Monday, December 27, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
I had to object, "It's not my birthday! You shouldn't give me gifts!"
He countered, "But it's a gift to me to get to give you something!"
So he gave. Then and now.
This year on my day of birth he took the day off and gave me what he knew I'd love best, himself. In the midst of a very busy, busy season he left work to give me the gift of time.
I held it to me and appreciated every moment of it.
And yes, I had to change a child's wet bed on my birthday. And yes, someone put the dirty dishes from the dishwasher away and I had to find everything and rewash them. And yes, I acknowledge I'm another year older and still have so much to learn.
How thankful I am for a loving Father who just keeps on giving to me through my family and friends.
"Therefore we do not lose heart, though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day." 2 Cor. 4:16
Friday, December 3, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Some years Dave and I would leave a Christmas tree on their doorstep tied with a note, "Enjoy! Love the tree fairies!"
I dubbed my mom the "bleach fairy" because every time I went on vacation I'd come home to different colored dish towels.
Anyway the fairy thing got a little out of hand and Dave started wondering what kind of family he married into.
A little late to be wondering that............
The refrigerator door was covered with butcher paper and was an invitation to recognize our blessings. Some of my favorites were "cabbage" (?) and a picture of God touching a mushroom. When questioned Rowan replied, "God can't die so he gets to touch mushrooms." Hmmm....
Avonlea was sick this week and stayed in bed until about 2pm on Thanksgiving. But she made sure to come down and record her thankfulness. The bottom right picture is God and the mushroom.
My favorite story this week involved the infamous duo, Ma Glo and Rowan. Rosy got wet outside so when she went into Ma Glo's house (which is next door) Ma took off her wet pants and put them in the dryer and got her busy frosting a cake. So when Rowan came in several minutes later, soaking wet, Mom ordered that he take off his pants. He replied "NO." She explained that she didn't want him sitting on her furniture wet and that she would just dry them and give them right back. He asserted his rights to keep his pants.
He ended up coming home to me very irritated. He said, "I forgot to put underwear on today! She kept telling me to take off my pants and I didn't know what to do! Could you tell her that she can't just go around telling little boys to take off their pants!"
I assured him she would get a good talking to. She did. She is humbled and contrite and will be kept in line with cayenne pepper.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends! I'm so thankful for you all! God bless you as you praise Him for His gifts!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I sat in the dentist's chair on Monday, unbecoming glasses on, plastic wedge crammed in my molars, and I tried to imagine that I was in Hawaii. I have a fairly decent imagination, but I admit, I struggled to feel the warmth.
And then it happened, he jolted on a nerve that was not quite numb, and I thought, "Thank you God for Novocain!" Fast on it's heels came, "Thank you God for insurance that will pay for this." Then, "Thank you God for a gentle dentist who knows what he's doing."
The Pain prompted Praise.
I came home from my appointment and stepped out of my car. The wind was blowing hundreds of leaves off our big oak and maple. My face and hands reached up towards the myriads of blessings falling, fallen, down. I feasted my eyes on their beautiful dance.
Death giving way to Beauty.
This is the life we live. The pain and death resurrected, reclaimed for praise and beauty.
The precious moments we don't deserve.......
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I'll show her some pictures.....
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I can still feel the shag rug under my knees, a nostalgic symbol of the 1970s sanctified. I knelt beside my mom at the coffee table and accepted Christ.
My mom also had four kids whom she chose to homeschool for much of our education. She worked full time at the hospital. She was married to an emotionally detached man. She was poor. She was alone in Alaska with no extended family, no support team. She was bereft of everything except the one thing that matters exclusively; Christ. So what she had, she gave, and it changed my life forever. She never questioned whether it was enough, it was Christ, and He is everything.
By His grace He has never left me. It is good to realize my inadequacy because it makes His competence so obvious. Sometimes the things I have get in the way of giving my children what is truly essential. It is when I know I really have nothing at all that I have the most. It is when I stand on the rock with the grandeur of Alaska surrounding me that I realize I have nothing to give my children except the Rock on which I stand.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I am learning to shrug my shoulders at 3AM. To say yes, that was me in my flesh but here I am laying in the arms of Christ. I am His. I am a work in progress, just like my house.
And that, will be home. No fleas. No vacuuming. No writhing. Home with Jesus. Home.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
My goal in homeschooling is to put Christ first in every thing we do. I am obviously failing. She showed very clearly how she views my priority list. She also very aptly described what happens when my priorities get off. The title says it all:
Tea Is First
For Adults with children 3-11
When you get up to teach your children math, chemistry, and other school books, does your mind wander? Do you long for a cup of tea? If so, put whatever you're doing down, get up and brew your favorite tea. When you come back down this will probably be what happened:
Preschool: "Mommy!" (relief)
Kindergarten: "I need help."
1st grade: "I can't do this."
2nd grade: "I don't understand."
3rd grade: "What?"
4th grade: "Mmmmm?"
5th grade (me): "Can I have a cup of tea?"
If so, quietly put down your cup and say the first letters of their names. This will amaze them and quiet them hopefully.
NOTE: Next time have tea first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Point made. Hint taken. I leave the room for my tea and chaos ensues. If I stay put, there is peace and maybe I won't have to subdue them by saying the first letters of their names!
Avonlea wrote me a poem a few nights ago with the couplet;
"I love to kiss your lips,
even when they're not smiling."
She certainly has a gift for getting to the root of things........and of loving me anyway.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
I'm gone by 6:45 am so Dave gets everyone dressed and to church on time, brings them home, they eat lunch at mom's, and then he puts them down for naps or quiet time. I come home at about 1:30 after singing three services and going grocery shopping.
Somehow in this lapse of time something always happens.
This Sunday when I came home I was pleased to find that Dave had waited for me to have lunch with them. While we were eating he dropped the news.
"So the window in Rose's room is broken."
"Broken? As in cracked?"
"No as in shattered."
"What? Is she okay? How did she do it?"
"Actually I broke it.....with my bottom."
This was a very hard sentence to wrap my tired brain around. I inquired vaguely how one goes about breaking windows with their bottoms.
Dave explained that Rosy gave him grief while he was trying to dress her. She kept darting away naked ,singing, "I'm nakey!" He finally managed to grab her, and he bent down quickly and energetically to put her panties on, and in the process shoved his entire bottom through the 100 year old window.
Rose is living with her blind down and I'm laughing at my amazing husband who never fails to surprise me!
Sunday, October 24, 2010
And I was a little more than concerned when Rowan's fifth birthday approached and he was heavily leaning toward taking us all to Nevada. Now...I have nothing against Nevada, but Rowan's sole attraction to it was it's shape outlined on his placemat, and that's almost impossible to actually experience. So....we encouraged him to think about other options...like Hawaii.
So motivated by the fact that he loves the ocean, and by the knowledge that his three pretty cousins live there, he consented.
We gave him a police uniform for his present and he made several citizen's arrests. He blew his whistle at all the crosswalks when it was time to go. He lingered by police cars, vowing to save all his birthday money so that he could buy one when he grew bigger.
This birthday marks so much more than just the passage of time and the acknowledgement of physical growth. Rowan gave his heart to Jesus this year and I've witnessed with my own eyes the Spirit's work in his life. He's learned to think before speaking, to pray for others, to check his anger by counting to ten, to ask questions and ponder answers. He's become a helpful son and a caring brother. He still gets into mischief, he still sighs when his will is thwarted, but he's learning, and so am I.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Crass joking is a sure fire way to get a very dirty look from me. Part of the reason I dislike that type of joking is because it seems to perpetuate itself. It's easy to begin, hard to stop, and very quickly gets out of hand. Because of this, it's not allowed in our home. However, with four children and several dozens of other children that come in and out of this home, it sometimes very innocently happens.
For example, Dave was telling the kids a story about when he and his friend Jake got a frisbee and some apricots stolen from them. The point of the story was that people are more important than things and they prayed that whoever took them would be blessed by them. Dave said, "Yeah, we just imagined a couple of bums at the park playing frisbee and eating apricots." His conclusion was met with down cast eyes and silence. Finally Rowan said, "Don't be crass Daddy." Dave looked at me in bewilderment. I started laughing because I realized that the only definition of "bum" that they knew was "bottom, rear, etc." I told him to tell it again and try saying "hobo" instead! Grant was visibly relieved that Daddy wasn't being gross but said he was going to have trouble getting the picture of, "bums catching frisbees in their cracks," out of his head.
Then today, Rowan was cutting pieces of a hen out to glue on his paper. I said, "okay Rowan, let's glue on your body now." The room became intensely silent. I looked up and my eyes caught Rose's shocked expression as she said, "Mommy, Rowan's potty is glued on!?" ("potty" is the term we use to refer to "privates")
I explained that I used a "b" for body and that we were creating the little red hen, but that comment started the downfall. A few wings later, Avonlea said, "Mommy I just read something SO interesting can I read it to you?" I was still up to my beak in glue but absently agreed. She proceeded, "Wood chucks breed 20-40 times a minute." I put the glue on the desk. "Really." She continued, "Yeah, but even more when they're excited!" My mind whirled. I knew about rabbits of course, but I had never heard about woodchucks and what the heck did she mean by excited? She goes on, "Yeah but if they're really relaxed they can just do it like once every five minutes." And we've been trying to have kittens for a year! How much do wood chucks go for? My mind is reeling in possibilities. Avonlea looked at my open mouth gaze and said, "Mom, I said breathe."
See what I mean about things going downhill quickly. Later today, at ballet class, one of my little dancers had stomach issues and the red flags of her condition were waving wildly, so to speak. Every time we leaned forward in our stretch the room reverberated with cannon accent.
And I had to laugh.
(Please note the distinction between a cute little tooter in pink tulle and a big hairy man cutting loose the bonds of propriety.)
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Dave came home from Dallas on Sunday after an exhausting trip moving his friend there. We flew to Hawaii on Monday morning. Dave also got sick that day. Tuesday he got a terrible sunburn. I mentally constructed a post entitled, "When Paradise Isn't".
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I woke up this morning and put on joy as a garment.
Dave and I were up and down until 4:30AM last night. We were waiting for someone who was coming over, waiting for someone who needed us. I finally fell asleep from 4:30AM to 7:30 AM and awoke groggy and selfish.
But the thing was, as much as I wanted to lay there and grovel....I couldn't. These God-words kept whispering, "a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isa. 61:3) and "the joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
And I put it on, pulled it to me and slipped into it. The joy of the Lord fit perfectly.
All the mornings, of all the days, of all the weeks, of all the months, of this summer and fall, I've sought each morning to turn my eyes to Him first thing, to spend time in His presence immediately. And this morning, when I struggled to gain perspective, He was there, reaching down the hand that I needed, putting out my garment for the day. He found me soul-naked and He dressed me.
The things that greet me today, whether it be my mother screaming into my answering machine that there's a snake in her kitchen "a real one" (as if that pitch could have been obtained through a plastic one), or a note to Santa on my desk asking for a baby because the asker has given up on asking God for one, or another close-call in my tiara, or a drama of sharpie meets Persian rug acted out by Rose, whatever comes.....
I am dressed for the occasion.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
This morning the Sunday School classes at church all moved their students to the next grade. Posy moved to 3/4's, Rowan to Preschool, etc. I took Rowan to his new classroom and he was instantly surrounded by teachers, "What's your name?" "Does he have any allergies?" "I think I had him in VBC class." Unfamiliar voices, unfamiliar faces. Rowan silent. Persistent voice with pen in hand, waiting, "What's your first name?" Silence. Rowan turns his head slowly towards me, his face is blank, utterly expressionless, "What's my first name again mommy?"
I say it and break the spell, "Rowan, your name's Rowan."
A smile engulfs his words, "Oh that's right!"
The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
Dave's blanked up on me a couple of times. One time was when we passed the Canadian border to attend Mike and Chrissy's wedding. Dave didn't expect to be closely questioned by border patrol, so he was caught off guard, and he went blank. The check-guard asked him who was with him, it was just Avonlea and I in the back seat, and I waited for him to say so. Silence. Finally he turned his head and looked at us with the same face I saw on Rowan, I whispered, "Your wife and your daughter." He smiled and relayed the info. We were told to pull over for further inspection!
As much as Rowan is just like Dave he is also just like me. I never blank about my name or any other answer that I can glibly give, but I blank about who I am in Christ. I'm caught off-guard by a question, a situation, and I'm silent....or not. I give a reaction where a Christ-child should have given compassion, or prayer, or truth. I forget my name and later when the moment has passed, I remember, and I writhe.
Life will inevitably hold those moments, I just pray I learn to look up sooner and soul-whisper, "What's my name again?"
Because when I do, He always breaks the spell with His answer, "You're Annie, and you're a child of Mine."
May my blankness, my lack, be only an opportunity for Him to fill and write His name on me, and through me, on others.
PS Wearing my tiara also helps me remember who I am. It is very difficult to yell at your children with a tiara on. Unfortunately I forgot I had it on last week and I wore it to the library. I kept marveling at how friendly our community was, because everyone was smiling at me! Sigh.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
We flew to San Diego because Dave was helping with the Luis Palau Festival there. We drove directly there from the airport so that he could help with set up. I hung out with the kids at the playground, steps from the beach. Even with the four a.m. wake-up, the kids were jubilant and played hard. I tried to look around me and take in the beauty, but it was difficult. I'm used to grey skies and muted colors. Here, was turquoise water, a brilliant blue sky, golden sand, bright, hot sun, emerald grass, and bushes afire with profusions of flowers. The colors blew me away.
The festival the next day drew about 50,000 people. People from all walks of life, all ages. Colorful people. We watched the bmx shows, skateboarding, freestyle motocross, puppet shows, etc. There were games and concerts and everywhere, Jesus preached. Christ proclaimed. The little girls next to us at the puppet show raised their hands to accept Christ. The stage filled with people committing or re-committing their lives after a biker gave his testimony. Churches of all denominations had volunteered to help respond to people and the volunteers were as colorful as the crowd.
The people had the same effect on me as the scenery did the day before. I could barely take it blinkingly in. The beauty of this world, the beauty of God's people. Eye-poppingly different, but never drab.
We were able to spend a day with Capernwray friends. Dave and Mike had been roommates, and they prayed together for their future wives. Chrissy and I had been involved in scandalous doings and pranks together, we prayed we wouldn't get caught.