Friday, September 30, 2011

The List

Mow lawn: Check.

Clean bathrooms: Check

Change sheets: Check

Cook special dinner: Check

Prepare perfect outfit: Check

Re-organize and clean garage: Check

Make sure his car still starts: Check

Create welcome-home signs: Check


That’s right, my Soldier is coming home! It won’t be long now till he’s in my arms again. I can’t wait. And neither can the boys; they insisted we find their “Merican” flags to wave when we see him.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll tell you it’s true: these long separations are always so hard, but the homecomings are always so sweet. Thank you, Lord, for joyful anticipation to carry us through the struggle of being apart.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Deeper Still

My heart has been aching a lot this past week.

Though I have felt the weight of my own trials and miss my husband incredibly, my personal aches have only been part of it. This week I have seen, and heard, and felt, the aches of dear friends and loved ones. I have, in a way, just been an innocent bystander; yet truly, as a friend does for another, I have grieved with those who grieve. Wept with those who weep.

I have ached with those who ache.  

One friend is watching her father pass away. Another is struggling with the weight and sadness of infertility. A fellow Army wife is saying goodbye to her Soldier. Another is dealing with unfaithfulness and forgiveness in her marriage.

My heart aches. And at many times this past week, I have given way to tears. I have wept in prayer before the Lord; asking Him to give strength, to show mercy, to cradle my friends in the His loving embrace.

There are times in life when the trials feel too much, when the weight feels far too heavy to bear. Yet this week, I was also reminded, as my book club met to discuss “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boom, “there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.”

The words of Betsie Ten Boom rang hard and loud and clear. There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. These profound words spoken by one who knew what it was to suffer; who endured pain and heart ache unspeakable at the hand of the Nazi’s in German concentration camps. Yet she knew her Lord, and knew His strength.

There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.

These words have been a great comfort and I have clung to their wonderful truth, repeating them all week long. There is no heartache, that He cannot heal. There is no emptiness, that He cannot fill. There is no death, that He cannot make alive. There is no trial, through which He cannot sustain us.

Truly, there is no pit so deep, that He is not deeper still.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Just a Barrel Full of Laughs

Life is just a barrel full of laughs around here. Mostly. The boys are as carefree as ever, and their cheerfulness and childishness keeps me young. I hope we never forget these golden days of summer and afternoon “swims” like this one!!



Yes, these golden days of summer, and these imaginative playful little boys of mine. Oh my, they keep me busy and they fill my soul with sunshine.

I’ve really needed that sunshine lately too. We’re well into Day #15 and I’m suffering a major case of the dreary weary’s. (if you haven’t heard of the dreary weary’s, you should check this fun children’s book out from the library. Fun book.) Anyway, I’m pushing past them as best I can, praying and trusting in God for help, but I’m feeling pretty wiped out.



It’s hard to know how to handle the wiped out feeling. Stay busy so I don’t sit around and mope. Or sit around and mope… and drink Starbucks. So far, it’s been the former. And truth be told, I haven’t really had a choice. The whole staying busy bit doesn’t take any effort. This whole week we’ve had non-stop all day scheduled events/happenings.

Part of me just wishes I could just sit around and mope. But I’ve discovered that even my attempts at downtime in this single parenting/house running household of mine are nigh impossible. I opted out of our weekly play date, (which is typically considered downtime itself—time at the park with friends, lunch out, happy kids etc) so that I could just stay home for once this week… and sit around… doing another hour of school time with the boys, mowing the lawn, changing furnace filters, cleaning the kitchen, and making FRG phone calls. You know, sitting around type stuff. Noah knows all about it, don’t you, Honey?


But in my failed attempts at relaxation and my overwhelming dreary weariness, I’ve found myself meditating on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I have felt lately that I’m outwardly wasting away, that my body is weak and tired (despite getting good sleep and exercise), and that my troubles are anything but “light and momentary.” But this verse helps put things so wisely into perspective. An eternal perspective. This life is HARD. There are tests and trials on every corner. Keeping up with all the busy-ness of life and trying to do it all for God’s glory. It’s not easy, Baby! Even if the smiles on my kids faces might tell you otherwise. It’s draining. It takes a lot out of you.



But… it’s temporary. It’s but for a moment. And it’s achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs the trials, the work, the trouble, the effort. That far outweighs them all. What a beautiful promise and hope to those who are weary.

It’s such an encouragement, I might just go find a big blue bucket full of water and jump in myself.


*If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means I’m stuck in the bucket. Please help.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Before my very eyes

My “little” Noah is growing up before my very eyes. Each day it seems, he comes up with a new trick, a new word, and some sign of deepening cognitive development.

It’s such an exciting stage. And I love it.

The other day, I mentioned I needed to throw something away. Noah walked over, picked up the object, ran across the living room, into the kitchen, found the trash can, opened the lid, and popped it in. This kid can think! And this is more than following commands, this is actual discernment. At a one year olds level of course, but still. Smart kid.

Noah also found a cup in the bathroom and said, “Dink! Dink!” (drink) and then, holding my hand in his and the cup in the other, he led me into the kitchen, took me to the water dispenser in the fridge and repeated his brilliance “Dink! Dink!

So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when he pulled a fast one in the back yard the other day.

The boys and I were playing outside on the swings together. The older two lost interest (or maybe I stopped pushing them?) and began playing on the slide and the climbing rope. Noah wanted to join in too so I took him out of the swing. And then left them playing together in a group in the yard to run inside to make a picnic lunch.

I came back out and saw Isaiah and Josh still playing by the slide. And Noah? I couldn’t find him!! I quickly scanned the yard, and didn’t see him. I knew the backyard was fully fenced, so I wasn’t quite panicked… but still. I couldn’t find him.

But then… he found me. He spotted his Mama and shouted out a “Hey-yo!!” and then went back to work.

In my garden. With his backhoe and front end loader. That had been on the other side of the yard. I’ll tell ya, boys know their machines and they know where to find dirt. It doesn’t matter how old they are!!



Oh man, I love this kid!! He amazes me every day.

A doozy of a day

Yep it’s been a doozy

It’s my birthday today. I’ve been blessed with twenty nine years of wonderful life. And it’s been a great and wonderful and beautiful day.

Only it didn’t start that way. In fact, it started quite the opposite. Let me go back to this early (early early) this morning.

It’s 5am and I’m awakened by a piercing yell of my dear little Noah. At first I roll over and try to ignore. Wrapped up in a happy dream of beaches and waves on the shore. Maybe Nick will get up with him, I think. But then I realize that Nick’s not home. And not going to be home again for quite awhile. I feel sadness as the realization of his absence hits me. And even sadder as the yelling doesn’t stop for the room next door. And sadder still when I remember today is supposed to be a special day. It’s my birthday.

I stumble out of bed to check on Noah, soothe him back to sleep, and tip toe out of his room, just hoping that I’ll be able to catch a few more minutes of shut eye before my alarm goes off at 6.

But I can’t sleep. I want to, but I’m stuck in the tossing turning almost awake, but almost asleep state of unrestful rest. My one year old keeps squawking now and then too, so each time I drift off, I’m awoken again. Finally I just get up.

As Noah smacks away on his morning bottle, I pull out my bible and try to get a few moments of quiet devotion in before the other boys wake up. But I’m cranky now too. And struggling to be grateful and focused in my prayer and reading time. And before I really get anywhere with my reading, I hear the other two boys wake up and not two pleasant words were exchanged between them before the fighting began.

Sigh oh sigh sigh sigh.

It’s my birthday. Can’t we all just get along? And be happy all day?

Josh woke up on the wrong side of bed. He realized a toy wasn’t in his bed, and worse, he found it in Isaiah’s hands. Whining and fighting, followed by more fighting and whining. Josh cannot get it together. Every word from his mouth is filled with rebellion and contrariness. My sweet and tenderhearted boy struck with a case of Mr Grumpy’s. And the hardest part? Disciplining consistently and training kids to obey regardless of how they feel, to follow God’s commands whether we feel like it or not. Whether we miss daddy or not. Whether we got enough sleep or not. Whether we have the prized toy or not.

So while I’m dishing out discipline right and left, Noah is playing with my cell phone and calls far and distant friends in far and distant time zones, and I begin receiving worried phone calls from elderly friends and formers pastors, “I got 3 calls from your number early this morning, is every thing okay?? We’ve been worried”

Meanwhile, Isaiah dumps out several board games and all their pieces in his bed, and then while trying to recover a lost cherry from Hi-Ho-Cheerio, he rips a page of his favorite book and dissolved into traumatized tears.

And what do I do? Oh competent accomplished sophisticated mother that I am?

I just sit down on the floor and laugh. I laughed and laughed and laughed. The boys said, “Mom!?!?!? What are you laughing for?” and between guffaws and giggles, I say, “It’s either laughing or crying, Guys!!”

And it was. Cause oh boy, I could have cried up a storm. It’s my birthday and my husband just left. It’s my birthday and there’s no birthday greetings whispered in my ear first thing this morning. There are no birthday kisses left on my lips. And it’s Labor day, and there’s no special packages or cards or boxes waiting to be delivered by a mailman on a National holiday. No mail at all. No Fed Ex or UPS either. It’s my birthday, and my kids aren’t old enough to bake me a cake, or buy and wrap gifts. It’s my birthday. My 29th birthday.  My last birthday in my 20’s. Oh boy, it really really was LAUGH. Or CRY.

But I was able to laugh. God gave me the grace, the joy, the love, the patience… to laugh. To laugh at my boys. And life. And my situation. Oh and a merry heart makes good like medicine.

It was just what I needed too, because as we headed to the breakfast table, the meltdowns continued. Josh had to be excused from the table 3 times because he couldn’t keep it together (literally crying over spilled milk). I found myself waiting and wishing for Nick to call, knowing that he would try so hard to call on my birthday. Only to go grab my phone and realize that he had called. Twice.

AND MY SILLY PHONE WAS ON VIBRATE so I didn’t hear it and didn’t get it and totally missed my one opportunity to talk with my hubby.

Sigh. Major big-time. I shed a few tears over this one, I admit. Nuts!!

We finish breakfast and devotions and I load the dishes into the dishwasher, with my trusty Noah helper (and dishwasher unloader) by my side. And then I hear it. Gail's of glee from the back of the house. I head back to check on my boys, who had literally been left alone for 5 minutes, and find my bedroom door closed. Sigh.

I open the door to see two little naked boys jumping on my bed. “Where are your clothes?,” I ask. “We took them off, and put them in a pile, and then peed on them!!!” is the cheerful response.

And I laugh. I laugh so hard, so long, so purely and blissfully, I almost had to add my clothes to the pile of peed on laundry.

Oh what a morning. Not the birthday morning, I’d anticipated, but as my mom suggested, a very very memorable birthday in birthday history.

The rest of the day went (relatively) smoothly from there, and was filled with phonecalls and texts and emails and Facebook posts that delighted my heart all day. And as I was going down the grocery store aisles this afternoon, I wished out loud that Nick would be able to call again. No sooner had the words left my lips, when my phone rang. And it was Nick. And were able to talk for a few minutes before we hurried off to soccer practice.

Then tonight, a handful of girlfriends came over and cheered my spirits so completely, I can’t even express. We fellowshipped long and freely and enjoyably. And we ate birthday cake like crazy. I was showered with love and gifts and made to feel so special.

And here at the end of the day, I’m truly able to look back on the days events and praise God for every moment of it. And even more so, to remember the past twenty nine years that I’ve enjoyed and to say, God is good. The ups and downs, the joys and trials, the good, the bad, the ugly. God is good.


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