I could complain

Today as I wandered around my vegetable garden I noticed that my zucchini stems were starting to rot, the green beans were extremely scarce and the tomatoes weren’t growing. I started complaining in my heart about how I really wanted the vegetables to fill my freezer and save us money this winter. Then I was reminded of all the zucchini, green beans and green peppers I had just this morning vacuum sealed and tucked away for just such an occasion, and this occurred to me.

I could complain about my garden not producing like I’d like,
Or I could be grateful that it’s produced at all.
I could complain about the heat index in July,
Or I could be grateful for my air conditioned escape.
I could complain about my 5 year old’s second ear infection this summer,
Or I could be grateful we live in 2011 where there are medicines and she can keep her hearing.
I could complain about my husband’s new shift,
Or I could be grateful he has a job.
I could complain that my grass is all brown,
Or I could be grateful I have a yard.
I could complain that we have no money in the bank,
Or I could be grateful for ways God has provided.
I could complain that my house is a mess after I cleaned it yesterday,
Or I could be grateful that God has given me two little mess makers.
I could complain that my body does not want to let go of fat cells,
Or I could be grateful that I have food in my fridge and dinner on the table.
I could complain that I’m tired all the time,
Or I could be grateful God has given me a life to experience and the capability to experience.
I could complain about the amount of laundry there is to do,
Or I could be grateful that God has blessed us with plenty.
I’ve learned, it’s all a matter of perspective.
What about you, are you complaining or grateful today?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
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Marked

Years ago, when I was in grad school, I got the brilliant idea* to have someone take an itty bitty needle to my back and draw on it. No amount of Irish Spring is taking that purple and pink away.
Clearly, I am an adult with two pregnancies under my belt now and my lower back is covered for the most part. I’m always saying, “No one wants to see none of that mess.” Which, is probably pretty close to being accurate. But, I digress…
The other day I was leaning over to pick the fruit loops off the floor when Lilla and I had a conversation that went something like this:
Lilla: Mom, why is that butterfly on your back?
Me: Because I was a moron that thought it would be a good idea. It wasn’t.
Lilla: Why not?
Me: Because it is permanent. I can’t ever get rid of it. Once it’s there, it’s there. I wish I had not done that.
Lilla: Even when you die?
Me: Yep, even when I die. It will never go away.
Lilla: Well, maybe when you die it will go away.
Me: Nope, it is going to be there even when I die. It’s forever.
Lilla: Well, maybe not. We are going to get new bodies when we get to heaven and maybe your tattoo won’t be there then.
To which, of course, my breath was taken away. You see, if we are in Christ, she’s right, someday we will have new bodies. All the imperfections and mistakes will be taken away. No more tears or hurts or spur of the moment grad school tattoos.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Phillipians 3:20-21

Thank you Lord, for giving me this lovely child to remind me of your mercy and the promise of heaven!

*Just to clarify, I’m not saying all tattoos are moronic. Mine was not well thought out. At all. For something so lasting, not so bright.

Save the Giraffes

Every other week, when we have communion at church, I retrieve Lilla from her class and take her into the service. On the walk back we begin to discuss why communion is important, why we take it so often, what the significance is in the memory and why it is important to be calm and quiet so others can repent, pray and have time with God too.
Last week, as we joined the line moving toward the altar, our conversation went something like this:
Me: Do you remember why we take communion?
Lilla: To remember Jesus died.
Me: Why did he die?
Lilla: To save us.
Me: And what does that mean for us?
Lilla: That we won’t have to kill anymore giraffes.
Me: That we won’t have to kill anymore giraffes?
Lilla: Yes, because Jesus died so no more animals would have to die. We don’t have to kill the giraffes anymore.
It took me a second to take it in, but as I did, I knew she was right, in her understanding. When Jesus died, it took away our need to have to sacrifice another animal, no more lambs or goats or doves would need to have shed blood to cover our sins.
“Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed me white as snow.”

As I knelt at the altar, tears filled my eyes as I thought “Thank God for the blood of Jesus Christ!” Because of it, the world will never be the same. And, I know Lilla and I and all the giraffes of the world are thankful for it today!

Formed


For Valentine’s Day we gave Anna a 10 set of Play-dough. I know, not very exciting, but it’s her latest favorite thing to do so we went with it.


She loves to bring the little yellow containers to me and have me open them one by one and make them into balls. She shouts out “ball!” as soon as I open my cupped hands.

Something I love about this experience is the new play-dough. Completely untarnished, still very soft and moldable, no stray dog hairs or mixed up colors, not stiffened by a top left undone, the only indentations are at the top and bottom where it had obviously once been a long strand and was cut to fit into said yellow container.

As we were going through this routine once again today, I started thinking about my girls and how their lives were like that play-dough. How fresh and how moldable and soft they were. How they had still been kept mostly untainted from the world. I considered what my hopes were for the impressions that would be left in their lives and how I could myself mold and shape these young beings. It is, in fact, a bit overwhelming to think of such a charge.

But then, I remembered a verse in Isaiah 64 “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” And, I am brought to my knees again as God reminds me that although he has given me a great and important job with my girls, he is ultimately who is forming them. He is the potter, He knows the plans He has for them, He formed them in my womb, I am really just a vessel too.

I am ever so grateful He has chosen me and holds my hands and guides me as He continues to shape me…and my girls!


Here

Tonight as I was getting Lilla out of the bath I heard a “ting, ting, ting”, I looked down and to my horror was one of those brand new pink and white sparklers from her ears. A normal person would just say, “Huh..”, pick them up and put them back in, but remember, they are literally, one week old today. What does that mean? Not only are the holes new, those earrings are pointy. Like little bitty daggers, sharp enough to easily shoot a teeny, tiny hole through an unsuspecting person’s ear. Eeek!

So, not wanting to rattle Lilla, I picked it up and tried, very unsuccessfully, to put that baby back in. I tried through the front, I tried through the back, I tried wiggling it in, I tried shoving it through, I tried any way of manipulating that stubborn thing that I could think of.
Nothing worked. Lilla was crying in pain, begging me to stop. Under normal circumstances, I would have, unfortunately, these circumstances are not normal.
First of all, I paid an ungodly amount of money to get these earrings in last week. I had no idea of that amount until it was all said and done and the lady told me the price. I had a mini stroke. If my husband had been home and realized that might be the only way, he may have said she’s going one earring until her next birthday. The other thing, is I live in the country, I had to drive 45 minutes to get this done, I didn’t want to go back. Selfish, yes, but I’m just keeping it real people.
For 10 minutes this went on until Lilla had just had enough and practically sprinted from the bathroom. I grabbed her little duck towel covered body, hugged her tight and asked her if we could pray about it. She said she would like that. We bowed our heads, prayed a simple, “Please help us do this Jesus.” and went at it one last time.
The earring immediately went through.
Lilla looked at me and said, “See, Jesus can do anything.”
ANYTHING.
James 5:13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.”

Whatever

As the days draw closer to my peanut turning 5, she is getting more questions concerning what she would like for her 5th birthday. I started giving the old stand-bys, Barbies, doll clothes, books, movies…the normal response you’d get.
After one of these calls for ideas though I decided to ask Lilla what she might want. Yes, novel idea you know!
I must admit, her response surprised me, “Whatever Grandma and Grandpa get me will be just fine.”

I actually had to take a moment to process. Whatever they get me. WHATEVER they get me.
No demanding. No long list. No toys r’ us catalog filled with circles and X’s.
My heart just melted as I realized what a heart of gratefulness looked like.


Isn’t that what we all want from our children, our acquaintances and ultimately ourselves? I do. And I’m so grateful for a (very) soon to be 5 year old reminding me what it looks like.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


Ticketed

A little over a week ago we headed down to Tennessee for the second time in just over a few months. Unfortunately, not to enjoy the state we have grown to love, but again for my, in very ill health, father. His wife had mentioned some symptoms that were very concerning to us so we made some reservations, took the dog to my in-laws, packed up the car and drove the, what normally is 6 hours, but when you have kids, much longer, journey to get there.



We got there Saturday evening and dad kept insisting he was fine and wanted at least one day to enjoy the kids. So, we told him we’d be back in the morning and, after church, to the hospital we would go. Saturday night brought many problems so church was skipped and off to the hospital, after much prodding, we went.
Once we got there we were shocked to find out just how sick dad was. His kidneys had shut down, his potassium through the roof and his heart slowed to a very dangerous rate. The doctor informed us he had been just hours away from dieing, had we not brought him in.
At that time we extended our reservations and did all that we could, picking up things from the house, talking to the doctor, making sure things were taken care of that needed to be. We were honestly happy that we were able to do something, but of course had to go back eventually as work beckons and money runs out.
Dad is now back at home, and he is feeling the slightest bit better, by the way.

But, I digress, yesterday I picked up a mail to find a note from a small town we had been in in TN. It was a ticket. Somehow I had kind of rolled through a turn on a red light, which now I know is illegal, and they had caught it on film.
When I first opened it, I was so mad. I just couldn’t believe how God would be punishing me when I had gone down there to do good. Was God real? Didn’t He love me enough to not have something like that happen? I was so angry and upset. I even kept imagining ways to get out of it. Playing scenarios in my mind.

Immediately following this outburst I had started reading the Biblical counseling book we are assigned to for class. As I’m reading about restoring people to God’s will and God’s work, I started thinking about this situation.
I suddenly realized how foolish I had been. First of all, I broke the law. So, I got a ticket. But like any sin, we want to push blame on others, not take responsibility and do what we can, sometimes to the point of killing, to hide it. How could I even suggest that God did not love me because he allowed me to get a ticket for breaking a law? That is honestly, blasphemy against a God I say I love.
So, the check is in the mail. And, more importantly, this lesson is in my heart. Thank you Lord, for loving me enough to teach it to me.

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