Sunday, April 24, 2011

{what am I picking up?}

Our church had a Good Friday service this year.  Daughter Allie did not feel well Friday evening, so she stayed home.  Shorty after arriving at church, I received this text message:

Allie:  What do I do?
Me:  About what?
Allie:  The storm.  The tornado.
[Unbeknownst to me, tornadoes were apparently in the area.]
Me:  It's ok.  R u afraid?
Allie:  Yes.
Me:  Where did you hear about tornado?
Allie:  The sirens, weather channel.
Me:  Should I come home?
Allie:  No.
Me:  The storm will pass soon.
Allie:  Ok.
Me:  Where's the tornado?
Allie:  Versailles supposedly.  
[Versailles, KY, is just west of Lexington.]
Me:  Ok.  I'll come back.
[By this time, the thunder storm of the century is happening outside the church.  And, of course our home.]
Allie:  No.  I am fine.
Me:  Ok.  If you get afraid, sit in the stairway at the bottom doorway.  I will come if you need me.
Allie:  Ok.
[Later on........]
Me:  Doing ok?
Allie:  Yup.  Me, CJ and my build a bears are on the stairs.  What about u?
[CJ is our beagle.]
Me:  Yeah.  They're monitoring the weather here.  Should be safe right now.  You can relax. :)
Allie:  K.

Needless to say, it was hard to stay focused on the service.  Knowing that Allie was home alone, in a possibly dangerous weather situation, was distracting.  Plus Allie has traditionally been a weather chicken.  She was one of those small children that got really freaked out during thunderstorms.  Me, I rarely take tornado warnings seriously.  I'm not especially brave, but I feel weather broadcasters often over hype.  

But I did take something away from the night.  Something that one of our pastors shared, based on Luke 9:23:
Pick up your cross daily and follow me.
This is what hit me:  Pick up your cross.  Not, pick up your kids [as in after school or band practice].  Not pick up some groceries.  Not pick up dinner so the family can eat something before youth group.  But pick up your cross.  And I realized right then, that I often put my kids in front of the cross.  In front of Jesus.  

Please stay with me.  I'm not advocating loving my children less.  But I felt God was saying, "Love me more.  Love me more than anything.  And treat me like you love me more."  How many times do I not even consider doing something ministry related because I have kids?  It might mean giving up a couple hours with them so I can volunteer somewhere.  Or maybe a week while I go on a trip.  Or prioritizing my time so that spending time with Him is even more important than making sure their lunches are packed.  

I felt like God was saying, "I'll take care of Allie during this storm.  Don't worry about her."  Really, it's God's responsibility to take care of the kids.  Ultimately.  I have to depend on Him. And despite feeling like I should have donned my "Super Mom" cape and braved the thunderstorm to rush home and comfort my daughter, I didn't.  I gave her the opportunity to learn a lesson as well.  That God will take care of her when she's alone.  I've heard the stories before.  Maybe you have too.  Like the missionary family in Jerusalem whose daughter was killed in a bus bombing.  They allowed her as a teenager to ride the bus alone [as in public transportation].  In Jerusalem.  Where suicide bombers roam the streets.  And my initial thoughts are:  "Man, what in blue blazes were you thinking? Nothing is worth losing your child!"  But I suppose Abraham would beg to differ [ie the whole Isaac sacrifice thing].  And so would God [get it.....He gave up Jesus].  

So, yes, this has been a bit melodramatic.  An almost 13 year old girl home alone during a tornado warning might not stir up thoughts of ultimate sacrifice for you.  But really, my point is this:  Am I picking up my cross, or am I picking up something else?  And too often, I think I choose the something else.  

Sunday, April 10, 2011

[spring break '11]

My daughter has a friend who went to London on spring break.  I'm not talking London, Kentucky, either.  London, as in England.  As in home of the queen.  Other friends have traveled to other locales.

We didn't travel over this break.  I have been in my current job for just over 4 months.  My husband has been in his for approximately three weeks.  Even if I have vacation days available I'd rather wait until summer.  

I did make it a goal to spend some extra time with the kids, even if it meant in the evenings or on the two weekends.  So, despite not going to sunny Florida or the Continent (that's mainland Europe, in case you weren't aware), we did have an entertaining time. [at least I'd like to think so]

this is not my dog
I've named spring break '11, {the week of the mouse} Since the Chinese give their years animal names, why not name a week?   You might wonder why?  Why mouse?  Because....... we became aware of a mouse in our house on Friday, April 1 [and it wasn't an April Fools].  Despite my childhood love of the book, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, I have no love for mice in my home.  He seemed to favor the laundry room and the kitchen.  He left a nice deposit in our dog's food dish.  Speaking of our dog, she never once let on that another creature had taken up residence in her abode.  Mind you, she's a beagle.  A hunter by nature.  Her nose's ability to smell should be as good as it gets.  Yet, no sniffing in the kitchen.  No barking.  No pointing at the washing machine. 
this is my dog

We purchased some traps.  We placed them where we thought the mouse was frequenting.  Then we came to the conclusion that the mouse really liked gnawing at our kitchen brushes (the type you use for applying butter, etc.).  He began building a small nest in a corner on our counter.  We placed a trap there.  In the early hours of Monday morning, he was caught.    In case you're wondering, CJ the beagle never made a move. 

The downside of catching the mouse is that daughter Allie is an animal lover.  She believes all creatures should live free.  Killing a mouse is out of the question.  During our recent move, we had to treat our back shed for termites.  Allie truly believed we should let them live.  Despite that they'd reek havoc on the shed, and eventually move on to the house, it mattered not to her.  I considered trying to release the mouse (it was one of those sticky traps, not the old fashioned type).  But alas, I couldn't bring myself to come in contact with him.  Plus, rumor has it it's nearly impossible to "unstick" rodents from these devices.  So, RIP little mouse.  

I suppose it's a good thing we didn't leave town for spring break.  Otherwise our mouse friend might have done some real damage.  Sometimes being homebound is a blessing.  As for other spring break activities:  percussion concert at Singletary Center [I ♥ that place], dinner at 5 Guys [their concept of the veggie burger is great], watching the final season of "24", watching the movie "The Tourist" [if you can't visit Europe, why not pretend you can?], shopping with Allie, helping with VCC youth group's Operation Burrito [that's my name for it, not theirs], dinner out with Chip, and coming home from work to find that Jamie's been outside for 2 hours straight, drumming. 

Now it's 8 more weeks of school. . . then SUMMER!  

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Today is a sunny, early spring day in Central Kentucky.  It's a relief, because lately we've had some days that were more like winter, begging the question, "What season are we really in?"

Sometimes my life seems like that too.  Meaning I thought I was in one season, only to wake up one day and ask, "What season am I really in?"  My current season transition brings to mind some of the transitions that life brings.  Job changes.  Moves across town.  Children growing more independent.  And sometimes I look at the particular season I'm in and wonder, 
"How the he#% did I get here?"
Take for example a recent texting conversation with my 16 year old son:
Jamie:  How are we eating together?
Me:  Around 6 I guess. Why wouldn't we we?
Jamie:  You have your meeting.  (meaning a standing bi-weekly appointment his dad and I have)
Me:  That's next week.  Allie's going to a friend's at 6:30.
Jamie:  I don't believe you.
Me:  Don't believe what?
Jamie:  I could've sworn Chip said you had a meeting tonight.  (yes, Chip's his dad)
Me:  He's with Schweig and Glenn as usual, then I take Al to her friend's.
Jamie:  Mk.  If you say so.
Me:  Believe me, man.  : )

Jamie gave up meat for lent.  Here's a recent comment, via texting, regarding our family's meals:
What happened to eating new things as a vegetarian?  Why do we endlessly repeat the cycle of pasta, mexican, potatoes and soup?  Hm.
This is my life now.  My son feels he needs to keep my calendar.  As well as plan our meals.

I guess I forget sometimes that everyone goes through their own seasons.  I often feel like I'm surrounded by people who are running through a sunny meadow in the summer time, and I'm stuck in gloomy winter. But here's an excerpt from a friend's Facebook status:
Even when I am restless with where my life is today; I know this is only a season & it will not stay the same. God is using me even when I feel ill-equipped. He often reminds me that He is equipping me in this season both for the ‘today’s & the ‘tomorrows’. I am grateful for the present opportunities & new desires He deposits into my life. I feel as if they are nuggets to be treasured & nurtured for the next season.
On Friday I found out that a local business is closing its doors.  It happens to be the creation of one of my favorite authors.  She has achieved what I would consider great success as a writer.  She's been to Africa and done good work there.  She's spoke to groups, she's opened her home to others, she's accomplished A LOT.  Yet, her latest work didn't work.  And that speaks to me A LOT.  Even people who seemingly have had their {day in the sun} have other inspirations, other dreams, other plans.  And sometimes they fail.  Sometimes they have to close the door for the final time.

Often people from a past season don't comprehend why you don't want to return to the season you shared with them.  Maybe they're still in that particular season.  Sometimes we just have to move on.  Especially if that season wasn't the healthiest.  And I've come to the conclusion that it's alright to move on for my sake, and not worry about their sake.  [Please note I'm not condoning hurting people on purpose.  But I am condoning being true to God's leading.]

Often we are forced out of a season, not by our design.  Our plans/dreams/goals change, but not necessarily because we went looking for them to.  Circumstances (God's, ours, other people's) come into play.  I've come to realize that what I thought I'd be doing, what I for years planned to give my professional life to, is not the actual plan.  And that can be a little odd.  Somewhat unnerving, because I'm left wondering, like I stated above "How the . . . . . here?"

Please don't read this and think, "My gosh!  She's unhappy."  I'm not; at least not regularly.  I'm just trying to figure out where I am and what I'm to accomplish, and I'm hoping to heaven it will soon be more than go to work, deliver my kids to various activities and clean my house.  I'd like a little more than that.  I thought they'd be a little more than that at this stage.  I honestly accomplished more when my children were preschoolers than I do now.

So I guess I'll try to be content it's spring.  Spring brings new life, like no other season.  And instead of probing, "How'd I get here?", or "How do I get out of here?", I'll try to find something constructive to do here.