Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Love is Patient & Kind

For whatever reason it is easier to be kind to strangers and friends some days than to the people we live with, the folks we love the most. It seems these people can bring out the worst in us or, maybe, they are just a safe place to be ourselves and know that we are loved anyway. Whatever the reason, the kids and I are pondering 1 Corinthians 13 today and praying that we learn to love each other in this very way.

Love is patient. Love is kind.
Love is not jealous. Love is not proud.
Love is not rude. Love is not selfish.
Love is not easily angered. Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil. Love rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects. Love always trusts.
Love always hopes. Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Milkshake Miracle

I must begin by saying that I do not believe in coincidence or luck at all. I am one of those folks who believes that things work out the way they are supposed to. I also believe that God really can be found when we seek him.

So on with the milkshake story.

The day began at four in the morning with a two year old needing something to drink. After settling in with ice water and beginning to drift off, she decided she needed to potty. Now I am so thankful that she is potty trained, but at four in the morning it is very tempting to remind her that she does have on a pull-up and it will truly be okay just this once. But no, we got up and went to the potty. We get back to bed and just as I was finding sleep again, I hear her say, "Mommy, I need to put my jammies on." Yes, she had fallen asleep in her t-shirt. I promptly replied, "You have got to be kidding me. We'll be getting up in just a little while." Fortunately for her and me, her daddy helped her get the beloved jammies on and she did go back to sleep, just before the alarm went off.

Thursdays are always packed full and this week, add head cold that leaves me feeling quite fuzzy. After Bible Study, I went by Wendy's to pick up Frosties and lunch. I really thought I ordered enough Frosties for me to have one thinking how wonderful it would feel to my tired, sore throat. Once I arrived home, I realized that I did not order enough for me. I was so bummed.

Just a little while later, my sweet friend, Pauline, stops by and her daughter runs in the house with a strawberry milkshake for me. She had no idea about the Frosty, but she did know that I had a scratchy throat. I didn't even see her come by as her daughter passed it off to Jonathan who brought it to me. I was completely stunned - I just couldn't believe it.

Now I know this doesn't sound like that big of a deal, but it was. It had been a tough week and I had been telling this friend of mine how I know that we find God when we seek Him. I had been praying for God to give my friend something tangible just so this friend would be reminded that God really is with us and really does care. And in that very moment, holding this homemade strawberry milkshake, I was reminded that the God of the universe knew all about me, even my sore throat. Not only was I reminded that my little situations, the ups and downs of my week, had not escaped His notice, but that He cared.

It was truly a milkshake miracle and it spoke to everyone who was a part of it. I was on the phone with my sister when the milkshake arrived and she was wowed. Lindsay has been sharing 'God-sightings' with her Bible study group and she shared this story. Even my boys raised an eyebrow and recognized how God had worked in the details of our day.

I must admit that it was one of things you had to experience in order to really get it. But I really got it. It really was a miracle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Word According to Kelsey

"I am with you hallways." Matthew 28:20

No, you didn't misread it and no, it's not a typo. This is Kelsey's very first memory verse and she says it just like that. Oh, and did I mention that she says it ALL the time.

At first it was sweet that she had memorized this verse and funny that she says, 'hallways' instead of 'always.' But now she says it so much that I find myself thinking about this verse all the time.

When she first learned the verse, we talked about all the times God is with us: when we are sleeping, playing, sick, scared, birthdays, eating, lonely. And even though her two-year-old brain cannot fully process that God, who she can't see, feel, or touch, is with her always, she continues to say it over and over knowing it's a good thing.

So when life seems overwhelming, which it often does, I hear Kelsey singing, "Remember, remember, God is with you hallways."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Big Day

Today was the big day for Lindsay (and for me). Today we went to the DMV and got her driver's permit - oh my!

We decided to set aside our academics this morning in order to pursue the long-awaited permit. Honestly, I was feeling a bit nauseous at the thought of my 15 year old child (yes, I said child) driving me home. All I could think about was the fact that the DMV office was on the other side of town and that the routes home were filled with construction and heavy traffic. In addition, we needed to swing by the drive thru at the bank which meant making a left hand turn across two lanes of traffic and pulling up to the teller window without casusing damage to the car or any passengers. It was more than my 40 year old brain could handle. Thus, the decision to go early in the day to obtain the permit because the more time I had to think about it, the less enticing it seemed.

So we had Bible together and the boys prayed for us. Of course, Alex wanted to come along stating that he wanted us all to die together (what encouragement). Seriously, we did pray and ask God for His mercy and protection and my stomach did calm down a bit.

When we arrived at the DMV office, it wasn't crowded and I am not sure who was more nervous - Lindsay about taking the exam or me about the ride home. She did just fine on the exam, only missed three and I did just fine on the ride home, only freaked out once, just a tiny bit. Actually, I was rather impressed by her grandma-like driving. She made it through the drive up window at the bank without causing damage to the car, she changed lanes nervously, but well and I did not throw up a single time, nor did I raise my voice even once. It was a very positive experience.

I must say that Lindsay has always been my cautious child and now that she is driving, I am very thankful for that. She can drive like a grandma forever, though she doesn't look like one!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fifteen Years Ago Today...

Fifteen years ago today I woke up hoping and praying this would be the day. I was pregnant with my first child and so very ready for her to come into the world. She, of course, was not working on my time table, but her own. She was a week late.

I had been doing everything I knew to do for a whole week to get this child to come - walking, eating spicy food, starting projects (thinking if I am in the middle of a project, she will surely interrupt) - and nothing for a whole week.

But on that Monday, everything changed. A beautiful baby girl invaded my life. Once she decided it was time, things moved right along. Just a few hours after arriving at the hospital, I was holding her in my arms completely amazed at this miracle of life, and I continue to be amazed by her. I couldn't wait to get home from the hospital and begin our mommy/daughter journey.

I remember those autumn days, just Lindsay, me and the rocking chair, trying to imagine what she would look like all grown up, wondering what kind of person she would become. Now I see the beautiful young girl with a heart to match, full of mercy and genuine compassion for people. She still takes her sweet time at everything, but in the bustle of this life, I think this is an enviable quality. Her eye for real beauty and her creative spirit inspire me. It's all better than I imagined all those years ago.

Today we'll celebrate with a few of her favorite things: friends, tacos, cookie cake, marshmallows toasted over the fire. She'll be princess for a day, complete with a tiara and sash.

Happy Birthday, sweet Lindsay!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gentle Reminder

A couple of nights ago something triggered Alex's asthma. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it can be a little scary especially since it's always on a weekend or holiday and in the middle of the night.

There I sat at 1:30 am talking to him about how he's feeling, making sure he's breathing okay, trying to find out what will make him more comfortable so he can sleep. I had given him cough medicine, he had used his inhaler, but still sleep wouldn't come. He had seemed to be asleep earlier, but he said he had been dreaming restless dreams and just felt so tired. I got him a glass of ice water and sat on the bed across from him, head in my hands, feeling exhausted and helpless. I really didn't know what else I could do for him. Alex is five feet, ten inches tall now, so holding and rocking him was not an option.

As as I sat there trying to think in the midst of his constant coughing, I told him that if he was sure he was okay then I would pray for him and I was going to go lay down. So I prayed a simple prayer that went something like this: Father, We know the fact that Alex is miserable has not escaped your notice and we know that you can reach down and bring complete healing to his body. If that's not your plan, then please, could you just give him some relief so he can rest and his body can heal? Let him know your presence in a real way. We ask that you would do this simply because of your great mercy for us.

I said goodnight and went to bed. Of course, I was wide awake, but in just a few minutes I realized that Alex wasn't coughing anymore. I went in and stood in the quiet of his room and watched him sleep, thankful for the gentle reminder that the God of the universe does see and does care about the things that tug at my heart, like a sick child who can't rest.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bible Study Update

Jonathan and I have been attending CBS and I wrote about our first day a few weeks ago. Well, I am happy to tell you that we are both truly enjoying this Bible study and we are thankful for our sweet friend who brought the card to us so we would actually sign up for our classes.

It's funny because while I have missed being a part of a Bible study, I couldn't get excited about CBS whenever my friend would tell me about it. When she brought me the card, I intentionally held it an extra few weeks thinking the children's program would fill quickly and I would have an excuse for not going. Well, that didn't work. I sent the card in and there was plenty of room for us - imagine that!

So all summer I knew we were planning to attend, but I wasn't that excited. That first morning was tough. Everyone was crying and no one wanted to go. I sat down to read my Bible and said, "Lord, if you don't talk to me about going to this Bible study, I am going to stay home." And you know what happened - he talked to me.

First, I read in Ecclesiastes 8:7, "Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do." For me, it was like God was saying to go with a joyful heart (which I did not have), that he was in favor of it.

Then I read Proverbs 22:17-19, "Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.....I teach you today, even you." Well, that was loud and clear for me. In my heart I thought, okay Lord, teach me something. And He is teaching me something every week.

I am always amazed that God remains faithful even when I am not. Even when my attitude was bad, I could find Him when I looked for Him. I have been reminded lately that my plan is often different from God's plan and I need a heart like Mary, a heart that is willing to participate in His plan no matter what.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Typical Day

A few folks have recently asked what our homeschooling days are like and since this is a ramble of a homeschooling mom, I thought answering it here would be appropriate.

I must admit that homeschooling three little people and entertaining a toddler is proving to be quite a challenge some days. So here's what a typical day at our house is like.

Ken gets up really early and I usually follow. We have coffee together, catch up on the news and go over the after work plan. You know, who has what activity and who needs to be picked up or hauled somewhere by which parent. After his departure, I must have more coffee and a quiet time before little people can talk to me. I like to get up early, but I don't want to interact with anyone right away.

Everyone gets up, has breakfast and does chores. Next we do Bible together (not sure do Bible is the best description, but it's what we say at our house). Then I sit with Jonathan for Math and Language and squeeze Alex's algebra into the mix while Kelsey plays somewhere nearby. Lindsay is usually playing the piano all morning or reading. While I am thankful that she is playing the piano all
the time again, it can be a little over stimulating for me for all of this to be going on at once, but most days we survive.

Typically by lunch time we have completed about half the subjects and the house is relatively tidy. We usually take an hour or so break to eat, play outside or scoot around town - just depends on the day.

In the afternoon we finish whatever school subjects still need attention and many afternoons are filled with piano lessons, baseball practice or games, Bible studies, youth activities, errands and chores.

The days are very full and I am not sure we have completely found our rhythm yet this year. Some days seem a bit overwhelming and some days are just perfect. I think it's in those moments when I catch an older sibling playing with or reading to a younger one, or helping out without being asked, or just adding their own brilliant thoughts to the dinner discussion that I realize that while our 'rhythm' might not be perfect, it's working for us.