Old friends are gold.....

by sarahmfry, November 30, 2010
A couple of weekends ago, my dear, OLD (since 5th grade) friend came to my house for the weekend.  We took it easy (as easy as you can take things with 7 kids to corral!) and had a wonderful time.  After all the kids were in bed and quiet, we stayed up later than our tired old bodies should have talking and talking....

Thanks for coming, Rachel!  Great memories.

Shadows and Hope

by sarahmfry, November 29, 2010
I sit in the quiet warmth of the Christmas tree glow - singing to the baby and watching the fireplace flicker. It’s the fireplace from Grandma Parsons’ house – the fireplace where we slept.  Where I tucked tired little bodies on blanket beds on the floor in front of it after popcorn and parties and cousins and the full days with the dancing Grandma.

Our Dickens Village glows on the mantle beneath the antique picture from the estate. It’s the picture that greeted everyone who walked in Grandma’s door for as many years as I can remember. It’s the picture she picked out for me – gave to me before we even knew she had cancer.

As I gaze at the snowy glowing village with its tiny shining windows and small busy figures....suddenly I’m in the Gift Tree. Our village collection began with a few pieces in that beautiful old antique store. Where the dark handsome Grandpa perched on a stool with his arms folded behind the glass cases and Grandma’s gorgeous scrawl filled tiny white tags on Hummels and Roseville and any beautiful piece of precious history you could want to behold.

Shadows of the past move from my head and settle heavily in my heart and stomach. It’s all gone now.

This year, we won’t be driving down Metcalf past KCCBS to 8400 Foster Lane. The mantle wire won’t hang heavy with dozens of red fuzzy stockings. There will be no mystery names. No massive feast served in beautiful glass. I won’t be home for Christmas. Not at that home, at least, where I spent every.single.Christmas of my childhood. Where we dressed in matching cousin pj’s and had Christmas recitals and made paper chains and popped popcorn and Christmas caroled to the neighbors and I took cold, quiet walks alone when the Christmas noise got loud.

But the past is so elusive. It lives heavy in me, comes in waves triggered by the smallest memory or smell or sound.

I’m just really not sure what to do with it.

And it sends my mind full circle – to the fact that my future is so unknown.

And the now that I have and love and work so hard for. The babies that scream and the checks that bounce and the wallets that empty and the dishes that dirty and the parents that age and the sisters that move away.

It’s all so short. I want to reach out and grab the shadows – make them come back and stay and we can all finish strong together. Please?

But it doesn’t work that way. Oh, how well I know. And the tears wash my heart because life hurts.

Why do I feel so torn – the past drawing me backward slowly and the future forward blindly and the present in every way I can be stretched at once?

Marriages fall apart and people die and money runs out and people spend holidays alone.

I’m sad. And that’s okay.

And how to end these dancing shadow words without sadness?

This! That tomorrow I will rise again
to face some fears
and wipe some tears
and climb some mountains
and laugh some laughs
and kiss some cheeks
and make some memories
and run some miles
and live with all the Hope that is in me.

And someday....someday. (Oh, I can't wait!)

Psalm 62:5

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.


by sarahmfry, November 22, 2010

Courage is being scared to death
and saddling up anyway.

~ John Wayne

Yeah, I'm scared of failure, but I'm gonna keep saddling up anyway......

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Ezra 10:4
Rise up; this matter is in your hands. We will support you,
so take courage and do it.

Isaiah 43:1

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.


by sarahmfry, November 18, 2010
My mind and heart are busy tonight with what I suspect and hope God is doing in me.

It's about something I do not like about myself.  Something that holds me back.  And I think He's pushing me out of my comfort zone, making me rather miserable, and peeling back another layer of me in order to rebuild.

At least I pray that's what's going on.  Otherwise, I'm just miserable and confused for absolutely no reason. And that's just depressing.

I simply don't have the courage to tell you right now what God is changing in me.  How He's growing me up.  So I guess your imaginations will just run rampant with all of the wicked wildness that Sarah Wolf Fry might be harboring within her secret soul.  Imagine away.  It's really rather boring and normal compared to all of that, I assure you.

(And just for the record, I am not feeling depressed.  Nor am I miserable in general.  I refer to a specific - and hopefully productive - misery.)

But I am choosing tonight to remember some of the other recent changes He's made in me of late.....and I have hope.  Hope that this "tunnel of confusion" is leading me to a new understanding and new strength about myself and how I work in His world.  (These "other recent changes" I've referred to involve my journey of weight loss & fitness.  I am currently working up the courage to talk out loud about it. Or maybe not. I'm feeling rather chicken-ish.)

So I'm reading good books and talking to wise people and praying that I will move forward and upward. 

I'll end this cryptic message with something we once heard the Reverend Leonard Sankey say that seems simply perfect for where I am just now.

"You'll never change anything that you are willing to tolerate."

"Dear Abba, please make this misery productive.  Peel back my layers.  Make me unwilling to tolerate anything that holds me back from what You want for me. And in your merciful wisdom, please help me to grow up as quickly as possible!"

Daybook: November 15

by sarahmfry, November 15, 2010
::Outside My Window::
Grey skys, Naked trees.  Cold wind.  Winter-bare gazebo.  Dogs curled together.  Makes home feel so cozy. But also makes it more of a discipline to go out to feed said dogs.
::I am Listening to::
David Nevue

::I am Thankful For::
So many things.  Lately?  Especially the deep, quiet Rock of Peace.

::I am Pondering::
David being gone to Atlanta for ETS all week.  So glad he decided to go.  And so sad he'll be gone. 

:: Some of what I've been reading::
It's been a busy season with not a lot of reading.  But. I started two new books recently: 
Have a New Kid by Friday (A good dose of Lehman's no-nonsense, practical parenting. Go be the parent!) 
And No Easy Road. by Dick Eastman

::From the Kitchen::
It seems the most exciting thing I've made lately is homemade dogfood in the crockpot.  Weight watchers reigneth in this kitchen, I'm afraid.  Guess I have made a lot of homeade bread lately.  That's yummy. And I got two new awesome weight watchers cookbooks on sale. 

::I am Thinking::
That it's about time to get that Christmas tree up and get out the Thanksgiving stuff.

::I am Creating::
In the middle of some brave re-decorating in the kitchen.
::On my iTunes/ iPod::
Just imported FamilyLife's Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember from cd into iTunes.

:: Towards raising hungry learners::
Been talking some theology with them.  It is mind-boggling how much of our theology we get as very, very young children.....from children's stories, sermon illustrations, kid songs, teachers....  Theology is EVERYWHERE.  David and I both have extremely keen interests in the theology our kids are ingesting. 

::Towards Rhythm and Beauty::
So very glad to have an entirely normal week ahead of me.   Minus one husband, of course.  I'm hoping to move some serious mountains. (Or at least keep any new ones from developing.)  I love having a fresh, new weekly schedule printed out and laying on my calendar.  I really love Mondays!!!! A whole week, fresh and new with a schedule and goals and blocks of time.

::To Live the Life ::
Just beginning this from Beth Moore: 

::I am Hoping and Praying::
For God's healing salve in the lives of  those we love.

:: In the Garden::
....Almost Winterized!  I'm anxious to get the gazebo decorated for winter with lights & garland.

::Around the House::
More projects than I can possibly accomplish: 
Cull the boy toys.  It's gonna be Christmas for Goodwill!
Complete my Once Upon a Child and Consignment baskets and drop off in Lafayette tomorrow.
Start.....the basement....?  Not sure I'm that brave.
Winterize the windows.
::Some of My Favorite Things::
Watching the baby drive trucks on the floor.
Going shopping for clothes and actually liking it!
Sitting on the couch by the fireplace watching the kids while they dance to Christmas music and do cartwheels.

::The Kids this week::
We've got some barking croup-like coughs going on.  Not sure what that's about.
Kayla - dancing around an asthma attack. ('Tis the season....) And I just found out this morning that the girls are into jump-roping at school. 
Caiden - He's generally so loving and compliant, it scares me when he chooses wrongly.  But he has a quick and tender spirit.  Keep busy with Him, Lord!
Corin - my normally jolly, contented, laughing baby is still acting like a hormonal woman with gastro worries.  I think a trip to Rosalind (natural health practitioner)  is in order. AND...I think it's time to let him "scream it out" at night.  I know better than to start this process before I'm ready.  I think I'm ready now.  Maybe. Lord, give me strength!
Karissa - Drama Girl is delightful these days.  And those outfits....wow.  We call her "FunkyChick"

::A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week::
Keep things peaceful and productive with David gone. Projects, projects!

:: Love this Quote! ::
This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.   ~ C. S. Lewis

:: A Picture::

A very happy addition to our home:  The fireplace from Grandma's estate.  It is the one we used to sleep by. Happy memories.  Now it is a happy-memory spot for our family in Indiana.  Mom and Dad brought it in their van to Cincinnati after the Estate Sale, then Travis played Santa again and delivered it to our door.  The kids and I all worked together to put it together while David was at a competition in Michigan this Saturday.  Happy days.

What God Sees

by sarahmfry, November 08, 2010
After last night's revival service Kayla, Karissa and I practiced our simple violin/cello trio for another night.  A sweet little guy (who I believe has Downs Syndrome) wanted to hold Karissa's tiny violin in the worst way.  They tell me he had actually gotten hold of it back in the nursery earlier, but he had been cautioned by others and was now crying quietly as he sat in the second pew and watched us put away our instruments.  

His little heart wanted that violin so badly.  I couldn't stand it.  So we gave him a chance to play.  The smile on his beautiful face was spectacular.  He played his little heart out and then continued beaming as we clapped for him and put the violin away.  It was really a treat for me to see.  I never have understood this unbelievably vulnerable place in my heart for Downs kids. 

 And God whispered to me about it this morning as I remembered the simple, overflowing joy it gave me to see him smile.  I cry even now.  He reminded me that this boy has no spectacular gifts or grades or accomplishments to bring to Him.  But His joy in him is great and pure and everlasting.  And just as I want to scoop up that boy and squeeze him and his smile is stamped in my memory, God's joy in me is not based on what I have to offer or how well I do.

I pretty much had an "off" night at the piano last night (not that I'm usually particularly "on" but it was worse than usual).  I want so badly to communicate God's beauty and joy and strength through music and when my weakness and failure gets in the way it is just so frustrating. God deserves better than my distracted fumbles. But He reminded me through that precious boy that there is such a leveling ground when we find ourselves in his love and mercy.  Our "stuff" falls away.  And all that is left is our heart and our smile towards Him.  And He finds great delight in me.  

And THAT is wow.  

I thank Him for that boy.

The blessings.....

by sarahmfry, November 06, 2010
I have been posting from my mother-in-law's laptop, which strangely picks up internet all over our house.  She is awesome.  She has watched the kids, loaned me her laptop, did my dishes, folded my laundry, and is her quiet, steady, loving self.

I've been looking out over the SNOW on the ground!  Yay!  There has been a significant amount of excitement in the Fry household yesterday and today over this early winter snow.  We are planning our annual first-snow celebration today:  Flurries at Dairy Queen!!

We just opened some great envelopes of treats from my mom.  There are great cries of jubilation over the McDonalds coupons for free ice cream, etc.

My husband rocks.  He's smart and handsome and helpful and loving and I'm just happy to be his.

I have been pondering the blessings of friendship with God's people all over.  I so enjoyed the short time I had with my Idaho friends 2,000 miles away - awesome, amazing people. And now am enjoying fellowship with old and new friends at a church not far away.

My time with the Youth of Lewiston, Idaho.  God has spoken to me through them.  I have laughed and cried and learned and been touched again.  Love those guys and am praying for God's awesome blessing on their lives.  What a privilege to talk with them.

I am also so thankful for those random plane-meetings that are short but beautiful.  The kind gentleman who gave me a starlight aerial tour of his Salt Lake City.  The wonderful family of 5 1/2 with kids our kids' ages....on their way to Disney World and the brief encounter with the kindred spirit mother who I know would be a dear friend if we actually knew each other and didn't live 2,000 miles apart.  God's people are everywhere.  

A brief encounter with a down syndrome boy last night at church that is stamped on my heart:  It became its own post, as well.

My Grandma Parsons.  She's dancing in heaven now.  Thursday as I taught lessons, Jonelle Barnard and I were practicing our recital duet.  When we got to "I'll be Home for Christmas" I lost it in tears.  My heart went to the estate sale going on at 8400 Foster Lane in Overland Park........I can tell this one's growing and the dam will break and I've too much to say here.

I can tell my fingers and words have been cooped up. Once I start writing I don't know where to stop.    But there's one blessing that has been so steadily present:

This peace.  This knowledge that I am His and He is mine.  This deep-down rock.  No other blessing compares. I relish it.

The Great Delta Disaster and other blessings

by sarahmfry, November 06, 2010
I feel like I have been riding quite a whirlwind lately:

Tuesday:  David left for Aldersgate until Thursday after a huge, unexpected windstorm blew our yard to pieces and wrapped our shed around the clothesline

Wednesday:   finished packing for Idaho trip, laid out clothes for all the kids for school and church, generally scurried around like a decapitated chicken, finished up make-up lessons so I could make it to the airport in time Thursday

Thursday:  Started teaching day at 8:30 (with the boys in tow!), laughed and accepted when Mrs. Coleman offered to let the boys (1 and 4) stay in their classroom when I left for my second teaching location.  She's awesome.  Finished teaching at 3:00.  David was home from Aldersgate, had picked up the kids and was practically in the car ready to go when I got home.  Rushed to the airport.  Walked in and started using the self-check-in when they evacuated the entire Delta section because of an abandoned bag.  Stood around forever with dozens of people, watching the bag sit mysteriously in the middle of the airport while all of our flights took off without us. I found out my flight had been cancelled anyway due to "mechanical problems". After the bomb guy came and checked out the bag we all crammed into lines.  An older "gentleman" got ticked because in the crowds some of us inadvertantly got into his beloved Sky Advantage line.  I humbly moved to another enormously long line with the other cancelled-flight victims to await the great Delta agents' help.  Amazingly, they got me a flight for the next morning (6:15 departure) that would get me to Lewiston Idaho by midmorning on Friday!  I went back home, went to bed and slept a few minutes.

Friday:  got up at 3:30 am, drove the hour to the airport, parked in long-term parking and ran to security.  I narrowly avoided disaster at security because I forgot that I was carrying on my suitcase instead of checking it (that's what I get for trying to save 25 bucks).  I didn't think I had time to run back to the Delta ticketing counters to check my bag, so I began going through my suitcase taking out anything over 3 ounces.  My greatest sadness was my huge bottle of expensive Romance perfume.  The kind airport security man had mercy on me and let me keep about half of my items, including my beloved perfume!  (Oh, the small joys of life) I quickly walked to my gate and boarded my plane without any problems.  But we sat.  and sat. and sat.  We learned from the kind Delta pilot that the delay was because of the apparent flushing malfunction in the aft bathrooms.  Unfortunately, the FAA has rules about such things and so 45 minutes later, we all de-boarded and gathered into yet another mile-long line waiting for the assistance of the Delta problem-solving team.  There were no good options to Lewiston.  So we finally decided on a series of flights that would get me to Lewiston by 10:30 Friday Idaho time.  We would have to cancel the Friday night opening session.  After 9 and a half hours in the Indy airport, and a total of 3 flights and  4 airports, I got to bed Friday night in Clarkston, Washington at 2:30 Indy time after being up for 23 hours.  I had a good night's rest in the brand new guest room of a beautiful home,

Saturday morning: woke up before my alarm and took a quick run along the beautiful Snake River before heading to Hellar Bar and boarding a boat that would take us to the gorgeous lodge up the Snake River in Hell's Canyon for a youth retreat.  The first session began as soon as I put my luggage in my room and we had three sessions, ate good food, played some games and ended the day with a bonfire on the beach and some wonderful singing. (Those kids can really sing!)

Sunday: after our morning session and delicious lunch, we piled onto the boat and headed back to Hellar Bar.  After gathering my thoughts for the evening service and practicing a duet with Tyrel Dayton (the boy can sing!) we headed to the Sunday Evening service.  It was so good to be with those wonderful people again and see what God is doing for their church.  I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with some of the couples after the service before grabbing a few hours of sleep.

Monday:  4:00 am came quickly and I discovered that tiny Idaho airports are very serious about their security!  I have flown a lot, and I beep pretty much every single time I go through a metal detector, but I have never EVER experienced a "pat" down like Lewiston Idaho.....I felt positively violated.  After searching my bags and running them through x-ray twice I boarded that now-waiting plane.

I had 3 flights, 4 airports on Monday - making it to each one just in time to board with very few minutes to spare.  I arrived back home at about 6:30 that evening to a houseful of up-chucking children. But it was oh-so-good to be home to my handsome hubby and jubilant kids and squeezable, kissing baby.

Tuesday:  I did mountains of sick-kid laundry and dealt with baby diarrhea.  Tuesday is a blur in my memory.

Wednesday:  more sickness...and we began singing for a revival at the Village Park Bible Methodist church in Westfield

Thursday:  All day teaching, drop kids off at soup supper, drive to Westfield for Revival

Friday:  I did house cleaning, ran errands, and came back home to get everyone ready for Revival that night. I do not understand the mysteries of such things, but all four of our children decided to have TOTAL meltdowns at that time.  Tears and grief and agony beyond comprehension as we dressed and combed and practiced.  There was a very happy break in the weeping and wailing  when it started really snowing outside an we took a break to go outside and celebrate.

We have been thoroughly enjoying the ministry of Rev. Richard Miles during the revival and the fellowship of some wonderful people.

Saturday:  I have been attempting unsuccessfully to have a little quiet mommy-time this morning.  I wish I had a dollar or ten for every interruption I've had during the writing of this long and boring post.  My goals today are:  prepare Saturday night and Sunday night Revival clothes for this family of 6.  Teach a make-up lesson, upload Wedding pictures, finish editing and making discs for another wedding, put the finishing touches on revival music, figure out a way for David and I to do our Long Run together today without the kids (or maybe just pound out an hour-and-a-half on the treadmill?), and be sure everyone has at least some bowls of cereal to eat throughout the day.  Oh.  And maybe some basic dishes and laundry.
Huh.  Wonder how much of that I'll accomplish today.  Right now I'm considering sliding my freezing toes back into the warm covers and disappearing.  My normally laughing, jolly baby is a cranky, pooping grouch.  The kids are taking turns making verbal jabs at one another and wailing (thus needing the patient, firm & gentle training of their wise, well-rested and inspired mother). Yes.  Well.

But the funny thing is, I'm not discouraged.  (That could change at a moment's notice, mind-you.  Don't ask me how I'll feel in 10 minutes when I re-emerge from my quiet place.) But for now I am quietly enjoying the undeserved blessings of a snowy November day.  The blessings list is pouring out  is getting too long for this post, so I'm going to cut and paste it into a new post to follow.....