31 May 2008
30 May 2008
There we were in Costco, shopping in bulk. My posse of five and I, attracting gawkers as usual, chatting with strangers, sampling rib eye, chicken salad, and Flipsides pretzel/crackery thingies as we worked on filling up two carts and practiced our state capitals and presidents. Faster than you can say Jack Robinson someone dropped a two-pack of eggs (3 doz.) and then knocked over a chocolate mousse pie the size of a large pizza. Someone ran over a sibling's foot with one of the grocery carts (very possibly purposefully), and there was a dare to stick one's tongue on the metal freezer case. Business as usual for the Haus fam.
None of this was particularly unhappy, but I found myself in a silent complaining monologue anyway. Sometimes the scattered wildness of life with so many people constantly present does tend to lend itself to facial tics. Irritation niggled at my brain as both of the babies continued to happily shout, "Mama-mama-mama-mama-mama!" in stereo.
Then I noticed this lady nearby. My heart went out to her as she sobbed into her cell phone to a friend, a therapist, or a spiritual counsellor about her broken life, her rotten family, her no-good, cheating, you-know-what man, and her unfulfilled and sidetracked career. When she was done crying, she listened intently, took several deep, cleansing breaths and began chanting,
"I'm OK with the me. I'm OK with the now."
I couldn't get it out of my head for days. Shattered, unsupported, heartbroken, unprotected, misused, abandoned, stifled, and overlooked... All these overwhelming emotions and she had no Jesus to turn to. I found myself praying for Costco Basketcase Lady for all the troubles that plague her, but mostly that she would turn to the Lord instead of positive thinking, or mantra chanting, or eastern philosophies, or life coaching, or sublimation, or whatever mind/head guruisms she was relying on to scratch through life.
One of my girlfriends told me this week that she has struggled with envy because she thinks I've got it all together. What a hoot! I'll tell you I haven't had such a good laugh in a long, long time. Man oh man, I don't know what on earth convinced her of that! But, even though my life is just as messy as everyone else's, I'm so grateful that I have Jesus to cover my black hearted sinfulness, Jesus to heal my brokenness, Jesus to lean on, Jesus to love me unconditionally through it all!
Life is always messy. That's why they call it life. It's happy. It's crushing. Sometimes it's glorious. Sometimes it really sucks. Seasons of pain follow seasons of joy follow seasons of pain. Do you know anyone who has gotten away scott free from the hard stuff? I don't. Where are these magical people who have it all together?
Watching poor Costco Basketcase Lady trying to find a worldly remedy to her pile of crummy stuff going on made me wonder, though. How often do I turn to coping mechanisms instead of the Way, the Truth, and the Life? Yikes, I fear it is far, far too often.
So, this week I've been keeping that thought on the front burner. Even though I am currently without household help, even though wifing, and mommying, and housekeeping, and potty training, and homeschooling, and all the other balls I am juggling at the same time keep me no where near having it all together, with Jesus...
I'm OK with the me. I'm OK with the now.
28 May 2008
SHANTO, Ethiopia (AP) -- This year's poor rains have nearly killed Bizunesh.
Bizunesh is 3 and weighs less than 10 pounds. "There is nothing ... I beg for milk," her mother says.
The rangy 3-year-old weighs less than 10 pounds, or 4 kilograms. Her long limbs, weak and folded like a praying mantis, cannot carry even her slight weight. She cannot speak. She doesn't want to eat. Health officials say she is permanently stunted.
Bizunesh -- whose name, sadly, means "plentiful" -- is one of untold numbers of children hit by this year's double blow of a countrywide drought and skyrocketing global food prices that has brought famine, once again, to Ethiopia.
"She should be bigger than this," said her mother Zewdunesh Feltam, rocking the listless child. "Before there was maize, different kinds of food. But now there is nothing ... I beg for milk from my neighbors."
The U.N. children's agency said in a statement Tuesday an estimated 126,000 Ethiopian children urgently need food and medical care because of severe malnutrition -- and called the crisis "the worst since the major humanitarian crisis of 2003."
The U.N. World Food Program estimates that 2.7 million Ethiopians will need emergency food aid because of late rains -- nearly double the number who needed help last year. An additional 5 million of Ethiopia's 80 million people receive aid each year because they never have enough food, whether harvests are good or not.
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In Shanto, the crisis is vivid. A feeding center run by the Irish charity GOAL has admitted 73 starving children in the past month.
Some, like Bizunesh, are frail and skeletal. Others, like 4-year-old Eyob Tadesse, have grossly swollen limbs in a sign of extreme malnutrition.
Eyob, whose mother said he used to be a lively, talkative child, sat in a stupor, unable to speak, not moving even to brush away the flies that swarmed all over his face. The sunny room humid with a recent, too late, rain shower was made gloomy by an eerie silence despite being full of sick children. Chronic malnutrition can affect children for life, stunting their growth, brain development and immune systems, which leaves them vulnerable to a host of illnesses.
Many mothers said their families were trying to survive on a gluey, chewy bread made of the root of the "false banana" plant -- one of many wild or so-called famine foods that Ethiopians depend on in times of trouble.
It's not known how many children have died or are starving now. Local and international aid and health workers say between 10 and nearly 20 percent of Ethiopia's children are malnourished -- 15 percent is considered a critical situation. In 2006, Ethiopia had 13.4 million children under the age of five, according to UNICEF.
In Shanto, a southwestern agricultural area that grows sweet potatoes, recent rains arrived too late to save the harvest.
Samuel Akale, a nutritionist with the government's disaster prevention agency, said the hunger will get worse. "The number of severely malnourished will increase, and then they'll die."
WFP officials say the drought has affected six of Ethiopia's nine regions, stretching from Tigray in the north to the vast and dry Somali region in the south, though not every part of every region is affected.
Spokesman Greg Beals said the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is preparing an appeal for additional tens of millions of dollars.
"This is a real crisis that needs to be addressed," he said.
Ethiopia is a country with a history of hunger. It escalated to notoriety in 1984 when a famine compounded by communist policies killed some 1 million people. Pictures of stick-thin children like Bizunesh were broadcast onto television sets around the world.
This year's crisis is mild in comparison. But drought and chronic hunger persist in Ethiopia, a Horn of Africa nation known for its coffee, a major export. In 2003, droughts led 13.2 million people to seek emergency food aid. Drought in 2000 left more than 10 million needing emergency food.
Drought is especially disastrous in Ethiopia because more than 80 percent of people live off the land, and agriculture drives the economy, accounting for half of all domestic production and 85 percent of exports. But many also go hungry because of government policies. Ethiopia's government buys all crops from farmers at fixed low prices. And the government owns all the land, so it cannot be used as collateral for loans.
Aid agencies say emergency intervention is not enough and are appealing for more money to support regular feeding programs.
"What we're doing at the moment is waiting until children get severely malnourished, taking them into the feeding program, getting them back to a level of moderate malnutrition and then watching them cycle back," said Hatty Newhouse, a nutrition adviser from GOAL.
There are fears that the next harvest also will fail.
"We are crying with the mothers and the children," said Akale, the nutritionist.
22 May 2008
18 May 2008
It's my Jackie's birthday today! I cannot believe he's already 8. It seems like just yesterday that we were suddenly flying off in a mad dash trying to make it to the hospital for his birth. How crazy is it that now that tiny bundle is 100 lbs. huge. The time went by way too fast!
Happy birthday, my Crackerjack! You are one fine boy, and I am so proud of you! I love being your Mama. XXOO
15 May 2008
Haus has a new hybrid.
(Those of you who know my beloved, Michael (aka "Haus"), can pause and laugh. We'll wait.)
OK, did you catch your breath yet?
Where were we? Oh yes. Mr. Porsche, Mr. Sportscar, Mr. Fine European automobile-loving man himself, has gone hybrid. I know, it's a little scary. What's next? Hemp clothing?
For those of you who don't know him in person, let's just say he's a died-in-the-wool right winger (as am I), almost a libertarian. He's not exactly a "peace, love, and brown rice" kind of guy. He's certainly not the hybrid car manufacturers' key demographic. He's never longed for a granola-mobile.
Now generally Republicans and right-wingers tend to throw the environmental baby out with the fiscal bathwater, and I think that's such a shame. As Christians, the earth and animals were entrusted to us by God, and darnit if we haven't done our best to completely deplete, pollute, and destroy it.
Green living is responsible living. Now, that doesn't mean that either of us want to squat in the hills of Santa Barbara in a Yurt. We just hope to leave as little a "footprint" on the earth as possible. (I'm pretending no one knows about my huge SUV, of course. Or, about my lovely English garden here in arid California. Or, about the heaping trash barrels we leave at the curb weekly. Oh, the hypocrisy is rampant!)
We are a mixture of ideologies now called 'Light Green' and 'Bright Green". According to Wikipedia, "contemporary environmentalists are often described as being split into three groups, 'Dark' 'Light' and 'Bright' Greens. Light Greens see protecting the environment first and foremost as a personal responsibility... They often focus on environmentalism as a lifestyle choice. The motto Green is the New Black sums up this way of thinking, for many. 'Bright Greens' believe that radical changes are needed in the economic and political operation of society in order to make it sustainable, but that better designs, new technologies and more widely distributed social innovations are the means to make those changes."
That's where we stand. We're not going to march on Washington for Mother Earth, but we believe in taking responsibility for our part, and in promoting products and technologies that benefit the environment. Michael's business is green. His new venture is a green business. But, a hybrid??? Isn't that going just a bit far?
My poor baby has gotten so much gas over his new ride, which I got a kick out of naming Greenifer.
It's time for him to stand up and proclaim, "There is no shame in being green!"
Michael, sweetie, Hausie, you're an environmentalist! Albeit 'light/bright green', but an environmentalist just the same. A right-wing, practically libertarian, free market economy believing, Jesus Freak, homeschooling family, head shaving, tattoo clad, cigar smoking, small business entrepreneur... environmentalist. Get over it already!
I promise I won't give you any more gas. You don't need that much anyway.
You drive a hybrid.
13 May 2008
11 May 2008
09 May 2008
08 May 2008
Please come for dinner & conversation
WHEN: Saturday, May 17
WHERE: The Yates' home in Tustin
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
New families are welcome!!
Instead of potluck style, Karen's going to order in & we can all chip in. So all you need to bring is your merry little self (and a few bucks).
I heard a rumor that the Goacher twins are going to make their debut, so don't miss it!
07 May 2008
This month the Lord impressed on me over and over again that He is King. King of all Creation, King of all days from the beginning to the end, King of all heaven and earth, King of my life, my plans and everything I consider "mine", King of me.
Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
- Charles Wesley, from Moral and Sacred Poems, 1744
"The Lord has established His Throne in Heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all."
- Starting off the month with a thud. Girls' Night Out got sabotaged. Not even a chick flick and margaritas could salvage it. So, I'm thankful for a dear girlfriend who shared it with me! I'm thankful for friends like Karen who lift me up, let me come alongside when they are hurting, and help me find strength in God. (1 Sam 23.16)
- That our Lord Jesus is King over all.
- Gabriella Joy, the precious one who the Lord graciously let me mother for a beautiful 3 1/2 months.
- Family night, dinner, telling good jokes, bad jokes, knock knock jokes, and nonsensical jokes, and especially our dance party... My kids can boogie!
- A sweet friend checking in (Thanks, Em!)
- A fun family birthday party for our nephew Morgan
- Coming to a final decision after waiting on the Lord and searching our hearts for a very long time. Knowing that He has walked before us, and with us, and that we can rest in His sufficiency.
- Kissing and making up! Thank You, Lord, for creating kissing. That was an excellent idea.
- Learning more about God's Kingship and magesty... the Elohim doesn't just want to be King in my life. He already is whether I acknowledge Him as such or not.
- God's endless forgiveness and mercy. (Ps. 38.1)
- Lunch with the Chambers girls, and dinner with Yateses
- Palm Springs with the Redmans!
- Crisping in the sun at La Quinta Resort
- Having the Redmans as house guests
- A long family walk at the nature preserve
- Finding out that a friend was praying for me through a very hard time. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for inspiring others to pray for those in trial.
- El Shaddai. I never knew that it meant “God Almighty.” When my struggles and suffering seem so huge, El Shaddai is bigger, stronger, and mightier!
- Field trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano, Zoomars, and boating around the Newport Harbor
- A wonderful OCEAN family supper introducing Sophia & Elijah Clark!
- Leading worship with Chris Lizotte. Hearing from Chris how the Lord saved him, changed him, and directed him. I am humbled by my brother in Christ. And, dang, that guy can play and sing!
- El Olam. This Name of God is a new one on me. Thank You, “Everlasting God”, that You are unchangeable and inexhaustible. Thank You that You never, never, never, never fail!
- A great day off doing absolutely nothing.
- El Elyon. Thank You, “Most High God”, that You are King! Thank You that You are sovereign in my life, supreme over everything and everyone.
- Papa's 89th birthday! Thank You, Lord, for my precious Papa.
- That the Lord is with us through challenges. Look it up. Challenge has something like 25 different meanings. I'm so grateful that God is with me through the challenges that are defined as "difficulties". Sometimes I feel like those challenges are more like the Lord "contesting" with me, or me with Him. Sometimes it's like he's daring me "I am your King, and this is what I'm commanding of you. What are you going to do about it? Do you have the chutzpah to follow Me or not?" That's probably not the most Biblical way to describe it. I'm not any more fond of going through that kind of challenge than the former, but I know that my King is with me through it.
- For good chocolate, good Cabernet, and good conversation with my honey after a really rotten and long day.
- That Evangeline's Super No Fun day lip ouchie wasn't more serious. Thank You, Lord for the Emergency Room, nice nurses, excellent doctors, fewer stiches that we thought were needed, and for neosporin! Thank You for being King over my children and reminding me that I cannot add one day to their lives or mine by worrying for their safety. (Matt. 6.27)
- The God keeps me on a short leash... He doesn't let me get away with anything. Not a single thing. Not ever. (Heb. 12.5-11)
- Saying goodbye to our friend, Ken, who has been an important part of our lives the last four years. We are so grateful for his wisdom and kindness and will miss him.
- That another name for God is Adonai, which conveys that He is the Provider. Thank You, Lord, that You provide exactly what I need every single day. (Matt. 6.5-13)
You came to us a man, in very nature God
03 May 2008
Have you seen this? I borrowed this from my dear sister in Christ, Emily, who is an endless source of encouragement. Love that girl! If you need to be reminded of how deeply the Lord loves you and is intimately involved in the details of your life, watch this video. You will be changed. Our Creator is so amazing!