19 Jan

That Time I Wrote About the Poop in the Corner

poop in the corner pic

There’s a pile of poop in the corner.

Feels like the appropriate ending to this afternoon.

For the record, the poop belongs to our pet ferret who was playing in my office yesterday while I cleaned. apparently he didn’t get the “we’re cleaning” memo.

This afternoon got me thinking about Facebook — what I post and why. My motives were questioned by someone and at first I was REALLY angry (truth is I’m still sorta ticked).  I have been accused of being fake. If not putting my drama on Facebook makes me fake, well then, I’m fake.

Do I have struggles?? Um, yeah, I breathe air and live in a messed up world don’t I? Nothing is perfect in my world, except my Savior and His grace. Beyond that I’m just a girl trying to get it right. And along the way I post things to remind me what we’ve done as a family, funny moments and just snapshots of our life. (I LOVE the TimeHop app that reminds me of those things on a daily basis!!)

So I post things like….

timehop app pic

Facebook holds some of the sweetest memories of our everyday life.

 

 

Or this….

Because one day the will both be so big I forget the days when they were lil and best friends.

Because one day they will both be so big, and I’ll forget the days when they were lil and best friends.

And truly I apologize. If here, or anywhere, I post something that makes one feel that I am bragging or trying to front about our life. I’m not. (I pray that the Lord roots out anything that isn’t of pure motives.)

The truth is life happens fast. And I want to remember it. To catch. To hold it. To celebrate it. To freeze it. Either via camera or phone I try and grab the moments that leave my memory before I’ve had a chance to dwell and be thankful.

I was encouraged by a sweet friend to put up some pictures that show our ugly truth…the laundry, the dust, the dishes…the whatevers of life that get left when you are too busy living it (or living in it). All I could think is who wants to see that??  I mean really???

Then I sat down at my desk and noticed the poop.

poop in the corner pic

Oh yes, there it is next to the piles of papers the weasel spread about in his play time yesterday. A pile of poop in my beautiful, clean office.

 

 

And all I can do is laugh.

You see, my sweet sisters, everyone’s life is full of crap. I don’t care what church you go to, what you drive, where your kids get their education, or just how cute your Facebook pictures are. We’ve all got stuff to deal with.

And it is about time we started giving each other grace rather than grief.

It is about time as image-bearers of Christ we choose to laugh with each other and be willing to get close enough to someone to be able to cry with them. To carry their burdens and care for them. True friendships are not lived on Facebook and before you pass judgement, get off the computer/put down your phone and walk with someone in their life.

I want to live my life as openly as I can, because I really feel like that is who God calls me to be…to love on His girls and be honest about what’s hard in life. But, the truth is I won’t post that on social media…I LIVE life in our house…in our town, and freeze frame life online.

Want to see the full picture…come on over. You’ll leave our house with a belly full of food, your pants covered in dog hair, your ears chatted off and you’ll see that the sink is full of dishes, there are books stacked everywhere , the counter is dumping grounds for everything, the guinea pigs have as much of their shavings on the floor as in the cage, and I haven’t showered yet today.

But, hopefully, there will be no poop in the corner.

02 Jan

Poppin’ Countdown

poppin countdown 1

Zombies, dancing chickens, cookies, howling and more…our New Year’s Eve was poppin’.

In an attempt to make our New Year’s entertaining and full of fun I took to Pinterest. I found lots of cute ideas, put a few of them together to match what we had available in the house and out popped the “Poppin’ Countdown”.

poppin countdown 1

Balloons were hidden all over the house. Starting at 5 p.m. family members ran around the house to find the balloon marked with the appropriate hour and their name (the one pictured is 11 p.m. for our daughter). When everyone had found their balloon they had to report back to the living room.

Next step: pop your balloon and retrieve the piece of paper with instructions. Not allowed to use anything sharp.

After balloon pieces were picked up (cuz the puppy thought his part of the game was to consume all the lil pieces), you had to follow the instructions. Sometimes the whole group had the same instructions, sometimes they were different. More than once people did theirs and other peoples too…just cuz it was fun.

poppin countdown 2

 6 p.m. – eat a cookie!! (before dinner was ready…everyone quickly complied with this one)

poppin countdown 3

8 p.m. – dance like chickens

poppin countdown 4

10 p.m. – zombie dance

poppin countdown 5

11 p.m. – sparklers (a New Year’s tradition for us)

poppin countdown 6

Midnight – hunky hubby’s special balloon message — the kids had to go on the deck and sing a crazy New Year’s song LOUD

(he said he didn’t need a balloon to tell him to do that!! Smart man.)

We had a blast. We entertained/annoyed our neighbors a few times — howling on the deck, running laps in the driveway singing “We are the Champions” and more. I think we were just two or three hours in when the requests for doing it again began rolling in.

I have to tell you, I think our kids looked forward to each hour more than they did the ball dropping. Join us next year for Poppin’ Countdown?

20 Jun

Love will break you but it is good

storm

In the distance the thunder rolls.

In the house a door slams.

A storm is rolling in…inside and out.

storm

I sat on the edge of the stairs and watched the storm move in.

Slamming doors, banging on walls, a little voice filled with rage and fear.

The storm was picking up steam.

Here, I sat…weary.

Beyond weary….exhausted…drained…broken.

The thunder rolls…the sky gets dark.

Slamming…banging.

Tears build up in my eyes and in that moment I’m not sure how this plays out.

I’ve got nothing left. I whisper. Hoping…praying…that the God who brought the rain will somehow bring the sun.

I begin writing a blog post in my head about what love looks like….

Love whispers when you’d rather yell to be heard.

Love knocks on the door that just slammed again.

Love promises to stay through curses and cussing and being pushed away.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

hopes….perseveres….I’ve got nothing left. I whisper again.

Then from the living a song rises that I’ve never heard before.

The storm rages — the wind blows, little feet kick doors, the thunder shakes the house, slamming doors rattle the hallway, the lightening is so bright and close that it is almost blinding, a little voice spews anger at deafening decibels — and here I sit on the stairs. Tears streaming down my cheeks and Jesus singing into my soul from the living room.

“Love’s not safe at all
Love might let you fall
Love’s not easy
But it’s good, it’s good, it’s good
Love will take your time
Love might feel unkind
Love will break you
But it’s good”

It is not my love or my energy or my efforts that will reach our foster peanut…our someday son….it is Jesus. His love pouring through me…and when I’m empty it can only come from Him…that…that is perfect love…love that is kind…love that casts out all fear….love that will always persevere…love that is eternal.

Like all storms, this one passed. The thunder rolled on and a little body grew tired.

The sun shone. A faint rainbow glimmered above. And I rocked a small body in my arms while he cried and let go of all that was battling within him.

This is exhausting work…this work of parenting in the wake of trauma, abuse and neglect….

Love will break you…It’s not easy….but it’s good.

 

 

 

28 Nov

A Tradition We Happened Upon

puffins

It was just the two of us…so in love that the rest of the world just faded away.

Him and me. That green-eyed boy who made me his wife.

 

Our honeymoon was an amazing, extravagant cruise around the southern Caribbean.

We wanted something to remember the trip by…each island…each excursion…each time he introduced me as his wife…each place we celebrated this gift of marriage. We found a Christmas ornament on the first island we visited and thus a tradition began. At each island on our trip we found a Christmas ornament that said where we’d been. They were the beautiful highlight of our sparsely decorated tree that year.

 

Reminders of that trip for years to come….

We do it (or try) on every trip we take now. A Christmas ornament to hang on the tree, something that whispers of trips and love, memories and laughter. And this year, as our kids excitedly yanked each ornament from the bins we heard the “ooh”, the “aw”, the “remember”!! The memories began coming to life and played across the screen of our Christmas decked memories.

Princesses and Pirates….and a magical family trip.

 

The trip to Louisiana that was a walk through family history.

The last trip to a family vacation spot before illness and time changed our family landscape.

 

 

 

There are dozens more ornaments from all over…trips where we forgot suitcases, grieved for loved ones, and enjoyed the scenery. Trips that filled photo albums and family stories. And as each year passes and the Christmas tree bears more and more memories can you imagine the stories, the time…the love? That our yesterdays will decorate our tomorrows is a gift I didn’t know to ask for, to plan for, to give or to receive.

Tonight, as I sit in the glow of the Christmas tree and remember all the moments, all trips, all the Christmas, all the love that shines  into my life I’m sure I will be overwhelmed by it all. Gloriously, gracefully, happily overwhelmed by a tradition we happened upon.

26 Nov

A Defeated Holiday

thanksgiving table

I laid in the dark, eyes closed.

Echoes up the hallway delivered the sounds of the holiday…laughter, cups clinking, football on tv, kiddos feet running back and forth, stories, chatter, smack talk, dishes being scraped or piled high.

It was a day…a week…a month…a season…to give thanks and as I lay in the dark thanks seemed far away.

Buried under piles of blankets and cold medications my week of Thanksgiving preparations had been pushed off onto another; one goal, now, to get over it. To be healthy enough to cook for the family that would gather round in days…hours…minutes…..

Super-sized balloons and Rockette kicks filled the living room and my determination pushed me into the kitchen. I was well enough to push through and enjoy this day of my favorite things (or many of them)…cooking, eating, family, giving thanks….living.

And yet as the meal drew closer and the house filled up I found myself fading quickly. I managed to eat a few bites of food and help serve those pies that looked so good.

And then while others were busy I whispered to my hubby, I need to go lie down.

Defeated I lay in the dark.

This cold, strep, flu monster thing had won. I was down and hardly thankful.

But as I laid in the dark, I began to listen to the stories and the laughter. The love that fell from Grandmother voices into child ears. The cheers and smack talk of football fans gathered with coffee and second pie servins. Thanksgiving was filling the house — the scents still lingered, the love was being lived out, and the sounds swirled around me.

And there in the dark, I found something….my thankful.

I’m thankful for our family (near and far).

I’m thankful for this house where we host Bible studies, throw parties, celebrate holidays and live our slice of Jesus.

I’m thankful for grace….the gift of unmerited favor that flows into my life from a God I can hardly comprehend. This gift that allows me to love and serve Him and those He blesses me with.

I am thankful for you….yes, you my friend. Some of you I know and I can think of your sweet faces as I write. Others, we’ll not know each other this side of heaven perhaps, but I pray for you, I dream of you, I write for you, I laugh at my life with you and I pray that you are looking for kisses from our God who loves you so much!!!!

There in the dark of Thanksgiving I felt a nudge in my soul….you’ve got it all, every day, don’t lose sight today. And I had, I had lost sight of all the reasons to say thank you…of the feeling of counting grace.

My grace is sufficient for you…{2 Corinthians 12:9} When I saw my life through His filter the truth of these words NEVER rang so true.

Happy Season of Thanksgiving, my friends.

08 Nov

The Woman She Was. And Is

Grandma bw face

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her Bible always sat next to her chair.

Worn leather cover. Cracked binding. Notes tucked in the pages. Hand written reminders of verses, victories and love scratched on the pages.

My Grandmother’s Bible was part of her. She started every morning with it laid open on her lap. Day full of possibilities. Heart open to the direction of Scripture.

As she cleaned the house, played games with me or visited friends in the neighborhood she was the Bible. Often quoting verses or telling me stories of Jesus. She sang hymns and danced with me. Her shaky voice still echoes in my heart “and He walks with me, and He talks with me, and tells me I’m His Own”.

My Grandmother was the Bible in motion to me.

Time, illness and age have changed her. She doesn’t watch the news, or read. She doesn’t talk anymore and relies on people to meet her basic needs. Truly I don’t know that she knows who I am, but she seems happy to see me (I take that as a good sign).

Yet, techonology has given us a glimmer of hope for what still blooms inside my Grandmother.

I laid the ipad in her hands. Waiting. Watching. Hoping.

Her eyes shifted to the screen. There in the largest possible font the words awaited her. His words. The Word. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

I could see  her eyes track across the screen. She was reading. And at the bottom of the page she waited. I turned the page. She read some more.

We repeated this pattern twice more. In a few minutes she had read almost all of Genesis 1.

Her smile was enough. Even if she can’t find the words or doesn’t know my name…I knew.

The Word makes her complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slumped over in her chair, stains from today’s lunch on her shirt, once curled and neat hair, flat and messy. Most would not see her as a role-model, anymore. And truthfully, I forget to look for the woman that my grandmother always has been, not just the one time has molded her into.

My grandmother was a woman of God.

My grandmother is a woman of God.

And as she read Scripture this weekend, I saw her. Perhaps as God sees her? Beautiful. In love. Full of Jesus.

In that breath…that moment. I wanted to be just like her. A woman of God.

A woman who so saturates my soul with the Word. With God. That when all the things of youth and this world are stripped away at my core you find Jesus.

When my words fade and my body fails….what will I be?

Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers and the flowers fall,

but the word of our God endures forever.

Isaiah 40:7-8

Father, teach me to be like my Grandmother. A woman of God. A fount of scripture. A love affair to last through eternity, rooted in a love letter from a King to a peasant girl. Teach me to read, love and memorize the Word so that I can be a godly influence for my children and grandchildren. Help me to make Jesus my core. Amen.

 

20 Sep

On the Side of the Road

footsteps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Grandfather loved to walk. He would walk a few miles a few times a week, if not every day, even into his 80’s. His pace was quick and he was about the business of walking while he was out there. He would greet the neighbors, survey the neighborhood, stop to pet a dog, catch a ball or watch a golfer swing at the nearby course. And when I walked with him he would tell me stories.

I heard stories of living on a farm in Idaho in the early 20th century, college, World War II, childhood antics of my father and aunt, and anything else that might come up.  I heard some stories so often I began to tell them (like the time corn flakes were on sale and they bought so many boxes that is all they had to eat for weeks while he was in college…he never ate them again). I heard stories that other people hadn’t heard (stories of fighting in World War II — of incredible bravery, fear and of duty and honor). I learned about his garden and his baking. We spoke of wood working, driving, pets, children and more.

Since I was a small child (heck, probably as an infant) I had adored my Grandfather, and so as we walked and he taught me of life our relationship grew deeper. He encouraged me to look for what I’m talented at and passionate about. He knew all too well what it was to do something you thought you should, only to be mid-stream and find out that is not what you wanted. He laughed at my jokes, listened to my stories, looked inside my heart and helped plan my dreams.

Even when my life was going sideways and I was on the wrong path we would sometimes walk together when I came home to visit. He always told me what to do without ever telling me what to do, and while his concern was obvious he managed to respect the woman I was but not the decisions I was making.

A few years ago the landscape of my grandparents life began to change as old age had set in and my grandmother’s memory began to fail. They moved to a retirement home not far from the house they lived in when I was growing up. On a rather cloudy, chilly Portland day I walked through their old neighborhood. I was in town on family business and found myself overwrought and tense. In need of advice and comfort I went back to the roads we had walked. As I meandered through the neighborhoods (not nearly at the clip my grandfather used to walk) it was almost like I could hear the echoes of years of talking. The warmth of his laughter hung on the corner. The advice he shouted to his friends on the golf course still lingered around the bend. And as I walked past their old house, tears in my eyes, I begged God to help with the situations that had called me home. Oh how I longed to be a child on those streets again. When life seemed simpler and everyone was healthy and whole.

This year as we began to plan our homeschool year I looked for a theme verse. Something to remind me, challenge me, encourage me in the pursuit of a God-filled education for our children. I chose a familiar passage and as I began to study it and memorize it I was struck by a line that changed the way I think about teaching and leading our children.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

When you walk along the road….

Those few words reminded me of my Grandpa. There are roads in a few states that I have walked with my Grandpa. Roads that changed my life, I’m sure. At the very least they educated me.

And so as our homeschooling year takes off I’m struck by my Grandpa’s lessons in life. Lessons in love. That were never taught in a classroom, weren’t scheduled or written in a planner. The literally happened on the side of the road.

As I write to you this morning we are hitting the road. The suitcases wait by the door. Boxes of books and workbooks in the hallway. We’re off to visit family and we’ll homeschool on the road. In the next few days our children will have science with dolphins and orcas, dance with a mouse, learn physics on roller coasters, hear classic literature on the highway, do worksheets in hotel rooms and meet family they only know by other people’s stories. And, I know, there will be plenty of lessons as we walk (and drive) along the road.

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