Saturday, November 28, 2009

Adventures in Hiding

Yesterday after the circus the family came home, Bright One napped while the rest of us played table games. Then we had dinner at a wonderful little pizza place. Upon arriving home we had some dessert and then something started.... an impromptu game of hide and seek. The girls chasing the Admiral around the house as he changed his hiding place over and over again. Giggles abounded. Soon I decided to join in. I know Love Bug saw me leave the room and put a finger to my lips but she says she didn't know I was playing too. Anyway, I hid in the guest room...they giggled in and out and never even checked beyond the bed. Then I moved to my in-laws walk-in closet, they came in shone their flashlights around... "where can mama be?" and they left. Then I moved to the regular closet in my mother in-law's office... Little girl's coming in to say "we can't find her anywhere!" then leaving without even checking the closet. They had found the Admiral and he was giving suggestions. Off they went to check the basement. I hear Bright One say "I just want my mama back!" I nearly gave myself away with my laugh. So while they checked the basement I moved one last time to Bright One's bed, under her covers. I hear them in the hall as the admiral says "well it is time to get ready for bed." Bright One says "Daddy we can't go to bed without mama!" Then she walks into her room and stands by the bed about 4 inches from me all the while telling her daddy all the reasons she cannot get ready for bed yet. Her sister is trying to tell her to look but she is too busy talking. When she does finally look she is shocked, overjoyed, and hugs me. It was great fun.

Later as I thought about the fun we 'd had it struck me that I am often like Bright One & Love Bug 'looking' for me - when I look for God. I look superficially without digging for truth. The reality or truth was they had passed with in inches of me over and over again. But because they hadn't gone deeper into the room or closet they missed me. Do I miss God because I do not take the time to look deeper? To mine His Word for truth? I think the answer is yes. How often do I miss  being intimate with God because I am too busy talking? Like Bright One 4 inches away from her Mama arguing with Daddy. What precious times we could have if I would just look.

God, help me to be quiet and look for you. Help me dig for your truth. Teach me to look deeper instead of just at the surface of people and lessons. Teach me to hunt for you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Of Elephants and Trust

          Thanksgiving was a lovely, quiet, and silly day. We talked repeatedly of  what we are Thankful for this year, month, and week. Now Bright One mentions her thankfulness on a regular interval throughout the day. We had family, fabulous food, and fun! Thanksgiving, regardless of its roots, is a wonderful reminder to take stock, give thanks, and be aware of God's blessings in our life.
           Today, Black Friday, did not see me shopping. I do not find shopping a greatly enjoyable experience at the best of times. I like to get new things like the next girl. But I do not like crowds, pressure and frantic feelings. Therefore I was thrilled that Grandpa and Busia had other plans. Today's adventure began with breakfast and then a trip to Chicago's United Center for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus - The greatest show on Earth. What Fun! We arrived early for the pre-show that involved being on the show floor talking to the clowns as they applied their makeup, seeing the elephants up close and personal as they painted pictures, and watching the high wire artists warm up on the low wire. Great excitement to be up close to the performers, especially the elephants. We found our seats and the clowns went crazy! The two hours flew past in a cascade of action, action everywhere. Often I didn't know where to look because there was action in every part of the arena. They do tricks in one corner of the arena and when they finish you look back the the set has totally changed. There was even an act on the ceiling! Love Bug and Bright One watched and chattered, asking thousands of questions. Love Bug said her favorite part was when they disappeared the elephant . Bright One says her favorite was when they launched the two girls out of a huge double cannon. Although she changes her favorite almost every time you ask her. The circus was wonderful fun!
        During the pre-show there was a huge crowd so The Admiral and Grandpa put the girls up on their shoulders so they could see better. Love Bug was very nervous being on her daddy's shoulders ( He is a very tall guy!). She kept a death grip on  his neck. There was no way the Admiral would have let her fall. But Love Bug didn't trust that fact and therefore spent more time worrying about  falling than watching the neat stuff unfolding before her. I realized I do that with God. Frequently heavenly Father asks me to trust him in what feels uncertain. I spend so much time worrying about the precariousness of the situation that I miss the blessing God intended for me. How many times do we miss the blessings God has for us because we are looking at the circumstances instead of God?

Father teach me to trust you. Teach me to look for your blessings instead of looking at my fears. You are not a God of fear. Help me Lord to trust and seek you in every day and every place.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Feasts, & Fun

Today  there was a grand feast. There were Indians. OH! Excuse me... I was informed there were Native Americans. There were Pilgrims. What makes lunch hour more than just lunch but a FEAST?  Paper bag dressed natives, construction paper pilgrims, determined teachers and willing parents.

Back up to Monday. At ten o'clock in the First grade room apple peels went flying as each first grader learned to use the peeler- corer- slicer.  They measured water, sugar and cinnamon into the crock pot full of apple slices. They stirred the apple slices... the smelled them cooking all day in their classroom.  hmmmmmmmmmm that wonderful appley scent wafting through making everyone hungry. A glance in the Kindergarten room showed flour in the air, on the desk, on the floor, and on several faces from making homemade noodles. Two volunteer mothers are snapping green beans and peeling potatoes. One fifteen in the Pre K room the children gather around Mrs. H and measure milk and corn meal for muffins. Meanwhile I filled a dozen pint jars with heavy whipping cream. When the corn meal muffins were ready to go in the oven each child got a jar. The shaking began.  When you agitate heavy whipping cream long enough... it turns into butter.  Really Good butter.  Those little ones so eager to please were a joy. "Mrs. C Check mine!" " Is it ready yet?" " look at mine!" " I am tired, you shake it" So Mrs H and I would shake theirs for a bit until the child decided we were doing it wrong and took his or her jar back. Eventually we had 12 jars with butter in the bottom of each. We poured off the moisture and chilled the jars so there would be fresh homemade butter for the Feast today. Bright One was very proud that she had turned it into butter ... like magic. The second grade made pies... the whole elementary wing smelled divine. Someone made the turkeys today and the young elementary feasted. It was an event. Tomorrow the upper elementary will feast.

I came home very tired Monday after helping the first grade make applesauce and the Pre K make butter. But satisfied. I can see the draw in teaching. The excitement of Bright One and her classmates as their jars transformed to butter. The joy of Love Bug showing her peers how to peel apples. It was a fun day. Then today when they pile into the car and share about the turkey and all the sides. It was worth the effort to make the memory. What made it grand? The memory does. My girls made the day a wonder by their excitement and willingness to believe in brown bag natives and construction paper pilgrims.

Lord, restore my willingness to supply imagination to each setting and person. That I might see them as you would have me see them. That I would be obedient to your nudges to act when all I see are bags and paper instead of Natives and Pilgrims, Lord Help me see more clearly.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

of bravery & tiny teeth....

Saturday was momentous in the household of us. It had been generally a lazy kind of day...sleeping late, for some of us... reading a novel, the girls playing well together. When we finally decided to have lunch we were all very hungry as we had put it off for a very long time. We sat down to our sandwiches and Love Bug couldn't eat. She has been in the process of loosing a lower front tooth for 2 months. The adult tooth is already through the gum behind the baby tooth. There has been large amounts of discussion as when it would come out? and Will it hurt? and Mama won't there be a hole?. In fact we had tried Friday evening to get the tenacious tooth to come out. It was to the point where it was flopping enough to make eating uncomfortable but still tightly attached to the gum. Friday night we aborted the mission because... those little teeth are small and incredibly hard to get a hold on! Plus it  was scary for Love Bug and she wasn't ready. But now it is Saturday lunch and the tooth at loosened some more so that the lower edge is loose and scraping. Love bug tries to munch her sandwich around it and is miserable.

The Admiral says " want to try to get it out again?"
"ummmm yes Daddy will you get it?"

I put some orajel on her gum and her Daddy with his huge hands tries to get a hold of this little tooth. Love Bug is squeezing my hand with nerves, I think. The Admiral tries but simply cannot get a grip on the tooth... meanwhile Bright One has a running commentary going on the entire process.

We switch places and Little girl takes 3 or 4 deep breaths and says "ok Momma you can try." "Do you want to get it Love bug? "
"No I think this is a big person job."
" OK, here we go..."


Little tiny tooth in my hand. Love Bug shaking like a leaf.

" Are you ok Love Bug? You did a great job!"
" IS it out?  Did you get it?"
" Yes" Showing her the tooth which is so small ... I am amazed.
"That really didn't hurt Momma."

After this we dove into a spirited conversation about the existence of the tooth fairy.  Love Bug called her grand parents and left messages and The Admiral took pictures for posterity.

Through this all I was struck by my girl's bravery. I am so proud of her being willing to have us help the tooth out after weeks of "DON"T TOUCH IT!"  So brave.

How often do we tell God "DON"T TOUCH IT" when we have a sore spot, an irritant of sin or painful pride? When the cure could be so simple.  I don't want to be brave. I don't want Father God to work on me because it might hurt.  hmmmmmm. But it might not hurt. The recovery could be so much better.

Father  God, Help me to be brave. Help me to say to you "go ahead pull that thorn out so I might be better."  Teach me Father to give over my stubborn pride and sins. I want to be so much more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being Silly

    Today has been a very laid back and quiet day. There wasn't school in honor of Veterans Day. The girls and I have been bums, watched too much tv, ate horribly, colored pictures, read books, cut paper into a million smithereens, and generally vegged out all day. About an hour ago I realized they needed to eat something more before we went to choir practices this evening. They asked me for "squiggly noodles". This is what we call ramen noodles.  I know they are not healthy at all but we also had fresh apple slices. While they were eating I was away from the table when they started giggling and entertaining each other laughing uproariously. I listened from my desk. I do not know what was so funny.  I was mildly irritated they weren't eating quickly. However I was struck by how precious that silliness is. That laughter together as sisters. It was truly wonderful. We can be so strict about proper table manners and raising our children to be polite. But how wonderful was it for me to listen to this uninhibited laughter. The knowledge that my children do take joy in each other. How often do I give into the stricture of society to behave when I really want to delve into the silliness? Silliness is not for everyday, but now and then there is great joy and wonder in giving oneself to unrestricted goofiness.

Lord help me to not be so full of propriety I forget to have fun.

Thoughts on Vetrans

Today is the day we set aside to honor our fighting men and women. I am sure every other blogger is out there discussing this. I am joining the bandwagon. From the beginning of our nation, we at home, have had privileges that so many elsewhere do not have. We are permitted to criticize our leaders. We are allowed to protest in defense of our beliefs. We are permitted to defend ourselves. We may worship as we choose where we choose. We may work to build a life of our own choosing. These rights (and others) are ours because someone died. Someone gave himself to stand up for the unpopular, the new country, the right to self-govern. In most cases those people did so willingly. In some cases they were compelled to fight by law  & government. Yet because of the men and women who stand guard around the world I enjoy incredible freedoms. Many soldiers come home physically, or worse, mentally damaged because of their service. I think often on this. I know many who though their period of service is painful to them they love, live,  and work to make their communities better without whining about the past. They do not discuss the fear, pain , terror, and loss that goes with military service.  Men and women who work to overcome because standing up for this country and our rights was/is an honor.

So I honor them. Thank You - to each person who has given themselves to serve our military, to serve us and defend our freedom. Thank You.

Thank You, Daddy!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going down the same road with different scenery...

Not far from my home on the way to a friend's house there is a major intersection that has recently changed drastically.  The city is preparing to widen the road and the corner's landscape has been altered to accommodate the wider road and a new business development. It used to be as you approached this intersection going west that the hillside before you was covered in trees that hid the homes from the busy hwy. Well now the hillside is bare and the homes are skeletons marked by the fire department for practice use ( my children thought this was very cool that they would burn down a house just for practice. "Momma - can we come and watch when they practice?" ).  The road continues west and looks very different due to the construction preparations... It is going down the same road with different scenery. I feel this way each time I drive through this area. The vast changes shock me. Because I am not there on a daily basis I am not accustomed to the changes. Since those changes are on going I cannot get used to them. It is almost painful to me,  seeing the doomed houses on the bare hillside. I have a picture of how it should look painted in my mind. My mind picture still has the thick trees and underbrush. It bothers me when I see the difference. I am guessing it will bother me until the changes are finished and I can grow accustomed to the new vista of this place... until I can repaint my mind picture.

   This imagery makes me think of how often we live with something the way it is because we don't want to deal with the upheaval that goes with changing. A squeaky door, an ugly paint color, a crowded overflowing closet... we leave them because initially a greater "mess" will be created in the fixing of the problem. I have been occasionally working on the closet in our guest room. This space had become my general storage for "all that I didn't want to part with yet had no immediate use for" items. There are some memories in there and some junk. OK - lots of junk. The Admiral keeps telling me to go away for the weekend and He will take care of it. *wink*  Ummm...No. So I pile stuff on the bed, trying to decide what to do with this stuff and inevitably someone comes to stay the night and I throw it all back into the closet. I lose sight of that future picture I have for that room, staying contented with it the way it is and the closet curtain pulled shut. Then Love Bug says "are we moving to our new room soon?" with all the excited hopefulness that only a super dramatic 6 year old can unleash. OH. The vision - a bright yellow room with butterflies and each girl with her own space.... a vision that requires the closet be cleaned out... so the drywall can be hung... so the walls can be painted.... so the butterflies can take flight from my imagination...WHAT FUN!  But to paint that picture permanently I have to go down the same road and change the scenery.  I have to choose the temporary chaos to bring forth my new idea, though the interim is irritating, inconvenient and painful.

     Are you hanging on to a mind picture of what was? Are you willing to do the work, endure the changes, and move forward to what could be?

Lord, Help me to buckle down and change the scenery of my road, not just my physical road but also my spiritual one. You are the Master contractor and the artist. Help me to trust you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Updates on Dad

Many have been asking how my Dad is doing in recovery from his heart attack on October 16th.

Here is the update:
Dad is resting a lot and saw his primary care physician today. He is doing well considering the severity of his cardiac event. His doctor is sending him to rehab to help him rebuild his strength. She expects it could take up to a year to fully regain his strength. At present He tires easily but is regaining some energy.

Please continue to pray for a regaining of strength, for continuing to re-develop eating habits.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday night & Daylight

It is now 10:05pm on Sunday November 1st.

It has been a good weekend. Friday night was rainy and we decided to stay in and have family time. Saturday was spent uncovering my sewing area and putting together "Dance Monster" costumes for my girls... the "fur fabric" I purchased is shedding all over everywhere. Fuzz in my nose, all over my clothes, everywhere. But it was worth it. Though I was sewing up to the last possible second they were adoreable! Each place they went they danced a little.

We changed our clocks to "fall back" an hour last night. Well actually we did it today but we still made it to church on time despite the time change. However the result of this "time change" was full daylight at 7am instead of 8:15. I found this energizing this morning. Many folk I am in contact with really dislike daylight savings. I think this is partially because they did not grow up with the tradition, (Indiana has only had daylight savings for about 3 years) and partially because of the early evening darkness. I grew up with daylights savings time and don't really mind it. In fact I love the morning light. I usually adjust to the time change quickly. We will see.


I am not sure that it is a word... however that is where my soul is today - Quietness. It is me for another 90 minutes, my state of being. I have no tv, to radio, no music playing... Just quiet. I was working on some paperwork, house work, and I am intentionally choosing the quiet because it is filling. The quiet is restoring. When life is a constant hum of little girl voices, machines, buzzers and bells my brian revolts and wants to retreat. So not get me wrong... I like the hum... it means we are living fully. But I am thankful for this day of quietness to refill and restore my clarity.

Thank you Abba- daddy, for the gift.