Friday, April 24, 2015

SEEK: What do you want?

John the Baptist saw Jesus pass by and declared, “Look, the Lamb of God!” Upon this pronouncement, two of his curious disciples followed Jesus, prompting Him to ask a question.

What do you want?

In Seek: A Woman’s Guide to Meeting God, author Donna Jones uses Jesus’ question to spark our curiosity, to explore the idea of a relationship with Almighty God. Finding Him is not rocket science or a mystery to solve. He is not hiding from us. “God wants you to know that a relationship with Him is possible,” she says, “There’s only one requirement: You have to want it.”

What do you want?

The question stymies me. What do I want from God? What do you want from God? What does it take to know Him? Is it possible to relate to an invisible being as a friend or father?

Many years ago, like those disciples, I took a fascination to Jesus. In confirmation class my pastor told us of God’s desire to know each human being personally, of Jesus’ willingness to die on a cross for each one of us. In essence he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” I was curious, dare I say hopeful, that it could be true, that God might want me in a way no one else had. I started following the only way I knew how—reading my Bible, praying, going to youth group. Yet now, decades later, that question pricks something in me.

What do you want?

A lot happens in the course of a lifetime. I’ve struggled through trials, disappointments, pain, grief. I’m still following, but I’ve been knocked off course a few times and when I see that question—What do you want?—I am struck. Though I’ve been following Jesus for a long time sometimes I wonder if I do it “right.”

Read the rest of the post at Deeper Waters.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Unlikely Chariots

“For the world all around us is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. But they do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindnesses . . . but they really are chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those very heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying.”

Hannah Whitall Smith
The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life

When my oldest was just a baby, I was cutting cabbage and noticed an outer leaf about the size of his head. Compelled to see if it would fit, I placed it on him and the result was hysterical. I grabbed the video camera and started filming. I was sure America’s Funniest Home Videos would bite on the footage! And, holy cow, could we ever use the $10,000 prize!

Read the rest of the story at Deeper Waters.

Friday, January 30, 2015

7 Quick Takes (Volume 300)

300 Volumes of Quick Takes? Should we have confetti or just black balloons? How about a trip down memory lane? Here's what was happening in Volume 200 and Volume 100, back when Princess Dawdle was still Miss Innocent One. Wow, are those days long gone!

I thought I hit the jackpot when I bought a new pair of jeans for $7 a few weeks ago. But the real prize came the first time I sat down to relieve myself. Look at the great surprise hidden inside the pockets!

Doesn't that just make you feel happy? And think of how many times a day I'll get to see that? How can I incorporate these sorts of positive messages in other places of my life? The good Lord knows how much incentive I need in this area. Should I place post it notes on the inside flap of my iPad case? Better yet, on the inside of the refrigerator! Should I take a Sharpie to the steering wheel of my van? I could put a card in my purse or etch messages into my cutting board. Maybe I could write wonderful things on my shower walls which might also motivate me to actually CLEAN my shower walls some time too.

Or how about I bury fabulous messages in a Quick Takes post?

You are beautiful. You are gorgeous. You are stunning. You are sexy. You are glamorous.

Oh yes you are, my friend. YES YOU ARE!

I found a particularly soothing article on a friend's Facebook page. I've always known I have good birthing hips, and my daughters have kindly made me aware of my "big butt" (and they say it's a "good thing?!"Pssht!). But now I may finally have a reason to appreciate my plump posterior. And let's not offer any opinions to the contrary, okay? This is not up for debate, people. Let me dream a little.

Moms With Fat Bottoms Make More Intelligent Children

Yet another sacrifice this mother makes for the sake of her children. You are welcome, my brilliant spawn.

Here's one for the files of strange (and perhaps inappropriate!) spell check fixes. I was typing up the weekly Bible study update for the groups I am in and was including the verse from Jeremiah 31:3 which says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." I'm super glad I proofread it because the spell check changed it to "I have loved you with an evaluation glove." Yikes! Not quite the same meaning, you think?! 

I was super touched by the kind comments and emails I got last week as I returned from my long hiatus from the Quick Takes. I had a conversation this week with a woman who was sure her life hadn't amounted to much, that she hadn't made any big difference in the world. I could totally relate and have struggled with the same feelings myself. I'm just a middle-aged woman in podunk Nebraska plunking out the silly events of my week, thinking it a good way to chronicle our family life. And yet, somehow God uses it in the lives of some of you. Crazy. That's how our God works, people. He takes the puny and makes it mean something.

In high school we occasionally had a substitute teacher I adored. A substitute! She was pretty and kind and I wanted to be just like her. Seeing her many years later spurred this post about the little things.

I guess this is a long way of saying don't ever doubt that God uses you. Don't ever think any act is too small. Few people get to know how their lives touch others. Who knows how many you have impacted without ever knowing?

Power on, friends, doing whatever it is that you do, being faithful to what God's placed in your life, knowing that YOU don't have to make it spectacular. He will accomplish His purpose through you.

I forgot to show you the fun gift Drummer Boy gave each of us at Christmas. He is a computer engraver at a trophy shop and made us all matching key chains. Each one bears a a nickname on one side and cutesy picture on the other. Here are Kevin's, mine and Princess Dawdle's.

You'll notice he got that silly meerkat reference in mine which originated in Volume 182 of the Quick Takes.  That is a dancing strawberry on the back of Princess Dawdle's and you probably can't read the back of Kevin's, but I think it's hysterical and totally gives you an idea of Drummer Boy's sense of humor. The picture of a cactus with a sombrero reads, "Cinco de Mustache."

Now, even when we're away from each other we have a daily reminder of our connection in our key chains. Thanks, Drummer Boy! And yes, Ladies Man, we're still sporting your Lego additions!

Would you believe we bought a WEDDING DRESS last weekend? (You realize you'll probably be regaled with wedding stories now until the big day in June, right? It's the price you pay for following the saga of the Boesiger family.) How in the world did I get to be the mother of the bride?! I surprised myself by not crying my eyes out with every new dress, but I will admit to tearing up when she finally chose "the one." The longer she had it on, the more I thought it looked like her and it all became more real. My spunky little girl is now going to be a spunky BEAUTIFUL bride. Wow.

(I must give a shout out to my friends at Elegant Occasions bridal store in Lincoln, NE who treated us like royalty, were exceedingly helpful and made the process smooth and painless. Cheryl, you are the BOMB! THANK YOU!)

No pics until the actual day, of course, but trust me, she'll be gorgeous.

That's gonna do it this week, friends. Have a terrific weekend! For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Friday, January 23, 2015

7 Quick Takes (Volume 299)

You know how life just whirs out of control sometimes? Yeah, that's about the size of it at the Boesiger house the last couple of months. SO MUCH HAPPENED! Finally the dust and my spirit are starting to settle and I'm going to attempt an update in pictures. Hold on to your hats, everyone--out of practice lady at the helm.

Our world started spinning in November when Kevin's dad took a fall and hit his head causing a brain bleed. After two surgeries and a week in ICU we lost him. His death leaves a HUGE hole in our family. We've lived close to Kevin's parents our entire married life and our kids have had the privilege of growing up with their grandparents. It's impossible to be in our house and not see my father-in-law as he completed countless home improvement projects here. His woodworking gifts are scattered throughout many rooms. I see his smile on my own sons' faces who bear the same Boesiger grin. And I'll never forget the way his charm made my heart flutter every time he asked me how I was doing.

The only thing that softens the blow, both during the crisis and now, is the love my kids displayed to us and their grandmother. I know my kids aren't perfect. They have plenty of issues. How can they not? Look at their mother! But when the chips are down, my kids are there. They know what belonging to a family is. They value it and embrace it and demonstrate it. I've never been more proud of my children than I was the week of their grandfather's passing and at his funeral. They know how to take care of each other and the people they love. They aren't afraid to show it.

So the first picture I want to show you was taken the day after the funeral. Ladies Man soothed my spirit when he wanted to snap a selfie with his mom at the end of a very tough week for our family. I don't think it's the best pic of me, but I love it because it reminds me what is really important--the people we love. Though this pic only includes one of my amazing kids, I think of each of them when I look at it, remembering the love their presence brought to a horrible, horrible time.

I adore you, my dear children. You blow me away. I am so proud of you.

The definite bright spot of the last two months was the engagement of Drama Queen and The Boyfriend who will henceforth be called The Fiancé, at least until the wedding in June when he'll be given an official name.

They took some gorgeous engagement pics. This is one of my favorites.

A week after my father-in-law's funeral the Christmas musical opened at our church. I guess in all the busyness of the time I didn't get a photo of the whole cast, but a friend posted a few pics I stole off of Facebook (Thank you, Bly!). I think this first one, taken by our little 4-year-old star, pretty much captures my weariness. I'm surprised I had enough oomph to lift my fingers.

Here's a beautiful shot of Princess Dawdle in action.

And Kevin running the ship.

The following week was Drama Queen's final Cornhusker Marching Band Highlights Concert. The kids had a little too much fun. The Girlfriend (standing directly behind Ladies Man) obviously knows the drill.

And I think The Fiancé is going to fit in just fine.

We were glad Grandma B. could join us too.

Princess Dawdle got to attend her first formal. My baby is a woman! (Cue the eye roll, babe.)

She and her dashing date I shall call The Neighbor Boy.

The lively group that accompanied them.

And my girls. I just love them!

A New Year's Eve tradition we started when our kids were young but now haphazardly observe (meaning our kids often ditch us for a better offer) is the Movie Marathon. Each family member gets to pick a movie and we spend the day (and night) watching them. Remember there are six of us. Are you doing the math in your head? This was easy when the kids were little and Princess Dawdle's choice was a thirty minute Care Bear movie and the longest pick was an animated flick lasting ninety minutes. Now we're more "sophisticated." Now we're talking at least 12 hours of movies!

This year The Fiancé and The Girlfriend joined us and eight movies in one day was just going to be too much so we decided to initiate The Girlfriend into the world of the Skywalkers and make it a Star Wars Movie Marathon, watching the entire series of Star Wars movies.

The first order of business was to lay out the snacks. (Please tell me your eye is drawn first to the veggie tray and apples. I try, people, really I do. I don't know why the Easy Cheese, or Squeezy Cheese as we call it, is so much more popular. And what's the deal with this blurry picture? Was I already on a sugar high?!)

We rearranged the furniture so no one would get a kink in their neck, pulled out a stack of blankets, and got comfy.

We started Episode 1 around 1:30 p.m. which was before everyone got there, but we were never getting through them otherwise. I think we had everybody by the time Episode 2 came on. Grandma B. came and watched Episode 3 with us and we had so much fun as she surprised us all by really getting into it. Ladies Man and The Girlfriend had to take off for a while during Episode 4, but were back before Episode 5 was over. With potty breaks and a short pause to toast in the New Year, we watched the final credits of Episode 6 roll at 3:30 a.m. New Year's Day morning. And you know what? I loved every minute of it. Even the 3:30 in the morning bit. I've never watched the whole series back to back like that before and I was really impressed with how the "old" episodes (4-6) were tied into the "new" ones (1-3) so well. Now we're all hyped up for Episode 7 to come out this next Christmas!

And speaking of Christmas, it just occurred to me that these pictures don't even include any Christmas celebrations or Princess Dawdle's school concert or Ladies Man's college Christmas Festival or the Beatrice Regional Orchestra concert or any wedding planning or our romantic getaway or my birthday! Do you see why there have been no Quick Takes for a while?

Well, this should get you up to speed and next week I'll take another crack at it. I pray your holidays were filled with the love of your people and that you're settled back into a good routine. If you've had enough of everything already, give yourself a break and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary..

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pointing to Jesus

They held hands.

They were an older couple in my young eyes, at least in their forties, with teenagers in their house, and as they walked through the mall they held hands. It seemed odd. Wasn’t hand holding reserved for the young, the passionate, for people in love?

Time stood still whenever our pastor and his wife decided to close the service with their signature song. Seeing them come together arm in arm and hearing the piano play the introduction to "He Touched Me," perked me up immediately. It wasn't their singing that made it magical, although they weren't bad singers, but it was the way they made me feel. You could see sincere appreciation, respect and love float around them. Could my pastor, a man who only wore polyester pants, be in love with his wife?!

Find the rest of the post at Deeper Waters.

Friday, November 07, 2014

7 Quick Takes (Volume 298)

Princess Dawdle went to the grocery store with me and steered me into the ice cream aisle.

Princess Dawdle: I don't suppose we could get some birthday cake ice cream?

Me (thinking it a safe temptation--i HATE that stuff!): I suppose.

There was the standard Blue Bunny brand she immediately went for until I noticed the Great Value brand for fifty cents cheaper.

Me: Hey, there's this one.

Princess Dawdle (still eying the brand she's grown to love): Yeah . . .

Me: It's cheaper.

Princess Dawdle: Yeah . . .

Me: It looks like it has magic sprinkles.

Princess Dawdle: So does this one!

Just as I was ready to settle into the stare down, she relented.

Princess Dawdle: Let's roll the dice, Mom. Sure, get that one. YOLO! (meaning You Only Live Once)

It was just ice cream, right? Oh brother. This girl makes me laugh.

Last Friday we woke up to find this posted on the Boesiger Bunch page with the message "Happy Halloween Dad!!!"

Ladies Man freaked out at least one of his sisters shaving his beard into a goatee like his dad who just happened to be growing his out the same week. You know Kevin had to respond with his own post.

See the resemblance? I believe this is the first post Kevin's ever made on the Boesiger Bunch page so HOLLA Ladies Man! You got him involved!

Ladies Man has since shaved the whole smack off, but who knows what he'll be sporting when we see him next.

We had a lovely evening out with Kevin's sister and brother-in-law on Halloween night but got a dirty trick played on us as we crossed paths with a couple of deer on the way home. We swerved and missed the first one, but couldn't avoid the second one. We're still waiting to hear (GRRR insurance companies!), but we're thinking it will be a total loss.

We're pretty bummed. Kevin LOVES this car.

I was reminded starkly of the meaninglessness of possessions, though, when our community lost a young man this week to leukemia. My heart hurts for the Hays family on the loss of their dear son, Colin, only 22 years old. My prayers are with you. May God hold you very near in the tough times ahead.

Kevin and I were in a fast food establishment the other day when we saw this fly stuck to the wall RIGHT ABOVE THE SANITIZER! See the black speck to the right of the no smoking sign? Who knows how long he had been there! Somehow this did not instill a ton of confidence in me in the sanitary conditions of the restaurant, but we had already ordered our food.

Can you say ICK?!

I am playing Lizard Whisperer again, or rather, Lizard Resuscitator. Elmo is just not interested in eating lately. I think I've gotten him to eat one worm in the last two weeks. So I had to force feed the little guy, smashing up worms, mixing them with water and feeding it to him in an eye dropper. When I did it yesterday he seemed appreciative. I don't know if he's just getting old or what, but we've gone through periods like this before. I'm gonna keep at it and hope he kicks out of it.

The Lizard Whisperer . . .

The highlight of our week was celebrating my mom's birthday.

All the kids and The Girlfriend and The Boyfriend were able to go which made it a hilarious time.

At some point we started comparing mouth sizes. (Don't ask me why. We just do weird stuff like this.) Ladies Man had a little tape measure on his key chain, so he actually went around and measured everyone's mouths. Mom could hardly take it she was laughing so hard!

If I remember right I had the smallest mouth and Drama Queen was a close second (can you believe it?!) The Boyfriend had the largest mouth which is hysterical since he generally says the LEAST! Despite all the silliness we did manage to get a nice pic with Grandma.

Thanks for having a birthday, Mom. We had a blast! We love you!

And that's about all anyone can take for this Friday, am I right? I hope you enjoy your weekend and read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

What do you do?

My heart pounds when the question is asked. I never know how to answer.

"What do you do?"

I do a lot of stuff. I'm working on a master's degree. I help with two Bible studies. I speak to women's groups and community organizations. I write and direct our church's Christmas musicals. I play in a community orchestra. I sing in worship team. I meet with people. I blog. I write. I parent. I wife.

And yet, when "What do you do?" comes, I don't know what to say. There is no succinct answer. I don't have a title or place of employment. If I start listing my activities, I worry I sound like a self-absorbed housewife (no comments from the peanut gallery, please). I'm tired of the "it must be nice not to have to work" because I think I DO work, just not for money, and my family has sacrificed because of it. I think what I do is important and though I question God sometimes, I know I am right where He wants me.

So why do I waffle with "the question?" What is my problem?! Why can't I tell people what I do? Why do I feel nervous about it? When I do mention it, why do I feel apologetic afterwards? What's so wrong with telling people the facts? What am I afraid of?

I did it recently with some well meaning women, women I grew up with and hadn't seen in 20-30 years. They asked and I choked.

"Hmmm . . . what do I do . . . I don't know . . . My husband works for a church so I hang out at church a lot . . . "

There's no need to chide me. A friend already did and she really got me thinking. What am I revealing about my worldly attitudes in not answering honestly? Do I think others won't value it because it doesn't bring in money? Do I think it has no value because it doesn't produce a pay check?! But here's the kicker: Much of my work is centered around God. Am I denying Him when I can't talk of it freely? Am I slapping Him in the face with my cavalier approach?

In not proudly stating what I do, am I dismissing God's work in my life?


When I minimize His work, I minimize Him.

I guess I need to rethink how I answer, "What do you do?"

How do you handle, "What do you do?"