Monday, December 17, 2012

Doors

Very recently I had a sweet conversation with my oldest son about doors. I was able to share some advice with him that I received from my father when I was about Luke's age.

If you are a fan of the musical 'Sound of Music', then you might remember a line in the movie when Maria is told that when one door closes, another one opens. I honestly didn't pick that line out of the movie as one to remember, but my own dad did. It must have had an impact on him, because he remembered it enough to share about it with me. Ever since, it has been meaningful to me. It has stayed with me, and now I have had the opportunity to pass it along to my own child.

It really is very true... When God closes one door, He always opens another. As I grow older and become more wise, I can see how there have been many doors opened, closed, and opened throughout my life time. He continues to show me new doors even still. In the not so distant past, I would become frightened at the sight of a new door. I would feel the wind of the old and familiar door abruptly slamming. Then I would see the sight of something new before me and I would literally start to shake in my boots. Walking through the threshold was too much.

Today I feel more at peace. I don't know what lies ahead. I know what I desire to lie ahead, but I don't know if my desires are the same as His desires. At this moment, I'm okay with that though. As I talked to Luke, I shared with him that God always knows our desires and He wants to fulfill them. Sometimes that requires shutting doors though. Sometimes it means big scary unknowns in front of us. In the midst of our discussion, It felt like I was learning right along with my son.

Sometimes my best learning takes place as I teach my children. This was undoubtedly one of those times. Dad, if you read this... Thanks for the advice. It has stuck with me all of these years. Now I'm passing it along.... And I'm continuing to learn from it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Grateful Heart

My day is coming to a close. I am tired. Actually, I am tired of being tired.

But such is life.

The days are all so busy that they seem to collide with each other faster and without pausing. My days are so much different than they used to be. They seem so calculated... Predictable.

The alarm clock sounds.

I set my feet on the cold floor, only to be stunned that it's time to do it all again.

I go through the morning rituals of preparations for the day... Wash, brush, apply, etcetera.

The boys and I all pile into the van and we head out in to our separate, yet also connected daily journeys.

I enter a classroom full of children that make my insides smile. They need me, and I have discovered that I need them too. They teach me as I teach them.

When the school bells sound, I gather all of my men (big and small-ish) and we playfully talk about our day's journeys. It is all so good.

It is good because I am grateful. I am grateful because I have it all. Really... I do.

I have got to be the richest woman alive! Is my life perfect? No, it is far from that. Grace allows me to see past all of the imperfections though, and into a life that is blessed beyond measure with everything that I had ever hoped for... And so much more.

So although I am tired of being tired, and even though it will all begin again in just a few hours... I go to bed tonight with a grateful heart.

Grateful for ALL of it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

When There Is Hurt

Matthew 18:21, 22

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
   Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy seven times."

People hurt people. For years, I have processed being hurt by people in different ways. I have tried many techniques, only to find that there is only one that heals.

The past two days I have slowly crawled into the lap of my Father. He has pulled me in close. He is healing my wounds. He is whispering into the depths of my soul that I have to forgive in order for the wounds to close. My wounds are fresh and wide open, but I know with time there will be nothing left of them. The Father heals as I reside with Him.

Several years ago I heard a pastor speak about forgiveness. This message is one that has stuck hard with me. He told us that we are required to forgive, but we are not required to let the person who continually hurts to come back and hurt more. Even though I have been hurt to inner parts this week by this person, I feel free too. I know now that I do not have to let this person continue to come back in. There is closure. There will be forgiveness as I let the Father breathe into me His grace and mercy. That same grace and mercy will spill from me and out to others. I will be free of all of it soon.

This brings me such peace today as I have these sweet conversations with my Jesus. I'm grateful that I no longer search for other things to bring me comfort... When there is hurt...

Jesus heals.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

So Long

It's been so long since I've been here.

It's been so long since I have sat long enough to really think.

It's been so long since I've gathered enough words to write that would make any sense at all.

It's been SO long!

An unexpected clump of time has found me here tonight though, so I sit with my lap top in a cozy corner of my living room. Everything outside oozes the arrival of fall. It took awhile this year. As I gaze out upon the panoramic view of the hills and the lake from my living room window tonight, I cannot believe my eyes! The trees appear to be glowing they are so vividly bright. The sky is gray with a solid line of an orange sunset at the bottom of the horizon. It's all amazingly GORGEOUS! The air is crisp too. It's no longer warm enough to wear just a t-shirt outside and be comfortable. My sock drawer has been revisited this week while my flip flops have found their way to the back of my closet. I refuse to live as the native Californians do and freeze my tootsies off during the cooler seasons! All of these hints of this new season reminds me of one thing...

My season of hibernation is coming up. Baseball is soon to be over and there are only a couple more weeks of soccer. I enjoy watching my boys play their sports, but this time of year has become a real treat for me too. I LOVE my months of lingering Saturdays and slower meals around the table with my family during the week. As a family we have learned our seasons well. We have mastered the skill of dividing and conquering during the busy times, and we have perfected our season of hibernation too. We have learned the art of balance. Such an art it is too. With a family of three boys, it took us awhile to get where we are... It wasn't easy. At times, it still isn't. Once in awhile, temptation rears it's ugly face and tries to take hold. I think back to last spring when we let one of the boys try out for a year around sport. In the end, they didn't have enough boys to make a team, so it didn't work out. There was disappointment of course, but now? Now we are thankful. We are thankful for the Lord's continuing protection of us... Of our time. He knows best.

I hope to have more stolen moments of time to sit and get cozy while writing during this season. There is much on my heart, but the words are still in a rather scattered state. They will come together though. They always do. For now I am going to just bask in this moment of fall and the reminders of all that is lovely about it right now and in the days to come.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Growing Up

Some things I've noticed lately....

Top 10 Reasons That I Know They Are Growing Up

10. The cans of shaving cream seem to disappear faster.
9. The grocery bill each month has become greater than the national debt!
8. The regular bar soap has been replaced by Axe, Old Spice or anything else that smells "manly".
7. Their laundry loads have doubled in size not simply because there are more pieces... The pieces have just doubled in size.
6. When I call home, it sounds like a stranger is answering my phone. No, not a stranger, it's my son.
5. They aren't home as much anymore, but when they are home, they are pretty busy.... With anything BUT Legos. :(
4. Cat In The Hat no longer lingers on my coffee table. In it's place sits the latest teen novel.
3. "Crafting" doesn't mean pom poms and pipe cleaners. It means a million kazillion little plastic painted model pieces needing to be put together (not my gift people).
2. Hearing the music they play makes me cry... Not because it's cute, but because it's BEAUTIFUL!

And the number one reason I know that they are growing up...

1. They make ME laugh more than I can ever hope to make them laugh!

Friday, October 5, 2012

20 Years

It has been a week now. A week since we started our trek back from a week of unforgettable times together.

My hubby and I celebrated twenty years of marriage last week.

Twenty years of laughing and crying together.

Twenty years of traveling the hills and valleys of this life.

Twenty years of being being side by side with my best friend.

My love has always been able to "Wow" me. It is a gift that he has, and one that I will never take for granted. Last week was no exception! We traveled to the ocean for our celebration get away. My hubby put every drop of thought into every moment of our stay. From the incredibly romantic place where we stayed, to the chocolate dipped strawberries and wine that awaited us in our breath-taking room... EVERY detail had been taken care of. We walked the beaches, we sat by the ocean in big adirondack chairs next to warm fire pits. We read together, and we overall ENJOYED each other. We had no distractions... Nobody needing us anywhere. Nowhere to rush off to. It was just us... Together. Twenty years later... He pursues me. He pursues my heart.

My sweet husband ~ Thank you for such an incredible time. You are an amazing man. Thank you for always knowing just how to capture my heart and speak into those spaces within me that need you so desperately. Thank you for continuing to hold my hand tightly... Even when it hasn't been easy. Thank you for sharing the gift of you, with me. You are a treasure!

I love you ~

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Teenager In The House!

So it's been a week now. A week since my 12 year old quickly pushed me past the threshold of motherhood again. He saw fit to make me the mother of yet another teenager! Yes, we celebrated our sweet Colby's thirteenth birthday just last Friday. It's been a crazy (but amazing) week, so I'm just now getting around to writing his birthday letter. My boys have come to notice that I do this now, and they look forward to it. I'm sure that by now Colby's probably thinking that I forgot. Colby, I assure you... I would never. Colby has taught me a lot this year. As he likes to prove to everyone around him, he is a boy who is most always all about business. He is straight forward. There are no guessing games when it comes to him. He will never hide the truth, and as a matter of fact... His delivery of the truth has been known to shock people. Having a conversation with Colby is entertaining and enlightening. For such a young man, he has a lot of wisdom. He sees things differently than most thirteen year old kids. He gets life. He gets how hard it is to live up to what is expected of him as a follower of Jesus. He becomes disappointed in himself when he fails. In fact, sometimes I feel like I don't need to punish him when he might deserve it, because he is handing himself a much harder punishment. Colby continues to amaze us on the soccer field. He is quite the "Energizer Bunny" out there that just keeps going... No matter how hot it may be. Fall isn't here yet people, it is HOT! He gets right in there with some boys that look to be twice his size and steals the ball away while making it look easy. He loves his fancy foot work the most. Our French exchange student showed him some cool stuff that Colby now LOVES to put into play at his games. It's fun to watch! Most of all though... He's just a good guy. He works hard at what he does, and never stops trying to improve. He knocks my socks off with his spiritual insight too! Sometimes I feel like I've been to church when I head off to bed at night after kneeling beside his bedside. Happy birthday Colby Robert! You are a blessing to me and to our family. Our lives are richer because of you. This year my prayer for you is that you will continue to remain strong and steady in your faith. More than ever before, you will begin to experience new challenges. As of this day, I do not worry about how you will handle these things, because your relationship with Jesus is constant and sweet. I pray that this relationship only becomes sweeter as you learn how to shut the world out of places it doesn't belong. You and those beautiful blue eyes of yours are like a breath of fresh air to me sometimes. I pray that you will be that same breath of fresh air to those around you. You are loved. Love, Mama

Monday, September 17, 2012

Thoughtful Words

"An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up." ~ Proverbs 12:25

I am one who is highly affected by words. Words can direct me down a lonely, frightening path OR they can lift me up to heights unimaginable. Sometimes the words aren't necessarily even spoken either. Sometimes words can make their way out of a person simply by their actions. Again, both in negative and positive ways.

Our pastor spoke at church yesterday about our tongues. Our tongues are small, yet they are so powerful. One slip of the tongue can lead to disaster that can take a forever length of time to mend. Just the same, one encouraging word goes a very long distance too. Do I encourage often enough? I want to. Do I single the important people in my life out and every now and then SAY something (notice how I didn't say DO something) that lifts them up to unimaginable places? I really want to.

Since I sometimes feel the victim in being the one who isn't lifted up, I desire to be the one who is always doing this for others. It's hard, I have to admit. Life is crazy fast. A lot of days I feel like I'm just on a merry-go-round that doesn't stop. It spins, and I spin with it. I want to take the time to hop off and take a break from the spinning. I need to focus in on people. People that I love dearly. People that I pass in hallways. People that need encouragement!

"Do not revile the king even in your thoughts, or curse the rich in your bedroom, because a bird of the air may carry your words, and a bird on the wing may report what you say." ~ Ecclesiastes 10:20

Isn't it so easy for us to let our words turn sour? I know I catch myself complaining and even in that moment when I catch myself, I wonder, "Why?" Don't I know by now that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? I think the same thing can be said about our hearts. It takes more emotion out of us to get caught in the negative than it does to bask in the positive. My words on the inside need to be thought out too. When words on the inside are thought out carefully, then they will come out of us in a much more pleasing way. Pleasing to those that hear us, but mostly pleasing to the Lord.

At this present time I feel like I'm a part of "Thoughtful Words Boot Camp". I am learning. I am learning to put others before me. I am learning that the will of God is something not to be fought with, but something to carefully and thoughtfully accept and live out. I need to focus more on living it out through my words. I need to use thoughtful words with others to lift them. I need to be careful about the words that I choose to allow inside of my own head and heart. Whether they come from someone else, or from myself... Do they belong? If not, then let them go.

"... A kind word cheers him up." I pray that I am always the giver of cheer.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Letter

My Dear Sons...

Your infancy has been on my mind with the recent event of your sweet little cousin entering the world last week. If you have wondered why I have been caught staring at you for long periods of time, then this letter should explain everything. I can never say enough times how quickly you have grown! Your little fingers were wrapped around mine, and now my little fingers get lost in the palms of your big hands. Your eyes used to look to me for answers on this big world we live in, and now I find myself looking to you for answers that are new to me. Time has continued it's grand march, and it has taken you right along with it.

I hear all the time what beautiful creatures you are. Not just on the outside, but more importantly, on the inside. The compliments come from many and sometimes are only heard by a few. My heart swells each time though... No matter how many others are there to hear about how you stand out. You are young men now with hearts so big. People see that. People notice. I want you to know that. Your dad and I have told you, but I want you to really know. Your kind and generous spirits speak volumes to a world that needs more like you. I stare at you and sometimes just marvel at you. How did this happen? How did you grow up to be the kind that stand out the way you so obviously do?

It would be almost easy for me to take a lot of the credit. All of the days sitting around the wood stove talking about how Jesus cares about our character the most. "Anyone can be a rocket scientist, but not everyone can be well liked and respected for the person they are," I would say as your ears listened intently. At the time I wasn't sure you even understood what I was talking about. You were pretty young... This was pretty grown up stuff. You listened though. That's plain to see. It would probably be just as easy for your dad to take a lot of credit too. He has been only the best role model a dad can be. He is a hard worker and he ADORES his family. He has exemplified putting his family first and being there for you in all kinds of ways. He has coached you on soccer fields and baseball fields. He has taught you how to shoot a gun and how to hold a door open for a lady. He has made sure that you knew how to respect and admire those older and wiser. Yes... It could be that your dad and I have everything to do with what beautiful young men you are. But no, not really...

As I've looked back on the pages of your baby books and journals over the last week, I notice a common thread. The three of you have been covered in very specific prayers since the day we knew about your tiny life growing within me. We prayed about your physical growth and well being, of course. However, the bulk of the prayers were about your faith and character. We prayed that first and foremost you would be God loving boys who would grow to be God loving men. We knew that if you loved the Lord and if you feared Him in the way that we are supposed to fear Him, that you would be exceptional people.

Remembering back a few years, I think of times when I would go to my bedside and literally be on my knees over specific issues regarding each of you. I would dig out these journals of mine and pray those same exact prayers that I prayed while I was pregnant with you. Today, I do much the same. The journals are in a box somewhere. Someday we will feel settled enough again to un-pack everything. I don't need the journals to pray. All I need is a small space of quiet and a few minutes. God has listened all of these years.... This I know. He is the one who gets the glory for who you are and who you are still becoming.

I am well aware that the days of being knelt over my bedside while praying over your lives are not over. There will still be many. I want you to know though, that I will never stop making that my priority. Your spiritual wellness will always come first. For if you are well in Spirit, then every other part of you will be well also. No matter how many other things may creep into my days and try to steal me away from you, I will always be praying on your behalf. I have always considered that to be number one in importance as your mother. It will remain as such until my dying day.

So if you catch me staring, you know why. I am not staring at the dirt that you may have stuck to the side of your cheek. I am not wanting to lecture you on the clever schemes that you may be up to. I am not gazing at the boy-ish grin that you have so perfected. I am simply staring at you in amazement... Amazed at the glory of God that shines through you so vividly. A million times would not be enough to tell you how proud I am of each of you.

So that's what has been on my mind lately. I see little 'E' and I still see YOU... All wrapped up in your little "burrito bundles" ready to take on the world. You're a bit larger now, and burrito bundles are far behind us, but the world is still in front of you and ready to be changed by who you are. Continue being true. Keep being all that God has made of you, and never be fearful of where He may be taking you next. You will always have me praying you through every twist and turn.

I love you so much...

Mama



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Finally...


It is now time to FINALLY announce that....

I AM AN AUNTIE!!!!

The sweetest nephew in the world came into our lives Tuesday night this week. He is completely adorable and he has captured yet another pocket of my heart that I never knew existed. As I sit here typing these words on my keyboard, I miss him TERRIBLY. He's only a few minutes down the road, but it seems like he's on another planet!

I was there for his birth and what a miraculous treat that was! Witnessing birth from another perspective (other than that of being the mommy who is delivering) is something to behold. I witnessed my incredible sister labor for several hours without the aid of any medicine to take the pain away. I witnessed her amazing strength and stamina as she pushed this little life into the world. I witnessed my brother in law's heart being strong and stretched at the same time. This man is the definition of selflessness and help in a time of need. He was quite a sight. I am SO proud of both of them!

Then I witnessed this little baby boy come into our lives all at once.... Different capacities of course, but he has definitely changed ALL of our lives forever. Little E... Your Auntie Mimi (that's me) loves you so very much. I can't wait to share life together. I can't wait to be your Auntie. I have waited for you and wanted you for so long... And now you are here. We will have an incredible amount of fun together!

I am a happy woman. I am finally an Auntie. Another boy to love, adore, kiss and spoil (yes E, I plan on doing plenty of that). Life is good...

Oh, but God? HE IS GRAND!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

All Wrapped Up in One!


Awhile back I posted that there was much to write, but not enough time to write it. I listed a few things that I wanted to record here on these pages. I intended on writing separate posts for each thought. This afternoon as I have spent some quiet moments at home while the boys are all out movie-going, I have discovered that really.... All of these things are all wrapped up in one thought.

The provision, grace, goodness and love of a Mighty God!

In the midst of the summer heat we moved. It was a quick and what I would even consider easy move because of the help of many. Our family was gifted with much help. Several of our junior and senior high youth "groupsters" came and carried box after box. They lifted heavy furniture up a very steep and long driveway. They were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! I have loved them all dearly for a long time, and now that love goes deeper.

Six days after our move we left for our Northwestern vacation. We traveled almost 2000 miles in six days. We made it all the way up to Canada and we saw some beautiful things! This vacation wasn't one of relaxation, but we knew that it really wouldn't be. There was much to see and do. We visited friends and family, we went crabbing with Uncle B out near the San Juan Islands, we drove into new countries, and we even managed to attend a Yankees game in Seattle! It was quite the trip...

Back home to what I affectionately call our "Sweet Home on a Big Hill." I have spent the past few weeks simply amazed every morning that I wake up in such a place. I travel to our bay window in the living room every morning and look out. I look out at the tops of every kind of native tree and beyond that I see the big blue lake. The canyon wraps around all of it and I believe it could possibly be the most beautiful sight to look at... And I have the privilege of seeing it every day! It's the view that I see outwardly that reminds me to look at the view within my own heart. Am I expressing my gratitude? Am I reminding others of God's faithfulness and the fact that He DOES NOT leave us? Am I careful not to forget that He could still lead us somewhere else and leave this beautiful view behind as only a sweet memory? Yes, I want the view on the inside to be just as lovely and breathtaking as the view I never take for granted from my living room window. Lord, continue to work in this heart of mine.

School started recently too. Boys and I are all getting back into our routines. Routine is good. As we enter into routine though, I strive to not let the moments pass by too quickly. I jot down my gratitude. I drink everything in. Last night the boys slept on the deck. All five of us cozied up under the stars before saying our good-nights and we gazed up at such a sky! It's hard to look into the night sky without feeling and KNOWING just how BIG our God is... Without knowing what HE is capable of! We chatted and laughed and as we did all of it, I lied there literally soaking it all in. Moments like those are fewer these days with everything going on (especially in the life of a sophomore). I knew it might be awhile before we had another one like it.

Finally, my best friend from high school gave birth to her firstborn this weekend. I received a picture of her and the baby and I stared at it for the longest time. I stared because God is SO good! The desires of my friend's heart were not left unfulfilled. Did it all happen exactly how she (or I.... we were "supposed" to do this child birth thing together) had planned it? No. It did, however happen in God's perfect timing, and she and her husband couldn't have asked for a more perfect gift! He's beautiful!!

As I sit in my perfectly quiet home tonight, with nut breads in the oven and a cool breeze floating in through my windows I can't help but feel God's provision, grace, goodness, and mighty works. He never stops amazing me. He always keeps me counting these gifts. He constantly reminds me of all the ways He is working within the depths of this soul.

Grateful. Always.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Sweetest 11 Year Old!


Today my baby turned 11. Can I just say that although birthdays are a HUGE reason to celebrate, they can also be brutal??

I mean... ELEVEN?? What happened here????

My sweet Caleb is another year older. He's another year wiser... He's accomplished yet another year of perfecting his contagious spirit. When thinking about all of the things I could write here tonight to capture who he is and what he is all about, I realize that none of it has really changed over the years. His character remains the same... Just more perfected.

Caleb lights up a room. His smile and laughter can turn any sour mood or thought in the opposite direction immediately! He's thoughtful in every way. He simply loves to make people happy! He is known in this home to be the snuggler... Always a hug to be given. I absolutely LOVE that about him.

He continues to be my little "Mr. Fix It", I recently did a REALLY stupid thing... I jumped in the pool with my iPhone in my pocket. Ugh... Well, my little man insisted that he could fix my what used to be iPhone (now referred to as an expensive paper weight). He begged to take the thing apart and work his magic. He's pretty magical, but not magical enough for this task. I SO appreciate his confidence and willingness though. It's inspiring! In his head, there really is NOTHING that cannot be fixed. I know that is a quality that will be used in multiple ways throughout his life time.

Happy birthday my sweet boy! You are a precious gift from heaven. You remind me daily what it means to be genuine and content in every circumstance. I learn a lot from you, and I am confident that others around you learn from you too. I am so proud of the fact that you are such a beautiful reflection of Jesus. I know you make Him smile daily. I pray that this next year will be one of more growth, new experiences and even more perfecting.

I love you...

Mama

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Beautiful Challenge


If someone would have told me that a little over a year ago I would completely act out of character by answering my front door with dripping wet, straight out of the shower hair only to find a woman asking me to participate in a foreign exchange student program.... I would have laughed. Hard.

We had done this before. It had been a very long time, but it had been horrible! Both J and I agreed that it would take a serious miracle for us to EVER say "yes" to another stranger coming into our house and lives for an extended period of time.

On a typical summer day last year, God saw fit to perform that miracle as I told this woman at my door that I would talk to my husband and that "Yes, we would like to consider hosting this young man from France." Our lives have been forever changed since that day.

Clement left our home for the second time yesterday. This time he took his mother, father and younger brother with him. We had an incredible time! Clement was here for almost two weeks before his family came to join him. Everyone here picked up exactly where we left off last year. A true sign that we are much more than friends... We are family. After he had been here for a couple of days, he mentioned to us that he would like to bring his family to church while they were here. He wasn't sure they would be open to this idea though. I immediately started to pray about that, and asked that a few others pray about it also. When his family arrived, I just knew that they would be sitting in church with us on Sunday.... And that they did.

After they left yesterday, J and I sat and talked through my tears once again. This boy from France feels like one of my own. It is always hard to see him go, but this time it was easier because I know he will be back. The idea that I will someday get to go see him in his home is something to get excited about also! J told me that unusual circumstances led him to us and us to him.... For very specific reasons. A seed was planted in Clement's heart last summer, and that very same seed I believe was planted in the hearts of his family yesterday. Clement's mother sat at my dining room table Saturday night and explained that they don't attend church in France. Not only do they find their "inherited catholic religion" boring, but the church in France is dying. She told me that more and more churches are closing due to lack of priests and ministers. She shared with me how Clement has talked about "American church" ever since he was here last summer. It was such a sweet and encouraging conversation. I knew that between my prayers and Clement's testimony, the Lord had already began His work in laying the foundation for this family as they attended church the next day. Today I continue to pray that they are taking many thoughts, prayers and words back with them to France as Clement did last year.

Unusual circumstances led us to being gifted with this extended family in France. What would have happened if we would have said "No"? We would have stayed within our comfort zone and missed out on something so extraordinary!! I have witnessed myself, my husband and my children all want to stay within our own comfort zones and push away anything that looks different, hard or intimidating. It's easy to do! There must be balance, because we cannot say yes to everything, but saying yes to something big and unfamiliar, I have learned is something to experience. We will be blessed and others will be blessed too!

As we start another school year this week, I am praying for my family. I am praying that we will all have not only the ability, but the boldness in saying "YES" to something we might not expect ourselves to this year. I am praying that we will be prayerful about what that something is, and then that the blessings will flow... Just as they do between my home and a special home in France.

Monday, July 30, 2012

So Much to Write, But so Little Time... For Now

There is much on my mind.

We just returned from a week's vacation up through Oregon, Washington and into Canada.

Exactly six days before we left, we moved.

Tomorrow we leave for San Francisco for a baseball game and to pick up Clement, our french exchange student that stayed with us last summer. He's coming for another visit, and his parents and younger brother are coming out to meet us in a couple of weeks.

Life is moving along here. It feels like summer just started, and yet it's ending (only officially, because school starts again INSANELY early)!

We are soaking up the moments. Trying not to let the smiles and laughter go un-noticed as we flow through each of these summer days.

I will write specifics later. I thought it might be easier if I leave a note to self about what I want to write about. You know, that's how a forty-something Mama of three boys operates... Lots of notes to self. :)

1. The move!

2. Vacation

3. More gratitude (always more)

4. The view from here

It could be a few days until I get around to undisturbed intimacy with my lap top. That's okay though.... The important thing for me is to have AS MANY undisturbed and intimate moments with my family.

I'll be back!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Preparation

  by Zoomama3
, a photo by Zoomama3 on Flickr.

Do you ever feel on the verge of something BIG? Maybe not something that you can actually put a finger on.... But something BIG?

Today I woke up with a heart that told me that more change is taking place. The change is beneath the surface though(at least for now it is). This change has a lot to do with preparation!

God is preparing us... He has allowed and then used disappointments and trials as tools to sow our hearts for what is to come. Disappointment is never any easy thing, but when you can see the purpose in it, it changes everything. Our oldest has demonstrated this beautifully this week. He has taught his Mama some very fine lessons and brought me to my knees with a desire to honor my Father and the will that He has for my children.

Lucas has shown me what rising above looks like. God has shown me that there is much to be done... Lots of preparing to do.

So full of gratitude today.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What I Have Learned

This morning I woke up to a very quiet and still house. It was very early, and I embraced the time to just lie still in bed and think. The very first thoughts that came to my mind were about this house we have been living in.

We have spent almost six months here. In that time, I have spent a lot of time complaining about this place. I have taken every opportunity even remotely given to gripe about something related to this house! Truth is, I have learned a lot here.

I have learned more about each one of our boys. There's not a whole lot of space here, so we are forced to be right on top of each other. It's like they have been under a microscope for me to see. I have seen a lot of good, but I have also seen areas that as parents, we have neglected. We have been able to get down to the nitty gritty on several occasions.

This house has taught me more about my relationship with my husband. It has shown me what husband and wife are capable of when there is discontentment. I have seen things happen in my marriage that I have prayed about for many years. We are a team... Ready to live strong and fight to the finish.

In keeping with a policy of honesty though, I have to say that I have learned mostly about myself. I am not as flexible as I thought I was. Despite my desire NOT to be, I am a person who isn't easy to satisfy. Largely, I haven't felt satisfied here. It's hard to pin point where that comes from too. I don't know if it's necessarily the size of the home, or that because of it's many broken things I could never make it feel like home. J and I were never too interested in fixing what has been broken, but neither has our landlord. Thus, the desire to stay never really happened. Sure, we had decided to stay out of obedience, but our true heart feelings were never there. Looking back, I wish that I had prayed more about a different attitude though. I wish that I would have been a better example of humility and flexibility for my children.

Lesson learned.

This journey is far from over still. We have another two years of renting to do. God has done and He will continue to do what He finds necessary in our lives. Because of what I have learned in this little place that has been home to us for the past six months, I have the capability of being a better wife, mom and person. I pray that I won't lose sight of these lessons and that they remain fresh for a long time.

I pray that the same microscope that has been over my boys will be over MYSELF and that I wouldn't be negligent, but that I would always be getting down to the nitty gritty with me.

I'm so grateful for what I have learned here. He continues to show me.... There is purpose in everything.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Story Continues

I have been withholding information.

A couple of months ago, we were informed of a house in our area that would soon be vacant. It is currently being lived in. Some friends from church have made it their home for a couple of years now. On a Saturday morning awhile back, this friend called me to tell me that they would be moving. I quickly responded with specific prayers that we would be offering during their moving process. About mid-conversation, he asked me, "Wait, aren't you guys looking for another house to rent?" I told him that we were, but that God had put it on our hearts to stay put and get comfortable. I told him about the fact that even as we spoke on the phone in that moment, my boys were busy moving furniture and clothing from room to room as we had decided to make things a little more comfy for all of them. This friend (I'll refer to him as 'G') told me that we should consider renting the house that they had been living in when they moved in July. Hmmm.... Our lease in this house is officially up in July. Was this something we were supposed to look at, even after we thought we had heard it so clearly from the God that we should stay? I told G that I would talk to Hubby and we would pray.

Fast forward about two months.

We are moving in to this home in two weeks. Of course, it wouldn't be ours if not for the story attached, so grab your cup of coffee and read on....

We went to the property management company and filled out all of the necessary paper work after deciding that this home isn't something we went looking for, it came looking for us. Maybe that's just how the Lord wants it. He wanted to see us surrender our future more and put our trust more in Him. The PMC told us that nothing else could be done until we were thirty days out from our friends' move date. At the time, they would contact the owner and run all of our information by him to get final approval of our moving in. The thirty day mark came.... And it went. Our friends put their final notice in, but the owner took many days to get back to the PMC. After finally contacting them, he informed them that he was talking with realtors now about selling instead of continuing to rent it out. WHAT?? For some reason, we have this incredible history of finding these kinds of scenarios in our area! I lost it.

I have held my cool pretty well in the past when coming across these kinds of disappointments, but not this time. I was angry, and I was hurt. I felt like this carrot had been hung right in front of my nose only to taunt me. I had finally come to understand and accept that this home where we are at now would be home for another two years. I had come up with new ideas to make it home. I was okay with it before the carrot was hung. Now I was just confused on what the purpose in this was.

I went to bible study that night (against my wishes, really). I wasn't going to share with the ladies there because quite frankly, I'm tired of sounding like a discontented whiner. I almost felt foolish for even going forward with the idea of moving again when we already have a home. The palms of my hands became clammy (which ALWAYS means that I'm supposed to share) so I shared. It came out in the form of sobbing really, and then I felt even more stupid! These ladies are quite the saints though. They had just the right things to share, even the hard things that I needed to hear. I went home that night feeling blessed.

The next morning I took the kids to school and came home. I cleaned the house and re-arranged again. I saw that I had e-mail, but I put that off. After awhile, I sat on the couch and fell apart again as I spoke aloud to the Lord. I desperately felt that I needed him to show me what this was all about. After a bit, I went to my e-mail. Waiting for me there was this sweet devotional from one of my friends at bible study the night before. The devotion was about surrender and waiting. Wow... His timing is NEVER off, is it? The devotion used an illustration about the eagle. It told of how the eagle has a long life span, but about half way through it's life, it must go through a process where it literally sits in it's nest and plucks it's feathers, yanks it's talons out and then pecks it's own beak off. It does all of this to experience new growth. Once this I would assume, painful process is finished, it is a new bird that goes on to live the other half of it's very long life. Great story! Apparently, I had some plucking to do. I was immediately thankful for a God who heard me and supplied me with exactly what I needed... The purpose.

Two days later I'm at the dog park with my boys and dogs. My Hubby called while I was there to tell me that the owner changed his mind about selling... The house is ours! At first I don't even know what to feel. In some ways, I feel like I am un-deserving because I threw this little fit like a two year old. In some ways I feel like I don't even believe it. Then, in other ways, I feel and KNOW that God had it planned like this from the beginning. The purpose is still there... To show me where my new growth still needed to take place. As I sit in the PMC office a few days later signing all of the paper work, I look down at the address of my soon to be new home. I had never really looked at it before. The name of the street seemed to just stare me in the face. I couldn't believe it, and my eyes started to get wet. Without putting my exact address on the WWW, I can share with you that the name of the street is Eagles Nest. Did you just get the same goose bumps that I got? God is pretty amazing! No, not really. He is AWESOMELY AMAZING! He gave me my own nest to continue my plucking and pecking. If not for the WHOLE story, there would be none of this. I stand in awe... Truly.

Today I sit here among boxes again. A sight that has become all too familiar, but not without purpose.

The story continues....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Food and baseball.... All they need.

The boys have more boys over tonight hanging out in front of the TV and sleeping in a tent. Tomorrow we go tubing on the lake. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE boys! They are so doggone easy... :)



pS. That's root beer that they are drinking!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer time is for remembering....

  by Zoomama3
, a photo by Zoomama3 on Flickr.

Remembering how to live with wreck less abandon in a spirit full of thanksgiving!

Remembering the gifts.

Remembering how to live with my hands open and fingers pointed out.... Not in.

Remembering eucharisteo!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fifteen


In less than 48 hours, my oldest will be turning fifteen. Ugh... Such an ugly number, don't you think? I mean, from a mother's perspective of course.

Fifteen means it's the last year that he won't be driving. I actually enjoy driving my boys around to all of their activities... It's when we have our best talks.

Fifteen means only two more birthdays before he's pronounced a legal adult.

Fifteen means even MORE girls will be trying to knock down our doors.

Maybe I should stop lingering in the aisle of negative and focus more on everything beautiful though...

Fifteen means he's learning more about the art of becoming more charming and gentle-manly.

Fifteen means he has perfected the skill of taking care of his Mama. { Just the other day, he texted me and told me to pick him up from school coming the back way because he heard drag racing on the main street }

Fifteen means he's more attentive to the cost of living. He doesn't ask for anything designer or anything expensive. He's a bargain hunter... Just like his Mom!

Fifteen means that he has opportunities almost every day to stand up for his beliefs in Jesus.... And he seizes those opportunities!

It's a bittersweet thing watching your baby grow. Bitter because the time goes so fast and those days of sitting in the sand box together get further behind us. Sweet because we get to witness this little being grow into a real person... And when you see so much good, it's hard not to want to see more as they continue to grow.

Lucas, I adore you so much! You continue to live up to the meaning of your name "The light". Your light shines so deeply into my heart, as well as the hearts of others that know you. I pray many things for you each day. This year, my prayers will be focused on you having your true confidence in the Lord. I pray that His voice will remain to be the loudest and strongest voice that you hear when you are faced with making decisions of all kinds. I pray that as you continue to mature, that the path that the Lord sets before you will be clear to you... Even if it's a path that looks challenging and tough to conquer. I know you can!

Happy birthday son... I love you. ~

Thursday, June 7, 2012

His Face

Seek my face, and you will find fulfillment of your deepest longings. My world is filled with beautiful things; they are meant to be pointers to Me, reminders of My abiding Presence. The earth still declares My Glory to those who have eyes that see and ears that hear.

You had a darkened mind before you sought Me wholeheartedly. I chose to pour My Light into you, so that you can be a beacon to others. There is no room for pride in this position. Your part is to reflect My Glory. I am Lord! ~ Jesus Calling {June 6}

I started this week with a mind that was darkened. As I chose to let the Lord's Glory shine into me, I could literally FEEL my eyes and ears begin to open to what God has for me. I am a person who mostly speaks to God quietly. I might pray silently, or meditate while driving. I write my prayers down on paper. Sometimes I talk to the Lord while singing, but that's about as loud as I normally get with my conversations with Him. The other day I sat on my couch in the complete quiet of a house empty of all others. I sat there and I completely lost it. I began to cry out to Him. My voice was loud and filled with emotion as I talked to HIm and told him of all of my failures, all of my gratitude for Him and the grace that He allows me, and all of my requests for a change of my heart. As my step sister put it in a post here, I want to die to self and live more freely in His presence. I want to be in communion with Him. When I am there, I am less concerned about here.

What gets in the way of my being there?

Pride.

My thinking that I need this, or that I deserve that prevents me from achieving total communion and rest. For many months now, I have felt a stirring in my life. Everything that I have known and felt comfort with has gradually been stripped. It has been easy for me to feel pity on myself because of this. I get angry and experience hurt when I think of everything that I have "lost". I start the vicious circle of questioning all of the whys. The root of all of this is pride though. As Jesus Calling so simply put it in yesterday's devotion... There is no room for pride in my position.

I am one who has known who Jesus is since a very young age. I have known who He is, and I have seen and felt who He is as I have developed a relationship with my Jesus through womanhood. Jesus has called me into a position where I am supposed to be a beacon to others. The circumstances that surround me from my past to this present time are circumstances that He has given so that I would have stories to share of Him and His goodness and faithfulness.

There is a lot that doesn't make sense right now. As my mom pointed out just this week though... There have been other times in my life when things just didn't make sense either. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't understand all of the whys! Today I do though. Today those circumstances from the past make sense to me, and because of that, I know that today's circumstances will one day make sense also. Do I need to worry about making sense now? No. Should I let pride ruin my opportunity to be the beacon that God has made of me? No.

When I seek His face, there is rest.

When I seek His face, pride melts away.

When I seek His face, the story unfolds and my hands are open instead of clenched.

This life is a gift.

Every. Single. Chapter. Of. It.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why I Write

Sometimes I wonder why I write.

Why do I get cozy with my lap top and pour my heart out to cyber space? I know there are readers, but really.... I do not know everyone that reads here and I do not know how often my words are read. So.... Why do I take time out from a VERY busy day and start typing?

As a little girl, my favorite subject was always writing. It started with just handwriting. I loved to make letters look pretty on paper. I remember asking a friend who was a year older than me to teach me to write cursive. We weren't doing that at school yet, but I was ready! She sat with me many afternoons and showed me stroke by stroke. I was more than proud to be the only one in my class to be able to write cursive! It wasn't just cursive either... It was art for me.

From that point on, I put pen to paper frequently. I loved receiving writing assignments and I loved even more to write in my own journals at home. I went through a time in life (as most teenage girls do) when my writing was a little on the depressing side, but it was me. It was my heart.

When I met J, I kept journals about how our relationship was developing. I wrote "love letters" to him, all tucked into a hard bound book. With each of my pregnancies, and even after their births, I wrote letters to my children. I spoke of every emotion that took over my mind as a new mommy. I wrote specific prayers in those journals. They like to read those today. So special.
When we lost our two boys to pre-term birth, the first thing I wanted to do after I gathered myself was write. I wrote literally pages. I still have all of these. Every journal, every page I've ever put my writing on. I keep them in a box. Now I have this neat little place to do all of my writing... It's called a blog.

I write here because writing is what I've always done. I guess a part of me wonders if someday I will be one who will sit underneath a cute little window that overlooks wildflowers and green fields while I gather writings from yesterday, today and tomorrow and put them into a book. The thought intrigues me, but then I wonder... Who would read it? Would it really be significant enough to anyone else to read, or are my thoughts just that... MY thoughts?

I know this. I know that the only ones that I desire to read any of the things kept neatly in this space all of these years is my husband and these boys of mine. Oh, and perhaps even grandchildren down the road. Maybe someday they will read these pages and they will see my heart better. They will see where I have learned and where I have failed. They will see life's ups and it's downs and the way I chose to ride. Hopefully what they will see is good. I've tried my best to admit my shortcomings and faults here so that it's never hard to notice the growth.

So I guess I write because if I didn't, my heart would feel under water... Flooded. I don't write to be noticed or even complimented (although it's nice to hear when I've written something that spoke to someone else's heart). I write because I want to leave a part of me... On paper.

Since from the beginning, paper and ink have always been a big part of who I am. It continues to be just that.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stretching Time






The art of stretching time, it seems, is about moving even deeper into the present. ~ Katrina Kenison
{ taken from The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir }


I get up in the morning and the feel of the shift is so prevalent! Shortly, we will be leaving spring behind... Another school year. Summer's call is no longer faint, but heard close by.

Slow summer mornings, enjoying long breakfasts around the big farm style table.

Morning walks as the sun rises, and evening walks as it sets.

The scent of sunscreen is present as I daydream of all the days we'll spend by the side of the pool.

Road trips!

Continuing the tradition of picking berries with my boys. Strawberries... Blueberries.... Blackberries.

A time of reconnection. A time of stretching time. Moving deeper within our now and feeling the blessing of it all.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Brought To You by Kleenex!



I just took Luke into town and dropped him off at youth group with some friends. I heard this song on my way home, and almost didn't make it home safely due to swerving all over the road. The tears were heavy people... Get your box of tissue! The song speaks about the core of my heart right now. With one finishing up his freshman year, one finishing his next to last year of junior high and another ending his fourth grade year... I am faced with many emotions. A friend actually asked me today about this matter. She asked me if this stage of life is hard. I answered a quick "yes" and didn't embark on talking much more about it. I swallowed the lump in my throat and changed the subject quickly.

After hearing this song, I remembered that it's important to talk about it though. It's important to bring it up. It's all going to happen, and I AM going to miss this! Truthfully, I know they will too. I know that because I am capable of looking back now and feeling those pangs of guilt over rushing through stages of life only to get to the next one. I'm sure you all can relate.

** Don't forget to pause the music at the bottom of the page before viewing the video. :)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mothers Day is right around the corner. Mothers Day is a favorite of mine, and it's not for reasons that you might expect. For some moms, Mothers Day is about relaxing and being spoiled. I don't see anything wrong with that. For me though, it's different. I like being spoiled just as any other does, but on THIS day, it almost doesn't make sense to me. Mothers Day for me is about me having the desires of my heart fulfilled. It's about celebrating the awesome title God has given me as being a mom. I GET to be mom to these three boys here, and someday I will meet again with my two precious sons in heaven. Being a mom is a privilege... An honor not to be taken lightly. So, on Mothers day I only think it makes sense to pour myself into my children as much as any other day.

This year the boys are treating me to a day at the beach! The new kites are sitting on the dining room table as I type. The sunscreen is packed in the beach bag. The weather promises to be perfect! There's a little place called 'Lucas Wharf Restaurant' that we've frequented for many years (for reason being our oldest's name, of course) where we will dine in the sunshine. The chowder and sourdough bread there (oops... guess I'll have to leave gluten free behind for a day) beckon my taste buds. J and I will sit on a blanket and sink our toes into the cool sand while we watch the creativity of our boys explode! The beach has always been a place where they have felt free to be... ANYTHING. Watching them play has and always will be a favorite past time for me.

It's a perfectly planned day. No other ingredients needed. Mothers Day at it's very finest.

Happy Mothers Day to all of my "bloggy gals" out there... I hope you end your day feeling like you've celebrated the joy and honor of being mom.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Threads

We are SO blessed to be a part of a small community of people within our church family. In our church, we call it "Life Group". We meet once a week and share a meal and get into God's word together. We share life. In our group, there are just as many adults as there are children from the age of 10 on up. Some might be baffled on how to study God's word and get to the "meat" of it with such a wide age span. Well.... Consider this your official invitation to come check us out! It's pretty amazing.

Last night we had our once a week gathering. We welcomed two very treasured people within our church body as newbies to our group. They are newbies to our group, but not to the Word. D has read through the bible numerous times and taught on it for many years. He is now taking our sweet group through the book of Hebrews. I am SUPER excited about this new journey to begin.

As we began our new study last night, D mentioned needle point. Needle point wasn't something I expected to hear about last night, but I sure am glad that I did. He talked about how the back of a needle point project is REALLY messy! There are threads crossing over each other, under each other, long stitches, short stitches.... Nothing can be made out. Nothing makes any sense at all. Then, you turn the project over and there is a beautiful work of art that makes you wonder (at least I do) .... WOW, how did she do it? How did all that mess turn into such an intricate piece of worth and beauty? Our lives are much the same.

Down here, it all looks so messy. We have this jumbled up life of all sorts of circumstances and nothing seems to fit together sometimes. We have short paths that take us this way, and then longer paths that take us another way and to us, it seems like it's anything BUT beautiful. Speaking for myself, I can say that I have even felt like the stitches sewn into the fabric are just one gigantic thread of mistakes that need to be unraveled and started over again. God doesn't see it that way though.

He sees the intricate, carefully placed beauty of each strand of thread. He sees where the thread has been and where it is going next. He sees this because He is our designer. He holds the needle. As He goes along, he sees the full work of art... Completed. He sees our worth.

Great analogy, don't you think? Thanks, D.... I'll never look at needle point the same again. I've never really done any, but now I have this overwhelming desire to give it a try. :)

Today I feel very grateful for this group that we get to share life with. Every Monday our boys wake up happier because it is Life Group day. They get to go and sit with some of their buddies and dive into God's word with them, and with their parents and a group of adults who see them with worth. They see them as needle point...

Monday, April 30, 2012

Wolf Mountain 2012!

Last week I had the most awesome privilege of attending Wolf Mountain Science Camp with Colby and his 7/8 grade class. I went along as a chaperone for the girl's cabin. It was a very sweet time of reflection on all of God's goodness. We studied His creation of the things that we are surrounded by every day. We studied our own hearts and where we are at in our spirituality. We studied how God delivers us, protects us, comforts us, restores us, and guides us. What a week! Psalm 23The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.He makes me lie down in green pastures,he leads me beside quiet waters,he restores my soul.He guides me in paths of righteousnessfor his name's sake.Even though I walk through the valley of theshadow of death,I will fear no evil,for you are with me;Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before mein the presence of my enemies.You anoint my head with oil;my cup overflows.Surely goodness and love will follow meall the days of my life,and I will dwell in the house of the Lordforever. Scripture that I have known since I was a young girl, but this week it came alive! Every bit of the green pastures and quiet waters surrounded me in a literal way. The beauty of all that He has created just wasn't something to be missed. It rained for two of the days that we were there. It wasn't fun getting rained on and wet, but at the same time, even the rain and cold was beautiful. It was a week of being shepherded by my Master. I had some much needed one on one time with Colby too. Dad and the boys at home were covering us in prayer all week, and one of the things that I specifically asked them to pray about was that Colby and I would be allowed some special time together... Just the two of us. It was such a blessing! We both came home with hearts that were refreshed by the Holy Spirit and on fire to serve God in whatever ways He has us to. There were many activities that kept us busy all week. Everything from horse back riding to zip lining in the dark (yes, even MOM did it). :)The times in chapel were my most favorite though. I left every chapel service with tears trying to make their way out of my eyes. I felt change taking place in me, and I saw evidence of change in my son, as well as some of the other campers. Some of them I didn't know before I got there. Another school from down in the valley came to WM last week too. One boy in particular stole a piece of my heart. His father passed away in July due to cancer. This was his first trip away from home since. He arrived at camp as a quiet and reserved boy who shied away from a lot. As the camp director spoke of faith, and our loving creator, this boy's attitude seemed to take on a different look. By the last day, he was on the high ropes course making every adult at the camp choke up! It was quite the testimony... What a week... So much to remember and hold close.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Raising The White Flag!

I've been hearing this song a lot lately... Yet another one of those things that has happened and I have received a check in my spirit knowing that it is by no accident. God is so perfect... So on time. I realize that sometimes it appears that we are one big yo-yo family. We decide this, and then we decide that. That's the problem though... WE decide. It should never be that way. Surrender should be something that comes naturally, don't you think? It isn't though... And that is why we lift this white flag when "the war" is over. For some reason, our natural instinct is to fight the war first. We give it everything we have. We have absolutely NO peace, and we continue the battle until we feel that there is justice. Justice comes in the act of surrender though. Last week, through many different circumstances, we raised our flag. I cannot tell you what life has been like since. All I can say is that there has been TOTAL surrender, and in that, justice has come. We will only move from this place if we are made to before the end of our two year wait to buy another home. We actually had a rental application filled out last week for another home. We were within minutes of handing over the application for this house that would have all new everything! All new carpet, paint, fixtures, appliances... EVERYTHING! It was a bigger home that would come at a bigger price. Somehow, we had almost convinced ourselves that we NEEDED it, that we DESERVED it. Truthfully, nothing could be further from the truth. Our needs are being met right where we are at, and WE are not the ones to say what WE deserve! The Lord should always be the one to gift us, not ourselves. I remember many years ago Jason and I had been through the loss of our first two sons. We had then met up with difficulties conceiving. We tried everything.... Including medications. After over a year of this, we decided to lift our flag of surrender. Neither of us had been baptized. We decided to be baptized together as an act of re-committing our lives to Christ and surrendering our lives to only Him. It was not even a month later that we conceived Lucas, our son who will be turning 15 in June! We immediately knew the glory went to our Jesus. He hasn't changed. He still waits for us to surrender ALL... To stop the battle. I don't know why it has taken us so long this time to lay this all at His feet, but we finally have. With that, there is much more beauty in the every day again. This place that we have made home even appears more beautiful than before. He has given me new eyes with this act of surrender. He has heard my prayers about wanting to get back to living only for each day instead of rushing time away. The white flag is up and waving strong. With His help, we will continue to hold it high.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Again

We have yet another new plan. We met with people last week and learned much more about what our big picture looks like..... Financially speaking. It will be awhile before we buy another house. I think everyone that I know expected me to come away from this news stomping my feet and wailing, but I didn't. Turns out, what I really needed most was just to know. Now we know, and now we have a new plan.

It took me a long time to master the art (actually, it's more of a discipline) of living each day just for itself. Reading, counting gifts daily, praying, my attitude.... All these things contributed to my success of being able to not rush time away in anticipation for the next "thing". It was a good place for me to be. I miss it now. I haven't been there in awhile. It's time to go back...

We are moving again. We are looking for a home to get comfortable in. This house has been a gift in it's own funky way. We have learned here. We have learned a lot about what doesn't work for a family of five with three being boys and two dogs to boot! Our land lord is graciously letting us out of our lease and we will take our time in finding the RIGHT place to make home for the next couple of years.

With all of this moving, I am being stretched to capacity. I am leaning on Jesus like never before. I am letting go of a lot, and I am gaining even more. The character that is forming in these boys of ours is amazing! They don't like it anymore than I do, and none of us expected this ride when we left our big home in the little woods a year ago now. However, I STILL believe that we will all be better individuals and a better family unit when this is all finished.

Would you please pray for us friends? Pray that J and I would have incredulous discernment when choosing this new home. Pray that we might receive the blessing of a landlord that would allow us to make this house our home for the time we need. Pray that there will be an incredible amount of comfort found in this new home and that there would no longer be a need felt to rush time away.

Thank you for continuing on this journey with us. We are blessed!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Lead me to the Cross -- The Passion of the Christ



Praying that this day and this weekend will be a time of mourning and then rejoicing. I want to acknowledge the pain that my Jesus suffered for ME. I want to be on my knees and then I want to stand in praise.

He is and ALWAYS will be my strength that takes on and endures what I cannot, my song that inspires me and leads me and my SAVIOR that has paid the ultimate price.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Testimony

After a very busy weekend, my Colby sat at the computer typing away. His fingers seemed to punctuate every key. He typed with something different about him. I didn't know what he was typing, and I waited until he was done to ask. The rest of us sat just feet away on our big couch... Snuggled in for the night. Colby finished typing and printed his paper. He then began to reach for his back pack to put his final project away. I stopped him.

"Colby, what have you been working on?" I asked.

"Oh, it's just my testimony that I'm supposed to hand in this week."

His teacher, who is also a very good friend of mine had shared with me that she had asked her class to really think about their own personal testimony and then write it up. She didn't want this to be something they rushed through or took lightly. She wanted them to really FEEL that they knew their relationships with the Lord... Where it started and where it is going. I was immediately filled with anticipation of what my son would write. I never stopped to consider that he would feel hesitation about letting me read it.

"Can I read it, Cole?"

"Mom, it's kind of personal. I don't know."

I didn't want to push, but I also wanted him to feel stretched. I explained that I believe that sharing our testimonies is something that I feel God calls us all to do. They are personal, but a part of us that is meant to be shared with others. I told him that I think it would be great if all five of us did this same project at home and shared with each other.

He came to my side and handed me the paper. I read those words, and my eyes could not stay dry. My 12 year old son GETS IT! He understood exactly what this assignment was about and he wrote with such authenticity. I could actually hear his sweet voice as I read the words. He shared about the day he asked Jesus to be his Savior and then he shared about his relationship with him today. He shared his joys and his struggles. It was BEAUTIFUL!

We are so blessed to have Colby and Caleb attending the school where they are at. They are both being challenged academically, but the spiritual challenge is where I see the most reward. Their teachers are both wonderful women who love the Lord with all of their hearts and they take their job as shepherds more seriously than any other job that they are supposed to accomplish in one year's time.

Colby's testimony spoke to his Mama's heart. He reminded me that even in our struggles, joy awaits us. The Lord is always teaching... Always directing. Are my hands open and laid out before Him? Is my mind willing? Are my feet ready to go?

The desire of my heart is to always answer YES to these questions... In Spirit, mind and body. I am to never keep this personal, but I am to wear this attitude EVERYday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

His plan, Not Mine

It's been a tough couple of weeks. I haven't wanted to come here and write because I honestly haven't felt like I had much positive to say... Even after that last post that so many found uplifting. I guess this proves I'm human.... Not perfect in any way after all. I still feel everything that I wrote about last. None of that was made up or written so to sound like someone I am not. In life there is an eb and flow. I experience both all the time.

I have written here before that sometimes the Lord puts just one single word on my heart and in my head. I used to pray that God would send me billboards that would clearly direct me on my path. I have learned that these words that He gives me are my billboards. I am grateful and humbled each time I receive them. With that being said, my latest billboard is "plan".

I have heard it in song, I have heard it and read it in scripture a lot lately, and yesterday I heard it in my pastor's message.

Many, O Lord, my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell them, they would be too many to declare. ~ Psalm 40:5

My life is but one big blue print.... But not one drawn up by myself. I try to speak with such authority sometimes regarding the things that seem unfair right now.... Things that I do not like. Things that make me completely unhappy. I have let depression not only knock at my door, but I have let it through the door. How easily I forget.

I forget about pain experienced in the past that has brought me to where I am now. I forget about how throughout my entire life, the Lord has blessed me abundantly! I forget that my plan is not his plan. Not only that, but His plan is ALWAYS the better one!!

My prayer on this day and in these days ahead is that I will not forget any longer. I am praying for an attitude change that is clearly felt on the inside and visible on the outside. I no longer want to be a slave to my plan, but I DO want to serve my family and this life according to God's plan. I want to serve with gratitude and a willing heart, knowing that the desires of my heart are not unknown to Him. My desires, as long as they are with right motive, are important to the Lord. I know this and therefore I can let go of the control. I can stop trying to lead my way, and follow His lead in ALL things.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Diamond in the Rough

So here we are... In what we have affectionately come to call our "glorified apartment". It is pretty much just that. It has officially been one month since our move. I purposely waited a month to sit and gather my thoughts about it and write. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to just use my keyboard here to type out a million and one complaints.

Everyday that I spend here, I find many things that draw me away. I admitted to my hubby over the weekend that it has been a challenge for me to find reasons (other than my work) to NOT be home. It's easy for me to become a little depressed about it I guess. That, and it's just so small. Copper and I constantly struggle with each other for space to move around during the day when there are no other bodies but me and the furry ones.

But then the boys come home... Everything changes.

My attitude becomes a bit sunnier and it feels like home. The house suddenly erupts with laughter and activity. It feels good.

There are things about this house that are weird. Things that are broken, with no future of being repaired. The dining room has no light. We stuck a floor lamp next to the table, but the ceilings are vaulted in there, so the floor lamp doesn't help much. In the middle of my dining room table there now sits a big candle. We have candle lit dinners every night now. It's actually become pretty sweet. the younger boys race to the candle every night in hopes that they will be the one that gets to play with fire. Our dinner time has become more relaxed and we linger a bit longer. Is it the candle? I am able to see and feel the gift in having no light in the dining room.

About a week after we moved in the dishwasher broke. The land lord has no plans to have it fixed or have it replaced. Soooo..... That means Dawn (as in liquid dish soap) and I have become the best of friends. She and I stand at the sink several times a day and have therapy sessions. There's something about washing dishes by hand. Seriously. It is so cleansing, on many levels. I traveled through the stages of grief over losing my dishwasher, but in the end I am ALMOST grateful for this inconvenience during this stage of life.

Every night I get to hear my boys talking and laughing from their tiny dorm. They are so funny, these boys. They are growing and changing so fast. Because of the limited vastness of this place, I don't feel like I miss anything. I see it all. I AM grateful for that... SO GRATEFUL!

The television isn't on hardly at all these days. There are more books on the coffee table and there are board games lying about. There is music coming from the piano and the guitars. This "glorified apartment" has become more like our summer cottage. Where we all come at the end of the day to just be. Be here... Be together. This house, I have come to appreciate, is refining us. Who could ask for more than that?

When we move out and into our God willing "final home" before GOING home, we will be better because of this place with no dining room light, no dishwasher, and limited space. Our family will have more connection. We will know each other like never before.

Thank you, Lord... For this Diamond in the Rough.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

These Days

Days of measuring out medicine.

Days of supplying kleenex in bulk.

Days of holding and praying as we wish for better days of feeling well again.

These past few days our home has been struck by one very nasty germ! I could go into song with complaining. I couldtell you how awful it has been... especially since it got me too (on Valentine's Day no less). I won't do that though. Instead I will tell you a different story.

It has been a sweet time of catching up together. It has been a time of watching movies on the couch together. A time of playing a few quiet games. A time of chatting about things... Deep things. A time of being blessed by my husband as he tends to things that he normally doesn't count as part of his own typical day.... And then some.

Today Caleb and I are home. Luke finally felt well enough to go back to school. Caleb lies on the couch looking out the living room window.

"Mom, lay here.... Just like I am."

He gets up and points for me. Tells me where to put my elbow and focus my gaze. I look.

"Do you see it? The tree out there has branches that form the shape of a heart."

I see what has caught his eye. I see it, and I see his heart. I tell him how very neat it is that he saw it.... Explain that a lot of people might miss it, but he stayed quiet long enough and gazed hard enough to see something very beautiful.

That's how things have been here for the past week or so. We have stayed quiet long enough and we have gazed hard enough to see the beautiful in the ordinary days of sickness. I am grateful for the ability.

I am grateful for the reminder from my 10 year old Caleb today.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Trust

This morning I am in my quiet house still putting things away after making the big move. I have my music tuned to a Pandora station while I work. Every song is hand picked for me today it seems. I must take a break from what I'm busy doing and make note of what is going on within hearts today.

'Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus.... It is Well with My Soul... Be Thou My Vision.... Etc.

Having a teenager is challenging, but not in the ways that most people warned me about when my belly was big with the babes growing within. The challenges come from having to stand and watch them struggle through this thing called life. They have to figure things out and learn things the hard way sometimes. I don't like to see my children hurt though. I don't think any mother does. Adults can be so difficult sometimes. I often wonder if some of them are stuck in their teenage years STILL! The popularity contests do not stop in some adults apparently. The have their favorites on the baseball field. It doesn't matter if one of the boys has been at a three hour practice and hit every ball except for one and caught every ball except for one. It doesn't matter that this boy is the first to grab the rake and start cleaning up the field when practice is over either. Skills and character only go so far with some I guess. This is where it gets challenging for me.

Watching... Watching him struggle through finding his way. Then, I read our devotional at the breakfast table this morning. It was about trusting and seeking. Trusting that hardship is placed with purpose. The purpose being to seek Him more. To find him as Treasure! Hardship brings MORE skill, MORE character. We prayed, my boys and I. Then, I took them to school for another day of academics, play and competitiveness on the baseball field.

I came home and these songs fill my home with remembrance of our time this morning. Our time of learning to trust more and seek Him more.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for grace. Thank you for times like these that we all learn together. Please give my boys a peace about who they are and what they were created for. May YOU always be their source of confidence. ~

Friday, February 3, 2012

Boxes of Blessings


We are blessed.

Yes, we are moving again in less than 24 hours, but we are blessed.

We are blessed because we do not travel alone. We do not carry sickness with us. We do not pack boxes of burdens... Only boxes of blessings. Boxes of smiles because high school is good now. Boxes of night time boy laughter coming from the room that they will share. Boxes of rest for my Love as the rent is lower, thus allowing us to save more for our next home purchase. Boxes of peace and a closer togetherness... Good for a Mama's heart.

Excited to find out what life will be like in this new place, but at the same time, knowing it won't be much different at all. We have each other and that's what counts. I have been reminded on several levels lately of the importance of the important.

The Lord has been teaching, and I have been better about learning... Growth. Finally.

Grateful for the moments of my own growth, and grateful also for the moments that I've witnessed growth in my family. God is faithful... Always.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Journey

I am trying something new. I am posting this using my new iPad that my honey bought me for Christmas. That means that my middle finger of my right hand is gaining new muscle above the rest of my fingers. :0) Touch pad is tricky, people.

So the other day I was thinking about this journey we have been on.... New schools, new homes, new friends, etcetera. This question popped into my head...

Where are we journeying TO?

The quickest answer I came to was, well, our final destination of course.... Our "final" home, school,etc.. But then I began to hear something else whispered in my ear. This journey that I am on, that my husband and our three sweet boys are on.... It's a journey to knowing and trusting Christ more. At the end of all of this we will ALL have a different relationship with Jesus. We are learning to let Him walk ahead of us each day. We are learning to hold His hand. We are learning that our ways aren't always His ways.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be thankful in everything, for this is christ's will for you.

We are learning to find gratitude in all circumstances. Gratitude in boxes being packed and unpacked again. Gratitude in being the new kid on campus half way through freshman year. Gratitude brings worship, and worship brings hope.

Hope brings strength.

The journey continues and it remains sweet. Thank you all for your prayers. They are felt EVERY day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sovereign Presence

" Approach this day with awareness of who is boss. As you make plans for the day, remember that it is I who orchestrate the events of your life. On days when things go smoothly, according to your plans, you may be unaware of My sovereign Presence. On days when your plans are thwarted, be on the lookout for Me! I may be doing something important in your life, something quite different from what you expected. It is essential at such times to stay in communication with Me, accepting My way as better than yours. Don't try to figure out what is happening. Simply trust Me and thank Me in advance for the good that will come out of it all. I know the plans I have for you, and they are good."~ Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

I have spent my entire morning driving from one high school to withdraw Lucas to another high school where we enrolled him. We have prayed continuously over this decision. It is not a decision that we came to quickly or that we have taken lightly. Last night, this was our daily devotional. We read it as a family and I could not help but KNOW that these are the words that the Lord wanted me to hear over and over in my head as I went about my day today going forward with multitudes of paperwork for Lucas' transfer.

He starts at his new school tomorrow. Please pray for him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tender Hearts

"Mom, will you read me a story tonight?"

We snuggle deep inside the gift of warm blankets. Just he and I. I hold his favorite. A big yellow hard bound collection of Curious George. As I read, I'm also thinking.... Remembering.

We get to page five and he stops me.

"Mom, do you think when I get older and I'm a dad that 'The man with the yellow hat' will have a name? Will he be called something different?"

I chuckle and then give him an unexpected answer. No, his name will still be 'The man with the yellow hat'. That's what it's always been... Even since I was a young girl reading these very same books.

His eyes grow large as he tries to picture me as one his own age, snuggled in tight with his Grandma or Papa. I get distracted as I watch him smile. We finish reading and then I just hold him tight. He's the youngest. The other two have stopped asking me to read to them. Caleb asks still, and I am thrilled.

Such a sweet and innocent heart beats inside the chest of my youngest man.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The boys and I travel up the highway a bit to visit a place that has become special. It's a home for patients who have been diagnosed with severe memory loss. I consider it to be one of the sweetest places I know. We walk in with Lucy (our small poodle) marching in front of us. They know our faces and ask if we would like the code to get in and out of the door since we are "regulars" now. I feel a sense of honor. Through this big secure door we walk into a different world. Everyone is happy... Over joyed actually. They love to see children and pets too. Nobody appears to be sick. There are only smiles and greetings. Several greetings. They may have just said hello and met you with names, but by the time introductions are over, they have forgotten and the introductions start all over again.

We find ourselves in the dining room soon. I circle the room. I bend on one knee and take the hands of many, one at a time, and tell them how they bless my life just by knowing them. Lucas and Colby go to the beautiful grand piano that stands in the corner. They sit down and play a few fun things for these people who have stolen our hearts. The people applaud and the boys laugh. Caleb leads Lucy around the room and brings more smiles to faces as Lucy gets spoiled with hugs. Lucas and Colby spread their charm person to person. They sit and listen as the stories begin to spill from the residents' minds. They aren't the best at remembering two minutes ago, but they remember two decades ago like it was just yesterday. The history that is within these walls is remarkable! As conversations unfold, the sound of piano keys fills the room again. I look to the piano and see that one of the patients is playing. What a treat! I am told by the director that 'M' doesn't play anymore. She used to sing opera and she used to play the piano non-stop, but she can no longer read music and she cannot remember any music either. This is a rare moment. The boys smile, knowing that they had something to do with it since they had just played at that same piano. A lump forms well within my throat as I see the effect that these people have had on the hearts of my children.

Their hearts are tender. Their world is bigger as they are witnessing a community of people who are tucked safely into this very blessed home made especially for them. My boys ask to go visit this place. They even have "favorites" that they like to sit and chat with. The boys know that they will not be remembered from one visit to the next, but that doesn't matter to them. They just want to go and love these people. Oh, and may I just say how these people love them back! It is a sight to behold.

We leave through the big door and load into the car. The boys grab my cell phone and call their dad to tell them all the new stories and memories of the day. I drive back down the highway, leaving a bit of me behind within those walls. They steal hearts there, ya' know.

We will go back. It won't be long before they ask me to take them back, and we will travel up the highway again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Ready For Change!

I have had the same header photo on this blog since it's "birth". Let's see, I think I began posting here in 2007, so that's FIVE years!

I have had the same blog background for possibly more than a year. I haven't kept track of such things, but I'm pretty close to sure that it's been way too long.

I went back and read some of my old posts last week when I had a little free time. It was interesting to say the least. Every word is truth... heart felt. Every word written was part of my own cheap option of therapy. Every word though, sounds strangely the same. I know it's not. Situations in the past and in the present are very different. My reaction{s} have been eerily similar though. It set my mind in motion.

It's time for some change.

So, today marks a "re-birth" of this journal of life. There's so much to catch up on. Stuff that I've been neglecting because of the rut I've been stuck in.

Stuck no more! I'm excited about this clump of salt that I've let go of, and the change that is taking place in my life.

Much more to come...