Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I sorta have baby fever. Every baby I see makes me go awwwww and every preggo belly makes me jealous. But when I daydream about getting a baby it isnt about being pregnant. I imagine meeting with a mom who cant keep her baby.I imagine being handed a baby I didnt make. I even have these real dreams about finding a baby. this happens all the time. Have you ever had a day dream stir you to tears? Can you read adoption blogs without crying? Have you ever had the feeling that you have another child, but you just havent met them yet? I do all the time. Adoption. The crazy mysterious word that is haunting me. Scary bank account numbers are the other. I know God can reconcile all things. I guess job hunting may be a place to start. Just sticking it out there.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blog post 250

250 blog posts on this blog. That doesn't seem like that many, but then again I've been writing this blog, or the one before it since Ayden was a baby. Six years of blog writing. So much. I feel like 250 should be special somehow. Like I should do something new and exciting as far as blogging, but my creative edge is aparently dull right now. My camera charger is missing so I have no camera at the moment. No new pictures to post. So I guess I'll just tell you about today.

Today is the one year anniversary of the death of my husbands step-father. I still cant believe an entire year has gone by. We still miss him and it makes me wish we lived further north to be with my mother in law and D. I hate that we live so far away from most of our family, but no matter where we live we would live far away from someone else. Maybe we should move to Nebraska and call us the central location.

Today my husband is working his first major job solo. Its kinda a big deal. He was nervous and had to sleep in his truck (not that uncommon) last night. At this point there is no way to know if he will be done for Christmas or not. Christmas will wait for him.

Today my first born is watching it snow in Colorado. He is surrounded by people who love him and cherish him, and yet I feel like he is all alone and needs his mommy. I'm fighting the urge to jump in my car and drive the 24 hours just to hug him. He is happy. This is all just my head talking. Or is it my heart?

Today I will bake a cake for Christmas. Not a happy birthday Jesus cake, just a Christmas cake. I'm not a big fan of trivializing Christmas into a cake and happy birthday song. Birthdays are frivilous. Markers to watch the passing of time and to celebrate the past. My Jesus LIVES. He was, he is and will always be. He is not just getting another year older. Christmas is the Advent, the coming, of our KING. I'm not going to bake a birthday cake for the King, I'm going to prepare myself for the Kingdom. He came, yes, as a baby. He came in humility and probably never had a birthday cake in his life. He promised to return, and that is why I celebrate Christmas. Because all the pain, all the tears, all of the horrible-ness of this world that causes Dads to die and families to live in three different states and daddies to sleep in theri trucks because work is so hard and mothers to have to send their babies across the country because of her past mistakes.. all those things will be wiped away. He promised. He is coming. And I'm sorry, but I dont think a birthday party for Jesus can express that.

So today i'm going to pray. I'm going to pray and prepare. I'm going to prepare my heart for Jesus. I'm going to prepare my home for my husbands return and my sons return. I'm going to prepare my car for travel and my two year old for his day.

Today I'm going to post my 250th blog post. In all its imperfect blogginess.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Why we celebrate Hanukah and why I think you should as well

Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, come light the Menorah
Let's have a party, we'll all dance the hora
Gather round the table, we'll all have a treat
dreidles to play with, and latkes to eat.

And while we are playing
The candles are burning bright
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago.
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago.

I have to admit, when I first started dating my husband five years ago, and even before that, for the two years we were little more than pen pals, his "Jewishness" fascinated me. It was all so different, and foreign. Over the past few years, especially since he became a Christian we together have found some amazing bridges between the two cultures. Bridging the culture gap isn't so difficult. Everyone loves a festive, beautiful tree, and who would love a latke given the chance to try one? Seriously.. you eat fried potatoes all the time anyway... season it up, flatten it into a pancake and eat it with applesauce and sour cream.. you get bliss. Especially when it has been prepared by my mother in law!

The gap that gets a little more difficult to bridge is the "religious" one. How do you balance a household that seems to have two opposing beliefs? I've read many books on this, and some of my favorites are by a man named Stan Telchin. He, Jew, had a daughter go off to college and return a Christian.His response was to learn and study and ask as many people as many questions as he could. He wanted to prove that she was brainwashed. He instead found Jesus.

At this time of year there is a lot of talk about peace. Peace that in reality does not exist in our world. We can go shopping and max out credit cards to fill the space under our trees (and in our hearts). We can turn bitterabout the unbalance of respect for both faiths and fly to Hawaii to avoid the whole season... But what if we all, Jews and Christians alike took a moment to understand each others faith, and instead of battling against each others holidays.. what if we celebrated them both??

Here is a list of why I think Christians should celebrate Hanukkah. I would make one the other way around, but am afraid this list is going to do enough offending for the day.

1. Although from the moment of Christ's birth there has been tension between the two faiths, and horrible horrible atrocities have been committed by greedy power seeking peoples in the name of a "christian god" we ultimately are the two leading religions in America. We stream from the same foundation. We serve the very same God. We boast the same ten commandments in our homes and tell our children of the very same Abraham, Moses, Daniel and David. We even teach some of the same songs to our children. Imagine my surprise when my husband knew more verses of the song "Father Abraham, had many sons,many sons had father Abraham..." than I did. For religious Jews we face a common enemy. The same bleak loss of faith is haunting both of our communities. The same efforts to turn to the self for Glory and away from our true King is rotting out both of our congregations. We need to support each other. Christians.. dare I remind you that scripture points out that it is a Jewish army from the tribes of Israel that God will use to fight the battles in the final days? We need each other. We need to let go of prejudices from BOTH sides and move forward together. We need to protect our faiths from dilution and the incorporation of "feels good" philosophies.

2. Hanukkah is more historical than Christmas. BLASPHEMY.... or is it? Actually, Hanukkah has been celebrated since around 165 BC. Israel had been taken over by the Seleucid empire,leftovers from Alexander the Great. Hellenists. Menelaus,a non Jew, was places as high priest over the Jews, a sacred position reserved for Levites, and the temple was defiled. It became unlawful to hold Jewish feats , to circumcise or even to sacrifice. A small group of Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, decided to fight back. Using guerrilla tactics they eventually won back their temple, but upon arrival did not have enough sacred oil to keep the lamps lit. To what purpose is rededicating a temple when you cant do it in a Holy way? The process for making anything kosher is long and extensive, and to make the oil pure for the temple took approximately eight days. Amazingly, God allowed one days worth of oil to burn for eight. He not only freed his people from the cultural washing of their faith (much like what we face today), but through his miraculous provision, he allowed the temple to be a holy place again,even when they could not provide it themselves. How like our God huh? Every time things get tough he provides a way out, a Holy way out. A way that brings Him glory, and brings us Light. The story, the tradition has changed very little over the thousands of years it has existed.

3. By understanding Jewish tradition, we as Christians understand our faith even better. Even the New Testament makes reference to Hanukkah. John 10:22 Jesus is in full force action during his ministry. He is traveling everywhere, but returns to Jerusalem for the "Feast of Dedication" HANUKKAH. He returns to the temple, not just any day of the week, but during the very feast that recognizes the Holiness of the temple, of His people, and of our God.A feast that remembers that God will provide a way to keep his temple Holy, no matter what. Jesus was not beating around the bush. Back in chapter 8 we can read that Jesus had already been telling people "I am the light of the world." He returned to Jerusalem during the festival of lights to once again restore light to the Temple, but this time not from oil. From He himself. Now do you see why they were so very angry? Why they would want to stone him ?(vs 10:31). He was deliberately revealing himself and causing dissension between His followers and those who refused to believe. "You do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice, I know them and the follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish,no one can ever snatch them from my hand." (10:26-28). We as Christians celebrate the promises that God will rebuild his Temple,that we ourselves are that Temple. That because of the sacrifice of Jesus we are able to be that temple. We believe that he will return and make all things new. That the temple will be rededicated. That WE will be redicated.

So celebrate. Personally I do it by lighting beautiful candles and eating yummy food. Because my King has established his Temple. My King is not dead nor sleeping, and he is keeping all of His candles burning bright... if we don't blow them out.

A note to my Jewish Reader: please do not let this offend you.I mean no disrespect. I honestly believe that even if you don't believe Jesus is the Messiah, that the Messiah you are waiting for WILL come, he is on his way. Please don't forget that! Don't let worldly influences damage your faith or weaken your beliefs. Keep yourself Holy, and seek to follow the Law. I pray that you will ask questions though, and consider for yourself if the prophesies of Isaiah were pointing towards Jesus. If you choose not to, I still consider you family. We serve the same God, may his peace be with you in this season. May the festival of lights bring you joy and remind you that our God is a God of love and miracles, that he loves you enough to keep the candles lit. 165 B.C.E. or today.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gingerbread time

One of my FAVORITE holiday traditions is to make, on my own, a gingerbread house. We all decorate and eat icing and candy and have a BLAST. Here is my recipe;

1cup butter, softened
1cup brown sugar
1cup molasses
4 cups flour ( i sometimes add up to 1/2 extra cup to keep my dough tough for houses)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1tablespoon ground ginger
1tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1teaspoon ground cloves
dash of salt

For cookies,mix butter and sugar until fluffy. add dry ingredients a little at time until just blended. Roll into two or three balls, wrap in saran wrap and set in fridge overnight or for an hour at least. Roll to 1/4 inch thich and cut out shapes. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. Will still be soft when taken from oven! They get harder s they cool.

To make a gingerbread house;
Make a house out of paper in the shape you desire, use this as your pattern for your cookies. You can make a simple shape with five squares and two rectangles the same width. Take one square and cut in half,place this triangle point up on top of a square to make the front and back of the house. Use rectangles for the roof.

use same recipe for cookies, but mix longer to allow gluten to startmaking the dough tougher. Soft gingerbread is not desireable for a house! Bake a about 300 for a little longer as well. you want your house hard so the icing doesnt make it "melt."

1. Cut out squares before baking in what will be the sides of your house, or door ect. Crush up life savers or any hard clear candy and sprinkle into the square after you have moved it to a baking sheet. When baking, it will melt and fill the hole and then cool hard again, making a "glass" window. Use those nifty flameless candles under your house to make your house come alive!
2. I use foil on my baking sheets to make moving my house to a cooling rack easier. do not move off rack until completely cool. It will be soft until cool and liable to give you a Dr. Seuss house!
Have fun and dont worry about the mess! a beautifully swwet gingerbread house is worth the mess any day!


"glue" icing

two room temp egg white, 1 teaspoon cream of tartarand about two cups of powdered sugar. Useing a wisk attachment beat eggwhites until fluffy with the cream of tartar. Add in sugar slowly until you get to a nice thick consistency. You can always add a teaspoon of water if it gets too thick.

"decorator" icing
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup crisco
1/2 bag powdered sugar
1 tsp clear vanilla or almond extract

Use glue icing to hold up the walls. they will need lots of time. I find cans from the pantry work well as"supports" to keep the walls up while building. Assemble four walls first and after fully set do roof one piece at a time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

First Snow

Last week was tough on me. Its amazing how grief will sneak up on you. I was missing so many people places and things, and fell into a pity party for myself. When we did not get the forcasted "major weather event" that I knew we would not get I was still very disapointed. I'm not really sure why. I miss Colorado sometimes somuch. I remember as a child after we moved to Texas missing the mountains and the snow.Its no different as an adult. I understand why I cant live there right now. I am grateful for my husbands job and the career path he is on and great schools, no income tax, low car insurance rates, cheaper living expenses... ect. Texas has its benefits, but this Colorado girl misses snow. There is something so magical about the changing of the seasons, something so healthy about heat turning into cold. Rain turning into snow. The silence of snow is one of my favorite sounds, and the way the air smells so crisp and fresh and new is my favorite smell. When I started CSU I quickly discovered the magic of snow and especially of first snow. It is something fairy tales are made of. And with that I imagined that like a princess something wonderful would happen if I could get a kiss on first snow. It didnt happen to my 18 year old self and still has not happened to my 28 year old self. Nope. Not even after four years of marriage. True I've only seen a real snow once in the past three years. So clearly my sweet husband is not to blame. I've been learning lately that life is so much better than a fairy tale if you will let it be. On Saturday Lucas was able to leave the job site for about 36 hours... enough time to come home and rest and play Christmas. Being unsure of how the timing would work out and knowing it was an absolute possibility that he would be gone past Christmas I was soo relieved to have him for even that short amount of time. Especially after my crummy emotional week. When he got home he had a little something for me....

He brought me first snow.

He brought me a kiss.

We spent the evening shivering in the low 30's at a local Christmas in the Park, with lights, caroling, brass players, hay rides and hot cocoa. It was magic. It was a first snow to always be remembered.

I love you Lucas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Convicted, and blessed

As usual, God had a plan and I let the liar convince me it was wrong. I've been wanting to do advent with my family this year. Advent simply means "coming". Christians celebrate the Advent season as the weeks before and right after Christmas to dedicate as a reminder that our Messiah CAME and promised that he will return. We celebrate not presents and santa, but the coming of our King!! The presents just reflect the joy. When I was a teenager I babysat a little girl and her family did a formal advent. They had a great little book and a sweet wreath with candles and on each Sunday they would do a reading and light the candles. I've wanted to do a version of this for my family, and sometimes we have. I don't remember last year, but I know we have done advent in simple ways almost every year. THIS year I was determined and felt prompted to do something with our Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don't own this, go buy it today... whether you have kids or not. Whether you believe in Jesus or not. It is the most amazing retelling of the story. THE Gospel. The Good news that we have a rescuer and he is on his way to save his beloved... and we are that beloved! Anyway. This afternoon, while it was not snowing, I sat down ready to work on my little project. I opened up an email from our Bossier church and saw that they are doing a formal advent. I got sad because it made me miss worshiping with them so much more. I looked at it again a bit later and realized that there was a link to a dedicated advent program through another church. I looked it up, and guess what they use as a supplement? That's right. The Jesus Storybook Bible. (Because it rocks). So when I tried to open it up it wouldn't and by then my funk of self pity was too dense to even attempt to break through. I needed to cry. So I did. Tonight, after grumping around for hours and getting short with my kids and eating too many Madeleine's my hubby called. And guess what. He is on his way home. Well sorta, he has to spend the night there and then check into a new hotel tomorrow, but tomorrow night he will be home!! I just rechecked the church's website and the download worked and it is PERFECT. We are technically a week behind, but if we do the readings on our own schedule weekly, Christmas Eve and finish on Christmas day it works out. So yay. I'm reminded of the scripture that encompasses this entire year. Mathew 7:9 says "If your child asks you for bread, would any of you give him a stone?" We have asked for so much this year, but we know He will provide. Every time He, in His glory, has given us much more than a stone. Today I needed to trust that. No, he didn't give me snow... but tomorrow I get to take my FAMILY to the Christmas in the Park event. WE get to drink hot cocoa and take a hay ride and sing carols. Even if it is only one night, we are squeezing Christmas out of this month! Snow or no snow, daily time with my husband or not, this Advent will not be wasted!!!

I miss...

Corporate Advent, Corporate worship period, my bible study, my moms group, traffic on Airline (100 percent easier than driving with five bazillion 19 year old aggies and their giant trucks and iphones), seeing stars at night, aspen in the fall in Colorado, cherry cider from that place on the road to Estes, impromptu worship nights with my girls, friends, friends with coffee, my husband, Lins kitchen, Monjunis, a size 12,(an nope im not acknowledging the restraunt/size 12 connection) my grandparents, Jim . I miss more, but im not going any further. there is so much to miss this time of year. So many reasons to feel sad. Lucas is gone and worse than that we have no idea when he will come home. Might be as early as next Friday, but might be 2010(seriously). This year reminds me of last year. I am avoiding wrapping presents because I was doing that, and enjoying Christmas shows when my mother in law called me last year to tell us that our beloved Papa Jim had died. He was such a joy to know. I know that for the Tilsens he was a later arrival, meeting Judy when Lucas was allready almost a teenager, but I met him at the same time I met the rest of them, and he was such a comfort to me. Everything seemed foreign and strange up there... but Jim made me feel ok. Like I could belong even if my family does march in the opposing picket lines. He made me fit in, and I miss him.
We've been tortured all week with bored weathermen predicting a major "weather event"... whatever. Remember when I was 7 months preggo and it snowed like three feet and we were stuck in the house for several days? That is a major weather event. This is called sleet. And not even the dangerous kind.
I think when it comes down to it I'm lonely, and then I feel guilty for being lonely because I know that its a GIFT that I get to be here, that I get to be lonely. Six months of unemployment means I shouldnt be complaining. But I miss my friends. And making gingerbread houses with them and singing songs with someone other than myself. Stinky non snow day.. why did you have to put me in a funk?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Please Pray

Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village church in Highland Village, Tx (North of Dallas) will be having surgery tomorrow on a brain tumor. They do not know of any malignacy yet. I know what I know from google searches. http://adrianwarnock.com/2009/12/matt-chandler-to-have-brain-surgery-for.html had some good info and a great challenge for us to pray and then to go listen to a pod cast or you tube video of Matt doing what he does best, changing lives. I know he changed mine. I know he gave my husband an amazing kick off on his Christian journey. We were at the village as visitors off and on for two years. I loved the church, but we knew we went living there for long and although that stretched into two years, and I now regret not plugging in more there are words that live in my heart and lead me to my King on a regular basis thanks to Matt. Phrases such as "Jesus wants the rose" and "on this side of the sun" have profound meaning to me. He was even the first pastor I EVER heard speak on the words Jesus said on the cross "Why have you forsaken me" and point out that it was what Jesus always did, point his people to the prophesies of who he was. Look in your bible. If you have a reference bible it will show you that in Mark 15:33 Jesus is refering to Psalm 22. I grew up being told by lazy preachers that this meant that God turned away from Jesus, abandoned him becaus the sin was too ugly to look upon. That when I sin I am too ugly for God to see. Not. True. God sees us sin and all and loves us sin and all and wants us sin and all so he can make us new. This psalm talks about being in the midst of the enemy, seemingly overcome. "I am a worm, and not a man, scorned by men and despised by people" (vs6) "Many bulls surround me" (12) "they have pierced my hands and feet" (16) "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing" (18) "BUT you oh Lord are not far off" (19) "From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly, before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows" (25) "They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn- for he has done it." FOR HE HAS DONE IT. I dont know what God is going to do with Matts earthly body in the near future or distant future. We can beseech that he be spared so he can continue teaching, continue this amazing movement amongst the church, amongst our generation. I will pray that prayer, for God is a healer. But His plan is perfect. If he needs to take Matt home to bring attention to all that God has already taught through Matts sermons and videos then Praise the Lord. If God spares him and alows him a long healthy life Praise God. Please pray for his family. They had two children when we were there. Please pray for his church family and the north Texas community that Matt means so much to. Please just pray. Pray and listen to a sermon.