Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Milestones

           Sitting Up,
                                                            1st Solid Food,

SO many milestones when our kids are babies.  They are new, and everything they do is new and exciting and "milestone" worthy.  I snapped pictures, and wrote in baby books all the details of each cherished moment. I shared the "good news" with anyone that would listen and clapped and showed sheer bliss on my face so he would know how proud mommy was.

However, I was recently hit hard with what I consider a new kind of  milestone....
It was Christmas Eve and we were enjoying a fun filled visit Grandma's house and he got one of his terrible headaches.  When I noticed just how bad he was feeling, I went to sweep him away to quiet and safety where he could recover.  That is when it hit me....I could no longer carry or even remotely sweep this....this,.....young man anywhere!  I made a valiant effort and moved a few steps, but it wasn't going to happen.
I can't carry my "baby" anymore!!!

I have to admit it made me feel a little lonely in a strange way.  Why was this "milestone" making me a little sad instead of happy?  Why did I feel it a moment to be dreaded instead of celebrated?  What makes it different than crawling or smiling for the first time?

It was a harsh reminder of how fast time is going.  I looked back on the times such as the one in this picture when I would hardly let this little baby out of my arms.  It reminded me that there will be less and less ways that I can step in, assist and make everything better.  He had to walk himself over to where he could rest, he had to do the work.  He wasn't alone, I stayed by his side, but the effort becomes his own.  He secretly loves the fact that he is "too big to carry" and I think secretly I might as well.  He is on his way to becoming a man who will have responsibilities of his own one day. I want that for him and desire for him to mature and be prepared for the day to"leave his mother and father."  So, I decided to go ahead and mark this down, celebrate it, and share about it here because it is an important moment.  I decided not to be sad at all, but to look forward to all he has to do with the life in front of him and enjoy my role each step of the way.

But....I will continue to take what I can get...even the head turned the side, run into me kind of hugs and enjoy every minute that I have the pleasure and honor of preparing this guy for "that day."

....And maybe I'll do more push-ups:)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thanksgiving in January...

      I don't think it would be going out on a limb to say that personal handwritten thank you notes are becoming a "lost art" these days, and that makes me sad.  I remember as a child being instructed to always send a thank you for any appropriate occasion including birthdays and Christmas.  I'm sure I rolled my eyes and thought it was stupid sometimes, especially the older I got.  However, I realize that it instilled in my heart a spirit of gratefulness that I want to pass on to my kids.  Some say it could become routine, or mundane, but        I believe it forces me to stop and think about what I received and the person who blessed me with that something.
     Now that I am older and more often a giver, I realize how much I enjoy receiving a thank you note too.   I don't expect it and don't want to give for that reason, but it is nice to be thought of "back" in a way.  I have given to many birthdays, graduations, and even weddings that have gone without acknowledgement or gratitude and that is ok, but sad.  I believe each generation is being raised with a higher level of "entitlement" and I hate to see that too.
     So....my boys will write hand written thank you notes for a long time and so far they haven't rolled their eyes at me once.  They don't know that "all kids" don't have to do this, I'm sure:) I have them make a list in their homeschool planner in the notes section and I actually will put one a day on their weekly schedule page.  I'm sure I will love having these lists as well as memories of the year they got  _____! If they have handwriting, I even let them have the day off, which they get excited about.  Lately as you can see in the picture above, they have been getting very creative with their notes and I am enjoying seeing them really trying to hard to make them special for that special someone!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just Grace.....

Grace is more than acceptance, more than unmerited favor....Grace is:

The lavish, opulent, raw, untamed, scandalous blessing of God - unearned, undeserved, illogical, disproportionate, poured out through Christ over every facet of your life, AND the living presence of the Creator God deep inside you, poured out through the Spirit, in a flood of euphoric joy, transcendent peace, and limitless power to be, and do, and live up to God's calling on your life.    - John Mark Comer,  Grace and Peace Sermon at Solid Rock, A Jesus Church

Saturday night in church the concept of "Grace" fell on me like a ton of bricks during worship time.  I don't remember the song, but all I remember is the part....."fall on your grace"...that got me thinking...or more accurately convicted my heart.

I was transported back to my early 20's and the starting point of my decision to follow Jesus in my life.  I remember the feeling of desparte need of God's Grace...I welcomed it fully, whole heartedly, depended on it, appreciated it, and wanted to pass that on to others. 

Sadly, I realized that feeling over time has been lost.  The loss has been a slow one; like the draining of a bucket one drop at a time until I didn't even remember the bucket ever having been full. 

My life "before" was easy to analyze...easy to see my sin as it was so blatent.  I was a selfish human being with a moral compass very far from how God's word directs us to be.  Huge changes came fast and furious...at least I feel that they did. 

Now...many years later I find myself holding back Grace from others, having bitterness in my heart and unable to let go of hurts.  I think it comes down to this word...GRACE.  I don't see myself enough as a sinner in need of God's  Grace.  My sin has always been there and I am aware and repent of some of them...but there are others...subtle and dangerous...ones I dare to even justify.  These are heavy on my heart...these I want God to free me from.

Luckily, I am not saddened but only encouraged because I know He can!

"Beautiful Things"
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

You make me new, You are making me new
You make me new, You are making me new

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Brody,

I am so proud of you and the young man you are becoming.  We have had a couple of rough weeks, you and I.  Getting back to school this year has been tougher than ever.  We are moving forward though and figuring things out as we go and together we are overcoming the obstacles. 

This past week was especially challenging and though the "ride" was a rocky one, I am so happy about the destination.

We were out running errands and one of those involved a trip to Wal Mart.  You had some money burning a hole in your wallet and decided to buy an Angry Birds puzzle that you were very excited about.  When we got home, we were outside playing some football and I encouraged you to bring Dusty (your bunny) out of his cage to play for a little while.  I went down to check on his cage and how you were doing keeping up with his cage and your duties.  I was very upset when I noticed that he only had some old hay in his buket that wasn't fit to feed him and when I questioned you, realized that you had not been giving him hay at all.  I talked to you a little and you knew I wasn't happy and did everything you could to get him taken care of in other ways.  However, it kept gnawing at my gut.  I knew I had to do something, though it is always tough to walk your child down a rough road.  I decided that you needed to return the puzzle and use the money to buy your rabbit the hay he needed.  You were SO mad at me.  I decided to just go through with it right there...7:00 at night because I didn't want to loose sight of the goal.  The drive to Wal Mart was some of the hardest moments of my life.  You wouldn't speak to me and when we got there I went to touch you and you pulled away from me.  OUCH!  That hurt my heart and I wanted so badly to change this path for you and make it easy...but I knew I couldn't.  You stayed a few steps behind me down the looong walk to the pet aisle and back to the register.  There I saw the first hint that everything was going to be ok.  You smiled....just a little, but you did it.  When we got home, I turned the car right onto the lawn to the barn and turned my high beams on so we could give him that hay right there.  He was so excited and happy and I know that made you happy and my heart was overflowing.  The rest of the night, you were right back to your old self and the next morning you said..."It felt good to give Dusty his hay again." 

You grew up a lot that night and so did I.  I was made fully aware that the challenges you will face will only get harder as you move forward in life.  I was also made fully aware of my need for God's wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit to make good decisions as I lead you.  I was made fully aware of how grateful I am for the partner I have in your dad as we walk this road together as he stood by my decision and helped you to understand. 

I also feel that you know that I love you and truly want what is best for you.  At least you can see that now and for that I am so grateful.  

You would not be happy if you knew I snapped this picture, but I hope one day you can appreciate it.  I didn't want to loose the memory:)

Loving you Always,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Down the Trail....

This summer our boys had the wonderful opportunity to attend day camp for a whole week at Canyonview Camp in Silverton.  Up until this point, none of us had experienced anything quite like it...

Reason 1:  Being a homeschooler since day 1;  I have not had to get up early in the morning on a regular basis AND get 3 people out the door to be somewhere at a specific time.  It was not fun for me.  Praise God that dad was home on vacation or we never would of made it without some serious frustration.  He was instrumental in keeping us on the task at hand.  We should practice this.

Reason2:  Being a homeschooler since day 1; I have not had to get up early in the morning on a regualar basis, get 3 people out the door, be somewhere at a specific time, AND leave 2 of those people in the hands of someone else.  (or a group of someone's)  This was a very new set of feelings and emotions for me.  I know people do it all the time, but they have had time to get used to that which I'm sure they had to do too.  There is a huge level of faith involved both to trust those in charge and trust with my boys.  I survived, they survived and I know I will be practicing this as they get older so overall, it was good.

Reason 3:  Being a homeschooler since day 1; I have not had to get up early in the morning on a regular basis, get 3 people out the door, be somewhere at a specific time, leave 2 those of those people in the hands of someone else, AND miss out on so many "1st times".  Some of which included: canoneing, kayaking, swinging off a rope swing, and swinging through  the trees on a zip line.  I am used to be there for all the 1st times!  It was hard for me, but on the bright side made for some excellent converstations!  They got to describe things to me in ways that neither one of us are used to since I am normally there;)

Every morning I would watch them walk down that trail with a backback and their lunch sack off to enjoy the many adventures God had planned for them.  The first day I could hardly breathe and was nervous.  After that it got easier, and I was truly excited for them.  What a big step for all of us.  They are growing up. They have great memories from their week at Canyonview and I had some great learning experiences too.  I am so glad that we were able to send them and they were able to enjoy such a special time. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dear Connor,

When you wanted to join little league baseball this year, I was a little nervous. I have heard horror stories of pushy parents, tired kids, and crazy schedules. However, your dad and I want you to have chances to experience all sorts of things in life and really wanted to give you this opportunity that you so desperately wanted.

Here we are coming to the end of the season, your first one. The AAA Angels don't have a great record at 3-9-1 with only a few games left, but there are a lot of great things about this team. I want to share with you a few things I have learned on this journey about you during these past few months.

First of all...it IS a crazy schedule! I have no idea how any family pulls this off with working parents and/or kids in school. I have been so grateful for the life we live as a homeschooling family and feel extremely blessed.

You really do LOVE sports. You love to play...winning is gravy, but you love to play. I am amazed that you have not let your teams "record" get you down. You have left almost every game with a smile on your face telling me how much fun it was. Good job. I believe with all my heart that God is showing you perspective on where in your life sports should be and how to keep important things in life first. People matter, and compassion for those people matter. This has been shown with both good examples and unfortunately some bad, but you have had the vision to know the difference. You have shown true sportsmanship and have risen to be a real part of a struggling team and still have a good time with those 10 other great young men. Trust me, it is easier to be on a winning team, but you have taken the high road all season.

Also, you can see and know what is true and right despite what you are being told. This is so important to me and will benefit you in too many ways to count throughout your lifetime. For you to know who you are, what you can do, and how you truly did, is such an amazing thing. To capture that at 10, makes my heart overflow with hope and gratitude for your future. You have accepted criticism where due, and shrugged off with amazing spirit what could be hurtful remarks knowing the truth in your heart. Your confidence has grown where it could easily have been broken and I am happy that I got to see this side of you. Honestly, for parents it is SO hard to see our kids go through something difficult, and though I want to pray for easy,  but it is usually under trial that our character will really show. What a strong and amazing person you are becoming! You aren't playing this game to please others, just loving the game for what it is, and I couldn't be happier for you.

So, I have LOVED being your biggest fan this season…turns out it has nothing to do with your ability or performance with a ball, bat, or glove though that has my heart cheering and screaming…”Way to go Connor”.

I love you.


For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.  1Timothy 4:8   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sacrifice....such a dirty word!

Sacrifice....not something normal people want to think about.  Sounds awful, not fun, and don't sign me up for that.

Today in a sermon, I heard it is a synonym for worship.  That sounds better.

I became involved in Lent a few years ago when my best friend challenged me to think about it.  Her husband was raised Catholic and as Protestants they both participate each and every year and I found it fascinating.  Since then, I have accepted the challenge, but with small commitments that I felt I could live with.  Truly, self-control and sacrifice have not ever a part of that.

This year I felt God really speaking to me to use this time....really.  I started researching and searching for what God wants for me, where He wants me to grow and what I am supposed to do this 40 days.  If I am totally honest, I literally had a list trying to narrow down what would be the least painful ways for me to walk this 40 day journey until Easter.  Not quite the point.

Some scribbles from my notebook...

Fasting...Through eating less we feel some of the hunger He feels for souls
Grasp dependence for our VERY existence
Remove attachments to things of this world
What habits are destructive to my spiritual health?

Praying...something to bring me closer to God
To what do I devote too much or not enough of my time?

Giving....Thinking of others less fortunate

"Even the smallest act of self-denial has value in the eyes of God"

As it came down to the day before, I knew what God wanted me to do, but saying it out loud was not something I wanted to admit. 

I have literally struggled with the concept of food fasting for years!  I remember borrowing books from my friend Beth in California and seeking advice from anyone that would talk about it and researching online.  I clearly felt God wanting me to do this and I had some very small success stories, but many more failures.  I put it out of my mind.  Every year for Lent, I have fasted "things" not food.  This year God wants more.  The thing I feel I can't ever give up is exactly what I need to give up.  What has control of me?  Where do I loose my self control? 

I knew I needed the fasting part of Lent for me to be around food now.  So, I started another list...

Coffee...just started back after 11 years, way too soon
Chocolate....maybe, plenty of other desserts to eat like vanilla ice cream
A whole meal....What?  Give up a meal?  Crazy...I need 3 a day
Broccoli...I could do that
Gluten....annoying, but very doable these days:)

When I look at my list, I realized it HAS to be the one I didn't think possible.  I decided on a whole meal.  (without changing the timing, that would be too easy)  I knew right away it had to be lunch...my favorite.  I tried to convince myself that breakfast would mean the same sacrifice, but my heart knows it is not true.  I could easily give up breakfast.  Lunch however, I really love.  I think about it a lot.  When I am cooking dinner, I usually try to have a good amount leftover so I can have a hot lunch. I spend extra on ready meals I like and plan my lunch with as much details as I plan dinner.  I love to go out to lunch the most. 

Lunch it is. 

Can I do it?  I feel strength in numbers knowing there are people all around the world participating in this 40 days in some way with me.  I feel a desire to finally prove that in my own strength I can do nothing, but I don't operate that way anymore.

 God is real in my life and with Him I can do anything.