Thursday, October 27, 2011


I love the fall.

(Now I am obviously referring to the "autumn" type of fall rather than the "falling" type of fall I wrote about in my last post.)

I love the cool, crisp air.

I love the beautiful colors everywhere I look.

I love walking in fallen leaves when they are dry and crunch under my feet.

I love that it is getting dark earlier.

I love putting my mini people in hooded sweatshirts and snuggling with them to keep warm in the wind.
I love the excitement of the changing seasons.

I guess I have always viewed fall and spring as the "transitional" seasons. Creation is changing in preparation for the next stage of being. Preparing for the harsh cold of winter or the intense heat of summer. I think that is why I love these two seasons the most; I feel like my life is also in constant preparation for what is to come, in a very good way!

Sometimes there have been falls in our life where it feels a lot like death is setting in. The trees lose their leaves and go into the like-death hibernation mode and it seems that our life follows suit due to the loss of a job or other financial hardships, relationship difficulties, ministry stresses, etc.I wouldn't cite those falls to have been my favorite. But they were necessary for the growth that followed in the spring and summer and I am thankful for even the hardest of autumns.

Other times there wasn't any kind of changing season whatsoever, such as when I lived in the Marshall Islands with my family. The weather there was the same year round. The only "seasons" I ever heard mention of were the "rainy" season and the "windy" season. Whenever I tried to inquire as to when each was approximately going to come about, I pretty much gathered that if it was raining outside it was the rainy season but if it wasn't it was most likely windy so then it was the windy season... Not much of a "season" difference as far as I could tell! It makes me smile to think about it, though. I loved the warmth of the sun all year long and the warm lagoon waves on the warm coral sand any time I wanted. I miss seeing and hearing the rain move in from way out somewhere in the unending ocean and watching it move expediently toward the shore. I miss island life and would go back if the opportunity were ever to arise.

But there is certainly something special about witnessing the changing of the physical seasons. Something about Starbucks bringing back their Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Peppermint Mochas. Something about hot chocolate and marshmallows and laughter with my precious daughters. Something about the kids' faces lighting up when they see the different colors of the leaves on the trees as we're driving to church on Sunday morning. Something about the crisp freshness in the air. Something about seeing people draw closer together to stay warm.

Oddly enough, I feel like cleaning my house more in the fall than I do in the spring. So that is what I am setting out to do this fall: clean my house. And my cars. And my heart. I guess you could say I'm implementing a little "Fall Cleaning" in my life. It's gonna be good!

I guess I think about how I'll be in my house a lot more than I'll be out of it over the next several months, so I better make it look and feel and smell as inviting as I have always hoped it would. And I believe that as I clean out the dusty cobwebs from my kitchen ceilings and the caked on grime from the doorknobs and lightswitches, I will have time to listen to the Holy Spirit a little more about the cobwebs in my heart that are keeping me from loving the Lord how I ought to and spreading His Kingdom wherever I go by loving the people around me. In making my home more readily presentable, I'll be able to open my doors and share all that I have with peace and joy. In the same way, in allowing the Truth and love of Jesus to clean out my heart, I will be more readily available to open my arms and embrace my friends and loved ones with more grace and joy, welcoming them into my heart more and more and receiving the blessing of who they are on a much grander scale.

The only thing I don't like about fall, however, is that it always seems so short... I hope this fall is long enough to hold all of the love and joy and bliss and blessings and growth that my loving Daddy has in store for me and for you!

And if we have the opportunity, let's you and I grab a pumpkin spice latte together to celebrate this great time of year!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


In my house things fall. A lot.

Mostly this is because things are constantly being put higher and higher to keep them out of reach of 6 curious hands. The other reason is because we have a habit of piling things instead of just putting them away.

Regardless, things fall. 

And I often get upset when things fall. It frustrates me that not everything has a place. It gets under my skin when people don't put their stuff away (including myself). It burns my buscuits that we don't have a closet for this or a drawer for that.

It really isn't the most mature thing for me to respond by screeching or cursing or blaming other people or throwing things across the room, but I have to confess that these are not unheard of reactions on my part. I have grown and am growing, but there is still plenty of room to grow more.

When I react to these things, rather than respond to them, I am like a wave tossed on the ocean, doubting and lacking wisdom. How embarrassing when I behave in such ways, especially in front of my kids and husband. Not exactly the example of the Lord's love and peace I hope to be in my home.

As I said, I have grown in this; now I have a choice to respond rather than react, laughing it off and cleaning things up and putting things away. What is the point of getting upset about it when I could have prevented it by putting things away anyway? When I still make the choice to react immaturely (usually accompanied with excuses like "it's been a really bad day already" or  "it's all [fill in the blank]'s fault"), I have learned to get over it quickly, laugh it off, apologize for how I acted, and move on with my day. I used to seethe about things like that for hours and hours, wasting precious time that could have been spent much more pleasantly and making those around me suffer. How foolish! I am grateful that this is something the Lord has worked on in me and is still working on in me.

This freedom I have to make a choice on how to respond when things fall (or other annoying things happen) shows me that I am becoming more like a tree planted by the streams of living water whose roots go down deep and whose branches bear much fruit - fruit that will last! This is truly my desire.

The amazing thing about all of this is that it isn't dependent on me, but it is dependent on my trust in the Living God. The verse in James about the wave is based on the concept of asking the Lord for more wisdom and Him giving it to me. The verse in the Psalms about being like a tree talks about delighting in the laws of the Lord and meditating on them all the time. The verse in John about bearing fruit is all about being chosen by the Lord and not only asking for things in His name, but receiving them as well. Wow! There is so much yet to learn.

So instead of getting upset about things falling, I will stop being lazy and put them away, first of all, but second and more important, I will rest in the Lord and become so consumed by His love and faithfulness that I can't even see the things around me falling as I fall into His goodness.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Cell Phone

Lately I feel as though my life has, in essence, exploded. I don’t mean for this to have a negative connotation, so please don’t hear that. I do mean that I am not the same that I was 6 months ago and I am not even the same today as I was yesterday. When I say “exploded” I am referring to the physics of an explosion completely changing the look and feel, the topography and physical recognition of whatever is in the zone of impact. The explosion is the power of the Holy Spirit and my life is the zone of impact.

In the last year or so I have endured trials of many kinds: I have been hurt and I have been hurtful; I have received Truth and I have believed lies; I have been forgiven and I have forgiven; I have been judged and I have made judgments; I have been accepted and I have felt rejected; I have loved and I have been loved; I have learned and I have slacked off; I have given much and I have received much. These things aren’t different than any other person’s life or any other season of life. So what am I learning in this particular season of trials and blessings?

I was listening to a teaching at Origins Church in Boulder Sunday night about The Pattern of Surrender. Pastor Ramin Razavi started in Ezekiel 47:1-12 about the vision Ezekiel had of walking out from the temple through the different levels of water (seriously, you should check it out!) and he posed this question: “How deep are we willing to go in the living water of Christ?”

This made me think about my own faith.

Faith: such a heavy word. So much is encompassed in just this one concept.

So as I was driving home from Denver, worshipping and praying and trying to listen, I asked the Holy Spirit about that next depth of Living Water I am to venture into. He asked me what I want it to be. I remembered some of the ministry from the Healing Path Day Retreat (based out of Robin Pasley's book) I had the privilege of attending on Saturday regarding being best friends with the Holy Spirit. Now, as I have mentioned in the past, I am kind of new to the whole concept of the Spirit’s ministry in and through me. So I expressed the desire to have that best friendship and to understand Him more so we can move together naturally as one.

He told me to call my (sleeping) husband (poor thing). I couldn’t understand what that had to do with anything. I honestly thought, well sheesh, here I am trying to spend time with You to understand You better and You want me to call my husband…

So I called Tom and he was very gracious and loving and we chatted for a few minutes but I was in the mountains and had bad reception so he kept asking me to repeat myself and I kept asking him to repeat himself and it was really just kind of silly to try to have a conversation at all. So we decided to get off the phone and talk later when I was in a place with better reception.

I hung up the phone and gave this kind of puzzled look of “Huh?” to the Holy Spirit. He then began to reveal to me how I view communicating with Him and Jesus and the Father. I realized through this conviction that I feel like I’m talking on a cell phone with bad reception whenever I am praying.

Of course, this isn’t an accurate picture of what it looks like to communicate with the Almighty God. Jesus says in Matthew 28:20: “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  He didn’t say “I am just a cell phone call away, and if you get lucky, I’ll answer! And if you get really lucky, there might even be good reception and you’ll be able to clearly hear My voice!”

So, why do I feel like the latter words are more accurate than the actual words of Jesus?

I wish I had an answer to share with you. I am still trying to sort through all of my issues to hopefully discover what has caused me to believe this lie that communicating with the One who loves me so dearly and rejoices over me and is with me always is like talking through bad cell phone reception. I am on a mission to discover what has caused me to think of this as normal and live the lie that I won’t ever be able to have clarity in communicating with my Lord. For surely, since He is with me always, He is as close as my own breath and He is able to whisper sweetly in my ear and I am able to confide in Him at any moment. I long to walk in faith that this is true; I want my life to reflect that I am in constant communion with my Maker.

In all of my recent learning and revelation, I feel as though my eyes have been opened and I can finally SEE clearly. I wrote about how I feel like I finally received my corrective lenses in the spiritual realm here. I truly believe that as I discover where the roots of these lies about communicating in the spiritual realm come from and I root them out of my life, I will receive spiritual hearing aids and I will hear with clarity beyond what I can fathom and I will walk in communion with my Lord like never before!

When I get it all figured out, I’ll share with you, dear readers, so that you, too, might find the freedom that is being offered me. If you have already found said freedom, please do share about your journey that I might be encouraged and blessed and find the answers all the sooner!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Sweetness of a Daughter

I stayed home sick from work on Friday. My mom was wonderful (as usual) and stayed to take care of the kids anyway so I could get some rest. At lunch time Kylee was helping Mom make pb&j sandwiches. Not expecting her to make my lunch, too, when she came in to ask me what kind of jelly I wanted I said, "You're making a sandwich for me!?" She replied, "Yes, yes I am!" and giggled her cute little girl giggle all the way back into the kitchen to retrieve the jelly from the refrigerator. I marveled at how big my baby girl has gotten as she bounded back and forth from the kitchen to my post on the couch several times, asking me if I wanted crunchy or creamy peanut butter, if I wanted something to drink, and what kind of chips I wanted for a side.

Of course my sandwich was very yummy! I have to admit, however, that a cup of hot soup may have been more helpful in soothing what was ailing me, but I would never trade that peanut butter and jelly sandwich and jalapeño Cheetos for a cup of the world's best chicken noodle soup! The love my sweet daughter poured into making me lunch that day had more healing qualities than any cup of soup could ever have, I'm sure of it!

Later that evening Kylee and I were spending time together on the couch. She looked at me and said, "Mommy, when I asked you what kind of sandwich you wanted today for lunch, you said, 'You're going to make a sandwich for me?!' but why wouldn't I make a sandwich for you? I'm your daughter! Of course I'd make a sandwich for you! I love you. I'd do anything for you!"

Talk about melting a Mommy's heart!

I don't know how she came to this conclusion. Perhaps Tom and I have mentioned something before along the lines of our roles as parents causing us to love our children and be willing to do anything for them. Perhaps it's just a part of her love language of acts of service. Whatever it is, I was touched and blessed by her words.

Her declaration of devotion also made me think about my own idea of what it looks like to be a daughter in the Kingdom. I thought about when Jesus said in John 14:15: "If you love Me, you will obey what I command." Now obviously I haven't and wouldn't command my daughter to make me a sandwich or to be willing to do anything for me. But we do teach our children that the reason they are to obey is to show their love for Jesus and for their parents. Whatever motivated my daughter's words, I was inspired by her to examine my own response to my heavenly Father's love. It's so easy to get caught up in concerning myself more with what my Daddy has to give to me or how He will love me or take care of me, rather than focusing on how I can respond to His love by serving Him, "of course!" and being willing to do anything for Him.

So my sweet Kylee, as she has grown from a tiny toddler "making coffee" for Mommy in her play kitchen with her play dishes to being a little lady helping Grammy in the real kitchen making real sandwiches with real food, has succeeded in truly blessing my heart and teaching me more about the heart of a daughter.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Year in the Life...

of Josiah David Kushnerick.

A story of the first year or our son's life in pictures with captions from his perspective (pretty much):

This is my family getting ready for me to come.

My sisters didn't know what they were in for!

My Daddy couldn't wait to have a turn to hold me.

I was a pretty big baby growing in my mommy's tummy!

Hello world. Happy birthday to me!

My Daddy. He's a super hero.

My mommy. She was surprised I came so quickly!

My big sisters. I think we have a great future of mischief in store!

"Aunt" Ashley. She saved the day and helped Mommy deliver me at home. Oops!

Home again and getting my first bath. Not too sure about this...

Yep. I'm an angel.

I like these girls.

Hello, Cousin Alaina. Nice to meet you.

I'm practicing an Irish jig.

So sleepy.

I like to cuddle with my mommy.

Aww sister kisses! My favorite.

Yep. I'm pretty much a big deal.

Play hard; crash hard.

Okay Kylee, now take me to the dog food!

Okay, Mom, I'll pose in this ridiculous outfit, but only because I love you.

You can call me Siah Man. I'm gangsta, yo.

Merry Christmas! Not sure what this is all about, but there are lots of shiny things around and my sisters are super excited...

Just readin. I'll be out in a minute...

Hello, Grammy! Nice to meet you. So glad you could make it for Christmas!

So, now what? I'm a little cold here...

Just call me stud muffin. I'm ready to meet the ladies!

I crash like my Daddy. We're pretty cute like that.

Yum! I could get used to eating this way.

Yep, Daddy's happy I'm a boy!

Just layin' around. I will figure out how to get that shiny box thing with the flashy light from you soon...

I want the "My First Bacon." Think Geek is my favorite!

I'm soooo big!

What?! We weren't doin' nothin'.

Lookin' like a foo' with yo' pants on yo' head!

Okay, now how do I get out of this?

Mmmmm delicious coffee!

Wait; I think this might be the wrong end... How do you work this thing??

Hi Mom! I'm ready to get up now. I can stand up now, too! 

Hey, where'd my snack go?? I kind of feel like Franken-baby...

Ridin' along in my automobile...

Happy Easter, Daddy! We're lookin' good!

Juuuuuuuust plant a watermelon right on my grave and let the juice **sssslllllluuuurrrppp** slip through

Smiling's my favorite! Especially when I'm wearing Daddy's hat.

As soon as she looks away, I'm going to get that toy from Maxine...

Snuggling with my Grammy makes me so happy!

Shark fin soup? Why wait to make it into soup?

My first baseball game. I really enjoyed watching all the people.

I'm not slee..... zzzzz

I will get out of here. Just you wait!

My sisters really wanted me to stay put, but I just wanted to get that camera Mommy was holding. It seemed like more fun!

Oooooo! Awwww! Sparkles! Happy 4th of July!

I know, I'm pretty cute. I can't help it.

Forget the Humpty Dumpty, Daddy, just put me back in the water!

Down came the rain and washed Josiah out!

Nom nom nom
Sunny nap.

I'm king of the Mommy! And rockin' this bulky blue thing, if I do say so myself.

Ready, Mommy? Here I come!

Spaghetti! I'll take any excuse to get all messy. It was yummy too!

Sometimes I put Grammy to sleep. She gets tuckered out, too.

I totally got this.

Hey! When you gonna catch something on that stick? I want to see a real live fish!

Hi Grampy! Nice to meet you.

Happy Birthday to me!

Now I'm 1 year old and I'm soooo big!!!