Category Archives: Daily Living

Let the Home School Adventure Begin!

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7

One of my passions, which I haven’t shared on here much yet, is home schooling. Besides teaching my children the three R’s (Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmetic), I get to spend quality time teaching them about the Lord….about His laws, His love and His ways.

This year as we learn about countries and civilizations, (through My Father’s World Core curriculum), we will focus on the Great Commission,  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” (Mark 16:15). We will get to focus on missionaries who had great influence on our world, and those from our church, with whom they can make a personal connection. It gets me excited!

2015-08-22 15.56.01                                                                                         Our world map, with missionary tracts to read as we “travel”

As a child, I was home schooled off and on and went to private school the other years. Then, I entered public school, wide-eyed and innocent for high school. That’s right…high school. And I succeeded. Truly. Academically I did great. Socially, I had many friends from all different walks, while not losing what I believed. I was active in clubs and activities. I am a firm believer in a good foundation.

I have incredibly fond memories of my home school days. My Mom was a stay-at-home mom when I was little. She taught me for my first couple of years. We had so much fun. We had a classroom. We had a blackboard and alphabet curtains. We played badminton and went swimming together for P.E. We took field trips. I learned a lot.

Then my Dad got sick, and the roles reversed. Suddenly, he became a stay-at-home dad. He taught me in my middle school years. Formerly a high school physics teacher, he had his own fun in store for me. We did science projects together. We didn’t have a classroom anymore, so all my work was done at the dining room table. We went around and around with math because I just didn’t click transitioning back from private school back to home school, (later realizing that I learned less in school than at home and had to catch up), but he worked hard to explain in a way I would understand. And math is now a subject in which I succeed.

When I look back on those years, I see them through the child lens. They are happy memories. I had no idea how much my parents really had to prep to teach me. I vaguely remember meetings they went to with other parents to discuss curriculum. I have no memory of them making lesson plans, no idea how much time they invested when I was playing or asleep to make school successful for me. But looking back as a mom and home school teacher myself, I get it now. I know that they did much that I didn’t see. And I appreciate it.

2015-08-22 15.41.34                                                                                              My desk and all of our school stuff!

This year will be a real adventure. Not only will I be teaching all three kiddos at home (and church, thanks to our amazing pastor who consented to me setting up a little space of our “own” at church so that I can focus on the Sunday school ministry as well), but will be balancing a heavy visit schedule for Little Miss (still in foster care), taking all three kiddos to gymnastics and swimming lessons, taking the first grader to the public school for “specials” (music, library and PE), taking the 4th grader to the public school for special ed (speech therapy, hearing device services and math assistance), all while maintaining a line of sight on my oldest child because of past behaviors.

I get a bit overwhelmed when I think about it. But I intend to tell you how it goes. And for those of you mamas who have a “line of sight” kiddo like I do, I hope what I post will help you. And on the flip side, if you’re a pro and have been at it for a while, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what works for you.

I’ll be sharing projects we do, routines and schedules that work, curriculum we use and what we like about it, field trip reports, etc. It should be a fun year.

2015-08-22 15.41.40                                                                                          The kiddos’ learning area

Well, here goes nothing!

Blessings and much love,

Mama

Turbulence Ahead

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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Do you like to fly? I do! My first airplane ride was in November 1985 and I was four years old. I was flying to Disneyland with my Grandma, Grandpa and great-aunt. Just about the only thing I remember about the flight was having to chew gum to help my popping ears. One thing I don’t remember whether there was turbulence, but I’m sure there was some.

I love turbulence. I mean it. I LOVE TURBULENCE.

I got to thinking about that. Why in the world would I love it? Some people I’m sure…maybe even you…are reading this thinking, ‘She’s crazy cakes!’

Well, for one, I think turbulence is actually fun. It feels a bit like a carnival ride. But to me, it seems much safer than strapping myself into some rinky-dink wooden contraption they call a roller coaster that swings me upside down and creaks as I nearly pass out from g-forces and nearly fly over top of the safety (haha!) bar across my lap. Perhaps it’s because I started flying so young that I didn’t have time to nurture the fear of flying. Perhaps it’s because I know the statistics on the safety of air travel. But I do know that I trust the pilot when I fly. I assume that he has experienced turbulence many times before and he’s a pro. Somehow that’s enough.

It’s baffling, really.

I don’t know why, but in His grace and mercy, there have been a few definite times in my spiritual life where the Lord has warned me of turbulence ahead.

But instead of being excited and happy about the bumpy ride ahead, my heart sinks. I dread it. Sometimes I actually begin to feel afraid. I have to make a conscious effort to trust the Lord.

WHY IS THAT?

I mean, I can trust a pilot and co-pilot that I have never met in my life to land a huge piece of metal that defies gravity over thousands of miles, but struggle to trust the Savior of my soul? Someone Who has repeatedly proven His capability to do absolutely anything?

THAT, my friends, is truly baffling.

Unlike the airline pilot that flew me to Anaheim that day in 1985, who I likely never saw again, I personally know the Lord. Intimately. We talk every day. He leads and guides me.

In fact, it occurred to me that I first committed my life to the Lord the same month and year that I took that first airplane ride when I was just four years old. I walked away from the Lord in my late teens, but He called after my heart over and over and I returned Him in March 2003. Never more to roam.

You know what? We can each look at our individual lives as  a big, long, turbulent airplane ride. It’s like God the Father and God the Son, Jesus, are the pilot and co-pilot of my life-plane. They are veiled behind the door to the cockpit. They are steering and directing my life. At times they call over the speaker to remind me to return my seat to the upright position and to buckle up. They may tell me what the condition is outside. The Holy Spirit, also known as “The Comforter” is like my flight attendant. He is the most visible to me. He interacts with me, gives me safety instructions along the way and literally comforts me when needed. He brings the extra pillow and blanket when I am having a hard night. He brings the ginger ale for my upset stomach or just because it sounds good. He warmly smiles at me. And it is He Who demonstrates how to safely maneuver the “what if’s” that lie ahead.

When you personally know the pilot, in theory, it should be easy to trust him for the safest possible outcome. Two of my uncles are private pilots and I feel completely at ease with the idea of flying with either of them. It’s been years, but when flying with my uncle, I am exhilarated by the ride, enjoy the view, and completely trust my pilot.

2014-10-09 12.58.00                                                                                            My Uncle’s plane

The Lord has, ever so gently, been pointing out the great disparity in my reaction to Him as my pilot versus that of any human pilot I have needed to trust in my life to get from Point A to Point B.

Now, granted. Our family has had its share of “turbulence” lately. And the Lord, in His grace and mercy gave me little warnings along the way.

One particular Wednesday night in January is one of those specific times. We had a really great Bible study that night and I went to the the altar. As I began to pour my heart out to Him about a lot of things, really, I was keenly aware of my lingering broken heart from the loss of our little foster daughter who was back in her birth mother’s care. I had often over the previous seven months re-committed her to the Lord and pray for her safety and that night I was doing that very thing.

Then, what seemed to be out of nowhere, the Lord brought back a very clear vision He had given me at a Camp meeting when I was about 11 years old. I was walking on a very narrow path with a huge cliff on my left and a sheer drop-off on my right. The Lord spoke very clearly to me that evening and said that He was in the canyon — that instinctively I would want to cling to the physical wall I felt and saw, but that He was in the nothingness and that I would need to trust Him and walk on the edge closest to Him. Even if people thought I was crazy. Even if I thought I was crazy!

Somehow, that encounter didn’t freak me out like you might expect.

My hands are quite full with both of our children, one of whom is considered “special needs.” Yet, on Christmas break, the Lord had asked us to foster again and our names were back in the hat.

That very next night, Thursday, January 29, we were ask to take in two little boys who had never been in care before. They moved in on Tuesday, February 3. Twenty days later we got the call our sweet foster baby, now just under 2 years old, was back in care and we were asked to take her. In less than three weeks, we went from a family of four to a family of seven…with one bathroom.

We were just getting into the rhythm of enjoying that happy chaos, when it seemed our world came crashing in all around us. Some things surfaced about our eldest son. Immediately he was deemed “line of sight” which means just that. He has to be in our sight at all times. In addition, we were told that we were being investigated for neglect. We were devastated.

We became isolated overnight. We felt like we couldn’t talk to anyone, and to a point, we couldn’t until the 30-60 day investigation was done. It was awful. However, the Lord was so present. I knew that He was piloting the plane in those long, difficult, lonely days. The Comforter sent phone calls from friends, cards in the mail, and laid us heavy on many hearts who would pray for us.

The days dragged on. Our two foster boys were moved to another home to help us manage our own strict safety plan with more ease. And after what seemed like forever, the investigation was indeed closed as “unfounded.”

I still praise the Lord for bringing us out unharmed. We truly felt like the Hebrew children coming out of the fiery furnace. There was no smell of smoke on our clothes, but the ropes that bound us were burned clean off.

Looking back, I would take that trial again. Don’t get me wrong. It was HARD. But I became so much closer to the Lord during that time than ever before. And once again, He was teaching me to trust Him in the midst of turbulence.

The other night, Shane and I were happily discussing the blessing another couple received from the Lord. The husband just recently got saved and I made the comment that it’s just like the Lord to pour out His blessings on a home where He finally has free reign! Kind of like a, “You’re on the right track! Keep going!” blessing.

Shane chortled that we seemed to rarely get the “you’re on the right track” blessings and rather get the “just trust Me” blessings. No. Joke.

But, I guess until I get excited to ride the turbulence with the Lord, that kind will continue. (Sorry, Honey.) When we have a smooth flight without any turbulence, sometimes we forget that there’s a pilot keeping us safe up there in that cockpit. The Lord wants us to know He is there and that He’s got this.

As Christians, we all…every one of us….face turbulence. How do you react when you hear the Lord say, “Buckle up, Kiddo. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!”

In the Scripture above, Jesus is telling His disciples, past and present, that very thing. In  the days we live, it’s no wonder or surprise that we will face tribulation, trial and turbulence. But Jesus says to be of good cheer!” We can actually still enjoy this flight, even when turbulent times come.

Our destination in near. Very near.

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

 

Lessons from a Teacup

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”                                                              I Corinthians 6:20  

It was a beautiful day at the Oregon Coast and our family made a stop at the Lincoln City Goodwill, which has become a tradition, mainly reinforced by the affordable treasures we find every time we go.

This day was no exception. I can’t remember exactly what day it was, or even the month, but one particular event of that day remains pretty memorable for me.

As with all other previous trips to Goodwill, we always started in the book section. Shane would then peel off to one side of the store, both boys in tow, to see the electronics, followed by the reward of toys and games. I went the other way toward housewares with the baby in the cart. Typically, when I arrive in the dish and glassware aisle, I look for two specific things. The first is Home & Garden Party (now Celebrating Home) dinner plates that look similar to Fiestaware, because I have broken a couple and like the dishes so much, I want to replace them. (Still no luck in finding them, to date.) The second is look at the teacups. I am not a tea drinker, but I have a nice collection anyway. Some are from my Momma, some from my MaMaw (my Dad’s mom), while others just caught my eye at some point and were reasonably priced.

2015-05-27 22.50.32

Just prior to this trip, and I mean just prior…like maybe a day or two…I told Shane I had enough teacups and to remind me of this when I found another. I even went so far as to say, “Don’t let me get anymore!”

Yet, there I was, looking at the teacups. No big deal.  Then one particular cup caught my eye. I wasn’t particularly fond of its print. It was a weird art-deco shape, where frills and scallops are more my style. In fact, had I gone by design alone, I would have let it lie. But it had a unique, translucent quality. Of course, I couldn’t just look. I had to (GASP!) pick a couple of them up. Dangerously closer to that commitment of buying.

2015-05-27 22.37.48

Then, I did what I ALWAYS do. I looked at who the maker was.

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It was a Shelley. A Shelley! Now, for those of you who collect teacups, you know that this is a rare find for Goodwill. They seem to be in every space at an antique mall. For $80.00. But Goodwill? Not a chance.

I still couldn’t believe what I was holding, so I did the next test. One thing about Shelley cups, in particular, that I love is that when you hold it up to the light, you can see through it. It’s delicate. Its design never overpowers the glow that shines through it. Yup. Sure enough. The signature glow was undeniable.

I could hardly believe my eyes. $7.00? Pretty sure I actually looked at the baby and said, “WE’LL TAKE IT!” I excitedly marched over to the toy aisle and showed Shane what we were getting. Now, mind you, he knows about Shelley teacups. I’ve talked about them before. It’s one of the few names that I care about and that he would recognize. I’ve always wanted to own a Shelley. But I have never bought one. Why? Because they are so stinkin’ expensive! Yes, they’re pretty. But I’m not that hardcore. My Mama has one that I can eventually have, and that was good enough for me.

But here was this golden opportunity!

So when he said, “But you said not to let you get anymore teacups. Better put it back,” I’m pretty sure my response was, “You’re kidding. Right? PLEASE TELL ME YOU’RE KIDDING!”

At first I thought he was kidding. But he really wasn’t. He took his earlier assignment from me rather seriously. It was almost like he was executing a directive from a “clear-minded” me prior to “going senile” me.

“I know what you’re saying now, but I also know what you said then, and trust me, you’ll thank me later.”

NOOOOOOOOO! No. I. Won’t. 

I felt like I was in a nightmare. I kept it in the cart and followed him as I talked. I reasoned with him. Yeah, $7.00 would take that much more away from treats during the day, but it was a Shelley teacup. For $7.00. I’d sacrifice my Starbucks.

He finally relented because I was getting a little crazy. And he admits he was having a lot of fun with all of it, because he, too, knew what a find it was.

I was excited for the whole rest of the day.

When we brought it home, Shane sat down and started researching, which he loves to do, and discovered all kinds of info about Shelley and this particular teacup. We were able to narrow down a range of years it was likely made it (between 1925-1945), the style (Queene Anne). After much digging, he came to the conclusion that as closely as he could tell, it was a $93.00 Shelley teacup. For $7.00.

The Lord taught me a very valuable lesson that day. Based on the design alone, I would have passed right by that teacup. What made the difference was the maker. In fact, it made all the difference!

My persistence in wanting that silly cup showed me something, too. Jesus knows Who our Maker is. And He pursues us diligently. He calls after our hearts drawing us to Himself. And it doesn’t matter what design we have on our outside. It doesn’t matter what value someone else places on us. Believe me, the value others place on us will always be low in comparison to how much value our Heavenly Father places on us.

Before I came back to the Lord in 2003, I was much like that hidden $7.00 tea cup on the Goodwill shelf. I had once held a place of honor in His kingdom. I had been saved since I was four years old.

But oh, how the cares of this life can creep in.

By the time I was in college, I was very religious, but no longer had a relationship with the Lord. Not really. I married a boy I met in church and figured that we were both right with God, but I knew in my heart that we weren’t just by the choices we were making.

We tried to get pregnant right away because I was having health issues related to conceiving. By the time I was 21, I had lost at least two pregnancies and blamed God for my unhappiness. I was extremely discontent about the design my Maker had placed on my life. No matter what I did, I couldn’t fill that emptiness I felt.

I tried. Boy, I tried.

We bought a house and no matter how much time and money we spent on that house, I was never satisfied. I remember one night in particular. Shane was working swing shift and I was home alone in our beautiful, picture perfect, empty house. I was pacing the hallway asking God when He was going to snatch it all away from me. I was sure He would punish me for my foolishness. We hadn’t even prayed before we bought that house.

But then, JESUS. Jesus passed by.

He called after my wandering heart that night. He reminded me that He saw me and He recognized me. He knew Who my Maker was and knew my worth. And He had already bought me with a price. He paid much more than the world, or even I, thought I was worth. Finally, He gently reminded me that if I allow Him to hold me up to the Light, others can see that Light through me.

Very shortly after that crisis moment with Jesus in my hallway, He saved me. He sanctified me. And He filled me with His precious Holy Spirit. Now, by His grace alone, I can be meet for the Master’s use. Unlike myself, who rarely uses my tea cups, He often uses me, for which I am humbly grateful.

We are all like Shelley tea cups.

When I encounter others throughout my day, am I looking at their design alone? Or am I remembering that they have a very special Maker? Am I passing them by? Or do I tell them they have value and a purpose?

Jesus, help me to tell others how valuable and special they are to You. Let me tell them of the price You paid for them. And make me ever mindful that because they are to valuable to You, they matter to me, too. 

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Blessings and much love,

Mama

I’m thankful I got the flu

“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.”          Proverbs 27:7  

Whaaa…? Is she crazy?

Well, yes.

But I can truly say that I am glad I got the flu this year. I am even thankful for the timing of it. That may be really hard to understand, (especially for my extended family who also got the flu DURING Christmas break with me).

Easy for you to say, you may be thinking. You’re over the bug and I’m still miserable.

Nope. I have been sick since 12/26. That’s right, exactly one month today. My voice is back after five days with laryngitis (a blessed happiness to the boys in my life…all three of them), I can breathe without taking my nebulizer treatment for my asthma every night, but I am still EXHAUSTED. I just can’t seem to shake this all the way.

But, OH! The life lessons! Please allow me share a few with you.

First of all, it always helps with empathy. I don’t typically struggle with empathy, but my hubby will be the first to admit that he’s…well…a BIG BABY when he gets sick with the common cold. So although I try to help him, I am not always the most, “You poor thing,” with him. He knows this, understands why, and we’re OK. But he got this flu the day before me. And I lacked empathy for him for exactly 24 hours…until it hit me. My first thought was something to the effect of, “How is he still ALIVE?!?!” Then my kids got it. So thankful that Shane was a willing guinea pig for all of us. By the time they got it, I was much more lovey and snugly…though when you’re sick it’s a tad harder.

Secondly, my dependence on the Lord grew immensely. And, yes, I had gotten the flu shot. But the CDC basically said, “Our bad…wrong strain.” Typically, when we’re this sick, fevers and all, we all go to the doctor. BUT, (here’s where the timing starts to comes in), we were in Alabama. We couldn’t just go in to see anybody. We had no idea how our insurance would work in another state. We found a couple of providers that might take us, but we couldn’t even think straight to make a decision. So we prayed. A lot. And anointed our kids and ourselves with oil and prayed some more. I was truly expecting instantaneous healing. He’d done it before, and He could do it again. But He chose not to. (More to come on why I think that is…) So we just kept on praying. And sleeping.

As we started to pack the van to drive back to Oregon…from Alabama…by way of Tennessee…with the flu…I was dreading every mile. Except the Grand Canyon. Sick or not, THAT, I was looking forward to. The idea of seeing that beautiful place gave me something to look forward to.

We planned to follow my in-laws up to Nashville and spend a night there so that we could have one last day with them, and see my sister-in-law off, who was flying ahead to Oregon…with a sick baby. It just kept getting better! We had a somewhat enjoyable day, despite our sickness, exploring the Opry Mills mall and eating for the first time at the Rain Forest Cafe. It was fun, but the boys were laying their heads on the table between bites. We were a cheerful bunch to be with, let me tell ya. We said our tearful goodbyes that evening at a Walgreens because we all needed more medicine and Kleenex for the road. Lovely.

Our first stop on the road was going to be to meet with some friends and family in Arkansas. We couldn’t make it. We were so exhausted, we decided to spend the night in Little Rock. We quickly realized the next morning that this was indeed the flu. The news in the hotel lobby was calling it a national epidemic, and we knew we couldn’t knowingly and willingly expose our friends. CANCEL. Boo. But we were so sick, we really didn’t care that that point. We just wanted to get home. But somewhere along the way, the Lord laid James 5:14 on my heart: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:” and since I knew that it was within our power to still stop in Van Buren, where our friends, ministers, would be, I texted and asked if we could do a drive through prayer with them. This is my third reason to be thankful. The family of God is an amazing and powerful thing. They said they would be happy to and all gathered around our van, anointed our heads and prayed fervently for us. As we drove away, glad to see their faces for just a few minutes even, I was SURE that the Lord would heal us then. But He chose not to.

I was so confused! Lord, why are you not taking care of this? I know you can! How are we going to get home feeling like this?? 

It was New Year’s Eve and we drove and drove and drove. And we stopped a ton more than planned because we just needed breaks. There were at least two moments on this trip where I wondered if we would ever get home. No drama. I was delirious and serious.

Here’s where the fourth reason starts to flesh out. We stopped at a Pilot station in Oklahoma City. We all got out and got a couple of souvenirs and I remember feeling like a great big germ. My hoodie was up, my sunglasses on (in the evening) and I was FREEZING, (there was snow everywhere.) We were in there for quite a while…everything felt like slow motion.

We finally moved the van to a gas pump and I was going to take a turn driving when Shane came out after paying for gas and said to switch seats because we needed to talk. After getting gas, we pulled back into a parking spot. He said the Weather Channel was on in the station, (I hadn’t noticed), and there was a snow storm headed toward TX, NM, AZ, CO and NV…right. where. we. were. headed. SERIOUSLY?!?! Shane was pained to even say the words, but he was pretty sure that we should go north. And miss the Grand Canyon. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was in tears, and he almost was. What would we tell the boys? (Peter’s hearing aids were likely out and Nolan had a bad ear infection and couldn’t hear us.) We sat in that Pilot station parking lot for almost an hour when all was said and done. But the God who had chosen not to heal us gave us a very clear answer to turn north. So we did.

Here’s why I’m glad we got the flu. Had we felt amazing that night, we both believe we would have chanced the snow and ice. In fact, we likely wouldn’t have stopped in Fort Smith the previous night and would have been far closer to the storm and wouldn’t have been able to easily divert. Oklahoma City is THE place to change course and that is where we were right at that moment.

We drove to Wichita, KS and stayed overnight. That night as we were dosing up with all of our cough medicine, Tylenol and inhalers, I looked at Shane and said, “All of this junk just makes me want to get home.”

The next morning, Shane told me that there were nine fatality crashes on Interstate 40…right where we were headed.

The next day, the toll went up to something like fifteen. And I-40 ended up just getting shut down because it was so bad. Had we not been killed or injured, at the very least, we would have been stuck.

We ended up beating the storm. It hit Oklahoma City the next day. We were north of it the whole time. And the boys got to see some things they wouldn’t have been able to. We took them to Focus on the Family. Peter got to see the Narnia room, which may have just made his whole vacation, and we got to share a soda in Whit’s End Soda shop. They got to see the beauty of Garden of the Gods and we got to eat at Chick-Fil-A one last time.

Friends, the Lord knows what He is doing. He allows all sorts of things to happen that we think are mistakes. Be assured, God does NOT make mistakes. He sees us. He sees our suffering and He has a reason for each tear, each illness, each detour.

When you put your trust in a loving, reliable, all-knowing Father like Him, you can look back at your trials and thank Him for them.

Ever notice how many trials we face in this old world? Does it make you say, “All of this junk just makes me want to get home.” HOME…HEAVEN…is our goal. And if trials make that goal sweeter, then so be it.

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

The blessing is right where you are!

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”      Ecclesiastes 9:10 

Because it is MLK, Jr. Day, my mind went back to when I wrote this little devotional or article while still working for a large automotive company call center.  I vaguely recalled what I wrote, so I decided to do some digging and find it. To my knowledge, it was never published, so I’ll re-post what I wrote here. I have to say, re-reading this in hindsight, seeing where I am now in my life, I can’t help but chuckle and how little I knew about what was to come. Instead of a three-hour commute, I share a van with my husband and maybe use it twice a week. Where I once was making a lot of money, my biggest financial contribution to my family is now how I can save the money that Shane brings in. Where once I was childless, I now have two beautiful boys that I have the privilege to raise alongside their Daddy. A lot has changed in my life, but the message below still applies.

“Bloom where you’re planted.” I had heard it so many times before, but one recent experience brought new meaning to those words for me. While on my lunch break a few weeks back, I was sitting in my car listening to the radio. A talk show host was quoting a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that I had never heard before. He was speaking to a class of 6th graders when he said the following:

“And when you discover what you will be in your life, set out to do it as if God Almighty called you at this particular moment in history to do it. Don’t just set out to do a good job. Set out to do such a good job that the living, the dead or the unborn couldn’t do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music…Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

MLK

The quote moved me and I immediately began to thank the Lord for His call on my life. I told him how grateful I was for my calling to be a wife and an eventual mother. But it was then, that the Lord gently rebuked me. You see, I was on my lunch break for a full-time job at a great company. Have you ever had the Lord speak to you in that still, small voice, and yet felt shaken to your core?

Up to this point, in my mind, especially in recent months, my job had become a dreaded stepping stone to becoming that stay-at-home wife and mom that I felt so called to be. I struggled through every day, feeling much like a martyr for my long commute and my high-stress role.

I’m so thankful for that moment with the Lord in my car. That day He made it abundantly clear to me how influential I can be for Him in this job until He moves me. I can shine my light, work diligently, honor my boss, and most importantly, honor the Lord. I walked back to my desk with a genuine smile on my face for the first time in weeks…maybe months.(YIKES!)     The very next day I had the privilege to talk to a customer who desperately needed to hear someone was praying for her. How thankful I am that the Lord showed me I needed an attitude adjustment the day before I got that call or I might have missed a crucial opportunity!

Do you find yourself “in between” one place in life and another? Are you viewing your current state as a stepping stone for your life to really begin? I’d encourage you to take a moment and thank the Lord for the very place you’re in. The blessing is right where you are!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

 

My 2015 Theme Verse

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

OK, so before you immediately get discouraged thinking, “Wait…I don’t have a theme verse. I’ve never heard of that idea. I wonder if I need a theme verse,” don’t worry. I never had a theme verse until last week. The Lord simply impressed upon me to make a bite-sized goal for myself this year.

You see, New Year’s resolutions, for me, are a terrible and counterproductive thing. Because I’m a perfectionist, I set very precise, sometimes very lofty goals. I fail, and then I loathe myself for the remaining 358 days of the year. (I usually do well for exactly one week.)

So I’ve sworn off New Year’s resolutions for years. I don’t make them and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

But this Christmas family road trip that we took, (more to come on that in another post), was like a magnifying glass into our family dynamics and interactions. And let me tell ya, friends, I come up short.

Pretty sure it was somewhere in Kansas that I had this interaction with my eldest. It went something like this.
Me: Pickle, now that we’re stopped, I need to fill your water bottle.
P: MOM! I tried to give it to you earlier and now I can’t find it! Gaaahhhh!!
Me: How is that my fault?! You showed me your empty cup like it was a trophy! You never asked for water, and we were driving. You knew I wouldn’t be able to fill it then.

As the nasty words were flowing out of my mouth, it was like a Hollywood slow-motion scene. A divine, “Nooooooooooooooo…Doooon’t doooooo iiiiiiiit!!!!!!” was ringing in my ears.

In my defense, I was horribly sick with the flu, the van was a disaster, and my son didn’t communicate with me. But in his defense, he was horribly sick with the flu, the van was a disaster, and he’s 10. Communication isn’t his forte. It is mine. I have very little trouble expressing my thoughts (obviously) and I can read between the lines very well. I should have known my kid needed water and I blew it.

But the Lord impressed upon me something much more simple on which I can work. My answers. How I respond. It’s not even what I say most of the time, but how I say it. My tone.

Here’s how the Lord replayed that scenario in my head…

Me: Pickle, now that we’re stopped, I need to fill your water bottle.
P: MOM! I tried to give it to you earlier and now I can’t find it! Gaaahhhh!!
Me: I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t catch on to what you were asking earlier. Do you need help finding your water bottle?

Oh. My. Word. How much better was that? Seriously.

After the Lord opened my eyes to this character flaw that I desperately need to work on, I asked Him to give me just one verse that I can memorize to keep me mindful and on track this year. He, in His goodness, gave me a verse that I had already memorized years ago. I only had to find the reference.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

I want very badly for my children to have peace and tranquility, not just when they are in our home, but whenever they are in my presence. Sometimes we cannot be sheltered inside these four walls that we call “home,” but I desperately want them to feel at home in my heart.

My kiddos, especially my eldest, have a lot of anger, even wrath, greatly due to their past. Do I want to help them turn away that wrath or stir it up? Well, when asked that question, the answer is a no-brainer. However, when I’m not consciously asking myself that question, I can get hooked by their often-present anger and join in. The Lord is calling me to something higher. Better. I often have to remind my son that he’s the kid and I’m the parent. Now the Lord is reminding me, They’re the kids, You’re the parent.

And the Lord wants me to focus on one thing in 2015 — a soft answer. It’s not in my personality. It doesn’t come naturally for me. I love being quick-witted and sharp. Sharp is usually attributed as a positive trait…”That gal is sharp!” But sharp can poke an eye out. I want…and need…to learn the discipline of being soft with my children.

Well, now that I’ve totally made myself vulnerable to you all, my dear reader mamas…what is your one thing this year? Has the Lord laid a verse on your heart? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to share here!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

A little bit at a time

A few weeks ago, I received a doctor bill that was WAY too high and it triggered a very vivid memory from my childhood.

I remember standing in our galley-style kitchen with royal blue countertops standing somewhere between the pantry door and the wall where my mom always hangs her calendar and listening to my Mama on the phone.  I remember that I had to look WAY up to my Mama’s face. For those of you who know her, she’s 5’3”, so I was likely very young. She had this stressed look on her face and she was haggling with an insurance company, as I recall, about a bill she had received.  The thought went through my head, “I don’t ever want to grow up. How would I know who to call? How would I know a bill was too much? How will I even pay for bills at all?” It was an overwhelming moment in my little girl heart.

But when I opened that bill, I almost immediately made a phone call to the doctor’s billing office.  I left a message.  Some hours later I got a call back verifying everything was correct on their end and to call the lab. I did so, heard the wait was over ten minutes and so opted to update all the insurance info online.

It was annoying, but fairly painless. I have since checked and the matter has been resolved.

What I didn’t understand as a little girl, but do now as a wife and Mama, is that know-how comes a little bit at a time.  It comes with experience. It comes from reading and listening.  I knew exactly within two phone calls and a couple mouse-clicks what to do.  No stress, no anxiety.

Our Heavenly Father works this way.  There have been many times in my life where the reverse has happened of what I experienced as a little girl.  “Why did He wait until NOW to teach me this? I sure wish I would have known this years ago.” But the Lord knows what we can handle.  He sees our hearts and minds and knows what we need to know when we need to know it.

Another thing I didn’t realize as a kiddo that I get now is that when my Mom had to call people, she was often talking to people who were experts in a certain area and was able to glean the information she needed for the moment.

The Lord brings “experts” our way as well.  Are you facing cancer? Maybe there’s a sister in your church that has faced it and has won the battle.  Are you depressed? Perhaps there is someone you know who walked a very dark, deep valley and made it through to the other side.  How about the death of a loved one? I’m sure you can think of someone who knows exactly what that road looks and feels like.

Along our foster & adoption journey, the Lord has sent us many experts to rely heavily on. Their experience and willingness to just be there for us has been a priceless treasure. Only in eternity will their value be truly accurately measured.

Are you an “expert”? Has the Lord allowed a difficult circumstance to come your way? Did you “beat the level”? Do you have pointers for a sister in need? I would venture to say you do. Ask the Lord to lay someone on your heart for whom to pray and be available. It could be just what they need. It could be just what you need, too.

Blessings and much love,

Mama

Please note that this blog is intended to be a completely safe place for mamas (and dads) to share. It will be heavily monitored and comments that are unkind or damaging will not be allowed. Grace abounds. Thank you.