Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Changing History

I was able to attend a Woman Leaders Day Out hosted by our church this weekend. It was so good to rejuvenate and relax with many other women, and I definitely need to do more of that. The day started with a short program before we hit the town to do various fun things, the initial 'Welcome & here's the plan for the day' announcement was followed by a short, excellent leadership talk about women in leadership being invited into leadership by others and in turn inviting others as well. One of the unexpected benefits occurred when I noticed the mannerisms of the first 'announcer' were almost identical to the 'presenter' - they were daughter and mother! And then I looked around and spotted many other women with children who are also living their lives for the King. There were many, many noteworthy things said that day, but the one that most stands out to me is when God whispered to me, "You, too, can change the course of your family's lives. You can change history."

Now I've known that part of my job as a mom, part of our job as parents, is to pass on our faith to our kids using both words and deeds. And I am always looking for ways to do this that will work for our family. Things like reading the Word together as a family daily like Ann describes here, doing activities, noticing God in the mundane, living out loud for Jesus, debriefing what was learned at weekly worship meetings. But for some reason, that was always a duty, a task I must perform whether I wanted to or not. Something to grudgingly trudge through, uphill both ways. And the sweet words of God have changed how I see it, the task has become a privilege. This is hard stuff, and God gave me these kids for a purpose that is more than just getting them through school and out the door in one piece. He wants little disciples, small apostles who see Jesus, experience real relationship with Him, and then are sent forth to declare His marvelous works.

I repent, right now, these feelings like my life is on hold because of the everyday tasks of a parent. Papa, help me see parenting, one of the most important jobs, through your eyes to view the eternal results You intend. Change me, change my heart, help me see beyond my needs and wants. I want to want what You want, I want my priorities to be Yours. Amen!
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and I will meditate on Your wonderful works.
Psalm 145: 3-5

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Finger in a Book

You know when you are reading a good book, and then you hear, "Mommy? momma? Mom...mom...mom... MOOOOMMM!" so you sigh dramatically, close the book with your finger carefully marking your place, and go see what the emergency is that you can't have 'one damn minute to yourself!' ? Invariably, the emergency is something that needs two hands so a hasty bookmark is found in whatever napkin, receipt or popsicle stick is laying around and the book is regretfully put down. And suddenly it's hours, or sometimes days, before you can grab another minute to spare and get back to what you were doing.

This is my life. Not in a whiny 'I just want to do what I want to do so everyone go away and leave me the frack alone!' kind of way (not entirely anyway), but in a 'my life is on hold kind of way'. And so to help me think about it, and to let you know I'm still here somewhere, this post will be about detailing how my finger is in the book, holding my spot, as I try to do all the other things that need doing.

Stuff that's distracting (good and bad and in no particular order):

  • Micheal has been sick. He has this 'stomach thing' (this is what we've called it for years) that periodically makes him sick over the last 15-ish years. He'll be fine for a while and then will start feeling nauseous after every meal, needing to lay down, often throwing up. He had one of those 'super fun check out your innards medical tests' where they ask if you want a copy of the video tape (um, NO!) about 10 years ago and the result was, 'Yep, there is something wrong there, we don't know what it is so we call it irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eat lots of fiber, go forth and prosper.' It's gotten pretty bad again. Lots of pain & nausea with fatigue. So today he has a CT scan, needs to drink a barium solution and get an IV of something so the doctor can see what's going on. Possible diverticulitis? We'll see. He's nervous, I'm nervous for him... He goes back for results on Tuesday next.
  • Speaking of me picking up on Micheal's mood, he recently pointed this out: You know how females living in the same house strangely start menstruating at the time? Well Grace, who is 5, is definitely, obviously picking up on my mood swings. How weird. And like we need one more emotional female in the house. I should write a grant proposal, pitch it to someone and spend the resulting $3.7 million studying this.
  • I have no time. And so I really want to read books about how to manage my time. But I have no time to read them. And besides, the authors make really good points about how important it is to do really hard stuff and I don't want to do really hard stuff. I just want to have time.
  • I need to stop reading for pleasure. This is an example of a good thing becoming a bad thing. I want to read things, particularly fiction where the main character has a big problem to solve (a murder, the boy she loves is a vampire, He-who-must-not-be-named needs to die...) and get sucked into their world and not do anything else, just read. No cooking, no cleaning, no working. Nothing wrong with that, right?
  • I need to read more for edification. Stuff like the (gasp!) Bible. And other stuff that will... edify. But I need to stop just buying books because I need to know what they say but never finish them completely or never read them at all...  But have you seen these: Living with Less so Your Family Has More, Growing Grateful Kids, Sacred Parenting: How Raising Children Shapes Our Souls, or Sacred Marriage ? But I also have Celebration of Discipline which I haven't even cracked it open yet - because it sounds hard. Doesn't it sound hard? 
  • Small group stuff. The small group I lead is taking a lot of my thought life. The problem is, I spend most of this time in my head thinking about what I should do instead of doing it. On Saturday we cleaned the house and Grace really, really wanted to stop everything and make a list of the stuff we were going to do just so she could cross it off the list. Counter productive. I'm like that.
  • Parenting; see above point. Lots of time spend thinking about what might work, not enough time spent trying it, or spending good quality time with the kids. Must stop. And this week, some of the areas here have improved.
  • I need to not focus on how I am not like this blogger who sees God in a way that I covet, or this blogger whose children are always pretending Bible stories in very sweet ways, and many others because it is paralyzing. 
  • I need to get to the gym and get my body under control. I got out of the habit because I needed new shoes, shin splits were killing me, but until I could get to the store to get new shoes (no time!) I missed a few days and now am out of the habit. Oh, and I had the 24 hr flu, too, that didn't help. So since I'm not doing so well getting to the gym I thought I'd spend $200 on P90X. Which might be laughable. It shipped today so we'll see. I have a couple day reprieve...
Obviously I could go on and on and on... I just want to get back to what I was doing, and I want what I was doing to be trying to know God better, see Jesus clearer, hear the Holy Spirit louder, love Micheal more in a way that makes sense to him, parent well... I know God is probably using all this stuff and more to work on these things in my life, but I feel like it's on hold.

I'm just trying to keep my finger in the book and keep my place.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Girl Day

Grace & I took a day off together last week. 
We did Enger Tower.
Stopped at Chester Park
Got Subway and ate at the 'Wooden Park'
(Playfront Park)

A fun day all around! 
Also wondering, when does the appeal of an empty box end?

Not before 5, maybe at 6?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunrise, Take 2

Sunrise in the rain over Lake Superior. No color adjustments, just a pocket camera and picnik to frame and level it. Lovely.

Monday, March 15, 2010

♫ ♪♫ ♪ Sunshine on my Shoulders Makes Me Happy ♫ ♪♫ ♪

Daylight savings time has the bonus effect of allowing me to see some amazing sunrises on my way to work again (you can click image to see a bigger picture). I it! It makes a Monday morning SO much better.
Let those who love Him shine like the sun when it rises in full strength.
Judges 5:31
I hope you shine today! Happy Monday to you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Holding Pattern

I feel like my life is kind of in a holding pattern, waiting for the next thing to come along. We are busy running kids here and there and doing all the other things that grown-ups must do. But I have a niggling feeling that I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, in a kind of neutral way; not impending doom, but not a Christmas morning kind of way either. And I don't want to get out of the habit of not posting, so while I wait, here are some recent pics to fill the yawning void. Thanks for waiting with me!

Micah, showing off a sweater so I can send it to my dad and his wife so they can see how he likes it. 
It's a men's medium - when did that happen???

Micheal and Grace and Linus, snuggling up after a bath.
And more...

And another.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A lesson from an unlikely source.

In a conversation with a friend recently, the conversation of insects came up. He was wearing a necklace with a 1+" beetle suspended in clear epoxy. It sounds strange, but really matched his shirt, personality & history. He grew up in Madagascar and then went back with his wife and kids as missionaries and as you can imagine, he has stories that are a combination of fascinating, strange & altogether alien to this Minnesota home-town girl. So we talked about bugs and I now know how the hissing cockroach got it's name and the difference between it and a regular cockroach. Ewww!

And then the topic of lice came up. (Do you feel crawly yet? I do! ) Almost everyone in Madagascar has lice. In fact, it has become part of their culture to have lice. When a baby is born it is the grandmother's honor & privilege to take a louse from her head and place it on the head of the infant to begin their very own lice colony. Boys often get their head shaved in the summer - and they leave a patch of hair at the front of the head for the lice to live, calling it the equivalent of a lice house. They won't get rid of all the hair because the lice is something that has been passed on to them from multiple generations, which has a high value in their culture. (Now I feel like I want to jump in the shower.)

I have a filter that kicks in fairly often asking how I can apply this story to my life, and I don't really want to apply anything that has to do with lice to my life, AT ALL. But part of me longs for a legacy, something I can pass on to my children, something of a torch that I can carry forward, run hard with, and hand off to the next generation. So I find myself evaluating what exactly I am passing on to our kids, what type of role model am I being, what are the things I want to make sure I am passing down? What are the bits and pieces that I have received that are important enough, good enough, worthy enough for the next generation?

I know I will fall, I will fail. But will my kids be able to see that my hope in God sustains me? Will they see the Holy Spirit's healing in my life? Will His grace, that is sufficient for me, really be enough? Can I possibly model Jesus to them? Will they put their hope in the Living God? And will they be able to pass it on to their children, and their children's children...

Because here's a true statement that scares the crap out of me:
Children are unpredictable.
You never know what inconsistency they are going to catch you in next.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
They are watching us, and they are making life decisions based on what we do and what they see.
And that's a BIG DEAL.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


New banner (used picnik - GREAT program). Feels Spring-y-er.

New blogging program thingy, they moved stuff around on me here.

New blog settings - I think you can now comment anonymously (which I should have figured out before, but I didn't).

Thinking about a getting a Kindle, new to me.
Or maybe an itouch, music AND books, but the screen seems too small.

Trying to turn over a new leaf
in parenting
in our marriage
focus on the good stuff, the God stuff
letting go of resentment & unforgiveness
appreciating kindness
These leaves are heavy!

New episodes on TV after the Olympics ended.
While trying not to get caught up in too much TV,
I should be less excited about this.

New (to me) organization that lets YOU give small business loans to people in 3rd world countries. It can be as little as $25 (who can't scrape up $25?) and can change their world. You get it back, and then get to invest it again. Amazing! Check out Kiva here. I'm SO doin' it, with our kids, what a great object lesson - what a great life lesson!

Two new babies born over the last two weeks to friends in our small group - now THAT's how you multiply!

And the sun is out, and the snow is melting!
A new season is almost upon us!

I am trying to see as God sees -
new - new - NEW!!!
possibilities everywhere.
He makes all things new
and I am trying to notice.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"I Can't Stop!"

When Micah was around 4 years old, Micheal heard this frantic statement yelled from the living room where the last TV program had ended and a 'forbidden' program was starting:

You need to turn this off! I'm not supposed to watch this and I can't stop watching!

I can easily imagine that if the Apostle Paul had been a child in the 20th century, we might possibly have heard a statement like that. As it is he cried out with these words:

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:14-25

A child calling out to his Papa, "I don't want to do this and I can't stop! Who can help me but You?"

Micah is struggling with some stuff that seems like this, doesn't know why he's doing it, and at 14 we are not the ones in his life to come 'turn it off' for him. Yes, we can and are doing the tough love stuff and removing privileges and grounding and talking and praying and modeling and everything we can think to do, but this stuff really comes down to some internal decisions Micah needs to make, some places and things he is going to for 'medication' that need changing, and the desire to do what God wants him to do. If we could do that for him we would, but it is not ours to do .

This is hard stuff. These are life changing decisions, life-giving decisions. This is where he is becoming a man, hopefully an obedient man of God. I want, we want, so much for him, we see so much potential, so many possibilities. I have to believe, I do believe that God will not fail, I am expecting a miracle in the life of our son.