Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Home.....

Three months ago I scrounged up this metal sign which had been left out for the Wednesday trash collectors in our alley.  It made me smile - which is the prerequisite for decorating these days.  Home it said...so home it came.  Other words have been written on my heart just as clearly - some end up on the walls - some tattooed on my body because I need them that close (greatly loved...greatly blessed) and others here on the blog or facebook. 

Words are powerful things.  They show the true condition of our heart -where our trust lies- what we believe - and how we view the world.  Without words we are silent and our relationships are empty.  Without words we can not teach or guide.  We can not share joy or grief.  Pain or delight.  When we withhold words we easily become the exact people we fear the most.  Words are the gift we give those around us  - from the mail man - to the child at our knee - words are the ties that bind our hearts together and the things which can drive us apart when we use them wrong.  Words mean something - everyone of them.


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Woman I Want To Be......

A friend posted this on my FB wall yesterday......

Be The Kind Of Woman That When Your Feet Hit The Floor Each Morning The Devil Says "Oh Crap, She's Up."

Lord - may it be............For your glory alone.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What I Am Reading Now: Safe People by Cloud and Townsend...

As parents we teach our children all about stranger danger and personal safety. We lecture daughters and single adult friends who walk in dark alleys alone at night and explain the risks inherent in meeting guys in 'chat' rooms. 

But there is a whole world of safety that doesn't include our physical bodies as much as our metal and emotional ones.   Teaching our children how to protect and care for these parts of themselves in relationships is just as important as physical safety, but many of us are woefully unprepared in how to go about it.

In  Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (Christian viewpoint)  they present a simple but understandable explanation of 'relational safety'  for those who want to address this topic in our families.  As a 47 year old reading it I found I had a lot to learn- and then to share from what they wrote.  Lessons I am weaving into our family meetings this fall and through the fabric of our days as I prepare the team from 4 to 18 to set out and face the world they live in.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Little Sense Knocked Into Me.....


Fall always brings out the sorter in me - Last week  I gathered up the medals that I received at the in-school, district and regional tournaments over the past year and realized that I had enough to do a 'hefty gallon size Ziploc' advertisement.  It made me smile because I had never really intended to compete last season - but the reality check caused by the strange neurological symptoms I experienced in January reminded me that I could no longer put off things I might like to do 'someday.'  So I put on my big girl protective gear and jumped right into the 40-50 year old 2nd and 3rd degree Black Belt ring.    Promptly getting kicked in the head :)  Over...and over....and over again.  Until some sense started getting knocked into me.   Not that I like getting kicked like that - but I was at a place in my life where I needed a little wakeup call and God provided a safe group of women here in the North District of ATA to help well.....beat it into or out of me and it seems to have worked.
 
With those lessons in mind, the pattern of life here at the Old House shifted over the summer and I wasn't able to go to Worlds in July.  Thankfully the three oldest teens went with our head instructor and this sweet looking daughter  got to compete in creative weapons -  with her not so gentle looking sword, as well as join her brothers in Little Rock at the first big tournament of the new season.  It was a rite of passage for all of them and an opportunity I am glad that none of them needed to miss.
 
October begins this next week and with the falling leaves the tournament season is heating up once again.  My new reality necessitates that I will be spending my time on the side lines and not in the ring .  Yes - I did stomp my foot when that truth struck home for the first time - I am a self centered -sinful person.  And I admit I did cry and throw a pit of a pity party. Because this is something I wanted to do...something I like...something for me....another thing I could add to my laundry list of things I have to give up because life is hard. Wahhhh....
 
And then I remembered I had a choice.   I could cry and rage.  I could dwell on how unfair it was, how I didn't get what I wanted and everyone else seemed to.   Or I could remember the lessons I have learned over the past year.  Instead or being angry, stepping back....taking a breath....and saying 'thank you God.'  ' For this season....for every time I did get to step into the ring, for every punch, every kick, every breath.  Thankful for what I do have vs being angry about what I do not have.   I can count it joy or despair each time the sharp pain of loss comes....but's it's my choice entirely.  Especially now that  I have had  a little sense knocked into me. 
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The cat with no real name.....

This is Itty Bitty Kitty (IBK). He hasn't been introduced here on the blog 'officially' because he arrived under some rather questionable circumstances and in less than great condition in early July.  He's a full Siberian - which makes him hypoallergenic- like our original cat Judah - and he is actually a half brother to him also and only three months younger which makes them good playmates.

IBK had a season of trauma in his life before he landed in our home.  It was  heart breaking to watch the cost of trauma on an animal.  His fur fell out in huge patches, he cried like a newborn when we put him in a kennel and he was terrified of men.  He was so  thin  and dehydrated in the beginning that I warned the kids I might not be bringing him back from his first trip to the vets office.  I was worried that it might just be too late for him.

But it wasn't. 
And his fur is growing back in.
And he has chosen me as his special person to follow around at night- until I lock him up because he feels so good now that he simply MUST play wild cat.  IBK is my therapy  cat.  He lays here next to me tonight as I am wanting to blog but almost scared to start again.  Encouraging me to write something simple.  Something easy....write about a cat he seemed to hint.  A cat who almost died...but God had a plan...to give him a family that was hoping for another Siberian friend....and on the perfect day...in the nick of time...his suffering ended.  And the family was ready and willing and prepared to love him back to health because there was the perfect place already prepared for one grey Itty Bitty Kitty.  And so we start again.....

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Life Is Hard And God Is Good.....

Recently I took the blog down for a week or two to do a little maintenance and to prayerfully consider if its useful life had been spent.  Since then I have fully appreciated each of the concerned emails and requests to be added to a private reader list if the disappearance tuned out to be permanent.  In the end I did the clean up work, faced my concerns and decided that the message I had been given to share with the larger world was still the same.

Life is Hard.
And God is Good.

So I tweeked my header - changed my privacy settings and UrbanServant is back proclaiming the truth that even on the hardest days...God is Good.

Monday, August 25, 2014

"Dont Forget To Breath...Oh Mattie."

This necklace hasn't left my neck much lately.  It's been a gut wrenching season of life that could have worn me out and melted me into a sobbing mess rocking in the kitchen corner. 

But that wasn't Gods plan - instead my neck is tarnished by the sweat of hard work reacting with the copper disk and the chain is grungy from wearing to the beach and coated with the smoke from my grill.  It has become as much a part of my morning ritual to hold it and remember that God has 'this' day handled as it is to preach to myself that 'in him - I am greatly loved.' It's just become a part of how I am 'doing it' for now.

Over the past few years I have given away at least 10 of these necklaces to women facing cancer, the end of abuse, adoption disruption and a firestorm of other trials. Each time I have ordered them with joy through Jubilees Jewels because I love the story of Mattie's life and his fight for daily Breath - a precious little boy with Downs Syndrome who I have grown to love through his mama's Facebook sharing and the daily ups and downs of real life.  These necklaces and the Book Mattie Breathes are a few of the ways that the Loux family reaches out into a hurting world and offers hope - hope that points up to Jesus and overcomes the darkness of despair.

On August 22, 2014 - his mamma posted this...........
At 9:30 last night, a brave little warrior from this earth was welcomed as a strong and valiant champion into the arms of Jesus. Our son is gone from our arms, but his life has imprinted each of our hearts with more love than can ever be spoken. Our family grieves with deep, deep grief. A loss like this is more than our hearts can bear but we lean on the One who created us all.

And I forgot to breath again.

Because I am a mama also - and he... is... gone.

Please pray for Mattie's family tonight - for his parents Traci and John and his sibs who loved him passionately for the years he was with them.  Though he is breathing freely in heaven - they still need the reminder tonight.

Don't forget to breath.

Oh Lord - peace in this - in your strength - over each of them.  Because you love them best.  Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Steam Turns 18 -

June was a blur and July has been twice as fast this year.  Not in a bad way - but in the 'Un-circle the wagons, get them back into line and get us all moving again toward the horizon," sort of way.  It's good, but there's a lot of dust and groaning and creaking axels (which could just be my aging joints) as those wagons start moving forward again.

One of the best things that happened in June was that Steam turned 18.  I'm not sure how it happened - but my 4.5 lb premi is now an almost 6'3" man.   He is brave, courageous and a man after God's own heart.  I love what I see happening in his life and can't wait to watch as he continues to mature in this next season as he gathers supplies and prepares to pull his wagon out of line and head off on the path designed especially for him.

Happy belated Birthday Steam - it might be time for a new nickname - I'll let you pick this time. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Fruit in The Year Of Drought.....

The Bible is full of analogies that teach us about life's trouble...the waters rise...the walls fall down...the enemy surrounds us and we are TRAPPED!  Not a little trouble but that throat clenching panic feeling that calls flight or fight into the forefront of our mind and forces us into action.

I'm glad that most of life's issues don't require we live there all the time - and with 11 kiddos - I suspect that my capacity to deal with trouble might be a tad broader than the general publics - not because I am a super hero -  but only because I would be in the corner rocking if I did not develop some sort of life-trouble coping mechanism.

Having been at this large family/multiple hidden disabilities thing for an extended season I can honestly say that coping isn't the challenge.  That can almost be done with the right management system and household plan.  The hard part to doing this job well is staying emotionally healthy, hopeful; and living a fruitful life in he midst of 'whatever' happens next.

Jeremiah 17 reads....
Cursed is the man who trusts in man
 and makes flesh his strength
 and who's heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a scrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come.
He shall well in the parched places of the wilderness,
   in an uninhabited salt land.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, who's trust is in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream,
  and does not fear when heat comes,
  for its leaves remain green.
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Shade in the desert.  Fruit in the year of drought.  The evidence that we are still alive and loving, hopeful, trusting, not angry or bitter.  Still reaching out to the hurting with words with encouragement and truth.  Even if the heat is brutal.  Even if everything logical says run...hide...scream and turn inward.  Jeremiah 17 says that it is possible to be the tree which continues to bear fruit when everything around has withered under the scorching heat.

No matter what your troubles are today. I hope that there will be fruit mixed in with the hard things...that the journey through this place will not just be an endless wandering in despair but that you will be that unexpected tree in the desert - offering sweetness and shade.  Be Blessed.
(shade next to the waterfall ...one treasured luxury to a Siberian cat in the summer heat.)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Winner of Tripp Book Give Away........

Happy 5th of July! :)

Personally - I am in a total state of early morning denial - my kitchen looks like a bomb blew up in it, there is nothing easy for breakfast and the only way I found counter space to brew coffee was by stacking the dirty dishes back on the table....A nasty reality  I was willing to face over the rather dyer consequences of a non-caffeinated morning with potentially sugar hung over kids (maybe there is enough ice cream left....that might be breakfast with mashed potatoes;)

Two weeks ago I posted a book give away on Paul Tripp's "What Did You Expect - redeeming the realities of marriage."   Thanks to all of you who poured your hearts out to me in email and personal messages.  Don't think that the lack of comments in the comment section for this book implied there was a lack of interest.....no way!  It was just too personal for people to throw out there on the internet as 'hater fodder' so most of you chose other methods to contact me.

First - HUGS to every one of you who let me know you are worried about your marriage.

Second - High five to each of you who wants your marriage to be more of what God wants it to be.

Third - Whispered prayers of hope, boldness and encouragement over you as you seek Gods glory in your relationship.

Because of the ongoing nastiness of the haters in our larger group I will not post the winners name here - but I will email you today.  Go friends...get your kitchens cleaned up, the coffee brewing and hit this new day prepared to love well.