Wednesday, June 27, 2012

This is how it's supposed to be!

I was in my mom's house the other day and I happened to look at a shelf that she has over her dining table.  It was different than I had seen before.  There used to be knick-knacks on it.  Oh, sure!  They were cute things, but what was there now struck me as very powerful.

Two pictures.  Top shelf:  Jesus.  Bottom shelf:  my daddy.

I thought, this is how it's supposed to be!  Jesus first, then your husband......then, and only then, your children.

Ben and I go on a lunch date every week.  EVERY week.  Most of my children understand this well and like it....or at least don't complain any more.  One of my children hates this fact.  I don't think that it's really hatred as much as jealousy.  This child wants me to have more of my time.  Sharing is not a positive word in this child's world.  Ben and I have kept our dates.  We prioritize our marriage.  We know that someday our children will be gone and we still need to enjoy each other, love each other, and even more importantly, LIKE each other.

So, I will remember the lesson my mom has taught me, and do my best to pass it along to any who will listen. 

Jesus, husband, children, all others.  Period.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Suddenly two hours had passed! 

My neighbor from next door came over yesterday to see if her daughter was in our home.  She was.  I invited my neighbor in and all of a sudden, she started talking....and talking!  Two hours later, she walked out the door.

Now my family has lived in this house for 4 years.  I know my neighbor's name, her daugher's name, that they have 3 huge dogs, her mom lives with her, her dad recently passed away....things like that.  We haven't really connected or talked below surface level.

Some of that changed yesterday.  She began to tell me of things that have recently happened with her ex-husband, his girlfriend, their daughter, her mother's recent diagnosis, financial issues, etc... She needed a listening ear.  She needed to be able to just talk.  She needed me to do a little commiserating with her.  I needed to remain mostly quiet.  I needed to really hear her.  I needed to sprinkle a bit of truth in my limited comments.

God was good!  He kept my mouth mostly closed.  He allowed me to speak a bit of truth without being judgemental.  He opened her eyes to the blessing of my's longevity.  What a blessing for me to hear that she has really "seen" our marriage.  She has been witness to our family and it's greatness!  I don't know that she realizes yet that she has really seen God's work...but I think that God will continue to give me opportunities to share that with her. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"The student has surpassed the teacher."....I remember that statement from my youth.  Many episodes of Kung Fu fill my head as I think about that sentence. 

I am  proud and humbled to say that I can say that many times over about my children.  I work to teach them a certain task, or character trait, or skill, and then the reality is that my children end up being much better at it than I.  It is a proud, proud day as goose on Charlotte's Web would say. 

But I am even more humbled when one of my children is given an amazing that I don't have! This one is a doozie!

Kally, our third child, is the most tenacious person I have ever known!  I don't think a pit bull could continue for as long as she does.  :)  When she decides that there is something she wants, she puts her nose to the grindstone and keeps on until she gets it just right.  We noticed it about four years ago when Kally decided that she wanted to learn how to ride a bike.  (there are many reasons why this skill hadn't been learned before that)  We bought a bike for her and in about two days, she was a pro!  Not long after that, Kally bought a pair of roller blades at a yard sale (with her own money) and again, in about two days she was perfect.  Then she found a pogo stick at a garage sale, and once again with her own money, she bought it and within no time she was pogo-ing up and down the street jumping off of curbs.

I have admired this about her.  I am not like this at all!  I am lazy to the core and if something doesn't work right on the first try to two, I am on to something else.  So when I saw her put on the headphones for Rosetta Stone and began trying it today for the first time, I shouldn't have been surprised to see what happened.  She did the first couple of lessons and the results weren't exactly what she was hoping for.  She got up from the table and did something else. my surprise, she came back in about 30 minutes and asked if she could work on it again.  She did better this time, but still not quite what she was wanting.  So in a bit, she came back again and worked on the same lessons all over again.  This time...success!

This is not a skill that anyone can really teach you.  You either have this willingness/desire or you don't.  I don't and I am the worse for it.  Kally, on the other hand, does have it, and it will serve her well for the rest of her life.  I am so very proud of that girl!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five days ago, I said good-bye to this sweet face as she went to kids' camp.  This is the camp that our church puts on each summer for elementary age children.  This is a week that Kally looks forward to each year and this year was no different!  She was excited to go, and I think not as excited to come back home.  :)  She loves all things camp related....the skits, the cabins, the zipline, the rock wall, all of it. 

But as much as she loves it, and I knew she had a great time...I MISSED HER!!  I am so glad she is back home.  Thanks to the folks at our church who work hard to put on kids' camp.  It means so much to this sweet girl.  She has memories that will last a lifetime.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I took the kids to the park today.  Not just any old in-our-neighborhood park, but an amazing one!  One we had to prepare for.  Food was bought.  The cooler was filled.  The driving commenced and 20  minutes later, we were there!

Friends of ours went also.  Every child had someone to play with.  They ran with abandon.  The smiles seemed to go on forever.  They could come over and get food without question at any time.  You know...kid Utopia.

I warned the kids about 20 minutes before we were going to leave and every 5 minutes after that.  They knew it was coming.  Trash began to be collected.  Every trace that we were there was disappearing.  I called for them to come and say good-bye to all.

That's when my youngest began asking about a friend coming over.  NO.  Could he go to someone else's house?  NO.  The crying and yelling commenced.

I get puzzled over this behavior.  I have just done something unusual for them.  Went out of the way.  Gave them a day they have asked for.  And the result (with this child in particular) is not appreciation, but complaints...wanting satisfaction.

I have begun to wonder if I do that with God.  He gives me something amazing.  He goes out of His way.  He gives me a day just like I asked for.  Am I appreciative?  Do I complain?  Do I always want more?

I think I am more like my youngest child than my older ones.  I am pained by that...but certainly now see a perspective and a way in which I can grow.  Thank you, God, for giving me ways to see myself and ways to grow closer to you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suddenly we heard thunder....the sky was getting darker....the wind was kicking up.  That is what happened this morning while swimming with friends.  Fortunately, we had already been there for well over an hour and it was just about time for us to go anyway.

As I was waiting for our friends to get their things together so that we could all leave at the same time, I looked up.  That's when God spoke to me.

I watched the hawks, swallows, and grackles soaring.  Not feverishly flapping their wings, but resting with wings outstretched and just going where the currents would take them.  They looked as if they didn't have a care in the world.  Odd, really, since just beyond them, higher up in the sky were the gathering dark clouds of an impending storm.  The clouds were really moving, you could tell the air was moving quickly and with much force as the clouds swirled and danced and got darker and darker.  But the birds were just soaring.

God, in just the flash of a lightning bolt, said to me:  " like the birds and just rest.  As the world looks more menacing, rest even more in Me.  Let me help you soar."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I am blessed to have two fathers in my life. 
The first one......
my daddy, is the most amazing daddy in the whole world.  I remember a happy, kind, loving, and extremely patient man!  He was, and is, encouraging and the most gentle man I have ever known.  I love you, Daddy! 
The second father in my life is the father of my children.  My husband, the love of my life, Ben.  He is happy, kind, loving!  He is encouraging.  He makes us all better.  Most of all, he loves our children, and they love him with abandon!  I love you, Ben!

Friday, June 15, 2012

I love encouraging people!  Don't you?  What's better than being around folks who are positive, supportive, loving, kind, caring, and happy to see you?  Those are the people I was around today.  In reality, they are the people I tend to be around most of the time.  I consider myself very blessed, indeed, to have the people around me that I do.

Whatever I tend to do, I am encouraged by others.  The things I tend to be responsible for, events and activities, are mostly attended by the uber encouraging kind.  The fact that we are heading to Italy has been met with some of the most loving, encouraging words I have ever heard! 

I am most appreciative of the people God has placed in my life.

Monday, June 11, 2012

I love the fact that God turns around what we think of as bad, into something great!  Even though the original event was intended to be, or just plain ol' was a bad thing....God promises that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose!  What an exciting concept.

So...that bad thing that just happened?  Well...God has already used it for good.  Not just some ethereal use...but immediate, real use!  My kids already see it! 

Praise God!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I have been thinking about my friendships through the years lately.  It dawned on me a couple of weeks ago, that my style of friendships and where I fit in them is exactly the same now as when I was in high school.  *sigh*

In high school, I knew a lot of people in a lot of different groups.  I had friends in the cool group.  I had friends in the smart group.  I had friends in the doper group (our school actually had a smoking area and the dopers hung out there).  Anyway, you get the idea.  I wasn't really in any of those groups, but I was on the periphery and whenever a group needed more people for something, I would be called to join.  It was fun most of the time.  But I also didn't have a group of my own.  And at times, that made for some lonely times.  (don't feel sorry for me, it is just the way it was)

In college, things changed a bit and I had a group of my own and it was lovely!  But even within the group, there was another core group and I wasn't it that. But I usually had guys and girls I could call on to go and do anything at most anytime.

Now as a grown up, I am back to high school status.  I have a lot of great acquaintances in various groups.  I am not in a particular group.  I get called to join in on things when any certain group needs/wants more people to join.

It is an interesting existence really.  Sometimes it is amazing, fun, and great.  Other times, it is lonely, boring, and difficult.  Bizarre to be almost 50 and still be similar to when I was 15.  I guess that saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is the motto for my relationships with others.  I do know that I have been blessed in recent years to know so many different kinds of people. 

Just my own personal observation.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I don't normally look back at my life and regret too many things.  Yes, I look back.  But normally, I can see how the things I have done in my past have been used by God for good. 

But there is one thing I regret.  I look back and it makes me terribly sad.  I have no way of changing it.  How I would long to go back and change it!  If I ever got one wish, that would be it....

I haven't really seen where God has used this for good yet....except maybe one day I will be able to help someone else by sharing my experience.  I can see where that might happen one day, but I haven't been presented with that opportunity yet.  Until then, I will deeply regret and be forever scarred.  But I know that once God gives me that chance, my sadness will become some great experience.