Friday, March 30, 2012

Heather Fulk music

If you are here from Heather Fulk's newsletter, thank you for stopping by.   It deeply touched my heart that she mentioned my writing. Here is the link for what I want for my children.

Heather is a dear friend, a gifted musician, and a woman called by God for incredible ministry.

If you are one of my "regular" blog readers and have yet to discover Heather's ministry, please check out her website and the new song she wrote. You will be blessed.

Have a wonderful weekend!

five minute friday - gift

 Joining with The Gypsy Mama's group for Five Minute Friday. Find the rules here.
Today's prompt - gift.

Gifts - not my love language. It falls smack in the middle between quality time and words of affirmation and physical touch and acts of service.
But it seems everyday my existence is sustained by some sort of gift. Diapers and clothes for the boys arrive in the mail.  Friends stop by for conversation bringing a snack or a bevarage.  A check arrives in the mail to help with our expenses. The phone rings and I am able to catch up with a friend.  All of these are gifts.
What can I do to give gifts to others?  I don't have a lot of money. Most of the time I do not even have transportation. But still I am called to give and to give generously.
How much easier it has been the last several months, the last couple of years, to release my grip of the illusion of control and give?  Much easier in my lack than in my having enough.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

If you spent any time in church as a young person, you have probably heard this quoted a lot. It is almost always quoted in terms of dating/romantic relationships.  But what about friendships?  What about the people we must interact with within our faith communities?  What about family dynamics? I believe guarding our hearts speaks to boundary setting.

 I am in a season of boundary setting.  Above and beyond setting boundaries for my toddler (easy ones like "Hold my hand when we are in the parking lot" and "No, you may not have soda right now."), I am at a place where I have to set some for myself.  Not in terms of a do/do not checklist. Instead they are in terms of relationships.  I would much prefer the checklist - relationships are messy.

The boundaries I am starting to put up are not concrete walls with barbed wire at the top. No, they are fences. If by God's grace some relationships I am currently called to say, "no," to become a place for healthy growth again, then I will be open to that change.

Boundaries aren't about bitterness. They aren't about unforgiveness. They are about protection. 

I can't have situations upset me so much that I am ineffective as a mom, a wife, a friend, a mentor.  So I begin this journey of figuring out a Christ-like way of setting boundaries. I don't know exactly what this will look like. I do know that His heart is for all of us to be more like Him. And sometimes to be more like Him, I have to take the risk of setting boundaries.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

what I want for my children

The UPS man dropped off an unexpected package this afternoon. An Easter present - a book. And immediately both of my boys wanted it.  Bugaboo gleefully slapped the pages with his little hands, and with a big smile on his face, Bubby told me the title.

I was reminded that this is what I want for my boys.

I want continuous delight in books, in words, in stories. I want the days of them dancing in their undies or jammies to Our God, followed by loud wobbly voices singing ABC mixed with You Are My Sunshine to last forever.

I want mornings filled with gluing construction paper over old diaper boxes.  I want them to know it is better to create something imaginative of their own doing than for mommy to design the perfect Pinterest-inspired car for them.

I want our home to be always open for friends - even if blankets and legos and teddy bears litter the living room. I want people dropping by to be the norm. I want my children to be as comfortable hanging out with adults as they are playing with their peers. I want my children to know hospitality isn't about perfection or material things, it is about availability.

I want them to know a dandelion-filled backyard that they get to play in with their parents daily is better than a well manicured lawn that never gets stepped in because both parents work too hard to pay for it.

I want frequent zoo trips rather than cable tv, piano lessons over video games. I want long days of kickball and tag and hide-and-seek. I want plates of homemade chocolate chip cookies on a regular basis and bathtimes with as much time to just splash and play as much as to get clean.

I want worship as a lifestyle, not something to check off our list of "what good families do." I want conversations filled with prayer, and giving to be as effortless as breathing, even when we do not have much to give.

This is what I want for you, my sweet boys. This is what I want for all of us.

Monday, March 26, 2012

multitude Monday 1013-1021

Sometimes I have so many words - I desperately want to get them right, and yet I click the keyboard and then hit delete. Phrases stick with me from this morning's message, from conversations I had, from the quiet voice of God speaking directly to my heart. I want to convey everything I am learning, hearing, needing, but the words are not enough. They cannot capture the magnitude of questions, concerns, celebrations, and reflections that are enveloping me at the moment.
So instead I will just stop and say Thank You.

Thank You for the words "spiritual covering," which pierced my soul this morning as I thought of the twenty-plus years I lacked such a gift. But then You revealed to me You were there. You have always been there, and so my healing continues.

Thank You for rainy days to wear a new sweatshirt and sunny days to sit in the grass with my boys.

Thank You for a husband who set the example of turning the other cheek today. His integrity, steadfastness, and depth of character are rare in modern men.

Thank You for how sweet Bubby looked falling asleep on the couch, half-dressed, on a day when he did not take a nap.

Thank You for Bugaboo's new sound, "nah nah nah nah" - every glimpse of progress we embrace and celebrate.

Thank You for the types of friends who will hang out on a lazy Sunday watching movies, eating leftover chili, conversing deeply.

Thank You that You know all things. You know hearts and minds, when others just see what they want to see.

Thank You that You are good.

joining with Ann's community today as we count our gifts

Friday, March 23, 2012

five minute friday - loud

Check out The Gypsy Mama for the Five Minute Friday guidelines.  This week's prompt is: loud.

When I think of loud, the first thing that comes to mind is family. Yelling at football games on t.v., playing card games with much bantering, telling the same stories at every gathering to get a laugh. Loud.

But now as an adult I realize that loud isn't always about volume.

I see people all of the time with loud personalities, even if it is just via social networking sites.  Everyone is opinionated, myself included. So what I mean by loud is those who just know that their opinions are the gospel, and everyone else is, well, less than.  I find the people who get the most upset about different opinions are the loudest about their own rights and privileges, demanding grace and acceptance and freedom without giving that to those of opposite opinions.

I'm tired of the noise. I'm tired of my own noise and the noise of others.

And in that weariness I am beginning to understand why Jesus withdrew from the crowds to the lonely places. There is peace and perspective when we get a break from the noise.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

beans and rice and contemplating easy

The Hubs works most evenings. Thursdays and Fridays are the longest days.  So for dinner tonight I made my easy standby - beans and rice. Microwave instant rice, heat up canned black beans on stove top. Oh, and throw some fruit on the trays for the boys, too.  Easy.

Unfortunately with a two and a half year old and a one year old, the simple beans and rice meal can get out of hand. And by out of hand, I mean out of their hands. Somehow when white rice hits my kitchen floor it multiplies like bunnies in springtime. Then my easy meal becomes an intense clean up as I hunt down every last grain of sticky rice while my toddler  pees next to the coffee table. Fun times.

As I was on my floor, I kept thinking about times I took the easy way out  in my life. Much of the time it ended up not being easy. And I consider the ways am I trying to take the easy way out these days. I know what I am supposed to do with my life, or at least a general picture. Yet, I keep trying to talk myself out of it because I want something that makes sense. I want comfortable. I want easy.

But not really.
Deep down in my gut I know what I want. I want better than easy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fank You for trash

 Tonight's prayer brought to you by Bubby. 

Dear Jesus,
Thank You for trash. Thank You for water. Thank You for cups.  Thank You for friends. Thank You for family.  Thank You for Tyler. Thank You for Zoey. Thank You for Kisstian. Thank You for Unca Adam. Thank You for Auntie Meesa. Thank You for Grady. Thank You for Daddy. Thank You for Mommy. Amen.

(And "Thank You" of course comes out, "Fank You.")

(also linking with Elizabeth Esther for 31 Days 2 Happy)

priorities (just write)

This afternoon I need to clean out our dressers.

Over the last few months I've shoved papers, folders,  and odds and ends into safe places so I wouldn't lose them. I always intended  to take care of them soon.  This morning I realized the random junk has made it so that my pajamas are in three different locations.  I love organization, and yet I am becoming more and more disorganized lately.

Instead of working, I have plopped myself down on the sofa. The hum of the dryer and the buzz of The Letter Factory lull me to rest. The gray, rainy day after a week of sunshine and mornings outside only zaps my energy further.  Bugaboo tosses and turns on my chest, much like a cat circles a rug three times before laying down. Bubby sprawls out in his t-shirt and big boy undies. He is slurping from his sippy cup, while making sure his blond little head can be used as my arm rest.

There will always be time to get things done later.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

even in my wandering (and MM 1001-1012)

You are true
You are true
even in my wandering

And I,
I'll run into Your arms,
I'll run into Your arms,
the riches of this world
will never be enough...

(from Forever Reign)

This song has been going through my head all day. I resonated with it this morning during the worship gathering because the word "wandering" seems to describe so much of my life the last few years. Wandering without going anywhere, at least in the physical sense.

And it doesn't matter how much I wander - how much I don't know about the next leg of the journey. He is True, and He is always with me.

I sat in my backyard tonight with three amazing people God has brought into my life recently, and we discussed journeys and God and rest and faith.  While I sat praying, God brought a picture to mind and a little explanation that didn't mean a lot me just a couple of hours ago, but now it does.  There is a picture of a man putting his hand in the small of a woman's back to lead her.  God leads us, not dragging us or pushing us, but in an intimate way.  I may feel like I am wandering sometimes, but I am not. He is there. He is true, and He can be trusted.

continuing to join Ann's community counting gifts

joining with Ann's community counting the gifts

patience of The Hubs when I am running late again on Sunday morning ~ lots of time outside with my boys ~ Bugaboo staying on hands and knees when I put him there ~ ice cream cones after dinner ~ Bubby running into the kitchen just to hug my leg and running back to play again ~ friends who love my kids ~ the Mac-boys
riding in their red wagon with such delight ~ the peace and joy of doing God's will ~ pastor talking about suffering and death with a smile on his face ... reminder how much I need to die to self so Christ can live in me ~ answer to prayer about a financial question regarding the fall semester ~ potty training adventures going better than expected ~ birds chirping in the morning and other signs of spring

Friday, March 16, 2012

five minute friday - brave

 The rules and link-up for five minute friday can be found here. Today's prompt is BRAVE.

In the movies, brave is exciting, adventurous, sometimes fun, almost always rewarding. But in real life brave can mean packing up your family to hostile parts of the world - to go, to live, to serve, to share - with no guarantees other than the confidence that Someone Else goes before you.

What is brave about my life?

I live in a modest home in a less-than-modest neighborhood.  I want the better life to come tomorrow. I am not brave enough to want to stay. I want to be. I've stopped caring about comparisons in so many ways, but yet I hang on just a little, not brave enough to say, "Wherever, whenever, whatever it takes," because I am well read enough to know what this could entail.

It could mean never having that second car again. No picket fence. No good schools or neighborhoods. No money for a fru-fru coffee.

But what is the point of all of that extra stuff in the end? It all is destroyed in the end.

I see a family similar in structure to mine being so brave - surrendering and going - and I want to be brave, too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

but that was supposed to be the easy appointment

I took Bugaboo to the plastic surgeon referral for his cyst on his eye area.  A bump appeared around Thanksgiving, we saw our pediatrician in January, and just now got in to this doctor.  Today's appointment was supposed to be the easy one of the month - talk about when and how to remove the cyst.

But the plastic surgeon didn't like the location of the cyst combined with Bugaboo's previous vision and current developmental issues.  She wanted an MRI. She made a call to our pediatrician, who agreed with her . Then she came back and talked to me.

It could be a cyst. In which case the plastic surgeon will remove it. No huge deal.

It could be something with his nose bone.

Or it could be something with his brain/brain covering. In that case, we have bigger issues.

The Hubs, ever the optimist, believes it to be what we thought it was.
Me, the worrier, is fighting off the need to google every possible combination of words of what we may be dealing with here.

We meet with our pediatrician on Thursday for a regular appointment.  She will also tell us about the MRI date and such.

Praying for the best. Life certainly is an adventure.

Monday, March 12, 2012

finding some gratitude as a divorced kid MM 988-1000)

Two decades later and being a divorced-kid hasn't gotten that much easier. Different, but not easier.

The healing of some emotional wounds has not erased the stress that comes with the balancing act of two families instead of one.  Adding grand-kids into the mix just adds to my stress, my guilt, my schedule - trying to fit everyone in and make everyone happy, wondering if I have succeeded and having moments of, "Who cares? What about my happiness? I did not cause any of this."

It is exhausting. Yet I find myself still finding things for which to be grateful.
Grateful that I have resolved to do whatever it takes to not put my own children through these same trials, these same issues, because contrary to popular belief, children are not resilient, even when they are not children any longer, and time does not heal all wounds.

I am grateful for a husband who will let me cry to him over the phone from seven hours away, who gives me a compliment better than, "You are pretty," when he tells me, "I love your honesty."

 I am grateful for the two sweetest boys ever who teach me about grace and mercy and also about boundaries and consequences.  They remind me that every action has the potential to impact someone else for a very long time.

I am grateful for friends who ask about my trip home, who text me to get together and friends who let me cry at their kitchen table and don't say anything - they just give me that moment.

I am grateful for family members who ask, "How are you doing?" and those who know and trust my heart, even if they don't always do things the same way I do.

I am grateful for a Monday full of spring weather and sunshine and laughter with my babies which seem to be a gift delivered in my backyard just for me from The Father.

Joining with Ann's community counting one thousand gifts.

author's note: This is not a judgment on people who are divorced. I know there are legitimate reasons for divorce - abuse, adultery... - This, however, is a reflection on how divorce still affects my life.

Friday, March 9, 2012

how to pray for Bugaboo this month

We are over a week into March. Bugaboo is officially fifteen months, but his skills are about that of a seven - ten month old, depending on what it is. He is getting much better eating solid foods, and his fine motor skills are improving, especially when food is involved.  His gross motor, verbal and some fine motor skills still have a loonnnnng way to go.
We have moments when we see a glimpse of improvement - getting out of sit, turning in a semi-circle on his bottom - but these have yet to lead to more moments or bigger milestones.  It gets discouraging because everything that is suggested are things we are already doing (physical therapy) and have always done (singing, reading, talking, dancing, playing).
March is a month of three appointments for Bugaboo. Please pray with us for the following:
  •  First up is a consult regarding the cyst on his eye on the 13th.  We have been wating a couple of months for this appointment. We hope they schedule to remove the cyst soon, and that there are no complications with that. 
  • Then we have Bugaboo's regular well-child appointment on the 15th. She mentioned a possible need for an MRI and speech therapy at the 12 month appointment - give us wisdom on how to proceed with those possibilities.  Pray for our pediatrician to be observant of anything that is amiss, to give me some information/insight on what to ask the neurologist, to continue being proactive,etc.
  •   Finally we have a six-month follow-up with the neurologist on the 27th.  This is the one we really want/need some prayers for. The old neurologist is gone, so pray that this new one is a knowledgable advocate for his patients.  Pray that we ask the right questions.  Pray that he observes anything that is not right.  Pray that he doesn't brush us off with the "give it some time" answer we hear so often.
  • With all of these appointments we just want wisdom and clarity for ourselves and for the doctors.  We want the doctors to be proactive and to help us know what next steps to take.
  • Please pray for Bugaboo's progress - for everything to just start clicking consistently.  We have seen huge progress in his eating - now we need everything else to click.
  • Pray for my discouragement.  It is really disheartening as a mother to see children several months younger than your own surpassing your child. It is hard to know that you work with your child, read to your child, sing to your child, play with your child, love your child - and the progress just isn't happening.  Pray for my feelings of guilt as I keep wondering what else could I be doing/shouldn't I be doing.
We are so thankful for both of our boys.  They are fun and sweet and exhausting and hilarious.  I cannot imagine my life without them, and I am amazed each day at what they teach me just by being in our world.

Friday, March 2, 2012

5 Minute Friday - ache

Joining with Five Minute Friday - the rules/participants are here.

Closure. Reconciliation. Understanding. Justice. Fairness. Mercy.

There's an ache in my heart for all of these things for a variety of circumstances, most out of my control.  I must trust that I have done all that I can do, and then rest. And trust.  Trust that He is big enough to handle all the questions and frustrations.

In the morning I stretch and twist, trying to rid myself of all of the aches I physically experience already - (how is that possible? I am not old.), and in similar fashion I find myself twisting and stretching, trying to rid myself of the aches and pains emotionally, mentally, spiritually.

But the aches remind me there is always more work to do.  Always something to pray about.  Always some way to respond, even when it doesn't feel like a very tangible, immediate action.  And so I let the aches serve their purpose.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

just a couple of smile worthy snippets

We are not really potty-training ... yet.  By we, I actually mean Bubby, since both The Hubs and I are potty-trained.  We do, however, encourage Bubby to let us know if he wants to go on the toilet (usually he refers to it as Elmo since the toddler cover is decorated with a scuba-diving Elmo, which is slightly disturbing if you think about it too long.)  Anyhooo...

The other night Bubby let out a string of toots.  (what we call them with him).
Me: Bubby, do you need to go poo-poo on Elmo?
Bubby (in all seriousness): It's too late.
    *                 *                       *                    *                *                *                     *
Bubby was attempting to put his shoes on by himself this morning and doing a pretty good job.  "Yay!  Good for you! Yay!" I cheered.  Bugaboo, sprawled out on the floor near him, started laughing and clapping.  This is wonderful for two reasons. First of all, he has never clapped without us helping him do it.  Second, he was finally actually coordinated and motivated enough to do it.  He smiled and clapped and giggled every time I said, "Yay!" which of course I had to keep saying because he was just so stinkin' cute.

*                      *               *                           *                    *                      * 
In other Bugaboo news, he has started to spin himself around in a circle while sitting on hard floors.  He also, somehow, can scoot himself forward a bit in a sitting position on these surfaces.  He still isn't belly-creeping or crawling, but he is now at least wanting to move and figuring out some way to move.  And for that we are thankful.  Please keep praying for his development. We have a neuro follow up later in March.