Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Time Warp

He threw the M&M's high into the air as we walked toward the dorm.  As he caught them in his mouth, he tallied more brownie points in the "impress your girlfriend" category.  I mean, really?  How does such a silly game make me smile?  It did.  Sometimes he used grapes.  Other times he used marshmallows. Whether he succeeded in catching them or not, he was winning my heart.  
I stood the other morning, folding mountains of laundry, watching from the family room at Bryan, now my husband of almost 25 years.  We now live in a house full of kids, not in individual dorms.  Though life has morped multiple times, Bryan still woos my heart.  
He stood back from the counter where he was making stacks of pancakes and threw the marshmallow into the air and caught it.  Cheers rose from the many littles who sat gazing, impressed.  He still had it.  
I had to smile.  We look a little different now.  Life has etched its pattern on our hearts, and dare I say faces.  Bryan still makes me smile.  He has not settled with simply marrying me 25 years ago.  He continues to win my heart.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr.



Today our country celebrates a man who chose to make a difference in his world, Martin Luther King Jr. He took a risk, a bold stand, an opportunity to use his God-given ability of eloquence to move others to make a change. 
We are schooling still today at home, but I took the time to sit with Maddie and my other fifth grader, who does not have school today, and enjoyed a Brain Pop movie online about this man.  As I sat between two beautiful children, one white and one black, I was reminded how truly blessed we are.  The conversation that followed was not always easy or comfortable but necessary.  We learned a bit about history, but more about people, about values, about change, about our family.
As we have two children in our home who are biracial, I anticipate many more conversations as these.  For today, I am thankful to have had the time to sit and talk, opening up more windows into my son’s life, and creating a pathway for more conversation.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thrive or Just Survive

Plants die in my house.  I can handle kids, not plants.  True story.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy them, but when it comes to taking care of them, I leave them to themselves, and that never turns out well.  We're talking about plants, remember?
Good thing people are not like that.  But, then again, are they?
What about marriages?  Are we thriving with our husbands, or are we just trying to survive?
Sadly, there are more and more families in our churches who would have to admit that survival is the key.  Each spouse is fending for him or herself, the relationship has received no attention, and inevitably the marriage dies.   
I want to be in the business of nurturing and feeding my marriage and walking alongside others who need to be encouraged to do the same.
So, that sounds all well and good, but in the craziness of life how do I do that?  Remember those dying plants?  I started out well.  I watered them regularly.  I might have even trimmed off any "bad stuff" to promote growth.  I enjoyed their beauty.  Then days passed before I remembered to water them.  Some petals fell off.  The leaves wilted.  Eventually, revival was futile.
I would venture to say that no person in the bliss of their wedding day expects their marriage to wilt, dry out, fall apart, and die.  Newlyweds enjoy just being together.  They will be caught hand in hand.  They talk to each other. Simply put, they give their marriage attention.  They feed their relationship.  
Okay, I admit that this sounds too simple.  However, why not make it simple?  Marriage is too beautiful and precious to watch die.  
I do not hold a degree in psychology, nor do I hang a shingle out advertising marriage counseling.  I do not have the perfect marriage.  I make mistakes every single day.  I am passionate about strong marriages though.  
What are some ways that you promote growth in your marriage?  What attention are you giving to your relationship?  What steps are you taking to keep your marriage thriving?  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Defeated - or at least that is how I feel

Fostering is not for the casual spectator - you need to be engaged.  It is not for those who want to change the world - you can't.  So why am I doing this?  Please remind me, Lord.  
My littles tossed  "those" words across the kitchen again:  "My real mom is fighting for us.  She said we would go back to live with her.  She did say though we would still be able to see you."  Ugh.  
From the beginning, I have desired strong, healthy families.  This fostering gig wears away at that goal.  Fostering at its base is for children to have safe families while their birth families get their act together.  Sounds good, right?  Yet, in this drawn out legal process, my kids are caught in the lingo and emotional mess of reality and dreams.  
My kids are mad.  They wake up that way.  By 6:00 they were yelling and banging on walls.  Before 7:00 this morning, we already had two things broken.  My 3yo stomped and scowled around the kitchen.  The 11yo threw his fists and words to intentionally hurt.   
Defeat was the best word to describe my heart.  I know in my head that is not true.  God has already won the battle for my soul and for the ones in my family.  He will win.  His words are truth.  My kids are hearing lies.  It still hurts.  
As we move each day closer to trial, I feel that emotions on both sides of the courtroom are amped up.  


Lord, I need you today in a deep way.  Please pour some sweetness.  Some freshness.  Some newness.  Please remind me, Lord, of your presence.  Please show me how to choose joy and not defeat.  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Maddie and Mommy Moments


Maddie oozes with innocence and simplicity.  Today my tween daughter grasped a break in our craziness to share some time with me over an ice cream cone (her)  and cup of tea (me - thanks to My Fitness Pal). My littles were at a visit with their mom, and my bigs were home chilling.  That left time for just Maddie and me.
I brought along some end of the year questions to prompt conversation, though I am not sure why.  Maddie is not usually at a loss for words.   Maybe the questions were for me, and  I was glad I brought them.  I didn't realize that she is afraid of crickets.  I didn't know that she is proud of me.  I needed to hear again what she worries about and what she thinks she is good at.  
She loves to draw and spends a lot of free time doing just that.  The blank space at the bottom of the page provided perfect opportunity for her to give me a visual for what she thought was one of her favorite memories of this past year - camp at New Life Island. How sweet it was to hear her recall the top bunk experience, the friends she enjoyed, and her concern for moving up to the junior high level.
We didn't stay long.  The littles would be home before we knew it, and it was New Year's Eve.  

Thank you Lord, for giving me another window into Maddie's heart.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Inconvenienced

Maybe it is on purpose, but probably just out of ingnorance.  No matter the reasoning.  I was inconvenienced.  I was annoyed.  Doesn't she know what my Google calendar looks like?  Doesn't she have a clue as to what it takes for our large family to keep a schedule?  Why throw last minute changes into the mix of ins and outs?  
Putting on my makeup this morning, contemplating my long day, I felt that little prick in my heart.  What about Mary and her uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem?  She had to have thought that this census could not have come at a more inconvenient time.  Yet, this was the plan.  I wonder if she pleaded for a bed to sleep in?  I am certain that sleeping next to sheep was more than inconvenient.  Yet, this was the plan.  Now she had this precious newborn to travel with, nursing along the way.  Inconvenient?  I think, yes.  
My selfish heart does not like inconvenience.  Last night I was angry simply because today's new schedule was not mine but rather dictated by someone else.  
God has a plan.  Today may be one the last times that my kids may be at an activity with their bio mom.  Today is an opportunity to love on someone else.  Today is not outside of God's plan for my family.  
Inconvenience?  Yes.  Perfect?  Not in my eyes, but in God's.  
Thank you God that in our craziness you work your perfect plan.  Please help me to walk that uncomfortable journey with you.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Treasure Hunting

My latest attempt to curb the morning mayhem requires hunting for treasure - Bible treasure.
It blows me away every time.  Feet fly.  Arms wave. Words hurl.  Yet, God's Word calms.  Why oh why do I not anchor each day with it.  
Amazingly, I even get to eat my breakfast as I sit with my kids and listen to them share what treasures they have found in the Bible.  More often than not I am running in circles, demanding, cleaning, redirecting - not sitting.  Somehow, refocusing our morning settles.
It is no joke that God's Word states that he has given us everything for life and godliness.  Even food became part of our conversation as I reminded them of the treasure "whether we eat or drink, do all to the glory of God."  
I want my kids to see God's Word as the treasure it is.  Valuable.  Searchable.  Desirable.  Life-changing.  
For fifteen minutes at the breakfast table, God's treasure recalibrated our day.