Monthly Archives: December 2010

Deep thoughts about mothering (plus poop!)

Lately, it seems like lots of people have been telling me how wonderful my children are, and inside, I’m thinking, “Yeah, but you don’t know about x, y, and z character issue that we’re struggling with, with him/her!”

Maybe I’m too hard on myself as a mother, and too hard on my kids.  Being constantly aware of their struggles blinds me to the positives, I think.

Lately, I’ve started being worried about how all my flaws as a mother… well, my children’s spouses and THEIR children are going to pay the price for that, and that kills me.  Motivates me to do better, too…

I know this is crazy, but for years — like, for a decade — I have not-so-secretly hoped that Ethan will marry a certain girl.  Young woman now, she is.  Her mother and I have even talked about it, how arranged marriages are not so bad of an idea! “I love you.   I love your child.  Yes.  They should marry.  That would rock on every level.”  And that precious girl deserves THE BEST!  I love her so very dearly.  It just kills me to think that she might reap any bad fruit of my mothering of Ethan.  Or, even if it’s not her… whoever it is.

I was telling my sister this yesterday, and she responded incredulously, “What are you talking about? Ethan is the bomb! He’s going to be an amazing husband!”

But, I also think that might be the design of the Father, for us as mothers to get a picture of how what we do, daily, is going to affect our families for generations.  It’s not just about getting through TODAY, it’s about growing and leading children who are established in love and Godliness who will lead their own families, and pass on what they’re received to their own spouses and their own children and beyond.

My sister watched my five children yesterday, along with her 4 month old baby.  This was her report:

So, the eventful morning included the following:

1 – chores:  felt like managing a young team at work.
2 – Grant made me coffee
3 – Grant told me “you’re good at that!” when I took his [Nerf] gun away.
4 – E was a Godsend.
5 – looked for which of the four pony drawings was different from the others for A.  Man, those are hard!  Several times.
5 – E was a godsend.
6 – Took F potty several times and she “leaked” each time.
7 – got my butt kicked by all three boys in the hunting game. Several times.
8 – Rcvd news that the dog ate a mostly full can of formula.
9 – E was a godsend.
10 – looked up to see Fi feeding the dog the baby rice cereal from my ziplock. (which kid took the baby food off the counter?!)
11 –  Fi pooped her pants. Cried bc she was “stinky.”
12 – Audrey was not bossy, and helped clean up her fort and her room.
13 – Taking Fi potty, and she chokes (for real) on her garbanzo bread. Some maneuvering, forceful hugs, back thumping, and pinky-fishing later, she’s ready for more garbanzo bread! (we never remembered to finish peeing that time)

In ALL of that, not a single fight, not a single naughty child, not a single moment of anger from anybody!

Oh, yeah – my kid was there somewhere too. And did I mention E?  He’s a godsend.

A WONDERFUL morning for baby and me.  The kids even made her laugh out loud.  And somebody (A?) Covered her while she slept in swing.  Blankee wadded up in her lap. Hee-hee!

A total joy.

I read that and thought, “May I please have those children?  May I please be that mother, who can say that the day was a total joy, even when bad things happen??”  If anything, my sister’s stellar report made me feel worse, like maybe I… stir up dissension.  Like maybe my personality leads to

  • perceiving conflicts that aren’t actually there
  • bringing stress to a situation and leads to arguments and strife
  • making mountains out of molehills


And, what a bummer is that???  That my kids are fabulous and I just don’t see it enough???  That I’m stuck in the mode of, “Well, don’t think you’re fabulous, because you clearly can’t clean the bathroom well, even though we’ve been through the steps a hundred times, and you treat your siblings like dirt, and you disrespect your father, and you pitch fits, and you weasel out of responsibilities, and you’re too rough with others, and you can’t keep your mouth shut for 30 seconds….”  and so on??

Or, is it just the life of a mother to see both the best and the worst in her children?

Earlier this morning, I received a very encouraging e-mail from my pastor’s wife, and I responded with “woe is me” stuff, similar to the above.  She replied, and at the end, said, “I am climbing to that higher place of more of Jesus and less of me right along with you.”

And, YES.  THAT is what it’s all about.  Less of me, Jesus, and more of You.

  • More of You in how I mother.
  • More of You in my attitude.
  • More of You in my vision.
  • More of Your hope for the future.
  • More of Your perspective, Jesus.
  • More of Your presence in my home.
  • More of Your character in my heart.
  • Less of me.
  • More of You.

That’s the answer.

Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal — Review

Simpli Gluten-Free Apricot Oatmeal

First, the good news: 

  • Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is delicious. I loved it, as did my 9 year old son, Wesley, and my 4 year old daughter, Audrey.  All of us have to be on a gluten-free diet, due to celiac disease.  Some gluten-free products can run on the odd/nasty side, unfortunately.  Not so with this one!  For taste, it gets a hearty thumbs up from all who sampled it.
  • I am in full support of the company’s aims to produce completely gluten-free oats, from seed to packaged product (more on that, later).
  • And, with only four ingredients DONE RIGHT, Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is CLEAN food, which is important to me.  
  • The product is stellar.

However, I’m not sure I’m the best person to review it.  Here’s why:

  • I’m too cheap, and I want to buy locally. Currently, Simpli products are available online, through their website —  Perhaps the ONLY good thing about living in a large city is the ready, local availability of just about anything I could want or need, gluten-free items included.  I virtually NEVER purchase food items online, especially ones that are $4.95 plus $3.95 shipping ($8.90 total) for one 8.4 oz package of five packets of oatmeal.  No matter how stellar a product, I absolutely cannot afford — even for a special occasion — to spend $1.78 for a small bowl of oatmeal.  Although I rarely eat instant oatmeal, my children, when they eat it, use two packs at a time.  So, realistically, you’re looking at a $3.56 bowl of oatmeal.  Buying a bulk pack of nine boxes is slightly more economical — it works out to $5.70 per box, including shipping, or $1.14 per serving ($2.28 per double serving).  Still.  I would just never pay that. If Simpli was carried it locally, at my local natural-foods store, Sprouts, had their biannual 25% off of all gluten-free items, which would make it about $3.70 per box… I might consider that for a special occasion, like packing food for a trip whose destination may not have g.f. foods readily available.
  • I like thick-cut oats. I’m just not a fan of the gooey consistency of any instant oatmeals.  I like some chew and heft to my oats, which is why I love Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats, a pantry staple of mine.  However, those take (according to the way I make it, not according to package specifications) eight minutes to cook, after the water has boiled, so a good 12 minutes cooking time, plus about five minutes of sitting time… so, 17 minutes or so, from start to finish, versus about four with Simpli Apricot Instant Oatmeal.  In other words, I understand that, given the nature of instant oats (thinner cut), they’re just not going to turn out the way  I like them… so it’s not a flaw in the product;  it’s just a difference of opinion, values, and texture.  Also, returning to the “I’m too cheap” mantra, I buy Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Rolled Oats locally for about $5.50 per 2 lb bag.  That works out to $0.34/oz for Bob’s vs. $1.06 per ounce for Simpli — THREE TIMES THE COST — when Simpli is purchased online.  And Bob’s Gluten-Free Oats aren’t cheap!!!

With those caveats, let me reiterate that Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is delicious.  As stated above, I like my oats with a little more heft, so I don’t prefer the texture of any instant oats, and don’t regularly eat instant.  However, that’s not Simpli’s fault.  Judging by taste — it’s perfect.  “Bright” is the adjective that comes to mind.  The apricot flavor REALLY shines through beautifully.  With only four ingredients — Oats, apricots, sugar, and salt — I was wondering how they would be able to make the apricots tender enough.  Simpli’s solution?  Mince them.  Mince them teeny, teeny, tiny.  That way, they rehydrate perfectly, and the apricot flavor is broadcast through each bite.

Also, Simpli Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal is not too sweet.  I think it’s perfect.  There are only 10 grams of sugar per 48 gram packet, and much of that, I’m sure, comes from the apricots themselves.

The instructions on the box call for 2/3 cup boiling water, stir, and let sit for one minute.  I knew I was reviewing the product, so when I made a bowl for myself, I made sure I followed the instructions to a “T”, including using a measuring cup for the boiling water (something I would never normally do), and setting the timer for that one minute.  Based upon that, I would suggest that, unless you want some soupy oatmeal, you should EITHER use less water (say, 1/2 cup), OR you should let your bowl sit for a good 4+ minutes, to let it thicken.

About the gluten-free aspect:  Simpli takes it seriously.  I’m slightly bummed that this oatmeal is a product of Finland, but perhaps that’s the only place where they could ensure that the oats would grow and be processed according to their exacting specifications.  Although I can occasionally be somewhat lax about cross contamination, I’m a stickler for g.f. oats.  I get asked frequently about why, if oats are technically gluten-free, does one need to buy GLUTEN-FREE OATS.  I explain that there are so many chances for cross contamination in the grain-growing, harvesting, storing, and processing process that unless a producer is intentional about maintaining the gluten-free aspect of his oats, you, as the gluten-free consumer, are almost guaranteed to consume gluten if your oats, if they’re not certified gluten-free.  This graphic, from Simpli, illustrates it so well:


All of that to say that Simpli Gluten Free Instant Apricot Oatmeal is a fabulous product.  But, I hope it’s coming to a store near me, because I will almost certainly not be buying it, otherwise.

Maybe this is the opposite effect of what Simpli anticipated, sending me a free package to review, but this product has inspired me:  I think I’m going to purchase a package of Bob’s Red Mill Quick Cooking Gluten-Free Oats, and make up my own packets of instant oatmeal, and just place them in Ziploc sandwich bags.  If Simpli can create a simple instant packaged oatmeal, so can I!!

Not in order of importance

  • Wish I lived in Minneapolis!  Well, not really, but if I did, I would DEFINITELY be going to this:  A Procraftinator’s Delight, hosted by one of my favorite bloggers.
  • When I was in the process of choosing which college to attend, I automatically disqualified any whose promotional literature had misspellings, glaring grammatical errors, sloppy art layout, etc.  With that in mind, one might be leery of a website called The Best Colleges when it publishes articles rife with the same.  Still.  This article, The World’s 15 Most Extraordinary Homeschoolers, is well worth a read.  Tim Tebow?  Who DOESN’T know he was homeschooled?  The Jonas Brothers?  Knew that, too.  But Condoleezza Rice?  Francis Collins (the evangelical Christian and renowned scientist, appointed by Obama, no less, to be director of the NIH)?  The list is inspiring and profoundly interesting.
  • The lift pin assembly

    Weird things make me feel old.  Yesterday, it was the fact that my pressure cooker apparently needs some parts replaced, the gasket and lift pin assembly.  Why does this make me feel ancient?  Because these parts are made of rubber, which becomes brittle (and ineffective) with AGE.  ~sigh~  Finding out that these parts would cost me $21 plus shipping made me a wee bit upset.  Doing some searching to find out that

    • a) a replacement pressure cooker would run me upwards of $50, and
    • b) doing some price comparisons online would save me $10 or so (from here) made me feel slightly better about my purchase.  I still feel old, though.
  • I am THRILLED to report that Fiala is doing much better. The infection on her face is gone, though it’s having a hard time clearing up, as she keeps scratching the still-healing spots.  The bed situation that I wrote about a week ago or so finally came to pass;  I set up both girls in their new beds yesterday — Audrey in her new-to-us twin bed, and Fiala in the toddler bed that used to be Audrey’s.  Fiala fell out of bed once last night, in spite of a guard rail, and she did not nap well — well, didn’t nap at ALL — in her new bed yesterday, but that was really due to the visit of our beloved nephew Nick and his darling girlfriend PLUS it being a new bed PLUS us working on potty-training PLUS her having diarrhea every 10-15 minutes because of horrid Augmentin due to her ear infection.  I don’t think I wrote about that.  Her eardrum burst on Friday.  Apparently, the bacteria which caused it were not covered by the antibiotics that she’d already been on for more than two weeks.  In spite of the fact that the Solaray BabyLife probiotics that we have for her contain rice maltodextrin, and she’s previously demonstrated that rice is an allergy problem for her wee body, I had decided that an eczema outbreak from the maltodextrin was the lesser of two evils, even though her skin is finally starting to clear up from the six weeks?  two months? of outbreak that she’s suffered through.  ANYWAY.  I was remarking to a friend that the “good news” from her having diarrhea is that it seemed to be giving her a greater awareness of her… elimination process, of which she was blissfully unaware, which made potty-training heretofore impossible.  We’re not all the way there yet with toilet adeptness, but we’re getting there.  I have hope.
  • Having local gluten-free friends ROCKS.  These may seem minor to most of you, but I am so thankful for:
    • a neighbor, whom I “met” through the Phoenix Celiac Yahoo group (and subsequently discovered we live a couple of streets away from each other), dropped off a darling little box of goodies:  three truffles, some oat-almond candy crunch, a mini pumpkin pie, and a mini cheesecake.  Usually, treats received from loving friends and well-meaning neighbors receive wistful glances from me, as I give them to my two gluten-eating children, Ethan and Grant.  I can’t recall ever having something dropped off to our home where I could eat every single thing.  I meant to only sample the goodies, but, I confess, I schnarfed down ALL of them.
    • Last night, at the grocery store, I called my friend Kim.  We live across town from each other, but she feels closer.  😀  Even though she was sick, the poor raspy-voiced thing, we chatted about teff and millet, and grinding our own grain, and what grain works well in which application, etc.  She looked up some stuff online for me, as I shopped.  I had a goofy grin the whole time, because it is SO NICE to be able to just pick up the phone and talk with someone about things that are akin to a foreign language to most people…
  • I am thankful for:  At least $300 in new or nearly-new jeans, given to me by my sweet friend, Brenda, who had been given them by her sister.  Her sister had recently lost a lot of weight, and now, two pairs of Lucky jeans, a pair of Guess jeans, and five or six other pair, are now nestled happily in my drawer.  🙂  I’m set.  That’s a good thing for me, because I wear jeans virtually every day of my life.  I have to lose more weight for some of them to fit better, but that’s a good thing, right?  Motivation.

Ghostwritten book update!

Marietta Wright

My friend and author*, Marietta, has a new blog up!  Brushed By God, which is also the title of her new book, which has an expected publication date of August 1, 2011, and will be published by Destiny Image.

Marietta’s blog will be a mixture of excerpts from her upcoming book, current experiences, teaching, and more.

She heard from someone from the publisher today, and they said that they will probably use some of her art for the cover, which is fantastic.  We had hoped that they would, but since they’re the publisher, they could choose not to.

I’m helping Marietta with the website, so if you have any suggestions, leave a comment, either here, or on her blog!


*She’s the author, I’m the writer.  The book and all its contents were completely her idea, her stories, her teachings…  I just took her words, reworked them for (hopefully) the best effect, did editing, etc.  🙂

GFCF MOM! You’re the winner!

GFCF Mom, you’re the winner of four dozen of my cookies.  🙂  I’ll e-mail you separately… I’ll need your address!

And… my hubby ate all of the cranberry almond cookies — well, that, and I forgot that I was the snack person at my small group, so between that event, and my hubby’s penchant for that particular variety, they’re all gone.  🙂  So, it looks like it will be chocolate-drizzled candy cane cookies, triple-lemon stars, chocolate-vanilla pinwheels, and chocolate-filled sandwich cookies.

Everything, by the way, is all natural (and GFCF), except for the candy canes used in the cookies.  I looked at thee different stores for all-natural candy canes, but no one had any!  But, they’re Spangler, and there’s a note on the box saying that they use dedicated equipment, and the canes are free of cross contamination from gluten and dairy, among other things.

Let me know if you have any other dietary concerns or restrictions, and I’ll try to accommodate you.  🙂

P.S.  It was your Facebook posting(s) that won it for you.  My 11yo son is the one who pulled your name from the very low-tech slips of paper I’d written up.  🙂

Weird. Awkward. Birders.

Not my pic! This is what a Crissal Thrasher looks like, taken by Elroy Limmer.

I sent out a plea for assistance to a local birding list yesterday.  In the e-mail, I described how, over the last week or so, I have spotted two juvenile thrashers — siblings, perhaps? — and they look similar to Crissal Thrashers, except that they both have extensive black (or at least charcoal grey) streaking on their breasts, which Crissals should not have.  I described the birds as best as I could, and hoped for some good responses.  I was specifically wondering if thrashers could hybridize, since a couple of them have dark spots/streaks on their breasts.

I got several really helpful private replies, with the general consensus that it’s probably a Crissal Thrasher, though I’m not convinced;  there is a LOT of streaking on the breast, and it is very dark, which Crissals don’t have, either mature or immature.


One of the replies I receive, though, threw me for a loop.  It was from a lady who suggested that she come over and spend the day with me on Saturday to help me out with my “thrasher problem.”  She told me she’d schedule her time with me around a college football game she wanted to see, and some time with a cousin who also lives in my city.

I was taken quite aback.  It just seemed really forward.

I replied:

It has been a pleasant surprise, during my short time on the bird list, that it appears that a number of those participating offer up their homes and properties for other birders.  I really love that camaraderie.

However, I just don’t think it would work for you to come on Saturday.  Saturdays are our only days for family time, and we tend to be quite selfish of our time together, even on weekends that are not busy with responsibilities and activities.  My husband has a full-time job, plus is the worship pastor for our church, so our weekend time is rather abbreviated. Additionally, some or all seven of us have plans for both Friday and Saturday…  And, my sister and her husband and new baby are moving back to Phoenix, and should arrive on Sunday.  Time gets even tighter around the holidays.  Lastly, to be honest, I think my husband would be rather unnerved by a stranger — no matter how friendly and innocuous — spending the day with our family.

I feel badly saying no to your suggestion, and I’m sure you would be lovely company, but, unfortunately, I just don’t think it would work.


p.s. Maybe it’s still a good idea to visit your cousin!  It sounds like you could use some company.  If they’re the sort that are up for a drive, I suggest taking the Carefree Highway to the western entrance of Castle Hot Springs Road (almost to Wickenburg), and driving north and east to a spot about ten miles in, to where there is a convergence of two or three perennial creeks — N 33.97620 x W 112.44647, if you have a GPS.  You can do an easy hike back in at least three directions and follow the creek beds for some great birding.  I’ve been there at all times of the year, and there is always some water, though, of course, after it rains there is always more.  🙂   (You can enter the coordinates on this website to get a map:

Perhaps I should have just told her, “No, thank you.”

Or, perhaps she is really in need of a friend and I should have, if nothing else, took it on as an opportunity to minister.

It just seemed like an unsettling mix of loneliness, presumption, and wanting to help…

Last chance for the veggie contest!! Did I miss anyone??

I (finally) started to tally everyone’s entries into the veggie contest, and I’m afraid I’ve missed some of you!  Obviously, this was a little too challenging (to admit your veggie consumption, or possibly lack of it!), because if I’m counting correctly, I have only ten entries, and FOUR of them are for GFCF Mom!  I know I’m missing one tweet, but I can’t access the tweets any more… they must expire after a fairly short time.  So if that was you, give me a holler!

Anyhoo.  Here’s what I have.  If I’m missing, you, do comment!  If I err, I want it to be on the side of generosity.  🙂  Honestly, if postage wasn’t so pricey, I’d send at least a dozen to all of you!!!

  • GFCF Mom’s blog post
  • GFCF Mom’s tweet
  • GFCF Mom’s FB post
  • GFCF Mom’s comment on the original post
  • Kathy’s FB comment (where, in minor distress, she said that she didn’t have the weights, because all her purchases were from a farmer’s market.  Don’t worry, Kathy, you ALWAYS count with me!!!)
  • Daja’s FB activity — posting it on her page and on some friends’ pages (perhaps that should count for two??)
  • Daja’s comment on the original post
  • Myilie’s comment on the original post
  • Jessie’s comment on the original post (and on a FB post of mine… where, in both, she said she doesn’t really eat veggies, but she’s TRYING to eat more, sort of.  I give her a cumulative point just for being honest!!!)
  • Amy’s comment on the original post

So!  That’s ten of you.  If there aren’t any more by the time I get back from small group tonight, I really will draw a winner, just shy of one week late.  Daja credited me for extending the deadline, and it really wasn’t that.  It was me trying to get my act together to make cookies, and to tally all the entries, which ended up being more complicated than I had realized it would be.  🙂  And, just running out of time to post.  So, my slowness is your gain.  I guess!!

By the way, the winner will get four dozen cookies, all based on my blog’s perennial All Star post (59K+ hits so far!), Big Batch Christmas/Sugar Cookie Recipe (GFCF).  You’ll get a dozen each of:

  • Cranberry Almond Cookies
  • Triple Lemon Cookies
  • Dairy-Free Chocolate Ganache-Filled Sandwich cookies
  • Candy Cane Cookies

Alternately, the winner can replace any dozen with a plain dozen cut-outs, for you (or your child) to decorate on your own.

Why I’m weathering the storm better this time (and: Restoration)

About a year ago, I was pretty despondent over Fiala’s health.

I’m doing much better this now, in spite of the fact that she’s had her worst month of 2010.

Fiala is now on the tail end (bless God) of about four weeks of a really bad outbreak.  She’s still on Septra;  we have another week or so to go with that;  I’m so happy, though, that she’s really turning the corner, and the infection is abating, and her skin, body-wide, is healing.

When listening to my pastor Dennis’ message yesterday (, the December 5th one), I realized that one of the biggest reasons that I’m weathering this “episode” so much better this time is directly related to something he said:  Thankfulness while IN a dilemma releases God’s activity. And, even if my dilemma doesn’t get better, if God just SHOWS UP, then it’s OK.

That is something that some other sweet sisters in Christ had encouraged me in, months ago…  In spite of their teaching/correction/kicking me in the rear, it took me several months to pull out of the pit of feeling like perhaps God didn’t love my little girl enough (or something that would keep Him from healing her).  This time around, I’m not even tempted to go there.  Or, if I am tempted, it passes quickly, because I don’t give that line of thought the time of day.  I don’t let myself think that.  I rest in His sovereignty;  He can choose to heal her, but if He doesn’t, I will still trust in God my Father.

I’m definitely still praying for her healing, but more than that, I just want the Holy Spirit’s activity and presence in our home, and in her body and her life.

Other things that are happening:

  • A dear friend had a dream that Fiala’s reactions were not caused by food at all, but from a small animal in her bed.  She wrote to me, not suggesting that I take the dream literally… but, completely unbeknownst to her, I had noticed that Fiala seems to get WORSE upon sleeping/resting in her bed, and I had already theorized I thought maybe her mattress was infested with something, and we should get a new mattress.  The one we have is a second-hand mattress, and not in very good shape, though I rather rationalized that it would be OK since we use a waterproof pad each time, under the sheet.  So, we’re working on the mattress thing.  (She doesn’t have a new one yet, though.)
  • Also, I realized that her clothes are bothering her — pretty much the only place she’s not broken out right now is in her diaper area.  My husband Martin is having a similar reaction in his sock area — everything covered by his dress socks has been itchy, and he’s had a sandpapery rash there, very similar to Fiala’s.  I have been making my own laundry detergent for the last year+, and cannot think of anything in the ingredients that might be anything other than innocuous except, perhaps, the soap itself.  I use Kirk’s Castile, which is made from saponified coconut oil.   I know Fiala has problems with anything palm-related, so perhaps even though it’s gone through the chemical process to make it soap, it’s still giving her problems.  So, this weekend, I went out and got All Free & Clear and am washing all our clothes (and re-washing her clean clothes) in that, plus a half cup of baking soda, and an extra rinse with 1/2 cup vinegar.  Last night was the first night she was in newly washed pajamas and bedclothes, and she woke up looking significantly better this morning.   Coincidence? Perhaps.   But, I’m just trying to do every little bit that may help, considering environmental things, as well as food.
  • And, I read recently (in my Clean Eating mag) that larger-than-USRDA-doses of Vitamin D have been shown to improve/resolve health issues, especially those related to the immune system.  So, I have my son Wes* and Fi on 2000 IU daily. We’re just on the third day of that, and I’m uncertain, of course, if it’ll have any positive effect, and how long it’ll take.  But… I felt like I had to try.

Unrelated, really, other than that the above song has ministered mightily to me in the last month:  A couple of months ago, I suggested to my hubby, Martin, that our church’s worship team learn the song Restoration (written by Clay Edwards, led above by David Brymer and Clay’s sister, Misty).  He didn’t go for it.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, he borrowed my oldest son’s MP3 player, so he could listen to music while doing yard work.   I had loaded the song (weeks ago, for Ethan) onto the player.   Shortly after the yard work was done, Martin had pulled up the chords… and he’s been playing it periodically over the last couple of weeks.  Hehehe!

While preparing my set list for small group last week, I came across the chart for the song, and played it several times, just to “warm up”.  Guidelines for small group worship leaders are that song introductions should be rare;  we would rather do songs that the people in the group know and can easily worship to.  But, I called my friend Sheila to see if she’d be going to small group that night (she was) and did she know Restoration (she did) and would she sing along, if not otherwise engaged, if I led a bit of it during ministry time, after the main worship set (she would).  So, that was the plan.

It’s hard to explain what happened during worship and ministry-that-wasn’t-normal-ministry time.  Worship, in my estimation, didn’t go fabulously.  It seemed like many were distracted, and people weren’t really engaging God.  It’s my job, as a worship leader, to facilitate that.  I can’t make God show up, but I can sure invite Him, and help pave the way for people to engage. So, I was a wee bit bummed out.  Only a wee bit, though, because appearances can be deceiving, and I didn’t know for certain what was going on, and I just continued to lead us in worship.  After worship, we had a time of prophetic ministry, and the Holy Spirit just poured out a bunch of words through lots of people for lots of people.  The small group leader just had everyone gather in the center of the room, and asked me to just play over everyone, which I did, praying all the while.  Then, I started playing Restoration… and the Holy Spirit fell, even more.  It was just what everyone needed.  It seems like God wanted me to play that song, on that day, at that time, not months ago, when I wanted my hubby to teach it to the team.  Everyone learned it quickly, and sang it wholeheartedly.  It was His timing, and I wasn’t even aware of it!!

So, anyway.  Equally unknown to me was that Martin planned to teach it to the team that coming Sunday (yesterday).  He did.  Practice was wonderful.  We just sang and played and worshiped.  I abandoned the vocals and picked up an acoustic, just because I wanted to play it.  I wanted to express that song with more than just my voice.  (I don’t play guitar on the regular worship team;  I just sing.)  Martin invited me to change guitars to one that was amplified.  (He was playing electric.)  At one point, he told me not to strum so hard;  I don’t know how he can keep himself from NOT strumming hard when a song gets intense!  So, that took a little concentration, to not play so hard, even when the song built dynamically.  Hehehehe!   In sixteen years of being on the church’s worship team, I don’t think I’ve ever played acoustic, plugged-in, during a practice.  Maybe once previous.  It was fun.

So, I guess to tie those two lines of thought together:  I am encouraged that — even when I’m not 100% aware of it — I am growing.  I’m following the Holy Spirit.  I’m becoming more teachable (historically, that’s not one of my strong suits).  And, I’m seeing fruit from it, and I’m happy about that.

God is good.


*Wesley’s asthma is by far the worst in the winter months, December through March.  Hmmm….  And, of course, celiac disease is autoimmune.

%d bloggers like this: