Tuesday, August 30, 2011

valuable life lesson...

Life lessons... those school moments for the heart that sometimes come in as a whisper and sometimes as a storm... appear every single day.  The question becomes... will we learn from them or let them pass us by?

Yesterday, we had a great life lesson present itself to all of us.  Honestly, at first, I thought the lesson was just for my son.  I found it, read it, and bookmarked it.  My thought... "I can't wait until after practice for Eric, he needs to read this!"  Later, I watched Emme have her first starting position in volleyball and thought "Em will be reading tonight too!"

After football practice and volleyball games, we came home and gathered round to read.  They each read the story of an incredible young football player who, in the face of adversity, didn't give up.  Not only did he not give up, he chose to make a difference... he chose to lead by example.  In the end, his team still lost the game.  However, he led them down the field to score one touchdown before the end of the game.  

The best part of the story... we know this kid.  We have known and loved him all of his fourteen and a half years.  He's Eric's best friend and twin cousin.  To Emme and Ellen, he's the cousin who plays great games on the trampoline.  To Chad and I, he's part of our family.  He's quiet.  He's gentle.  And, he's amazingly talented.  

Last night, I read the story to Chad and we both smiled.  Chad said "Way to go Drew!"  And then, "Eric could learn a lot from him."  

This morning, I realized Eric isn't the only one who could learn a lot from Drew.  This is my lesson too.  I tend to lose my confidence when the going gets hard, especially when I'm losing.  It's hard to be the one who maintains the quiet confidence.  It's hard to be the one who will fight hard until the clock runs out.   It's hard to be the one who leads by example.  

Lately, there is much I have wanted to give up on.  The going has been hard.  I've been losing and the score has been about 0-50.  I've wanted to give up... to take my ball and go home.  

At 42, I still have much to learn in life.  Last night, I learned a valuable life lesson from a 14 year old.  I only wish we could have been there to see him in action!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Walk It... Talk It... gratitude

On a beautiful Saturday in August,
at a equally beautiful park in town
74 children, ages 1-18,
representing 5 different churches
came together to learn
how to tell their friends about Jesus
6 hours of lessons, snacks,
games, lunch and treats
 and a staff of 19, including 3 Lovely Lunch Ladies,
working as likeminded friends
equipping these 74 children
to Walk It and Talk It
at school.

adding to my gratitude list...

~a beautiful day
~friends bringing friends
~enough t-shirts and bands for all
~a yummy lunch of Walking Tacos, cookies and watermelon

~a servant who brought coffee and homemade scones for the staff
~a full staff
~the freedom to coordinate without teaching
~teachers who love to teach
~friends who volunteer

~answered prayer
~a great first week of school for Emme
~football game playing time for Eric
~snuggling under a blanket reading Farmer Boy with Ellen

Friday, August 26, 2011

on earthquakes and such...

Sometimes I think that if it were not for the earthquake-like tremors in my little world, nothing would ever change... shift... move.  I tend to be a "set-in-my-ways" type of person.  Seriously, as of this last weekend, I've lived in the same house for 17 years!  I don't tend to move unless God intervenes and moves me.

Last night, my man and I were discussing this new season of our lives.  This season of volleyball games and football games on the same night.  This season missed buses and 45 minutes in the car navigating school traffic and dropping kids off on opposite sides of town. This season of educating one at home. This season of planning very intentional family time.

As we were talking, I thought of how God has moved the world in the last couple of  years, specifically in the several months, with earthquakes 'round the globe.  I feel like my little world has tremored and quaked recently as well.  And, the proverbial light bulb above my head clicked on and I had an "ah-ha!" moment.

Like I said, if God doesn't move me, I don't move.  I tend to depend on the false security I establish in my own little world.   When I depend on my false security, I don't depend on Him.  I find I go to Him less and assume I need Him less.  And... then... He rocks my world to remind me that He is the one in control, not me.

After that "ah-ha!" moment, peace settled in my heart.  I'm finding I no longer fear the tremors... instead, I am standing in awe of the One who moves mountains!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

its time...

written in the back of my Bible...
6/2/02  I must tell how good He has been to us!

I will give You thanks in the great congregation;
I will praise You among a mighty throng
Psalm 35:18

Even  then, June 2002, I knew that I was given the experience of our stillborn son, Matthew, to tell of God's goodness.  

Now, nine years later, I know it is time to tell the story.

I have a story to tell of God's faithfulness in heartache and His faithfulness in hope.  A story of hope and healing through miscarriage and stillbirth.  I am writing the story.  I am telling the story.  I lived the story.

I am praying for opportunities to speak to MOPS groups, women's fellowship circles, crisis pregnancy centers, and grief recovery groups.  If you know of a group that would like to hear this story, please let me know.

O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
Psalm 51:15

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

straddling the fences...

I considered joining Amy for {virtual coffee} today but I can't seem to get down for these fences I'm straddling... 3 to be exact.

Fence #1...
our local public high school
Yes, this is our local public high school.  Yes, it's big... this picture is only part of the building.  Current enrollment is over 2,000 students.  This is where Eric spends his days.  His afternoons are spent on the football field.  Tonight is his first game.  He wore his away jersey to school today and forgot his lunch... I guess he remembered the important thing.

Fence #2...
our local Christian junior school & high school
This is Emme's school.  Today was her first actual day of school, ever.  Seventh grade, here she comes.  Through the generosity of an unknown donor, she won a year's tuition to this school.  She's taking to school like a duck to water.  I will pick her up from volleyball practice tonight and she will eat supper on the way to Eric's game.  Fortunately, she remembered her lunch.

Fence #3
Ellen at the library
And, this is fence #3, Ellen.  Ellen is home for school.  Although, right now we are at the library.  Nine years of homeschooling and I'm down to one.  I am looking forward to this year with Ellen and me.... field trips, chapter books, math facts.  I think we were given this gift of a year together...a year of learning and discovering.  She's not so convinced.  I know the picture is dark, but seriously, can't you just see the excitement on her face?  Maybe lunch will be a treat today....

The greatest challenge in straddling these three fences isn't balancing 3 different schedules or attempting to make it to all the ball games.  The problem isn't coordinating drop off and pick up times.  Instead, I find myself wondering "where do I fit in?"

Have you ever noticed how hot "education" is?  Women, especially, take the education of their children very seriously... and every single mother thinks she is right.  You know what?  She probably is... for her children.  However, a lot of us tend to think we know what is right for everyone.

This is where I am right now... hearing the voices of the opposed.  While not everyone has been opposed, it seems those who are are the loudest.  So, please don't mind me as I sit her with my fingers in my ears singing "Jesus loves me, this I know!"  Would you mind passing up an iced vanilla latte?

I am confident of these two things... He does love me and I am straddling these fences for this school year because this is where He has led me to sit for a while.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

stopping to count...

Its been a long time since I've joined the community at Ann's to count gifts.  In fact, I'm not even sure what number I am on.  But its not about the number, its about recognizing His hand in my every day, every minute, everything.   And, so I continuing listing gifts...

... colored pens
... a quiet morning
... a clean living room
... a calendar filled with events in different colors
... toast

... a freshman field trip
... football
... bedding drying on the rail of the deck
... a week to compile Walk It... Talk It... 2011
... spending less than $3 for a new backpack and lunch box 

... finding a stadium seat for less than $5
... the freedom to go to the store by myself
... learning more and more of myself 
... discovering the leadership potential in my 2 year old nephew
... a fun lunch with my brother and sister

... learning to let go of the future and trust the Eternal
... lunch with a friend this week
... the people God has placed in my life who know more than I do and are willing to teach me
... prayers of like-minded friends
... coffee with creme brulee creamer

... a second set of sheets
... the ease at which school glue washes out
... a dog who is worse than a 2 year old
... a DVD player in our vehicle
... a very first first day of school for the girl old enough to be in 7th grade

... hearing the sounds little boys make
... deep belly laughs
... little arms wrapped around my neck
... the heavy, sweet, sweaty smell of a sleeping boy
... relying on Strength greater than my own

Time is fluid and never stops moving.  When I stop moving and reach in to allow the river of time to flow over my hands and through my fingers, in the palm of my hand, I notice the sediment that is left behind... gifts.  I count without numbers, listing those gifts from Him that consume my days. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

hurricane warning

What started out as a 
blip on the radar
quickly developed into a
strong storm front
gusting winds and 
tempest gales
left a wake of destruction
in their path.
While some locals 
sought higher ground,
treasure seekers combed the wreckage
searching for gems before
the bulldozer came to push
all of the debris out of the way.
Forecasters are naming this category 4
LEGO hurricane...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

cool mornings...

though I loath getting out of bed,
morning truly is my favorite time of day
snuggly cool mornings
and long sleeve jammies...
blue jeans and hot coffee
and a few stolen moments after the bus comes and goes
 these cool, almost fall mornings
are the best!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It's been a long time
since we've had a 2 year old boy in this house
we don't have very many little boy toys
I had forgotten, though,
that you don't need much
an empty cardboard box, some crayons
an empty Rubbermaid box and some sand
these few things bring
hours of entertainment
truth to the statement...
necessity is the mother of all invention

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Surrender? DEATH FIRST!

"For the last time, surrender!"

(The Princess Bride)

I've been thinking much lately about the concept of surrendering.  Specifically, surrendering my life to the One who created it and living a life where I willingly lay down my will and surrender to His.

Years ago, a kindred spirit asked me pointedly, "are you surrendered on that?"  

That question is now a signature question between us.  She keeps me grounded.  She points me to Christ.  She keeps me accountable.  I love that and I love her.

As I've spent the greater part of today contemplating surrender and leading a surrendered life, the above quote keeps coming to mind.  

I hate dying to self but death comes before surrender.  I can't life a surrendered life until I lay down my selfish ambition and desires and embrace what He has for me.  If I don't die to self, there is no room for anything else.    

Surrender?  DEATH FIRST!

the perils of iced coffee...

A few years ago, I was able to purchase my dream... a macbook.  I love my little white computer and it often goes where I go.  Though it has a few battle scars, it's held up remarkably well... even to iced coffee.

Yes!  Just about an hour ago, I dumped iced coffee in my lap and on mac.  Not a good idea.  In fact, bad... very, very bad idea!  Though my lap caught most of the coffee, a good amount did get on my computer.  Not good.

Often, I use my little corner of the blogosphere to shout out praise to God... thanking Him for the gifts in the everyday.  Well, if you all could here me now... I am praising Him!   

For a reason, known only to Him, my computer still works.  I took the back off, let it dry and voila, here we go.  Seriously, this is a gift.  Plain and simply a gift from above...

He protected my computer from the perils of iced coffee and daily He protects me from myself!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

10,000 words in one day...

Emily, at Chatting at the Sky, is a writer and an encourager.  She writes about writing and her posts have encouraged me here in my little spot of the blogging community.  She writes about fear, insecurity and art.  I can relate.

On a last-minute decision, Sunday, I opted to stay home.  My sisters were gathering at my parent's lake house.  The cousin time would have been great.  The sister time, better.  But, I just couldn't go.  I felt the pull to be home.  I thought it was because we have been gone much this summer and we have had unexpected expenses lately.  I thought I was being wise and frugal.  Looking back, I was being obedient.

"What are you going to do today?"  a friend asked at church.  

"Stay home in front of the fan and melt into a puddle" I replied.

I did stay home.  I did stay in front of the fan.  However, I did not melt into a puddle.  Instead, I wrote.  I opened my computer to write a few tentative lines and hours later I went to bed with 10,000 words written.  

I think we all have a story or two.  I have one that has been brewing on again/off again in my soul for over nine years.  

What I know now, that I didn't know on Sunday, is this... it is time to tell the story.  And, it was obeying God's prompting that kept me home on a hot, sticky day.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

dancin' in the rain...

At the end of a week
where blessings have fallen like raindrops
is there any better way to cool off
than to dance in the rain?
We gathered as one family tonight
around the table and around the Word
to celebrate Sabbath
and to give thanks.
Thanking the One who
provides food from a friend's freezer and garden
and the total surprise of a
year's worth of tuition.
He never stops blessing!
As the day turned hot and I chose to have the a/c off
He sent raindrops to cool us
in this week of showers of blessings.
I couldn't help but join 'em...
dancin' in the rain.

summer nights and the Northern Lights...

I  have an extended list of things I want to experience in this life and the aurora borealis--the Northern Lights--is on that list.  I dream of someday sitting on the shores of Lake Superior wrapped up all warm gazing at the colors dancing across the jet black sky.

Back to reality... I live in northern Indiana, not northern Michigan.  I could sit on the shores of our little inland lake any time I want, but it's not Superior in any way, shape or form.  However, this is where we have chosen to rear our children and I love this little community.  And I dream...

Restless and up late last night, I saw a friend's facebook status that mentioned the aurora forecast for August 5.  Due to a large geomagnetic storm, forecasters predicted that the Northern Lights would be visible south to Indianapolis and possibly even as south as St. Louis.  Well, now.... 

A quick text to a friend... "r u awake?"... in the country and I was out the door fully expecting to be blessed by visions of heavenly splendor.  Sunroof open at 12:15 a.m., windows down, radio on,  I gazed and praised while I drove to Annie's house.   

After all these years, I still stand amazed at how my God works.  Two mothers standing next to a field for an hour watching the sky.  The sky didn't hold the wonder I expected.  Instead, the company did.  Quality time with a friend... a friend I have missed because we both live busy lives.  Time slowed in the cool night air. 

Returning home at 2:00 a.m. I gazed and praised again.... only differently.  Gazing at the stars and praising the One who put them each in place.  Marveling at friendships that span years... this one, almost a decade.  Praising the One who puts friendships in my life and how He orchestrates them... even in at the edge of a field on a cool summer night.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

from 3 to 1...

Last year, at this time, I was homeschooling three kids.  Seven years of experience and I was in a groove.  Honestly, I considered myself a career homeschool mom and was looking toward high school curriculum and courses.  And then... Eric went to public school in January... and I taught two children at home.

Last month, at this time, I was homeschooling two kids.  My new Rainbow Resource catalogue came and I dog-eared page after page... looking specifically for curriculum to fill in the few gaps that I had left to fill.  I passed the catalogue on to a friend and assumed we would combine our order.  And then...

Yesterday I sat at a friend's kitchen table discussing homeschool co-op and making plans when I got this call... "Emily has won a free year of tuition at Lakeland Christian Academy from the drawing at the Fair.  Would you be interested in making an appointment to discuss this opportunity?"

...and today, she is enrolled for 7th grade at our local Christian school and in less than one year I have gone from homeschooling 3 to homeschooling 1.

It's amazing how He works!

life's little injustices...

As I held her tonight, smoothing her hair and wiping her tears I remembered all of the times I have held her.  She will be 8 next month.  This could, very well, be the last time.  

I tried to memorize the dark, damp lashes falling on freckles and the curve of her nose.  I tried to hold on to the smell of tears, sweaty body and damp baby-shampooed hair all mixed together creating a fragrance sweet to this Mommy's nose.  

And, when she fell asleep, I recorded the sigh and the snores, and the heavy feel of her body as it draped all over and around me.  

Another one of life's little injustices broke her tender heart tonight.  My heart broke knowing that there will be a million and one more injustices in her lifetime.  Most not so little and all heart wrenching.  

She won't always come to me.  I may not always be there.  So, as I held, I prayed.  Finding peace for this Mommy's soul from the One who created her and knows all of her hurts.  Knowing that He saves all of those sweet alligator tears in a bottle and is the only Healer of broken hearts and life's little injustices.