like grocery shopping or chatting on the phone into a super awkward scene.
I'm super fun to be around. You should call me! You should invite me to your party!

 I'm not the decorous person who gives a discreet sniffle now and again. Nothing that a Kleenex or two can't take care of.
I will make a great undignified mess of myself as I keen and howl at the scorched earth of it all. (and then blog about it!)

I want this fixed!
My family is dying and I want it to stop!

There is no single glistening tear that escapes only under great duress.

I heave huge hiccupping sobs, and we all know about my Bobbi Brown mascara disaster, snot running down into my wide open mouth, and sounds from "The Walking Dead" coming from way deep down inside.
This is what is looks and sounds like when my heart is breaking. Loud and ugly.

Can't help it. Won't apologize for it.

I just wish I could be a dignified griever. It's so much more acceptable. Especially by me.

BUT...because I'm hurting out loud does not mean I am not believing. I am. I have hope in the future, faith for believing and grace for today.
God is close.
I am still hurting.
 I've found he doesn't just magically make the pain disappear, but he is close beside me during it. I can scream and he answers me patiently. I can cry and he catches my tears in a bottle (yes it must be big bottle.)
 I break apart and he puts me back together, like the bionic woman, better, stronger than before. Or at least, more empathetic and caring for those hurting around me. I can't look up from under this burden and he lifts my head to look into his face.

What a blessed relief. What a balm for my ripped-into-shreds heart.

While I am still aching, I can look into his face, see his deeds, remember each instance of his faithfulness, and I can breathe.
This is what I do. Over and over and over.
I look at him.
 I remember.
 I believe.
 I hope.
I wait.
(and yes, I cry.
I re-apply my Bobbi Brown mascara.
And repeat.)

"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gadget Girl

I think collecting gadgets may be my spiritual gifting. Yes, gadget collecting is a real sickness habit addiction blessing.
I don't often get the gadgets first, but, by golly, I'll get them.
My son told me once that he likes to get techie gifts for me because he thinks they may make me feel young.
Anything that helps, I say.

Yesterday, UPS delivered my new Kindle Paperwhite.
(Thank you, Darrell.) (Yes, first name basis with my UPS guy. Don't judge.)

I have had a Kindle for years, but the flickering light on the case was causing me no end of aggravation. So, when Rod gave in to all my complaining and whininess  suggested I order a new Kindle, I pushed the "send" button. That's how easy-peasy it is when your item is already in the cart.
And look at it! Just look at it!

The case was ordered at the same time, and yes, that is a Van Gogh cleverly and beautifully made into a Kindle case. The pretty case makes me happy, as does the Kindle itself.

FYI, the picture was taken with my iphone, another gadget I am currently fond of.

Speaking of my love of gadgets, my newest kitchen appliance is the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. 
I have been using it almost non-stop lately. It does not disappoint.
I've made risotto,(Yum!) pork roast(meh) marinara sauce (Yum!) and mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, (Super-yum!) split pea soup (Yum!) Beef curry (Yum!)and apple cinnamon steel cut oatmeal.(awesome sauce and NO MESS!)
This pressure cooker, not only pressure cooks, but has a slow-cooker function, a rice cooker function and a sauteeing function, so I can use it for all kinds of things. It also says it makes yogurt (whaaat??) but I haven't even looked at making that.
Next week I want to try making Pho. Can't wait to try that!

I am definitely in my happy place when I am either reading the lovely new Kindle or cooking with the new kitchen gadget and let's just say, I've really needed my happy places lately. 

Tonight I'm using the Instant Pot to cook an old piece of meat I found in a bag in the freezer this morning. Is it freezer burned?
Yes, it is.
 Is it beef? Perhaps.

 But I honestly can't tell anymore.

It might be goat for all I know. (I ain't afraid of no goat.)

I don't expect miracles from the pressure cooker, but hopefully it will render the hunk of meat into something at least edible, if not gourmet, fork-tender and delicious.

With all my gadget shopping, I need to save $$ by using the food I already have in the house, don't ya know.

If you remember, say a quick prayer for Rod and his "dinner" tonight.
Ta ta!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hangry Baby Bird

As I was putting a clean bowl from the dishwasher away in the cupboard today, the tears started again, making my Bobbi Brown mascara make thick, black, expensive tracks down my face.
The ugly cry.
(And I don't mean to obsess, but that mascara is not cheap, girl friend.)

So I called the dogs and headed into the sun-dappled woods to give God a talking-to.
WHY was He letting my family fall into pieces?
WHY doesn't He just fix this now?
WHY do my precious, loved, adored, beloved beyond anything babies ever have to suffer like this?

My knees are weak from the thought and I can't even pretend to stop my tears.

The other morning and before I even have a coherent thought, I wake myself up hearing  my prayers to God, "PleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodDontLetThisHappenPleaseGod...." I told Rod I felt like a helpless, completely vulnerable baby bird in a nest with my mouth wide open in need and continuously asking to be fed.
That is me all right. 
But I have a God who cares for me.
 Protects me.
 Feeds me.
 (And pushes me out of the nest i.e. "comfort zone" when it's time. But that is a whole other blog post.)
This visual made me think of a verse that kind of talks about that. "How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me." Luke 13:34
It was comforting for me to think of God taking care of us that way, the way a mother bird cares for your babies in the nest.
This old hymn has been on repeat in my heart lately.

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
  All other ground is sinking sand.
So very true. Although I am beyond sad, devastated, crushed and all the other synonyms that you can come up with, my hope is NOT built or dependant on Josiah and Ashley working out their differences and Max and Lilli living with their Mom and Dad who love them and each other.

If that were the case, then my total well-being would be tossed back and forth on a daily basis based on whether my kids were happy or sad.
Although there is some truth in there; that I am sad if they are sad, and happy if they are happy.
But I know (know know KNOW) that the God who loves each of us is in control of this whole situation.
 And yours as well. If you think for a moment that you are in charge, you've got some learnin' to do. No joke.
God is large and in charge and THAT is what I base my hope and future on. He is a happy-making God who walks with me, carries me when needed, and has a plan that is for my benefit, not against me. I can't always see the big picture, but I know who is painting it, and He is GOOD. ALL THE TIME.
Even now, while we're hurting.

My plan today is to be still and know He is God, pray like crazy and watch and see what He is going to do.
 Because it'll be good.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle

Okay it is not an actual jungle. But it does feel like one.
Some might call this a season in the desert, all this grieving and anguish and gnashing of teeth. But , for me, it is the jungle, and it is a dark and scary place to be.

The jungle is very dense and we can't even see a few feet in front of us. It is even hard to breathe. There is no trail  that we can see  there doesn't seem to be a way out.

As the month has gone on, we are facing the fact that our son is probably going to be divorced soon.

Divorce. It is now one of the most despised and hated words in my vocabulary.
Is it common?
That does not take even an iota of the sting away.

(Death is common, too. Does that negate the pain? Not  a even a little bit.)

The word represents the unbelievable pain, betrayal, weeping and fear of the future and what this means for my grandchildren. My precious, loved, adored grandchildren. It can feel like I'm dying inside every minute when I think of them. The fact that I can't fix this could destroy me.

Our. Family.Is Falling Apart.

And we can't stop it.

This hurts so bad that I hear myself moaning from it.
How is a  mother supposed to just watch her children and grandchildren in such anguish and not be able to help?
Our prayers to God have sounded something like this: PleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodFixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisfixthisPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGod...and on and on.
And He answers us by reminding us that:
 we are not in charge.
 He loves us
He is good, all the time.
 He is faithful
He will work everything out according to His plan.
 He is HERE.
He is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
Believing these things in our hearts and not just knowing them in our heads has allowed us to look ahead.
He has given us strength to carry us through each hour of each day.
I have been clinging to Him in the middle of my jungle like never before.

I haven't been handling this the best though, with grace and dignity like I would have hoped. I swear, in my mind I always handle tragedy so much better, with maybe just a tear or two glistening in my eye, a calm demeanor and a few wise words.
 Well, if grace and dignity look like laying on on the fir needle and dirty ground in a pile in the woods sobbing my eyes out, or walking down the trails waving my arms around like a lunatic as I shout to God to HELP US NOW!! then I handled it like a boss. (and there was that one night with a bottle of wine. Just keepin' it real.)

I haven't been able to go to church because the thought of walking in and worshipping with all my people there just wreaks me. Honestly, I feel like my weeping and wailing would scare everyone. I am terribly afraid I would just fall apart in front of everyone and I am scared of that. Oh, and there is no oil for this. I tried them all. :-)

 So, please do not think I am avoiding you.
Well,actually I am avoiding you.
 But, don't take it personally.
It's me. It's not you.
This is not my church people's fault; just how I have been dealing with it lately.

Some things that have helped all of us in the middle of this mud puddle are the kind caring people that have come alongside of us and loved us. Notes and messages, phone calls and texts, flowers, hugs, meals, books and other encouragement. Just grieving/crying with us sometimes has been the best thing.
For all of you that helped and encouraged us during the planning and carrying out of our daughter's wedding; what you did will never be forgotten. We owe you all a debt we cannot repay for the thousands of details, big and small that you took care of during those days.You made it possible for my family to have a beautiful, meaningful and profound wedding celebration in the middle of our family tragedy. It was truly
And now she is a Blaesing!
stunning and miraculous, made more so by the way you all took care of us. You carried us when we didn't know how we could do it.
Seriously, God bless you people!

 And prayers. Oh my gosh, to know that you are praying for this family has been more helpful and encouraging than you know.

 For those of you who have jumped head first into the middle of our /mud puddle/jungle with us, regardless of how ugly it is; we thank you.

You have taught us by your example how to better help and reach out to those that are hurting around us. You have showed us how to be Jesus to our friends going through hard,life-altering circumstances. We will never forget what each of you has done to make our burden lighter. I hope and pray that I can be the friend to you that you have been to us.
So, I apologize if this post is scattered and nonsensical to you,( and needs editing) but I am just trying to let you know where we are. If you remember, please pray for my son and daughter-in-law and Max and Lilli.
Divorce hurts. But we are learning to rely on God in a new and deeper way, and for that we are thankful.

“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 4:8b-9 NLT)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Self...

I found this blog post under my draft folder from last winter and thought I'd post it today because I had a big ol' Costco chocolate cake on my counter yesterday. Do you even know how HUGE these cakes are? It is seriously surprising that my kitchen island doesn't collapse under the weight of this monster. (It's surprising I don't collapse after I eat a half  a piece a forkful .)
It kept talking to me when I would walk by."Diane....Diane....just have a teensy little taste....It'll be okay..." The fork laying right next to it DID NOT help the situation. Who on earth would put a fork RIGHT THERE anyway?
Why can't Rod like chocolate cake? He should eat it.
Truth:Costco chocolate cake is my kryptonite.
 Well, it is NOT okay and that chocolate cake has sung it's last siren song. I shoved that entire sweet talking dessert down the garbage disposal. I did that yesterday and it's almost as if I can still smell it. Still taste it.....Oh. That's the frosting still of my  lip. Adios, sweet delicious cake. Adios.
 (I miss you...) 
Anyway, here is the post:

I know you've been under pressure lately. So, what's new? 

Finding peace by watching a sitcom? Or Grey's Anatomy? Or a season or two of "Breaking Bad" or "Parenthood.?" Scootch over. I'll watch with you.

Looking for comfort in the middle of an All-American chocolate cake from Costco?

Venting bygossiping talking it out with friends?

Relaxing by reading a crime novel? Or the newest Food Network magazine "The Bacon Issue." (I am not making this up. It is the Bacon Issue.And....I'm back to food.)

Drinking a bottle glass of vodka wine?

Shopping and buying more mascara because it is a new brand and a fantastic new technologically advanced formula which is proven with studies to actually grow your baby lashes to indescribable lengths? Because we all need that.

Spend meaningful hours on Facebook looking at  duck-face selfies, pictures of their dogs in the snow, wild animal videos and their freshest grandbabies making spit bubbles.

Finally pass that freaking level 142 on Candy Crush? (PS. Please send me a life. I'm stuck again.)

These are all just hypothetical scenarios. Just so ya know.

But, honestly? Sometimes the pain/fear/whatever is so horribly overwhelming that I will try to do all these things at once. This is not pretty. Or practical. It ends with me having to clean chocolate cake crumbs off the keyboard and/or phone.

Why do all these things I do have to be so bad for me? Why couldn't I go run a half-mary or clean my hall closet with a vengence?

I am not saying these things are wrong at all. I'm saying that sometimes when I am crushed but not destroyed, I will turn to the fast-food ease of one of these band-aid solutions rather than to the actual healer of my soul.

Because sometimes I want to avoid pain and so I will muffle it with Candy Crush or..candy.
Do you do this, too?

 I know if I go to God with it, I will have to open up and spill it all, my pain my anxiety my worry my fear my anger my bitterness my sadness my aloneness. And it's SO BIG.

That's right. He wants it all.
And then he'll walk through it with you.
Holding you.
Encouraging you.
Reminding you.
 Loving you.
Reshaping you.
(And, yes. By "you" I do mean "me.")

 So that is what I choose to do.

Pursue the Lord by spending time with him. Walking in the winter woods with only the dogs and Jesus for my companions. Praying unceasingly when I wake up and can't sleep again because of worry and anxiety.
 Let HIS words wash over me..........

Turn on music that points me to true joy.

Listening to sermons by theologians that admonish me, teach me and direct me to search out God and live for him.

Reading bible study books that help me unravel the mysteries of God and show my how to wrestle out my salvation.

Go and serve God's people at church in whatever capacity. Serve the community and be Jesus with skin on to people who don't know him yet. What greater happiness than sharing the Good News? Uh, none.

Being still and knowing he is God. Relaxing in the knowledge that he has EVERY.THING in his hands...hands that have my name engraved on them. Ahhhhh.

All these things earthly, fleshly things promise me peace and happiness. They deliver moments of forgetfulness and numbness. A few minutes of fleeting pleasure. Then I need to watch more, buy more, eat more, drink more.

Actual joy and contentment are found when I drink from the source of joy and contentment. All the other things are just distracting me from what I really want and need.

 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
And finally, this song is running through my mind and heart this morning...  Go ahead; sing with me. I won't judge you.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus 
  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shame on you

I have been doing pre-Easter dinner cleaning at my house today.I'll be honest; deep cleaning is not my spiritual gifting. We have animals who really seem to delight in bringing in their dirt and their fur. Bits of their kibble are spread here and there like canine confetti all over the floor and carpets.(I won't tell you who the main culprit is, but his initials start with COOPER.)

Combine that, all the horse dirt, the smells and my lack of deep cleaning and you have one of the reasons  I hardly ever have anyone over for dinner or coffee.
Feelings of inadequacy.
People will judge me.
(Well, that and I am a natural hermit.)

Don't we all have this to some degree? Maybe not over your cleaning ability (or lack thereof) but something else?
Has it been a long time since you've come to church to worship with your family in Christ? Are you worried about how people will view you? Is it easier to just stay where you are?

Feeling that you are not good enough can freeze you in place.
The thing is, our embarrassment keep us from doing good things. Our shame paralyzes us and we don't invite people in. We don't want to go anywhere, even church, because of our fear of being seen and found wanting.

 I personally, cannot relate to this at all. But I've heard other people talk of it.

Only kidding.

Some of our shame is really guilt. Deserved guilt. I get that.
But, you do know, don't you, that is exactly why Jesus died. To pay for that thing you are guilty about.
Some of it is stuff Satan makes up and whispers to us, over and over again, in order to keep us chained up. (You are bad, you are ugly, you are a loser, you are a failure, just give up...etc.)

But here is the thing: This is why we celebrate Easter. He came to bear our shame and sinfulness himself. That is the Good News!
When I look at that truth, I will tend to open up my home and invite people in, pull on clothes that don't fit so great and go to church anyway. He gives us freedom from constantly judging ourselves.

So, quit looking at your imperfections. Don't listen to the voice that says you are not enough.

We all need to look at him and quit studying ourselves. (I preach loudly to myself.)
I read this today from "Jesus Over Shame" by Jen Smidt.:

"If you are carrying the weight of shame, Jesus is calling you to give that burden to him and rest in the new identity he has given you. Because of shame, you may feel unqualified to speak truth into areas where you have influence. Whether you’re a Bible teacher, a neighbor, an employee, or a stay-at-home mom, you lead others. Don’t allow shame to silence you, but instead live in the freedom of Jesus’ grace, which eradicates shame. Don’t use shame to motivate yourself or those you lead. Point people to Jesus, who conquered shame.
Christian, from this day forward, choose Jesus over shame, every time."
Isn't that perfect? Choose Jesus over shame. Every time.
Love that.

This song makes me celebrate every time I hear it. How can we not just sing along and celebrate Jesus this weekend? Remember, take your eyes off yourself and look at Jesus.
Now go to church!

"Greater" Mercy Me
Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain

Don't you know that's not you're name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I'm not right
But that's alright

'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There'll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed
Every time I fall
There'll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that's OK
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
(He's Greater, He's Greater)
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Read more: Mercy Me - Greater Lyrics | MetroLyrics