tonight for our outreach project, through our small group, we were to visit a couple different elderly shut ins from our congregation.  a couple women and punkin went to visit a woman by the name of anna.

backtrack to this afternoon…  all I know is that punkin is going to visit a women named anna.  I suggest she colors a picture to take along and give to anna.  gabrielle chose an intricate easter egg picture from a pile of easter pictures that brian printed off last year.  gabrielle did a great job.  she even cut it out and glued it to a piece of purple construction paper.  she held tight to the egg all afternoon, as if she had made it special for her own grandma that she hadn’t seen in a great while. 

when we got to our meeting spot, gabrielle again guarded her picture and made sure that she signed the card that was going to anna’s house.

after I got back from my visit with a different couple that is very limited in their ability to go out, (which was a true blessing and a whole ‘nother story) a friend from the group that had punkin with them told me some amazing details.  apparently anna was from poland.  when she was younger she used to hand paint ukrainian eggs.  anna was absolutely delighted with the picture.

that gabrielle would be put in the group going to anna’s, only 5 people went and there are more than 50 people in our group… that she would pick that picture to color out of a pile of last years easter printables… that anna used to hand paint eggs… … …coincidence??  I think not.  God is in every. little. crazy. detail.

 

 all for the glory of His name.

just wrestling…

February 27, 2010

this morning I asked punkin to make her bed.  when I walked back by, the covers were up but the stuffed animals were all over the place.  I called for her and had her stand beside me and look into her room.  I said, ‘I think you need to get your animals all in row so they look nice too.’  without missing a beat she said, ‘mom, they have a big fight tonight!  they are just wrestling for practice.’ … and then she skipped off. 

just tell me why…

February 25, 2010

on tuesday morning as I was driving towards home, after dropping off punkin, I was having a little conversation with God about ‘why’.  I’m always having these little conversations and they usually aren’t about ‘why’, but more about anything and everything.  on this day though I was feeling very down about the ‘why’… maybe it was because once again there was a very soft and beautiful snowfall going on.  so I was saying something like,  ‘why?  why would You give and take him so quickly?  I know You don’t owe me any explanation.  I know there is way more going on in this than I can even imagine… but… could You just give me something?  some reason?  one little hint at the works that might be being done through this and because of luke’s life.’ 

after I was home, I did a couple little things and then thought I better get my exercise in, and then thought no I better get my bible study done first.  (I’ve been working on ‘order’ since right after christmas)  anyway, after going through my lesson on the person of the Holy Spirit and His role in the life of a believer, I came to the last question.  it was something close to, ‘what would you like the Holy Spirit to do for you today?’.  really.  in my head, I was thinking, I was just having this conversation on the way home from kindergarten.  I want to see a glimpse of the purpose of luke’s life.  I want to know more.  I want… I want…  the list just went on and on.  I was thinking that this would have been a good essay question because I could go on all day about the things I would like to have revealed to me and the things that I could be counseled on. 

anyway, I finished that up, did my exercise, came to the computer to look for a friends’ blog thru my own blog.  (I can see where people come from or if they have a blog through my ‘account’ page.)  when I pulled up the screen, my blog had seriously spiked!  hundreds of hits.  hundreds!  know I know that might sound small, but it was a lot more than my usual following.  the odd part was, that there was no real reason for the spike.  going back now, I can see some of why it was such a big post. (my little big man)  it was because there were people who were hooking my blog to theirs or referring to my blog thru twitter and such.  I was kind of wierded out by it.  I was just staring at it and thinking what in the world is going on? … ??? … ??? …  and then I was reminded of what I had been talking about all morning.  ‘why’.  could it really be that somehow through all of this pouring out of emotion that I do, all of this honesty of fear and failing and not doing good enough, but trying and wanting to be better, all of the ‘realness’ of my struggle for joy… that others may be encouraged?  could this be a tiny part of my ‘why’?  now, I know  that there are people who have been encouraged.  they send me emails or comments.  most of them I don’t know.  but really?  could it be?  of course there is the logical side of brain telling me that it is all coincidental, nothing to be excited about.  but I want to think that I asked and I received.  I was pleading, ‘just tell me why.’  and He answered.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  Luke 11:10

little big man…

February 22, 2010

tonight I had a little talk with dawson about some of the bigger responsibilities that brian and I are thinking he can take on now.  I told him that we wanted him to start developing a habit and awareness of how to keep a future wife and children safe.  one simple thing we want him to do is to make sure the front door is locked before he goes to bed.  this is something he will do every night, but especially on nights when daddy is working late or not at home… like tonight.  he will have to be the man, a young man, but the man of the house none the less.  he listened very intently, which was nice to see, and I could see a mix of emotions stirring behind those big baby blues.  all of a sudden he sat a little taller, held his chest out a bit and was proud to be given such a huge responsibility… but there was also a genuine concern lurking too.  I could tell he was abit nervous and he said a little hesitantly, ‘mom… I’m afraid I will forget.’.  this was real concern.  he was really worried about the safety of his family if he should forget to lock the door. (bless his big tender heart)  I reassured him that daddy or I would walk through it with him every night until it got to be more of a habit.  with that being said, we headed for the front door for our first trial run.  we opened the door to check for any packages or deliveries, shut the door, locked it and turned off the light.  he looked at me, all most at eye level, with a great amount of pride.  such a small thing for us to hand over to him and yet it sent him sky-high with the joy of being a young man with serious responsibilities.

I can’t take full credit for this.  I heard something along these lines at a recent parenting conference at our church.  it was all about the shifting from childhood to young adulthood and how this not so pleasant age of adolescence keeps getting longer and longer in our society.  so much so that we have plenty of adults in their 20s and even 30s who are still acting like children instead of responsible adults.  I want to do better.  and it looks like having dawson lock the front door at night might be a step in the right direction.

on a side note… after we went through this process, which involved a couple other things, I layed down by cole to read him a story.  dawson in his new found pride went and got the nail clippers and pulled up a chair beside cole’s bed and clipped his nails.  a chore that I am always after him to do, a chore that I don’t think he has ever  done free will.  I guess it was the next most responsible thing he could think of to do.  I just grinned to myself all the while as I kept reading to cole.  … my little big man… ready to keep his family safe and have good hygiene while doing it!

33…

February 21, 2010

today is my birthday.  I was hoping to share this day as a birthday with luke.  I think because of that it is just going to be tough.  I tried to get going in a good way this morning.   everybody up and clean and dressed and ready for church.  I even wore a new skirt and wore makeup.  we got there, got the kids checked in and then I ran into a friend holding some roses.  I asked what they were for and she said it was baby dedication sunday. … … … damn it!!  that was all that went through my head.  she quickly hugged me and said a prayer.  I started crying and went to tell my parents, who were all ready seated, that I would be out in the hall until the sermon started.  all the anxiety and pain I had been feeling leading up until this day finally broke through.  I stood in the hallway staring at the books at the bookstore until a dear friend, I’m sure because if God’s timing, came into view.  I fell into her and just clung to her knowing that she knew exactly what and exactly why.  after a few minutes of leaving tears all over her shoulder and getting mascara all over my eyes, I pulled back.  I gathered myself.  took a couple breaths…  I was okay… 

church has been hard ever since we lost luke.  I try to avoid it if I can think of any excuse that seems justifiable in my mind.  it doesn’t help that we go to a church where 3 is a small number of kids, there are lots  of pregnant women and we welcome at least 1 new baby every. single. week.  I think that coupled with the anxiousness of my birthday brought together a perfect storm of sorts. 

 after that breakdown the day went better.  we went to champs, like usual, and when we got there our table was ready with balloons and an ice tea with extra lemons.  we had bday mozzarella sticks and mile high ice cream pie courtesy of champs.  I got 2 new blue shirts and a smoothie maker.  (just what I wanted.  really.)  we took the kids ice skating at the park and that was really nice.  I’ve gotten other nice gifts and cards from family and friends.  it’s been nice.  I really, really appreciate the thoughtfulness of so many. 

so…  a new year.  new blessings.  let me lean heavily on my All-in-All, let me reflect the Son all the more, let me be a wonderful lover, mama, friend and follower.  let me not worry about me and help me keep what is truly important out in front.

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. …  Acts 20:24 

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. … Philippians 3:8

pizza…

February 20, 2010

what should we do for supper?

how ’bout pizza?

sure.  I’ll call over and order it.

dailing… answering… ‘papa murphy’s, this is luke.  can I interest you in some cheesy bread or cookie dough?’

umm… … … … … … … … click.

you’re gonna have to order it.

the proposal…

February 18, 2010

so, it’s happened.  and way sooner than I thought.  a little boy asked gabrielle to marry him… there in the middle of kindergarten, with other little friends all around and a teacher busy in the background.  they were playing postoffice and he sent her a card and then she sent him a card and then I guess he just got all caught up in the moment.   🙂  of course she told him, ‘maybe’ … because she has another friend that is a boy and she might marry him.  I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how it all plays out.  when she told daddy he said she couldn’t get married until she was 30.  she said, ‘well mama’s only 32 and she’s been married to you for a long time!’  he said maybe 23 would be okay.  she seemed content with that and skipped off to her room to finish playing my little ponies.  oh to be 6 and have hardly a care in the world…

I love you…

February 14, 2010

you love me when you hold me tight,

when you tuck me in and turn off the lights.

you love me when you bring me flowers,

when you listen to me talk for hours.

you love me when you start my bath,

when you whisper things that make me laugh.

you love me when you play our song,

when you pull me close and dance along.

you love me when you bring home chipotle for two,

and because you love me…

I LOVE YOU!

authentic…

February 11, 2010

au*then*tic … genuine, real   /   gen*u*ine … not counterfeit or artificial; real, true, sincere

I want to be authentic.  I want to be real, true… sincere.  I didn’t realize I might be having an issue with this until I took this class on sharing the gospel.  I think I am pretty real in all my dealings and actions, but I think there is a bit of a front going on too…  not that I want this to be happening, it just is.  I seem to be afraid of being judged about who I really am… who I was… who I’ve become.  I wonder if I’ve said or done something that my ‘christian’ friends think is wrong or offensive  and then when I’m with other friends who maybe aren’t there yet or are seeking I wonder if they think I’ve turned into a Jesus freak which is actually repelling them instead of drawing them in. … and honestly… I fear judgement from my christian circle more than anyone else, which is totally backwards!!  I feel I can’t live up to their standards, the bar is to high. 

anyway… all that being said, I think I am finding out that I am exactly who God made me to be.  and more than that, He made me exactly this way because there are others out there seeking that are like me or who might be drawn to me rather than someone else.  I’ve been validated in who I am and that there isn’t anything wrong with who I am and that I don’t have to try to fit into someone else’s mold of what a christian is. 

so, here’s who I am… as far as I can tell right now.  I am constantly changing.  I love Jesus, he is my all in all.  I love Brian.  a lot.  he is my solid rock in sinking sand.  I think my  kids are the best, cutest  and most wonderful. (most of the time.)  I like guitars and drums and loud music and rock concerts.  I like tattoos, maybe I’ll even get one sometime.  I know what WTF means and I have friends who say it.  I’ve done a lot of crazy things…like, stealing pumpkins and then throwing them off the overpass down on the interstate.  I still think about doing crazy things… like rounding up everyone’s discarded christmas trees some night and putting them all in my neighbor’s yard so that they wake up to a forest!  I don’t have a problem talking about sex.  I’m not a drinker or smoker, YUK!  I think it tastes bad.  I don’t care if you drink or smoke though.  I think it is unhealthy, but who am I to judge you?  I’m not the best cook, I’d rather go out.  I love shoes… especially high heels.  unfortunately I don’t really live a high heel life.  I listen to music by kid rock, eminem and saving abel.  I also listen to casting crowns, third day and jars of clay.   I think it is funny to put socks on the cat and watch her fall over and just lay there immobilized.  I still make snow angels.  I do yoga.  I hate running.  I don’t know how much eggs are going for at the moment.  I only get my hair done 2 or 3 times a year.  I’d rather be tan.  I stay up to late and don’t like getting up in the  morning.  I’ve done years and years of in depth bible study.  I go to a pretty conservative church and love it.  I’ve baled hay and fed the hogs.  I’ve pulled the trailer while brian threw bales until all hours of the night and rode in the combine with him all day just to keep  him company.  I’ve been to some swanky restaurants here in the cities and had expensive steak dinners with friends who bring wine from their own wine cellar.  I have 2 favorite pairs of jeans, 1 was free at a garage sale and the other was a lot more from the buckle.  I’ve been looked down on, looked over, over looked and looked up to.  I’ve worn brian’s underwear and I’ve worn $40 french lace panties.  I really like cars and motorcycles.  I’m not that into makeup, I’m more of a lipgloss and mascara girl, but I love an occasion to get all dolled up.  I love a man in uniform.  I’ve been lost, broken, saved and restored.  I am going to be the positive influence rather than the one being influenced by the negative.  I could go on and on, but I guess it all just adds up to me.  this is who I am.  I’ve decided to head out into this big world and try to win some over to the saved  side of the chasm.  I feel strong enough in my faith that I can be out with the ‘sinners’ and not be pulled back down into it.  I think I have good enough friends that would tell me if they thought I was headed in a wrong direction.  I think I’m supposed to be in  this world, just not of  this world.  I’m figuring out who I am and what I am suppossed to do.  … … …  so judge me… call me a Jesus freak, call me a sinner.  I’m both.  your opinion matters little to me…  I’m living for an audience of One.

 

share my what…

February 4, 2010

so I was in a class I didn’t really want to be in, in someone else’s church and with a homework assignment that I didn’t want to do.  you couldn’t imagine what they were asking me to do.  of course, it is the name of the class… but I was expecting lectures… not homework.

if you haven’t guessed by now, I’ll just tell you.  my assignment is to be able to tell someone what the gospel is in 150 words or less  and write out my testimony in 150 words too.  my knee jerk reaction was that I should probably quit the class.  I don’t want to ‘share the gospel’… not my gift.  honestly, I was surprised at myself about how much I didn’t want to do this.  I was feeling like, ‘I think I’m pretty clear on where I stand and people can just figure it out from there.’ … then I started to feel bad… ‘why is this so upsetting to me?’  …  ‘I should be able to do this easily.’ … ‘I talk about Jesus all the time.’ …  ‘I think people know that I love Him.’ 

anyway, after a lot of this endless talking in my head about it, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should do this.  I should be able  to do this.  evangelism still isn’t my gift, but I need to be ready to give an answer when someone asks.  and, although my life can be an example I still need to be able to explain why  my life is different, better.  people do need to know exactly why and how I’ve come to this place so that perhaps, Lord willing, they will want their lives to be different, better.  God won’t make your life different, better just because you know about him and his Son.  there is a responsibility on each  person’s part too.  so here’s my condensed testimony and the gospel as simply put as I could get it.  let me know what you think.  and please, if any of you have questions about making the move from head knowledge to heart knowledge, about becoming one of God’s children, a true believer… contact me.  for me the key question was, ‘if you die tonight, will you go to heaven?’  … ‘I hope so.’ … shouldn’t be an answer.

Testimony

 

I grew up in a nice home, attended church and  was well loved.  I expected to have my own ‘nice’ life as I became an adult.  It hasn’t quite turned out that way.  While my marriage has been a true blessing, we’ve had to face some serious challenges.  Our first born has cerebral palsy and our fourth child died shortly after birth.  Both of these things are things that I thought would have pushed me over the edge… whether by a mental break down or suicide but … they have not.  Because of my faith, I’m still here.  I’m not only still here, but I  have a deep deep joy in my life that just doesn’t make sense outside of having this personal relationship with Jesus.  It is through these trials that I have been  able to take what I knew in my head as religion, and have it changed into what I now know in my heart as faith in Christ.

The Gospel

 

God loves us.  He wants us to be with him.  He wants to have a personal relationship with us.The problem is SIN.  We all sin.  (Rom. 3:23) Not just big sins, little everyday sins… anger, self-centeredness, cheating, lies.  These sins separate us from God, (Isiah 59:2) and God tells us that the penalty for our sins is death. (Rom. 6:23)The good news is that God has provided a way out of the punishment that we deserve.  He sent Jesus, his perfect son, to take our place.  Through his sinless life and death on the cross, we can have eternal life.Our part is to recognize that we’ve sinned and accept this gift of forgiveness.  The bible says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  (Rom. 10:9)

time doesn’t heal…

February 2, 2010

so after another wave of grief, I’m thinking that time doesn’t heal.  it only takes the pain and moves it a little farther away.  like on a physical plane… like my mom and dad live in iowa, but there are still there.  just a little further away than right here in my immediate physical circle.  this is why I think people say or think that time heals.  the pain of not having luke here, of having to leave the hospital without a baby is still the same.  it just hurts.  but the reality is that my life goes on.  there are many things that are invading my more immediate space that need my attention… like getting cole dressed, dealing with school IEPs and state ISPs, making sure gabrielle knows how to get along on the bus home from kindergarten, helping dawson finish his math homework, making supper, washing clothes, arranging dates… on and on and on.  you know what it is like.  the pain of the loss of luke just gets pushed further out on the physical plane.

and then… something happens that brings luke front and center.  like a slow, steady, beautiful snowfall.  and I’m thinking learning that when these waves come around I need to just be in that moment.  I need to just be sad.  this is a profound sadness.  what can I possibly pray?  ‘God, please make me not be sad any more.’  that doesn’t really seem right.  maybe the answer is just be sad.  except it. it is a sad thing and it only makes sense that sometimes I’m going to be sad.

I think it is good to be realizing this.  I may not have completely understood this,  but a friend who  lost a child said something to the same effect a while ago.  I couldn’t really put my finger on exactly what she meant until today.  I also had a run through conversation about this same thing with another good friend this morning.  so here I am… sad, missing my baby and just excepting it.

I want my baby back…

February 1, 2010

I have no intention of writing this ‘well’.  I am just going to let it out before I burst.  don’t expect formalities, complete sentences or any other thoughtful writing…

I WANT MY BABY BACK!  I’ve been standing pacing in the kitchen.  watching the most beautiful snow.  the kind where you can see each perfect little flake.  I so love the snowflakes.  it doesn’t happen with every snow… there are just those few times over the wintery months when weather conditions are right and we get to see each sweet flake fall from the hand of the Maker.  of course, they are making me think of my baby.  his tiny perfect form… and how quickly he was gone.  just like each of these little wonders that I keep trying to hold on to.  I mean that literally.  I’ve been out there in the cold at least 3 times in the last 45 minutes.  I want to scoop them up and bring them in so I can stare at them.  of course, I’ve done this too and they melt very quickly once they get in the 70 degree house. 

somehow, being close to the snowflakes makes me feel close to luke.  I want to go lay on the deck.  I want to curl up on my side and pull as many snowflakes as I can up to my chest.  I want to fill my hands and press my face into them.  I want to kiss them and hold them as I sway and wonder…

what on earth do the neighbors think?  I keep going in and out.  I’m taking pictures in the dark.  I just stand there with my face to the sky… crying.  … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … … my life was all ready unfair.

there is just such a bittersweetness to watching the beautiful snow.  I’ve always loved snowflakes.  this didn’t start with luke.  I’ve always been awed by their perfectness, their tinyness, their … everything.  now… there is a deep deep anguish that sits right beside the wonder.  it causes an actual  physical ache in my heart.

how full of creative genius is the air in which these are generated!  I should hardly admire more if real stars fell and lodged on my coat.  … Thoreau