Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Lovely Halloween

Wish you could have joined us. Food was delicious.

Two neighbors lost their homes in the Black Forest fire. The desire to love well in the midst of this horrendous context was real. But how?

Initiate toward them? 
Cry with them?
Offer help? 
                                                                                                                         Throw a Halloween shower in their honor.  (My only experience in this area was providing orange-frosted cupcakes during our son’s elementary years.)

But Char loved Halloween. It was her favorite holiday and every year she hosted an elaborate bash for her daughters and their friends. Now all the scary decor was ash … swept away in the clean-up … gone … history.

The proverbial light bulb shown brightly. Gather the neighbors and her circle of friends and host a Halloween shower. No costumes, just food, friends, and new Halloween decor for Char. 

“That is the loveliest thing anyone has ever done for me”, she responded the morning I phoned to ask if she would be comfortable with the idea.  

We planned, invited, prepared. It was fun and a huge success.

The night of the shower, I fell asleep with my mouth curved in a smile.

“Love is … kind ...”   I Corinthians 13:4.

Mark 4:26-29 comes to mind, four short verses. The parable compares a man scattering seed. Life goes on and the seed sprouts and grows to maturity; there is a harvest. But 4 seemingly unimportant words jump out, “he knows not how”. 

My dreams would not lead me down this path … forest fire … Halloween shower … deepening  friendship with a neighbor. I wonder, where will it go from here?

In the Mark passage the seed progresses:                                                                         scatters,                                                                                                                                               sprouts,                                                                                                                                          grows,                                                                                                                                             ripens,                                                                                                                                         harvest.

On my street, my seed is somewhere between scatters and sprouting. I’m praying for growth, ripening, and harvest. I wonder what it will look like.

What about you … what ideas can you share about planting seeds among neighbors.

Happy Halloween!

“He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.”                                                                                                                  Mark 4:27

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Friend Kara

I invited Kara to share her story on my blog. I am honored that she said yes. Please read on...

First a brief word from me ...
I don't remember exactly how Kara and I got to be friends. But she and Jason opened their home to us last summer when we were evacuated because of the Black Forest fire. What a tremendous gift. Our friendship grew from there.
Like me Kara is a blogger. I have so appreciated how she is walking through her difficult, terrible, horrible journey with her friends through her blog. A blog is a unique place to build community. And I hope by putting her story on my blog, that many more of you will join "Team Tippetts" through your prayers.
The rest are Kara's words.

These pictures were all taken by Jen Lints ~ another of Kara's special friends.

 Last year, after returning to my home after being evacuated because of the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado, I found a lump in my breast. That is really where my blogging life began in earnest. I’m a 37 year old mama with four young children and one excellent husband facing the challenge of my life.
Diagnosed with stage two breast cancer, I immediately entered chemo.
I’m highly extroverted, and cancer limited my community. So I started to share the story of my heart through blogging. The heartbreak, the pain, and the grace that always showed up in abundance were my content, my heart, my life that I was happy to share on Mundane Faithfulness.
hair pic
Months of chemo, a double mastectomy, and radiation, and I celebrated the end of my journey.
I ran away with my family, spent the summer soaking up my family and my community, and partnered with my husband as we are planting a church on the Westside of Colorado Springs. I had one final step in my journey. Four weeks ago I met with a gifted surgeon to consult about removing my ovaries and my precious womb. It was going to be my final step in this journey. Upon examination tumors were found. Devastated is too small a word to describe what we felt. 
Two short weeks later, I found myself in surgery for a radical hysterectomy. They found the worst, in a few short months breast cancer had taken over my ovaries and my uterus. I’m now facing stage four metastatic cancer. There is no stage five. 
This month as I shop at the grocery store, watch football or enter any establishment all things have turned pink. I love the awareness it all brings, but I long to put a face to the battle. I share the story God has written for our family as honestly as possible. 
I long for three things in sharing my story: 1. To glorify God. 2. To encourage mamas and women to be proactive about their health. 3. And finally, to give a glimpse to the world how grace shows up in the midst of suffering. I often say suffering is not the absence of good. If you are called to a story similar to mine, grace will be present. Knowing Jesus is the greatest gift of my life. Through that lens of knowing a recklessly loving God, I have seen my extreme neediness as my greatest strength I could ever share with another.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Plane Departed - Without Me!

I was in Florida on Longaberger business near Orlando. After three days visiting consultants I was flying to Florida's panhandle to participate in a Navigator conference. (The Nav conference determined the timing of the Longaberger visit; every hat bowed to my Nav hat.) I was scheduled to be a greeter.

Now it seems silly. How could such a minor snafu lead to my strong emotional response? But it did.

The plane took off without me and distanced me from my desire - to be at the conference on time with a smile on my face and arms outstretched ready to dispense hugs.

I arrived at the small airport with time to spare that morning. I checked in, went through security, and was chatting with my Longaberger friends while waiting for the announcement to board in the quiet waiting room. There was one other party waiting that early morning. The plate glass windows behind me looked out to the tarmac.

Looking back, I should have been suspicious that something was not quite right. There was no music playing in the background, no white noise, and I never heard those familiar airport announcements.

I checked my watch. It was getting close to take-off. But there was no activity and no intercom reminders. Trustingly I waited.

Again, I nervously looked at my watch. I really should have been boarding by now. All is quiet, no movement of airport officials, still no announcements.

Turning to look at the tarmac, to my horror, I saw a plane (my plane) taxi-ing down the runway. It left without me, without an announcement to board, without the final announcement, nothing!

Calmly I walked over to the ground personnel, the same person who checked me in and manned security in that small airport. I complained, "I never heard the boarding announcement". She replied, "Oh, you wouldn't have; the intercom system is broken". "Why didn't you tell me when I checked in?" Perturbed  might be a mild descriptor at that moment.

I was going to an important conference.
I had responsibilities - greeting.
Others were counting on me.
My identity was at stake.

That last sentence was not a conscious thought that morning; but it was the fuel that ignited my other emotions.

Our enemy blew on the flame; my perception of this very frustrating circumstance was way off kilter.

I missed a plane.
I got on the next one, arriving a bit later than I wanted.
No big deal.

Except for the lie that controlled me, I am not even good enough to greet. In my mind, this was a blow to my Navigator status. God used this incident to expose to me my misplaced identity.

"But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible,"
Ephesians 5:13

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Do-er with No Capacity to Do

God created me with the gift of telephone; suddenly the phone weighed 500 pounds.
My first personal phone.

I am a pray-er who needed others to pray for me.

I am a gramma who had no energy to go to the zoo with her visiting GRANDS.

I was in need of help without ability to ask.

I desired time with my Father; the many details resulting from the Black Forest fire usurped it.

I am a retreat facilitator without the gumption to facilitate. Thank you Village Seven Presbyterian Church for understanding. (FYI, my Sabbath-Living retreat is rescheduled for November 8, 2013. If you are in the area, please join us.)
Sabbath-Living Retreat at Glen Eyrie

I am a do-er and had no capacity to do.

That was my reality earlier this summer--a new place for this do-er.

I learned, sometimes, do-ing is not the need.

Summer 2012 was marked by the Waldo Canyon fire. That fire touched me in a different way; several friends watched their homes burn to the ground from the grassy hilltop across town or on live news coverages.

That summer I was the do-er, the pursuer - pursuing those friends with my many ideas of how to love and help as they emerged into their new reality. I didn't get it!

This past summer I was the pursued.

Yes, there were some immediate and BIG needs that called for attention, but last summer as the days turned to weeks, I realized one of the biggest gifts I could offer my friends was the gift of space and prayer.

This past summer I was the one who needed the spa - time and place to be, to reflect, to listen. An intanigible gift in the midst of many tangible needs. The silencing of my do-ing was a good thing.

I am thankful for the many who graciously met our tangible needs.
I am thankful too for those who graciously allowed the gift of space.

   O Lord,
      calm me into a quietness that heals
                                           and listens,
      and mold my longings and passions,
                     my wounds and wonderings
      into a more holy and human shape.

Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace

"The Lord is my shepherd ... He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness."
portions of Psalm 23:1-3

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fully Convinced

Those two words stopped my quiet time. I almost cried. UGH!

Referring to Abraham, God used them to point his arrow at my heart. Abraham is about 100 years old, his wife Sarah far beyond child-bearing years. Despite the physical impossibilities, God promises him a son (Genesis 18:14).

I too am beyond child-bearing years--but not beyond faith-growing years. God has not promised me another child. He has promised me his love, his presence--and much more.

But I am not fully convinced. Sue, you'll never stop comparing? You are hopeless! The unhappy thoughts swirl in my mind.

Will I ever stop doubting?
What does growing spiritually look like for me?
Will my faith ever grow strong?
Will I ever be fully convinced?

Traveling from Romans 4 to Joshua 4, I heard God's voice. "Sue, I have done some pretty big things in your life too. You too have seen God hold back rushing waters on your behalf. Perhaps you, like the Israelites, should set up a 12 stone memorial."

The 12 stones representing the 12 tribes of Israel were a memory marker. My 12 Stone Memorial is a truth marker reminding me of the big truths God has spoken to me. Reviewing my stones returns the peace, the confidence, the joy, the conviction. Comparison melts. For today, I am fully convinced. (I will probably need to review these stones again before the week is out. I am so human.)

Pictured below is my 12 Stone Memorial.

From which scriptures would you build your stone memorial? What are the truths you need to remember?

"Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles,
and the judgments he uttered."
Psalm 105:5