Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I think I took my own advice too seriously

And took a HUGE break! We did have a crazy, go go go summer, but it's October now and the 5K post I wrote months ago (still awaiting pictures) is only one of many glaring posts that need to be finished or deleted. Look for something soon - or pester me about it.

Friday, July 10, 2009


So I've been trying to write this post for almost a year. And the short of it is, we all need a Sabbath. A while back (maybe last October?) Kevin and I noticed that I was not okay. I was hanging on, but something wasn't sitting right, and it underscored everything. Sure, there was busy and full and stress and whatnot, but still. When you're off, you're off. And then I had to go grocery shopping one Sunday morning and Kevin sniffed it out. So we talked about my time and how I used it and then Kevin lovingly brought up Sundays. Now, he's a pastor and church is at 4pm so it's a full work day for him and the "family time" many enjoy after morning church is not available for us. I guess I had just written off the day as a "work" day for me too, but going to the grocery store or cleaning the house served neither him nor me (or the kids, for that matter). He gently but clearly pointed out the need for a Sabbath and that I was to take one no matter his vocation. His work was preaching the sermon, mine was preparing to hear one. To not do so is to be in sin. And if sin is anything apart from God's revealed will, well, I sure was in it, because God had made pretty clear His will for me here. [See Exodus 20:8-11 or Deuteronomy 5:12-15]

Here's what did it for me:
the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21, sections 7 &8.

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture, is called the Lord's day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian sabbath.

VIII. This sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy. (emphasis mine)

Doesn't that sound like good news? I really wanted to day described above - sounded almost too good to be true. So I moved it all to 6 days a week, and if it didn't get done - so be it. The girls only got a Veggie Tales movie (not just silly songs - something substantive), we spent more time enjoying each other, and Sydney and I now do the catechism every week. Sometimes with Savannah, sometimes when she's sleeping. Each week we do a question (or two - if they're related) and she has a special composition pad where we write out the question and answer (or whatever she's thinking) and she draws a picture to illustrate the concept. It's one of my favorite times of the week. And the name of this glorious collection of artwork? "The God Jesus Holy Spirit Book" - her idea. :)

And everything else around me, though the same, was drastically different.

Turns out, I could do more than I thought throughout the week, and the true rest that comes on Sunday just fills me up to do it again. I used to take a Sabbath, but somewhere along the way I lost it. I guess that's why we are to "remember" it, and to "keep" it holy. The Sabbath rest is so necessary for my daily life now, it's hard to imagine I'll go that long without again. But just in case, I'm going to keep remembering it, and reminding myself the true purpose of the Lord's day.

So there it is, my post on the Sabbath. I thought I'd have some big grand ideas to share, or some major insight after all this time, but it turns out the best learning on this subject comes from the doing. Won't you join me this Sunday and leave your laundry on the floor, your dishes in the sink, and run to the lap of your Maker and your God? I'll see you there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

They're cute when they're cute!

Yesterday while walking out of a store, Sydney said to Savannah, "I'm just going to have one of those *goodies*. You can have the rest." To which Savannah replied, "You're the best, Sydney!" To which Sydney replied, "No, you're the best. That's why you get the rest!" It was A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!

Just when I thought it couldn't get cuter, we started to play "I Spy" on the way home. You know, "I spy, with my little eye, something that is [insert color]."

Here's how Savannah said it EVERY TIME: "I spy, with My Little Pony, something that is [insert color]." Holey smokes was it cute!

And now, to put you way over the top - a couple pictures from our trip to California for my brother's wedding.

Friday, May 1, 2009


I'm joining Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and the carnival of Friday's Fave Five - my top five things for the week.  Since I'm training for a 5K I thought I'd just list the related five things here.  

Disclaimer:  A family member of mine underwent a successful surgery removing a (hopefully benign) tumor from her brain/ear area today.  No matter the joy the following five things bring me, they cannot compare to God's mercy in this matter today!  :)

1. Running without showers of water or pollen falling on me.  Or pushing a jogging stroller with one or two children.  It makes a difference.

2. My iPod.  And old school ESPN Jock Jams.  And Burlap to Cashmere.  And the Imagination Movers. And all kinds of other eclectic music I've gathered over the years.  And Maurice Ravel's Bolero.  More on  that in a minute.

3. Correct stretching techniques.

4. After-running treats, like many glasses of water and this ice cream.

5.  The fact that my neighborhood doesn't find it strange to see a 31-year-old woman running up and down the streets, periodically singing out random lyrics or shouting "Run, Run, Run" with each step for a quarter mile before turning into her house.  At least, it's not strange any more.

A short note on Ravel's Bolero.  If you are not familiar with this classical piece let me sum it up for you: 15-plus-minutes of listening bliss in which a bunch of instruments playing the same thing one by one, then two by two, then three by three, etc., until it steadily grows to a musical frenzy and then suddenly, in about four seconds, cascades into a heap - followed by silence.  Much like my running style.

If you want to join, simply link over at Susanne's site via Mr. Linky.  See you there!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Overheard at our house in the past month.

Sydney to Savannah:
You can't get married today,  you're not even five!!

Savannah to Mommy (upon realizing that she would have to change into her pjs):
Mommy: Say "thank you" mommy.
Sav: (growling) "thank you mommy"
Daddy: Now say "thank you mommy" with a smile.
Sav: (teeth bared) "thank you mommy with a smile"

Ha Ha!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In Christ Alone

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me

From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

CCLI No:3350395.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The day before Passover, or, This post has nothing to do with the song I will reference below

At church Sunday we sang a song with the words, "And right now, in the good times and bad, you are on your throne, you are God alone." My immediate thought? There is no bad right now.

Let me say that again. My immediate thought was, "No bad." How could that be? I've already written that it's spring break right, and Savannah has sinusitus, the pollen is out in full force (therefore I cower at all living plants, take my myriad meds and shower 40 times a day to breathe), and, c'mon, we are regular people - there must be some "bad" right? Wrong.

We are not mere regular people. We are in Christ. And that, my dear friends, means there is truly no "bad." How can this be? Does Jesus give us an easy, smooth, life? No, but He does give us His life, which is the source of true joy and hope and lasting peace (not just the absence of conflict).

In our weekly women's Bible study we've been studying the book of James. I've had the privilege of leading it. Since September. And you know what that means? If you've ever led a Bible study you probably know what I'm about to type - it means that I get to learn the most. Not just because I'm doing the research and preparing the lessons and questions, and not just because I'm checking in with everyone individually (as much as I can) in addition to our weekly group meeting. Those are good things and keep the gospel ever in front of me (as does coordinating childcare!! Sheesh the time and effort that takes!). But the truth is that when you labor to dissect the Word of God and present it to a group of women in whom you desperately desire to see the character of Christ formed, you see the power of scripture. You see the power of prayer. And you know (you KNOW) that you have have mostly nothing to do with the fruit that results.

It's the season of Lent in the church calendar. The 40 days before Easter in which Christians traditionally fast or refrain to draw closer to God. A remembrance of Christ's testing in the wilderness and of our dependence on our Heavenly Father for all things. A reset button, in some ways, for our perceptions. When I was a child I often gave up food, like chocolate - and was SO happy that Sunday was always a celebration of Easter so if I needed to "cheat" it was okay to eat that forbidden dark sugary goodness once a week. But that is not the point. Not deprivation.

One year when I was a child our pastor gave out $10 in envelopes and said we should tend to our "talents" to see the Kingdom of God enlarged during that Lenten season. The point of the fast is to replace the time eating, playing, thinking, etc. about what you've removed with time spent "eating," playing, thinking about God - His character, provision, mercy and love. To see sin exposed and repent - turning away from our idolatry and toward our good God who is actually worthy of our worship. I have no idea what I did with the money, but the idea of something more "holy" for that time stayed with me.

This year we hit Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent) right as we finished James, chapter two. It was perfect. After months and months of reshaped thinking on the world and our conduct, James chapter 2, verse 26 summed it up with these words, "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead." So we set out to see where we live "dead" lives, places we either know that action is called for and we ignore it, or places where the action of belief is called for and we fail to run to Jesus, inviting the Holy Spirit to search us, reveal our unbelief, and begin the work of trust in areas not previously revealed to others, or even ourselves. This process has had its ups and downs, much as you might expect.

So what was mine, you might ask? Getting up early. This might sound trivial (or not), but it turns out it was much more about my expectations of entitlement than I expected. And it culminated a few Sundays ago with the Lord graciously answering my pleadings and, instead of joyfully and thankfully receiving His answers, I palpably felt my great disappointment and bitterness at His Word. And that crushed me. And I cried. My poor husband - he's in the middle of his sermon and I'm weeping like a hungry baby - for no discernable reason to anyone around me. And during the musical worship set afterwards (a time for response) I just kept going. I was a heaping pile of goo, folks, goo. And it was great. The shock of seeing such a massive root of bitterness where I had no idea it existed changed my whole world. My perceived world, that is. How grateful I am to see something that was there all along - at least now it is no longer hidden and I can move into that place, in trust (see John 3:19-21). And so I set my alarm. And get up early. Earlier than my kids? Not always. But I have a whole new attitude that seeps into my day, and all the doubt of "how will that schedule change affect my ability to function, to have quality time with my husband, to allow "light sleeper Savannah" to sleep through the beep just on the other side of the wall, to accomplish x and y, to etc. and etc. and etc." has melted away. Because the Lord knows what He is doing. He has set out my days and my paths for me to walk in, and if He commands it, it is not only better, but WILL come to pass. How silly of me to fight Him. Or to grudgingly obey. I should have run, no skipped, cheerfully and playfully to His revealed will. Maybe next time I'll have learned...

So tomorrow (or, rather, today, as I look at the clock) is the day before Passover, the day before the Last Supper, the day before Jesus washes His disciples feet, tells them one will betray Him, and has all His dearest friends sleep instead of pray with and for Him. He'll sweat blood, and submit - with no bitterness, to His Father in heaven, whose will is good and right. And then He'll be betrayed by the one He called for that purpose, and imprisoned.

The next day He'll be sentenced and put to death ON A CROSS - a bloody, humiliating, "inhuman," we say, way to die. But it's utterly human. No more human thing - than to have our sin split open and displayed.

Then Saturday. The day Jesus was really dead, in a sealed tomb, and the hopes and lives of all His followers were turned upside down and inside out. I wonder if Peter replayed his denials over and over, wondering how life would go on. What were the dark places of his heart that he saw so clearly. And how did his mourning cries sound, knowing he had betrayed the one he loved and with seemingly no way to seek forgiveness.

Sunday I'll meet you back here, and I invite you to visit for a song of praise. For the wonder is that Jesus' life was accepted as full payment for our sins. We know that because He was resurrected - proof of the Father's acceptance. And when we are united to Him (King Jesus!) in faith our life is dead and buried, and Christ's perfect life becomes ours. What a joy it will be, after meditating on my wretchedness, to see Christ's glory in all its splendor - given to me from the inside out.

Please join me and the other women of our study as we have these passages from the events of the Passion week (and some others if you want more), and let's look at all these next five days have to offer us - to reset our perceptions and line them up with the reality of substance - the reality of heaven.

Thursday Luke 22:7-65 (additional: 1 Cor. 11:17-33)
Friday Luke 22:66-23:56 (addt'l: Rom. 1:18-2:8)
Saturday Luke 23:56b, 22:34, 54-62 (addt'l: Psalm 51)
Sunday Luke chapter 24 (addt'l Eph. 2:1-10, also Eph. 1:3-14)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sweet Words

Today was the first day of Spring Break and guess what?  We survived it.

More than.  After sleeping in too much (not my fault - the allergies took over the body and the girls were watching "the magic box" so...) we waited out some serious rain and then hit Costco.  Because that's how every kid wants to start their "week off" of all things responsible.  :)

We had our "special snacks" and bought our list (plus),  then hit the food line for lunch.  Nothing like some greasy cheese pizza or a massive hot dog to perk up a day.  The little one went down and there I was - looking at Sydney.  She and I both knew - it was time.

There are a number of "room" improvements we've been discussing for a long time now, and today was the day.  So, at 3pm (because why not) we tackled: 

1. screwing the mirror to the closet door 
2. screwing in a hanging rack for robe and pjs/clothes for next day 
3. relocating (via screws) the curtain rod location so her curtains wouldn't be precariously falling out of one side due to overused drywall (because she might want to open them sometime...)
4. moving the bed (again) 
5. cleaning EVERYTHING
6. moving the desk location
7. rearranging all the toys and "zones" in the room (to include a swap - beds and swing for baby dolls to sister in exchange for a newly emptied toy box that doubles as a nightstand)
9. putting up a new poster - "God is Good" it says
8. etc.

Um, because we had time for all that.  And I only needed to be shown how to unscrew one part to change from drill bit to screw - I am power tools!

The other three things we'll try to tackle this week.

But help begets help because we also cleaned the playroom (that was a WAR ZONE) and ate dinner (minimal complaints - even for broccoli) and then I heard sadness that there wasn't time to help me with the trash.  

But the best of all were these words just before we changed the sheets and got Sydney to bed:  "Mom, you were right.  I DO like my room this way.  I REALLY like it.  I'm going to listen to you more because you have good ideas.  I promise."  I  don't know if she'll break that tomorrow in hour three or thirteen, but it was sure good to hear.  :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thank you Laurie Berkner

Thanks to your music (and a well-timed CD player for Christmas), we have had many hours of sanity that otherwise would have been Momzilla time.  My children enjoy stomping as dinosaurs, whooping as doodlebugs, and shaking their chicken eggs.  And the other day my husband asked me, "So, the cat comes back, but where had he gone??"  Maybe you'll tell us another time... in this time, however, thanks for the automatic "dance" class we have in our front room everyday.  

Mother of two little Energizer Bunnies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I've been away a long, long, time

But we are alive and kicking!  The short version is illness followed by "let's recover from all the past 6-12 months of illness in a few weeks!!!" madness followed by me, vaccilating between "GO GO GO" and "S-T-O-P", with a lot of wonderfulness in-between.  There are so many drafts to finish (not to mention the laundry and dishes that also need tending) and I didn't know how to restart after such a long absence, so I'm going to post about something near and dear to my heart.  And we'll go from there.

I think I'm in love with peanut butter

This is something I recently learned about myself.  About a year ago I underwent allergy testing (again) to confirm that I have Oral Allergy Syndrome.  I do.  It's a lovely little syndrome that's not so lovely and has had me either getting really creative with fresh fruits and vegetables, or ignoring them all together.  But at least the rest of the family can have them in any state I choose - so that's great for their health.  Just so you know, I seem to respond to most of the major categories, so yippee for me - it's all meat and cheese from here on out!

The upshot of it all, though, is that I tested positive for almond, walnut, and peanut allergies as well.  Now, almond and walnut are on the OAS list and I was SURE that's all it was - but apparently you can develop them at any point in life.  I'm still holding out hope that the 50% allergy shot option will take care of the food sensitivities (including nuts - or maybe that make me nuts) but until we have some extra thousand dollar bills lying around (I don't care if they are fictitious, this is my fantasy) we'll have to just wait and see on that one.  Peanut allergy, on the other hand, is a very serious thing and NOT connected to OAS.  I've never had any symptoms with that, and my allergist said it was probably a false positive, because it's usually a positive test AND a family history that makes for an active allergy.  So I'm clear, except for the "My uncle has a peanut allergy part" and for the "peanuts scare the **** out of us" part (yes, she was speaking, apparently,  for the entire allergy profession).  So, I left with my Epi-Pen prescription, some blotchy skin from the crying, and the words, "This is only in case a meteor falls from the sky and your first reaction to a peanut is super huge.  Or so you can be the hero mom when some kid gets stung by a bee." running through my head.  Lucky me.

Since then I've had a love/hate relationship with peanuts and all peanut products (including reading labels - easy since Savannah's classroom is peanut free and I have all manner of helpful lists at the ready).  But she told me to act normally until I had some kind of reaction.  But I didn't know if the next peanut butter and jelly sandwich would mean the end of brand freedom and the beginning of label-checking and the rejection of gifts of homemade baked goods.  After a dark, dark season for lunches in our house (for me),  despite my husband's good idea of grilled cheese and various soups (all of which I love), I decided a while back that I  should not be avoiding peanut butter and can now have it back in my life.  Thus I remembered:  I am in love with peanut butter.  

Let me give you a brief history:

I had peanut butter and jelly every day of kindergarten (except one, but we don't speak of that peanut butter and banana obscenity anymore).
I used to scoop peanut butter onto my ice cream.
I learned in my teenage years that graham crackers, mild cheddar cheese, and peanut butter are good in any combination.
When I lived in France I used to travel to Paris just so I could go to Haagen-Dazs (they had peanut butter chunks in ice cream which I thought that made the younger me brilliant!  And in France, it was vanilla ice cream, not chocolate).

And now, my current obsession with Reese's pieces is out of control.  If it gets any more ridiculous, Kevin will have to perform an intervention.  I thought it might have the been the year away, but I've evaluated my history, and it appears that Peanut Butter is my culinary kryptonite.  Who knew?

Saturday, January 31, 2009


...are a wonderful thing when they're artificial and inserted in little ears!  Savannah did very well with the anesthesia and everything, and Sydney took full advantage of her "practice" sleep over at the grandparents!  (Why "practice" you ask?  Because she had no time to play - a potluck dinner after church, then over to their house for unpacking and sleep.  Followed by sleep, sleep, breakfast and school.  So we called it the "practice" sleep over to "practice" the sleeping part.  My Mother-in-Law's brilliance there.)

Thanks for all your prayers - keep them coming!  Savannah's fingers look better everyday, and she'll get the stitches out next week.  Once we could move to bandaids all was much less dramatic here!  Although, I did sit down in a heap a couple days ago and think, "I need one quiet moment where no one Needs Anything from me (because it's been that week) and then I heard Savannah GET OUT OF HER CRIB!  Then I cried, checked her body (she "fell", mm hm...) and let her play Little People.  And Praise God she's waited for me ever since.  But the days of more mobility are clearly on the horizon.

Now I'm going to bed.  And I'm going to alter the time of this post so that no one knows how late I just stayed up.  :)  Hey, we have a babysitter tomorrow morning, so I only have to be half-awake for that meeting, right?  At least no one's nutrition or safety will be on the line.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The number was six

Six.  Six stitches that is.  Yesterday Savannah took the opportunity of a ring at the door to follow me just long enough so that I would be distracted while she went to the kitchen, got a block of cheddar cheese and a knife (they were out,  but on the other side of the room and required a chair... and she's never tried to get one before...), then took them across the room, up on the chair again, and cut almost all the way through it (exactly half - the long way).  All that in the space of time it took me to say,  "No pizza, a bag of cut corn, broccoli, and three bags of meatballs."  Then I heard the fateful sound of metal, Sydney's words "Savannah has a knife!" and, while already moving, "SHE CUT HERSELF!!!" followed by loud screams and very bloody fingers.  

Praise God Kevin (and our friend Brent) had just arrived home from lunch, so I put Savannah under the sink, told Sydney to "get Daddy now" and then let him take over (so I wouldn't pass out).  Sydney then got Brent to retrieve a bath towel (which she soaked through) while I  packed up a few additional items to the diaper bag, gave quick directions on what to feed Sydney lunch, and paid the Schwan's guy.  Poor guy.  He looked devastated.  As, I'm sure, did we.  Sydney, by the way, was very calm and incredible helpful.  Then she said she was worried about her sister but would pray for her and would be good while we were gone.  I love how she's a gamer.

Praise God we live close to the hospital. 

Praise God we have in-laws who can come over and relieve our friend.

Praise God for the nurses and doctors in the E.R. (they took care of Savannah and me - but I told them, on the floor with my head between my knees was just preventative - if I was going to really pass out I'd warn them first).

And PRAISE GOD that she "managed" to miss her tendons (it appears) and cut the best part of those tiny little fingers (to the bone on one and almost to the bone on the other).  We call that the Mercy of God.

So,  please pray for our little 2.5 year-old.  She already removed the hospital bandages and we had to get them rewrapped at the doctor (they were supposed to stay on until Sat. but, well... I only stayed until she fell asleep last night and jumped in her room at the first sign of wakefulness so that she wouldn't remove that beautiful cocoon dressing...).  We now have the kind of supplies we need to do this at home.  Let's just say that our attempts earlier in the day were completely pitiful, due entirely to our lack of professional laceration-type pads and gauze. But it was pitiful.  

Pray that she keeps this bandage on (as she has so far).  
Pray that she keeps her hand clean and dry.  
Pray that she doesn't scratch what will inevitably be very very itchy fingers.  
Pray that she makes it through outpatient surgery on Monday (tubes for her ears).  The building is next to the E.R. 
And pray that we will continue to care for her and her sister well.  

It's been a full 30+ hours (there were actually other things going on then too) so I'm going to go date my husband now.  The man who talked me out of shaming myself last night by finally saying,  "Anything short of rejoicing and praising the good God in heaven who has spared our daughter any number of worse outcomes, is sin."  Sobering, sure, but accurate.  Cowering in shame and perceived culpability was doing nothing for my heart, and diminished the goodness of God in my own eyes.  The only true response is to worship the God who was overwhelmingly merciful in the whole situation - as He would have still been even if the outcome were different.  I love that man.  We have a "Burn Notice" waiting on the DVR, and I got good bread and cheese.  Bring on the dating.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In one sentence or less...

It's been a busy few weeks. I'd love to update you. I'd love to give you a 2008 recap of events and life. It's still busy. So, I thought a daily, one sentence update might be helpful. But I can't do that; I'm me. Remember the time I started talking and then said, "To make a short story long..." Remember the time I got married, wrote my own vows, and had to use both sides of the page... Remember the time I wrote a sentence a day for my blog but the intro was FOREVER long...? And so, without further ado, my January.

Jan. 5: It is confirmed the children have no more health insurance. I run all over the city to fix it.
Jan. 5: I see a new baby (less than 24 hours old). Her parents will get our children if we die. It's a glorious beauty.
Jan. 5: Follow-up at the pediatrician. Sydney's ears are clear, Savannah gets to see the ENT.

Jan. 6: The girls are both at school. I breathe once and then dive into all that has been left undone. I'm not winning.

Jan. 7: Annual exam. 'Nuff said.

Jan. 8: I spend one precious hour shopping at the outlets. I walk out with no jeans (but a whole lot of shirts!). I realize they've moved up the magnet school applications by a month and now go into "headless chicken" mode. It's not pretty - even with a new shirt.
Jan. 8: Sydney vomits.

Jan. 9: I accomplish nothing on my to do list. Sydney vomits.

Jan. 10: No vomiting.

Jan. 11: No church, but no vomiting. There's hope, people! I meal plan the next two weeks.

Jan. 12: A thousand errands - in my head. Very little completed. Some things picked up in the garage/guest room/laundry room. Company arrives in six days. I think I went grocery shopping. Sydney eats meat successfully. I have a meeting. Our friend Jay watches the girls. Kevin enters his "week of final prep/doctor visits."

Jan. 13: A thousand errands. This time for real. I find jeans that fit, and some nice (inexpensive) sweaters. I decide last week's outburst over my body image was due to exhaustion. I realize I only feel better because I have clothes that fit. I'm grateful for Lee jeans and Jesus - because my heart is fickle and after first washing I'm prone to have lapses in my perceptions - again.

Jan. 14: Dr. Wilson says, "No shots!" We schedule surgery for tubes in Savannah's ears. The girls spend all afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's house. And in the afternoon for me... school visit. I try not to cry at the slide show - after all, my kid can't even apply for this until 1st grade (she's entering kindergarten '09-'10) and it's all lottery. Never mind that it's one of the best schools in the state (all levels) and PERFECT for my little Sydney. We joke about moving (I think we were joking...). I have no idea I'll be on an hour-long tour after the hour-long presentation. It's an old school, there are lots of stairs. I eat a donut.

Jan. 15: Nine year anniversary! Love you honey! Another magnet school visit. Jay watches the kids - again. He and Sydney make paper necklaces for all Syd's classmates (big hearts on a "U"). They're going to defend the world from the coming evil of Lydia (ala Barbie and the Diamond Castle). I make the first meal I ever made Kevin. It's a success this time. We have our kids and (last-minute) my in-laws with us for dinner (actually they stayed to talk, but didn't eat. We roped 'em in). It's sweet, but the girls are extra loud for some reason. I talk to Syd's teacher about kindergarten options because the application deadline is 4 days before parent-teacher conferences. She's immensely helpful.

Jan. 16: There's a lot of busy something - I probably fell asleep at the wrong time... that day is a complete blur. I bet we watched the goodnight show.

Jan. 17: WE ARE PCA! (I'll fill you in more on that later)

Jan. 18: I abandon my Sabbath entirely and go great guns to get the house (not clean) sleeping ready. I almost forget to make dinner in the slow-cooker. We are late to church, but there. I take things for four people. More seek me out. Our friends arrive toward the end. I feel a little like "errand" girl, but the sermon and time of response were a good respite. I'm looking forward to a couple of great days.

Jan. 19: PLAY TIME!! I feed 13 people - we do a lot of dishes.

Jan. 20: Final goodbyes after lunch, school is cancelled for the inevitable snowstorm - it never arrives. We have a new president. I put new components in my computer and it doesn't blow up - in fact it all works. Merry Christmas to me!!

Jan. 21: That's today. Hmmmm. Mad dash to school. Some down time for Savannah ("I play Little People!"). Costco run. Late pick-up due to choir. Late lunch. Late nap. I fall asleep on my back, legs off the bed, in Sydney's room. She turns out the light but opens the window shade in her closet (to wake me up but save energy). I wake up an hour later, wrapped in her princess fleece. Mad dash to make two dinners. One for my family (mostly leftovers) and one for said friends with new baby. I spend three hours with said friends - holding baby. We have good conversation and good prayer time. I come home to a child in bed, a sleeping husband, and a wide-awake two-year-old. Glad I stopped for that milkshake.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On growing older... and trees

We spend a lot of time at the pediatrician's office. A couple years back the practice changed locations, and though we mourned the loss of the water fountain, the new space is large and updated. It is also substantially closer to the parking lot. Like any habitual visitor, I have found a regular parking space. And because the location is new construction, the landscaping is young and fresh. We've been watching a certain tree grow with every one of our many visits.

Early on, the tree was small and spindly. It was overshadowed by our great hulking masses of wheeled metal, and appeared rather lonely so far removed from the other plants. Soon the wooden stakes were planted on either side - and the small tree was tethered to them - the strong guides for its future growth. Sydney was bothered by this tether for a while - one of those chains wrapped in gentle green plastic coating encircling the thin trunk.

"Is it a snake?"
"No, honey, it's a kind of rope, to keep the tree straight."
"Oh, so it's not a snake?"
"No, dear."

And then her concern grew to curiosity:
"So, why does it need that thing?"
"Because it's not strong enough on its own."
"Oh. What will happen if it comes off."
"The tree will blow over too far and become crooked, or crack."
"So it's helping."
"Can I touch it?"
"Ummm, sure. Why do you ask?"
"I want to feel it - feel the helping."

Little by little the tree has grown larger and fuller, and it now hovers over the cars and minivans, like a watchful friend, welcoming us again. Its leaves are not brimming, nor is it near full grown, but there is something steady and familiar - a kind of permanence to its being.

When I took Sydney for her 5-year-old check-up, she pointed out yet another milestone for our leafed companion - the guide and the stakes had been removed. The tree was strong enough to weather the storm alone. When she asked if it was okay like that, I responded casually that yes, it would be okay. The tree was growing up big and strong. "Just like me!" was all she said, while gently rubbing the smooth, brown bark. And I had to fight back the tears as we walked through the doors to our appointment.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You Have To Listen To This

This is one of the best sermons my pastor (and husband) has ever preached. And that's saying something.  

The passage is the ever-familiar "Prodigal Son" story, but within the context of the culture of the Bible days.  But be warned: this is likely to rock your entire thinking on repentance - either theologically or (and) practically.  (Set aside an hour if you want it all at once and some time to digest)

P.S.  If you want more context (or if the above link didn't get you there) go to www.bygraceonline.org, click "Audio Sermons" on the right, then either by year or passage.  This was Luke 15:11-24, given on November 16, 2008.  He started chapter 15 on October 9, so there were three other sermons preceding this.  And if you like the story of the first son, feel free to listen to the following week (also worth it) when he tackles the older brother.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Because it's been a while...

Here is a series of pictures from after the preschool Christmas story service:

 Ah, the wonder and majesty!