Monday, March 30, 2009

Helpless, but not Hopeless!

It was Sunday evening--our weekly time for family prayer. Graham had been sick for about 5 days, so his health was on our list of prayer requests. In an effort to get a full grasp on his condition, I asked a fairly clinical question: "Are you having diarrhea?" Only I forgot that in my house you can't say the word "diarrhea" without someone breaking into song. Last night, Chandler began "When you're sliding into first, and you feel a sudden burst: diarrhea, diarrhea." Graham shook his head, trying not to laugh. I (I can't believe I'm admitting this) joined in the next verse "When you're riding in your Chevy and your pants are feeling heavy: diarrhea, diarrhea."

Meanwhile, dear David tried to reel us in. FOCUS. Only Chandler, Graham, and I were laughing so hard at this point that we were crying. No, I do not really find the diarrhea song all that funny. I think we just needed a good laugh. Or a good cry. For reasons beyond our control, it's been a LONG week!

Finally, David reigned us in, and began to lead us in prayer. Despite our depravity (or maybe because of it) the Lord graciously heard our prayers and filled us with His love, His grace, and His hope. It is moments like these that cause me to relate so completely to the words of the Hymn, It is Well:
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
and hath shed his own blood for my soul.
My helpless estate: I laugh at vulgarity, I giggle at prayer time, I let the circumstances of my week take a toll on my redeemed soul. And yet, Christ shed His blood for me. I will never cease to be amazed!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bye Bye Baby

Today Graham had two teeth pulled. His last two baby teeth were stubbornly refusing to give up their oral real estate; meanwhile, the adult permanent teeth were pushing ahead, crowding around the predecessors in their way. The dentist decided those baby teeth had to go.

Graham was a trooper throughout the process, despite his inherited disdain for dentists. As we awaited the elevator after his appointment, he pulled a small box from his pocket and said, "I'll go ahead and throw these away." He opened the box to look at his two teeth, then he threw them in the garbage, aware that there would be no visits from the tooth fairy tonight. We have never played that game with our children, not that we're anti-tooth-fairy, it just hasn't been a part of our family culture.

I don't save my children's teeth either. My mother-in-law saved all of David's baby teeth, and I have heard of many other mothers who do the same. Not me. I am squeamish, I am the antithesis of a pack rat, and I am not very sentimental--a recipe that results in a mom who simply throws away teeth for which the body no longer has a use. I would no sooner save a tooth than I would save the hair I pull out of my hairbrush.

But as Graham threw those teeth into the garbage, something in me wanted to cry. There in a public trash receptacle were the final pieces of anything about Graham that could be called "baby." I was suddenly sad we had them pulled, thereby forcing the last remnants of babyhood from my first-born son. Let the adult teeth wait! Give the babies just a few more weeks, or days. I'd settle for hours....

But alas, the adult teeth were not waiting patiently beneath Graham's gums. Rather, they were surging ahead, marching to the drumbeat of time and keeping pace with its relentless tempo. My thirteen year old has moved one step closer to adulthood, and while I rejoice in the young man that he is becoming, I am a little sad to be losing the baby boy that he was.

Today I pampered him a little. I was eager to indulge him, and he quite frankly didn't know what to do with me. He kept telling me that I did not need to do everything for him, that he is quite capable of taking care of himself, thank you very much. Still, I couldn't help myself. Something in me had a high need to mother today--not smother, just mother. And Graham, though reluctant to admit a need for anything, mercifully decided to humor me, for now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Rock and Worship Tour

I'm not sure who was more excited about the concert we went to last night. David and I, who honestly could not remember our last live concert, or Graham and Chandler, who were about to experience their first. As we waited in the line outside the Beazley Coliseum as WSU, David snapped these photos of me with the boys. Typically, Graham was reluctant to have his picture taken, and Chandler was a little too eager!

It was an awesome line-up of Christian Artists: Addison Road, 10th Avenue North, Hawk Nelson, Jeremy Camp, and Mercy Me. All in one location at the bargain price of $10 a seat.

Above is Hawk Nelson, the up and coming Montana based band which was without a doubt Graham's favorite. David and I were feeling pretty hip, on our feet, rockin' out, earplugs with us, but not in use. But when I went to the bathroom and saw some 19 year olds primping, it hit me that those girls were half my age. How is it possible to feel so young and so old all in the course of one evening? I guess the spandex that David was wearing dated us as children of the 80s.

Mercy Me (pictured above) sings bunches of my favorite songs. They did not disappoint. But the best part of the concert was that the focus stayed continuously and unapologetically on Jesus Christ. He was present and He was praised throughout the evening. The following is a video clip that David shot of Jeremy Camp singing There Will be a Day. There will be a day when we see Jesus face to face. Nights of worship, like last night, give a glimpse of eternity, when we will praise His name with great joy FOREVER.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mystery Birds

Last Sunday on the way to church we had the funniest conversation. It began with David describing a flock of migrating birds.

"They were white, but they looked like Canadian Geese. I think it was like a whole flock of albino Canadian Geese."

I was skeptical in my response: "I don't think it is biologically possible to have an entire flock of albino anything. Maybe they were just white geese, you know, like the kind you see at the park."

"No," David said, "Those geese have orange beaks. These birds had black beaks. Besides, I've never seen those fat geese from the park take flight. I don't even think they can fly. I think they were albino Canadian Geese."
I was stumped. But by this time we were at church, and we just had to let it go.

The next morning I had arranged to run to friend's house--six miles away. My friend was then going to drive me home, so that I did not have to run both ways! It was a lovely day, and a great run through the Eastern Washington Palouse. Did I mention it was six miles? Anyways, when I arrived at my friend's house, she warmly welcomed me with a fruit smoothie in hand. What a friend!

But I was barely in the door when her husband asked, "Jennifer, did you see our swans?"

These friends live up on a bluff that overlooks a wetland. Sitting serenely in their marshes was a beautiful flock of white birds with black beaks that were about the same size as Canadian Geese.

Migrating Trumpeter Swans--an endangered species, just passing through. Mystery solved!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Dear David,

I am writing to make sure you know that I trust you and your leadership of our family. Sometimes I get nervous about the path ahead, and I bombard you with questions and concerns. You are always gracious and kind in response. But no matter what I ask or how I ask it, I want you to know that I have confidence in you because you put your hope in God.

This morning while I was praying about all the unknowns before us, I felt that famous peace that passes understanding. I was reminded that God is with us, He hems us in behind and before, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. That is definitely peace-giving. But I was also reminded that you, David Ross, have been given the mantle of leadership for our family, and as you continually lay down your life for me in love, I can boldly submit to your unassuming authority.

By the way, thank you for not demanding or even asking this of me. You lead with gentle influence rather than impatient prodding, which means that following is entirely up to me. You have not seemed the least bit irritated with me, nor bothered by my questioning, which, quite honestly, has been a bit of foot dragging on my part. Don't get me wrong. I want to go to France. I am called to go to France. I just sometimes feel caught in a mighty undertow, and my instinct is to fight it. But really, that undertow is from God, and it is taking us to where he wants us to be. I need to submit to that fully--which you have done--setting an example that I am compelled to follow.

You lead by simply doing the next right thing, even when I am not yet on board. Truthfully, sometimes I haven't even bought my ticket. Still, you do not tell me what I should do, or how to do it. In fact, you listen patiently to all my concerns, carefully address them, and then you move in the direction in which you have been called. Immediate costly obedience--that's YOU! And you trust the Lord in me enough to know that you do not have to demand that I move when you move. You are willing to give the Spirit time to work in me, and you trust that I will obey Him, too.

I think that is the way it is supposed to work. I am called to submit to you out of reverence for Christ. I am so thankful that we serve the one true God together.

Thank you, DR, for leading well. I delight in following the ends of the earth!

Love, Jenn

Monday, March 16, 2009

Not Dead

This morning, for fifteen very LONG minutes, I feared that my husband was dead. He had left for work at 7:05 a.m., and at 7:30 a.m. the morning news program that I was watching broad casted breaking news about a fatal car accident on David's commute route. They were not showing any pictures of the car because the next-of-kin had not yet been notified. I immediately picked up the phone and dialed David's cell phone. No answer. I hung up and dialed again. No answer. This went on for fifteen minutes...I dialed and prayed, dialed and prayed, dialed and prayed. Completely unnerved, I went to the news channel's website to see if I could find more details. I heaved a heavy sigh of relief as I read that the accident took place at 7:01 a.m.

A few minutes later, David called and explained that he had left his phone in his office while he went outside to inspect some of his planes. I broke in to tears as I explained to him that I had thought he was dead. And although I was greatly relieved to find out that he was okay, I was also keenly aware that someone else was about to be devastated by the news that their loved one had died in a car accident on the way to work.

I had been inconvenienced this morning when David interrupted my rushing around to kiss me goodbye. Now I can't wait to have him home so I can happily stop whatever I am doing and kiss him hello. Talk about perspective.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More of This and That

So last night we had the joy of hosting the monthly Adult Ministries Team dinner. I was blessed by this awesome group of people with whom I have the privilege of working. As the host, I was required to supply the main dish, and decided to make Citrus Glazed Baby Back Ribs. These are actually roasted in the oven, and they turned out fine--but my entire house and everything in it still smells like ribs this morning. I fully expect packs of dogs to follow me around today, as I flaunt Eau de Pork as my fragrance. Some things are meant to be eaten but not worn.

Chandler landed a role in his school's musical. He is quite the little actor, but dreading his part, because he has to act "smitten" and dance with a girl. An eleven-year-old nightmare. We'll see how it goes.

Can anyone tell me why the Cream of Wheat package claims that it "Cooks in two and half minutes" but it always seems to take ten minutes or more? After two and a half minutes it is completely soupy. Who would eat that?

Graham has been having to write Haiku for English class. These poems of Japanese origin are three lines long and must have five syllables in the fist line, seven in the second, and five in the third. He has written some great ones--so I decided to try my hand at it.

My Haiku has to do with the God's refining fire. All four of us have been feeling its heat lately.

The heat from the flames
Melts, purifies, changes me
Into His likeness

Monday, March 9, 2009

High Hopes

Life is a whirlwind in the Williamson home these days. Can you relate? In our home there are two junior high boys trying to maintain honor-roll grades while participating in various after school activities and two parents who report to a total of four different employers while trying to maintain healthy family relationships. We want to give each day everything we've got, and yet, all four of us are focused on getting to France.

So when will we go? Well, we do not have an official timeline, but we have a goal. A hope. A heart's desire. Will you join us in praying for the following?

  • that David and I will continue to be faithful in sharing the vision with people--this is our part of the fundraising equation.

  • that God will continue to speak clearly to those whom He has called to partner with us through prayer and financial support.

  • that we would have 95% of our support pledged by the end of May so that we can attend Cultural Integration Training School (in North Carolina) this summer.

  • that we would have 100% of our support pledged by July so that we can move to France for the start of the next school year.

  • that we would know God's timing for putting our house on the market--and that He would bring buyers who will be as blessed by this house as we have been.
These are MIRACLE sized prayer requests. Our fundraising has been moving along amazingly well--we are at 56% after only 6 months. On average, it takes missionaries 18-24 months to raise their support in a healthy economy--and we are hoping to be at 100% in 12 months in a struggling economy. Only God can make it so. But we feel called to work towards this timeline, believing that if this is His plan, He will make it happen.

God is so good. We are walking that fine line between moving forward in faith and waiting patiently on the Lord. We know that we know that we know that His plan is perfect. We don't want to change His plan--we want to rest in it. But for now, our faith is being challenged to trust that He may want to get us to France by September 2009. We believe that He is able to do this. Therefore, this will be our hope. This is how we will pray. Will you hope and pray with us?

When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"

"Yes, Lord," they replied.

Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"

Matthew 9:28-29

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Recipe for a GREAT day:

NO lift lines!

Perfect powder!

Plenty of sun!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I have had one of those unavoidably crazy-busy weeks. You know, the kind where you find yourself having to squeeze the life out of every single minute? Amidst the hubbub, I have been hauling two items that need to be returned to two different stores around with me in the car in hopes that I could check that to-do off the list at some point.

Last night I had my chance to return one of the items to Macy's. After Chandler's very far away basketball game, the boys and I were heading to meet David and some friends for dinner at a restaurant that is near the mall. I got there five minutes early, and decided to use that time to dash in to make my return. Well dash in I did! Literally.

I successfully navigated my way through the first set of glass doors, but for some reason, the second set of doors completely escaped my notice. At a rush walk, I ran full-force, smack dab into a plate glass window. I actually heard a deafening crack as my nose took the brunt of the impact.

I felt like a cartoon character, blurred, stunned, and in oh-so-much pain. My dear boys didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Graham just said, "Um, mom, that's not a door."

When I finally could move again, Chandler held the door for me and I walked in to the store. At that moment, about four women who had obviously heard/seen my attempt to walk though walls immediately snapped their heads away from me and turned their attention back to their shopping. They each glanced back at me occasionally with looks of pity mingled with amusement. It had to have been pretty funny, so I certainly don't blame them for chuckling at me! I was laughing myself, between sobs.

I made my return (which turned into an exchange, but that's another story) and we headed over to dinner. We had such a nice time with our friends, and I began to forget about my unfortunate encounter. I came home, took some Advil and went to bed. However, at this moment it is 2:32 a.m.--I was awakened by nose-pain. A first for me. I went to the bathroom, turned on the light, and did a double take. My nose is the size (and shape?) of California! Oh bother.

What to do? We promised the boys a ski-day today. I'd hate for my nose to blow it. (ha ha) So I suppose the five of us (David, Graham, Chandler, me, and my nose) will be on Mt. Spokane in the morning. In the meantime, I'm off to ice my nose.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Making the Bed

I grew up in a home where making the bed was a basic requirement. It was simply expected that every bed would be made every day. On days when I did not get the bed made, I would come home from school to notes on my bed. Notes that were from my bed, telling me how sad she was when she was not made. Yes, my mom is very creative.

Now that I am the mom, however, I am sorry to say that my daily to commitment to bed-making has gone along the wayside. I rarely make the bed, and my bed is no longer writing me notes about it. I think she has given up.

But I sense the tide is turning. Lately I have felt overwhelmed by life, and I wake up each day trying to figure out how I can possibly accomplish everything that is on the "list" for the day. I put "list" in quotes because I don't actually write out a to do list, I just carry one around in my head. Anyways, the mental list is running off of the page, out of control, and kicking my butt. So yesterday, before I even got out of bed, I began pray, begging for direction for the day, which appeared to be about 14 hours too short for the list. I felt a quiet answer, whispered to my anxious heart: "Make the bed!"

Whether that was the voice of God or the voice of my mother whose wisdom (gratefully) still echoes in my mind, I may never know. What I do know is that I obeyed. Not right away, mind you, but sometime after my shower and before lunch, I actually made the bed.

I also got a majority of the items checked off of my list. Conincidence? I think not. True success, for me, always begins with obedience in the small stuff.

When life feels like it is spinning out of control, wisdom often takes me back to basics: A made bed, time in God's Word, a shiny kitchen sink, a slow family dinner.

Today I made the bed fist thing, and I am reminded that God will make it possible for me to do everything that HE has placed on my list today.