Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Highlights of Cranberry Lake, NY

We went camping for Memorial Weekend to an amazing state park in upstate NY, called Cranberry Lake. If you ever want to go to a beautiful lake camping, I highly recommend this park. It was breath taking. Here are some highlights:

*DK passed out after cutting his finger with his pocket knife. My Knight just stood there and stared at him asking me what was he doing. I then proceeded to explain the poor kid just passed out. I had to go to DK's rescue as Scott was just not getting the picture.

*We spent the first night in the van because of a lighting storm too close for comfort. Oh, the fun of camping.

*It rained every day but the sun came out once and a while.

*DK almost set my sweatshirt on fire, kind of did set it on fire, but I put it out quickly. He was trying to smoke out the mosquitos with a branch that was on fire and the embers landed on my sleeve.

*We took a 5 mile kayak trip around the lake. Not the entire lake because it is 50 miles around. It took us 5 miles because we kind of got lost. Yes, I know, we got lost on a lake.

*I studied and did homework on vacation, that was a first.

*DK whizzed right in front of someone's camp site when we were hiking when I told him he could take a whiz outside instead of running all the way back to the bathrooms. The kid forgot to hide behind a tree and get off the trail.

*My Knight was in his glory as the Fire Lord of the weekend, tending every camp fire inspite of the rain.
*I taught the boys and Scott how to play Poker (5 Card Stud). We played for M&M's and boy, were the boy's ruthless when it comes to candy.

*I was actually sick and on antibiotics for the weekend but I kept my chin up and went on with life. What's camping without me getting sick?

Overall we had a wonderful trip. We have decided that if a camping trip goes perfect without any problems or difficulties then we will give up camping all together. Camping isn't about the wilderness experiences but the funny stories you come home with.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Artistically Inspired Once Again

After a period of no creativity I got inspired to work with the boys with
art again. We are creating a Superhero Wall Mural with canvas's.
Shaggy is tackling Green Lantern.

Drama King is working on Batman, but of course!
And Rocker has Flash because he says he is like the Flash.

We were given a whole pile of comic books, some of them not really appropriate. So instead of just throwing them all away we are going to rip them up to make a comic book page mosaic. The boys worked on the blocking in of their pictures yesterday and filling in the backgrounds. This weekend we will start the mosaic. It was fun to see them get excited about it. I will be working on Superman since this is project going in their bedroom. They didn't want me to work on Wonder Woman! :-)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Transition & Changes

Transition and change are typically ugly words. We don't like them and we don't like to go through them. I know I don't. Right now my family and I are in a big transition and change. We left the church we had known for 13 years and are re-establishing ourselves some where else. It has been HUGE. For me, our prior church was the only church I have really ever known, so leaving felt like leaving home. I grew up sporadically attending churches here and there but never longer than a 2 year period. Then by the time I turned 12 or so my parents never attended another church again.

So this time of transition has been really rough on me. I know this is a part of God's plans and we left on very cordial terms, but it doesn't take away the sadness. Unfortunately, some wounds were acquired at our old church, and trust in leadership was greatly damaged. I am finding myself struggling to trust leadership in our new church because of these past wounds. It's not that I haven't gone after healing in those areas, but after learning to duck all the time, you still flinch when you think your going to get hit. It will take some time, I know.

The boys have entered this new transition with open arms as they feel more accepted into this new Body and my Knight has also transitioned well. Me on the other hand, has a lot of trust issues to move through. I also don't want to be used again by ministry so I am moving at the pace of molasses.

My return to school corresponded to our church transition and that has helped me to continue to move forward and not get stuck. I want to love and forgive and move on, but I realize it will be one small step at a time. Transitions and changes come in all shapes and forms so it shouldn't have surprised me that one day we would come to a transition and change within our local church. I just hope our new Body extends some mercy towards me if I seem a little skittish around them; I am still ducking a lot more then I would like to.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Open Ended Stories & Mysteries

It's funny how our culture has really walked away from mysteries and open ended stories. Not only our culture but also the Christian world. We don't like to refer to God as a mystery or acknowledge that we don't know why He does what He does and most of the time we don't like to hear open ended stories of believers.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well, let me try to clarify...

Open-ended stories are stories without a conclusion. It's basically life. Life is a journey not a destination. Our culture is striving for a destination and not a journey. We want the American dream, Hollywood lifestyle or something to that effect. We want to arrive or achieve or reach our dreams but we don't accept that life is simply a never ending journey. We frustrate ourselves with the unattainable this side of heaven.

Life this side of Heaven is an unfinished symphony. We accomplish one goal and then immediately are confronted with new opportunities and challenges. But ultimately we will die with countless unfinished projects and goals. That's okay. God is at work taking care of the universe. -Peter Scazzero

In our church culture we also don't like open-ended stories. We want testimonies of great victories and triumphs and how we as Christians can some how attain a level of Christianity where we no longer struggle. Don't tell me about he kid in youth group who is still struggling with drugs. Don't tell me about the woman who still struggles with depression. We don't like the stories that don't have a great conclusion. In all honesty though, those are the real stories. Peoples struggles and battles are real life. Life never ends this side of heaven. I have battled depress for years and have made huge strides, but guess what? I still struggle. I still have to tell my self to get out of bed each morning and believe and hope in something that is completely outside of me. I still wrestle with my emotions. My journey is not complete and I would be a fool to deny that. Testimonies give us stories of hope and faith but let us not think that is the end all. Let us agree that we will have ups and downs, victories and defeats and all this make up life. Just because we are not always wining or succeeding doesn't mean we have lost the battle as Christians, we are on an adventure with God.

We also have a hard time with the mysteries of God. Lately I have seen God become a certainty. If you pray this way you will get healed, if you do this you will be blessed with prosperity and if you pray this God will protect you. Now don't get me wrong, I believe in the promises of God that He is our provider, healer and protector but He is also the one in charge, not me. Just because I pray a certain way doesn't mean my prayers will be answered. For example, I wanted another child. I was told by countless loving Christians to stand and demand my miracle. They told me God had to answer me. For three hard years I stood and cried out to God. Guess what, God told me last year that wasn't in His plans for me. What???? I prayed though! I know His promise and others told me they did the same thing and He gave them a child, why not me? Am I not holy enough?

No, God just had other plans. I made God and His promises into a certain formula and He just reminded me He is a mystery. Sometimes we pray and God heals immediately and sometimes He doesn't. Sometimes He protects us and sometimes bad things happen to good people. If God is a formula then when those bad things or disappointments happen we falter. But if we acknowledged He is a mystery above our own understanding then we must have faith in HIm and trust His judgment.

Let us go on this uncertain and mysterious adventure of life knowing that we will have troubles, we still stumble and fall and we will not always understand the why's of life. Let us acknowledge that it is OK to not know God's ways all the times and to just enjoy our adventure. That's what makes an adventure so much more exciting than a destination. We don't know what we will encounter or even where we will go but we are willing to seek out what ever mystery, or challenge life can throw at us, holding on to the one true promise of God, which is He will never leave us or forsake us. I will run the race and acknowledge that my finish line is not this side of heaven. I will also acknowledge that God doesn't really care how many times you fall br if you are the greatest runner out there but that you keep running.