Friday, December 18, 2009

On Letting Go

Since the blog has remained quiet for so long, one may assume that letting go means letting go of the blog. But, no, I am keeping the blog just where it is, for now. I had to "let go" of it for a time, but as we all know there is a season for everything!

I wouldn't try to catch everybody up on where we have been or why this little bloggy hiatus has lasted so long. So, I will pick up from here, where my heart is, accepting and appreciating something we all have to do, probably on a daily basis.

Letting go...

"God's work is not in buildings, but in transformed lives." ~ Ruth Graham Bell

As a younger woman, I lived by the rule of indispensibility. There was that sense that the world would shift into a holding pattern, if, by chance I was rendered unable to fulfill a responsibility or GASP not fill my calendar to maximum capacity. Arrogance? No, I don't believe it was out of a sense of arrogance, moreover, I think it was a committment to continuity and, yes, pridefulness. There, I said it, pride. Bleh, somewhat of an ugly word. It is one thing to be "proud" of my children for making wise choices or being kind to another, but it is a separate derivative to be "prideful".

My current Bible Study breaks pridefulness into small, itty, bitty pieces that unfortunately reflect a huge host of faux paus on my part. It is all good, change happens. Repentance exists. If change were not necessary, repentance and forgiveness would not be alive and well. But, they are. God designed it this way, that we might live, learn and change. The biggest change came into my life when the Lord blessed me with children.

Children are messy. Plain and simple, they are messy. Children get sick, they have fears, they come complete with their own set of traits and trailers that will bless us one moment and frustrate us the next. They come with no roadmap, guidebook, or hired help to navigate the process. And so, some of the most transparent moments in my life are painted on the canvas of my children. I learned to let go of the calendar early in Emily's life discovering that her life was not some clean, clear cut version of my life. My ambitions of being everything to everyone had to be set aside, in order that I might mother this precious little person with all the gusto God had intended. As she grows and matures, here I am, once again, letting go. With each new step, milestone and discovery, there is a process of holding on and yes, letting go.

Then, there was Hannah. The wait. Letting go of my timing. I had a plan, people. I planned to be married by 24, children all completed by 30, back to work by get the picture. A divorce at 28 seriously interrupted my plan. Being remarried at 31, having babies, losing babies...none of it was part of the plan!

Or was it?

All of those events led us to a beautiful little agency not far from our home to adopt a little girl. They said we would wait 9 months. It was two years. Two.Long.Years! Given today's wait times, I hesitate to mention our wait time. When you are the family waiting, regardless of time and space, it is always too long. Again, I was faced with letting go. I let go of my selfish desire to be pregnant again. I had to release my will, my plan, to be replaced by God's perfect timing and His perfect will for our family. In retrospect, it all seems great, but while walking the walk, not an easy task.

Years ago, my grandmother was ill. My mother worked hard with social services to have her moved to a safer environment, however, my grandmother's primary care physician felt she was just fine where she was. She was a smoker, the doctor had her on several different medications, it did not make for a good scenerio and my mother was not blind to this. My grandmother was unkind to my mother on many occasions, disregarding my mom's complete and total committment to caring for her. One cold November night, I prayed. I prayed the Lord would bring peace and tranquility; that He would resolve this seemingly unsolvable problem. That same week, my grandmother's home burned to the ground, my grandmother was lost in the fire. We all know I blamed myself for that prayer. I did not pray for that to happen, I prayed for a solution. The answer was not what I had wanted. It took years for me to "let it go", for God to show me the goodness in the way that things transpired.

This fall, I was asked to teach third grade for a long term sub. I was anxious to be back in a classroom and really loved the challenge. As much as eighteen hour days separated me from my family and our sense of "normal", I was thrilled to be serving the Lord in this capacity. I was blessed to fill in for a teacher, who for all her gifts and talents, was only in her second year and was willing to allow me some creative outlet in that classroom. Her laid back style and complete trust lended itself to huge responsibility for me and I am so grateful to her. I fell in love with 24 amazing third graders. And here comes the hard part...about three weeks ago, I had to "let go". I had to graciously step aside. Even when we know it is coming, letting go can be painful.

Whether we are holding onto our children, our responsibility, our fear, our grudges, our pride, letting go is hard. It is necessary. But it is hard. Especially in this season of Christmas, we are assured of a Savior. A Savior who is willing to take it on for us. What finer gift could any of us expect this Christmas season? Be blessed during this time of Jesus' birth and the newness of another year. Do you have something you need to let go of? Maybe God is calling you to that now...

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Saturday, September 19, 2009

From the Inside Out

So apparently, I am on a bloggy break (smile). However, I am interrupting this break for a post. I know. Surprised me a bit also. It is not that I don't have a hundred posts twirling in my head, it is that I feel the need to get certain things in order and fortunately or unfortunately, I am comfortable allowing the blog to take the blow until the timing is right.

Of course, I'd love to post about back to school because this year, three in our family went back. I accepted a long term sub opportunity for a third grade class, Emily headed back in the second grade and Hannah is now a big three year old in her preschool!

Our littest ladybug is on her new school induced schedule and even those weekend days don't prevent her little body from waking very early in the morning. So, as we wiped the drowsy from our eyes this beautiful autumn morning, I sought to be productive. I felt led to clean the windows! All.of.them.

The windows should easily fold in so that the inside and outside can be cleaned with ease. Some of the windows did not yield easily. And it caused me pause...I thought about our own inability to yield to the process of getting clean from the inside out. It is pretty simple to clean up the outside, polishing up our seen and visible places and carefully hiding away our unseen places. The thing about a window is, they are or should be transparent. So, it stands to reason that even when the outside is clean, the inside needs to be polished as well.

Who would think a task as mundane as washing the windows could evoke such deep thoughts? But it did. And I considered all the ways the Lord wants me to clean up the inside just as pretty as I clean up the outside (most days:) I am excited to begin a new year of Bible Study with a host of amazing women. What a blessing to know them, pray with them, parent with them and walk our walk together. We will be dealing with brokenness and blind spots. To some scary, to me, another path I'm led to travel and hopefully windex away the grime and dirt that clogs up my life.

The actual act of cleaning also brought about some awesome thoughts. The first window remains home to a mother spider and her babies. As I folded out the window, I caught a glimpse of her and her many offspring, as they scrambled away from my enemy hands. I thought of how miraculous life is, all life, even tiny lives. The second window had a giant knothole in the wood below the transom. It reminded me of the endless hours Rob spent building each and every frame. Our great room is some of his finest work and it made me extra grateful for Rob's gifts, his devotedness to his family and the many ways he has made our life beautiful. Each window was a glimpse into another place in our life; where Emily's mural once was in her nursery...where the sunlight trickles in on an antique tea cart handed down to us from Rob's parents... the window I stare out when the children are not well and I am awake all night... the one that holds a suncatcher Hannah made just for Emily, Tinkerbell, to be exact...such peace each window gave me. Content peace, not just happy, it reminded me how content our family is with our many blessings. Perhaps, not glamorous, but most definitely blessed.

So today, I leave you with this there a window that needs to be polished in your life? Are you transparent? Or does the dirt and grime of life clog up the view? My prayer for all of us this day is that our windows will sparkle from the inside out!

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Monday, August 17, 2009

The All American Pastime


Yep, who doesn't love a great baseball game? Well, truth be told, I am not CRAZY about them, but I do enjoy the occasional run around the diamond. Up until now, the little ladybugs had expressed no interest in being taken out to the ballgame. But, as we all know, they grow, they learn, they hear...they wanted to live out the words to the tune..."buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks, I don't care if I ever get back."

You get the picture.

So, in a very impromptu decision, we headed off the city of brotherly love to catch an evening of good ol' American fun. Or so we thought.

We walked through the parking lot holding hands and singing (yes, really we did) but alas the story turns ugly quickly. We crossed the threshold to the ticketing center, everyone is all smiles. We are dressed accordingly in our cherry and white. The children appeared downright eager and a bit shiny, happy, if I do say so myself.

Rob steps up, he swings, and it's SOLD OUT!

We had not once taken into consideration the team we were about to try to see were world champions. Can you hear the crickets chirping? Dead silence, as Rob turned and looked at me. We felt like Chevy Chase in a bad scene from Vacation, and the happy, shiny children were not yet aware that we were being turned away.

And then, as she processed what the ticket man had said, Emily looks up at her daddy, makes contact with the reality, and busts into yes, THE UGLY CRY!

Oh no.

This was NOT the evening we had envisioned. Something inside of me wanted to assure her that peanuts and crackerjacks were really bad for her teeth, and the team might lose anyway, but I kept my silent vigil and slowly began to inch toward a concrete pillar, so I could just hear her sobs. Hannah, following my lead, stepped quickly to stand on my feet, as her sister was beginning to scare her. What is up with the little red-headed girl? I knew what was up with the little red-headed girl, she wanted to see her first baseball game, so I prayed. I did not pray we would get in, I prayed Em's heart would be soothed, and that His will would be done that night; and I prayed He would forgive me for my sports ignorance and poor planning.

Gleeful people passed us as they went to the will-call booth and other ticket windows only to be turned away and assured there were no tickets. After what seemed like an eternity, Rob stepped back, placed his arms around Emily and began working his way toward Hannah and I, when he stopped him.

The ticket man in window 6.

He said the little red-haired girl was "breaking his heart".

Rob stepped forward. The man was whispering, then he was up and moving, then he was discussing, first with one person, then with two, then he had an assortment of persons discussing at box 6. Then, as quickly as we had been denied, he waved us forward, issuing "standing room only" tickets.

A manager came to escort us in, he showed us to the customer service area to get "MY FIRST GAME" certificates for the girls. We promptly bought some very-bad-for-you cotton candy and a token stuffed bear that plays "All-Star". We settled in right behind the third baseline, where the little red-haired girl, in all her glory, watched the entire game and cheered that team, regardless of the score. Even telling those award winning Phils, "It is okay." when they lost miserably.

There are many morals to this story and some may begin with tips on perfect parenting and planning, however we all know no perfect parent exists, and that lesson in and of itself is incredibly valuable. Yet, I must offer, I am far more intrigued with the kind man in ticket booth six. His willingness to allow his heart to choose his path was rather moving. It was obvious that he chose to speak to his superiors not because we insisted or stomped our feet, but because he saw in that child, his own child. He knew he may get refused, but he tried anyway. And he blessed a family he did not know.

Consequently, I wrote the baseball organization with a personal thank you detailing the events of that night. And I got a personal response from the ticket man in window six. I will just say the only strike-outs that happened that evening were on the field, our family and the man in window six were blessed beyond measure.

"Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up our neighbor." Romans 15:2

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Merry-Go-Round

"Childhood is a short season." ~ Helen Hayes

It is a short season. It seemed like when we were young we were invincible. Ghosts in the Graveyard and Run the Bases occupied our summer nights. Teachers and tests replaced our games in the fall. Trips to the amusement park never seemed to get old and certainly the carousel was never too childish. After all, gathering the most rings was really fun :)

An afternoon spent under our big pin oak in our side yard was utter joy. My dad would scoop up hoards of leaves in the fall and we'd roll down the hill, landing straightaway in the middle of that mountain of dust and mold...and we called it fun! My cousins and I played endlessly with the classic Barbie dolls, we played Make me Laugh until we cried, we laughed so hard.

I would be lying if I said I didn't miss those days. Most definitely, my days have been replaced with a different kind of fun...I now see delight through the eyes of Emily and Hannah. But, every now and again, when the wind whips through my hair and I run like a child, I remember the moments of my own childhood. The ones that shaped me and blessed me more than I ever realized until I had children of my own. I noticed as I rooted through pictures that some of my very favorite shots were taken on the merry-go-round. I thought of how ironic it was that Rob and I had our favorite wedding picture captured on a spinning carousel. Foreshadowing? Nah.

When we are little we enjoy the cacophony of music and motion as the carousel moves round and round, up and down. Adulthood is not so different. Round and round, up and down...can you relate? It is just a different sensation now. I think I'd choose to go back to my childhood love of the carousel, which does not include the complexities of worry and fear that our adult version includes. was simpler. And it was indeed, short.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Window of Time

Max Lucado said the following about marriage, speaking of his parents married over 40 years when his dad went home to the Lord...

"What they had was a forever marriage - a marriage in which two people, eyeball to eyeball, say I’m going to love you when I don’t feel like loving you. I’m going to love you when you’re sick. When we have money and when we don’t. I’m going to love you forever.
Marriage demands the greatest level of tenacity and talent and tenderness that any human being can summon."

I don't know about you, but that is the marriage I is the marriage I vowed to live. Forever.

Eight years ago, today, I said "I do!" to my sweet husband. And he said the same to me. I love this picture of my nieces and I, as we waited in the bridal room for our guests to arrive. If I could have taken a peek into our future, just as I glanced out this window, I would have been surprised at some of the things we would face as we began our married life.

These eight years have had their share of difficult circumstances, but overriding all of that has been a tremendous amount of joy. We have weathered financial strain, joblessness, death, construction, accidents, family turmoil and illness. In fact, the summer we were married, I removed myself from an annual mission trip to tend to some serious concerns with my Chrohn's disease. As I recall, it was my soon-to-be husband who took on that storm and never once left my side. Several of our grown-up youth recently reminded me of this. Why was it so important to them? They told us with weepy eyes that it set the standard for expectations in suitors for themselves.

In these eight years, we began sharing a home, a life...we were blessed with a beautiful baby girl, blessed again with a little beauty from China, added a roomy addition to the home Rob built, made new friends, restored ties with old friends, honored one another, and our children and are seeking so much more. We have learned about communication and cooperation. We have learned about disappointment and navigating the curveballs thrown our way with grace and dignity. We have learned about resting and renewing. We have learned acceptance, in it's truest form, and the meaning of unconditional love. All that to say, we don't always do it right ;) but we are striving for it every single day.

So, as I peek out the window to see what is out there for us now, I see so many more years in this life that we love. I see us better, smarter, stronger, definitely older but hopefully wiser, more faithful and prayerfully more in love than ever.

Happy Anniversary, honey. I love you!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What Every Mother Wants to Hear

Emily just completed a science class at our local library. She loved it!

The first day, my goggle-faced girl came running breathlessly to me and proclaimed, "Mom, we are going to grow bacteria!."

Oh. Yay. Rock on science girl.

Purell anyone?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Narrator

First, you put on your leeeeotard. Den, you get some shoes, but any shoes are okay because the teeechhr makes you take dem off anyway. Den we get into the car, no, wait, Mommy gets a yoyyipop and some gum as a reward, when I do good, and she puts them in her purts (purse) before we leave, because we know how hard it is for me to go in that room by myself. Otay, den we get in de car and Mommy drives past de pretzel place to my gymnastics bildin (building). Den we go in the door and wait til the teeeechr is done wif his odder class. Den he says my name and I go to gymnastics. I yike de jumping and flipping, today I did a carwheeeeel (well sort of). At the end, we get stamps and den I run to Mommy and Emmy and dey give me my yoyyipop. It's all good! :)

Hannah's newest thing is to narrate even the simplest of tasks. One would be amazed at the number of steps involved in getting a glass of juice or loading the dishwasher. I asked her the other day if her tongue ever gets tired from all the talking and surprisingly she said, "No".(smile) Then, I suppose my ears are not tired either!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Painted Sky

This past Fourth of July, we did something a little different. Unplanned. Spur of the moment. Fly by the seat of our pants...and it worked!

Some years, we have watched fireworks from our porch, some in my brother's back yard; my sister-in-law can shoot off a mean bottle rocket :) However, we have never actually gone to see them. We had been to the parade, hosted family for lunch and after the girls were bathed and getting ready for bed, I suggested it. How 'bout if we ride up to see the fireworks? We were all for it. The traffic there was unbelievable, all I can say is thank goodness we had Hannah's potty in the car! And the traffic home was way worse but it was well worth it.

On the way, the sun was setting and we hit a stretch of road where the sky above us was huge and this gorgeous orangey-red. Emily noticed it first and she and Hannah discussed how the sky at that moment may very well be BETTER than fireworks. After all, God must have painted it just for them. Imagine the size of that brush! I assure you, this was part of the discussion from the rear of the car.

We found a good spot to park, we popped the tailgate and the fireworks began! It was perfect timing. Emily noted when we were leaving, "He painted the sky for us and then lit it up, pretty good." To which Hannah replied, "Yay God!"

Yay, indeed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And the Winner is...

Today's the day! In celebration of our 200th post, I am giving away a two book series complete with a cd. The books are titled, "Motivating your Man, God's Way" and are penned by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. Dr. Eggerichs and his wife are the founders of the Love and Respect Program.

So, I enlisted the help of my most accomplished assistant, Emily :) and this is how it went down.

We wrote everyone's names on little pieces of paper

My faithful assistant folded each slip twice

We shook the bowl A LOT! And then she closed her eyes...

and the winner is...Sharon!

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Every Morning

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

I love doing this post in the heart of the summer, when the trees are green and birds are flitting about our yard. The smell of freshly cut grass wafts in the windows, that I am leaving open, despite the allergies, just because the days are so beautiful.

Years ago, my dear friend Mary walked me through a trial in my life. She and our friend Leanna, flooded my mailbox with cards and encouragement. With each passing year, that valley I walked seems further and further away. It makes sense though, that I took away something incredibly important that reverberates every now and again in it's sheer simplicity.

God's mercies are new every morning.

There were other scriptures that Mary called upon during that time. There were other scriptures that became my montra during that season of my life, however, the pure fact that His mercies are new every morning comes back in waves (or in the waves:). Here is the cool thing...I used to relate that fact to a direct correlation that something had to be wrong or the days had to be filled with strife in order to receive His new mercies. We had to NEED His new mercies, not in the mundane everyday-ness but in BIG, colossal lamenting type ways. The chosen verse from the book of Lamentations, which is just that, a lament for Jerusalem being destroyed in the beginning chapters, shifts gears midway through the chapter and focuses solely on God's goodness and merciful spirit. This is a reminder to me that lamenting does not always precede the recognition of His mercies. Lamenting may make us more aware, but the truth is, regardless of our circumstance, His mercies are new every morning.

Like His grace, those mercies are a gift, undeserved, yet so graciously doled out! It hit me on the beach last week as I watched three very sweet friends get baptized in the ocean. A Godly family, our friends have no apparent strife or struggle except the normal daily rigors of living. However, that Sunday morning as they prayed together about Sharon (the mommy), Joshua (the son), and Gabrielle (the daughter) being baptized by a pastor-friend from a sister church, His mercies were new that morning. Something new was about to happen that day. The details of what happens after their baptism is between them and God, but we felt so thankful to be there to witness this big day in their lives.

Gabrielle waiting...

Joshua went first...the waves were really high, as you can see! The pastors prayed for him and dunked just shortly after this shot.

Gabrielle went next

Sharon played "clean up" and was baptized last...her husband, Jim was baptized in Israel in February!


You can visit Sharon's blog to see her own accounting of this special time in their lives.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I know. It has been a long time since I did a Thankful Thursday. But, I am feeling grateful for all the blessings in our life.

I am thankful for friends. Treasured friends from years past to new friends we've just made...they are all special. We recently attended a graduation party for one of my former youth group girlies. It was awesome! There is something about seeing them all grown up. Some are dating, some are graduating with their Master's degrees, some are finding new jobs or homes. I love seeing their lives unfold and the choices they are making. I love the way they love our children. The following day we had lunch with some others in the photo!

Megan, Jack Jr., Alissa (holding Hannah) Emily and I, Jacquelyn and Katie

Sweet friends of ours invited us to spend a couple of days with them at the beach. It was pure bliss. We had a great time and were simply happy to just be alongside our friends. Emily said we could have done absolutely nothing the whole time and she still would have had the best time ever. Thank you friends, we are so very grateful. There were some incredibly special moments during our time together...those I will save for a separate post. They are worth the wait. ;)

Emily and Gabrielle

Hannah, Gabrielle, Emily, Anna, Joshua

Joshua, Jim and Gabrielle on the Sea Dragon (our boring family said no thank you :)

I am thankful for family reunions. My family has them pretty frequently, but a few weeks ago, we got to meet some of Rob's extended family. It was a gorgeous day in a gorgeous location. We had a great time, and the kids totally enjoyed themselves. Emily reunited with a couple of long-distance cousins she had not seen since Rob's grandfather passed away. It was like time had stood still.

Sage, Hannah and Emily

Emily and Sage...they are now corresponding via email (so cute!)

I want to be where the big girls are!

Hannah going warp speed on her Plasma car

Emily and Charlotte

I am thankful for swimming lessons, playdates, VBS and camps...but, honestly, I love the simplicity of summer. I like that although we plan plenty of visiting and activities, there is some down time to read, reflect and be outside. The girls went on their first fishing trip last week with the help of Rob's Uncle Scott and Em caught her first sunny! That girl can cast a line!!! Next time, different bait and different location to see if her sister can snag a few.

I caught my first fish!!! (I know it is hard to see, but it is there!)

I am thankful for juicy watermelon, big fat blueberries, sunshine, chlorine, family, friends, bicycles and fireflies. God bless summer!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!!

God Bless America!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's in the Translation

Well, here we are at our 200th post! I feel like I should ring a big bell or set off some hefty fireworks (Fourth of July is right around the corner). 200 posts. I love to write and this is a perfect forum to feed my random stream of consciousness. Though, lately finding the time to put into words all the many lifes' lessons I desire to share has become a task. So, I am committing myself to writing at least twice a week (more if the opportunity arises:) AND I am seeking to get back to reading others' blogs again. I miss y'all. I miss seeing the lovely faces of your children, trying new recipes, seeing the newest paint chips and hiding in my heart the treasures of God's word that you share so eloquently and diligently.

***In honor of writing and sharing, I have chosen to center this entire post around the translation of a message and am hosting my very first giveaway (details below!)***

A few weeks ago, when Hannah and my mother were spending a lot of quality time together, Hannah spat out a sentence undistingusihable to my mother but very clear to Miss Thing and her attitude. My mother gave her a look that cried out, "HUH?", to which Hannah again responded with the same verbage she had previously used, and still, that one word was eluding my sweet mother. "Yook, Nan I see da vewwy cute buuuuuud." Bud, bead, bug, bulb, bird, bag...any of them could have been the one and quite honestly my mother wasn't seeing any of those items. Hannah's frustration mounted and my mother sheepishly requested her to somehow try again. So, Hannah in the infinite wisdom of a two year old took my mother's face in her hands and very, very sternly said, "TWEET, TWEET, TWEET." Ahhh, bird.

I have to admit, this is very indicative of Hannah's personality. When she cannot get us to understand, she finds an alternative route to get to the same place. But, it got me to thinking about communication in general. My own marriage, in fact, many days needs a communication tune-up...I think of the desperate need for Rob and I to not just share information, but to truly understand one another. We recently attended a video marriage conference entitled, "Love and Respect" hosted by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and his wife Sarah.

I could write for hours on the principles that Dr. Eggerichs presents and the incredibly funny way he presents them. Yes, you do walk away feeling you can call him by his first name and I felt every ounce of passion he has for helping couples to literally love and respect one another. My only advice, if you can do this series, go to see them, have a book they have penned, do it. Live it. It has been life changing for us. My first bloggy giveaway will be

The book and cd set of Motivating Your Man to Love God's Way!! Just leave a comment and for every comment left, you will have a chance to win the 2 book and cd series. One of the ladybugs will choose a winner July 15

Our generation should be some of the best communicators, constantly plugged in and forever clicking away on blackberries and mini laptops. I must admit though, with all of this technology and immediate gratification, some things may be getting lost in the translation. Just maybe, I think, it may have been our parents' generation that had better information sharing methods. My parents have always had a pretty consistent manner of communicating with one another. There were many years my father travelled extensively for work and they had to have a system. However, it is important to note, when my father was very young and in the service, he worked on airplanes. Very NOISY airplanes. So, he is virtually deaf in one ear. Now, I am no expert, but I would venture a guess that the other ear is not so hot either :) This little tidbit has wreaked havoc on my dear old dad for years. Why does he not get a hearing aid, you ask? Well, we are still scratching our heads about that.

At any rate, many things have been lost in the translation with my dad, orders in restaurants, questions from his students, the grandchildren speaking to him. But, make no mistake, my father is a good willed and fine man. He has more integrity in his little toe than most men acquire in a lifetime. As far as his faith and his ability to share his love with us, that has certainly never slipped from our radar. But, the following encounter has rendered me hysterical numerous times over the years.

I was in college at the time. I still lived at home. My mother worked at a local department store and my father picked her up after her shift on the weekends. That Saturday night, my dad asked if I wanted to ride over with him. Sure. It was very late and my mother got into the car. She innocently asked him a simple question,
"Did you kill the wasps?" (A wasp's nest was overtaking a tree in our side yard) to which he replied,
"Yeah, yeah, I did a load of white." My mother chuckled and I all out lost it.
She clarified for him, "No, no the bugs, did you get the bugs?" Still, the ears were not with him,
"Rugs, why would I wash the rugs?" We laughed until we cried. I know it is one of those moments you had to have been there to understand, however almost twenty years later, we still have those moments.

Consequently, my dad had sprayed the wasp's nest in addition to the other tasks he performed that day. But, I always find it noteworthy it takes so little to misunderstand the intentions of those around us. Dr. Eggerichs pointed out in our marriage encounter that people are generally good-willed, most of those around us are good willed people. My father was certainly good-willed that day, however his ears failed him. So, how often is our translation of a conversation vastly different than how the other person interpreted it? It amazes me how one single glance can speak volumes, while a fifteen minute dissertation to my children on loving one another can result in two defiant mini-me's casting blame from themselves and to each other, just wanting to "win". After all, they are incredibly good willed people, right? Right.

It's all in the translation. As I deeper study the Bible, I am fascinated by the translations of the written word of God. It becomes abundantly clear that there is very little wiggle room in translating the hard and fast facts presented in the ultimate book of all books. Yet, we attend bible studies and many times we take away different things, perhaps it meets us where we are in that moment. There is one verse that speaks to me when I may be sunken in my human spirit. There are those moments I misunderstand, when my heart is hardened or angry. I try to find a place that will renew my good-willed-ness :)

"I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

It is simple, no translation needed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mama Drama

Drama. I feel like I have heard that word so much lately. I am self admittedly a drama-phobe. It goes along nicely with my fear of germs and my fear of snakes. I am fully aware of God's assurances about fear, yet amazingly, my human self still becomes a bit unkept when in the presence of these three issues.

These past six weeks I was blessed to take a long term sub position with Emily's school. I was assigned to a wonderful kindergarten class. I fell head over heels in love with twenty beautiful children. I honed skills I have not used in several years and I saw a fair share of drama over those weeks. Personally and professionally. The teacher, who was attending to her husband's medical issues at home was in and out of the classroom to tie up loose ends. She happened to mention drama and I advised somewhat in jest, "I don't do drama."

In all truthfulness, whether we like or not some amount of drama will likely enter our bubbles at some point. We both knew I was not mocking her current situation, quite the opposite, I was encouraging her and offering any and every support I could. The reality is drama happens. Sometimes it is the very essence of a certain relationship, sometimes it comes in the form of health-related curveballs that throw us into trenches we would rather not visit, sometimes it is the necessary evil when we choose to abandon what we know is right. Whatever drama enters our lives, my prayer is that we gain something significant from the experience, that we grow from the trial and broaden our scope.

I happened to catch award -winning drama, "Good Will Hunting" on tv a few days ago. I was ironing and used the tv as a companion while Rowenta worked her special brand of magic. I first saw this movie in the theater. As a psychology buff, I envisioned sitting rapt with attention as the drama played out on the screen. That was not to be...I was so disgusted with the language in this movie that I could not remotely enjoy it. I saw the dilemma of the young man pushing a broom for MIT when he should have been sitting in the classes himself. I absolutely understood the baggage he carried from years of abuse and abandonment, yet I could not get past the blatent disregard for his character; to make him sound so incredibly idiotic with language that undermined the true gifts this young man had been blessed with. In my twenties, I was judgemental, a bit fundamental and when I saw this movie, I was still married for the first time, with very little experience in drama.

When I viewed this movie last week, I am still fundamental, though less judgemental than I used to be. I was able to clearly view the movie without the added annoyance of bad was on a regular station and all of the vulgarity had been removed. But, this time, it was not the movie that had changed, I am different. I am twelve years older and hopefully wiser. I have seen more drama than I care to mention. Deaths, sicknesses, lost friendships, infidelities, break-ups, many things, not necessarily my battles but battles I have seen and prayers I have lifted over the years. I am deeper in my spiritual walk and seeking the Lord on a very different level, as a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter. It is not time that grows us, it is the way we handle the drama that encroaches our small, little space.

As relationships go, I am honest when I say I don't do drama. I don't like potstirring and I certainly don't like conflict. I won't engage. I am slow to anger and quick to forgive. I am passionate about being an encourager and even with all that said, sometimes drama still has a way of niggling it's way in.

I am not a panic button mommy. I can be over protective and I do take very seriously my role. I trust the Lord to protect us and to guide us, however, I am fully aware that He will expect me to do my share as well. With Emily's most recent health issues, I clearly see my need to lean not to my own understanding. As we slog through her batteries of tests, I am reflective, prayerful and quiet. I recognize my need to do this.

These weeks have rendered me a bit motion sick, up and down, up and down. I find great comfort and truth in this passage from Isaiah 42:16,

" I will lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they have not known I will guide them. I will turn darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them."

Do you have some Mama Drama? How can I pray for you today?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yea for Three, Hannah Leigh

"Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow." James 1:17

I shared today with my kindergarten class what it means to be patient. We were discussing the fruits of the spirit and I wanted to help them understand the concept of waiting. And there it deepest desire fulfilled not in a traditional sense or quite the way I expected, but fulfilled none the less in a beautiful little girl we chose to name Hannah Leigh. For you, Hannah we waited and rejoiced. For you, Hannah, we know the Lord specifically chose for us to be a family.

I wish I could tell you so much more about this wonderful day three years ago, but I will be content in knowing that two years ago, we celebrated your very first birthday. Ladybugs were everywhere. You, our sweet little ladybug, were a bit overwhelmed. I am in awe of all that these two years have taught us as a family.

I love that you stroke my arm and tell me how much you love me.

I love that you wake in the morning just waiting for Daddy to come get you. You have your morning date, eating cereal together and talking. It makes Mommy's heart happy to see you enjoy this special time with your daddy.

When you do anything, you do it with your whole heart and you tell everyone all about it. There are no secrets with you Hannah. Your tenacity can be completely mind-boggling for us, but we know without doubt that the Lord made you just this way for a reason. Regardless of what His reasons may be, we trust His plan and see the beauty in your persistence.

You are not crazy about toys. We know some of your friends are not either. I think sometimes you are just ahead of your time.

As much as you and Emily may disagree or vie for attention, you love one another. You look up to her. You want to be like her and you are convinced you are a big girl just like Emily.

You LOVE Jesus. You will sing with great abandon and share with others how much Jesus loves us. You remind us to pray and love when it is your turn.

It takes a long time to gain your trust, but I love this quality about you. You are thoughtful and discerning.

You know your story by heart and with each milestone you reach, you understand a bit more the significance of your big airplane ride. You think it is completely cool and we pray you will always feel that way.

Your smile lights up a room and most definitely illuminates our lives. You smile so much now, it is hard for me to remember those first months together and the sadness that once touched all of our hearts. Our prayers have been answered in your joy.

Hannah, we cannot wait to see what is ahead of us with "3". Have a wonderful birthday sweetheart and a beautiful year. We love you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hiding Out

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1

Toshiba, my trusty laptop, looked at me the other day. Dusty and forlorn, he stared, feeling the lack of attention he has been recieving lately. He knows other things have occupied my thoughts and time. I have taken a long term sub opportunity until the end of the school year. Birthdays and dance recitals abound. Our docile two year old has morphed into a VERY busy almost three year old and the terrible twos are gliding dangerously close to the traumatic threes. Lately, it feels as though we have been hiding a bit, dwelling in the secret place until the waters calm a bit.

One thing we all know for sure is that the only certain thing about each day is uncertainty. I think that is half the fun of life, never being quite sure of what is going to pop up next. When those uncertainties hit, how do others get through it? Amidst uncertainty, we can always be sure, I mean 100 percent sure of the love of God. He is our secret place, a place to dwell when it is hectic, unknown, when we are unsure...because He is certain. He is solid, stable, our firm foundation.

This has been a strange year. One frought with uncertainty in every area of our lives. Rob's work is always tentative, the struggling economy, layoffs and depleted overtime reduce others' ability to make renovations in their homes. The trickle down effect means that we have experienced many workless weeks this year. When I review those stressful times for us though, I see how the Lord provided work for me even when there was no work for him.

Emily has struggled with four stomach viruses this school year, two of which rendered her limp and lifeless in the hospital. This weekend we had the unexpected midnight trek to the ER. Emily came home from the hospital Monday. She is not feeling well and not eating yet, but even in the midst of her being ill, I see the good in humanity...friends and family who show support, people who pray, nurses and doctors who truly exhibit the love Jesus intended as they care for our child. At this point we are considering this was yet another virus, however the doctors are exploring some other less desirable outcomes. But even as undesirable as they may be, they are not horrible. So we are thankful.

For many, this year has been freckled with similar issues or concerns but I daily see the goodness that is God hard at work and I am thankful for the miracles we get to witness each and everyday when we are willing to be open to them. In the shadow of the Almighty, I see so clearly the light.

For those of you who have sent messages and checked in, thank you! Our blog will remain just where it is. I am hopeful the summer will bring some time to post all of the posts I have missed along this busy way. For those of you I daily check in on, I will be back and I miss seeing what you have been up to.

As I return to my duties of fingerpainting with the small fry and pedialtye nazi with our big ladybug, I will post some of our joyful moments over the past few weeks. I am ever reminded of His mercy amidst the craziness of daily life.

Our dear friend, Gabrielle's 7th Birthday party

Our weekends have been on overdrive since April, Rob working, parties, we scheduled Em's birthday party for the day after her birthday. On her actual birthday, we had a celebration as soon as she woke up.

Emily's face the morning of her birthday, she just caught a glimpse of her new California Chariot

Kit, one of her American Girl dolls got a scooter too!

The next day, her party was such fun.

Kyle tickled the ivories for us :)

Emily had a few gifts to open, this year she has chosen to collect gently used toys to donate to the Center for the Blind in hopes of raising money for Seeing Eye Dogs. If we choose to do a children's party over the summer, she will continue to collect.

The kids clowned around!

A friend will always help you put your candles on the cake!

Emily, Joshua and Gabrielle rode their chariots

Hannah hung out with Amanda, little buddies!

Amanda was next celebrating her 13th birthday!!

More clowning kids!!

A quiet moment for Hannah and Kipper

Marshmellows by the fire pit, mmmmm

Next up to blow out three little candles, Miss Hannah!


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