Monday, October 27, 2008

Make a Joyful Noise!

I was privy to an impromptu dance party tonight, accompanied by an original piece of music, preformed by my precious Hope. Here’s a bit of it for you.

Hope: (singing a catchy little tune) I love you, Jesus. You are my server. In heaven, you are our server. Jesus you are my server.

Amanda: I like your song Hope. What does that mean? How does he serve us?

Hope: (looks at me as if I should know) All the food….up in heaven. He serves us the food and when we run out of tortillas he sneaks away and makes some more.

(This part probably stemmed partly from an earlier conversation we had about what heaven would be like and how there would be a great banquet...and also from the fact that we have been out of tortillas for two days now.)

Amanda: Well, you’re right. He did come to earth to serve us. But now, we serve him and in heaven we will serve him forever.

Hope: Okay. (starts singing again) Jesus, you are my server. You died on the cross for me. And so you are my server.

Amanda: (ding…the light goes on) Hope, do you mean Savior? Jesus is our Savior?

Hope: Yeah…server

Amanda: Oh. It’s Savior. Saaaaavior.

Hope: Oh. (singing again) Jesus, you are my Savior……

She's right, though. His whole life was about being our server...Praise God!...I am so unworthy. And, you know what else? It may not be theologically accurate, but I have a feeling that, in heaven, Jesus would be the kind of person that would sneak off and make tortillas if we ran out. That sounds like him.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I don't see how I have neglected to mention the medical drama that ensued in the Kolman household in September. In the middle of September, at the second Young Life club of the year, Loren got frostbite. This might seem normal if it had #1. been snowing, or even cold for that matter, #2. if he had been ice climbing or #3. if we lived on Mt. Everest. Unfortunately, none of those things were the case and so it was very not normal. The story goes something like this:

Loren and the rest of the Young Life leaders had planned a super fun night at club where the kids would meet at one place and then play a kind of city wide game of spotlight. They had to make it to the high school without getting caught by a leader. When everyone got to the high school, Loren had promised them root beer floats. It sounds fun, huh? It was. Everyone made their way to the high school and when they got there, Loren started scooping up the ice cream for the floats. Pretty early on in the scooping, his trusty scoop broke. No problem. Loren decided he would just scoop with his hands. "Oh...wait a minute...with his HANDS," you are probably thinking. Let me just stop here and say that every time I have told this story I have always said emphatically, "First of all, I would never, ever, accept ice cream that had been scooped up by someone's hands." Apparently, high schoolers do not have these same convictions and so, scoop after scoop, my darling husband served between 60 and 75 high schoolers that night.

I asked him later if it hurt when he was serving. "It hurt a lot at first," he said, "but then after a while it just went numb and I thought...'sweet, now it's no problem.'" (Insert disbelieving eye roll here.) Things got bad quickly after he stopped serving. Once his fingers, incredibly white and hard as rocks by this time, began to thaw there was serious pain. I knew it was bad when my husband, who is known to have a seriously high pain tolerance, said to me, albeit very calmly, "Wow! I'm in so much pain, I'm nauseous." Not good. At 11:00pm that night, when it still wasn't better, and his fingers had swollen to twice their normal size, we started to search the internet for frostbite symptoms. It didn't take us long to confirm that was what it was.

That whole week it hurt A LOT and was very sensitive to the touch. The four fingers on his right hand turned a deep dark red and then started to turn white and increasingly numb. (I should also mention that we left a day and half later to drive to Pennsylvania where he and Hope were in his cousins wedding. There is nothing like a 24 hour road trip to soothe frostbitten fingers.) When we went to the doctor after our trip he was almost assured that he would lose the tip of his middle finger. Yikes! Here is what his hand looked like.

Shortly after that visit to the doctor, that white skin started to look more like blisters. He had a lot more feeling in them than he originally had and we became convinced that he wasn't going to be an amputee after all. The skin started to peel. Oh, I wish I had pictures of that. It was really sick but also really cool in a sick kind of peeling skin after a sunburn only the skin was a lot thicker. And, only a month later, it looks like he is pretty much all healed up. Here is a picture of his hand currently. You can just barely see where the skin is a slightly different color. He has brand new baby soft skin on the tips of his fingers now and he says they are super sensitive...not in a painful way, just in a weird way where he feels things more intensely.

So, there you have it. Loren is a medical miracle. Seriously, this little episode has taught me two incredible things...the lengths to which a man will go to keep his promise of ice cream to a bunch of high schoolers. As silly as it was...okay as insane as it was...I still see it as evidence of the kind of love Loren has for these kids. It's the kind of love that will take a hit if it means that some kid has a good time and, because of that, comes back to Young Life, and because of that, will hear about Jesus in a way they never have, and because of that, just may get to know the greatest love they have ever known. It's all worth it then, right? I know what Loren would say. "Yep, it is. What's a couple of fingers?"

It also reminded me of the power of prayer. I can honestly say that Loren wouldn't have minded losing part of his finger. He was kind of nonchalant about it all. But, it wasn't like he was looking forward to it. We prayed, our small group prayed, other friends prayed, our church body prayed, and, miraculously, he fingers were healed. I am not overstating here. It didn't look good and then, all of the sudden, it did. God hears. He heals. He is still in the business of miracles.

And so it occurs to me...the kind of love that cares about seemingly inconsequential things like ice cream and fingertips is a powerful kind of love. It is an intimate kind of love that doesn't just do the minumum required. It's the kind of love that inspired David to write, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Which, in some similar way, is what Loren was offering when he scooped up ice cream with his hands.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Perfect Day

I am officially 32 and I had such a great birthday. It included so many of my favorite things…my favorite breakfast, flowers, lazing around in my p.j.’s for half the morning, coffee with a friend outside in the beautiful sun talking about important things, my husband cleaning and doing odd chores I had casually (and some not so casually) mentioned over the last few weeks, rummaging through antique stores with my family, calls from family and friends (including two particularly lovely renditions of “Happy Birthday” from my wonderful parents and my sweet friend, Amy), a lovely dinner at a restaurant, presents, a COOKIE CAKE! complete with candles and a message inscribed just for me (see photo below), and the Homecoming football game. My husband did good…really good. It was a great day. Thanks to all of you well-wishers and to those of you who celebrated me in various ways throughout the week. I am truly blessed!

As a side note: One of the odd jobs I asked Loren to do a while ago was to cut down an enormous tree that was in our front yard. It blocked our walkway and I didn’t really like it that much. So it happened that while I was getting lunch for the girls, I heard the unmistakable sound of a chain saw and walked out to see him in the middle of cutting that sucker down. Is it weird that I wanted to destroy a living tree on my birthday? Maybe it is my version of a mid-life crisis or something. Later when I opened the birthday present Hope had picked out for me at one of the antique stores, I found she had chosen a sweet miniature decorative tree. She says the two had nothing to do with each other, but I’m not so sure.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Here's to Autumn...clink!

We drove to Delta last weekend for Loren's grandmother's funeral. We will all miss her very much, but, because of who she was, it felt more like a celebration of her life than anything. She was a remarkable woman, but she modeled humility and patience and, most of all, contentment. It was such an honor to know her and to see how she lived her last years in joyful appreciation for all that God had blessed her with.

On the way there, we got to see the aspen trees changing colors all along Monarch Pass. If you haven't experienced that,'s too bad cause I didn't take any pictures. Left the stupid camera at home, dang it! It is breathtaking, though. There are thousands of aspen trees, in groves, situated within all these Colorado evergreens (which, of course, remain green all year in case the name didn't give that away) and come September, they just burst into flame. The mountainside is covered with what, all of the sudden, looks like a patchwork quilt of fall colors. It is amazing. Then, as quickly as they come, they disappear.

I was so glad that we happened to be driving through there because I had really forgotten all about the aspens. There are people who come from all over to see the them. They get out and take pictures and drink up the beauty of it all and here they are in my backyard and I just forgot. I'm really not trying to be profound here, though you are welcome to insert your own little lesson about enjoying the beauty around us, etc. Mostly, the trees were my first real clue, my wake up call, that it really was Fall...hmmm...I just decided to call it Autumn...doesn't it just sound prettier?

I love this time of year. I love the smells...leaves burning, fireplaces going, the can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it smell that comes along with the crisp, cool air. I love the sights...turning leaves, kids outside all the time, pumpkins patches, kids playing football and soccer. I love the tastes...vegetables from the last harvest in the garden, finally ripe apples and pears, cider, soups and stews. I love it all. It is probably my favorite time of year, even though, for us, it always seems like the busiest time of year. Maybe it's beauty is compensation, in some way, for all the hustle and bustle that comes along with it in our house. And even though it is busy, we manage to take time out to enjoy what is happening all around us. For instance...

Hope is playing soccer this fall and, let me just tell you in the most objective way I can, she is GOOD. I'm serious. If you read my posts last May you may remember the timidity, the tears, the drama of soccer. She seems to have gotten over all that and is playing her little heart out. I just sit out there, all open-mouthed, with ridiculous tears in my eyes the whole time because she is all over that field. She is scoring goals right and left and it is a joy to watch. And it's not a joy because she scores goals. That is inconsequential to me, though I would never offend her by saying so. The thing is, I see her come alive out there. I can sense her little heart, fully engaged, full of joy and I can tell that this is the same heart that will be her gift to the world. Whatever she finally decides to throw it into, for the sake of Christ, will be her offering...her way of inviting those around her to experience His abundant life. Oh, I can see it and I could just weep for joy at the thought of it.

Can you see the huge smile on her face?

We also went, again this year, to the beautiful orchard that some friends of ours here own. Unfortunately we were a bit late for most of the apple picking, but we did get a few and we got some sweet pictures as well. We are determined to go earlier next year. Thankfully, another friend with a few apple trees came to the rescue and we got a big box of them. We are all set to make some apple sauce and apple butter...yum!

When is it that they start caring about the brown mushy spots in apples. Bella doesn't seem to mind.

Hope is using the apple picker here like a pro.

I could just eat this girl up. She is the sweetest thing...even when she doesn't have apple juice on her chin.

You need to notice that in this picture I am confidently wearing a shirt that, earlier that morning, had caused someone to ask me, "Oh, Amanda...when are you expecting?" That's right folks, she said it. I mean, come on! It's the style, right? RIGHT? Am I right? If she only knew how hilarious that was on so many levels. Oh well!

Mmmmmm...freshly picked apples. I climbed up in the tree for those bad boys!

So, all fashion problems's to autumn. Enjoy! I know we are!

"The Art of Mending" by Elizabeth Berg

Here is a favorite quote from this beautiful book by Elizabeth Berg. Read it if you get the chance...the book, not the quote...but, while you're here you may as well read the quote, too. It's not that long. Here it is:

As for mending, I think it's good to take the time to fix something rather than throw it away. It's an antidote to wastefulness and to the need for immediate gratification. You get to see a whole process through, beginning to end, nothing abstract about it. You'll always notice the fabric scar, of course, but there's an art to mending: If you're careful, the repair can actually add to the beauty of the thing, because it is testimony to its worth.
There. Isn't that beautiful?