31 December 2006


You likely can identify with me that there is a lot happening...
-rumors of wars
(feel free to add to the list.)

And in the midst of pondering life, the end of the year, God's provisions over the last year, the beginning of something new, etc., in pounces energy and activity in the shape and glorious color of Kate and Georgia (evidenced here by an exhilirating time of Disney's paper doll princesses narrated by the oh-so-imaginative Georgia Grace).

It's undeniable. For 24 fun-filled hours, which unfortunately included some sleep (unfortunately only in that it means we couldn't be playing and hanging out. We needed the sleep. Believe u me. Georgia especially, God bless her!!) Kate and Georgia and their fabulous parents, my sister Carmen and my b.i.l. Rich provided a delightful distraction. (Katrina, here, not to be outdone by Disney, or Georgia, for that matter, is holding one version of the American Girl doll propaganda, er, merchandise, which, yes, I succumbed to purchase for her.)

One of my favorite questions in the 24 hour extravaganza:
"Auntie Diana, would you be happiest if we stayed with you
(fingers counting down),
five, four, three, two or one days??"
(Is this a trick question??)

My answer of,
"I'd be happiest if you could stay here forever..."
didn't really fit into the finger counting equation, I so astutely detected by her confused look.
But, the 24 hours were pretty happy.

And from dear Kate...
"I kinda hid my crabbiness yesterday," she confided this very morning,
"unlike" (gesturing to oblivious Georgia) "her, don't you think??"

Yep. Hidden. Undetected. Didn't-hinder-a-thing-unnoticeable-crabbiness.
Am I taking lessons from my 8 year old niece??
I'm certainly trying!

[Speaking of taking lessons, you likely noticed Rich, above, displaying his rhythmic drumming skills (or at least his acting abilities).
Oh, check out my restored grace post, below, too, if you have a moment. As I finally added the picture (thanks also to Jack)!!]

Blessed new year's eve all!

25 December 2006


she woke up and waved at me... and that's what hit me.
what if I fell asleep in a car seat and was transported from wherever to somewhere else, waking up not only with a blanket covering me completely, but in a completely 'foreign' land?
I imagine the scene to be rather chaotic because of the disorientation alone.

As I stepped off the plane last week, Florida greeted me with warm temps, bright sunshine, multiple flipflops and....dangling snowflakes? poinsettias? flocked Christmas trees? Somehow my mind couldn't marry the two. Summer and Christmas screamed for attention and in my head it was an either or situation.

In the same way, this sweet chlld, sleeping so soundly, awaking in a church service, midst robust celebratory praise, responding with a gentle wave and smile, well, it seems like disorientation might be on offer there, too...somehow, not. I don't know how God wired that to happen, but it's amazing to me.

And so I wonder, when our precious Savior and Lord, Jesus, opened His eyes, dearly departed from His Father's physical right hand, awakening in a rustic stable or cave, welcomed by His new parents, did any strains of disorientation accompany Him? Or was His focus for our behalf and to do the will of His Father sufficient?

There's likely other questions of greater import. But I still wonder.

This I know, my life could never be without that precious baby. I celebrate you again Jesus. Happy Birthday. Thank you for living and dying so we could die and live with you, too! I love you Lord Jesus.

18 December 2006

peeves, pop, and a celebration

I'm away on my final work trip...at least, unless things drastically change in the next few days. And at dinner tonight, something struck a chord with me. The restaurant manager stopped to inquire about our meals and phrased her comments like this, "Hello. I'm the manager. I just wanted to stop by and make sure that things are okay. You're satisfied with our service and the food, correct?"

Perhaps a person could analyze my motivation, and that's likely a whole different post. But my peeve is that I don't appreciate being forced into a response.

it's the same way I react when I ask someone, "How are you?" and they respond, "Good. You too?"
I'm not sure how to name this aversion. Perhaps my best attempt is that when someone says, "you too?" I feel like they don't really want an honest response. Their posture doesn't invite originality or even transparency, but rather expects a normative, programmed response. And at the expense of sounding slightly schizophrenic, I'm not identifying this because I always offer an honest response to the "how are u?" question. But I do want permission to respond with what's on my heart.
anyway, enough said. It's not really that important but maybe someone out there knows whutimean.

In other news, I'm currently watching an HBO special featuring Bono and The Edge, and they're just dead cool. (Please say with irish or scottish accent. Much greater effect.) They communicate a remarkable message through rhythm, lyrics, friendship, melodies, harmonies, activism, priorities, etc. Pretty unpredictable and often unpretentious heroes.

And lastly, I want to honor a friend who celebrated his birthday last week. He doesn't want fame and glory. But he truly is a hero in how he lives. I respect his honest expression of faith. I appreciate the way he pursues Christ. His blog entries provoke hundreds of responses partially because he opens up space to question and ponder why we do church the way we do, among other things. He seeks to live fully for God but not without question and or struggle. And he and his wife are some of my favorite parents. They're raising some of my favorite kids (yes, their children) with integrity and grace and truth. And although my words can't do justice, I do want to celebrate the anniversary of his birth. Happy Birthday K!

photo credit: Beth, 0906

14 December 2006

restored grace

Grace arrived broken.

That is, in October, I received a birthday gift from my sisters (the word GRACE), and unfortunately, despite their careful packaging, grace arrived broken. So it sat on my table at home for several weeks. I put the pieces in place, and they'd tumble out of alignment, demonstrating their brokenness. I didn't tell my sisters, actually, not wanting to spoil their thoughtful and gracious gift.

Eventually, I brought it to work, because I knew a handy co-worker would tell me what to do. And he did. I wrote down his suggestions and intended to put "grace" back together. Still grace remained broken.

And then, Wednesday, after being out of the office for a few days, I noticed, Grace. And I knew, Grace was repaired in love by Jack. I notice the cracks in some places, but others are undetectable.

A new gift of Grace. I'm so thankful.

Jack also emailed me these words this morning:

One of the reasons that I was interested in repairing your
"Grace" is that I am convinced that there is no more
beautiful noun in the English language (I'm excluding proper nouns).

That name to me as the best Elder I ever served with urged me
to be sure to preach the grace of God. That got me to thinking about it.

Grace is love, with the special idea: though we do not deserve it
we are loved anyway. Its root is in the One who loves us. Thus
we may be sure of it. I hope I can keep on in my soul to be
amazed: there is grace for me..... Amazing grace, expensive grace,
everlasting grace.

And for you.

I am thankful you are under his grace. And I pray that you keep on
in that hope and confidence and assurance.

In His grace,

Thanks be to God for friends like Jack. And for the ways God shows and restores love and grace in our lives. May we be faithful as we receive this grace and share it with others. Be glorified Abba!

09 December 2006


Today found me living a different life, in some respects, as my friend Beth and I are staying with and caring for our friend's three two year olds. It's life to the full and utter exhaustion in simultaneous spaces. I wouldn't trade it for the world (but I also know I get to sleep in my own bed tomorrow night).

Our ambitions included incorporating some holiday baking/cooking in the afternoon with another friend, following the kids' naps. [Likely,
  • Karen
  • will post about this as well.] In fact, we'd communicated and in some respects coordinated the various goodies we planned to make. The primary thing that Karen wanted to make was sugar cookies with fun shapes to frost and decorate. At a point already past turning back (doesn't that sound dramatic for Christmas cookies?), Karen realized she did not remember cookie cutters. And so we searched this house for a few moments before calling K to ask if she had them hidden somewhere. Her definitive, but negative response prompted a different tactic. Thankfully, Karen's sister also lives in this neighborhood. But a call to her house did not find her home. No worries, I thought. I offered to walk and ask the neighbors.

    And here was my surprise: of the neighbors I found home, NONE, (as in zilch, zero, nada, nobody) had cookie cutters. Some offered baking powder, sugar, flour (I'm pretty sure only to feel useful, and in some slim way helpful, not thinking those ingredients could make the difference...) but no one had the fun and festive, fond and familiar metal shapes. (Perhaps an overindulgence of alliteration, I realize.)

    So, what's to become of us? Are cookie cutters a thing of the past? Will the moments of creative decorating (at least before the growning realization that doubling the recipe meant way too many cookies to frost) disappear from our Christmas traditions? Or was this simply the wrong neighborhood, the wrong time and place, or...??

    Pix credit: Group shot: Karen; camping, 0906, Karen and Zane: Beth; camping, 0806

    06 December 2006

    surprise grace

    remember my post of several weeks ago regarding my car window, garage door, etc? Well, November was a crazy month in some respects. I traveled out of state for work, and also traveled out of state to be with family for Thanksgiving...and thus, some things had to wait. The car window couldn't really wait. In the glorious snowy, winter, wind of west Michigan, i had to get my car door window fixed.

    the garage door, however, didn't make the priority list. Even tho' it was so out of sorts that I couldn't open and close it manually (well, technically, I could, but only with the assistance of two other people). In my trunk I have a new garage door opener, and a new cable, just in case. And last week I finally called a few service places to schedule a service call for yesterday. That was the plan. That is until...

    Sun AM, I'm hurrying to remove snow and start my car (b/c it's outside my garage per above garage door issues) to warm it up before heading to church. It's a potluck day so I'm carrying extra food and doing a few trips in and out of my house. I sit in my car and nearly scald myself with my crockpot offerings, as I hear an unexpected, "Good morning," behind me. I turn and step around to see my neighbor from the condo across the way. He asks me, "what's wrong with your garage door?" I mutter something about not having time to get around to it and that something something is wrong with the door but I do have a new garage door and cable and some other such gibberish. (It's Diana speak for "Yes, I know the door looks lame and in fact is a bit of an eye sore for our condo community. And I know the average and normal person would have taken care of it long ago. And yes, I am feeling guilty about it. And yes, in some ways, I do want to think I've got the situation managed, despite the fact that my car has parked outside my garage for the last month...")
    Obviously oblivious, he ignored my internal anguish, however, by saying, "you know, if it has anything to do with the door, it's the condo association's responsibility. You should talk to our maintenance guy before you do anything else..."

    Which led to yesterday, where I cancelled the appt with the garage door fix it people, and went to talk to our condo maintenance guy, and although I didn't hear back from him definitively, when I pulled in last night, and asked my neighbors if I could run thru their garage, and they looked at me all quizzically and said, "sure, but, i think ur door works..." needless to say, I raced over to push my garage door opener button and nearly lept to the moon in my excitement that my door functioned properly again.

    And, along with that joy, I can now return the mentioned new opener and cable to Sears, without paying any money to have the door serviced or to try to figure out how to assemble and install the new opener, and well, at this moment in my very life, I'm just every shade of grateful and thankful and thinking perhaps my condo association fee is really worth it after all.
    Thank you Lord.

    03 December 2006

    right responses 2?

    so today at church, a friend of mine attempted to talk to me about my job situation. and perhaps i was misreading her discomfort, but i've come away analyzing the conversation thinking, geez, no matter what was spoken, it was a no win situation for her. She tried to offer sympathy, and I didn't really want that. And then when she tried to say that I was on a new and exciting adventure, well, I didn't really agree with that either. and then, when she was joking with me about needing to control the placement/location of food for our potluck and I said something like "yeah, well, i want to control something..." truthfully, light seconds after that she walked away. And i understand.

    How does one respond??? I would never pretend that there is some manual of right or wrong responses. I haven't found good ones yet myself, obviously. So, sorry J! Please forgive me as I don't even really know how to react or respond as I've never been in this situation before.

    That said, i'm thinking this might get to be a rather tired subject to blog about, that is, my job situation, so please forgive me and bear with me (or obviously don't read or comment for a long while and I'll likely get the hint...) but I have a feeling these posts may be part of my "dealing" with this aspect of life.

    But can I say all that, to ironically admit that another conversation at church, where amazingly grace did reinhabit my spirit, or something, another friend was talking about his week and the lessons God was teaching him. And I realized how much of what he was saying was completley applicable to me. And I even muttered something akin to, "you know, it's so often not about the end result, it's how we respond, isn't it??"

    Arghhhh, seriously, i've got to get better at the response.
    perhaps it's time for bed to start over on a new day??

    in other news, friend J also asked if I had a picture with all my sisters. She has 3 sisters, too, so it's fun to compare. Here's one from this past June: we're sitting in birth order, sort of, with the older two behind us younger ones. BR: Jenni, the oldest on the right, then Hildred, FR: Carmen, then me on the left. (or perhaps that's confusing, pure left 2 right: jenni, carmen, hildred, diana.) Six years apart from Jenni to me.