Monday, December 21, 2009

top ten things i learned while in africa

10. i can be extremely happy with a lot less.

9. showering by candlelight while relaxing, is inefficient at removing red dirt. hot water might have helped too.

8. i prefer not to be smelly.

7. roosters crow all day, kinda ocd.

6. you can carry/hold anything while riding on the back of a boda (motorcycle taxi): goats, suitcases, sugar canes, bicycles, chickens, anything.

5. “you are most welcome here” is a beautiful greeting.

4. living in houston prepared me well for africa. three words: heat. humidity. cockroaches.

3. a real pet monkey is not at all like curious george.

2. one of my favorite activities, fabric shopping (for musana backpacks) is fun in africa too!

1. holding a child on your lap and whispering in their ear that Jesus loves them is exquisitely glorious.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the work of evil fabric elves

i have been attempting to clean out and reorganize my quilting studio for months, working a little bit here and there…yet it seems more cluttered and messier than ever. what’s up with that? is this the proverbial elephant meal (one bite at a time) or are there other more subversive forces at work…messy minions who sneak in at night and undo my work…kinda like the shoemaker’s elves working for satan? this is where my childhood dream/prayer to be like samantha on Bewitched kicks in. i wish i could wiggle my nose and it would be done.

but alas, i must put in my effort, lot’s of time and decision-making and plastic crates. i know the drill: sort everything by what to keep, donate, and trash. but it is so hard when there is 10 years of fabric and projects and supplies, like a sewing tsunami rolled in. drowning seems imminent.

suddenly it occurs to me that this is quite similar to dealing with issues in my life that have threatened to drown me…control, perfectionism, people pleasing etc. as I avoided dealing with this emotional clutter, it just got harder, and eventually, it seemed insurmountable.

obedience and discipline to work at difficult tasks, is very challenging stuff. but impossible? no. i don’t approach either the character stuff or the tedium of cleaning my studio like the little engine trying to make it up the mountain repeating, “i think i can, i think i can.” instead, like my wise friend iris would tell me, i look to the One who gives me strength and encouragement and then i just do the next right thing.

so off i go to dive into the piles of fabric and swim my way to the distant shore of a clean and tidy studio. thank you Lord that You speak to me in the most unexpected of places. amen.

ps. i wrote this in august and i got it done! here are the before pictures (i swear i don't have that hoarding issue. for reals.)

it gets better. trust me.

ta da!! here come the amazing afters...

so much better!!!!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

big tex
top ten things i love

10. he watches tv which is just funny (barking at animals on tv, not so much)
9. he believes he controls the backyard
8. he sports a goofy expression (see above)
7. he is sweet to my little dog button
6. he is always enthusiastic (read: he runs from room to room)
5. he has better ideas about how to use a tennis ball than for tennis
4. he is the best gift (david's) i ever gave
3. he is always happy. always.
2. he wags his tail whenever i walk in the room. just for walking in the room.
1. he happily rocks the afro

i am so glad that God created pets. thanks God!

Friday, September 11, 2009

september 11, 2001
i turned on the tv that morning, not something i usually did, because we had been at the broncos game the night before and ed mccaffrey had suffered a horrific career ending broken leg right in front of us. i knew they would replay it on the sports that morning, not something they did in the stadium. but instead of that, i saw a shocking image of a plane fly into the world trade center in new york.

as soon as the news broke that it was an american airlines plane from logan in boston i began frantically trying to reach my brother, a pilot for american who flew that same route out of boston. unable to get through i finally heard from my mom that she had talked to him briefly and he was not flying that day. i knew my relief was some one else's sorrow.

that sorrow built throughout the day as i watched the wtc be struck again and then collapse to the ground, the pentagon be attacked and another plane crashing (averting more deaths through their brave sacrifice) in a pennsylvania pasture. it is still so shocking to remember. so many lives were broken that day, pain that echos still 8 years later. but there were also stories of miracles and heroism that became mixed in with the unbearable tragedy, little places of light in the darkness.

david and i sat at a table overlooking manhattan at the windows on the world restaurant in the world trade center on march 11, 1986 as he asked me to marry him. it was a magical moment of tremendous joy for me and a memory of a place i will always treasure. we love new york. and were heartbroken by the events of 9/11.

today i grieve for the tremendous losses and celebrate too that those little places of light have grown brighter.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

this weekend will mark the end of the third year without my mom. david asked me today how i was doing with that, the grieving and missing her. it doesn’t seem any more acute for me on the anniversary of her death. i just miss her. and i am so grateful that she was my mom. she was a great mom, even though she made many mistakes, some that wounded me deeply…because she loved me deeply too.

i love being able to extend grace to her in my memories. that is an interesting concept, huh? here’s an example of how it works. when michael (first child, like the first pancake) was a baby, i was a neurotic mess. i worried about everything. mom was a bit of a worrier too. it must be a genetic thing. (thankfully God can overcome genetics.) one spring afternoon we were going to the mall, mom michael and i. as we got out of the car the wind picked up to like a hundred miles an hour. really, it was crazy windy. and mom looked at me with a bit of panic and said “you need to run with him into the mall or” (i swear this is true) “the wind will suck his breath away.” what?? i was so bound up by fear, i believed her. as i look back at this, i know it was a silly wive’s tale that she had been taught and she was not maniacally trying to mess with me by telling me this. so i give her grace. (my brother mike died when he was 4 years old and here was her first grandchild, named in his memory...i can't imagine the mixture of joy and grief and understandably, some worry.) and thankfully, i figured out the worry stuff. at least most of it.

when i was growing up we had bright purple carpet in our living room. on purpose. mom chose it because she loved purple. she didn’t care about what was in style or even normal. she liked it so she thought it was perfect.

thanks mom. i live in a house i love with pink and yellow walls and lots and lots of color and quilts because you taught me to go with what i loved and not to worry if it was a bit different.

i miss you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

trusting for monkey bites

we just talked to annie  in africa for the first time since she arrived!  she sounds wonderful at “home” in the place where her heart sings.  she told us about her flight, the people and children at the orphanage where she will work.  we talked about the challenges of time change and how much we miss her.   

then she told us about their new pet, a monkey.  yep.  a monkey.  and that the monkey was small and cute and sweet… and got a little freaked out around the kids and bit her.  yep. the monkey bit her. welcome to life in africa.

monkey bites were not on my list of “bad things that could happen while living in africa.  my first thought was “do tetanus and rabies shots cover monkey bites?"  michael, my 20 year old son told me, “you know aids started in monkeys.”  that was helpful.  :0)

i could feel the challenge to worry or to trust Him rising up inside me.  what will I choose?   so my new area of learning to trust God involves monkey bites.  is God big enough to handle monkey bites?  absolutely, yes.   do I need to worry about the complications that might come from a monkey bite?  absolutely not.  because God can be trusted in all things.   who better to trust than the One who loves me and is in complete control of all that happens, including monkey bites.

"cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."  1 peter 5:7

Monday, June 15, 2009

letting go...

today is the day that annie has been longing for…she leaves for her beloved Africa.  and today is the day that I am both celebrating and mourning.  what joy to see my daughter embrace who she is and how God created her and His amazing plan for her.  i am thrilled for each little Ugandan child whose life she will touch, whose heart she will she love.  and i am so proud of annie, how she has grown and matured and become a young woman I greatly admire. 

 all these tremendous feelings of celebration help with the sadness of her leaving.  because I will miss her terribly.  my overjoyed and full heart also aches with loss.  and that is a beautiful thing.  it is exactly what david and i hope and pray for each of our children, that they will grow and mature and step into all that God plans for them…even though it leaves an empty place in our hearts.

 i realize that this releasing is exactly what He did for us.  allowing Jesus to step out of the joy of heaven and unity of the Trinity into the brokenness of humanity and His gracious plan of redemption.  what spectacular love in  the loss and sacrifice of the Father and the Spirit…

 so Lord here I am again, opening my hands and releasing my darling annie.  i know she was never mine to hold on to, always Yours.  from You and through You and to You.   thank you that in this too i find  Your abundant grace to to trust You.

"for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. 

to Him be the glory forever! amen."  romans 11:36

Sunday, May 24, 2009

believe it!


here in denver we are more than excited about the nuggets.  it is basketball mania at the morrison house! (side note: when we first moved to denver in 1998 cute 5 year old liza thought the basketball mascot was a chicken nugget.) after denver’s come-from-behind victory in game 2 of their series with the lakers, my husband david was inspired to pose a thought provoking question in our small group on friday night.  “ how have you seen God orchestrate come-from-behind victories in your life?” we had lots of great conversation about both basketball and faith and seeing God at work in our lives, snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat.  

later that evening i was watching the video of lebron james’ amazing 3 point shot to win the eastern conference finals game over the orlando magic and it made me think about david's question.  as the game was winding down the fans were filing out, never believing in the come-from-behind last minute shot. and i wondered if i look like that to God.  do i believe that He can pull victories out of the hope-is-lost places in my life?  am i marching to the exit mumbling and grumbling as He is releasing a beautifully arching, hang-in-the-air-forever game winning shot? i don’t want to believe so little of Him.  i want to stay in my seat and fix my eyes on Him and watch Him do the impossible....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

tick tock

sometimes it's like i can hear the clock ticking, time seems to move so slowly.  that usually happens  when i am cleaning the house or doing math or any kind of dental work.  and then there are moments when time seems to have sped past me without my awareness, like when i close my eyes for a short nap and then wake up 3 hours later.  (ok, that really doesn't happen to me because i almost never take a nap, but you get the idea).  today was one of those moments. annie graduated from high school today.

and that shouldn't be such a big deal.  mike graduated last year so i've had this experience before.  it was different though because at her school they do a video tribute for each graduate. (that'd be a nightmare at her old school with almost 1000 students in the '09 class but at her new school there are only 12 in her class. much more conducive to emotional video tributes). the video included photos of her growing up and then an amazing time lapse video of  painting by her art teacher lauren, which perfectly captured annie's heart and passion for africa.  and that's when i lost it.  

annie will leave for a year in uganda in less than a month.  how did this happen?  it seems like she was refusing to get into my neighbor's minivan to go to preschool just yesterday. and now she is following an amazing plan that God has planted in her heart to love the orphans of uganda half way around the world.  i am thrilled for her to know her passion and purpose and so sad to see her go.

last year when i was teaching revelation i thought about time a lot.  Jesus said He was coming soon but that has been over 2000 years ago.  how does that work? i learned that there are 2 words used for time in the Bible, chronos (like a wrist watch, chronological) and kairos (more of seasons with deep meaning involved in the understanding).  God works in both, but we are chronos bound.  one commentator i read said we see ourselves moving forward in time.  but He is time itself moving towards us.  just think about that for second.  it is a little mind bending.  ok, the second is up.  and He is closer to us.  

i have tried to live more kairos like, aware of the weight and meaning of time, less bound by it. but today it felt different.  like when the fast forward button on the vcr gets stuck. i really want to experience both the joy and difficulty of annie taking flight, leaving the nest, the kairos time. but oh how i'd love to have a wrist watch and just set it back a bit.  spend one more day drawing big chalk flowers in the driveway, eating popsicles, making pb &j's, playing with polly pockets in a big bubble bath and then singing bedtimes songs.

i love you annie and i am so proud of you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

a great movie

on friday night david and i went out for sushi (yum) and to see an independent movie at the denver film festival called "ink". i knew from the reviews that it was innovative and kinda scifi-y. i knew that it was shot completely in colorado. i knew it was visually "unlike anything you have seen before". i knew it had something to do with dreams and good vs. evil. i knew it would be artsy and different. and i knew it would be fun to see on a date with my boyfriend.
but what i didn't know was how profound and redemptive the story would be. i didn't know that i would wish for tivo in the climatic scene, so that i could rewind and listen to the "storyteller's" speech again. i didn't know how tremendous the acting would be. and i didn't know that 2 days later i would still be thinking about it.

if you have a chance to see it, it's worth the ticket price and even the outrageous price for a bucket of diet coke!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

my perfect day

why is it such a great day? just an ordinary day but full, full of so many things i cherish and love.

my sweet max has the flu. i know, that sucks. but we didn't have to rush to school, and hew woke up without an alarm (that is luxury!) and has these cute little flushed cheeks, like when he was a baby. except for the little mustache stubble above his 13 year old lips!

i taught bible study this morning. 250 smiling women there to soak up more Jesus. and my lesson was titled "zombies, bigfoot, unicorns and obstacles". no one ran out of the sanctuary when they saw that because they trust me, they believe i will make some sense of a silly title and that it will impact their lives. what a privilege.

i had this picture in my lesson.

that is my dear friend reenie holding a goat. we roomed together- reenie, the goat and i- at a retreat where i was the featured speaker. that story fell into the part about was the goat i was referring to. don't you love how he is sticking his tongue out? goats smell by the way.

then i had a luncheon with the 17+ ladies who serve with me in bible study leadership. we ate yummy potatoes and 3 of these women told their stories of their faith journey. amazing, beautiful, painful, redemptive, glorious stories. i love my ministry.

then off to great american quilt factory to pick up a quilt! yea! business! i also had a phone call from a new customer. hooray! 2 quilts in one day!
i made quick trip to super target and had a wonderful talk on the phone with my friend prissy. she is one of the best moms in the world. and she is a great encourager. i love her.

tonight i am waiting for the sweet mr. david to return home from a meeting so we can watch fringe and lost, 2 of our favorite shows. i am proud to confess, i like TV. liza is next to me here doing homework, max and annie goofing off in the basement, button snoozing on me and my february lady sweater knitting project is calling my name. (i'm on the sleeves now, much farther than this but this is the only pic i have.)

today was a perfect day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

thoughts on the inaguaration

1. it is a really hard word to spell.

2. i would LOVE to have gotten my hands on some of that sweet event memorabilia being sold.

3. i was proud of our country and wish everyone could handle their differences as gracefully as the obamas and the bushes.

4. speaking as a knitter, it was great day for scarves.

5. to commemorate the day, i bought some red, white and blue yarn on etsy called: bombsicle.