Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Magic & Miracles

I’m walking down the aisles the other day.
Completely hesitant to be pulled in to the minutia of commercialism.
To not allow Easter baskets or chocolate bunnies or Cadbury eggs grab my attention.
I don’t want to ‘waste’ money on plastic trinkets that will go in the trash or the next garage sale.
I hesitate to buy too much candy because it has red dye or too much sugar.
And then it happens.
I get pulled in.
The voice inside my head tells me that it isn’t about that.
It’s not about wasting money.
And it’s not about them eating too many jelly beans.
It’s about the magic.
It’s about the excitement & anticipation that is so lacking in this world today.
It’s about remembering what it was like to be a child.

I fight the battle.

We will always teach them the true meaning of Easter & of Passover.  They will know exactly why we celebrate.  Not with an Easter egg hunt or a memory-making photo in a mall with a gigantic furry white rabbit.

We will celebrate because it is WORTH celebrating!!  We will teach them that the excitement & anticipation that we should feel is for Christ to come back again.  We will teach them the magic & miracle of His love.  They will know that He died on the cross.  That He rose again.  And we will lift our hands in praise to our Most Powerful God for choosing US!!!

But we will also receive the gift of being able to dye eggs with our kids.  To share in special moments of countless egg hunts.  To hear the laughter.  To watch their eyes light up when they see their Easter baskets full of things that won’t matter to them in a day.  But at that moment, it’s everything!

We know to celebrate Him EVERY DAY with a grateful heart.  To humble ourselves in the knowledge that He died for us. 
He gave His life! 
He made a choice! 
The choice was YOU. 
The choice was ME! 
He suffered greatly because He loves me & YOU!  And as difficult as that idea is to swallow at times….as hard as it is to imagine Him on that day….giving ALL that He had….I celebrate it with a happy heart.  NO ONE will EVER love me or YOU as much!!  NOBODY!  

Friday, March 26, 2010

Simple Abundance

I love simple.

I don’t necessarily live a simple life.  I like stuff. 
I am not the quintessential material girl but I do like my house to feel like a home.  And I do like to accessorize.  Completion, on any level, is good for my soul.  From the most difficult of projects to an outfit for a dinner party.  I like the full-circle effect.  So in respect to the absence of THINGS, I’m not simple.

But I am…..
Simple in spirit.
I take pleasure in simple things.  My heart is not burdened with over indulgence that materialism can sometimes bring. 

The simple things are the ones that usually make me the happiest.
Recognizing the beauty in nature.
Appreciating the senses that I have been blessed with.
To feel my children’s arms wrapped around me so tightly.
To hear the robin’s welcoming spring with their sweetest songs. 
To make dinner for my family.  To know that I am doing something for them that is such a mundane task for some….but to me, it is a simple sign of my love.
To sit & just enjoy the intimacy that comes with having a good friend.
To have a home filled with laughter.

Sometimes the simple & pure are the things that fill our hearts to extraordinary measure.  Cup-overflowing….. beyond words kind of satisfaction.  And it leaves my soul wanting nothing more.
And simply put……that’s the way I like it! 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The gift of snowflakes

20 seconds
does it make a difference?
It is a last breathe
….a sound
…an long awaited prayer answered
…..sometimes it’s just a simple gesture

….a tug of the heart
….a split second decision that will change a life

Every once in a great while, it’s as simple as a footprint
A forgotten stamp of an unforgettable life on the snow-blanketed concrete floor
Her footprints.

She stamps the pattern into the snow 12 times over
We are cold
Quick to discipline
But to her…it’s a moment.

 ….to catch snowflakes on her tongue
….to  make an imprint of her being
….to live in that moment

Will the 20 seconds make a difference?
Not in 10 years.
But for RIGHT now….they do.  To her. 
These times will fade.  Almost as quickly as the footprints do.
So we let her capture her snowflakes.
As we try to capture the moment from a different perspective….of seeing the world from a child’s eyes & allowing the magic to shape our hearts.

Monday, March 22, 2010

She brought them flowers

She brought them flowers.
Her physical sweet self is ALMOST FOUR!
But her heart is approaching 50.
It is free & undeniably sweet & unscathed.
It is open to receive.
It has nothing to lose yet.
Nothing to puncture it.
No bow to tear through it's tender flesh.

It is new.  And ripe.  And ready.

My husband takes her to the store to buy flowers for ME & she decides that THEY deserve them.

They deserve the beauty & sweet essence of her heart.

And why shouldn't they??

So he buys her a bouquet to give to her friends also.

They are pink & sweet smelling & God sent.
They are from her!
They are a gift from her beautiful, innocent heart.

So she brings them flowers.

It's doesn't matter that they are boys or girls.
She brings one to her teacher also.

It is a sign.
Of love.
Of arms-wide-open giving.
Heart -without-question adoration.
Of something sweet & free & unabridged.

It's who she is.
For now.
And it's MY job to keep it that way.

To instill in her a heart that seeks nothing but gives everything.
That hands out all that it has but isn't saddened when it gets nothing in return at times.
That receives when it gives
And provides more than it takes

For now, her 4 year old heart, teaches me that my almost 40 year old heart has a lot to learn.
I need to approach life with a beautiful bouquet in my hand.  My bouquet would not consist of gerber daisies & lillies.  Or blanketed in the fullness of babies breath.  Each flower that I would give others would be of love & strength.  Of friendship & grace.  I should give freely the gifts that I have been given.

I am given a bouquet each morning.  I can choose to keep it & cherish it myself.  Or I can give it all away & receive a gift that is even so much larger.

Oh, how I love the beauty they bring!!   

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Faith like a child

When I went to church as a little girl, we ALWAYS wore dresses.
It was a sign of respect.

Off I would go.
Blonde hair in pigtails.
Beautiful dress.
Shiny white shoes.
And, an eager heart to learn about God’s love for me.
We sang songs to help us remember verses.
We would make caterpillars out of colorful pom-poms.
Color pictures of Jesus & sheep & the Ark & the Cross.
And my little heart would get so excited when Vacation Bible School would be approaching.

Many a Sunday has passed since I’ve worn pigtails in my hair.
And now, my refrigerator is the proud owner of my own children’s latest glittered rendition of The Last Supper.
My ears are blessed to hear THEM sing Jesus Loves Me.  (There is NO Top-40 artist in the world that could top those 3 sweet innocent voices singing that.)

And the questions from our daughter start to be asked.

Where does Jesus live?
Why can’t we see Him?
If people don’t love Jesus they will die like Goliath, right?

I don’t have all the answers.  Even for a 4-year-old.  I can’t answer everything that she asks so that it will make sense to her.  How could I?  Sometimes it’s doesn’t make sense to ME.

Somehow she got the idea that Jesus stands outside of her door at night & watches over her.  My first thought was how scary that would be for her to think that there is this man standing in the hall.  No wonder she calls for me every time she goes to the bathroom.

And then with the sweetest voice, the other week, she told me that if Jesus got hungry that he could go downstairs & have something to eat.

So I will walk with her, in her innocence, through this world.  And we will learn together.  And like a child, I will seek Him, with a heart wide open.  Asking questions that I don’t know the answers to.  Taking in the miracles that only He can provide.  And living in the reassurance every day, when I hear them sing.  That He does love me.  With a never-ending, all-consuming love!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

WEIGHT a minute!

Hello again scale

It’s been a while since we’ve last seen one another.
I know I’ve changed quite a bit since our last encounter.
I’ve been avoiding you on purpose.
No offense…..but I don’t really like you much.
It’s nothing that you’ve done, per say.
But you are always so quick to tell me the ugly, but honest, truth!
I still think you LIE though because there is no way I could weigh what you say I do.
There isn’t hiding anything from you, is there?

I’m sure that you can tell that I don’t just carry burdens on my shoulders but that my hips are carrying an extra 5 pounds too.  Haagen Daz has met my thighs & they really aren't compatible.  But like any bad relationship it seems like it takes too long to bid each other a fond farewell.   

That noise you hear…..
Oh, that’s me removing my slippers & wedding ring & earrings from my body so that I can ensure that you won’t hold that against me too!
You are just mean & I don’t like playing with you anymore.

So I give up!
I’m going to stop trying to like you because I NEVER will.

I am going to take your advice.
Eat more spinach & less Doritos.
Drink more water & less wine.
And only occasional enjoy my favorite bowl of ice cream.

And next time you see me…
I will be less of a woman.
10 pounds less!

And then maybe I’ll consider you to be more worthy of my friendship.

(I thought it funny that the flash on my camera just happened to cover up the actual NUMBER on the scale....but for those of you that really must said 143!!).......transparency is so unfair sometimes!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Rover

I can remember playing Red Rover as a kid.
Actually the last time I played it was in college.
But no matter what the age, the rules are still the same.

Teams chosen.
Hands clenched.
Feet planted firmly.
And the call goes out….
‘Red Rover, Red Rover…..send Amy on over!’

She already knows where she is headed.
Her gait is fast & focused on the weakest link.
She knows who is strong. 
And she knows where she can break through.

The people she is running towards tighten their grip.
They prepare for the battle.
Contact is made.
The power in the force of the hit is too strong.
And the bond is broken.  The hands release.  And she has won.

The enemy to our soul plays this same game with us.
He knows who we have on our side.
And he knows our weak spots.
Marriage problems
He knows every issue we struggle with.  And he WILL attempt to break through each one of them when we let our guard down.  When we loosen our grip.  When are not as strong.

If we completely understood the awesome power of the One who is holding our hand, we would not fear the things that stand against us on the other side.

His grip will never let up.
He will never let go of our hand.
Release will never occur.
He is mighty & powerful!
No matter what force comes up against us.
No matter how hard it hits us.
He is still there.
He will not let it break us.
We will not be pulled apart from Him.

It’s not to say that there won’t be bruises from the battle.
Scars will exist.
Pain will be felt.

But if we stand with Him & dig our feet in, the enemy can send whatever he wants to try to destroy the bond.  And again, the call goes out ‘Red Rover, Red Rover send hatred & pain & insecurity & temptation on over!’

We are PROMISED that it won’t take us down.
That it will not win.
And that we WILL stand victorious……when we choose Who is on our team.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Art of Imperfection

Perfection is something that I’ve always struggled with.
Not because I seek other’s approval but it’s more for myself.
I like my ducks in a row.
I like things in my life to be neat & tidy
I know, it almost makes ME laugh out loud too considering the perfect pandemonium that resides inside these four walls every day.

My hangers are the same color. 
Our clothes display themselves nicely in their color-coded format.
Our home is decorated so that throw pillows match lampshades & candles compliment  towels.
Envelopes have gone in the trash hundreds of times because my handwriting wasn’t perfect.
If I play sports, I need to be the best.  If I ski, I need to be the first one down the mountain. 

And if I know I can’t do something well, then I’ll just not participate. 

Not just with sports but with life.  No matter what, I want to do the very best that I can.  To live up to my own high expectation.  To make the best lasagna or bake the best apple pie.  To plan the greatest vacation or birthday party.  I like things to be done WELL.

So then in walks the disappointment.
The laundry piles up. 
I burn the brownies.
I had to stop & walk the last time I ran a half-marathon.
And reality whispers like a gentle thunder ‘you are not perfect followed by a billowing clash of the words ‘…..and you NEVER will be’.


The one thing that I do have in my life that is absolutely perfect is the love of Jesus Christ.  The one and only thing with no blemish.

He doesn’t make mistakes.
There are no flaws.
No apologies.
No regrets.
Everything that comes from Him is in His perfect way.  His perfect timing.  His perfect love.
He is exact & calculated.
He is without blemish or stain.
He does not look back.  He does not stagger or fall.
He loves my imperfect heart with His perfect grace & mercy.
He knows my sinful ways & wipes them away with His perfect forgiveness.
He sees my imperfect parenting and steers me down His perfect path of patience.

So I’m going to stop trying to be perfect anymore.  I’m going to do what I can with what He gives me.  And place my imperfect life in His holy hands.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I got nothin'

I am never at a loss for words.  Rarely ever.
And the last couple of days I have nothing.

I have a serious case of writers block I guess.
But that seems funny to me because I don't really consider myself a writer.

It's not because I don't have stories or testimonies or my own words of wisdom to share.
I have a whole lifetime of them.
I sit at the computer & begin to write.  I get a few sentences formed & then I hit 'delete'.
It's not where my heart is at the moment.  It's not the time to share that specific element.
So I start over.  
Begin again.

I realize, in the process, that I put too much pressure on myself sometimes.
I want there to always be some sort of earth shattering statement that changes the world.  Or at least changes the world of those that are reading what I write.

But sometimes nothing comes.  And it's okay.  
It's ok to be patient.  To be still.  To wait for the right moment.

I guess what this time of silence is showing me is that sometimes less is more.
Sometimes we need to close our mouths.  Open our ears.  Listen to our hearts.  And know that something better is coming.  And that patience is a virtue that is silently pursuing me.  That as fast I run FROM it.....that I should just let it catch up with me & take over.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Higher Standard

I need to live in a higher standard. 
Not of elite status or by the quantity of things that I possess. 
But, a standard of living that reaches beyond the physical.
I want to live where the condition of my heart & the things that touch it far extend the boundaries of mutual funds, awards I have won or a Mercedes in my garage.

I want to set the spiritual bar so high that I am ALWAYS reaching to new heights.  To have Holy Spirit power.  To receive everything & all of what He has for me with an open mind & heart.  Arms outstretched in praise for whatever He brings. 

WHATEVER He brings!!

To have my eyes fixed on improving friendships.  Solid-to-the-core friendships that are bound with trust & forgiveness & laughter.  Not just those that are summed up by a ‘what’s in it for me?’ attitude.  I want to be wholeheartedly available.  To not allow past disappointment or hurt hold me back from achieving something so much more beautiful.

I want to pursue a higher standard of marriage.  To be more aware of his needs.  To feel more of what he feels.   To support more.  To touch more.  To allow it the ability to consume my heart 100%.  (not the 60% that I usually give out)

I want to excel in my parenting.  Not because I spoil them with things of this world.  Not because we will throw them the biggest birthday parties.  But because I am here.  Totally present.  Because I play with them.  Support them in whatever decisions they will make along the way.  I don’t want to be their friend.  They will have enough of those in their lives.  I want to be the mother that they know they can trust.  That loves them with everything I have.  I want to teach them.  To lead them through this world.  And hopefully, by the grace of God, let them fly away some day with confidence, trust & a graceful heart.

Why should I allow myself to just live in the status quo?  To take what I have now & let that be ok?  I want more.  I…..deserve…..more.  Don’t we all?

I don’t want to approach the life that I COULD have with a trepidation that paralyzes me.  That causes me to miss out or let my heart be void of the love that is really waiting there. 

With setting a higher standard comes accountability.  An act of being  more responsible for my own actions.  My thoughts.  My words.  The wife I am.  The mom I want to be. The friend I hope to become.

I want a higher standard of living.  To reach new heights.  Learn valuable lessons.  Live in heart-conscious moments.   And enjoy the QUALITY of life that comes with it! 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Capes & Tiaras

I need to find a cape that matches my eyes.

That doesn’t make my butt look big or make me look too frumpy.

One that is sparkly & fun & that doesn’t need to be ironed.

I do have Wonder Woman power after all!

SHE never had to do the things that we, as moms do!  Did you EVER see her multitask? 

Every day we are faced with a multitude of challenges.
We fix broken toys and mend broken hearts.
We heal skinned knees & sometimes, bruised egos.
We love with everything we have & all that we are.
We wipe away tears & spilled milk & mud covered floors.
We sew button eyes on sock puppets.  And more importantly, we sew our unconditional love into the fabric of their hearts.

We even have the potential of saving the world! (at least in the eyes of a 4 year old that lost her favorite blanket temporarily)

We are teachers & friends.
We are cooks & chauffeurs.
We are encouragers.  We are inspiration.
We are shoulders to cry on & laps to sit on.
We are cheerleaders & coaches.
We are the ones that are sitting on the sidelines in the subzero temperatures to applaud the touchdown.
If they only see us for a fleeting moment, they still know that WE WERE THERE!  And it makes the hypothermia worth it!!

I can do more with an hour of quiet time then most do in a span of a 10-hour work day. 

I’m certainly not touting my testimony of strength & good time management.  There are times that I really don’t have it all together.  Days when breakfast is still on the table when my husband comes home.  Times when the goal of doing 3 loads of laundry gets squelched by a fever or tantrum or making noodle art instead.  I become selfish with my time.  I want to do something without them.  I want to just be ME for a little while.  I get angry with them.  I say things I shouldn’t.  Wish time would move quicker (and THAT, I know I will regret some day!!)

But I still believe that if the Pentagon would allow a few of us moms around the conference table, if we were allowed the privilege to join in the meeting of the minds, that we could have world peace and global warming taken care of in a matter of minutes & still have time left over to swing by the closest mall & grab a cute pair of shoes before running home to make dinner & head off to soccer practice.

So today, I will adorn myself with my tiara & wear my cape proudly.  Because..... I am a super mom

Monday, March 1, 2010

There is a season

I never quote scripture.
Not because I don’t know any but I’m just not good at it. 
My words get jumbled. 
I paraphrase.
And it just doesn’t sound as good as the PROMISE that is truly there.

But here is the one that came to me today.

‘This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it’

I LOVE this day!
Not for any other reason but that it’s finally MARCH.
And not because we’re really done with winter.
But it’s still March
Spring is approaching.  Winter will be saying it’s sweet goodbye soon.
And I WILL bid it a very fond farewell!!

There is a PROMISE in today.
An assurance that there is something better coming.
Beauty is right around the corner.

A new day will dawn. 
Life will be made new. 
Sunshine will engulf us again & bring a much needed comfort. 
Burden will lift from our shoulders & be replaced by peace & calm.

Our lives are a lot like this too.

We feel much more safe in the spring & summer months. 
Life is good. 
Worth celebration.
We enjoy the longer days.  
We appreciate the freedom that is given.
We can rest.
And there is more fruit to enjoy than we even know what to do with.
The blessings are there for the taking.

Unfortunately, we can’t live in the covenant of spring and summer all the time.
Frost will blanket our safe meadow.
Pruning will need to be done.
The things that surround us will become brittle.  Die off.  Leave us with what appears to be nothing but a frigid darkness that we can’t see our way through.

I have been there.
I don’t like winter.
I have been pruned until I didn’t feel like there was anything left to strip away.
I could see no light. 
I wanted anything that represented hope to come along and snag me right out of that place, that time, that season.

I can assure you that no matter what season you are in, that there is a promise.  I have made it through a very long winter.  And there was finally beauty around the corner.  He will not leave us in that place.  He will prune me again I’m sure.  And once again, I won’t like it.  But I will rest in the promise that God gives us.  He will never forsake us.  He will bring us through the darkness.  There is beauty in the refining.  There will be flowers in the garden again.  Sunshine will break through. 

And I WILL rejoice in this day!