Saturday, July 8, 2017

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Apologies and Sheep

This is Alta.
Alta and I at my brother, Kory's Wedding in December 2000.
There was a RAGING snow storm, but that didn't stop Alta from
making sure she was there for that important ceremony...
and she stayed for the Reception and Dance after wards! 
If you've spent any amount of time having REAL conversations with me, she's probably come up...she's in a bulk of my childhood memories and had an impact on me in ways I'm STILL realizing.

I think part of the reason Alta had such an impact on me was that Alta wasn't like any of the other adults I knew growing up.

First off, her hair was a pinkish hue...I think it was naturally red and she dyed it and it sorta got mauve. I thought it was lovely...you can see in the photo she always styled it so prettily and loved a good hat or head piece. I never thought her to be vain, but rather respectful in making sure she presented her best self.

Second, she never really walked anywhere...she always sort of scampered and when she was out and about she wore sensible heels all the time. (At home, she wore pants, button down shirts, hankies over her hair, and off-brand KEDS, but that's another story).

Finally, she just DID things differently than other people. She was beyond frugal; writing down every mile driven, gallon of gas put in, and using a decrepit wallet that she held closed with a rubber band because it was still quite good except for the zipper. She called at the break of dawn to run ideas past people or make sure things were in place for whatever WELCA activity was happening next. She didn't dilly-dally on the phone gossiping or taking up your time; she'd simply say, "Thank you for now" and she'd be off. She typed EVERYTHING...lists, letters, notes...always typed perfectly on her typewriter.  Her house was tidy as could be, but it was like a museum...she had curiosities all over...shells, shark teeth, rocks, etc. She would take time to talk to you about each item, but if she was busy getting your snack together you could learn about them yourself because they each had a little typed note either on, or near them, that told you what it was, where she'd gotten it, and any other interesting tidbit. She'd always let you touch them. She was our church organist and she was so great...no dragging hymns for us! Her preludes were timed and started EXACTLY that many minutes and seconds before the service was to commence. She wrote on her hymnal the dates of when the hymns were sung...I'm not sure if she helped plan the services and wanted to make sure we didn't "over sing" anything or if she just liked to know. Her postludes were always spunky and reminded you of a carousel or old-time skating music. She talked so fast that she lost most people in the process and would talk of good stewardship, justice for others, and how we might care for "the least of these". She remembered every story and could recall who she had given piano lessons to and when. She called me her "Young Friend" and while I'm sure there were times my teenage self wasn't totally "into" going to an organ concert or other outing with Alta, I always went and enjoyed myself immensely.

Sadly, she passed away October 4, 2002. She was sick and I happened to be home from Southern MN. I called her in the hospital and told her I wanted to come see her, "No need!" she'd said. "I'm heading home tomorrow!" Instead, she ended up getting worse, being taken to Fargo, and passing away in the night. I was devastated. I stayed and went to her funeral. I remember sitting up in the balcony; our little country church was PACKED. The sermon was the story of Dorcas/Tabitha from Acts. Pastor Smith correlated Tabitha and Alta...her mission work and sewing she'd done for the Hospital Auxiliary, her work on the Historical Society for Polk County, her service at the church and the countless ways she had worked to make our community better. He talked that although Peter raised Tabitha on the spot, Alta would need to wait, but SURELY she would be raised again and would continue to testify to the world about the greatness of her God. Since that day, that story has been my favorite...and, like Alta, an inspiration and encouragement about how I want to live my life.

If you're in an ELCA Congregation, your first lesson today was Acts 9:36-43; the story of Dorcas/Tabitha. As I sit in my chair this morning at our church in West Fargo, ND, I couldn't help but grin and think of Alta. Yes, I got a little sad as there are still times I sob as I miss her so terribly...but mostly I smiled to myself about KNOWING someone who was so much like Tabitha...someone who helped the poor and gave of herself so fully. As I was listening, I realized something about Alta that I had never realized before--Alta didn't apologize about who she was. Yes, I'm sure she apologized when she did wrong, but I don't ever recall Alta apologizing for who she was...for her quirks or how she did her life.

As a woman who works part time at the church, juggles 4 kids, a husband, an established business, a fledgling business, and the roles of sister, daughter, friend, and confidant; I find myself apologizing a LOT....for things I can't really control, for having an opinion, for being convicted in a certain way about topics. Should I apologize when I do wrong? Absolutely! Should I apologize for who I am? For what I believe God has put into my heart? Uhhh.....

I've been thinking about this all day today...while I finished up services, got the kids in the car, had lunch, drove them to music lessons, got groceries, drove home, helped with homework, read books, made supper, did laundry, and the myriad of other Sunday afternoon activities I do to make sure the week runs a bit more smoothly and I think I realized WHY Alta didn't apologize for her quirks....

I don't think it was the fact that she had gotten old enough not to care. I don't even think that it was the fact that she knew that she KNEW herself. Rather, I think it was the simple fact that she and God had spent enough time together that she KNEW His voice. (If you're ELCA; the Gospel in John was about this today). She knew who He'd made her to be, she knew what He needed her to do, where He needed her to serve, and how He had equipped her to do it. And she did it. Sure, what she told you might sting a little, but not out of malice; Alta was one of the first people to tell me that being honest with someone can be done in love...if it is received it in a different way that isn't yours to control.
If you know the Shepherd's voice, you don't need to apologize about being His Sheep.

Today, at the end of worship, a couple came up and told me how much they enjoy my accompanying the services, "You play with such zest, we just love how you spice up those hymns". I admit I beamed as I thanked them, after all, I learned from the best how to play a good hymn....but tonight, Lord, I pray that I will know you SO fully that I need not apologize for being your Sheep; for doing your will and helping those in need continually. And...if you can, when you come to raise us all, can you make sure Alta and I get a seat at the table near each other? I cannot WAIT to spend eternity in your presence with her....we've got SO much to catch up on! Amen.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rooms of Reality

It's no secret that I adore decor, styling, and making a space completely unique to an individual...when I had two tiny baby girls I had a BLAST decorating their nursery with a gorgeous vintage floral motif. I imagined what I would do when they got older; something sort of like these:
(all images from Pinterest)




 And if there needed to be a LOT of STUFF it could look like this:


Or if my girls wanted lots of colors, we could do this: 


Oh, silly, silly, rookie-Mama Stacy. I have been blessed to raise some girls who KNOW themselves. And while they are both such kind and good-hearted individuals that I believe they WOULD likely give in to my desires if I pushed them hard enough, one of my rules is that the space MUST reflect the person.

We've moved to a new home over Christmas and Leve could NOT take another moment of not having her room 'DONE'. So, a few weekends ago we got it done. As we worked side by side I thought about what I would do for her space if I were doing it alone...toys that I would donate, old pictures that I would Artkive and then toss, bedding that would be more feminine.

Thankfully, I could see the complete joy and blessing of working along side my daughter and HER making decisions of where to hang her "art", how things should be laid out, where she wanted her toys to be located...how each item she determined to keep meant something important to her and reminded her of the people and places she has loved in her eight short years. So, instead of the fantasy rooms I've dreamed of, we have this:  







While we do plan to do some painting to get rid of the WHITE walls, this is her space...and I wouldn't give up that content and happy smile for any Pinterest image in the world! Praises for a little girl who KNOWS herself! 



Thursday, November 19, 2015

I'm Still Me

I just need to say this to the world and to myself: I'm still ME.
Little things may change, but in the real ways; the ways that count and make up the core of who I am. I'm still ME.
Am I a little wounded and broken hearted? Yes.
Have I found that I have a "dark and twisty" place? Yes.
Do I still giggle, laugh, and act like a silly goon? Yes.
Do I try too hard and have a preference for perfection? Yes.
Do I look for the right thing to do in a situation and do it? Yes.
BUT, I've found that with the dark and twisty places in the hearts of others, doing the right thing isn't always the most popular thing. I've found that people will believe what they want to believe no matter what you say or do. Your words, no matter how honest and pure can still be twisted.

It has shattered my heart to find out those you love will twist those words. Misinterpret those actions. Not even take the time to ask YOU for an explanation. The mis-information of people who are practically strangers will take the place of asking for YOUR truth; to strive for understanding and reconciliation.

I don't know what to do with that. I don't know how to handle it, how to make sense of it, how to find a common ground with people who won't talk to me. I don't know because I'm still me.
Me. Who loves her family with all their quirky-ness and cannot fathom this hurtful behavior.
Me. Who loves her friends as if there were family and misses the intimacy that was once shared.
Me. Who loves her God and is struggling to live out His call in her day to day in the midst of this sadness and hurt.

I'm. Still. Me.
Me. Who will keep on loving, praying, and smiling.
It's just who I am.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day 2013

No matter what your relationship status is, we wish you love today...be it from your Mom, a friend, your child, or a lover...we pray you feel it's magic today.

Monday, January 28, 2013

International Book Giving Day--February 14, 2013

So Valentines is RIGHT around the corner...and you've "pinned" some fun ideas on Pinterest but are looking for a way to celebrate in a way with a little more "meat" to it....how about celebrating International Book Giving Day?!?!

Back story: Finn's best friend in D-town came up with this neat idea of having friends and family share books on Feb. 14th. (Smart kid, no?) AND his great idea has blossomed into a real thing...INTERNATIONAL BOOK GIVING DAY!!! What a neat initiative to share books with kids who may not have access. PLEASE check out their website to find out more about how you and your little readers can share the love on Feb. 14th. :)

Leave a comment and share some ideas!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another Year Older...

So, it was my Birthday yesterday...34 years...

It was a good day...my kids brought me breakfast in bed. My husband made me a fruit breakfast and juice in my favorite cup. Anne and her family sent me beautiful flowers. Lots of people wished me well on Facebook. I got several cards in the mail. Some sweet texts. A few emails. My Mom called. We had supper out as a family. Otherwise, it was a normal day filled with changing diapers, school, naps, making lunch, running kids to activities, etc.  A good, happy day.

I did note however, that my girls were kinda bummed with it. They wanted MORE...a fun activity, a cake, something SPECIAL. I, suppose, something closer to what they are accustomed to for their Birthdays. I assured them that I was okay.

Because, really, it WAS okay. I don't know how you handle Birthdays...maybe you love them? Maybe not? Maybe it bums you out to be a year older? In the past I've always wanted to make a big deal of my Birthday. I liked the big fuss because it made me focus more on my friends and family that were near me instead of having to deal with the fact that I am another year older. This year was different.

We were in D-town. It was the middle of the week. No friends were near. This year I faced the fact that I had grown a year older head on. No games. No distractions. I'm 34 and what do I have to show?I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I let myself get a little negative....there's a lot I THOUGHT I'd have done by now.

In the afternoon I drove the kids over to swim team practice...and the song "Blessings" by Laura Story came on...and I REALLY listened. And pulled the car over. And bawled. It's not the first time that song has reduced me to tears. But on the day of my birth, I heard it in a different way.

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

What if your blessings fall through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you're near?
What if the trials of this life are your mercies in disguise? **

Some areas where I feel discouraged or disappointed:

We have had to leave communities we've loved; friends who had become our family.
    We've also been brought to new communities with new individuals to love and serve. We've been blessed to maintain many of those important relationships.

I have not made any huge contributions to those in need. I have not started a non-profit or adopted any children. I have not eradicated a disease or abuse.
   I do the best I can to help those around me when I see a need.

I don't have a Masters in Education.
    I DO have a business that I am proud of and that allows me to be home and raise my children.

My business is not as large or successful as I would like it to be.
   I am blessed to be able to homeschool my children and focus on their growth for now. All things in their season.

I not received any sort of award or honor for my career.
    I have been blessed to be Mom of the Year to 4 really amazing kiddos...and my husband thinks I'm pretty cool too. :)

I am not as thin or fit as I wish I were.
    I have birthed four children. I have enjoyed my meals and have been blessed with adequate food. I have also found a path for my eating and health that steadily is giving me results and making me feel healthier and stronger than I have ever been.

My home is not as clean or organized as I would like it to be.
   I enjoy my days within my home. I create, play, and relax with my family. We work together to make it a comfortable place to live. I have learned that keeping the sort of house I desire comes at a price and the person I become is not kind, patient, or grace-filled. I have let it go.

I have not done as much with my photography, crafting, writing, other creative pursuits as I would like to.
   I HAVE had opportunities to be creative and as I still breath on this earth I have future possibilities. All things in their season.

I am sad beyond words at so many things that have happened in my life and in the lives of those I care about.
  I am beyond thrilled to know that this is not it. There IS another place where contentment, happiness, and joy will be the only emotions we know. My task until then it to be faithful, steadfast, and love those around me.

You see, it WAS a good birthday...even with the weird hairs I found that I am told WILL be turning gray soon.
Awesome.
Bring. It. On.
Because this isn't ALL there is....if I never cross things off my 'bucket list', if I never do all the neat things I thought I would...God has a plan for me...and ultimately only when I am with Him will I ever be truly satisfied. Thank you, Jesus!!!

**Please understand that I recognize that my trials are MUCH less serious than others around me and I do not even pretend to compare my situation to those facing much more serious situations. Please respect, however, that my situation is mine to work through and to me it does seem like a trial at times.