Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Random is What I do Best

So yesterday I mentioned the riveting information about my lost fitbit.  It's really no wonder that in the past 87 days I had gotten emails from strangers that wondered if I would be blogging again.  I mean, who doesn't want to be informed of this interesting stuff?!?

So I have like (literally) four friends on fitbit.  Steph, one of my bestest in real life, is one of those friends.  She's missed me on fitbit this past week because, let's be honest, she missed me making her feel better about herself.  All her other friends are over achievers, and my average of 7,000 steps a day helped make her feel better.  *encouragement is my spiritual gift*  So yesterday we met for lunch at the park and she mentioned how I should get a new fitbit or I should call Walmart and see if someone turned it in last week.  Pfff.  That would never happen.  Even in Iowa.  But, after the park I called the Walmart and asked if someone had turned it in last week.  I described the odd bracelet contraption it was in (because I had been trying to make it less ugly but it turns out less ugly means easily lose-able.)  And the dear lady went and looked for several minutes.  

Annnnd she found it.  


Reunited and it feels so....   eh.  It's fine.  It's a dysfunctional relationship, but Steph is happy so I am happy. *insert smirky smile*

And don't go trying to find me on fitbit...unless you average under 7,000 steps.  Otherwise I will just have to be annoyed with you. :)

In other news.  

Whenever I start something new in life, it tends to dominate my conversations.  And life.  

Insert Foster Care Subject Again.

Someone asked which books I had read in regards to trauma, and I decided it would be good to put them on here because it's helpful.  And it helps me keep track. (each link will take you to the book on Amazon)


Parenting the Hurt Child: Helping Adoptive Families Heal and Grow 






Two days in a row of blogging.  I shall reward myself with Starbucks.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

87 Days...



Facebook keeps reminding me that its been 87 days since my readers have heard from me.  And I think, that can't possibly be.  But it's true.  

Let's bullet and catch up and then try not to get so far behind.  


  • Tonight we start class 5 of 10 for foster care training.  We've had 1 of 3 home visists by the licensing worker, and everyone we know has been contacted or asked to fill out various paperwork on our charachter and overall well being.  We've filled out a bajillion forms and answered questions that date back to childhood.  Next week, alllll of us go in for physicals to prove that we are healthy enough to foster.   Fun times.  
  • I've read four books on my own, all based on parenting kids with trauma.  Can you guess my area of concern?  
  • Every week at our training class (which lasts three hours) we have to do group work.  I hate group work.  And class participation.  It's the worst.  #introvertproblems.
  • In the past 87 days we have bought a fire extingusher, lock box for medications, a fire escape ladder, and have gotten the bedroom all set up and ready to go.  It's so dang cute.  
  • Plans for particular kids have been back and forth and on and off and then on again.  It's a roller coaster that often leaves me feeling sick to my stomach, and impatient.  It's all part of the gig.  I repeat to myself over and over.  And over.  They are worth it.  All of it...even group work, is worth it for the kids.  My "no" is far harder on them than my "yes" is on me.  
  • I got that last part from Jason Johnson's Blog.  It's some of my favorite reading material.  If you're interested in foster care, or simply have someone in your life that is involved in foster care, go check it out.  I've learned so much, and I wish I had read it before we got into foster care, because I feel like it would have helped me better support our friends who were doing foster care!  
  • There's lots more to our life than foster care.  I promise.  Our kids are growing like crazy.  And man, I just like them.  I often wonder how I got such great people.  It's all by God's grace.  I think I may have always secretly wondered that after they got out of the cute little-kid phase I might find them annoying.  HA.  Again, introvert problems.  But, it turns out they are only annoying a leeetle bit of the time.  It's fun to see them grow and mature.  At the same time, I'm going to have a high school kid next year.  And he's currently in drivers-ed and it makes me happy and sad all at the same time.  
  • I got a fit bit for Christmas and lost it last week.  I'm undecided if I'm replacing it.  I wasn't a huge fan of wearing it, and it's constant judging was a tad annoying.  But still.  It's like that dysfunctional friendship you just can't let go of...
  • I'm working through this Bible Study and I love love love it.  It's not super dynamic and exciting, which is what people are generally looking for.  It's practical and life changing.  "God's Word is for you, and for now."  Plain and simple.  If we ever want to truly know God and be changed by Him, we need to be in His Word daily and regulalry.  It's Living Water.  
  • So there's my life for the past 87 days.  Sorta.  

Monday, December 14, 2015

Let's Chat...




Our family is venturing into the world of foster care.  


*moment of silence to let that process*


I've come up with a million different ways to share that information.   Many entailed details and stories and "looking back" that lead up to the climatic news, rather than just simply throwing it out there for you to choke on.   But for us, it's kind of the same way God led us...He really just dropped it in front of us (rather obviously) in a way that felt like it came out of no-where.  Of course it really wasn't out of no-where, we had just been doing a reaaaaallly good job of trying to ignore it.  

Someday I'll share those details.  In the mean time, we are in the beginning stages of becoming licensed.  Already it is frustrating.  Brokenness is always frustrating.  Broken system.  Broken people.  But God is not broken.

When I was 14, I made a decision to trust Jesus.  It was not on an emotional whim.  It was a literal wrestling with counting the cost of that decision.  I had been presented with truth, there was no denying that.  And I had a decision to make.  Trust Him, and hand over my life to Him.  Or reject Him, and do my life, my way.  I read scripture, trying to find a middle ground, a loop hole.  Something that said, "Hey, you can trust Jesus AND live life your own way!"

That verse doesn't exist.  

Instead, this does: 

Luke 14:25-34The Message (MSG)

Figure the Cost

25-27 One day when large groups of people were walking along with him, Jesus turned and told them, “Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters—yes, even one’s own self!—can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.
28-30 “Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn’t first sit down and figure the cost so you’ll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you’re going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: ‘He started something he couldn’t finish.’
31-32 “Or can you imagine a king going into battle against another king without first deciding whether it is possible with his ten thousand troops to face the twenty thousand troops of the other? And if he decides he can’t, won’t he send an emissary and work out a truce?
33 “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple.
34 “Salt is excellent. But if the salt goes flat, it’s useless, good for nothing.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

I was a 14 year old kid.  But I knew to count the cost.  I exchanged my will for His will.  It was my best decision.  And my hardest decision.  Because my will...it is strong

Years later, Ben, my then boyfriend (now husband), shared that God was calling him in to ministry, I knew in my heart he was right.  I also knew that it wasn't what I wanted my future husband to be called to.  Because that seemed hard.  

Ministry is hard.  (for the record.)  But it is also beautiful.  And worth it.  And the place we are called to be.  

When God dropped this foster care stuff in our path, I immediately felt like the 19 year old girl learning her boyfriend was called to pastor.  I knew in my heart that's what He wants for  us...and I also knew I'd rather be called to something else.  Something easier.  

This following Jesus stuff, it's hard.  It's not a one-time-thing.  It's a continual laying down of my will, and accepting His.  His will...it's always, always, always proven better than mine.  Always.   But that doesn't make it easy.

We have no idea what's in store.  Or where all of this will lead.  But we are taking the steps of faith, in obedience.  *With trembling.*




Thursday, October 1, 2015

It Matters


I've been thinking a lot about encouragement lately.  About how we all need it.  About those who give it freely.  And about those who...don't. 

I received a card in the mail the other day.  Written inside were a few short sentences of encouragement.  Nothing lavish or over the top.  Just simple sentences letting us know they appreciated how God is using us.  And it was one of those moments that hit me me hard.  Like crying outside the post office, hard.  Because it was just so sweet of them to send it.  

And apparently I needed it.  That's how encouragement is.  We all need it.  And we all need to give it.  




Maybe it's harsh to say this, but *oh well* I think most people think they are a fountain, when in fact they more often act like a drain.  Me included.

Some people definitely have the spiritual gift of encouragement.  This lady that sent the card, it's her gift.  It is.  

For others of us, we need to work at it a little.  We need to say the nice thing out loud.  I like to just think it.  Because thinking it in my head still seems like a nice thing to do.  But it needs to come out of my head and go into their heart for it to matter.  

Over the past several years I've learned a few things about encouragement.  One, is that in ministry & life, you will spend a great deal of time just encouraging people.  Over and over and over.  Like a cheerleader...only without the pom poms and short skirt.  Sometimes it will make a difference.  And sometimes it won't.  Cheerleaders don't control the outcome of the game.  They just cheer their little hearts out regardless.

I wasn't quite prepared for that.  I have sort of the exact opposite of a cheerleader personality.  In fact, "not a cheerleader" is on my long list of "Things I'm Not: Why Did God Call Me to be the  Wife of a Pastor?" 

And God, as usual, shows me He's not limited by what I'm not.  It's Him in me.  And so He prompts, and He prompts and He prompts some more.  And I write the email, or the text, or make the phone call.  And tell people *out loud* what I'm already thinking in my head.  Because I  need to hear it as much as they do. 

There's a phrase I find myself saying often when encouraging people: "It matters."  Whatever they are doing, whatever they are struggling with, whoever they are...it matters.  It was only recently that I realized that part of the reason I'm saying it all the time is because in a way, I'm saying it to myself.  When I tell them it matters, I'm reminding my own heart that it matters.




Cheer somebody on today.  Say the nice thing.  Everyone needs some encouragement.  Let them know it matters.  You can do it.  *insert toe touch*  (just kidding, I can't even bend over and touch my toes, let alone jump in the air and do it.  But you get the idea.)






(all images obtained via pinterest, I have no idea who the copyright belongs to, but it's not me)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Decade

The beginning of this month marked T E N years of ministry for us here in Tiny Town.  

A decade.

So much life has happened in ten years.  I can hardly wrap my head and heart around it.  


I've tried over and over to at least compose a post in my head about the past decade.  But I seem to get so far, and then decide that's not something I want to share.  And then I start from a new angle, and end up at the same point.  A bullet-point list of all I've learned seemed totally do-able.  But nothing.  And so I wait for the words to come.  And wait and wait and wait.  

This morning an Internet friend (Tracy) posted a link to a Beth Moore article and as I read it, I suddenly knew what the writers block was.  Me.


"The most basic one-word synonym for “disciple” is “learner.” Maybe you need to know today what I’ve needed to know so many days: learning, for a follower of Christ, is still a mark of discipleship even if you learned some lessons the hard way.
Or the excruciating way.
Or the embarrassing way.
Or the exasperating way.
Or the explosive, expensive or excessively long way.
If it attached you to the Teacher, if it marked you with Him and caused you at all to imitate Him, that’s the beating heart of discipleship."

I am overwhelmed with what God has done in me, this past decade.  Not through me, or because of me, but in me.  

And here's what God made me realize this morning:  "Learning, for a follower of Christ, is still a mark of discipleship even if you learned some lessons the hard way."

Early on in ministry, I would have defined "success" for myself as not failing.  I mean, I wouldn't have said that out-loud, but in my head, that would have at least been part of the definition.  In order to succeed, I needed to get most things right in most situations.  I'm the pastor's wife after all.   It only makes logical sense.  And I am, after all, l o g i c a l.  And I operated under this unspoken expectation of mine for many years.  

But God is different.  He works inside and outside of the logical.  

He took my "most things right in most situations" mentality and flipped it on me.   And I wondered why God would go and make a mess of things that I had WORKED SO HARD AT NOT MAKING A MESS OF?!?  And then the mess settled, and it became clear.  Sometimes a mess is required to make room for better.

And I learned something that I should have known logically, but didn't know practically.  God is glorified in the mess.  And He changes me in the mess.  In my mess.  I don't have to get it right all the time.  And it's in my failures that I grow in Him.  And that's all He really desires from me.  To grow closer to Him.  Everything else is an overflow from that.  I knew this to be true of other people, but my expectation for myself in my position had been different.  *God is not limited by me not getting it right all the time.*

Can I tell you something?  If you have a pastors wife in you life...let her mess up.  Allow her to disappoint you.   It's for your good, and your church's good.  When she doesn't say the thing you need to hear.  When she's not the friend you want or need...love her for that.  Because she's as messed up as you are.  And when you can see her that way, you give her freedom to grow into who God wants her to be.  And it's likely not what you want her to be...or what she wants to be (ha!) but it is most definitely what God wants.  I am thankful for people that have loved me in my messy.  

Here's what I've learned.  Successful ministry is not about the church always getting it right.  Or the pastor and his wife being the right people.  It's about disappointing each other and living and loving through it!  When a church can do that, God is glorified...and the impossible becomes possible through the unleashing of His power.  

I am so thankful for the people in our tiny church that have loved us through our learning/failing/loving process and who continue to walk this journey of faith with us.  I'm sure there are times when they've wondered if better options were out there.  I've wondered that for them.  But that's the beauty in it.  The coming and working together that would otherwise be impossible if not for God. 

It is a blessing to have been loved well these past ten years.  My prayer is that He continues to help me to love Him, and love others.  It's that simple.  All the good....that's Him.

John 13:35English Standard Version (ESV)

35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”



Monday, September 14, 2015

Stained Glass

A week or so ago, Ben and I had the chance to see one of my favorite bands, Rend Collective, live.  Normally, I'm not a huge fan of concerts because: People.  My loathing of crowds usually trumps all.  But this time they were playing in a smaller venue with balcony seating...which = my idea of a good time.

So we bought tickets the night before (procrastinators) and went out on a school night.  

Rend Collective was fantastic.  Seriously great.  And they played some of my favorite songs right off the bat, so now they have my heart forever.  




And yes, I bought a (grown up version) poster and taped it to my wall.  Near the living room.  One is never too old for a poster.

Anyways.  

There was a guy that opened for Rend Collective, and his name was Jon Guerra.  I had never heard him before, but really fell in love with his music.

I imagine that there's pressure being the opening act for a band.  You're the little guy, playing first, and you know the crowd paid for tickets to see the other band.  Basically.  But as he sang, his music ministered to my soul.  Deeply.  And if I met him (and his lovely wife that sang with him) I would tell them that being the opening-act...well, it's a big deal.  It impacts.  God uses the big guys.  And the little guys.  

I'm always a fan of the little guys.  The underdogs.  The less known.  It might be why I love my church church so much.  





One of my favorite songs he sang was called Stained Glass.  And so I have to share.  

Stained glass explained:











Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Post-Its



My husband is the romantic in this house.  He has always been the romantic in our relationship, which dates back to me being 15 and him being 17.  So, it's been awhile.  

I'm way to boring and realistic to be romantic.  My brain just doesn't bend that way.  Instead, it bends towards sarcasm and practicality.  *what a lucky guy*

He wrote me poems, and letters, and brought me flowers.   And he never let my head-shaking and eye-rolling and smirky-smile deter him.  Because that's who he is.  He's goofy, and romantic, and willing to be vulnerable...my opposite.  Which is part of what has always made me drawn to him.  Pretty admirable qualities.  

This morning, I woke up to post-it notes on all sorts of objects all over the house.  Quirky little notes.  He leaves me notes fairly often, but today was excessive enough that our boys noticed.




As the boys (14, almost 13, and 10) funneled down the stairs this morning, they couldn't help but notice the yellow post-its.  They laughed and *mocked* a little, but before I knew it they were scrounging around the house gathering all MY notes.  Reading them aloud, and smiling.  Oh the smiling.  

One boy, my sarcastic one, said "Mom, you should do this for Dad" and all of us laughed.  Because they know me.  The thought of me doing it is literally laughable.  

Then that same boy said, "Dad leaves me notes sometimes."  And the others piped in with similar stories.  Notes in their trappers, lunch boxes, electronics.  

And we love those notes.

The youngest boy collected all the notes, and hung them in the door-way.  He even managed to find the one that I *thought* I had snagged before they saw it, because: Semi-inappropriate.  HA.  Cue the grossed-out snickering of boys.

It's funny how some little post-its can make such an impact.  And I won't be surprised at all someday, when they do the very same thing for their wives.  I just hope they have some snickering boys around when they do it. ;)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Getting Junk Done

I have had a couple things change my life lately.  For real.  And by "lately" I mean within the past couple of weeks.  

So I'm going to share with you, because maybe they will change your life too.  Or not.  Whatever.  

The first is an app that my Genius-Friend-Heather told me about over iced coffees.  Good things come over iced coffees.  It's called 

Chore Monster.

So I linked to the website, but I actually got it in the app store (free) and use it from my phone.  The kids use it from their kindle/ipad/etc.  It's super easy to set up, and seriously...the 10 year old and even the 12 year old are ASKING TO DO MORE CHORES.  I'm not even kidding.  



You can set up rewards, short term and/or long term.  When they do a chore, it sends you a message and you can approve the chore if they actually did it.  The amazing thing is, it has taken out all the nagging that was previously involved in our chore life.  I don't know if it's because it's easy to use, or fun, or motivating because they can see the numbers, but dude.  It works.  Also, our house is clean.  And the van is clean.  And the yard and garage are pretty decent too because my kids are apparently highly motivated by sugary treats and REWARDS.  

Lucy is 5, and I help her navigate it on my phone.  I made one of her chores "Staying in Bed when you are tucked in so that Mommy doesn't lose her mind."  And this week:  stayed in bed.  *hallelujah*   

This little app has made us all like each other better.  And things are clean.  Happily Ever After.

The other thing that has changed my life is Clean Mama.  

I first found her on Instagram as cleanmama.  She has chores broken down into the simplest of routines.  And on Instagram she puts a cute little reminder out each day about what she's doing.  I followed her all winter and spring, without ever actually joining in on her process.  Because sometimes (mostly all the time) I like the idea of being really organized, while actually just being a procrastinator.   

But a month or so ago I printed off one of her free lists, and then after staring at it for a couple weeks, I actually started it.  

It's the best thing ever for me.  

I'm kind of a cleaner.  Junk all over makes me feel claustrophobic and so I'm constantly picking up.  But my brain is squirrel-ish and I get distracted easily, so no one task ever felt completely done, even though I was working on stuff allll the live long day.  Clean Mama's simple system and easy list keeps me on track and my squirrel-brain has decided it's totally do-able.  

Here's a simple breakdown, but check out her website because she explains it better and in more detail.  And it works, I swear.

Mondays- bathrooms (but not floors, because that's on Thursdays)
Tuesday - Dust
Wednesday - vacuum all floors, top to bottom
Thursday - Wash hard floors
Friday- Catch up on stuff
Saturday - Towels and Sheets 

It's kept me on task, and helped me do some of the stuff that I usually put off for so long that when I do have to do it, it's super disgusting and makes me want to scream.  (the boys bathroom, for instance)  This week when I did the bathroom, it wasn't so bad.  I mean still gross...but whatever.

With the kids doing chores, and Clean Mama's system, I feel like things are manageable.  Not perfect, but good enough.  And that helps. A ton.

And for the record, I don't work outside the home.  Kudos to the Mom's who do.  You're amazing.  And deserve a cleaning lady.  So my recommendation for you, is Chore Monster and a cleaning lady.  Because that's what I would do. ;)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

That Close



Just a refresher for you on how close the parsonage is to the church.  Parsonage on the left, church in the back.  

And I got my nose pierced in March.  More on that tomorrow.  And updates from the past 8 months.   

I spent all my self-imposed computer time today trying to figure out how to get my iphone photos onto the blog in the least complicated manner.  Success.  

*It's an exciting life I lead.*

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Two Sparrows

Someday, I will actually get around to showing you pictures of the office in all its gray glory.  It's so happy not to be that shameful green anymore.

And someday I will blog everyday like I said I would.  Just kidding.  I would totally do it if  these people (my children) could just stop needing me (to locate their stuff).  And needing food.  And so on.  Also, if I wasn't so easily distracted. that would be helpful too.

Back to the office:  We found our old CD collection.  90's and early 2000's CD's.  It's hilarious and awesome and aweful all at the same time.  I've been listening to Garth Brooks non-stop in the mini van (because it's the only place we have a functional CD player thanks to my love of the ipod.)  When I moved on to Tanya Tucker's Love Songs I thought *maybe* I might need some sort of intervention with the CD's.  Today it was the Dixie Chicks.  I think I've finally forgiven them for speaking ill of my favorite president.  The destruction of their careers was probably enough punishment.  I am, of course kidding.  Not about George W though.  I heart him.

Also.  I'm not quite sure why I like American Honkey Tonk Bar Association so much.  But I do.  I feel like Weird Al could totally remake it for church.

This is how my mind works.

I will leave you with a Tanya Tucker love song that I used to listen to as a teenager.  Turns out, IT WAS ABOUT ME.




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dedicated to the Class of 1996

Last night as I was driving (way past my elderly bed-time) to pick up my 7th grader from a "dance" I heard this song on the radio.



And suddenly, I was 13 years old.  Sort of.  I remember 7th grade dances.  I can't remember who I danced with though, and that's sort of bugging me. Hello Alzheimers.  I do remember this was one of my FAVORITE songs.  It makes me laugh now, because I can't quite remember how my 13-year-old-self interpreted those lyrics.  Bah.  

I'm almost positive I never caught this particular video on MTV, because it probably would have ruined the whole song for me.  Maybe.  Or I would have thought they were awesome.  Who can remember?!?

It kinda ruins it now.  Dang it.  

Whenever I drive Noah and his friend home from the dance, I like to ask 20 questions.  I'm sure they love it.  Their vague answers are a sure sign.  It's weird that having a 7th grader makes me feel like a 7th grader...and an old lady all at the same time.

I should volunteer to DJ, and share all my favorite Jr. High and High School songs, I'm sure everyone would love it.  Or at least the parents that graduated in 1996 would.

Next year.


Friday, October 10, 2014

It's Okay to be Broken


Today I cleaned and rearranged the stuff in our kitchen cabinets.  I probably called Ben on three separate occasions to tell him my progress and explain where I was putting stuff.  He listens and praises my efforts...even though he can't really possibly care about the cabinets, especially while he's trying to work. 

I may have picked the easiest man to be married to.  He didn't quite choose as wisely as me, I mean the easiest wife probably doesn't make you listen to how she moved the toaster to a different section of the counter.  *Seriously, I'm that exciting*




Anyways, I made myself a playlist of some of my current favorite songs.  Ya know, to listen to while I cleaned cupboards.  You do that, right?  No?!?  Hmmm...it's possible I'm more awkward than I thought.  Who knew.

On that playlist is the song Broken Together by Casting Crowns.  I probably listened to 10 times today (it wasn't a very long playlist,  I underestimated how long cleaning out cabinets would actually take.)

After about the 7th time through it, I you-tubed it so I could catch the lyrics better.  It's lovely.  And so representative of all marriages, no matter what stage you're at.  We all hit times of "drought" in our marriages because so much of life can demand our attention away from each other.  It's tricky finding that balance.  


The song is right.  We are all broken people.  We don't complete each other, Jesus alone completes us.  It's so much easier to give love and grace when we each see our own brokenness.  I don't have to complete him, and he doesn't complete me.  The pressure would kill us.  "The only way we'll last forever, is broken together."

I also listened to Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (the Elton John version because it's my favorite) 10 times too.  See:  Broken.





Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Muckity Muck


Every-other Tuesday night I get to be a part of a Bible study with a group of ladies.  I've been able to do it since moving here...and the group dynamics are always changing, which makes it new and unique with each study.  God has used those studies to mold and shape who I am.  It's been a process.  A long, on-going process.

We are currently doing one called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer.


The study itself is really fantastic.  Truly.  What makes it even more significant for me personally, is the place that God has brought me to before starting this study.  All the details and circumstances that fell into place, in life and ministry, so that He could use this study to so speak to my heart.  Making His voice clear.  Resounding.  Confirming.

The past 12 months have been ones that I will go back to over and over and over in my head and in my heart.  Always remembering how He worked out good.  We walked through some murky waters, knowing that things would settle and clear.  Knowing that sometimes things need to be stirred up and mucky so that they can eventually be clearer.  Better.  And even though you know that...walking through the muck:  Is never very enjoyable.  It's still muck, even if there's purpose in it.  And just when you think it will never settle and clear.  It does.

In the midst of the murky waters, God gave me a verse.  Isaiah 43:19 NLT  "For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."

Through His Word, He confirmed for us what He had spoken to our hearts.  He gave us a tiny glimpse into His plan, and it was enough to settle our hearts, and strengthen our spirit to continue in the stirred-up mire until the time He saw fit to make it clear.  

He cleared it.  And day after day, week after week, I stand in awe as I watch Him move and work in the hearts of people around me...including myself.  I will never know why He saw fit for us to be a part of His plan here, but I am so thankful for His grace and strength that makes it possible.  




Monday, October 6, 2014

Loved

We moved to Tiny Town nine years ago.  During the first year here, I met four different ladies through preschool.  We would eventually call ourselves The Fab Five.  It's not something we broadcast...unless you count this.  Ha.  

But they really are fab.  I often think about what it is that makes them...and us...work.  I think it may be the low maintenance that is required.  No drama, no backstabbing.  It's simple really, I get to just be me.  And they get to just be them.  Our kids are friends, and even our husbands have become friends.  It's the best.  

I love how God orchestrates life.  

One of the Fab Five is Steph.  I've blogged about their family before.  Two of her four kids have A-T.  You can read about it here.  Bring kleenex.  Her son Tate, who was also a good friend to my Noah, passed away in 2011.  Their daughter Tessa is 12 years old now, and also has A-T.  Tessa and my son Eli, are "special friends"  aka they love each other.  ;)  

I've learned so much about life, by just watching this family.  They love big.  They laugh, and live because they know pain. And suffering.  And loss.  It doesn't stop them.  It motivates them to just keep going...for Tate, for Tessa, for each of them.  They do not live a life filled with moping, or whining...even though they have every right to do both.  Instead, they walk the difficult line of accepting what is, and praying and hoping and doing for what could be.  

I don't even have words to adequately describe the privilege it is to call them friends.  They have changed who we are, and they have shaped how my kids see people.  Noah saw Tate.  Eli sees Tessa.  Not the genetic disease, or the disability, but straight to the heart of who they are.  It is beautiful to watch.  It's almost impossible for me to talk about Tate and Noah in past-tense.  Noah keeps growing, and getting bigger and older, yet he carries that friendship with Tate as a constant companion.  
Noah & Tate

All this to say:  We went as families, to run a race where the proceeds go to benefit research for a cure/progress in treating A-T.  For this group in purple, it's in honor of Tate & Tessa.  They are loved like crazy.  We (as a family) were finally able to join them this year.  And it was so much fun.  So many memories, tucked away in my heart.  It is a gift to do life with these people.


Click on the pic to see EVERYONE.  My blog layout cuts people out.  Rude.


Also, it turns out that if you enter a small enough race, you have a *pretty* good chance of being a winner.  



That's right.  I got 3rd in my age group.  Sound impressive...until I tell you that I ran/walked while pushing Lucy in the jogger stroller.  There may have only been 3 in my age group.  Do I care?  NO WAY!  3rd place baby.


This picture pretty much sums up Lucy and her attitude about early morning running.  And by running, I mean being pushed in a stroller while covered in a blanket.  That did not, however, stop her from complaining that "she was tired" and the "wind in her face bugs her!"  She's lucky I didn't dump her out of the jogger.  Heh.


Eli hitching a ride with Tessa right before the finish line.



 Oh the stories I could write about these two.  Love them both!


Friday, October 3, 2014

You & Me Day


Dear Lucy,

I love your four-year-old self.  I especially love you on Fridays.  You've deemed our Fridays together as "You & Me Day."  Because it's just you and me, kid.


No preschool.  No brothers.  No other kids.  Not even Daddy.


It's lovely.  I hope desperately that your little 4 1/2 year old heart will remember these days.  The trips to Target.  And Starbucks.  And Culver's (which you call Clovers.)  I want desperately to remember them too...thus the blog.

I hope we both remember how I bribed you with the promise of a toy at Target, in order to get you to wear your new pink fuzzy boots, even though "they bug you," because all new shoes bug you.  

And I hope we both remember how it took you f-o-r-e-v-e-r to choose something for your bribe.  And that you came home with a Hello Kitty back-pack/purse thing and Hello Kitty lip gloss.  And Doc McStuffin's band-aids.  


Today you watched me get my hair cut, and then my *favorite stylist of all time* even braided your hair.  And as you looked at your pretty face in her mirror, you smiled so big.  I wish I could bottle that up so that every time you looked at your beautiful self in a mirror it made you smile like that.  Because no matter what, you are always that beautiful to me.

And then we went to the cupcake store.  Where you insisted we eat it there, and not take it home.  Good call, Lu.  

And then I promised you "Mc-N-Donald's" only to drive in the parking lot and leave because it was a total mad-house.  Instead I fed you a quarter pounder and fries from the gas station.  (you're likely going to grow up with a deep love for sugar.  And fries.  I'll own that, it came from me.)

And when we finally get home, and unload the van, it's usually time to get your boys from school.  And our You & Me day is done...until next Friday.

I love Fridays.  And I love you.  May we make Target and Starbucks and Fast Food trips together always.  

Hugs and Kisses (which you'll wipe off),

Mom




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Football Mom



I'm writing this post from my phone. On a blogger app. First time for everything.  You would be so impressed with my one-finger text-typing abilities.  Use Thumbs to text? Pfffft. Not this lady.

Anyways. I spent the night watching my eldest play 7th grade football. Wind and rain and cold were involved. I feel like there should be some sort of badge of honor.


Friends who make misery fun, well those are the ones you cherish.  Also, I brought a ginormous golf umbrella. Or patio table umbrella...it was hard to tell.  

Now I'm sitting on my warm couch watching more football.  And blogging from my phone.  Tis the season.  










Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whiny McWhinerson



I'm in the process of making a list for blog ideas for the next 31 days.  I have four things on it, soooo I'll keep working on that.

If you have any bright ideas, I'd be happy to consider them.  

I've spent a good portion of the day in the book of Jonah.  We are teaching our Bible Clubber's on Jonah for the month of October.  This year we are skipping curriculum in favor of teaching whatever we feel God's leading in regarding the kids we have.  It's cool to see God working.  

I was perusing Pinterest to come up with some extra word search pages and activities.  What I found was just a bunch of crafts about a whale.  And several lessons titled "Jonah Obeyed God."  So I went back and read the story for the 50th time.

I have to say, the point of Jonah is certainly not the whale.  Not by a long shot.  And you have to use a pretty loose term of "obeyed" to describe dear Jonah.  What I DO see, is God's grace on magnificent display in that little book of Jonah.  His grace chased after Jonah.  His grace saved the sailors, physically and spiritually.  His grace in the big fish.  His grace to the Ninevites.  And even his grace to pouty Jonah at the end of the story.  

I'm always annoyed by whiny Jonah.  Probably because I am Jonah.  God gives me *pretty clear* instructions and first chance I get, I dart the opposite direction.  And when He comes after me (which He always does, because: Grace) I like to play the martyr like dear Jonah.  Yet He still saves me.  And yes, there's people I don't want to share the gospel with because I know God is merciful, and yes it's because there are people I don't want Him to be merciful with.  I want justice for them.  And again...He redirects my heart.  Back to the gospel.  Back to mercy and grace and forgiveness that I did not deserve, and certainly didn't earn.  But receive over and over and over again.

But my heart doesn't always automatically go there, to grace.  It very often is automatically a Jonah.  God's grace amazes me.  I can't comprehend it, because it's the exact opposite of my own heart and nature.  

So, long story short:  There will be no whale crafts tonight at our Bible Club ;)


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Remember the Crazy

Last Wednesday it was about 7:10 PM and I was laying on the couch feeling pretty pleased with myself.  After all,  I'd gotten an email the prior week, from my oldest two boys' baseball coach indicating that our game for the night was rescheduled.  A free night.  *Sigh* They're pretty hard to come by.  So, I'd sent the boys over to prayer meeting with their Pastor/Dad while Lucy and I spent some quiet alone time at home.  

And then I got a text from a number I didn't recognize.

"Are you on your way to the game?" They asked.  Feeling pretty smart, I replied back something like "Nope, game rescheduled."

To which the number replied "That's next weeks game."

My bad.  

The game was scheduled to start in 5 minutes in a town about 10 miles away.  I jumped off the couch, ran the 27 steps to interrupt church in order to grab my 3 boys (2 of which are on the team.  The team functions with only one extra player, they sorta need them)

The boys (and my husband were super confused.)  As they get in the house I'm frantically telling them to get their baseball stuff on because MOM WAS WRONG AND THE GAME IS STARTING NOW!  

From there, chaos ensued.  

Mad dashing from upstairs to downstairs trying to find uniforms and cups and cleats and belts and socks and gloves and hats.  Tears were involved.  We couldn't find one boys jersey, he ended up wearing a blue football t-shirt (close enough) and no belt. 

As we drove down the highway (a leeetle faster than the speed limit) I apologized to the boys and tried to give them a little pep talk that it was going to be fine, no biggie that they were arriving a full inning late.  They weren't exactly convinced, but at least we weren't yelling at each other anymore and we were almost there.

As we pulled into town, I headed down the road that leads to the Little League diamond.  And that's where I passed the cop.  The cop I only noticed as our eyes met as we passed each other on the road.  And I knew.  

He drove a few blocks passed me, and then turned into a driveway.  "He's gonna pull me over," I said to the boys.

Silence. And flashing lights.

I pull over, and by the time the nice officer gets to my window I have my insurance and license ready for him.  I also have one boy who's in tears, and the other one giggling in the back.  If you know them in real life, you know which one is which. ;)  

I quickly confessed that I knew I was going too fast and apologized.  I'm pretty sure I blabbed about forgetting their game and now we were late blah blah blah.  A quick peak inside my messy mini van with four kids must have been enough to garner some sympathy.  

"I'm not giving you a ticket M'am, please slow down next time. I do need to go back to my car and log your information."

As he heads back to his car, I notice/remember that I'm am almost out of gas..unless fumes count.  I had meant to get it the day before and then decided to procrastinate til tomorrow, because I had no where to be "tomorrow."  Pffff. It's at this point that I wonder aloud if I should ask the officer to follow me to the diamond.  My oldest wasn't sure what would be worse, running out of gas or having a police escort.

I decided to gamble and try to make it.  Which we did.  

"We're like an episode of The Middle" one of the boys said.

He's right.  We are.  

As I settled in at the game, I decided to text Ben and let him know what all the chaos was about and to tell him to come (with a gas can) as soon as he could because I was seriously doubtful my trusty van could make it any further.  I couldn't get a hold of him.  Finally he called from our home phone and said he had lost his cell, but he would be coming with gas shortly.

What I didn't know til after I'd hung up my phone was that the game was almost over.  

In the end, we won the game by one run.  And my oldest pitched the last inning and struck all three batters out.  And, with friends following in their vehicles, we made it to the gas station and then home.  And Ben eventually figured out we must have made it home okay. ;)  By the end of the night, we had found his cell phone and all was right with the world.  Out little world anyways.

We learned a few lessons in the crazy.  Mainly, I should pay more attention to details in emails from coaches.  And not put off getting gas.  Or speed.  All of which I'm likely to repeat in the future...but the best part about it was to be able to laugh at it afterwards.  Sometimes the crazy is a good way to bond.  




this picture is not from the crazy day.  just a different day when I was annoying them with selfies.