Monday, January 25, 2010

An Unexpected Sit

I took the three little ones to the Children's Museum today. I expected the hustle and bustle of children. And I expected some amount of stress seeing as I would be handling a 5 month old, a 2 1/2 yr. old, and then my 3 year old. But they are all such sweet children that I really enjoy going places with them. We enjoyed our usual places in the museum...the super market, the farm house, the tot-spot, the cafe...but then as we were leaving, we saw something I hadn't expected to see.

There in the middle of the lobby was a child sized version of the Woolworth's sit in counter from 1960. Everything was exactly the same as the original. The stools, the menus, the coffee and doughnuts. And even just sitting here typing, the tears come streaming down. I tried really hard not to loose it in the museum, especially because there were other kids and moms all around me, and for me to just start weeping would seem pretty inappropriate. But I could barely hold it together. Asher and Maddie just climbed up to the stools. They spun around and "fixed" their coffee. They pretended to eat and drink...and be merry. They didn't have to ask to sit down. They didn't have to wait to be served. They weren't denied the freedom to simply be. They felt totally free and accepted, with no questions asked. Then some other children came up to play at the counter with them. Three African American boys. They all played together at the counter and then, I really could barely hold it together.

It blows me away that only 50 years ago not everyone had that privilege. That African Americans were not allowed to SIT at certain lunch counters and eat doughnuts and drink coffee. It truly takes all words away from me, and leaves me with tears in my eyes and shaking my head. That people, just like me, only with a little darker skin, would be treated with such disdain and disrespect. Only 50 years ago.

As I stared at these boy's pictures, I felt such valor, strength, and dignity. A courage mustered up that I have never had to muster. A strength that I have never had to face. And a foe that I have never had to encounter the way that they did. Only 50 years ago.

Sometimes it feels like it's been hundreds of years since things like segregation were even an issue. But then, I remember. And I am thankful for men like these, who "with their very bodies, obstructed the wheels of injustice."

Friday, January 22, 2010

I Wish I Were...

No matter how you spin it, the thoughts "I wish I were..." seem to creep in everywhere you turn. Tonight I went to a high school homecoming game, and even though I'm an old has-been to young teenage eyes, I still have the same insecurities and longings.

As the speaker announced the homecoming court, I found myself thinking how pretty the girls were, and how nervous I would be walking onto a basketball court in 3 inch heels, praying that I wouldn't slip.

It came time for the new homecoming queen to be announced, but before she was crowned, the list of credentials was read. I can't even remember what all the speaker read to us, but I can tell you that the list went on and on and on. From sports, to academic achievement, to international travel, to scholarships, to merrit awards, to volunteering, and committees, this club and that club, and on and on and on. I thought it was sad in a way, that this young beautiful girl, was feeling judged, and today applauded for all of her striving and effort. However, what about the days when she has messy hair and stretch marks and can't even find her cute jeans that fit her because her laundry has piled up so high that she can't even get to the laundry room. What about when she is lying in bed, not wanting to move because she feels so alone and afraid. What about when she can't find a job, despite all of her good experience and pretty face. What then? Who would applaud that?

I found myself longing for her to know how truly valued she is. Not for what she has done, and not for what she will do, but simply for who she is. I remembered wishing that I had been homecoming queen and that I had the legs of the girl who was. But instead, I think now that I wish I could have been comfortable just being me. Not because of what I looked like or had accomplished, but simply because I was chosen by an all powerful, and all knowing God. Who reached down and said, "I pick you because I love you. I choose you because you're you." How much better is the love that He lavishes on us, than all the praise of men.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Easy Wind and Downy Flake

This past week, the preschoolers and I have been talking a lot about snow. We've read books about the cold, and sang songs about the snow. One of the things we've read is Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. And, I know you think I'm crazy, but they're beginning to get this poem. The pictures help, of course. And my age appropriate questions. But there's something about it that brings tears to my eyes. I love the picture of this man enjoying the silence and the stillness. Rather than me, who runs at the very thought of the silence...not to mention the stillness. He is able to stop in the midst of the cold and snow, just to enjoy the "darkest evening of the year". Lord, would you make me more like him?

Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Teinc You

Some days it's very tiring to have a girl. The emotions, the drama, the rifts. Then, there's the constant busyness of them making their life be what they want it to be all the time, and if it's not exactly what they want, they are either heart broken or furious. And, no, I'm not talking about myself.

But then there are other days. Days where the thoughtfulness of a 5 year old can amaze and astound you.

Saturday, was a busy morning. We had a party at our house for my daughter's dance class, with about 10 little girls running around, and lots of squealing and laughing. I went against my better judgement and chose to get glitter for our craft, because I knew how much all the girls would love it. And boy, they did. The clean up time however, was not as much fun.

When I finished cleaning up everything, I went in and read for a while with my little girl, who is really starting to get into chapter books. I was so tired after we finished reading, that I declined the offer to play, and confessed that I simply had to rest my eyes for just a minute.

When I came to, probably an hour later, she was right beside me rubbing my head. Her little voice had excitement in it, but whispered a little,

"Surprise. I thought you might be thirsty." She had gotten the juice out and poured me a glass of orange juice, but watered it down just a tad, the way I like, then topped it with an ice cube.

There was a little present, wrapped in Christmas paper, flowers taken from my birthday arrangement and put into a small vase, a banana (she said in case I was hungry), and a little scrapbook of her Daddy and I, from years back.

Let me just say, this has never happened before, and I doubt that it will happen very many times in my life. At least not while she's still under my roof.

Even though all of that was special, this was the best part...

I couldn't have asked for a sweeter daughter.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Giver of Gifts

*warning...lots of pictures ahead...

Gifts are so fun. I love gifts. I love giving gifts, and I love receiving them. It's safe to say that gifts are one of my love languages. So, I find it pretty amusing that my birthday is the same day that is noted on our calendars as the day we celebrate the gifts that were given to Jesus by the magi. Now, obviously, it was not on Jan. 6 however many years ago. But, it still feels representative somehow, even if just in my heart. It's as if, it's a time to think back upon the gifts Christ, to us, to the world. That today is a day of celebration...not just for me, but that Jesus was celebrated with gifts, just as He is such a lavish giver of gifts.

I haven't really done a Christmas post, even though I have thought about it many times. We just had so much traveling going on that I haven't gotten to it. But this morning, as I was woken by my sweet family, with flowers and coffee, and then treated to my favorite breakfast, I once again thought about how blessed I really am. God has given me such good gifts. He truly is the giver of good gifts, and I know that these precious ones in my life are more than I ever could have asked for. Here's a little snapshot into our Christmas, and the gifts that I have to be thankful for...

a warm and cozy home

beautiful children to celebrate Christ (and Christmas) with

the gift of new life

new friends

the blessing of provision to be able to surprise our children with their first bikes!

the gift of having a husband who knows me well!

fun times with family!

I happened to be reading Romans 5:15-17 last night...

"But the gift is not like the sin. For if the many died by the sin of one man (Adam), how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: the judgement followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many sins and brought justification. For if by the sin of one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through one man, Jesus Christ.

The message might make it a little bit more clear...

"Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?"

As much as I treasure the gifts that God has given me through my family and friends, there couldn't be a greater gift than that which God gave through His Son. Life for death. Righteousness for condemnation. All for our taking, on this gift of a day. I hope that you are able to receive the gift of grace that brings full life to you this day and always.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Enjoying the Newness

Today is a new day. A new year. Sometimes newness is difficult to embrace. The changing of a job. The move to a new place. Knowing how to care for a brand new baby. Even small ways that life brings about those subtle changes that we don't always expect, but still have to weather. However, I've never known a new year that I wasn't ready to embrace. Sure I might still write "2009"...or forget that it's already January, but it's not like a resistance to change.

There is something exciting and welcoming about a new year. That we are turning over a new leaf. Or starting from scratch. A time for beginning again. Anew.

"Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God."

In the Word, when the Lord talks about the festivals of celebration, I love how there is always a calling to Himself. The festivals were not to just celebrate for the sake of the "season". But to call us to Himself. Again. Anew. To bring our offering of praise and thanksgiving to Him as a memorial or covenant between us and Him.

In this new year, I hope to do that a little bit more than I have in years past. To not necessarily have new "resolutions", but rather, to take the time during these times of rejoicing, to remember and respond to Him. The Lord your God. He is.