Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spare room specialty

It all started with the cleaning out of the spare room.

Try to sell that line to some publisher for a real cliff hanger beginning…….. (snicker, snicker…)

But it’s true, that is where it all started.

And pile after pile of loose papers and cards and letters that had fallen out of a plastic storage tub, compliments of one of the Royalty littles.

I almost halted our “Operation gut the spare room” when I saw handwriting I hadn’t seen for a long time.

That of friends, family, even notes from a special friend of mine who used to call me “Deen” when we first were getting to know one another.

BUT, because my sweetheart ‘s love language is “Acts of Service,” we pressed through the mess. Even as I type I chuckle at God’s goodness to me. After all, how can we go through one day and not clean and teach and make dinner and such. So without even thinking about it somedays I am filling a tank of love.

And when the last crumb was swept I indulged in my shoebox of memories.

I went through each piece of paper and some I kept, some I did not, and the ones I kept went into something my Father-in-law taught me about.

He calls it his “Encouragement File.” Well my file is a shoebox, but its purpose is the same: To lift you soul and spirit when you are low.

With some letters I laughed.

With some I cried.

With some I literally held them as if they were the deed to a million dollars.

And to me, they are.

One in particular was from a friend. An old friend who I haven’t spoken to in over 12 years. Probably since my wedding she was a part of.

She and I traveled in a singing Ensemble together and knew each other’s foibles and shortcomings like the back of our hands.

I loved being with her because she was so easy, so free and you could be yourself. I don’t have too many friends like that today and had even less of them then.

For my 30th birthday almost five years ago now, Joel did something for me that still reaches my heart.

He wrote to more than thirty people that my life had crossed paths with, sent them a family picture and asked them to send me a card or note telling me a memory that we shared.

I wept at the surprise birthday party held for me that year, my first one ever, on my Golden Birthday, when he handed me the basket of these memories.

And again I held one of them in my hand reading and re-reading it just because it is so precious to me.

My long-ago-friend mentioned things we did and things she remembers most about me, saying that she loved to hear me talk about something I felt passionate about because of how I would use such expression to talk about it, and some other things that probably would mean nothing to anyone but us.

Then there was a paragraph that today came back to me.

She said that in all of our traversing state after state, in all of our imagining what our lives would be like, she said that she so remembers how I told her that more than anything I will want my children to know that I love them, and I will tell them often.

And I sit in bed typing this and smiling at the beautiful morning sun lighting up my bed. Yes I am in bed, with my nightgown still on, surrounded by my Bible, notebook and Bible study book.

When the day began I felt little arms and legs crawl into my bed on Joel’s side and attempt to cover themselves up. She drifted off the sleep with me and we enjoyed just being together.

The older kids laughed outside the bedroom door playing and chatting way past time for breakfast.

But we here on Humphrey don’t mind.

Some mornings are for lying in bed, or laughing with your brothers and sisters.

I glance at the clock and my little bundle half covered and think to myself how very much I love this sweet little girl, my last little to cuddle in the morning like this…..and I forget the clock and bagels are easy to fix, and decide to wrap her up and hug her while she sleeps.

And I slip down for a bagel and tea and big brother says he would like to take over so I can go have my devotions, and he has already had his and showered and I smile.

And I creep into bed and life could not be sweeter with tea and my Bible and my little babe of two.

And as I stroke her hair and she smiles with eyes closed I remember the words from a letter from an old friend who I could be myself with.

“I wuv you Mama.” She says.

I feel her cheek and feel the love of an amazing God and whisper back, “I love you too, so much, and you are safe and I will take care of you.”

She nods as if she understands and I thank God for a perfectly wonderful very very late morning.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More like the Master.....

Life is just so…..daily.

It begins.

A fight with the old.

Nothing new here.

And the older kids get their school work done and I try to distinguish between a “P” sound and “B” sound to third son and tutor second daughter while she attempts another letter “M.”

And I sigh.

And kids come to play from down the street and I lose my temper while snowballs fly and catch myself telling them that for goodness sake if they cannot find something productive to do the neighbors are going to have to go home. And with a turn of the heel I am inside stoking the fire and feeling bad that I will be the bad Mom on the block from now until eternity.

And we run out of diapers and she should be beginning potty training but diapers are easier.


And I feel it coming on.



And I am nervous and anxious and beyond tired today.

And one cries because the “M” is not happening and I am ready for the rapture to start happening and I see one of the kids devotional books and read the word “Maranatha.”

“Christ is coming.”

And for a minute I breathe and feel solid and overjoyed at the thought.

My life is all about His work. His coming.

And I fold laundry.

Joel knows me.

He sends me upstairs to rest until we leave to take the kids to AWANA and grab a short coffee date.

We head to AWANA and I am short in the van and feel too sick and anxious for coffee and can I just go home because I am a mess and leaving mess every where I go.

The kids are in bed and I am on the couch and Joel brings me my contact case and offers to make me tea for the sore throat that makes me scrunch up my nose while scanning my email.

I mumble something about any kind that doesn’t have caffeine and he brings me a cup of steaming peppermint with a broken candy cane sticking out of it.

And I melt along with the candy.

And I crouch by the fire in the otherwise dark kitchen.

Everything still including me.


And I remember.

I remember something I read this morning about Amy Carmichael from the book, “The Promise” by Robert J. Morgan.

Amy took some children to see a goldsmith refine gold.

“He was sitting by a charcoal fire and had made a small crucible from two roofing tiles. Into the crucible he placed a gold nugget surrounded by salt, tamarind fruit, and burned brick dust. Every now and then he would take it out, let the gold cool a little, rub it between his fingers, then place it back in the flame and blow the fire hotter than before.

It could not bear it so hot at first, but it can bear it now,” he explained to her children.

Finally Amy asked, “How will you know when the gold is purified?”

The refiner answered, “When I can see my face in it, it is pure.”

And I watch the logs burn and the words burn in my heart.

The aches, the discomforts of life are purifying me.

And it will come and I will be in the fire and He will take me out and let me rest for a while.

Before heating me again.

And again.

Each time knowing what I can and cannot handle.

And he will do this until He sees His face.

Until He sees His image reflected in me.

To the neighbors.

To my homeschoolers.

To my Husband.

Tonight I love Mono.

I love it because it is making me into the image of Christ.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The inevitable Un-date

You know how you see those silly infomercials and think to yourself, “Now why didn’t I think of that and market it and make millions?”

I have.

But then again, who wants to have their face attached to “The Perfect Omelet” maker for decades?

C’mon, think with me..

Thigh master.

It inevitably evokes an overly friendly blonde, Susan Sommers to be precise and possibly even one or two flashbacks from a really bad “Three’s Company” episode.

Then again, were there any good ones?

I digress.

Anywho I have something that I think I came up with.

I haven’t a good way to market it so here on the ole blog is about as close to fame as I will get.

It’s the undate.

No that’s no typo. It’s called the “Un-date.”

And if you have been married for more than a year than you have most likely had one.

And tonight as I type I am headed out to one myself.

The smell of aftershave mingled with perfume he picked out just for you fills the car, and visions of Mexican dance in your head but alas! You know what is coming.

Now on average I am a pretty happy go lucky person.

After noonish.

But about sixish I become a realist.

And it is the realist in me that reminds me that it has been tooo long since our last time out, for even five minutes alone.

This added too many diaper changes and hamburger helpers to count spells out u-n-d-a-t-e.

It looks like a date. It smells like a date.

But it’s not.

It is a fancy family debriefing.

Usually with a lot of sighs and small cafuffles.

It is the result of human pressure and love tanks running on empty.

Now, before you boo hoo me, I love being out with my husband anytime anywhere.

I love talking with him, laughing with him, and most of all praying with him.

I just do not cherish the long talks over bills and home school dilemmas, which undoubtedly have to be talked about, figured out, and the all around home plan brushed up.

So tonight as we undate we know that we will leave happier and lighter…..

And ready for a real deal “date” in another week or so.

But we must unload, d-stress, and mottle thru tonight.

Over delish Mexican.

Adios friends.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A wonderful Morning Mix

An old friend came to see me a while back. And I mean old not in the sense of years old, but years weathered with me. She left her navy zip up hooded sweater and I um, have been borrowing it ever since.

I know I know, I should give it back.

But I tell myself that when she returns my copy of “Fireproof” I will.

Not really.

I secretly want to keep it until it is threadbare because each time I put it on, usually during long and difficult mornings, I see it as a wonderful hug from her.

Am I the only person who would refuse to send a sweater back because it acted as a hug?

Surely not………. Right?

Anyway, I am up at six with the latest of the stomach flu recipients.

Who just happens to be my husband, poor thing. Who is supposed to be heading out the door to work.

He has called in sick and I am making him as comfortable as I can and I unplug the Christmas tree who’s lights were twinkling in his scrunched up face.

And I leave to the kitchen and decide that I am amazingly awake and might as well make the kids some baked oatmeal because my Inner Martha Stewart does appear sometimes.


I mix and catch amazing glimpses of snow flakes and cars roll past and I decide this would be a good morning for some time with the Lord.

I head upstairs to grab my blue zip up…. Well, almost mine… and wanting to keep everything dark for my husband, I grab a small little taper candle and holder that I was using as decoration.

This will be fun! Devos by candlelight? Perfect.

I love how God works.

When I ran upstairs to grab the sweater and Bible, the Lord reminded me of the Bible study two friends and I purchased a few weeks back.

So I grabbed it too and thought, yes, this would be a great time to start this!

And as only the Lord could orchestrate it, the first part of the book is regarding the authors account of the Lord meeting with her one bright morning. I read and take breaks to smooth the hair of my husband when he tosses and turns with my cold hand on a very warm forehead.

The little candle next to my book and Bible is such a cheery little thing and I wonder why I haven’t done this sooner. I will have to remind Joel to be sure to catch another stomach virus again soon.

I jest.

And I read and sigh and steal sips of hot tea and wonder that God would wake me to spend time with Him.



And he knows that the kids nustled in their beds warm and snuggly and hot tea and the sun barely rising mixes up to make a time with Him more wonderful than Christmas morning to a two year old.

And He is so right.

He knows I would have just retrieved the beloved blue sweater from cleaning the girls room the day before after it being awol for weeks on my wall in my bedroom.

He knows I have a thing about seeing the sunrise, though not sleeping well does not afford me the luxury of enjoying them often.

He knows that I have almost a cup exactly of applesauce and that I learned somewhere that you can substitute it for oil in a recipe and brings all of this back to mind as I mix and stir and try to make baked oatmeal for six hungry bellies. He also reminds me of that forgotten bag of mixed berries in the pantry to add just because He is all about the details.

How do I not fall in love with Him over and over and over again.

And I read some more and cool a forehead some more and stop and see that the sun has just come up.

And I do mean just.

I slip into the livingroom and sit on the window seat indian style and enjoy it.

And I do enjoy it and the Lord reveals some things to me from what I have just read and He even shows me that the Christmas tree by the window was so bright, that if I had left it plugged in, I would have missed the beauty of the sunrise with Him.


So today I will enjoy.

I will leave the tree unplugged perhaps.

I will see God’s goodness in baked oatmeal with pure maple syrup running over it and over chins and over tables and chairs perhaps.

I will pray over a husband sick and use this time to see how many ways we can bless his socks off today. Not literally of course because his feet are freezing if I do say so….

I will fold laundry in my blue sweater, which you all will pinky swear that you will not tell my friend I still have, and will feel hugged all day.

I will enjoy being snowed in and will ask God to show me something else miraculous from the pantry to fill 6 bellies for lunch and dinner…. He seems to be handy in that department.

I will read some more and pray over dishes and cool a forehead and in everything I will give thanks to Him who loved me enough to wake me to see the sunrise with Him.

And fall in love with Him all over again.

What are you doing today, friend?