December 2, 2013
“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121:8
In this earthly life, we celebrate the comings and mourn the goings. Birth and death are a constant reality for us humans. We know babies are born every day and people die every day, but when that reality crashes into our ordinary lives, both the joy of new birth and the sadness of loss is magnified.
My sister-in-law, Barbie, passed from this life to the next on Friday, Nov. 29.
I remember her coming into my life when I was about 12. My brother Dan brought her home to meet the family in the summer and they were married in December. In between the introduction and the wedding, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was so sick by Christmas, that she wasn’t able to attend the wedding. The newlyweds offered to move in and help take care of mom and keep the household running. As a young bride, Barbie stepped into a horribly difficult family crisis. My world was shaking, our family was reeling, and in the midst of turmoil, Barbie brought light and peace to my dark and scary world. Barbie loved helping people.
I remember her coming to Eau Claire the day our youngest child was born. An early morning call was made and she arrived at the hospital to be with our older kids as they waited for their sibling to arrive. As Jake was making his entrance into the world, Barbie brought Katie and Sam into the delivery room to witness the miracle. Barbie loved miracles.
I remember her coming to every bridal shower, every baby shower, every confirmation, every graduation. Family gatherings were a priority no matter when or where they took place. This past August, we had our first family reunion. We played games, we had a talent show, we ate and visited and held babies. Barbie was in charge of desserts. She brought pies and cupcakes and bars and cookies and cheesecakes. Barbie loved to celebrate.
I’ll remember her going as a lesson in how to do it well.
She helped us cope,
she prayed for a miracle,
and she celebrated every day.
Love You Barbie.
November 28, 2013
Having an almost-two-year-old boy in the house has turned every day into an adventure. Hudson is learning new things at an incredible rate. He’s picking up words like crazy, finding out what happens when he throws his food on the floor, and discovering how to postpone nap time. He’s a smart little fella. But some things don’t come naturally — they have to be taught.
Hud Bud’s parents are patiently instructing their boy to mind his manners. When he holds out his cup and says, “More”, his mommy responds with, “More please”. He repeats, “More peese” and then he gets his sippy cup filled. She tells Hudson, “Say thank you” and he says, “Deet doo”.
It’s not natural to be grateful. We have to be taught to say “thank you”. I’m still learning.
This morning I walked outside and took in a big breath of cold air. I heard in my heart, “Say thank you”. So I said, “Thank you, Lord, for air. Fresh, cold air to breath. Every minute of every day, my whole life long.”
Then I stepped into last night’s dusting of snow and heard it again, “Say thank you”. So I said, “Thanks, Lord, for seasons and sunshine and snowflakes and this beautiful earth.”
As I walked the dog around the block, I picked up the pace in the chilly wind but heard, “Say thank you”. So I said, “Thanks so much for legs that walk and eyes that see and heart that beats.”
Nearing the back door, I looked in the window and saw PB making coffee and Hudson eating toast. ”Say thank you.” ”Oh, yes, Lord, for people to love and live with and laugh with — many, many thanks.”
Hudson and I are learning to be grateful.
“Thank you for Your kindness,
Thank You for Your mercy,
Thank You for the cross,
Thank You for the price You paid.
Thank You for Your promise,
Thank You for Your favor,
Thank You for Your love,
And everything You’ve done for me.”*
In other words, Lord,
*”Thank You” by Hillsong
November 16, 2013
Since PB’s shoulder surgery last month, he’s had regular rehab appointments to get the muscles back in shape. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday he meets with John, who is a relentless taskmaster, putting PB through 45 minutes of challenging exercises. Without that consistent work-out, the muscles would never recover strength or be able to function as intended. That appointment is not optional and John expects PB to come with a willingness to work. At first, PB dreaded going — he knew it wouldn’t be easy or comfortable. But now, he and John are pretty good friends and after every session, the shoulder feels better and better.
I need rehab.
So every morning I meet with my Holy Therapist.
He soothes my hurts from the day before.
He rubs my sore spots with the oil of the Spirit.
He pushes me to move in new ways.
He keeps me from becoming stiff-necked.
He rehabs my soul.
Without that appointment, I grow weak and function poorly.
I know He expects me to show up and be open to His leading.
It’s not always easy or comfortable, but there is healing.
Over time, my sessions have gone from duty to delight.
Dear Lord, rehabilitate me.
“I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” Jeremiah 31:25
November 1, 2013
Not that I’m making any excuses for my rude behavior, but sometimes something has to give. Unfortunately, small drop got dropped in the midst of an unusual season of busyness. Some days are so filled with living that words can’t squeeze their way in to record the journey.
Today, because it’s my birthday, I’m giving myself a moment to breathe and see what leaks out with the exhale. First, a look back. This is how the autumn has gone:
PB took a tumble and tore his rotator cuff.
Our younger daughter and her family came to spend two weeks with us. Our older daughter and her family came to spend two weeks with us. We had 14 people in the house for almost two weeks.
We hosted the first ever family reunion on my side, with over 40 of us gathering.
Our younger daughter and her family moved overseas. I sobbed at O’Hare. I sobbed all the way home. I sobbed when I walked in the house and saw the spit up cloths.
We had two big weddings – PB tied the knot, I got to sit and watch. I always cry at weddings. Happy tears.
My honey had shoulder surgery. He felt like crying.
My sister-in-law had brain surgery. Tough day with tough news. I cried.
Our fifth grandchild was born (#4 in 2013). I wept with joy as I held all 5 lb. 13 oz.
Our church sang “Have We Told You Lately That We Love You?” to us. I did the ugly cry in front of the whole congregation.
I flew to Salt Lake City.
I flew back the next day with our older daughter and two grandsons.
Our son-in-law and his dad drove a moving truck for 24 straight hours.
Our older daughter and her husband and their two boys moved into our basement. After being out west for 10 years, I blink back tears when I think that I get to see my girl’s face every morning in my kitchen.
Goodness, there’s been a lot of cryin’ going on. Some sad, some happy, some from sheer exhaustion. All from living life. You know how it is. You do it, too. I wouldn’t trade away one of those tears, though. Emotions mean I’m alive and I’m loved and I’m loving.
There. I did it. I looked back and sighed a big sigh.
Now I’m going to start looking forward.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, Skyping with the twinsies, chasing the toddler, getting to know the new babies, singing, worshiping, studying, teaching…and hopefully, writing.
October 15, 2013
Let me introduce you to the newest member of the family – Evie Sally Ann!!
Born on October 15th!
5 lbs. 13 oz.
18 1/2″ long
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
October 2, 2013
A mom’s toughest job isn’t…..
getting up in the night with a crying infant,
or keeping a teething baby comforted,
or being stuck in a house with sick toddlers,
or settling squabbles and getting everybody to share nicely.
A mom’s hardest task isn’t….
keeping up with the laundry,
or pulling off a fantastic birthday party.
or doing 6th grade math,
or instilling the value of a clean bedroom.
A mom’s most difficult choice isn’t….
which school to send the kids to,
or what clothes are appropriate,
or what time curfew is,
or which friends are a good influence.
A mom’s toughest job,
and most difficult choice
Here is wisdom for the moms and dads that time has proven true,
The day your children learn to walk, they start to walk away from you.
For at first you hold all of them, cradled safely in your arms,
Then one day their hand is all you hold, and soon it’s just their heart.
Can the sparrow ever learn to fly if the nest is all it knows?
Can the arrow ever reach its mark by remaining in the bow?
You have to let it go.
“Arrow and the Bow” by Steve Chapman
September 24, 2013
I’m hoping the twinsies do a lot of this in the airplane:
September 18, 2013
My dear hubby, PB, decided to clean the garage instead of go fishing on his day off.
He decided to clear out all the old red plastic gas containers we had for Y2K…ummm….13 years ago.
He decided to smash them in order to fit them into a big garbage bag.
He decided to jump on a gas can with two feet…
which sent it shooting across the garage floor…
which sent him flying six feet into the air…
which caused him to land on the cement on his left shoulder.
He decided to call me.
I decided to take him to ER.
The doctor decided PB tore his rotator cuff.
We decided it’s a good thing PB isn’t a major league pitcher.
I decided I love him still.
But I kinda wish he had gone fishing.
September 9, 2013
There aren’t many events that call for ten turkeys.
Even the biggest family gatherings at Thanksgiving or Christmas usually get by with one stuffed bird.
But Sunday wasn’t just any day.
Around these parts, Sunday was what we call “Rally Day”.
It’s the annual kick-off to the Sunday school year….
followed by a potluck, the likes of which Wesley himself would be proud.
PB grilled ten turkeys, with a little help from his friends.
Turkey #1, in prayer position.
Turkey #2. Soon to be a burnt offering.
Turkey #3, waiting in the wings. Heehee.
Shooting turkey #4 full of PB’s secret recipe marinade.
Oh yeah, baby. We stuff our birds with butter. #5
#6 getting poked before going to bed for the night.
#7, 8, 9, 10 – all tucked in and soaking up the savory goodness.
No parking – turkey heaven right there. Sizzling, smoky scrumptiousness.
Dig in, you blessed Methodists. Gobble up the goodness.
I sure hope there are potlucks in heaven.
Now tell me, how many pastors cook up dinner for their flock?
No pun intended.
Wait. Is a group of turkeys called a “flock”?
Anyway, a good time was had by all.
Thanks to all those who kept an eye on the birds while PB preached.
You missed a good sermon.
Thanks to all those who set up, ate up and cleaned up.
You are good souls.
Have we told you lately that we love ya?
September 1, 2013
Late summer is one of my favorite times of year.
The mornings and evenings start to cool down, but the days are still toasty.
Sunflowers are in their glory now, so I like to spread some of their cheer around the house.
I put a few on the mantle…
and a couple on the shelf.
I hang some on the wall….
and set one on the table.
Yes, sunflowers make me happy.
So imagine my joy when I happened onto this:
Acres of sunflowers!
As I was taking in the view, I thought, “Now…this is abundance.”
I could run into that field and lose myself in there.
I could stand among the stalks and be dwarfed by them.
I could reach up to the bloom and find tasty nourishment.
I could pick myself a handful every day and never run out.
Then I thought about my paltry plastic petals at home on my mantle.
Those fake flowers and imitation images seemed like a weak substitute…
after seeing acres of glory.
My life as an authentic believer should have an abundance to it.
Faith is more that a plastic prop to put on display.
Belief is not piecing scraps of good deeds together.
The field of flowers taught me a good lesson.
I want to seek a deep and wide and long and high relationship with God –
not a drive-by appreciation, but a dive-in-and-get-lost-in-glory kind of thing.
I want to stand in His presence and be humbled by my smallness –
and be astounded by His greatness.
I want to reach up – stretch myself to know more, then dig deep –
and let the Seed of His Word sustain me and take root.
I want to be filled with the Spirit every day –
and never run out.
What would life be like if I committed to such a creed?
“I have come so that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10