Thursday, November 13, 2014

PLOW[ing]

We weren't looking. The opportunity came to us with the understanding that we have but a short time with which to make the most of it. There's a need for someone (maybe a family) to be a bridge between local churches who have poor to feed, homeless to shelter, aliens to welcome, hurt to heal and the Body scattered abroad. To pour into those who are in early phases of ministry, to lead teens and their leaders for short term so they can go and lead where they're located. Will we leave our home for a city we love? Will we go to those we do not know who dwell far from those we hold dear? Will we let go of a steady paycheck, a big yard, a consistent church family for the unknown? Will we become missionaries in Envision, Cleveland? Hesitant and excited, honored and humbled, uncertain and sure... We PLOW...

PRAY[ing]....
Continuing the discussion with God. Pouring out emotions to Him who can keep feelings from driving us. Laying down our fears in the warmth of His perfect love. Confessing our doubt and insecurity (which is such a cruel disguise for pride) at the cross of grace. Recounting all the reasons we should... and all the reasons we can't to the listening ear of the One who writes our faith and knows our story... Repeating often.

LISTEN[ing]...
In the quiet stillness of our prayer times. In the depths of our hearts beating through our busy everydays. In His Word read and spoken over us. Through peace that inexplicably shows up where worry typically resides. Struck by the awe of an all-powerful God who speaks to His people... He says:
- "You are not alone. Go forward with your Church family."
- "I have called you to simply 'Follow Me'."
- "It's all temporary." 
- "Do you truly want Me, or have you made idols out of My blessings?" 
- "Insecurity is actually doubting My presence and power combined with your fear of how people perceive you."
- "I, who bless, am greater than the blessings I grant."
- "You are in danger of clinging to the things that are fading."
- "When has it ever been about 'what you want'? There is relief in laying that burden down."
- "My presence, full of joy, hope, love, rest, peace, and growth have been on the other side of every place you didn't want to live. You need not doubt now."
- "Be anxious in nothing. I AM enough for today and will move you to tomorrow."
So faithful to fill our listening ears with His voice. 

OBEY[ing]...
Heeding those who the Holy Spirit leads to speak into this. Laying down what we think we want at the feet of Him who we know is all we need. Submitting to the plans God gives through those in authority. Waiting in silent heart ache. Visiting the place of ministry. Venting selfish tantrums to God alone. Refusing the worry about the unknown in order to choose the reality that God is responsible for the details... Moving... Leaving... Grieving over the distance, the change, the family we will miss terribly... Grasping hold of the excitement of the adventure. Breathing in the awe that Jesus wants to shine through us in Cleveland to the world. Going...

WAIT[ing]...
To see where we'll live. How we'll move. Where the money will come from. What the adjustment will feel like with four little West Virginians in a city. To figure out roles. To meet interns. How we will stay rooted with our church family 5 hours away. For direction on schooling... How we'll actually get from here to there... To see Jesus build His kingdom in and around and through us. For the realization of the promise that we are cracked vessels spilling out the light of life wherever the Creator decides to put us.

We are sowing in tears. These people, this place, His church mean so very much to us... But "we will not offer to the Lord our God offerings that have cost us nothing." 

"Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying sheaves with them." (Psalm 126:6) We tearfully embark on this ministry change fully believing that we will return often to share the harvest with our family in West Virginia.


Saturday, November 1, 2014

How it feels

"This is how it's supposed to feel"...

The air burning in your nostrils. 
Your legs screaming. 
Your doubt nagging. 
The cadence of your feet pounding. 
Running the race...

The tears and sobs. 
The lips pouting. 
Your heart exhausted. 
Your kids testing. 
Boundaries upheld over and over and over again. 
Bringing up the child in the way he should go...

Your anger burning. 
Your heart bleeding. 
Wanting to run. 
Hopeless wishes rushing through your imagination.
Selfishness keeping you a partner to loneliness.
Keeping the vows 'till death do you part...

Fear dwelling with excitement. 
Anticipation melding with dread. 
Offering my worried, anxious self to be filled with His peace and hope minute by minute. 
Tears and laughter and longing and satisfaction.
Following Jesus...

Muscle is strengthened in the final minutes. In finishing through the burn at the end of the workout, ignoring your body screaming that it must stop.

It's the push that you are literally convinced your body is incapable of giving that births the new life. 

The ties that bind allow fights and loneliness to shape two imperfect people into a picture of perfect love in the hard choice of doing marriage. Holding on for the sweetness of refinement that we hope is past this fight.

It's a dangerous and exhilarating world in which we find our deepest need for an all sufficient Guide to lead us through in triumph to more than we could imagine. 

This is life... And this is how it's supposed to feel. 

Press on brothers and sisters under the wing of the One who can shape us through the fires of life. 


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Redemption the Trick-Or-Treat Way

The end of October comes every year
bringing many contrasting convictions,
but shows a picture of Christ's redemption
more clearer than other celebrations.

This is the time where good deeds & our best 
are neglected from now being displayed.
Out come the ugly, the strange, & evil
we don't show others, except on this day.

With empty bags we appear at the door-
having done nothing good to deserve it,
though frightfulness appears on our faces
there is a treat for all who pursue it.

Such a picture resonates in my heart 
more than good children with long lists i see,
who hope their nice deeds are number enough
to earn them some presents under the tree.

To the cross with my empty heart open
I came dressed in rags of sin, pain & greed.
Christ saw all of me, with no good to show,
yet He placed something so sweet down inside.

So either way your convictions are swayed
while considering this 31st day-
don't close your eyes to the image that shines
or truth to be shown the trick-or-treat way.

Ephesians 2:1-5 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world & the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature & following its desires & thoughts. Like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions -it is by grace you have been saved."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mountain Momma

So much this place has taught me... 
So quickly my heart has grown deep roots in this mountain soil... 
So grateful for our time in West Virginia where...
State pride is defined,
Pepperoni Rolls are beloved,
Driveway grades are steep,
Ramps (and their odor) grow wild,
People feed on buckwheat for breakfast,
Where princesses, flower girls, jesters, and maids descend the hill while the whole state cheers,
Hunting is how Thanksgiving is spent,
And snow days are how January (and some of February) roll,
The place where Tudor's has ruined all other biscuits for me,
Corridor H is about jobs... and about time,
Dedication to sport starts young,
"Pedestrian friendly" is a true statement,
Accents are random,
Families are big,
Rivers have swings,
Motorcycles flock,
Skiing is a way of life,
Where CJ Maggie's serves giant beverages,
The Dairy Queen also has a King,
Snow falls are measured in feet,
Servant hearts serve lunch to those who serve our community,
Life is older than the trees, but younger than the mountains,
Strangers wave as they drive past,
Jamaica Jay's is the first sign that summer is near,
The night life is scarce,
The running community is deep,
The "Ultimate" games are open,
The volleyball courts are regularly occupied,
Where driving an hour or two just to wander a favorite store is common,
Holidays are still celebrated in school,
Highland dancers fling,
Gas is expensive,
Movies in theaters are cheap,
Bag pipes are learned,
Directions are given via landmarks instead of street names,
Blue and old gold are sported,
Mountains are hiked and biked,
Where my babies have grown,
My family has increased,
My husband has been ordained,
My heart has been healed,
My friendships have been forged,
My walls have come down,
Church has been defined,
My love forever will be,
And where country roads will always take me home...


 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Depths of Forgiveness

how deep am i willing to dive into forgiveness?
some days i feel i've already treaded as deep as i can go...
yet i feel the Holy Spirit pushing me... prodding me to swim deeper
into waters unknown to me
... waters that Christ walks on...

for He has already been into the deep... fully submerged
only to resurface with a full victory...
of complete forgiveness
for all people
for every sin.
... even those we can't bear without terror
& He's there in that abyss of forgiveness calling
"follow Me"...

but the waves are crashing in my fearful mind, 
& the thunder of my broken heart is deafening,
the pain is crying louder than His still, small voice...

in the breath of the moment i'm incredibly aware that i have a choice
a hard choice
a painful choice
to either allow my eyes to be captured by the turmoil
the heart ache
the terror
or...

to fix my gaze on Jesus
Who is not thrown by the storm
or tossed by the waves of fear
Who knows the pain of this offense personally
for He Himself bore the consequences of this sin
with full knowledge of this betrayal 
He was pleased to make the offender His own...

if i choose to stop here
because i've already gone so far
or don't know how to go further...
then i'll drown in my unforgiveness.

but if i move forward
forgiving as Christ forgives
then i'm running toward His open arms
& that voice that stills the storm

... & if for only that reason
forgiveness is not the ignorant choice
& we should never mistake the peace of Jesus in the storm 
for a lack of knowledge of severity
or an absence of caring...

for it is the new way to true life

Isaiah 43... "forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. see, I am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert & streams in the wasteland... I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, & remembers your sins no more..."


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mom Goggle Appreciation

Parents see their children differently than others see them. They perceive their potential, dream up ambitions, stare directly into their handsomeness, and (hopefully) cheer loudly. This strange view from parenting also causes overreaction to any missteps or personality struggle as an assumed lifelong failure. Some people refer to this phenomenon as "mom goggles". If you've never heard this term you could educate yourself by watching the mom goggle episode of The Goldbergs... You'll thank me later. I've determined that mom goggles actually alter how parents perceive the world. That may sound super inspirational (feel free to journey there in your mind if you're so lead), but I'm actually referring to the things that parents appreciate that these same people were literally incapable of appreciating (as intensely) the minute before they had a child. 

Here are a few things mom goggles make much more vivid:

Appreciation For Drive Thru's-
Any business that gives me the option to keep the crew who can't all buckle or walk themselves stuck in their 5-point harnesses is going to win my loyalty. 

Freshly Clipped Finger Nails-
I rarely noticed the length of other human beings finger nails until I bore tiny versions with miniature talons that will rip flesh from me if not kept up on every 37.4 hours (approximately). 

Feeding Yourself, And Only Yourself-
Cutting up meat into bite-sizes pieces is not a chore when said pieces are entering my own mouth. But when there's a mass of tiny, hungry mouths screaming in impatience for their next bite, meal time changes. Date night has ceased being about where we eat out, as I simply cebrate eating my own meal when it's hot. 

Spare Time-
Friends in my MOPS group collectively grieve the absurd amount of time Sienfeld stole from our pre-children days. I can't figure out why we spent the evenings inside when there were no sleeping minors to keep us at home? Why didn't I paint, or learn a stupid human trick, or volunteer, or train for more endurance sports, or master tap dancing then? I didn't even know how awesome "killing time" in Target was until I became a parent. 

Leaving The House With Ease-
It was so simple for all those years I didn't even notice. I never truly appreciated how super I am at putting on my own shoes and coat. I now see that I am very talented at these skills, and I pray that one day my offspring will, too, be blessed with these abilities... Because currently we collectively are horrendous at leaving the house. 

Rooms Staying Clean-
I'm not, how you say, a "natural homemaker"... Previous to miniature humans moving in, I would think "when was the last time I swept the apartment?" Because it didn't NEED swept!!! That concept is mind boggling at this point of my cheerio-crumbs-everywhere life. 

Normal Toothpaste Tubes-
This...
makes me view a toothpaste tube that's been squeezed with the use of fine motor skills with more appreciation than I ever thought necessary. 

There are many more things that children make us view with deeper appreciation... and that seriously is a blessing. Since the first 8 years have raced by, I'm going to grasp as much vividness and thankfulness out of each season, and trust the Lord to use it all to grow me as the journey continues. Let's not become bitter with longing over what's not in our current season, and strive to be appreciative along the way. 










Saturday, July 19, 2014

R.E.S.P.E.C.T...

Find out what it means to me...

Respect means not always having to be right...
Keeping a marriage intact demands entertaining the idea that sometimes I'm wrong. While I don't actually find this to be entertaining, it is often true. I do not try to be wrong, or enjoy being wrong (at all), or even think I'm wrong... regardless, I am not perfect. Interacting from the stance that my opinions, ways of doing things, preferences, thoughts, memories, etc are more correct, increasingly true, absolute, refined and more in line with reality in all circumstances is wrong and disrespectful (and ridiculous when spelled out). 

Respect means trusting his driving...
My husband had been deemed by the state of Ohio as capable of operating a motor vehicle four years previous to us entering wedlock (yes mathematicians, we were THAT young). I trust his eye sight, I trust his judgement, I trust his reflexes, I trust his desire to avoid firey, multi-car wrecks. To this day I'm unaware of any car accidents that were successfully prevented by aggressive arm-rest squeezing & deep inhales from the shotgun seat of the car. With these realities in mind, I can choose trust instead of fear. In a car, the passenger is completely out of control, but God is still in control. Praying (silently is preferable), taking a deep (also silent) breath, and coming to grips with the fact that I am powerless frees me to be respectful.  

Respect means not speaking to or about him as if he were a child...
It's not funny to demean someone. A spouse's words have incredible weight. If I am hurt or sad or frustrated or afraid or have unmet expectations... then I need to talk about those feelings like a grown up. Maybe he won't listen. Maybe nothing will change. Maybe I have past evidence that leads me to forecast those results. It's still the only way to continue to show up in marriage. Giving another chance to hear. It's not my choice whether or not someone else listens, and it is painful when they don't, but we must keep opening the door because we swore "I will". Treating my husband like the man I know he can be frees him to be that man. Stay strong in this.

Respect means acknowledging his fashion preferences...
This is easier for me than for you. I apparently married the world's most fashion-forward man ever. I seriously thought he was joking when he announced in 2003 that he was going to "bring vests back"... eight years later Justin Timberlake caught on. It was after my name changed to his that I realized that sit-coms and fashion magazines had lied. Men do care. They have a style they like and are working towards that look. They consider their appearance more than they ever let on to non-spouse people. Sure, some of your men may be aiming for the "comfort or death" fashion statement, but it's still their look. What I find attractive on my husband does play a role in how he dresses, but it's not supposed to be the main source for what he wears. Encourage and compliment when he looks good. Nagging or laying out his clothes or pointing out stains in public are things that a mother (if anyone) should do... 

Respect means refusing to use the words "never" or "always" during fights...
I always do this. I'm relatively easy going until I'm not. Then I'm the most crushed or furious that anyone has ever been ever. Saying that he "never" considers how I feel, or that he "always" treats me like a jerk just nullifies any time that he has or hasn't (yeah... that sentence happened... remember when I told you I wasn't a real writer?). This is both mean to do and opens up an endless number of bunny trails which we can now follow screaming at each other the whole way down. The hard truth is that my tendency to over-emphasize the current issue is caused by my emotional constipation. It's evidence of the "record of wrongs" that I've been mentally composing (even though I vowed not to keep one). When I don't say "that hurt my feelings" immediately when my feelings are hurt, there's a good chance that emotional diarrhea will occur later. And that just stinks. (You're welcome.) 

Respect means choosing not to constantly correct him...
We've all witnessed this happen before. A couple is trying to tell a story, but before anyone can get to the point, they're arguing relatively vigorously about whether the day was Tuesday or Friday or the car was dark green or regular green or if it was on Ellen or The Doctors... Or whatever. I apologize for you having to see us do that right in front of you... When this happens the information trying to be conveyed is completely lost in the arsenal of facts of how each person is certain they are right. Let's not do that. That's no fun. Even if you are absolutely sure they are wrong, if it's not vital to the story, let it go. If it is vital to the story and must be shared, progress with caution. Memory is a strange thing. A false memory is as powerful as a true memory. So discuss it with the knowledge that the other person is just as convinced they're right, and you have as good of a chance of being wrong. Now if I could stop interrupting him completely because I simply love to talk and get so excited, then I'd be in good shape...

Respect means refusing to nag...
I thought I would NEVER nag my husband. I knew that was the biggest relationship complaint of men everywhere, and my demented need to strive for perfection at anything I tried meant I couldn't be a nag. When he didn't do what he said he would do, I would simply remind him of what he said. If I didn't see him trying hard, I would innocently recite all the reasons it was important for us. If I even imagined that he might not remember to do what he said he would do, I would make sure to repeat it again. That's helpful, right?! Nagging comes from fear. In a marriage you are dependent on another person and the thought that they will drop the ball is terrifying. This is the practical playground of the biblical concept of marriage roles. The Bible calls both marriage partners to submit to God, then calls the husband to love his wife and the wife to submit to the husband. (I'm having IBS just thinking about the reaction some of you are having at that word but it's in Ephesians 5:21-28 so I used it here.) Practically this means trusting God with the consequences of me trusting my husband. I'm responsible to show respect by not nagging him, he's responsible to God for our family. I can't explain the freedom that came from recognizing that my husband's follow-thru was not my concern. I hope you'll experience it for yourself. 

The best "respect advice" came from my BFF within the first 2 years of my marriage. I was struggling with how to respect my husband when I didn't think he was making respect-deserving decisions. I was lost in the looking-for-a-loop-hole thinking and stated "I don't even know how to respect him!" She causally replied "It's the same as respecting your parents." This was not very clear to me, so I exclaimed "But I HAD to respect my parents because of the position they held in my life, not the choices they made!" I think at that point crickets chirped and she said "Yep." 

Please don't misunderstand, marriage is dependent on honest communication. I'm not suggesting that you, too, burden yourself with emotional and mental constipation by stuffing your feelings and opinions. I'm suggesting that if you vowed before the God of the Bible that you would take him as your husband, then he has a position worthy of your respect. Handle the issues that annoy you, aggrevate you, hurt you, terrify you, and confuse you with respect and a deeper relationship can develop. 

Note to that un-wed reader: 
If the person you are dating or engaged to or will be someday does not make decisions that you can respect, end the relationship. If you don't trust their driving ability, end the relationship. If you hate their fashion sense, end the relationship. If you are convinced they are always wrong and can't remember any details, end the relationship. If you feel like they need you in order to survive their daily routine, end the relationship. Basically, choose a respectable person who you personally can show daily, practical respect to. Learning how to do it after saying "I do" is painful. Not learning usually results in the end of the relationship eventually.

Respect to me means the ability to empower the man I married to be who he was created to be... and I truly want to be that kind of wife.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

How He Loves Us...

"We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes. If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking. And heaven meets earth with an unforeseen kiss, and my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
And I don't have time to maintain these regrets as I think about the way that He loves us. 

Oh how He loves us..." 
                              - John Mark McMillan 

Regrets that I can't, nor should I strive to, maintain:

- not being present for Theo's birth...
- our baby spending 4 months in the NICU without us...
- not finding the shorter route to Fairfax until the very last time we made the trip...
- not protesting the G-tube installation...
- agreeing to have a sleep study performed on a one-year old...
- disregarding God's voice speaking "do not worry, I know how much you want this" in order to cling to my default of anxiety...
- losing my tired temper... Repeatedly...
- not planning a party for Theo's first birthday... 
- missing out entirely on his second birthday...
- disregarding our budget...
- not carrying the baby who was on oxygen as much as I carried the one who was not...
- being unable to ever repay the help we have been given over & over & over again...
- struggling to focus on the improvements he's making over how "slowly" he's making them...
- not being present for the other three kiddos...

... There are more. 

I'm writing this list, not to self deprecate or beg for encouragement... after all, logic alone could eliminate the majority of the list... but to claim for myself the love of Christ that allows me to choose to not maintain my regrets. My feelings are constantly being drawn toward guilt, worry, fear, regret, and the pride of self hatred... But I don't have to default. I can choose instead to allow the perfect love of God to fill all the imperfections of my life, my week, my moments... Jesus has redeemed more than just my sins. 

As I struggle through the tough end of a week-long hospital stay 2 hours from home, the Holy Spirit causes thanksgiving to flow from my tired attitude. I don't want to still be here. I don't want to hear "not today", I don't want to miss the conference and graduation ceremony we've been planning for half a year, I don't want to wrestle an uncomfortable baby into sleep at 2AM... But I get to. 

I get to do the hard things it takes to be Theo's mom. I see a small picture of redemption in holding him all week while he's on oxygen in the PICU as his parent... Redemption of time he spent in a hospital without us. And while logic or encouragement could theoretically diffuse the regrets that I should not carry... It's having the perfect love of the all-seeing God inspite of all that I regret that truly sets me free. So it's here in the lengthy silence of the hospital room that I grow deeper in allowing God's grace to really be enough for my everything every day. 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hospital Vacation

For Mother's Day this year Theo decided to surprise me with a vacation. He picked the time, set the location, even arranged the transportation... 
Thoughtful little fellow...

And at the risk of sounding like a awful mother... I'm actually enjoying our spur of the moment get away. I'm not enjoying his RSV (hence the synergist vaccines he was injected with all "RSV season" to prevent this), or his sleepiness, or the tubes, or his struggle breathing... But there are some reasons that I'm probably having a better week than you...

1) Snugglefest
That's what's happening here, people. Being upright helps him clear the junk out of his lungs. So I hold him and we rock and he cuddles and sleeps. This is primarily how he can decipher daytime from nighttime here. Nighttime he sleeps in the bed. Daytime he sleeps on mom. Days of solid snuggle time don't happen at home, so I'm stocking up here for the price of a bunch of mucus on my shoulder. 

2) Better Odds
At home it's 2 on 4. This keeps the man & me in perpetual motion. Here it's like 40 on 1. Seriously. I can just sit and rock the baby while meds are given, laundry is done, the room is cleaned, boogers are retrieved from the nose and throat with a mini vacuum, food is prepared and delivered... There's a team of people caring for my child instead of one person caring for a team of children. Although that's what Brice is currently doing at home (AND looking good), but I'm able to help line up sitters and meals and reschedule appointments with ease. I never knew what a breeze texting and phone calls could be when not shin deep in laundry and dishes and appointments with two toddlers on my hips!

3) Restaraunts and Shopping
I sat in the hot sunshine and ate Panera Bread for lunch today (& yesterday). This definitely qualifies as a vacation. I soaked in the sun and ate delicious carbohydrates by myself. It was incredibly restorative. Then I got to bargain shop at target. (I bought the cutest fedora for $2.48... I might have a hat problem.) Seriously, folks! Y'all keep asking me how I'm holding up while I'm sipping Starbucks! I feel like I should be baking you meals! Of course I don't have a stove available to me at the moment... But I could arrange a meal to be delivered via text message since we already established that I've currently got ample time for that.

4) Friends
I'm about 2 hours away from home and yet I've had 5 visitors in 3 days. Coffee and calories were delivered when I hadn't eaten all day. Balloons and baked goods were dropped off. Much needed conversation and prayer was had. On top of that I've received countless texts and messages of support and encouragement and offers of help. I bet you could use a visitor or some encouragement where you are... So know that wherever you are right now you are deeply loved and passionately pursued.

5) Jesus' Peace
Your prayers are being heeded. Jesus' presence is very evident to my heart, in my mind, and in Theo's health. Yes he has RSV. Yes he's hooked up to many wires and tubes. Yes it's hard on my heart to see him struggle. But thank The Lord it's just RSV. It will pass. He will heal. We're just managing the symptoms. We're amongst kids battling heart issues, bad accidents and cancer. We are sitting pretty with a virus. 

Sure, worry continuously beckons my mind... "Will this mean he has to return to at home O2 use?" "Did he go too long at home with dangerously low O2 sats and damage his brain?" "Am I scarring my other three children by being away this week when we already have to be away from them next week?" "Are the nurses judging me for being gone for lunch for this long?"... But God is answering each question I throw at Him with a deep, lasting, sweet peace. 

I don't know how long we'll have to stay here. But I know peace for this moment. And I can trust there will be peace for the moments to come. And if you had any clue how difficult sitting still indoors is for me, you too would recognize this as a miracle. I'm not working real hard to convince myself that Jesus is in control... I'm simply convinced that I'm not, and intentionally hearing Him whisper to my heart that He indeed is. 

So maybe my week is kinda way better than yours has been going. But what if it has less to do with my Mother's Day hospital get away, and more with the voice of Jesus speaking to the ears of my heart? It's not like I have any more control of life when it's "normal" anyways. 

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful." John 14:27

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Teachers, Nurses & Moms... Oh My!

May is a big month. 
Apparently this is a big week. 

According to my sources on Facebook and the google machine, this week has been the time when we spend our appreciation on teachers, on nurses, and on mothers. 

Good thing I have such a deep well of appreciation from which to draw...

Teachers...

You teach. Some of you get paid. None of you get paid enough. You teach in schools and churches and on fields and in garages and in theaters and in homes... Wherever students may be. 

You teach because you can't help it. It flows from you. It burns inside you. You crave the next "ah ha" moment. You must explain deeper, different, again... Until that light appears in the student's eyes. Then you keep going. Because you know more moments, more connections, more growth lies ahead. 

You don't give up. Even when you threaten to. No matter how hard they make it on you. Even though you seem to have more reasons to halt than to press on. Even when you no longer carry the title. You keep on teaching. It's a part of who you are. 

I appreciate how you have and do shape me. I am indebted to you for the way you invest in my kids. Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for being who you are. 

Nurses...

You care. You really, truly care. You have blurry lines between patients and family... If any lines at all. You have the dirty, repetitive, tedious, tricky, painful, constant, messy, body-fluid-filled, hands on, heart in... job. And you are needed. 

Your hours are insane. Your patience is proven. Your tears fall. Your jaw sets. Your knowledge is helpful, but it's your compassion that is truly reassuring. 

You answer questions that you're not paid for. You do the research and prescribe the cure and administer the shots. You receive texts that assume you're a premie-Down syndrome-feeding tube- pulmonology-rash-fever expert. And you answer me. And reassure me. And care for my kids, and parents, and me. Thank you for caring. 

Moms...

She who bore me is a teacher. The one whose son chose me, a nurse. How rich my life is. 

How much you have taught me... How thankful I am that the lessons continue still. How great you have cared for me... How much your knowledgable compassion has carried me. 

Your chosen professions have enriched my days. You, yourselves have shaped my life... and the lives of those who call me mom. Your grace, honesty, acceptance, cheering, support, generosity, food, housing, hugs, advice, medical supplies, child care, encouragement, road trips, phone calls, holiday celebrations, struggles, hopes, forgiveness, prayers, loyalty... and more teach me and bring me healing. 

I am who I am because you are who you are.

You are appreciated. 



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Good News Graduate!!!

You know that diploma you were just handed? The one you showed up, and studied, and concentrated, and created, and worked really hard for?!? It comes with benefits!!! In case you're uawares, let me enlighten you...

That little paper can:

Enable you to tell me how you're really feeling...

Open your eyes to see how gorgeous you are...

Give you the superpower to freeze time & adjust one physical object... (you should mostly use that superpower to mess with people)...

Make you understand it isn't your ability to sing, or draw, or run, or learn, or write, or paint, or create, or debate, or behave that makes you worthwhile...

Allow pink or blue to show up a little better in your hair...

Erase the sting of rejection... And more so, never allow you to mistake it for something wrong with you...

Free you from the secrets you keep...

Create a ferocious hunger inside you for the Word of God...

Transport you to Canada with me so we can watch the sunset from the fire tower...

Squelch your attraction to the bad boys...

Bestow on you the courage to deal with the feelings you're afraid to admit you have...

Set up many college nights of braiding hair & watching Dr. Who & eating too many Doritos with really good girl friends...

Clarify in your mind that flirting isn't necessary when you have the real thing... And give you the confidence to recognize that you do in fact have it...

Instill a passion for cautious driving...

Squash your fears of failing... Even when it's very, very important...

Inspire you to make another "Good News" tract...

Allow you to grasp the truth that you have so much more ahead than lies behind...

Grant you the ability to see the lie in the airbrushed magazine covers (& music videos & advertisements & all media...)

Show you sunsets that Instagram can't do justice...

Help you avoid jobs that only play "top 40 radio" on your shifts...

Give you the confidence to say "no"...

Put you on the adventure of daily saying "yes" to God...

Give you runs that last longer than you thought you could go... Not the diarrhea kind of runs, though... That world just be gross...

Bestow "world traveler" status upon you...

Bring you many more volcano climbing experiences...

Cease your striving to protect yourself from breaking... For it's when you break that you can be healed...

Instill in your character the truth that being exceptional means often times standing alone...

Grant you summer evenings with the windows open & music blaring & open road...

Enable you to sleep regardless of how loud your roommate may snore...

Help you find the strength to realize there is joy in doing what's hard...

Just kidding. It doesn't do any of that. 

The choice is yours. The Spirit will romance, and lead, and empower you... But the steps are yours to take. The road is hard. Laugh when it's funny, praise when it's good, cry when it hurts. Don't waste time and energy on lies. Do what's hard. Press on in hope that never ceases... Especially when you can't see the "why". Listen to your mom. Keep a journal. Pray while you run. And always, everyday, forever hear from Jesus... Because your journey gets much more wide open now, and knowing that you don't possess all the answers yourself is of utmost importance. 

My prayers are as constant as my pride in who you have been created to be. 

"I always thank my God for you because of God’s grace given to you in Christ Jesus, that by Him you were enriched in everything — in all speech and all knowledge. In this way, the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you, so that you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; you were called by Him into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)


Friday, April 11, 2014

Sometimes...

Sometimes I feel so... Me. 

Like there are times when I can't just sail by on who my husband is in love with... Or who my friends make me into... Or the mother of my four wonderful minions... Or the prayer warrior... Or the concerned sister... Or the beloved daughter...

Sometimes I'm just me. 

And sometimes I stink. 

And I feel like singing at the top of my lungs... But I just can't seem to find the right song. It's like being stuck inside a classroom wasting time watching a beautiful day slip by... I can't determine if I'm overly lonely or building up a wall of defenses as quickly as possible...

The Word is alive, and sweet, and inspiring... The sun is shining... Friends are available... Prayers are being answered... Yet I feel like we broke up and are trying to figure out if we can still be friends or if you just know too much about me. 

There are sometimes just too many layers of this ugly pride... And having them stripped away stinks. Literally. Another reason to not let anyone close... Another childhood mocking coming true... Another screaming voice challenging the Truth I committed to sow deep in these recesses...

But You always show up. 

Even when it's incredibly vital that You do. Even though it wasn't when I thought I needed it the very most. Even though You were always present. You show up. 

You speak when my prayers cease being lists I say with my eyes closed. You answer when I actually ask You the questions. Your Word is alive, active, sharp, useful... True. And you speak through it and to my heart. 

You give me dreams. You bring me healing... Even when I don't realize how sick I am. You never stop calling me "precious", "loved", "desired", "Yours"... Regardless of how often I doubt it... How incredible your Faithfulness which does not waiver at my faithlessness. 

It's in the wake of feeling so "me" that I grow in amazement of how impactfully "You" You always are...

"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you..." (Isaiah 43:1-5)

Monday, March 31, 2014

To the [Pastor's] Wives...

I hear a sweet, but firm voice of warning... I hear the caution in the Scripture... I see the red flags in lives around me... The cadence of God's calling from the multiple perspectives I've held... Pastor's kid, lay-person, pastor's wife, pastor's wives friend... There are common trappings so let us all pay with our attention...
There is caution that I must have... That I must share...
Let us be warned...

Of the disdain for the time your husband spends away from you... For it shows you're trying to squeeze satisfaction out of your husband that will only come from God... And it leads to hatred of those God has called you to serve. (Is. 54:5)

Of the constant fear of what "they think of you"... Even if they actually say it. For you are not called to fear what man (or women) can do to, or say about, or think of you, but only fear what God says. Anything you spend more time considering than His Word shows that you are worshipping another god... And the idol of success with man is a cruel ruler. (1 Pet 3:14-15)

Of the deep desire to make a home for yourself... It's a natural, God-given desire, but it comes with the warning that we have not yet seen the home our Savior is preparing for us. When we try to satisfy this desire with a homestead and matching family we will begrudge parsonages (& their fleeting nature) or grumble over our nests which hampers hospitality. The danger even in finding a satisfying home is that we grow deep roots into is that we may not recognize the Holy Spirit moving us onward... For this is not our home. It is all only temporary. Love it appropriately. (Mat 8:20 & John 14:1-4)

Of your pride in your husband... For you both have been called only to live the same Christian life from the platform that those in the theoretical pews have been called to. You're in the body together and Christ alone is the Head... Never the pastor. Be humbled that you get the frontrow seat to the imperfect man who God chooses to shine thru. Be inspired that you are the same... And lead on those surrounding you to the exact same call in their lives. (Isaiah 2:10-12)

Your desire for privacy... For that can come too close to a desire to hide. Instead allow the light of Jesus to illuminate anything in you that He so chooses. Refuse to allow pride to keep your struggles secret. Fight against the lie that you must have it "together" because of others wrong expectations. Deny embarrassment over how God provides for you. Hold high the chains from your past that Jesus has freed you from. Let them see your imperfect children being shaped by the God who is responsible for their growth. Let them cry with you so that you can celebrate together. You are called to be the one who refuses to shrowd the glory of what Jesus is doing with the mask of Sunday morning bests... That others may find freedom to join you in the light. (Luke 8:17)

Of any defense other than The Defender... For all the schemes of man will fail... Even if they are your own. You have trusted your heart to its Creator. He did not promise that you would not hurt. He promises to use the brokenness. Bitterness is indeed a poor protector... For it simply invites the hurt to reside there permanently. Repent. Be quick to cry, for the tears of the saints are a sweet offering to the God who will take the time to wipe your dear cheeks dry and make right each wrong you have willingly followed Him through. (Ps. 28:7-9 & Rev 21:4)

I hear these warnings in my heart. I pray it is in the sweet voice of Jesus which you hear them as well... We are in this together my sisters. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maybe It's Not Maybeline...

I have an ugly problem. 

I've struggled with it for pretty much as long as I can recall. There have been times in my life where it wasn't such a battle... Sometimes because it didn't feel so forcefully overwhelming... and other times because I stopped fighting, and allowed it to carry me wherever it willed. 

In the battleground of my mind and mirror I've bled in anguish and experienced victorious freedom. I've walked securely in that freedom that my Savior offers for years, only to have it rear its ugly head, and in an instant revert my mind and heart to my insecure fourteen year old self... Apparently she's still around. 

And apparently she's not overly impressed with the 32 year old version of herself. With my stomach that's been flatter, arms that have been stronger, eyes that were sharper, legs that used to run faster, hair that was blonder, skin that used to be clearer, mind that was smarter, smile that's been straighter... And when her criticisms showed up in my mind sounding like part of the "Mean Girls" script, but in my own voice, I was not prepared. 

See, I thought I had starved her to death. I revoked her regular diet of magazines and air-brushed-people watching, restricted her appetite for the constant comparison game, and got a new "tape" to play in my mind based on Truth. I had even learned to swallow the sweetness of compliments from honest loved ones... But she hadn't disappeared. 

She was just hiding. 

Hiding behind the thick "make-up" concealer of the right hair style, better fitting clothes, acquired make-up skills, clever responses, harder efforts, consistent workouts, well-behaved children, fashion advice, slightly impressive drum skills, handsome husband, edited selfies... Behind my shell of having it "all together"... 
A shell I don't even remember constructing.
 A wall that I fear to look behind, yet have no clue what I'm guarding. 
A blockade that stops true intimacy, even with the God who created my deepest parts...

It was my seeking Jesus for that deeper closeness that loosed the ugly issues I had been concealing. God does answer our questions, be sure of that. It was the gentle hand of my loving Savior that removed my ability to ignore that deep down in my core I still clung to the perception that I am ugly. Physically: ugly. Emotionally: crazy. Skillfully: inept. Practically: annoying. 

I don't yet have clarity as to why I would cling to these assumptions. Possibly as a self-depricating defense against the chance that others found me this way... But there I was, staring in a mirror, seeing ugly, hearing Jesus call me "wonderfully created", and not knowing how to reconcile these. I prayed. I cried. I shared with close friends. I studied His Word... But the same passages I'd highlighted on my journey to past freedom just added to the question "why am I back in this pit?"

God still speaks. It wasn't Isaiah 43:4 calling me precious & loved. It wasn't Psalm 139 telling me I am hand-crafted wonderfully. It wasn't Romans 8:35-39 stating that nothing can seperate me from God's love... Although those are all amazing truths. It was Philippians 1:6 that God used to whisper to my warring heart "be confident that I WILL complete this work in you that I started."

Confidence. 
Not in myself...
Not in my appearance...
Not in my mirror...
In Jesus.
He is faithful. He is true. He is working in me...

So I'm planting that seed of Truth deep in the dark recesses of my heart. I'm not just swallowing it down lightly to feel better momentarily, but truly letting it do battle with what I fear so much. It's scary. It's hard. Yet I'm convinced there will be a harvest of true freedom and beauty that is worth more than the fight can hurt. 


"Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6


Friday, February 14, 2014

The Tale of One Day...

Valentines day... Oh the sweetness of our February 14th... It went something like this:

I woke up to a Hannah-made card next to a surprise breakfast of cold toast & an apple (she gets her culinary expertise from her mom). So adorable. Since it was a snow day, the kids who are capable of dressing themselves, played in the almost two-feet of snow. Then inside for hot cocoa and a valentine card scavenger hunt (what else do you do when you have 42 valentines laying around?!?) After lunch we FaceTimed with family and took naps... At least that's what I assumed happen since I woke up in a puddle of drool and it was 1 hour and 37 minutes later than when I entered my bedroom... The afternoon held festivities such as making "Fuzz Bugs" out of pom-poms and mustaches (thanks Nana), 
heart-shaped pizza, 
and heart banana cakes! 
We finished off the day with a Valentine's dance (with a play-list sporting Cupid Shuffle and the Chicken Dance) and by flipping over the last few love note hearts on their door. 
This day seriously happened. I know you hardly believe me. That's why I posted so much photographic evidence. 

But so did this day...

On Valentines Day it was ReaLLy snowy. So there was a snow day. That meant feeding actual breakfast to 2 more mouths than intended while I tried to get myself and Theo ready for an 8:15 AM appointment. While locking Theo up in his car seat, I investigated the draftiness to find the door to the basement wide open. My mom math skills quickly deduced that it had been open for roughly 20 hours... since the time the previous day when Hannah and Mic were instructed to come in through that door after playing outside. Enter a minor panic attack over our next gas bill. The snow drifts were obviously too high behind my car, so I strapped Theo's seat into Brice's Subaru, and after multiple attempts made it out of our driveway 15 minutes late. 
It wasn't on the snowy roads, or even the icy hike into the office, no, I made it all the way to the check-in desk before I realized that I packed the wrong kid. Yes. The wrong kid. It was an appointment for Maverick, Theo was who I brought. This is funny when you're not kicking yourself while trying to figure out how you're now going to make it to the new appointment on a weekday when there are already three appointments on the calendar... Oye. 
Over the next few hours I broke up, participated in, or ignored bickerments pertaining to socks, valentines, scavenger hunts, spelling, cheese burritos, naps, Cupid, teeth brushing, Shaun the Sheep, snow day homework, googly eyes, & gloves... To name a few. Nap time came to an abrupt end with 1 screaming baby, 2 poopy diapers and 4 kids wanting snacks. It was like the morning all over again... 
The real fun begins (as it always does) when I attempted to prepare dinner. I got the older two distracted with the "Fuzz Bug" craft and was beginning to make pizza dough. Between the time I poured the water and was measuring out the flour, Maverick woke up, sat on the potty, got up from the potty, peed on the floor, sat back on the potty (for a reminder of where tinkle is supposed to go), got up from the potty, and had diarrhea on the carpet... Yum. This whole scenario can be enriched by imaging the older two pestering me to help them glue the antennas on the "Fuzz Bugs" and complaining about how it smells. By the time I got everything cleaned, scrubbed, and sanitized (& diapered), I realized I had no clue how much flour I had already added to the dough! Good thing I'm such a natural in the kitchen, because I just guessed. 

I know what you're thinking... "Praise The Lord she didn't provide photographic evidence of THAT part of her day!" You're welcome. 

It was just a day. It was amazing and terrible. It was low and it was high. It was the best and the worst... All within the same 3 minutes. I laughed and danced and played and baked and taught... And I cried and yelled and prayed and begged and sent S.O.S. texts to Brice at work... I cursed having four children, and I cherished moments with each of their deep eyes and contagious smiles. It's the good and the bad that we vowed. It's just how days go. 

We could choose to hope for only the amazing and expect nothing but Pinterest perfect results... And we would be dramatically disappointed and frustrated. We could choose to focus only on the stress and fights and our total lack of control over our days... And we would be tragically embittered with even more of the same. Or we can dance to the beat and roll with the punches. We can cry out in frustration, apologize after our parental temper tantrums, join in the imagining, and giggle uncontrollably (like a 6-year old boy upon the realization that "tutor" is another word for "teacher")... Maybe we can just strive to savor the sweet moments, react rightly in the unexpected, and have grace in the repetition. Sounds a lot like love...

So I guess it was a very fitting way to spend Valentines Day.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Character Profile:

Special Agent: Mic

Known Aliases: Buster, Biggy, Micker Man, Mic-smaster, pickle-man, brother-man...
Super Powers: 
- Creation: can make anything with crayons, pens, markers, clay, or Legos.
- The Super Sniffer: can detect a smelly diaper, secretly consumed piece of chocolate, homemade bread before it's being baked, coffee breath, or silent release of gas at incredible distance, speed, and accuracy.
- Truth Telling: if he has an opinion it will not be withheld. This is a benefit to his character, but a slight hindrance to his attempts at covert information handling.
- A Single Dimple: reports have come back that, even though it lacks a pair, his dimple is extremely charming and can work in his favor when seeking a "yes" answer. 
- Power Belching: he has worked long and hard to perfect an enormous, deep, burp from the gut that makes parental figures think they may need to grab a bucket... He claims an inability to help it. Either way it's an impressive release of gas from a miniature man.
- Sweet Words: pairing his tenacity for truth telling with his generous compliment giving is a heart-melting combo. He loves to build others up verbally and often adds a "hold you me" hug to really make his point. 
- De-Strangerification: WARNING! This agent does not know a stranger! He notices and makes friends out of people who are in his immediate environment. Check out clerks, passengers on the same plane, other children at the store, cafeteria workers... It's rumored he gets this ability from his Papa. 

Future Plans:
- Build Robots: Mic is working towards a career in construction... And if that could be the construction of robotic life that would be the coolest. Ever.
- Visit Mike and Moses in Thailand: He communicates with and prays for two boys on the other side of this world. He is determined to go meet them one day that they might play together with the cars & cards he has sent them. 
- Fly on Airplanes. Often: Fellow passengers beware. He will not let you sleep through your trip. He will make friends with you. If you are slightly uncomfortable with air travel, I hope you get to sit next to him. 
- Be a Daddy: This super hero agent hopes to leave future heroes in his wake. Early reports show this to be a favorable impact on this world. 

We look forward to keeping a watch on this guy. 



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Let me count the ways you love me...


- you special order my chocolate covered strawberry blizzard with cone dip instead of chocolate chunks even though DQ's drive-thru speaker is the worst...
- you haul the trash can up our steep driveway in the dark every Monday night...
- you still watch sequel movies with me even though I'm incapable of remembering what happened in the previous movie or who the actors are...
- you work out with me...
- sometimes you lay on my side of the bed before I get in it so it's already warm...
- you interrupt my craziness with a real kiss...
- you always have to show me anything that makes you laugh so I can laugh too... 
- you wrote this on our mirror: 
- you rub my feet even though it ruins your thumbs...
- you work hard in the office then come home & serve & love & work & parent & play hard...
- you still read my blogs even though I continuously use amphersands...
- you value my input...
- you (now) always squish the milk container as soon as you empty it because I complained once about having to squish it after the milk remnants already smelled sour...
- you help me break overwhelming projects & scenarios into manageable steps when I'm freaking out...
- you fight with me...
- you don't think of me or treat me as irrational... Even though there are times I act irrationally...
- you'll listen to problems I have that you can't fix, and hug me when I hurt and you can't make it stop...
- you brag about me...
- you go to the grocery store for me so I don't have to drag kids with me even though you feel like it's an alien planet...
- you do the budget with me...
- you hulk out when my feelings get hurt, but don't react out of anger...
- you like to hear me sing...
- you refuse to let me settle for sitting next to each other while we escape seperately to Facebook or games as quality down time... 
- you take pictures of me...
- you attempt to surprise me...
- you answer honestly... Every time...
- you miss me when we're apart...
- you always plunge the toilets so I don't have to...
- you support my running habit...
- you bring me tasty coffees...
- you maintain both of our vehicles...
- you discuss spending with me before you buy things...
- you landscape our yard...
- you chop the onions so I don't have to get all weepy in the kitchen (& you cut them into tiny pieces for the salsa since that's how I prefer them)...
- you give me your opinion...
- you buy me things when I won't spend money on myself...
- you teach me... lots of stuff...
- you recognize how God is using me... And make sure I hear it too...
- you dye my hair...
- you apologize and mean it...
- you intentionally check in with me on how "we are doing"...
- you strive to live a life totally surrendered to the Holy Spirit and allow me a front row seat to see who He's transforming you into...
- you have have my portrait tattooed across your back... Just kidding. (He really doesn't.)
- you will be adorably embarrassed that I posted this...

... But you need to know how well you love me. I. Am. Blessed. 

To all readers who are not my husband... 

I used to have a  different list. 

I started it in one of the darkest points in our marriage... It was a list of things I love about Brice. Maybe it was a suggestion from a session of marriage counseling, or from a marriage book I read, or maybe a simple prompting from the Holy Spirit... I don't recall why I started it. But I would add something to the list in the moments when my heart was most craving the fantasy of escape... When the temptation to dream of how much better another circumstance that I was not in would wage war on my mind... When I couldn't come up with something to write, I would simply read it... God held us together. And He grew my list. 

This is not that list. 

Brice asked me how he could love me. That is a perfect question. But I no longer have a huge list of answers ready on the tip of my tongue (like I would've ten or six years ago). God has used our messy marriage to remove my desire for my husband to do my Savior's job. God has filled my heart with Himself and my husband is my favorite icing on top... And he apparently doesn't realize how good he is at loving me...

Do not use this to fuel your fantasy list for your spouse. Don't start imagining that our marriage is perfect. Just know that God can hold you right where you are. He can use the circumstance you're in, the pain you feel, the battle you're fighting. Hear me that we are not perfect... But our God is. Follow Him closely as He transforms your marriage, or singleness, by transforming your heart to reflect His own. Be inspired by my list, then go start your own...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Crazy Payne

i've figured it out!!! It suddenly makes sense!

It only took 1 sick day, 1 crazy saturday involving 2 separate sets of babysitting duos, 1 federal holiday celebrating a brave hero, 3 snow days (and counting), 2 school agers, 2 1.5-year olds, 43 dirty diapers, 13 minutes of "everyone's napping at the same time", and 0 trips out of the house in the past 5 days... but it's all coming together!

i figured out why parents are always going crazy!!!

i'm being serious here. i've developed a theory and i'm fairly certain this will be widely accepted. follow me down this rabbit hole...

My dad taught me that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different outcome... Read that again... It's the definition of parenting!!!! Eureka!!! It all makes sense!

We really ARE going crazy... or actually we have already arrived at crazy!!!

This realization hit me as i sat on the bathroom floor reading the same book to my super potty-trainer for the 12th time in 3 hours. i tried to remind myself to be present... To notice his cold feet and how he always insists on setting them on top of my feet... To force myself to count the dogs in the number book and enjoy the panting noises he makes every time he sees a dog... To use the silly voices... To act surprised that the turkey dives in the pool with his clothes on... i sought to soak him up. This was a battle, as every fiber in my being was just wanting to be done with the bathroom floor and the tired books and the potty cheers and wiping up poop from multiple surfaces and the "ca-ca" whispers that always come as soon as i finally get the diaper and pants back on him...

This time around i have perspective in my mom tool belt and the Holy Spirit helps me pull it out in these moments. He won't always need me to sit with him while he empties his bladder. i need not be sad at that thought... In fact i WILL celebrate that moment. But i need not worry... i just need to keep doing the same thing over and over and over and over again... then i need to do it 317 more times... and somewhere in all of that, things will change. Most likely i will be so wrapped up in other repetitions and repeating myself and new parenting chants that i won't even realize the very moment of change... but it will come.

Just like the crazy came so suddenly with parenting.

i'm hoping this realization will help me let go of my expectation to dwell anywhere other than crazy. After all, it's of no benefit to my kids to always hear "you're driving me crazy!!!"... especially murmured after they simply behave like the kids they are. Now that i've not-so-scientifically figured out why i feel so crazy, i'm going to soldier on making bottles, changing diapers, cleaning messes, reheating my coffee, "cooking" food, telling stories, listening, breathing, kissing, repeating... i officially take back the keys to this crazy train... i'm driving myself here, so i might as well enjoy the trip.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

To The Heroes

I salute you. Not for the love you have for your child or parent or patient... For that is more natural. 

I salute you for the...

- medicines you measure
- tubes you rinse
- connections you check
- bags you fill
- sticky clothes you wear from meds coming back at you
- diapers you buy and change and dispose of
- metric ton of wipes you go through
- appointments you keep 
- ointments you apply
- alarms you answer and reset
- supplies you order (hopefully before you've completely run out over Christmas weekend)
- teeth you brush
- bottoms you clean
- prescriptions you refill
- therapy sessions you attend and the exercises you do at home
- bodily fluids you deal with
- sheets you change in the middle of sleeping hours
- levels you test
- numbers you hope for
- stairs and entrances and curbs you traverse
- bathroom stalls you have to use but don't fit into
- miles you drive to specialists
- temperatures you've taken
- bowel movements you've witnessed from an undesired front row seat
- nails you clip and the scratches from not clipping them soon enough
- hand soap and sanitizer you've blazed through
- Clorox you've scrubbed with
- gauze you stock up on
- sites you've managed
- infections you've fought off
- rashes you've investigated
- meals you mix or purée or balance
- muscles you move that aren't in your own body
- many hours you've spent writing down instructions for the short time you try to leave them with someone else 
- syringes you've come to prefer
- breathing treatments you sit (or wrestle) through
- antibiotics you try super hard to remember to add to the medicine routine
- chapped cheeks you battle
- snot you aspirate with a bulb syringe
- constipation meds you administer and the diarrhea you deal with when they work
- massages you attempt even though you have no clue if you're doing then correctly or if it actually helps
- buckles you fasten and unfasten
- helmets you've adjusted
- straps you lengthen and shorten regularly
- parts to specialized cups you hand wash
- bandages you change
- for your daily life...


I have spent a fleeting year where many of you spend a lifetime... and I am in awe
- of your patience
- of your love
- of your steadfastness 
- of your gentle hands
- of your tired hearts
- of your long suffering
- of you...

Not because you're perfect. Not because you never lose it. Not because you're constantly cheerful. But because you get up and love every single moment of every single day. Do not give up. That child, parent, spouse, patient is worth it and there is a God who promises the weary rest, the weak strength, the burdened relief, the mourner comfort... 

And we're standing with you too. Saluting you.