Monday, April 27, 2009

Giveaway Winners, or Why Doesn't Anyone Love Me?

Congratulations to the TWO winners of my blog birthday giveaway! Yes, you read correctly: I had TWO winners. Is that because I am so generous? Uh, no. (Although let's say I am anyway!) It's because nobody else even entered the giveaway.


Y'all make me feel so sad. So unloved. Is it the prizes? Did you not like them? Or is it that I have only two readers? Oh, boo hoo. Let the pity party commence.

So... congratulations to my two readers, Scrappy Sue and AbFab Geek. Thanks for being loyal friends, y'all! One of you is my friend in Real Life (AbFab) and one is my friend in cyberworld (Scrappy Sue - but I'm hoping one day we'll meet in person). I'll be working on your prizes soon!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy First Birthday & Giveaway

I promised you that I would have a little birthday celebration for Six Golden Coins, and here it is! (Albeit 15 days late!)

Here's the bad news: if you were waiting for some spectacular post with great reminisces from me, you'll have to check back later. I don't have much to give you these days, after dealing with Dan's back injury, two wily kids, and my grandmother's failing health.

Now don't go feeling like I'm neglecting you, poor Six Golden Coins. Just because I don't have a lot of inspiring things to write doesn't mean I don't love you! On the contrary! You have been one of the most motivating, inspiring, meaningful things in my life this past year. You've been my outlet when I'm melancholy for my family, homesick for days gone by, aching from my disease, or overwhelmed by the daily grind of being a mother and wife and friend. And you've also been the first place I want to turn when I am overjoyed by new milestones, bursting with awe at our God, or prideful at the growth of my children.

Simply put, I have found myself in you, dear blog. You have helped me grow in ways I never imagined, and helped crystallize my inner fortitude. You have strengthened me and caused me to become more introspective and intentional in how I live my life. And the best part? You've become a part of my family - a living, growing part of my family - because YOU are the chronicle of our lives. You will be the place we turn one day to remember the has-beens and used-to-bes. You are our family's growth chart, diary and scrapbook, all rolled into one.

Thank you for being so many things to us. And thank you for the connections you've brought me to the amazing bloggy world out there. Connections of faith, craftiness, friendship, kindness, constructive criticism, and support.

So to honor you, Six Golden Coins, I'm hosting a happy little giveaway. It's what we do in the bloggy world, right? First, I'll reveal the prize since I know that's what everyone wants to know first.

I'll be giving away three things: a copy of my favorite CD (you'll just have to wait and see!), a customized photo bracelet, and a custom onesie or t-shirt from Katie Kay Tees (winner's choice). Yes, there is only one winner and he/she will get all three. And chances are I'll be throwing in a sampling of some of my other favorite things, just because I want to shower y'all with love. I'm not telling what those things are, at least not yet. But I promise you it'll be fun!

So how can you win? You get one entry by leaving me a comment in this post. Your comment MUST include your email address and also your favorite post that you've read on Six Golden Coins. (Yes, I am ashamed to admit I am needy and starving for praise, y'all!) You can also get an additional entry by posting about Six Golden Coins at your blog and then coming back here and leaving me another comment with a permalink to your post.

See? It's that simple. "You add ice and it make ice tea!" (inside joke with Dan)

I will keep the contest open until noon (CST) on April 27. I will pick a winner and will contact the winner to coordinate the customized prizes.

In closing, I'm posting some gratuitous shots of my kids just so there are photos in my post.

Now you can see those wily kids for yourself.

Happy birthday, Six Golden Coins!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Heading Out

I will be out of contact for a few days. My grandmother is slipping away, so I am heading to Virginia on Sunday morning to be with her and my family.

There are an awful lot of people who are helping me out so I can go be with Grandmother. Thank you for being so kind!

Please keep Grandmother, my family, Dan and the kids in your prayers.

"And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:3

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Prayers Needed!

Oh, it's been a long week already.

It started on Saturday when Dan injured his back. He's been pretty much out of the loop since then, even taking a sick day on Monday because he was in such excruciating pain. He was stooped over most of the Easter weekend and his spine was visibly crooked. It just hurt to look at him! I've been doing the kids' baths and bedtime for Jackson every night, since Dan can't really pick Jackson up at this point. The good news is Dan says today he feels like a six on the scale of 1 to 10. (Monday was a nine.) He's getting better through chiropractic care and even put Jackson to bed tonight. But he still has some healing to do, and we'd appreciate your prayers.

The second - and even more major - concern is that my grandmother's health is failing. The photo shows us together in 2007. She is my dad's mom, and is 94 years old. She is one of the strongest people I know, so her health issues are hard to deal with. I kind of assumed she'd live forever, you know? But she is in renal failure and it looks like she won't recover from it. I'm not sure how much time she has left: days or weeks? But I know that we are trying to be as loosely scheduled as possible so I can go to Virginia to be with her as soon as it looks like the end is near. Please keep Grandmother in your prayers! Pray if her death is close, that it will be gentle and painless. And pray that she feels all the love of those who are with her here and those who are waiting for her in Heaven.

Thank you!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen!

I wanted to share this photo with you today.

The photo was taken when Dad and I went to Israel in 1993. It shows the door of the Garden Tomb, which many (including me) believe is the tomb where Jesus was buried. When Dad and I toured the tiny tomb, our guide explained that there is lots of controversy surrounding the location of Jesus' tomb. Then he summed it up by saying it doesn't truly matter anyway - the bottom line is that the tomb is empty and Jesus didn't stay in it.


I hope you all have a blessed Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday: No More Waiting

I’ve been waiting, biding my time and hoping I won’t have to go alone. And I’ve been waiting until I am less flawed and more presentable. I mean, who would really want to give a wreck of themselves to the King of Kings? Imagine going to a Presidential Inauguration, dirty and dressed in rags. Who would even consider doing that?

I feel like that’s me – torn and tattered, with my act barely together. I thought I was on the right path, and have found that although I was moving forward, I wasn’t truly taking the right steps.

I am broken. I am a machine that doesn’t operate properly and needs rebooting. On. A. Daily. Basis. I yell at my kids. I lose my temper. I am greedy and selfish. I covet what others have. I am selfish, selfish, selfish. I put too much weight in others’ opinions of me. I let the past hound me and scratch at my heart over and over again. I am pompous. I am addicted to food, and let’s not even go into a discussion of my body image. I am stubborn and independent to a fault, and then desperately needy in the very next breath. I am timid and ferocious. Sometimes I am downright mean and, oh! So judgmental. I am inconsistent and contradictory. I am incomplete and look to others to complete me. I am dramatic and afraid.

Oh, yes. So very afraid. Afraid of being laughed at. Afraid of failing. Afraid of pledging something I know I cannot uphold. I am afraid to expose myself and leave my heart unprotected, which is what I would be doing by diving in and stepping out in faith. But mostly? I’m afraid of being alone. A-L-O-N-E.

I hear a voice whisper, “I was alone too. I hung there for you, praying for you. Begging our Father for YOU. He turned from me and the sins I took on, and left me alone. I know how it feels. I know how you feel, Elizabeth. You’ll never go anywhere that I haven’t already been. I promise you that! Believe me.”

And I realize that out of great sorrow comes great joy. The greatest sorrows in my life have reframed themselves by becoming the greatest joys too. How can that be? How can sorrow be joyful? Because it can be redeemed. “Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb and the linen which had once been a sign of tragedy is now a sign of triumph. God is still working in your life.” Oh, yes, He is. I am seeing it every single day now. In my life and in Dan’s. And in others’ lives too. It’s undeniable now. Un-believingly-un-deniable. I won’t invade their privacy by going into detail, but I will say it’s encouraging and uplifting. Lord, you have seen my deepest desires and you are bringing them to life.

Oh, but back to me. (I did mention I was selfish, didn’t I?) I know with eyes open and heart full that just because I step off into the unknown today doesn’t mean I won’t have to do it again. In fact, I’m going to have to do it over and over. Repetitively. Obsessively. Because that’s the only way that my machine will function and that’s the only way that my malfunctions will be fixed.

You hold the key, Lord. I’ll allow you entry into the places of my heart where no one goes. Please don’t be shocked by the upheaval and mess that you’ll see. I know, I know. I need to clean it up a bit, open the windows and air it out. And, yes, I fully realize that none of this is a shock to you. But it’s the first time I’m exposing it by choice.

No more waiting. The flaws I have are the best I can give. It is an unworthy, unpresentable gift. It’s shabby and tattered. I am shabby and tattered. But, dear Lord, will you have me anyway? Will you help fix me and make me usable? Will you keep me from talking myself out of it? Will you come into my heart and set up shop, and when the tears come (as I know they will), will you promise not to leave me? I am so afraid, but I can see your hand being held out to me. Yes, I will take it. I will hold on to you. I will follow you. You’ve called my name and I am yours. “Can I come home?”

I think about you all the time, Elizabeth, & will never stop doing good to you. Psalm 139, Jeremiah 32

Happy Belated Birthday, Six Golden Coins!

Mistakenly, I had it in my mind that April 20 was my blog's birthday. Turns out I'm wrong. Ugh! It's like I forgot my best friend's birthday. Shame on me!

Six Golden Coins turned one last Sunday, April 5. Happy birthday, my friend!

Had I been thinking correctly, I would have planned a big bash for you, including some sort of spectacular writing by Yours Truly and maybe even a fun giveaway. But now it all seems anticlimactic to plan a big bash. Am I wrong?

Heck, no, dude! I think I'll just move forward with my thinking that the birthday is April 20. We'll just plan something for that day, even though it is 15 days late. How 'bout that?

Now I better work on some sort of plan, since I have only 10 days to put it together. Stay posted, y'all.

And please leave me a comment so my blog feels at least some sort of birthday love. Poor thing.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Thank you, God, for:

  • Naptimes
  • Chinese food
  • The written word
  • Easter dresses & egg hunts
  • A husband who will cook dinner (I quit last week.)
  • Lullabies
  • Juicy Fruit gum
  • Monday movie nights

  • Cuddling

  • Great music
  • Bathtime

  • Great books
  • Phone calls from my sister
  • Gymnastics

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Being Real

Being Real. Sounds like The Velveteen Rabbit, doesn't it? Well, in a way, it kind of is. Let me ask you this: how deeply are you living your life? How widely? You've heard the saying, "an inch deep and a mile wide." Is that how your life is going? Or is it one inch by one inch?

I'd like to think my life is pretty deep and pretty wide. I wasn't always on this deep and wide course, but some major life changes put me on track pretty quickly. It started when I was 22 and my brother died. I was filled with regret and "what ifs." I learned that life isn't a guarantee, and that it's more important to focus on what you have than what you don't have. I learned that a "good" experience can easily turn into "bad" and vice versa, so it's the experience that matters and not the way I choose to label it. Mostly, I was confronted with mortality and the idea that I will leave this world one day. That got me thinking about what exactly I want to leave behind. And as a result, I probably think about death (especially my own) a lot more than most people I know. I don't mean I think about how or when, but I think about the after part a lot: what will happen to my loved ones after, and what will happen to me? And I think about the after part for those I love too; what will happen if they die before me?

That tangent does have a purpose, I promise. The purpose is this: I often think about how I want to live a Real life, and I think about how to become more Real. How do I deepen and widen , or narrow and focus, to continue becoming more Real?

"What is Real," you ask? I'm sure we all have different definitions. Let me tell you mine. To me, being Real is being alive versus simply living and doing your time. It means at least giving it a try. Real is living passionately, and being a lifelong learner. But most of all, Real is being the person God created you to be. That means finding your strengths (even outside of your comfort zone), your niche, your calling, and putting down roots there and making it a home. Have I always been Real? No, silly. And even right now I might not be, nor do I know if I will continue my days as a Real person. But there is one thing: I'm at least trying. I am actively living, seeking out others who are passionate about learning and growing and asking questions and agreeing to disagree. I am not stagnant (although that would be lovely some days). I'm on the move, feeding my soul with the things God places in my life. And, oh! The nutrition He's giving me these days is outstanding. The grub is rich, y'all.

Now don't go thinking I'm all high and mighty here. Not for one second! Because I have been known to be more righteous than right, and pretty often too. I admit it. But I will say this: I am deep and I am wide. ("Deep and wide, there's a fountain flowing deep and wide!" Those VBS days stuck with me!) Can you say the same? Are you living deeply and widely? If not, why not?

And do you want to come along with me and try it together?

I can't promise you anything but imperfection because there are times I just can't seem to get it right. I yell at my kids. I don't always wipe up spills immediately off the kitchen floor. I avoid ironing. I hate to cook and vacuum. I'd rather read or listen to music or make something crafty. I have gray hair and stretch marks and scars. But the things that are "right" about me? I love. Read that again: I love. That means I hurt too, but it means that I. Am. Real. I love and I also sing and I laugh and cry and smile. I take photos of all of the above, including the unpretty scars. Because it's all part of being Real.

The thing is? Lately I've been caught up in trying to justify myself, or justify the new changes that are taking hold in my life. Did God ever want that for me? No. No. No. Why am I so caught up in justification? Honestly! Who do I need to justify myself to? NoBODY. As long as I am deepening my relationship with God and actively pursuing the growth of the person He calls me to be, then there should be no other judgment. AND that means that I don't need to judge anyone else either.
Aaaahhh... deep breath now. Let me tell you what's really on my mind, what got me started on this "Reality." There's something I've been mulling over for a while. Something I would really, truly enjoy doing. Something my soul thirsts for, and it makes my cheeks flush just to think about it. Something others have done and I envy them for having the courage to do it. (And no, it isn't skydiving. Ugh, no!) But I'm afraid. Of what? Well... of having to justify my decision to others. Of appearing weak. Of admitting my shortcomings. Of not being Real. Or what if I take the plunge and it makes me more Real than I ever imagined? And what if I can't handle that much Real?

Oh, wow. Whew. Glad THAT'S out in the open! Sorry to be talking in code about all of this, but I'm just not ready to reveal these deep fears. At least not yet. I think I might be getting close to it, and I'll be more than willing to share it then.

For now, I'm going to make a pledge to myself to keep stepping out of my comfort zone. I know that if I just take one tiny step, God will lead me to the next one. I don't need to know the end result just yet, just the next step. And I pledge to (as my pastor said last Sunday) keep my eyes open and my heart soft. Pray for me, y'all. And as I said earlier, let me know if you want to come along with me and try being Real together!

"Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness,/And the fear that I'll fail You in the end./In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces./I can't put this together but You can." from "Here I Am" by Downhere


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