Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Dangerous Duty of Delight

I'm reading a book by John Piper called, "The Dangerous Duty of Delight", and I was just struck by this paragraph:

Let it be crystal clear: We are always talking about joy in God. Even joy in doing good is finally joy in God, because the ultimate good that we always aim at is displaying the glory of God and expanding our own joy in God to others. Any other joy would be qualitatively insufficient for the longing of our souls and quantitatively too short for our eternal need. In God alone is fullness of joy and joy forever.

I have to say that in many ways my joy in doing the work of God, (leading worship, acting for a church sketch, writing a piece, directing a children's musical, facepainting at a fall festival, etc.) is significantly less than the joy I take in doing my 'quiet time'. Which sometimes just feels like work.

At my last church I was basically told I shouldn't be doing the work of God at all until my joy in my times with God was greater than the joy I took in doing His work. Which made me feel like I was bad or failing as a Christian. Because I've had wonderful, significant, meaningful, sweet times with God.

But day to day? I'd rather do His work. The creative work He's designed me to do.

3 Pregnancies

I had my annual 'fun' visit with the gynecologist last week, and was thrown for a loop.

I did the questionnaire thingy at the beginning.
One of the questions was 'How many pregnancies have you had?' I said 2.
'How many live births?' I said 2.
Then, it asked 'How many miscarriages have you had?' I said 1.

When the nurse came in and saw that, she corrected my 2 pregnancies to 3.

She was right. I realized I had 3 pregnancies.

I almost started crying right there.
Not that I didn't know I lost a baby, or that I was pregnant.
I just hadn't had it all listed out like that before and I found it shocking.

Really, I'm okay.
Sad. But okay.

The miscarriage still feels kind of dream-like. I know so few people REALLY, and told so few in person... I blogged about it, but really haven't TALKED to anyone about it.

I lost a baby. I don't know how heaven works really, and if she'll be there (I think she was a girl. I don't know this. I just think it.) And really, if there was something terribly wrong with her, and she would have been in a lot of pain it's better that she just go on home and wait for me to get there.

But, oh. It makes me sad right now.
I would have been about five months pregnant right now, and feeling little butterfly kicks.

God, you know what's best. But I don't understand everything right now. I want to trust you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Faith and Doubts

God does not go
From here to there by shortest routes;
He makes a place for faith and doubts.

by John Piper

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I remember when...
I had so much to say to You that the words fell onto the paper like rain from the Seattle sky.
I knew that I was adored and loved and felt fully confident of Your plans and purposes... of Your goodness and love...
I was sure of my place in Your plan, not at the center, but at Your feet gazing on Your light and lifting You high...
I knew Your words and heard Your voice...
I was so full of passion for You from top to bottom that I flew through weeks and over months with joy and abandon...
I was heard, and could come to You in freedom, my Abba...

God, somehow my love for You has been lost behind the slow, lingering death of dreams I thought You planted and nurtured.
Were they my dreams?? My hopes? I thought they were Yours. Was I so wrong?
Because if I was wrong in this fundamental thing, then all I knew of You is shifting sand.
Quicksand dragging me down.

My love for You is still here.
A seed I've kept hidden, safe in the pocket of my heart.
Will you nurture it?
Or will you let it wither and die?
Dried and hollow, like my heart.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Monroe Bazaar Follow-Up

Well, last Saturday was S-A-D.
Seems the poor lady in charge of the bazaar had appendicitis 2-3 weeks ago.
So most of the bazaar planning fell by the wayside. (Somebody please explain why she didn't ask for help or someone else didn't just kindly HELP HER OUT???)

So. NO advertising was done. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Til the day OF the bazaar. Then they put an ad in the paper.
How nice. The day of.
'Cuz nobody I know makes plans before the weekend. Nope. They all just wake up, hop out of bed, grab the paper and decide what they are gonna do for their only two days off right then and there. (earnest nodding)

And the big banner that goes outside in front of the school during the bazaar? Oh, yeah. They put that out 2-3 hours AFTER the bazaar started. Normally they've got it up the week BEFORE the bazaar to let everyone who drives by know what's going on...

Beth & I each sold one thing. She made table. I did not. And the sales we did make were to other venders. Another friend of ours only made $6.
By the way there were well over 100 venders, and each of us paid $40 a table. And for many of us, this is it. This is how we make our living. By selling the stuff we make...
Instead, we were trading stuff, and selling stuff to each other. Which tells you we had time to do that... We don't normally have time to look at everybody else's tables unless we're set up early enough to do it before opening.

I'm not bitter. REALLY. But I am annoyed.
When you rent the space to sell your stuff, it's with the understanding that they will do their part and get people in to buy your stuff...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monroe Bazaar on the 17th

We'll be at Monroe High school this Saturday from 10 til 4.
If you're in Fairbanks, Come check us out!
New Jewelry! Pretties, danglies, sparklies, and beautiful stones.
New Halloween pieces & New Christmas pieces.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Poor Luna

Last night during our evening bedtime rituals, Abigail suddenly yelled, "Mama, Luna's eye is bleeding!!!"

I picked her up, and drops of blood splashed on my hand.

Sometime yesterday the cats had a major fight, and poor Luna got the worst of it.
We're not sure who was involved, but it was probably Gidget. Beth noticed that she'd been stalking Luna all day. Gidget is this cantankerous fat cat who can't stand for any of the other cats in the house to be happy. If Luna or Nene are playing, there's Gidget stopping the fun.

She also has a habit of stalking one of the smaller cats around the house, chasing them down all day until she's got them pinned into a corner.

Anyway, Luna has a slight tear in her bottom eyelid, a deep puncture wound between her eyes, and a scratch across the top of her head between her ears. Poor kitty.

I took her for a daytime emergency visit to the vet, and she got the okay for her eye. We were all concerned that her eye itself had been scratched with the way it was gunky and bloody last night, but it was just the eyelid. Thank God.
So she got an antibiotic shot, and has been trailing me every second I've been home.
Poor kitty....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jake's Contest

Jake, my husband, entered this really cool Alaskan Inventor's Contest up on the UAF campus.
He's one of the 20 finalists!

He's got a great idea. And the potential to win a large chunk of money.

His final presentation is on Friday, October 23rd, and he's falling apart. Poor guy. He's feeling tons of pressure to do a perfect presention, and he's very nervous.

Please pray that he does his absolute best. (Yes, I want him to win, but I want him to feel like he did the best he possibly could even if he doesn't.)

Thank you!

Monday, October 12, 2009


I've had a migraine for the last week. Arrgh.
I don't know what's causing it, but it's affected everything I've done- my work, my attitude, my behavior. It makes it hard to think, and hard to function.
I hate migraines!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Call to Common Courtesy

I get an e-letter from Max Lucado's site. I really liked this little article, so I'm sharing it. These are not my words, they are his.

Perhaps you’ve never placed the word courteous next to Christ. I hadn’t until I wrote this chapter.
But you know how you never notice double-cab red trucks until your friend says he wants one—then you see a dozen of them? I had never thought much about the courtesy of Christ before, but as I began looking, I realized that Jesus makes Emily Post look like Archie Bunker.
He always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But he doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20 NASB). And when you answer, he awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.
And when he enters, he always brings a gift. Some bring Chianti and daisies. Christ brings “the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). And, as he stays, he serves. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45 NIV). If you’re missing your apron, you’ll find it on him. He’s serving the guests as they sit (John 13:4–5). He won’t eat until he’s offered thanks, and he won’t leave until the leftovers are put away (Matt. 14:19–20).
He is courteous enough to tell you his name (Exod. 3:15) and to call you by yours (John 10:3). And when you talk, he never interrupts. He listens.
He is even on time. Never late. Never early. If you’re checking your watch, it’s because you’re on a different itinerary. “There is a time for everything” (Eccles. 3:1). And Christ stays on schedule.
He even opens doors for you. Paul could preach at Troas because “the Lord had opened a door” (2 Cor. 2:12 NIV). When I asked my dad why men should open doors for women, his answer was one word: “respect.” Christ must have abundant respect for you.
He knocks before he enters. He always brings a gift. Food is served. The table is cleared. Thanks are offered. He knows your name and tells you his, and here is one more.
He pulls out the chair for you. “He raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens” (Eph. 2:6).
My wife has a heart for single moms. She loves to include a widow or divorcĂ©e at the table when we go to a restaurant. Through the years I’ve noticed a common appreciation from them. They love it when I pull out their chair. More than once they have specifically thanked me. One mom in particular comes to mind. “My,” she blushed, brushing the sudden moisture from her eye, “it’s been a while since anyone did that.”
Has it been a while for you as well? People can be so rude. We snatch parking places. We forget names. We interrupt. We fail to show up. Could you use some courtesy? Has it been a while since someone pulled out your chair?
Then let Jesus. Don’t hurry through this thought. Receive the courtesy of Christ. He’s your groom. Does not the groom cherish the bride? Respect the bride? Honor the bride? Let Christ do what he longs to do.
For as you receive his love, you’ll find it easier to give yours. As you reflect on his courtesy to you, you’ll be likely to offer the same.

From A Love Worth Giving
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2002) Max Lucado

Christmas Earrings

I've been working on some Christmas earrings to take to one of the local stores, "The Ornamentery".

The owner's name is Judith Grahek, and we are delighted to have seasonal items carried in her store. She's only open from about November 1st to December 23rd or so, and pretty much only carries seasonal items. Last year was our first year to work with her, and she's wonderful! Judith is very positive about the artists, and having a few things in her store was a good experience.

However, I've got some mixed feelings about ME making seasonal items...
#1- They're the most cutesy items I make. Always. And they rarely feel special enough to justify the time they take.
#2- I didn't sell many last year. Although I consistently sell some every year.
#3- I don't have as much fun making them.
#4- Part of me feels like I'm selling out. =) (Like I don't already make items specifically so they will sell! Really, I realize how silly this is, I just can't make it go away!)

Good Things About Seasonal Items:
#1- I like making things that will sell. I like making money. I like money.
#2- I have the items on hand, and I have fun making them, even if I'm all grouchy about it.
#3- Things sold at The Ornamentery only have a 20% commission on them. That is literally the best amount we make on any any of our jewelry other than the pieces we sell ourselves.

These little confetti/sequin earrings are quick and easy to make. I added a little sparkle to them with some 'fairy dust' (yes, that's an actual product, a liquid glitter), and voila. Christmas Earrings.

$10 a pair
Made by Rebecca


Unexplainable crises that we’d never asked for are often the backdrop of our greatest spiritual breakthroughs.
From Matt Tullos

I don't want that to be true... But I think Matt's right.
When I'm determined to go my own way, God is gracious enough to let me. And then He's there to pick up the pieces after my way turns out to have been the wrong way.

There's an old DC Talk song that goes,
"Some people gotta learn the hard way,
I guess I'm the kind of guy who's got to find out for myself."

I am so glad that God is in the business of making amazingly wonderful good things out of travesties. All those people in the Old Testament who sin... It isn't about how perfect a Christian is- we're not. Christians are messed up. Everyone has the potential for incredible evil, and Christians are no different. The incredible thing about knowing God intimately is knowing that He can take my worst and most heinous mistakes and make something beautiful out of them.

He can take something horrific and make good. But oh, how He longs to use us before we make the worst mistakes we possibly can. His longing is to hold us and protect us from the evil we can do- so that it doesn't happen. He can make beauty out of a life lived dedicated to Him.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:

He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:10-12

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Matthew 23:37

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My new creations

Lately I've been making Halloweeny type stuff for the Monroe bazaar. Having fun with bone skulls and spider webs. ;)

I'm dabbling with the idea of putting some of our/my stuff on Etsy, the handmade site ( It just seems very complicated. I'd have to get a dedicated bank account, and get a paypal account... And you never know if stuff will actually sell...

But there's the potential of opening up sales to more people & a larger market, and after losing our income from The Stash that would be a very good thing.

So, I'm truly tempted. We'll see.

Holiday Bazaars

So far, Two Sisters Jewelry has two confirmed Holiday bazaars:

October 17, Saturday from 9-4 at Monroe Catholic School

November 28 & 29, Saturday & Sunday from 9-4 at Pioneer Park

We look forward to seeing you there!
We will update the schedule as more confirmations come in.
Thank you!

Monday, October 05, 2009

God's Voice, Pt. 2

As this theme has circulated in my thoughts, I've realized that God has spoken to me more times than I had originally thought. I hope I can remember them all.

Just as the Israelites chose to remember God's provision for them at Passover, I believe strongly in remembering the times God has intervened in my life. It strengthens my faith to remember the times God has clearly revealed Himself. I believe it helps others as well.

I finally got to go to Youth camp after graduating from high school. I had never gone before, primarily because Summer Fine Arts Camp coincided with the week of camp. I loved Summer Fine Arts Camp! I got to sing, play my clarinet, act, dance, paint for a whole month!!! So, even though I was jealous that Beth went to youth camp and came back all pumped up for God, I had continued to choose SFAC over youth camp.

Until my last year.

Thank you God! I'm so glad that you made it possible for me to go to youth camp that last year.

Even though God had spoken a message of love and faithfulness over me, I still questioned His goodness and absolute power. My biggest struggle with God was still this: How could a God of love, joy and goodness allow the evil that exists in this world? Unless He wasn't powerful & couldn't change things?
Every morning after breakfast our director would send us out with our journals and some scripture. Since the camp is out in the middle of nowhere (outside of Delta Junction, Alaska), there was plenty of woods for us to each find a very alone spot.

On Wednesday or Thursday of that week, I found a spot by myself on a fallen log. I read my verses, and started journaling. I don't remember my topic, but I do remember asking God to please explain...

I poured out my heart to Him. I focused on the problem of evil and suffering in the world. How could He allow the atrocities I had witnessed, much less the horrors I had only heard of???

And He answered me.

I looked up.
And a beautiful butterfly landed close to me.
His words were so clear, so simple.
"I am all that is lovely, good, right and beautiful in the world."
It may not sound like a direct answer, but to me it was... I knew from His words that He despised and abhorred evil as much as I did. I knew that the evil in the world was not His plan.

While His message to me still didn't explain why so much evil was on the earth, it did let me know that evil was not His plan. That He was as aware of it as I was, and that He hated it more than I could imagine.

At seminary in Fort Worth I had the opportunity to take a class called "The Problem of Evil and Suffering". I read the writings of philosophers and theologians much more intelligent and learned than I will ever be. I wrote about the subject, and thought about it, and wrestled with God.

After all this, I'm still not 100% satisfied with God's choices, but I know these things:

1. God hates evil & sin. He abhors evil. He hates sin because He knows how much it destroys us.

2. God loves us, each and every one. He loves us so much that it's impossible to put it into words. He sees us each as a precious child with infinite potential, and He has a beautiful song for each of us...

3. In fact, He loves us so much that He gave us free will. Even though He knew we would choose to walk away from His love. Even though He knew we would choose to self-destruct, and cut ourselves off from His love.

4. He loves us so much that He believed it would be better for us to choose to follow Him, rather than create us without the choice to love Him back. He could have made us unable to choose, capable of only obeying Him.

5. I believe that He is good and loving and pure and right. And I am choosing to trust that His way is best.

Honestly, there are times when I think it would be better if He had made us incapable of doing wrong. Then we couldn't hurt each other. I watch the news and see the cruelty & horror we are capable of doing and I think He should have made us obedient slaves.

But God lives beyond time, and knows the future & the past. He knows the infinite possibilities, and He believes it would be better for us to to choose. So I will trust that He knows what is best, even when I am not sure. I trust that His ways are best.

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."
1 John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

Saturday, October 03, 2009


I've been very irritable lately.
Too many errands. Too much time in the car. Too many sick kids.
Not enough sleep. Not enough time with Jake. Not enough time doing fun things.
plus, I've been sick.
I hope that we can finally all be WELL.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Mom's Vehicle

My mom's Dodge Durango has been in the shop for the last 3 weeks. Aaaargh.
Which means I've been the one running EVERYBODY around. And with 6 people in a family, that's a lot of every bodies.
Her car* didn't pass the IM test because of some nasty problem with the ABS system. Very frustrating. Apparently, they all had that problem in '99. 'Cuz our mechanic couldn't find a replacement part in Alaska, or in the lower 48...
They messed around with it, and finally got it to pass! YaY! Alaska Auto Care Rocks!
I'm so glad for there to be another vehicle in the house!

*(Mom hates it when we call it a 'truck', and it's such a mouth full to say 'the SUV', so we generally call it 'the car', or the Dodge. Even though it's not a car, and Jake's Neon is also a Dodge. As far as mom's concerned it's better to call it a car than a truck. Weird, huh?)