Coincidence? I Think Not.

 Celebration, Christ, Crazy Life, Faith, family, Women of Faith  Comments Off on Coincidence? I Think Not.
Apr 022012
 

Do you ever wonder if what you do matters? If where you go, if you choose to try to do this or that matters in the grand scheme of things or it really doesn’t matter? Do you wonder if God puts things in place for things to happen or if it all is just random? Do the little details of your life matter?

Life here had been coasting along and with the change of the seasons come the regular chores of spring. Cleaning up flower beds (actually planting them this year…), mowing the lawn, opening up the house, planning a garage sale. I’m sure you know how life changes with the dawn of spring from the sleep of winter. This past weekend we had planned on mowing and getting some work done around the house, going to small group Saturday night and church on Sunday. Nothing spectacularly out of the ordinary and blissfully our routine.

Well, God had other plans. And by other plans, I mean majorly differing from what we had decided on, and it was so obviously Him all the way.
To understand a bit, I am not a spur of the moment individual. Spontaneous for me is no more than three days of planning, and I prefer several weeks’ notice for events and such. I thrive on predictability, routines and structure. Friday, I was getting ready to use Twitter and I notice that Sheila Walsh tweeted right before I got on that she had some tickets to the Women of Faith One Day in Wichita on Saturday to giveaway. I had resigned myself to not going at all several months ago, though I really wanted to. In fact, it was one of those, we’ll not be able to afford it dismissals that I never even approached the throne with. Figuring I wouldn’t win, I texted HubbaHubba asking if I could try to win a ticket. He texted me back nearly immediately (which is rare when he’s at work, normally I don’t get a response for an hour or so) that if I won, he’d make a way to go out for the weekend. So I went out on a limb and tried. Low and behold, I get a tweet back offering me not one but two tickets. Here I was figuring too much time had gone since the offer of tickets and I had lost my chance and instead of not getting any, I was offered two! I texted HubbaHubba back right away to call his mom and see if it was ok if we came out this weekend (which of course it was, Grandmas always want their grandbabies around I’ve found out). I texted my chosen mom (you know, one of those ladies who is old enough to be your mother that just kind of takes you in sort of people.) to see if she wanted the extra ticket. Nana B (the girls call her Nana and well, why not just call her that on the blog). I knew I probably wouldn’t hear back from her for most of the day as she was at work.

However, Nana had been using her cell for a few moments and saw the text come in. She had also decided that it wasn’t going to work out for her to attend One Day either this year. Well, as things turned out, her husband ended up helping a neighbor put in a fence this past weekend and she was suddenly free to go. Papa M gave his blessing for our “Girls’ Day.”

So, since HubbaHubba worked until nearly nine on Tuesday night, he got off early on Friday, which was a HUGE help since I hadn’t planned on having to pack anything. I realized it was a huge blessing that for some random reason, I did laundry a day early on Thursday. I never do our clothes on Thursdays. If I do any laundry it is typically kitchen towels or extras like afghans or curtains…And the dishes were all caught up for a change too.

We get packed, had dinner (meatloaf which I had already put together) and cooked up the meat I had defrosted for Saturday and left. It was a nice peaceful trip and the girls slept for a good part of it so HubbaHubba and I could talk uninterrupted. It was a nice trip to Wichita from Joplin. The weather was perfect for a car that has no air conditioning.

Saturday dawned and Nana B picked me up on the way to One Day. We are standing in line when we find several other ladies from the church I used to attend when I lived in Wichita and that Nana B attends, along with others that used to attend who were in town visiting that weekend. So, we get to sit with the group and have lunch together. It was an incredible day. I was filled spiritually, was with women that are like family to me and it was just a great day all around. Nana B and I agreed that everything just fell into place so perfectly for our day together, no matter how unplanned it was. From their neighbors deciding to put in a fence and needing help and splitting the cost, her having her cell even turned on at work that day and getting the text, me having had the laundry done a day early (which is amazing with two preschoolers), just “happening” to log into Twitter and seeing Sheila’s offer and being offered two tickets and HubbaHubba getting off work early on Friday.

Nana dropped me off at my mother-in-love’s house after such an incredible day and we thought nothing more of it. Until Sunday…

Grandma (my MIL) was getting ready to go teach her Sunday School class. The Bugs wanted to go with her, however, her sister was actually sleeping in and I didn’t want Beans woken up (she is a BEAR if she gets awakened before she’s ready). Their clothes were all in the room they were sharing and I knew if Bugs went in, Beans would wake up and it would be U.G.L.Y. Bugs wasn’t too happy with the decree that she would go and meet Grandma at church for services and miss Sunday School. Telling Bugs was hard, but I knew it was the right thing to do. You have no idea how right.

Beans wakes up finally and we’re getting her fed, Bugs dressed and taking our time as we had plenty to spare on a Sunday; which is totally abnormal for us. We were enjoying the slower pace in our preparations. I’m just stepping out of the shower when HubbaHubba bursts into the bathroom to inform me that the church called, his mom had fallen in the parking lot and cut her chin bad enough to need a trip to the emergency room for stitches.

Now, it just so happened that the person who witnessed her fall was the wife of a physician in the congregation and was able to get her help right away. Dr. Phil (no, not the guy on television…) was able to get a look at mom’s chin and decide that it needed stitches so he escorted her to the E.R. We were so grateful that the Bugs wasn’t there to watch her Grandma fall like that, and that she wasn’t there to be fallen on top of. Bugs is the sort of girl who would try to keep someone from falling and would have gone to try and catch her Grandma. That could have been really bad (Bugs hurt possibly severely, Grandma with a load of guilt, to even just witnessing it and the trauma would have been Bugs’ after).

We get loaded up and some clean clothes for mom (if you have ever seen a facial laceration, you know those BLEED) and head over to the ER. HubbaHubba then stayed with her while the girls and I went back home as the roast in the crockpot was needing removed and potatoes picked up for lunch (which turned into supper). We get to the house, and realize that I didn’t have the garage door opener nor did I have a set of keys to get into the house. By then it was this woman’s prerogative to really need the necessary so we head to Wal-Mart and call HubbaHubba for advice. He said he was fairly certain that he had left the back garage door unlocked after some yard work on Saturday. Only problem was, I was going to have to figure out how to open the privacy fence’s gate from the wrong side…And this gate belongs to a six foot privacy fence, and I’m short. Just a hair over five feet tall.

That took ten minutes of pushing and finagling and going so far as to hold my phone up over the six foot gate to snap a picture of the locking mechanism (I’m grateful I didn’t drop the phone into the mud on the other side). It finally opened. And thankfully, HubbaHubba had left the back garage door unlocked so I didn’t have to drive back across town for keys or break in. I had visions of trying to explain to the fine officers of the Wichita Police Department why I was breaking into my MIL’s house with two preschoolers in tow…

We get the roast rescued, go back out for potatoes and get them peeled and then leave to wait in the E.R. parking lot to be there when Mom is released (found a shaded spot and we had grabbed the laptop so the girls could watch a movie while we waited). They insisted on x-rays to check for fractures in her jaw and head and her hips. Thankfully they all came back clear. Since it was so late and we were all ravenous, we ate at Spangles for lunch and had the roast for supper.

We hadn’t planned on a trip to Wichita last weekend at all. It was so spur of the moment for us, and yet, it was so obviously guided by the hand of God. HubbaHubba working late on Tuesday to get half of Friday off, laundry being done a day early, logging in to Twitter just in time to win tickets to One Day which caused us to have to go to Wichita then Mom having that oopsie moment tripping over one of those little bump things they put in a parking lot. We were there for her when she needed us.

Then God was so gracious on the trip back home last night. We left Wichita close to seven-thirty or so. Way later than we wanted, but then we were running late on everything after spending a half of a day waiting for stuff in the E.R. We had just gotten East of Wichita when suddenly there were two does in the road that we had to swerve into the other lane to avoid. It was a way closer call than I would have liked. Then, I was driving and just past Fredonia a coyote or wolf (not sure which, I can’t really tell them apart at night and HubbaHubba was playing a game on his phone and not watching) nearly met the bumper of our car. We also had to pull over for several fire squads that appeared out of nowhere. We ended up passing a field that was on fire (looked like a control burn that got out of control when the wind suddenly picked up). I was going to pull over close to Cherryvale to switch drivers, but as I approached the exit, I felt a nudge to just go on until Parsons. Since we had spent a weekend feeling those nudges and obeying them, I decided now wasn’t the time to stop. I do not know what we avoided by going on to Parsons before stopping, but I’m sure it was what I was supposed to do.

After we switch drivers and we’re a half hour from home, a cat dashed out in front of the car in the middle of nowhere. That cat has lived to see today (at least to my knowledge, if it decided to play chicken with anyone else it may not have been so “lucky”). God was surely making sure we arrived home safely. Though I will admit to being weary of the near misses, it just went to show how God is there all the time to help us through and guide us in what we should do and where we should go. He is most definitely in the details. Are you looking for Him there?

I Got to Attend Woman of Faith One Day!

 Celebration, Christ, Faith, Growth, Women of Faith  Comments Off on I Got to Attend Woman of Faith One Day!
Apr 022012
 

I got to attend the Women of Faith One Day in Wichita on Saturday, thanks to a Twitter giveaway from Shelia Walsh. You have no idea how much of a blessing the event was, and how the entire weekend was orchestrated by God.

I loved going to the Women of Faith conference in Kansas City last November. I left there so filled with the things of God, I knew that One Day was going to be just as incredible. I wasn’t disappointed. The morning started off with worship by the same team who led in Kansas City. It was incredible and I could listen to them sing all day. The songs were delivered with enthusiasm and joy and excitement.

Ken Davis got to speak then. I had never heard him speak and I was blown away. He delivered truth in his message so well while being funny and so personable. I love the stories he shared and how they can be applied to our everyday life. He taught on why we should live life fully. To live life live. I know I’m guilty of being too scared to fully embrace the joy that can be ours in this life, as I’m sure many others have. I have lived my life timid of what truly living feels like. Scared I couldn’t handle it. terrified of liking it so much that I would never get to experience it more than once. The past several years have taught me that I cannot live my life in an insulated cocoon to shield myself from life. I have to break out and experience it to truly live. (And as an aside, I didn’t realize it, but we owned Ken Davis’ book Sheep Tales. My husband put it together for me on Saturday night and got so excited I got to see Ken live he got a bit jealous!)

Sheila then spoke on coming to God as we are. We are all broken people in a broken world and God doesn’t expect us to come to Him fully fixed. He is the one who will fix us. We can’t on our own. We are all broken in some way, even if we pretend we’re not. It was a message of hope for healing and a reassurance of the grace and loved offered to us. She shared from her past in dealing with clinical depression and how out of control her life became until she learned that God still wanted her and loved her with a love that is totally beyond our finite comprehension.

Scott McIntyre was there also. And now I have to make a confession. I had never heard of Scott McIntyre until Saturday. How is that possible you ask? Well, to start, I’ve never seen an episode of American Idol. Ever. It has never held any interest for me. And it is hard to watch it if one doesn’t have a television. We haven’t owned one in the seven years we’ve been married and really we don’t miss it. Scott’s story of living life blind and what he’s learned from it and then from going into kidney failure and needing a transplant. He is just a regular guy who has been through a lot, learned on who to depend on and who was blessed with a great musical ability. Watching Scott play the piano was simply amazing. I can’t get anything musical to flow from my fingers and I can read music…it was so uplifting to see a young man (am I really that old now to be calling Scott McIntyre a young man?!?!?!) living life sold out to God when most people would think that because of his circumstances he should be cursing Him.

I left One Day full to overflowing. It was a great day with a bunch of ladies I hadn’t seen in ages, getting filled spiritually, having a ton of fun and worshiping God. It was an incredible day and I was so blessed to be able to attend.

Thank you so much Sheila for the tickets!

I Was the Perfect Mom…

 Christ, family, Marriage, Motherhood  Comments Off on I Was the Perfect Mom…
Mar 162011
 

I always thought my children wouldn’t be like the children of those I taught in school and at the day care I worked at or those who would scream in the store. My children would be polite, quiet, eager to please and reflect back on me what a wonderful job I was doing raising them.  They would prove to the world that I was a success and that yes, in fact I was the perfect mom. Each day would run smoothly from the time the children woke up exactly one hour after I had risen for the day, they and the house would always be spotless, they would learn their school lessons with easy and joy and life would be going along swimmingly.  In fact, I envisioned the trophy on the shelves won for being Mother of the Year.

AND THEN I ACTUALLY HAD CHILDREN

And you know, reality set in.  There are no perfect children, just like there are no perfect moms. Believe me, I’m far from being perfect and my family will be the first to admit it.

There are days that I want to pull my hair out.  Days when I question why we were blessed with children so soon after we got married and then two so close together. Days, when by the time Hubbs gets home from work, I’m totally in tears, the girls are fighting with each other again, the house is a shambles, I hadn’t even remembered to get something out of the freezer for supper and the dog is staring at me begging to go out.

Motherhood isn’t a cakewalk (and I’m betting that you’re thinking, well hello there…What gave you those illusions. Well, I think we all have them before we have children.  You know, when you are in the store and you hear a child screaming that he hates his mom for not buying him candy and you think, “My children will never say that/do that/ cause that kind of embarrassment.”)

Yet, through it all, I know that our children are refining me.  I was told by many people before we got married that marriage shows you how selfish you are and really refines your character.  That is true, however only to a point.  In marriage, we are living with an adult who can talk to you and express themselves without a temper tantrum (hopefully) and we know how to behave, talk through our issues and behave like adults.

I honestly think that having children is more refining for one’s character.

Babies are totally dependent upon another for their survival. There are times when we had an infant in the house (and I’m sure it will happen again if we are blessed with another) that I didn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to nurse. I wanted to sleep because I was tired.  Yet, I learned to not give in to my wants and desires and to nurse that child and give her the sustenance she needed.  Babies need to be held, cuddled and rocked along with talked to, diapers changed, fed and kept safe.  You have to give up what you want to do when you have a child.  There are no more late date nights with your spouse, no more sitting and reading that best seller all day or going out all day on a shopping trip for the fun of it. You have a little life dependent on your care of it.  Taking care of that life refines who you are.  It takes you out of your selfishness and teaches you to give to another.  One who can not do anything for you in return (yet..) at the expense of sleep, fun and other things.

As the children grow, they need food, clothes, shoes, bigger beds, new car seats and then there comes school costs (no matter what kind of education you choose for them) and money for this and money for that.  You have to give up things you want in order to provide for your children.  I have learned that I don’t need plates that belong to a set, the newest book, the most recent music and even eating out. As long as our children have what they need, then I’m fine.  Everything else is a want, not a need.

I’ve also learned how to fight for what truly matters.  Hubbs and I have found that we have to be on good ground with each other for the girls to feel secure and to thrive. We have a very good marriage, but even that needs work. We have learned that we have to make time for each other and to nurture our marriage not just for us, but also for the girls. We don’t have a lot of expendable cash in the budget (some months there isn’t any) so regular date nights out with a sitter are more rare for us than finding the golden ticket like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Yet, we do things at home.  We have had to be creative, but even something as simple as a dinner for two from the freezer section of the store (bought with coupons of course) and then a cheap dollar a night rental (preferably one rented with a code for a free night…) after the girls get put to bed a bit early. We hold hands in the car, make it a point to talk at night (sometimes a little too late into the night) and to be Husband and Wife before Mom and Dad.  We want the girls to see a happy, joyful, Christ-centered marriage modeled to them so they can see how good it can be for themselves when the time comes for them to be married.  We want the best for our girls, and in order to show them the best marriage, we have to have one for them to observe.

So, parenthood definitely isn’t for wimps or the faint at heart.  You never know what you’ll be dealing with on a daily basis.  One day we’re outside joyfully finger painting and life’s a breeze and it is wonderful.  The next day, you’re mopping up toilet water after the girls decided to give their dollies a bath in it.  If anything, it sure isn’t boring.

I’d like to think that through being a mom, I’m becoming a better person.  A person more dependent upon the mercies of Christ to get me through each day, a person who sees the good more and more in everyone, a person who has more empathy for those who are hurting or helpless.  Time will tell I suppose.  But I know for sure that my life changed the millisecond that the Bugs was handed to me in the delivery room (even before then when we were pregnant with her) and it will never be the same.  But that’s a good thing.  I don’t want my old life back..

Mar 112011
 

I didn’t get anything written yesterday.  I spent the day in bed basically with sinus issues and pretty much just prayed that I could stay conscious enough to make sure the girls didn’t do anything to harm themselves or burn the house down.  I ended up hauling the laptop into our bedroom and declaring a movie day.  Not my typical desire for a day, but I was seriously not functioning at all.  So the girls got to watch Veggie Tales until their eyes crossed and I could doze.

This morning, my husband called not too long after her had gotten to work.  Someone had offered him a chance to go to the church’s men’s retreat tonight and tomorrow (an overnight about an hour and a half away) for free, and a ride down was included with his boss (his boss attends our church).

Of course I was thrilled that he could go, so I quickly assured him it was fine with me.  So, I packed up his overnight kit, did some extra laundry so he could have his favorite shorts and he came home an hour early from work so we could pick something up at the store and then drop him off for the ride.

You see, we couldn’t have afforded this retreat at all. Not this year (and it’s the first year they are trying it). This was a totally unexpected blessing. If he was still at his former job, he would have been closing tonight and tomorrow night and wouldn’t have been able to go at all. Yet, God gave him a new job, rather kind of unexpectedly back in December, and now this.  And his boss belongs to the same church we do, and let him off early to make sure I could have the car. I don’t know about you, but this screams orchestrated by God.

How often do we over look the orchestrations of our Lord? How often do we miss seeing that we are here for a reason, right now? That God has set things in place for us for His glory and purpose? What decisions do we make that might obscure our focus on Him?

This Lenten season, I’m going to make it more of a point to look for God in the everyday. To see Him at work in all things and circumstances.  Who knows what I’ll notice, or what will be pointed out to me. However, I know that God is a God of arranging things and making all things new. Even in the little things such as being blessed by a gift of attendance at a men’s retreat. What is God making new for you?

I’m sort of rambly now that I’ve re-read that. I hope it makes some sense to you dear readers.  I guess to sum it up, I’m trying to say that God makes all things new, and to keep your eyes open to His works and his blessings (even the ones that may have taken quite a bit of time to come to pass.)

This post is linked up to A House Upon the Rock for the Lenten Meme.  Hop on over and see what others had to say today (and yesterday…).

Mar 092011
 

Today is Ash Wednesday.

I didn’t grow up in a strictly litrugical church. However, one year they held Ash Wednesday services in the evening and we all got Ashes put on our foreheads.  I was young, no one explained a thing to me and I really was not liking it at all.

Now that I’m an adult, and have done a bit of reading on the subject I understand the symbolism of the Ashes. It is a sign of repentance (sackcloth and ashes anyone?)

I don’t know about you, but I’m a very sinful human being. Not like I’m a murderer, or thief, but I am full of pride and lust over things, I lose my temper with my children and others, I don’t always have the most charitable thoughts towards others.  Jealousy comes easily. I can be lazy and let household chores slide. Things that are not of the fruit of the Spirit. I am not always full of love, and patience and kindness and gentleness and self-control.

So, today is the day for repenting. I will spend time repenting of my sins. And pray to be made into a better person who follows and looks more like Christ. And I will get a start on the heavy cleaning I am wanting done before we celebrate the ressurecction of our Lord. It is a time for a fresh beginning not only spiritually, but also physically. I like this preparation and cleansing time better than New Year’s resolutions. This is more about preparing oneself to be a better follower of Christ, to better represent Him to the world and to become better ourselves while doing so. It is also a chance to really bless others with our decisions and and Lenten preparations as we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord when He truly made all things new.

This post is for the Lenten link up over at A House Upon The Rock. So head on over there and read what others are doing and feel free to link up a post yourself.

*as a small note, I can’t get the image to link to the main blog post for this meme today. And I have promised the girls who are not feeling well that they can watch a movie so I must get to that and them now. Perhaps I’ll have better success next time, but the link to join in is hyperlinked in the paragraph above this one.  Thank you for your understanding..