Thursday, March 27, 2014

Throw Back Thursday, The Touch

Here is a throw back, from way, way back! This is the first thing I remember writing beyond a couple of classroom assignments from my public school days (2nd-5th) and an end of the school year poem. (maybe I'll share that silly treasure someday) 

Long before nights of lying awake worrying about one of my kids, before sleepless nights worrying about finances, before the oh so disconcerting moments of being startled awake by a tiny little face mere inches from my own whispering, "mommy". I woke up in the middle of the night with these words that would not go away. I gave in and wrote them down and went back to sleep. (the first of many nights of words break dancing in my head until I shut it down with a pen and paper) 

Thank you to the gracious judges from my junior year student convention for finding something redeeming in this poorly written, extremely juvenile piece and finding it worthy of first place. 

Thank you to my dad for listening quietly as I read you my first of many many writings and being kind enough to look impressed and utter, "WOW!" 

Thank you to my sister who listened and directed and redirected for hours on end to get this monologue competition ready. 

If you dare read on I assure you, it is certainly lacking. But my first unsolicited writing will always be dear to my heart! 

Here it is
The Touch:

I was sitting on a ledge one day, looking out at the ocean. It was so wonderful to be away from everything and everyone, and be able to sit there and feel sorry for myself. 

In the time I had been sitting there, it had begun to grow dark. Then suddenly, I saw a small shadow from behind. Turning, I saw nothing. Then looking a little harder I saw what looked like the outline of a mouth, it seemed to be smiling. Feeling very strange for imagining such a thing, I turned back around to stare out at the ocean. 

I began to think of all the loneliness I had felt for so many years, and how, even since I was a small child, everyone, friends, family, grandparents, everyone I had ever loved had left me. Voices echoed through my head, "I know you don't want me to go, but I just can't stay here with your father, not right now anyway. I'll be back for you someday." 

"Yea, someday. Thanks for coming back mom. You know you didn't even show up for daddy's funeral" 

Then there was grandma right before she died saying, "Do not forget, He will always be there, right behind you." 

Obviously the woman was losing it; she was always talking about her precious Father in heaven. Well the only faher I had ever known left me when I was eleven years old, after he had promised me as I sat so faithfully at his bedside that there would always be someone right beside me. Well he was wrong! After Grandma died there was no one beside or behind me. I was alone! 

I started crying then and through my tears I saw the shadow again. I turned, and saw the smile, and then I saw ears that seemed to be listening to my cry. I felt ashamed, had I been longing for some one to jus sit and listen to me for so long that I was imagining such strange things? Trying to reject anymore of my crazy thoughts, I turned once again to the ocean, and once again let my mind be filled with my sad memories. 

At that moment a wind began to blow, I shivered, not only from the cool breeze, but this breeze almost felt like a hand reaching out to rest on my shoulder. Whatever this strange feeling was, it made me feel very different. I could not exactly distinguish the feeling; it was unlike any other I had ever felt. 

Then the shadow crept up, only this time closer. However, rather than making me feel cooler in this night breeze the shadow filled me with warmth, and as I once again turned to see this figure standing behind me, I saw the same mouth and ears, and I realized, this must be the hand of a man on me! 

Finally! Feeling all the love and comfort I had so longed for that I knew would never go away, I began to fall in love. How could I not? With that smile not like the usual mocking smile I had grown accustomed to, but a strong and reassuring smile. Those ears, that didn't just listen, waiting to hear me mess up, but listening to my hearts cry. There was more, eyes that burned with fire, looking into my eyes and searching my soul, rather than my outward appearance. No, how could I not love a man with such strong and wonderful features? And I hadn't even begun to see his face. 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on God...For FOREVER!

We all find ourselves in the position of waiting from time to time. In my opinion waiting on the Lord is the hardest of these moments. When I am waiting on my kids to put on their shoes, unload their part of the dishwasher, get in bed, I can watch, I see them drawing closer and closer to the end result. We often times do not see God at work until He is done. In fact the process He goes through to get there is many times excruciating. You feel you are being pulled further away from what you have asked for. I was talking to a friend about this the other day. We had talked about some of the great men of faith in the bible who had to wait many years, experiencing things that looked nothing like what God had promised. Soon after this conversation my friend sent me this

If you know your bible even a little bit you know this is true. 

I am not a patient person. I want what I want, preferably before I ask, but if absolutely necessary I'll take it within a minute or two of making my request.

Nearly a year ago, when asking God for deliverance from something He brought to mind Lamentations 3:26

"It is good to wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord."
Not my favorite thing to do, this waiting. For once in my life I thought, "ok, I can do this." I'd rather some immediate results but at least it was something. God had given me a word to cling to regarding my situation. So I spent my year doing just that, waiting. JUST that, only that. I sat idly by and waited.

Today another dear friend shared this day's devotion from Sarah Young's Jesus Calling:

Waiting on Me means directing your attention to Me in hopeful anticipation of what I will do.... Waiting on Me is the way I designed you to live... I created you to stay conscious of Me as you go about your daily duties.
The scripture reference that went along with this devotion was none other than Lamentations 3:26...and 24 and 25. Why I had not taken the time to sit down and read the context of the verse I have been leaning on for a year probably speaks to my laziness. It is right there though, in verse 25:
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him. 
Immediately after this is my verse, it is good to wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord. 

God does not ask us to wait because He is busy and will get to us when He has time. He has not asked us to take a number. He is asking us to not take the situation into our own hands. We are to leave it alone and while He does His thing we are freed up to seek him. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And then all these things... the things we are waiting on will be taken care of by Him. (Matthew 6:33)

It's possible that I have wasted a year of my life. Fortunately for me His mercies are new every morning, this year, last year, next year. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

If you are waiting on God, take heart! He will deliver. You are free from the burden of fretting over it, incidentally freed up to seek Him and seek His kingdom!

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

With Me Through Motherhood

Psalm 23 - Through My Mommy Lenses

The Lord is my shepherd, I want for nothing.
He alloweth me to pass out cold in the middle of a repeat episode of Sophia the First while my 4 year old is inthralled.
He leadeth me around water puddles after bath time.
He restores my soul and created hemroid cream to restore my puffy eyes.
He guides me through heaps of laundry and brings Himself glory even in the midst of mismatched socks.
Yea though my refrigerator smells like the valley of death, I will fear no clumpy milk for you are with me.
Your rod and staff, and a bowl of chocolate icecream they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, and the occasional snotty PTA mom.
You annoint my head with oil and my face with oil of olay and my sensitive skin it thanks you.
My sink of dirty dishes overfloweth.
Thankfully your goodness and mercy and grace shall follow me all the days of this life called motherhood.
And if I do my job right my family and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
by Sarah Brooks 3/18/24

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Love - Through My Mommy Lenses

A look at I Corinthians 13:4-8 (through my mommy lenses)

Love is patient...during homework.
Love is kind...when you want to yell.
It does not envy...your children at bedtime while you are still mopping floors.
It does not boast...that "back when you were a kid..." 
It is not proud...when you need to apologize to your child. 
It does not dishonor others...while expecting respect for yourself.
It is not self-seeking...even at dessert time.
It is not easily angered...Say it again, it is NOT EASILY ANGERED.
It keeps no record of wrongs...even in the midst of discipline. 
Love does not delight in evil...but gently shows another way. 
(And) rejoices with the truth...Celebrating it's every occurrence, providing a safe place for it.
It always protects...both body and heart.
Always trusts...that you are THE ONE for the job. 
Always aren't screwing it up. 
Always perseveres...because even if you do screw it up you are THE ONE for the job.
Love never keep right on loving!

by Sarah Brooks 3/18/14

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Which American Idol Judge Are You?

I totally American Idol Judge my kids! I do, it's true. I realized this a couple of days ago. For those of you who watch American Idol I am sure you know this and for those of you who are not viewers I will tell you. The judges say a few words to the singers after they have performed. They have become notorious for telling the contestants something they should change, the very next week the contestant complies with suggested change and the judge turns right around and tells them they don't like what the contestant did. 

This was really bad one year for one of my all time favorite girls that has competed on the show, Allison Iraheta. Every week it was the same thing, one of the four judges would say something like, "It was good but I'd really love to see you sing something a little softer maybe slow it down a bit." Next week, after singing her heart out in the form of a lovely ballad, the same judge would say, "Allison I don't understand, you are a rock star you should stick with what you know. I really wish you had done another rock song." And it went on and on every week. Poor Allison, she could not win! 

In a very similar way I coach my kids. Our oldest is very responsible and is by nature, a nurturer. Because of this I rely heavily on her. I give her tasks to do, "Help your little sister buckle. Can you go make sure Hannah stays focussed on cleaning her room? Go help Hannah pick out some clothes." Then whenever Elyse pushes it a little too far I am right there saying, "Elyse you are not the boss. I am the mom! Elyse, you don't need to do that for her, I told her she needs to it herself." I have pulled an American Idol Judge move. Poor Elyse, she cannot win! 

I do this to the boys too. As I am walking through a cluttered home in the morning trying to get us out he door on time for school I will begin barking out orders, "Boys, come take care of your breakfast dishes, Elijah your shoes are under the table, come put them on. Isaiah, your hair is a mess you need to go brush it." A few minutes later, when there are still dishes on the kitchen table I will say, in a slightly more frustrated tone, as I go in search of the offending kids, "Boys your cereal bowls are still on the table." A confused Isaiah will call out, "I'm brushing my hair like you told me to." And it is at about that moment  I find a curly head leaning over scuffed shoes, trying to make a perfect bow. Maybe slightly more frustrated I will let out a sigh, wave Elijah's hands out of the way and tie the shoes myself. Likely saying something like, "we do not have time for you to make a perfect bow buddy. You just need to be quick. Now go put away your bowl." Rewind a few days earlier to a very similar morning. I am walking through a cluttered house, I pass a cute curly head and look down to smile. I notice shoelaces trailing along behind size 12 shoes and I say, "Elijah you have got to start tying your shoes better you can't just slop through it!" Poor boys, they cannot win! 

We must be careful with our words. I am always in a rush, I often joke that my kids will grow up and say, "I remember always being in a hurry. I don't really remember us actually going places. I just remember we were always in a hurry to get there." But in our rush, in our aggravation we must not spew out rules that are forever changing. We must have very clear expectations of our children in our own minds, and then make those same expectations clear to our kids. If we are forever changing our minds, changing our plans, changing the rules, we will never be able to expect our kids to take us seriously. We will create an atmosphere of confusion and frustration. They will be forever trying to please but often coming up short - and this will be through no fault of their own. Slow down moms, think your words through. Remember the rules and expectations you have for your children and begin to create a place and a way for them to follow those rules to meet your expectations! I know I certainly need to do this. 
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Sight to See

I did something incredibly stupid today. I am talking palm to forehead what was I thinking S.T.U.P.I.D. I went to the grocery store, right after school got out, by myself, with all four kids!!!!! Pulling into the parking lot, I thought it. Crossing the street, I thought it. Walking through those double glass doors, the thought was overwhelming me... What the HECK was I thinking!

Thank you HEB for the awesome two person car carts complete with movable steering wheels! Obviously the brilliant mind that thought that up has multiple young children! Thank you HEBuddy, you give my kids something to look forward to, with your buddy bucks and little yellow stickers!

I feel like I am always a spectacle when I go out alone with my children. Before we went to the store I had taken all four kids to the eye doctor. My oldest had an appointment. I took everyone out of school early and we crammed into a tiny little exam room. I got the following comments,

"Oh you brought the whole crew this time!"
"You've got your hands full!"

#1 I've got four kids, we are one of those strange middle class families where the dad goes off to work every week day, and my kid's teachers never offer to watch my children for an extra few hours after school if I need to run some errands... So yep, pretty much. I brought the whole crew!

#2 Actually my hands were empty, not one thing was in my hands. Hands... Empty!

But the real fun came when I pushed an over sized green car shaped grocery cart full of a 4 year old and 6 year old - whose combined weight very nearly matches my own. A beautiful young 4th grader was on my left, only a mere 10 inches shorter than me. A handsome 2nd grader, who came up with 49 different ways to wear a scarf during our hour long trek through the store, not one of them traditional scarf drapering, was on my right. And yes, only 6 inches of my 4 feet 10 inch self was visible over the adorable heads of our cart "drivers".

I adore my kids, they are well behaved(ish) most of the time. They are super sweet, love to serve, and are hilarious! What they are NOT is quiet! I am in love with each and every one of their personalities - and personalities they have in abundance! Those fantastic personalities were on display for all to see while we shopped. We got all the looks. The curious look, older sister, or tiny mother?? The good grief look, clearly she missed the sex ed talk that focused on birth control. The wide eyed kindred spirit look from other mothers with children hanging out of every end of their cart, we will come through this alive. If we truly believe it it will happen. We also got lots of smiles, plenty of people stopping to strike up a conversation with one of the kids, and then there was the saviour of the hour who was giving out free samples. After asking if they had just gotten out of school this angel handed out seconds and thirds, stating that her kids were always starving when they got home from school and so these four surely were famished. She ignored every single one of my protests and fed my kids well.

Heading back to the cold section... again, I was answering silly questions, listening to nonsense jokes, and hearing the latest in fourth grade gossip and I thought, "goodness I love this!" I loved having babies. I miss having babies! But this, this stage is awesome! We were a sight to see. Surely everyone got an earful! I got a heartful, and I don't know about the rest of the customers at main street HEB but we had a blast!

From left to right: Husband (who works), Beautiful 4th grader, Adorable 6 year old,
Handsome 2nd grader, Adorable 4 year old, Short mom with a full heart!

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