About Us

Not too much to say (at least not yet)... no long list of credentials... just a story that's worth sharing. I'm Adam Vaughan. My wife, Kelly, will also be sharing. We have 6 children. Our two sons, Lincoln and Tucker, have gone to be with the Lord. The remaining four with us are Emmiline, Eloise, Elliott and Charli. Charli is a triplet. Her brothers Lincoln and Tucker are identical twins. They're dancing with Jesus right now, and they're not sad about it at all!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

whispers

Good Pastor is home, and we are a family again.  It has been a sweet day.  This has been my favorite family Sabbath so far.  After an unhurried breakfast, we launched into our sharing time.  This morning I shared two different stories about a serpent and the lies he whispered.  The first lie we talked about was the one he whispered to Eve, the one in the garden,

                                                                

 " Poor you, perhaps God doesn't want you to be happy."  When Eve and Adam bought into this whisper-lie, another terrible lie came into the world.....It is the lie that I/we often choose to believe.
The second story was the one where Jesus chose some desert time in order to prepare Himself for His great rescue.  Again, the serpent whispered his lies, "Poor you, God must not love you.  You don't need to die.  Do it my way."  Thankfully, we are reminded that Jesus is not Adam, and He is our perfect representative.  Even in his weakened state He chose to believe the truth He knew.  He claimed it and spoke it out.  It was a great opportunity for us to talk about how the enemy whispers lies to us and how it is so important for us to always return to our source of Truth...scripture.  We spoke about how scripture is living, holy and true. As we were sharing Eloise made a very intriguing observation....she noticed that the illustrator made the serpent's appearance different in each story.  It provided Pastor and I a window to share that the lies whispered don't always sound the same.  They don't always come from the same places, and often they may even sound like truth.  The living, holy, and true word of God is the ear that can help test the whispers. 

 As I spent time thinking about the lie-whisperer....I realized how loud his whispers are in my life.  Often, just like the world, the loudest voice wins.  But, as I remember truth, I recall that the true victor in this story is the Still Small Voice.  I am thankful for the new ways I have heard this Truth-Whisperer lately.


Next, we had some really sweet time putting things in our "asking" box.  It is a prayer box given to our family by a dear friend.  We each wrote things we wanted to talk to God about.  It was rich...It was hard....we are asking..
Being intentional teachers with our children is more of a gift to me than them.  I love what God uncovers as I share my heart and what He is showing.  He is whispering...we are hearing.  Today, has been a day of delight.  Sabbath rest!   I am thankful!                            
attentive and expectant hearts
little fingers and little hearts asking
Sabbath apples


Sabbath feasts....thankful for provisions and abundance.....remembering those who are hungry...both physically and spiritually

Saturday, July 30, 2011

provisions

It looks like it is going to rain soon. I pray it does. The earth over here on Ridgegate is parched again. This week, two more of my potted plants bit the dust. Why can’t I remember to water those things? Death! It is an unpleasant reminder of how many things can’t survive without Living Water.

Good Pastor is on his way home from some much needed fellowship time. He needed to be with people who really knew him, “got him“ love him. He needed time away to laugh, eat, play and talk to God. It’s funny how much we need these things. Much like the living water my plants needed, my pastor needed these essential nutrients. Talking with him these last few days I have heard the freshness in his voice. It is like a little child giggling with delight. He has been full of life and I am so very thankful. Pastor is growing, learning, claiming and challenging….he is doing what he does best, pastoring. Between you and me, we just might have a radical on our hands. I’m lovin’ it.

Lately, I have really seen a change in our Elliott as well. The Lord is stirring. We are praying salvation over him. As we wait I see his heart softening. He is becoming especially more tender towards Charli.
                                                  



Like most of us, I think he has been a little afraid to love and draw near to her. We just didn’t know what was going to happen for so long. I often wonder will I ever be free to fully love her as I desire? I am still so scared. I think he has been scared too. Scared to touch her…. scared to love on her….. scared to motion towards her….. scared. She has been so fragile. Most of the time he has just gone about his business as if she weren’t here. The past few months I have seen him transition. He has desire. He wants to hold her. He wants to pick her up….and has…not good! He wants to play with her and even share with her. Today, he wanted to feed her.  When I said “yes” his delight grew and he was a boy, joy flowing over. It made me giggle to see him. His desire to hold her and meet her needs were so rich. It was a gift-moment. The bigger princesses and I received it as we helped and watched.




It is thundering and raining now. Yes! I am thankful for all the ways God provides….the much needed life-water… the husband-pastor being poured into…and for the boy that longs to be the big brother. For these things and so many more, I am thankful.
                                                      

Friday, July 29, 2011

beauty in the dark

I (Kelly) just finished up a night of playing with my two older princesses. We had some fun UNO time. Normally, bedtime is pretty early at the Vaughan household but tonight was different. It was unhurried. It was playful. It was us 3. It was different.

As we started our round of cards I noticed Emmiline looking over my shoulder over and over again. She was gazing beyond me to see outside. It was getting very dark very fast. As she stared she kept saying “It is so beautiful.” I didn’t know what she was seeing and so I asked “what?” Her response was “it is so beautiful, when everything is dark, and all you can see is the blue of the sky.” She went on and on. She commented on how beautiful our Lincoln, Tucker, Charli trees looked in the dark night. I was blessed by her choosing to see. I was blessed by her acknowledgement of the beauty around her. I was blessed because she spoke out the beauty that existed in the darkness. She did not realize the power of her words…but they impacted my heart. They spoke of where we have been and where we are.

I was deeply touched that my child who rarely speaks with emotion was in awe tonight. It was a gift that I deeply enjoyed. I learned two things tonight. One, I need to let my children stay up late more often to play. And, two, I need to take time to see what they see. I want to have “Emmiline eyes” ….eyes expectant to find beauty in dark places.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Logic is limiting

Going to share a few quotes from a book I’m reading.  Not going to share the book’s title or author.  Afraid if I do you’ll come in with preconceived feelings / thoughts either for or against it.  Just want to let it be what it is without anyone projecting any connotations / biases on it.  God’s using this stuff to chisel away at my ugly pride…
"Our spirit is where the Holy Spirit dwells.  Our spirit is alive and well and is ready to receive great things from God.  When I filter everything through my mind and remove what isn't immediately logical, I extract much of what I really need...”
“Usually those who use the natural mind to protect themselves from deception are the most deceived.  They've relied on their own finite logic and reason to keep them safe, which is in itself a deception.”
“Our hearts can embrace things that our heads can't.  Our hearts will lead us where our logic would never dare to go.  No one ever attributes the traits of courage and valor to the intellect or the strength of human reasoning.  Courage rises up from within and gives influence over the mind..."
"God must violate our logic to invite us away from the deception of relying on our own reasoning."
These have been good words for me to chew on for the last two days.  God’s bigger than my logic.  I openly communicate that I know my theology is not perfect.  However, what would it be like to functionally live knowing that it’s not perfect?  Maybe I’d realize “my finite logic” can accidentally and arrogantly “overrule” a mysterious and amazing God.  Hope that made sense.  I know God is the God of order.  I know He can’t do anything definitionally (logically) impossible… like make a 4 sided triangle.  That’s just a dumb proposition anyways.  I’m just saying He’s far greater than our logic.  I’m learning not to disregard things simply because I can’t explain them. 
Very refreshing thoughts… convicting too though.  Grateful for them.  Grateful He’s so much bigger.  Grateful for the chiseling away of some of the arrogance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Devil's Advocate

A little bit about me (Adam)…this is something that has been growing inside of me lately…not sure if it’s a good thing or not, but I felt like sharing it.  It feels powerful to be able to share whatever I want… liking that.  Anyways…
When I’m engaging my conservative, reformed peeps, I really like talking to them about the movement of the Spirit and manifestations of God’s hand.
When I’m engaging my free-spirited charismatic friends, I often want to talk about being grounded in a systematic theological perspective that best reflects who God is and how He works.
When I talk to intellectuals who seem to have so much of God figured out, I want to point to the mysteries of God… the unknown… that He is bigger and better than we could imagine.
When I talk to those who so quickly attribute all of God’s ways to mystery, I want to challenge them to pursue truth, study, research and guidance from the Spirit.
When I talk to friends who love big churches, I like to point out the benefits of small churches.
When I talk to friends who go to small churches (and sometimes dislike big churches), I like to point out the strengths of larger churches.
I’ve really been playing devil’s advocate far more than ever lately.  Been processing today why I do these things (sometimes just in my head)… I really am not a person who loves debate.  It might sound like I’m advocating for balance.  I actually hate the word, “balance.”  There was nothing balanced about some of the great men of the faith.  They simply gave all that they had to the gospel. 
Maybe I just enjoy challenging people to think?  Maybe I truly just want people to push, fight and claw for more?  As I continue to rethink why I do this… maybe I’m projecting on to other people the arrogance and pride that have crippled me much of my life.  God has lately been chipping away at those two ugly things. 
Whatever the cause…I am hungry for more.  Still receiving more via crumbs… grateful for crumbs though.
Maybe I’m just warning you that if I stir up debate with you in our next conversation, I might actually agree with everything you’re saying.  

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Strange Picture



Strange picture, I know.  I know it’s not really in focus.  It wasn’t a fancy camera, and my dad’s not known for his ability to use anything that might have fit the category of “technology” in the last century.  Still, I like the pic.  I stumbled upon it again yesterday.  Elliott kept asking me to see the pictures from my trip to Alaska.  Caught off guard that he would ask and glad to share my experiences, I peeked through them again. 
First, I realize that I’m looking a little rough.  I’m about to board a 12 hour train ride.  The reason I’m wearing hiking boots and tall socks with my shorts… well, my chacos fit easily in my backpack, but the hiking boots would take up too much space.  Not sure why it felt like I needed to explain that, but still glad that’s out there…
In this picture I’m in a train station.  About to board a train to Fairbanks.   There is much hustle and bustle going on around me.  I’m seemingly unaware and unbothered by this, but I’m still glued to technology (checking my email on my phone).  Feels like this picture represents me in the here and now.  Man, life is flying by.  Time is moving so quickly.  Everything is happening so fast.  Not even sure what’s happening.  I do pause in the midst of it, but I still get distracted by things that seem important… still let things have more power over me than they should.
Sensing I better come up with a plan soon… I better figure it out.  A voice in my head screams, “Be responsible, Adam!  Do something.  Time’s running out!”   At the same time I think God’s words to Joshua resonate with my heart, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Something within me is wondering, “What if God’s telling me to continue to wait even though that might not make sense?” 

Maybe He’s inviting me to take a look around… stop the hustle and bustle.  Be attentive to Him.  Seize the courage He has offered.  Been reminded lately that courage can’t exist without the presence of fear.  Ready for direction from Him.  Hoping for courage to follow it.



Monday, July 25, 2011

ripped at the seam

As I (Kelly) type this, my two oldest princesses are sewing downstairs.  I am enjoying the sounds of two sister-friends enjoying each other and creating something beautiful from scraps.  I am not really involved in their makings.  Today, I am simply an eavesdropper on the artistry taking place.  Thankfulness is present in our home right now.
Emmiline has been sewing and creating a lot lately.  I don’t mind telling you that my 9 year old daughter is already a better seamstress than I am.  God has equipped her with special traits that have allowed her to become an artist with her machine.  The other day she was working on a project and did something wrong.  I showed her what we needed to do to mend the situation.  She was going to have to rip it apart.  It was painful for her to take the seam out of what she had been so diligently working on.  As I watched her I saw myself in her project.  Her delicate little fingers gently de-threading.  She desired change.  She desired greater beauty for her project.  She was un-doing what had been done, but it was painful for her.
Oh, this is how I feel about my life.  God in his divine mercy has used the death of my sons and the loss of Adam’s job to slowly rip the seams that have so shaped my life.  He is inviting me to become something better….something more.  The ripping is painful (for me and the Lord), time consuming, and a tedious process.  I do feel frayed and tattered, but I am starting to see the hand guiding me tenderly in a new direction.  I am sensing motion towards what I am becoming.  I am starting to have a vision of beauty…out of the death of my sons…beauty is blooming.  I see it in my backyard... in their garden.  I can see it in my family.  I see it in me.   What a wild God we serve!  He loves me with a perfect love.  And, because of this perfect love He is always gently removing old threads and seams so that I can become a beautiful masterpiece.  He grieves when I grieve, but He always sees what often I cannot…the beauty underway.

painful un-doing...envisioning greater beauty


a gentle and skilled hand at work


a thankful text for blooming Lincoln and Tucker bushes....beauty is growing

desiring more no matter the cost

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sabbath DELIGHTS


Nuggets from our Sabbath time:
“For it is for FREEDOM that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:1
“Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is FREEDOM.” 2Cor 3:17
*Praying that we would run from taskmasters towards freedom.
Spent some time with Joshua today…I was reminded of so many truths.  I am thankful that the God of the Bible is ALIVE and active today.  I needed to focus on these truths as Pastor shared that his heart is afraid today.  We need to remember the call to "be strong and courageous."   I see his desires.   They are good.  They speak responsibility, honor, love, loyalty and faithfulness.  Unfortunately, like me, Good Pastor also has modes of operation that enslave him.  During this season,  his default is to walk towards any job that will fill a void and pay the bills.  It is scary to “watch and wait.”  This is harder than I thought.  Please pray for  Good Pastor and our family as we wait for direction.  The Lord is calling us towards something new.  We are afraid of the unknown.  We are tempted by the idol of familiarity….so tempted.   Please ask the Spirit to remind you to pray for HIS church today.   And, for our family, as we long to be obedient and wait for MORE OF HIM.

a day set apart...designed for delight


enjoying the blessing of hearts asking to join us for Sabbath

A cozy son listening to Pastor's "freedom" sharing


living, active, penetrating


celebrating and anticipating


Saturday, July 23, 2011

on the verge

It’s been a full day already.  It is only 3 p.m. and I (Kelly) feel like 5 days have passed since I awoke this morning.  God has been busy at work in the Vaughans in ways that we can see.  Honestly, I feel like we have had multiple church services here in our home today.  So far I have enjoyed rich time with my smalls, sweet fellowship with a sister, and intentional teaching time with my princesses.   I think I feel like a pastor too…it feels sweet.  I think the thing I have enjoyed most is that ministry has been done in the midst of my family and also to my family by our family.  It reminds me that this is Gods heart for the church.  He desires us to pastor our own families and then minister to others out of the overflow.  I have struggled with this since we started ministry.  I haven’t done this well.  Because I am so easily distracted, I have kept things separate even though I desperately wanted to merge all the different ministries.  I believe this is how burnout might have gotten it’s start.
  God is showing me that our family needs to be spiritually nurtured by the pastor of our home.  It is his primary calling.  As the  Pastor leads and teaches and challenges, God graciously invites us to share what we are learning as an overflow offering of what He is already up to in our lives.  No feltboards, no programs, no charts with gold stars. Just struggling hearts desiring to grow and being willing to be shepherded by Good Pastor.    As we invite people into our story, which is God’s story, church happens.  Huh!   Risky!  Life Giving!  I think we just might be on to something or at least on the verge.


Thankful for unhurried snuggle time with babies in a "big boy" bed.


thankful for hope seekers and prayer warriors


thankful for princess talks with two of the most beautiful princesses I know
  




Friday, July 22, 2011

Fish and Chips

As most of you know I went to Alaska in June.  It was amazing.  My faithful sidekick (my dad) and I bounced around from hostel to hostel with a few days in the back country in between.  It probably reveals too much about me, but one of the things I was most excited about when I anticipated going to Alaska was… the food.  I couldn’t wait to get some seafood.  Something about the thought of “fish and chips” put me in an altered state.  Man, the seafood was so good there.  I’ll be very honest when I say that I proudly support Long John Silver’s.  It’s a wonderful establishment (I know, it sounds funny to call LJS an “establishment,” but you have to love the food there).  Anyways, Alaska was a whole different world.  One of our first meals was, of course, fish and chips.  It was some rinky, dinky dive too.  The whole restaurant probably had 4 or 5 tables, or you could sit at the counter on a bar stool.  So good… that’s all I can say.  Many moans and groans of delight.  You know the kind… when words can’t express how good it is.  Man, fish and chips… I just like saying it (or typing it).
Today I can’t get a particular image / thought out of my head.  My wife shared something a mutual friend said.  I know I’m not giving you context, but I’m okay with that… anyways, he said, “Sometimes Jesus did church by just sitting on the beach eating fish.”  I like that image.  I like that style of doing church (not just because it could include fish and chips with someone).  No programs (not that all programs are bad).  Being together.  Maybe sharing a meal.  Life on life.  There’s nothing professional about it. 
Emmiline realized that she won’t be home for our family’s new tradition of a Sabbath meal together.  She was able to communicate significant disappointment.  We make this meal special… it’s much more than just the food.  Both Emmiline and Eloise told us today that they like doing church better at home with us.  This is not a knock on their Sunday School classes.  Those classes are run extremely well.  The leadership is amazing.  There’s just something life-giving about really being known… about true community… and, well, not sure what else to say about their comment.  Still trying to figure out what it is they like so much about our new rhythms of Sabbath.  All I can say is that I’m grateful.  Glad the day seems very different than the other days.  Glad it seems to be a day of delight for them.  Glad it’s a day to engage each other and the Lord…a day to play… a day to worship.  It doesn’t feel formal by any means.  Glad they look forward to that day.  Again, just encouraged by what they were able to articulate so clearly…
Enjoying that encouragement… while I continue to process that the lack of program connects with my 9 year old and 7 year old  daughters in such a powerful way…
Anyways, I’m really looking forward to more fish and chips very soon.  Yes, that is a metaphor.  I am looking forward to being with people I love, sharing something (food…maybe LJS, conversation, etc.)… although I’m also hoping to literally eat fish and chips again soon too.  Sometimes tasting something good doesn’t satiate… it only ignites more hunger.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Still waiting

Wondering what’s next.  Wondering if God might be telling me to create something.  Maybe I’m supposed to start something very new and different.  Maybe I’m supposed to work a secular job.  I would continue to pastor, but maybe I’m supposed to do it without a paycheck.  Maybe I’m supposed to find an existing church to work at… or maybe not.
Still curious.  Time has been moving quite quickly.  Still dreaming.  Still wanting more… much more.  Kel and I have said that we feel like we’re doing “church” better than we ever have.  I know this requires clarification.  First, sad that the word, “church,” has to be explained.  Second, what I mean when I say we’re doing church better… we’re more intentional about worship, about His word, about speaking truth, about the Sabbath, about seeking Him, about a life anchored in His hope, about surrendering (we don’t have many other options), about loving, about the relational component that is church.  Somehow this part seems to get diluted away sometimes.  Don’t think too much of us… even in the midst of all of that, it’s still best described by fumbling, bumbling and stumbling.
Seems strange that we’re more about passionate about the church and more intentional about living it, but we don’t have a church home.  Sounds contradictory, but when I think it through it doesn’t really feel contradictory at all.  We may not officially have a church home,… but beginning to feel very much like our home is a church.  Nothing sacrilegious meant by that… just the coming and going of people from the house… doing life, sharing struggles, pursuing hope, asking questions, wrestling because we can’t find answers, learning to be okay simply with the wrestling, attentively listening for the Spirit, messing up all the time, laughing together, crying together, celebrating together,…
Learning.  Realizing more and more how much I still need to learn. 
Will continue to wait.  Feels like it’s becoming more difficult to wait.  It makes sense in my head that I’d get better at waiting with practice, but unfortunately it’s not really panning out that way.  Becoming a greater struggle to wait… as for now I’ll keep on keeping on… still dreaming.  Still waiting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

grief waters

                                                           

This picture represents me right now as I type this.  I caught this photo many days ago by accident.  It spoke to me then, it is me today.  Elliott is our precious 3 year old...his heart is very tender.  He is sad often, and his eyes show it. When he cries, he doesn’t try to restrict his tears.  He lets them flow, and they flow strong.   Right now, I am choosing to be like my son and let my “grief waters” pour out.

Right now just feels like too much.  I have had a great day.  I have had rich interactions with people, but right now I am struggling.  This afternoon I came home to a discussion about a future job for Adam, which would involve a move (hate… want to run from), trying to still process what in the world the Lord wants for us…for me, lots of needy children, home school documents that need to be filled out and sent back, the realization that I have no idea what I am doing in regards to home school this year, no plan, unexpected tough conversations, many other pressures.   I am struggling with all the ways the enemy robs me of life through the chaos and clammer.  And, then, of course, the main issue, the real issue….. MY OWN GARBAGE. 

I have spent the last hour talking to God and trying to make sense of why I am the way I am.  Don’t get me wrong I am not sitting around beating myself up.  I am just trying to figure out what things are true about me even if they are not beautiful things, and what do I do with them?  Is it just the way that I, or am I functioning out of some other un-Christ-like mode?  I feel sad and afraid that I can’t really answer this question.  Yes, I am deeply flawed…not utterly…but deeply.  But, how do I determine if something about me is just one of the ways I am designed.

Feeling grossly sad about the things I know to be true about me that don’t reflect the character of God.  Those items are obvious to most and too many too list.  The others will become more evident as I become increasingly too tired to hide them.

I am sad.  I long for more.  God has given me discerning and perceptive eyes.  Today, those eyes are crying about what I see to be true in me.  I am a woman in need of much……..I am thankful that I am changing and growing, but that doesn’t change the fact that despite what a photo might capture, the dark that dwells within me is breeding grounds for all things unhealthy.    Light must come.  Darkness must be exposed.  It is the only way.

I am thankful that through the pain and tears I have truth.  Truth speaks louder than my emotions.  I hear…He who began the work in me will be faithful to complete it.   I see the hands of our Gardener-God that prunes off dead branches so new beauty can grow.  I sense the presence of the Spirit that whispers “never will I leave you and never will I forsake you.” 

I am thankful that unlike Elliott, who is unable to discern truths during his intense emotional times, I can choose to have rest in my relentless God.  For He is always working for my good.  He can’t not…it’s just who He is.  He’s in the restoration business, and He never takes a day off.  Today that just happens to mean some branches are being lopped off.  I know beauty is on it’s way, but today tears are falling.


 Greatful for the wise words a precious sister blessed me with today, “The King is great with tired and weary princesses who run into His arms.”   Choosing to run to him and not away!

p.s. Elliott is joining me in “grief waters” as I type this…hoping to catch my breath before I enter his room.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Celebrating

Often I wait until far too late in the night to try to come up with a blog post.  I feel like Winnie the Pooh when he’d “think, think, think,” but then nothing would happen.  Instead he’d get distracted… seems I often scramble when I start writing it really late at night.  We’ll see how it goes…
As I reflect on the day I think the word, “victories,” comes to mind.  I may have mentioned this in the past, but if you’ve spent any time with me you know that I don’t mind repeating myself.  I really am aware that I do it… usually.  When Kelly and I get to go on dates (other than carry-out at home), we like to ask each other the question, “What ‘wins’ can you celebrate?”  Worded differently, “What recent victories do you have to celebrate?”  It could be as simple as responding calmly when one of the kids pours a huge bowl of cereal all over the floor… again.  Or, it could be a new recipe that turned out great.  It’s good to pause, reflect and celebrate.  Something seems healthy about that.  Being aware of the growth is encouraging… and I like to celebrate.
Today I’ve been celebrating internally.  It shows externally though.  Kelly said that I seemed, “peppy.”  Not sure how I feel about being peppy.  Something about that word doesn’t sit right with me.  Anyways, celebrating today...  Small victories.  Remembering truth.  Speaking truth in love.  Loving.  Clean conscience.  Letting some things just be what they are.  I know that sounds so cliché… and,… well, meaningless.  Sometimes I have functioned as if certain things could give me life or death.  They can’t do either.  “Letting them be what they are,” simply means I enjoy them what they are.  Being much more comfortable with who I am… feeling more comfortable in my own skin.  It fits me well.  It’s a nice feeling.  Rather strange, but really nice.  That’s worth celebrating.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Untitled (couldn't think of one)

Feeling very feisty these days.
Extremely grateful for my family’s new daily practice of making a “Thankful List.”  Something changes as I do this.  Something good.
A lot of tough conversations lately.  More in the near future.
Seems we often think of the future as a mystery.  I feel like the present is a mystery.
Found out late this afternoon that a position that has had the most promise and intrigue is not an option.  Not God’s plan.  Nor is it that church’s desire.  Grateful for the closure.  Still feels weird when you’re not picked for the team… even if you don’t know if you want to be on the team.
Continuing to wade into the unknown… meaning I’m trying to move toward something, but being met with resistance. 
Afraid God might be telling me to wait instead of wade so much.
Met a stranger with a bloody nose.  Not sure why, but I didn’t tell him blood was leaking from his nose.  He was an older man.  I really liked that he carried a handkerchief.  Wiping a bloody nose is something you can’t make a phone app do.  Enjoying simpler things today.
More aware of how much I’m changing.  Feels like a metamorphosis.  Hoping the other side is a little prettier.  No promises though.
Wanting to dream bigger.
I wonder what God’s up to…

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Worth Fighting For

Today…it is another day of learning and trying to discover what church is and what Sabbath is.  I am reminded that we are still very much in the embryonic stages.  I have been a woman growing in the faith for over two decades.  I confess I know little about this day of delight.

Menuha is a word I read about for the first time today.  It is a Hebrew word for rest, but it may be better translated as a joyous repose, tranquility, or delight.  It is an invitation to consider that God didn’t just chill out on the Sabbath.  Instead He spent the day in celebration and delight for what He had done.  It was when the labor of the week ended so the bonding could begin.  I love thinking about God taking a whole day to delight and enjoy us…really to bond with what He had made.

                                                 
This morning, I passed out some gifts to our family.  Good Pastor and I want to cultivate thankful hearts in our family.  We started a new tradition that we did not create but want to be faithful to incorporate into our daily lives.

                                                                                
I must admit I feel lost today even in the midst of writing this.  I am fighting to learn and fighting to see with "Spirit-eyes."  I have been finghting for a long time.  Battle makes one tired.  I am tired.

I invite you to eavesdrop on some of the things I am thankful for today.

Good Pastor's teaching



good Sabbath coffee




sweet backrub from my Shorty

tiny harvest hands
                                                        


garden bounty




a little prince in "big boy" underwear running to the potty


small fingers and thankful hearts


       
My heart is struggling today.  Please pray for me. 

p.s. that prince just peed all over the couch.  he peed all in the closet earlier.  good times.
                                           

Saturday, July 16, 2011

fully live


I found this certificate this week.  I had never seen it before.  When I opened it and saw what it was, it totally took my breath away.  I literally couldn't breathe as tears flooded my eyes.  How had I not seen this?  I believe this treasure was discovered at just the right moment.  This is a certificate proclaiming life over my still-born son, Lincoln.  He died in my womb before I ever got to see him.  I was shocked as I processed the words on this sheet.  I am sure UT hospital had no idea how much this would impact my heart over a year after his death.   "Certificate of Life."  Yes!  I can celebrate, Lincoln, though I will never feed him, cuddle him, read to him or tuck him into bed...he is more alive than I am at this moment.  He is free in ways that I can only dream of being.  I don't know who is in charge of issuing these certificates, but I wonder if they know the truth about our Great God?  I wonder if they truly understand what this means to my longing heart?  My son Lincoln and my son Tucker are ALIVE.  Oh, how I long for the day when I will get to see them.  Having Elliott under my wing only intensifies the longing in me.  He is my prince that stirs delight and longing for what will never be here on earth.

This certificate is currently hanging on my fridge.  After showing it to Adam and really talking about the power of these words I felt the Spirit inviting us to see this certificate as a CALL TO LIVE.  God has been on the move in some pretty painful ways over the last few years.  I don't want to waste anything.  I want God to redeem all of our story whether I can see it or not.  I think that's why I am so passionate about fighting for what may be next for our family.  Losing my sons and seeing how fleeting life is makes me hunger for more.  I want to fully live.  I want to dance and dream and risk for the Glory of God.  I don't want to do something just because we have always done it that way.  I want to have Spirit-alive eyes and the willingness to risk and obey.  It may seem very contrary to the world and maybe even the church, but I don't think it's contrary to the Spirit of God.  I believe He delights in us choosing risk and life, and I am CERTAIN He delights in my sons.  With the Spirit's help, I long to honor the Lord and the lives of Lincoln and Tucker.  I CHOOSE TO LIVE. 
                                                                        
                                                                                  
This picture also hangs in our home to remind us and all who enter that we may appear to be a family of 6, but we are living, hoping, dreaming, risking and remembering that we are in fact a family of 8 and unless God increases our quiver, we always will be.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jerk?

Good day.  I mean that both as a greeting and a description of most of my day.  A very sweet friend volunteered to watch our kids… the same precious friend who has already done this for us once this week.  She’s an absolute weirdo.  I mean that in the positive way.  The way she serves and loves can only be described as weird and awkward.  It doesn’t make sense.  I’d like to be more like this weirdo.  Grateful for her.  Anyways, this facilitated a really sweet time with Kel.
Much of the rest of the day was spent becoming more aware of how I need to be rescued from myself.  I’m often a jerk.  Don’t argue that with me because then I’ll have to prove it.  It wouldn’t be hard.  I’m not wallowing in self-hatred.  It’s just been a day where I’ve seen a good bit of my grossness… shining brightly… shining like Moses’ radiant face did.  Unfortunately, it’s not shining in a positive way.
At the end of our date we went by Target and Wal-mart… I think this is what every married couple does at the end of a date... don't they?  Anyways, before we got home, we stopped by a little produce stand on George Light.  We call the farmer, “Farmer George.”  I have no idea if that’s actually his name.  Odds aren’t in favor of it being his name.  It’s just that he sets up his stand on George Light Road… therefore, Farmer George seemed to roll off the tongue rather easily.
Well, the Black Pearl (if you don’t know, that’s my car… a black Toyota Forerunner… she’s awesome)… she didn’t start.  She tried.  I’m really not upset with her.  I could tell she was giving it all she had.  Kelly took off in a fast run to the house so we could relieve Weirdo (as mentioned earlier in this entry).  I decided to ask Farmer George and his associates if anyone had jumper cables.  Sure enough, one of his associates did.  We’ll just call his associate, Old Guy.  It was a great struggle for Old Guy (who really was quite old) to stand… even more so to walk.  He carried himself in a rather awkward way… as if every movement was painful.  Not positive, but it appeared he was a stroke victim.  He couldn’t get his words and sounds out very well.  It was a great strain for me to catch what he said.  From the pattern of facial hair on his face it was obvious that he couldn’t even perform simple tasks like shaving.  Yet, he gladly offered to help me.  As he moved his car closer to the Black Pearl, I noticed from his license plate that he was a disabled veteran.  He jumpstarted my car in a minute or two.  The groceries in my car would not be ruined after all.  He rescued me.
I was grateful for his help.  I was embarrassed that I have not been more grateful for the way men like Old Guy have served our country for me (and you!)… given  much of themselves… I mean that literally and metaphorically.  I have thought about it some, but seeing a face and a broken body brings greater weight to his sacrifice for what you and I enjoy… unfortunately, I just seem to take for granted.
Later our power went out… it was out for a couple hours.  Man, I take that for granted.  I think I take most things for granted.  No electricity simply added to my grumpiness (notice how I blame my grumpies on the lack of electricity… again, I’m the victim… as always).  I was already grumpy, and I had manifested my selfishness in even more overt ways to Kelly.  Not a pretty picture of AV today in relational theology (= theology in the context of relationships).
The ironic thing is that I had been talking to my kids about the widow’s mite this evening.  I tried to explain how everything is His.  It’s all a gift from Him.  He provides and sustains.  He’s entrusted us with it.  All that we do and have should be treated as that which has been entrusted to us by the Father.
I did teach that, but I chose to live the “Entitled Life” today.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll choose to live a little more Christ-like... maybe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

pregnant

NO....I am not...but, I bet it got you to read this.  I am smiling as I type this knowing that the title of this blog will skyrocket some peoples blood pressure...ah....sometimes it's the simple pleasures.

I may not be physically with child, but I do feel pregnant.  I feel pregnant with hope, dreams, thankfulness and joy.  There is life growing inside of me.  I am expectant. 

I feel like for the past several months the Holy Spirit has given me eyes to see things and think about things I would normally miss....here is an example...
Yes, this is what you think it is.  And, yes, they are mine.  Thank goodness I only need these little gems when I am pregnant.  There's something about creating another life that makes the body work really hard.  It also creates deficiencies in me....hence the good ole' stool softeners.  I saw this bottle today with our medicines.  I looked at for a long time and something spoke to me.  What I heard was... sometimes in order to be healthy, we must rely on some very embarassing tools to help us get the crap out.  I find this especially true as The Vaughans continue to see what new life God is forming in us and as we await this new birth.  The Lord in His divine and soverign mercy has allowed some really painful, humble and even embarassing things to help us flush out the waste in our lives and hearts.  As I have mentioned before I often want to hide...today, I am posting the stool softeners and thanking God for helping us along when our hearts just can't quite get the job done.