Monday, April 18, 2011

All is far from quiet....

     It's been a while (again-- sorry) since I have posted anything.  I only have the normal litany of excuses for it, so I'll even save you the blah-blah-blah of them.  However, I do intend to get some more posts up here in the near future.  Some great books that I have read, some activities we have been doing, another Arizona trip right around the corner.  So there is some good stuff coming.  Now if I could just find some spare time sitting around...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Friends and Family-- and a huge debt of gratitude

      This past month has been a bit crazy here at the Haley household.  I won't go into too much detail, but with the holidays (remember, a month ago was only 12/20), driver's licenses, returning missionaries, school activities, work, etc, we have constantly been on our toes.  And this last week has literally been an emotional roller coaster for us.  Expectations have been blown away in exchange for reality, and life has once again reared its ugly head and threatened to throw everything into havoc.  Not that all of the good stuff is still not good, but it is tempered with the knowledge that other stuff out there is not so rosy.
     Those of you that know me are probably saying "So?  What's new?  Your life is always tipped a little towards the insane anyway.  Why is now so different?" 
     Well, let me tell you.  The highs in this case are some major life events.  Steven getting his license.  Heather turned 16.  Zach got home.  Christine did awesome in school.  My TV debut approaches.  But the lows are just as fantastic in the negative.  Christine's dad is deteriorating quicker than we thought.  He spent a few days in the hospital, and was released just to find out that there is not much anyone can do for him anymore.  Heather's first relationship is driving her insane (along with the rest of us).  None of us are really sleeping good.
     So needless to say, things are a bit hard to tame.
     But we have cause for HUGE celebration.  We all of a sudden discovered that we have been blessed.  And we don't know how it happened, but we thank God for putting us exactly where He knew we would need to be.  You see, he gave us friends and family that are AWESOME.  We didn't even realize how much we mattered.  We knew that they mattered to us VERY much, but we have been relatively late comers, so we didn't figure on being counted for much yet.
    Now we are awestruck at the outpouring of love and caring we are feeling.  There is just no better way to say it.  From seeing his needs and getting her dad on the prayer chain, to taking care of the details of stuff so that we don't have to worry about them, to just being there.  Christine and I are SOOO grateful for everything that you guys have shown us.  Even those friends who are overseas, who didn't have any idea how important it was when they  recommended music that is literally giving me strength right now.
     I guess what I am trying to say is just a universal thank you.  To God, for using our choices to place us in a community of believers that took us in as family and have been just awesome; to our friends, for doing even small things that mean so much to us-- you have no idea the gratitude we have for you; to our family, for coming together to rally around Christine's dad (and each other). 
     We love you all.  We only hope that we can have the opportunity to show you how much (although hopefully in a positive way) :-).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'm gonna squash you like a bug!!

     When my youngest brother was smaller, his one goal in life was to "take me down."  It was always in fun, and we wrestled around quite a bit.  And being 14 years older than him, it was pretty clear who the winner was going to be.  So in the midst of these bouts, the line above was one of my favorites to taunt him and keep him trying.
     Now that we are both grown, he could (probably) say that to me.  He has served in the military, and has kept up his fitness for the most part.  So I'll admit that if we were to have a go at the take down now, I would probably look like a rag doll in the mouth of a rabid dog.  The times have changed, and so has my perspective.
     This morning I had another perspective shock in three random things that have collided at almost the same time that are so remarkably focused it was enough to break me out of my blog slump.
     The first spark was on my way to work this morning.  As anyone who has been outside near sunrise or sunset lately can attest, the past couple of weeks have been gorgeous in Southern California.  The cloud formations have been unique, and it has resulted in beauty that we normally see only rarely.
     Anyway, on my way down Studebaker, as I was crossing over the 22, I was struck by a contrast painting that only God could have created.  You see, there is a power plant at the end of Studebaker, and its skyline is a harsh profile of wire towers, smokestacks, scaffolding, and water tanks.  If you can picture any of the negative ads about pollution, global warming, etc, you know what I am talking about.  The iconic symbolism of man's footprint in nature. 
     But today, behind the stark edges of the plant's skyline was a panoramic paradise of color and spectacle.  Greens, reds, oranges, and blues sprawled across the sky as the sun peaked over the horizon.  And the sky looked HUGE.
     I was struck with the contrast of God's creation against the feebleness of man's.  And it was humbling and awe-inspiring at the same time.  And it reminded me that what I have been thinking of as important really is insignificant compared with God's priorities.
     The second spark happened when I was reading my friend Tory Satter's blog.  He and his wife run 3:18 Ministries on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Globe, AZ.  His blog is here:  Anyway, today he was talking about synergy, and the realization that we are only called to be faithful, and God will do the rest.  It was humbling again.  I think that many times I feel discouraged when I see things not going the way I want or anticipate them, and instead of remembering that I am only an instrument for God, I try to do the work on my own, like one of Handy Manny's tools.  I need to just relax, knowing that while it does take intentional action to shape minds, the end result is not in my hands (thank goodness).
     The third spark happened during my HSM NT:365 reading.  Romans Chapter 8 today has this statement (along with a ton of other great stuff): "Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God.  That person ignores who God is and what he is doing.  And God isn't pleased with being ignored."  I think this may be me a little, lately.  I have been so wrapped up in my life, and what is going on around me, that I have not seen all that God is doing in my life. Throughout the holidays, a time that was created to worship Him, I was so busy with schedules that I was distracted.
     All of this to say that my perspective has shifted again today.  It is probably better to say that my perspective WAS shifted today.  It was like God was urging me on to keep fighting, and keep focused, teasing me with "I could squash you like a bug!" awesomeness. 
    So thanks for that perspective, Father.  When I see even a bit of Your big picture, all of my worries just melt away as I am made aware that the Power that can create such brilliance is also trying to create a brilliance in me.