Friday, August 29, 2008

KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

"Stupid" is a bad word in our house, but it comes to mind when I think of this common acronym I learned in a sales 101 class many years ago. It describes my motto for anything technical. I am the first to admit I am not great at using very technical things. I am pretty computer savvy and clearly have made great strides recently since I work as a database administrator, but I still have trouble with the crazy remote control and once technical things are set up and I learn to use them I want them to stay that way!!!

My dear husband works as an IT analyst. Like most men he loves technical things. He loves stereos and speakers, gadgets and putzing with computers. More than anything he loves messing with our home PC. Granted, I have my own laptop I work on but our home PC is beefed up with all kinds of extra hard drive space, and I still use it for photos, music and other storage. I also have my own ipod. It's the 30GB one, now a dinosaur, that came out almost 4 years ago. I was not even near the 10K songs it would hold, but I have lovingly added the soundtrack of my life in that time.

My music is gone. My husband decided within one week to do something crazy to our home PC, and lost our itunes library. I don't know how that happens especially if you are a "computer expert" (AIR QUOTES), but it did. In the same week he decided for some crazy reason to clear my ipod and "fix" it (IT WASN'T BROKEN!!!!). I am furious. I am mad and sad and mad again. I feel like my photos were burned in a fire. These songs were so dear to me. They are gone. I know I could replace them, but it represents money we don't have and lots of time to search and find them and make playlists. Playlists that represent days and weeks and years of my life and even playlists made for people who I love.

I love my husband to death. (Ok, maybe I shouldn't say death right now.) Through tears I beg him, please KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID and leave my stuff alone! Another lesson for me in letting go of control, releasing things that ultimately don't matter and not wasting emotion spent on something passing away.

Thank you for teaching me about forgiveness through this silly loss. Help me to turn my eyes upon you today so "the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of Your glory and grace."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tag, You're It

Ok, so I have never really done what I now know is called a meme (does that mean ME, ME like "pay attention to me"?) on my blog, but SuzyQ from Sailing by Starlight has kindly tagged me for this honor of sharing some quirky things about myself.

Here goes:

1. I have OCD. There is rarely a day you would knock on my door to surprise me and my home is not "company clean". I wipe my kitchen counter off with a clorox wipe at least three times a day and my bathroom sink and counter each time I use it. I do not expect you to keep your home this way, but I must.

2. I am so brave about most things (like traveling alone to places I have never been, dark parking lots, new situations with new people, etc.), but I'm a complete scaredy cat at home alone at night.

3. I once had my belly button pierced, and I still really want a tattoo--a butterfly for Delaney and a dragonfly for Danica.

4. I absolutely cannot eat at any kind of buffet or pot luck. Not knowing if you washed your hands before cooking or if your cat walks on your counter completely freaks me out. (I told you I have OCD!)

5. One of the THINGS (and it is only a thing!) I am most proud of is my Louis Vuitton handbag. I worked so hard to afford it, and I am proud of it because of what it symbolizes to me not others, but I know others are thinking, "I can't believe she would pay that much for a purse." It's a classic, and I will carry it forever. (PS. I would NEVER pay that much for a purse again.)

6. I grew up dreaming of being a children's librarian but somehow I fell into real estate and got stuck. I still believe I will end up back in those beloved stacks of books someday.

Ok, here is who I tag. I know it's not the six, but it's a start. I am new to the blogging world and honestly began blogging as another form of journaling for my family and not for others to read. I have been blessed to meet some amazing kindred spirits through this medium and reconnected with some old friends too. If I tag you and you are completely annoyed, as I hear people are with this kind of thing, I am sorry in advance. ;)

The best days of my life

The Journey of a Superhero Mom

Spring of Joy

(Here are the official rules:1. Link the person who tagged you.2. Mention the rules on your blog.3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged. )

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Redeeming Love

"God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:8-10

I stayed up after my work to read last night, something I used to do regularly but with the kids and lists and our very early morning schedule I have not done in awhile. A friend gave me the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I don't really read Christian fiction, so I was skeptical. I have to admit I could not put the book down. I am half way done and will write more when I finish because this book is speaking to me in powerful ways about God's love for me. The book is a retelling of the book of Hosea with the central theme of God's unconditional, redemptive love. As I read Ann's post at Holy Experience this morning her words about being exposed to one another as we are to Christ were resounding in my heart. I hear God calling me to tell the story of His amazing love for me out loud. I hear Him asking me to be braver to show my scars and give Him glory for saving me from the depths. Oh how grateful I am this quiet morning for the healing that comes from the One who will not let me go. Why am I so shy to uncover the very wounds that make me approachable, real, like my neighbor and friend, and then tell of the miracle that took place by touching the hem of Christ's robe?

Thank You for Your redeeming love. Thank You for running to me when I was in the depths of sin and sadness and saving me. Make me bolder to share my story with others so they too may know this kind of love, for "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have not heard about Him? And can they hear about Him unless someone tells them?" Romans 10:13-14

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Somewhere in the Middle

This morning it was 51 degrees as I set out on my walk through our neighborhood. I was chilly, but I didn't wear a hoodie because I wanted to feel the cool air on my skin as I turned my face towards the warm sunshine. Oh how I love these days as summer turns into fall. I listened to the Casting Crowns East to West album on my ipod as I walked. One of the songs that speaks to me every single time I hear it is Somewhere in the Middle. Today it made me think of the scale of my life. I have felt caught in the middle of many things lately.

I thought of the literal scale and the last five (ok, seven) pounds I cannot seem to lose since having Danica. I thought about my half-hearted effort to really make the change through exercise because I know that is what will really make the difference for me. I have become comfortable with the scale that no one else sees, the few pounds that my clothes hide, that are easily justified and explained. Every one looks at me and sees a "tall and thin" woman, but I know I am not my personal best, and I have been making excuses as to why I have not disciplined myself to take control of this area of my life.

I thought about how this is just like the many ways I get close to obeying God or disciplining myself spiritually, but I refuse to let go of the "last" (and by last I mean currently plaguing) five (ok, seven) sins that I am hanging on to. I mean they are mostly hidden by my outward efforts to be "good" and are easily justified and explained, right? I hear God calling me to DO HARD THINGS, and I find myself somewhere in the middle of answering Him. Sometimes I even take up the cross, but then I just stand there too afraid to follow, or too tired, or just too bogged down in things that don't really matter or even things that do matter but don't matter the most.

I love the part of the lyrics that sing:

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control?

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

As I walked a little further this morning I played the entire song again praying through the words. Only the "God who is" can help me lay it all down and move me forward in my quest to really know Him and love Him and be like Him. I praise Him for the desire He has placed in my heart. I praise Him for the grace He so willingly gives each day to help me answer His calls. I want to be a fearless warrior! I want reckless abandon and deep water faith! I want to dream God's dreams for my life.

Thank you for the lessons learned even from the middle ground. Please help me know Your love wherever I am and give me the growth and grace to take a step closer to You today.

Here are all the lyrics:

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

Monday, August 25, 2008

A plain, common Monday

Only a plain, common day(J. R. Miller, "The Every Day of Life" 1892)

Perhaps the every-day of life, is not as interesting--as are some of the bright special days. It is apt to be somewhat monotonous. It is just like a great many other days. It has nothing special to mark it. It is illuminated by no brilliant event. It bears no record of any brave or noble deed done. It is not made memorable by the coming of any new experience into the life--a new hope, a new friendship, a new joy, and a new success. It is not even touched with sorrow, and made to stand out with the memory of loss or struggle. It is only a plain, common day--with just the same old wearisome routine--of tasks and duties and happenings, which have come so often before.

Yet it is the every-day, which is really the best measure and the test of noble living. Anybody can do well on special occasions. Anybody can be good--on Sundays. Anybody can be bright and cheerful--in exhilarating society. Anybody can be sweet--amid gentle influences. Anybody can make an isolated self-denial--for some conspicuous object; or do a generous deed--under the impulse of some unusual emotion. Anybody can do a heroic thing--once or twice in a lifetime. These are beautiful things. They shine like lofty peaks above life's plains.

But the ordinary attainment of the common days--is a truer index of the life--a truer measure of its character and value--than are the most striking and brilliant things of its exalted moments. It requires more strength to be faithful in the ninety-nine commonplace duties, when no one is looking on, when there is no special motive to stir the soul to its best effort--than it does in the one duty, which by its unusual importance, or by its conspicuousness, arouses enthusiasm for its own doing. It is a great deal easier to be brave in one stern conflict which calls for heroism, in which large interests are involved--than to be brave in the thousand little struggles of the common days--for which it seems scarcely worth while to put on the armor. It is very much less a task to be good-natured under one great provocation, in the presence of others--than it is to keep sweet temper month after month of ordinary days, amid the frictions, strife's, petty annoyances, and cares of home-life.

Thus it is, that one's every-day life is a surer revealer of noble character--than one's public acts. There are men who are magnificent when they appear on great occasions--wise, eloquent, masterly--but who are almost utterly unendurable in their fretfulness, unreasonableness, irascibility, and all manner of selfish disagreeableness, in the privacy of their own homes--to those whom they ought to show all of love's gentleness and sweetness! There are women, too, who shine with wondrous brilliancy in society, sparkling in conversation, winning in manner, always the center of admiring groups, resistless in their charms--but who, in their every-day life, in the presence of only their own households--are the dullest and most wearisome of mortals! No doubt in these cases--the common every-day, unflattering as it is--is a truer expression of the inner life--than the hour or two of greatness or graciousness, in the blaze of the public.

On the other hand, there are men who are never heard of on the street, whose names never appear in the newspapers, who do no great conspicuous things, whose lives have no glittering peaks towering high--and yet the level plain of their years--is rich in its beauty and its fruitfulness of love. Likewise, there are women who are the idols of no drawing-rooms, who attract no throngs of admirers around them by resistless charms--but who, in their own quiet sheltered world--do their daily tasks with faithfulness, move in ways of humble duty and quiet cheerfulness, and pour out their heart's pure love, like fragrance, on all around them. Who will say that the uneventful and un-praised every-day of these humble ones--is not radiant in God's sight, though they leave no memorial--but only a world made a little better by their lives?

It is in the every-day of life, that nearly all the world's best work is done. The tall mountain peaks lift their glittering crests into the clouds, and win attention and admiration; but it is in the great valleys and broad plains, that the harvests grow and the fruits ripen--on which the millions of earth feed their hunger. Likewise, it is not from the few conspicuous deeds of life, that the blessings chiefly come, which make the world, better, sweeter, happier--but from the countless humble services of the every-days, the little faithfulnesses which fill long years. By the simple beauty of their own humble lives, by their quiet deeds of self-sacrifice, by the songs of their cheerful faith, and by the ministries of their helpful hands--they make one little spot of this sad earth, brighter and happier!

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Thank You for this plan, common Monday. Help me to live my life in Your pure love today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The comfort of a true friend

Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Nothing real can be threatened. Nothing unreal exists. Herein lives the peace of God.

My friend Sharon and I began a "circle journal" (remember the title of my old blog?). It's a journal that two or more people write in and mail back and forth to one another. I received it in the mail from her yesterday and oh what a confirmation that we are true kindred spirits. The Velveteen Rabbit has long been one of my favorite children's stories. (I am also a big fan of the adult book, The Velveteen Principles, A Guide to Becoming Real. If you haven't read it you should!) I have never in the probably one hundred or more times I have read this story in my life thought of it in the way Sharon shared in our journal. I was blown away!

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

(So the rabbit becomes the little boy's favorite toy and he even calls him "real." )

. . .Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.

(Then the little boy gets very sick with scarlet fever and eventually all his toys must be burned. The rabbit is in a pile in the garden so depressed and lonely.)

. . .Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground.

And then a strange thing happened. For where the tear had fallen a flower grew out of the ground, a mysterious flower, not at all like any that grew in the garden. It had slender green leaves the colour of emeralds, and in the centre of the leaves a blossom like a golden cup. It was so beautiful that the little Rabbit forgot to cry, and just lay there watching it. And presently the blossom opened, and out of it there stepped a fairy.

She was quite the loveliest fairy in the whole world. Her dress was of pearl and dew-drops, and there were flowers round her neck and in her hair, and her face was like the most perfect flower of all. And she came close to the little Rabbit and gathered him up in her arms and kissed him on his velveteen nose that was all damp from crying.

"Little Rabbit," she said, "don't you know who I am?"

The Rabbit looked up at her, and it seemed to him that he had seen her face before, but he couldn't think where.

"I am the nursery magic Fairy," she said. "I take care of all the playthings that the children have loved. When they are old and worn out and the children don't need them any more, then I come and take them away with me and turn them into Real."

"Wasn't I Real before?" asked the little Rabbit.

"You were Real to the Boy," the Fairy said, "because he loved you. Now you shall be Real to every one."

So, it's an amazing story, but the application Sharon made struck me in the deepest part of my heart. She wrote, "Isn't that such a story of salvation? As I read it I could not help but cry. We are created and beautiful, but not truly alive until we receive God's love. He puts us through trials and often pain, but it shapes who we are. In our human nature we are flawed but His grace covers us. And when He takes us home He makes us complete in Him--TRULY REAL, as He is and how He designed us to be. Once You are real you can't become unreal again. . . What a promise! What hope!"

I will never read this story the same way again.

Thank You for making me REAL through the saving love of Christ. Thank You that I can never become unreal again. Thank You for my friend and the work You are doing in her life and the gift she is to me.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

End of summer blues

I am feeling sad tonight. Tomorrow my Laney Jayne will begin first grade. All day I felt a heaviness I couldn't explain, and I realized tonight as I read books with my girl and tucked her in I don't want to let this last day of summer go. I missed her entire summer last year lying in bed at home or in the hospital. This summer I spent much of my time sitting in this chair working on list rentals so we can pay our bills. I feel regret of some kind. I have done what must be done, but I feel like it fell short of a "real" summer somehow. I could see it in her eyes as I tried so hard to talk up the excitement of beginning school tomorrow that she could see right through me. She wasn't buying it for a minute.

We didn't get to go to the beach again this year, and I can admit I want to cry about it. I won't, but I want to. It's now two years without the salty sea air and sand between my toes and bloody marys for breakfast, lunch or dinner with fresh crabs and shrimp. I miss long walks on the beach and runs on the trails in the neighborhood where we stay. I miss reading an entire book in a day, bending the spine all the way back and leaving sand in the pages to find months later when I most need to remember the place I love and need to visit to be okay. I miss naps on the deck in the sun. I miss finding sea glass and shells and scouring area shops for pottery and art. I miss no phone calls or computer and the feeling like no one can reach me. (I love that feeling!) Delaney has been missing the beach too. In her world she doesn't understand why we cannot jump in the car and drive there. Don't you miss believing everything in life is just that possible?

Dan said as we snuggled in bed last night that he felt a peace he couldn't explain. We took Laney to her new classroom to meet her teacher and put her supplies in her desk. Her school is such a special place, and I am so grateful she is there. I am so grateful for my parent's continued financial sacrifice to help us pay the tuition to keep her there. I know what he meant about the peace. Our lives have finally found the rhythm we both ache for. It shares the ebbs and flows of the beloved ocean I love. Morning and evening the tides of our family's life come and go and we inhale and exhale with praise.

And so tonight pushing through my end of summer blues, I will breathe joy for being right here, able to kiss my daughter on her first day of first grade when last year I was 400 miles away from her on her first day of Kindergarten. I will praise my God for His mercies which are new every morning believing He knows the desires of my heart, and He will bring me back to the beach in His providence. "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven."

Small Miracles

"Maybe I wrote Everyday Sacred to learn about miracles," I said in the prologue.

I wanted a big miracle, one that would last, but one of the characteristics of a big miracle, the kind I had hoped for, is "its sudden appearance and disappearance within the natural order." Instead, to my surprise, I began to discover the power of small things.

A friend made a pilgrimage to India. She saw many holy places, but her favorite was a mound made up of little pebbles, not one of them beautiful or exotic. For hundreds of years pilgrims had come to the site and each placed a tiny stone offering on the mound. The accumulation of these tiny stones became a "sacred" place.

I saw those little stones as stepping stones.

Stepping stones to a new way of seeing.

Small changes in behavior, attitude, feelings, can, like the little pebbles, add up to another kind of miracle. Small miracles do build up and they can last.

Everyday Sacred, Sue Bender

Thank You for the small miracles You bless me with everyday. Help me to open my eyes and my heart to see more clearly Your constant love and grace.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

I have been MIA for a few days busy with my family. Often I feel like I need a Xanax or a gin martini when put into group settings with my extended family. (I realized this weekend it is probably more a general anxiety disorder related to ALL large social settings and my family just kicks it up a notch.) Our society places such extreme pressure on us to find deep meaning and satisfaction in our relationships with those bound by blood. I believe this sets us up for constant disappointment. At the end of the day I know for sure there is a common thread, and if I take the time and effort to follow it closely it will take me to the hearts of these people, most of whom I may never even speak to if I met them as strangers on the street.

One lesson God has been teaching me recently is to really try to meet people where THEY are. If I go into any relationship with the rules all set about who I want the other person to be or how they should look or behave I am sorely disappointed and completely frustrated. God showed me again this weekend that He can only work through me when I surrender to the truth that He is in control, and I cannot play "god" in other's lives anymore than I can in my own. This is especially hard with close family. It's another call to let go of something that was never mine in the first place and let God do His perfect work on His timetable.

Thank You for my family. Thank You for time with them and the common threads we share. Please help me to surrender my expectations and humbly seek to love as You have loved me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pain in Becoming

I just had to post this picture of my dear Dani Jean from Sunday night. What a week we have had since her accident. I have been thinking so much about the role that pain plays in our life-- physically, emotionally and spiritually. I have watched my little one hurting and finding her own ways to cope with her injury. I have prayed and cried as I had to cause her further pain by moving her neck where it did not want to go to aid in healing. It is completely unnatural to cause your child intentional pain. It made me think of my Heavenly Father and all the pain He has allowed in my life recently, and I understood His heart for me even more. I know how sad it makes Him to see me suffer as He bends and moves the muscles of my heart to make me whole for His glory. But His love reaches so far beyond my circumstances and temporary comfort to my eternal soul. I pray for this kind of Father love as I seek to parent my girls. I pray to learn to look beyond their instant gratification and childish wants and needs to the women God wants them to be. I pray for grace to train them up with a long term goal, realizing that pain is a critical part of the process in becoming all we are meant to be in Christ Jesus.

Thank You for lessons learned through pain, all grace from a loving Father.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


"Oryoki," he said (the Japanese name for a begging bowl) "means 'just enough.'"


Two words.

Somewhere between the image of an empty bowl that made me feel peaceful and the too much that was driving me crazy, was a moderate, balanced space of JUST ENOUGH.

What is the path from Too much to Just enough? I began to wonder.

Sue Bender, Everyday Sacred

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Over the past month God has brought into my life several people who are hurting and searching for a safe place. As I have fervently prayed for them God has moved in my own heart to remind me of the dark places He rescued me from. If I am honest with myself I have hidden away much of my past because even the people closest to me do not know how bad it truly was. I am still ashamed in many respects but also afraid. Although I have much assurance of God's love and complete forgiveness, I still fear those so ready to judge past scarlet letters instead of rejoicing in the cloak of grace I now humbly wear.

Before my pregnancy I began praying for God to show me how to serve Him. On Monday I had dinner with a friend who is hurting but healing, and I shared with her the stories of the others I know in a similar search for peace. I told her how badly I wished I could provide a haven for them to rest and recover. I realized God was showing me His will as I spoke. Again He was telling me to be faithful right where He has me with the people He has in providence brought into my life. He is encouraging me to be bolder in sharing my testimony and more willing to sacrifice my time and resources to reach those closest and call them to the same grace given freely to me. There is no longer any shame, only amazing love shining through those dark years. I have no cause to be afraid. I am safe in the arms of my Savior.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hold Loosely

I know what it feels like--the kind of love so deep it aches. Tonight as I rode in the ambulance with my dear Danica screaming in pain I felt the utter helplessness a mother goes through over and over in her children's lives when she cannot make it better. I have been there with Delaney; during several febrile seizures brought on by high fever, when she split her head open at Montessori and when she knocked her front teeth and mouth at White Flint. Outside of Danica's scary birth and stay in the NICU this is my first health drama with her. I know to stay calm and say it will be alright. I know to sing soft songs while I hold them and tell them how much I love them. I know to pray hard. I know to hold them loosely. They are not mine, just a gift for this moment.

I wasn't prepared for how I would feel taking Danica back into a hospital. I had a severe physical reaction to the ER. I had to keep myself from throwing up. I couldn't keep the tears from streaming down my face. I kept saying over and over to the nurse, "She has NEVER cried like this. Something is wrong." Delaney was there with me. She was the reason we were here. After being told over and over again not to pick up her sister she had disobeyed and somehow twisted her arm while she lifted her. I was trying to balance the justified anger at her causing this situation and even more love that hurts--wanting her to really learn how much pain and sorrow can come from ignoring clear directives.

My sweet Danica child is home sleeping now. She will heal. Her arm is sprained but not broken. I will not sleep tonight. I will listen for any whimper or cry and go to her. I am so tired. My arms and back hurt so badly from holding Danica for hours at the hospital, but I will eventually try to rest on the floor in her room.

As we waited for Danica to have her arm x-rayed tonight I told Dan that I really understood what my parents did for us in the last year. All those trips back and forth on the turnpike to be with me. All the sacrifices they made to care for Delaney and love her while I could not. All the times my mom sat with me in the hospital and just held my hand. All the love and care they had for my husband, now their son. There was no Suze Orman shouting in their ear to look out for their retirement more than care for our family financially. There was no judgment about the very hard decisions we had to make during that time. They showed they would go to the ends of the earth for me, for us. No doubt it hurt like it never had before to see the anguish I was in physically and emotionally and mentally. But they stayed and loved with the deep aching kind of love only parents have for their children.

Here in the quiet of the night I am thinking of the love reflected from my own parents to my heart and life and reflected again to my daughters from Dan and I, all mirror images of a love we learned from our Abba Father who sent His own Son to die so we might live. I am thinking of how we grieve our Father when we ignore His clear directives and cause pain and sadness in our lives. I am thinking of how His grace shines through even our sin. Tonight I realize once again how fragile this precious life is. I will not take it for granted. I will take the love that hurts so badly sometimes it seems unbearable and say "thank you" for the gift of feeling this love at all. Every minute I hold these children of God is a treasure. May I never forget they are His and not mine.

Highchair If. . .

As I clean the highchair for the millionth time, knowing the next meal it will need cleaned again, I hear Amy Carmichael's words resonating in my heart:

"If monotony tries me, and I cannot stand drudgery; . . . if I make much of the trifles of life, then I know nothing of Calvary love."

Thank you for lessons learned about Your love through daily chores done heartily unto You.

Monday, August 4, 2008

This Thorn

"If you have not slept, or if you have slept, or if you have a headache, or sciatica, or leprosy, or thunderstroke, I beseech you, by all angels, to hold your peace, and not pollute the morning." Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have had fibromyalgia since 2001. The flares of pain come and go based on things I can control to some extent and sometimes with no explanation at all. Last night I spent a sleepless night because my right shoulder has shooting pains which make it almost impossible to find a position that doesn't hurt. This morning I am extremely tired and can barely lift Danica. When I begin a cycle of pain like this I am tempted to be disgruntled. What purpose does this continual physical trial have in my life?

Twila Paris sings a song about gratefulness for a thorn in her life. I rose from bed and prayed about my response to how I am feeling and then searched for this song on my ipod. I meditated on these words:

Thank you for this thorn embedded in my flesh
I can feel the mystery, my spirit is made fresh
You are sovereign still and forever wise
I can see the miracle opening my eyes

To a proud heart so quick to judge
Laying down crosses and carrying grudges
The veil has been torn
And I thank you for this thorn

Thank you for this thorn fellowship of pain
Teaching me to know you more never to complain
Thank You for this love planted in my side
Faithful patient miracle opening my eyes

I never thought I'd say it without reservation
But I am truly grateful for this piercing revelation
Of a proud heart so quick to judge
Laying down crosses and carrying grudges
The veil has been torn
And I thank you for this thorn

And if You chose to take it, I will praise You
And thank You for the healing in Your name
But if it must remain, I thank You for Your rod
Evidence of Father-love for a child of God

I join You in sorrow
So much less than You have borne
And I thank you, really I thank You
Lord I thank You, I thank You for this thorn

I am constantly amazed at how the first hour of my morning sets the tone for my heart and life that day. Thank You for this thorn of fibro and the lessons it continuously teaches me about Your love for me. Give me the strength and grace to bear the fruit of Your Spirit as I present my body a living sacrifice to You.