Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A little "humbug" for Mom's

Here's a list of things I have done and left undone to get you to that stack of papers that need desperately to be graded, that sink full of dishes, or that laundry pile.....

With a crazy smile on your face.

1. I have worn my husband's pajama bottoms under my clothes for too many days to count. And I have worn them so long that I am actually believing that black plaid goes with everything.

2. I have eaten a whole container of cookies that were designated for some Little's stocking. Here's the long and short of it: I thought they were in the bag in the closet. They fell out. Technically they were unclaimed by a child until taken out of said stocking. I ate them. They were delicious. I will find a replacement.

3. I have picked presents out for myself this year. And even thanked the customer service folk a mite too much for shipping me my gift asap.

4. I have wrapped an item from Goodwill for someone I love. It's in great condition and it was less than a dollar.

5. I forgot I had a gift for one of the crew under my bed. It may have been there since we moved. A lovely surprise.

6. I've thrown a snowball out the window at my husband after coaxing him to look closer at the chimney for a supposed crack.

7. We were out of whites for two days. It wasn't pretty.

8. I have taught school so many days without doing my hair that when I did do my hair once in a week's time, the kids gathered around the bathroom door to find out what was up.

9. We have eaten celery as a snack like we are vegetarians lately. It was time to go shopping many moons ago.

10. Until the holiday rush is over, Cheez-its WILL stay on the nightstand. They are my new BFF.

Go friends, be free. Black plaid is the new "black."

Friday, November 29, 2013

Filled to the brim.......with HIM???

Hello all.

Hang on to your hats, this is gonna sound like a rant.

And I believe it is. It is time for it. It is for me, and perhaps you as well.

It all began a few years ago now. When I found a cool book club for ladies and followed each weekly reading and video. It was an amazing book. AMAZING. God used that book to really change my view of Christianity as a whole.

It was great, there was this emotional connection to these gals and I as we read it together. EVEN though they had read the book like, six months prior......ANNNND  prerecorded the videos, ANNNND never met me. Yeah. Like that.

I found blogs. I followed. I cried. I laughed.

And a year went on and I am at this place now where I have grown weary of following,


Women love to be a part of something. Something big. They love big ladies meetings, BIG door prizes, Big lunches and even Big shopping sprees.

I get it. I am one.

There finally reaches a point where Bigger isn't better. Ok, unless you are talking about Mallow Cups. Just.cannot.get.enough.of.them

But besides them, bigger is not better. Sometimes, many times, smaller, quieter, unnoticed is better.

I found that this fantastic woman who writes, takes pictures with really expensive equipment, has narry a bad hair day, yeah, she loves God. That's great.

But she's also meeting her besties several weekends out of the year to just enjoy each other. Flying down south for private teas in gardens, just to know God. Travelling without Littles hither thither and yon eating delish food and hanging out with a whole bunch of other ladies for a week who pay to hear them just "share."

If I could gather twenty of my besties for a weekend every few months, I'd be writing the next bestseller too.

Catch my drift???

When I pop on twitter or instagram and see that no one is caring about the pic itself, but where they can find those boots, those skinny jeans and for Pete's sake that hair color, it just turns my lip up and reminds me that people are people.

Even people who love the Lord. Like, a LOT.

Women helping other women is important. Older women teaching, guiding, loving on the younger women is part of God's design.

But all to quickly, we can look to other women as some kind of Hollywood stars, place them on a pedestal that they themselves might not even want. They comment on OUR comment and we swoon.

Look, I've been there.

Approval from someone we admire is great.

But it's not necessary.

We've swapped it all for the Martha Stewart Christianity thing again.


Because of the spotlight and book promotions we have been drawn to that perfect woman and away from the lady down the street who is so unbelievably wise.

We have forgotten our Pastor's wife who loved us through our ugly cry over not being able to handle one more discipline problem.

We somehow think that the glam makes someone more wise, more adoring, more spiritual than that Mom of four behind us in church who will never see worldly promotion.

Her boots will never be coveted, Her hair color never matched with fervor, Her written words never poured over.

And that is a terrible shame.

Though I never make the NY Times list, my writing is still valuable, and so is yours. If God enables you to do something, do it with your might, though no one may ever know.

Buzz around people takes our eyes off of Him who has always been sufficient for our every need.

He knows our hearts better than a best selling writer.

He wants to meet with us more than hundreds of ladies at a conference.

He IS our BIG NAME speaker.

And you don't need tickets to see Him. You don't have to wait for a sale to nab his latest masterpiece of a book.

You can conform to Him all you desire and find real peace from Him who changes not.


Click out of Twitter. Get your face out of facebook. Forget that book that will be sure to make you the best Christian wife, mother, friend, sister, neighbor, car pooler that you could ever be in the whole entire existence of mankind.

Remember that it's not "them." They don't even know your name.

But He does.

His bestseller will change you and I more than any book known to man.

Sure, they are great in their own way. God used them, terrific. No hate to them.

But good people can be bad people if they keep you from the best PERSON.

My thoughts today.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Self-reliance gets a thumb's down

This week I had a Doctor's appointment. After a ruptured appendix in college and six littles surgically removed from this body in the span of nine years..... I am plum tired of them. Doctor's that is. :)

And though I love what they do, I hate seeing them.

You anticipate the visit, you get all sweaty waiting in the waiting room with day time soaps blaring and people trying not to stare at one another all equally disliking the fact that they are there as well.


So, not my favorite thing to do.

I was wayyyyyyy overdue for a checkup so it was scheduled and on the calendar and I feared it like the plague.

On the way to the office I began to ponder all the things that my mind just hadn't had quiet enough to let settle. You Mom's know what I am talking about. This is why, on any given night, when you and your husband have just polished off the last of the brownies he catches you with a furrowed brow and a tear beginning to emerge. He asks you what on earth could possibly be wrong when you just ate half your body weight in chocolate. Any woman's dream.

You choke out that you were "just thinking" about whether or not your second grader will ever learn to tie his shoes and avoid public humiliation, combined with the fact that the washing machine part you need to stop it leaking costs more than you have in the budget.

He may think you half crazy, but it's in the quiet that those brain nags come and take.over.

So it was these nags that haunted me on the way to the Doctors. Financial hiccups, scary news, discipline problems, attitudes creeping up, losing hearts slowly..... they just hovered over like a black cloud.

And then, it was an October miracle. The clouds parted and grace covered everything like the heat that had finally kicked-on in the van and began to cover me head to toe. It was divine. No, it really was. God said, "I am bigger." I am in charge. And He reminded me of the devotion I had read that morning about refining.

When I saw the title after finding my glasses and still waking up, I cringed. "Lord. Fire? Refining? TO-DAY of all days???? I just cannot deal with it!" I read on anyway. The way that the author described the refiner and their delicate care moved me. The way the refiner sat and watched carefully, lest the metal would be lost or taxed beyond what it needed was speaking peace to my weariness.

I thought of God, loving me enough to put me through a fire, only to sit and lovingly watch lest I suffered too greatly. Only heated enough to mold.

Only heated enough to mold.


I haven't been the most pliable human being, wife, mother, friend as of late.

I thought of all of this while I drove and while the heat warmed me from the outside in. I walked into the office with a calm and peace of knowing that God loves me enough not to leave me in the fire, but sit beside me with a watchful eye on the fires around me.

Only heating me enough to mold once again.

The visit was fine and I was off to have blood drawn. I could, by personal experience probably draw my own blood, but I sat and offered my left arm and without a wince, watched.

The tingle down my arm and pain shooting back up again brought instant tears. This was not normal for me. I found out quickly that it wasn't normal for a lot of people.

The needle hit a nerve.

In all my years of blood drawn I have never had someone hit a nerve. I never even knew to fear it. I just lived sticking my arm out and letting someone stick something in it. The nurse was obviously horrified and I did my best to comfort her and assure her that it could have happened to anyone.

As a side note, I have this weird way of comforting people who feel badly about a service they have rendered me. I once gave a gift to a hairdresser who chopped all my hair off with all smiles and hugs, only to head home and cry for two days..... Well there could be weirder things I guess....

No instructions were given about what to watch for, how to take care of the nerve... I think that nurse just wanted to go and cry herself and get me outta there like last week's recycling.

I headed home and was just thankful the whole thing was over. That is until the next night after knitting. I could hardly stretch my arm out. I was fearful to move my fingers, especially my thumb, and the pain was back. It was enough of a bother to make you a bit cranky from the pain. I sighed. Then I got a little hypochondriac-ish.

I googled and for fear's sake just read the first post regarding blood draws and nerves. The rest of my nerves were on edge and I went to bed spent with worry.

The next day it still bothered me but not to the same extent. Then the following day I began to wonder if this was going to be a looong road.

I have things to knit! A Christmas craft show to prepare for!

Finally, I ran to the Lord. Joel had the kids on an errand and I had time. Time to finally read deep. The Lord took me to 2 Chronicles 6 and 7. I marveled at Solomon's loong speech regarding the building of the temple after such a long wait. FIVE times in chapter six Solomon asks the Lord to forgive the people when they come to Him with a transgression. That really spoke volumes to me. He didn't just ask the Lord to forgive all their sins. He chose five separate instances where the people might fall and asked Him that when he heard their cry, to forgive them.

Solomon also asks if it is even possible for the God of heaven and heavens of heavens to dwell in that temple; if the temple could even contain a piece of his glory. Wow. That took God out of the neat box I always seem to put him in and reminded me of His infinite power and might. Then in verse 30 Solomon says:
     "Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)"

He is all powerful. And only He knows my heart.

Chapter seven carries that all familiar verse 14 we hear quoted so often for our nation:

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Many of us fail to remember that this word from the Lord came at night after Solomon had offered the temple to the Lord. The Lord had already accepted the sacrifice of the people. Had already shown them His glory. This word in the night, was more of a reminder to Solomon. And that is sweet to me.

God didn't withhold his glory and blessing from the people until they had met Him and settled some things. He knew their hearts as only He can, and then after blessing came to Solomon and reminded him of what that relationship with Him meant.

We are His temple. I am His temple. And the Lord, in that quiet time, reminded me that it is He that gives my arms strength. It is He who loves me enough to keep me moldable for His purposes. I turned to Him, repented of my idolatry ( making myself a God before Him) , and even making a good pastime the most important thing. He met with me just as He had Solomon, and forgave. In that stillness of spirit, I was reminded of the vastness of God.

He loves us enough to allow the fire to bring us back to a moldable state.

For HIS glory.

I am thankful for a little bit of a bum arm. Will it last? God knows. But I know I am a child of his this day. I am a child that He loves very much. So much that He will allow trial small or great, to remind me of Him and His ultimate plan for my life.

He loves you too. Look for Him in your fire. He is sitting there beside.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lessons from the Road Trip

It was Wednesday evening and we were leaving in the morning, early. If I had one outfit I had a dozen on the bed or draped over the footboard because I was beyond stressed about what I should wear when I see people, some of them I haven’t seen in too many years to remember.

I decided on a skirt that I knew no one else had a copy of, because that, for some odd reason made me feel lovely. What wasn’t so lovely was the fact that the two pounds I had gained stress eating for this trip really made this skirt tight at the waist. I was uncomfortable, but who needs comfort when you have college friends to impress??? I was bringing support hose....bam. It was in the bag. I messaged a friend that next morning and literally sent her four or five outfit options JUST for the traveling. :) She saw past the sweaters and spoke such truth into me. “Just love on the person in front of you. Forget the crowd.”  Got it. Wow. Ok. I can do this.

A little less than a quarter of the way down the road we blew a tire. Poor Joel had to hoof it to a service station on the freeway while we watched some Duggar goodness on the ipad. A few minutes turned into an hour and some and I could imagine that even my cool as a cucumber husband was even to begin to unravel a teensy bit. He came to rescue us with a tow truck, but we had no place to seat all the rest of the family. A friend came to our aid and met Joel with the kids on the side of the road, while Isaac and I loaded into the tow truck for parts unknown. Joel and I were not only totaling up the time   we have left to make it to our destination, but also the hefty price tag that would surely be attached....

A sweet Italian mechanic allowed me to park the van at his lot until we came back on Saturday evening and the church allowed us to graciously take their van to complete the trip. A few cheeseburgers later we were on our way again and I wasted no time plucking my eyebrows in anticipation of the evening ahead.

We arrived, changed clothes and I was taming my hair for the last time when Joel called me over. “Stop curling your hair and come here and sit with me.”  He was wrapping up his study time and we just looked at each other.  He calmed my spirit in the same way my friend had and just told me that we were going to be “us.” It didn’t matter what we wore, what we said, it was all about Christ. It was none of us. It was so sweet and lovely to come together as a family and pray for God to use us in some small way if it be His will. That He would have preeminence and we would just be instruments of His grace that evening. We were a family and we loved the Lord and that was the bottom line.

Out we went to face everyone. I kept repeating to myself, “Love on the person in front of you. Forget the crowd” I looked into the eyes of each person in front of me and tried to love them as God would if He was speaking to them.  Joel opened God’s word and I felt the arm of my oldest son creep around my neck. It.was.perfect. We were together, and we were just instruments to use. People who had invested in our lives in college filed past and we thanked every one of them. We brought small tokens of our appreciation for them and the littles had fun delivering them. 

With the tow bill hanging over us, we went to bed that night and wondered if our plans for a big Chicago day with the Littles was stalled. Allll night our youngest wailed that her ears hurt her. Now this may come as a shock. Prepare yourself. We have never had a Little with an ear infection. Nope. Never, ever. So this was  a predicament of vast proportions in my eyes. We had just had a looong good day, and were utterly and completely exhausted. I rocked, I used a hot compress, I took her earrings out, I massaged her ears and throat, I prayed over her and asked the Lord to bind Satan’s attempts to hinder us and discourage us. The Lord reminded me that I had brought some oils with me that might help. I put a drop of theives oil in each ear and prayed some more. I’m not quite sure what time she finally settled down, but it was well after three.

I had made previous plans with some old friends for coffee that next morning at ten. I fell asleep on the floor, because she was asleep on the bed by Joel and I was not about to wake her, and wondered if every plan we made had just gone up in smoke.

Two VERY zealous Littles who are way too big for their britches wanted the college breakfast and devos experience so they woke us at seven. Flashbacks of roomies who were too happy in the morning for their own safety came flooding back to my mind.... It was a wonderful blessing that I was too tired to even blink.

They went merrily on their way and to our amazement our youngest woke like she had never seen a better morn in her 4 years on earth. With one eye opened I began to wonder if this after all.

Coffee was just blessed. It just was. It was a bunch of thirty-somethings bearing each other’s burdens and laughing over life we shared 30 pounds ago. It was good to reconnect, encourage one another and realize we are all just trying to stay one load of laundry ahead of the mess. We love our husbands, our children, and our Lord.

I met Joel and the kids and he showed me an envelope he had been given that morning. It was just a white envelope and the words on the front read something like, “Joel, you did work for me years ago and were a blessing. I want to be a blessing to you and your family as you enjoy a day in Chicago.” Joel opened the envelope and I opened my mouth in disbelief. 

Only God. 

Only He can touch a man’s heart to give from a gracious heart, for a job completed 15 years ago.

Only He can take a weary mess and bless two little ears and our hearts and make eyes with bags under them wet with tears of gratitude.

The kids have just had the weekend of a lifetime. The train ride into the city, the sites, the foods, the stores.....They giggled when we pointed out, at their pleading, where we met for the first time, where we ate, where we walked, where we each lived, and where God began to mould us into what we are today. It was fun introducing those we owe so much gratitude to, to our Littles. It was more fun remembering that we are a family. We are perfect because we are who God made us to be and support hose  cannot even contain all the blessings that God has for those who give themselves back to Him to be used in whatever way He deems good.

We are on our way home.

The whole family

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Wrinkle Caught in Time

She had called and asked to speak to us.

She is always gracious, but this sounded serious. We  had to all be together she said, Joel and I and her. A few church services came and went and we never met up.

Until tonight.

A day or so ago I worried that something was really wrong, that she needed us to help her with something and wondered if we shouldn't just go to her home and meet.

Once she even attempted to WALK to our house from the bus stop, but the bus had been in an accident and so she waited at her stop in vain.

Something was not right.

I chatted with this one and that one and practiced a song and gathered the littles like a hen gathers chicks and almost forgot about our "meeting."

And then there she was. Sitting sweetly, Bible and purse on her lap and Joel was ushering us all into his office.

I always feel awkward at this moment. I offer her a seat and then just get comfortable and wait. You don't know the reason for the meeting so you don't know how to prepare. 

You just wait.

And the story began to unfold as she spoke more with her hands than anything and I listened.

She smiled at me and opened her Bible. She said that she meant to go home last week and read the passage that Joel preached out of to review it in her mind, and by mistake landed in another chapter. While she was there a verse she highlighted years ago struck her and gripped her heart.

"For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter." II Corinthians 7:11

She said she kept asking the Lord if she needed to be "Clear" in some matter, and if so, which one, with whom??

She said that this was why she wanted ME to be in this meeting so badly.

I swallowed hard. Eyes wide, heart racing.

She kept unfolding a story and I tried to keep my eyes directly on her so as not to miss any inkling of what I had done to offend this sweet lady.

It was about a dress. Months ago, actually a year ago she had wanted to bless our family in some way. I told her that she was sweet and lovely and that was blessing enough, though she insisted still. She mentioned that she used to do some ironing for a family in the church to be a help to a mother of many littles and wondered if that was something I would need?

I remember thinking that was too generous too kind and she was just too old to be tackling my ironing pile!

She insisted week after week so I finally relented. 

And for a month or so she blessed us so with her sweet prayer filled ironing.

One day she arrived at our door! Walking all the way from the bus stop, after catching a bus at her house with a garment in her hands. She was beside herself with worry and I can still see the look in her eyes of just shame.

She had noticed a spot on one of the girl's dresses and tried her best to remove it with every concoction she could remember. It bleached the dress and rendered it unusable and she was so distraught that she walked to us to tell us so!

I had never seen such a thing in my life. I was sorry to lose the dress, but even more sorry to see her walk and feel so guilt ridden. 

She spoke to Joel about it and life went on and she was unable to help us due to her health and I was just happy to have her smiling at us each service.

The "matter" that she said the Holy Spirit was convicting her of was surrounding the dress. I looked stunned and shocked. 

Mostly because I thought to myself, "Wasn't that cleared up a loooong time ago?" And then my heart reminded me of two messages I had sent this very day concerning the Holy Spirit and His leading me to just contact two friends. Two old "matters" that He wanted me to make sure were "clear." How interesting that the Lord would have ME send those messages and then here this message from this dear old saint. 

My mind then flashed to another matter. One that I needed to clear up. One that I needed to humble myself in.

She proceeded to look as though she knew what I had done and what I needed to do. I listened intently as she placed her hand on my shoulder and told me that all those months ago, she had spoken to my husband, and she should have spoken to ME. I hugged her and laughed and she told me that it wasn't a huge weight between us, but just something that just like the scripture had attested, needed "cleared."

And though I am sure she had no idea what she was about to tell me next would make such a profound impact and tie the whole situation in that room and in my heart into a perfect bow, she began another story.

It was of her Father, a blind minister who told her once that Jesus wants us to be his Bride, spotless and without wrinkle. 

Without Wrinkle.

She said that a wrinkle doesn't have to be dirty. And I said the next phrase in perfect sync with her, "It's just creased."

It's just something that takes away from the Bride's appearance. It is one flaw that needs corrected.  Little did I know how this soiled dress would speak volumes to me over a year latter through a woman who is a beautiful Bride of Christ's.

I asked her if she would excuse me. I had a phone call to make.....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Marriage" has a nice ring to it. Wouldn't you agree?

               My lack of blogging is by no means a lack of living. In truth, the amount of living has led to the lack of writing. I know you all understand. Would you believe that a running documentary has been going on mentally and yet it wasn't until a friend mentioned that he reads a "certain" blog, but a certain "someone" hasn't posted in way too long, that I finally hit the keys again? Well this is the result of that prompting.

If he wasn't talking about me, well it's time to jump in with both feet again anyhow.

Summer has been warm and lovely and the tan lines from arms and legs are beginning to fade. Before vacation began I had the divine idea of buying my husband food from a local posh restaurant and transforming his office into all things romantical.

I headed to the restaurant and a very nice greeter met me. I had dressed for a fancy date and his niceness took me back. Sure people are nice, but it had been a while since a real date and I sat at a table to look over the menu with a sort of redness in my cheeks. And while looking over the menu, even though I KNEW what I wanted to order when I left the house, I did a strange thing.

I turned my ring around. It was weird and quick and thoughtless and so many other words that escape me at this moment. A little attention turned my head....and tugged at my heart. In the restaurant I could cross my ankles and smell lovely and sport a new shade of lipstick and almost escape from laundry and nagging and crumbs. And I sat in this wonderland for a good few moments, really thinking about what the turning of a ring can mean.

Unknown to me a business meeting was taking place a few tables over. Each man ordered a drink and slapped each other on the back. They were as sincerely glad to see each other as I am to see spiders. I was intrigued and began to watch them intently while my tomato basil soup was prepared. Besides this gave me ample time to forget about my quandary and focus on something else. The slim waitress came and greeted the men who were only too happy to greet her in return. They flirted with her for a good five minutes when the Spirit finally got ahold of me.

I fingered my ring, and remembered.

The busboy came again to tell me that my order would be right up, and with the strangest face I am sure a customer has ever given him, I nodded.

This young kid has not stood by me for almost 15 years. He hasn't seen me good and bad, teary and joy filled. He has not gone to the store just because something sounded good, heard my heart on a matter, prayed over me when words of my own couldn't reach the surface. He would never patiently allow the Lord to chip my rough edges off or walk barefoot in the grass with me. He wouldn't tell me I was a good teacher even though we all know that's probably the only lie he's ever told.

My eyes glanced at the men having the meeting. They were really disgusting to me. And the Spirit told me I was in the same boat with them. They were all married men as displayed by their rings......


Again, I fingered my own set.

Promises meant to be kept. If I was anything, I was loyal. Or so I said to everyone. Loyal. Loyal until some waiter smiles and makes me feel like a million dollars.

I grabbed the food and was almost running out the door. I must get to him. MY him.

And that I did. He was overjoyed to see me and that made me want to just be sick right then and there.

I spread all the food before him,  and before he could rub my arm again or cheerily tell me how much this made his day I sat him down. I told him what had happened. How it felt good to be noticed, smiled at.

Through tears I told him that for a moment my heart had skipped and my ring had turned.

I told him how the Lord smote me and flooded my memory of all that we had weathered.

And I made the decision to choose him again. And again and again and again.

I told him how those men disgusted me and how I disgusted myself.

We hugged and he wiped tears and we sipped soup and he told me to share this with all of you. He thought it was  a wonderful reminder of the choice we make everyday.

Because children pull at you and work never ends and you will always find something that will make you angry at one another if you peer hard enough through a lens labled "discontent." And the stats will tell you that if you make it years into marriage and don't jump ship, that the memories that you share together make the last of the voyage even sweeter than the first kiss.

Even sweeter??? Yes. Even sweeter.

My husband proposed to me again at our ten year mark and got down on one knee. I was expecting Alayna and on bed rest, but we escaped to the park where our wedding pictures were taken anyway. We were more nervous that day and more aware of what a lifetime really meant then we were ten years previous. And he put another beautiful ring on my finger.

I hadn't wore it much because I never really got it the right size. I decided to bite the bullet and get it sized to enjoy, now heading into our 15th year. I wanted the beginning on one hand, and the building of history on the other.

It really has taken some getting used to, this other ring. It feels funny and even bothers me a bit. This not having a ring on for years can do that to you. My wedding set just feels like part of my hand now. Sometimes it's like old hat to me. Shame on me, but it is. This new ring, or old ring, or whatever you want to call it, is good for me to see. 6 diamonds for 6 littles, 3 girls on one side and 3 boys on the other. One large stone hugged by two middle sized ones symbolizing Joel and I and our only refuge.

The Lord Jesus Christ.

This was not easy to type, or admit. But it is real and heartfelt and honest. Marriage takes work and grace and loyalty to one another. It takes forgiving and looking at your sin as distasteful as the other's. It takes falling on your face and quiet strength.

It is all together lovely. And I am better for it, blessed by it everyday, and humbled that it was God's idea for me.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A little syrup goes a long way

I keep a small bottle of maple syrup in my purse.

well confession IS good for the soul.

It came from probably the BEST date known to man at a Cracker Barrel a few days ago.

We talked, shared ham and pancakes and one bottle of warm maple syrup.

I was content until I saw the man across the way. He had a lot more than one lone bottle.

So I asked. You have not because you ask not, right?

And I was given another bottle, that I instinctively slipped into the purse.

It makes me happy just by being there.

Makes me feel prepared, like a swiss army knife, for any situation.

Stranded somewhere? Bam! Out comes the syrup to ration until help comes.

Help still not coming? Bam! write a note (On a very very very small piece of paper) and send it down stream.

Ok so its not as practical as a swiss army knife, I will give you that, but it still makes me feel so prepared. So happy.

Maybe it makes me feel so happy because I associate it with hot coffee and melt in your mouth pancakes.

Yeah, that just may be it.

And last night I stayed up waaaaay late to catch up on news.

For you worriers like myself, this is probably not the time to catch up on news.

late at night....when everyone is sleeping. Just throwin a help out there.

And it was bombings and babies being aborted with their tiny feet left in jars, and women mutilated and paying for it, and young girls beautiful, snuffing out their life so soon because of deep pain.

And if I am not careful I can find security and comfort in the fact that I have locked all the doors and tucked all the children in.

That I am far away from Boston, waited for marriage to have children, and walked the straight and narrow in high school. That if the rapture would happen this very moment all of my family would gather to meet Christ and rejoice for all eternity.

If I am not careful I will hide and pad my nest and shut out the world.

I will refuse to care about my neighbor 100 yards away thinking he is safe from all harm as well.

And late at night the faces of the children I will never meet from missionary slides comes to mind. And the lady at the grocery store I have come to seek out each trip. And the family member that hasn't really considered what an eternity without Christ really means for him.

But what if? What if it was my son who died in the explosion in Boston?

Could I have the heart of Christ and forgive these young men? Could I show grace that only comes from God?

Do I read the news and turn up my nose or say, "Forgive them Lord, for they do not know what they are doing."

And the Lord reminds me of my little bottle of syrup.

The one only I know about.

Well, now you do too.

And last night in my warm and comfy bed, while beginning a new knitted sock, the Lord decided to remind me of my syrup.

Will you enjoy your own comfort, family, life, ETERNAL life, and let the world just get their just desserts?

Will you shun, say, "they made their bed, let them lie in it?" and turn off the computer and close your eyes and refuse to care?

Will you let your friend, a stranger, a neighbor, a relative die and miss heaven because you had it and kept it to yourself?


Because you are blessed you can hoard it and only care about your own and their safety?

What if someone lived next door with the gospel and hid it under a basket and you went to bed another night not knowing, doing the best you could, and the light was only a few yards away?

How smitten my heart was.

It isn't just news.

It isn't just a faraway state.

It isn't just some lady in some clinic who lost the ability to ever have another child again.

It is a lost and helpless world.

And there is syrup for us all.

I have breath in my lungs today to spread the good news.

It is the reason we are alive.

It is our sole responsibility.

Lord, forgive my apathy.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Tale of Two Truths (and apparently I have a thing for "T's" lately :)

Truth speaking folks.

Always my favorite to be around for a while at a time.

People different from my own flaws that see things from behind different colored glasses.

Love them.

The people who encourage me the most are those who lean hard over coffee and feel safe enough to ask, to wonder with me and to tell me the truth.

Jesus was a truth speaker.

I happen to believe that when scripture tells us that He went about doing good... well I believe that a lot of that was speaking truth as much as healing infirmities.

Infirmities of the mind can be the worst of all.

Lies that creep in, that deform how we view others, life, God.

A twist on God’s design that satan capitalizes on and feeds like it is his prize begonia in this vast garden of humankind.

And we as women folk run silent while doing the dishes and folding clothes and drilling spelling words, just adding the mind to the list of things to organize for that day and if we don’t get to it that day we just let it spill over into the next and the next.

And we feel such a bother to spill our hurts and thoughts and questions to those around us. 

Do they really care that we lost half a night’s sleep thinking we had cancer somewhere?

Sometimes it is just easier for us to let the cancer of the mind do it’s dirty work and suffer alone with worry, fear or doubt.

Doubt, that cancer of the soul that forgets so easily words that give life again.

And today before the lunch spread of homemade chicken salad and meatloaf sandwiches made their grand appearance it just slipped out, between friends and I half wondered if I should excuse myself or allow myself to bear what I had been keeping for too long.

And as always, ALWAYS with God’s love alive and shining through flesh and blood, it was grace that covered my questions, and each thought was carefully studied and weighed.

Weighed and tried with years of experience that just soothed me like only grace and the merciful can.

And I felt a tear but did my dead level best to shy it away. It was a tear of relief.

Of relief that it was okay to have questions and feel horrible about some things and get them sorted out like you would recyclables.

Keep some, sort some, and throw some in the rubbish.

For good.

Each of us are marked, shaped by those who have poured into us.

Some, have poured truth.

Some, have not.

Some have left grace on the shelf and led you to believe that all roads are rough, and you must press through any obstacle, people included.

And in my 35 almost 36 years young I am constantly weeding my thought life. 

Weeding and enjoying those gracious enough to hear me out, thoughts and feelings and wonderings all alike and help me see things from someone else’s shoes.

It is no fault of someone to have a bent.

Bents are life. They are the result of the pouring of others.

And how are you to know any different until a sweet someone lets you unwind a bit?

No pushing, no arguing.

Just quiet sifting, learning, 




To balance out a bit.

Thank you special someone.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Taming of the Twelve.

The twelve.

Running up the stairs and down, and playing BOTH pianos.

We sit for tea and a stack of ginger snaps to formulate a plan.

If we are together, we're STRONG... divided..... WEAK.

We are RESOLVED. We are downing ginger snaps like there's no tomorrow.

Alright, sounds good. Come with me to wipe a bottom on the toilet.

Ok, lets start that whole "together" thing AFTER this bathroom break.

I massage my husband's feet for the sole purpose of these visitors seeing and going home to publish my sweetness to their mother.

I am smelling something while Joel enquires about our resources for a snack.

Is it really ONLY 9:30???

The organ was apparently lonely and needs to play along as well. Who knew the first few notes of "Jingle Bells" was so endearing?

I think he's messy?


No. He just went.

Well you better check anyway.

He checks and gives me the "I told you so," look and I tell him we have celery and peanut butter for snack.

And puzzle pieces are flying and older ones are trying to figure out how to play "Ten Days in Asia."

"Hmmm you can go to Turkey OR Lebanon."

I was just thinking the BACK YARD....

And their chatter is mixed with Joel teaching Anna to draw an "8."

This bubble is bigger than that bubble..

I am bribing a little to watch over another little that is prone to mischief and each time she checks in with me and no one has lost life or limb she gets a hershey kiss.

She checks in a lot. Well it's worth it for some peace of mind.


"5, 6, 7, 8...."

"Machal but ser yam."

A collective, "Huh?"

Tell me again honey? What?

"Machal but ser yam."

Rachel is cutting ham???

Older brother comes to the rescue telling me that his sister is using the restroom.

It's all good.

Two are missing and some shoes are on and we are stealthy parents.

"There sar sants in the bafoom."

Two go exploring and the older girls fear I will make them fold laundry until night fall and so they hide.

Smart girls.

I need a tissue.

Giggling girls run to and from the "sants."

And ONE SQUARE of two-ply comes.

Can I have a little BIGGER piece???

And as they frolic we are reminded again that if they revolt, we are in serious trouble.

The thought also occurs to me that this is what it would have been like if EACH of our littles had a twin.

I mysteriously begin singing praises to God.

I am imagining Michelle Duggar saying in her sing songy voice, "Jim Bob tells me all the time, These are the best days of our lives and we don't even know it."

And some days I want to do physical harm to her for saying so.

But today as I catch Joel's eye and he gives me that, "We will make it though this day and laugh when we go to bed," look,

I know she was spot on today.

....and it's 9:45

Well, I need to use the restroom, I'll be right back.

Let me know if you need some help.

giggle giggle....

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hat's off to you.

Grabbed the girls and went out for a jaunt to do this and that.

I finally bit the bullet and got my engagement ring sized...... up, that is.

Ahhh that just feels so freeing, typing it.

It did make me feel so lovely when the jeweler just happened to mention that the normal ring size for a woman was a seven, and mine, well for almost fourteen years it has been hanging around at a size

5 3/4.

Yeah it's been too long in coming, but it slides and looks lovely.

Yes you should. You are wondering if you should do the same.


And while you are at it, give those old skirts, you know, the ones from college...

to the teen girl in your church.

And carry some chocolate in your purse for the first time she walks in with one of them.

Or you could just burn them.

Just an idea or two.

We stopped in at the mall to get my ring and afterwards I went to one store and my hubby and a little went to another.

Something about hats on sale.

I found a sweet white jacket for a steal and met up with Joel to find him sporting a cute new hat. He never buys things for himself so I was tickled that he did so.

The girls felt sucked into Clarie's to look at pretties and Joel excused himself to use the restroom.

Yeah not the best topic for blogs, but hey, it goes with the story.

Once we had our fill of headbands we went out to sit on a few chairs to wait for Joel and then he came and we were off to the next store.

And it occurred to me that he wasn't wearing his hat.

"Oh, yeah, well the man cleaning the restroom said he liked it, so I gave it to him."

I am half startled and half smiling.

"And I gave him a tract and told him that Jesus loves him."

What a wonderful thing.

And he went on to tell me that the money he spent on that hat is well worth the possibility of a soul coming to know the Lord.

I found words to ask him what the man said.

"He didn't really know what to say. He just kept telling me thank you."

"Thank You."

Thank you, nice man, for caring more for me then your new hat.

And I would look at him in the car in the dark with the littles half in dreamland and say thank you too.

"Thank you God."

Thank you for a man who loves people, me included.

Thank you for how his heart drawn close to you draws mine too.

I imagine the story that that worker told to his wife or friend that night,

possibly when they said,

"Hey, nice hat."


Saturday, February 23, 2013


It's the end of February.

The littles are refusing to wear socks and getting the most out of their Saturday.

Older brothers are bargaining that if we do school today we can have off the whole day Monday and go to the zoo.

Family radio is streaming and jammies can be seen on no one but me.

It is a good day.

Not because it is Saturday, not because we have food in our bellies, not because we all slept well.

It is a good day because God made it, made us, and has a plan for our lives this very day.

I am pondering the life of Jacob this fine day.

There is still laundry to do, ironing to do for church tomorrow, reading to do with the kiddos, but I am stopping and thinking on Jacob for a bit.

What a guy.

A deceiver.

A runaway.

A wrestler with God.

The Bible says that he prevailed.

He being, Jacob. Prevailing against God and begging him for a blessing.

Surely I am not the only one who finds this amazing.

And then after he wins, God asks Jacob what his name is.

He knows but he asks him anyway.

He asks him so he can tell him what is name WAS.  It will forever be changed from here on out.

 Jacob will forever be changed.

Then Jacob, in turn, asks God what HIS name is.

And God only asks him why he is asking.

How often we see something that only HE can do and still ask, "Is that YOU, Lord?"

And He blesses him there.

What a sight. Wrestling with God, wrestling really his whole life with situations, tricking and being taken advantage of....

And we would say that he made his own bed and should lie in it, and write him off.

But God blesses him.

God comes from heaven in bodily form and in my mind's eye I can picture him thinking as he looks down on Jacob, "Alright. You want to fight, you got it."

You've been there.

Wrestling with life.

Somehow thinking that if you wrestled your last bit of strength out you would no longer be frustrated, angry, bitter, tired of those around you.

Tired of being taken, getting out of your own messes.

And in the midst of your miserable God blesses you anyway.

And God sees our brokenness and asks us what our name is.

We tell him all of our inadequacies and he says, "That's not your name anymore."


He's right. Christ's  brokenness for us changed our standing, our worthiness to God.

And we see, and we are humbled that he would even want to bless us, and we walk with a limp in our spirit the rest of the day.

And Jacob prepares for a hard day.

And says this, "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed  unto thy servant;" Gen. 32:10a

And my heart echoes Jacob's.

And the littles prepare for a play....

Good Saturday to you friends.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Every pot has it's lid.....

It's February. One of my mostest favoritest times of the year. (and yes I did that just so I could see the red squiggilies tell me that was "wrong.")

I love red and all things love and it just may be because I was allowed to watch more Anne of Green Gables than one should be allowed in three lifetimes. : )

And my hair is no longer even able to be swept up like Anne's and I don't even want to know what size skirts she was fitting in, what size I am not fitting in, and I saw somewhere sometime that Gilbert is balding and has ginormous crow's feet around his eyes.

Just sayin'.

(pardon me as I reach for another brownie...)

And the friends on facebook are running miles and I have miles of laundry that just never ends.

And I somehow lost my spunk for the season.

And it's sad, really.

And talks about school work have replaced gazing into each other's eyes. Well my coke bottle glasses that I have to wear because of my lack of contacts might have hindered that a bit too.

But on the flip-side we can always start a fire with enough direct sunlight.

I digress....

And the cardinals, the males, are feeding the females, and I am wondering how on earth we missed that concept????

The littles are at Chinese class which may really come in handy even if they never make it to the foreign field. Some nights when couples discuss family vacations and bills found under the couch it really is like you are speaking different dialects.

And we are late for the church activity and need to get the roast done like last night, so out comes the pressure cooker.

We throw in this and that, what we think will be good and snap on the lid like pros.

So like marriage, is it not?

We just KNOW it all. We have been around the world after all. Well only as far as Indiana, but that can't be that different from the rest of the world, now can it??

And we give our opinions and rationalize and carry our flowers down the isle of wedded bliss.

More like weeded bliss.

And we realize that toothpaste caps and socks on the floor can turn us into the Incredible Hulk, and little after little after little can make us kiss goodbye to the college wardrobe that we swore WE would stay in til our thirties.

And the thirties come and we are still living and loving and making things stretch and not missing those first years that we now see our friends go through. Who by the way seem to us to be getting married in their teens??? Were we really that silly and missing it??

uh, you-bet-your-bottom-dollar.

And we look at our parents like they are amazing to just have survived potty training, and why haven't we asked them more things and why are they not spending all of their time signing autographs?

We argue over how much steam is supposed to come out of the pressure cooker....

We have so seen our steam in our marriage.

And by steam of course I mean pride.

Something like, Only by pride cometh steam.... or something like that.

And the cooker is steaming and we busy ourselves with things to get ready to take to the activity and sure enough it is time to take the roast out.

We look at each other as if to say, "I thought you were going to tell ME how this all ends."

I mention something about " well it would help to read the manual.."

And that has helped.

Where would we both be, our family be without it?

And there are days when you almost wished Ephesians 5 was still written in Greek.

Life, marriage, is responsibility.

Loving takes work and risk.

He heads towards the sink when I mention something about running cool water on it right off of the stove.

We have the fright of our lives when it squeals and I am half into the other room fearing it blowing it's top.

I scramble through the manual..... whew. I was right.

That washing of water by the Word is the only thing to cool things down....and fast.

We giggle like we did in college over the sink.

Me feeling so justified in my "rightness" and he mentioning that I was "outta there" and didn't even care to rescue him in my hurry.

Bottom line, we need to refresh ourselves with the manual if we are to make some scrumptious meal out of life together.

We pull the roast and add sauce for sandwiches and tell each other we should cook together more often.

Indeed we should.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Day that will live on in Infamy.... well perhaps not that long....

Ever have one of those days?

THOSE days?
The ones you refer to as "those" because truth be told you don't want to remember any crumb of a detail about them, so, you just refer to them as "those."

"Those" as in, "those-nasty--awful--very-bad" days.

I have.

I did.....


It started out grand. A real bacon-and-eggs sunny-side-up average day.

It ended with a cancelled trip, grumpy kids because of previous cancelled trip, a trip to the local Russian Orthodox church parking lot where we sat with the gas tank flashing empty and me flashing my license and registration and my face flashing red as I saw how fast I was going, and where a rather large portion of my money was going.....

(pardon me as I sigh)

and then a trip to see my husband and cry while one of the littles tells me in a very harsh tone that "She TOLD me to be careful." And then I stopped crying and tried to imagine how I could crash her next birthday party.

That is if she lived that long....

And then a trip home to make dinner and try to piece the day back together while the littles decide to clean the dollhouse furniture in the bathroom sink leaving a very wet little phone, now on the fritz which will not stop buzzing and came to rest in a bowl of rice to dry out for a day or two.

They are fighting  and I am yelling and can't this day come to a close yet?!!

And we recite our verses over more rice and tacos and I am wondering why Matthew never has a "blessed are they that mourn for their mad money which is now going to the courthouse...... for they shall inherit a great sum of money."

And sniffles are wiped on sleeves and no one wants to scrub the really nasty pot and I am now dreaming of all things chocolate.....

Too much water is added to the brownie mix by a little desperately trying to learn and I am wondering if she will always be Amelia Bedelia.... well..... they'll be MOIST....

And knitting becomes tangled in the five needles I am using for my first ever sock and I am wondering if I will  ever have the courage to knit the second one. Perhaps I should just hang this one on the wall and call it a day.

So I head to bed at the ripe old hour of 7:30 and decide to hibernate or pray for the Lord's return.

Or both.

And await a new day.

Good night friends.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A peek at the pattern

King Solomon's Mines is on the bathroom floor along with half of the Sword of the Lord.

I glance at their sales cleaning up and smile at some book boasting of "The Christian Woman's" something or other.

Always room for improvement.

I sigh. It has been a good long day.

I was so excited to finally finish a book of fiction that was so highly recommended, only to be disappointed, only to realize that the made up saga wasn't half as gripping as the story on the lips of tonight's company, opening raw wounds and still wondering why.

Who needs fiction when real life, when real hearts are so broken and hurting, and spilling over in my living room anyway??

And my heart is remembering hurts and how I could relate, could retell a story so similar to their own that it made my husband's jaw drop open.

He would look, point, and finally told them, our guests, that I really did know.

And it was a sort of weaver's moment for me.

Where I get a teasing glimpse of the upper side of what the Lord has been weaving in and out of my life.

Just enough of the pattern to keep me satisfied seeing a lot of loose edging hanging out on the underside.

And I am shocked and relieved and almost dumbstruck at the realization that there is a lot of hurt that God's children are carrying around.

A lot of guilt and pain and misunderstandings that cause us to get better or bitter, or even blinded to what real love and truth and loyalty really is.

And we sip cider and yes we are having that a lot lately, and I am wondering if this whole meeting is being watched by angels. If God has orchestrated this just so that I am reminded that it is worth it to forgive and keep moving on, and hug more and grimace less.

And the husband keeps catching my eye as if he is wondering if this night is for him as well. For him to be reminded that there are others like me. That forgiving and growing and learning to trust don't come naturally to everyone.

And stomachs are full, and hearts are renewed and prayers are said by the doorway before we all part ways, and I love that prayer can knit together what came in unraveled good as new. It is wonderful like that. That bowed heads and humbled spirits can remember who is mightier than the sting of remembrance.

Do you ever have a moment when you see your life, what has happened, what you have learned start to piece together?

Tonight was that sort of night for me. And what's more wonderful is that tomorrow morning I can choose to see God's weaving hand at the shuttle and give thanks for a messy past.

Good night of soul rest to you,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh, that those who bore us would be born again.

Because it is a good night to write things down.

Because it was a day filled with so many random blessings that if I do not write them down, I will forget, and God will not get enough glory for sending them my way.

The day began with two cardinals, husband and wife, (ok I know that is a stretch, but allow me the pleasure of thinking of them that way, would you?) eating at the feeder while we cleaned up from breakfast.

And God said once again to my heart, "I will take care of you. Are you not more precious than they to me?"

And He met our needs today, needs for fellowship with a sweet couple.

With the husbands working outside, we women folk sat by the roaring fire and I finally realized that it was indeed "Crochet" that she wanted to be taught, and NOT to knit. My husband thought he heard that right on the phone, but I assured him that it was to "knit" that she wanted and she probably gave the wrong English word.

She is Japanese. And I was wrong.

And she takes me to her room and slips out a storage container with oodles of crafting supplies and a slender red case. She tells me that her Mother gave it to her for her birthday when she was in the fourth grade.

I finger it gently and open it.

A knitter's dream. Every needle of every size, double points, counters, so delicately arranged and for sure made out of bamboo. So sweet. And in the middle pocket, my savior for the day, a hook. A crochet hook for catching dropped stitches, and for catching my error of not planning better.

She chains like a pro and I am wishing that April was here to really show her how and not me and my single and double crochets.

I convince her to start again for practice and as I unravel, she begins to unravel about her Mom. How she found out she had cancer, how her father refused to believe that she had anything wrong. How she was a champion through the pain, the chemo, and how she was able to make it to their wedding.

She talks in a little bit of broken English and my heart is breaking, knowing where this is heading.

She remembers the moment she knew that she needed to accept the Lord. She had only been in the U.S. a short while, her husband crazy busy with work and a new culture to make her feel completely alone.

She had left everything and now was confronted with leaving all she had known to trust this Son of God. And to trust Him for her future would acknowledge that her Mother's was settled forever.

And she would never see her again.

Twelve years later she still dreams that she sees her Mother and that they are heading one to heaven and one to hell and she tries futilely to convert her and wakes again knowing that there is no hope.

No hope.

By this time I am holding her newest in my arms still sleeping peacefully and my tears are spilling onto her blanket. THIS Mother/Daughter duo will see the face of Christ. Together.

I look her straight in the eye and tell her that I have such a burden for Asia. That I want to go back and tell her Mother. I want to tell all of Asia. I tell her I am sorry. I am sorry that twelve years ago I was not there to speak truth. I was too busy playing church here to be bothered with a dying Mother of someone I was not connected with.

She is now going back, progressing well on her scarf, thanking me for my time.

And I wish I had time to go back. She tells me that she knows that her Mother's passing gave her a hunger for God, and that we may understand the 99 percent of God's plan, but we will always have the 1 percent we do not know. Here on earth, she says, we will only be Christ-like, not all knowing like Him.

And I wonder if I am teaching her or if she is teaching me.

The men come in to warm cider and they are pleased that I attempted to make them an authentic rice cake, and our van is filled to the brim with wood that we so desperately needed for warmth this Winter. But I didn't need the wood so much as the reminder that we are only here for a little while. I am glad that my Mother will join me in heaven, but shame on me if that makes me the least bit more comfortable here.

Because someone else is dreaming of the chance to see theirs in glory.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Like pulling teeth......

It's a complete struggle.

He knows it needs to come out.

We all know it needs to come out.

The garbage man would tell him it needs to come out....

And still he waits.

And chews, and hits it and cries and my temper flares and my mind shouts, "JUST PULL THE SILLY TOOTH OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And I give the husband the "hurry up and just grab it" look and he smiles. Wait. He wants me to wait a bit longer.

I want to grab it and be done and tell him that we will NOT give him a quarter for the grief he has caused us, and he cries at the dinner table, hitting it again with his fork.

Is it possible to be this angry over a tooth??

I ask for the salad and try to forget.

And I am so frustrated with the pile of laundry shoved under the girls beds. I sigh, shoulders slump, eyes widen, and roll the sleeves up. I know that sometime around tea and with slippers some night we will talk and we will laugh over it, but I just want a pitch fork and a large garbage bag...

We settle for devotions and I beg for the living room because I can get away from the dishes and worrying about if one of the littles swept good enough and can just breathe for a minute.

Breathe and listen to God remind me that we all have growing pains.

Like a tooth, a new tooth pushing out the old and bringing in the new. The better. But always met with resistance.

I smile during the reading. There really is no difference between  6 and approaching 36.

He kneels by Joel, listening to the temple being rebuilt and his eyes brighten. He spills so much from today's school lesson about Ezra.

He remembered. So dirty fingernails don't hinder listening, learning, retaining??? I grin.

And we eat popcorn and put a puzzle together and again I just get frustrated with not being able to find the right pieces. Controlling again. And worries of what if's, like what if we lose a piece and it never comes together right?

And we come up with a neat way to keep the pieces in and I remember that life is messy, but God holds all the pieces together.

It isn't ours to put together anyway.

And I settle littles in beds and wonder if they will be warm enough and one wants to talk about the moon, and I laugh. So important to her, so irrelevant to me.

One greets me with a birthday card for dad in the hallway and I tell him he can hand it to him first thing.

First thing. Promise.

I finally sit to completely relax and take in the day and I hear it.

A squeal. I am almost pretending not to hear so my brain doesn't think I have to move.

"I pulled it out!"

What? YOU did? He did?????

Joel smiles at the stairs.

I'll send him down to show you.

And it's a big deal and there are cheers all around and pictures and relief can be felt by everyone.

And I am reminded that life goes on.

It is scary and you can be a great big chicken and it's ok.

It's really ok.

You can mess up, give up, give in, run away, get angry and just like tape, God hold the pieces together.

He smiles at the end of a very long day like the Father that He is,

at his child who finally decided that a new tooth is best.

And He even smiles when we have fussed and fretted, made everyone miserable, finally relent and still ask if it's too late to get a quarter for complying with the process of growth.

Of course it's not.