Finger itching, twitching, purpose bursting free


She sits quietly, silently, pen poised above the page. Emptying her mind of herself, she begins by letting letters flow through her fingers.

Words take shape, paragraphs form. Ideas, pictures… a story.

The reason she exists is to be a vessel, a carrier of the word. Without this purpose her life is pointless.

So she sits, pen poised, waiting for the words to come. Fingers itching, sometimes twitching; anticipating their arrival. When they come, they freely flow, moving like a stream.

Stories swirl, gaining momentum, finally bursting free.

 

Love hopes, never gives up, and endures always


This little light of mine…  I’m gonna let it shine…

It’s a song I sung over and over as a child.  I don’t know why exactly, but it made me happy as I sang it, feeling for all the world like I was singing it directly to Jesus, loud and proud.  I had a simple child-like faith that rarely questioned and always saw the good.

These days my heart wants to be that little girl again.  I see so much more than the good side of life, and I find I ask a vast array of questions that never used to occur to me to ask and find my faith questioned more than I really want to admit.  I try hard to simply give it up and become like a child again, but it’s hard to let go.

There are many trials in life right now, coming from all angles, and on many different levels.  Sometimes when life gets hard I forget who’s child I am.  My light gets small, it doesn’t burn bright for all the world to see.  I don’t hold it high and proud, but instead hold it close and watch as it sputters and flickers.  I latched onto a verse today that sprang to my heart like a shock from above…  it immediately sent my soul ablaze!

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1Corinthians 13:7

It fit the vast array of challenges that hover over and swirl around me as I sit here in meditation.  I think deeply on my marriage, my family, my many blessings from above, and what path God is leading me down as He grows me daily in faith.

I’d like to say I have it all worked out – and can leave you with some breathtaking wisdom.  I am simply not that far along yet – nor do I ever want to claim to be.  But I do leave you with this song that stirs my heart, boosts my little flame, and gives me hope anew.  May you be blessed as you walk into the coming week…

C-

Waffles: The weapon hidden in syrupy goodness


It looks like an ordinary waffle iron.  It’s a large round belgian waffle maker that impresses my children with it’s smooth flip/turn hotplates, making crisp and steamy waffles in seconds – nearly perfectly golden brown every time.  It’s impressive.  Truly.  But what they don’t know is the weapon hidden beneath the butter and syrupy goodness.

A weapon in a waffle?  This chick as seriously lost it…  that is what you’re saying to yourself, right?  Wrong.  Dead wrong.  There IS a weapon in a waffle.  The lure is the steamy crisp dimpled holes, holding melted butter and pockets of rich syrup.  What they never see coming is the bonding over these said dreamy hot breakfasts that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Did you know that the average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.)  That is simply dreadful.  I know – it’s busy and hectic out there in life.  But it’s not even an hour on AVERAGE – per week!  As our kids get older here in our house, I find it is vastly important to know what’s going on in their lives, but often there is not a lot of time or ways to really know what’s going on in their heads.  There is the homework hamster wheel and the various after school activities, the chores, the unending laundry and dinner prep, the errands, and the normal rat race each week that makes me say, yeah…  i can see how that less than an hour of conversation, MEANINGFUL CONVERSATION, could happen to any family.

But here’s a secret…your kids will talk to you over a meal before they will talk to you when you ask, “how was your day?”  The standard, “fine” answer goes out the window when a steamy meal or even just Peanut butter and Jelly is before them.  You will be able to capture moments impossible without the lure of food induced conversations.  If you force yourself to do it, it will be come a treasured time you will willingly set aside at least 3 or 4 nights a week.  We are lucky to be able to say 6 or 7 nights a week are sit down family meals.  With the new waffle maker?  We now have sit down breakfasts every Saturday possible, plus 2 mornings before school because we all WANT a waffle!

We play a game our kids ask to play each night at dinner… and some mornings too.  It’s called “High/Low”.  We go around in a circle and we all say what the day’s low was – what didn’t go right or made us upset or mad or just frustrated.  We talk it over.  No one interrupts that person’s time.  We end up hearing things we’d never hear otherwise.  Then we go around ending on a high note with the good thing that happened, the surprise moment, or the thing we just enjoyed most.  We find the kids clamber to add one more high, and then another one…  it’s wonderful to hear all the things that went on in their day… and they willingly share it.  We have to remind them to eat and not just talk.  It’s my hope that they will get so used to doing this at 7, 10, and 12 years old that when the big stuff begins to creep into their lives, they will just as easily want to come talk to us as they do over waffles or dinner now.  If it’s not new territory to talk openly about things that go on in t heir lives, then the ground is at least broken for those difficult conversations.

“Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004)”

“Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004)”

“Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University)”    -http://dinnertrade.com/568/interesting-statistics-on-family-dinners –

With these kind of positive outcomes from simply eating together (which we all MUST do on a regular basis) – who has the time to NOT follow through on something so important.

Okay, off my soapbox for today.

As I put the syrupy plates in to the dishwasher just a few minutes ago, I thought to myself, I wish I could give this gift to all my cherished friends.  The gift of time with their kids, of conversations to last a lifetime, and love that will carry them through the rough patches to come.  So here is my prayer for you and your family – that whatever you can hide the weapon in, hide it and cherish it!  For me it’s waffles.  Find your waffle, friends!   Your kids will better for it and maybe even YOU will gain a lift to your day  🙂

Feeding Jesus


Alli and I were having a girl day and were just hanging out wandering around and chatting.  We decided on a whim to go into the new Dollar Tree store we saw.  They have tons of stuff there and she loves to look at dollar stores where she can afford to get several things on her small allowance.  But today was not a spending day – it was just a wandering day.

Truth be told, we wandered longer than I planned, and I looked at my watch and finally said, “Okay, we need to get outa here, girl!”  So we made our way to the front and were behind one man.  Alli looked behind us and saw an instant line of over 10 people snaking all the way to the back.  We agreed we got so lucky!  We just had a few things to get like sandwich bags and odds and ends.  Nothing I would have wanted to stand in line 10 deep for!

The man in front of us put his three items all on the counter slowly.  Alli was watching him closely.  She took in his haggard appearance, his dirty stocking cap, his scruffy hair and beard, and his old torn jacket.  He made you want to look no further but to avert your eyes and appear to over look him. It was uncomfortable to look closely. His hands were worn and hard.  I chose to look closely and to see him as an individual and nothing less.  His eyes, though tired, were clear and bright.  He was a man with a life to live.  He was someone’s son, brother, maybe a father.

He set his small purchase  on the counter.  It was a bag of egg noodles and two small cans of tuna.  The total was three dollars and change.  He slid his food stamp card through the slot and it was promptly rejected.  With a line of impatient foot-shifters behind him, he nervously apologized and said he knew there should be money on his card.  Could he try again?  The man who was cashiering looked annoyed but allowed it.  Again it rejected it and said he had a $0 balance.  The cashier asked if he was going to use cash or what?  He shook his head and said he was sorry – but no, he had no cash.

He turned to go and I reached out and touched his arm.  “Sir, please take your bag.  I’ve got it.”  I nodded at the cashier and told him to put the three items on my bill.  I would pay for his items.

Alli watched him as he told me thank you, bowed to me, and put his purchases in his trash bag suitcase and lifted it over his shoulder and trudged out into the blowing and swirling snow.

I paid for our few items, plus his, and grabbed my Alli girl’s hand and we blew out into the freezing parking lot.  Alli looked up at me and said, “That was really nice of you, Mommy.  That man was really happy.”

We settled into the car and I realized what a beautiful moment this was.  Alli has heard about being the hands and feet of Jesus often – but this time we were able to SHOW it.  I asked if she thought Jesus would have paid for the man’s food, or if he would have let him leave without it.  She instantly said, “Pay for it!”    Yep.  Exactly right baby girl.  He’d pay for it.

Then I told her that miracles did not only happen in Bible times, but still happen all the time.  She was suddenly very interested in the next words to come.  I explained to her that today was one of them, and she was here to see it.  There was no plan to our day today.  We did not have a clue that we’d end up at this store wandering.  Not only that, it was at the exact moment the man was in line that we decided to go and found our way into line behind him.  WE could not have found a way to time that.  God however could!  HE knew before we ever woke that morning that we would be there to help HIM provide for that man.

Over and over we are provided for when we really need it as a family.  God always comes through for us, and often he uses others to meet our needs.  Today?  Today we got to help be the one to provide and meet for another’s needs.

“What you do for the least of these, you do unto me,”  Jesus said.

Today we met a man.  Today he gets to eat.  Our three dollar purchase could very well be feeding him for three days.  Today Jesus smiled at Alli, strengthened her faith, and fed her understanding of love, of Himself, and His love for us.

Thank you, Jesus, for allowing us to be your hands and feet today.  Thank you for using us in the midst of our own trials to still minister to someone who’s need is even greater than our own.  Thank you for providing for all the needs of your children when they come to you.  You are amazing and always faithful.

-Amen


Taken from a personal journal entry – February 2010 – looking back over the last year of amazing way’s God’s touched us…

What $1 can buy… and the price of THIS mother’s sanity


I am not into bribing my kids to do what needs done.  They SHOULD, in theory, do things when asked simply because they are part of this family and we all have to work together to keep this household moving.  So that said, I will ask you kindly to not remind me of this fact.  I choose to instead call this something different.  I am going to focus on the lessons being taught by way of chores = money and the value of a dollar.  I have tried and tried to instill the value of money and to also figure out a good system for chores – and seemingly have failed at the attempts over and over.  I was ready to just bribe them and forget it.  Do the stinkin chores without whining and I will GIVE you money!  I am tired of doing all the work myself or having to hear the complaining and stomping around while doing said chores!

But I made one last ditch attempt at NOT bribing them, but trying something new.  Want to know my amazing revelations?  Want to know a method that WORKS??

Since you are still reading I am assuming the answer was yes.  Okay, so here is my sanity saving ideas…

I read on a parenting site where a mom was using ping pong balls for a “chore lotto” and so I decided to try a game.  I wrote 12 chores on 12 balls – things such as “empty dishwasher” and “clean bathroom.”  Each chore gets it’s own ball – with little ones like feeding the dog thrown in with big ones like vacuuming and taking out all the trash.  Each day after school I pick 6 balls that need done that day and put them in a stocking cap. (no peeking that way) Each kid (I have 3) pulls out 2 balls each.  I no longer assign chores – it’s the luck of the draw.  No one says i am making them do all the work, that i always make them do the hated chore most, and on and on.  THEY choose – so THEY are in control.  Each ball is worth 50 cents.  So $1 a day – 5 days a week – equals a hefty $5 bill at the end of Friday night.

But here’s the kicker…  I charge them for things they seemingly cant seem to learn – like no coats or book bags get thrown on the floor in my living room – take it to your room or you owe me one ball worth for forgetting.  Badmouth the dinner I just slaved over?  You loose a whole day’s worth of chore money – AND you still have to eat it.  Whine while doing your chore because you’re mad you pulled a chore you hate?  Loose the money for doing the chore and STILL perform it.  Guess what?  I am finding my kids HATE to be charged money for things they can control!  Oh really?

So right now, money is painfully tight… but do I have $15 bucks a week to save my sanity?  You bet I do.  For the meager price of $1 per day – per kid – I have a chance at NOT doing all the work around here, teaching my kids the value of a job well done, instill some self control and some good habits in my kids, and best of all?  I am not completely beat to a pulp by the end of the day.

Every time we go to a store – there is the inevitable “PLEASE can i have_____” over some small something.  The answer to all and everything is usually no.  But with this money, they can plan ahead and bring some with them and get that pack of gum (which amazingly lasts WAY longer when they purchase it than when I do) or save up for that little treasure they want.  The answer instead of NO is now “do your chores … and save save save…”

I didn’t know the amazing power of a simple $1 bill – but it is mighty and strong!  I may have taken 12 long years to reach this milestone, but I dare say a shred of sanity may – MAY – actually be a regular part of this mom for the foreseeable future.

🙂

Spring is Coming – Cause Dead Skunks Dont Lie!


If you live in the city – or even just in a larger town, you may not have a clue.  Seriously.  City folk don’t know how to see the true signs that never lie, those signs that prove spring is around the corner.  Oh they can notice the longer days and extra sun.  They can see melting snow and HOPE!  They can see flocks of birds and declare they are sure it must be spring coming… but they miss the true sign that proves spring is around the corner.  They miss dead skunks telling tales to all who pass – they have never smelled those hope-filled declarations lying in wait just around a country corner.  Nope.  City folk are clueless.

“Are there any other Joys or Concerns this morning,” the pastor asked his small congregation one snowy Sunday morning.

“Yes sir!!”  One lady rose to her feet and with a smile spread wide on her face she declared loudly, “I ran past a dead skunk yesterday!”  All around her friends and neighbors began to clap and nod in approval.  Dead skunks dont lie.  Dead skunks only mean one thing… spring. To a city folk, the skunk’s smell is putrid.  To these country farmers and families, it’s the smell of a blessed spring lying in wait.  Winter has lost it’s icy grip!

Oh there might be more cold, and even more snow, but the biggest part of winter is past us now.  We are on the far side of things, not the early side.  I have faith!  Cause dead skunks just don’t have cause to lie!  🙂