Monday, April 14, 2014

Gratitude

Our mini van broke down for possibly the last time - we still have a vehicle that can transport our entire family.
Another counseling visit is on the calendar twice a month - a child will get some much needed help.
Our continued journey of fostering to adopt is hitting some more twists and turns - I have the chance to watch God do something big, again.
Spring break has been cut short due to snow days - I can enjoy some time with Maddie and my little girl while the rest are in school.
Family dinners are getting harder and harder - my kids are flexible, and they can cook.
Laura is only home for a few days - we all get to enjoy time as a family at Easter.
God has lead my kids' youth pastor and his family to minister elsewhere - Bryan and I get to work with this great group of teens and youth leaders on Sunday mornings.
There is a mud pit at home plate, sand on the OUTSIDE of the sandbox, and who knows what buried in the flower pots - we have a backyard for kids to be kids.  


How Do You Feel God?

Her young mind challenges me to go beyond the easy answer.  "Mom, how do you feel God?"
Ummm. I really don't know how to answer that.
Feeling is more than a touch.  It is a sense reaching beyond our skin.  Fuzzy blankets feel good.  Stuffed animals grow to look loved because they are felt.  Clean sheets, warm sand, cool breezes:  all these make us feel more than what a synapse relays.  
My youngest daughter began her life without much personal touch.  When she moved in with us, she began to feel again. Many, many nights were spent on the couch with her laying her body close.  She needed to feel.  
She still needs to feel.
But, what does God feel like?  How do you feel him?
To feel God means to let him reach all the way into your soul.  He is not just a warm and cozy security blanket when we are scared, though he promises to comfort.  He is not just a breath of fresh air after a long winter, though he promises peace and renewal.  He is more than a hug, though he promises never to leave us.  Feeling God is just more.  
I wish many times that I could reach out to hold God's hand.  Maybe that is what my little one wants too.  She knows that feeling my hand wrapped around hers gives a sense of safety.  Maybe she wants to feel if God has whiskers like Bryan.  Is God like her daddy here in her house?  She knows that God loves her no matter what and that he will never leave her, but can she feel his arms around her or is he standing there with his arms crossed?  
I feel God easily on days with blue sky and sunshine.  Those days lighten my heart.  But, in the dark days of uncertainty and anger, God always reminds me that he is still there if I reach out.  I cannot miss him.  
Four year old little girls do not get it all.  They do not have to, but God is still very real to them.  He is there to give them a hand and warm hugs.  He wants us to reach out because he is right there with us.  Little one, you can feel God.  I know you want to feel him wrapped around you like a princess blankie, but someday you will feel him in the depths of your little heart.  I will pray for that day to come soon.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

If you have not read this book, you must.Product Details
The cover caught my eye, but the words captured my imagination. 
Alyson, fell in love with its story and was almost brought to tears as the pages of a well worn book fell, then were repaired by the loving, attentive Morris Lessmore.
As you read, you see a legacy of words built before your eyes, a story that transcends today. 
We own many books, but there are a special few that hold our hearts. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Recalibration

Bryan is speaking at a men's conference this weekend.  It is my treat to be able to join him.  Not that I get to listen to him, which I do enjoy.  It is a gift of time by myself to enjoy a peaceful meal and hours to write.  We are away less than 36 hours during which my precious mom is holding down the fort.  Though it is a quick get-away, it is a much needed breath of fresh air.  Mind you, there are many messages back and forth.  Checking in is an easy thing for which I am thankful. 
I will look forward to welcoming hugs, but for now I appreciate the blessing of silence. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are you missing joy?



Parenting sucks the life out of me.  It is not just a slow leak, but a vicious vacuum leaving me catching my breath at the end of the day.  Each child is different:  different needs, different learning styles, different tastes, different backgrounds.  Just different.  I am me.  My needs, style, tastes, and background absolutely affect the way I parent.  Lord, help me.
It is no accident that I have eight children.  God has purposed that for me.  Today, I need a recalibration though.  I enjoy many mom moments.  Life brings its giggles, it goofiness, and its greatness.  Lately I have felt so much heaviness, impatience, and frustration.  I miss joy.
Life’s seasons change.  Winter will change to spring.  The cold and barrenness will yield to sunshine and new life.  Such is my life.  I know that.  God has not promised me a perfect life.  He did, however, promise to walk my life with me.  He knows when it is really dark.  He knows what will lift the heaviness.  He knows that spring is coming.  He is there.
God reminds me in Psalm 16:11 “You (God) make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
There is the answer.  My joy is not dependent on my kids or my mom role.  Joy in life is found simply in the presence of God.  God’s Word even says that joy is full.  Wow.  I missed it again.
I could give many excuses for not spending time with my Savior.  Anyone could look at my crazy life and say that I am so busy that my head spins.  I am training both toddlers and teens.  Ten people make a lot of messes, use a lot of laundry, and dirty a lot of dishes.  My husband and I are the only ones home who have a driver’s license.  Kids just require a lot of everything. 
But these would be only excuses.  I would continually be left empty and simply going through the motions.  I would be missing the passion of walking with God in this life that he has purposed for me.
Please, Lord, give me a renewed desire to sit with you, to listen to you, to be loved by you.  Help me to see joy in the mundane.  Change my heart to love others like you love me. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Living with Noise



They wake to the world with thuds, pounds, and cries.  Little hands knocking on the door jar my mind’s sweet dreams back to my present reality.  The noises crescendo as the hours pass with only a brief rest midday for the toddler’s nap.  They talk.  They yell.  They fuss.  They argue.  They demand.  They kick. 
Grab them on your lap and the noise subsides.  Whisper in their ear and they whisper back.  Stoop down in the kitchen to see directly into their eyes and their hunger for control and power appears less strong.  They see you.  They feel you.  They want you.
I appreciate quiet.  Noise gives me a headache.  Why then do I have eight children?  Only the Lord knows the answer to that.  My children will not fit my picture of perfection, but they make my family as perfect as it will be by God’s grace. 
The bookstore becomes my respite.  I appreciate time away if only for an hour.  God is teaching me to live with the noise of life.  Hurting hearts are noisy.  Searching hearts are noisy.  Stretching minds are noisy.  Confused lives are noisy.
God is peace. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gratitude

Given the remote chance of a quiet evening, I could fall asleep instantly and stay that way for many hours.  My body is resisting my schedule today.  Our journey of foster care brings many outsiders into our daily life and home.  It is virtually inpossible to simply live.  God has graciously carried us moment by moment, and has chosen to keep us fairly healthy.  I am grateful, but I am tired.   Grumpiness and grouchyness fight hard to push at my heart's door.  It is one of those days that I should, for the best of my family, keep my mouth closed.  On that note, I choose to be thankful.

Free coffee Mondays 
Two little girls singing together with happy hearts
Dinner in the crock pot
Safety in all the driving
Clean bathrooms
Working applicances
Spring flowers 
Cozy sweatshirts
Creativity
Eternal promises