Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drinking From a Fire Hydrant

Our ministry with teen moms is growing at an explosive rate!! At our first meeting, we had one girl and her son. At our second meeting, we had one girl (a different one -- the "first" mommy had a sick baby) and her daughter. At our third meeting, there were 21 people and 16 children! This next week will be our 4th meeting, and already we've heard from 11 new moms who want to attend ... and 10 new babies to add to our roster.

It's overwhelming. It's frightening. It's incredible. And our ministry has only been in existence for three weeks.

What is God teaching? He's reinforcing with me that ...

* ... He will NEVER call me to do something that He doesn't provide the ways to do it. If He's bringing girls, He'll provide the leaders needed to minister. If He's bringing babies, He'll provide the people needed for childcare. If we're feeding the girls, He'll not only provide the food but will multiply it like the loaves and fishes. If we're needing $$, He'll send the donations. He'll show us the details that need to be noticed ... the organization that needs to be done ... the things that need to be said. God is our Coordinator. And He has done that ... all of that ...

* ... His heart yearns for these precious mommies and babies. He wants to be their sufficiency, the One Who provides for their needs, the One Who loves them. And until they come in to a personal relationship with them, He'll continue to court them through my hands and feet and service. What an incredible blessing!! Plus, when I give myself to the One Who loves them the most, His love flows in and through me. How is it possible to already be in love with girls and babies that you just meet? But it's true ...

* ... I belong to a body of people who want to be a part of serving and loving. We've seen people donate items for our Mommy Mart store, they've given monetary donations, they're sending food, they're rocking babies, they're praying. Many of these people will NEVER meet a single one of the teen moms, but they've become a vital and important part of our ministry "behind the scenes". They're loving these girls without expecting anything in return, just as Jesus does. Without them -- the Body of Christ -- our ministry would be nothing. It takes ALL of us ...

* ... He is the God of abundance. We prayed for an open door, and God flung open the doors ... and windows ... and took the roof off! We prayed for a few girls and God is sending us many. Then, we prayed for a few childcare workers to help, and again God sent us many. Basically, we asked for a drink of water, and God opened a fire hydrant for us to drink from. Our dreams are no where near what God can do, and He's showing us that every single day. Every time a new girl calls about attending ... every sack of items that we receive from a donor ... every new person who inquires about helping with childcare. God's grace overflows ...

I have to be honest. There are times that doubt and fear raise their ugly heads in my mind. People have already told us we need to limit our numbers and turn girls away. Some have said we don't have room or that these girls will hurt us and drain us dry. Can we seriously do this ministry? Are we without limits? Willl this be a ministry without pain? And the answer is a big, fat NO. We can't do this. We are limited. It's going to hurt at times. However, we serve a God Who can do all things, is without limits, and Who has a plan. God is working here in Yukon, USA. We just need to be willing to step out to where He calls us -- where we feel unsure and unprepared, because that's where He will show us His greatest miracles. That's where He'll show us Himself, and our teen moms will see Him for themselves.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Beauty for Ashes

It's amazing to me how God uses our past to teach us and grow us. Things that I would love to go back and change ... things that I'm ashamed of or that scarred me ... things that I swore I'd never do but I did; and, on the flip side ... things that I'd love to relive because they were so wonderful ... things that I'm proud of ... things that happened that bring me great joy -- God wastes absolutely nothing and uses ALL instances to teach us or to help us minister to others. Even though some of the times might have been because of my stupidity or wrong choices, God is not limited. What was intended by me as evil or wrong or selfish purposes, God can turn around and make in to something beautiful -- I just need to allow Him to work in and through me.

I love that my God is the God of new beginnings ... the God who turns ashes in to beauty ... the God of second chances. He's the original "green" -- doesn't waste a thing!! I also love that His timing is perfect ... that He's always working ... that He has a plan and a purpose.

For today, I choose to:
* Revel in Who He is and what He's done
* Celebrate in His ability to use all things
* Rejoice that He's chosen to use me
* Anticipate what He's going to continue to do
* Trust in His timing and plan

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Loosey Goosey

Stop everything you're doing! It's big news! We've got a loose tooth. Yes, it's loose, as in slightly wiggly. I've been instructed that I'm supposed to tell everyone and I'm not supposed to wait until tomorrow because it's
V-E-R-Y important for people to know. So, I'm being an obedient Nammy and speading the news. You've been told.

Seems like only yesterday that this little girl was just cutting teeth. How can she be at an age where it's time to start losing them?!? Times goes by waaaaaaaay too fast. But I'm grateful for the time that I've been given with this precious little girl ... and especially grateful that I was one of the honored ones that received a phone call with the big news.

Stay tuned. I'm sure there will be more news updates about teeth.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Magnifying Mirror Nightmare

 I just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I bought a 5x magnifying make-up mirror yesterday and I haven't stopped crying since. Every single pore ... every single hair ... every single wrinkle ... every single age spot -- they're shown off in their glorious imperfection. AND, since the mirror I bought is also lighted, it's like there's a heavy-duty spotlight bringing everything into even clearer focus.

It's really depressing.

I was wanting something that would help me pluck my eyebrows ... help me keep my mascara from getting all over my face as I put it on ... help me with my lipliner ... and help these 51-year-old eyes be able to see well enough to put my make-up on. Is that too much to ask? I mean, seriously. Is it? Let me answer my own question: yes. The whole point was to actually LOOK BETTER. Read that again. To look better. That's all I wanted. Well, that and to look like the girl on the right.

This is what I got. When my face is magnified, it looks like my skin is made out of lunar material ... and when I say lunar material, I'm being polite to myself. My face looks like the surface of the moon. My eyebrows would make Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes jealous. Honestly, I didn't know I even HAD that many hairs in my eyebrows ... OR that they managed to grow halfway down my face. Practically every single color of the rainbow can be seen on my face in my horrifying new make-up mirror, and that's BEFORE I put any make-up on. And yes, I thought I had a few stray hairs that would pop up on my lip or my chin, yet I took care of them before other people could notice. Ha!! Even as I write this, I'm laughing hysterically and wiping the tears of mirth from my eyes. I now know the sad truth. I've grown a full beard and mustache and no one ever had the good graces to tell me. And to make it all even worse, I was aware of the "few" wrinkles that I was "gradually" getting -- the smile lines, the cute little marks around my eyes and nose when I laughed. Yeah, whatever. They're not wrinkles. They're deep crevices that a small child could crawl into and get lost.

My new 5x magnifying make-up mirror is still sitting on the vanity, but it's closed and unplugged. Yet, it still taunts me whenever I walk by it. It's almost like I have this crazy addiction to checking out what other horrifying things it will reveal. But I've managed to avoid that temptation. At least, until tomorrow when I have to put on make-up to go to work. You know, who ever said I had to wear make-up to work? I hear the new rage is to wear a paper bag over your face so people have to guess who you are. If it's not the rage yet, it soon will be.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nakey Baby

  • We never slept through the night this last week.
  • There was extra laundry to do.
  • Going to the bathroom or taking a shower was more of a "community" event rather than a solo adventure.
  • Cleaning and cooking just DIDN'T happen.
This could only mean one thing.

Our 1-year-old grandbaby blessed us with her presence for a week. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I had forgotten a lot of things about having an itty bitty one in my home round the clock. BUT, I did quickly re-learn what had been stored in the recessses of my mind. Things like ...

No matter how cute the baby is when she's "nakey", it's best to not let her run around and play that way. Nakey babies tend to pee pee on the carpet. Once the carpet has been baby-sprinkled, she won't be very happy when you take away her freedom and insist on her wearing a diaper. Your next act will be to be scrub the carpet with carpet cleaner while simultaneously trying to comfort a very unhappy, now-diapered little one.


She'll ACT like she's okay with drinking from her sippy cup, but she's just biding her time. Once you relax, the sippy cup will be thrown to the floor, the baby will be lying on the floor screaming, and you'll be frantically scrambling to find the bottle. Honestly, what the baby wants, the baby needs, right?!? At least, that's the case at Nammy's house.


Sleeping with a small child is like trying to sleep with a windmill ... or an octopus ... or in the midst of a tornado ... or next to an Olympic prize fighter.  And, the littler the baby, the more space she'll take up in the bed. Also, babies sweat while they're sleeping... a LOT. Since the baby is sleeping on you, you'll wind up sweating as well. But since there's nothing more precious and adorable than a sleeping baby who wants to cuddle with you, you'll put up with being punched and crawled on and sweated on during the night.

And you know what? It was all wonderful ... and great ... and I wanna do it again. I liked having a baby around our house. Every single nook and cranny was filled with the sweet smells of a baby freshly out of the bathtub ... her infectious giggles ... her mimicking us of brushing our hair ... her little hands patting my arm and shoulders as I rock her to sleep. I loved every single moment with our dimpled grandbaby, and I'm grateful that she was patient enough to teach me while her Nammy re-learned living with a little one. I've got news for you. There's nothing better!!





Saturday, August 13, 2011

Being Mommy

We had a full-sized bed that was just perfect for Wes and me. One of my most vivid memories was waking up when I was 8 months pregnant with our daughter and all three of our boys (aged 3 through 7) were in bed with us ... along with our cocker spaniel puppy. How we managed to fit all of those people, including the incredibly pregnant mommy, in to a full-sized bed was beyond me. I still remember waking up with a backache because of the incredibly awkward position that I was laying in ... AND I understood the definition of a "full"-sized bed.

And, of course, there were other memories of being a mommy of little ones. Like the time two of our boys woke us up because one of them had wet the bed, gone to get in bed with his brother, and then wet his bed ... so they were looking for dry territory. THAT was the night that I was awakened by someone wetting our bed (and my back!).

I remember doing several loads of laundry a day (obviously!) ... watching Sesame Street or Barney and singing along to all of the songs that were sung ...drawing with chalk on the front porch to welcome Daddy home ... walking through the house, scouring the floors for little items that babies could choke on ... putting rubber bands on all of the cabinet doors to keep them closed ... occasionally being able to take a shower or bath all by myself and thinking it was heaven ... having ALL of the children actually asleep at the same time for a nap and gratefully taking a nap myself ... putting a blanket on the floor, turning off the TV, and just watching our little ones play ... taking a blanket outside for the baby and me to lie on while the older kids played in the sunshine ...

Those were wonderful times. But I also remember feeling isolated, feeling like I had no one to really talk to (unless you counted little ones who just wanted to talk about Teen Age Mutant Turtles or Bert and Ernie). When Wes would get home, I'd literally follow him around the house, begging to hear every moment of his day and wanting to talk to him about mine. I even have one memory of lying on the floor outside of the bathroom, talking to him while he was in there. He finally asked if he could just have a little bit of time when he got home without his wife trying to talk to him through the bathroom door. 

I felt isolated, but I wasn't alone. I had an incredible support system -- a husband who loved me, parents who were always available, and girlfriends who were raising lots of little ones just like I was. I was blessed. I was fortunate.

Maybe that's why God has given me such a heart for young moms who didn't have the support system that I did. Moms who are doing this on their own. Moms who are being mom, dad, and grandparent all in one. Moms who are young and are still learning and growing on their own. When THEY talk about isolation, they know what they're talking about. My heart is for them to NOT be alone, to have people walking alongside them in love, for them to love the incredible job of being a mommy. So, I've found a ministry where I can do that exact thing. I'm excited to be able to share this journey with them.

Being a mommy IS a job full of "incredibles" -- incredible amount of work, incredible amount of joy, incredible amount of energy, incredible amount of rewards. There's no other job like it in the world.




Friday, July 29, 2011

Everything Has a Price

I'm apologizing ahead of time because this blog is once again partly about the recent surgery I had. I know, I know, I know -- people don't want to hear about all that,but unfortunately that's just where I've been so "concentrated" lately. So, please just bear with me. With my recent surgery, I was given several limitations. At first, I was told that I couldn't push/pull/lift anything over 5 to 10 pounds. Now that a little time has gone by, the limit was raised to 20 pounds. I was also told not to over-exert myself (since I didn't have much energy, that wasn't a problem) and I'm never ever EVER supposed to squat again. I've been absoutely amazed at how much things weigh!! Laundry baskets ... gallons of milk ... grocery bags -- all things I didn't even think twice about lifting before. Now, I have to consider what something weighs (and my body will definitely let me know if it's in the "no" range!). When I was told not to squat, I didn't figure that would be a problem. Uhm, again I've been amazed at how often I actually DID squat -- getting things out of the bottom cabinets in the kitchen, getting things off of the lowest shelves in the grocery store, cleaning up messes on the floor.

As I was thinking about all of this this morning, I saw that pretty much every choice in life comes with a price. When I made the choice to have the surgery, there was a defiinite price -- recuperation period, limitations, doctor bills. But the choice was for my betterment. I wouldn't be "falling apart" anymore and would be "fixed up". So, the "price" for the choice was reasonable.

I look at the choices we've made over the years and the prices that were paid for those choices. My husband chose to work in a field where he'd be available for his family instead of working extremely long hours. I've always been grateful for that choice, even though money has sometimes been tight. It's been very much worth it! He and I chose for me to never work more than part-time so that I could be home with the children as they were growing up, and so that other things wouldn't take priority over my husband and family. Again, money has sometimes been tight because of that, but looking back, we'd make the same choice over and over and over.
 
And the biggest choice? When I accepted Christ as my Savior. What an incredible price God paid for me!! What could I bring Him that He didn't already have? He certainly didn't "need" me because He has all He needs. However, as I was reading in Isaiah 43 today: "I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins." For HIS sake? It makes sense that it was for MY sake because I was the sinner here. But for His sake? Then it struck me -- He WANTS me because He longs for a relationship with me. Father God was willing to pay the price to remove the sin barrier between us so that we could be in a love relationship. Christ was willing to pay the ultimate price of His own life to make that happen. But this was all something that God wanted very much ... just so He could have a personal relationship with me (and you!!). That's almost more than this tiny little mind of mine can handle. And it makes me feel so incredibly loved and grateful. It also makes me want to watch my choices carefully so that I bring glory to Him in what I do -- to honor the price He paid for me.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Being Still

Recuperating from surgery causes you to rest and reflect. I'd highly recommend it for everyone ... if only you didn't have to experience surgery. Me? I've discovered I'm not too good at rest ... or sitting still ... or going at a slower pace ... or letting someone else pick up the work load for me. I tend to over-commit ... bite off more than I can chew ... do more than I should, so these last several weeks of chilling and resting have been nice. Not too productive (in my warped sense of what is productive), but nice nonetheless.

Since I'm nearing the end of my "resting" period, I wanted to share with you some of what I've learned/done:
1) I've cleaned out more than half the closets in my house. I did these a little at a time since I'm limited as to what I can lift/push/pull weightwise. But it's nice to be able to actually close some of these closets without worrying what will fall down on me the next time I open the door.

2) I've cleaned out several of my "catch-all" drawers. They're nice and organized. Next time you come to my house, I'll be happy to show them off to you.

3) Our file cabinets are lighter. I threw away income tax receipts from 1999 and the car tag papers that were carefully filed away -- for cars that we no longer owned.

4) Watching six seasons of Lost in 2 1/2 weeks turned my brain to mush. I rewatched every episode, noticed things I hadn't noticed before, and cried at the same things I cried at the first time I watched the TV series. And once I watched all of Lost, I began watching different DVDs that my brother gave to me to pass the time. Yup, TV was my buddy.

5) Noticed MORE differences between my husband and me. He sees a "blue" dress -- I see either a navy blue, royal blue, robin's egg blue, baby blue, aquamarine, periwinkle, marine, dusty blue, etc. On the other hand, he'll see a 2005 blue Mazda 3 ... and I'll just see a little blue car. He cleans a little bit at a time and then is done. Finished. Outta there. It's clean. I'm constantly cleaning, straightening, cleaning again, and it's neverending.

6) Sleep was my nearly constant companion. I'd "work" for a bit and then have to lie down. I'd read a portion of a book and then have to rest. I'd watch some TV and fall asleep. I'd sit up to eat and then have to lie down and recover my energy. Seriously, I spent so much time sleeping that I felt like I would get to the point where I'd be up for several days in a row because I had slept so much. Uhm, yeah -- that didn't happen. My biggest concern is that I've learned to like sleeping in. Sleeping in and going to work will NOT be compatible.

What really stood out to me throughout my recovery time, however, was the fact that it seemed easier to "hear" God than what I normally could. Since I was spending so much time being still, I was shown just how frantic my simple little life had become. I always have to "do" ... and in this instance, I wasn't able to "do". I was forced to just sit and to be still. And boy, does God love to talk when He has your attention!! It was really wonderful to spend such extended periods of time with Him -- in His Word, in prayer. And because I'm who I am -- I spent a lot of time crying as well ... not because of my surgery and recovery, not because I was bored of being still, but because of how God just loved on me, showered His blessings on me through His people and His Word. He also pointed out that the fall is going to be an extra-busy time for me and He gave me this recuperation period so that I would strengthen up and be ready. He's kind of awesome like that.

I'm hoping that I've learned a little bit through this recuperation time -- that I'll regularly take time to "be still and know that He's God", that I'll realize the importance of recharging, that I'll stop to just listen. In ALL things -- even in surgery and recovery, God is teaching ... and I'm learning.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Broken. Call The Waaaambulance.

I'm going to be spending most all of my summer recuperating from surgery. Now, please don't feel sorry for me. I've been doing enough of that for myself. It's really ridiculous how nervous and pathetic I've been about this. My health is supposed to be perfect forever, ya know. Add to that the fact that our youngest son has just gotten married and it's hit me this week that he's truly out of the nest and no longer "mine" (sniff! sniff!)... and one of his life-long best friends shipped out to Afghanistan for a year ... and our other children are living their lives and doing their "thing" apart from us because they don't "need" us anymore ... and my son is going to take "his" dog (who has adopted me and become MY dog) with him to his new house ... and our money situation is looking scary with all of the upcoming medical bills ... and I've gained a pound and a half (that's really the worst news of all!) ... blah blah blah ... yada yada yada ... somebody call the waaaambulance ... and all of a sudden, I'm feeling very old and very tired.

Of course, that's not true. I'm not VERY old -- although I am very tired. It just all depends upon where I'm looking.

I was talking with a friend the other day and we were talking about how our lives aren't going the way we thought they would be. Not that either one of has a "bad" life because we certainly don't. In fact, we're both really blessed. But, at the same time, we had certain expectations and ideas of where we'd be in this stage of life ... and yeah, we're not experiencing those expectations. And whenever there are unmet expectations, discouragement and feelings of being overwhelmed follow, especially when I'm focusing on myself.

My question is this: Where did those expectations come from? And why do I expect God to meet those expectations and dreams that I'VE planned?

Over and over and over in my life, God has shown me that His plans are different than mine. We've established that. Yet, Diana still clings to her dreams, her fantasies, her ideas of a perfect world, and then gets frustrated when it doesn't turn out according to plan. I've had dreams and goals for my children, for my husband and I, for our extended family, for our friends ... and I can't make everyone do what I want! I can't turn back the hands of time. I can't fix everything for everyone. And I certainly can't turn this life in to a scripted movie where everything goes according to my plan.

Shattered dreams? I don't know if I'd go that far, but definitely different things going on than what I expected. What I'm finding is that oftentimes God allows our dreams to "shatter" so that we see our ultimate dream of knowing Him becomes the one that is most important. He removes the crutches, allows the waves to rise higher than my boat, puts me on a high slippery slope, sets me in a huge dark area where I'm unsure of my surroundings ... are you getting the idea like I am? It's through my disappointments and discouragements (or even just unforeseen circumstances) that bring me face to face with Him. He removes the crutches so He can be the One I lean on. He allows the waves to rise higher than my boat so that I see Him as my Savior. He puts me on the high slippery slope so that I depend upon Him. He sets me in a huge dark area so I'll look to Him as my light and guidance. He allows my dreams to shatter so that He can give me His dreams -- the right and perfect ones.

Shattered dreams? Maybe. But maybe they were dreams that needed to be shattered so God could take His rightful place.

I'm still learning. He's still teaching. It's all a part of Finding Me in Him ...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tug-of-War

Sometimes things happen in life that we don't like and that we can't change. And you know, that really stinks, especially for control freaks like me. When I expressed that exact thought to God the other day, I could hear His voice, "You don't like it because it's not according to YOUR plan." Oh, He knows me so well.

I was the little girl who read the last page of the Nancy Drew mystery novels first because I wanted to know "who done it". I was the adorable child who would pipe up from the back seat every 15 minutes of a 10-hour car ride, "How much further?" (My parents must have been saints because I don't ever remember being thrown out of the moving vehicle for asking the question for the umpteenth time!). I organized the other kids at recess -- we'd play four square first and THEN we'd jump rope. I was the girl who alphabetized all of her books, her dolls according to size, and her stuffed animals according to which ones I thought liked me best (yes, I was a slightly strange girl). And that little girl grew up to organize all of her spices in alphabetical order, still reads the last pages of a mystery novel, and is a horrible passenger on a long car ride. Yes, I tend to have a control problem.

Currently, I'm going through a slight argument with God. Oh, I know I'm not going to win. But I'm struggling with accepting my lack of control graciously. Yes, I'm ridiculous. It's like I've been playing tug-of-war with Him all my life and in each new circumstance, I'm thinking: "This is going to be the time that I win!"

The incredible thing about God the Father is His infinite wisdom and patience with me. I fret and worry about my adult children and their choices (I have no control; He does) ... I get scared and nervous about an upcoming surgery that I'm going to be having (I'll spare you the gory details other than just telling you it's a "woman" surgery -- enough said! Again, I have no control; He does) ... I worry about finances while I'm off work for a month and my poor husband will have to work doubly hard to make up the extra income (I have no control; He does). Do you see the same pattern here that I do?

My God is Sovereign over everything -- our children, my health, our finances. Day in and day out He's in control regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the choices. And day in and day out He's working to do what is the best -- for His glory, for me, for our children, for you! Really, there's an incredible amount of freedom and security in that -- knowing that God is in total control. I just don't quite understand my continual struggle with it. It really doesn't make sense. To my extremely logical mind, I'm pretty illogical! I'd like to chalk it up to the fact that God made me with this personality so He KNEW this would be what I'm like ... and that's true. But, He also made me with the potential to grow, to mature, and to relinquish this freaky control issue that I have.  Because in all actuality, I'll never truly experience the freedom that God intended me to have until I do.

In the meantime, I'll continue to organize and plan. It really IS a good thing. In fact, I think it's a wonderful godly characteristic. After all, He is a God of order and organization, right?! But I have to make sure that my plans are HIS plan ... that my ways are HIS ways ...that my desires are HIS desires. And when there's a conflict, I need to bend my will to His. He's sooooooo much bigger than me ... sooooooo much more capable. And He lovingly waits for me to relinquish my non-existent control. My prayer? That even though it's not my favorite thing to be reminded that I'm not in control, that He'll remind me daily ... and that I'll rejoice in His beautiful sovereignty.

I'd love to say there will be no more tug-of-war with me and God. I'm sure He'd love to hear that, too! I could say it, but it would very probably be untrue. What I CAN say, however, is that I want to totally trust, to totally follow, to totally submit ... and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He'll work with me to get me that way. He's awesome like that ...

Gift Cards Accepted

Imagine my surprise ... and delight ... when I opened my wallet and found three different gift cards that I had totally forgotten about! And the gift cards were all for clothing and shoe places. Woo hoo!! This girl went shopping today and spent every single cent on those gift cards. I came home with a few sacks and they're still sitting on my bed in all of their glory. I've been talking about getting some things, but just kept putting it off because I didn't want to spend the money ... until today when I discovered those wonderful gift cards.

I love shopping!!!!

Let me correct that phrase. I love shopping when I have money. Actually, it's more like this: I love shopping when I have money and I'm not worried about replacing the money with more money to pay the bills. To be totally honest, I should say it like this: I love shopping. Will someone please give me money so I can go? Okay, dang it. Now that I think about it, shopping tends to stress me out a little bit.

But today, it was fun. I was all by myself, wandering around the store trying on different items (in a size smaller than I was wearing just two months ago, by the way. Yay for me!!). I tried on different shoes and walked around in some 4-inch heels without falling and breaking my neck (again, yay for me!!). There wasn't any particular thing I was looking for. I just knew I had some gift cards and those babies were going to be spent today!! And they were ...

Of course, now that I'm done, I thought of some additional items that would be nice for my wardrobe. Yeah, I need to schedule another shopping day. Gift cards will be gladly accepted.





Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Verklempt Momma

We've got another one of our kiddos getting married here in a few weeks. It's an exciting time around the Allen household!! And even though our youngest son doesn't live here anymore, I find myself getting all verklempt at the thought of his leaving the nest. For those of you unfamiliar with Yiddish words (which I learned from Saturday Night Live's "Coffee Talk" skits, by the way!), verklempt simply means someone is emotionally inhibited in a convulsive way. Yes, that's a fairly decent description of Momma right now.

He is our youngest of three boys, our little curly-haired blue-eyed baby. He was the baby that wanted Mommy only to the exclusion of everyone else ... the toddler who refused to talk and just grunted and pointed to what he wanted ... the little one that insisted on wearing an ice cream bucket as a batting helmet ... the little boy that was enamored with Scooby Doo, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ... the tiny guy that ALWAYS had a hat on, even while he slept ... the child that was always sensitive to the feelings of others ... the teen that won All-State honors in football ... the young man who continued liking his family even when it wasn't cool to do so ... the man whose walk with Christ has only continued to deepen through the years. He still laughs hysterically in a high pitched laugh when someone tickles him. He still loves all kinds of movies and music. He still has a quick wit that will keep the rest of us rolling. And to me, he's still my baby boy.

It's this baby boy that is getting married. He's preparing his house for his bride-to-be and together they're getting it ready to be home. His heart is already knit to hers and they're committed ... for better or for worse f-o-r-e-v-e-r!! They're in love and ready for a lifetime together.

And it's all good. As God would say, "Very good."

Momma might be a little emotional, but that's just what Momma does. I have absolutely no worries about our son and his sweet future wife. He's looking to the Lord for guidance and direction ... she's looking to our son for leadership and as a teammate ... and we're thanking our God that He brought the two of them together. We're excited to see what He has in store for the two of them. It is VERY good...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Heroes and Smashed Cars

We're shopping for a new car because ours was totaled (NOT MY FAULT!!!). Yes, I just happened to be the driver. And yes, this just happens to be the second car in four years that has been totaled while I've been driving. But neither of the wrecks have been my fault. I promise! Try telling people that you've totaled two cars in four years, and there are quite a lot of snide remarks about women drivers. In fact, some of the remarks are downright rude and if I were one of THOSE women drivers, I would take great offense. But, since I'm not and I'm a pretty darn good driver who has just happens to frequently have car wrecks, I'm not insulted.

I've decided though that I don't like shopping for cars. It's too much pressure. Cars cost too much and my poor little psyche can't handle all of the stress. Personally, I'd like to be able to find what I consider a "perfect" car. I want a small car that gets great gas mileage ... is cute and not a yucky color ... has fancy do-dads ... doesn't scream out Granny Mobile ... has low mileage and is a newer model ... and one that I can get for a screaming bargain (preferably garage sale prices). Try telling THAT description to a used-car salesman! Talk about getting snide remarks!! Fortunately, I'm married to a wonderful man who really likes shopping for vehicles (and who knows NOT to make rude comments about lady drivers). Plus, this man doesn't mind if I don't go shopping with him. In fact, he prefers to leave my whining little self at home while he meanders around kicking tires. I'm just grateful that God put us together ... and not just because he likes to shop for cars.

I like him because he kills the big, icky spiders ... and opens up the pickle jars that seem to be cemented closed ... he watches romantic comedies with me when he'd probably prefer to watch a shoot-'em-up movie ... he laughs at my silly attempts at humor ... he thinks our children are just as wonderful as I do ... he eats all of my cooking experiments without complaining ... he has a quiet yet strong faith ... he never forgets my birthday, or our anniversary, or the anniversary of our first date, or Mother's Day, or Valentine's Day, or any other "holiday" excuse to buy me a card or gift ... yup, he's kind of my hero.

I like him.

And I like the fact that he's shopping for our car ... a car that I'd like to promise I won't wreck, but I can't help it when other people run red lights ... or when other people forget to stop when the car in front of them has stopped. But, to the best of my ability, I'll continue to promise to protect this new car and not smash it up. And he'll continue to be my hero ...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ballet Recital Etiquette

We're heading out in a bit to see our 4-year-old (almost 5!!!) granddaughter in her very first ballet recital. Her role in the program is as a red bird, getting on Noah's ark. You can guarantee that she'll be the cutest, most adorable, most precious, most talented child there. I'll be the one in the front row laden down with every type of camera available (camera phone, video camera, digital camera) snapping away while the child performs. Yes, we'll be getting there early so Nammy can get a good seat for all of these photography needs.

But my question is this: Is it permissible to holler "Whooop whooop whooop" at a dance recital and to chant someone's name like you do at a football game? Do we make signs to hold up that read: "Amelia is the BEST red bird e-v-e-r!!!" Do we clap politely for all of the other children before we scream ourselves silly for our granddaughter, who will obviously be the star of the show? After having four children that were extremely involved in sports, I know how to be the rowdy parent in the stands (or walking along the sidelines as I usually did). But being a genteel, refined grandparent of a ballerina ... well, that's a little new for me.

Maybe I'll leave my air horn at home. Maybe I'll force myself to not actually yell some kind of encouragement during the show (but I don't know that I'll be able to restrain myself when they introduce her). But know this. Inside, I'll be whooping, hollering, rowdy, and obnoxious while on the outside I'll try to not embarrass my family around me. I'll politely clap ... smile at other folks and comment how cute their little one is ... take her some flowers (because that's what you do for recitals)... and generally make as little noise as possible ... UNTIL I see her face-to-face and THEN I'll let out all of my "Nammy-ness". It's what I do. It's what she'll expect. It works for us ... and we wouldn't have it any other way.

In the meantime, "Go, Amelia! You rock that red-bird costume!! Whoop whoop!!"

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another "F"?!?

I get tired of tests. I get even MORE tired of failing tests. When I quit school (yes, quit -- I never graduated from college), the one thing I was really grateful for was that I would never, ever, EVER again have another test. Hahahahahaha! I'm literally laughing hysterically right now. What a sweet, naive child that little college drop-out was. I guess I thought that life was going to be smooth sailing, downhill, sunny skies, and whatever other cliche you can think of. Little did I realize that life itself is made up of hundreds, thousands, billions, and gazillions of tests. Tests that I either consistently fail over and over again before f-i-n-a-l-l-y getting them right or tests that I still haven't conquered. Now that I think about it, college was pretty easy compared to life. Just saying.

And just today, I was presented with yet another test. I'd be oh so proud to tell you that I passed with flying colors, but I'd be oh so a big fat liar if I did. Yeah, you could have scribbled a huge, nasty, red "F" on my forehead because I flunked it big time. Something happened that I wasn't prepared for ... that I didn't like ... that hurt someone I love. What did I do? Uhm, what Diana naturally does! I threw a big fit. I ranted and raved. I screamed and hollered. I stomped and fumed. Think of other bad things, and you'd probably have a pretty good picture of me today. Quite a lovely vision, huh?! (Be oh so glad that you weren't here!! And I'll be oh so glad that Candid Camera wasn't here either!)

The entire time I was throwing my little fit, I could hear God whispering in my ear: "I'm still in control"; "I have a better plan"; "Trust me"; "I'm bigger than these circumstances". And me, being the incredibly mature person that I am, just shoved that Voice out of my head so that I could concentrate more on throwing my tantrum.

It didn't take too long (thankfully!) for me to realize that my tantrum wasn't getting me anywhere. The circumstances weren't changing. The hurt wasn't going away. And honestly, if anything, throwing such a huge fit was just making me feel worse than I already did. Everything in me was rebelling against what God was doing ... because doggone it!! I didn't like it!! At the same time, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what He was whispering to me was true: He WAS in control. He DID have a plan. He IS bigger than the circumstances. And I could either accept what He says as Truth and live that out by reacting in a right way, encouraging others, and trusting Him ... or I could continue flunking the test, throwing a tantrum, and making myself (and anyone who had the misfortune to be around me!) miserable. Now that I think about it, that really doesn't seem like a really difficult choice, but at the time it sure seemed to be!

As the evening has gone on, the circumstances haven't changed. Someone I love is still hurting. Things don't seem to be "fair" and "right". People haven't handled things as they should have. Doors weren't just closed; they were slammed. But, my God is still at work. He's working in our circumstances ... and He's working in me. The test may not have been passed immediately ... and I may still be in the process of perfecting the learning ... but the teaching continues. Yes, there will be more tests. Yes, there will be more tantrums (This is me we're talking about). The best part to all of this, though, is that God will still be there -- teaching, guiding, and in control.

Yup, I've decided I don't particularly like tests. But I never go through them alone ... and my Teacher helps me pass them. And I've also decided that passing a test sure beats the heck out of tantrums (that don't get you anywhere anyway!). I'm just grateful that I serve a gracious God who puts up with my "me-ness" ... and He doesn't brand me with the "F". Instead, He sees me as someone worth teaching, someone worth putting up with. He is oh so amazing!!! Makes me want to pass the test sooner next time ...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Googling

Do you think doctors get tired of people coming in to their office, telling them what their diagnosis should be because they googled their symptoms? If you're a doctor ... or the wife of a doctor ... I'm apologizing right now because I'm one of those people. When my daughter was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in July, I told the emergency room doctor that's what I thought it was. I named off all the symptons (high fever, excruciating headache, rash, swollen extremities and tongue, crippling fatigue), and then expected him to agree with me immediately. I think he appreciated my wisdom and expertise (like you hopefully appreciate my sarcasm). But he had to check other things as well -- like having a spinal tap for meningitis. I KNEW it wasn't that ... just like I knew it wasn't Hand and Mouth disease ... or hepatitis ... or alcohol poisoning (which someone else had the nerve to bring up!). I'm a googler. I admit it. I probably need a 12-step program to break me away from googling. But that's beside the point right now. The point is that I was absolutely and totally convinced in what my daughter had ... and at the same time, I had no control at all. I couldn't make the staff believe in me and my googling abilities. I couldn't make her feel better. And that all really stunk.

So, what did I do? Well, if you know me at all, you know that I DID voice my opinion (please do not roll your eyes at this point. That's just really rude.), but then I did the only thing I could do. I waited. I prayed. I tried desperately to do what I've said over and over again -- I had to have faith that God was in control regardless of the situation or the outcome. I'll be honest with you. I don't particularly like having my faith exercised. I much prefer when life is going according to plan (MY plan) and it's smooth sailing. But when those waves pick up and my little boat is in danger of capsizing, that's when I discover who I truly am and what I really believe. And sometimes, I don't particularly like what I see.

In each and every time, however,  I eventually get to the point where I have to lean on God and acknowledge that He's in control and I'm not ... that He sees the whole picture and I don't ... that He is ultimately good and full of grace even when I'm totally not understanding what's going on. I'd like to say that I'm getting to this point sooner (rather than later) and that would be very true -- sometimes. It's probably always going to be a battle for me until God takes me home. But I find that I DO cling to God's promises. I've seen that even though I don't always like what life dishes out to me, where else can I go? Christ alone offers me the Words of Truth.

I'm still a googler. I'm still a planner. I still struggle with thinking God should listen to me and all of my suggestions and ideas (just like doctors should do!). But I also find great comfort and an incredible amount of peace in the knowledge that my God is in total control ... that He loves me ... and that He has a plan for my life. I might not like what He does. I might not feel like He's being particularly loving at the moment. I might not like the plan He's got. But I know Him. I know Who He is, and yes, I have faith that what He does will be for the best. I need to remind myself of this often ... and God's good enough to show me over and over again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wonder Woman = Me

When my children were little and learning to walk, I'd hold their hands and help them steady themselves so they couldn't crash to the floor. Then, they'd get to the point where they'd walk without me. Sometimes it would work well ... and sometimes there would be a crash. Unfortunately, I wasn't always fast enough to protect them and those little guys would wind up with a skinned knee, or a fat lip, or even worse. I'd scoop them up, hold them close, put a band-aid on the boo-boo, and kiss away their tears. I felt like Wonder Woman because I could make it all better for them. Life seemed so simple back then.

My children are all adults now. Well, the law tells me they're adults because of their ages, but they'll always be my babies to me. They consistently walk without me nowadays. I find that I don't like it much more than I did when they were little. The problem now, though, is that when they fall, there's a lot more at stake than just a skinned knee. My reaction is the same: I want to swoop in and fix all of the problems. I want to put band-aids on things to fix them. I want to scare away the boogey man. I want to beat up the bad guy. I want to have all the answers. I want to be Wonder Woman again.

But I can't. In fact, no one can be that for them -- no one but God. As much as I want to take care of them, God wants to even more. As much as I love them and want to watch over them, God does even more. As much as they're deep within my heart, so they are with God. He loves them. He wants to fill them up. He wants to have a close, personal, intimate relationship with them.  And, if I'm doing my job correctly, I learn to watch and pray ... to teach and train ... to lead and let go ... because the perfect Parent will be alongside my adult child to walk with him wherever he goes, no matter what direction that may be. I have total confidence that God will teach my children His absolute truth. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has and will continue to extend his incredible grace. I believe with all I am that God is amazingly good and that He has a perfect plan for each one of my kids. But even more, I am convinced that God loves them and my love is a poor comparison to His where my children are concerned.

Yeah, being Wonder Woman was nice for a while, but Wonder Woman can only do so much. Wonder Woman gets old ... and gray .. and tired ... and smarter! She sees that it was never really SHE that was doing the protecting anyway. It was God all along, and He's just continuing as he's always done. And for a retired Wonder Woman, that is a wonderful thing to know!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

From a Future Dead Author

Eventually I'm going to write a book some day. I talk about it a lot. And I have a lot of great plans. But yeah, I never quite get around to it. I have several books that I'm going to write, though. Of course, I've planned fantastic titles for them already ...

A book about middle age will be called, When I Cough, I Pee. Yes, I've mentioned that title before in an earlier post and I'm sure you thought I was just joking. This will be a best-seller, ladies and gentlemen!! We'll finally unwrap all of the mystery, fear, and lessons regarding middle-age and all of the trials, joys, and incredible wisdom (?) that goes along with it.

A book about parenting adult children will be entitled, From M.O.P.S. to P.O.T.S to P.O.O.P. In other words, from Mothers of Preschoolers to Parents of Teenagers to Parents of Older People. I have no idea why bathroom language manages to show up in some of my titles. Maybe because I'm not very mature? Can you tell that I had three boys? We'll discover how to be the best parent you can possibly be to your children as they grow and how to survive the letting go process -- not that I was the best parent. I definitely learned what NOT to do!

A book about different lessons that God has taught me called Finding Me in Him (Living the Parable Filled Life). We'll see how God uses mice in our pantry, trees by a creek, and road caution signs to teach truths about Him. We'll also see how God continues to teach even when some of us (Okay, I admit it -- I'm talking about me here) are not necessarily continuing to learn ... and how He may use different objects, different times, and different circumstances to teach us the same dang lesson that we're not wanting to learn. (Yes, still talking about me!) ::Sigh!::

It all sounds good, doesn't it? Unfortunately, that's all I've got. .Just titles and a few ideas, but absolutely nothing that would fill enough pages for a book. So, I continue to scribble ideas and plug away on my computer. I write down lessons learned and pour out thoughts on paper. I figure one of these days, when I'm long gone, my kids (or grandkids or great grandkids or person hired to go through all of my junk and stuff before throwing it away) will stumble upon this "treasure trove" and will have my works published posthumously. I will then be a famous (dead) author of the best seller book, Coughing and Peeing Through M.O.P.S, P.O.T.S, and P.O.O.P's Parable Filled Life. Reserve your copy now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quirky Little Habits

I notice the little things about people. My husband says that it's because I'm anal and picky and super-crazy about details. But it's really just that I'm observant. Doesn't that sound much nicer? Regardless of what you call it, it's noticing things. Here are some examples (and I'm going to pick on my husband because I seem to notice "stuff" where he's concerned. The main reason I'm going to pick on him though is because he calls me anal and I don't like that. That just sounds icky.):

My husband has to constantly move his feet. Whether he's sitting there watching TV or laying in bed trying to go to sleep, his foot is bouncing ... all the time. It used to drive me nuts and I'd actually put my foot over his in an attempt to get him to be still. All that did was to drive HIM nuts because he couldn't move his foot. Poor guy. I've matured since then. Now he can wiggle his foot all he wants -- I'm fine, he's fine, we're all fine.

When we're all sitting at the dinner table and Wes wants to get a word in edgewise, he'll hold his fork up and start drumming in the air. Yes, that sounds a little strange. But all of our family will turn to him and give him our attention before he even starts to talk. A time or two, he's looked at us like we were crazy because suddenly we were all just staring at him and he had no idea why, until we explained the "drumming fork".

Wes is not the loud, talkative, overly expressive one in the family. I know. Hard to believe, huh?! Even when he laughs, it's not this loud, booming cackle like his wife's laugh (sorry, dear! Thanks for loving me anyway!). In fact, we've talked over the years how he's a lot like a cartoon character when he laughs. His shoulders move ... his eyes crinkle up ... and he laughs ... without noise. It's amazing to me how you can laugh without making noise! I need to take some lessons ...

As much as I love my foot-wiggling, fork-drumming, silent laughing husband, there are other folks who are almost as interesting. People in the grocery store who have conversations with themselves about which products to get are fairly entertaining. And no, they're not weird, psychotic people who have inner voices (at least, I don't think so). They seem to be sane, regular people ... just talking away to themselves about groceries. Personally, I try to not do this myself ... but to each his own, right? And occasionally you'll see a shopper who enjoys singing as they walk up and down the aisles, looking for the grape jelly that Wal-Mart moved.

Go in to my son's or daughter's room and move something. I dare you. The room might be an absolute pit that looks like a tornado just blew through it, but they'll notice that something has been moved and not put back quite right. My husband says it's obsessive-compulsive disorder. I just take pride that they're detail oriented, too ... like me ... and like God!

And then there's me. I have several of these nasty little habits -- like I'll be thinking of something or having a little conversation IN MY HEAD (I'm still not at the point of some people in the grocery store) and will suddenly blurt out to whoever I'm with what I'm thinking, like we've been talking about it all along. It's not until I see the blank stare on their face that I realize they have no idea what I'm talking about. In fact, I've done this pretty much all of my life and still haven't learned to quit doing it! OR, I finish a lot of my sentences with "There ya go." It's like I need to encourage anyone I'm talking to, or at least fill the air with the sound of my voice. "Oh! You found the toothpaste. There ya go!" ... "Yes, he hit a curb and had to get his tire fixed. There ya go." What in the world is that about? It doesn't even make sense to me! But I seem to say it all the time. (Notice how most of my quirky habits have to do with talking? Hmmmmm.)

It all boils down to the fact that we all have these little weird habits -- clearing our throats, wrinkling our noses when we think, sticking our tongue out as we write, cracking our knuckles, incessantly talking. It's just how we are. The most amazing thing about it though is that God notices all the little details about us. The Bible tell us that He even knows how many hairs are on our head ... and if He can tell how many hairs were on my head and then how many hairs went down the drain in the shower, that's really impressive! He knows me ... He knows you ... He knows each one of us even better than we know ourselves. For me, there's great security in knowing that God knows me exactly as I am ... and that He still loves me, in spite of all of my quirky little habits. There ya go!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Age and Wisdom

There have been a lot of things written (mostly by me) about the horrors of middle-age -- whinings comments of wrinkles, age spots, flabby bellies, gray hair, near-sightedness, or chin hairs. Unfortunately, all of those things are true for SOME people (not necessarily me. Pleeeeeease tell me that those don't apply to me ... even if it's not true. It'll just make me feel better.) But you know what? With age comes wisdom. I've heard that somewhere, and it's constantly repeated (primarily by older people), so it must be true, right?! The more I ponder on that little statement, I think it's got to be true. And here's why.

Go to a club and you won't find older, middle-aged people gyrating and grinding up against a stranger on the dance floor. Why? For one reason, gyrating can cause you to throw a hip out. Secondly, middle-aged people tend to be a little wary of strangers, and grinding on one isn't particularly the smartest thing to do because he might be an ax murderer. Lastly, most middle-aged people don't stay up much past 10:30 (which is considered extremely early in "club time") because they've come to realize the true beauty and value of sleep over the years.

Think about it. It's not the middle-aged man who's arrested at the ball park for stripping off all of his clothes and streaking across the field. It's not the middle-aged woman who is kidnapped at 3:00 in the morning because she's walking down the alley alone to get to her car. It's not the middle-aged man who is charged with vandalism because he was painting his name on the town's water tower. It's not the middle-aged woman who is arrested and has her car towed because she was driving 50 miles over the speed limit with her fellow middle-aged friends leaning out the windows yelling at other cars as they drove by. Middle-agers are past that. Many of them have "been there, done that" and are grateful to have simply survived.

Excitement in life is nice. But once you hit middle-age, safety and security become even MORE nice (or nicer, if you prefer good grammar). Middle-aged people would like to think they're going to actually make it to the next stage of life, so they tend to think of ways to do this. Examples of this might be: to NOT put your make-up on while you're driving to work ... to NOT crawl out of a moving vehicle and climb on the car's roof just to see what it's like to ride ON a car and not IN a car ... to NOT mouth off to the extremely big, angry guy standing next to you in line. Middle-aged people think, maybe sometimes too much, but still, they think. And that's a good thing.

So, the next time you spot one of those pesky chin hairs, or you try to run to cross a busy street but your "get-up-and-go" doesn't cooperate and you look like you're doing nothing but flailing in the middle of the road, celebrate in your wisdom! You've made it this far! We middle-aged folks need to embrace the adage "with age comes widom". Someone's got to ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When I Cough ...

There are stages of life that no one prepares you for. If you're a teenager, there are books about driving, self-esteem, dating, not dating, blah blah blah. If you're a new mom, there are probably ten trillion (maybe a slight exaggeration) books dedicated to caring for a newborn -- how to get a baby to sleep, how to get a baby to eat, how to toilet train, how to parent multiple children, etc. Think of something in this area and I'm willing to bet there will be a book about it. There's books on marriage, books on finance, books on death and dying, books on educating yourself and your children. But why, oh why, are there not books on this huge, broad area of middle-age?

Let me answer my own question. The first and most obvious answer is because everyone who IS middle-aged is in denial and thinks they're not quite there yet. If someone admits to it, he is most definitely middle-aged and is really probably closer to senior citizen status. Another answer is because no one really cares about middle-age (except for the person who's stuck in it, confused and dazed!). It's really not a subject that people particularly want to read up on and discuss. But I think the REAL answer is because it's always been a conspiracy. The older generation had such a hard time dealing with it that they thought it would be funny for the following generation to be blindsided by everything, so middle-aged issues were kept hush-hush.

Seriously, what woman wants to read a book about chin hairs, hot flashes, broadening waists and hips, and blurry eyes. Society tells us to cover up age spots, shoot up wrinkles with Botox, dye our gray hair, and buy head-to-toe Spandex to wear under our clothes. Let's get down to the honest truth here. Which book would be more apt to be on a best-seller's list: My Hot Romantic Encounters or When I Cough, I Pee?

I've thought about writing a book for people who are entering middle-age. It would be required reading for everyone after the age of 35, because like it or not, middle-age is pounding on the door at that age. We would NOT discuss people like Michelle Pfeiffer, Demi Moore, or Sharon Stone. Why? Because they're either airbrushed in their magazines, have had multiple plastic surgeries that the rest of us middle-agers can only dream about, or they're just too naturally pretty to be counted anyway. We would certainly NOT discuss middle-aged rockers like Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler for the simple reason that they're in their 60's but still dress and act like their 20-year-old versions, and they're so far in denial of middle-age that they don't count either. No, we'd focus on the REAL middle-aged people. People like me. The ones who think they still have blond in their hair (until their hairdresser informs them that the blond is actually gray, or a "mature blond" as it is more correctly called) ... the ones who try to read the newspaper and wonder when they started using such a small font ... the ones who look down at their hands and think, "When did I get my grandma's hands?"

Of course, there aren't any answers for middle-age. It just happens while you're living your life. One day you're changing diapers and wiping noses ... and the next day you're checking out costs of colonoscopies and complaining because commercials are way too loud on TV. You go from dancing at clubs to falling asleep on the couch after Dancing With the Stars is over. The top thing to realize though is that you're no longer cool. In fact, you're so far from cool, you're hot ... but not hot in the good way that kids talk about. You're so hot that you're pretty much fizzled out.

And you need a book, dang it! I need a book! I say we pool our wisdom and resources, put down all of our collected observances about middle-age, and prepare the next generation of suckers youngsters who think this aging process will never happen to them (just like we thought it would never happen to us). We have knowledge that MUST be passed on to those who are coming after us, and it would sure be nice of us to let them know what they're in for. We've already got the title (When I Cough, I Pee) so we're part-way there...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diets ... Uhm, Lifestyle Changes

I can't help it. All I can think about today is food. Sweet food. Crunchy food. Chocolate food. Anything but healthy food. That's what happens when you go on a diet change your lifestyle and eat "healthy". ::Sigh!:: I wanna stuff my face with all kinds of fattening, sweet, calorie-laden, guilty pleasure food items. But I can't. I'm working towards walking down the aisle at my son's wedding ... and I don't want the fat rolls jiggling as I dance. (For clarification purposes, I'll be dancing at the reception -- not as I'll be walking down the aisle.) So, in the meantime, I'll think and dream of those foods ... and have a few nibbles and obediently count them towards my limit for the day, because that's what we people on diets who have changed their life styles do ...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sauerkraut

I wound up being the only person in my office today. It was just me ... and my sauerkraut. Yes, I admit it -- I like sauerkraut. No one at my home can stand it. They hate the look of it. They hate the taste of it. They particularly hate the smell of it. So, I never fix it ... just because I'm a heck of a person. That and I don't want to listen to all of the griping and complaining. Since no one was going to be in the office today, I took a big ole' bowl of sauerkraut to eat for lunch, with a side of pickled beets, a cup of artichoke hearts, and some strawberries for dessert. Yes, my office now smells like it is filled with dirty diapers and a decomposing corpse. I'm here alone, so no one else is suffering. But, I enjoyed my lunch, thank you very much!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Random Musings and Wisdom


1. When you give a hard, plastic rattle to a baby, she'll love the sound that it makes and will delightfully shake it. If that same baby clonks herself in the head with the rattle, she won't like it so much anymore.

2. If you're going to go on a diet, it's best to go with something where you don't feel deprived (like Weight Watchers). If you find yourself feeling deprived, that's like being punished and you wind up over-compensating and eating everything in sight. If you can find a diet where you basically eat nothing but ice cream, chocolate, and cookies, that's even better.

3. I always seem to think that what I'm saying is very important and people need to listen to me.

4. Ranting and raving to the entire household that "I'm the only one who ever does anything around here" will pretty much guarantee that you will continue to be the only one who does anything around there. Politely asking goes a lot farther than nagging and whining.

5. I don't particularly like partly cloudy days, but I love partly sunny days. Aren't those the same things?

6. I don't think I have ever in my entire life gone to the grocery store where I haven't had to ask someone to reach something off of the top shelf for me. I keep waiting for the day when a really tall person will point to something on the bottom shelf and ask me to get it for him. I will feel really important.

7. If your hair is curly, you want it straight. If your hair is straight, you want it curly. If you're short, you want to be taller. If you're tall, you want to be shorter. If your eyes are blue, you want them to be brown. If your eyes are brown, you want them to be blue. We always seem to want what we don't have.

8. Trying to talk yourself in to going to a high place when you're deathly afraid of heights is a very brave and noble thing to do. Your body, however, might think otherwise and cause you to hyperventilate, sweat profusely, and generally make a total fool out of yourself. You might rethink the idea of being brave and noble. God made me short. He must have liked the idea of my being close to the ground.

9. When I was pregnant with my first, I craved ice cream and cookies. Justin, our first-born, is a junk foodaholic. When I was pregnant with my second, I craved coke Icees and payday candy bars. Jake, our middle son, loves salty foods and colas. When I was pregnant with my third, I craved fruit. Jordan, our youngest, will eat fruit until he pukes (not literally, thank you). When I was pregnant with my fourth, I craved food -- any type. Mikaela, our daughter, is a tiny little thing but loves all kinds of foods. Yes, I've discovered an amazing scientific fact. When you're pregnant, watch what you eat because the baby you're carrying will love what you crave! I'm still waiting for the millions of dollars to roll in concerning my incredible scientific discovery.

10. It's good to always try to come up with a lesson in whatever happens in life. If the dogs pee on your clean, folded laundry that is on the floor, God is trying to tell you that it's important to put your laundry up. If you can't pick up a 50-pound sack of dog food to get it in your car, God is trying to tell you that the dogs need to go on a diet. We always need to be learning.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Hear Voices ...

Yes, I do. I admit it. I hear voices ... all the time. They say things to me like ...
Check your shoes before you go out of the bathroom for toilet paper that might be attached.
Look both ways before crossing the street ... or before you pull out in traffic.
Always check your teeth after you eat broccoli. Ewwww.
Usually it's better to not win the fight and just keep your mouth shut.

I'm thankful for my voices. There was a period of many years where I chose to ignore those voices. You know the ones ...
What is the right thing to do here?
If you have to hide this from people, why are you doing it?
Does doing this truly make you happy? So, why are you feeling so empty?
Even though you don't want me, I'm still here ...

Yup, THOSE voices. Or in particular, THAT voice. The one that convicted me and challenged me to go along that straight and narrow road, that encouraged me to break away from the pack and to listen to the ancient words. The voice that seemed determined for me to look beyond myself to something bigger, something lasting, something more. Looking back now, however, I see that that voice was also the very one that was whispering the truth to me in the midst of many other voices screaming different philosophies and ideas. It's the same voice that comforts me when our family faces tragedy ... the same voice that continues to teach me ... the same voice that reassures me of a fantastic and forgiving love. It's the voice that I now recognize and welcome.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you,
saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Friday, February 18, 2011

God's Fingerprints

Wes's dad has been suffering from dementia for the last year. The year has been a hard one. Personally, I think dementia is the most horrible thing in existence. But, I guess that's just my opinion. He passed away this week after a long, hard struggle. The one thing we've seen through it all, especially this week, are the fingerprints of God ... how God has been working silently, mysteriously, miraculously in the background. Seeing those fingerprints and experiencing God's work has been encouraging and comforting for our family. In fact, it's meant so much that I've just got to share it.

To begin with, we went to visit his dad on Monday night. We were told that Bert's kidneys had shut down and that he would experience incredible pain. They weren't lying to us. When we got there, he was really hurting and the doctors weren't able to figure out the correct dose of morphine to help him. So, we began praying ... and asked for people to pray with us. By early Tuesday morning, those wonderful doctors had been given the wisdom by God to be able to figure out what was needed to keep Bert comfortable and calm. Not only was it a blessing to know his pain had been controlled, it was a tremendous encouragement for us. A fingerprint of God.

On Monday night, when Bert was in extreme pain, we had no idea what to do for him. He was in such misery and our hearts were breaking. All we knew to do was to pray. Once we mentioned the name of Jesus, Bert grew calm and still and peaceful. As long as we prayed, he was at peace. Even through the muddled mind of dementia, even though the throes of agony, Bert responded to his Lord and Savior. A fingerprint of God.

Wednesday morning, we were told that it was just a matter of hours before God would take him home. So, our family gathered around so that we could be there with Bert when he began his new life in eternity. We were there for a few hours and it was getting near lunch time. Everyone was getting hungry, so Wes volunteered to go grab some sandwiches for us. We prepared the list of what everyone needed; then our oldest son Justin said he and his brothers would go instead and Wes could stay with his mom, sister, and me at Bert's side. The boys had only been gone for about 10 minutes when Bert's breathing changed.Within a few minutes after that, he entered the realm of glory ... and Wes was able to be by his side. A fingerprint of God.

Wes's sister lives in Tulsa. Her car had broken down over the weekend and she had been unable to come down. The earliest she could get to Oklahoma City would be Wednesday. Our concern was that she might be too late. However, she arrived early Wednesday morning, just as the hospice nurses were telling Wes's mom to call the family. She was also able to be by her father's side. A fingerprint of God.

Our oldest son's 30th  birthday was February 17th. It was a fear of his (and ours) that his grandfather would pass away on his birthday. We had been praying that God would take Bert home either before or after, but that it wouldn't be on Justin's birthday. Bert started his new life on February 16th. A fingerprint of God.

This has been one of the hardest times we've gone through as a family; however, we've seen our God in all of it.  God never leaves us alone in our pain ... He always provides a way for us to get through it ... He cares about even the smallest details of our lives ... and He's working to bring us comfort and encouragement. We know that Bert is happy, healthy, and whole as he stands in Jesus' presence and we celebrate in that. We also rejoice in the fact that God left his fingerprints all over Bert's last days, to encourage and strengthen us. He IS an awesome God!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

On His Way Home

We stood around his bedside tonight, listening to his shallow rattling breaths. He would grimace and cry out in pain ... and we all cried alongside him. He never really knew we were there ... never recognized any of us ... but when we spoke of Jesus and prayed, he'd quiet down and become peaceful. All it took was the mention of Jesus' name. Just the mention of Jesus.

What did that say to us? That dementia and death are horrible, horrific things ... but even those things bow at the name of Jesus. That our God in heaven cares about every detail of our life and is there for us. That Jesus reaches beyond the mind and body to our innermost being. That Jesus loves us.

He hasn't gone home yet. He's still working on that process. In the meantime, we pray and grieve, knowing that Jesus is there with him in the far-off shadows of his mind that we can't reach. And somewhere, in the midst of his dementia and pain, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he recognizes the person of Jesus. He's on his way home.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Surgeon ... or Assassin?

I heard a sermon today that was probably the best one I've heard in a long while. Whether it was actually the best one I've heard, or whether it was the one I've needed to hear the most in a long time, is debatable. But, it was excellent. The sermon was all about suffering ... and how we choose to go through that suffering. At the very beginning of the sermon, the pastor mentioned that it all comes down to gaining God's perspective through that suffering ... and my heart practically stopped because that has been my very prayer for the last several months -- to see things through God's eyes, to have His perspective, to look first through the filter of Scripture rather than my emotions. I knew this sermon was meant specifically for me from God. What a wonderful Valentine's present... I think!!

I KNOW that I don't see things from God's perspective, but I also recognize that I need to. I really WANT to. I want to have the type of mature faith that doesn't question, just accepts ... doesn't rebel, just submits ... doesn't need to understand, just trusts.

When I'm going through a trial, I have to admit that I don't suffer well. I beg to be rescued. I wallow in the pity potty of my life. I get angry. I question. I tend to hold God at arm's length. I look for things to make me feel "happy". It all boils down to the fact that even though I say I trust God, I don't. Even though I say I believe He's working for the good, I don't really believe it. But the God I serve is incredibly gracious. He lets me go this way for a bit, but He winds up gently reminding me that He's still there ... that He's still working ... that He IS a good God. There will be times when I don't understand, times that are painful, times that I want to give up or run away. These are the very times when He's developing my faith and conforming me more to the image of Christ. By seeing things from His perspective, He gives me the strength and joy to deal with these trials.

But God's working with me. His faithfulness is amazing! He doesn't give up on me when I don't get it right. And He continues teaching me the same things over and over again that I fail to learn right the first (or second or fiftieth or thousandth) time. And the lesson of seeing things from His perspective is one of them.

I'm going to finish my post with a short paragraph from Walt Henrichsen's devotional, "Thoughts From the Diary of a Desperate Man". He says so eloquently what I cannot, but my heart completely identifies with:

"Seemingly senseless pain and trauma engulfs much of life. If you seek to follow Him, you must be content to trust His character rather than your ability to understand. The difference between a knife in the hand of an assassin and a knife in the hand of a surgeon is intent: both inflict severe pain. you must decide whether God is an assassin or a surgeon. But remember, your choice does not change God, only your opinion. All the risk of making the wrong choice is on you."