Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Normally, we get up and out of the house by 8:40 to get to Precept. We are there until 11:30 every other week, and until at least 1 on the alternating weeks that we also have 4-H after Precept. This week, being a "fifth" Tuesday would have not had 4-H, so it would have been an early day. Then sometimes we go meet some friends at a park near the Precept church. Then we head home for about 1 1/2 hours before we head back to the exact same town and almost the same place for Mimi's art lesson, which again because it is a "fifth" Tuesday was cancelled. During art, the other kids and I hang out at a friend's and then we go home, I drop them off, and as soon as Eric gets home I am out the door again for sign language class and UIP.
Today, Mimi woke up not feeling well. Now, she tends to be a bit of a hypochondriac, but she really said she did not feel well enough to go to Precept, and so we all stayed home. What a beautiful thing to just REST and be home. TJ did 3 reading lessons, and we finally finished Paddle-to-the-Sea, which was a really good book if anyone is interested, but also is deceptively long. Scott practised piano too, and I was able to roast a butternut squash for soup. Wow, I was feeling productive ;-).
So productive in fact that I decided to go to the park to meet our friends since Mimi had started feeling much better and since one friend had some very happy news that I wanted to chat about. We stayed for about an hour as the sky was opening up with rain and so we all took our leave at the same time. We ironically saw the children of 2 other families of homeschool friends there although only one mother was there as the other one was at the hospital with a friend of hers who was pregnant and having bleeding (the baby is fine as it turns out).
On my way home, I reached for my phone to make a call and noticed a missed call from my husband. I called him back to find out my mother was in the Emergency Room of the local hospital, although he had no other details. I called my sister, who was headed up there to see my mom, and she had just reached my mom and was able to tell me that mom had chest pain and almost fainted and had some muscle weakness, and they were waiting to see the doctor. I decided to go home with the kids and wait to hear the report from the doctor rather than try to find places for the kids to go just to sit up there in a curtained off area of the ER.
My sister called back about 45 minutes later to say they were admitting mom and my husband was on his way home so he could stay with the kids and I could help my sister go get my mom's car from her work. I got to see my mom, who looked fine, but possibly had a TIA (mini-stroke). She was feeling better though. I also found out that our old dog, who belongs to my mom now, went missing. We all thought she got out of the HOUSE, but it turns out that my step-dad was taking her to the vet and did not have a leash on her, and when he opened the car door, she escaped and took off running. He could not get her to come back. He also told me this had happened at 10 AM this morning...it was now after 3. YIKES! Oh, and the vet is on a busy road, just minutes from a really busy state highway. There was a really good chance the dog was no more at this point, but I felt like I had to try.
So I called Animal Control, but they hadn't picked her up. Then I left the hospital to go look for her. I remembered that she has a "chip" implanted with her information, but that is so old that it says WE are the owners and at our old address, etc. So my first stop was to go by my old house and leave a business card with my number in case the police or pound tried to bring her there. Then I went by the vets who did not have her, although they did tell me she had been sited up and down this busy connector street. I left my card there too, and proceeded to start calling out her name as I drove. Wouldn't you know I found her almost immediately. And wouldn't you know she turned, saw me, BARKED at me, and then took off running the other direction. YOU have GOT to be kidding me!!! I followed her up and down that street, all around my friend Marie's church, into a nearby neighborhood, etc. for almost an hour. Every time I would get close, she would take off. I finally went to a near by convenience store and bought some cereal (at $6 a BOX) and opened it up to throw it at her and see if I could lure her to me with food. This WHOLE time I was praying to God that she would a)not get hit and b) come to her senses and stop running from me. Well either God's timing finally matched mine, or the cereal worked, or both, but she finally turned, came to the car, didn't run as I opened the door, and then hopped inside. I'm not sure who was happier, her or me!
So I brought her home, borrowed a leash from one neighbor and dog food from another and tied her up outside with some food and water until my sister could come get her (she has a dog and a fenced yard and only 1 child, so it was easier for her to deal with the dog and getting her where she needed to go.
In the end, I missed sign class, but made it to UIP with mere moments to spare.
As I type this, my mom is still at the hospital, but still in the ER as they have no room for her on the floor she should go to-just craziness! I'd go see her, but she turns into a pumpkin after 9 PM, so I imagine she's sleeping anyway, but I'll update you in the morning.
Monday, October 29, 2007
I remind myself over and over again that my worth, my status, my sense of belonging, and my confidence all only come from one place-God. What others think should not matter at all if my heart was right and my intentions were true. God calls us to be willing to lay down our LIVES for Him, surely He is worthy of a little humility on my part. But I want so much for people to like me...I'm still so human in that respect. It should be such an easy thing to just rest in God, but my flesh struggles so sometimes-especially when I feel the whole situation was a misunderstanding.
I'm so blessed that we have been spending so much time in Paul's writings in church. Now there is someone who was willing to be embarrassed for (NOT of) the gospel, in so many ways. Really his whole focus was to proclaim the gospel no matter what the personal cost. I am humbled to think how far I have to go before I really consider ALL things joy-even being unjustly brought low. And I am challenged to chose the most excellent response, not the one that leads to a sense of self-preservation by relying on my own strength or by not trusting God to have my best interests at heart one way or the other.
God has already used this to show me something though about my own feelings for someone else whom I frequently feel like "brags" about their accomplishments. Maybe they too are misunderstood, only this time it is ME doing the misunderstanding. Really, they just state facts. I am the one who takes those facts, finds myself lacking compared to them, and then feels judged by them, when really the other person is not involved in it at all. It's my own shortcomings that cause their statements to be tough pills to swallow-not the fact that they don't have those particular shortcomings. They have plenty of other ones. I know that, not because I judge them, but because we are all "works in progress" as we discussed in the opening of Philippians on Sunday. God has things He needs to work out, to perfect, in all of us, but those things are as different for each of us as we are from each other
I'm so blessed that I have worth in God-so much worth that He sent His son to die on the cross for me-and He would have done that if I were the only person in the world that needed saving. That's true for you too you know.
I'm blessed that I have status as His chosen child. Chosen before the world was formed. He has loved me for eternity. I am that important to Him. So are you.
I'm blessed that I belong to God. I am an heir to His kingdom. Adopted into His family. Daughter of the creator of everything. You are, or can be, too.
I am blessed that I have the confidence of salvation. I keep my eyes on the prize of the upward call in Christ. I will have everlasting life. That confidence comes not from any strength of mine, or any accomplishment of the flesh, but from the very Word of God. It is living, it is active, and it is Truth.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
Wednesday: We had a field trip to a local news station. The people at the station were FABULOUS with the kids, and we actually got to sit in the studio for the noon news. The kids all loved it. Oh, and did I mention that, as with anything else, it was more than just "get up and go on the field trip". This was dress the kids in nice clothes and potentially for a cold environment (TV studios have a way of being chilly), pack lunches for 5 people, pick out appropriate movies for Sari and then drive Sari 15 minutes in the OPPOSITE direction to her daddy so he could watch her since she was not allowed to go on the field trip, drive BACK by our house on the way to Marie's to get her oldest two to take with us, drive 45 minutes down to the news station, cram half a sandwich down everyone's throat before walking in the door, be prepared at the field trip to distribute Book-It and Ren Faire stuff to the correct recipients, AND the obvious- take a tour of the station :-). I held my breath during the news broadcast as live TV and children don't always go well together, but no one made a peep, so it was great. Here are the kids clowning around with the "green screen" used for the weather.
Thursday: I think I actually did something that resembled school with at least TJ, but the kids were playing so nicely in the boys' room and I had work to get done around the house, that really I let them just have a laid-back sort of day. Mimi did NOT have girl scouts, which was nice too, but TJ did have soccer and my husband had to be at church early and TJ's normal ride from soccer to church was sick so I went to his soccer practice and we got to church right when it started. I am confident that we actually did something else on Thursday that invloved running at a frenetic pace somewhere, but someone else will have remind me what it was because I've long since forgotten.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Sunday: CHURCH...my husband needed to be there early to start a new recording system (which failed miserably since one of the components did not work). I learned at church that one of the scheduled nursery workers could not be there, so I (in a moment of insanity) volunteered to help as I have just recently completed Philippians as a Precept study, so I figured if ever there was a time to miss a message it was now. I thought I was volunteering for the babies...I ended up helping with the toddlers...all 13 of them. There was another mom in there too, and a dad came to help for a lot of the time, but it was busy busy busy. NOT my calling, but fun for a rare day now and then. Then we went to the always healthy SONIC for lunch since lunch options at our house were non-existent. After a nap to attempt to make up for my sleep deprived state, I headed off for a therapeutic treatment and then home just to walk back out the door to go to Walmart to get food stuff for Monday and Tuesday obligations, then home to draw up allergy shots and off to my mom's with Scott to have her give us the shots. Got home around 8:30-just in time to tuck in the kiddos.
Monday: Made mac and cheese first thing and then off to an all day sewing fest at Ann's. I say "all day", but I actually had to leave to take the kids to PE at 12:45 and then take Scott and S to piano from 3:10-4:30, back by my house around 4:50 to get the boys' stuff for scouts (they were saying the pledge of allegiance at a city meeting and needed to be in full uniform), and back to Ann's where I stayed WAY later than I had intended. I did get a little sewing done though, LOL. Oh, and when I finally got home and wanted to crawl into bed, I realized I needed to make food for the morning and so I was up until almost midnight cooking.
Tuesday: Precept in the morning. I had to bring snack for the ladies. I finished making the food in the morning before we left, and planned on arriving around 8:45 at the church. Well, that didn't happen-it was more like 9. I also had JT since his dad was having more testing done that morning. JT and Scott had failed miserably at lacing Sari's shoes in the car, so when we got there, I had to unlace and re-lace them. I set my keys in her car seat while I did that, then got her shoes tied, grabbed her diaper bag, my precept bag, and Sari, and planned to come back for the food. I closed the car door, and went to put my stuff down in my class before taking Sari to hers. Oops...where are my keys? Oh, yeah, in her seat. In the CAR. Which is LOCKED. Have you ever felt sick-to-your-stomach about something? Well, this was one of those moments. Called my husband. He was an hour away. Called Allstate (our AAA alternative). Spent 16 minutes navigating their phone tree (it: state the name of the city, me: "happyville", it: you said, "sadville", if this is correct say one, if this is not correct say two...you get the idea.) I finally got a person, explained my situation, and explained that in less than an hour, 100 ladies were going to be looking for the food that was currently safely locked up in my car, so the sooner they could help the better. The company that came out was GREAT, and was very prompt, but I missed most of the class that morning. I did however get my keys and the food, so there's a reason to rejoice (and I only lock my keys in the car about once every 15 years, so it's not like that is a regular thing for me). After Precept, I went by Aunt Fanny's to take her my Godson's car seat, which she would need in about 30 minutes to get him from preschool. Then home for 2 1/2 hours for lunch and a brief rest before we went back out the door to take Mimi to art and the rest of us to Aunt Fanny's for our weekly 45 minutes of fellowship. Then to the park for the rest of the time until art class ended at 5. Luckily my friends are in the same boat, so we keep each other company while we wait. Oh, and we had good news that Ann is expecting again :-).
After art, we headed home, I ate anything I could get my hands on and then ran out the door again by 5:50 for my sign language class followed directly by UIP and home around 9:30.
Are you tired yet? I am, and it's only TUESDAY, but I have to take a break and blog the rest tomorrow. Somehow, sharing what my days looks like helps me realize the things that don't get done are not purposefully skipped in laziness but just fall by the wayside to make room for the other things I do. Not sure if that's good or bad, but there it is...
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
TJ with a funny face ;-)
H's just slightly younger sister G knew the words to every song they did, and was singing along in the audience. It was so cute. And Sari was totally enthralled.
G singing along, Sari doing her favorite thing...sucking her thumb.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This past Saturday, my daughter had one of those moments where she wanted something with all her heart. (And no, I don't believe children should get everything they desire-not even by a long shot, but sometimes, it's just fun to be able to make their dreams come true. Even God in the Bible talks about giving good gifts.)
Anyway, Mimi wanted to go to the circus. See, this past spring, we had tickets to the Shriners circus that my step-dad bought for our family. The week-end it was held was not a convenient one, but I tend to let guilt dictate my life, and so I felt compelled to HAVE to go even though we did not ask him to do this for us. We drove over an hour down there, and because of construction at the facility it was at, it's start was delayed. A LOT. Always good to punish the punctual for the sake of the tardy (yes, that's sarcasm), but that's another blog entirely. When the circus FINALLY started, we were only able to stay for one act as I had a concert I had to be at and we had to leave. My kids were great about it, but apparently that limited exposure left Mimi wanting more. (What almost 8 years old girl can resist someone twirling over 100 hula-hoops or doing tricks with Pomeranian puppies?)
Well, in the mail about 2 weeks ago, we got buy-one get one free coupons for a circus that was coming to our town. Mimi paraded them in to me Saturday morning and said, "Mommy, can we go...PLEASE????" So I looked at the date. Oops! They were for THAT DAY. My first instinct was to say NO!, but since her birthday is this Friday, and she really wanted to go, I told her we'd look at the website. YIKES! Tickets were $22 for adults and $8 for kids. No wonder they were buy one get one. We asked Daddy, who said for that kind of money he'd rather we go see Ringling when they come to town, so it looked like all was lost.
Mimi has been planning this elaborate birthday party that I just could NOT get my head around trying to make happen. I was desperate for an "out" that did not involve squashing her creativity, so I spoke to daddy privately and asked if he would go for me taking a SMALL group of girls from church to the circus IF Mimi would agree that that would take the place of this elaborate party, and we would just have a smaller party at a local park for all her friends. Boy, did she have to think HARD about that. But in the end the draw of the circus won out. So I set about trying to round up this small gaggle of girls for an event taking place 5 hours from then. It must have been a God thing, because they could all come. AND, my friend Aunt Fanny came to keep me company and help me laugh at...I mean enjoy...the acts, LOL.
I felt bad at first about posting this, since I know so may of our friends read this blog, and if money grew on trees (and I had had a little more notice) I would have loved to take ALL the girls, but your daughters are no less loved by us if we didn't take them, we just used the church girls (and our neighbor R who will be in school on Friday) as a place to draw the line so we could still make the mortgage payments.
Going up the bleachers, Mimi commented that this was her BEST BIRTHDAY EVER...and that was before the show ever started. She was REALLY psyched!
First, the entire cast is only about 10 people...and that includes the tech guys. The Ring Master was also a trampoline jumping clown who also set up and broke down his trampoline WHILE MC-ing. He was great, but the lack of personnel and thus the double duties of the cast and crew kept Aunt Fanny and I laughing.
And the circus really wasn't bad at all. The girls loved it, and so did Aunt Fanny and I, just for different reasons, LOL. For something that came to our little town, it really was pretty good. But the best thing was it was my little girl's dream come true.
Monday, October 15, 2007
First, let me say never send me to do an errand.
The kids were making me BONKERS tonight, and we had movies that needed to go back to the store, so I pleaded with my husband to PLEASE let me take them back. He caved, and off I went. Well, the movie store is near Dunkin Doughnuts, and we needed the kids to really do a great job picking up tonight as baby R will be with us tomorrow, and so I said I'd bring back a doughnut for the kid who cleaned the best. So now I was up to 2 stops (movie store, Dunkin Doughnuts).
THEN, as I get closer, I realize I really should go to Publix, which is right across the street from the other two since I needed lunch we could eat at Precept and cereal for the morning. (3 stops now).
BUT,at the other end of the plaza with Publix is Bealls, and I NEEDED a pair of new black shoes. We wear black for UIP, and last season my one shoe got caught on something and literally ripped, so I had to buy new ones. Those new ones are fine for regular wearing, but NOT for standing in for over and hour straight in one place. They REALLY BOTHER the toe that I have broken twice. So I needed new, new shoes, which just happened to be on sale at Bealls this week, and here I was without the kids in tow, so I'd better stop now, right?
Oh, and I also needed a certain item goes under a woman's shirt in the aforementioned black color since my beige ones were showing under my black tops.
So now my 20 minute trip to take the movies back has turned into an hour and a half shopping extravaganza.
But hey, it gave me a blog topic :-).
So at Bealls, I went in the dressing room to try some things on. There were three rooms, and the first two were occupied by a mother and her young teen daughter. As I was trying on my stuff I hear the mother say to the daughter that she needs her to do something. The daughter replies with a very haughty "WHAT?". Then the mother repeats herself, and the daughter again replies in a sassy hassled voice, "What????" By now, it's all I can do not to say something about not talking to her mother in that tone of voice, but then if the mother isn't correcting it, it really isn't my place to do it either. So now the mother says, "I need you to come here" and the daughter goes. The mother says, "I need you to get this in another size. " and maybe she says what that size is, but I missed it.
The daughter, for all her inappropriate vocal response DOES go get the clothes, and brings them back to her mom. The mother goes in to try it on, and then I hear, "(name), this is a LARGE. I asked for a SMALL." with rather the same tone the daughter had just had with her. The daughter says, "Oh my G__, I'm so sorry" about what I think really was a genuine mistake. Then the mother says, "You freaking idiot...you can come out of the dressing room because I won't be buying you anything." And it goes on from there...The whole scene just breaks my heart. The Bible is SO clear on what our roles are as parents and as children. CHILDREN- Honor you mother and Father...it is so important it is a commandment. AND, obey your parents in the LORD for this is right. BUT ALSO, parents- Train up a child in the way they should go...not tell them once, or stop at a certain age, but TRAIN them in the way they should behave. Also, in your anger do not sin. And especially, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.
It's all about the heart, and both of these ladies were focused on themselves and not on how to die to themselves. The result was truly grievous and embarrassing to witness/overhear. Even worse, the mom left her dressing room at the same time I did, and was totally gracious and apologized, NOT for what I had just overheard, but for almost bumping into me. Why is it so easy for us to be kind to total strangers, but so hard to deal kindly with those closest to us?
We all have those bad days. Heck, I was having one today...that's why I left to return the movies in the first place. But I was one of those children whose parents said things like that mom said, and I can tell you it is devastating when those that are meant to love you most in this world cut you to the quick. Thank GOD that His grace is sufficient, and that HE is the perfect parent even when we fall short. Please pray for this mother and daughter. They need it.
I have one big blessing for tonight: My friend Marie's husband is finally home from the hospital after a 13 day stay. God has really acted in his life, and it is wonderful to see. He really very nearly died, and yet God still has work for him to do, and we are thrilled to see him doing so much better. It will still be a long road to full recovery, but he's alive, and he's home under his own roof tonight, and 13 days ago, no one could have been sure either of those things would ever be true again.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Scott. Note the bare feet :-). Secretly, I think he just enjoyed having a reason to where the winter coat we bought him in NC last year.
Okay, no parka for Mimi, but note the long sleeves/long pants and HAT on her head. She was TOTALLY serious about feeling the need to be dressed like this.
Sari, who I think just loved the chance to wear her coat too. Note the one glove/Michael Jackson look. That's because last night darling TJ "accidentally" slammed her pinky in his bedroom door. It is twice it's normal size today and there was no way a glove was going on that hand. (I'm sure it was an accident. They delight in chasing each other around the house and then running in their bedrooms and slamming the door in the face of their pursuer. We've talked over and over about how someone could get hurt like that but sometimes it actually has to happen before it sinks in. Don't think it will happen again though, as he's not fond of the ROC (the rod of correction), so I am hoping that "game" has finally come to an end.)
It's funny, because today was a day just like summer is when we go to upstate NY, and the kids totally LOVE that weather, but I suppose after months of the heat index being at or over 100, a 40 degree drop to 60 does feel down right chilly.Still I had to share the pics, and give you a laugh at their expense. Take extra notice that Scott and Sari have the whole parka-on-top, shorts/diaper on the bottom look going on, which just makes the whole thing even funnier to me :-).
So I posted my blog yesterday, and then later went to church for our midweek teaching. We are in 2 Corinthians chapter 12, and last night's lesson started with verse 11. It reads:
I have become foolish; you yourselves compelled me. Actually, I should have been commended by YOU, for in no respect was I inferior to the most eminent apostles, even though I am a nobody."
If you are lacking background, let me fill you in. This is a letter Paul is writing in response to some missive he has received from the Corinthian church. It seems there have been some "apostles" who have come to Corinth, a church that Paul planted, and made accusations about Paul not being as real an apostle as they are, and generally trying to undermine his credibility. Paul responds in a manner most uncomfortable for him by reminding them of his history and the very real afflictions he has endured on behalf of the Gospel. This "boasting" of his credentials is what Paul is referring to as foolishness, and the fact that they have been swayed by these other "apostles" is why he says they have compelled him to it. Even in his boasting though, he prefers to boast of his own inequities saying in chapter 11 verse 9-10:
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore, I am well content with weakness, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
(Those verses were Sunday's message, and so timely as my friend Marie's husband has now been in the hospital for over a week, and it's so comforting to know that as James says, we should rejoice in our trails because they not only perfect our faith, but our weakness in those circumstances allows God's strength to shine through.)
So back to last night. I tend to be okay with the face value interpretation of scripture. Paul here says he considers boasting foolishness, but he is doing it because that seems to be the kind of thing they want to hear and is a "language they understand". Then he says, really, if anyone is doing the commending, it should be them since he has clearly shown himself worthy in their presence of all the skills they think him lacking being that we find out in verse 12 that he has performed constantly "signs and wonders and miracles" in their presence.
But go back for a minute. This is where I am so blessed to be under the teaching of a patient God and a wise pastor that God works through. It comes in the IMPLIED stuff that I normally skip over. That's the spiritual "meat" I still need others to cut up for me. Here, Paul says THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMMENDING HIM. We should commend other believers. It's not just "okay", it's what God wants us to do. We should blow their horns for them. We should defend them if they are being wronged by someone else...maligned in speech or in deed. No one should have to boast of their own accomplishments, we should do it for them. And they should boast of their weaknesses. In that way, everyone is both weak (by their own admission and therefore usable by Christ and allowing Him to take the glory when that weakness is overcome) and strong (in what their example means to others and the ways they glorify God by serving others, and in drawing their strength from Christ in whom we can do all things).
Wow. Really? We should commend each other? Isn't that what I just blogged about? And without even hearing this teaching first. And how did it happen that way? GOD! I take no credit for anything intelligent that comes from my lips (or fingers, as the case may be), although the foolishness is probably all mine, LOL. But there are so many times that I have learned to listen to that still soft voice that tells me, "I don't care what you thought you were going to write about, this is what I have to say through you." Over the years, I have literally sat at the computer to type one thing, and ended up with something totally different. I started yesterday's blog out saying it felt like I was tooting my own horn because it DID feel that way, and I'm not comfortable doing that, but I just knew that was the message God had for me to type. In the end it's not about me at all, it's about obedience to the ENTIRE counsel of God's Word, and obedience to His very real whispers/shouts/shoulder taps/shaking you out of bed moments (right Aunt Fanny?) in your life.
So really...go, brag about someone, boast about someone, encourage someone, bless someone. Send someone an e-mail before this day is over letting them know how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them. Forget Random acts of Kindness...make this deliberate and watch how God works in their life and yours.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this choir. You are a vital part of the choir and very special to me. I can always count on you having a smile on your face and know that it is genuine. Thank you for all the many times you have prayed for me. You and your family occupy a space in my heart and I pray for you daily. Just wanted you to know that.
Wow! How can you get an e-mail like that and NOT have your day be fabulous??? Let me be clear that we should NEVER do things based on the motivation of the reward/praise we might receive for them on this earth. And, if NO ONE ever says thank you for anything or acknowledges in any positive way your actions, but you are doing them to please God based on His calling for you, that should not matter.
HOWEVER, flip that around. How nice was it for me to receive these words today? I can tell you they made me glow. It is more touching to me than I have the ability to express.
And how often do we offer praise to others? Ouch! That's where it gets you doesn't it? So nice to receive, but so seldom ever offered.
That has really been a passion of mine. I really want people to know how much I appreciate what they do and what they mean to me. A few years ago now, I had a "birthday" project for all my friends where I gathered kind thoughts/letters of appreciation about them from others and put them all in books for them to keep. We all decorated the books together. It was loads of fun. Lest anyone think I deserve the credit, the idea came from 2 places. When I sang in Sweet Adelines (there's something I forgot to put in my 100 things...and I even sang in the opening ceremonies to the Atlanta Olympic Games while I sang with them....How do you forget something like that?), we had a retreat, and all weekend long we all wore a piece of paper pinned to our backs with hand prints traced on them called "A Pat on the Back". Then, others wrote on it all weekend, but you could not see what had been written until we went home at the very end. The other part of the idea came from our experience with a Christian spiritual renewal weekend. One afternoon, they handed us a bag and told us to go find a quiet spot to read. Inside the bag were notes that our sponsors had gathered for the weeks before the retreat from others in our lives. The one that made me cry the most was from the youth group that my husband was the pastor of. I STILL have that bag full of notes. That, combined with letters I have received like the e-mail this morning, are the type things that would go in these books. They are for those down days. The ones where nothing goes right. The ones where you wonder if you are making a difference. The ones where you cry out to the Lord, and He brings to you remembrance of that book and all those people whose lives you HAVE touched doing His work.
I imagine that's what Heaven will be like. When you get your crowns. The difference is, then, you get the honor of casting them at Jesus' feet. I know the good I do does not come from me, but is God working through me. Until I can cast my crowns at His feet, I can be assured, even on those "off" days, that just the simplest gesture, like a genuine smile, might be what makes a world of difference to someone.
Lest this at all make it sound like I've got it all together, let me confess that my biggest stumbling blocks comes in first, being consistent with the praise, not just going in spurts, AND affording my FAMILY the same type of recognition I give my friends. Some of you are soooo good at making your husband feel like he IS your knight in shinning armor. You seek ways to make his life easy. I know that I should do that also. Yet I still get annoyed when the garbage does not go out on garbage day. I need to be WAY MORE forthcoming in my praise of him. And my mom. And, yikes! HIS mom. Funny, the Bible says, "Honor your mother and father." NOT "Honor your mother and father until you become one yourself." BOY, do I have miles to go on that one.
Although there are a MILLION more meaningful ways to do it, an e-mail is a great place to start. I challenge EACH of you to go RIGHT NOW to your e-mail and shoot off a quick note to someone telling them how much you appreciate such and such or how great they are at this or that. Go. NOW. Be the reason someone else is glowing...
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
1) I was born in Buffalo, NY.
2) Except for the fact that I had an alcoholic parent, I had an amazing childhood when we lived there.
3) Life got much less ideal when we moved to Memphis, TN, but I love Memphis and still consider it “home”-although every year that feeling slips away a bit more.
4) I have family that I love dearly in the Finger Lakes area of NY.
5) I have always wanted to live in NC, but 2 years ago we go the chance to move there, and we didn’t take it. God was totally in those details, and it made me realize how much I’ve come to be okay with living in Florida because…
6) I have the most AMAZING group of friends. Really, there are not adjectives enough to describe them, or what they mean to me, or the depth of my love for them-although I probably spend far too little time telling them all that. They are an answer to a prayer I never thought to say, and God is so good He gave me better friends than I ever could have thought to ask for.
7) I am hugely insecure, but my friends’ strengths make up for my weaknesses.
8) I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know Jesus, but I spent far too many years not ‘walking in a manner worthy”. My pastor says there are 3 types of people-saints (those believers who have been saved by God’s grace), aint’s (non-believers), and y’aints (as in- you may be a saint, but “you ain’t” living like one). I was a y’ain’t for way too many years. God used my friends, my church, and Precept Bible study to change that and call me back to my relationship with Him.
9) While I know I am forgiven of the events, I have many deep regrets from my past. I’m not going to confess them to you here :-).
10) I was ridiculously smart as a child.
11) I have probably not used that intelligence at all in the way my parents envisioned.
12) That’s because I always wanted to be a mom.
13) If it were up to me, I probably would not have gone to college for that reason.
14) But I did, and I have a degree in Social Science Education with a minor in History.
15) God has blessed me with four wonderful children, and we Homeschool, but very seldom do I ever use anything I learned in college for that. (But I met my husband at college, so it was not at all a waste.)
16) The things I needed to learn, the skills I really needed to be a good wife and mother, those are what I never was educated about.
17) It shows.
18) I was raised Christian, but not with a Biblical worldview. I did not even know what that was until a few years ago.
19) I am trying to instill a Biblical worldview in my children.
20) I have been married for 15 years to a man I love, but sometimes don’t like so much.
21) That’s because I was brought up believing the world’s ideas about marriage and not God’s. I struggle with that daily still. God’s way is so much better, but so contrary to what the world tells us. It is a daily, sometimes hourly, battle to die to my self and always treat my husband the way God would have me treat him. I grew up believing every girl deserved a knight in shining armor. Now I know that I have one…I just have to change my definition of what a knight in shining armor looks like to match what God says, and not what the world says.
22) My deepest desire for my children is that they understand the roles of a Godly husband and a Godly wife, and that they are equipped to be those things. (It goes without saying that I desire them to accept Jesus as their savior, and 3 of them have.)
23) I am the adult child of an alcoholic. It’s what I am, it had shaping influences in my life, but it does not define me.
24) I really don’t drink, but I’m not morally opposed to it. It’s easy for me not to drink because…
25) I hate beer and...
26) I don’t really care for wine.
27) My great uncle helped start a winery. All my relatives drink beer or wine, almost always in moderation.
28) Drunk people and cigarette smokers physically repulse me, although I still love people who have been known to be one or both.
29) I have never fired a gun and I have no desire to.
30) I do, for some unknown reason, think I would be good at archery, and I’d love to learn.
31) I’d also like to learn how to knit, crochet, play guitar, do stained glass, and throw pottery (not like pitch it across the room-that I already excel at. I mean “throw” as in make something on a wheel).
32) I’d love to learn to swing dance and ballroom dance with my husband.
33) I wish I could: play piano better, keep my house clean, keep my house uncluttered, and sing with the voice of an angel, and not just the voice of an angel’s back-up singer.
34) I LOVE to sing.
35) I’m not sure others love to listen when I do, LOL.
36) I am related to Princess Di, and therefore to the future king of England
37) I am also related to Mary, queen of Scots
38) The closest I will ever get to being a princess is being a daughter of the King of Kings-and that’s more than good enough for me.
39) I’ve “assisted in the portrayal” of a Disney character…for 25 whole minutes.
40) I also have driven a Disney monorail. Did you know monorails can speed? Come on, just ask me how I know, LOL.
41) I worked at Walt Disney World for 10 years.
42) Neither of the above was ever my job.
43) The first job they offered me was, ironically enough, driving the monorail, and I turned them down because I was 18 and that seemed like such a hugely responsible position.
44) HAH! Monorails run on a TRACK for goodness sake! So what job did I take? A tour guide for the Disney-MGM Studios. Did I mention part of the job was DRIVING A TRAM 6 cars long, NOT on a track, loaded with 200 people, around a backlot frequently occupied by production vehicles?
45) I LOVED my job, and all of the ones I did at Disney. I even became a trainer and taught others how to drive that monstrosity. For one week, while you are training them, anything they hit with the tram goes on your record. My trainees NEVER hit anything.
46) My last job was my favorite. I was a Senior Program Facilitator for the Disney Institute/Disney University. I taught behind the scenes tours, corporate training classes, and just public interest type stuff like….
47) I actually taught a class on Architecture, which I knew nothing about, but I’m a quick study. Just ask me what a scupper is for!
48) I know a ridiculous amount of useless Disney trivia, like Donald Duck’s middle name.
49) I have no problems speaking in front of people, even large groups.
50) I have HUGE problems speaking to people one on one.
51) My friends don’t, and they all cover for me…did I mention how wonderful they are?
52) I have been a reporter for a cable news station. I HATED it!!!
53) The girl who did my make-up for senior prom is a movie star now.
54) I don’t have a favorite color.
55) I hate almost all televised sports. I’d rather watch paint dry.
56) I have never been popular.
57) I was a sorority girl (Pi Beta Phi). Even sororities need a few smart girls. It was such a different experience for me, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have lifelong friends from Pi Phi.
58) You know that dream where your teeth are falling out? It has happened to me in real life. While eating a piece of candy corn. At work. When I called my dentist, they wanted to know if it was an emergency. I said, “I’m holding a large piece of my tooth in my hand, so yes, I’d say it is an emergency.” They replied that the soonest they could get me in was 2 weeks. I switched dentists.
60) I have horrible teeth. I had my first root canal/crown at age 23-I’ve had 2 more root canals and 3 more crowns since-but no more broken teeth.
61) I started going gray at 22. Just this morning, my husband said, “Look down.” When I did, he said, “You are going SILVER. It looks like you have PAINT in your hair.” Yep, thanks a bunch for THAT one honey! Thankfully, at 5’9”, most people still don’t notice because they are not looking at the top of my head.
62) I dyed my hair for over a decade.
63) Now I’ve gone all natural-natural haircolor, natural hair style, natural skin care and hair products, natural deodorant, natural toothpaste…the list is endless.
64) I don’t even wear make-up, but I never did that anyway.
65) Except for shell collecting and long walks at sunset, I HATE the beach.
66) I HATE sand, especially in my food, in my mouth, on my body, in my hair, under my fingernails….
67) I also HATE salt. Not just salt water, but really anything salty. It’s the bane of my husband’s cooking and eating existence.
68) I LOVE taking pictures.
69) Beyond pointing and shooting, I really know very little about photography however...
70) I think I am pretty good at it.
71) Though I know I shouldn’t, I deeply desire to be the best at something, anything, but I never am.
72) I am learning to be content in all circumstances, even the one above.
73) Secretly, I worry that I am screwing my kids up for life with my unstructured homeschooling approach. It’s a throwback to my very academically oriented school days.
74) Spiritually, I know that if the ONLY thing I taught them was about their Creator, and the only thing they ever learned was to accept Jesus as their savior, love Him with all their heart, and have a real, personal relationship with God through prayer and His word, that would be more than enough.
75) But while they are in this world, they still need to be able to balance a checkbook, so therein lies my struggle.
76) I have ALWAYS been entranced with the lights of an airfield at night.
77) I love to bake. It shows (on my less than girlish figure).
78) I have never felt thin.
79) I now realize I was thin once, and that all measurements, including weight, are relative.
80) I am a doula-a professional child birth labor coach. I have a passion for teens especially. But I recently let my certification lapse since I feel like God has called me to other ministries at this time in my life, and since certification is nice, but not necessary to helping a woman in labor.
81) I excel at debate.
82) I LOVE writing and I am a decent writer.
83) I was a competitive ice skater. Ice Dancing was my thing, and I was pretty good, but not the best.
84) I have a thing for penguins, although I am really trying to rid myself of my collection as they are just more clutter, and more to dust. Besides, my kids have their own collections now, so do I really need one too?
85) I did yoga for 5 years. I love it. Just not the new age religion stuff that usually goes with it.
86) I am mildly dyslexic-a fact which I am constantly reminded of as I type this.
87) I have been in 9 car accidents.
88) 2 were my fault.
89) I love to read.
90) I am a perfectionist. Some people turn perfectionism into Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I turn in into Organizationally, Completely Dysfunctional.
91) I also love to do soduku, and eat chocolate.
92) I hate to sew because, did I mention, I am a perfectionist and NOTHING ever turns out right for me. I really want to become a good sew-er though.
93) I have a nasty temper. I say nasty things and tend to slam and throw things when I am really mad, which thankfully doesn’t happen much anymore, although a matchbox plane found flight just the other day (no husband was harmed in the throwing, and no children were even awake, but BOY was it a reminder of how far I still have to go).
94) The Bible tells us not to sin in our anger. I really have had to work on that coming from an alcoholically abusive household. It took me years to understand the difference between punishment and discipline, and even more years to get a handle on what that looks like in a functional parent child relationship. God’s perfect example as our heavenly Father has been the single biggest help to me. I understood God so much more when I became a parent.
96) I LOVE ice cream…mint chocolate chip is my favorite.
97) I ABHOR stupid humor like The Office or Seinfeld. Those happen to be the favorite shows of two of my very best friends.
98) I love British humor, and cleverly written TV like The West Wing or Studio 60-both of which are no longer on because the rest of the world abhors cleverly written TV and loves stupid humor.
99) I want to travel before I die. I am desperate to see the Holy Land, especially with Kay Arthur, who teaches Bible Study from the actual locations they took place. I also want to go to Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, and all of Europe. I have never taken a cruise, and would love to cruise the Mediterranean or take a cruise to Alaska.
100) I fall more and more in love with my God everyday. His word is so rich, so current, so timely, so perfect. I love my church, which is the most humble group of genuine servants you have ever seen. I love that my pastor cries every time he prays, and that his wife makes me laugh every time we talk. I love that my kids BEG to go to church, and that it is a body of believers truly united by love-the agape kind. I love living in a country where I can worship my God freely, and I love that He is jealous for me. I love that He created me to be a help meet to my husband and the beauty of that position. I hate that I have spent, and sometimes continue to spend so much time “kicking against the goads”, and I treasure all the things my God has for me to learn and all the things He has for me to do. I love my children, my husband, my friends, my family, but most of all I love my Savior and my Lord.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Sari, never to be outdone, loves to "cah-ee" (color) everytime we sit down to do schoolwork or anyone is doing anything artsy, and this is what she produced the other night at church. She calls these her "ABC's".
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
God is totally in the details, and we overlook it so often, but it has been demonstrated time and again in the logistics of this latest trial. As my pastor's wife would say, it's chickensnot to think that the Bible somehow promises a life of only prosperity for believers. In fact, we are baptized into Christ's suffering and it is meant to be a privilege to suffer as He did. God uses our trials to perfect our faith. James tells us to consider our trials JOY when we encounter them, not if we encounter them. If you are a believer, and you don't go through trials, there is something wrong. It means essentially that either a) you are a perfectly the person God wants you to be already (and the Bible is clear the Jesus being God made flesh was the only person to fit that description) or b) you just aren't even at a place in your relationship with Him that He can give you those sorts of tests yet. You are still on milk when He wants so much for you to partake of the meat. Be assured we all have dross to burn off, reprobate to give up. And if you can't give it up, well, then the refiner is limited in what He can do with you. Like silver, which is proofed in the fire to be purified, if it won't give up its impurities, the refiner can't use it for his original intention. So too are we to consider trial JOY because the testing of our faith produces endurance (hupomano-to ABIDE UNDER...we abide under God's protection) and let endurance have its PERFECT reward, that we will be found WHOLE and COMPLETE, lacking in NOTHING. God wants us to be spiritually mature, and that maturity is developed by weathering the trials and abiding in GOD during them. He WILL take care of the details-all of them, if you just abide in Him.
And what a pleasure it is to serve such a mighty God as we reach out to people in their distress. The question is, is it just as pleasurable when the person in distress is not your best friend. Would you still rearrange your life for them, or even more, lay down your life for them? THAT is how we are called to live. Wow...I still have so far to go with that, but I'm so thankful God loves me enough to give me the trails and continues to perfect me. I'm proud to be a work in progress-it is so much better than the alternative.