Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy birthday my baby girl!

Dear Amber,

Happy 24th birthday to my baby girl. This year I'm not here in a physical or mental state, but I'm here in spirit. Buried in the cozy depths of your heart.

There's a lot of people standing around proud of you, though I'm not standing I belong with them. I know, you fail at things and that's frustrating. But, my dear girl, everyone does. Please give yourself a little grace. And remember for every five times you fail, there's an awesome success in order. If you ask me, that's more than good enough. No one really learns anything from being right all the time... So embrace the mistakes.

I know you want to be the size 0 you once were. But that girl couldn't carry a baby, didn't have a full-time job and husband, she wasn't losing her dad. Cut yourself some slack, Amber. You're doing the best you can with what you've got... Which is short legs, a long torso, and abs that will always be buried under some flab. Remember the amazing man that passed those genes down to you. No one's mentioned my weight as a memorable feature. So stop sweating it and start enjoying.

You love your job. I can tell by your investment in the companies. Keep it there. And fight for what you believe I'd want. Because you can't do the Minegar Legacy wrong. Sometimes the big risks are the only ones worth taking. Look at how my life turned out. Do you think I should have made it in the business world with no more than a few construction management classes? Nope. But it's about the heart.

There's haters out there. They're going to talk about you -things both true and false- let them be. Remember, if you wrestle too long with a pig in the mud you'll realize they're enjoying it. Hold your head high, lead with your brains and your heart, and you'll know success. They'll get what's coming to them.

Thanks for keeping an eye on that wife of mine. She's a handful and a quick moving little thing at that. You remind me of her with your spitfire ways and your style -that might just be because you two share closets. Regardless, you kids are her life and her safety net now... I don't know any four that could do a better job. Hey Amber, I know you weren't planning on life in Temecula, but it's not so much about your plans as it is His and how you respond to them. You're doing He and I proud.

Though I can't say it, I love you so dearly. And I want you to know that your Father loves you far deeper than I. You're precious and pretty and passionate. All three things combined with your sense of humor make you fun. Don't doubt how far those three things will get you in life. And when precious and pretty and passionate isn't enough, it isn't worth your time anyways.

I love you.

P.S. Keep driving that tractor. God knows everyone loves a girl on a John Deere.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm lucky my eyes will open... Much less that I can lift them.

The last 48 hours is a body of time filled with questions, fears, frustrations, and more "What If's" than I'd ever thought possible. The facts, opinions, and prayers become muddled... Becoming one mass of confusing words and thoughts. Mama Bird wrestles with God. I stand alongside and mutter my frustration with Him and doubt and fear and love and family under my breath while trying to hold out hope in His doing. Oh, how this team effort goes. 

In my bible study and prayer time, I prayed God show me what we need to hear from Him... And He made it obvious, we're not the only ones who need to hear from Him tonight. So I share here, instead of by simple email.

My Dear Mama Bird, 

Tonight as I was catching up on #shereadstruth my heart was heavy for you... I was begging God to give me something for you. Something not of me and my heart, but from Him... Because, well, I have left every single talk with you the last two days feeling inadequate and frustrated by that. Then it dawned on me, I am inadequate. 

But, Mama Bird, He isn't. In fact, He's perfectly perfect for you right now. You see, we are amidst a hideous and wild storm that seems to be unending. I can play meteorologist and pretend to guess the timing... But aren't those guys wrong most of the time anyway? 

Psalm 121 starts "I lift my eyes up to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth." 

I sang along as I read those words. I realized I knew them, not simply as bible words, but as a verse in a song. Thank you Casting Crowns. Please listen Mama Bird. The words in the song are for you as a reminder of Him. I believe it'll give you that awareness of His presence that I've been trying to create in my ridiculously human ways. 

(Listen to every lyric, play it eight times over like I had to, 
the words are so timely and perfect and scream God-speak to me)

He is who He is, no matter who we are. There is nothing that has/can/will happen to remove us from the hope that is Him.

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 
And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: 
and they awake him, and say unto him, 
"Master, don't you care that we will perish?"
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, 
"Peace, be still." 
And the wind ceased, and there was great calm." 
-Mark 4:37-39

We are in the midst of the waves that beat into the ship and we are fearing it'll overflow. We are calling out to Him. He will wake and respond to our cries, I have faith. But for now, we must enjoy His peaceful, resting presence. 

I hear Him whisper. He's promising a rainbow at the end of the storm to remind us of His goodness. He's whispering into our ears to trust, to let go, to persevere in peace. I hear Him speak sweet nothings reminding us of His unceasing love and devotion to our family. 

And He says, 
"I will keep you from all harm- 
I will watch over your life, Minegar-Thomas Family;
I will watch over your coming and going 
both now and forevermore." 
-Psalm 121: 7-8

Now our task is to lift our eyes to the hills. And look to Him for help. He promises not to let us slip or doze on us. We don't need to run them... In repeat. Just look. Wait patiently and prayerfully. As He asked of us in Psalm 121.

I love you so imperfectly Mama Bird.
His love for you is unblemished and pure. 
Signing off,
Baby Bird

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thanks, Lent: Sister [5]

Dear Sister,
Thank you for you, sister. For bringing you to the table and allowing me the space to bring me. God made me to need strong women around me that speak into every bit of me... And you are a part of those people. Your honesty, humility, and humor make my heart happy to call you mine.
(I know that I sound like a lady-blogger who we love to hate on... But maybe she's a little bit right?)
Though a decade separates us in years and thousands of miles separates us in location, I've never felt closer. There's something to say for the sister who answers the phone at lunch time to help "practice" giving bad news... Especially when you're getting the bad news for the first time too. And who takes those falling-apart-on-Friday phone calls even though she's putting two boys to bed and spending time with her own husband while mine works in a phone-free lab. Oh I'm a lucky little sister.
Thank you for your boys. All three of them. I can only hope and pray for such a warm cozy family for myself. Thank you for bringing Adam into our family. He fits in so well... And he manages all our chaos so effortlessly. Thank you for your sweet sons. I dream of the days our kids play together and your sweet Charlie dotes on his cousins just like he's doted on now. 
Thank you for longing to be back on the Best, I mean, West Coast. Although we can't wait to travel to Florida, we can't wait to have your team here to see regularly... Even if it's in the middle of God-knows-where. 
And thank you for Rockstar Jeans. Seriously, in love with them. I only own one pair currently... But count on that changing in the not so near future... They can become my new favorite since the Skinnies I love are no longer in circulation. Who knew jeans could make such a difference in a girl's life? Not I.
Thank you Sister.
Love you.
P.S. This is one of my favorite, favorite pictures. I'm going to frame it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

If I must boast...

I've been reading 2 Corinthians. Slowly, but surely reading and loving and soaking it up. Paul writes:

"If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness...
The humiliations that make me like Jesus."
-2 Corinthians 11:30

Recently I've realized the thoughts swirl around in my head day in and day out center around a specific theme. Like everything I think, I internalize, I sense comes back to one singular idea. The current theme is one I've tried desperately to ignore blissfully, but God slapped it on my lap and dared me to, not only deal with it personally, but share it publicly.

Lately, I've been consumed with comparison. My clothes, my hair, my picture taking ability (or lack thereof), my food, my life, my weight... At the end of all the comparing, I find that I'm surrounded by "perfect" people with perfect clothes that wrap so comfortably around their wondrously beautiful bodies and hair that always sits just-so atop their pretty head that's filled with the godliest, benevolent, creative thoughts I can only dream to understand.

This leaves me feeling empty and oh-so frustrated, not with them, but with me. I long for the godly insight of my favorite bloggers... for the beauty (inside and out) that that girl's got... for the size 4 figure every pin manages... Oh how the list goes on.

The social media that links us all so effortlessly seems to have reinvented the cheer uniform. Remember how that sparkley spirited top and pleated skirt screamed top dog? Now you've got outfit posts, blogs full of perfect Christian-ese, and organic five course meals captured, edited, and posted for all to see. Boom, you're the squad captain girl.

Just the thought of managing all that makes me want to lose my marbles. So, I'm going 2 Corinthians-Paul style here. I suck at this blog thing. My posts are inconsistent and all over the place. I've started and fallen short with more "series" than I can count on all my fingers and toes. In my frustration, I decided to pray over this space for God to reveal my motivation here. For me to understand clearly what He's got planned for my writing. And He did.

I'm going to continue writing, not simply because I love to do so, but because I know it's for His glory. There's no such thing as regularly scheduled programming here... Probably never will be. I delete four posts for every one that I dare publish. I'm doing this letting go thing in hopes that I'll feel less internal pressure and more joy when I approach the Blogger interface. With the letting go of comparisons and expectations, I'm turning the glory and goodness to Him in hopes that He flourishes here, not me.

Friends, pray for this place. And for me. For this to be somewhere you can come expected to be blessed and challenged. To feel His presence in our lives.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Brownie Stacks

These were a hit for our Valentine's bible study...
So much of a hit, I didn't even get one!
They're bound to be a hit for your next... Bible study, birthday party, dinner group...
You catch my drift, right?
2 boxes brownie mix (prepared as directed)
1 bar cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softend
Splash of vanilla extract
1. Prepare and bake brownies as directed. Line baking pan with tin foil sprayed with cooking spray. (this will make the removal easier)
2. Prepare cream cheese frosting in stand mixer as follows:
-Add stick of butter and whip.
-Add stick of cream cheese and whip until fluffy.
-Add one cup of powdered sugar until combined.
-Taste to try. Add more if needed.
3. Cut brownies into little squares about the same size.
4. Add dollops of frosting on top of the first layer of squares.
5. Top with second layer of brownie squares.
6. Finish off the brownie with a dollop of frosting on top and sprinkle with red sprinkles.
(or another color if you're not seeking the romance vibe)

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