Thursday, September 29, 2011

what a difference a day makes

Yesterday after I published the post about change, I went about my day with little thought of what could happen.  OK...well maybe some thought.  But in truth, I just have too much going on.  "I'll think about it again when I have time in November," I thought.  Or maybe when news becomes more concrete.

I am thankful I didn't spend a whole day obsessing about the "what ifs" because by day's end more change came in the nothing-is-changing kind of way.

Yesterday morning, My Love told me that the same people that had realized the importance of keeping him in his new job instead of moving him into a high profile exec position (on the roller coaster ride that happened two months ago) were now suggesting he go on a 15-month long unaccompanied remote tour starting this summer in Turkey.  Hahahaha.  Seriously Lord?  My Love got a phone call returned from our friend who now lives in Germany again (hence the 6am phone ringing) yesterday morning answering questions about his family's positive experience living there.

The questions going through our minds were many.  Does My Love go alone and the family stay here in this house we are about to buy?  Do we all go with him on our own dollar with no military services for family members and few Americans in the area so we can be together?  If a future remote tour is a guarantee with his current employer, is this the time and place to take it when the location is desirable?  Is this the time to move into the civilian sector and accept a job locally that was pretty much offered at the same time this all came down?  Why is the same leadership that fought to keep him in his job months ago now so willing to change their minds about the plans they just made for the next few years of his career?  If he does end up going, what comes next when he returns stateside?


By the end of the day meetings were had without My Love present and once again he is staying right where he is for the next year or two.

Wasn't that a fun ride?

We can't help but think this has more to do with how we have been praying the past six months about My Love's future career direction and less about God wanting to take us on a roller coaster ride to remind us he is the Boss.  We know and trust him as our Shepherd.  The reminder doesn't seem necessary.  But perhaps he is guiding us down another path that might lead us to a more permanent stay in this area.  This was the first time a job was put on the table and the thought of "getting out" became a real (but difficult) possibility (for the day).

Who knows?  Pray with us.  Ultimately God does know and we are willing and able to follow him wherever he leads us.

Have a good day.  15 days until closing...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

change is good

I came downstairs this morning and emptied the dishwasher first thing so I could load the rinsed dishes in the sink from last night.  My Love was out on a run and was expected back soon.  I talked with KB for a few minutes about all the logistical changes going on for us in the weeks to come.  I grabbed my first cup of coffee and then sat down to open up my God Calling devotional.  It wasn't long and My Love came in the door walking through some knee pain after putting in 12 miles before work.  We chatted a little as he poured himself a cold drink.  His work phone rang on the kitchen counter.  Weird.  It was 6am.  My Love pushed the phone away from his face after a few sentences and then told me he was going outside to take a work call.  OK. 

I hopped online to quickly let our church family know that CS's water had broken and was expecting Baby L sometime today.  God is good.  Several minutes later My Love came back inside and I asked him what that was about.  He filled his cold drink and then came in to the family room to sit on the couch (at a distance because he knows how much I love the smell of his sweat drenched running shirt.  What?  Too much?  Sorry.  I just want you feel like you were here with me in the moment.).  He started telling me about his call with a friend of ours who lives in a different time zone and I started laughing.  Isn't it so like God to remind us that he is the One in control?  Are we serious about wanting to be wherever God wants us to be?  I laughed some more.  And yet complete peace in even more unknowns which are of course knowns to God.

We have been praying for several months about God's plan for My Love's career future.  His timing is perfect.  We just aren't always aware of what He is planning while we are busy planning something else.

One thing we know for sure.  If more changes come it does not negate what we know God has called us to do in this next chapter.  It just may not have as many pages in it as the chapter we are closing.  More changes on the horizon for our family.  We are praying that our Shepherd would continue to lead us to wherever he can best use us for his glory.

After a few thought-provoking questions for another pending career decision, we prayed together and then My Love went upstairs to wash off the funk get ready for work.

I opened up my God Calling again and reread the words for today from a different perspective.  Enjoy!

"Much that you both must accept in life is not to be accepted as being necessary for you personally, but accepted, as I accepted it, to set an example, to share in the sufferings and difficulties of mankind.  In this "to share" means "to save."...Beloved, you are called to save and share in a very special way....But, dreary as that Path must look to those who view it only from afar, it has tender lights and restful shades that no other walk in life can give."

Amen!  God bless your day as he already is ours.

UPDATE: OK, I realize now that perhaps this quoted passage might confuse you more than is necessary.  My take away was that my life is not my own.  God can use it however he wants.  He has called me to share this journey here and if the only gain is that others are drawn closer to Christ then the bumpy road we are riding is completely worth it.  No "dreary paths" coming that we are aware of.  Change is good.  Some might see it as chaos from afar but we are reminded that we are firmly in God's hands and it is a sweet and restful place to be.  Is that better, Mom?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

rest, clean, serve, rest

God has been working here people.  He has been busy peeling back each anxious layer of this experience and refusing to allow me to go there.  I would never describe myself as an anxious person before but being out of control is kind of a new thing for me.

We are preparing to go on vacation soon.  I fought the timing at first but am now excited about the excuse to get away.  The kids really need it and God is showing me that even though I didn't want it, I need it too.  Rest was the theme for my devotions entitled Come and Stay in God Calling on September 25th:

"Yes, come for rest.  But stay for rest, too.  Stop all feverish haste and be calm and untroubled.  Come unto Me, not only for petitions to be granted but for nearness to Me.  Be sure of My Help, be conscious of My Presence, and wait until My Rest fills your soul.  Rest knows no fear.  Rest knows no want.  Rest is strong, sure.  The rest of the soft glades and peacefully flowing rivers, of strong, immovable hills.  Rest, and all you need to gain this rest is to come to Me.  So come.  "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28"


OK Lord.  I'll go.  Rest.

God has also been busy using these last two months to show us more specifically what he is calling us to do in the next chapter of our lives.  My Love and I are excited about all God is preparing and getting on the same page has been helpful.

On another note, I know I mentioned about a month ago that I was anxious about keeping the house presentable for potential renters.  This idea does not come naturally to me--keeping the house clean.  But with 75% of our belongings boxed up, clutter is at a minimum and I have rather enjoyed having a reason to make beds and pick up bathrooms before leaving the house each day.  Who knew?  Maintaining is easier that the occasional all day deep clean before guests come.  So something that I thought was going to be stressful has actually turned into a good lesson in keeping my house.  Having a house guest around has been a good motivator too.  My biggest take away has been that if we want our (future new) house to be 100% available to God to be used 100% of the time I kind of have to keep it a little more presentable.  God is growing a desire in me to want to do that and I am thankful.

Back to God's plan for us next...  It seemed pretty clear when I read Serve All in God Calling on September 26th.

"Yes! remember to serve all.  Be ready to prove your Sonship by service Look on all you meet as guests in you Father's House, to be treated with Love, with all consideration, with gentleness.  As a servant of all think no work beneath you.  Be ever ready to do all you can for others.  Serve.  Serve.  Serve.  There is a gladness in service, a Joy in doing My Will for others, in being My expression of all good for them.  Remember that, when you serve others, you are acting for your Master and Lord who washed His disciples' feet.  So, in service for others, express your Love for Me."

That reading was the perfect repetition to our Home Fellowship lesson the night before from Matthew 6:1-4.  This next season will not be about us.  God wants to use us to bless others so He can get the glory.  Pray for us.  Being 100% available means learning to trust God to provide 100% of the resources necessary to meet the needs of others.  We are learning to pray very specifically.

Generally about this time before a move I scurry about trying to connect with everyone we know and love one more time.  Dinner plans here.  Play dates there.  God has pretty much completely prevented that from happening with anyone.  Life is going on like normal as if we aren't moving in three weeks at all.  I have struggled some with feeling sad that others aren't trying to reach out to us and then at the same time trusting that God DOES NOT want us to participate in long drawn out goodbyes.  We aren't really leaving.  I mean, yes we are moving out of this house, this neighborhood and will be finding a new church fellowship, but our relationships here will be maintained.  We will be at church here for one more official Sunday while living here, but it is by no means goodbye.  God is not removing us from our existing friendships in this area.  He is just relocating us an hour south (in no traffic).  In some ways, I think we will see certain friends more often.  Pray for us.  Brother's Sunday School Teaching Assistant almost broke into tears when she realized a couple days ago that we were leaving so soon.  Even though I know it is not goodbye, I will probably be emotional as we close the door here.  I am thankful that God has big plans for our future and that by his grace he is leaving the door we are walking through slightly ajar.

Just a few more days and we will be taking off for some much needed time away with family.  The Wups is staying with the same family of 14 that he was with last summer when we visited the west coast.  I think he needs a vacation too.  Lots of hands over there to love on him.  Not likely he will be getting rest though ;) which is fine because he sleeps enough all ready.  What he needs right now is extra love.  God is good.   My Love's parents haven't seen the kids in over a year.  It has been far too long.  And to my surprise, there are no plans being made for our time together.  Rest.  Yes.  That sounds good right about now.  Thanks for the prayers.  We feel them.

Monday, September 26, 2011

believe God

A few weeks ago I read this passage in Acts and it really stuck out to me.  I'll start in verse 23 of chapter 27 for context:

"For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, 'Don't be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar!  What's more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.'  So take courage!  For I believe God.  It will be just as he said.  But we will be shipwrecked on an island."


I don't know about you but when I think of the words 'goodness' and 'safety' I don't automatically think of standing trial before Caesar and getting shipwrecked.  God promised Paul that he would survive the tumultuous journey he was sailing on, everyone would make it through the storms and he would arrive at his destination.  Paul believed God because he KNEW God.  Oh and by the way you will be shipwrecked.

When I think of promises of goodness and safety, I envision calm waters and peaceful roads not violent storms and a smashed ship.  

But isn't that only describing the circumstances of life and not the character of our Lord?  He IS calm and peaceful no matter our circumstances.  We find rest in Him alone.

Acts 27:20 says, "The terrible storm raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone."  Verses 18 and 19 in the same chapter tells of how the crew started throwing cargo and the ship's equipment overboard.  Verse 21 says, "No one had eaten for a long time."

And yet Paul believed God.  He relied on His promises and found peace in the storm.

I have two feet on dry ground today.  My cargo is boxed up in towering boxes all around me.  I am getting ready to eat breakfast when I am done posting this.  I saw the sun peek through the clouds just yesterday and expect it to make a return appearance today.  My hope is not gone.

Today I choose to keep my eyes on Jesus.  Not because I can find peace in knowing my circumstances are no where near as bad as Paul's were.  He was living through a real storm and was promised a future that included being shipwrecked.  No, my peace is in Jesus today because I KNOW the same God.  I believe Him and his promises no matter my circumstances today or what is coming in my future. 

I went to a few churches that sang hymns as a child.  As an adult I have come to appreciate the words from those old songs so much more.    The first few lines of the song below came to mind as I close here.  "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ, my righteousness."  When I looked up the rest of the lyrics, it was even sweeter.  Enjoy!
  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
    • On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
      All other ground is sinking sand,
        All other ground is sinking sand.
  2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.
  3. His oath, His covenant, His blood,
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my hope and stay.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found;
    In Him, my righteousness, alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.

Friday, September 23, 2011

boy next door

Just a quick note.  It has been a long 24 hours and I have no idea what the next will bring.  Bundle Brother was up with the scariest hacking cough that he has ever had.  Labored breathing and choking up mucus.  Poor guy was completely out of it.  I was up every two hours sitting with him on the edge of our house guest's bath tub wrapped in the shower curtain taking in the steam of the rushing water.  I remembered doing this with him a few years ago when he had croup.  He covers more of the length of my body when he sits on my lap now.

Today I was hit with what he has and have been dragging most of the day.  Although I am thankful the kids are healthy (Brother is still coughing but has normal energy), I do wish they wanted to nap all day like I do.  We did have a late afternoon quiet hour in addition to nap which helped.

I am writing here though to share that as I sit here annoyed that I have had to work every sick day of my life (I even tried to go to school sick as a kid) and My Love isn't going to be home until late, God has been busy working.

My Love got off of work a little early and went down to see the house progress.  Closing date is set for 14 October now with a walk through on the 10th.  His intent was to check out all that they have done in the last few weeks and then head over to the local Lowes to put in the order for our blinds.  How can I possibly be annoyed with a guy who works hard at his job every day to the glory of God and then drives further south at the end of a long week to do more work at our house to serve his family?  I love that guy.  I know he would rather be home.  Anyway, just as the ibuprofen was starting to kick in (because I can tell you right now the generic sudafed wasn't doing anything for me), My Love called to give me an update.  I was not in the mood for a long explanation and the kids were asking to eat.  I listened quietly anyway and then a bit of unexpected news came through the phone.  While at our new place, My Love walked next door to our neighbor's house (who just moved in too) and introduced himself.  The family has four boys (ages 4-16).  The youngest came to the door and asked My Love if our son could come play with him.  His mom described him as being very similar to Bundle Boy.  Praise God!  Had my head and face and body not been aching, I might have cried.  One of my biggest worries about this transition has been for our son.  That he would adjust well to the move and that we could get him plugged in with kids in the neighborhood quickly.  God did us even better.  He planted a boy his age right next door.  Have I said I feel blessed yet?  Well I do.  Even though I have been up all night and all I want to do is crawl into bed as my day job has still not ended.  God's grace like rain is falling all over me today.  And what do you is still raining outside too.

Thank you for your prayers.  Keep praying.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


When Grammie was here visiting this year, she bought Bundle Brother a small bag of marbles.  It didn't take long before she wondered if that was the best idea.  He is three years old after all.  For some reason, my kids love little treasures and have never lingered too long in the phase of putting things in their mouths.  Even Babydoll likes to tote around the "balls".  

While packing, I stumbled upon an old bag of marbles from my childhood that I undoubtedly stole from an older sister.  They were still being stored in that bright purple cloth bag ;).  You know the one, girls.  Anyway, I took them out and added them to Brother's growing collection.  There are days when they are kept at arm's length and loaded up in all kinds of different trucks and purses and size 4 Babydoll boots.  They are cherished.

The thing with little marbles is they roll.  Well, duh.  But if one happens to slip out of the grip of an unsuspecting child, it rolls away.  Consider the mayhem when all the marbles go spilling from a tilted open purse.  Your eye can't even follow which direction they are spinning.  Of course you don't know how many you are looking for either.  You scoop up the ones in plain view and are able to restore peace to the moment.  For now.

Over the next day or two you randomly see a marble here and there.  One sitting lonely against a wall.  Another at the bottom of a car bucket.  A swipe of an exposed dog hair ball from under the bookshelf unearths yet another rolling glass marble that you didn't even know was missing.

Last night My Love took the kids upstairs to give them a bath and I got busy vacuuming and mopping the downstairs.  It is so much easier to knock that job out when I don't have little people to hustle out of the way (and who walk on wet floors right after I finish mopping).

Before I aimlessly poked the vacuum extension underneath things, I took an intentional  look at what was hidden there first.  Little toys have a habit of getting lost under couches and desks.  Through this process of crouching down and opening closets and picking up rugs I found marble after marble.  One here.  One there.  One more to add to the bag-o-marbles already full to capacity.  Who even knew we had so many?  I mean, the kids are completely content playing with the ones they know about.  They are thankful.  Of course they both prefer the few large ones and a couple of the really colorful little ones, but the rest seemed like innumerable gifts.  Too many to count and yet not noticeably different from one another.

So last night, I "counted".  Not in the literal sense.  But every time I found a marble in the most random of places while cleaning, I thanked the Lord for yet another unexpected gift.  A treasure in fact among hair balls and toy clutter.

And yet isn't that our every day lives?  We treasure the big noticeable gifts (ie. healthy family, happy kids, jobs that provide, a roof over our heads...) and don't even see so many we overlook or take for granted (ie. a thoughtful word from your son to his sister, a break in the storm clouds, spilled milk, pee on the bathroom wall...).  But there they are hidden in back corners waiting to be discovered and counted when intentionally looking for them.  

Babydoll's little bag is full of marbles today.  Some added in the night while I vacuumed that she didn't even know she was missing.

Thank you Lord for marbles.  The big ones, the colorful ones,and  the plain hidden ones found only when crouched down hunting for them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

counted on one hand

Life is hitting us with a dose of reality right now.  We sat through an emotional service on Sunday as our Senior Pastor announced that they were starting their own time of transition.  I realized in that moment that the number of Sundays left before we move can be counted on one hand.  How does time slip by so quickly?

If I hadn't run out of tape I would have been packing more boxes this morning but perhaps a day off is in order.  In a week and a half we will be vacationing in Tennessee with the in-laws and will then return home to crunch time.  My Love and I stayed up for awhile last night talking about moving day logistics.  Right now we are praying that our closing date remains accurate and that we will have plenty of time to get settled and cleaned out of our rental home before friends come into town from three far away states for the marathon.  My Love is taking a week off of work to get some work done around the property (ie. blinds installed, washer and dryer delivered, maybe get fence built, blah...blah...blah).  I am excited to get our stuff put into their permanent places and begin making this new house our home.  One thing at a time though.

Only two families have come through to view our current property for rent.  The boxes are starting to take over the aesthetic view of the space.  It is hard to admit that we will no longer be hosting friends here in this house.  I am getting that anxious feeling about wanting to connect with everyone we know and love at least one more time while we live this close.  I am not sure how that is going to happen.  Perhaps some will be willing to come down to our new home once we are settled.  We are thankful that many of our close relationships here will be able to maintained.  God is good.

On another note, it has become clear that God is preparing us to find a new fellowship in our new community.  We are praying for that person or family that already has a need in another church that God wants to meet with what he has blessed us with.  It makes the very act of relocating more difficult though--knowing that this season with this Body of Christ is coming to an end.

We are eager to be where God wants us to be but it doesn't make the leaving any easier.  Pray for us.  He will continue to be faithful and lead us.  We are trusting the sound of our Shepherd's voice as we follow him into unseen green pastures.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

make it your home

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." -Psalm 91:1

"Hidden in a sure place, known only to God and you.  So secret that no power on earth can even find it.  But, My beloved children, you must dwell therein.  No fitful visit, a real abidingMake it your home.  Your dwelling-place." -The Two Listeners, God Calling

Boxes are being packed.  Walls stand naked.  Possessions are hidden away to be revisited another day.  My mind has been focused on all I will do to make our next house our home lately.  No money spent, just day dreaming of colors and items and decor.  

God was faithful to remind me that my home is in His dwelling place.  My dreams should be about abiding in His sweet, all-colorful presence.

Friday, September 16, 2011

of eathquakes and flooding and such

Sometimes I feel a sense of urgency to write a particular post.  The words, sentences come to mind as if Someone else is dictating the thoughts in my head.  Other times I have much I want to share and time passes before I get an opportunity.  I believe both are a part of God's purpose for me.  With a little bit of distance, I can see how several events all worked together and then share a more concise story.  You're welcome.


A few weeks ago on a Tuesday I was sitting on the couch in our family room during nap time and the house started shaking.  Literally.  It lasted only 10 seconds here and nothing fell over.  The kids were peacefully napping and were not even shaken awake.  I thought it was a little weird but then went about my day.  Being from the west coast this was not my first earthquake.  For MANY others in this area it was.  My cell phone service was down or spotty for a couple of hours but every other type of modern convenience was unaffected at our home.

The following day My Love's workplace had downed systems because of the earthquake and they told him not to come in until ten.  He went in anyway so he could move into his new office but was home earlier than normal.  In the evening, they told everyone not to bother coming in at all the next day and that they didn't know when the network would be up and running again. Bonus family days.  Yay!


The very next week brought Hurricane Irene.  Our area did not get a lot of rain, but like everyone else on the east coast, they were preparing us for loss of water and power outages.  Neither happened.

Scene Three: VOMIT Round ONE

A few days later, My Love called and said he was stuck at work sick and would be heading home when he thought he had the strength to make the 1+ hour drive.  The kids and I were at the commissary and realized that he would probably beat us home.  As we were pulling into our neighborhood, Bundle Boy started whining that he was thirsty because he ate a pretzel.  Once in the garage, I took him out of his carseat and BLAH he threw up on the garage floor as he was getting out of the car.  Luckily he was wearing his new solider rain boots or it might have been a messy experience.  Wait.  I suddenly remember writing about this already.  I spent the next couple of days cleaning up vomit and doing laundry.  By Friday afternoon, the boys were healthy again and we were starting a four day weekend for Labor Day.

I was frazzled.

My Love is very productive.  He relaxes on Saturdays by waking up before 5am running 18 miles then mowing the lawn, running errands and working on the car.  Sigh.  He used to tire me out because I felt like I had to be as productive as he was on the weekend.  It can be hard to relax when someone is buzzing about working on projects.  Then I realized that he enjoys doing work and it actually relaxes him to be productive.  Me?  Not so much.

Anyway after a couple days of knocking out every side job needed, he started pacing around wanting us to DO something or GO somewhere with the kids.  Now please understand that on week days, the kids and I have a routine.  It is flexible from day to day but the children have peace in knowing what to expect during the week.  We are not out running around town all day every day.  After a few days of unknown schedules we all started getting a little hairy.  Figuratively.  Bundle Boy was walking back and forth between me and his Dad asking permission for the same scenario and getting different answers.  The kids were whiny and I was counting down the days to when My Love would be going back to work.  By Sunday morning, we were all (and I mean all) stomping around in self-absorbed land not knowing what to do with ourselves.

I know.  I am terrible.  I love my husband very much but this experience showed me that I have to give up ALL the plans I make for God's plans.  Is my peace still found in the predictable, the scheduled?  If I can't be thankful for the gift of extra time with my whole family together then I really have a control problem.  I mean the Creator of heaven and earth sent multiple forces of nature to show me that he is ultimately the one running the show.  Perhaps I need to readjust my priorities.

Scene Four: FLOOD

In a matter of 14 days we had experienced an earthquake, a hurricane, and the stomach bug.  What else could be coming?  A flood?  After the LONG weekend, the rain started coming down and didn't seem to stop for days.  By Thursday it was quite clear that our area was beginning to flood including the property we are currently living on.

In preparation for a baby shower I was throwing for a friend on Saturday, I had been going down to the basement to get some baby gear that people had donated so I could clean it.  During one of my quick stops down there, I saw a waterfall coming from the basement window.  I am talking 12 inches wide and flowing like a fountain.  Cue panic.  My Love usually handles this kind of thing.  I immediately called him at work to get our landlord's number.  My Love was in the middle of some really big important situation at work and all he heard was "WHAT IS MR. W.'S PHONE NUMBER?  I NEED IT NOW!"

sidebar:  Our landlord had just been over to the house that morning in the pouring rain delivering hanging plants and a flower planter for display on the front porch to increase curb appeal.  No comment.  They had just placed a For Rent sign in our front yard the night before and he was dropping off a key for the lock box as well.  The house was now listed (for $300 more a month than we are paying).

As My Love was apparently looking for the phone number quietly, I shouted something like, "Call me when you find it.  I have got to go do something about this!"  I started frantically moving boxes yet again (some storage of which includes church Christmas decorations) and then realized I had to go out and stop the flow before I dealt with the clean up.  I propped both kids in front of Veggie Tales, put on some old tennis shoes and headed out in the pounding rain to do something but I had no idea what.  To shorten this up a bit... I ended up calling our friends down the street to come check on our kids because they were being unattended.  I got out our six foot ladder and cleaned out the gutters all the while praying that the earth shattering lightening that had just echoed across our sky an hour before was now long gone.  I trudged through 5 inches of water that was COVERING our back yard and lied down in the mud to see what was going on in the window well at the basement.  The entire well of the window was full of water.  The clogged gutters were causing the water to back up near the house and pour into the well.  I am talking enough to fill a five gallon bucket.  I got bowls and pitchers and dust pans to try and get the water out of the well while on my stomach in the mud and pouring rain under bushes.  Next thing I know our landlord was standing behind me (My Love had called him) wearing a rain jacket (lucky guy) and pretty much turned around and said there was nothing he could do while the rain was still coming down.  I said, "Well it is your house," and then returned to scooping out water after he left.  Eventually I got enough water out of the well so the top was below where the water fall was pouring into our basement.  I took off my clothes and shoes and then rinsed off in my muddy undergarments before dressing to go figure out what to do with the basement.  At that time our friends from down the street came over to check on me once they figured out who it was that left a strange message on their voicemail.  I am going to miss them.

The rain let up.  The sun peaked out and once again I was reminded that there is always calm after a storm.  The pad of the basement carpet was soaked yet again and less than 12 hours after the house was listed for rent, it was taken off the rental website.  He knows what he is doing.  The kids were clueless to the drama going on outside.

The whole time I was out there having no idea what to do and hoping my kids didn't badly hurt themselves while I was completely neglecting them for a time (correction: I did toss an open bag of Cheerios at Brother and told him to give his sister a snack after I traipsed across the kitchen floor in muddy shoes so I could get some bowls because he acted like he didn't know what I wanted as he stood at an open cabinet.  That really freaked him out.) I was thinking how My Love usually deals with this kind of stuff and I totally take him for granted.  Sigh.

Scene Five: VOMIT Round TWO

The day after the flood of 2011, our landlord was busy bringing workers in to dry the carpet and replace the pad so they could get it ready to rent.  The scheduled appraiser visit for their refinance approval on Wednesday kind of kicked them into high gear as well.  I was preparing for said baby shower.  I was rearranging furniture, bringing up extra folding chairs and decluttering the playroom (read: taking everything up to Brother's room).  By lunch time I had a funny feeling.  I could feel myself slowing down.  I had no appetite but was hungry.  It is hard to explain.  I was making the most of the time in my day to knock out my to do list for the shower.  Luckily I was only responsible for making the dessert (cupcakes) and the chicken salad sandwiches as far as the menu goes.  Lots of other people were bringing sides.  No big deal.  It was such a gift to get a text from a friend Friday morning saying she was going to make it to the shower and asking if I needed help with  anything.  I tasked her with bringing the caesar salad that I still had to buy the ingredients for and all was stress free.  I had the decorations out and ready to be put up that night as well as the donated baby gear cleaned and ready to go.  By evening I knew something was wrong.  My Love was still working on some really big important situation at work and didn't even make it home until 10pm.  At 9 o'clock I knew I was sick.  My stomach was killing me.  KB had been off all day because the school she works at had flooded and schools were closed countywide.  I told her I was worried we might have to cancel the shower.  That wasn't an option for her.

That is when God showed up.  I really did not want to cancel but I knew people would not want to come hang out in my house knowing a sick person was upstairs.  The bug had already been going around our church.  I text my friend who I was cohosting the shower with and she did not even hesitate.  The three of us (mostly KB and NH) figured it all out.  "Why don't you call someone and ask them to host it for you?' KB asked.  If you know me at all, you know I would pretty much never call someone the 10 hours before a shower and ask them to allow 20 people to come have a party at their place.  I would NEVER!  But KB and NH would.  And they did.  KB stood in the doorway of my bedroom as I texted NH back and forth for two hours.  In that amount of time, NH had found a new venue and had called all but three of the RSVPed guests to tell them about the change.  Are you kidding me Lord?  The whole time I was lying there thinking just barf already.  My stomach is killing me.  But I was also thinking how perfectly planned this vomit round two was.  Over a week after the boys had it.  In a strange way I was actually thankful it turned out the way it did.  God knew CS (the girl I was throwing the shower for) NEEDED to know the love of her church family and the best way for that to happen was for me to be out of the picture.  I am her closest friend here, her husband is away for work a lot and my family is moving out of town.  The way these women came alongside of her and blessed her socks off was perfectly orchestrated by the One who loves CS even more than I do. 

KB took all the decorations to the other house on Saturday morning and NH's husband came by a little later to pick up the donated baby gear to surprise CS with.  She is having baby #3.  #1 and #2 are 8 and 6 years old.  Had the shower been here, I would have made every effort to tell the ladies how much I love my friend and what a blessing she has been in my life this past year.  I so wanted them to love her as I do.  But God had a better plan.  The other ladies already did love her even if they didn't know her well and CS needed to see God's love through them.  She said she didn't have a shower that nice for either of her other kids.  To God be the glory.

And while I was thanking God for the ladies who took the lead while I was down and out...I was up puking ALL.NIGHT.LONG.  Cheers.

Scene Six: SOLO

I had Saturday to get my strength back because My Love was heading out to Japan for work on Sunday morning.  Luckily the barf only lasted Friday night and Saturday was spent napping off fever and aches.  The kids and I took My Love to the airport Sunday morning and just came home afterward.  I was feeling mostly better but really didn't want to expose people to any lingering germs.  We needed a down day.  

Then started the LONGEST WEEK EVER.  Note:  Today is Friday and My Love is in route home now.  Bundle Brother has really taken a turn.  Lets just say his behavior requires CONSTANT CONSTANT CONSTANT correction and discipline.  I am exhausted and grumbly (note: It doesn't seem to matter how many times I type that word, spell check doesn't like it.).  Since I have written a book already, I'll just spare you the details.  Well maybe I will include some of them for fun... 

Peeing in the dry bath tub and leaving it there for me to find puddled at the bottom.  Peeing on a carpeted stair for no reason at all.  Flushing socks down the toilet.  Wiping poop on the wall and toilet while trying to get it off his hand.  Ripping out pages of the Bible for no reason.  Whining.  Arguing.  Defying.  Terrorizing.


Once again, I am really appreciating my husband right now.  He does a lot and I can't wait for him to get back so we can regroup on parenting.  Going solo is not all its cracked up to be.

Hey.  I just realized what the earthquake, hurricane, flood, and vomit rounds were all about.  None of it is about me.  When I demand my own way and freak out over changes in routine and schedule, I am making it all about me.  The earth can shake rattle and roll but I have a solid rock to stand on and a godly man by my side.  Perhaps this has just been a reminder that God gave me a partner in this world and it is time I take the time to say thanks.  To God and to My Love.

I miss you My Love.  Hurry home. So much.

How was that for concise?

be calm

"Success is the result of work done in peace.  Only so can work yield its increase.  Let there be no hurry in your plans.  You live not in time but in Eternity.  It is in the Unseen that your life-future is being planned.  Abide in Me, and I in you, so shall you bring forth much fruit.  Be calm, assured, at rest.  Love, not rush.  Peace, not unrest.  Nothing fitful.  All effectual.  Sown in Prayer, watered by Trust, bearing flower and fruit in Joy.  I love you." -God Calling

How does he do that?  Tell me exactly what He wants me to hear on this day.  He must read my blog. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

language of thanks

I have been thinking a lot about our friends today.  They just moved to Barcelona as missionaries.  
I was terrible at learning a second language.  I took two mandatory years of Spanish in high school and two required semesters in college but still didn't do well.  I could pick up vocabulary but verbal sentence structure in another language just never clicked with me.  Heck, sentence structure in my first language is rather difficult.   I laugh though because another friend of mine pretty much taught herself Russian.  Some people just have brains that learn language well.  I am not one of them.  I am praying for the Watkin family as they immerse themselves in a new culture and language.  The adjustment could take awhile.

They say young children learn multiple languages best.  It may delay their speech some but that is only because they are trying to organize more than one language in their brains.  When they do start talking, both languages come out fluent.  They don't have the previous baggage of translation that I had.  They learned the languages simultaneously.  It is all they have known.

Another way to learn language is to immerse yourself in a culture.  Surrounding yourself with people who only (or mostly) speak the language you desire to learn forces you to figure it out.  For me, it was hard to turn on my Spanish brain during that class (and when I studied).  The rest of my life was in English.  The languages never intertwined.  They were kept separate therefore I didn't really learn Spanish (and later that semester of German in college).

Today I loaded up the kids after nap and took the drive to the commissary.  I have come to enjoy that ride.  Sometimes for the peace and quiet found in 40 minutes one way when I get to go by myself.  But also for the times I have company and it forces us to have conversations and sing along to the radio.  Bundle Boy often asks about the music we are listening to.  He wants to know what hard words mean and how they relate to Jesus.  I made an audible request for the next song which spurred conversation about what it will be like when Jesus comes back.  "When I see him, I am going to hug and kiss him!" he said.  "I don't see a ladder up to heaven.  How will we get up there?"  As I talked to my 3 1/2 year old son I was SO blessed.  He is learning the language as a young child.  All his questions are out of curiosity not cynicism.  He doesn't have baggage of years living a life for himself and wondering what do I need God for.  God is intertwined in his little life.  He thanks Him, he loves Him, he praises Him, he wants to please Him.  It is not like the rest of his life is in the world and God only gets talked about during church or when he reads a book about him.  He is immersed in the culture and language of thanks.

In the quiet of my heart (because God knows it was anything but quiet with two shrieking gigglers in the back seat) and behind my own smile, I heard this voice saying...

Now do you see?  I am working in you for THEM.  So they can learn to thank Me in every circumstance of life.  So they can grow up never knowing a day that I didn't love them.  Give up more.  There is even more to surrender to Me.  ABIDE!

 It got me thinking.  How easy it is to separate my life into mine (English) and God's (Spanish).  My life is mine and I will give you what is yours when it is convenient for me, Lord.  You know, like during Spanish class.  And I keep wondering why there are still corners of my heart that aren't "getting it" yet.  I have to immerse myself.  Completely.  Every part of who I am and who I was created to be.  I have to get rid of each piece of luggage at a time and intertwine every fiber of my being until I breath a language of thanks.  This week my breath has been quite grumbly (note: still not a word).

The last couple weeks have been a little rough.  I have felt like I was kept at the end of myself for long periods of time and even wondered if I had said a gentle word to my son in one entire day.  The constant instruction and discipline he requires at the moment is exhausting.  But it wasn't until I was driving home from the commissary today that I realized I have been busy barking out sentences in "Spanish" (be kind/gentle, listen and obey, wait your turn, ask permission...) at my son for days and then speaking in "English" (short tempered, harsh tone, impatient, annoyed...) the rest of the time.  How on earth can I expect him to learn the language of thanks if I am not fluent myself??????

It isn't easy to learn a second language as an adult.  But if it means my kids grow up being bilingual without so much as one unnecessary carry-on in the overhead bin that would get in their way of knowing and trusting God's love for them, then to God be the glory. 

It is only by his grace that he offers us more than one way to learn.  

I am ready Lord.  Immerse me in your language of thanks.  I want to deeply know it and speak it fluently and dream about it.  I want to come to a point where I no longer even have to waste a moment in my head translating.  I want it to BE my first language.
We are praying for you J & T Watkin.  God is going to do big things in and through you.

quiet strength

"Rest in Me.  When tired nature rebels it is her call for rest.  Rest then until My Life-Power flows through you.  Have no fear for the future.  Be quiet, be still, and in that very stillness your strength will come and will be maintained.  The world sees strength in action.  In My Kingdom it is known that strength lies in quiet.  "In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."  Such a promise!  Such glorious fulfillment!  The strength of Peace and Peace of strength.  Rest in Me.  Joy in Me."

-Two Listeners, God Calling

Monday, September 12, 2011

temporary post

Here are some working post titles that I hope I get back to eventually:
the earthquake
the vomit boys
the flood
more vomit
for rent

Stay tuned...

i'll tell you i'm grateful again

It is late here.  I have several posts that I need to get to but tonight isn't the time.

God is repeating himself again and my ears are more in tune to receive it.  

Abide in Me.  I am the Vine.

I think he sees me slipping back into my old pattern of self and is trying to draw me back to Himself.  Well of course he sees me.  I feel like I am struggling.  Being reactive.  Annoyed.  Stressed.  When life doesn't go according to plan, I get frustrated.  The children are requiring a LOT more instruction lately and my patience is anything but long. 

As I type this, I see how God has been working over the past few weeks trying to get my attention as I plowed ahead with my own plans.  I'm talking earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flash floods, stomach flu...  Okay maybe all of that wasn't just for me, but what if it was?  What if I am a Jonah sitting in the boat knowing the whole raging storm is because of my disobedience?

I have decided to start counting gifts again from #1.  My perspective on life and my relationship with God has drastically changed, but I can feel self slowly fighting its way back in.

So I will read. And count.  And read some more.  Because we all know I am still behind in my One Year Bible readings.

Tonight as I lied in bed alone for nearly two hours, I just got up and came downstairs to read.  After catching up on two days, something in me told me to jump to the reading for today's date, September 11th.  And wouldn't you know it but 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 was there in black and white.  Remember when I wrote about it here last Sunday?

I get it Lord.  "For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Then in the Psalm passage for today I read, "Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall," from chapter 55 verse 22.

I read this after I opened up my God Calling to read,

"Life it was of which I spoke when I said, "I am the Vine and ye are the branches."  The life flow of the Vine is in the branches.  Our lives are one--yours and Mine.  All that is in My Nature must therefore pass into yours, where the contact is so close a one.  I am Love and Joy and Peace and Strength and Power and Healing and Humility and Patience, and all else you see in Me your Lord.  Then these, too, you must have as My Life flows through you.  So courage.  You do not make yourselves loving and strong and patient and humble.  You live with Me, and then My Life accomplishes the miracle-change."

I know.  It doesn't make sense if I highlight and underline the whole text but come on.  How could I not?  Wow!  I read it twice the first time but each word really stood out to me as I typed it here.

How quickly I fall into demanding my own way, trying to control the minuscule parts of my day.  Surrender all.  Surrender ALL to the Shepherd.  Abide in Him.  And no matter what circumstance comes my way (may it be quaking, flooding, vomiting or you know like questioning instruction, defiance to authority, whining, destructive behavior, terrorizing of ones little sister...), His Life flows through me like a vine to the branches.  I should be shining love, joy, peace, strength, power, healing, humility, patience.  I am pretty sure my family has just seen, well, me lately.  By my own strength, I am a miserable weak failure every time.


I will get this.

Tonight as I was putting Bundle Boy to bed after bathing both kiddos, I yelled something like, "TOMORROW OUR VERSE IF GOING TO BE ABOUT SELF-CONTROL BECAUSE YOU ARE LACKING IT!"

No the irony was not lost on me.  The moment the period (or rather the exclamation point) was put on the end of the sentence I knew that the message was for me from God.  My patience is short, my voice is loud, and my attitude is grumbly (which is apparently not a word but is exactly how I have been acting).

Yes, I think it is time I say thank you thank you thank you again to My First Love and Creator.  For every breath in my lungs, bright moon above, explosive poopy diaper, and spilled milk across the kitchen floor.

Today I was busy rearranging the play room/dining room yet again as I was tearing down from a baby shower that did not happen here yesterday (but that is a story for another time).  This song by Nicole Nordeman came on over the computer from the Children's Music play list.  I must have heard it a dozen times before, but today I heard it for the first time.  It is my song tonight.  LORD, I am grateful that You are holding my life in Your hands.  You are so good.

Good night then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

a snoodle's tale

I watched this video with Bundle Boy today.  It is absolutely my favorite Veggie Tales show.  So if you don't have little ones at home and would like an excuse to watch this film (13 minutes), here it is.  

It has a sweet story that we all need to be reminded of from time to time.  God created us and His voice is the ONLY one that matters.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

every life

Remember this post?

Now watch this video.

Every moment is a gift.  Every interaction is an opportunity to live for God's glory.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

weakness is His strength

There has been lots of talk about interviews around here lately since our live-in friend started looking for work.  She has a job now, but the first few weeks she was pounding the pavement making connections.  

During an interview, you are often asked what your top three strengths and weaknesses are.  Three strengths?  We got that.  We attempt to articulate to the interviewer what we think they want to hear.  That we are organized, responsible, a team player.  The weakness answer is a little bit more difficult though.  We don't want to come across as having such a huge weakness that they would not want to hire us.  We mention a few things that appear small and insignificant and would by no means affect us in the workplace.

What if we had our thinking backward?  What if we spent far too much of our days and in fact out lives thinking about what we are capable of doing well on our own?  What if we choose to focus on our weaknesses?  Not to improve them per se, but just acknowledge them.  For our Creator designed both our strengths and our weaknesses.

Are we truly surrendering ALL to be used for the glory of God?  Or are we just suggesting the aspects about us that seem the most desirable?  The character qualities we think He would most likely use to equip us for the job.

God wants us to use us all at any time.  Not just our strengths on a Sunday morning but our weaknesses on a Friday afternoon too.  For in truth, our weaknesses are His strengths.  The glory is given to Him when we come to the end of ourselves and confess that it is only by His grace that we can do anything at all.

Use me in my weaknesses, Lord. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

New Living Translation (NLT)
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

vomit in the dark

What a night!

My Love called in the late afternoon yesterday while we were out running an errand and said he was on his way home with a flu bug.  Later the kids and I pulled up to the house and Bundle Boy spewed on the garage floor as he was getting out of the car.  Luckily he was wearing his new "solider boy" rain boots.  I stripped him down to his skivvies on the front lawn as I got Babydoll from her car seat and delayed taking the groceries out of the trunk.  Sigh.

Of course Bundle Brother was acting completely fine after we got back in the house.  I insisted he go to bed early but he was not eager to turn in.  My Love was already in bed with the chills when we got home from the commissary at 5pm.

KB got home, I got Babydoll down for bed (who was happy and healthy), and then we stayed up talking for a couple hours.  At around 9pm, we heard Brother crying upstairs.  And so it began.  A series of vomit clean ups, sheet changes, towel replacements, tub wash-offs and laundry loads running.  Sigh.  I think he had thrown up four times before KB and I called it a night.  With a sick man in my bed and every other room taken, I opted to pull up a pillow and blanket next to Bundle Boy's bed on the floor.

It was a long night.  I think I got one hour of sleep.  By the wee hours of the morning, he had learned how to make it into the bowl.  What a gift!  I gave him children's Tylenol.  30 seconds later he threw it up.  He kept asking for water in the night.  After taking a long drink, he couldn't keep that down either.  Poor boy was miserable.  The color had completely left his face and was replaced with a greenish, grayish hue.

But I noticed something while I lied down on the carpet in my son's bedroom bracing for the next blow.  When KB and I were down stairs, the first thing we heard was crying.  After I cleaned him up the first time, I told to call out for Mommy if he felt sick and I would take him to the bathroom.  Not long later and I heard "Mommy" from upstairs.  His cries were loud and seeking.  A tone that questioned "Where are you?  I need you!" in a word.  Once we had turned in for the night, I told Brother that I was going to sleep on the floor in his room.  I plugged in the night light and got "comfy".  When he started feeling sick again, he spoke to me.  He talked in a voice that KNEW I was right by his side.  He was comforted in the fact that he could trust me to help him and that he was not alone.

When he first threw up, he was afraid.  He knew I was somewhere in the house but was more upset about his circumstances than his peace in knowing I would help him.  After I cleaned him up a few times and reassured him that it would be okay, his cries became more focused toward finding me.  And when he knew I was right there next to him (even though he couldn't see me) his words became even more personal and peaceful.

Why?  Why when big surprising circumstances sneak up on us after a pleasant day spent with friends do we cry out into the night afraid of whatever we are experiencing?  We act like we are alone "in the house" and don't aim our calls toward any one in particular.  Just a woe-is-me tone of voice.  What if we KNEW that we KNEW that whenever ANY THING happened, we could personally and peacefully whisper into the dark for comfort from the One who is always right there "at the edge of the bed"?

With each gag, I cleaned up my Bundle Boy and laid him back down to say prayers over him.  We thanked God for making a way for yuck to be removed from out bodies (personal note: thanks JH for that sweet insight), for opportunity to know how to pray more specifically for others who become sick in the future, and for peace in knowing Jehovah-rapha, "The Lord who heals".

What a God we serve!  One who is sovereign over every moment and who is there in the "dark of night" waiting to meet all of our needs if we would only trust and know Him.