Under Construction

I sat across the table from my beautiful daughter Jessica, trying to speak past the lump in my throat. The restaurant in Southern California was noisy and crowded, but I was determined to get the words out. So much had happened in the past year and this moment was the culmination of all of it; the loss and betrayal AND the healing, hope and renewal.

It was nothing short of a miracle.

“Dad and I want to give you this,” I choked out and gave her the cash gift we had planned to give her last summer when she graduated from college. All of our lives had taken an unexpected detour and we were GRATEFUL to be back on course, following God’s plans for our future.

Three weeks earlier, I was at my usual Monday night Bible study and the teacher was summing up her story of God taking her through a year of extreme pain to work out some profound things in her life. As she spoke, I felt the sweet nudge of the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Your year is up.” I was so distracted by the thought, I HAD to check the date on my phone. Sure enough, exactly one year ago was my first appointment with my new Stanford cancer doctor… which kicked off a year of surgeries, appointments, and MANY personal struggles for my family.

I was very teary-eyed driving home that night.  It was an awareness of God’s presence speaking a personal message to me. “Your year is up,” kept replaying in my mind. It had been a year of unraveling for me on ALL levels—physical, personal, spiritual, financial, emotional… ALL levels… and God had taken me to a new, deeper intimacy in my walk of faith.

As I arrived home, Jessica had some news. She has been trying to move to Southern California for a year to pursue her career goals, and nothing has worked out for her. In fact, her year took a terrible turn and everything in her life was put on hold. This same “Your year is up” evening, she received a random text from a friend she had danced with on her competitive dance team in high school, asking her if she was looking for a place to live down south. Within days Jessica had an apartment, a room-mate, a car and a job!

“Your year is up!”

I don’t know exactly what it means, but something has definitely lifted, opened up for us.

We have just recently had a major crossroad by our home close for six weeks of repairs. A collapsed bridge would be ripped out, and a new, firm foundation laid. The much-needed roadwork would also bring a SUPER inconvenient rerouting of traffic, adding an extra 10 minutes to my commute down narrow, country roads. The detour would not be fun— inconvenient and long— BUT… very necessary.

Roadwork. Detours. Delays. …a great analogy for life.

It has been a year of construction, an undoing, and God has been faithful to repair the brokenness, rebuilding a solid foundation of security in Him.

As we left the restaurant, Jessica was all moved in and Eddie and I were preparing to drive home. We hugged her goodbye and there was such a sense of peace knowing God had made a way and the waiting was over. The detour had not been fun, but there was a new strength in all of us, especially Jessica, to journey wherever God would lead, trusting Him each mile of this new road.

And speaking of new roads….

The roadwork near our home was completed this week and we are able to drive on it. No more long, miserable detours waiting for the work to be done.

Take down the ‘road work ahead’ and ‘road closed’ signs!

The road is open and…

My year is up!

(Now if someone can just make sure Cory receives the ‘year is up‘ memo, we’ll be good! Hah!)

2 Corinthians 1:9-10  “…But this made us stop trusting in ourselves and start trusting God, who raises the dead to life. God saved us from the threat of death, and we are sure that he will do it again and again.”

 

Parenting Pep-Talk

The sting of the slam signaled my words cut deep.  I had again said the wrong thing to my 21year old daughter, Jessica, and she was upset. What was meant as a helpful correction came across as a nit-picky insult.

(photo credit: Margo Design Studios)

I have to say… I was not prepared for the incredible pain of releasing Jess to grow up.  The last two decades have been an all-consuming focus on preparing her, praying for her, and protecting her and NOW… I have to find the ability to truly let go of her

No words.

(Well.  I actually DO have words because what’s a blog without words?!)

I quickly knelt down and asked God for help, praying Psalm 139:23-24.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

I don’t want you to think I’m this super-spiritual-always-praying- or-always-in-church person, BUT… I really do understand my need for Jesus. Many times, for me, life boils down to this statement:

Life is hard AND God is incredible. He’s my hope, my strength, my comfort.

In the quiet of the moment, God nailed me. I was so quick to bring up her words, tone of voice and attitudes but was not dealing with those same issues in my life.

It was a classic case of Matthew 7:3-4 (NLT)

“Why worry about a speck in your friend’s (daughter’s) eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend (daughter!), ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ …when you can’t see past the log in your own eye?”

It was a humbling realization.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this topic of parenting adult children, and I keep coming back to analyzing Ephesians 6:3

“… do not exasperate your children (provoke them to anger); instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

The word “instead” packs a punch.

Instead of controlling my kids, I can be an example to them… a mentor.

Instead of demanding— provide clear boundaries.

Instead of “guilting” them into doing something—ask questions and guide them.

Jessica often says I remind her of Phoebe on the show Friends. I thought this was a compliment until I watched a few episodes and it became clear Phoebe strategically uses guilt-inflicting comments to let her friends know they’ve disappointed her.

Message received loud and clear.

In those moments as I prayed for Jess, I knew I needed to respond— to find a positive way to reach out to her and build our relationship. I decided to write a letter, a one-sided conversation where I could tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of her— where I could write my apology and express what God is doing in my own life.

If you’ve followed my blog at all this past year, it should not surprise you when I say… as I was halfway through writing the letter, my song came on … No Longer a Slave to Fear. It’s God’s love song to me, and he keeps using it almost weekly, to encourage me. I definitely felt the warmth of his approval.

I left the letter on the kitchen counter as Eddie and I prepared to leave. We were heading to dinner to celebrate his birthday. On a whim, we decided to run away from home and stay the night in Monterey. Sometimes the parents of adult children need time and space, making sure their relationship is strong. After all, it won’t be too many years before it’s back to the original two—Ed and I.

Are you currently parenting an adult child? Do you have older children living in your home? Any tips, thoughts, strategies or book recommendations you could share?

As for me, my focus is to work on being a better wife and mom, and my ultimate goal…

to be a better friend than Phoebe ever was in ten seasons!  Hah!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Car Crashes and Other Not So Fun Stuff

The words seemed to hang in the air as a slow wave of fear formed in the pit of my stomach. This was the second time in less than a year the phrase, “Mom I crashed,” was being spoken to me. I immediately pulled off the highway to talk to my 17 year old son on the other end of the phone.

The Salinas Valley Fair was coming up later in the week and we were planning to camp nearby as Cory and Olivia showed their pigs they raised for a 4H project. The problem was the campground filled up faster than expected and we were without a reservation—landing us 27th on the waiting list for overflow.

Ed had talked to a John-Candy-look-alike ranger over the weekend who said he had 7 sites with hook-ups set aside and was willing to sell them starting on Monday: first come, first serve.

We didn’t NEED to start camping ‘til Wednesday, but Eddie knew I NEEDED full hook-ups so he decided to drive our RV to King City early. Cory was going to drive the 90 minutes down to give him a ride home.

As Cory was walking out the door, I stopped him and delivered a passionate speech about the dangers of driving highway 101 during the evening commute through Salinas… lots of speeding cars navigating only two southbound lanes. He promised to be careful.

“Mom. I’m fine. I was in a car accident, but I’m fine,” I willed myself to remain calm as the story unfolded. Cory explained a mini-van had suddenly pulled in front of the line of cars causing everyone to slam on their brakes. He managed to stop in time, however, the guy behind him did not… rear-ending the corner of Cory’s truck and landing in a ditch.

At this point I launched into a second impassioned speech telling Cory to NOT let the other guy leave the scene of the accident. (Apparently the “landed in a ditch” part of the story was not registering.)

“Take a picture of his driver’s license, license plate, insurance card, your truck… EVERYTHING.”

Cory quickly hung up stammering something about needing to get his truck off the road. WHAAATTT?? !

Ed and Cory were both stranded and while Cory’s truck was not drivable, Ed seemed to be not reachable, and I was 40 minutes north of the accident.

It’s a mixture of feeling sick, relieved and very emotional all at the same time.

I got back on the highway heading south toward Cory while trying to reach Ed. About 15 minutes down the road, Cory called, letting me know a fireman had tweaked the back end of his truck and he was able to keep driving toward his dad. He again assured me that although his head had snapped forward and then back, he had not hit it against anything and felt fine.

Ed was a bit shocked at what had transpired and super frustrated with his phone… not one text or voicemail had come through.

The guys slowly made their way home with Ed driving (I realize I don’t usually use slowly and Ed’s driving in the same sentence) and Cory sleeping. Cory seemed slightly dazed from all that happened and had a headache. He continued saying he was fine, just a bit shaken up and trying to process the last couple hours.

The next morning, he was acting SO strange— groggy, frustrated and unable to stay on task with getting ready. I knew his allergies were bad, but he absolutely had to go school. It was the week before finals and he was already going to be missing Thursday and Friday for the fair. He had a math quiz that morning along with tons of reviewing in his other classes.

I let him take his time getting out the door, providing him with a note excusing his tardy, allergy medicine and ibuprofen.

Within the hour the school nurse called wanting to send Cory home. She suspected he had a concussion and needed rest. I felt like the worst mom ever! I hadn’t even mentioned the crash in the note, blaming his tardiness on severe allergies. It never even crossed my mind!

Our doctor confirmed Cory was displaying all the symptoms of a concussion. He explained it can happen even though his head hadn’t hit anything. The whiplash movement of the sudden jerking was enough to cause the problem. He was most likely able to function so well the night of the crash due to the rush of adrenaline.

Cory was to take a break from academics and screens… phone, computer, tv. Nothing cognitively taxing for a few days.

The next afternoon we were headed back to King City for the fair. On the drive down, a friend called and we began chatting about our families. She shared how she and her husband spend a few minutes every morning praying together for their kids and how it’s making all the difference. I texted her later asking what they specifically pray about.

This is what she said:

“We pray that God will allow us to accept our kids the way God created them and show us how we can support them. We have prayed to let go of our expectations of what we thought our kids should be like and ask for wisdom to recognize them for who God made them to be. We pray for protection and for God to send good people into their lives to help them along. We pray for the strength to turn off the Xbox One! Haha. We thank God for the lessons they teach us and for the opportunity to grow closer to God as we journey together through the ups and downs of being a family.”

Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL!

My friend went on to say how much God is blessing their marriage because of this daily discipline of a few minutes of prayer together.

It was a good reminder to Eddie and me to not let the busyness of life crowd out the most important thing.

Cory recovered and is doing really well. I find myself copying my friend’s prayer outline for Jessica, Cory and Olivia… with A LOT of emphasis on the protection part for my little mister! …

… He’s gonna need it ’cause I JUST discovered he ate all the ice cream!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Smiling Through Pain

Let’s start with the biggest news of all from my most recent Stanford appointment. This is, well… basically… HUGE!

Are you sitting down?

Ready??

I WAS ABLE TO SLIDE MY WEDDING RING OFF BEFORE THE PROCEDURE!!  Hah!

Forgive me for all the build-up, but this is a really big deal. If you’ve followed my blog for a bit, you know I reference this extremely buggy issue often.

But…I have lost 10 lbs. …and being able to avoid the awkward conversation with the nurses of why I can’t take my ring off was HEAVEN. And hopefully the weight loss will continue and begin to show up in other places besides my ring finger!

This procedure required an IV and THAT turned into a comedy of not-so-funny errors. The first nurse about KILLED me with several failed attempts. She discreetly slipped away and nurse Donna gave it a few unsuccessful tries. Donna decided to send for Dan who is their best guy for challenging patients.

Meanwhile, I quickly got Ed’s attention, asking him to send out an IV-SOS-text for prayer to Wendy and Kelly because I was now nauseous and faint— not to mention BRUISED and hurting. The problem, however, is Ed is not a fast texter:  He over-thinks his wording and spelling before he will send anything. In the chaos of the moment, I SWEAR he asked me how to spell “IV.”  Hah!

Before the infamous Dan could arrive, an older nurse named Dixie stepped in to give it a try. Donna tried to persuade her to wait for Dan, but Dixie was determined! Donna literally leaned over me and whispered, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen.”

Oh my!!

Funny thing… Dixie got it.  First try.  No bruising.

I also had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound.  Not my favorite appointment for a number of reasons… mainly, my mom died of breast cancer and I find myself fighting twinges of fear and being super sad when these times come up.

During the ultrasound, the technician suddenly stopped the screening and with a concerned tone in her voice said, “I need to get someone to look at this.”

She abruptly left the room and I was lying there with instant tears, thinking, “This is it.  They’re gonna say I have breast cancer just like my mom.”

My mom was beautiful— reserved, classy, graceful. I feel TOTALLY ripped off to not know her through the different seasons of life. I really miss her and Mother’s Day weekend is a nice opportunity to write about her, reminding the world that Devona Dean Polk lived and was a remarkable person! Sometimes I wonder if God took her home early (age 46) because she had finally worked through all her past pain… kind of like ending on a note of joy and emotional wholeness. I don’t know. I’m not God and let’s just reiterate my life mantra yet again: I trust him. Period.

The two technicians entered the room and began fiddling with the computer screen. Within minutes the problem was diagnosed… an equipment malfunction which was never about me at all. If the original technician hadn’t been so grumpy, I would have pointed out that after reviewing a patient’s medical history, one should not run from the room stating you need someone to look at this!

Finally, many of you have asked about Eddie’s shoulder since his driveway-motorcycle accident. It hurts and is still not quite right. I don’t want to flat out say it’s an emergency situation, BUT… he’s unable to massage my neck and shoulders because of the pain, so… it’s pretty critical he deals with it!

Seriously, I keep encouraging him to follow-up on it because his future well-being and livelihood depend on it and it’s just not any fun to be in pain.

Speaking of pain, I hope Mother’s Day is a nice day for you. I KNOW it can be hard for a variety of reasons. There was a time in my life when my mom had passed away AND I was just finding out I was unable to have kids. On Mother’s Day the emotional pain was simply TOO MUCH!! If you will be attending a church service where they ask all the moms to stand up and you are struggling with becoming a mom…as Nurse Donna would say, “I apologize in advance for what is about to happen!”

I do pray you find a reason to smile through life’s challenges and are able to bring some joy and laughter to those around you.

You can always borrow a line from Eddie and ask someone how to spell “IV”!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The (Not-So) Glory Days of High School

Last weekend, for me, was JAM-PACKED. I have to insert “for me” because I have become such a wimp with how much I can handle these days. I am battling a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and having NO energy.  There are reasons for this — many of which are out of my control — BUT… many are very much dependent on choices I make in three specific areas: diet, exercise, and rest. (Included in the “rest” category would be Bible study, prayer, sleep and good ‘ole down time.)

I blew it in all three areas leading up to the weekend!

Because of my poor choices, I was not able to navigate the highs and lows of what was coming my way… and… CRASHED.

Friday night began with a high school reunion of sorts. A close friend from back-in-the-day persuaded me to meet her. We both decided it would be a great opportunity to visit even if the alumni program ended up being a flop.

ONE other guy from our class showed up. I have absolutely no connection to him— basically steered clear of him in high school because he was a wild mess! Fast forward 35 years (shocking… I KNOW!) and he’s completely turned his life around.

The three of us ended up talking in the parking lot two extra hours and had the BEST time reminiscing and catching up.

So surprising!

Keeping with the reunion theme… I was able to see my life-long friend, Carma, the next day. She moved away several years ago and I miss her like crazy! She makes me laugh like no other! Such a fun day visiting and, of course, LAUGHING.

While I was re-living my high school glory days, Cory was reminding me of how GLAD I am to NOT be in high school anymore! He made a few decisions that sent me reeling and wondering what he was up to.

THAT was where I lost the battle in my mind and allowed fear to grip me.

By the time Sunday came around and we were headed to church, I was a disaster—physically and emotionally exhausted. Absolutely defeated.

Well…

God is loving, full of grace and extremely kind to me. Guess what song the worship team was singing as I walked in.

MY song! (As so many of you now call it.)

I’m no longer a slave to fear!

The first line says…

“You unravel me…”

That instantly had my attention. What does it mean to be unraveled by God? I definitely had come unraveled in life circumstances, but God was willing to disentangle me from my out-of-whack emotions. To unravel literally means to set free.

I stood there next to Cory and could not stop crying. I had clearly put back on the shackles of fear, making myself a slave to it, and God was offering a release.

I, again, purposed to walk by faith, keeping my eyes on Jesus.

And… just for the record… Cory hadn’t done any of the things I was imagining. Fear had taken me down a destructive path of vain imaginations. The more we talked, the more I realized he was making tough choices for all the right reasons.

So…

My encouragement to you is:

1. eat good, healthy food

2. exercise often… and…

3. REST!

Rest in knowing you are a child of God. Let him unravel you.

And…

BE THANKFUL YOU ARE DONE WITH HIGH SCHOOL!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taxes and Birthdays

I don’t know how it goes in your family, but over here, tax season is absolutely no fun for a couple of reasons.

First of all… April is my birthday month and that’s a good thing. What complicates this, is owning a business and ALL the prep needed to be done to be ready to file our taxes.

So… are you following my line of thinking?

I don’t want ANY mixing of the two— my birthday and preparing for taxes.

Every year, starting in January, I begin hinting to Ed that it would be nice to have our taxes completely done before my birthday. Last year he met with our tax lady ON my birthday and then we went out to dinner.

Technically he had them done before my birthday celebration, but NOT exactly what I had in mind.

This year I decided to be extra clear, and again, starting in January I said, “Do you think it would be possible to have our taxes done before my birthday… as in… EVERYTHING organized, handled, done-deal, no meetings-still-to-happen?”

In other words, I was asking for a tax-free birthday.

Eddie assured me this could easily happen.

Well… January, February and half of March came and went with no activity in the tax department. I could feel my tax-free-birthday-wish being encroached upon, so I began probing (slight possibility Ed would use the word ‘nagging’- which would be completely inaccurate) as to the plan for getting our taxes done. He explained he would work on them the last week of March and meet with our tax lady on the 31st.

Tax prep makes for a long, miserable week.

Ed handles all the business paperwork and I do the personal stuff. Translation: He spends about 30 hours working on it and I spend… well… ummmm….  probably 2… at the most.

At the March 31st meeting, Ed was told he was the tenth person out of 200 clients, to come in and meet with her. He took that as high praise for how incredibly early he was in getting his taxes done.

Not exactly helping my “tax-free birthday” cause!

A few days later was my birthday and… let’s just say it wasn’t entirely tax-free. Eddie called 4 or 5 times with tax questions for Jessica AND we had to drop off more papers to our tax lady on our way to dinner.

Oh well.

I tried!

I’m just so incredibly grateful to be married to a hard-working, super-caring, over-the-top thoughtful guy!

Even taxes can’t change my mind about that!

Ed just informed me that this year we have until the 18th to file because of the weekend and Easter.

Who knew? He really WAS way ahead! Hah!

How about you? Are you ready for April 18th? How early do you get your taxes done?

Disclaimer: Any and all answers could potentially be used next January as I start the tax-free birthday persuasion talks yet again!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking with Friends Through Cancer

It’s my friend’s birthday today and I just keep thinking about her and all she did for me 8 years ago as I walked through scary times with a cancer diagnosis. This is one story that made me smile in the middle of facing my biggest fear.

(summer 2009)

My friend had her blinker on, ready to pull in to a prime parking spot when all of a sudden, a man jumped into the space saying, “We’ve been waiting a long time to park here.”

Where did HE come from?

It was all very odd and, frankly…a bit maddening! The beach was humming and parking spots were hard to come by.

My friend rolled down her window and took me by complete surprise as I heard her shout, “Oh FINE. I’ll just keep driving around my friend who has cancer and is going through CHEMOTHERAPY!”

Our new foe quickly answered back, “Well.  MY friend only has ONE leg!”

It was just the comic relief I needed.  I could not stop laughing at the outrageousness of the exchange I was witnessing. Two people determined to look out for their suffering friends.

It was my first week of chemo and my friend was making sure I was being taken care of.  She had gone with me to get my hair cut super short in anticipation of it all falling out in the next couple of weeks. We had gone out for lunch at a local deli and now wanted to walk on the beach.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

What a beautiful Biblical promise! As we purposefully pour our lives into others, God fills US up.

Humility is a fascinating concept. On the one hand, you have to humble yourself to accept help from others. It is very hard to admit you need this assistance. One definition says, “Acknowledging that achievement results from the investment of others in my life.”

Likewise…if you are the one helping someone, you are also showing humility in that you’re putting aside your own interests, schedules and plans for the sake of another.

It’s two sides of the same coin that Christ uses to keep us from pride.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

It was a wonderful day with my friend.  After we circled the parking lot a few times, a spot finally opened up for us RIGHT next to the man we had just encountered. We pulled in and humbly unloaded our things. And…

yes… his friend really DID have only one leg!

 

 

 

Volleyball, Mudslides and Cancer

I KNOW you’re on the edge of your seats, waiting for updates about my life… or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Well, I’ve got some!

Let’s start with the basics and see how this unfolds.

Volleyball. What can I say? Apparently, I am a HUGE fan. I had no idea I would love this sport so much!

Cory had an all-day tournament this past weekend. I missed the first match because I was definitely taking my sweet time getting there. I was just so happy to be in the car all by myself, sipping on Starbucks and switching stations back and forth from classic rock to worship music. My definition of solitude!

I made it JUST in time for the second match (is that what you even call it??)… which we won. A match is a total of 3 games, playing until a team wins two. Our little group of parents are super-dedicated to cheering the boys on. After each game in a given match, we switch sides to make sure we are in the best spot to effectively root for our team.  Have I mentioned how stressful this sport is?? The boys really have to work together to execute the perfect bump-set-spike situation. VERY technical! Cory is an outside hitter and is growing in his confidence to nail the ball on the final hit. He’s doing great, especially considering he hasn’t played since Jess was in middle school. Hah!

We made it to the championship round, competing for the bronze. It was wild, three games happening simultaneously, inches apart… like a war-zone with volleyballs coming at you from all directions.

We lost the first game, but came back to win the second by a landslide. The third game would decide it: first team to score 15 would be the winner.

We were smokin’…11-4.  The boys looked unstoppable!

And then…

An injury.

The captain of the team jumped, dove (and possibly collided with someone or something…it all happened so fast) and went down grabbing his ankle. He was HURT and would not be able to finish the game.

This young man is the most outstanding volleyball player, but along with that, he holds the team together like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s super encouraging to the guys, coaching them after each play… the heart of the team.

We never scored another point.

It was a sad moment, but sweet to see how this team supports each other as the coach led them in praying for their injured captain.

Now we wait to hear if he will be able to play in the games this week.

Ahhh.  Such is life.

In other news… our road is hanging in there.  We are driving on it as if everything is just fine. The sunshine had lifted the “doom and gloom” feeling, but now rain is in the forecast for the whole week. I overheard Ed chatting with a friend about possible repair options this summer, so… I guess that’s the plan: Pray for it to hold ‘til summer!

And…finally, (well, I had more, but apparently rambled on about volleyball more than I thought I would)…

I go to Stanford this Friday. This is the next procedure in the schedule my doctor has set up. I’m not looking forward to it AT ALL, but I’m thankful for the close monitoring.

I’ve been praying Ephesians 3:16-19 over myself and my family recently. We are working our way through some hurts and situations with no idea of outcomes.  We DO know that God is with us and he offers strength, encouragement and hope to whatever parts of our life are injured. He holds our “team” together and we need Him like crazy!

Ephesians 3:16-19…    “I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Here is an example of how I would take these verses and pray them over Cory:

“Lord, I pray that out of your glorious riches you would strengthen Cory with power through your Spirit in his inner being, so that you would dwell in his heart through faith. I also ask that Cory, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all of us, to grasp how much you love him; to know how wide and long and high and deep is your love for him. I pray that Cory would KNOW this love that far exceeds anything in his life. Fill him up with more of you… And may his volleyball team win!!” (Doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Praying these verses encourage you! Make them your personal prayer and try praying them for someone else.

I’d love to hear about what God is doing in your life. Have a blessed week and may YOU be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God!

 

 

 

 

 

Life Updates and Other News

“Okay kids. Don’t buckle up. If the road drops out from under us we want to be able to get out of the car as quickly as possible.”

Yes. I actually said that— many times this past week. Ed has repositioned the orange cones and I’m again coming over the knoll looking for them in hopes our road is still there.

It is an 8 foot sheer, vertical drop down to a pile of oozing mud sloping into a deep canyon. This part of the road WAS 30 feet from the edge before the initial drop on Monday. Over the weekend, Ed also found 7 massive redwood trees that have fallen in the canyon. Crazy!

As precarious as all this sounds, the sunshine has definitely brought a more optimistic outlook, and we have several ideas for repairing it once the mud is    completely dry. But… just to be on the safe side… we are still parking most of our vehicles on the other side of the slide and using my van as a shuttle. The idea is to have as many cars on the outside should the road give way.

This plan is definitely not without glitches! Cory was running late for church so he missed the shuttle to his truck and had to hike out. Problem was… he forgot his keys on the first hike! He eventually made it… and burned a few extra calories too!

Speaking of Cory… he recently surprised us by going out for the men’s volleyball team.  Several weeks ago, he announced after dinner he was heading back to school for open gym. He randomly said he was considering trying out for volleyball and they were having an open practice for anyone interested. As he walked back in the door several hours later, he said(quoting the coach in a playful voice), “Apparently I’m a natural at volleyball.” Who knew?

The next day he came home from practice saying, “Apparently, I’m a really good server.” He was again quoting the coach and we have had so much fun prefacing every volleyball conversation with “apparently!”

At one point the coach pulled him aside to ask about his volleyball background. Cory explained his sister was on the middle school volleyball team and he would hit the ball around with her. As the coach probed further, Cory revealed that his sister is now 20 and he hasn’t touched a volleyball in 8 years!

Apparently it runs in the family. Hah!

  

(That’s Cory in all black jumping to block the ball. Apparently, he’s a really good jumper too.).

One last update…

Today I played piano on the worship team at church. The music was gorgeous…if I do say so myself. We did a very acoustic set (that’s cool band talk for less electric instruments…or something like that) and the presence of God was tangible in all three services. But…I HAD to take a picture of the door to the music room.

“Please keep door locked and closed.”

That sign is new and I’m just wondering if it came as a result of Ed and Cory snooping around back there trying to find my purse with Jessica’s keys in it a few weeks ago. Hah! I could not stop laughing to myself when I saw it.

Well, those are some of the highlights from this past week.

We continue to wholeheartedly rely on God for His direction and timing in our lives.  This verse is ministering to me so much right now….

Joshua 1:9. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Apparently, I need the reminder.

Slip Sliding Away

Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall…”

Well…

The earth is giving way and the mountain is beginning to fall on our property.

We live at the end of a mile long dirt road which circles around a canyon that is about 70 feet deep and 70 feet wide. With all the rain hammering the central coast this past month, we had 30 feet drop off the last part of our road which is now inches from collapsing.

  Each day as I’m driving out from my house, I come over the hill before the slide, holding my breath and praying the road will still be there.  The first thing I look for are the orange cones. If they’re still perched on the edge, I know the road has held for one more day. It’s absolutely terrifying!

I say that because we have lived through a mudslide in the not so distant past. It was December 23, 2005.  Ed kissed me goodbye and routinely left for work. Within minutes he was calling, explaining the disaster sitting in front of him. Four acres of our neighbor’s property had slid onto our road covering 500 feet of it with debris piled 20 feet high.

There was a secondary access road to our house that was not quite drivable, however, Eddie was able to get his heavy-duty, four-wheel drive truck over it, allowing us to have a vehicle parked on the other side.

Ed then figured out a way for us to hike in and out of our property, reaching his truck.  You read that correctly… we were hiking to our house with only one vehicle parked on the other side of the slide. This was a steep, quarter mile hike, which included crossing a narrow creek on a twelve inch, wobbly plank that Eddie rigged up.

After a couple of weeks we were able to bring in some rock to the most treacherous part of the secondary access road. Even with this bit of improvement, only a four-wheel drive vehicle could get through.

It was a steep hill followed by a perilous, narrow, windy road down a mountainside. I would drive my suburban up to the steep part, put it in four-wheel drive, say a quick prayer and GUN IT! After some spinning out and more prayer, I could make it to the top followed by a slow descent down the scary switchbacks.

We did this for TEN MONTHS!

Within weeks the cause of the slide was easily determined. Four of our neighbors had an old, wooden holding tank for water. Unbeknownst to us, it had not worked right for years—leaking gallons of water each day! After saturating the hillside for so long, it finally gave way.

Those 10 months were long and hard AND… we made it through them seeing God’s faithfulness every step of the way. He brought us the incredible surprise blessing of Olivia smack dab in the middle of it all. Her story is crazy-amazing and I need to share it sometime soon.

I’m sitting here reminding myself that God is always with me and He loves to bring joy out of the chaos of life.

I have these verses underlined in my Bible, dated May 5, 2006, with the phrase “mudslide” written next to them:

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

I have a feeling these verses are about to become a reality to me once again as the cones have now slipped off the road… just minutes ago.

I’m not sure how God can out-do the blessing of Olivia during our last slide, but I’m waiting patiently to see how he will put a new song in my mouth this time.

He is always faithful!!