Have a dressed up day!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent

We do our Advent devotions and double up again.  My priorities slip under the weight of the season.  I promise to do better.  So glad He is good.

We read of Jacob and the night he slept under the stars with a rock for a pillow.  Of the promises God made to him.  Of his words to test God.  How the Father never fails a test.

We sing Jacob's Ladder.  Sweet son draws my ladder.  Everywhere is a house of God. 



We read of Joseph.  We talk about the colorful lights of Christmas and Joseph's colorful coat and how he helped prepare the way for the baby.  We smile at the way God teaches us,  as the children we are.


We read of Joseph forgiving his brothers.  Our assignment to forgive.  To write name on paper.  I think of her and how I thought I had forgiven.  Then why would I remember - with a hurting heart.  So I write down her name, looking at each letter, and I pray for her but more for me.

I pull my baby son onto my lap and try to explain forgiveness.  I point to the soft spot that holds his heart and remember how Trey hurt him the night before. 

He's a baby, only two.  He didn't mean to hurt you.

He made me mad, Mommy.

I hug him close and ask him if he can forgive and let Trey be his friend.  My son smiles and teaches me -

He alwa be my friend.

I spell the letters and he writes.
 

We slip his paper under the Jesse Tree and I slip mine under my pillow.

We place the ornaments on the tree.  And wait, for the baby.





Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blog Party

Wow, I should do this more often.

Last night fellow bloggers and sweet friends of mine came over for our first blog gathering.  We shared food with one another and lots of laughs.

I got in my ten smiles and more.

Now there's lots of blog recommendations I need to check out and a cheesecake cookie recipe I have to make.

Stephanie walked in with these babies on a green polka-dot platter and I didn't know which I wanted more - the dessert or the platter.  Chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake together.  Oh my.



We made apple pies in jars and sweetly loved on one another. 







The clock chimed 1:20am before we called it a night.

Thanks to all of you for a wonderful evening.  And I made a gallon - I repeat - a gallon of homemade hot chocolate I left in the fridge.  So, now y'all must come back.

Right now, I'm gonna go take a shower - or maybe just move his towel.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Lord will Provide

We're waiting for Christ to come. 

It is only Christ alone who can make Christmas.

Ann says these words in the book she so generously offered for free.  The Jesse Tree Journey.

Last night it was cold and marshmallows were needing to be roasted. 


We gathered around a fire outside and feasted on their yummy goodness in preparation for Advent words from the Father.  When Max who doesn't eat them only roast them had more marshmallows on the ground than in our bellies we began the gentle words of the Word.

We smiled at the birth of Sarah's long awaited son, Isaac.  At his name which means laughter.  At Sarah's words,

. . .  I've given the old man a son! Genesis 21:7 

We laughed at the words of God making us the happiest people.   At my off tune rendition of fa-la-la-la, la, la, la, la.  Max stuck another marshmallow on the fire as I silently hurt deep for my baby sister.  As I clung to the hope of miracles.

We received our assignment.  To keep a smile on our face all day tomorrow.  To look for three opportunities to make someone laugh with us.  


He's Too Good To Me and I look at each other over the fire, knowing things are tougher than they have been in years, we're not so sure of this assignment.

We are behind so we double up and I had not read ahead and did not know this thought of fire for my children, what would be fun for them, would represent the words to come.  The altar. 


 In moments our laughter fades and Izzy's face is in despair.  Her mouth and eyes wide has I read the words spoken by our Father to Abraham.

Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I'll point out to you.  Genesis 22:2

What?  she says.  Mama, no.

She knows this God of hers.  She knows He asks things not so easily given.  She knows this is possible.  She waits along beside us for the coming of the baby, the one God himself will sacrifice. 

I hesitate as I realize she's forgotten this story of Isaac.  It's been too long.

I don't reassure her and continue to read.  She's leaned forward and through smoke I see it in her eyes.  Fear of the words coming, fear for Isaac.  She knows this is truth, not just a story.  She's having a moment we all have, thinking we know more than God, questioning.

I hear the catch of her breath as I read,

Abraham built an altar.  He laid out the wood.  Then he tied up Isaac and laid him on the wood.  Abraham reached out and took the knife to kill his Son.  Genesis 22: 9-10.

I look to her daddy and see him watching her carefully.  Anticipating . . .

Just then an angel of God called to him out of Heaven, "Abraham!  Abraham!"  "Yes, I'm listening." Genesis 22:11

Yes he was listening.  Waiting for a word.  He was gripped by fear as he held the knife.  His heart screaming to his God to stop this, please find another way.  But he continued as he loved God more and he would obey and then our God of the greatest gifts . . .

I hear her release of breath before I hear the small laugh, the nervous relax as I continue,

"Don't lay a hand on that boy!  Don't touch him!  Now I know how fearlessly you fear God; you didn't hesitate to place your son, your dear son, on the altar for me."  Genesis 22: 12

She breathes deep and slumps in her chair. 

I knew that, I hoped that, she says.

First we hoped, and as a world watched our Father came in the form of the greatest gift and gave Himself, His only Son as a sacrifice.  To die so we would live.

And now we know.

We await the birth of this baby.  Read the story to Max from his Bible.  Place the Advent ornaments on the tree.  Lay ourselves before as an altar.









   And smiling?  Some days are difficult and I awake this morning and look out at the cold fire.  Bad news and no news hovers and I wonder about my ten smiles today.  And laughter - that will be even harder.  He kisses me as he leaves and reassures me and I reassure him and love him deeply.

This One and Only God I worship gifts abundantly.  And Abraham called that mountaintop "The Lord will Provide."  And the provision of Jesus came and He stays forever. 


Monday, December 6, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

We stand in the kitchen and argue about the wirecutters he found in the dirt pile.  Coated with rust and mud.  I feel guilty I can't seem to manage to keep little hands away from Daddy's tools.  Some days are long and difficult and full and I just don't see.

So I twist the guilt.  Lay the blame on him for not giving his little man some old tools, anything "real" to touch and play with.  He's too smart for the toy tools, I say.  I go one step too far -

If you really cared . . .

Why do we do that to the ones we love?  Guilt is too heavy on our own shoulders so we pass it on.

They leave to go do man's work and two hours later my baby son walks in with a tool kit from the hardware store.  Sealed in the difficult plastic and dragged with its weight.  Mind and hands ready to work beside Daddy.  Excitement on his face.  It's weal tools, Mommy.

He looks at me and grins.  I tease him and say, Guilt giftHe shrugs.  He's cutting it open and I continue to tease him, wanting to know where my guilt gift is.  He shifts his eyes to mine with the same look that melted me years ago when I decided there was no other man for me. 

They work side by side all day - till naptime.


My gratitude list continues . . .

when words aren't needed

forgiveness for too many words

rusted wire cutters

dirt piles

'weal tools

yellow hard hats

'penders

silver handled hammer

tape measure - 'tirty-nine, Mommy

messy chalk lines

shirtless,  I'm a wourk man, Mommy

little brown hair sticking up from plastic goggles

oreo smiles

dirty little fingernails

scars on a thumb half its original size

little tool belts

bluejeans hanging

adjustable pants tabs

refurbished butcher block

My list, #'s447-465.

Friday, December 3, 2010

This World Is Backwards - The Cast System in Heaven

She told me if I only had five minutes to spend at the computer today to make it this.

I stared.  Leaned back in my chair.  Stared some more.  I could tell by the look on that little face that I did not want to go there.  Not today.  I told Ann no and clicked off.  I walked away.

I came back.  Sometimes He just won't leave me alone.  It's so gentle, that nudge to do something I don't want to do.

Actually it was the title, not the face, that brought me back.  The title God used to bring me back - Depraved Indifference.  I am depraved.  As long as flesh hangs on these bones I. Am. Depraved.  But do I have to be indifferent?

So, if you only have five minutes to spend at the computer today - spend it here.


And as you claw to give those you love more this holiday, remember that more is never going to be enough It is less of you that beckons from above.

Become part of the movement. The movement to give more and receive less this season.

Do it here.  The little boy down the street, the little girl that doesn't have.  By becoming less you will be made more.

There's a cast system in heaven . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

We work together in the kitchen all day.  All my girls.  Wishes and dreams fulfilled and hands no longer tiny blessing family with wonderful food and memories.  A table lined.  A Thanksgiving meal to be remembered.

And there is him, right in the middle, wearing his thankful shirt.  Small and funny and questioning and helping.  Feet on the counter,  criss-cross applesauce.  Aren't the greatest blessings unplanned?

 



My gratitude list continues . . .

a day for thanks, noticable and knowing

a daddy feeling better

angie dickinson's legs

his laughter, sweet to his girls

passing of plates

careful conversation to soothe her sweet hurting soul

the frying smell of turkey

deviled eggs, with and without pickles

the candying of potatoes

the mashing of potatoes

homemade smell of bread baking

mama's dressing, her and Delia side by side

chocolate pecan, potato, and carrot cake

cream in the corn

daddy's giving of thanks

both my ma's dishes, their hands that held

the talk and tears of those missed and so loved

the hopes of next year's day and no one far

sisters

candlelight

Christmas music

mama's messages

My list, #'s 425-446.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After Thanksgiving

It's only noon the day after Thanksgiving and the giving of thanks is quickly fading.

A gallon of paint supposedly in storage ended up spilling all outside of the storage closet onto the mudroom floor.

The Maxster, in the mood to help, decided to windex his two foot by two foot photo I prize. 

Now he looks more like the monster he can sometimes be. 

Someone tell me again about raising boys.


Now, for the afternoon.  Ready, set, go . . .

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Signs

Last week Maxster helped his daddy put down the new floor in his bedroom.


A sign of the future, maybe?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Answer Has Been Whispered

It was a part of my list here.  And today it ends.

It is a sad day.  The baby that never really was is being grieved over like we all held it and oohhed and ahhed and loved it. 

But we did love it.  The possiblility of this child was as easy to love as if it already had a heart that beat to the rhythm of my sister's.

Doctors say they don't understand - but we do.  We know it all lays at the feet of a Father who is the giver of life and the non giver.

Today we come to Jesus and cry.  She cries and he cries, and we all cry for them.  For a gift has been withheld, a door has been shut, the answer has been whispered - No, not now, not this way.  No, my child.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shhh... I Homeschool


Mama, you know how Emily writes her name sometimes?

No, how?

She writes an E like this.  Here you must imagine a backwards 3.

What's that E called?

Deep, heavy sigh.  Slitting of wrist as I say . . .

Cursive, baby, cursive.

ssshhhhhhh . . .  I homeschool.

Monday, November 15, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

I can't remember how many times she called me the day of Shelby's appointment, or the day Ruben left Delia for boot camp.

How she assured Delia he would return, and she would survive.

How she made Shelby laugh in all her fear by telling her to picture the doctor in his underwear.

How she has taken Izzy and Max with her so they wouldn't be alone.

How she visited Mama just because Mama was alone.

She doesn't always have a spotless house and her laundry piles high like the rest of the saints who decided long ago that others matter more than she does.

It never feels like an imposition, it just feels like friendship. 

Family's not always just those that share your blood.

Love you, Sandra.

And thank you.

My gratitude list continues . . .

hearing her good morning on the phone

how she gently listens

the volunteering that ceases my worried mind from thoughts of asking too much

the tears she sheds for my babies

her prayers

her partnership in VBS

the way she lets me ramble myself to my own answer

friendship with the only strings attached going from heart to heart, home to home


My baby sister sits across from the doctor in the office that swaddles the women who beg God for babies.  Women that lay their hope at the feet of the Creator of science.   

Certificates line the walls, success stories and grinning toothless babies paper the walls.

He says he's running out of words to describe her progress.

He uses . . . 

Spectacular.

Why?  she asks. 

Words like follicle, measurements, and egg retrieval are floating in this room where hope surges to a new level.  Where a heart and mind struggle to come together and maintain the shadow of doubt necessary to keep heart from shattering.  Where heart and mind fail.

the days of wait ahead

the promise of your prayers for her and others like her, where the heart only desires what the arms ache to hold

My list, #'s 415-424.


holy experience

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Feel a Little Dread

and Max is just three . . .

I pass him in the kitchen and he's running with his shirt pulled up and tucked beneath his chin.  One hand is twirling a metal pipe tool thingy of his daddy's while the other is pulling down the front of his briefs - just enough to let you-know-who peek out - way out.  He's running to the bathroom and he's singing loudly . . .

Cinlerela, Cinlerelaaaaa! (Cinderella)

I feel a little dread - but I'm trying not to linger on it y'all, I'm trying really hard - at least he's running to the bathroom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

June Cleaver - Eat My Dust

She hurts my feelings. 

Ok, maybe not. 

Ok, not. 

Who has feelings anymore when it comes to a clean messy house?

When I picked up the kids I stood and looked at your room and really hated you were going to come home to that, but I was in such a hurry, she says.

Good thing she's seen it worse.  Ok, maybe not.  But just as bad.

How does this happen?  I mutter later, down on all fours digging something sticky out of the rug.  I keep muttering, something close to profanity but far enough away to pat myself on the back later, as I search, belly down, for the game pieces under the sofa.  Not there.  Probably didn't survive, I spit out, dust bunnies ate 'em.

If I were a DVD this is not a moment I would hit the pause button.

Fast forward, baby, fast forward.

Now that I've whined to the point of losing 99% of my three readers, here's something I'd like to say -

Did you know June Cleaver died?  She lived a long life.  May she rest in peace. 

But - did you ever see her down on her knees talking to dust bunnies or aging ten years jabbing a knife into something crusty on the rug?

Did her friend ever come over and sadly shake head in pity for her?

I've come a long way, baby.

June Cleaver, eat my dust - bunnies that is.

I Promise You This

Ann told me yesterday that you need to read my messy stories.  So that you know you're not the only one.

She writes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer writing -

“The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation.”

But I'm not sure I can be your bearer.  I don't even think I have the strength to be my own bearer.

I'm supposed to tell you how messy my not wanting to get out of bed is.  How my broken vows helped me keep my vows (I know I've promised that one for a while now, I'm still working on courage).  Tell you what a wreck I am and how I wrestle with my faith and have more questions than answers.

She says souls are at stake, she says I am at risk.

She says it will make me become smaller and I will become more.

She says God has poured His spirt out onto me and His children shall prophesize.  Acts 2:17

I am not Ann.  My words don't strum like soft melodies or pierce hearts with understanding. 

My blog will sometimes be about me and mine.  But I'm trying.  And my promise to you is that I will pray over each post.  Pray that even if you just hear Max struggling with a new word or see my pores seeping with pride over a child - you will see Jesus.  Somehow He will take what I fail write and touch your need, bring the smile to you that the day has so far placed out of your reach.

Many times I keep my messy stories from you.  If you read carefully they are between the lines, the riddles I've been told I write.  Shame is hard to shine bright light on, hard to fill white space with. 

We need each other as the bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. I need you to remind me, lift me up when I'm sliding down the door frame in pain.  (I'll share that one in days to come.) 

So if I bear yours, will you bear mine?

holy experience

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Jesus

Monday last week and I'm standing in the aisle of Kroger, between the bacon and the lunchables, when my buggy barely misses grazing hers.  I look up apologetically and catch her eyes.  We both smile with joy and embrace.

An acquaintance going back decades.  Never moving in close enough circles to be friends, now seeing each other once a year or so.

I look at her and hesitate with my question.  Not sure how far to go, what to say, how to ask.

How's Howard?  I begin.

She starts to speak and I interrupt, nervousness overtaking me as I assure her I have been praying, thinking of them each time I pass their home, only streets over from my own. And I have been, but not enough and doubts are hovering shame.


I gave no phone call or casserole or cake.  I feel guilt.

She smiles and asks, You don't know?

I remember it was no longer than a year ago we heard the news.  Cancer.  Stage four.  Not much hope.

Howard would start aggressive chemo.  Pray for the family.

Week after week in Sunday School the news was never good.

You don't know? she asks.

Then began the words that caused chills which kept me wrapping my arms tightly around myself. I notice my feet are rocking back and forth between the floor and the lower rung of the buggy. I feel tears. My phone rings, I reject call.  Please, Rie, I beg myself - don't doubt. Don't be your normal.


She begins . . .

On the way to a chemo treatment in Florida his intestines burst.  She receives the call about surgery and rushes down.  Still hours from there her phone rings, Hurry, he may not make surgery.

After surgery she hears more, His whole body is a tumor.  It's everywhere.  We're sorry.

Then the man she loves and the father of her children tells her he can't go on.  The pain is too much to bear.

She finds a place quiet and for the first time asks our Father to take him home.  I'm ready, she says to God.  I can do it.  If it is your will for my life I will submit.  Please, take away his suffering.  Take him home.

For once she didn't ask for healing.  She didn't beg.  She didn't bargain.  She didn't yell angry.  She didn't tell anyone what she had done.

More painful words.  Be prepared for a long healing of surgery.  Three weeks here, two more in home hospital . . . if he lives that long.

She restless sleeps and at dawn the next morning finds him sitting in bed. 

Within days there are more words.  Cancer is gone.  There's no sign of it.  There's no sign he ever had cancer . . .

We don't understand.

You can take him home.

We stand together, shoppers moving all around us and she's looking at me and laughing, giddy like a young girl in love, and says,  He's a case study now.

I stare at her and don't know what to say.  I remember opening my mouth and closing it quiet.  Opening it again and saying, Oh, Lynn.

She looks at me, smiles, and with all understanding tells me she loves to run into people that don't know.  She loves to tell the story.

Miracle.  Say it.  It rolls off your tongue like smooth honey.  Banishing doubts that we live in a different world than the one Jesus dirty sandaled walked on. 

Quinching thoughts that our God no longer controls and proves.

Destroying the pain that thiefs our sleep and sits hard on our heart that there is nothing we can do for the one we cry for.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Jesus. 

I search and strain for I do not doubt miracles.  Just miracles for me.  My worthiness of a miracle for my wretched, I'm too ashamed to tell you my secrets, self.

I don't have to deserve, but isn't that a hard part to understand?

So I strive to focus and take God seriously. 

Would you join me in healing prayers for the one or ones that ache your heart? Not for the comfort and peace that He so willingly, lovingly bestows - but for the touch of hand that restores and makes all things new.

For that miracle that needs only the faith of a mustard seed.

At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people.  As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, "Master, have mercy on my son.  He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly . . . I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him."

Jesus said, "What a generation!  No sense of God!  No focus to your lives!  How many times do I have to go over these things?  How much longer do I have to put up with this?  Bring the boy here."  He ordered the affflicting demon out - and it was out, gone.  From that moment on the boy was well.

When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, "Why couldn't we throw it out?"

"Because you're not yet taking God seriously," said Jesus.  "The simple truth is that if you had the faith of a little mustard seed, a mere kernal of faith, you would tell this mountain, 'Move!' and it would move.  There is nothing you wouldn't be able to tackle."  Matthew 14-20

Let us pray for you.  Would you share here who needs a miracle of healing?

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .


I imagine hearts floating out as boxes are opened.

Hearts floating, prayers answered.

Packed with love.  Thought into each gift, prayer over each box.

Contagious joy.

It's not hard to love a child never met.  Some commandments are easy to obey.






Here's a video of Shelby and Delia realizing they don't have toothbrushes for their boxes.  After so many years of packing, it's strange to forget toothbrushes.  There's a little bit of the blame game starting . . .




My gratitude list continues . . .

cameras

video cameras

open door churches

homeschooling friends

moms with a passion for their children

moms with goals and dreams that far surpass education

dads who pray and support

men such as Franklin Graham with a vision that prompts us all to action

dollar stores

supper with friends

Jesus' parables

warm comforters

locked doors

Sunday afternoon delight with the man I love

fishy faces

playing board games

prayers from friends

sunsets - Mommy, did God paint that?

My list, #'s 396-414.

Joy contagious.



holy experience



 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This is Why

I haven't been blogging much lately.  My kids keep reminding me.  That they enjoy my blog is like a little piece of Dove chocolate melting on my tounge.  The thing about Dove chocolate is that it gets thick when it melts in my mouth.  The more it melts the thicker it gets.  It's like peanut butter but chocolate.  It lasts, and I like that.

I like that they like my blog.  I like that it's lasting for them.  That it brings them joy.  I try very hard not to embarrass them.  Unless I fail you will never see their flaws written here.  They were not given to me so that I could shame them. 

 I try to stay away from those things.  I fail miserably at times, but I still try.  And if I post it here for you on this little box of earthly eternal information, then I've inked it in time.  I've branded it into their memory.  Nope, not here.

Lately I've been tottering like that last leaf on the branch.  The wind has been howling and tugging hard, but I've hung on.  Scared to fall.  Scared about what might be waiting for me if I give in and swirl in some thoughts before hitting the cold hard bottom.

I sit to blog and all that comes out is white screen dotted with angry this or sad that.  I delete and start over to backspace and delete again.  I haven't been sure where it's coming from.  How can things be wrong when life is blessed?  I've felt Jesus sitting beside me like a guest on my sofa.  I make small talk as He smiles and nods, patiently waiting for me to shift uncomfortably for the last time and spill my heart.

The problem?  He's not a guest.  He's concrete and stud, framework and insulation, mortar and brick, finishing and cornerstone of my life.  I'm waiting, not so patiently, for Him to carry me through this season.  Safely to the other side.

Not a guest but the owner.  Not confusion but the answer.

This writing doesn't really make a lot of sense, does it?  I started off with a point I can't now remember and rambled myself to an ending I can't figure out how to word. 

Don't you think even Mozart sometimes wrote mediocre? 

This is it.  This is why my pages have been blank. Because I have thought what I have to say is not good enough 'cause I'm a little lost with y'all gone. 

So, my darlin's, this is why your mama has not been blogging.  Life gets strangely broken asunder sometimes, doesn't it? 

Sometimes someone you love is far away and you are lonely in a room full of loved ones. 

 Sometimes you're not sure what to do with a lifetime, what wire to bravely step onto and balance. 

 Sometimes people speak and we feel small and shamed. 

Sometimes our bodies hurt. 

Sometimes you need Mama to write your life letter on the back of your About Me. 

Sometimes you need your Daddy to bury your head.

Many times staying in bed sounds like a better plan than life. 

Sometimes it's just much and you need more something.  But your finger won't put on what.

Wait patiently till carried to the other side.  Answers will come.  Lonliness will become a memory.

I wait with you . . .

swirling around dangerously close to hard ground but anticipating the dance in the wind that is to come.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Free Veggie Tales Album

I know it's a little early, but we do love Christmas around here.

You can download Veggie Tales new Christmas album - The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree - at Amazon for free.  Yes, free!

Here's a Veggie Tales Christmas video to enjoy while you download.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Really Need To Hear

Max has a new song. 

To Grandmother's House We Go.

I've been diligently trying to get it on video but all I get is zipped lips and a look that reminds me very much of his daddy when I nag.

I'm gonna get it, though, and when I do you'll see why I would go to the ends of the world for this boy.

You really need to hear him say -

 the white and driflling no -oh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank you, Katie

You don't get my rambling words today.  You get so much more.  This beautiful post below is from my friend, Katie, who blogs privately.

She says so much.  She speaks my heart and the heart of all moms who step out on faith and out of comfort zone to do the unusual.

Love you, Katie.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Washing Tiny Feet

I guess I understand to an extent when people tell me they "could never do it". Homeschool, I mean. I used to say it too. There were many reasons why I thought I couldn't and some days, I still think I can't. There is insecurity, cultural assumption, the need for a moment of quiet, the question of what to teach and how. I could build a road out of the many reasons I have been told (and have told myself about myself) that someone could never homeschool. I know people don't mean it ugly, at least most don't. But there is something in my heart that feels a little sad when it is said. It's a valid lifestyle, a sound educational opportunity. Not everyone has to do it but I do wish that those who are so opposed would learn to say a quiet "good for you" and move on, much the same way I have learned to respond on issues with the children of others that do not concern me.

Anyway, part of the reason I get sad is that I think of what all I would be missing out on if I weren't schooling my children at this time and in this season of life we're all in. I would miss out on giggles, morning devotions (we never had time for this when they were in school), discussions around the table about myriads of different things, puppets with my little one, reading about how the human body is fearfully and wonderfully made with my older child, the chance to teach history from a Christian perspective (as in -- the Bible is not just stories, but a valid part of the timeline), nighttime fun because school work is finished and put away, teaching them to crack eggs, learning one hymn a week.

Today, I found one of my favorite things. Washing their feet. Yes. You read me right. I love washing their feet. They played outside while I was changing the sheets on a loft bed. I looked out the window and saw them playing together under the swing set, digging away in the dirt. I rolled my eyes, dreading the mess. I let them finish, called them in, and they sat on the edge of the tub with their feet in the bubble bath. There were giggles, there was fun, and I was down on my knees washing the feet of those I hold most dear -- more giggles, it tickles! And really, that's what it's all about. For me, anyway...

Lord, forgive me for rolling my eyes and dreading the mess. May I wash their feet as Mary washed yours and show to those visible in my life the love you have shown to me and the love that I want to show to a God who is invisible.

Thank you, Katie, for a much needed reminder.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Notice

It is November and I'm not really sure where January went.

The cold turned to heat of summer and now cool is here again and did I turn around?

Did I notice in those days the beauty of a God filling my days with beauty?

We had snow and I anxiously watched the last of it melt, wondering how long till I would see it again.  White pure beauty on my little patch of earth.  So rare.  Years rare.

The first flowers bloomed and I noticed but did I lie under sky on blanket and close my eyes to the warmth of the sun?

Another year is almost over and she is twenty-one and he is almost four and my loves in between are growing taller than me.

Holiday time.  And holidays rush with the winking of an eye and the singing of a song. 

Where does it go and I try to tuck it into corners of my heart and remembrances of my brain and whispers of my soul.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Yes, I notice.  Yes, I recognize the lasting and the swiftness of the good and perfect gifts.  The replacing with more and then more.  Time not slowing to grieve what has passed is the greatest gift of them all. 

The endeavor to tan in the light and not ash in the shadows.  This endeavor can all consume but is worth my pause before another rains down from the Giver and the Gift.

Reminders to be thankful on every corner in this season.  Thankful for the beauty and for the pain in which beauty shall rise. 

Notice - and not just 'tis the season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

One Thousand Gifts . . .

I open his door and lift all almost four years of his sweet goodness into my arms.

I want my no-no.

You can't have it, baby.  You're a big boy now.  You're not a baby anymore.

I feel his tears as he stumbles with his words,

When I get to be ba-be 'gain?

I squeeze and hold him tight.  Trying to explain what I don't even want to understand.

Go to sleepytown.  You'll have sweet dreams.

What I deam?

You'll dream about puppy dogs and super heroes.  And when you wake your no-no will be in the fridge waiting on you.

I stand at his door and listen to soft sobs until quiet, willing myself to not get the no-no.

I awake to the sound of running feet on hard floor.  He climbs up beside me and says . . .

I had sweet deams las' nite, Mommy.

You did?  What did you dream?

I deamed 'bout puppies and su-per heloes and lou.

  My gratitude list continues . . .

him dreaming of me

uneven bangs

a wall to lean on when willpower is weak

the sound of running tiny feet

a child's forgetfulness

the smell of baby shampoo

listening to bedtime prayers with daddy

him running to me with teeth brushed, mouth wide open

little arms around me

morning bed hugs

timers set

songs to Jesus

quarter offerings
My list, #'s 384-396.




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Learning

I'm dressed and ready to walk out the door, already late, and my phone rings.  Punch cups are needed at my girl's apartment warming party.

I put her on hold and answer another call.  Punch cups, again.

Juggling the phone I reach into the buffet to pull out my mama's glass cups - smooth and fluted, etched and cut.  The bottom falls as I drop my phone and stretch arms that fail to catch.  My eyes fill as I look at the floor.  All her cups.  What took her forty years to collect I destroy in seconds of hurried frustration.



They lay shattered on the floor.  Dozens.  I quickly scoop up the ones that survived and yell a warning to everyone as I race out of the house.  Tears are threatening.  They won't be hard to fall if I give in.  This day, which has been twenty-one years in the making, isn't surprising me with its pain.

In moments a friend from childhood wraps her arms around me as she says, They're just things. Just things.

I look at her and am reminded of her daddy, lost to her on this earth just months ago.  Found in heaven.  She waits to see him again.

As I pull into this spot in front of my girl's new home I reach for the few strong ones and wonder how I will tell my mama.  Mama who entrusted me to keep her things safe.  Years of hostessing wedding and baby showers for friends who returned the favor. 

I hug and speak the words.  I feel five.  I hurt today.

Rie, they're just cups.  It's easier to use plastic now anyways.  She squeezes back.

Does she remember?  Does she understand? 

I travel back and sit in the quiet of a hospital room and if I close my eyes I can imagine the blood flowing from my mama's brain as it drains.  Only later would we who love her realize how much more than just blood was lost those days.

I return and watch my girls smile in their joy, grin in their pride. I know a secret. Fear grips them both often as this new adventure struggle envelopes each new day.

Weeks have passed since that difficult day.



 One broken cup sits on a shelf.  A piece I couldn't throw away.  A reminder of Mama lost and of one found.

A reminder of days beautiful and difficult.  Significance.  Me struggling to let go and holding on to more than just memories, more than just a past.  More than my children and my Mama.

Does she understand?  More than me.  But I'm learning.




Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweeter than Cake

Shelby's latest cakes.


Amber's baby shower cake.  She and Brett are discovering great joy after a great loss.




My friend, Donna's, birthday cake.  Her sweet husband, Gregg, ordered it months in advance. 




My birthday cake.  Isn't it great.  I love it.

Best part about my birthday gathering at Mom's . . .


my brother-in-law, Marcus, doing dishes.  Some things in life are sweeter than cake.  He's one of 'em.


Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.


Have a dressed up day!


. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12