River of my Life: A Lot Makes me Happy (apparently)

I am rather happy to be living the life I am living. Its a happy night.

Our life group just left. I was in a scurry to get them sitting nice and pretty, our living room was a wreck just before they came, toys and markers scattered on every surface of our hardwood floors. But that was worth it in itself. How happy is an Avi taking markers out of a box? A happy Avi indeed. Besides, I babysat a little boy who goes to our church today. He had fun with the toys too. I have no doubt his parents were happy to have someone watch him. And, happily, we get to hang out together for dinner just because I watched him. That means we maybe are going to become better friends with them. Ya, the mess was worth it.

Our life group had an awesome discussion. We had to be open, even vulnerable talking about what we believe, our experiences, and our understandings of the Bible. An extremely controversial subject didn’t divide us, it just made us so much closer. I left it, along with the others, with the conclusion that God is alive, He is here among us and He is speaking to us personally today. It was just so cool. If this is my small group, I want to hang out with them and talk with them about God and life every night. It was really worth cleaning the kids’ mess so they had a place to sit down.

My husband is out at some friends playing music, possibly being the “salvation” of the band this weekend, stepping in to sub while the main guitarist is out. That just might mean the world to the band head, who’s birthday is tomorrow, and the drummer in our life group. And on top of which, it makes me smile to know his talents might be used, that only makes our family more alive. Even if nothing happens with that, I can’t help but admire him for being willing to step out of his comfort zone and be used this way.

I am also thinking about joining the band, which is kinda scary for me. I haven’t been part of a a band for 4 years or so now, and I have never been part of a extremely musically oriented band such as this (as opposed to more of a worship focus). I must admit, I am nervous as my skills aren’t too refined, and I am afraid I will start yelling at everyone to stop stressing out and just be concerned with God, not performances. But hey, if God sees purpose in me being part of this I am willing. Tomorrow I am supposed to “try out” so I guess we’ll see how that goes. I am glad Josh was gone for awhile tonight doing music stuff because it made me think of music, play the paino and sing for awhile. That makes me very happy, along with the fact that maybe it helps me sound better (which could be useful tomorrow).

My friend who lives with us is going through a really hard time. Sometimes we come across tough decisions, and she is totally in one of those intense situations now. On top of which, she was really sick today. Sometimes I don’t know how to be a friend to her, but I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to show her love. In fact, I am pretty sure sometimes I do a really bad job at being her friend. Today she helped calm my fussy daughter while I cleaned the living room, burnt my cookies and made our dinner. I filled up her cup with water, told her to ring the bell for me if she needed help on her sickbed and tried to be there for her when she cried. I am so thrilled at how her living in our home has blessed us, and has given us a chance to bless her. I have seen her grow in ways and become a different person who I am proud to say just keeps getting better, wiser, and closer to truth.

She introduced me to another friend, a friend who at first I couldn’t handle. Apparently my attidue has changed though, as am looking forward to seeing her tomorrow. We had an awesome conversation last week which I can only describe as living with people = discipleship. I am not sure why she listens to me, but its kinda cool that she does (I hope I don’t say anything stupid). She is coming to a dinner with me this week that I have the feeling might open her up to her whole new world of her favorite passion. That’s just cool.

Tomorrow a few other of my friends are coming over. Sometimes we talk about God, sometimes we talk about food, but we always talk about our kids and politics. Honestly, they can be a crazy bunch of people, but they are real. And they love other people. And they want other people to join us; we aren’t a click. So then maybe new people can also experience what it is to be real. And to have a forum to bounce ideas off of. I am the lucky one that gets to have them in my house every week. On Tuesdays when they leave I slump into a chair, wanting to pass out with exhaustion, but oh, what a sweet death it is.

A few other of those women will come with me to this dinner on Thursday night. Its for 1st Choice, the pregnancy crisis center I used to work for. Its always fun to go to, getting dressed up and eating a fancy meal in which I always have to ask josh what the proper etiquette for fork usage is. I am hoping my guests have a good time, and I am hoping the Center also has their needs met. What I really hope is to get people connected with a vision for something, that maybe, just maybe might be theirs to catch. I like sharing my passions old and new, hoping someone else will jump on the boat. Like my other friend who I used to not be able to handle. A lady I ran into at a store today was someone who I brought before to this dinner. It ended up being her thing and she was able to help out for awhile. So, just like that, I like to help things spread.

I am also excited because a girl I regularly get together with is watching Avi while we go to that. That makes me happy because Avi knows her, and I know her. I just really like it that I have a relationship with this girl, that I get to be there for her and kinda mentor her in her life. I don’t know if I actually “help” her or not. But that she singles me out to hang out with during church, that must mean something, right?

On Sunday our neighbors came to our church. It was awesome. They were there, the people we chill with on our front steps with throughout the week, they came. How cool is that? And not only did they come, but they want to come back! Its so exciting to see how the relationships the Hills and us have with them are coming full-circle. They are seeing God, seeing love and are starting to seek Him out. Or at least, not pushing Him away. I mean, one of my neighbors who is very ‘good’ and doesn’t need God, she totally was cool and listening to me when I nervously invited her to church. She didn’t come to church, but she came to an event our church put on. I mean, really, that is something.

The Asian family next door brought us a part of their special ethnic cake today which she said they made specifically in mind to give us part. I guess our multiple left-over cakes we’ve been leaving with them have either rotted enough to make them feel obligated to give back, or they really appreciate our efforts to talk with them and wave back and forth to their kids. I am pretty sure its the later. One of the ladies also gave me some plants, some tomatoes, and another one gave me a birthday present for Avi. She was thanking me the other day for even just being interested helping other people learn English. She opened up and started to tell me about some of the hurt she has experienced within this year. That means something. Though some of our other neighbors despise them because they are Asian, we have the chance to show impartiality to all our neighbors by having a relationship with them.

This and that, there is always stuff going on. We have so many other friends we see randomly, have over for dinner on occasion, run into at Starbucks, drive to work with or see at the Dr. My life seems to be a quagmire of odd relationships that take turns here and there, sometimes down a winding river, sometimes over waterfalls. But when I look back on them I am always amazed at where the river has turned and wonder where it will go, intersecting again or rushing far away. I might not ‘do’ anything but I am sure doing a lot and knowing many.

I seem to recently be around people who are having a difficult time. This is ironic, because I am going through anything but a difficult time. I wish I could spend more time with my husband, yes, his work has been pretty intense lately. I wish my daughter was feeling better, she was a whinny-butt all day, blowing bubbles with her boogers. She isn’t feeling well. I slept terribly all night, and I have morning sickness off and on all day. I get stressed over little things, like dinner or when I can have a date again with my husband. My concerns are small, and really, not very important or big. I am AMAZINGLY blessed. I had a friend yesterday who was experiencing a set-back that was kinda minor. In her eyes, it was huge, end-of-the-world huge. She had a crazy week and this was the end of it. We were able to just be with her, help her through it and help figure out the problem (okay, I didn’t help her figure out the problem, Josh does that technical stuff, I just do the relational part). In the process another one of our friends bought us all our meal. Yes, very kind. And you know what that makes me be aware of? I am in a family. I am in the most amazingly family ever, of people who will sacrifice, love eachother, and die for eachother in various ways. I mean, we all got our stinky feet too. The bad moods, the annoyance at eachother, the freakin‘ out over issues that will work out as we let them. But we are intertwined, our lives collide and the Holy Spirit somehow works among us to make us into the most beautiful thing we could ever have on earth. We have life, we have community, we have Jesus.

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