1) We had a wonderful Easter complete with a great church service, beautiful weather, and spending time with our extended families. It was the kind of day I am ever aware of God's blessings on our life. Who am I to garner such favor? The great thing about the message of Easter is He paid for our shortcomings, not because we deserved it, but because He loves us. Who can comprehend such love? Not me. I stand in awe. And gratefulness. Thank You Lord Jesus!
2) As an added treat, Drummer Boy was home all weekend making for lively discussions and a full table at meal times again. I totally LOVED it, but I'm thinking some people may find it too much.
Case in point: We took church directory pictures on Saturday afternoon and while we were waiting for our turn, our kids were doing their usual goofy bantering, successfully pushing each others' buttons to get a rise, doing what siblings do best, but being very out there in the process. It was the type of moment Kevin and I just look at each other feeling completely out of control and wonder how we spawned this motley crew.
After pictures were finished, our associate pastor (and friend) who'd been sitting nearby as we waited, asked us, "Is it always that loud at your house?" Ha! Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we had to say, "When they're all home, yes."
Yep, they're a loud bunch, but they're a fun bunch and even with all the teasing it's obvious they like each other. We'll keep 'em.
3) Poor Miss Innocent One recovered from her tomato cage injury, but the antibiotic struck her colon. She was miserable for a few days. Then Ladies Man got some kind of stomach bug. Got vomit? Got diarrhea? WE did. Yuck.
4) Get a load of Ladies Man. An ill Miss Innocent One snagged the couch so he was stuck to do his recovering in our over sized chair which didn't really fit the bill for him.
Yeah. This kid's gonna be huge. At least that's what Drummer Boy keeps telling him.
5) Miss Innocent One got a little giddy on the way home from school.
Miss Innocent One: Watch out, Mom. You almost hit that girl.
Me: I did not. I wasn't even close.
Miss Innocent One: Look out. Watch it. You're going to hit that squirrel.
I swerved around the already dead squirrel.
Miss Innocent One: Oh, you nailed it. Nice job, Mom. You're like an angel of death.
Me: It was already dead!
Miss Innocent One: Now be careful. There's more kids. Don't hit them. Oh wait, actually you can hit That One Kid.
It was my turn for a jab.
Me: That One Kid wanted to marry you when you were like in third grade.
Miss Innocent One: No. Your memory is all wrong.
Me: No. I'd remember something like that.
Miss Innocent One: I admit we played together a lot. We were friends, but that was it.
Me: No, he was like IN LOVE with you.
Miss Innocent One: Mother, we were young . . .
6) For some reason Drama Queen and Ladies Man have decided specific traits they see in our family come from either their father or mother.
Drama Queen: Dad, we all know I get my drama from you.
Kevin: Why do you always say that? What do I do?
Me: Sorry honey. It's true. You are kind of dramatic.
Ladies Man: Yeah, and Miss Innocent One gets her ditziness from Mom.
(Two slams in one. This boy is good. Or bad? Which is it?)
Me: I don't know why you say that.
Ladies Man: Mom, you are not really with it in the morning.
Me: That is so not true!
Drama Queen: You keep asking the same questions.
Kevin (surprisingly coming to my rescue): Because you don't answer them!
Drama Queen and Ladies Man shook their heads at each other in their smug, our-poor-stupid-parents way which irked the snot out of me. I wanted to squirt ketchup all over them and thought about shoving the table their way suddenly, giving them a shocker to the gut, but seeing how I'm such a patient, self-controlled saint, I stifled it. Yeah. It was something like that. Now I know what my mom meant when she told me and my siblings she hoped we'd have kids just like us. Just you wait, Drama Queen and Ladies Man. Your days of being mocked are coming!
7) We're down to two weeks until graduation.
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can . . .
That's all for me today, friends. Jump start your weekend by reading more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
It all started when I began preparations for graduation and then Miss Innocent One got a tomato cage shoved into her leg and the antibiotic for the puncture wound attacked her colon, giving her massive cramps and making her miserable and a day later Ladies Man had a bout with a stomach bug and my laptop crashed and I think I fainted on the dining room floor . . . no . . . no, it was before all that.
It all started when my washing machine overflowed sending water raining into my kitchen and forcing us to buy a new one which was about the same time we paid the new student enrollment fee for Drama Queen to enter college and soon after discovered we needed to make a room deposit for her dorm and senior pictures needed to be paid for and Miss Innocent One started treatment with an orthodontist . . . wait, it was before all that too.
It all started when show choir and drum line competitions kicked off and we were out of town every Saturday, spending tons of money on admission fees, eating out and gas about the time the prices started to climb and my birthday made me sound old and a college visit needed to be made with Drama Queen and I contracted influenza A and everybody else in the family except Miss Innocent One got some form of it missing school which meant I had to ride Ladies Man about makeup work and . . . oh, just a minute, it was before all that too.
It all started around Thanksgiving and we were madly working on the set for the Christmas musical which opened the first week in December and I worried about how it would be received and I had to find a costume for Miss Innocent One and keep my family fed and supplied with clean clothes while being gone every night at rehearsals or performances and being gone every day painting my life away on the set and I hadn't even thought about Christmas shopping or the dollar signs that accompany it . . . but no, that's not right either.
It all started in August when Drummer Boy left our house after a great summer at home and moved into an apartment making me wonder if he'd ever live at home again and my baby started middle school and I realized Drama Queen began her year of lasts in high school and I got sad thinking about next year at that time and our fall activities kicked into gear, taking up every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night every single week and I knew Ladies Man would start driving and shortly after be added to our cell phone plan and . . .
Who am I kidding? It all started when Adam and Eve bit into that stupid piece of fruit! There will always be stress. ALWAYS. It is not based on our circumstances. It is part of life as a human. When I ask God why there's always something to worry about, He gives me the same answer.
You don't have to worry about it. That's what I'm for. Trust Me.
We don't have to walk around a bundle of nerves all the time. God makes provisions for us.
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
If I spent half as much time trusting God as I do worrying, I'd be one serene lady. It takes work to pray about the current stress and really leave it there. It's hard to turn my mind from dwelling on the latest issue or mentally adding the newest expenses that bombard. But if I do, there is peace and calm and aaahhhh . . .
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.
Instead of stressing myself into a frenzy, I'm going to spend my energy trusting.
Because peace never keeps me awake at night.
Photo Credit: bottle_void
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Hours before my dad's funeral, I walked into the church and greeted my sister. Upon seeing each other, tears filled our eyes. We embraced, then stared at the floor.
"This completely sucks," I said to break the tension.
I don't even remember her comeback, but it started a series of one-liners, the kind of comfortable banter we'd grown up using, the sort of silliness that always ended in laughter. It wasn't irreverence for our father, but a way of coping with our grief. It was a moment of release, a glimmer of normalcy, of hope, knowing life would go on, though this particular day would go down as one of our worst.
“Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called “The rejoicing of hope”
by William Gurnall
Hope is God's gift of blessed relief. It helps us rejoice in the middle of rotten days. Hope says, "This is not all there is. Something grander awaits." It shouts, "Better days are ahead." It reminds, "Though we don't know what God's doing, we know He is good." Hope whispers, "Trust. Rest. Believe. Know."
And when we dare to listen, when we let it seep into our shell-shocked minds, our sorrow is lessened, our burden lifted. A light pierces our darkness. Can you hear it?
This is not all there is.
Better days are ahead.
God is good.
Hoping is not naive´. It does not deny an awful situation. Hoping is coping.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Hope does not disappoint. Though our hoped for results may not come this side of heaven, they will come. Let yourself believe His best, my friend. Above all odds, trust His plan. Know He still works, though you may not see it. If you fan the flame of hope, rejoicing can come in your mourning.
Hoping is coping.
To see what thoughts this quote inspired in others, visit Twinkle Mom at Sunflower Faith.
Monday, April 25, 2011
The toddler, clearly in distress, wanted his cup.
"Milk . . .," he whined to his mother when he didn't see it near him.
"Did you leave it in the kitchen?" she suggested.
He raced to the kitchen, but didn't find it.
"Milk!" he said, his little arms slamming down to his sides.
"Is it around the corner?" his mother asked.
He was tired of looking. He wanted what he wanted now.
"Milk . . . milk . . . milk," he cried, laying himself on the floor, getting louder with each utterance.
His mother took about five steps and found the cup.
"There you go," she said, handing it to him, "Be happy."
Something about her words stirred me.
There you go. Be happy.
Is this what persistent prayer does? If I keep asking God, if I'm as relentless as a toddler, will He answer?
There you go. Be happy.
I hate to think about Him responding because He's sick of my whining. Who wants to aggravate God? Yet His Word substantiates the idea that persistence pays off.
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?
Luke 18: 7
There you go. Be happy.
David did a lot of crying out to God. A LOT. Too many references to list in a blog post. And God called him a man after His own heart.
There you go. Be happy.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
What weighs on your heart this day, friend? What burden are you trying to buck up and handle? Why not call out to God? Why not take Him at His word and cry out day and night for His hand? Persist until you hear those glorious words.
There you go. Be happy.
Friday, April 22, 2011
1) Here's one for the bizarre injury file. Last weekend while running around in the dark, Miss Innocent One collided with a tomato cage whose bottom spike punctured her leg and went in about 3-4 inches! It went into the side of her thigh and she said she felt a bump on the back of her leg where the end of the spike was, but didn't break through the skin. EW!! Aren't you cringing?! She was given a tetanus shot and put on a pretty strong antibiotic, with strict orders to not to run or jump for three days. It's doing much better now, but get a load of the hole the sucker left.
The poor girl's had a rough go of it lately. The long abrasion to the left of the hole is from wiping out on a treadmill a few weeks ago. Time to get out the bubble wrap.
2) The reality of graduation approaching in three weeks has me somewhat in a tizzy, both from what needs to be done and the sadness of another child leaving our home. How did we get from here
to here so soon?
You are a beautiful, amazing woman Drama Queen. We are so proud of you. LOVE YOU!
3) Does anybody have any idea how you throw away a trash can? We have a decrepit metal trash can whose bottom has rusted out so it's obviously no good. I stuck it inside our other trash cans to be taken out with the rest of our refuse, but our garbage men left it sitting with the other cans! What is a person to do?
This is totally annoying my new anti-Hoarder tendencies. Grrrr. I let it go, for a time, and used the energy to clean out a cabinet and shelf in our old office, but every time I pass the garage and see that stupid can sitting there I want to growl. Maybe I should let Ladies Man take a sledge hammer or crow bar to it until it's unrecognizable. Then they'd take it, right?
4) Well, Drummer Boy went and did it. He dyed his beard purple for the WGI World Championships. What do you think?
Funky, huh? No worries though. He wasn't destined to look like this for long. It washed out easily the next day, praise the Lord, since we have family pictures on Saturday.
5) Ladies Man has embarked upon a self-imposed eating change I call the Serving Size Diet. He pays close attention to the serving size of anything he puts into his mouth for snacks. Apparently meals are not subject to the serving size rule, but I've seen him check out the nutrition facts on all kinds of things--cookies, crackers, cereal. It's not that he's eating better, just eating more reasonable portions of what he's eating. He says he can tell a difference in the way he feels, but I'm skeptical. I mean, eating three Oreos EVERY DAY can't be good for a person, right? Whatever. I'm just happy to see him reading food labels and having any sort of inclination to be careful about what he eats.
6) Ladies Man made another bold move last weekend and had his signature locks buzzed off. He was completely egged on by Drama Queen who went along to take pictures. Here's his mop head before they left.
And the end product.
It makes him look older, don't you think? People in church were confusing him with Drummer Boy!
Often when kids push the envelope, they get tattoos or piercings. Apparently my boys mess with their hair! They're such rebels!
7) We are anxious to celebrate Easter this weekend and spend some LONG OVERDUE time with relatives. I can't wait to see my extended family. We live fairly close together yet I think it's been months since we've sat in the same room. I'm SO looking forward to it.
When I think about the implications of Easter, I wish my brain weren't so human so I could fully grasp what Jesus accomplished. I am grateful for the burden of the law He took away from us, for His compassionate, personal way with me, for the hope He gives. He provided relationship with the living God! And I am changed. Thank You Jesus! May we live to honor You.
Enjoy your Easter weekend, friends, remembering what His great love has rescued you from.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I was whining.
Yeah, I know. I'll roll my eyes for you.
We were chit-chatting before Bible study about our kids, or rather I was complaining about the way my teenagers blame me if something doesn't turn out to their favor.
"Drama Queen convinced Ladies Man to buzz his hair. Since it looked good, she wanted credit for the 'genius' idea. If it would have looked bad, it would have been MY fault for letting him do it."
The sweet ladies in the room humored me as I recounted other occurrences of undue injustice.
"Everything is my fault," I droned.
A dear woman who walked in during my diatribe, listened for a while, laughed at my melodrama and said, "She's gives herself a lot of power, doesn't she?"
And so true.
Why do I think everything rests in MY hands? Accepting that everything is somehow dependent on me is a little arrogant, no? Who do I think I am?!
Yikes. I've been giving myself far too much credit . . . FOR THE BAD and it's just as self-centered as taking credit for the good.
Do you get tripped up this way too? (PLEASE say yes!) How have you fallen victim to this trap?
While you think about that (and prepare to leave me an encouraging comment--hint, hint), I must say a few words to my lovely Bible study friend--Thank you for speaking truth, for reminding me I am NOT all that, for setting my head on straight. I will not soon forget your gentle admonition. You exhorted and encouraged in one wise, well placed comment. Thank you!
Photo Credit: levork
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptation. It is not serious, provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc., don't get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence.
Letters of C.S. Lewis
20th January 1942
I'm guilty. People tell me I'm hard on myself. I think of it as humility, but does God see self-pity and egotism? Wallowing in our poor performance and kicking ourselves around for messing up again only serve to distract us from continuing our faith race, from advancing to the next turn.
No amount of falls will undo us if we keep picking ourselves up each time.
How do we beat temptation?
By not giving up. By pressing on. By picking ourselves up and giving it another shot. By keeping our eyes on the finish line.
Photo Credit: Vincent Luigi Molino
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
He lit up a cigarette in the parking lot after church and while he seemed oblivious to the stares of congregants leaving Sunday services, I was not. I knew what they were thinking and felt angry for him.
Did they know how far he'd come? Did they stop to look beyond the stick of nicotine hanging from his lips? Could they see his heart, his desire to be better, his own gracious spirit?
Some thought nothing, but some saw a guy smoking in the church parking lot and raised eyebrows at each other as they passed.
“Grace is Christianity’s best gift to the world, a spiritual nova in our midst exerting a force stronger than vengeance, stronger than racism, stronger than hate. Sadly, to a world desperate for this grace the church sometimes presents one more form of ungrace.”
by Philip Yancey
What’s So Amazing About Grace?
How do we put aside our notions of what is spiritually acceptable? How can we see others as Jesus does? Why is it so easy to overlook our own sin--disrespectful attitudes, impatience, gossip, selfishness--and judge those whose weaknesses are more visible?
In his commentary series on the Bible, theologian J. Vernon McGee tells the story of an audience member who took issue with him smoking a cigar.
"THAT sir," said the rotund gentlemen pointing to Mr. McGee's cigar, "offends me."
"And THAT sir," replied J. Vernon poking a finger into the man's belly, "offends me."
We all have sin issues. We all struggle with weaknesses. Isn't it time to stop pointing fingers and start holding each other up? What good does it do to look down our noses?
Grace is Christianity's best gift to the world . . .
Let's give it.
Join Patricia at Typing One-Handed for more thoughts on this quote.
Monday, April 18, 2011
The undermining is subtle.
We miss the implications of small gestures, flippant words. Something as simple as motioning the route I think he should take while driving starts the deflation. Questions assuming he didn't consider all options chip away at his confidence. Looking over his shoulder and having "suggestions" for every duty or decision tell him without words he is not trusted. Not letting him have the final say screams, "I know better." We want our husbands to be leaders, yet we take Satan's bait to second guess their every move.
Is it any wonder so many man cower? Our know-it-all attitudes, masqueraded as "help" speak louder than we know. If we nitpick each choice, don't they get tired of trying? We get fed up waiting for them to do it our way, and take it into our own hands, virtually saying, "Let me handle it, boy."
Boy. Ouch. How would you respond to that?
The biggest hurdle my husband must jump over in his task of leading our home is ME. My attitude. My distrust. It's a continual struggle to keep myself in check and let him do his job. So as I pray for my husband, I pray his wife will have the strength to trust his judgment and build him up by keeping her own mouth shut. It's a process and takes time, but I'm slowly learning. As I watch my husband stand taller and prove his trustworthiness, I'm relaxing and enjoying the fruits of his leadership.
And experiencing that blessed feeling of being taken care of.
Are you hampering your husband's attempts at guiding your family? Are you able to let some things go to make him feel trusted? Let your husbands lead, ladies. We may lose having things done our way, but gain security in exchange.
Go ahead. Give it a shot. Truly give him the reins. You may be surprised at how he'll bite off the task and bring you peace of mind.
Let him lead.
Find more thoughts on leadership in marriage by reading more Marriage Monday posts at Chrysalis.
Friday, April 15, 2011
1) After reading last week's Quick Takes, Drama Queen informed me I am obsessed with farting and poop. In my defense, I can only use the fodder they supply, right?
2) Ladies Man will try to use anything to his advantage. Case in point:
Ladies Man: Hey Dad, we need to stay up late tonight to see if the government shuts down.
It was a nice try, but his father wasn't buying it.
Kevin: There may be a government shutdown, but there's not a parental shutdown. We are still functioning. We're still in control.
He said it with authority and all, but there are some days I wonder. Just sayin'.
3) Good luck to Drummer Boy and DOJO Percussion from Omaha, NE as they compete in the WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH this weekend. This group has worked HARD, spending nearly every weekend since November putting this show together. As promised, I finally have a clip. It's impossible to tell you exactly where Drummer Boy is as he moves around so quickly and the faces are so far away, but if you look really closely, he's the only snare player with a beard (which according to Drama Queen is becoming quite the attraction for the ladies).
Drummer Boy talked about dying his beard purple and silver to match their costumes. I'm hoping it doesn't happen as we'll be taking pictures for the church directory the following week!
4) Ladies Man was being loud, goofy, generally acting out, doing anything he could to avoid his homework (GRRRR). Though often this brings roars from his sister encouraging his inane behavior, this night Drama Queen was not in the mood.
Drama Queen to Ladies Man: Why are you so dumb?
Ladies Man: It's because you haven't been a good role model.
Miss Innocent One sat quietly watching the scene as she often does, but this time piped in, surprising us all.
Miss Innocent One in a thoughtful tone to Drama Queen: Actually, that's a valid question.
5) Believe it or not, I finally, finally, FINALLY got my new, wonderful, splendiferous office painted. I know the bright red is not everyone's cup of tea. I mean, I saw the look of shock in my mother-in-law's face when she saw it, but I love it.
You can't see it from this photo (Do you know how hard it is to take a good picture of a small room?!), but the adjacent walls are painted antique white with a gold glaze sponged over top, giving them a little shimmer. Kevin says that at night there's a glow that comes from the room. I like to think of it as luminescence from divine inspiration. Come on. Humor me.
I am super excited that Ladies Man will be painting a large print to go smack dab in the middle of that red wall. He's showed me some sketches I love. It will be awesome.
6) I have had a productive week, people. Not only did I get my office painted, but since everything is in place there, I started cleaning out some cabinets downstairs, bringing books up to make my new haven beautiful AND functional. So in my quest to never be an episode of Hoarders, I managed to clean out a dining room cabinet, clear some shelf space in our old office and found time to get rid of outdated food in my freezer.
Wow, who has lit a fire under me?! I even ran five miles one day (Never mind that it took two days to recover from it.). Do you think I need to lay off the caffeine? Hmmm.
7) We're looking forward to a fun weekend. Today we're headed up the road a patch to watch Drama Queen and Ladies Man perform at District Music Contest. Tonight we're going to a Michael W. Smith concert. Tomorrow we're home all day (Can you believe it? Two Saturdays in a row!) and then off to dinner with friends in the evening. It will be glorious. I am a happy, happy girl.
I hope your weekend trips your trigger too. Start the fun by reading more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I'm feeling used.
Unexpected visits or phone calls, impromptu decisions of my own, and regularly scheduled activities fill my days. I'm going from 5:30 in the morning to at least 10:30 at night with little down time. Just as I scratch something off my "to do" list, next week's work requires it to go back on. It never ends. There's always something to do!
But in all the hubbub, I find moments of laughter, of beauty. My mind and spirit are stirred, making me feel fully engaged. In the busyness are opportunities which frighten me, and though I fear messing them up, I've come to recognize the thrill in my inadequacies. If I can't do it, and God asks me to, then He's going to have to step in, providing me with a front row seat to His work.
Sometimes I doubt my significance, my importance. I have no fancy title, no paycheck, nothing that this world values as impressive or noteworthy. But as I'm faithful to complete what God puts before me, as I continue to "go in" and give it my best shot, I feel His power. His POWER! I've sat in rooms with lots of people or only one person or completely alone and sensed His guiding touch. As I am faithful to perform the tasks in my path, no matter how unworthy the world finds them, there is validation and excitement.
I'm feeling used.
And loving it!
What is before you this day, my friend? Do it to the best of your ability. Look for His supernatural strength to guide you in your tasks. Let yourself be used.
And feel the thrill.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
My spirit soars. I feel happy, really happy and I wonder where the joy has come from. There's been no amazing news. Huge sums of cash have not landed in my bank account. No special favors have brightened the day. My kids have not behaved perfectly. My house still needs cleaning.
It's a great day and I realize it's because I've found joy in simple things.
An overdue phone call.
Honest communication at Bible study.
A runny nose that's finally stopped dripping.
A splash of bold red paint in my office.
A new phone that stays charged longer than ten minutes and feels good in my hand.
A pleasant lunch date with my husband complete with great food, stimulating conversation, a wonderful atmosphere.
An impromptu visit to my friend's deck on a beautiful afternoon.
A comment that affirms my judgment call.
Teenagers dropping in for a few minutes who seem to enjoy my company.
Nothing monumental, only small occurrences that make me smile. I wonder how many happy days I've missed by overlooking these little blessings, by focusing on the bigger problems instead of the daily goodness. Would I find myself happier, more content if I looked harder for these? Could I change a gloomy or anxious mindset by searching for small pleasures? Has God offered me relief in ordinary, beautiful moments I've failed to notice? Have I missed them?
Have you? Are you overlooking simple joys in your life? Could each day be filled with greater satisfaction by opening our eyes?
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-2, 5
Look for the good, my friends. Enjoy the little moments. Find respite in simple joys.
Photo Credit: Jayel Aheram
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
I asked my friend with eleven kids how she handled the stress, the disagreements and bickering that are bound to happen in any home, but can only be multiplied as more children are added to the mix.
"Whenever things get heated, I just tell myself in five minutes this situation will look completely different."
It's a good lesson in parenting, but also in life. What will look different in five minutes, by the end of the day, next month, next year? Can you hold it together until then? Can you hang on until the pain passes? Can you wait for God to work?
Not everything needs to be figured out or handled or taken care of. Some circumstances, some trials can only be endured. When life seems too hard or too full, my wimpy self begs for reprieve. My heart wants a break from the pain I see around me, the evil lurking at every turn, the anxieties which can take over my mind. I think, "O Lord, can we be done here yet? Can you take us home? I don't know if I got it in me to be on earth anymore."
But He calls me, He calls you to hold it together, to wait it out, relying on Him and His Word to muddle through. He knows that only through the fire can we become who He wants us to be.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:6-7
So hold on, my friend. Know that in some period of time your situation will look completely different. It may be tomorrow, it may be next week, it may be three years from now, or it may only be solved in heaven. One thing is certain. It WILL pass. If not here, in eternity. Can you hold it together that long? Can you trust the Creator of the universe it make it right some day? Can you wait on His perfect timing?
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Don't lose heart. Fix your eyes on the only solution, our loving God. Hang on. It will pass eventually. Keep holding it together.
Photo Credit: fallsroad
Friday, April 08, 2011
1) Drama Queen blew into the house with a few friends, grabbed some clothes, stopped to snarf down a cookie, all the while dominating the conversation (even on different floors of the house!), saying something about taking her father down. (Can you hear the rest of us rolling our eyes?) Finally she exited in the same whirlwind she entered.
Miss Innocent One sat in the kitchen, saying nothing, witnessing the whole scene. As soon as the door shut behind her sister, she looked at me with an important observation.
Miss Innocent One: She's all bark and no bite.
2) In my quest to never be an episode of Hoarders, I did squat. Poop. (Wait a minute. It just occurred to me that using the words squat and poop so close together may be giving you the wrong impression. What I should have said is "I did nothing. Darn.")
3) I got my new washer and it's a beauty. I never realized how much time I spent doing laundry or thinking about doing laundry until my more efficient machine made it less necessary. I'll be going about my business at home when I think, I better do some laundry and then I remember I'm all caught up! SWEET! You wouldn't believe the amount of clothes I can cram into that thing, at least double the amount I could put in my other one. I would feel completely enraptured by this contraption if it weren't for one thing--it's price tag! BLEH.
4) Ladies Man: Dad, did you know that every time you fart, you lose a minute of your life.
Kevin: Then Miss Innocent One is going to die young!
5) It's been nearly two weeks since we've seen Drummer Boy and this Mama Bear is missing her eldest cub. Psht. And poop. And bleh.
He travels with his drumline, DOJO, to Dayton, Ohio next weekend for the world championships. Maybe after their season is over, they'll have a clip I can share on here. It's pretty impressive. We're proud of you Drummer Boy. And we miss you. And love you.
6) Drama Queen nearly pulled her first all nighter working on a Calculus project Wednesday night. She tells me she got to bed at 4:15 a.m.! The next day she took some sort of caffeine pill from a friend which made her hyper all day. By dinner time she was a little slap happy and could hardly eat she was laughing so hard at everything her dad and brother said.
Miss Innocent One could hardly eat either after getting an expander in preparation for braces. The appliance in the roof of her mouth made it hard to chew AND swallow. I have a feeling she'll be eating lots of pudding and jello in the next few days. And don't even get me started on the lisp it created in her speech. She'll get used to it eventually, but don't ask her to say "Sufferin' succotash" any time soon.
But don't worry about the lack of food entering my daughters, Ladies Man ate enough for them both. I swear that kid grows an inch a week. It won't be long before he surpasses his dad in height and weight. I think he's liking the intimidation he can provide with his size along with his voice which is finally changing. What kills me is though he's looking older, he still acts like a kid, well, maybe like a kid on steroids. Come to think of it, he's had plenty of steroids in his lifetime from asthma problems. Have they created some sort of mutant giant? Nah. He's too much of a softy to be scary.
7) We actually have an entire weekend with nothing on our calendar--no school activities, no weddings, no church events, no nothin'. Glory be! We hardly know what to do with ourselves. Superman and I WILL be going on a date Friday night. Oh, yes we will (You got that, right honey?). And I suppose we'll spend the rest of the weekend working on the house, getting things up to snuff for graduation. Sigh. Sniff. And poop.
Do you realize this means I may not even take a shower on Saturday? I mean what is the point if we'll be at home all day working? Is there something wrong with me if that sounds appealing? Don't think about it too hard and for sure don't stop by on Saturday and smell me. Ew.
Instead, spend your time reading what real people think about in their Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Have a great weekend, friends.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
For Mothers--Signs Your Teenagers Are Annoyed With You
They don't text you back.
They meet your attempt at humor with "RUDE!"
You get the dreaded eye roll.
They refer to you as MOTHER!
The answer to your question is "PSSHT."
There IS no answer to your question.
Did I mention the eye roll?
You hear a lot of "Whatever."
They stand still to listen to you, but their eyes glare in another direction.
For Teenagers--Signs Your Mother is Annoyed With You
You find a pile of your stuff in the doorway of your bedroom.
She doesn't text you back.
She clenches her teeth and her jaw muscles tense.
The answer to your question is "I don't know."
The answer to your question is "NO!"
She turns her back and talks to herself.
She sighs loudly as she rips the check out of her checkbook.
She starts every statement with "Why am I the only one who can . . . ?"
You get the dreaded eye roll.
For Mothers AND Teenagers--There WILL be tension among you. There may be days you want to rip each other's heads off. Don't let hormones (from either one of you) cloud what is true. You don't always get each other, but you love each other. Deeply. You will always be connected with a special bond. Don't let momentary conflict make you forget that.
Mothers, your teenagers want to learn to get along without you. In a few short years they will be required to navigate without your daily input. Their attempts to do things their own way are the natural progression of growing up. They may not say it often, but they love you. They value your opinion. Give them boundaries, but give them some freedom too. Be there without judgment when things don't go as they planned.
Teenagers, your mother would give her life for you. You are her baby, her precious, precious child. She pushes because she wants the very best for you. She wants to protect you from everything, but knows she can't. She loves you so much her heart aches sometimes. She may be a pain in the wazoo, but she will always be in your corner. Always.
You are God's gift to each other. Never ever forget it.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Graduation looms and I wake too early in the morning thinking of all the things I need to accomplish in the next six weeks--painting projects and cleaning and menu planning and yard work and memorabilia . . . not to mention the dollar signs that swim in my foggy head or the sadness and anxiety which accompany thoughts of my daughter moving out.
But if I dwell on these, if I let myself live in the future, what will I miss out on today? Will I enjoy her presence while she's still in my home? Will I revel in the wonderful person she IS?
Years, many years of parenting small children, their demands keeping me away from personal pursuits, made me question my significance. I knew in my head and my heart this was God's call on my life, that it was important and worthy of all my time, yet in the middle of screaming babies and sticky prints all over the furniture and watching my husband pursue his goals unencumbered, I dreamed of the day I could have outside interests, lunch dates, time that was all my own
Now that the day has come, I wonder if I truly appreciated the gift of my kids' early years. Did I treasure the little hand on my cheek, the sweaty head sleeping on my shoulder, the funny turn of phrase only a two-year-old can muster? Did I let myself share their wonder despite the temporary mess it made for me?
And as one of those little ones marks a passage of time, I have to ask if I let myself feel all the joy of her life. Did I miss something wishing away the tough stuff? Did I live one day at a time and capture all the moments I could with her?
It highlights the value of living for today, of looking for the good anywhere, everywhere, even in the midst of circumstances we may not deem ideal. There is beauty in any moment, in every day. The challenge is to find it and capture it.
Do you live for today?
Photo Credit: W J (Bill) Harrison
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
"The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
~ Job 1:21b-22 ~
God is God.
That's what Job is really saying here.
God is God.
And as such, He is entitled to do whatever He deems necessary for His purposes to prevail. Good. Bad. Ugly. Difficult. Unexpected. If we worship God, we worship Him in ALL His work, not only the acts we like.
God is God.
Most of the time I can handle that, just letting God be God, but honestly there are times I don't get how He functions. There's the story of Jephthah in Judges 11 where he vows to the Lord, "If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph . . . will be the Lord's, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering." God gives Jephthah victory, but the first thing out of his house to greet him is his daughter, HIS ONLY CHILD. Jephthah stays true to his vow and kills her. Why would God require that?! Why did one slip up take away Moses's chance to enter the Promised Land? Why would God choose Jacob the deceiver over Esau the eldest?
God is God.
Why does God have mercy on whom He wants to have mercy and harden those He wants to harden? Why does He choose some and not others? Why did He draw me to Himself?
I don't understand. I can't explain it. Is it because I can't fathom the greatness of God? If I truly grasped His immense power would I even pose the questions? Is it my arrogance which doubts His judgment? Do I not see clearly because of His gracious dealing with me, holding back His might? Has His self-control babied me? Has my life been too cushy to recognize His sovereignty?
God is God.
I may not understand it. I may not even like it sometimes. But if I can't accept His authority He's not my God. He's just another person in my life. When I try to explain Him, I put Him on a peer level, not in a position of worship.
God is God. He won't be reduced to anything less, no matter what we think. Our acceptance is irrelevant.
God is God.
Join our host Miriam Pauline at MiPa's Monologue for more impressions of this quote.
Monday, April 04, 2011
It's not often I get to sit with my husband at weddings. He's either at the piano or a mic or both while I sit in the congregation and gaze at him adoringly (or something like that). But this weekend I got to sit WITH him, as in side by side, at a beautiful outdoor wedding, the wind gently blowing around us, the string quartet providing wonderful ambiance.
And I liked it. I liked it a lot. It's not that I mind sitting by myself. I can't tell you the number of weddings I've sat anonymously in the crowd and listened to people around me comment on how wonderful the piano player is. That's kind of fun. Sometimes I imagine I'm a secret agent with classified information about the subject of interest. "Yes, the man has great keyboard skills, but that's only the tip of the iceberg to his wonderfulness," I think, with a sly smile on my face.
Does anyone else notice how goofy he looks when he concentrates on his performance and gets "piano face?" Have they ever seen the way his face lights up when he laughs really hard? I'm certain no one has any idea how cute he is while shaving in his underwear (Mmm, mmm, mmm). If it's a large wedding and the postlude lasts forever, I nearly bust with my vast amounts of secret knowledge.
So as I enjoyed a sunny Saturday afternoon wedding, I had to ask myself why sitting WITH him was so much better than watching him. I came to one conclusion.
I like being identified with him. I like people seeing we go together. I like being known as the Boesigers. We joke around at our house about being "as one," usually in the context that if one of us completes a task it's unnecessary for the other to do it--"If you're attending that meeting there's no reason for me to. We are as one" or "If you exercised today, I'm good. We are as one." You get the picture.
But all kidding aside, we ARE as one and I like being recognized as such. I am his and he is mine and we love it that way. (At least I think he does. Maybe I should ask!) Marriage has been an awesome ride for Mr. and Mrs. Boesiger and I like to think it shows. I pray if people see it, they want to work at their marriages all the more. I enjoy being associated with him. I'm proud of him. I get great satisfaction in being known as his wife.
And possessing secret knowledge (insert sardonic laugh).
Friday, April 01, 2011
1) Miss Innocent One has had quite the vociferous backside, if you know what I mean. When she let one rip at breakfast the other day, Kevin had some advice.
Kevin: Miss Innocent One!
Drama Queen: She did it in front of Neighbor Boy yesterday!
Me: He almost looked embarrassed FOR her. His face turned beat red.
Miss Innocent One: His face was red because he laughing. He thought it was funny.
Kevin: It's a slippery slope, Miss Innocent One.
The kids burst.
Kevin: What? First in front of Neighbor Boy, then what?
Miss Innocent One: I don't do it in school.
Kevin (in perfect sage form): It's a slippery slope.
So remember, people, whenever you are tempted to release the excess gas you carry, be selective. You don't want to fall victim to the slippery slope of flatulation.
2) So the other night, I'm minding my own business, making dinner when I hear a trickling noise, like water is running somewhere. I check all the faucets in ear shot. Nothing. I open the dishwasher, look under the sink, run into the bathroom. Still nothing. I'm thinking, "What in the world?!" when suddenly it begins raining from my light fixture! Not delicate drips, mind you, but pouring water, all over my kitchen counter and floor!
I ran upstairs to find my washer (that appliance I wax poetic about every week, the piece of
junk hardware I wrangle with every day) had overflowed. The tub filled, but never quit when it got to the top. Who knows how long it had run over? There was a puddle an inch deep around the stupid thing.
You think God's saying it's okay to spend the money on a new one now?
3) My quest to never be an episode of Hoarders was waylaid by overflowing washers, dragging laundry to friends' houses and a hunt for a major appliance bargain. I thought about cleaning out my front closet. I even imagined the shoes and coats I'd load into garbage bags and take to Salvation Army. Too bad dreaming doesn't get you squat. I'd be the most productive person on the face of the planet.
4) I told you last Saturday was full for our household. Not only did our kids have the drumline championships, but Kevin hosted the Homestead Choral Festival. When he scheduled the date for the festival a year ago, he scheduled it around the drumline championships which for the six previous years were held the second week in March. In January of this year we found out the championships had been changed and my dear husband was just sick. He HATED missing his daughter's final competition. I can't tell you the number of times he mentioned his disappointment.
So even though he was UBER busy on Saturday, he left the house a little earlier and got Drama Queen some flowers and wrote her a sweet note, leaving them in the van for me to give her before she left for the competition. You should have seen her face when Miss Innocent One handed them over with "Dad really wishes he could be there tonight." Tough, don't-touch-me Drama Queen immediately started crying. She was so moved Miss Innocent One and I got a little teary too! Nice work honey!
I found out later that on her way to school to hop on the bus, Drama Queen stopped at the church, walked right into the middle of rehearsal and gave her dad a hug.
Does God make good out of everything or what?
5) Unfortunately our drumline didn't do so well at championships. They were keyed up, experienced some technical difficulties and had a bad performance, landing them in third place. Drama Queen was VERY upset about it, as was the whole group. Apparently Ladies Man, the drumline student manager, has a soft spot for his sister too. Drama Queen told me after I left and all the kids were huddled up commiserating with each other, he got choked up, pushed everyone aside and grabbed her in a big hug to cry it out with her.
Which is better, winning a championship or knowing how much your brother (and dad) love you? God is good.
6) Much to my own jealousy, Kevin was selected to serve jury duty. While he complained about the inconvenience, I kept wishing it was me. What a wonderful new experience! Turns out he wasn't chosen in the final lot and only spent an hour there, but he did find the process fascinating. Since he wasn't part of the initial twelve, he has to go back in three weeks to do it again. You think I could gain a few inches and pounds, grow a moustache, cut my hair and lower my voice a titch to impersonate him? I'd be doing us both a favor. Nah. It'd never work. He has WAY more gray than me. (I love you babe!)
7) Time is clicking down to graduation and every time I see Drama Queen do anything I want to burst with pride. There is so much wonderful about that girl.
This week she went on a college visit and settled upon a major. She even found a roommate. Things are falling into place and for the first time she seems genuinely excited about college. I'm happy for her and know she will do great, yet that twinge of sadness is there.
Know you can always come home, Drama Queen. Always.
Oh brother. If she were to read that right now she would say, "Hello. I haven't left yet!" Maybe this sentimental mama needs a tranquilizer or a firm slap to her cheek (Snap out of it woman!). Or maybe a just good night's sleep.
Let's hope the weekend brings peaceful slumbering for us all friends. Settle in and relax by reading other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.