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Weird!

When we were dating, our common friends would remark that we certainly belonged together since we are both weird.  Not sure if that word has new or negative connotations but at the time it certainly was accurate!  So much so, that 35 years later the child of one of our former students texted me to ask me to help her to learn to have fun and play!  hahahaha

Jim had wit, and I grew up learning the same thing.  I think he got a great deal of his from his dad and his uncle John.  Conversations always included puns and jokes in both our homes.  Philosophical discussions about a variety of topics included things that really puzzled us:

Why doesn’t the glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

If swimming is healthy then why are whales fat?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box? (Similarly, if bread is square why is lunch meat round?)

Why do you put in your 2 cents worth when it is only a penny for your thoughts?

Why do we say we are head over heels when we are happy?  Isn’t it always that way?

If I run at the speed of sound will I be able to hear the music on my ipod?

What is a picture of 1000 words worth?

If you are bald, what color hair do you put on your driver’s license?

In the song Yankee Doodle, is he calling the horse or the feather “macaroni”?

You get the idea…..Silly. Weird. Odd. Funny. Strange. Goofy. Curious. Unusual.

Today Jim’s uncle passed away.  He was one of my favorite people to have these “discussions” with!  A special man.

Dr. John Mohler

Who am I?

I know I wear a variety of hats in my life.  Most of them give me hat head so that I don’t want to take them off.  Nevertheless, I need to be ready to switch roles and I have put some hats on a shelf (pastor) or thrown them out (wife).

Often at work I am told that I am the mother hen in the student ministries office.  While I am older than those I work with, I really don’t feel like I “mother” them.  Well, maybe a little. But I am not sure if that is a bad thing or not!  I guess it feels like a derogatory term.  For one thing we all have a mother and don’t necessarily need another! Especially since I picture a mother hen as a person who cares for the needs of others in an overprotecting or interfering way.

Also, I want to partner with those I work with as a a fellow teammate/friend or as a coach and not as their mother.


 

 

 

 

 

 

I kind of think I am more like the little janitor guy at the end of the fractured fairy tales cartoons or the Carol Burnett as the cleaning woman graphic. This is also rather demeaning; not because I go around cleaning up someone else’s messes but because we live in a culture that does not value or treat this hardworking portion of the working class with respect.  The term janitor seems like a person to be pitied or who is ignorant, has failed or highly expendable. It is that embarrassing way that I feel when I tell someone I am an administrative assistant.  I guess, though, that it feels more authentic than being called a Smother Hen!

I wish things were different for me sometimes.  Don’t get me wrong – I am grateful for this job but sometimes the ways that I am treated seems very much like the caste system and I am at the bottom wrung. I really would rather have a better title, maybe even a different job so I could wear a different hat and throw out those with negative labels. But how?  How can I come across as someone not so pushy, less of a know-it-all, unintrusive and more caring, genuinely interested, dedicated to bringing out the best in others? Looking for a new hat!

Anniversaries!

50 years Dennie and Diana

This ministry power couple has had a powerful impact on many people, but most importantly (for me anyways), they have shaped me more than they will ever know. It is an honor to celebrate their marriage and I join the 1000’s of others who would be first in line to say thank you to them as well.  The example of their marriage, the example of their parenting, the fruitfulness of their partnership in ministry, the kindness and faithfulness they exude and the humble and consistent faith are extraordinary.  Blessings a bunch to the Clemetsons.

17 Years David & Angelique

I got to perform their ceremony.  It is still one of the highlights of my life!

30 Years Jonathan & Judy

2 of my siblings and one of Jim’s have now been married longer than I was.  I have to admit that I am a bit jealous!  I do miss being married (to Jim specifically)

60 Years  Mom and Dad

My parents have been married for 60 years.  Wow! I am not sure how my siblings feel, but I am grateful for the fact that God chose to put me in this family. (At least most of the time).  What a rare privilege to grow up in a home with enough food, enough education, needs met well enough and more than enough love and laughter.  I could focus on the mistakes my parents made, or any number of injustices, or stale and weird things we were offered to eat.  My siblings and I can recount many stories of how the folks made decisions that negatively impacted us.  And yet, not only could it have been worse, it is more about how well it was that in spite of all else, we were blessed with a home that modeled faith and love. We were given much.

At the anniversary dinner, my mom was sharing how they learned to trust God throughout their marriage as they raised us kids but that was not clear to those who were listening.  In their defense, which I feel I must come to more often than I ever used to, they may not be the best at communicating but I think they have expressed their love for the Lord and each other and their family in consistent ways for all my life

Thank you for praying for me and for leading me into a reasonable and intelligent faith.

Thank you for providing me with food, clothes, shelter and more.

Thank you for creating traditions that we still enjoy today and are passing on.

Some of the lessons I learned were through your failures and mistakes.

Thank you for not divorcing, even though a relative “assured” us kids that it would happen.

Thank you for more than you will ever know.

With Admiration and love,

Miriam

 

 

PS. 70 of Earl & Connie is coming in April!!!!

Barnacles on the Ship of Life

So I know that I am getting older. No matter how I try to disguise it or ignore it, it is a real thing. There are things about getting older that are good, but this one thing is not. I went to my doctor this week to have her check some spots on my skin, only to be told that I have barnacles! Yes, she actually said that word! I told her it wasn’t very nice since this was my last visit with her/Kaiser (since my health insurance changes this week). Then I went home and looked it up and it is a real thing. What the heck?! I remember when I got my first opportunity to “join” AARP. I was only 26 and deeply offended. That feeling was nothing compared to being called an “old ship” with barnacles.

Seborrheic keratosis is the dermatological term that is synonymous with age spot or barnacle. They are benign and don’t evolve into cancer, yet they can make cancer detection more difficult. I know that a person does not have to be ancient to have them but their prevalence increases with age. The problem is that unlike other things that I had control over such as sun exposure and weather or diet growing up, these annoying and semi-parasitic creatures are not a result of anything I could have controlled. Rather, they are genetic! I was literally programmed to get them and there is nothing I can do to prevent or eradicate these growths. Thanks to my gene pool!

Most people would like to grow old; unfortunately, I was not expecting to get barnacles to show for it. If a person walks along the beach, barnacles can be found on almost every solid surface that gets covered by water: the hulls of ships, whales, the pylons of a pier. They are not dangerous but they do create a “drag” that slows down a boat. Isn’t that funny?

Well, I could move to fresh water since barnacles only like the ocean.  The trouble is that I do think I need the preserving qualities of salt! What to do!? Hahaha.  I will just grow old and ignore the barnacles on my hull!

I am reminded of the parody sung to the tune of My Favorite Things:

Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets, and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heat pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no fear of sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favorite things.

When the joints ache, when the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Thanksgiving at my Brother’s house:

On the day of Thanksgiving my family was blessed:

with a 25 pound turkey

2 many cooks

3 kinds of pie

4 blended households

5 bearded men

6 grandkids present

7 coffee drinkers

8 sparkling ciders

9 side dishes

10 college graduates

11 thousand blessings

12 music lovers

I love my wacky family and being with them fills me up (whether or not we eat turkey!)

 

Mohler Thanksgiving 2017

This is instead of a Christmas Card!

mohler letter 17

The End of an Era

16 years and countless hours on a soccer field, dozens of pairs of cleats, shinguards and uniforms; lots of laundry, sunscreen and gas, and now it is all in the rearview mirror.  Clayton has played his last soccer game.  Oh, I am quite sure that there will be more games and soccer play in his future, but the “official” club, high school and NCAA College teams are finished. And it is time to hang up my “soccer mom” hat!

I remember the first season that he played and was one of the only blonde kids on the team.  The other parents called him Dash, after the kid on the Incredibles movie. He has had many wins and losses. He has had lousy coaches as well as kind and competent ones.  He has had yellow cards and a few reds, some deserved and some not, from referees who were both fair and idiotic.

He has made friends, learned how to be a team player and learned about countries around the world. He learned a good work ethic and responsibility.  I think that all the endorphins produced during Jim’s illness and death, helped Clayton through the very dark valley of grief.

I could go on and on.  It is bittersweet to be at the end and I wish I could do it all over again. Soccer certainly has shaped my son and me too.  I am blessed.

Jim is 62 in earth years

62 years old in earth time! I miss you every day! 7 years since he went to heaven. 2555 days. 61320 hours.3,679,200 minutes. Nothing in our lives is the same since he left except our love for him as a husband and father. I am not sure how time or events or anything else is measured in heaven; But here we now call your birthday Corny Joke Day!
1. How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh?
(tentickles)
2. Why don’t they play games in the jungle? (too many cheetahs)
3. why didn’t the toilet paper cross the road? (It got stuck in a crack)

4. How do you find Will Smith in the snow? (You follow the fresh prints!)

Anyone else?!

 

 

Freedom through obedience


I had the privilege of sharing at the HS Girls Fall retreat last weekent.  The theme was Captive, based on 2 Cor. 10:

 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight withare not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

I closed out the time with the last part of the passage.

Here is a very brief summary of what I shared.

The greatest invasion in modern history was D-Day, 6/6/44 when General Eisenhower said, “Let’s go.” 10, 000 men sacrificed their lives for freedom. And yet, there was a greater invasion when God invaded earth in the person of Jesus. Nothing compares to that sacrifice made for our freedom.

Focus on the truth

We are already free, but we do not always think like we are. The truth is that we fight from freedom and not for it.  Thoughts are powerful and Satan would like us to keep listening to his lies, instead of replacing them with the truth.  Satan would like us to think that he has a grip on us, but it is gone.  He hangs on to territory he knows is no longer his. Just as Hitler battled for 2 more years after the invasion and did not give up what the Allied forces did not take, we have to take ground.  the armor of God is only for the front – we are to be on the offense!!! Thoughts are powerful whether they are true or not.  Prov. 23:7 says that a person is as she thinks she is. Sometimes we listen to lies enough that we cannot discern them from reality.  To tear down strongholds and experience freedom we have to listen (actively) and obey. To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22). By example, we believe all kinds of things that are not true – God is not committed to our happiness; that is our country.  God is committed to our holiness.  Holiness is what makes us happy!

Rule your Mind or it will rule you.

The cross means that the only foothold/stronghold Satan has left for humanity is getting people to give in to sin.  He has lost the war and he knows it!  If you are a christ follower then he placed the flag for His country on your heart; the only battle Satan can still win is the battle for your mind. Obedience is the best way to change your thinking. If you are struggling with your faith and your joy, it is because you are building your life on man’s empty philosophies rather than on what Christ taught (Col. 2:8) Paul encouraged the Philippians in 4:8 to think about things that are pure, excellent, right, true, praiseworthy, lovely, admirable, noble (Pert Plan – shampoo for the mind). A little league coach asked his team what their most important piece of equipment was and after hearing the players answers he said, “It is your mind.”  Similarly the Dodgers lost game 7 to the Astros in the second inning, but they had to keep playing to the end.  Hitler knew that all was lost when the Allied troops won the stronghold at the beaches of Normandy, but he kept fighting.  The greatest weapon you have is your mind and letting it be conformed through obedience.

Elevate, Exclaim and Eat. (Worship, shout Praise and Study the Word) Joel.3:9,10

For every New Testament principle there is an Old testament story.  Deut. 10 is the story about Jericho.  The Israelites walked around the walls of the city once a day silently for 6 days and on the 7th day they walked around 7 times and turned and shouted and the stronghold fell.  The walls were demolished through worship of obedience and the Word. Speak the truths about who you are out loud.  Rather than talk about your weaknesses, discouragements and sicknesses, we are told to claim the promises of scripture to be free (Deut. 30:11,14). Declare the truth. Reaffirm your love for God.  Lean in to Hope. Pray. Surrender to the Spirit.

Endure to the End – Every thought everyday!

The story of Gideon in Judges 6 tells of how Gideon, who was not a strong warrior at the start, became obedient to God and tore down the Baal idol with 10 servants (that means it had to be big!).  Yes he did it in the night because he was afraid of the people, but the point is that he was diligent to obey God. We are told to keep going.  Never give up.  Everyday God will give us what we need just as he provided manna in the wilderness.  Paul tells us to press on.  Don’t let anyone rob you of your joy, your power, your influence. Keep the loins of your minds girded. Every time we give in to sin or give way to a defeated attitude a brick is added to the stronghold, the high tower of the enemy.

 

Seven

After Us

I heard a statistic when I was first widowed that every cell in my body would be replaced in a seven year span, so that none of my cells now would ever have “known” Jim.  I googled that and it is not true!

Seven is just a number and on the other side of the grave no one probably even counts! Yet, it feels like more than just a number. 7 years full of birthdays, soccer games, cups of tea, travels and more have passed since Jim went home to heaven. 7 years feels like such a long time and yet it is such a small amount of time too.

Pick a number, any number and chances are it will be a seven. Perhaps it is because it is biblical (7 days of creation, 7 feasts, 7 branches on the candlestick, 7 days siege of Jericho, 7 years Jacob worked for Rachel, seven seals, 7 bowls, 7 churches, forgive 7 times 70….); it occurs more than 700 times!

It is the “most” prime number my math teacher said; because you cannot divide or multiply it within the first 10 numbers it is unique. The optimum number of hours of sleep is 7 hours each night. There are 7 colors in the rainbow. 7 Harry Potter books are in the series.

The night Jim died we were both transformed. Jim was transformed to the past tense on this earth and yet he is more present than I am; he lives in the presence of God! I too began a transformation too. I would never be the person I had been the day before. I have learned some things since that night(more than the 7 listed here), but what remains steadfast is the reality:

  • that God in control,
  • that He is still good,
  • that He can make something good out of the worst situations,
  • that grief may endure through the night but joy comes in the morning,
  • that He sees me and hears me – God is with me to the end
  • that there is hope and joy available everyday
  • that I will see Jim again.

I remain adamant that cancer will not define me, but the death of my husband does define me, and it continues to refine and change my perspective, my life and my relationship with God. As personal as grief is, I resonate with others who are on the same journey. Grief is weird.  It follows me everywhere and replays like background music in my thoughts. My main goal in life shifted as I learned to carefully unwrap the gift of sorrow and carry my grief. I want the world to see joy, hope and gratitude triumph over despair.  I continue to be transformed as I build a different life after “us”.  I have amazing friends and family, a good job that replaced my career, and Jim’s legacy to keep alive.

 

S since 2010

E eternity is

V visible

E everyday

N now

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