Saturday, October 30, 2010

( . . .rain. . . )

I don't usually post videos.

I definitely don't watch tv preachers.

And I never look up inspirational "talks" on YouTube.

But when Daniel came home after watching this at a mens night at church, he looked it up for me and made me sit down and watch.

It's moving.

I wept.

The love that a father has for his son - the images reminded me of that morning and watching my husband and son.  And to realize that God loves us through the rain and storms of life. . . overwhelming.

If you have ten minutes. . . watch this with an open heart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inadequacy. . .


Choose to dwell on the fact that Jacob wrote his name on his Sunday pants while we were blissfully enveloped in the Steven Curtis Chapman concert


Choose to dwell on the fact that I totally fail at the respect part of Emerson Eggerich's great Love & Respect concept


Choose to dwell on the fact that JD has apparently not been obeying his Sunday School teachers for some time now


Choose to dwell on why Cambria *still sucks her thumb*


Choose to worry if I can let myself love another baby


Choose to be frustrated that my husband bought me a super nice expensive razor (I do shave my legs, that wasn't a hint from him) instead of something that I would rather have. (Men and their gift choices never cease to amaze me)


I can choose dependence on Christ.

I can thank Him that I have a concrete (or rather, ink) opportunity to train my son.

I can be thankful for a husband that I can respect.

I can be thankful that I have the awareness and ability to teach my son to obey authorities in his life.

I can thank God for a sensitive daughter who needs me and needs love.

I can trust that perfect love casts out fear and know that God will fill my heart with the love I need to care for my little people

I can enjoy a super nice razor and enjoy the card my man got for me that tells me I am appreciated and loved (even though I feel so, so inadequate).

Inadequate is a good place to be; I realize that it's not about me.  It's not about my skills.  It's not about my wisdom, and definitely not my parenting.  Inadequacy forces me to the Cross and to acknowledge that it's about Him.


When I found the ink name, I brought the pants to Jacob and he looked dutifully guilty.  I told him he would have to help me scrub it out among other things.


"Yes, Jacob."

"Look in the pocket."

{I look.  Crumpled up note.  Misspelled words.}

Mom as so [backward "s"] god too me. Love [backward "l"] Jacob

"It says mom is so good to me."

Big brown eyes.

Hopeful for forgiveness.

I melt.

Thanks, God, that You model forgiveness and give me so much hope for my inadequacy.  Let me live that kind of love and model that forgiveness to my children.

Monday, October 25, 2010

God plus .music. plus .details. usually equals amazing

Last week I heard that the Chapman family was going to be at a really cool venue in our area;

Obviously Steven Curtis Chapman is a big star, but as most know, their family has also suffered the unthinkable loss of their daughter Maria through a tragic car accident at their home, and I wanted to go because I knew that they were choosing to minister out of incredible pain.

Pain that I understand on a different level now.

Well, between the great firefighting schedule and the last minute price of the tickets, the evening was not to be.  I'm really working on not nagging my man.  I told him I'd really like to go and left it.

God, please could we go. . . if this would be a good thing for us, You could totally work it out minus my nagging.  I'd really like to go, God.

So then, this week, painting up a storm all by my lonesome, I heard the dj on the radio say if you are the first to email me the name of the last song, I will send you tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman concert. 

I dashed for my phone and emailed her. . . but I never win anything and when I didn't hear back, I went back to my original plan of praying that God would somehow miraculously give Daniel the time off and make him buy the tickets.

Two days later, I received an email back annnnnd - I won the tickets!  I just couldn't believe it. . . I know it's not a huge thing to others, but to me it was just confirmation that God totally cares about my heart.  And it was huge to me.  {And God did work out the time off- seems He's big enough to handle that.}

The Chapman's have an amazing story.  God's grace was so evident in their lives tonight.  All along I have ached and prayed for Maria's brother, Will, the driver. . . such a heavy burden to carry for one so young. Tonight we were able to witness the healing hand of God as he played the drums in his own band, and then for his dad.  So cool. 

Back to the firefighting glitches in schedules and events - Daniel at nine, and we were both disappointed about that; more and more disappointed as the evening progressed.  At 8:30, I whispered, "Do you have any favors you could call in?" and he was like, "Are you kidding me? This late? No, but I'm so sorry we have to leave." 

One more little thing to give to God.  I gave it.  I knew He sent us there, so if we had to leave, obviously, He was okay with that.

So we left.

And guess who was in the exit doorway.


Wow, God.

We told him we'd prayed for them.  Told him in three sentences why we were there and that their story had helped us so much.  Told him it was amazing to see him up on stage, using his gifts, still. He gets tragedy.  He lives it.  He was so sweet and at the tender age of nineteen, has a depth that deep sorrow brings.  I wanted to capture the moment, freeze it, document all the crazy similarities (like his necklace with Maria's picture and mine with Gabe's) but some moments are so special and such gifts that you just gotta live them.

Sooooo. . . I think I know why God made us leave early.

taken *before* the concert and all of the tears. . .

Will and Caleb Chapman

Steven Curtis Chapman singing It Is Well

Loved seeing Steven and Mary Beth's real, real hearts.  They aren't just talking the talk, they are living their faith through the fire.

For more about the Chapman family, visit their website.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fireplace, meet dripping water.

Why I wouldn't be a good investor:

Today, trailing behind Daniel and our realtor through a triplex.

Me: {sighing at the eclectic beauty of a huge old house with a grand entrance and beautiful staircase}  "Look at the fireplaces."

Daniel: "Uh huh. Look at the water dripping from the ceiling."

We're spending our four day together tearing into a house that Daniel bought in August and getting it ready to lease.  It's really fun, albeit exhausting work.  There's parts about the house that I grow to love as I work on it. This one has diagonal wood flooring that I adore.  And closets. Big closets.  I also adore closets.  (You don't know how much you love closets until you end up in a house that oddly has none.)

The kitchen is the next project- can't wait to do an after picture.  But here's the before:  (ahem.  The right now.)

How do you like that droopy ceiling fan?!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

he's walking . . . {with Jesus}

Loren has painted one of these huge canvas boards for each of the kids.  She gave Gabe's at his super fun surprise shower. . . then took it back from me several months ago and added {and I'm walking with Jesus}.

Gabe would be nine months now; and he would have been walking at the rate he was going.  It makes me smile to think what he would be tearing into.  I would be writing about stuff he was getting into and how busy I am and how tired and how exhausting being a mother is.

Instead my little man is walking with Jesus;

and God is shattering what I thought I knew

and overwhelming me with Who He is.

I wouldn't be learning what He's teaching without the fire.

I wouldn't know what it is to be carried by the arms of a Heavenly Father if our little man was walking around here in our home.

Gabe, I'm so glad you're walking.  I love you, buddy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

please don't judge

Today. . .

So fun.

Daniel took five hours off in the middle of his {hated by me} 72 hours and went to church with us. . .

I realized I was probably not acting mature by whispering to him in church. 

And note writing.

Not my usual behavior.

I just miss him!

Maybe I should make a sign to hold up - hey I never get to see my man and he's going away right after lunch so we are trying to capitalize on the time. please don't judge.

The kids changed in the van while I grabbed some deli chicken at Walmart (yes, we live there. please don't judge.) . . .

We threw out a quilt at the kids favorite park and ate and shared a conglomeration of pops I'd thrown in the cooler. . .

They played. {i. e. ran back and forth from the park to the bridge to us to the fish to the ducks and back to us}

We talked. {i.e. I talked.  Daniel listened.}

I rubbed his back. {A very good way to get your man to listen to you, btw.}

It felt wrong to know our time was ticking away. 

{Avoiding tempting sermonette about appreciating your man if he's home with you a lot}

I don't know why, but today I just felt very teenager-esque (not.a.word.) . . .

I even {horrible} texted him during a business meeting tonight that I missed him.  (I was careful. Discreet. I think.) please don't judge. . .

So so so fun.

I could use days like this more often minus the 72 hour shift.

(I feel like I should title this post "please don't judge")

I will.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

grief is not a neat little package

Sometimes my breath catches. . .

I see his little face in picture frames. . . he was really mine? I really held him? 

I hate the October 15 Cleanup sign at his little resting place.  I didn't want to take his little fire truck away, the flowers, the kids bubbles, the pinwheel that moved so his grave wasn't so quiet, the glowing little lights that lit up the night there. . . 

So much more joy, lately.  I'm thankful.

So much less oppressing grief.

So much more hope.

But that yucky reality of Gabe gone is there.

I've been subconsciously thinking that at some point maybe maybe maybe I could wrap up the grief and heartache and pack it away

and finish the last thank you

and put his huge green bin of stuff in the attic instead of moving it around our bedroom

and write the perfect lines for his stone. . .

. . . and then the hope that has been seeping into my soul will just burst open wide and we will be miraculously healed and then God can give us some other little chubby person to love and we will be happy again.

If only it were that simple.

It's not a neat little package to put away, though.

It's part of us.

Even if I can be happy and block it out for a moment, an hour, an evening, I have to answer the weeping of a three year old. . . I'm crying cuz Gabe can't breathe.  How do you answer that? 

I cringe when JD tells my friend  you can lay your baby down upstairs if she's tired. . . we won't let her die.

And today, I wish God would give us a baby and that it would just be His plan to let it stay with us and not go to Heaven.

Jacob, mulling over the fact that Gabe is free to do whatever he wants in Heaven. . .can he grow whiskers, then?

Cambria, understanding why I don't want winter to come . . . Mommy, don't cry.  Gabe won't be cold, he's in Heaven.

I get knocked to my knees by things I can't change.

I cry out for wisdom, for strength, for answers to my little people's aching questions.

I am realizing that I can't compartmentalize it all.  {wise words from Deeann - Walmart rug aisle 1.5 hr chat therapy session} I can't put Gabe away and move on to the next house project or the next Bible study or the next season or holiday or the next ministry opportunity or even baby #4. 

Gabe's whole story. . . his birth, his life, his death. . . it's a part of who we are. It's woven in and out of life as we know it.  We have to choose life through the pain. . . .  not stuff the pain away and then pretend to live.

Gabe has changed how I look at life.

Gabe has changed how I look at death.

Gabe has changed how I look at our kids, our jobs, our house, our focus. . .

what I do

what I hear

what I say

what I laugh at

what I hurt for

is all filtered through the lens of the last year.

God has been doing so much in our hearts.

I keep trying to write it all but the awesomeness of what He is doing just defies words.

He is still good.

He is still good to us.

He is still a loving Father.

He is a loving Father taking care of my littlest man.

I think that's okay. . . .

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Well, I made laundry detergent this week.

I took pictures of the process, but as I've noted before, this is not a photography blog and I'm not gonna waste your time loading my point and shoot photos of shaved Ivory Soap.  Imagine it.

I googled homemade detergent several times and was interrupted {several times} and I think I found the recipe I ended up using on ehow.  Credit where credit is due.

Here is what you need:

2 cups borax

2 cups washing soda or baking soda

1 large bar of soap, finely grated

{yes, that's it.}

The hardest part of this whole process was finding the borax and washing soda at WalMart.  It will be in the laundry soap aisle.  Look hard.  The washing soda is Arm & Hammer in a big orange box and I found that first. . . the borax was right next to it.  Apparantly the grated soap is just for texture and scent, but I don't like scented laundry soap so I used Ivory.

I made a triple batch.

It works amazingly.  You only have to use one tablespoon, it cleans our {very very very dirty} clothes well, works great with cold water & our front loader.  I am a huge fan.

And it costs between 5 and 8 cents per load.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Stop the World

Short Story:

Someone special listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and gave the gift of a marriage retreat to two very unwilling, doubting people (that would be us.) 

We didn't want to go. 

Georgia is a long way from home. 

What would we do with the kids?

We can't postpone the great annual family canoe trip!

We fought about flying vs. driving.

We almost didn't go.

Deep down we were both so afraid that we would go with this tiny seed of hope that God might heal our hearts and our marriage and then be disappointed. 

More disappointment - my heart can't take any more. 

But. . .

God took all of our excuses away.

We went.

He met us there.

I saw the gentler side of the Hand of a loving Father.

For the first time since May. . .  my heart knows that God is still so good.

It is overwhelming to put into words. 

I will write more.

But I couldn't wait any longer.

So grateful to each one who made the world stop for us and showed us what Heaven must be like.