Monday, September 26, 2011

Multitude Monday music...

It's just another Multitude Monday... (yep, singing it to the tune of "Manic Monday"... gotta love 80s music!).

It's another rainy Monday (now, the song is "Rainy Days and Mondays" with Karen Carpenter's voice in my head) on this "September Morn" (ok, ok, I'll stop with Neil Diamond...).

Really, folks, this is what sleep does to me.  I slept most of the weekend (except when the Colts ALMOST pulled it out last night) and now that I'm not so sleep deprived, I feel good (mixing in a little James Brown).

I'm also feeling very grateful... counting my gifts with the gratitude community at Ann's.

Fore these and many other gifts of grace, I am grateful...

... rainy mornings
... seat warmers in my car
... travel mugs 
... cheerful girls on the way to school

... my library!
... seeing my favorite librarian again after her extended vacation...
... a few minutes to talk with a friend at the library
... knowing I can pray for her
... computer time for Ellen

... money to feed my family
... finding things on my list on sale
... learning how to do more with less
... the giggling girl in the front seat
... family games

... watching NFL with my boys
... Fantasy Football with extended family
... Friday, Saturday and Sunday naps
... a warm house
... candle light

... a girl who is proud of her assignment today
... children who are doing well in school
... more family time as fall sports begin to slow down
... school at the table with the 8 year old
... listening to her read to me

... learning more of what WORSHIP means
... peace and joy on a Sunday morning
... learning to embrace this season of my life
... finding ways to make memories
... treasuring my family

... music
... fun songs that cause me to praise Him
... singing in my heart
... listening to the 8 year sing any. thing!
... the gift of joy, fun and silliness!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

a lesson on blooming...

God continues to use my kids to teach me much
and my greatest life lessons have come from being a parent

...this week the lesson came from #86

He got in the truck after practice on Wednesday and said
"I'm starting"

woo hoo!!  Yes!  Yeah! 

and then I saw his face...
"at left guard"


you see... he's a receiver
the roster says so
the depth chart says so
he thinks so

and yet, the higher authorities were starting him
in a defensive position on the offensive line

and he was less than thrilled

look at that incredible block by the left guard!

by game time on Thursday, though,
he was ready to go

he chose to be the best
left guard he could be

and he did

in the end
he played 5 different positions
including receiver
and most of the winning game

What's the life lesson?

Well, I don't always like my
starting position either

I want to be what I think I am
and when I find myself filling another role
I'm not often thrilled

I watched my son bloom
where he was planted
and I saw his reward...

a boy more than thrilled when he walked
out of the locker room
with that deep thrill and contentment
that comes from doing a great job...

regardless of what the job is.

He who is faithful in a very little thing is
faithful also in much
Luke 16:10

**all photo credit goes to my very talented neighbor, Doug Vogel, who posted these great shots on facebook and graciously is permitting me to blog them.  Thanks Doug!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

when I find myself waiting...

Waiting.  Nope, I don't like it, not even one little bit.  In my own warped sense, I've often attributed waiting to punishment... my brain knows this is not true.  However, my heart often buys that lie... over and over and over again.  After 42 years, you'd think I'd know better by now.

When I find myself waiting, these are often the thoughts of my heart...

why am I waiting?

what did I do wrong?

why won't God show me what's next?

I should be doing SOMETHING!

I used to even wonder if God would just put a postcard in my mailbox telling me what to do next... but after the whole The Shack debacle and the debates that continue to rage, I think I'll stick to asking God to write it in the sky for me.

This week I find myself waiting on Him again.  I'm learning that this is really supposed to be a minute by minute event... a continual attitude of waiting on my Savior to lead and to guide.  Over the years, I've made this an annual or semi-annual pilgrimage... one in which I create a big attitude and make a bigger deal and announce to all who will listen "I'm waiting on the Lord!"  It does sound spiritual, doesn't it?  

Then, whenever He speaks or I think He speaks, I move on... often without Him.  Going on to do His work because He NEEDS me and I CAN do it!  And, I jump in head first and do it...  because I'm just that spiritual.

Life isn't about being spiritual, it's about a day to day, minute by minute relationship with my Creator.  My life is supposed to be all about Him... giving Him the glory, giving Him the fame, letting Him use me when He wants me and waiting on His direction.

This week, while I have found myself waiting, I've also found myself resting.  It's been a beautiful thing.  Instead of fretting and worrying and looking desperately for the next thing to keep me busy, I've enjoyed sleeping, reading, coffee with friends and the quiet peace of waiting.

I think I'll try to learn to do this waiting thing minute by minute.  I'm learning it's not a punishment.  It is, instead, a gift.

Monday, September 19, 2011

when the tank is empty....

When my tank is empty, my brain leaves.  It's just the way it is and I can't explain this phenomena but it's true... every single time.  I knew the tank was empty but yesterday proved it... I managed to wash my phone again and lock my keys in my car... all in the same day.

When my tank is empty, it's time to refuel.  Time to get back to the basics and let everything else wait.   Time to rest, time to read, time to pray, time to count...

On this rainy Monday morning, I'm joining the community at Ann's again to count the gifts raining from Above...

...for the steady rain
...for time with Ellen
...for Laura Ingalls Wilder books to read aloud
...for a home ec day of making laundry soap, bosco sticks, apple pie chai and cleaning windows
...for laughter

...for friends who come to my rescue
...for a free new phone
...for a ride to school for Emme today
...for a school she loves
...for a great volleyball coach

...for friends
...for prayer
...for the privilege to pray for family
...for corporate worship
...for corporate prayer

...for the love of my life
...for surprise flowers
...and a surprise date
...and time together all in one weekend
...for family time and Triple Yahtzee

...for the gifts that rain in abundance
...for the Father who knows me
...and loves me even with my weaknesses
...and quickly forgives 
...and guides even when wonder where the guidance is

care to join us and count your gifts from Above?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the art of surrender...

I have heard it said... "all of life is art."  

In my case, messy art. 

Sometimes my life resembles a Piccaso... helter skelter, messy, upside down and inside out.  Honestly, I'm sure the only One who sees it as art is the One creating it.  

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

My life is messy... not by the design of the Creator but by my own interference.  I try to take over... try to fix things... try to create art.  

You turn things upside down, 
   as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! 
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 
   “You did not make me”? 
Can the pot say to the potter, 
   “You know nothing”?
Isaiah 29:16

Know what?  I'm not the artist.  He is.  He is the Master... I am the clay.  When I surrender... when I remember my role, my life is beautiful... a testament to the Creator of the Universe.  

When I forget or refuse to surrender, well, I'm back to looking like Piccaso was around.

Perhaps it should be said... "surrender is art and a surrendered life is a masterpiece giving all fame to the One creating it."

Friday, September 16, 2011

queen for the day...

sometimes you just need to 
surround yourself with friends
and be queen for the day
you can convince your friends to be
your ladies-in-waiting
if you invite them for a 
tea party breakfast
and offer lots of dress up
sometimes the best birthdays
happen when
you get to be queen for the day

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

being still and waiting...

Psalm 46:10

In the midst of an 8th birthday, 3 princesses dancing into my bedroom at 6 a.m. and a tea-party breakfast about to commence, I'm finding my heart is finally still.  

I tend to be volcanic.  I suppress things, which, in turn, tend to build in my heart... in my mind... in my soul, until the pressure is so much that I explode.  It's not pretty.  It's actually quite messy.  It's really not my best attribute.  

Last night was one such explosion.  Not the largest one to date and not the messiest but an explosion, nonetheless.  A night of heartache, tears, ranting to my man and tears again until I fell asleep worn out.  

At some point in that mess, Psalm 46 came to mind.  In the midst of the storm, I didn't want those calming words.  I felt justified in my ranting and raving.  In the end, all I did was wear myself out.  

Faithfully, He whispered Psalm 46 to my soul in the dark this morning.  He calmed the storm... again.  My heart is still before Him.  Waiting. 

Friday, September 09, 2011

changing his view of lunch...

Suffice it to say, the man-cub was less than thrilled when we informed him that due to budget cuts, he was going to have to take his lunch to school often this year... VERY often.   Apparently, he did not think it was cool (or whatever they say these days) to carry his lunch to school.

Though it seems like a 100 years to him and a couple of years to me, I do remember back to the days of high school.  The same high school that he is now attending.  It wasn't cool to carry your lunch to school, especially if you carried any sort of lunch box.  The geeks and the really nerdy kids carried their lunch boxes and ate their homemade sandwiches and carrot sticks and the rest of us sat as far away as we could.

I made a rash promise to him during that discussion a month ago... I will do everything I can to make sure you don't have to take a pb&j.  

This prompted a lot of prayer... Lord, HELP!  I often send up such prayers and this one was for some divine creativity.  As He always does, God answered abundantly.  The discussion at supper tonight was light years ahead of the discussion last month.  I found out that my homemade ham & cheese minis are in high demand and make for a great trade... one ham & cheese for breadsticks with marinara.  

Even better, the discussion at lunch today centered around which kids were going to start bringing their lunch because Eric's lunch was WAY better than the lunch at school.  Eric looked at us tonight and said, "I'm single-handedly changing the way everyone eats lunch!" 

Well, I doubt that homemade ham & cheese minis are making that big of difference but it did my heart good to know that he is changing his view of lunch.

...currently I freeze all of the following recipes and Eric and Emme grab them from the freezer drawer in the morning and the frozen items serve as ice packs for the rest of their lunch.  At lunch they pop them in the microwave to reheat.

BASIC BREAD recipe... use for hot pockets, sandwiches and bosco sticks
  1/4 c butter melted
  1/2 c. warm milk
  1 c. warm water
  2 T. yeast 
 1/4 c honey
 1 egg
 5-6 c flour

dissolve yeast in 1 c warm water until foamy.  Melt butter, add milk, egg and 1 c. flour.  Mix in yeast mixture and then remaining flour until dough no longer sticks to side of mixing bowl.  Knead for 8 minutes.  Cover and let rest until double.  

filling ideas:
      broccoli and cheese
      turkey and cheese
      taco meat
      pizza sauce, pepperoni, cheese
      scrambled eggs, bacon bits, cheese
      salami and provolone
divide dough into 13-15 equal portions.  Roll each portion out to 1/8 inch thickness.  In the center put filling.  Fold dough over and crimp edges.  Place on greased cookie sheet or pizza stone.  Brush with egg white and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.  Wrap in baggie, clear wrap or wax paper and freeze.  At school, reheat in microwave.

divide dough into 20 equal portions.  Shape into a ball and flatten.  Place on greased cookie sheet or pizza stone and let rest for 10 minutes.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool.  Cut in half and stuff with favorite sandwich meat and cheese.  Wrap tightly and freeze.  Reheat in microwave.

divide dough in 12-15 equal portions and roll out to 1/8th inch thickness.  Place unwrapped string cheese stick in center of dough and wrap dough around cheese stick pinching ends and seams tightly.  Place on greased cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with melted garlic butter (1/4 c. melted butter, 1 t. garlic powder) as soon as they come out of the oven.  Cool.  Wrap tightly and freeze.  Reheat in microwave. 

carnival rides...

This summer, I told my mom about a distinct memory I have from either late elementary school or early jr high.  The really funny thing, is that my mom does not remember any of this.  So, either my mind is play tricks on me or I just wasn't with my parents when this happened.  I'm hoping it was the later.

My memory goes like this, one warm summer night, our little town had a carnival set up in the empty lot behind and next to the VFW Hall.  Cotton candy, elephant ears, slushies, corn dogs and rides.  All the right carnival things needed for a fun night.

I do remember running around with a friend enjoying all the treats this little carnival had to offer.  After we had filled our bellies, we decided to do a few rides... uh, not such a good idea.

We couldn't wait to ride the swings... you know, those carnival ones that lift you off the ground and the wind blows through your hair.  The same swings that go around... and around... and around..... 

We were the only two on the ride and about 60 seconds into the ride, I said "please stop this ride."  Well, with the wind and the loud sounds of the carnival, no one heard me.  So, I yelled "PLEASE STOP THIS RIDE!!!"  

The carnie worker was none too impressed when he pulled the lever to stop the ride and I stepped down from the swing and promply threw up all over the ground right in front of his shoes.  Yeah, cotton candy, slushie, corn dog... all that stuff that makes for a good carnival time. I have never forgotten the look on that poor man's face.

I've told this story to the kids and Chad every year at the fair.  And, every year, they laugh at their Mom's weak stomach.  It makes for a good story.

Lately, I've felt like the 11 year old Heidi saying "please stop this ride" and no one hears me.  I'm afraid I may have to start yelling soon to be heard over the sound of school, practice, games, life, etc.  I just hope I don't throw up when the ride stops.

Just like I chose to be on that ride years ago, I have put myself on this current ride.  Thankfully, the sports seasons end in 5 weeks.  Thankfully it is apple, pumpkin, colored leaf time... my favorite time of year.  Thankfully, God's grace is sufficient... for when I am weak, He is strong.

Last night, my dad gently reminded me that just because this ride is coming to an end, doesn't mean that another ride won't start.  He's right.  This ride called life, marriage, parenting, ministry is a wild ride.  It's always moving, shaking, swinging.

Truly, I don't want to get off the ride.  However, I wouldn't mind if the ride stopped for just a little while so that I can catch my breath... and clean up anything that might have landed on the carnie's shoes.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

when I get it right...

So often, in mothering, I feel like a failure... I feel as though I get it wrong about 90% of the time.

This morning I was startled awake by an awkward hug from the man-cub.  A gruffly "thanks Mom!" and a quick hug... over before I could comprehend.  As he stumbled to the shower, I smiled and said "Thanks Lord!  I got it right!"

Up in the wee early hours this morning praying for my kids, I was struck with the memories of my own teenage insecurities.  So often, I found myself wondering if I was really loved.  When my parents said "no", my teenage heart would transfer that to "I don't love you."  When my parents couldn't take me places I wanted to go, my teenage spirit heard that as "you are not as important."  When my parents would tell me that we could not afford something, I interpreted that as "you are not worth that."  All that and more was heard through my warped teenage filter.  The funny thing is, though, that I had no idea my filter was distorted by hormones, insecurities and peers.

I saw glimpses of this misinterpretation taking place in my son's spirit this week.  He had an away football game tonight... an hour away and I have 1/8th of a tank of fuel until pay day tomorrow.  Four times this week he asked if we were going to his game and four times I said "no, we can't."  The fourth time I realized the question behind the question.  He was asking, "Am I important?  Do you love me?  Are my games as important as Emily's?"

I had purchased a team hoodie as a surprise for him.  I wasn't sure when I was going to give it to him and had even considered taking it to school and hiding it in his locker for his first home game next week.  Instead, I felt the Spirit tugging at 1:45 this morning.  I took the sweatshirt out of hiding and hung it in the shower.  He got his sweatshirt on the hottest day of school.  The heat index today was 98*.  It didn't matter, though.  His new hoodie with "KREIDER 86" on the back went to school with him today.  To him, that sweatshirt was affirmation... a reminder that I am important, I am loved, I am worth it.  

I don't always get it right.  I fail miserably in reading and understanding my kids.  I see and hear them through my own warped filter.  My filter that is distorted by pride, selfishness and fatigue.  In that hug, I learned a valuable lesson today.  It's only when I hear and see them through the filter of Christ do I get it right.