May 26, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

....finishing school, spring cleaning, trading summer for winter clothes, a tiny bit of landscaping around the house, and: camping! The following pictures were taken a week ago when 11 "kids" let my husband and I go camping with them on Lake Michigan. (Some of the people who went are kids, some of them are actually in their teens and twenties. I, however, have reached a certain kind of age where anyone under 32 is a kid. Hence, we went camping with a bunch of "kids".) Other than freezing our gigies, we had a great time!

These pictures were all taken by one of the kids, "Alex". She's the girl on the right. (Thank you so much for the pictures kiddo!) The other two are our two youngest sons.

My two again:

This is my dream home. It belongs to the Coast Guard. It's in a terrible location and they need to find a more stratigic spot for their headquarters. I just need to convince them that that's true....

Our little guy with one of the brave girls who decided to freeze with us:

Apparently we weren't the only creatures strolling the beaches.

The Lord blessed #3 with these unique pinkies. Here he demonstrates one of the many ways they've come in handy:

It was such a freezing, wonderful, exhausting, refreshing, relaxing, strenuous trip.
We pigged out on s'mores, flew kites on the beach, took long walks out to the lighthouses, slept about 3 hours total, did some horizontal rock climbing, fed swans and seagulls, visited a museum, talked a ton, looked for ant lions, watched fishing boats, sail boats and a ship, and spent many hours sitting in front of a got down into the 30's at night, and did I mention we were tent camping?

May 13, 2009

Stuff I'm Stewing On

-If hair is "dead matter", why is mine so moody?

-What is my role in my grown sons' lives? Am I still a parent? A friend? What does the bible have to say about it? What do they need from me? What do they want?

-How do you remove hair spray from a door? (Don't ask, and yes, I've tried it.)

-What is a mother-in-law? What is her purpose? What can I do to be a good one?

-What is a gigi? (Growing up my mother always said, "Bundle up! You'll freeze your gigi out there!") (She said this to boys and girls alike so it's something everyone has, and that's all I'm going to say about that.)

-Why is it that the boys are suddenly starving just as I'm finishing up the kitchen every evening?

-Were the two babies we lost our daughters?

-When I was very pregnant with our first son I put my fishing license away for "safe keeping", intending to use it later that summer, after I'd had "the baby". I still haven't found it. Sometimes I wonder where it is.

-When you die, what does it feel like as your spirit leaves your body?

-Why is it that my best post ideas come when I'm in the shower, and then by the time I'm dry and dressed I've forgotten what they were?

May 5, 2009

An Idea Whose Time Has Come. Not.

OK. So my 17 year old son and I have been reading a book called Best Friends For Life by Michael and Judy Phillips. Have you read it? It's the first book I've ever read, in my entire life, that brought on a Panic Attack.

That, however, is my fault; the Phillips had nothing to do with it.

The book was written for parents and their teenage children to read and discuss together before their children hit a marriageable age.

It starts out with statistics. They discuss the staggering number of failed marriages in America today and then go on to present some things you can do with your children to help them not become one of the "marriage failures".

That was all fine and dandy. So far, so good. Nothing to panic about, right?

According to the Phillips, there are 4 ways to obtain a spouse. Dating, courtship, betrothal, or an arranged marriage. They discuss those 4 options in detail and lean heavily on courtship. We've always thought that was perhaps the best way to go and have frequently discussed that option with our sons as they've "aged".

OK-no panic attacks. Yet. The Phillips waited until nearly the end of their book to drop their little bomb shell. And it hit me right between the eyes.

They really feel that a young man or young woman should spend, at the least, one year "courting" the person they're interested in marrying. Doing that gives the young people plenty of time to get to know each other. To see each other in all kinds of circumstances and situations so they know what that person truly is like-a girl would see how that guy treats his parents, handles his money, works at a job, serves at church, etc. and vice-versa. (That's logical, and still no sign of a panic attack...)

Here's where I got hit: they suggest that either after that year, or at some point during that year, the boy and girl switch places. No, I don't mean they start cross dressing. I mean the young lady would go live with "his" parents and he would live with "her" parents. For. One. Full. Year. In doing that they could really get to know each other's families and learn about their lives and how they do things, etc. etc.

I laughed at first. How ridiculous! That's absurd. NO ONE could just drop their life and go live with someone else's parents for a year!

My next reaction was, "Whew! I'm glad my sons would never go for that. Can you imagine how inconvenient it would be to have some strange girl move in with us for a year?!" (B.-you are not strange and you will always be welcome in our home if you ever want/need a place to live!)

It actually took a couple days before my third reaction set it, and that was a Panic Attack.

I started imagining my son's "special someone" moving in with us. The reason the Phillips suggest this is so a girl could learn from her future mother-in-law, (me in this instance) how to cook and clean, how to raise children, prepare lesson plans and teach children, and be a wife. Ignoring the fact that it's her parents' job to teach her most of those things, I imagined me doing it.

It would be like living with a mirror in front of me all the live-long day! She would know everything about me! She would see all the times I ignore the grunge on the windowsills and blog instead. She would see the crumbs I don't "see" under the toaster and the laundry I "forget" to fold. But more than that, she would see all my inside uglies. The times I spend ranting and raving instead of forgiving. Or the times I wander around, feeling very fearful of the things going on all over the planet, rather than turning to the Lord for comfort. I would be training her and what kind of trainer would I be? It would be her job to follow me around and learn from me. I know that's what our kids do, but somehow, after years of living with each other, I think parents and children can develop selective hearing and sight. Our kids learn from us, but the boys can just look at me and think, "Oh, thar she blows. I'm outta here!"
Not so with a stranger shadowing you all day with the specific purpose of learning how to do whatever it is you do.

It was a very, very convicting thing for me to imagine. And I wonder why it's easier for me to picture "her" seeing all my uglies and panic, all the while knowing that the Lord is familiar with all my ways and I can ignore that.....

May 1, 2009

Hearts of Stone

I just wanted to show you some of the rocks my rock collection. These are all "God made", rather than man-made rocks. I started this collection several years ago as I strolled along the shore of Lake Michigan. I found several heart shaped rocks that day and thus began my obsession with heart rocks. Now I look for them everywhere I go and I seem to find them everywhere. My kids, my husband, and my brother have now added to the collection, finding these heart shaped rocks when they're fishing, hiking, hunting or backpacking. A friend of mine even found several hearts made from coral when she visited the ocean.

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 11:19

My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:26

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

As has just been said:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion."
Hebrews 3:15

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'
Matthew 22:37

They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
Luke 24:32

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil. 4:7

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matt. 6:21