Saturday, December 4, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

   It's the Christmas season of 2010....2010! We as a family have so many wonderful memories of Christmases past...tonight, they all seemed to flood into my mind all at once.

   We had a good time at the parade tonight. Every year we go with our wonderful church family to the Christmas parade and pass out free hot cocoa. I remember when the kids were younger how excited they were to pass out these little cups of warm joy. They would look up and down the sidewalk for chilly spectators to ask " Would you like some free hot chocolate?" and with a "Merry Christmas!" they would run back to the table to get more cups to hand out. Then, they knew that they were doing something kind, but it was just so much "fun" for them....

   Tonight as I watched my young men pass out these warm cups of cocoa, I saw a look on their face of service. Don't get me wrong, the were still having fun, but this year I could see their serving hearts shining out in eyes of compassion. I am so proud of the godly young men standing in the place my little boys once stood. My heart feels warm.

   When we got home, it was time to decorate the tree...again so many memories flood through my mind. I remember how all three of them would lay under the finished tree and look up into the magical lights and as they hang the ornaments, they are almost as tall as the tree!...but I can still see the sweet faces of my little boys as they look into the box of ornaments...I am completely overcome with emotion...this is Cody's senior year! How did this happen?!...where has the time gone?...did I take it all in?...I'm regretting the times when I had to have things"just so"...I should have slowed down and enjoyed things more, relaxed about the details...oh well, better to learn late than never.

   But seriously, I remember the boys making these homemade ornaments that hang on our tree like it was yesterday! How is it that they are 17, 14, and 11? My heart is filled to overflowing...oh no,... here come the tears, I just can't hold back...I want to push pause, rewind, anything to not go in this fast forward state that I have found myself in...The boys see that I am struggling, and in their compassion....they tease me relentlessly :)...Thankfully they know that a hug and a laugh is good for my soul.
   I am so blessed to have my family. Being a mother is the best job in the world, but it is one we work ourselves out of. It is both rewarding and painful to know that your children are gaining independence from you. My hope is that they will not just be independent, but that their dependence will transfer from me, to being dependent on God. I shared this revelation I had with a few friends today...I am not in control! I think I am as I am directing the day to day things for my kids...but they each have been created for a specific purpose. God had the plan before I even knew them. He knew I would be an imperfect mother, and yet...He entrusted these boys to me! Whew! that means He has it covered.

   Thank you God for your perfect plan that does not require human perfection...So how did I get here? By God's grace and provision of course.(although much sooner than I expected)

   So join me in the goal to not get all caught up in doing the "details" this Christmas. Let's just remember God sending his precious son Jesus for us as the greatest gift of all, and to soak up the memories with our families who are also a gift to us.
   Merry Christmas!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Hmmmm... Let me think about that

Hmmm...Let me think about that. This is what I need to say to myself more often before I speak.

While on a wonderful ladies retreat weekend, the Lord spoke to me through our wonderful speaker. Part of her talk was on controlling the tongue...ouch! Very convicting I must say. Just when I think I'm doing alright, my precious Father shines a light on an area that needs more work and this is a big one.

I talk...alot. And sometimes at the end of a rambling I think...hmmm why did I say that? It can be so easy to tear others down, especially when you've got agreeing company. But negative words are every bit as powerful as encouraging ones, and they don't make us attractive either.

Consider two old women. One has a face lined by years of laughter and smiling, she has a light in her eyes and an encouraging smile...her lines tell us she has been this way for years. The other woman's face is lined with frown lines, harsh on her forehead...pursed lips as if a smile hasn't been there in years.

 I want to be the young(ish) woman that sets a habit of giving smiling encouragement now, so that it shows on my face when I am old. I think this can start with my words. I do try to be positive, most of the time...but do I make the effort to filter my thoughts before they rush out of my mouth?

Do I honor my husband when I get bent out of shape? or do I leave others thinking less of him?...I hope not, that would be a shame, because he is a wonderful man that shows me love and I would be lost without him.

Do I honor my kids when I have had "one of those days"? I don't want anyone to think any less of them either, they are great kids that are truly gifts straight from heaven.

What about the people who need an encouraging word, but I leave it unsaid.....

What about the word that I am saying to the person that I know will take it too personally and yet, I say it anyway, knowing that I should let it go to keep the peace....

What about the word of judgement I pass upon another without knowing the pain they are going through, maybe I'm just another in a long line of those who cast judgement, when what is really needed is understanding and guidance....

I am thankful for the reminder of taming the tongue, and the mental picture of the two old faces...I still have time to work on my lines and wrinkles, and I know what picture I want to look like.

Here's to laugh lines and crow's feet!!! :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It's Fall!

   This is my favorite time of the year. Time for hoodies, bonfires, soccer games, picking pumpkins and apples...oh! I just love it. This season provides an ever changing canvas for the brilliant colors of changing leaves and the rich hues of a peaceful evening sunset.

   Dave and I got married on a perfect autumn day 18 years ago. I am so thankful for this man I have been blessed with. I can't imagine my life without him. He is an encouragement, a protector, a wonderful father, and a faithful man of God.
 Our marriage, like most, has had changing seasons. I have so far enjoyed every one. Don't get me wrong, it takes work, and there are difficulties that come with each season. We went from young newlyweds to young new parents quicker than we had planned.( I'm the type who makes a plan, writes it out, and then realizes God's timing and mine most often don't match up, lol)... What fun to learn parenting together! Dave is the kind of dad I hoped to have for my children-fun, firm and full of faith!

   Having our babies was kind of like spring time. Lots of nurturing, growing, and trying to weed out distractions that could stunt the growth of our marriage and family. As the kids grew older, it was like summer time-bright sunny moments, keeping in mind to protect from burn out. It's been time in the sunshine exercising and building a strong framework for our kids to take root and grow. (Kind of like training a plant to grow on a trellis- finding their own path, but in the safety of a protected garden.)

   Now, having two teens and one "tweener", I feel like the long summer is fading into the next season...Fall. This season seems to bring a whole different kind of fun...lots of warm "by the fire" moments, and many quick, breezy days that I would love to slow down. The colors are changing as I see my kids gain independence and, like leaves in the wind, float independently through the cool crisp air. I find myself smiling as I see the familiar framework we worked so hard to build for them in the spring still visible under the stunning growth of their own personalities and character.
   I am loving this season of seeing our boys change into the young men God will have them to be. I am so blessed to be the mother of three fantastic sons and wife of one amazing man. I feel thankful to live in a beautiful part of the country that has changing seasons, and to live on a farm where time seems to move just a little slower.

Happy Fall Y'all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Night My Prayers Couldn't Get Past the Ceiling...

The other night, I was feeling the weight of all the "stuff" that has been overwhelming me lately. . . I tried to pray, it's just the thoughts and distractions were definitely winning. . . . So I went to the deck to have a pity party for myself.

It was a comfortable night, the air was fresh and I found myself stretching out on my prized hammock. . .I tried again . . ."God?. . . Father?. . .are you there?. . . of course I know that you are, it's just I can't feel you right now". . . . . I lay there listening to the sound of the late summer bugs, and feel the breeze blow across my face, I try to breathe it in, trying to clear the thoughts, the worries from my mind. . .

Again I try, " Father God, please take these burdens from me. . .your word says to be anxious for nothing and yet lately I am anxious for MANY things!". . . .The sound of the insects nighttime songs catches my attention. I open my eyes to see one lone star shinning brightly. . .

"Wow! first star in my view tonight, how beautiful". . .then I see another, then another, then soon the sky seems to be silently exploding with beautiful twinkling lights. . . .The sky turns from a beautiful dark blue to an infinite black canvas for the thousands of shinning stars I now seemed to be surrounded by . . . . the symphony of music coming from the chirping insects is getting louder. . . .Music that I had been listening to on KLOVE earlier in the day floods back into my heart and mind. . . .

"Lord, you have given me a love for music and it speaks to my soul, thank you . . . it seems you have been preparing a play list of songs that I would need to recall at this very moment!". . . .Lyrics from songs I had been humming along to, rushed into my mind. . . . .

"All of creation, sing with me now, lift up your voice and lay your burden down,
 All of creation sing with me now, fill up the heavens let his glory resound"...I was definitely in the midst of creation praising it's creator!

I now feel so close to the sea of stars, I think if I reach up, I could touch them!. . . .another song begins to play in my mind. . . .

"You light, light, light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me
And I, I, I can't deny
No I can't deny that you and right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see you all around me
You light, light, light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me that you are with me "

I feel so overwhelmed! But not in the same way I did when I first went out on that deck,. . . now I felt overwhelmed with the presence of my Heavenly Father!

All of creation at that moment pointed me to the infinite presence of
God, sometimes when we don't feel him there, we need to quietly seek him and wait. . .He will not only meet you where you are, he will reach down and lift you right up into the palm of his hand and cradle you in his limitless love.

I encourage you to look up the lyrics to these two wonderful songs:
"All of Creation"- Mercy Me
"Light up the Sky"- Afters