June 28, 2008

Quote of the Day

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time.
--C. S. Lewis

June 24, 2008

A Little Kid Named Barrett

I shouldn't take bloggy breaks. It's always so hard to get back into the swing of writing again. Does that happen to you too?
Anyway, I do miss writing, and I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with something to say that would be worth reading. Sometimes I feel like I've emptied the well and everything I have to say has been said, so what's the point?

Barrett took matters into his own hands and gave me another reason to write. Here's a conversation we had the other morning:

"Mommy? Do you know who King Martin Luther is?"

"Yes...." (I didn't want to correct him on this because I was wondering where on earth this conversation was going.)

"Does he know me?"

"I don't think so, sweetie."

There was a pause in the conversation. I studied his 6 year old little face and could see the wheels turning.

"Has his birthday come yet mommy?"

"I don't know. Why do you ask?"

"Well, I was going to send him a card."

"Oh! That's very sweet of you."

"Yeah, but he wouldn't know if I was a man or a kid, so I'd just sign the card,
'From a little kid named Barrett'."

June 17, 2008

Back By Popular Demand, or not....

Either way, I am back. What a week! We had so much fun and are now somewhat refreshed.
I have several things to write about, but for now I think I'll do a meme Ann @ More Questions Than Answers tagged me with. I enjoy memes so here goes:

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
1. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
2. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
3. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

Q. What were you doing five years ago today?
1. Wow. I can't remember that far back....
Probably freaking out because I was planning our oldest son's sssenior year of hhhiiigh sssschool and wondering about the core 40 and his transcript and helping him get ready to go to SUMMIT. (Which I highly recommend if you have kids 17 or older!)
2. Probably freaking out because I was planning our second son's sssophomore year of hhhiiigh sssschool and wondering about the core 40 and his transcript.
3. It's a long story, but we were also looking for a new home because our old home was no longer "available" to us.
4. If I remember correctly, 5 years ago I was also slowly walking into a time of anger, resentment, and rebellion in my relationship with the Lord and in my marriage.
5. On a lighter note, I'm sure I was enjoying our little guy-he would've been 1 1/2 at the time!

Q. 5 things on your to do list today.
1. Take our 3rd son to work and run some errands.(done)
2. Get my hair chopped off. (done)
3. Gather stuff from around the house that belongs to our oldest son; he moved out last night.
3. Try not to sob as I think about #2.
4. Bake cookies and make granola in our crock pot.
5. Our 3rd son is moving into the now empty bedroom that used to be our oldest son's.
That will mean a lot of organizing, painting, furniture rearranging, etc. I need to plan and start on all that.

Q. 5 snacks you enjoy.
1. Brownies
2. Popcorn
3. Chocolate Chip cookies
4. Nuts and raisins mixed together
5. Pretzels and an orange eaten at the same time

Q. 5 things you would do if you were a billionaire
1. Hire a financial planner/advisor
2. Buy a house out in the country where we could have chickens, Pygmy goats, a cow, etc.
3. Adopt a baby
4. Help our kids, families etc.
5. Save for our retirement and GIVE THE REST AWAY. (I don't want that kind of money!)

Q. 5 jobs you have had.
1. Hostess
2. Waitress (got fired from that job)
3. Reservations Manager
4. Photographer for a rafting company in Colorado
5. Preschool teacher

Q. 5 people you want to tag.
1. Hannah @ handing Him the pen
2. Michelle @ Morning by Morning
3. Grafted Branch @Restoring the Years
4. Wani @Wani's World
5. Jen @ Blessings

June 11, 2008

A Break

Hey all-
I don't know if anyone's noticed, or cares, but I'm taking a bloggy break this week. My husband took the week off and we've been trying to relax, galavant, talk, fall back and regroup as a "foursome", and maybe have some fun with our younger two sons.
Ann, if you visit here this week, I just wanted to let you know I'm not ignoring you. Thank you for tagging me for the meme! I promise I'll do it when our little "vacation" is over.
Don't ya'll forget about me in the meantime.:-)

June 6, 2008

Blue Funk? Or Maybe not......

The following was written by our 20 year old son. I stole it, (with his permission) from his facebook page. It was so encouraging and again, convicting, that I wanted to share it here. I hope you'll read it and be blessed!

Lately I, along with many of my close friends, have been going through a period of hard times emotionally, “an emotional rollercoaster” it has been called. It comes and goes without warning and doesn’t seem to have a consistent logical reason. One day it will be the fact that I will soon be moving out. While I am excited, I get depressed thinking about moving away from my parents whom I love so dearly. The next time it will be an “I am single” blue funk. Then frustration comes because of the fact that so much has changed with my ministry downtown. Of course all of it is because life just isn’t going the way “I planned it.” It is at these times that God intervenes, an understanding but sad smile on His face I’m sure, lovingly asking, “the way you planned it?”

God warns us against making plans without Him: In James 4:13, He tells us: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.: Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil.” When we make our own plans, we, (at least I) rarely want someone to come along and say “that’s really not a good idea, let’s try this plan instead. Because this plan doesn’t involve you messing up everything that I’ve been working on for the past 500 years.” They are usually made with one person in mind: Me, myself and I. Even if the plans we make are for the benefit of others, we often don’t want God to come along and tell us that it is going to happen His way. Because His way almost never makes sense – to totally depraved, obstinate and wayward lost sheep, (us). Of course, we have it all together, I mean… after all… I’ve been around for like twenty years… of course I know what I’m doing… yeah right! Whether you’re just a twenty-year-old young kid like me, or you’re fifty, or seventy, or nine hundred, we just don’t get it. We aren’t going to get it until Jesus returns in all His awesome glory and gives us resurrected bodies, bodies that don’t decay, don’t fall apart, don’t get sick, aren’t depraved…

It all comes down to our perspective. Are we focusing on what is going to happen today? Are we focusing on how we want the day to go? Are we focusing on what we don’t like about the day? Our life? If I get stuck behind that stupid school bus again, does God still name me as one of His beloved children? If I get a flat tire, did Jesus still die for me? If I lose my job, did He still raise Himself from the dead, proving that He has the power to raise us on the last day? If my car blows up and I am paralyzed, is Jesus still returning for me? If I am single for the rest of my life, does that mean I have to be lonely? If I flip out because the guy in front of me is driving ten miles under the speed limit, I cuss under my breath, and make it obvious that he isn’t on my top ten list as I pass, does Jesus love me any less? (I don’t condone raising a certain finger or make a practice of it you are wondering…) If I am His child, and I take my own life, is that sin covered by the cross? I will let the Apostle Paul answer: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angles, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

Jesus Christ loves His children through thick and thin, through hard and easy. Scripture says: “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” –Romans 10:9-10 The most amazing news? Sometimes we think about “judgment day.” Guess what? As Christians, our judgment day doesn’t exist! It’s gone! Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Now? Yes, the verdict has already been declared. “Not Guilty.” But what about my sin? Isn’t that going to be brought out? It was already brought out, and paid for. Jesus told Nicodemus the Pharisee “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” –John 3:18 We already have the verdict! Not Guilty! No Condemnation! But we may say “what about sickness?” When I get sick, or get cancer, or get hurt, or lose loved ones, isn’t that judgment? Isn’t that condemnation? The answer is an almighty “No!” I cannot put it better than John Piper does in a sermon I was listening to the other day: “What Paul is saying is that all of God's condemning wrath and all of his omnipotent opposition to us in our sin has been replaced by almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance. In other words, if you are in Christ Jesus all of God's action toward you is almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance.”…He also quotes Micah 7:8-9 "Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise [So there has been a temporary "fall"]; Though I dwell in darkness [so there is a season of darkness and guilty feelings], the Lord is a light for me [so the Lord who is angry with him is nevertheless his light]. (9) I will bear the indignation of the Lord [so the Lord is displeased, and angry with him -but it is not the anger of a condemning judge, but of a light-providing disciplining Father! He spanks the child and sends him to his room for a time, but he does not turn off the light of hope] Because I have sinned against Him [so there is real sin], Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me [so this angry God is FOR HIM and not against him. He will justify him and not condemn him!]. He will bring me out to the light, And I will see His righteousness." Piper explains that God uses pain in our lives, not to condemn, but to guide us ever back to Him, to punish us when needed, so that we will not fall permanently and thus be condemned. I firmly believe that such an awesome loving God is much more capable than we are of making good plans for our lives. Let's just stand back, and let Him, and praise Him all the while!What an amazing Father!

In this light, how can I be depressed? Praise be to our everlasting Holy Father for His never-ending love for us!

June 3, 2008

More Thoughts on Our Emptying Nest

Boxes are coming in, and items are disappearing off shelves and out of closets. One of our sons took his curtain and rod down this morning and those are gone. The room is starting to look "naked".
Junk is being sorted and pitched or saved or stored.
I can't stop crying. I'm the only mom I know who is losing 2 kids at once.
Sometimes our conversations are stilted or awkward-that's a new experience for us.
I hear things about our sons' lives from virtual strangers now. People that didn't change their diapers or teach them to read tell me what my sons did or where they went, who they were with or what's been going on in their lives. I feel like I've become the stranger. I'm trusting this is just a time of transition for the family....
We went to 4 high school graduation celebrations last weekend and I had the opportunity to talk to several people who have had kids leave the nest. Not one of them could look me in the eye and tell me they have stopped "hurting". The best they could promise me is that, "You get used to it."
I wish I were strong, mature, and brave, but I'm not. I hurt. I want to have a party for them and tell them I'm proud of them. That they are still my best friends and I love them and am so excited for them as they begin this new phase in life.
I want to tell them not to be afraid of my tears. They're just tears after all. They won't kill any of us. Women cry.
It seems like we should have a "Right of Passage" ceremony. Or? What on earth do modern societies do to mark Manhood?

Yesterday James, our second born son, and I were talking about this time of transition. I told him how much it hurts to see them leave and asked if he thought that meant I'd turned our family into an idol. (This is the second time we've had this conversation. I'm nothing if not a slow learner.)
Anyway-he said he thought there'd be anger at their leaving if they were idols. There wouldn't be sorrow. So then I asked him what am I if not their mother, and how on earth do I deal with all my emotions?
He said the following: (paraphrased because I can't remember what he said word for word.)
"Mom, we all have 2 callings. A primary calling and a secondary calling. Our primary calling is to glorify God and enjoy Him. Our secondary calling is what we "do"."

I have a feeling all my tears are not glorifying God, nor do they say, "Hey Lord, I enjoy You." So, yesterday that became my prayer. That I would enjoy Him and glorify Him through this time in our lives. Then this morning I read a great verse in Ecclesiastes. (Ecc. 5:20)
...For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.
The notes in my bible say this about that verse:
When a person recognizes the goodness of God, he rejoices and does not dwell unduly on the troubles detailed in the previous context.

So, I've been doubly rebuked/challenged. Once by my son and once by my Father.
I would appreciate your prayers if you've read this far. I do need to focus on enjoying the Lord, glorifying Him and recognizing His goodness. The pity party has to go.

One good thing that's come from our sons moving out-I think I'm going to get a lot of blogging miles out of it.