Friday, July 30, 2010

Take 5

This last week has been a complete gift. Unexpected joys. Laughter. Hugs that fill you inside and take up any space that feels even the slightest bit empty.

So.Thankful.

1. Someone whom I love, currently serving overseas on a short term mission, is headed home soonly. She's been able to effectively communicate the word and show love HIS LOVE to those who desperately need it. She's been spreading hope and joy into other's lives. She's invested. I've been honored to partner with her in prayer, and she's returning stronger than when she left. I can't wait to have her rejoin our lives and see the changes in hers.

2. The professor is an amazing guy. He chooses every day to love us, to stay committed to me, and to take time off from his research and crazy busy schedule to drive halfway across the country with the girls and me. He pretty much just rocks.

3. My sweet chickadees spent fifteen hours in the car at the beginning of the week and in about 24 hours will do it all again. No whining, no complaining. Best travellers HANDS DOWN. They are amazing.

4. I made it all the way to IA and can still move. A miracle in and of itself.

5. I chose to save my favorite for last...I was given the gift of friendship from possibly the most incredible woman in the universe. She's beautiful, strong, hilarious, joy-filled, gracious, compassionate, giving, loving...the list goes on infinitely. I've been able to spend the last 48 hours with her and my heart is full. Sara doesn't just write about joy, she lives it. Chooses it. Spreads it.

SO. THANKFUL.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Take 5 Friday

This has been a very difficult week. Thus, my five will probably reflect the fact that I'm thankful we're heading up to a weekend and a new seven days ahead. I'm going to honestly work to find things I am thankful for though, so maybe this will turn out better than I think...

1. Last Friday I received the phone call that broke my heart. I learned to function through the pain.

2. The professor left Sunday for a week in Cape Cod, MA. I wasn't able to travel with him because my body will no longer let me go 19 hours each way in a vehicle. This makes me hopping mad.

3. I was reminded of the good in others specifically by two amazing women who are loving on my friend, and by the countless others loving her from afar.

4. It finally rained. Yes, I know this one is weak, but I am grasping, and am most thankful that I was able to not use the irrigation system this week. I'm also a lover of storms how they sound and not how they make me feel and the drops colliding with the window panes were healing to my soul.

5. I did very little sleeping this week. Sigh. Nothing like your neighbor's car being broken into, backing up to a farm, knowing the strong man in your life is out of town, having your heart so full it could burst, and vandalism all colliding...but the flip of this was that I was able to make use of The Mom Creative photo deals, design a free canvas from The Canvas People, made a digital album with 40% off at Shutterfly, and order Little Bit's prints we went last October to add to her Disney Autograph Book.


Here's to a new week, the return of the husband, and the hope that is present in my heart...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Piece of Me

As the mama bird in this nest, I often feel that pieces of me are going in a million different directions; paying the bills, balancing budgets, schooling the chicks and accompanying them to dance and piano...in essence, keeping the nest. I flit and fly trying to get everything done. I was unusually unsettled Thursday evening, more preoccupied than normal because a piece of me was hurting. I spent the early hours of Friday in prayer and woke to preoccupation, checking texts and twitter, keeping the phone close.

In the late afternoon my phone rang as I was working on piano theory with Little Bit. It wasn't a number I recognized so I let it go to voice mail, thinking it was simply a mistake. Five minutes later, same number. This time I picked up, the question mark in my voice. My stomach dropped as my heart broke; all I wanted to do was take flight. A piece of me was hurting.

The call left me shaken and ready for action, but what was I to do? I prepared dinner with barely a murmur. My chicks watching me and trying to figure out what was ahead. The meal on the table, an "amen" said, I headed up to the sanctuary of the bedroom to breathe for the piece of me that was in agony.

A piece of me...

The piece that resides in Iowa.

The piece that has made her home a haven and has graciously accepted the changes and challenges that come with a chronic illness that just plain stinks.

The piece that loves a furry guy named Riley, adores Padma, and hitches a lift with George.

The piece that has been so ill for the last month that she's barely audible on the phone, but when she laughs I can feel it over the 800 mile spanse that separates us physically.

The piece that shows Jesus in every single word she utters and types and with each action she takes.

The piece of me that outside of my God, the professor, and my sweet little chicks makes me feel whole.

The piece I didn't know I'd been missing until she showed up, full of joy, in my life.

On Friday, this piecethe woman I am honored to call my heart sister named Sara (aka Gitz, GitzenGirl and Fritz) got a call that her Dad had died suddenly of a heart attack. Sara's dad, Mike, was a light; he shined so brightly one almost needed to wear shades in his presence. He was joyful, giving, kind, gentle, incredibly hard working, and full of life. Sara tells me he didn't know a stranger and everyone felt better just being with him. For those of you who know Sara, I think you'd agree that his qualities are mirrored in his girl. He was her first boyfriend, her favorite dance partner, and the man she cuddled with during movies on slow Sunday afternoons. Her Dad. This piece of me was in agony and there was nothing I could do but pray and lift her up to our heavenly Father, the One who sustains her through every peak and valley, the One who gave her to all of us to love. Sara inspires love. She unites people. Glorifies God. I would bet and I'm not a gambling woman that if you know her you'd claim her as a piece of you, too. Gitzen Girl doesn't just choose joy, she exudes it.

Which is why it is physically painful for me to watch her go through the valley she has to now travel through. She's not alone...she's surrounded by an amazing group that is loving on her when the rest of us cannot. Alece immediately hoped a plane and took flight to be at Sara's side just 48 hours after returning from a 12 week fundraising trip for ThriveAfrica. She's being His hands and feet. Susie, who let the world know with both grace and beauty of the events that were transpiring via the blog was waiting at her doorstep as she got the news, and has made sure that Sara isn't alone, even for a minute. Susie is His hands and feet. I know she's not alone, but I so want to be near her. I'm sure that everyone who loves her does...But right now she's ill physically with an infection she's been fighting for weeks and she's heart broken. A piece of me is hurting...and I can't make it stop.

I usually don't plead with my Savior. I am a go with His flow kind of gal. I trust His plan and His amazing design for my life and the lives of others. This weekend? Well, that whole train of thought went flying out the window. I begged. I pleaded. I grovelled. May have done a belly and face plant; a piece of me was hurting. I wanted her healed. Pronto. I wanted her physical pain and circumstances to not interfere with her ability to grieve. I wanted her body to be whole so she could have the opportunity to mourn alongside her family. I wanted to just take it all from her, every fuse, ache, infection, labored breath. I'd take it all because she is a piece of me.

There has not yet been any miraculous healing hey, a chick will continue to hope but perhaps a more fitting and Gitz-like story has been unfolding daily. The infection that has been plaguing her for weeks isn't progressing further than it had on Friday even though she's talking and crying and more active than normal, she's not shown signs of other infections even through she's been around a multitude more than she usually sees, she's been able to participate in the family viewing, in the wake, and will attend her dad's funeral virtually because others like Katie who was able to help set it up and Alece who will sit beside her and Susie who has done more than any of us realize have been His hands and feet. All of this for a piece of me.

Alece posted on loving our Sara here , so please go check it out and participate if you feel so led; she's come up with some amazing, tangible ways we can all show our support and affection. (In) Courage , where Sara is a regular contributor, gives an amazing way to show our love here . Jessica's site encourages prayer and describes how to send her an honest to goodness ink and paper card.

Which lead me to the following conclusion...she's not just a piece of me, she's "ours". We love, come together for, and support her. She inspires this in each of us. By her reflection of Jesus, she claims pieces of us. Her joy, her passion, her determination, spunk and humor all reflect Him. Even while grieving, Sara's life reflects her relationship with God and draws people to Him. At her lowest, He is still glorified. Sara reflects Him in each situation and circumstance.

I hope someday people desire to claim a piece of me...because like amazing, strong, beautiful, loved beyond measure Sara I want to reflect all of Him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Take 5 Friday


  1. We all made it through Leg's Independence Day Marathon...with our heads attached. While experiencing it, we weren't sure anyone would make it out alive.

  2. On Tuesday evening, Little Bit fell asleep on my chest as I sang her a lullaby. I can't remember the last time it happened, but it was sweetness to my soul.

  3. Legs attended a middle school event at church every morning this week. She was fed spiritually and I had time with the little to paint nails, curl hair, cuddle and watch musicals.

  4. Sonic was 3 for 3 this week on the quality(think of the three t's--taste, texture, tang) of my fresh fruit lime slushes purchased during happy hour. Unheard of but greatly appreciated.

  5. I set aside time twice this week to talk to my friend on the phone. Just for me. Without interruptions well, not too many. Pure bliss.

Tell me about your week the great and not-so in the comments. Looking forward to your Take 5

Sing A Song

I have the great honor of studying God's Word with my chickadees

I learn about His heart and theirs at the same time

I am constantly amazed at the depth of question and understanding that come from little hearts

There is pure, childlike faith

Trust is evident

Joy is obvious

Sometimes, there is laughter

Yesterday Little Bit and I sat down to dive in together. Her big sis was at church better learning how to both speak and listen to her God. Boo and I were sitting at the kitchen table, finishing breakfast and studying together. We read chapter 2 of the beginning (aka Genesis 2) and continued on to the Psalms. After we both recited a Psalm aloud, she stopped me by placing her little hand atop mine. "Mama, why are we not singing these?" she questioned. I paused and replied, "Well, they don't have any music with them...and I don't know exactly how David intended they be sung, so...." I trailed off as she looked at me expectantly. Quickly Little Bit came up with a brilliant in her mind solution, "Well, how about I give you a sound and you go ahead and just sing it." I sat, puzzled, working through her suggestion and trying to find a creative way to deny her request. Then, she gave me her "sound" and declared with a smile I find irresistible "Go for it!" What was I to do? Tentatively I began; as I finished a line she'd provide me with a new tone. We continued on for three Psalms in this manner and as I finished up we were both beaming and laughing. I've sung Psalms,but they've been put to notes and measures and timed out. Our time together was completely spontaneous and not always very harmonious but I'll treasure it in my heart as a precious memory with my babe. I love the way she was able to go outside the lines and follow her desire to worship as she saw fit. To Little Bit, the Psalms were just words unless we sang them. When given music her heart music they came to life and became worship. Today I was prepared. I went right for Psalm 36, first reading, then placing it to music. Music that had already scripted to suit it. It was beautiful and she beamed with pleasure. But tomorrow? Maybe we'll do it her way again...

Psalm 36 v. 5-7

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the
heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the
mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O Lord, you preserve both man and
beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!"

To sing along with us today, click here and enjoy Psalm 36 at it's best with Third Day leading http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEF7IoQ3eUk . We look forward to worshiping with you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Firecracker

Legs is without question our firecracker. She entered this world red and screaming and full of "it", whatever that's meant to imply. She's her own unique, intelligent, gifted chick. She makes our nest full and amazing and never ceases to keep us on our toes. OUR TIP TOES. She is beautiful, petite, graceful and spunky. Her presence fills the room. Especially when she's hot and bothered (as our nest is in the south, I feel free using this expression). This was one of those weekends where both hot and bothered aptly applied to our eldest. Honestly, the professor and I were a bit insert monumentally concerned over this three day weekend that we'd have to make use of our contract with Rural Metro, seeing as the nest was rocked by explosions and fireworks.

It was loud, it was messy, and it certainly couldn't be labeled as pretty. On Friday eve, our middle school babe walked in from a friend's house wearing eyeshadow and black nail polish. Totally ready for a night on the town. We weren't sure which part of town, but that was beside the point. When corrected because there was no way on God's green earth she was going to pull this one off there were loud sighs, emphatic telling of "NO", a tossing of a bottle of hand sanitizer, the word hate(forbidden in our nest), the idea introduced that we were not in any way, shape or form cool, a liturgy on why our rules shouldn't apply, etc, etc. This went on with increasing pitch for two hours.

I'll take a breath to state two sure things:

(1) Our neighbors either think we're crazy or have gone through this type of thing themselves, as our firecracker was probably audible far down the street.

(2) Little Bit resembled Mary Poppins more and more with each passing moment of the next 72 hours.

By 11:39pm Friday the 2nd, the doors to Legs room had been removed from the hinges. With exclamations of how unfair we were and how she needed her privacy, we gently firmly reminded her that this was our home and the consequence for slamming doors on us was their removal. As I kissed her steaming head for the third time as I put her back in bed, I asked God to give peace to all of us. I may have also requested begged of Him that the neighbors might not feel the inclination to call the authorities. Yes, she was THAT loud...small and mighty, our Legs.

Not much improvement was seen on Saturday, meaning that most of her room was moved into our closet. My friend, Sara, laughed at this and told me of a friend of hers who had emptied her son's room except for his mattress, a blanket and pillow. I smirked, remembering our spitfire at 5...when we'd done the same thing. I was praying we'd not get to that point, as I don't have the same physical strength I did half a decade ago. I was willing to journey back there again, for one reason and one reason only...



This is about her heart, not her happiness


Yep, we're some of those parents. The ones that want their kids to turn out loving God and each other and respecting themselves even when it is not easy or popular. The parents who want their kids in the world but not of it. The parents who enforce curfew. The parents who don't dress the six year old like a sixteen year old and allow the sixth grader to dress any way she desires. Here in the nest, cheek is not exposed from either side, and we don't tolerate cheeky. Our chicks are being raised to be well mannered, obedient, cultured, intelligent, Christ following young ladies. The professor and I trust that if the little hearts in this home are right, happiness will follow. We work on teaching that joy and happiness aren't the same thing, and above everything else we are here to shepard and lead and shape their hearts...and if their hearts are right their joy that only comes from the Lord will be evident.

This weekend, no one in the nest was happy. There was much yelling (not from anyone over four and half feet tall), door slamming, crying, and general unease. Little bit cried because it was stressful. The professor pantomimed behind closed doors. I needed a nap well before 4pm on Sunday. All weekend, the words were the same, stated calmly and simply,


"It's not about your happiness, it's about your heart. When your heart is right, your happiness follows."


As we came home from church on the 4th, we asked our firecracker if there was a display in our near future. We were testing her heart, attempting to determine if she felt real sorrow over what had occurred or if she was simply trying to get out of the mess in which she'd placed herself. We were asking "Is your heart right?" About 2:00pm, the answer became yes. It was yes in a heartfelt apology, a statement about what needed to change, and true sorrow about the events that had unfolded. It was yes in her desire to go up and dance and let out some pent-up steam. Yes in the quiet moments of sitting and reading with her younger sister, and yes in the organized dresser drawers that had been arranged in the midst of her thinking. Finally our strong willed child was understanding that our rules were there to keep her safe, keep her protected, help her remain a child for just a bit longer. The eldest was grasping that we were interested in the health of her heart rather than in simply making her happy.

We watched fireworks as a family later that night in their dazzling display of color, beauty, form and sparkle. As each exploded overhead, I gazed at our newly minted middle school babe and was thankful. Thankful that we'd made it through the weekend, thankful that she'd been entrusted to us, and thankful for all of the brilliance she brings to our lives...thankful that Independence Day occurs only once a year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A million little things



This Week...
This week I've stated "She can't hurt a thing." and meant it every single time

This week I drove to Gatlinburg to eat at a pancake place for lunch, and I don't eat lunch

This week I've done loads of laundry to remove meals off of clothing and I've treasured folding every single piece
This week I watched my eldest with new eyes as she toted on a hip, grabbed things, entertained and all around looked like I did with her--although beautiful, this scared me


This week I didn't care that my wood floors weren't cleaned and shiny--I treasured little tiny footprints mixed with big ones all over it
This week my main room looked bare--all of the throw pillows were removed and the rug pulled up so I didn't have to worry about milk being spilled or cheese and cracker crumbs being dropped--but my couch was full


This week, my Wheatie, Tallulah Mae (aka Lulu) became "OOOH-LU" and was the most gentle and sweet I've ever seen her
This week I listened to my Little Bit play a beautiful melody with her Aunt and was in awe

This week I taught little hands to color for the first time and remembered the first and second times I'd had this first...and realized it holds the same beauty every single time

This week I watched a little face bravely go into the water at the pool, and watched an expression go from shock to pure pleasure and laughed as the whole moment was then repeated


This week I had the privilege of purchasing little feet a first pair of new walking shoes and then watching the toddle followed by the stopping to remove a single blade of grass bothering a toe


This week I stayed up late playing video games on the Wii...I was quite awful and used up many lives, but I didn't care, because the moments were filled with laughter and teasing

This week I took a million pictures because I never want to forget

This week I watched my brother as a father and was exceedingly proud of him



This week I held, snuggled, carried and kissed sweet cheeks and the top of a curly head again. It was pure heaven

Today I took the two extra chairs away from the kitchen table and felt like something was missing
Today I removed a million fingerprints from windows and mirrors and left one just because

Today my voice cracked at the last "I love you" and I barely made it in the door before losing it. I don't lose it. Ever
Today I cried harder than I have in years because a red-headed "heaven in curls" who I adore like she's mine and her parents my brother, my best friend growing up are heading over oceans with too many plane trips to count separating us for years to come



Today, I'm thankful my heart is big enough to feel all of this...but I'm quite sure it is broken

This week? One I'll never forget and always treasure

Take 5 Friday

To ease back into blogging (my last attempt was heartfelt but relatively short-lived) I've decided to initiate take 5 Friday. Eventually I'd like to do a link feature in case anyone else desires to participate and needs inspiration, but for now we'll just settle for me trying to be consistent in blogging on this set day of the week. The idea is simple--I'll take 5 minutes to reflect and list a quintet of amazing (or not so) events or happenings of the week. Five reasons to be thankful for the week, or maybe five to be thankful that the weekend has arrived. Either way? I'm choosing gratitude. What comes to mind when you take 5 this week?

Take 5

1. My chicks have danced consistently in their new home studio; mirrors are up, flooring is in, and the barre arrived via UPS today.

2. The eldest is acting more and more like a middle schooler (the land which we've just joined with her) and I'm not sure that I'll successfully make it through the next decade with my sanity intact.

3. Tonight, for the first time since early May, I was able to open the windows and enjoy the breeze. First time in 15 days it's been below 90 degrees=me doing a huge happy dance.

4. My brother, sister-in-law and sweet niece have been able to visit and perch on their way to and from destinations south of the nest.

5. Both Legs and Little Bit helped me weed all of the flower beds and generally spruce up the grounds, despite it being 100 degrees on Monday. We also got the garage organized and the floor washed--it's so clean you could literally eat off of it. Although the later is strange, it makes me exceedingly pleased.