Lost in a place that you've never seen before,
but you're just lookin' for a home.
Can't figure out where you are,
trying to find yourself on the map.

Just seeing what you've been through
trying to keep track where you have been.
Lost in a place that you've never seen before.

(Written and sung by my 10 yr. old son, Nicholas, adopted at 18 months from the country of Kazakhstan.)


Down a Dark Corridor

This has been a very difficult time.  One of those moments of fire that hurts like crazy going through but on the other side you find you have been made newly refined.  What awful stuff we humans endure.  Growing is so hard.  I can't wait to get to the other side of this and begin the cultivating, molding, shaping and stretching.  Little houses have brought us closer again.  This one not so cheerful or comfortable but even down right scary and ugly.  Thank you Father for taking care of us.  Help us to make the best of what is ours and keep growing in Love.


getting unstuck

I found myself in an unfortunately not so unusual position this weekend that involved a bag of birthday streamers.

I was preparing the house for my youngest child's birthday party. I had worked diligently all morning to straighten up and clean up and wrap gifts. It was now time to transform the family room into a big top circus tent, only.....where is that bag of crepe streamers? I know I had it out last month for the last birthday party. Hmmm, it's not in any of the usual places and darn it all, if I hadn't actually cleaned my room and rearranged furniture recently! So, where did I put it?

Well, I searched and searched, my frustration increasing and my vision narrowing with the beginnings of a glowing red tinge around the edges. I was getting angry and I could feel myself sinking into what I now call "stuck mode". Manic mode, freak out mode, crazy mode, whatever you call it, I always feel "stuck" and spiralling downward.

It's crazy how such little things will set this off in me. Misplaced keys, indecision about what to wear, lost homework, recipes gone bad, hair refusing to stay in it's styled place, etc. I have memories of such horrible outrages as a teenager. ( Sorry, Mom and Dad!) At those moments I always felt ridiculous and knew it was way out of proportion, but this just fed my frustration. I was angry, angry at myself.

I'm still angry. I'm wanting to learn what exactly it is that I'm so angry about. I'm amazed at the strength of the emotion, the overwhelmingness of such a feeling. I don't like it. I don't want it. But I do not want to deny it, run from it, or hide it. I can suppress it but it eventually pops back up like a jack-in-the-box leering at me.

Well, it can leer all it wants. It can't stay. It won't stay. I'm learning to let go. I'm learning to look at it and release it. I'm learning to unstick. :-) What exactly am I clutching anyway? What am I trying to hold onto? I suppose it is, in the general sense, control and with it all the subtleties of pride and self.

I will continue to turn and face this beast and not be haunted by it any longer. It is a fascinating land to walk in if a bit uncomfortable. Such interesting things to learn about myself.

Back to the streamers. I never did find the bag and have absolutely no idea where it could be, but I did end up unsticking myself and found I still had creativity on my side. I pulled out some colored satin ribbons from my craft drawer and in an inspiration grabbed several rolls of new and unused rolls of toilet paper and hung them from the middle of the ceiling to drape dramatically down the walls creating the allusion of a striped big top, made even more interesting to the children by its humorous and smirk inducing white layers.


Sea Glass

Finally finished my glass painting. This shot shows some of the texture, sorry it's fuzzy.

Here is a shot of the back using the flash.


The Gift of His Favor

At a young age he had already advanced well beyond his peers. Educated in the best schools, he was recognized as one of the most influential religious leaders in one of the best-known cities of the world. His morals were impeccable and his wisdom knew no equal.
But all was not as well on the inside as it appeared on the outside. For all his diligence and wisdom, something ate at him deep from within. He was an angry man. He rarely let it show except in acceptable moments of righteous indignation, but in times alone he knew it was there blackening his soul.
His zeal to be the best servant of God in his generation had not led him to the lap of a loving Father, but to the cruel tyranny of his own ego. He had started out with a desire to serve God, but that passion had quickly been consumed by his desire for spiritual status. He loved the looks of admiration and awe that he saw in the eyes of his friends and mentors.
Then one day, on a journey to a distant city he came face to face with the Living God. His encounter was far more dramatic than most. A bright light appeared out of nowhere, knocking him to the ground and blinding his eyes. As he lay there in the dirt, a voice rumbled over his body. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
His next words are quite revealing. "Who are you, Lord?"
He knew he had come face to face with the Living God, and now he wasn't sure who he was. But wait! Didn't the voice say Saul had been persecuting him? Surely Saul must have wondered in those brief seconds, "Could this be Jesus?"
What if it was? Saul had killed so many of his followers and was on his way to kill many more. He regarded them as heretics and sought to crush them and their teaching before they could destroy the faith he had embraced since his youth.
Finally the voice spoke again. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
His worst fears had been realized. The people he had killed in God's name were in fact God's people. What would come of him now? What punishment awaited him in his blind helplessness? Like a man who closes his eyes, cringing in anticipation of being struck by a raised fist, he slowly realizes that no punch is coming. There was no anger, no vengeance.
Saul, later to become Paul the Apostle, had come face to face with the God he had actively warred against, and in that moment all he found was love. The Jesus he had persecuted loved him. He had not come to punish him, but to open his spiritual eyes to see God not as he imagined him to be, but God as he really was.
In that moment Saul discovered God's favor when he had done absolutely nothing to earn it. Instead of being punished, he received an invitation to come into the family he had tried so hard to destroy. Instead of the death he'd brought to others, he was offered a life that he never knew existed.
Saul was left with one inescapable fact: he had done nothing to propel himself above the favor line, but found himself there nonetheless. He found that Jesus had loved him even when he had no idea who he was. For Jesus had shattered the favor line to free Saul from its tyranny. It changed him more than all he'd previously learned about God.
This is where relationship with God begins. It may sound impossible especially if you've hoped for this in the past and, like the young mother at the beginning of this chapter, you have only been disappointed by how remote he seemed when you needed him the most. All you knew to do was try even harder to be good enough to win his affection.
But such thinking will never lead you closer to him. Instead of teaching you to love him, it only leaves you angry and frustrated that you can't do enough, or that he isn't being fair to you. He wants to break this cycle the only way he can -- by making his favor a gift instead of something you earn.

Excerpt from He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobsen