No matter what

Last night as we sat around the dinner table we began discussing what my husband would teach at Awana tonight.  He was tossing around a couple of ideas but had nothing concrete yet.  Lilla was listening in so I asked her what she thought Daddy should teach.  Here is a little window to the conversation:

Me:  Lilla, what do you think Daddy should teach on?

Lilla:  Noah.

Me:  Noah?  Well, Noah is a good story but what is the lesson in Noah?  (I’m thinking she’s going to say something about rainbows or God’s faithfulness at this point.)

Lilla:  No matter what happens you should always listen to God.  Even if your friends make fun of you, you should still do what he says.

Me:  We really should.

Lilla:  Yes, because you know, everyone was probably laughing that he’s building this boat but he kept right on building it.  We should do that too, just keep doing what he says.

Michael and I just stared at her for a second, trying to take in what she just said.

Oh, and Michael has a lesson plan.


As I peruse facebook, so often I see posts from mom’s and dad’s about how their child won the jump roping the world competition or spelled the longest word in the dictionary with no repeated letters (Uncopyrightable) or how their 1 year old has gone #2, 2 1/2 times that day.  (TMI people, TMI!!)

As a parent, I know what it is like to be proud of your child.  You want to be proud of them and you want the world to also see the awesomeness that exudes from their very pores.  Don’t we all as parents?
Well, today, something happened that made me a different kind of proud.  I went in to drop Lilla off at VBS tonight.  This was her third night to a church we’ve not visited before.  I had searched for this particular VBS and that’s how she wound up there as it was the closet to our house.  Anyway, her leader stopped me for a little bit of small talk and then was talking about Lilla had taken part in the discussions and referred to her going to this VBS before.  I told her she had not, she said, well, I know she’s not been to this church before but she has been to this VBS.  I again told her she had not.  This conversation went on for about a minute before she understood Lilla had in fact not been to this VBS.  
The lady then kind of stared at me kind of dumbfoundedly.  She then said, “She knows all the answers and is telling us the stories.”  I kind of laughed and said, “She really likes Bible stories.”  She then told me how this was not normal how well she really knew the stories, she just couldn’t believe she’d never been to this VBS before and how Lilla kept them on their toes.
My heart swelled with joy because I really want her to know and love the Bible.  I want her to have an understanding and theology that only bring her closer to her creator.  I’m not saying this to get a “good job Amy”, I’m actually saying it to say, this is what is important.  Sports and academics and all the other stuff has it’s place, but oh, for our children to have their hearts and minds set on God…well, there is just nothing else like that in the world.  
Luke 2:19  But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Thank you God

Lately I have been feeling, and if I’m honest, acting, very negatively.  It seems everything that comes out of my mouth is negative, I’m harsh with my family, I’m easily irritated with friends, I’m annoyed with the too slow cashier at Wal-Mart, I’m bothered by the sun shining too bright in my eyes, I’m enraged by the driver next to me that is tailing somebody far too close.  The list can go on and on.  I’m just negative.  And frankly, I haven’t liked me lately.

I don’t think many have liked me lately.  And the worst part is I notice it passing down to my children.  I notice when I am negative they start to be negative too.  Particularly Lilla.  And it makes me sad.  I want my girls to experience the freedom and joy that comes from a life of no negativity.

So I’ve been evaluating why.  Why am I so irritated with my husband’s innocent comment about dinner, why do I get angry when I see the crayons spilled all over the living room floor, why do I roll my eyes when I see certain phone numbers on my caller ID, why am I annoyed that everyone has the same struggles on a different day, why does it seem I’m the only one struggling with what I am and everyone else seems to have it easier?  Negativity.

It has creeped in and stole so much joy.   So much joy.  I’m not able to laugh with my children wholeheartedly, I’m not able to enjoy the sun filled days like I should, I’m not able to hear God’s whispers, I’m not able to show grace and mercy.  Joy stolen.

So how do I get the joy back?  Gratefulness.  Thankfulness.  Appreciation.  I believe when I am focusing on all of the crappy stuff of the world it makes it pretty difficult to focus on all the precious, lovely, many blessings God has given.

Romans 8:5-8

The Message (MSG)
Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

So last night, as I sat pushing my little one on the swing I decided to just start thanking God.  Thank you God for a beautiful night, thank you for the green grass, thank you God for the birds chirping a lovely song…and what I noticed was Anna repeating all those things after me.  Just yelling out into the air, THANK YOU GOD.   She didn’t care who could hear her, she just said it with her whole heart.  My thankfulness and gratefulness passed down to Anna.  Thank you God.

Nehemiah 8:10, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Psalm 23:5, “My cup overflows.”

Tick, tock

Yesterday, I had one of those experiences that just makes time stand still.  Takes your breath away and pulls you back in time.  23 years, to be exact.

23 years ago in the middle of a slumber party.  My sister and some friends and I decided to go tee pee and egg someone’s house.  These boys that lived around the block and were just rotten to us all the time.  I’m sure we gave it back to them too, although those memories are pretty faded now.  We headed over with a bunch of toilet paper, Hershey syrup and a carton of eggs.  My sister and friends let their house and car have it.  I hid under the car.  I was brave that way. 🙂

After we were finished with our horrible mission, we headed back with a couple of eggs left in tow.  There was another boy that lived on that block that one of the girls with us had a crush on forever.  I have no idea why but we threw those eggs in his mailbox.  

Months later he asked me, “Was that you?”  I’m sure I giggled and mumbled something to the effect of, “Oh no, not me.”  Or something to that sort, I was pretty fearful of boys back in those days.  He laughed and just said, “It was you.”  Totally good natured.  He was just that kind of guy.

Soon after my family moved five hours away when my mom got married and I never knew what happened to him.  Yesterday, I found out.

He made a whole lot of friends.  Became a contractor.  Got married.  Had 2 sweet little girls.  Turned 37.  And died yesterday in a terrible drowning accident that no one seems to be able to believe.  And life just keeps on ticking for the people that are left.  Tick, tock, tick, tock…  It seems like it won’t go on, but it does.

So many questions about how unfair life is.  Why would God allow someone like this, someone who has a life and family, to die in such a horrible way.  It’s just devastating.  

Then I remember that we live in a fallen world.  A broken world that is so desperately in need of a Savoir.  Broken hearts, broken lives, hurt, devastation…it’s all so sadly a part of our daily existence because this is not at all what God created us for.  When Adam and Eve took that first bite and every time we take a bite of that proverbial apple, there is a disconnect with a God that created us in his image.  A God that craves relationship with us, and we just keep getting in the way.  So there is death.  

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.  James 4:14

But that is not the end of the story friends.  We can have life eternal with a God who wants reconciliation with us.  He loves you.  He loves me.  He loved my classmate too. 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:6

If you have not made a commitment to this God that loves you and are interested in finding out more, please do not waste another moment.  Life is just so short and we are not promised tomorrow.  

Here is a great link to tell you more about it.  

I’m praying for you, dear reader.  I’m praying if not already, today would be your day of salvation.

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Hello there and welcome to my little party inside the big party!  This is my 3rd or 4th party and I’ve always had a great time and found some awesome bloggers.  I hope to have a chance to find many more this year!
This is me, Amy.  I’m usually the one with the camera in my hand.  I love to take pictures and remember all the fun times in life.  This year I’m also teaching a photography class to fifth and sixth graders at our local homeschool co-op.  That’s been lots of fun and taught me lots in the process.

This is my three year old daughter, Anna.  She’s full of life, laughter and fun.  She’s always into something new and she’s always passionate.  Anna brings lots of joy and hugs to our lives and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.  She’s our mechanically inclined daughter, the house comedian and a daddy’s girl.

 This is my six year old daughter, Lilla.  I homeschool her in first grade this year.  She is interested in everything pink, ballet and God.  Lilla is always making us think with the things she says.  She is very bright, very thoughtful and very interested in life.

 We recently obtained 8 baby hens.  They bring lots of entertainment to our house too.  Particularly to our dog!

They are getting ready to be put in the hen house and I’m ready to have them out of my garage!

We have had the privelage of homeschooling our children since the beginning.  We are currently working on 1st grade with Lilla and preschool with Anna is just starting.

My girls are the heart of our home!  They make our home come alive each and every day.

 My husband, Michael, and I have been married for 8 years.  He’s a great guy that is a wonderful provider and friend.  He loves God, his family and his country.  My oldest is a mini me of my husband.

Our youngest is my mini me.

Now that you’ve been introduced to us, I’ll tell you about my blog.  I write when I have time, which doesn’t seem like much lately.  I like to write about the things though that make me think, make me laugh or that I think would be helpful to others.  I also like to record special things in my kids lives.

I hope you will take a minute to say hi and let me know you stopped by so I can say hi to you too!

I would

Once a week we head over to our local home school co-op where Lilla learns with other kids her age subjects such as music, art, physical education and science. She loves to spend the time with the other children, learn some fun and new things and get to spend some time outside of these four walls.

Last week as we were headed there I had a radio station on that was playing a sermon. The sermon was about forgiveness and how it could not only change the forgiven but the forgiver. We didn’t hear the whole sermon, as the venue where we meet is not that far from our house but the one part we did hear I remember quite distinctly. It was a story about a man who used to be a mediocre performer at work, very up and down and then he became exceptional. When another employee asked why he replayed a story from his own life. When he was in college he and some friends were playing a game of chicken with themselves and their cars. When it was his turn he was going 100 miles per hour and the other guys were to jump out of the way just in time. One of them didn’t. He couldn’t get the image out of his head. He dropped out of school, was troubled and never was able to be stable at work. Then one day everything changed. He heard a knock on the door. He answered it to a somewhat familiar woman whom he could not place. She stated she was that boy’s mother. She just wanted to say she had forgiven him. It changed everything.

Of course, I started crying. Trying to control my tears I got out of the car and told Lilla we needed to go. She kind of stayed in her seat for a moment. After not moving I told her again we had to go or be late. She looked at me kind of curiously and then started to move toward the door. I hadn’t realized she was listening to the program and wanted to hear more. She then simply stated, “I would have forgiven him too.”

I was taken aback and said, “You would forgive someone for killing your son, even accidently?”

She said, “I would. That is what God tells us to do, so, I would.”

I know it seems simple and she is not a mother yet and can’t understand what that means, but it is her simple heart of obedience that really floors me. She really has a heart to obey. When I asked her why she said, “Because I love God, so I obey him.”

When I ask her why she states, “God gives us rules because He loves us and he wants to keep us safe so we should obey them.”

My prayer is that this love for God will not depart from her, she will never lose a heart that longs to serve a God that loves her. That, all of her days her heart will be moved toward a God that offers hope in despair, gives us strength when we are weak and meets all of our needs.
I hope that for you too.

Love is all you need

Tomorrow we are going to celebrate the birthday of my first born, my peanut, my little love. 6 years? What? I can’t even process that right now. It was yesterday at this time I was laying in a hospital, waiting, and waiting and waiting for something, anything to happen. Yesterday.

Today one of her friends dropped by. Her best friend. The first thing out of Lilla’s mouth was to remind her that her birthday was tomorrow. Her friend replied, “Oh, we haven’t gotten you a present yet.” Lilla’s response? Classic Lilla, “That’s ok. The best gift is love anyway.”

And the most amazing part? She really means it. It’s right from the heart. She wasn’t trying to finagle or manipulate, it just rolled off her tongue. Beautiful words from a beautiful little lady.

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

Happy birthday baby! May you be surrounded with love your whole life through!