Maybe This Is The Storm That We Won’t Make It Through

“Below the street,” is a term counselor, Jerry Price, uses in his teaching on “twisted thinking.” It represents going deeper, being more transparent, removing the mask. You have to go below the street if you want to find out what’s really going on, if you want real change.

Well, for the past two weeks I have had a bitter root taking hold of me. Fears about things that might happen to my children to harm their minds and faith. Fear of what our future holds, how we will sustain. Little thoughts of discord, here and there, about my husband. Anger brewing, to the point of tiny outbursts. Stupid little moments would arise where I would feel he was not protecting me or the kids and I would blow up at him. Things that were totally out of his control or things that I misunderstood.

For instance, a few days ago we stopped in at a local youth center. We got out of the car and my husband made his way a cross the street. I was still back at the car and shouted, asking if we could get a business card out of the trunk for the director. Looking back, I’m sure my tone was harsh, as I felt he was abandoning me by going ahead so quickly. He responded, with a slight shift of his head and plainly said, “no.” He then stated that the case was buried¬†under all our luggage. I really didn’t hear his whole comment but everything in me went hard and I began to yell at him, scolding him for speaking to me that way, like I was a child. He was a bit taken back and begin to explain that he was just stating a fact but I read it so differently. We didn’t really take time to work it out then and there but rather kept walking into the building; greeting the director only moments after this outburst.

After our meeting with the youth director (which went fine, by the way. Amazing how we can put a mask on and just soldier on when we want to) we returned to the car and just carried on with life but deep down I knew something was going strangely wrong. Harmony was absent, but who’s fault was it?

I could feel a storm brewing, and remembered Jerry Price’s teaching in our¬† More Married sessions, where we learned about “storming” and how it’s a natural process in relationships. However, we learned that when we don’t enter into the storm we go back to a dysfunctional “norm,” and stunt our growth, keeping everything on the surface. However, if we engage the storm and allow it to clean house, so to speak, we come out in a new form; a form that allows deeper connection and harmony.

Investigative, I scoured through the gamut of reasons to why my heart was so hard. From dire straits “this is it, maybe this is the storm that we won’t make it through,” to the more rational, “this is definitely a storm, how do we make it through?” ¬†I began to move from focusing on what my husband was doing wrong to what I was doing.¬†I considered that maybe it was hormonal¬†or maybe it was the change in my diet, maybe it was living out of a suitcase in a foreign country or the uncertainty of life and feeling out of control. What ever it was, self loathing crept in every time a little blow up would happen. I felt more and more insecure and I began to feel extremely isolated.

I’m practiced at “white knuckling” and was able to fend off some of the outbursts; keeping them at bay, specially when we were around others. And, I even choked out a few prayers. However, all I could get out was a whisper of “help me.” What in the world, I hadn’t felt this way in years. What was going on?!

 

Then the final straw broke. We were planning on going out to a local coffee shop to work on web stuff. ¬†We had spent a comfortable morning, sharing breakfast and getting ready for the day. I was lingering and at a certain point in the morning, my husband announced that he was going to get in the car. That was it, just a simple announcement and I flipped out. His declaration seemed abrupt to me. I began to bark at him, “What? What about the computer‚Ķ and the bag‚Ķand what about the kids…are the kids ready?” I panicked, trying to reel the words back in. He stood there looking at me like a deer in the head lights, asking what he was meant to do? He asked, what did I want him to do? No words came but rather I began scurrying around gathering the computer and bag, yelling at the kids and we all clumsily made our way to the car. Once inside the car, we all sat utterly stunned. My mind was racing, what is going on with me? Why am I so out of control? And, then I saw it plain as day, a manifestation of my past began to come forward.

My husband sat patiently, quietly, and then the vision became clear. Seems that when he announced that, “he’ll be in the car” it triggered a memory from my childhood and my dad saying this to my mom and then leaving the house. Then for the next 15 or 20 minutes my mom would hurriedly try to get all of us children out the door. I don’t really know what was going on between them but from my little person perspective, it seemed that my dad abandoned my mom to do all the heavy lifting. I made note of this at that young age and developed a belief system about men based on that belief.

I began to weep. I was paralyzed and didn’t know what to do next. Seriously, everything could have gone south at this point. He had every right to admonish me but he didn’t. Instead, he began to speak gentle words of truth over me. He declared harmony in our relationship and then he asked if he could pray for me and not is a sappy patronizing way, but in a genuine I care for you way. I wept even harder and said yes. What followed was an experience I can only describe as supernatural. His petition for Abba’s mercy, power, discernment and his declaration of Love began to envelop me to the point that the hard casing around my heart shattered. I felt immediate relief. I could see clearly now, all that had bound me up.

Look, working to get below the street was no easy task, as my ego was bruised and my natural tendency was to try to hold face. However, ¬†the more his love covered me the more my pride was laid low. His was a true act of grace; the kind of grace that bleeds for another. The kind of grace that trusts the repentance process, that leads the recipient¬†back towards Abba’s original intent for our lives. Not the cheap stuff, not the fabricated kind that says, “it’s OK, you’re just living your truth, you can be an ass and we’ll all get by”¬†but the kind that says “this isn’t who you’re created to be and I will cover you in order that you might actually have a moment to reflect without the distraction of self-protection.” ¬†It was in this moment that I could see my twisted thinking errors, my stubbornness, victim stance and manipulative thinking. I could see that my own ability to “fix” them was not enough. I began to pray silently along with my husband, weeping for forgiveness, thankful for this relief and new hope.

freedomLook, we don’t always get it right, but in this situation, my husbands humility and grace, is a beautiful example of how we are called to care for one another in the body. His faith carried me to the cross and in doing so, carried me into the presence of God.¬†He fought for me, stepping out-of-the-way and allowed Abba to heal me. Had he allowed his pride to get in the way, we would probably be at ground zero, still storming. His willingness to fight for me and surrender his own pride set a wise tone that allowed me to surrender my own pride, see clearly and fight for us.

In the end, we stormed and can now get on to enjoying the new form. Everything is above the street. For now. ūüôā

 

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All the Little Foxes

It’s amazing how all the little foxes come out in our marriage when we have to deal with logistics or discomfort. And, the heat, the heat really brings ’em out.

We hit an all time physical low over the past two weeks as we’ve all been struggling with a harsh cold/cough. Add in the fast pace of life, working on the bus, performing, doing taxes, visiting with folks (which we’d rather do the whole time) and finishing up home school for the summer. Then this heat wave hit and there was little respite.

Our little scenario went down like this:

I had been whining about the heat. Just basic grumpy faced whining. I wear the elements on my sleeve, so to speak. Craig was sick of hearing me whine and went out and bought a room Air Conditioner. He arrived home with it, big smile on his face and I was delighted. We set up Air/Con. Closed all the windows in the bus and started it up. I left for a music therapy session at a local nursing home. I returned to Craig sitting at the dining room table, in the bus. He sat with sweat pouring down his face, all the windows still closed and Air/Con fan running but no cool air pumping out. I said, “What? Why is so hot in here? What is wrong with this thing.” He responds, “I told you this wouldn’t work.” HA! That was it,¬†WW3…. Well, sort of.

What happened was, I had complained about the heat to a few friends. Craig felt that I had done this to put him down. And, maybe deep inside I did? Maybe deep inside I didn’t trust that he was really concerned about this issue. I felt that every time I tried to problem solve the issue with him, he would say “he’s” working on it. So, you know what, I’m sure there was something in my tone and manner that suggested to him that he wasn’t doing a good job. Anyway, the next morning when he decided to purchase the Air/Con, his mindset was that it was a temporary fix and not really how he wanted to solve the problem. So, when the unit didn’t work, well, his true colors came out and the bitter root was exposed. As we talked through the scenario we saw clearly the Twisted Thinking that we had both succumb to. ¬†We discovered that we both had believed that deep-rooted fear of being put down or dishonored. Once we put it all on the table and got to the root, we were able to reconcile and begin to really problem solve. (Mind you, this knowledge and ability to be able to get to the root has come from much support and help from Jerry Price’s MORE MARRIED &¬†STAR Energizer)

Our past tendency has been to full fill self gratifying desires instantly, or as soon as possible. However, after our big decision in December to pay off all of our credit cards and only live by what we have, that desire for instant gratification has been challenged in every way. From, wanting an Air Conditioning system NOW to simple things like the desire for a coffee and even for things that in the past would have seemed like basic necessities like new socks or makeup, all of these desires have been put into a new perspective. We can attest to the fact, that most things eventually are granted. We have new socks, we do end up going for coffee and we totally trust that someday we’ll have air conditioning. Or maybe we won’t but at the end of the day we trust that we have what we need. When our conversation finished, we decided to take the unit back to the hardware store, not for a return but for a refund. The credit balance is back to zero, we are unified in our plan for Air/Con and thank the Lord it’s cooled off these past few days.

Global/Local Holiday Gifts

There is much rhetoric about buying “local.” ¬†The idea is to support our neighbors in order to keep our corner of the world thriving. I agree with this to the extent that it is important to support our neighbors, I just think our neighbors can be farther away than our postal code. We have connected with wonderful folks all over the country who are sharing their creative talents and striving to support their families in small business. So, this holiday season if you are looking to support the local market I have a few ideas to send your way.

I spent about three hours gathering all of their links. So, CLICK AWAY! ūüôā

Art, Craft & Photography: There is nothing quite like an original piece of artwork. Commissioning an artist to take the sketch of your mind and make it 3D is a beautiful process. These folks all have fantastic skills, creative minds and most of all they are good listeners.  Bloom Photography, Out/Back Design,  Heidi Keys, Jason Seiler Illustration, Josh Kufahl,  Little Lace Lady, Off the Wheel Pottery, Photos by Beth Ann, Popelka Trenchard Glass, Richard Steinberger Photography, Nik Arnoldi Fine Art

Clothing & Accessories: These friends don’t shy away from a market driven by the mass desire for generic design. They are gifted and talented seamstress, treasure hunters and fine crafted jewelers, you want unique and beautiful check out these sites…¬†¬†VillageBaby, The Brass Owl, ShoveIt Design, Refab, Larky Park, Gracie Designs, CityMade, Billy & Co., Wild Prairie Silver, If you are looking for name brand, check our our friends at¬†Altrec

Food & Drink: Yum!  Authentic Feather Farm, Kabum, Parallel 44 Winery, La Java, Dos Chiles, Green Plow Roasters, Kavarna

Body & Healing Arts: Great resources for body, mind and soul. Good Earth Soap, Terry Naturally,  Kristie Lee Guns, Mardi Halvorsen Yoga, Peninsula Chiropractic, More Married, Shaping Her, Jerry Price Counseling, Mazzara Midwifery

Support non-profits & servant minded folks: These projects are both spiritual and practical, they are all run by individuals who have a desire to make this world a better place. They are trustworthy and supporting them would bring great joy this Christmas season.  Cornerstone Community Outreach, Timberline Lodge, Hungry Hearts United, Of Scars, Seven Loaves Project, The Suitcase Sideshow, Operation Elf Box, Bethany Erickson, Leadership Lab, YoungLife, Foundation Skate Ministry, Vapor Sports, The Fall Out Creative Community, Tribe of Judah School

Music:¬†If you are looking for some great tunes try ordering directly from the musician. We have lots of favorites but these are some of our dearest friends. They are professional and creative musicians and I think you’ll love them.

Folk: Sammy Horner,  John Statz,  Patchouli,  Bill and Kate Isles,  Seth Martin, Galynne Goodwill,  The Brothers Burn Mountain,  Beki Hemingway

Folk/Punk: Hillfolk Noir,  Men as Trees Walking,  Insomniac Folklore,  Destroy Nate Allen                                                                                                                                          

Indie: Nick Jaina, Soil and the Sun, Rick Beerhorst

Electronic: Optimus Prom, Wreckless Music,  Cloudburst

Jazz: Jana Nyberg Group, The Unfortunate

Metal: The Eternal, Southside Stranglers

Funtimes: Magic Mama, Canon Ball

If you have other ideas to add, please feel free to comment.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012!!

Ashes To Beauty

“Ashes to beauty, healing has come. Will you look in the mirror or turn and run?¬†Redemption has come, now rest your weary soul. Will you consecrate your life or go back to war?” ~jh

We are excited to reveal the cover art by Kara Counard.

“Ashes To Beauty” is the name of our new album.

The name feels right, maybe a little cleche’ but it’s fitting. We have been married for over 10 years and this album reflects many of the highs and lows of our commitment to each other. Everything from our first love to betrayal and the act of reconciling our love for one another. It would fair to say that we are¬†MORE¬†married today than yesterday.

It’s not only for married people to listen to however, our desire is for the listener to hear a message of hope and encourage the connection that comes with commitment whether it’s in marriage or in community. We chronicle our journey, to show the process of healing that comes through reconciliation.¬†¬†When we are open and look in the mirror to see our impact on others, redemption comes and our ashes turn to beauty.

Release date to come…