Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Casual Observer

Life gets busy, and this little dwelling for my musings is often neglected. (A lot has happened in the past two and a half years, but that is for a different post[s].)

Yet there are moments, like this evening, when the emotions swirling in my brain need a safe place to land. And so . . . here I am.

One of my favorite past times is to watch people. The little girl whose daddy pushes her in the swing at the park. The gentleman who sips his coffee in the corner booth of McDonalds. The baby who follows my gaze intently over her mother's shoulder as I wait in line to check out at the grocery store.

Often, these casual observations are fleeting moments in my busy days, and my calloused heart devotes little, if any, emotion to them. I usually toss them a friendly smile, and sometimes even a casual hello, all in hopes that a little encouragement could brighten their day. I ease my conscience with the simple truth that there were no opportunities for real conversation; therefore, I did not neglect my Christian duty to share the gospel.

But today is different. I recognized that each of these souls is a story unfolding. And my heart asked a hard question, "How do their stories end?" And the answer troubles me, because I don't know.

I don't know if those individuals have hope. I don't know if they have a serene contentment because their future is secure. I don't know if they have heard the only truth that can offer complete satisfaction in the midst of a troubling uncertainty.

And while I may never be more than a casual observer to some of them, I hope this stirring in my heart grows. I pray that God burdens and enables me to share the greatest chapter of hope that He has already written for their lives. Above all, I want to have such a love for others that I diligently search for opportunities to be more than a passerby in the lives of those around me who desperately need Truth and Life breathed into their souls.

God help me be more than a casual observer; help me to be a deliberate storyteller.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Typical Evening

This is the view from my dining room table. Certainly not the most romantic date night ever, but I am so incredibly proud of my college guy.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Where to begin . . .

I have so many thoughts in my heart and head, and once again I have the writer's bug. The problem? No work at the moment. There are hopes of a fall project for Awana, but I have no contract yet. And, we are reusing a Christmas program from the past this year at church, so my mind is not swirling with a Christmas-themed, family friendly plot.

The past month I have been out of sorts, as if something was off. But yesterday, as I was out for my morning wog (my personal attempt at a jog/walk), I had the following conversation with God. Out loud(yes, I do realize my neighbors think I'm weird).

"Am I missing something in my life? Do I need to confess something?! Lord, I wish I could just sit down and write my heart out ..."

Annnd . .. that is when I finally got it.

I don't need a contract or a deadline to write! I don't need to be given a word count or a topic in order to pour out my thoughts. I don't have to rely on the incentive of a paycheck to formulate my thoughts into complete sentences (but don't get me wrong; remuneration is a a definite perk of the freelancing market!).

I can write for fun. For ME!

So, folks, I am hoping that you will be reading a whole lot more from me in the next few days and months.

It is good to be back! :-)

Friday, February 21, 2014

This Week . . .

. . . was rough.

Beyond the usual "I'm almost at a writing deadline" stressful. Beyond a bad cold or flu stressful.

When your child just isn't himself. When he suddenly develops unusual stomach pain. When he suddenly becomes a fussy, complaining fretful, bundle of nerves. When he throws up sporadically. When he won't eat and won't drink. When your mamma's heart is exhausted and crying.

When the doctor sends you to the ER. When blood work comes back negative for infections but fever spikes. When sonograms reveal something "not quite right" and the diagnosis of appendicitis is given. When you are transferred to a children's hospital for surgery.

When the pediatric surgeon calls for more tests. When appendicitis is ruled out and observation is required. When after numerous bags of fluid and overnight observation your child seems almost 100 percent again. When doctors say you can go home but offer no clear diagnosis (except for a bug/possible constipation --yeah, right! Not this kid!!!!)

When two days later your child begins to show tiny glimpses of the original symptoms again. When he wakes up in the middle of the night crying out and curling in a ball and holding his stomach in pain. Again. When you finally get him back to sleep, but sleep doesn't come to you.

When the next morning he is playful, eats well, drinks well, and pees well.

It leaves a parent completely befuddled, at a loss for what to do or even think.

In moments like this I find that I have two choices. I can let my mind begin to "go there." The place of worry and dread. What if they missed something on the ultrasound? What if one of the tests was a bit wonky? What if . . .


I can reshift my thoughts. I can choose to focus on the things that I KNOW are true.

My unchangeable God loves me and knows me.

That same God created and knows my son better than any doctor on earth could even begin to understand.

My Father God wants only the best for me and my family.

My Rock is strong and sure. He has never abandoned me and will never leave my side.

The first choice is a slippery slope for me. My fears lead to panic. My panic leads to sleeplessness and tears. My anxiety leads to pointless possible scenarios running through my mind.

The second choice allows rest. My trust in my Savior is deepened. My heart experiences peace. I can examine the facts of the situation with a clear mind and seek God's wisdom to make the best decision for that moment.

Does fear of the unknown with my children creep into my life often? You bet! Will I be monitoring Sam closely the next few weeks? Of course! I'm a mom--remember?!

But I cannot let my concerns consume my life. I cannot constantly search my computer to try to find the answers to his unusual symptoms. (Trust me; that is never a wise thing to do!)

There comes a point when I must realize that Sam is not mine, not really. He is ultimately God's great gift to me. My role as his mommy is to love him completely and do my best to raise him to honor and glorify God. Lying awake at night, listening to every breath is not going to keep something bad from happening to him. It is only going to exhaust me and make me less useful in my God-given roles.

I must let go of control and cling to trust. I must beg for wisdom and plead for guidance to know when to seek help and when to sit back and observe his situation.

Lord willing, whatever is up with Sam IS a simple tummy bug. Moments like this when I watch him jumping off the couch and giggling at Jake and Captain Hook makes me think that he is perfectly fine and healthy.

But moments like last night when I am awakened with his piercing cries of pain make me question once again. The little nagging concern underlies the way I observe him.

So today, I am once again faced with the choices above. And today I choose peace. I choose trust. I beg for wisdom and for God to clearly make it known to us if we need to pursue further testing. I choose to love this little guy with every part of me.

And right now, that means it's time to sing and dance to Jake's theme song.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Fourteen Days

Fourteen days ago, I sat in my normal seat at church, surrounded by friends and family. Earlier that day, I had casually shrugged off the "severe weather" forecast for our area, so I gave little thought to the rumbles of thunder that began. But there was an eerie difference in the thunder we heard as pastor stepped to the pulpit, around 10:45, ready to begin the morning service. The peals of thunder continued as if it were one long rumble. And soon that sound was accompanied by a faint continuous siren. I looked over to Nat and said under my breath, "I think that's the tornado warning." Within seconds, emergency alert messages were heard throughout the auditorium as people's cell phones began to go off. And as our church family began to evacuate the auditorium to the safety of the bathrooms in the lower level, I looked down to see the terror in Andrew's eyes. I quickly pulled him to myself and assured him as we walked by the glass doors of the foyer, "See, it is just a storm. Everything is okay." For the next forty-five minutes, our church family huddled together. Sirens from our town (and distant sirens of nearby towns) continued to go off and on, and although it was windy, I thought we were experiencing a typical storm. Soon church members began to report facebook posts of tornadoes that had touched down in Roanoke, about 11 miles from us. Still, the weather around us seemed relatively calm. As soon as I got my family (which now included my five nieces and sister-in-law) home and calm, I turned on the local news. Confirmed reports of tornadoes began pouring in, some within miles of our home. Seeing the terror on the faces of the children in my living room, I gathered them around. I reminded them of Psalm 56:3. "What time I am afraid I will trust in thee, in God whose word I praise." We prayed together, thanking God for the many, many promises of His Word that we can cling to when we are afraid. And in my heart, I began to pray for the many, many friends I have in the areas that were hit by the storms. Throughout the afternoon I heard from several friends from Washington, Illinois, all of whose homes were spared. Yet each had the same report: whole subdivisions had been destroyed. That night, my niece, her husband, and baby girl came over to our house to eat, shower, and charge their phones. During the evening service at church, we learned of one in our church family who had lost everything except the clothes he wore and the car he drove to church that morning. The next morning I awoke to a message announcing that school was canceled due to teachers who were without power and whose homes were damaged or destroyed. That day, my oldest son's birthday, I cuddled with my boys and my sweet great niece, all the while checking facebook for new updates to the news in Washington. Over the next few days, I learned that Jack's former second grade teacher and family had lost both of their clothes, their cars, and their home. Images revealed only the concrete slab of their first floor, and the stairs that led to their unfinished basement where the family huddled during the storm. All the events seemed surreal until I drove by the devastation. Until I saw first hand the remains of homes. Until I understood the memories and sentimental belongings that were lost that day. Until I saw the haggard, exhausted faces of ones who were searching through rubble to find something--anything--worth saving. And while I am so very grateful that my family is safe and that I have a home, my heart aches for so many. This morning, as I once again drove through streets that were once lined with beautiful homes and manicured lawns, I was humbled to know that my God is good. He is all knowing, He is faithful. He is the Sustainer. He is the author of hope. He is the Victor. And He alone can comfort these hurting people. As for me, I realize how misguided my thoughts and my intentions have been. I have allowed my gaze to shift from the eternal to the temporal, placing meaningless value on trivial things in life. So for the next few days (weeks?!?!?!), I plan to refocus and reevaluate. I have deactivated facebook, and I will only periodically be checking email. My prayer is that God will use these days to show me areas in my heart where His hand needs to firmly carve away my selfish desires and plans. I need to reshift my focus and my priorities, and I need to truly learn to appreciate all He has given me. If you happen to read this, please pray. Not for me, but for those around me. It will be a long, long time for their lives to return to "normal." And as the news crews leave and the volunteers fade, I fear that discouragement and bitterness may take their places. May we believers band together and be quick to share the hope and peace that those who are hurting will find in Christ Jesus. And may I always, always remember to trust and praise the promises of my faithful Father.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Sleepless Night

Tonight my children lay sleeping Peacefully in their beds. I rearranged their covers And gently kissed their heads. But as I lingered in their doorway And listened to them breathe, I realized what a gift it is To watch my children sleep. Tonight I thanked the Lord for Thirty sticky fingers, Thirty stinky toes And three sets of boyish hands That I can tightly hold And while they are only mine on lend From my Father up above I’ll cherish every moment He gives me them to love.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Oh, Dear!

Has it really been over eight months since I have posted anything?!?!?
I guess that goes to show you how many people check out my site. :-)

Don't really know what to say; a lot has happened in eight months. Good, good things.

My husband is still my very best friend, and he is still as handsome as ever.

The boys are all doing well; I will try to give a synopsis of them soon.

I am . . . blessed. God has been teaching me so much lately; may I be a faithful student and apply these lessons to my life!

I am also on a journey to be healthier. I have dropped twenty pounds since October, but this last month I have slacked off a bit.

Hmmm . . . maybe this blog needs to take on a new role, one that may keep me more accountable to my goals?!?!?!?

Nat and I have been bombarded with business, so our goal toward minimalism has sadly slowed down some too. We have been doing well with keeping up on the rooms we have done, but we still have much more than we need!

I am in the process of prioritizing my time and my efforts right now, which is one reason this blog has been sadly neglected. I just need to think through the purpose of keeping a blog. And if I find that it is not a profitable and valuable use of my time, I will sign off permanently.

So for now, this is my life this moment.

And it is good, because my God is good.