29 December 2009
I long for Asher and Amelie to have opportunities to find their own creativity when their own boredom strikes. But I need to allow boredom to strike which isn't exactly easy in a culture focused on productivity and structure.
In my Pantagraph column this week I described several ways to leave room for boredom that leads to creativity.
24 December 2009
21 December 2009
Are your Christmas meals planned and organized?
Have you packed the gazillion baby supplies you need for just a one night stay at your in-laws?
I'm guessing not many hands are raised, and if yours is, please let me know your secret!
We have much to do this week to finish preparing for Christmas. I love it and I stress over it all at the same time.
My secret weapon to preventing the mile-long to-do list from becoming a joy-killer is to Guard myself with Gratitude. I wrote more about this over on Exemplify and you can check it out today!
14 December 2009
If Mary, Jesus' mother had written a cardboard testimony her "before" side might have read:
Simple teenager living an average life.
When she flipped it over to the "after" side the transforming gift of God would have allowed her to write:
Mother to the King of the world.
Joseph could have written:
Carpenter wondering how to care for his fiance.
His "after" side could read:
Receiver of not only a divine baby, but gifts to care for him.
The shepherds could say:
Stuck in a monotonous all-night job.
And after a visit from God:
Excitement found at work changed everything.
A true encounter with God's peace changes everything. Hopeless, worrisome, desperate situations become filled with purpose, contentment, and knowledge that good will overcome bad.
I could write many statements testifying of how God's peace has changed my life, but today my cardboard testimony reads:
Lost in a focus on my own abilities to create the perfect life.
And I can flip over that "before" side and now I live
Found by teaming with God who is more than able to do all things.
What is your cardboard testimony today?
09 December 2009
07 December 2009
03 December 2009
02 December 2009
If our culture encourages us to think about the Christmas holiday for three months, then why is much of the actual month a focus on preparing rather than celebrating?
At risk of being held accountable to sticking to my ideas, I'd like to share the newspaper column I wrote about slowing down the pace of Christmas.
Check it out here!
01 December 2009
Master of both the light and the darkness send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking light.
To you we say, Come Lord Jesus...
This Advent Prayer by Henri Nouwen simply states the reasons I so much long for Christ's coming.
His presence brings
Anticipation of a better future
Light in a dark world.
(I am frantically searching for daily Advent reflections. I'd love to hear from anyone who has a resource to recommend!)
23 November 2009
With these words, Pilgrim Edward Winslow ended his description of the first Thanksgiving festival.
I admit I forgot the reason for Thanksgiving.
Sure, I've lamented over the crazy focus of Black Friday over Turkey Thursday and the mad rush to Christmas before the potatoes have been mashed or the pies baked. But when Asher pulled a picture of a pilgrim and a sewn boat with Indians out of his backpack I remembered Thanksgiving is about even more than family and an attitude of thankfulness.
Its about the history of our country.
A celebration by surviviors who made it through a year in the wilderness of America.
They arrived at Plymouth Rock with little provisions at a time of year when they would quickly discover the harsh winters of the Northeast. Many did die during the first months in their land of freedom, but those who lived found new friends and discovered how to provide for themselves.
And when they made it through, they celebrated with a three day feast.
I don't presume to be able to offer a full history lesson on Thanksgiving here, but I encourage you to take a few minutes to do a little research about our past leaders who have celebrated.
The first to officially declare Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday held on the last Thursday of November was Abraham Lincoln. He encouraged our nation towards thankfulness shortly after he became a Christian in his Proclamation of Thanksgiving.
Even in the middle of the Civil War, when neighbors and brothers fought against each other, Lincoln found innumerable reasons for the country to stop and thank God for the blessings of "fruitful fields and healthful skies."
He encouraged fellow Americans in that day to see past the many troubles in the country and recognize the good things directly from the hand of God.
"No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."
And even now almost 150 years later, despite the rough economic times and daily stresses of life, I can absolutely proclaim that only by God's goodness, I am far from want.
17 November 2009
When Asher took the "No Babies" sign off the front porch in September, we thought the switch in his brain had permanently switched to being sweet to Amelie.
But then she started to screech.
And now she crawls.
She even dares to look at Asher's toys as if she might possibly be interested in them.
And so now the unkind Big Brother Asher has returned. Whenever I correct his mean behavior he calmly tells me not to worry because he plans to be nice to Amelie again on the 8th day.
I know about what happened on Days 1-7 of Creation but I never thought about what might happen on the 8th day.
Every morning last week I tried proclaiming, "Today is the 8th day!"
For two days I received the reply that "No it's not the 8th day yet." Finally we reached the 8th day on Friday but Saturday sent us right back to Days 6 or 7. On one of those days he even resorted to putting the "No Babies" sign back on the porch.
Just when I think he's making progress, he'll slip in a little poke to his sister, or yet another reminder to her that "YOU SHOULD NOT SCREECH! IF I HAVE TO TELL YOU ONE MORE TIME NOT TO SCREECH I WILL BE VERY ANGRY." (And yes I did just mean to scream at you just as Asher screams at us.)
Probably our son isn't the only one in the family who progresses and regresses on a daily basis. Despite my good intentions as I start each morning, I often find myself lapsing back into negative selfish, prideful patterns I thought I already conquered.
I might make good progress towards becoming the loving mom, wife, and friend, I want to be and finally arrive on the 8th day, but too often the 9th day comes back around and I easily fall back into interacting with others without the grace I have been shown.
But its a new day again and I declare today to be the 8th day!
12 November 2009
Thanksgiving for us means hiding away from the shopping madness with Walter's family in a Missouri cabin. We can hardly wait to sit around the campfire, hike down to the river, and of course play (or cheer for) the annual Reedy-Walling-Fry football classic.
Amelie will get to try her first turkey.
Asher will (hopefully) walk on his own down the hill to the river.
I will take knitting lessons from Laura.
Walter will try not to dominate in Poker and promises to hold his tongue as some of the family plays the less strategic game of Dominoes.
Beyond the traditions and excitement of Thanksgiving, I hope it will ignite gratitude that lasts through the Christmas season.
Today my ideas to create thankfulness are posted on the Hearts at Home website. I invite you to check it out!
09 November 2009
For my 3 year old who knows nothing of what it means to really need something I want to teach a lifestyle of hilarious giving that goes beyond duty or going through the motions because its what we should do.
He doesn't know anything about little boys and girls who don't get snacks or even healthy food when they wake up from their naps.
He lasts less than five minutes raking leaves in the yard with mommy and daddy before running off to ride his bike so the concept of forced labor is completely foreign.
Even knowing that some kids go to sleep at night without even one bedtime story or goodnight kiss is out of his realm of understanding.
So how do I teach him to hilariously fill up a shoebox for a child who has only a tiny fraction of the material things we have?
For the little boy who still daily questions my choice to go to the bathroom sitting down instead of standing up, I must start with myself.
Give creatively. Give regularly. Give cheerfully.
03 November 2009
I enjoy knowing the secret about what is under a light post in one of the parking lots of a fast food restaurant on our town's main drag. I also look at those trees by my regular grocery store with a new found appreciation for what they contain.
So I write this post to notify friends that if you see us poking around town in odd places, don't be surprised. We're just searching for treasures and would love for you to join us!
Check out the fun at http://www.geocaching.com/
30 October 2009
But no one does care about the average unconflicted life. Characters must be compelling and overcome conflict.
We listened to Donald Miller speak last night. I loved his book "Blue Like Jazz," so when I heard his 65 city tour included a stop in our little town, I immediately knew I would be in the audience. His funny poignant and carpe diem type challenge encouraged me to live my life like I imagine the movie-Angie would live.
Real life Angie avoids conflict because of the work, pain, time, and sacrifice it involves. Movie Angie plunges into the conflict (otherwise known as life) to live full days of no regrets.
Real life Angie quits her knitting washcloth project because my purl stitches still look exactly like my knit stitches.
Movie Angie determines to make washcloths for Christmas presents to force herself to perfect the craft (don't worry family, I don't even have time to attempt that - this year!).
Real life Angie abandons her dream of writing a book because I have no platform, I'm just...well me.
Movie Angie wakes up early every morning forcing herself to sit at the keyboard because of a love of creating words on the page.
Real life Angie dreads the practicality issues of leaving a nursing baby for day long adventures in Chicago.
Movie Angie can't wait to spend time with her sister and experience the surprises of the city.
Real life Angie's heart aches for orphans but knows the drawn out process of adoption is expensive and could take years.
Movie Angie plunges into adoption embracing diversity and identifying with God's heart.
Real life Angie rushes inside when coming home late at night.
Movie Angie pauses before going inside to see the incredible star filled sky. Musical Angie might even break into song praising God for those stars. But in my movie I still can't sing well so maybe I'll just speak my praise.
OK. So my life, my story, would never make a blockbuster movie (especially that knitting thing) but I do hope that every once in a while, real life Angie remembers to make the choices that movie Angie would make.
What choice would that be today?
26 October 2009
I'm not exactly a Renaissance woman, but I chuckled at his question.
As a student I can get good grades.
As an employee I can research and report on my findings.
As a writer I can create columns and essays.
As a baker I can concoct yummy treats.
As a driver I can get us to school and back.
As a former runner I can finish a marathon.
As a decorator I can peel off wallpaper.
As a gardener I can plant, water, and prune.
As a shopper I can find a good deal.
As a Bible study leader I can point out God's truths.
As a friend I can listen for hours over coffee.
But none of those skills mean a thing to him.
He wanted to know what I can do as a mom?
I can make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I can puree and freeze baby food.
I can read lots of stories.
I can push my boy super duper monster high on a swing.
I can bathe a slippery wiggly baby.
I can navigate a stroller and tricycle across a busy street while holding a little boy's hand.
I can bite into an apple to "get it started."
I can comfort.
I can hug.
I can sing a favorite good night song while Asher is snugly tucked into bed.
And this is all my indirect son needed me to do.
So I did.
19 October 2009
But when I logged on to my homepage yesterday morning, the day of our celebration, the daily Bible verse affirmed the good in our early celebration.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
Yesterday was Christmas.
Compiling wish lists, gathering (and wrapping) presents, preparing holiday food, setting up the Christmas tree, coordinating clothes for family pictures, and even disrupting normal napping schedules. All those preparations that typically run me ragged in mid-December didn't seem so bad in mid-October.
It was just enough.
Stores didn't tempt me at every turn with extra discounts if I just bought one extra fleece blanket for $15.
I didn't feel sick to my stomach after hearing about the proverbial roasting chestnuts for the bazillionth time.
My wrapping took less than half a day.
And when I left mom and dad's house with a stomach stuffed to overflowing, I felt a little better knowing it was from just one evening of indulgence rather than an entire month of overeating.
Maybe best of all it was a family gathering we hadn't had for a very long time.
We've celebrated Christmas as a family at my parents home in Ethiopia a couple of times in the years they've been missionaries there, but never with our traditional potato soup made with all the American ingredients or a fire blazing in the fireplace.
Yes our celebration was out of the ordinary. I spent my days in Christmas preparation mode when friends picked out fall pumpkins.
Asher is now completely confused about when Christmas actually is.
But the memories we created made the celebration worth it!
And we've been reminded we can sing Happy Birthday to Jesus any day of the year.
Even today He is Emmanuel, God with us.
14 October 2009
There must be 23 hours in my day when kids are awake, translate needy, and possibly ONE hour for me to catch my breath.
Especially on these long days when Walter prepares for his actuarial exam I fight constant battles to be present with whatever defines my mommy job at the time.
It could mean making another peanut butter and jelly sandwich
or pushing Asher on the swing until my arms fall off
or changing yet another diaper
or filling more ice cube trays with puree baby food to freeze
or putting on shoes and socks and coats and hats and blankets (and don't forget the pacifier!)
or draining a baby's nose with that handy squishy bulb the hospitals send home
or exclaiming one more time about the beautiful music notes Asher drew.
But when I'm about to quit and boycott any more responsibilities, I'm reminded of the alternative.
Someday those little runny noses will not be here. Sure I'll have other responsibilities as a mom, but these physically demanding days will be gone. The emotional challenges of teen years will come and eventually a new phase of interacting with Asher and Amelie as parents themselves will dawn.
So I wonder today how many more times will I get to
push Asher super duper monster high on the swing?
cuddle my sweet girl before she starts to walk ?
make room on the refrigerator for more of Asher's sunshines and smiley faces and music notes?
point out diggers and firetrucks and construction sites while we drive?
tuck them in and kiss their peaceful faces?
And with this thought I end my hour of aloneness and begin my 23 hours of being needed!
06 October 2009
But writing about marriage challenges me and leaves me feeling like I have so little experience and such primitive advice to share. Walter and I have been married for six years and I feel like I have more things to learn about being a wife than I did seven years ago.
But, I took a challenge and wrote about analyzing relationships in my Hearts at Home column this month. This I do know; I will forever be curious about new ways to better understand my marriage. Any other ideas are definitely welcome!
03 October 2009
Today's auction clearly proved that the possessions we spend a lifetime collecting will someday be scattered for pennies. Grandpa sat just a few blocks away, with his mind much farther away, while the farm equipment he used daily headed to other barns and even antique shops. That wooden wheelbarrow which he once used to haul hay then spent years gathering dust in the back of the hayloft now will complete its journey to rest in a gardener's yard.
My heart grew heavy when I thought about the stories behind each item being sold. The washbins where I spent hours washing sweetcorn while Grandpa cut the kernels off, Grandma steamed, and aunts and cousins husked stood in the corner and I discovered them just in time to snap a few pictures before they too were auctioned away. I rescued dad's firetruck but many of his tractors found new homes.
It's just stuff. Stuff that will rot and rust. Moths will destroy and thieves will break in and steal.
Some will spend a lifetime focused on collecting stuff to fill up houses and barns here.
I have been challenged today to spend my lifetime focused on storing up treasures to be discovered someday in a new Home where moth and rust do not destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.
29 September 2009
I share Asher's excitement over making beautiful, tasty, and even useful creations.
Those rows of holey uneven yarn still hanging on the needle, waiting for me to learn how to cast off, represent my recent attempts to learn how to knit.
The bare walls in my kitchen where wallpaper hung yesterday morning show my intentions to create an updated space for my family.
And even the dozens of paper scraps lying here around my desk hold the beginnings to that next great article waiting to be written.
As summer has clearly given way to fall, as I button my jeans that popped open last year at this time because of the life growing inside of me, evidence of God's creative hand are everywhere. His creation story began thousands of years ago with an amazing garden, hilarious yet scary animals, and people, in the image of the Creator. And He continues to create.
Red yellow and orange leaves, squirrels hustling across the road, developing babies, and even the smiley faces of a three year old. His creation, and inspiration for us to exercise the gift of creation ourselves.
What do you love to create?
Whether its baking a scrumptious apple pie, singing joyfully, or knitting a few rows, attempting another washcloth, make creation a priority on your to do list today and glorify your Creator whose passion for creativity we share.
11 September 2009
2. No Babies.
3. I love you!
These were the 3 signs Asher hung on our porch a couple of months ago. Don't look for them if you stop by, they exist only in his mind.
The first sign shows his intense dislike for dogs. Whenever we see at dog at the Farmers Market, walking on the trail, across the street, a mile away, anywhere, Asher launches into a dramatic soliloquy. It usually goes something like this (read in a very loud intense voice):
"Oh no! What is that creature up there that I don't like with its tongue hanging out? I do not like dogs! The whole earth is covered in dogs and none of them are nice!"
And so, we have a sign on our porch announcing that dogs are not invited to our home.
We are still puzzled by the third sign. It must have been hung because we ask Asher to say something nice whenever he says something mean. The nice thing he says is usually "I love you." So a sign on the porch covers anything mean he will say?
The second sign announcing his feelings about babies was our most troublesome one. It might as well just have said "No Amelie." because she was the motivation for hanging the sign. For over a year, Asher has felt the need to yell at babies and talk about how there should not be any babies allowed - anywhere.
When we actually brought a baby into our home, you can imagine his dismay! For months he has talked about how he doesn't like his sister and regularly describes very creative but mean things he wants to do to her. The most entertaining of those ideas has been to cover her in sap.
But out of the blue this weekend, he told us that he took down the No Babies sign on the porch!
And he has been absolutely true to his word. From that moment, he has loved his sister. There have been no more mean words directed to her, I don't have to shield her from being "hidden" under a pillow and he wants to give her a kiss every night.
Somehow he softened towards her and has not looked back. Babies are now allowed and welcomed in our home.
Sorry dogs, maybe your sign will come down soon.
04 September 2009
31 August 2009
Every week we peek into Asher's Sunday School classroom hoping to get a glimpse of this blond haired boy. Our son, the one set on doing his own thing regardless of who is joining him in the activity, declared to us over a month ago that he had met his "favorite friend in the whole world!"
Immediately we asked what his name was. Typical to a three year old, he had no idea but only that he was a construction worker, just like him.
So the next week, we prepped him with a conversation he should have with this mystery boy. Asher was to introduce himself and then ask the other boy what his name was. Well, it was reported that the conversation did take place, but the other boy did not disclose his name.
How disappointed we were. Visions of meeting this fun boy, inviting him to our house for playdate after playdate and encouraging a life long friendship had gone by the wayside.
To compensate for not knowing the little boy's name, Asher gave him a name..."Badtalks." And so I've found myself so eager to drop Asher off each Sunday hoping to get a glimpse of this favorite friend. While the teachers pin Asher's name onto his shirt, I question him in a whisper about if he sees a "special" friend?
I am so overeager to meet this boy and all because Asher so excitedly told us about him weeks ago. I've thought about this child I don't know and wonder what kind of magic influence he has to make our son actually talk about how much he likes a friend. Badtalks is a friend I want to know because of the praises of my son.
So does anyone want to know my friends because of the good things I say about them?
Most importantly, does anyone want to know Jesus because of the praises I declare about Him?
Have I told enough people about
- His goodness to give me a wonderful husband and happy six years of marriage?
- His compassion to answer my constant prayers for another child?
- His provision of wonderful stay at home mom friends that I love hanging out with?
- His sovereignty and perfect timing for my parents to be home while Walter studies?
- His refreshment, restoration, peace, joy, and hope?
And that's just getting started.
I doubt I've told enough people but now I've told you! Jesus is way better than Badtalks! I hope you will meet Him as well.
26 August 2009
Why is the kitchen rug neatly rolled up and laid on the living room couch?
I will never get an explanation that makes sense.
And this is the way life is.
God also doesn't and doesn't need to explain.
Like he did with Job, God gives and takes away without needing to provide any kind of eplanation.
He takes houses, jobs, loved ones, dreams, and we are usually left wondering why. And that why is left dangling, usually for a lifetime.
We can guess, try to figure it out, and speculate on God's working, but we won't know why until we meet Him in His presence and then it will likely by the furthest thing from our minds.
I don't know why God has allowed pain through His fingers, but I also don't know why He allows joy through His fingers. And it is good and right to accept them both.
17 August 2009
A moment when time stood still and we basked in the uniqueness of that exact point in life. There have been few moments like this in my life.
At the altar of Christ Church saying "I do."
In the crystal waters of Vieques floating and snorkeling while Walter dove after a sea turtle.
Swinging furiously in my hammock tied to the top deck of an Amazonian lineboat under a sky filled with an infinite number of stars.
On the upper bunk of an Ukrainian train feeling the first blasts of air conditioning and hearing ABBA sing "Dancing Queen."
And now I add, standing on the track watching my son round the bend to complete his quarter mile run ALONE.
Not the only little boy to run alone, or the fastest, but my son. The one who needed constant encouragement from daddy running beside him all summer. The one who previously wanted to run like a slug.
He ran. Alone. Far away.
After I recovered from the disbelief that he would actually run by himself, I found myself lost in the symbolism of the moment.
He was so far away and I was supposed to just stand and watch. If he stumbled and fell, it would take at least a minute for Walter or I to reach him. If it started pouring down raining, he was over there, on the other side, all by himself. It seemed he had never been more independent and I had never been so amazed at what he could do when he put his mind to it. Just a small green shirt putting one foot after another. Amazing.
There was no bribing, no begging, no ordering to "march faster soldier." He took off without a backward glance and ran the lap not stopping even when he passed by the construction cones.
I stood mouth gaping open, lost in the moment.
07 August 2009
The girls usually had some kind of disagreement, but always ended the show as the best of friends. Of course, Becky and I have had our similar ups and downs. Having a sister, especially one as patient as mine has often given me the falsely-perceived liberty to say whatever I think and let the grump monsters out to attack her. But as a sister who knows me well, she forgives and we move on.
I can't think of anyone more selfless than my sister (although my husband might be in the running) who focuses so much energy on serving others.
One afternoon, when the Tanner sisters had an especially difficult fight and in a moment that could possibly be the cheesiest moment of television history, they ended their disagreement with declaring to each other that they are "sisters forever"!
Becky and I pulled that sappy moment into our own relationship and often close our notes and letters reminding each other that we are "SF".
Today my dear sister has a significant birthday and I want her to know how special she is, how thankful I am for her and that I love her!
Happy Birthday Becky!!
04 August 2009
The deadline to complete the requirements for the summer reading program came and went on Sunday and I did not read the 18 hours I needed to in order to get my prize.
I'm actually quite upset about my failure. In my childhood summers, I finished the reading programs within the first week or two. With days and days on end available to lay in the hammock swinging and reading for hours a day there was no challenge.
Ramona Quimby, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield (I should give a prize for anyone who can place the books those two are in?), those wise babysitters in The Babysitters Club, along with random others were my best friends for many summers.
This year I joined the club attempting to relive those childhood reading summers and committed to not counting the Franklin, Curious George, and dinosaur books I read to Asher or the time consuming blog posts I read everyday, or the drafts of my dad's book towards my Reading Program goal.
I found that I could sit down for 10 minutes at a time before something erupted. A pacifier fell out, a bottom needed wiped, dinner was about to burn, or most frustrating of all my eyes became so heavy I needed toothpicks to prop them open.
And so, it became apparent last week that reading in 10 minute intervals would not be enough for me to complete my goal.
I bumped up reading on my priority list, drank more caffeine, and buckled down.
But alas, it just was not meant to be.
There's always next year...
18 July 2009
But....yesterday on the front page of the newspaper, I read some very disturbing news. My husband is destined to be a "bad-boy!" As I reflected on the results of this study reporting that my husband has a name in the Top 10 "bad-boy" names, pieces began to come together.
No wonder Asher often labels himself as the "baddest king." My husband must secretly be encouraging him along these lines behind my back.
No wonder Walter dedicates himself to long hours away from home "studying." He's planning his next bad trick.
And no wonder he attacked our son with bubbles (of all things) at our recent family gathering! He even cajoled his sister to join in on the attack to shift the blame from himself.
After 31 years and the results of this study, my "bad-boy" named husband has been found out!!
Happy Birthday Walter, I hope we can enjoy another year together "on the outside!"
13 July 2009
This is how Walter and I imagined the first day of swimming lessons would go today. Asher does not do well conforming to group settings and regularly refuses to speak to adults other than Walter and me (well sometimes he refuses to speak to us too!). This combined with his aversion to putting his face in the water caused us great concern as we expected swimming lessons to be a total flop.
But my little Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde surprised me once again. He did great!!! Even before his allotted time began, he won all the waiting teachers over with his smile and sweet answers to their questions. When they asked him to get in the water, he complied. When they wanted the swimmers to hold onto the wall and kick, Asher's splashes outdid them all!
As I watched from my lounge chair, hardly able to keep my head from shaking in amazement, I beamed with pride. He can participate in a group setting. He can obey a teacher. And he may just even learn how to swim!
But we do know his little secret. He may be a good performer and put on a good act in front of other people.
My little Dr. Asher
But at home, his inner-dinosaur becomes unleashed!
My irresistible Mr. Dinosaur.
07 July 2009
So I don't race to look out the window of a new hotel room. If we're there longer than one night, I might peek out of the curtain, but never have expectations of looking out over the city or onto a sunny beach.
18 June 2009
11 June 2009
When they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, we threw a great party for them. As part of the dinner entertainment, my sister, brother, and I performed a song depicting what we believed their life might be like in the future.
And the crazy thing is, that song filled with far-out ideas such as mom and dad living in a far away country is more true than I would ever have believed.
The one part of what I wrote that is least true out of all of the outlandish ideas I introduced is that they are not missionaries on a Caribbean island, but in Ethiopia. Somehow, I missed that vision!
We sung a song of mom pulling mango bars out of the oven. Maybe she doesn't make mango bars, but mom can whip up amazing treats with unknown ingredients while the electricity fades in and out!
Becky was coming to visit them in that song we sang ten years ago, and Becky is actually preparing to travel to Africa in a couple of weeks.
There is one piece of the song that I wrote so long ago which has taken place this week in a almost to the letter manner of accuracy. My dad has started writing a book and has been sending it to me in chunks for editing. I believe in my song, I implied we were faxing the book's edits back and forth, but maybe that will be the next step as his writing is becoming prolific.
Anyone want to see in to their future? Just let me know and I'll write you a song!
After thousands of years of events unfolding according to His sovereign plan, without missing an iota of accuracy, does God feel so excited when plans unfold just as He knew they would?
02 June 2009
There aren't a lot of places to lay a baby at a campsite - especially one covered in poison ivy! But she fit just perfect in this chair!
Fireman Asher is very pleased to report that our fire remained only in the firepit. He was a good marshmallow roaster but was most excited just to be near a real fire!
He was also thrilled to be in a sleeping bag. If you ask him his favorite part about camping, he'll flip flop between roasting marshmallows and sleeping in the tent!
The one thing Asher would not say was his favorite part of camping was our little hike. The whole time we hiked, he talked about the mud on the trail making him "very angry." He also insisted that we should get lost in the woods.
As much fun as camping is, it is exhausting! Both kids were happy to sleep in the car while we put away all of our gear. Fun times!!
21 May 2009
13 May 2009
She answered that in fact it does and I quickly tucked it away as my greatest garage sale treasure of the year.
I could hardly wait to get home and watch Asher's eyes brighten when he saw the clocks dinger swing back and forth and heard the chimes pealing out the time of day. This was way better than the educational cow cuckoo clock gift he received on his birthday!
Finally! A ding clock. It seemed his dreams had all come true. Until we went to the lobby of his school yesterday where a beautiful, big, majestic grandfather clock stands, and I realized he will never be satisfied until he has a grandfather clock gonging in his room.
I heard aphrase on my favorite midday show today that reminded me of the grandfather clock dream. Talking about jealousy, they discussed the freedom of being able to "prefer the given." This phrase coined by a great thinker who I didn't catch the name of, has stuck with me today. And I realize that my instincts are no different than those of a three year old.
Usually I prefer anything but what I have.
I have a beautiful new baby but long for freedom.
Walter's job allows me to stay home full time, but I miss the officialness of work outside the home.
Writing opportunities have appeared in my life but I don't feel the urge to write.
Contentment has never come easy for me. Even though my life is so blessed and good, I always long for something else. Sometimes I long for big parts of my life to be different, but the longings that disrupt my contentment most are the daily small things.
It's little things like an attached garage on a rainy day, a warm walk-in closet when I find frost on the clothes in my tiny box of a closet, or a slug-free flowerbed when the buds on my flowers are popped off one by one, that steal my contentment.
If only Asher and I both could prefer the clocks life has given us.
01 May 2009
29 April 2009
Why won't Asher hold Amelie's hand nicely?
Why is she so cute?! :)
As I'm getting ready to publish this blog, we're having this conversation...
Asher: Are you the mommy?
Me: Yes, I am the mommy.
Asher: Why are you the mommy?
Me: Because I said.
Asher: Why, why why?
21 April 2009
When we got home, there was a fire on our neighbor's house which Asher was also able to put out. And there was even another at the library yesterday which mommy and Amelie helped to get under control.
We seem to attract fires these days, so if you see us coming in our red pumper fire engine, look out for the fire!
10 April 2009
Remembering Jesus' death on the cross this Good Friday is plain sad. Trying to explain that Jesus died to Asher has been hard because I want to skip past this part. I want to make sure he knows the good news that Jesus rose from the dead and is ALIVE.
We've been looking at pictures of Jesus on the cross and how He was hurt in our place and I see that Asher understands that this is sad. Of course I don't like to see my little boy feeling the sadness, but I also know that its important to feel this sadness. Because without it, there can be no true joy on Easter morning: when the best news ever is realized. Like Jesus said as he was being arrested, "...it's a dark night, a dark hour." recorded by Luke in the Message version.
What an understatement. Absolutely the darkest night and the darkest hour.
There has to be a true understanding of the bad news before the good news can really be good news.
I am always jolted into reality of my part in Jesus' death when I remember the words to the hymn, "How Deep the Father's Love for Us."
"How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life -
I know that it is finished."
07 April 2009
01 April 2009
One boy, one girl Two hearts beating wildly To put it mildly, it was love at first sight. He smiled, she smiled, and they knew right away This was the day they'd been waiting for all their lives, And for a moment the whole world, Revolved around one boy, and one girl.
Although, he is singing of a couple who found out they are expecting twins, in between painful contractions, I mulled over the fact that this was one of those days I had been waiting for all of my life.
There are few days such as this. Days that I dreamed about as a little girl. For as far back as I can remember, I've had discussions with my girlfriends about becoming a mommy, planning how many kids we would have, and what kind of mom we would be.
And there I was. In that moment. Experiencing the labor I had wondered about for years.
About to meet the baby that had long been in my dreams.
So here I am again. Living in the days that I waited for all my life. And the words I keep thinking of are the title words from 10,000 Maniacs song, "These are Days."
These are days youll remember.Never before and never since, I promise, will the whole world be warm as this.And as you feel it, youll know its true that you are blessed and lucky.Its true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.These are days youll remember.When may is rushing over you with desire to be part of the miracles you see in every hour.Youll know its true that you are blessed and lucky.Its true that you are touched by something that will grow and bloom in you.These are days.
Few times in life are there days so contented. When I am not wanting the next thing or the last thing. Even though I'm itching to get out of the house, I want to be living in this part, right now. These are the sweet days I will remember when my little girl goes on her first date, when she graduates from high school, when she gets married, when she has her own babies.
These are days.