In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees." I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.
First, the most hilarious blog about this whole tagging frenzy can be found here. And now, the random facts about me you've all been waiting for with bated breath. (That makes it sound like you've been eating worms or something.) As if I don't already tell you more about me than you would ever care to know......
1. I was planning to be a medical Doctor, and my husband was planning to be a Lawyer. But we decided to make lots of money instead. (Part of my heart is still in the medical field. Part of it’s on the mission field. I’m bad with decisions.)
2. I love to snorkel & bungee jump. Actually, I love all kinds of exercise (biking, jogging, aerobics, kickboxing, hiking) but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my unique 4’10” x 4’10” frame. They say it’s humanly impossible to be as wide as you are tall. Witness, my friends, a walking miracle.
3. I used to be a star football player. One day, the ball landed in my arms and I took off running toward the goal. What a feeling - the wind whipping past my speedy form as the teams struggled to keep up. Then I turned around and saw them literally falling on the ground with laughter. Yes - I was running towards the opposite team's goal. On that very same playground I had another embarrassing moment. I had borrowed somone's slip for the day. While I was doing my recess thing, my slip began to slip and continued slipping all the way around my ankles. My trusty girlfriends created a huddle of protection around me while I tried to figure out if I should pull it up or take it off. The guys told me later the huddle concealed nothing.
4. I’m disgusted by gossip (loosely defined by me as: unnecessarily saying something that does not lift a person up to someone else.)
5. I’m REALLY bad at drawing. Like terrible. Can’t even draw stick figures. I’m also really terrible at potty training.
6. I used to be very into Victorian decorating. My decorating style has made a pretty drastic turn around. I don't think you could find a piece of lace in my house if you tried. My entire pepto-bismal-pink room used to be draped in it. I just think it’s weird that I’ve changed so much. (Not at ALL bashing this rich and timeless style...I think I just burnt myself out on it and started experimenting.)
7. I have (blush) secretly dreamed of singing for a Disney movie. (But not the ones with witches and demons and homosexuality and stuff...)
7 ½ I’ve always been a scaredy-cat. I actually prop things up against the doors and create these noisy barricades sometimes when my husband is out of town. (Great - now the bad guys know my trick.)
7 ¾ My son just walked in chewing on a razor. I love motherhood.
Okay. That’s totally enough self-disclosure for the moment.
If you haven't yet embarrassed yourself with 7 random facts on the world wide web, consider yourself tagged by Sarah. I can't keep track of who's tagged and who's not.
But why in the world doesn’t anybody come over when my whole house is clean?
Instead, my house fills up on Sundays and Wednesdays when I’ve been doing church and school projects and trying to fit the baby’s socks on the 5-year old and getting 3 and a half heads of hair fixed and diaper bags packed and 40 fingernails clipped. I faithfully wash dishes – lots of them! But anytime anyone drops over, there seems to be a sink (or two) full.
Tell you what……You’re all invited to come over on a Friday or Saturday evening after my “Home Blessing” when the whole house is tidy at the same time.
Really, though - David can vouch that one of the top things I agonize over is people seeing my house when it is in its “lived-in” state. Bills on the desk. Dishes in the sink. Toys on the floor. Crumbs on the table. But nobody bothers to look under my bed and comment how nice it looks without any dust or clutter (I’m in the master bedroom zone this week.)
So this morning when I couldn’t sleep, it dawned on me that I have GOT to come to terms with the fact that I am going to live in a sometimes or often messy house for the next 10-15 years! We’re constantly training our kids to clean up after themselves (who would know!). I work hard at keeping house and will continue. But spending quality time with them and having a happy mama are so much more important than impressing you. Why can’t I get that through my thick skull?
One reason is that I’ve been deeply hurt by gossip, so I don’t trust people to be kind anymore. The other reason is that all of your houses seem to be so company-ready when I come over! The other reason is that I’m just more peaceful when everything is put away. But I’m trying to learn that I have got to accept that the days of babies and diapers and toys come with a large dose of realness.
So I wrote this poem for myself and my guests…..my first step in coming to grips with my real house. I plan to frame it and hang it in a prominent place in my entryway. Enjoy! :)
Our house is clean - we sweep and dust
But it is rarely perfect
You see, we’re busy living here -
And give our hands to little ones –
So if it gives you worries
You may just want to turn around
You can listen to Your Story Hour for free online! (click the link to listen)
I was browsing oneplace.com for something to listen to as I finish my packing, and there waited Uncle Dan and Aunt Carole with their wonderful stories from my childhood. I am the current holder of our family's Your Story Hour albums (until someone else has some babies around here), but I was so excited to find that you can also listen online and purchase their products! We're listening to "A Boy's Amazing Lunch" right now. (We turn it on all the speakers around the house so we don't have to stay in one room to follow what we're listening to.)
AND they have a website http://www.yourstoryhour.org/. You can sign up for the free Adventures Bible lessons they send you Bible quizzes and each time you return one you get a free Bible story cassette - when you get all 13 free cassettes, they send you a free storage album. All free. I can't wait to sign up for my kids. You can get started just by downloading the first lessons and mailing them back after you complete them.
I'm very excited to see all of these wonderful albums are still for sale! You can buy them in mp3 format, too.
Yes, Cassie - this has reminded me to check my albums for the stories you are missing. Did you find them? If not, send me the missing numbers and I'll check to see if we have them. (They're unpacked now!)
Today as I ironed, I was praying over my husband’s shirts. (Not because I’m super spiritual. I haven’t remembered to do this for…well, maybe never. But I’ve heard of praying over laundry and I think it’s a great idea). So..I started cracking up because I prayed something like…”Lord, help David to be smart and successful when he wears this shirt.” Duh. I guess it doesn’t take much faith to pray that prayer. Anyone who knows him very well knows he is incredibly smart and extremely with it. Maybe I should pray…”Lord, help my husband to buy me expensive flowers and write me a long mushy letter when he wears this shirt.” Now THAT would be a prayer of faith. Hee hee. I crack myself up.
Anyway….As I ironed one of Kayla’s uniform jumpers I got to the pleats in the front. How appropriate that some call them kick pleats. “Lord…PLEASE help her to stop kicking things at school!”
She’s been – uh – having some challenges at school, you see.
Kayla and I were reading about the right kind of popularity in her devotions the other night. She doesn’t think the kids at school like her. I said,
“Well so-and-so likes you!”
“Well, he likes to be with you and he tried to kiss you the other day”
“But I didn’t WANT him to!”
(So she bit his shirt!)
Kayla in one of her favorite climbing trees.
This is the self-controlled child I have raised.
I feel like I need to iron all the clothes in my closet and pray over myself! “Dear God, Please help me to know what to do with this child!
The other day David and I went to Purdue on our date. As we drove through the campus, I had this vision of my grown-up, gorgeous, blonde, smart daughter at a university. Far away from her hovering parents. Far away from family devotions. Far away from the safety of our home. I asked David, What will we do if one of our kids wants to come somewhere like this? What if Kayla is supposed to be a doctor and gets a scholarship at a university in California? (We are firm believers that God calls some people to follow their gifts into full-time ministry in a secular environment.)
I can’t even raise a kid who acts right in Kindergarten! How in the world do I think she could survive a secular university?
David simply doesn’t waste words. When he finally gave his thoughts on the subject, it was one word…. “PRAY.”
That’s really so true. I have talked to my friend and coworker about various parenting issues, and she repeatedly reminds me that prayer is our best tool in parenting.
I was talking to my mother-in-law the other day about parenting, and she recalled over the years seeing many mothers sobbing at the altar – grieving over a lost child or their own perceived parenting mistakes.
I recently told someone that I realize I am right now making the parenting mistakes that I’ll someday regret. How’s THAT for positive thinking? But it’s true!
It’s inevitable. I am not going to get it all right. In spite of all my books and schedules and plans and incentives and spankings and creative corrections, my kids are going to have problems and weaknesses. And choices.
As my parenting weaknesses become apparent, trust me – I’m very interested in improving. But I find myself just wanting to figure out a way get it all right! To parent in a way that guarantees the production of 4-6 healthy-eating, emotionally-balanced, hard-working, manners-keeping, scripture-using, creed-quoting children who bless the world, pick up their toys and - of course - never kick or bite their classmates.
But I can’t. And it’s sinking in.
It is once again driving me to my proverbial knees. (Mothers of young ones know that it is a rare occasion we actually make it to the kneeling position and remain awake to tell about it.)
It is helping me, I hope, to be more patient with all the other parents I come into contact with. Someone else’s kid calls my kid a name? “ Lord, help them!” Someone else has a rebellious child? “Lord, give them wisdom!” Someone else’s kid throws a fit in the middle of the store? “Thank you, Lord, that my child would never do that!!” Kidding.
And so I’ll keep reading and praying and trying to do better.
And I’ll keep reminding and reproving and repairing.
And I’ll have to trust my Abba to make up the difference. To correct me where I’m wrong. To feed the hunger for Himself in our kids. To redeem our weaknesses.
(Excuse me…..Right now, at this very minute, my 3-year-old daughter with blonde roots is telling some story about poop as she eats her snack at the table. She’s NOT allowed to do that. How many TIMES must we train them until they get it?!)
I guess I’m encouraging myself in the Lord and letting you listen in. Better get back to my ironing.
This "lawn" (the bare spot in our back yard left after an old garage was torn down) is destined for bigger and better things – an addition to the church parking lot is planned in this spot. But we’ll just see what we can grow until then….
Mom did the ground prep when my folks were here recently.
Sowing the seed
Spreading the straw
But soon my helpers deserted me for more interesting activities:
Making a “straw house” (oh, that tummies stayed that cute!)
Making a birds nest – which happened to get some eggs, which hatched into two baby birds.
They named them Andrew and Sally.
As they were arguing over which was which, I heard Kayla say:
"No I pick. I’m the mommy and the mommy is the boss!" (She’s still developing her theology of submission. What can I say....?)
And of course, we had to all play in the water as we soaked the seed.
the finished product…
Now all we have to do is water daily, sit back and wait. (But don’t get your hopes up too high….I have a black thumb.)
We went inside itchy, dirty and that happy ‘outside-tired’ – the kind of tired you get after swimming or hiking.
Ahhh…warm baths, sweet-smelling babies and story time!