Monday, June 8, 2015

First To Take Flight!

For eighteen years I have wondered what this day would look like and feel like. There was a time when it felt like this day was so far into the future, it was hard to even imagine. On that day I was probably cleaning up your cheerios under the couch cushions or watching you slide down the big swirly slide at the park.

This day came too soon. As many say, it snuck up on me furiously. Time paid no attention to my demands to stop the clock or at the very least, slow down. It was just the opposite. The more time marched on, the faster it’s march became. The days of watching you at the park have turned to moments of witnessing you become the man that you are today. It has been an honor, and at times, even breathtaking to see what God has done in you, Lucas.

A few weeks ago I shared a thought with you. I told you that in a lot of ways I look up to you. Your calm and pleasant demeanor is incredibly admirable. I see your positive attitude in most everything and I desire to be the same with all the crazy twists and turns that life sometimes hands me. Admittedly so, there have been moments when I have questioned how you could remain so level headed and pleasant with some of the things you’ve encountered. It doesn’t take long for me to remember that that’s just who you are. You always have been. I even remember my past writings about how our family has been so blessed by the peacemaker that you are. You bring peace. Peace dwells within your heart. It dwells there, and spills out everywhere around you. That’s a quality that I think most anybody would look up to and desire to have.

So here we are on this day when the curtain of Act One is closing and we will begin to see the opening of Act Two. What does it look like? Well, it certainly looks promising. It’s not hard to notice all of the many accomplishments in all areas of your life. It’s easy to see that the Lord has some GREAT things planned for you! I’ve always known He would use you in big ways, and it was music to my ears a couple of years ago when you came to me and said that you wanted to choose a career path that would allow you to witness to who your God is and what He is capable of. You are on your way, son! More importantly, what does this day feel like for a mom letting go of her first? The first word I think of is ‘peace’. I have peace in my heart today. I see that you are ready, so that gives me the peace that I need to accept that I too, am ready. It is no accident that this word overwhelms me concerning you. It is truly by His design. So although I know I will not get through this day without a normal amount of tears, I am ready to see all the coming days, weeks, months and years and all that they hold for you.  You have made this Mama heart proud, Lucas, and I know that you will continue to spread your light and peace into this world… Allowing many more moments of this Mama looking up to her son.

I love you so much.

Monday, April 20, 2015

On Teens and Dancing

I have come to realize that parenting three teen aged sons is much like dancing.

Think about it for a second and just stay with me....

You hear an unfamiliar song. You know, one that you've never heard before, but even so... You kinda dig it. You find the beat and start moving to it and begin to feel pretty confident in your ability to move your body to the beat in a fashion that doesn't make you feel, or more importantly, LOOK like a total idiot! Suddenly the beat changes and your left there to find your rhythm again.

You listen intently.
You watch others and how they are moving.
You feel the music sink into your soul to bring on the moves.

Do you see the correlation here?

On any given day, I feel like the rhythm of this life is constantly changing. I may feel comfortable for a few moments and have the familiar sensation of knowing what to expect next, but that awareness doesn't last long before the beat changes once again... Leaving me feeling like a stranger to my own mind and body. I can't help but wonder what I look like to those around me, but especially to my own boys.

I've reminded myself and them that I've never done this before. There was no trial run before they came. That reminder certainly doesn't make me feel any better, and I get the strangest "DUH" stares from the three of them whenever making that obvious statement.

Yesterday I held within my arms a brand new baby. He wasn't even 24 hours old! Such a sweet, precious little boy... All wrapped up like a little gift. Holding him brought tears to my eyes because I know FIRST HAND many of the days that lie ahead for this little guy and for his parents.  J and I have received our three such gifts in this same way. They came to us with such beauty... Everything about them so perfect and wonderful. Their little lives brought with them new responsibilities and yes, worries. The worry never leaves. It changes, but it doesn't leave. I remember the first night having Lucas home from the hospital... I literally DID NOT sleep. He did, but I did not. I HAD to listen to him breathe. I felt that I MUST make sure that his tiny little chest was moving up and down appropriately. I kept that up for a good long while until I had to crash and burn. This was all part of a beautiful thing called Motherhood.

Over the years, the worries I have for my boys have evolved. The rhythms of life have changed suddenly, repeatedly, and drastically. What at one moment has seemed familiar has quickly become unchartered territory.

We listen.
We watch.
We feel.
We learn... From each other.

I am unexpectedly filled with a sense of knowing that this IS the new rhythm. It twists and it turns, but it is brilliant... As it stretches my mothering abilities beyond the boundaries that I set for myself years ago. I pray that these boys can see that and appreciate it. I hope that they can see that although I'm not by any means perfect, I am a mother who is constantly learning... Constantly being re-shaped and molded.

This dance of life is sometimes strange... But it is ALWAYS beautiful. It is one that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world! This dance is continually begging to be heard, to be seen, and to be felt. That is how we learn about ourselves and those that we love so much.

Lucas, Colby and Caleb.... I am the luckiest Mama in the world! I am even luckier to be side by side with you through this crazy, rhythmic life.

Today and always... May I have this dance?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Crossing Paths

So I guess coming here has become an every six months or so thing. I don't know when that happened or why it happened. I just know that's how it is. I still find my head constantly swimming with thoughts... Both old and new. The thoughts sometimes paralyze me. If I were better about coming here to write, I know that wouldn't be the case.

There are two words that have been stuck in my brain since Saturday.

Crossing paths.

My hubby, our two younger boys and I were out running some errands on Saturday. While doing so, we met this very sweet older man from Russia. I believe he had somehow become lost (and I've been praying since Saturday that he found home), but in his being lost, he touched our hearts. We sat in a parking lot with this man for close to an hour. He barely spoke english. Amongst his Russian vocabulary, there were just a few scattered words of english... Just enough for us to try to understand what he was wanting to communicate. We learned that he loves math, that he was somewhere in his mid eighties, that he only moved here from Moscow recently, and that his two brothers were killed in the war. This stranger shared tears with us as he told us (mostly in his language) all about losing his brothers to war. We were able to share about Jesus with him, and he shared with us that Jesus is someone he already knows. He shared how knowing Jesus in his communist country was a hard thing, and at times, for some it was deadly. By the end of this visit, my heart ached for this man who had just simply crossed our path that day. His sadness was completely contagious! However, I couldn't help but think how this appointment in the parking lot was Divinely scheduled. He was meant to cross our path, and we were meant to cross his.

Fast forward to yesterday. My mom and nephew came up to spend the day. It wasn't something necessarily planned out. Those are the best times, don't you think? Anyhow, we got busy playing with Thomas the Train and sewing up roman shades for our bay window. After many interruptions and distractions, it was time for a snack! I made my way to the kitchen and prepared a healthy snack of cheese, crackers and blueberries on a plate for Elijah. We got him situated at the table and Grandma put her needle down and joined us too. We were chatting about lots of things when I heard a familiar voice coming through the back door. It was my Dad.

 I'm not going to lie. At first, I was thinking about all of the many ways this could go not so good. I knew my parents wouldn't get into any knock down drag outs, but a general feeling of awkwardness? Yes! But then, almost immediately I heard these two words in my head again.... Crossing Paths. Peace washed over me.

We all sat in the same room for a good long while. That is something in itself that I never thought would happen again. Mom picked up her needle and thread again, I folded laundry, Elijah went back to the menagerie of train tracks and pieces, and Dad contently sat in a chair and led discussion on extended family members of both sides. My parents got caught up in a way. It wasn't anything deep, just very pleasant. It was surprisingly comfortable and I knew that these paths were also meant to be crossed.

I feel like I could go on and on about the multiple ways in which I have felt blessed by the crossing of paths recently. These are just the two most recent examples. God has been busy in this home these past few weeks. He has been orchestrating all the right people at the right place and at the right time. It's not something that I take lightly OR for granted.

He always has a plan... It's been a blessing to see His plan being carried out through the many crossing of paths.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

From The Dust

While you sit there waiting... Watching, hearing, saying the name of Jesus a million times in your head as well as aloud, it's hard to believe that anything with purpose or beauty will come of this day.

But as sure as I am here typing these words on this day, I know that God will bring beauty from the dust.

Two days ago a man a woman with what seems like nothing but violence on their minds blew through our town. It started a county away, and ended right here, less than a block away from where my oldest was sitting in a dark, motionless, and silent room on school lockdown. Scary day.

There is no preparation for getting that computerized phone call informing you that your child is in danger. There is no preparation for that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach while your husband is out in the thick of it all with all of the many other law enforcement officers. The panic hits hard. All of the many times that you have told yourself that you can be still and know that He is in control comes down to this moment, and failure is once again the winner.

Two days ago two deputies lost their lives. Two wives, two sets of children, two sets of parents, siblings, etc. were met with the reality that their loved one wasn't coming through the door at the end of their shift. My heart is heavy with this reality. My head is spinning with the truth that I have been spared from this sort of tragedy for over 22 years.

My son was held in that dark classroom for over four hours. His class was told that they were the closest to where this dangerously armed man was, so they had to remain completely silent for the entire time to avoid further danger. I texted him several times, each time he sounded completely at rest... Without any type of worry. Thankfully, that gene of mine skipped him. He was confident. He was untouched by what was really happening. I didn't realize what a blessing to me that was until yesterday. As a mother, the last thing you want to do is send your child into danger. You don't want to think that anywhere they go that is supposed to be safe will turn un-safe. You hate to picture your child being afraid... at all. Through the texts from my son, I was also spared from feeling that he was fearful of the danger occurring right outside the door of his classroom. I know it was much more than that though... It was more than texts from him. It was the evidence of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of him! That's where his confidence came from.... It came from his Father! 

It was a horrible day, yet already I have this overwhelming feeling that God is working and the mounds of dust will clear and we will see this beauty unveil itself... A beauty unlike anything we've known before.

God is always good, always sovereign, always love. Forever.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Losing Them

So without sounding like I'm writing an article about depression, I am going to attempt to write about having growing teens in the house. I have three now.

It's Friday night. Everyone is home. It's actually the first time all week since J has been away on business all week. I'm not going to lie and tell you that it's a usual occurrence that everyone is here at home on a Friday night. It's actually not. Tonight is different though. We set it aside since Dad was gone all week. In addition to that fact, J volunteered to make dinner tonight (indian food... his specialty). This night was deemed "special" for these two reasons.... Add to that 'Transformers' out of the Redbox and you got yourself a pretty perfect Friday night. Except for one thing...

Our 17 year old is pacing the house. He either sits with his ear buds comfortably placed inside his ear canals, or he paces the house. It's like he doesn't know what to do here. It's like he all of a sudden feels bored while at home. This makes me so extremely sad.

Have I done something wrong? Have I just failed to do some little (or big) thing right? Why now? Why has he never seemed this uncomfortable before now? Why do I suddenly feel like I'm losing him?

Raising teens isn't easy ( WOW, was that the understatement of the year, or what?). It's such a mind game. My teens are good guys. For the most part, I don't worry about the decisions they are making. They have pretty level heads on their shoulders. That's not to say though that they don't know how to make their Mama's heart hurt.

I try to remind myself that there are MUCH bigger teen related family issues out there. I even think back to some of the crazy stunts I pulled on my own parents. They must have felt some of the very emotions I'm feeling at this very moment.

Mom, Dad, if you still read these pages, please hear me.... I'm SO SORRY. If I would have known then what I know now I might have done some things differently. I would have come to your bedside at the end of the day to just say "Thank you". I would have stopped my fast paced routine of crazy teen life and embraced you for a "just because" hug. I might have even came to you on a Friday night and asked you to stay in for a dinner and movie night... And I wouldn't pace the house.

I would do these things because I would know that our time was nearing an end. I would want you to know that our lives were about to change and go in many different directions, but the importance you play in my life is one thing that would never change. I would want you to know that I knew that you were my biggest fans, and that you would do anything for me! I would want you to know that you weren't losing me.

I am full aware that all of this is so strangely normal. I guess I just want to feel reassured right now that someday these beautiful boys of mine will feel these same feelings. My heart sometimes wants to explode with the love that I have for them. They don't understand this today.... BUT I want to know that someday they will understand this feeling. Who knows... Maybe in that moment I will receive a phone call out of nowhere...

"Mom, what are you doing tonight? How about dinner and a movie?"

Monday, September 22, 2014

To My Colby...

So I'm a little behind.

The words have been making themselves at home inside of my head and heart, but my fingers aren't too good at staying on top of these pages anymore. I want to continue writing here. I really do feel that it is important... Especially during these days. months, and years of raising teens.

It's early, and the house is quiet, so I will start again this morning.

Yesterday was my sweet Colby's 15th birthday. That's actually what motivated me to come back to these pages. A long time ago I started writing birthday letters to my boys here. This year, I unintentionally skipped over Caleb's birthday last month. I will have to come back to his soon. He will have a little belated birthday surprise! With these few quiet moments though... I want to write to you, Colby.

Dearest Colby,

   Happy birthday! Your hopes of becoming an adult are quickly coming to their end, for you are almost there. For the longest time now, you have been the one that has been a little impatient with your childhood. You have always had big dreams and bigger things motivating you into adulthood. My prayer for you this year is that you will discover that childhood is now almost a distant thing, and that you will embrace what you have left of it. There are many things to looks forward to as you become an adult, but there is something so magical about being young and figuring out who you are, what your gifts are, and who you will be. Be where you're at, Colby. Don't let a single moment pass you by unnoticed.

   You are one who has always had something important to say. I shared with you a couple of weeks ago that some people talk just to talk. You are not one of those. Often times you are silent, but when you speak, people listen because what you have to share is good and worth hearing. I've always seen this as a strength of yours, but never as much as I do today. I see you with your peers and I know that as long as you are being obedient to God's calling to share what you know to be true, then you will be the leader of that pack. I know that doing this isn't always easy. In fact, I don't know if it's ever easy. It's much easier to take the road most traveled and be the "typical" teenager. You are not that though. Please always know that and act upon it. Apply the gift of leadership that has been given to you.

   I've seen the look on your face as you compare yourself to others. You've decided not to play sports this year, and I think you made this decision for good reasons, but it breaks my heart to think that maybe ONE of those reasons is because you think you're not good enough. The world we live in is often times a cruel world when it comes to comparison. We are told though, that we were "knit together perfectly", so there is no room for comparison. You cannot compare perfection with anything else. You are perfect! Can I just share something with you? The way your mind works with your hands to create such beautiful lines and color and make them into something so fabulous is incredible to me! When I was younger, at one time I thought I might want to be an artist. Even now, I love the feeling of creating. I love having a paint brush in my hands and making something new, or look new. I, however wasn't naturally gifted with this. There are basic things I can do with a pencil or brush, but nothing anything close to what you can do. You are doing something I have ALWAYS wanted to have the ability to do! God gave you this gift, Colby. I pray that you will always use it to His glory.

   When you came to me last spring and asked me to school you at home this year, I was surprised. Actually, I think you were surprised! After prayer, we decided to take this leap. I'm going to keep it real here. It hasn't been easy. I know that you would agree. We have had our fair share already of "technical difficulties" with the curriculum, and the overall idea of homeschooling a high schooler. There have been more hard days than easy days since we started. Last week though.... It finally felt good. It seems we have found our groove. As I have been praying myself through these days though, I have heard the Lord telling me this: " Just enjoy him. Love him. Know him. This is an opportunity I have given you to be WITH your sweet son. Take this gift with open hands and learn about him." So this is the attitude I am schooling you with this year, son. It's still about math, and language arts and all of that stuff. BUT... It's more about us... About accepting this gift of you and ALL of who you are and coaching you through these teen years into this next stage that you have been so excited to enter into... Adulthood.

   I love you with all of my heart Colby. Everyday you are a sweet reminder of God's goodness to me. You have an incredible amount to offer the world... So many gifts and talents. Be BIG Colby! Be bigger than the ugliness that sometimes tries to get in front of you and tell you lies. That's satan, not your Maker talking to you. Your Maker sees you as perfectly knit together.

I love you,


Monday, August 4, 2014

Home Sweet Home

I am still pinching myself as I type these words on this page! Our journey to "home" has taken us here... To this sweet place. When I stop and think about all of the days, all of the tears and all of the prayers that have made their way to this place I almost lose my breath! God has been SO amazingly good to us!

I remember sitting at my computer last summer. I had a cup of coffee in hand, and I had carved out time to catch up some of the other blogs I enjoy reading. One of those blogs is called 'The Nester'. She is a mom on the East Coast who mothers three boys and has a heart for homemaking and decorating. We are like minded in many ways. Anyhow, I went to her page that day and read about her recent move to her new home. Like us, they had been renting for several years, and the time had come for them to buy again. The pictures were incredible! They bought this sweet little white farmhouse on some acreage. It needed lots of work, but nothing that seemed impossible to her! She wrote about how she was SO up and ready for the challenge to make this dream home their personal dreamy home. I sat there with my coffee and admittedly, became FULL of envy. How I adored the pictures of this little home! Sure it had outdated everything, but my eyes see past that, and I immediately saw exactly what I would do with such a place. As I dreamt about it though, I sat there and told myself that when our time came to purchase another home, it most likely would be something a little more "cookie cutter". Not only because things like this around this part of the country are pretty pricey, but also because I never thought I would talk my hubby into such a thing.

As we have rented these past three years, there have been hard things for me to get over. I LOVE color! I have been surrounded by white walls for three years. You would be surprised how that one simple thing can zap the creativity right out of a person! It hasn't been easy for me to make our houses our homes without being able to slap paint up on the walls. Each time I would voice my discontentment about being a renter, I would be reminded, either by someone listening to me or by the Holy Spirit, that the Lord would be surprising me with something extra special at the end of all of this. I have felt His goodness in many ways over the past three years. He has blessed me with new knowledge about myself and about my family that I never would have known if not for this journey. I had come to a realization that THIS was the "something extra special" that I had been hearing about. It wasn't about a house, it was about me and my heart. This was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow... And what a treasure it is! Never did I imagine that there was more....

When we saw this farmhouse/used to be schoolhouse back in April, I immediately fell in love. Much like 'The Nester's' home, it needed my touches, but when I walked in the door, my touches are what I saw. I saw past the ugly blue-green carpet and the salmon orange walls. I saw every sweet thing about it and I immediately began to dream. However, the price tag turned this dream machine off. It wasn't the home after all. Fast forward a month or so and all of that changed. The price had just come down, and there were literally multiple people offering. We became part of a coin toss... And we won! That's right, we literally won a coin toss for this home. For me though, I knew it was much more than that. It was about God gifting us... Pure and simple. Why did I doubt just HOW good God would be to me?

We have been here for three weeks now. It was a long, frustrating, nail biting journey to get here. It was also a sweet, eye opening, learning experience. We are here because God wants us to be here. He wanted to show this family what He is capable of doing yet once again. He NEVER fails! Since the first night we slept here, we have prayed that this house would continue to be a blessing to us, but that it would be a home that would bless others. It is SO important to us that the walls of this home are not just painted pretty with all of our personal flairs. More importantly, these walls should always hold a strong sense of the Holy Spirit within them. This home was a gift to us... We want to gift others with it.

We have already painted every room except for the master suite. We have replaced the flooring with a beautiful hickory floor. There is much to be done still, but we are here. Our journey has brought us all to this place. Our roots as a family started in a home. During the past few years, our roots have expanded more inside of the walls of our hearts. Now, the roots that have become established have been re-planted in this home. We are feeling blessed beyond words... And I still pinch myself every morning when I wake up.