1) Drama Queen and Ladies Man have been gone all week on a youth group missions trip. It has been very, very quiet at our house. Which is just not right. Boo. Here's a pic of the group that went to Cary, Mississippi.
2) The morning they left should have given me my noise fill for the week. Apparently they were excited to go as Kevin woke up to the two of them screaming Lady Gaga at the top of their lungs. Imagine "Rah rah ah ah ah" at 7:AM.
After they got that out of their system, Drama Queen kept hollering, "Miss Innocent One, I need you. I need you." Drama Queen put her in charge of
spinning clicking the tunes to shave her legs by.
Now get a load of their faces here. This is what we get from Drama Queen at home.
And this is what everybody else gets. See any disparity of mood? Mmm hmm.
3) Miss Innocent One went with a friend all day on Monday, leaving Kevin and I to eat dinner at home by ourselves. It's very strange to prepare for only two when you're used to filling a table. He sat in the kitchen and talked to me while I cooked. The conversation continued uninterrupted as we sat down at the table. It was so weird. But not bad, just different.
The next night Miss Innocent One spent the night at her grandparents' house and we had the whole house to ourselves. And what did we do? Stayed up late talking!
Somehow I think the empty nest stage is not going to be hard for us.
4) Just so Miss Innocent One wouldn't go out of her mind with her boring parents, we picked up my niece, Sweet Cheeks, to stay with us for a few days. These two are so easy to hang out with. They had nothing but smiles as we mini-golfed on a hot, humid afternoon.
5) As I explained a couple weeks ago, when I don't physically SEE my children, I am forced to Facebook stalk them. Here's Drummer Boy's latest status:
Obviously he's a poor college student who can appreciate the smallest things in life. Hey, a tactic I haven't been using properly--food bribes.
Okay, Drummer Boy, if you come home, I promise to feed you! Sadly, now that he's living with Grandma that's probably not so tempting. She stocks way better stuff than me. Boo.
6) My husband's incessant teasing about my lack of green thumbs continues. He keeps telling me I need to post pictures of my stellar garden. In the spirit of dispelling any high regard you may have for me, I decided to oblige. In order to demean myself further, I'll tell you these were planted in early May.
A close up of my pepper plant is a must. I can't take all the fault for this one. Obviously something's been eating on it.
I wasn't always such a pathetic gardener. Look at this picture Miss Innocent One found, taken eight years ago. See the lush foliage behind the kids planted in the very same spot as this year's garden?!
I really should blame my declining skill on Kevin. He gets such delight in mocking me about it, I feel it's my duty to entertain him. Once when he was taunting me I told him, "I can't be good at everything," which started the roaring all over again. Should I take that as a slam?
7) Where, o where, has July gone? Now that the kids will be back I HAVE to think about getting them ready for school. And moving Drama Queen. Sniff. And boo. And bleh.
So goes another week at the Boesiger house. Find more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
This is my view as I sit at my desk. This is what I look at when I'm struggling to find the right words, the perfect turn of phrase. This is what I see when I look up from my Bible, my prayers, my work.
I love it, my little arrangement of reminders, things that define who I am. The candle tells me I am to be a light. The jacks set reminds me of the day God made himself real. The TRUST plaque is a continual admonition to remember Who's really in control. The picture of my kids that makes me so happy, speaks to the mercy and grace of a God who created some amazing people I've been privileged to grow with. Great reminders of God's goodness.
But today, as I looked up from my desk to the top of my file cabinet, God revealed something new. I worry about, stress and pray over my kids more than anyone else. I feel their burdens, their pain. I want to make everything wonderful for them and yet I can't. I fret over their futures, their choices, the trials they are bound to face. How perfect that the word TRUST sits right before them.
Thank you Lord, for daily proof You are on the job. Thank You for simple reminders.
For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Lynn and Dineen at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I was a shy little girl, one who made my little sister buy our lunch tickets because I was too chicken to talk to the school secretary, the adolescent who ducked into the next aisle to avoid talking to my friends' parents, the young woman who stressed about speaking to customers in my first job as a grocery store clerk.
And now as an adult, God has placed me in a very public position. I regularly reveal my thoughts and weaknesses as a Bible study leader. I open myself up BIG TIME on this blog. Many Sundays I stand before hundreds of people on my church's worship team, on display, exposed, left wondering if I measure up, feeling as small as I did in my little girl days. When I close my eyes to praise God and shut out the crowd, I ask Him what I'm supposed to be. How am I to handle the attention that comes my way? I ask what He sees in me that very moment, vulnerable to the eyes of so many.
He says I am the shy little girl others have never known, the woman spending many hours alone, persistently banging out words on a computer, or studying for the next lesson. I am intimate moments with friends, sleepless nights, struggles with my kids, tears and joy and pain. I am my failures, my battles, my soft spots, my improvements, my every effort. Though my fellow congregants see only my best attempts to look nice on a Sunday morning, God looks past my public persona. He sees ALL of me, who I really am.
Somehow that takes the pressure off. I don't have to be any more on a Sunday morning than I am right now, alone in my office typing away. Who I am is not dependent on the impressions others have of me. Their view is very small. God's is all-encompassing. The person I'm supposed to be is everything I've ever been, following God's leading each day.
Does thinking of it this way take the pressure off of you? Does it empower you as it does me? How does it affect your view of yourself?
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
“Inevitably, the calendar crowds out the Spirit and the face of the clock hides the face of God. Prayer ceases to be the free breath of a ransomed soul and becomes a duty to be fulfilled."
From “Transforming Prayer” by Daniel Henderson
I hit the ground running yesterday. Really. I got out of bed, put on my workout clothes, clipped my disheveled hair and ran out the door for a little run. Half an hour later I thought I was going to die and noticed by the look of my poofy, frizzy hair that it must have been more humid than I thought.
I don't usually exercise first thing in the morning. Typically I get a hot cup of tea and settle into my office for at least an hour of quiet to myself, but I knew on this Monday my day was going to be packed. It didn't help that I woke later than normal, so in my quest to get the most out of my day, I skipped my quiet time. There. I admit it. My Bible sat unopened on my desk. My prayers were sprinkled between "Oh, Lord, help me"s as I ran.
My only kid at home was gone by 9:AM and I anticipated a day of high productivity with no interruptions. But my house needed attention and the phone beckoned and the dirty clothes pile shadowed the few clean ones and I had no idea what was for lunch. I kept adding to the to do list and making contact with some friends (which was delightful, by the way) and by the end of the day I had little to show for my hours of alone time.
Would my day would have gone smoother, would I have gotten more done if I had squeezed in that quiet time first? People tell me frequently when they take time for God, He somehow blesses them for their efforts and their days go great. I wish I could say the same, but in my experience, that isn't always true.
I know I was having consistent quiet times during my dad's last week of his life. I knew I needed God's presence to help me make decisions about his care and deal with the high emotional toll, but that didn't mean God miraculously cured my dad. His time to die came whether I had my quiet time or not.
Maybe it's not a good idea for me to write on this particular quote, because I'm not sure I agree with it. I don't think God is an if-then kind of God. If I have my quiet time, then I'll have a good day. If I pray fervently, then He will answer yes. If I read enough scripture, then He'll bless me. I'm not saying those things aren't important. If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you understand I believe there is no replacement for the Word of God. We need to be in it! But we shouldn't expect to be rewarded in a tangible way for seeking His face.
I have a consistent quiet time, not because I think it will make my day go better, but because I want the strength, the clarity of His presence. I'm not looking for special favors, only for His face. Busyness can distract me from that, but it doesn't make my prayers any less meaningful to God.
Perhaps I'm missing the whole point of the quote, since I don't have the context from which it came. We need to guard our time with God. Absolutely. We need to make it a priority. AMEN! I would not be the person I am today without His touch on my life, without His instruction in the wee hours of the morning. But I bristle at the suggestion that when life gets away with us for a day or two, we lose our passion for God.
I'm anxious to hear how others have taken this quote. I hope you'll read along with me and visit Debbie at Heart Choices.
Monday, July 25, 2011
They ask tough questions, tears in their eyes. They desperately want an answer they can swallow, something, anything, to make sense of their pain, to relieve the burden of their mind.
Why does life have to be so hard?
Why does God keep saying no?
Why can't I be okay with His plan?
Why can't I trust?
I feel inept. I have no answers, no good advice, no beautiful soothing words or magic wand to wipe it all away. Life is hard. People hurt and God disappoints our earthly visions of how things should be. He doesn't always make sense, so how can I give a palatable solution? How can I explain God?
I can't. And I don't try.
Instead I listen, wondering if letting them vocalize their disappointment allows it out of their head. Like opening the valve on a pressure cooker, can speaking of it bring release? Once the words have escaped their mouths, can they rattle around in their brains any longer?
I hug, giving assurance in my touch that they aren't awful for doubting or questioning. When all else fails, I squeeze 'em tight, communicating without words.
And I pray, for peace, for endurance, for God to show Himself in a new way.
It doesn't seem like much, but it's what I have, so like the little boy with loaves and fish, I give it, trusting Him to use it. Humans don't have answers to God-sized questions, at least I don't. God's given me ears and arms instead.
Friday, July 22, 2011
**Warning: If you have a squeamish stomach when it comes to discussing anatomy, you may want to skip on to #2 this week. If you choose to proceed, remember you were warned.
1) Ladies Man: Mom, do you ever go strutting around the house in your birthday suit?
Me: If I'm in my birthday suit, it wouldn't be called strutting.
Ladies Man: Whatever. But do you do it?
Me: Only in my bedroom.
Ladies Man: I do sometimes, like if nobody's home and I'm getting out of the shower and forgot something in my room.
Me: Well, I'll do that too, if nobody's home, but only to the laundry room.
Kevin: Why are we talking about this?
Drama Queen: What's the matter Dad?
Ladies Man: Ew. I don't want to think about seeing Dad in his birthday suit.
Kevin: It wouldn't be that big of a deal. We have the same equipment.
Drama Queen: Did you just call it equipment?
Ladies Man: That's just wrong. You can't call it equipment.
Me: But your Dad knows how to use his equipment.
Drama Queen: Ew. You did not just say that.
I know. I'm sorry. I just couldn't help it. The moment to gross out my teenagers came and I had to take it. But wait, we're not done yet. Kevin got his jab in too.
Ladies Man: Why do you call it equipment? Why don't you just say penis?
He thought he'd get us with a little shock value of his own, but he totally underestimated the master.
Kevin: If you just say penis, you totally ignore the scrotum and testes.
Drama Queen and Ladies Man: EW!! STOP!!! EW!!
2) I told you Miss Innocent One was tan (see #5). Here's proof.
3) Some of you may notice (well, probably only Kathleen) that not much anti-hoarding has been happening this summer. There are several reasons for this.
#1 I am spending every spare moment writing a Christmas musical.
#2 In helping my in-laws move, I've had my fill of boxes and Goodwill piles.
#3 With kids coming and going all day, I'm easily distracted.
#4 I just don't feel like doing it any more.
#5 My house is now perfect (and if you believe that I'm sure I can find an amazing investment opportunity for you).
4) Oh my goodness, my husband is totally becoming me. The following statement actually came out of his own mouth, unprovoked and unscripted:
"The mind and a person's emotions and how they're wrapped up together--it's so interesting."
Now to decide if my influence is a good thing or bad. Hmmm.
5) I got a whale of a bargain on some new shoes ($7--can I get a whoop, whoop?). They should probably be called glorified flip-flops, but they look fancy enough (yes, Mark, I'm thinking of you) to wear with a dress. They have a little bling hanging from the straps and I noticed as I was walking in to church more chinking of the bling happened when I stepped with my left foot than with my right. Upon investigation, I noticed this:
My bling is uneven! Horrors! How did I not see it until I was out in public? I'm thinking I can cut some jewel thingies off one shoe and sew them to the other to even them out. How long do you suppose it will take me to get inspired enough to do that?
6) Drama Queen and Ladies Man leave this morning for a missions trip to Mississippi. They'll be gone a little over a week and Miss Innocent One has already informed me and her grandparents that she'll be at their house a lot next week.
Miss Innocent One: No offense, Mom, but it's just boring at our house with no kids.
Me: But there's no kids at Grandma and Grandpa's either.
Can't you just hear my pouty little voice?
Miss Innocent One: Yeah, but it's just not as boring there. No offense.
Mmm hmm. Right. No offense.
7) Drummer Boy came down for dinner last night and we tried out the new Godfather's in town (For those of you in my area, it's really nice. It's way bigger on the inside than it looks.). I don't know what it is about our four kids coming together, but when they do, they get totally out of control. There's teasing and yelling and wrestling. It's loud and almost exhausting to watch, but for some reason it makes me happy. They really like each other and it's fun to see.
I must, however, apologize to anyone in Godfather's last night who were out for a quiet dinner. You definitely did not get it, especially our friends sitting behind us. So sorry!
With that I'm calling it quits. It's sure to be a quieter week with Drama Queen and Ladies Man gone until next Saturday. What will I ever find to write about?
Until next time, get your Quick Takes fix at Conversion Diary.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I've been spending lots of time on my computer again this summer and that old irrational fear started creeping back. A person really should have some concerns when she sits so long her backside gets numb. Don't you think?
Anyway, I purchased a stability ball earlier this year and decided to give it a whirl in my office.
It was actually a nice change, but after about an hour and a half on that puppy, my gluteus maximus and lower back felt a tug. Hey. Is it possible I can get my work done AND tone my worst feature at the same time?
Awesome! Here's to better butts!
Thank the Lord for simple solutions.
For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Lynn and Dineen at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Being a mother never gets easier.
It starts out rough with sleepless nights and infants literally sucking the life out of you.
Then you graduate to temper tantrums and potty training (bleh!). You get the bejeebers scared out of you witnessing falls and accidents and nursing them through illnesses. You spend a third of your life waiting for them, to get out of school, done with piano lessons, finished with soccer practice, through with their homework.
They become teenagers and treat you like an idiot and argue with you about your ridiculous rules and push your buttons and bleed your bank account.
And after all that investment, they have the audacity to leave. They live in your home long enough to drive you crazy and make you certain you can't live without them, and then they move out.
What is the point of it all? Why did God choose this vehicle to reproduce the earth? Why must He insist on ripping the hearts out of His tender creations called mothers?
I hurt for and with my kids. I lay awake at night, worrying, praying over them, wanting their best. I would do anything in my power for them and yet I haven't come close to experiencing the pain God did as He turned His back on His only Son hanging on a cross.
I can't even wrap my head around that. It makes me realize what I consider pain in mothering is nothing. The sadness I feel thinking of Drama Queen leaving for college pales in comparison. Every rough parenting moment--the fevers, the power struggles, the expenses, the loss of sleep, the constant demands on time--all seem so minor when viewed in light of that cross.
Being a mom is tough, the hardest thing God has ever asked me to do, but He doesn't ask me to do what He hasn't far exceeded. He loved. He gave. He sacrificed. FAR more than I could ever imagine.
Perhaps mothers have the privilege of feeling a glimpse of His pain, a privilege because it helps us identify with Him. Does motherhood provide some tiny bit of understanding into how much He gave?
I have no reason to complain about my hard role as a mother for He loved much harder. We love because He first loved us. We CAN love because He loved best. Praise God for the gift of motherhood, for the unique opportunity to know the mind and heart of God. May His love inspire, sustain and strengthen us.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Adam and Eve lived in Eden, Paradise, the most perfect place on earth. And they were happy about it . . . until someone suggested they may be missing out on something. Suddenly all they saw was what they didn't have. Did the sneaky suggestion blind them to the beauty all around? Did they take it for granted because it was free? Why did they only want what they couldn't have?
I am no different. I get to serve God in tons of ways, yet I asked Him just today for a new opportunity. I have a healthy, strong body, but you better believe I could give you a massive list of my flaws in a heartbeat. My husband is so very good to me, loving and supportive and fun, but I could tell you without thinking what I'd like to change about him. My refrigerator is big and functions well, but I'd love a new one. Instead of appreciating what I have, I pine away for what I don't.
Why do I forget? Why do I dismiss all the good in search of something I know nothing about? Why can't I be happy with what is?
“Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall–humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives. That is what has scraped me raw: ungratefulness.”
Why do I get frustrated and anxious and depressed? I overlook what is good and right in my life. My discontent stems from my lack of gratitude. I'm distracted by the possibility of new and different, of escape and ease. If I dwell there, yearning for what I don't have, I get resentful. I think I deserve better. I become proud. And then I'm in trouble.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Right here, right now, my life is very good. If I accomplished nothing more than what I have until now, I have lived well. And God is good. No worry, no sorrow, no inconvenience, no tragedy can erase that truth. God is good. He gives good gifts. To all His children. All the time. In all circumstances. I'll see it if I look for the good, instead of wishing for something different.
Sincere gratitude is the best way not to fall and live life to the fullest.
What does this quote stir in you? Care to share your thoughts? Please join us by linking up here:
Monday, July 18, 2011
I could blame it on being tired, but that would be a cop out.
Sunday afternoon. Two kids gone. One on the phone for at least an hour. Their dad lying on the couch watching a movie.
And me, cleaning up the kitchen from the night before, picking up the living room I asked the kids to do before they left. Cleaning the bathroom, putting away the girls' hair care products and makeup and jewelry. Collecting all the junk the kids left laying around. Unloading and loading dishwasher and washing machine.
All the while my beloved offspring did their own thing and their father dozed on the sofa.
You women are feeling my pain, right? You've got this whole scene figured out. You know where we're going, don't you?
I know I should have waited and made the kids clean up when they got home, but there comes a point in every woman's life when they just can't stand the mess, when you can't relax until things are in order. So I did the work, but with every sock and pillow picked up, every dish found in an inappropriate place, every book or electronic device moved from the coffee table, every piece of garbage thrown away, my tension . . . no, let's be honest here, my fuming rose.
Must be nice to make a mess and take off. Must be nice to sit around and do nothing. Must be nice to leave your crap all over the house. Must be nice to eat and leave. Must be nice to have friends over and not pick up after them.
All it took was one question to blow the cooker. Miss Innocent One had no idea what she was in for when she uttered it.
"Are you okay, Mom?"
I launched into a tirade about how I didn't appreciate cleaning up messes I didn't create. Cabinet doors started banging. Chairs were kicked. The kids' stuff got thrown roughly into piles. I snatched the garbage and slammed the back door as hard as I could. And even though it was nearly a hundred degrees with a heat index even higher, I walked out to the trash cans and just kept walking. The steam had to blow. Better to be outside in the natural sauna than inside tallying casualties.
Sigh. Shouldn't I be getting the hang of this by now? Shouldn't I learn how to handle my frustration better? Shouldn't I get better at anticipating this sort of scene and laying down better ground rules for the kids?
Yes. Yes. And yes. But there's this annoying little fact that I'm human. Yuck.
What's a woman to do? I have no excuse for my childish behavior. I feel like an idiot for my lack of self-control. How can I prevent this from happening again?
I probably can't. Great.
But what I can do is own up to my own crap, apologize, and move on because if I dwell in the pit, I KNOW I won't do better. If I agonize about my stupidity I'm focusing on me, not my family. If I beat myself up, I'm stuck there, reliving the scene of the crime, instead of creating a new, more positive memory.
I'd rather expend my energy rebuilding than waste it in shame.
I screwed up yesterday. Big time. But I make another mistake when I wallow in my failure.
. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Apologize, learn from it and move on, friends. Don't let your mind keep you down.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I'm the host this Tuesday of the weekly meme, In "Other" Words and have selected the following quote.
“Non-eucharisteo, ingratitude, was the fall–humanity’s discontent with all that God freely gives. That is what has scraped me raw: ungratefulness.”
Tell me your thoughts and link your post back here on Tuesday morning. Happy Writing!
Friday, July 15, 2011
1) Drama Queen: Who was the cutest baby out of all us kids?
Me: How do you rate that? You had different things about you that were cute.
Drama Queen: Like what?
Me: Drummer Boy had those cute ears that stuck out.
Drama Queen: Yeah, like flaps. What about me?
Me: You had a little nose.
Drama Queen: And Ladies Man?
I looked at Kevin who I knew was thinking the same thing.
Me: He just had that ginormous head.
Miss Innocent One: What about me?
Me: You had pretty eyes and eyebrows and cute toes.
Drama Queen: How can eyebrows be cute?
Me: They laid just right.
Drama Queen (projecting her toe envy on account of her own ugly toes): Well, her toes aren't so hot.
Me: I used to worry about your butt.
Drama Queen: What?
Me: You had this huge butt. (to Kevin) Remember? I was so worried she'd have to live with that.
Kevin: Yeah. She talked about it all the time.
Drama Queen: RUDE!
Kevin: It's okay. You grew into your butt the same way Ladies Man grew into his head.
True. And Drummer Boy grew into his ears and Miss Innocent One still has cute toes. It's all good.
2) Ladies Man was gone all last week touring with Esprit de Corps, a singing group out of Lincoln, NE. They performed a concert at our church Saturday night.
It is an awesome sight to see 75 teenagers truly worshiping God. Their enthusiasm and sincerity is breathtaking. It makes me certain there is a God.
3) Sigh. We haven't talked to Drummer Boy all week. He's been working hard as a counselor at UNL Band Camp.
Since I can't see him, I've been stalking him online and got a kick out of the way his tweets of the week answer the question, "You know you're in band geek country when you hear . . ."
So far at this camp I've taken candy as bribes from students 3 times...(and the follow up comment--"I told a bedtime story in exchange for gummy worms.")
Oh my feet. I'm not even marking time.
Overheard in a crowd of campers: "We should throw a party tonight. I've got the fig newtons!"
4) Oh my, I am totally going to hear from Drama Queen about how creepy I am for stalking her brother. Maybe I should make it worse by showing I stalk her too. Isn't this the reason parents have Facebook? Here's a picture I swiped from her page.
She hasn't updated her status much. Mostly she's been commenting on other people's Facebook pages (hmmm, does that maker HER a stalker?), but this status caught my eye.
"Ahhhh, home videos. Good stuff."
And Drummer Boy liked it. I knew they thought we were okay.
5) Miss Innocent One is counting the days until her thirteenth birthday in August when she can finally get a Facebook account. Do you suppose reading this post may discourage her?
I wish I had a photo of her this week as she is as tan as a person can be. For a twelve-year-old, there are not many ways to keep yourself occupied in the summer, so she and her friends are at the pool often. Sadly, I'm a deficient mother and didn't get one snapped. Maybe next week. You'll have to trust me. This girl is TAN!
Hey, how about a picture from last week, just so she doesn't feel left out? Here's a few of the girls on her softball team posing for a picture at the firework stand of their sponsor.
6) Ladies Man is proving he could be called Renaissance Man. He tried his hand at making a smoothie the other night.
Don't you love his presentation skills? He thought of that apple garnish on his own, cutting it horizontally to provide the hole in the middle. Since he just dumped a lot of stuff in, I was skeptical to taste it, but it was really good, so good I asked for more.
Ah, perhaps there's a job I can hand over. I vote Ladies Man as the official smoothie maker for the Boesiger household. Yes. Do you s'pose I can convince him the duties include cleaning up after himself too?
7) The daughter of some of our dearest friends is getting married this weekend. We're looking forward to a rip-roaring time with our favorite people (Did you hear the chicken dance?). I must admit, though, I'm not crazy about moving into the parents-of-the-couple generation. Next thing you know I'll be donning orthopedic shoes and getting my blue hair styled. I know some of you are thinking, what's the big deal? Embrace the next stage of life. Enjoy it.
Yeah. And those of you saying that are probably like 30. Psht.
And with that we call it a day. Have a great weekend, as I plan to, and catch more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
She took me off guard, looking at me with solemn eyes, tears brimming. Her voice choked as she asked the question.
Why do you care?
Her eyes zeroed in on my face and the pressure mounted. She wanted more than the standard Sunday school answer we'd looked at weeks before in 1 John 4:19--We love because He first loved us.
Her question disturbed me. We all want to know what makes us lovable, unique, special. I confess I've asked my husband the same thing too many times (to his utter frustration). He tries, listing qualities he likes in me, things I've heard a million times, but ultimately he knows it doesn't matter what he says. I'll find it unsatisfying or trivial.
"I don't know why, I just do," he finally says, "I can't explain it."
And when she asks me the question, I feel the same way. I don't know why, I just do.
"Why does anyone care about anybody?" I say.
I know it's not what she wants to hear, but as I think about the people I love, her included, words seem inadequate to describe my attachment. Like me, if I start listing her admirable qualities, she'll find a way to dismiss them as unimportant or ordinary. There is no right answer.
Is it because when we ask that question--Why do you care?--we're really looking for a reason for our existence? Are we really asking, "Why am I here?" How is mere man supposed to come up with that? How can any human know why God created another?
Why do you care?
I wonder the same thing of God. With billions of people on the face of the planet, why would He care about me? How can He be intimately involved with individuals? Is this the real issue? How can the God of the universe care about me? How could He possibly love us all perfectly? How would He answer the question?
I AM. I love you.
No fancy explanations, only truth. If my faith is genuine, if I trust Him as I say I do, I will take it at that and believe it. Because what good does it do me to doubt it? I lose my peace and any purpose for my life. When I refuse to accept it, I call Him a liar. Do I really want to do that?
Why do you care?
I care because He equipped me to do so. For whatever reason, He has laid you on my heart and made you precious to me. I care because He does, because He says it.
I AM. I love you. Believe it.
Why do you care?
Photo Credit: giacomo.nodari
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Sometimes I think I'm a lousy parent.
Teenagers have a way of reinforcing that belief. The eye rolls, the disgusted sighs, the logic wars, the resistance--all have a way of screaming of my incompetence.
It's easy for me to buy into it too. I know I can be scatterbrained. I have trouble keeping the information from each kid straight. Memory fails me. I procrastinate. I put the kids off when I don't want to deal with things. I complain about their lack of help. I'm moody. I get tired of working around their schedules. Yep. Lousy parent.
But every once in a while, God gives me solace about my lack of parenting skills. Every so often, He gives me a glimpse that He's filled in my inadequacies. He shows me my kids really are connected to me.
Last week Ladies Man was gone and called twice to "see how everybody was around there." Drummer Boy drove down to show us his sweet rental car and, as is his custom, just sort of hung around at odd times of the day, not even for food! I went to Drama Queen's room and found her reading my blog. Miss Innocent One left for a weekend trip and had to give good-bye kisses twice. She even waved with a look on her face that said she'd do it again if she could.
As I think about it more, I realize my kids bring friends over OFTEN, at least a few times every week. They must not be too embarrassed by us. They love bantering at the dinner table as much as we do. They hold onto family memories. They like recalling the stories. They spend time watching home movies.
There IS connection and belonging and true love in our family, though they may not vocalize it. To be honest, I wonder how these very good things happen, when their mother possesses glaring weaknesses. With all the mistakes I've made, how do they stay tied to us?
I hope it's because they recognize I'm all in.
In the good. In the bad. In the disappointment, the fear, the stress, the crabbiness. I'm there, more than they wish I would be at times. I'm in. I always will be. They must know it. Isn't that the best any parent can do?
Don't despair about your lack of parenting skills, my friends. Pray like crazy. Find wisdom in God's Word. Do your best. Trust Him to fill in the gaps.
And be all in.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
“Yes, I understand that turning back or waiting for others slows you down, but only at first. The deliberate extension of goodness, generosity, and wisdom always wins out in the end.”
“Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World”
She stayed with me.
I told her to run ahead, to get the kind of time I knew she could, but she wouldn't.
"I'll finish," I assured her, "I'll have a stinky time, but I'll finish. You don't have to worry about that."
"Oh I know you'll finish," she said.
And still she ran alongside me, without regard for her own finish.
The race was tough and I hated everything about it except having her next to me with her constant stream of truth. When we reached the finish line, my time was good for me and hers was four minutes more than her last race.
I appreciated her kindness then (and still do), but now I wonder if there may be a lesson in it. How can I "run" alongside others? How can I help them reach the finish line? What do I need to give up or let go of for the sake of another? What truth needs to be whispered in someone's ear to enable them to keep going? How can I learn to be that selfless?
After the race she told me, "I decided before we ever came that I was staying with you. This was your first race. I wanted to experience it with you."
And there's the key to coming alongside. We look at it as an opportunity to experience God's grace with someone, not as a favor to them, but as a privilege. Though it may cost us personally to turn back or wait on or run alongside another, the long term benefit is the chance to see God work. How exciting does that sound?!
Go ahead, my friends, leave your comfort zones, your routines, your busy lives and extend yourself today. Expend some personal time and energy for the sake of others. What grace is waiting to be experienced with someone?
I'm excited to find out.
For more thoughts on this quote, visit Nina at Mama's Little Treasures.
Monday, July 11, 2011
His week was slammed with the holiday, helping move his parents and some friends, preparing for musical guests at church, working on writing a Christmas production and a commissioned piece for a church choir in Virginia, all on top of trying to stay above water in his job responsibilities.
I knew he was stressed. I knew he was pulled in many, many directions. I tried to be supportive and understanding and patient. But come the weekend, I was feeling neglected.
My head told me how stupid it was. My heart missed my husband.
I worked hard to push it aside, to do the next thing, to give him some space, but he could tell something was wrong. He asked, as he does often, if I was okay. I tried to blame it on being tired (which I was) and hormones (which is my catch-all scapegoat), and he accepted it, but kept asking.
Are you sure you're all right?
And though I wanted to be strong and self-sufficient and low-maintenance, though I wished I could be above such childishness, I finally admitted how I felt.
He listened, acknowledged both my feeling of neglect and embarrassment for being that way. He apologized and assured and went off to his next responsibility.
And I felt better.
Not because he dropped everything to spend time with me. Not because I suddenly became his #1 priority of the day, but because he heard me and I wasn't holding on to something stupid any more. He knew what was going on in my head, no matter how ridiculous. Somehow the honesty put us on the same page. It eliminated the guessing. We knew the deal and dealt with it.
It makes me wonder how many times I've missed this kind of openness because I've wanted to save face and not appear needy. Does my desire to be tough take away from his desire to protect me? Is it good for him to know I need him? Does it help me to admit it? If I let myself be vulnerable, will it kick in his innate desire to safeguard me?
I want to be independent. I want him to need me, not vice versa. It seems more powerful to be the one needed, instead of the needy. But if we're both determined to show ourselves un-needy, what bridges the gap to bring us together?
Yeah. I don't like it that I need my husband as much as I do, but I'm willing to admit it, for the coming together it provides.
Friday, July 08, 2011
1) We've been helping Kevin's parents move into town which accounts for the missing posts this week. Already I can tell our family will enjoy having them here. I've told you how Miss Innocent One is often left home with her boring parents while her siblings are off doing their thing, but now her eyes glimmer as she thinks about riding her bike to G-ma and G-pa's house.
Why are they more exciting than us? They have thirty years on us, for crying out loud. Arg.
2) As I munched on a piece of chocolate, flakes of it fell on my shorts and when I tried to brush them off they smeared and I growled.
Kevin: What is your problem?
Me: This chocolate, like, melted on contact.
Kevin: It's cause you're so hot.
Me: Ooh. Good answer.
Miss Innocent One sat across the room, shaking her head.
Miss Innocent One: I'll just pretend I didn't hear that and by the way, Dad, pretty cheesy.
3) Drummer Boy was provided a rental car while his was in the shop. He's used to driving a car like this:
But got behind the wheel of this for a few days:
How will he ever go back?
4) Our family watches Judge Judy while eating lunch. I know. I know. It's a bad habit, but can I redeem myself by saying we always eat supper at the dinner table? Besides, I've written before about the life lessons we learn from Judge Judy. This day she spurred an unusual discussion.
Drama Queen: Judge Judy looks like a grasshopper.
Me: What? Where do you get that from?
Drama Queen: Just look at her. Everybody looks like an animal. Miss Innocent One looks like a gopher or an antelope.
Me: Those are not even close to each other.
Drama Queen: It depends on the angle you look at her.
Me: What about me?
Drama Queen: Hmmm. I'd say a cockatoo. (I knew my hair was pretty wild, but apparently I had no idea!)
Miss Innocent One: What about Dad?
Drama Queen: He's either a walrus (on account of the moustache?) or a bear (because of his little ears?) and obviously Ladies Man is a sasquatch.
Miss Innocent One: What about Drummer Boy?
Drama Queen: I'd say he's a manatee.
Me: How are you coming up with this?
Drama Queen: It's just how it is. My friend looks like a baby duck.
Oh my. I don't get it and I'm not straining my brain too hard to figure it out. Only at our house can you go from Judge Judy to animal doppelgangers.
5) Before making my Walmart run, I asked the kids if they needed anything.
Miss Innocent One: Can you get Bagel Bites?
Me: Honey, Bagel Bites are not food.
Of course she protested, but I held firm. (I refused to buy Bagel Bites but picked up a couple frozen pizzas. Does anyone see some screwy thinking in that? Can I claim that childbirth, as well as the stress from said children, has depleted my brain cells? Yes, let's go with that.)
Anyway, a few days later, Miss Innocent One was flipping through a Cooking Light magazine and found this:
Miss Innocent One: See Mom? Wholesome! You can feel good about what's inside! See? And it's in a Cooking Light magazine, Mom. Now can I get some?
Great. Another child who's exposed her mother's idiocy. I'm in deep trouble now folks.
6) Ladies Man has been gone all week traveling with a Christian singing and drama group. He left on Tuesday morning and was so hyped up to go that listening to his antics the entire ride to Lincoln nearly did his sleep-deprived mother in. Too few hours of sleep and a hyper adolescent do not a pleasant trip make and I wasn't prepared for his question.
Ladies Man: Will you guys miss me?
I looked at Kevin with raised eyebrows and whispered.
Me: This is probably not a good time to ask that question.
Of course it was a moment of temporary insanity and I soon missed his silliness. Apparently I wasn't the only one. By Tuesday afternoon Drama Queen wandered around the house yelling.
Drama Queen: I miss Ladies Man!
Ah. Another ray of hope!
7) I totally wimped out of a 5K I was supposed to run tonight. My running buddy and I are blaming it on the humidity and weird race time and the fact that we're only setting ourselves up for disappointment by running alongside real runners. I've been working hard to stop my wandering eyes and am certain attempting another 5K will certainly bring out the worst in me.
There. Is that enough excuses for you? Are you buying any of them?
That's okay. I know I'm a wuss. Label me a failure if you must. I can take it.
Have a great weekend, friends. Enjoy more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.