Friday, June 26, 2009


You may remember last year about this time of year hearing about my Rose of Sharon rescue. Today, I began to fight the same weeds that were so fierce last year. However, this time, the whole time I was pulling and pruning, I heard this noisy squawking above me. I looked up and saw a face I knew. From my kitchen window, I had seen him many times, and always enjoyed being able to be so close to him, with only a window between us. I knew that he enjoyed that big overgrown bush, but I didn't know how much it meant to him until today.

The closer I got to "his" bush, the more he squawked at me. I figured that there must be a nest, but I couldn't see anything. I stopped all my whacking and pulling, and tried to see what he was so upset about. As I peered into the big massive bush, I saw her. She was so beautiful, and almost invisible at the same time. Her dark wings were spread completely over their home, and she held her most beloved possessions closer than she ever had. She was terrified, yet stayed completely still, unrelenting to give up her position.

Ever so gently, I felt the Father say to me, "Let it go. They're protecting their home and their family." And so, once again, I let down my hands, and I stopped.

As I walked away, I saw the Father's heart so clearly. He is our shepherd, ever watchful, and so vigilant at protecting us. And yet, He stretches out His wings over us, and draws us closer than we could ever know.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let Them Praise Him with Dance

This past year, I was able to be a dance teacher for a dance ministry we have in our neighborhood. Every week, we got together with our girls...but not just to dance. I've mentioned here before how I grew up dancing, but my experience was quite different. There was always a lot of competition, comparison, and individualism. And none of it ever had to do with God. So, needless to say, I love that these girls get to not only dance, but also get to pray, eat, sing, tell stories, choreograph, worship, and just share who they are...before us, and before God. It is such a gift to be a part of. And this isn't just doing little movements to the words of a song. They're are quick changes, and multiple dances, and several different styles of dance that we incorporate. And without the least bit of training these girls just shine out talent and beauty that you wouldn't believe.

We had our end of the year program just a couple weeks ago. It was amazing. So many of our kids families came to cheer them on and celebrate what they had been working on all year. Let me just say, that never happens. Most things that we do in the neighborhood, the parents don't or can't come to, and it breaks my heart. So when almost every girl had someone there, being excited about what they were doing, I couldn't help but tear up.

Through the year, going and being with the girls, is always fun, but it usually take something like a whole performance for God to wake me up and show me how big a deal it is for these precious girls. They are getting to do something that they would most likely never do, and are able to see how beautiful God has truly made each of them.

"They have been loved with an everlasting love, and are being drawn with His loving-kindness" (Jer. 31:3) and I'm so thankful to get to see it happening right before my very eyes.

Another awesome thing that I love about this dance ministry is that my little girl gets to be involved. This is a picture from the end of the year program, with River right in the middle of all her friends that she gets to learn with.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

You Like Tomaetos and I Like Tomatos

This past weekend, we had fun celebrating Randy being the awesome Dad he is to our two kids. But along with everyone, we're pinching pennies these days, and so we didn't really have an actual gift picked out for him. I tried to think about what things we might like to do together...that don't cost money. And things that I could make...hmmm...

One thing that's funny about my Randy and I is that we are total opposites. Most people after they've been around us a little will ask, "How in the world did you two end up together!?" He's a thinker, I'm a talker. I love being around people, and it kind of stresses him out. He's quiet, and I'm ...we'll you know the answer to that. And even though we do like many of the same things, most of our favorite foods are very different. I like cream sauces, he like's red sauces. I like comfort food, he likes raw veggies...all the time. I love steak, and he can do without. I like chocolate pie, he'd prefer apple. He's big into beans and veggies and I'm more of the bread and butter kind a girl. And the list goes on. So, taking my Mom's advice (AGAIN) that "homemade presents are the best presents" and I decided that my gift to him would be making his favorites for the weekend.

I started out with a black bean dip. Then made some hummus. Then, his all time favorite, that I could care less about...vegetable soup. He's had like five bowls already. We had a big Sunday brunch after we got home from church. And then we finished with presenting the cake that as Asher said...."It's GEEEN!!" River had to decorate the top with a "family" of strawberries. The big one in the middle is Daddy.

Even though my sweetie and I are completely different, there's no one I'd rather be raising a family with, and spending my life with. I'm so thankful for how God made him...even though I still would rather have made a chocolate Ganache cake than a Watergate cake. But I have to say, it turned out pretty yummy. Now go check out all those other make-you-laugh-make-you-cry stories over at Chatting At the Sky!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Days to Remember

The past couple days, I've gotten to spend a little time with my grandparents. They've been married over 60 years, had five children, and my grandfather like many grandfathers (or fathers) fought in WWII. Time with them is rare, but over the past couple months we've gotten to have some good quality time with them.

I've come to appreciate time with them so much. The "advice" offered from my grandmother doesn't happen as often as it use to, and when it does, it isn't offensive. Now days, there are more compliments than criticism, and more encouragement than reproach. As a kid, and even a young adult, I would brace myself for our visits, knowing I could hear any number of things that would make me feel like I had it all wrong. But, there really has been a change over the years. And I find myself looking forward to our time together, and loving when we get the chance to sit and talk. I ask them about their childhood, and their early married days. I inquire about recipes or get my granddaddy to tell me about when he was in the war. The knowledge and stories that they possess feels like a history book that I can't put down.

My granddaddy has always been the same. Content to sit and listen, and sometimes doze off, but while still half listening to what's going on around him. His memory is definitely fading, and his time spent reminiscing isn't always accurate. Yesterday, he tried to convince us that he had ridden a skateboard when he was young. We all got a chuckle out of that one. My grandmother rolls her eyes and smiles.

I sometimes think about how much I want to grow old with Randy. How I want to be that old couple shuffling along down the street barely holding each other up, but still holding hands. Experiencing life to the full, and living to know my great grandchildren. And even though I know that I want that, it doesn't mean that future will be an easier one to live. I think that somewhere in my mind, it seemed like, if I lived to be 100 years old, and still was married to my sweet hubby, and had had a great life, that it wouldn't be so bad to lose the one you love. That it would feel like what was supposed to happen, and not really be too bad.

I know my grandparents have loved living such long lives. And I know that they feel so blessed to still be together. But I think that there is a different kind of loss that you face. I see my grandmother being so sad at who she knows is drifting away. And of course she knew this would happen one day. But, another year goes by, and that person you've been best friends with your whole life, just isn't there anymore. And you realize, that no matter how long you have with someone, it's never easy to let them go. Whether it's when you've been married one year, or 65 years. You don't know what the next chapter will look like, even though you know it's closer than ever.

So, for now, every chance we get to see them, we take it. And every story I can hear, I listen. For these are the days to remember.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leaving Footprints

Last week when I was over at Em's, we both were saying how Tuesdays Unwrapped has begun to slowly seep into our thinking. We stop. We notice. And we are grateful.

As I was looking for gifts to unwrap today, I came across this. (no, not the dirty dishes)...

I almost erased it with a quick swipe of my sponge.

But then...I stopped.
And I saw. And I was grateful.

Grateful for my sweet little boy and his tiny dirty feet. His dirty feet that go everywhere, and jump off of any surface they can find. His dirty feet that climb and explore til his little heart's content. His little feet that chase me around and laugh out loud with joy that I only hope to possess. His little feet that love to live life, wherever he is. Even on a kitchen stool.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Start of Summer

I really feel like summer has begun. You know it's here when the things you smell most are sunscreen and chlorine. Remember those blond boys I told you about? We got to have fun with them again this weekend. Most of our time was spent either at a pool or a trampoline, so you hard can it be, right?

When I was little, one of my favorite things about the summer was getting to play with my cousins. We lived several hours away from our cousins and only saw them a couple times a year. That being so, we always had the awkward-get-to-know-you-again kind of time. You know, the time where you re-learn basic things like, "What's your favorite food?" and "What grade are you in?" But then after you get past all that, you start playing again. And you remember how much you love these friends you call cousins.

Today, my two little ones had the chance to not only play with their big boy cousins, but also their precious little baby girl cousin. It was so great to see all of them together. Splashing, jumping, swallowing half the pool...but whatever. They had so much fun. And guess what? We found our camera!!!

kids and DiDi
Little tan bodies all piled on the steps
Auntie Ash and Baby Avery (or "Baby Aaayy" as Asher says)

River loves her "new baby cousin"!

Asher and DiDi

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Let Down the Hands

As I walk through the war zone I call "home" I know I need a rest. I feel the need to sit and be still, but, like most days, I tend to not give into that need. I tend to see stopping or being still as being weak. Like I'm not being strong enough or good enough to get everything done. Or I give into the thought that tells me that I should be still later. But later never comes.

Every day, I make my kids take a rest. Even if they don't sleep, they have to stay on their bed (or sometimes on the couch) and have some time and space to just be still. I know that a rest is what they need. I see them yawning and rubbing their eyes, and I know. They just need to be still and rest. It seems like I would take my own rule to heart, but usually, I just have too much to do to take the time to be still.

Last week I learned that the Hebrew meaning for the word "still" is to "let down the hands". I've always known that it was not my nature to be still. As long as I can remember, I've always been busy...or the more positive word to use would be "involved" or "active". But it really just is being busy. Going here or there, doing things with this group or that group. I was always actively involved in school, dance, theater, church, social events, etc. etc. And today, is just the same. Just because I'm older doesn't mean that I've stopped running here and there. It just becomes more difficult to "let my hands down". Not only are there things to be involved in, there are people to take care of! Not only is it just dressing myself, and cleaning my room before I run out to do do it's dressing myself and my kids, feeding my family, cleaning my house, working in the yard, and as you know...the list goes on. So, how much harder is it now to let my hands down??

"Be still and know that I am God" it is not something that God says we maybe should do every once in a while. It's not something He suggests is a good idea for some of us. He is saying it to us all. "Be still...Be still and know that I am God." "Let your hands down". He's begging us, "Take a minute and know that I am God. Know that I have it all in my hands. Know that it will be ok if you play with your kids at the park instead of doing laundry. It will be alright if you study my word instead of tackling the house right now. I am God, and I love you. And me telling you to let down your hands is for your best."

I don't have a choice about it. Not if I want to obey my Father. Not if I want to do what I know is truly best for me. He is calling to you. He is calling to me. To take a minute and know that He is God. If I truly want to know Him today, I have to stop and rest. I have to let my hands down, and be still.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter "C", and the Number "5".

Inspired from my friend's title the other day, I had to use it today for myself. My grocery list caught my eye the other day, when I realized everything on it began with the letter C. I mean, it was getting kind of weird, so I decided to add a couple other things. But before I did, this was what was on my list:

cottage cheese (double c's...score!)

Is something wrong with my brain?

And, oh, my emotional 5 year old. It's not always like this, but if my daughter was 15, I'd think she was PMSing. This morning I thought I never hear the end of the drama.

First it was her eyes.

5 yr. old: Mommy, my eyes hurt.

me: Well, don't rub them, they'll just get worse.

5 yr old: They really hurt. (still rubbing)

me: Sweetie, you've got to stop rubbing them. It will only make them hurt more. You're being too rough on them. You have to be gentle with your eyes. They're very valuable to your body. (who know's why i said "valuable" but whatever)

5 yr old: WHY??? They can't break!! They can't fall out!!! (screaming through tears)

me: But by rubbing so hard, you're making them more sore. You're irritating them so much that they'll start to burn.

5 yr old: I CAN'T! (still screaming and crying) They really hurt!!! They're burning!!! They hurt so bad they feel like they're bleeding!!!

me: Ok. Well, we're at the park. Should we stay and play with your friends, or should we go home and do hot compresses?

5 yr old: Stay at the park. (stopping the rubbing and the crying) Ugghhh, I think I had an eyelash in them.

me: Uh huh. Probably so.

Then later the drama was over leaving the park.

5 yr old: Why do we have to leave the park?

me: Because it's time to go home and have lunch and take rests.

5 yr old: But why can't we stay longer? (starting with the high pitch whiny voice) They're staying longer! Why can't we??

me: Sweetie, you and your brother are very hungry and very tired, and it's time to go home and have lunch and naps.

5 yr old: I don't want to take a nap. That's boring!! I HATE THIS!! (she's been using this word lately like a curse word - very emphatically, and with so much emotion)

me: (looking at her with warning) Watch it.

5 yr old: (sobbing and screaming) I don't want to go home. I NEVER want to leave. I want to live at the park!!! I want to live at the park!!! This is the WORST day ever!!!

me: (thinking - seriously? Is this for real a conversation I'm having?) (speaking very calmly) We have a park right down the street from our house. We don't live that far from the park.

5 yr old: (enraged) NOT THAT PARK!!!! I want to live at THAT park!

me: Well, we couldn't really live at the park. (trying to bring reason into the conversation) Where would our beds be? And where would our food go? We have to live in a house, not the park.

5 yr old: (acting like I'm the one being irrational) MOMMY!!! I'm saying that we could LIVE in a HOUSE at that park. So that we wouldn't have to leave right now. You could just walk home and get lunch. Then we could stay LONGER!!

me: Ohhhh. Well, even if we lived at that park, we'd still go home for lunch and rests.

It went on a little bit longer. Not the yelling, but the crying. Oh, the tears. And I knew she just needed to let it out. But once we got home, I held her and rocked her while she cried for a while longer.

Thankfully, she is not this dramatic everyday. Some days, but not every day. I know that most of it is being too tired. Or just having a day where everything bothers her, and nothing goes right. And I feel like that sometimes, too. So, even though I was tempted to tell her to cut it out, and to not be so irrational, I want to be a mom who encourages her to be able to feel. Even when it's irrational. To let out her emotions in an appropriate setting, without hurting herself and others. I want to love her even when she's a basketcase. Because I know I'm loved like that by my Father. I know that He patiently listens to my crazy thoughts and feelings. He waits while I have my tantrums about whatever it is I'm going through. Then, He waits for me to run to Him. Then He holds me and tells me that He loves me. And He never tells me to shut up, and get it together. He lets me fall apart, and still be loved just as much.

My prayer is that one day, she'll run to His arms, not mine, and be filled with a love that's bigger than mine could ever be. Until that day, my arms and lap are ready and waiting.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Shoo Fly!

This past month, the kids and I have talked a lot about bugs. All different types, but I have kind of been partial to my favorites...caterpillars and ladybugs. Caterpillars, mainly because they turn into butterflies. And who doesn't like butterflies. And if you don't....what's wrong with you??? They don't hurt anyone, they don't bother you, they just fly around and look pretty. Same with ladybugs. Not to mention they're red and get to have polka dots. Definitely fun to see. Anyway, even though I've acted excited about finding bugs with the preschoolers, I am not a huge fan myself. But of course, I don't want my kids to be all scared about bugs, so I've been trying to keep my cool. I've checked out fun books like this one, to show how neat bugs are. We have bug catchers and songs, and so on and so forth. Well, I think the bugs are ganging up against me to show them my true colors.

The other day, my least favorite...a slug was on our morning paper. Keeping me from being able to even take it out of the bag and read it. And then, these weird pincher crawly bugs are in random places around our house. WHY???? I mean, I've never seen them before, and now, this spring they're like the mascot of our home. Then today, I was pulling down the driveway, and all of a sudden this wasp flew right in the front seat of our van. So, I'm all trying to quickly put it in park and jump out before I get stung, without wrecking in my own driveway, for fear of the wasp above my head. Not to mention that I've been blessed with my first mosquito bites of the season! I'm in bad shape if summer's not even begun, and I'm already dreading the bugs!!