Just Ask for the Milk

I was recently at the closest grocery store to my house – the one I go to for all the convenient things we eat or need – Grocery Outlet. I love that place…I just make sure I look at the expiration dates on dairy before I put it in my cart, but I love it there because they really do have what we need – all except “lactose-free” milk. I’ve been shopping there for years now, and every time, I just felt as if I had to make two separate trips – an additional one to Fred Meyer, JUST for our lactose-free milk. It’s so annoying! But I’ve just always done it.

Then it dawned on me to ask if it’s possible to get it there. Yeah… after almost 5 years, I thought to ask. The checker got a manager, and she walked up, and I asked her if I could ask for an item that I continue to not see -one that our family uses all the time. She turned me down right away, “Sorry, the way we work is that we get items delivered to our main warehouse from other stores, and if it’s not there, it’s just not there.” So I replied, “Oh, so it’s not possible to make a request for an item?” “Hmm… No, not really. No. Sorry.”

I normally would have just thanked her for her time and left, but that day I thought, why not let her know what it is. Not that it would change the policy or how they work, but why not. So I looked down, and then up at her again, this time, specific, “…it’s lactose-free milk. Not soy, almond, cashew, or coconut milk. Lactose-free.” She repeated it back to me and then said, I can ask our warehouse guy that does our orders to see if he can look for it next time he pulls he does one. Do you mind waiting here for a few minutes?”

“Not at all”, I said, surprised. And a few minutes later she returned.  “He said he’d add it to the order Thursday, and it can be here Friday. Homogenized or 2%?”

“2%.”

“Is $2.57 ok?”

“Yep! Thank you.”

What just happened? She went from saying they don’t “do requests for certain items” to “we can order that item for you this week”! What’s the difference?

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As I walked away, I heard her yell back to me, “2%, right?” I yelled back, “Yes. Thanks!”

And this might seem like the silliest analogy because it’s about milk of all things, but I really do feel like God was telling me as I drove home,

“Be specific when you ask for what you need of me. Even if it feels like the odds are against you. Even if you’ve not experienced it yet. Just ask. You never know.
I might say, Yes. I can do that.” This was a “wink from God” that really encouraged and empowered me.

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Highest and Lowest

When worshiping tonight, I had the urge to lay down on the floor. I’ve never done that before, at home, in my kitchen. The rest of the family was out and I had a long, random Youtube video playing through my speaker – a One Thing conference worship session. After The Lord met me in a precious way as I interceded for some people, I dropped to the floor and stayed there for awhile. Not thinking of the dirt or crumbs. Arms out. I did wonder what my kids would say if they walked in. But they didn’t.

I noticed some things when I got low to the ground. I didn’t want to get up. I felt almost weighted. I just wanted to be silent, not move, and soak in the words. Or sing. Or yell them. My poor neighbors. Then be silent again and think about Him. All kinds of things about Him. I asked Him if He would give me a vision, but He didn’t. I am realizing I don’t really know how to be still for long. I don’t know how to quiet my thoughts…or let my mind go blank for Him to write on. But I’ve heard it’s possible and it sounds awesome. So I’m going to practice it. See what happens.

I remember this thought I had as I lay: It is right for me to be down here. So low.

Not like, “I’m nothin’ but a lowly worm” off-base humility kind of thought, but like, “Jesus, you are higher than all. And I cannot get physically any lower than this. How are we close tonight? How is it that I can feel you here with me like this?”

There was a rightness about it, this is difficult to explain.

The song ended. I wiped my tears with my sweater, got up a little weak, and started making myself a tasty fajita. All was well with the world.

Watery Eyes

This morning, Angel and I did a little worship concert in our living room. We like to sing and dance, but even more so when we have the microphone hooked up to the amp & speakers. Kids jus love performing!
She’d copy my mouth as I sang, and my hands as I motioned.

When I put on Warr Acres’ song, “Hymn of Remembrance”, a song that really touches and ministers to me, about half way through, both of us experienced the same thing, at the same time. Our eyes started tearing up.
I asked if she was crying & she smiled and defiantly denied it, but said her eyes were watery.
I gave her a hug as she sat there on the amp, confused.

A few minutes later, I explained to her that God is spirit – and we have spirit too – our spirits are all invisible & live forever. God’s spirit was heavy in the room and that song made His heart happy …which made OUR spirits happy inside.
And that’s why we suddenly got teary-eyed.

I watched my 6-yr old’s smiley expression as I explained, and noticed she started to get teary again while she listened to me.
And then she was off to the next thing…a game of Temple Run 2.

It was there and then gone.

But what a special moment. What I like to call, a wink from God.

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Moving Beyond Intention

Tonight as I was pulling my espresso shots, God spoke to me.

See, we were going to move out of our home. We’d decided we would do it. I struggled with the idea of downsizing to an apt half the size, because I knew it meant selling much of what we owned. But as time went by, He showed me where I was holding on to things too tightly. He led me to the place that I thought I would not be able to go: Continue reading

Investing in Someone Else’s Dream

Today I ran into my old boss, friend and musician in the worship team I was a part of years ago; his name is Jerry. As I think back to my 3 years working for him as a dispatcher for a commercial miniblind and drape company,  I recall one main event. Continue reading

~ Christmas Time 2010 ~

This Christmas was different than the last 3 years. Different-eR. It was special because of quite a few things. This is our first Christmas, living in the Portland area, since 2002…the year Braylon was born.

No travel plans to make for us – only the ones made for my incredible in-laws to join us at the home we just moved into. This place amazes me…and the fact that God, in his grace, made it possible for us to rent it and share it with many family members this week. It is humbling, sometimes surreal. The fact that He made this possible and has blessed Ricky’s business as much as He has since July, just makes me shake my head & smile with satisfaction. Yes, he loves me that much. He promises that if we delight ourselves in Him, he will give us the desires of our heart (~Ps. 37:4). We have… and He has. Room for the kids to run and play, an open white & cheery kitchen, a garage, a neighborhood with friendly people and park close by, a backyard, all appliances,  and owners that are incredibly easy to work with and talk to. These are just a few of those desires of my heart, which He has given.

Glory to God, always faithful to His word.

C H R I S T M A S 2010

Before I forget, here are some details of our December.

Music Scene: The 12th, I got to sing several songs at Horizon Community’s annual concert. This year, they were What Child is This, Go Tell It (a duet with the beautiful Brooklynne Levasa) and I Believe, the finale, which was originally sung by my favorite blues musician of all time, Mr. Jonny Lang.  On the 17th, I sang at a cute modern cafe called ‘Cloud 7’ in the Pearl. Two songs: O Come, O Come Emmanuel (blues style) and Silent Night (a capella style) w/a great, young performer, Ms. Sarah Billings & her extremely talented band, complete w/keys, guitar, drums, bass, & even a sweet sax player. SO fun. My family all came and supported me, even for just two songs. What a great night.

The Move: The next day, we finished painting in the new place on Morgan Ct., & we MOVED! Fresh colors on the walls and our own things inside this house really made it seem like home almost straight away. My mom was so helpful! Providing labor (painting the bedrooms), hugs, housewarming gifts and coffee as needed…all week long.

The next day, I was singing again at church; this time blessed by Pastor Kenny who gave me the opportunity to do my bluesy Christmas song, “This Jesus”, a personal one I wrote last year in Texas, about how even though miracles happened more frequently around the time of Christ’s birth, we can still pray for & expect them, even now.

Family Together: On the 20th, I just ran around town and did some last minute shopping for food and a few small gifts. The Pilands flew into PDX that night…and Ricky let Braylon stay up and go with him to pick them up, even w/an 11:15pm arrival.  He said when Braylon saw Gamma at the gate, he ran full steam ahead toward her, jumped up on her in a huge hug with all limbs hanging on, nearly knocking her over! I guess he missed her. 🙂 It’d been since May or June. Too long. But not as long as Kim had gone without seeing them…14 months. Way, WAY too long!  Kim, Clint, Aaron & Ali made the 7-hr drive (but it really took about 9 due to central WA snow) to visit & stay w/us. All 4 of ’em piled into Angel’s room. It may be a little close for comfort, but it works!

On the 23rd, the 8 of us along with Jeremy, Jamie, Riley & Tyler all gathered and talked and laughed and ate a delicious meal together, then opened gifts and then indulged in some sweets, played a game, talked more, & just enjoyed each other’s company. I was concerned about providing & preparing the food for so many, but we all chipped in and helped. Janis and her meal-plan she devised with me saved the week from stress. It’s actually been fun to make meals.

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My Side of the Fam:  Christmas Eve was spent with my parents and sister’s family, as was Christmas morning (at Charity’s home)…LOTS of fun. I just LOVE them!

As much as we tried to go away from a big ‘ol load of gifts, you can only not-contribute so much – and then when you’re at family members’ homes, you just gotta do what they’re all doing, I guess. Not that gift-giving is wrong or bad. I love giving. I think we just want to move away from spending and focusing on the monetary gifts. Our goal as we’ve been more convicted lately, is to focus a bit more each year, on worship and Jesus and giving to people outside our lil family…like to those who have serious needs. This is what the Lord has been speaking to us. We will be able o use it as a more true teaching moment for our kids and help them to keep their perspective in the right place so that when they have kids, they can learn and celebrate the true meaning of this season, much more than generations past.  Rick & I think that if we all did these things (give more but spend less, serve more as a family, & engage in full worship together, during the Christmas season, it would glorify Jesus more, as he is worthy to be praised. We want to do that in the future. As I type this even now, a Pandora commercial came on for Compassion International suggesting to give a gift of a chicken to a family who needs the eggs. “Go to www.compassion.gifts.com“. That’s one thing – one example of what I mean. I love that idea!

Back to the Bebb home get-together…we had a blast and enjoyed our time, ate roast beef – which my mom did perfectly! My mashed potatoes, KFC’s gravy, fruit-,spring- and jello-salads, and more. It was different and delectable.  This morning’s feast was traditional for the Bebb’s (@ the Stewarts) including her famous Santa Pancakes (pics to come), hammy eggs, bacon, sausage & a gorgeously gooey monkey-bread masterpiece inside her glass covered cake-dish. Drool – on – keyboard…wiping up now.

It has been amazing to spend so much of the last week or so with so many loved ones – that physical element and proximity make such a difference. The hugs and kisses and games and tickles and photos taken and cooking together and eye contact – these things are all so special. Simply special. They are reminders to me of how good our God is.

That was about it.

I will write later about how we told Angel that Santa’s ‘misfit’ elf, Hermie, came down our chimney and left us a loaf of wonderfully baked cranberry orange bread, ginger bread cookies and pastries.

As for now, I am BEAT! A good beat.

A blessed beyond belief beat.

Sometimes at Church

Sometimes at church, you go and you sing and you listen and you talk and you leave. Nothing really changes.

Other times, you can be so blessed.

This morning I’m so glad we decided to get up, get ready & go to Horizon Community Church.  The worship time was anointed – and we were blessed. Our long-time family friend (my Godfather, growing up), Tom Leisman lead worship and threw in some old-school songs like ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus’ (“…sing to the Father…”), and “Above All”. Afterward, I got to see a friend who’s visiting from Louisiana, Rebecca. We went to grade school together & it’s so cool that we’ve kept in touch. It was so good to see her.

Then a couple came up to me and they spoke to me about my ministry, Stop Child Trafficking Now.  Sheila and Loyd Matthey prayed for me. Sheila told me I’d been on her mind all week & then gave me a word from the Lord… it was simply this: that He is proud of me.

It made me cry. It made my entire day. And it will help me through this whole campaign.  He loves each of his children so much. This was, in a huge way… a wink from God.