Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tomorrow We Eat The Turkey: Thursday We Eat The Stuffing.....

Tomorrow is Sunday - five days before Thanksgiving and we are cooking up the turkey for supper.  Nope -not because they are super cheap this week and I think I just might be able to trick the crew into eating two this week  Not because I left it in the van for 3 days and it MUST be cooked - but simply because I am applying the lessons I have learned with 15 years of special needs parenting and trying something new.

I'm not doing it all.


Heart cluch. Fake swoon.

Yeah..yeah.  We already decided that I was done being a super hero last year.  And the fact that I hit the end of my rope and didn't even have enough left to hang myself on was a pretty telling reality check.

So this is a new twist.  Thanksgiving this year will still include all of the things we love -like the 11 kids cook off.  But it will not ALSO include the huge traditional dinner that almost kills the mother.

I'm cooking a progressive Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Turkey for dinner on Sunday ...maybe with mashed potatoes- maybe with tater tots.  Stuffing on Thanksgiving as the main course. Roasted veggies on Tuesday with the gravy from Sunday night...and wonderful desserts all week long. I'm going to weave the thankful theme into all of it and take the time to enjoy it myself with the team instead of rushing through.

What a novel idea.

I think I will intentionally open two bottles of wine - and alternate a glass from one or the other each night - I will invite my friends in all week long and sit with them over chocolate biscuits and cheese as if every day is a holiday (decadent...naughty...and freeing because people are a gift in my life)

I think I will start the family advent readings tomorrow because no matter how hard I try...I cant ever keep up with the season.  So why not start a week early?

I'm going to breath in and breath out - play the music that brings joy to my heart - hang twinkle lights in our bedrooms and rest at the feet of Jesus.

I can't wait.

If You Spend Yourselves In Behalf Of The Hungry.....

Magnets don't stick to the stainless front of my fridge but tape does and  have had this version of Isaiah 58:10 (by my girl friend Artsie Andie)  there to remind me each time I go to open it - of what I am called to as a believer and follower of Christ who has been blessed with much.  It does wonders for my soul - each time I look at the words- I hear the call and the promises and they are etched deeper into my heart......If you spend yourselves of behalf of the hungry......and satisfy the needs of the oppressed....then your light will rise out of the darkness...and your night will become like the noonday.  The Lord will guide you always....he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.You will be like a well watered garden, like a spring who's waters will not fail.  
Its these words - written on my heart that wont let me ignore the needs of the women and children of Tubor  village.  These are the hungry, they are the oppressed.  The 30 women who are member of the Tubor Co-operative are the mammas to 57 school aged children who I feel should be able to go to school and have regular meals.

But their mamas can't just make it happen - because  to often they have to make the choice...between food or education. Medical care, mosquito nets or malaria. Groan..
And I can't make it happen - I don't have the resources to write the check (ok - I could write the check...but it would bounce for sure!)  But I am sponsoring two of the mamas as well as advocating for the entire group.  But I am only one woman.
But God can make it happen.

Because he owns the cattle on a thousand hills and is pulling our village together from all over the world.  So that mama's in Uganda  - and every one of us who is willing to be a part of this wild thing he has going on - will know and see that God is taking care of his daughters by calling us to LOVE each other really well.  Not just with our money - $23/month is fairly painless for most of us - but by weaving our stories and hearts together in a new way.

Because some day soon....I dream that members of our virtual village (shoot - why wont I just say all of us?  Our God is the God of crazy big things.) Going to Tubor and being able know and be known by the women there because we have relationships through our facebook page, messages passed back and forth through our Ugandan team and the power of agreeing together in prayer that we are called to live life freely in Christ and boldly in him for the joy of ourselves and others. 

All it will take is us being willing.  For us to step out in faith that the God who built all things has this one small thing also.  Bringing together 23more women into one cyber place to love on and celebrate all that he does with the women of Tubor.

Do you want to join us? Do you have the desire to join this beautiful group of 10 women from Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin  and Canada, ( whooot!  I am no longer alone :)as we speak and act to change the lives of women and children on the other side of the world?

Will you stand with us as we say that they are worth it?  If you are ....follow this link and join us in the celebration.  Because I know that the single moms and widows of Tubor Village have hope and a future that we get to rejoice in with them.


Monday, November 17, 2014

We only Get One Chance- For Good Or For Bad -To Parent Our Kids....

14 years ago Steam was 4, Star was 2 and Kudu was a newborn.  Y2K was sneaking up on us and I sat around with my friends joking about the reality that we only got one chance to parent - for good or for bad - each of our children.

Fast forward to today.  8 more kids, 5 household moves, 13 years of homeschooling and  5000+ more parenting days  - for fun you can add in the 40,000 diapers and at least 1500 sleepless nights and I think I'm almost ready to run screaming from the reality of it all.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Can I Join Your Village If I'm An Atheist?

YES you can!

Disease, hunger, poverty, destruction. 

Fear, desperation, despair, hopelessness.

Isolation, depravation, abandonment, displacement.

These are not words that fall along denominational, political, ethnic, gender or religious lines.  They are the painful reality of too many people in the world today. And too often the familiar truths of the single mammas and widows of Uganda.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November Birthdays:Kudu and Wind...

Winter hit here hard this week - we went from sandals and sweatshirts to sleet and predicted temperatures in the single digits. I know its November, I know I live in Minnesota -but seriously - I was hoping it might hold off a few more weeks to extend my spell of summer sanity.

Blah on ice and snow. :(
I don't like it and it's cold.

But the good news is that it means twinkle light season is upon us.  And with it the first two birthdays of the holiday season.

Kudu turned 15 and Wind 9.

Which makes me happy because these are two of the brightest spots in my day.  Cat wrestling..pie baking...fight picking.  These two are not afraid of being right in the middle of whatever family chaos is going on - and ramping it up if need be.  

Tender hearted and sensitive they might not be biologically related but their hearts are knit so closely together there is no question that they are brother and sister and100% my babies.

Happy birthday Steam and Wind....I love  you both and am so thankful that I get to be your mom!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Relearning Old Lessons.....

Yesterday I posted on Tubor Village and how worried/afraid/scared I was to take on the role of virtual village advocate for the ladies there.  Today I walked into Target and right there on the clearance shelf was the answer to all my problems.
Nope -I didn't 'find' the illusive Snow Carnival coin that would pay for all of their school fees and medical needs, it wasn't a wining lottery ticket or a stack of nice crisp $100. bills.  Instead it was another Wall cling - words in a tube - that reminded me at 50% off to simply "Pray about everything and worry about nothing." 
Palm to forehead. Forehead to table.  Hysterical giggle.  (Wondering why this is funny ? God always finds ways to speak to my heart right where I am at.....and clings are where my eyes fall right now so I find this particularly humorous. )
Bu really? the recent long season of crisis and drama I have forgotten some of my most basic rules to living well and this is one of them.   Worry gets me no where - its a bad habit that feeds unbelief and control problems and I don't want anything to do with all.  I know this.
So at nap time I rearranged the wall at the end of my bedroom and added the reminder.  Next I will print and include photos of the Tubor mamas and widows because I will not worry about them...but I absolutely..positively will pray over them and all of their needs.   And before I focus on building our virtual village to support them financially I am going to call out for a team of prayer supporters....people who want to join me in trusting/walking/seeking Gods good plans for the women of Tubor.    So....though everyone is still invited to join the village - who wants to join the Tubor ladies prayer team first?  Comment or PM me and I will add you in!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

So.....Do you Want to Join My Village?

Last week I agreed to do something scary. 

In faith - and understanding that God uses the weakest of us in the hardest moments to show himself most clearly - I stepped into a new relationship with the widows and single mamas of Tubor village of Uganda. 

I am now their advocate.  Their voice here in Minnesota, hoping to reach out into the world on their behalf and build a cooperative that mirrors and sisters their own.  (More Details here.)

I said I was scared - right? 

Because I live in of do it yourself, each man for himself and stand on your own two feet.  And I am asking people to join me in an idea that is so foreign to us that it feels almost unnatural.

But it shouldn't.  Because we are called to live in community.  To care about other people  - to live freely and love people well even when its hard. No...Especially when it's hard.  And I think this is going to be gut wrenchingly-beautifully-faith stretchily hard to do this.

And I am good with that.

My first assignment -for God's glory and the hope and joy of the village mamas of Tubor - is to build a virtual village.....a cooperative of 30 people on this side of the world who are willing to jump in at $23/month to support 1:1 the 30 mamas of Tubor village in the essentials of life.  Were not talking lattes here - these needs are the basics.....educating their children, emergency medical care, mosquito nets and wells.

To put it in perspective.... If the global measure of extreme poverty is $1.25/day...the reality that these women have $.76/day means something.

It means something serious.
Like I couldn't just walk away and say 'that's horrible.'

My heart and my Jesus wont let me. Because these women and children are precious to him - which means that they are precious to me. 

So far I'm the only one here in the virtual village.  Which makes the ratio  1:30  - and its a scary place to be in......  But writing that had to stop and pray. 

Do I believe that God is calling me into this place? And so is he also preparing other hearts to love these mamas across the miles.   If this is of me - then I should be afraid - but if it is of God - then I should be solidly confident that the plan is in place and he is in control...Lord I pray that you would be seen in Tubor and in its matching village here - and I pray that a love would grow between the women and men of both communities that would surpass all understanding and can only be explained through your name.

So...does anyone want to join my village?

The details and links are all here at Beauty For Ashes Uganda or you can ask me - I would love to partner with you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Geography Challenge: Where In The WORLD is Tubor?!

Tubor is a village in Uganda I hadn't heard of until this October.   It's located in the Teso region of Eastern Uganda and it's the home to these beautiful women and children.  I haven't been able to locate it exactly on a map yet - due to 'laptop overheating' issues my searching has been a little restricted and this isn't easy like goggling 'Seattle.' 

No....according to my friend Brandi from Beauty For Ashes these mamas are not going to show up on a quick and dirty facebook search under their name or hometown - and as widows and single moms the number of opportunities available to them are seriously limited.   But starting today - I pray that their story may be changing - because each one of you now knows that Tubor is a village in Uganda. 100, 300, 500 more people will have added it to their mental map by this time tomorrow and if the day goes anything like I hope it will, I will post again and let you know why I'm trolling maps of Uganda searching  for  the village of Tubor and then sharing it with you here on the blog.   

Until then....I'm just going to leave you all hanging. :)

(because its snowing outside...and I just don't think that is funny at all!)

Book Winner: Walk to Beautiful............

Cici - Congratulations!  Your the winner for the book! But I don't have your contact info so you have 5 days to contact me or I will choose another name from the FB list or comments section in the original post.

Just comment again and include your mailing address - every comment is moderated so its private and safe.

The countdown is on....11 days until the  Safe Families When Love takes you in auction and concert.  Still plenty of time to get your tickets!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Overflowing Joy.....

Overflowing Joy.
It's what happens when we stop trying to control
the things that are beyond our responsibility
and trust Gods good plan for our lives.
It's what happens
when we live wholeheartedly in the moment
without fear
without anger
without doubt
Without shame.
It's knowing
and trusting
that we are doing exactly
what we are supposed to be doing
in this moment
no matter how strange it feels.
our joy
is not dependent on circumstances
or how we feel
but is based on our solid
unchanging identity
and knowledge
of Christ.
Rich or poor
healthy or sick
alone or surrounded
he is an unchanging reality
the solid rock
the reason why
we can dance in the rain.