Have a dressed up day!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

when you don't know how to bury the man that gave you life

I look around my house and it is a mess.  The wedding boxes are all out and at their correct locations but the very small Christmas we had is scattered.  Laundry is spilling over.  The sink is full of dishes.  The counter is full of papers.  Trash and mess are on things under things and around things.
I don't care.
One of my first blog posts was an attempt at humor and what I would do if something tragic happened and my house was a mess.
And it has.
And I don't care.
My daddy's gone. 
The day before he died he told my sister he'd been dreading this day for so long.  Leaving Mama.  Dying hard.  He told her where the money was to buy the gun he wanted to give his grandsons.  He shook their hands and mumbled words full of love.
He high-fived our baby Beau. 
He told my girls to take care of their mama.  He told me Max was smart and not to let him waste it.
He listened with closed eyes as we told him we loved him.  We told him we adored him and were proud to be his daughters.  We told him he was the best daddy there ever was.
He waited on the daughter not there.  Her and her's.  His first-born trying to wrap up things that needed to be done while she hoped and prayed she'd see her daddy again.  He listened to her words over the phone and held on until Mama told him not to any longer.
My mama lay by my Daddy's side and whispered words we could not hear.  Sweet nothins' he'd probably call them.  Love words.  Good-bye words. But only for a little while words.
The strawberry shake he wanted sat melting until my sister picked it up, drank, and passed it around.  We all shared that shake as we sat by his side and touched whatever part of his body we could reach.
When I got in trouble at school about the Indian chief named Bowels he laughed. He had snakes in his belly button and warned me not to swallow watermelon seeds and pushed the mower up the hills I couldn't. 
When I cried about the orange house paint that wasn't and never would be he told me people don't always say what they mean and never mean everything they say.
I can't go to bed.  If I do I'll have to get up and go bury the man who gave life to me when he held my mama and loved her the way a man was made to love a woman. 
I just care about figuring out how to bury my daddy tomorrow.  How to hold up my mama when all I want to do is fall.  How to get my bluebird through her wedding day without her Pete-pa.
How to understand God's timing.  How to thank God enough for allowing my Daddy to go easily and quickly.  How to understand not understanding it all.
I thought I'd care if my house was a mess and people stopped by.
But I don't.
I really don't.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

when it is right but feels like rain

The hail back in April gives us a new roof.  I lie in bed and listen to this rain that is deep in such a short time and remember the moment I first held you in my arms.  Deep can happen quickly and drowning in sweet newborn love gives you no way back and no way out.

And it had happened before and would happen again. 

You send phone writing to a beloved older friend and leave off the Ms.  Is that what happens when leaving home forever is only days away and you are growing to love someone more than the ones you are leaving behind?  I can't remember.  Did I feel older and equal and love stronger for what was coming than for what was going? 

I roll over and look at him and yes I did.

So you feel happy and grown and strong and only slightly frightened.  But one day you'll feel small and afraid and think this is not right. 

And when that happens know that you do not need a yellow brick road to find your way back home.  To me

So I can send you back and tell you it is only for a moment - so you can love him more than me.

Monday, September 9, 2013

when it's just time to exercise a little faith

So we are driving to Sunday School, just Maxster and me, when the song This is Only a Mountain by Jason Castro comes on the radio.

Max is singing like he always is, he knows the words to all the songs.

And then I mess up an opportunity to teach when the wrong words just tumble out of my mouth and I know I'm not saying the right thing but I can't find the words to make him understand.

So I do the wrong thing.  I say the wrong thing.  I think I just told my son he'd never have enough faith to move a mountain.

Mommy, what do those words mean?

This is only a mountain
You don't have to find your way around it
Tell it to move
It'll move
Tell it to fall
It'll fall 
I tried to explain about faith.  How it doesn't take much faith, I skip the mustard seed part because I know he wouldn't get that,  but then I'm saying there can be no doubt and I'm rambling and  I see him in the mirror. He's looking at me.  He's trusting me and believing with all that he is worth that he does have that much faith. 
But if he doesn't - can I tell him how to get it? 
He wants to move a mountain.  And if all it takes is believing then he doesn't understand.  Does God not believe that he believes?  and for just a brief moment of taking my eyes off the road I see in his eyes that he thinks he can tell a mountain to move and it will.  Because he loves Jesus and believes it will move.
And I'm grasping for words and then I tell him he'll probably never have enough faith to really make a mountain move because we can never erase that little doubt in our minds that we can't really make a mountain move and I know that's not right but maybe it will work and that's not really what Jesus meant when he talked of the faith of the disciples in that verse and I'm rambling and falling deeper and deeper and pulling him into a pit of confusion.
Not just confusion - but I see it - a moment in his eyes of questioning.  Just a moment of maybe, maybe every thing he believes is not real.  Did Jesus tell him something wrong?  Doesn't it say it in the Bible?
Oh boy, I just told my son he'd never have enough faith to move a mountain and he's only six and he can't separate literal from implied.  I remember less than a week ago I discovered during a lesson of the globe that he didn't know - he didn't know - that Bethlehem was a real place on our Earth.  I never imagined he would think that. 
What is he thinking now when I just told him he can't move a mountain and the Bible says he can?
He doesn't understand that God lowers himself to us and speaks to us in ways that we can understand.  Just as I am trying to speak to Max in the way his limited intellect can understand, that is how my Father speaks His Word to me.
Jesus does not mean that mustard seed sized faith can literally move mountains.  His expression was just a metaphor describing what we think is an impossible task.

But I can't say it right and he turns his head and is no longer singing the song but looking out the window and I just lost him.  He doesn't want to listen anymore.  I just lost that moment.
Superman can fly and Spiderman can climb buildings and Jesus is supposed to be real and bigger and didn't Jesus say it?
So I backtrack.  I look at him in the mirror and tell him it's hard to understand but 
yes, yes he can tell a mountain to move and it will move from here to there if he has enough faith.   
He looks at me again.
How much faif does it take, Mommy?
And I smile at him in the mirror.  And he looks out the window again. 
But I see it -  just a hint of a little smile on his face reflecting on the glass. 
And I shut up.  Because to a six year old life really isn't that complicated.  And faith is big.  

Thursday, September 5, 2013

when i'm not exactly sure what happened

Shelby Lee - what's that you hung on your window?  That's U.G.L.Y.
(it's private y'all, but I don't ever want to forget it!)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

when it takes eight ingredients to love like God

We're lying in the bed and Maxster says this - hands flying around counting on his fingers -

Mommy, God told me how to love like him.
He did.  How?
It takes vese ingredients.  Big hope, little hope, big faif, little faif, big love, little love -
Wait.  If you're going to love like God why are you saying little love?  God has only big, big, love.
No, he has just big love.  But ven when you add a little love wiv it and mix it up it makes it even bigger.  Get it, Mommy?
I say Got it as I watch him stir and demonstrate with lots of hand gestures.
So, big love and little love, big hope, little hope, big faif, little faif, and ven iron and Jesus.  Ven you smash it all togever.  I'm not sure why the iron but I vink you pobably need it.

So, He supplies all the big love and all we need to add to it is just a little - just a little love.  World, all the work has been done, all we need is just a little love - just a littleWe can do that, can't we?

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.  And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:2-4

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

when everything they say makes you smile

We walk in the post office and Maxster says -

I haven't been in the post office in years and years.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

when it was only twenty-four hours later

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.  ~ Augustine

Isn't it something when God shows off?
Congratulations, Bluebird.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

when the perfect home is the grace that is the palm of God's hand

I'm sorry you didn't get what you wanted.

I wanted it for you, too.  I thought it was perfect for you.  I had no concerns or hesitations about it.

I could have written these same words for your sister that was Sycamore Cove.  She's had disappointment, too.  She spoke wise words to you last night when she said it will not matter where you are, you'll be happy because you will be with Joe.  Yep, she went and grew up on us. 

But even now I'm thinking it would have been great for you and Satan stuck his ugly evil face in it and ruined it for you.  Thousands of years ago he slithered his ugly evil being in and ruined this for you.
Maybe he did.  I think probably so.  But what do I know?  Not much, baby.

So, every time you don't get what you desire - what seems to be perfect for you - does that mean it wasn't God's will for you in the first place?

I don't think so, Bluebird.
Sadly, I don't think so.

God does not will for us to sin but we do anyway.  We were never created to be sinners, but we are. 

So, no, just because you didn't get it doesn't mean it's necessarily God's will for you not to.

Which brings us to the worst part of all - anything in our life that is out of God's will - either by our design or not at all because of us, just the results of a sinful world.

This is when the great big marvelous God of the universe and God of you reaches into what could be considered a great big marvelous bag of goodies and pulls out Plan B - which He will redeem by grace for you as if it was Plan A in the first place.

This I know firsthand.  You know what happened to us eight years ago.  I still don't think that was God's will - to destroy what I still believe was a beautiful fellowship - but just look what God has given us, especially your daddy, in return.  Beautiful. 

One of the greatest Bible promises is this:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

You can trust God to use this.  And I can promise you from experience that sometimes the end result can be so beautiful that you will then wonder if God must have planned the original event that led you to where you are. 

Was it God’s will that you didn’t get that house? I don’t know.

Maybe it wasn’t really as good a house as it appeared.

Maybe God saved you from a disaster you’ll never know about.

Maybe God has a better house in mind.
Maybe it is God's perfect will for the people that did get it. 

Maybe it would have been a great house and the devil stuck his evil face into it and now you are here. 

Here in this perfect place that is the palm of God's hand and you will wait and trust for the good work that He will create for you. 

Last night I told you to believe this was God's will.  I lied to try and make you feel better.  And this morning and every morning till I die I won't know if it was or wasn't.  And we may never know why it happened this way.  So go ahead and cry and pout some and be angry and cry some more.  It'll make you feel better - just like you said last night.

Then do your best to forget about it, which will take time, and make what will become yours the perfect home for you and Joe.

God's already promised his help - take Him up on it. 
And p.s. - I'm sorry I can't fix it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So Maxster and I are reading a child's version of Gulliver's Travels. 

As he is finishing the first page, Gulliver mentions that he is from England.

So, Maxster says -

Mommy, I should do a English voice.

I agree, so he starts over at the beginning.

And this is what he says -

Chapter Uno

Yep, still love that boy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

when there is so much more to celebrate than just years

Mama stood Daddy up on their first date.  She didn't want to, but they had no phones so she couldn't contact him that she'd be going home for the weekend.

But on their next date they drove from Carthage to Kosciusko to get a Coke.

Then there was a ring in tiny box under car seat and my daddy said to my mama -
If I bought you a ring would you wear it?

That was over fifty years ago.

To be quite honest, I've been praying my daddy would live to see this 50th anniversary celebration my sisters and I had to keep secret because they didn't want a fuss.

That he would live to see fifty years with his Tot. 

And God is good.

It could only stay a secret for so long - 'cause Mama would have been angry with us if she had not been given an opportunity to have her hair done.

So we celebrated my mama and my daddy.

We celebrated obstacles and hurts and happiness and crazy life and near death and years of barely getting by that they conquered to stand aged and worn and tired and beautiful together. 

To my darlins and lovely nieces and nephews -

Grandma and Petepa have not always had an easy time of it - as most couples can say after fifty years - life has given them some hard blows and challenging times.  But they are together now to see and hear the beautiful and hilarious HeeHaw tribute from all of you because they never gave up on each other and their love.  They fought to obey God's word and stay together. 

And their prayer for each of you is that you find the same happiness and have the same strength to bear life with only one person by your side.

Our family is on a near impossible streak, and to be honest again it would be a miracle for all thirteen of you to not have one broken marriage that cannot be humanly repaired. 

But miracles happen every day. 

Giving your grandparents up one day will be hard for each of you.  But on the day that you gave them the beautiful gift of laughter and honor -

you can know that each of you have made them proud and created for them a legacy of love.

All of you have made the long drive from Carthage to Kosciusko to get a Coke so much more than just worthwhile. 

Happy Anniversary Mama and Daddy, James and Martha, Pete and Tee-Texas-Tot.
I love you.
We all love you.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


You wake me before the sun and without a word we remember this our 25th year together.  We promise to make another twenty five and I make you promise to not die and I make you promise that often and we both laugh knowing some promises are out of our control. 

You promise anyway.

The weekend was so full with family and love and laughter that I'm not exactly sure where to start remembering in this space.  But I'll start with you.  Because all things in my world seem to start and end with you.
You're not as young as you used to be.  I haven't seen you take the stairs three at a time in years.  You don't eat as much or stay up as late as you used to.  The older you get the more that little vein under your left eye shows and your beard is nearly white but your hair is still dark.  Searching for your grays seem to make mine so much easier for me to see.
Should have made you promise to gray before me.
I love you.
I need you.
I adore you.
I want you.
I like you.
I love you.
And like Annie's Song that you let me listen to when I get moody you fill up my senses. 
If I close my eyes and the moment is right I can see you looking at me when I walked the aisle toward you all those years before.  I was nervous and you looking at me made me more nervous. 
But I still couldn't take my eyes off this gift that was you. 
I didn't know then what a gift it was -
but I know now.

The sun is now up and you have fallen back asleep.  I watch you sleep and now, twenty-five years later, I can't take my eyes off you. 

I don't want to. 

I don't ever want to.

I go to the living room window and the flowers our children placed in our honor smell strong and beautiful sitting on that table you bought me when we didn't have the money to buy it.

I whisper thank you for all that you are and all that you have given me. 
Our children. 
My life. 
The knowledge that is the honor of knowing that you're not as young as you used to be.  And I don't want you to be.  Because you are here - at this place in your life - and I'm the one beside you.    All these years later. 
I love you. 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

when i fell off the pedestal i've always teetered on in the first place

Last night I said words to my children I never thought I'd say.  And I think, in the process, I fell off my pedestal.

Years ago, in a way-too-common scenario for this world, I lost my beloved church.  My home church.  A new pastor, new staff, and disagreements that couldn't, or wouldn't, be fixed drove my family and dozens more away. 

I loved the church, I loved the people, and almost everything I did in my life was for, or because of, that church. 

I grieved for a very long time.  Few deaths could have been worse than the loss I felt then. 

I think I did okay in how I managed to compose myself and keep my mouth shut.  I did say some things my children should not have heard and contributed to the pain of others in ways I shouldn't have, but for the most part I managed to be good and remembered to love.  I don't think they were ashamed.

Just a few years before that I lost my best friend.  She and I were inseparable, you could compare us to giddy schoolgirls.  But she divorced and went through terrible pain at the same time I was going through the physical illness of a difficult pregnancy and then she fell in love and was missing in action.  She needed me and I wasn't there.  I needed her and she wasn't there.  It's strange.  We had shared so much pain together but could not manage to survive this.  She moved only half an hour away and all those years ended - just like that.  Really, it was like the blink of an eye.

There were no harsh words and I still feel only the greatest of love for her, but I did go through pain and a feeling of abandonment.  And since then my children have seen me shy away from close friendships and harbor the knowledge that women hurt women.  But you do what you do and just keep putting one foot in front of the other and move on.

So, in my life when I've gone through pain, I have tried to let my children see good in me.  I've tried to say and do the right thing and recognize the teachable moments that come from suffering and hardship.  And I fail often, because they know me well, very well.  But I do try. 

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that you know your children.  They can't manage to hide much.  But on the flipside they know you.  I can't manage to hide much.  But usually I'm okay with what I say and do, and with age it gets easier to look for the reasons behind people's actions - and easier to forgive.

But now there was last night.  And a pain from months ago that has not gone away struck hard and  I broke and shattered and fell hard and told my children that I did not care about doing the right thing.  I said I did not care about the hurt anyone else was going through.  I said I only cared about myself and how I felt.  I said I was helpless to make this situation better and I was finished trying.  I told my children that it was time that I and all the people that love me think about me and only me.  I do not care to think about what is kind or what is right.  I only care to think about the hurt I have felt and what I have loss due to it.  I cried until my face was swollen and shouted until my throat was sore and my head hurt. 

I received a text from my child gratefully missing all this and read the problem she was having away at camp and I texted back exactly the opposite of what I would have told her to do just earlier in the same day.

I said and did those things.  I really did.

And I fell off the pedestal that I've always teetered on but managed to stay on.

So I lie in bed last night and wonder if one can destroy in one night all they have tried to be and teach for decades?   Can a moment of pain that causes utter selfishness break a person?  And I didn't even pray to feel better this morning.

And I don't - feel better.  I feel tired.  And a little lost.

And grace falls like rain.

God has blessed me way beyond my worth and given me a best friend again.  And I have done to her what I have done way too many times to her in the past - talked too much and listened too little.

So even while losing my battle last night I still managed to remember that my baby girl is in a bad spot and struggling with loyalty and my friend needs me right now - not the other way around - and I recognized old friends inside myself - concern, empathy, love.

And I like that Rie better than I like this one.  This one today that feels beat up from a lost battle.

And to my darlins' I would say this - I'm sorry you saw the ugly person your mama can be.  What was there before Jesus got ahold of me and somehow always finds its way back out when I forget or don't care about the greatest commandment of all. Thanks for treating me with love and grace.

Don't be a doormat.  Stand up for yourself and stand your ground.  But don't forget to love - especially your enemies.  And when you do forget or just plain choose hate, because you will, do whatever you have to do to find your way back.  Fight and claw the old and get back to the new creation. 

It's really the only good place to be.  Love, Mama

Thursday, July 25, 2013

when you're reminded that you can't remember

I was reminded today of why I blog - or why I used to blog.

My friend's son offered to buy her some new shoes.  She was as we all are sometimes - admiring a pair of shoes that were pretty but didn't pay the bills so they would have to wait - and her sweet son wanted to buy them for her.

She didn't let him.  She is one of the best mamas I know.  I can't think of anything she has ever done that I would do differently where children are concerned.  She has raised and is raising exceptional children.  I admire her - much.

But I would have let my son buy those shoes for me.  Yep, I would have.  I can think of plenty good things that would come from that sacrifice from him.

And joy.  Hopefully it would bring him joy.

Okay, so maybe I would be thinking more of myself and she was thinking more of her son but we won't go there cause that's not the point. 

The point is that I was reminded why I blog.  The conversation made me remember something that happened last week, except I couldn't remember it.  Maxster did something super sweet and six-year-oldish and I can't remember what it was.  I remember thinking I need to write that down before I forget it but sometimes I have more faith in myself than I should and I did forget it.

If I don't begin to write again I'll never remember things like the morning of Delia's wedding I popped a pill to prevent a virus I felt coming that I had just cleaned up from 48 hours earlier in a panic that I might take it and that the pill made me so loopy and sleepy that my pictures are so bad from the wedding that I had to use the touch-up tool in Photoshop to make myself look partially presentable for this my first child's wedding day pics. 

That was a secret - the Photoshop part - so it's not exactly the kind of stuff I'm talking about - but you get the picture.

I think I'll take my son to the store and admire a pair of shoes and see what kind of job I'm doing - as long as I keep him away from the Nerf gun (or any kind of gun) aisle I might have a chance.

Monday, June 3, 2013

When Nothing Is Better For The Sake Of Your Child Than Prayer

Mama, it's not supposed to get bad tonight, is it?

She calls me from the hall into her room.  I tell her daddy's watching the weather and if he thinks it will be bad he'll sleep in the living room.

I tell her to go to sleep.

You're safe, baby.

I want to say I've got you but I know it's not me that does.

She turned fourteen days ago.  Two years ago a series of events left her in so much fear that my child seemed gone.  It's hard to explain how afraid she was.  Post traumatic stress syndrome, the doctors said.  She slept with us, she lost weight, she cried, she shook. You could see her heart beating through her clothes. She thought she was dying.

It took medicine.  I had hoped it wouldn't.  We prayed and read the Word and we put signs by her bed

and she wrote in the journal the doctor gave and I thought nothing was working.  I wanted to help her.  I had to fix it.  I had to do something. 

But it was God's good time. Because when I doubted, or maybe just scared of the plan? and thought nothing was working He was - with plan huge.  Because prayer and His plans always work.  Amen. 

And what better could I have done than go to the Father for the sake of my child?

And now she's back.  She's weaned off the medicine and she looks healthy and strong and she laughs and joy pours out of her pores.

My child wasn't gone.  She was just held down under a crushing weight. And only in God's time and through the knowledge and ability he grants others did she come forth and survive. 
It's raining now, thunder and lightening outside my window.  She's in my bed.  She didn't ask.  I did.  Cause sometimes I just miss her there. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

When Being Right Is Better Than Facing The Alternative

I used 'ta never be late and late people frustrated me. 

I've talked trash 'bout enough late folks that ghosts are haunting me.
What goes around comes around.

I can't get anywhere on time.

I used 'ta could bring home the bacon fry it up in a pan read them tickoty tock and never let him forget he's a man - and still have time for a rousing round of I Am Woman Hear Me Roar.
To tell you the story of what happened to me this morning is very humbling - and pathetic.

Don't forget pathetic.

I was running late. I had not washed out forty four pairs of socks and ironed two dozen shirts while dipping lard from a can and shopping before you could count to nine.

I was by myself with no one to slow me down and I was still running late. 
And I couldn't find my purse.
I had Bible and VBS papers and pile of dishtowels brought home to wash in my hands and I was ready to walk out door - but where was my purse?
Entire house had exploded in living room and I was throwing things on that side of sofa to other side to look under them to throw them back to look under other side and then same to sofa number two and chair one and then chair two and I still couldn't find my purse.
I even looked in ice chest that doesn't belong in living room just because it was there and my purse wasn't.
So I say to self -
Self, maybe you left it in van. 
No, self says back.  I didn't.  I know I didn't. 
Then a little of my mama comes out - well it didn't grow legs and walk away.
Thanks, Mama.
So, while kicking my own self in hinny - like I've said before, that used to be easier - I go to look in van.  I look everywhere.  In the front and middle and back and under dresser and chair that does not belong in van but are.  I even look in drawers of the dresser . . .
This. Is. My. Life.
and I still couldn't find my purse.
Frustration is mounting higher than spoon that jumped over moon I used 'ta could read to them while feeding babies greasing the car and powdering my nose all at the same time.
So I take a deep breath.  Doctors that help find your mind when you lose it say that works -  so I breathe deep and lay down Bible and papers and dishtowels and step out of van.
Something doesn't feel right.  I feel a weight.
I look down.
And there it is. Hanging on crook of left elbow.
My purse.
Hanging there the entire time.
Ha - I told you I didn't leave it in the van.
Being right feels so fine.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When You Pick Taters With Your Pa

There are some things you'd fight a fire for. 

 And this is one of 'em.

Monday, May 20, 2013

When Another Birthday Comes Much Too Quickly

Darlin' Izzy B,

Why do you feel you have to remind me of your birthday coming so soon? 

Is it because  I forgot Bluebird's?  Is it because you think if we cut my brain open it would be a tangled mess of everything but the most important? 

Or, is it, deep down in the deeper, that you are still the silly little girl full of excitement that climbed the doors like coconut trees?  That feated up when you were hot and touched my cheek when you told stories?

Or, maybe, deep down in the deepest, you are growing up quickly right before my eyes and can't wait to get there?  Yes.

It was the day before you were to be born.  She walked into the largest of the baby suites - the one they had set me up in because I was to be there so long, the one big enough for your sisters to bring sleeping bags and stay with me at night, the one you would be born in - and she looked at my iv. 

It needs changing again.  There's no place left to put it but your neck or foot. 

I probably cried.  I was tired.  I could not wait for you to get here.  Could this pregnancy get much worse?  It all began the day I passed out in the dressing room of Limited Too and your Uncle Markie scooped me up and carried me to the waiting ambulance. 

When a tear was found in my gallbladder and there was nothing they could do but wait for you to come.  When every bite made me sick and I slept with a bowl by my bed just in case I couldn't make the bathroom.  When your big sister was so afraid she slept right at my side. 

She held off on the iv change and less than 24 hours later they made me so comfortable I never felt a moment's pain and you brought more than just a new baby girl into our lives.  You brought joy and happiness matched only by the two before you and you were mothered by three and they were bigger mama lions than I was.

To know you is to love you.  And I'm so glad you are back.  Back from that dark place that held you in fright - but could not keep you because of our God bigger than dark or fright or uncertainty. 

You work hard and do everything I ask - as long as we leave your bedroom out of the picture.  You change diapers and wash dishes and fold clothes and cook supper and dig clothes from behind the dryer and climb the cabinets I can't reach and text all my words and never ask for anything in return. 

You put the music in your ears and help your daddy and can I tell you there aren't many out there who would do it with such a sweet and understanding attitude?

You don't complain and only occasionally pout and my only complaint is how long it takes you to get ready and that you've got me obsessed with Downton Abbey.

So, my little sack of baby bones, I haven't forgotten your birthday and there is more than a tangled mess in my brain and you are not a silly little girl but a beautiful young woman and people have much worse pregnancies and even though they don't always show it the two joys before you still ache to rock you and would plant a sleeping bag next to you at any moment you needed them. 

And fourteen years later I have never felt a moment's pain from you and when I do - because it will come - never forget that to know you is to love you. 

And I love you the most. 


Monday, April 29, 2013

When Son's Not As Smart As You Think He Is

Mommy, I want to be in de movie.
Okay, you can go too.  But that doesn't mean you'll get to be in the movie.
Is it a cartoon?
No, it's not.  Why?
I don't want to be in a cartoon.
Oh, why?  That might be fun.
No.  Cause some cartoons look like clay and I don't want to be in one dat looks like clay.

So now I'm completely aware that his sweet brain is about to give me one of the moments I blog for.

And the other day he said something that made no sense and I looked at him kinda crazy - crazy enough that he knew he had to explain but not so crazy that I'd scar him or anything - and he said - sometimes my words mess my brain up -

really?  I didn't know.

but back to this story . . .

Baby, I don't understand.  Why wouldn't you want to be in a clay one?

And then there it is.  The look.  The look he gives me far too often when he can't understand why I don't just know. 

Cause, Mommy, dey would have to turn me into clay.

And I stare, trying not to laugh.

He stares back - rolls his eyes - embarassed for me and my stupidity -

And Mommy, dat would hurt.
. . . and dey would have to make a clay head of me and den put it on top of my head like dis and it would be heavy and . . . . . . . . .
and on and on and on.

And on and on and on until I'm staring at him glassy eyed.  I'm thinking- maybe the stork really did bring him - but from where?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Because God Does Whatever He Pleases

continued from yesterday

I saw her shoes first.  She was walking towards me as I was looking down at my belly button swelling thru my shirt. 

Is Gregg with you?  She wants to see you both together.  How quickly can he get here?

The space between the skull and the developing brain is too large is about all I remember.  She spoke maybe centimeters?  and how many times they had measured and  tried to explain to me what I really wasn't even listening to. Was she trying to tell me that my baby's brain had stopped developing? 

It was Friday afternoon and we'd have to wait until Monday morning to see a specialist. There wasn't anything that could be done and we would just have to wait.

There wasn't anything that could be done.

I don't remember much about the weekend.  I remember we told everyone and asked begged for prayer.

I'm sure I cried and watched the clock and most certainly questioned.

And I'm sure I agreed to try to accept God's will within the very moments I was pleading for my baby.

But there is something I do remember.  I remember bargaining.  As if the almighty omnipotent God of all would need anything from me.  What did I have to give that would be worth His miracle of healing my baby? 

There is no bargaining with God.  For we don't have to.  We do not have to convince God that if He does for us we will do for Him.  The parameters have already been set - and not by you or me.  In His covenants God told us what He would do for us and then told us what we would do for Him.

Because by no comparison He is the greater of the two and His love is the stronger of the two.  All comes from the Father above. And the strength and power that we have been given has been granted unto us for the reason of love.

He loves us.

And within that love lies mercy. 

But I still remember bargaining.  And I remember exactly what I promised God for the healing of my son.

Make him whole, Lord.  Make him whole and I promise...

I don't know if within His great unlimited mercy and grace God changed His mind about Max but I do know God performed a miracle on my son.   When new tests were taken Monday morning the measurements were perfect.  His brain was exactly as it should be.  To be honest I'm not even exactly sure what happened, those days were an emotional fog.  But we left the doctor's office on Monday morning with all assurance that our baby was healthy and strong. 

For a very long time I chose to believe that Max was healed.  And I still do.  Miracle.  For without a doubt our God cannot be controlled or manipulated or even convinced,  but I do believe His heart is tender toward us. 

But it doesn't even really matter.  God placed before us the situation in such a way as though it would happen.  What was important was how we responded.  We prayed and the situation changed.  But none of God's plans changed.  If by our prayer God showed mercy and granted this blessing unto us all we did was catch up to His future.

That was not the only time we have been given what seems like more than we can bear to overcome. Within the last two weeks I found myself begging and asking for acceptance and even bargaining again for my oldest daughter. And we had to wait the weekend again, and then another week. And there seemed very little doubt what we would be told.

And once again mercy was granted and I choose to believe the gift of healing.  We believe we dodge bullets when we are really showered by grace.

Thank you, God, for your unchanging steadfastness and your love and mercy.  Thank you, God, for healing and for sickness and pain.  Grant to me the wisdom to recognize the power of you in all that is.
I'm not going to write here what I promised God on that weekend in the fall of 2006.  But I think of it often and try to act on it. 

Is it necessary?  No.  

But do I want to do it?  Yes.

Max's life had been planned. God knew we would pray and He would bless us for that prayer.

Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.  Psalm 115:3

Monday, April 22, 2013

When I'm Given So Much More Grace Than I Deserve

It was late summer early fall 2006 and some of the happiest days of my life.  I was carrying a son, a dream I had given up on years earlier when I thought we'd never be brave enough to try for another child.

We were blessed beyond any form of our worth with three beautiful girls and my years were over forty and much time had passed since we made the unspoken bond of no more children by not speaking of it any longer.

There are some things that are very hard to explain.  And the fear is if you try you might sound somewhat extravagant.  Or like a dreamer.  Or just plain foolish. 

But on a night earlier we were side by side when I laughed loud and told him we just made a baby.  I knew it.  I felt it.  I can't explain it.  I said it but how does a woman know such a thing at such a time?

But I did.

And I was right.

And weeks passed and he came home as I walked out of the laundry room and right into his arms and cried and there were only three words -

You're pregnant?


And I said words that were too honest when I wondered aloud why would God give us another child?  I didn't want another baby or need another baby and why would I be pregnant unless He was giving us a son?  Why would I be pregnant if it were a girl?

Some things will shame us till the day we die.

And I didn't realize how badly I wanted a boy until the thought that I might not have one. 

But I was afraid to say the words too loudly or too often.

And on a table too short in cold dark room I held his hand and watched only him.  And there it was.  Wand moved and fingers touched keys and I saw it on his face before she spoke the words. 

It's a boy.

But I already knew for his smile started slowly and he saw and looked at me in a way he had never looked at me before.

And there was little morning sickness and few headaches and he was much easier to carry than my loves before him.

She explained all the complications and risks and I prayed a promise that it wouldn't matter because it wouldn't and I passed all the tests.

 And life was really good and I felt strong.

And on most days he went with me because he liked the dark room where he sat holding my hand month after month watching his son grow.

But on this day I was alone when she stroked too many keys and moved wand too much and didn't speak at all.  And she left the room and came back with another who sat at machine and pressed buttons.  And it was colder than usual.

And I said it again because maybe she didn't hear me -

Is something wrong?

I'm just getting some numbers . . .

Friday, April 19, 2013

When Two are Better Faster Stronger Than One

It was on the church bus.
They saw each other for the first time.
I'm sure for a moment she may have been a little taken back.
This freckled face boy with hair long color of yazoo clay and waved like the water that brought him here.

 Brought here for her?
And it's in the moments of complete horror and sadness that only our Father can produce joy.

She was always silly.  Never shy or hesitant to make others laugh. 
So we weren't sure what was wrong with her on this night. 
Her braces had just come off days before and she was excited to turn fifteen.
I can imagine Mom shopping and finding that shiny blue wig - no doubt in her mind Shelby would get a kick out of it - no doubt in any of our minds.

 But she didn't.  We all thought it was a game when she wouldn't put it on. 

But it wasn't.  Tears flowed in the back room and nothing - nothing could convince her to give us just one more hat photo to join the collection since she was old enough to know what one was.
But then he quietly found her and they whispered in the corner and I remember thinking that my silly bluebird just wanted him to see her as a young woman instead of a little girl.  I remember thinking that night my girl might be in love.
And only one - only one person - convinced her. 

And that's the moment I fell for him.
And they both grew up on the ice and hockey players and figure skaters clash - just a little. And the day came they sought out to prove who was better who was faster who was stronger. 

And she walked through the door after she went down face sliding on ice.

And there was the break-up.
And the make-up.

And the break apart.
And time.  And the struggle to stay friends.

The summer apart.
And she didn't know what to do. 
And he wanted her back and she wavered scared and only wanted to make this life decision once. 
And she was afraid.
But I knew she missed the boy.  And on this night sitting and laughing she posted status Will you be my . . .
and she waited.  And we laughed and imagined what he was thinking and when she couldn't wait any longer she finished the question and
they found their way back.

She was barely four when she went on her first trip for Jesus.  I packed her bag and told her we were trippin' for Jesus.  She didn't get it.
Her's not white her's not black me don't know what her is.
And there, with Native Americans, she began trippin' for Jesus.
So when years later took her to Hondurus and she fell grown deeper in love with Jesus and then Tennessee sealed her desire for Him with questions and confusion she came home trying to find her steps and couldn't figure out how to split her heart between the two.
Mama, I only want to be in love with Jesus. I don't know how to have room in my heart for more.
And then the break.
And his heart was broken and he was angry and didn't understand. 
And Jesus gently rocked her and led her back.

Then hard days came and she hurt and slept. 

I watched him. Wondered what he was thinking.  I'm thinking the time away from her had been a blessing. And while she had been struggling with more love than she knew what to do with he was realizing that no matter what life would be - he wanted it to be with her.
She cried.  I don't want Joe to have to spend his life with someone that feels bad so much. 
Do you remember when Joe was concerned about you being without him?  You know his concern about dying young, like his dad, and leaving you and children alone?   
You thought that was sweet ridiculous.  Even if you knew your time with him would end tomorrow you wouldn't give him up.  You're not giving him and his love for you enough credit.
Stop thinking so much, and just love.


And she did.  Because from that moment on the bus there really was never another option, was there, my bluebird love?


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