Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Thunder

I had written this some time ago for my Quotes and Thoughts email. Yesterday as my family and I were driving home from Maryland there was lightning flashing in the clouds above us and I was reminded of this so I thought I'd share it with you all.

We were driving on I-90 in the middle of the night. In the darkness around us a storm was raging. We saw streaks of lightning flash across the sky spreading out like tree branches and we heard the Thunder. Thunder that shook the very earth. Thunder that broke through the air resounding even more loudly than the sound of the rain pounding on the roof of our car. I was afraid. I thought of the Israelites around Mount Sinai as God spoke with thunder. I felt small, weak, and helpless driving beneath that Sound with nothing but the thin walls of a minivan to shield me from the fury.

As we traveled we were listening to music and this is what I heard:

"I am hanging on every word you say
And even if you don't want to speak tonight
that's alright, alright with me
'Cause I want nothing more than to sit
outside Heaven's door and listen to you breathing
Is where I want to be."

Somehow the soothing melody and lyrics contrasting with the terrible storm thundering above us moved me greatly. God was speaking to me in the Thunder. He told me about His strength, His power and His rage. Then He spoke of His gentle love to me and His sweet protection of me. I felt like I was indeed sitting outside Heaven's door listening to my loved One speak.

Oh, I fear for the unrepentant sinners who will feel His wrath and be utterly unprotected from it! But how sweet it is for His beloved children to see His awful fury and to know that we are saved from it through Jesus.

Thank you, my Savior! I will spend eternity thanking the One who saved me from the Thunder.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Thank you, thank you

I’m grateful for rain on a warm day, juicy tomatoes ripening in the sun, pillows, chocolate, the sound of a toddler laughing, the sound of two toddlers laughing, books, my eyebrows, a hot cup of tea, air conditioning, a hug from my husband.

Father, forgive me for taking these small graces for granted. I pray that You would make my amazement and gratitude for them grow every day.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

A Movie Review

Due to my father generously agreeing to watch the children for us, Joshua and I were able to go out on a real date last Friday. We went to see the newest M. Night Shyamalan movie, Lady in the Water. I would highly recommend this movie- but not to everyone. Let me explain.

Shyamalan has created something of a name for himself with his trademark twist endings. Lady in the Water does not have a twist ending. It is a Fairy Tale. I walked into the movie theater knowing to not expect a twist ending and so I was able to fully enjoy the story as it was, but I fear that the general public will not be so understanding.

Shyamalan has gained my respect for his ability to tell a story in a beautiful way. The way I like to describe his movies is that I view them each as an intricate painting. The story, characters, colors and music all combine to create something that is truly breathtaking and never fails to bring tears to my eyes. That is what I was expecting when I went to see Lady in the Water and I was not disappointed.

The characters are amazing in this story. There were many characters that would have been out of place in a “typical” Shyamalan film, but that fit perfectly in this one. This movie is definitely a different genre for Shyamalan having more comedy that his other films and more rather unusual characters, but it just goes to show that a truly talented storyteller doesn’t have to be confined to a certain mold to create a beautiful story.

Shyamalan has a role in this film that is perfect for him and it is obvious that this role meant a lot to him in the way he played it.

So, if you insist on expecting to see a movie that is identical to Shyamalan’s other movies then don’t see this movie. But if you want to see a good movie with a moving story, fantastic characters and gorgeous music then go see Lady in the Water.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Ladies and Gentlemen, I have the honor of introducing, for his first public appearance- the youngest member of the Gardner family- Baby Vos!

Okay, so the picture ain't something to write home about, but I'm so proud of it! He is healthy and cute and that's good enough for me. He is about eleven weeks old now and growing fast. The sonogram showed that the hematoma (blood clot) is still there, but it doesn't seem to be affecting the baby at all. I would like it to not be there, though, so we're praying for that blood clot to disappear.
By the way, we obviously don't know if this little tyke is male or female so he'll be referred to as "he" for the duration of his stay in my belly.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My Frailty

Sometimes I wish I were a kid again. Some days the weight of my responsibilities feels so heavy and I want to dump it all on someone else. I want someone to fly in and clean the house, play fun and educational games with the kids and then make a delicious, comforting meal. But there’s no one here to do that. Except me. If the house is going to get clean then I have to do it. If my kids are going to get the love and attention they need I have to give it to them. If I want to eat a home-cooked meal tonight I have to cook it.

Sometimes I just wish that I could be a kid running to my mommy. My mommy would give me a hug and tell me that this is just a phase in my life and that I’m doing a good job and that she’s proud of me. My mommy would make everything all better. But she’s not here. I am the mommy and it’s my job to make everything all better.

I love being a mommy, but even more I love being a child. If I didn’t have my heavenly Father daily giving me the strength to wash dishes and fold laundry then I would fail and I would always feel the way I’m feeling right now. But I have to remember: this is just a phase in my life, I’m doing a good job and my Father is proud of me. At least that’s what my mommy would say.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


So you all probably know by now that today is the third anniversary of the day my mom got to leave this world and see the one Person that Christians everywhere dream about seeing. While I figure there’s really no reason to be sad today I’d still like to commemorate this day by remembering some of the wacky things about my mom. Enjoy.

1. Mom is up to her elbows in raw meat- the makings for a whole heap of meatballs. Dad decides to surprise her and walks in the door with a single rose and a sweet note for her. I suppose I should mention now that she was also coloring hair ( multi-tasking, you know) and so she was wearing an ugly, junky shirt with smelly goop in her hair while up to her elbows in raw meat. The lovebirds look at each other, laugh hysterically and kiss. Now that’s true romance.

2. Gaby, Mom and I are at Barnes and Noble enjoying coffee at their cafe. We decide it’s time to leave and get our jackets, ponchos, etc on. One problem: Mom somehow has trouble finding the head hole in her poncho and is flailing her arms in the air about half enveloped by black poncho yelling, “Help!” Gaby and I did the only reasonable thing for two teenage girls to do in that situation- we pretended we didn’t know that crazy woman and walked away mustering what dignity we could.

3. It’s a cold November morning and we are all cozy in our warm beds. That is, until Mom flings open our doors singing at the top of her lungs and announcing that it’s time to go for a picnic. We look at her like she’s lost her mind, but by then we are awake anyway so up we get and out we go for the best, and coldest, breakfast picnic I ever had.

4. My wedding was only weeks away and Mom and I were up late making an insane amount of mini muffins to freeze for the reception. At about four in the morning we decided that it was the perfect time to go have breakfast at Perkins. So after the last batch of mini muffins was out of the oven, we hopped into the car and went off for an extremely early breakfast. As we sat in the booth at Perkins I looked at Mom and I realized that we were making a special memory that I would cherish for years to come. And I was right.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

An Attempt

This is my first attempt at something resembling Haiku. Don’t worry, I won’t make a habit of this- I’ll leave that to Raquel.

white plastic bag
with the wind

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Painful Living

A couple of weeks ago I had to make a trip to a local pharmacy. My prescription wasn’t quite ready yet so the kids and I sat in the waiting area where the only other occupant was a big, tough-looking man. The man started looking at Malachi with a soft expression on his face and commented on how cute Malachi was (I agreed with him, of course) and then went on to say that his son was about Malachi’s age when he passed away. I was stunned. I asked him how his son had died. The man said that the baby’s mother had propped a bottle in his mouth and he had drowned in his own formula. A call from the front desk announced that the man’s prescription was ready and he got up and left. I had walked into this building just hoping to pick up my medicine and I left laden with grief.

I was driving through the city of Erie doing some errands and I see in a nearby house a small banner hanging in the window with a single star on it. Someone had left this house to fight in a war and had never returned.

I log on to Juno to check my email and I see the headlines telling me the death toll from the latest bombing in some part of the world.

I’ve watched the people I love get sick, decay and die. And I‘ve known the heartache of losing a precious baby.

I remember a woman, many years ago, telling me her thoughts on Heaven. She said that she didn’t understand much about Heaven and so she was content to enjoy living here on earth and not worry about Heaven right now.
I wish I could ask her: What earth do you live on?

Christians, we cannot afford to live in a fairy tale. This world is full of grief, pain, hatred and despair. Accept that fact. Do not hide from it or become hardened to it. Now go to this fallen world and give to them the only thing that can bring hope in this darkness- Jesus.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Review

While my crazy out-of-town relatives were visiting I got to enjoy the experience of playing Polaris for the first time. I can honestly say that it is the best role-playing game that I have ever played. I don’t claim to be a great RPG connoisseur, but I am a creative person who loves being a part of a good story and that’s exactly what Polaris gave me.

The thing about Polaris is that the system is never a distraction, but rather a marvelous tool to use to create intriguing characters and an intricate story. Instead of there being one all powerful GM, each player has ample opportunity and is, in fact, forced to contribute to the developing plot. Even during character generation all the players have an influence on everyone else’s character sheet.

I’ve never been one to enjoy dragon slaying and cool special effects so my characters have always been the more mellow, innocent-turning-to-evil types so this game was perfect for me in that it is possible to run a full story all the way through without lots of blood and guts and other unseemly things (except demon possession, that is.) On the other hand, Seth, the game geek, was itching for a good brawl or two so when we played together we had explosions and sword fighting in the opening scene. And yet, I still loved it!

I’m not going to get into technical talk about the system, or art work, etc. If you want technical talk about this go to Seth.

All I’ve got left to say about this game is that whether you like the dramatic and romantic stories or if your tastes run more toward exploding lemmings and demon possession- you’ll like this game.

Friday, July 07, 2006

No More Goodbyes

My crazy week is finally coming to a close. I actually have some breathing time and I can make dinner now without tripping over a half a dozen kids. And I'm all bummed out about it. As crazy and chaotic as life has been here this last week I'm disapointed it's over. I suppose it would be easier to let go of all the chaos if I didn't like all those people so much.
I liked having my family mostly together for a brief period of time. I liked being an on-location aunt again (a stressed out on-location aunt, that is) and I loved being with my friends again. Yes, my siblings (that includes siblings-in-law, too) are my friends and frankly, when they leave to go back to their homes I'm lonely.
I think I have one, maybe two people that I'd call a friend that isn't related to me, but really my family is my friends and they live so far away.
Yesterday I was sporadically sobbing for short periods of time throughout the day (pregnant + over-tired= emotional woman) so naturally my thoughts were turned toward Heaven. In Heaven I'll never have to say goodbye to anyone- ever again. No more goodbyes. Can you imagine it?
Even though it was chaotic and at times stressful, having my family here in Erie was a picture of Heaven for me and saying goodbye to them was a picture of death. But death and goodbyes is exactly what Jesus died to save us from.
Someday we won't have to say goodbye anymore. Until then I'll keep enjoying these little tastes of Heaven here on earth.
I love you, my family. Thanks for being my friends.