“Not responsible for their actions”


Sometimes I can’t help it.  I cant keep a straight face to save my life.  Today Drake was tired.  He couldnt seem to even open his eyes.  He turned over and grunted when I came for him the third time.  When i pressed him, he opened one eye only, stretched out long and tall, and said, “My eyes aren’t obeying, I’m not responsible for their actions.”

I could not hold it back.  I gave it the good ol’ college try, but I started belly laughing.  He opened both his eyes and said gruffly, “It’s not funny!”  Sorry son, I begged to differ.  I started tickling him awake and we began the day with both of us laughing.

Sometimes I wonder who this boy will be when he is a man.  How will this mind work, what will it accomplish when he is all grownup?  He amazes me daily and has managed to keep this house in stitches from his first moments without words and those precious tiny words he had as a tot.

His amazing blue eyes and the smattering of freckles keeps me on my toes.   I am trying to save these crazy moments up in my heart for moments later.  I know he will grow fast…

(Sept 2008 journal entry)

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Of Derby cars and 24 hour love


Boy Scout Derby Car races have been held for as long as the scouts have existed – or so it seems.  It is a long held tradition with boys.  Derek was a scout when he was a boy, so he was nearly as excited to work on this car with his son as Drake was to work with his Dad.  Drake began with big stars in his eyes.  He wanted to leave with top prize.  Derek was just hoping to finish it in time and have wheels on the thing before race day!

The day of the race, Drake was up way before dawn and was pestering me as to when his dad would arrive home from work.  It was 5:45 in the morning, and an hour I can never wrestle him out of bed for school each and every day… but here he stood completely dressed and ready to work on finishing touches for the race (that was to begin at 10 a.m. mind you).  When Derek walked in the door at 6:20 a.m. Drake was at his side instantly and chattering away.  He was full of ideas and “can we’s” and never stopped talking from the moment he started.

The car was finished (on time, complete with wheels) and as a family we went off to the race.  He sat with fingers crossed beside a friend, and they watched their cars race throughout the morning.  Drake surprised us all by taking home a medal.  He placed 2nd in the Tiger Den participants, and 8th overall out of 35 cars.  And as excited as he was to receive his medal, he was wistful he did not take home that massive trophy.  There’s always next year buddy!

But the prize he doesn’t see, but is hidden away in his heart, is the huge trophy-towering love of his father.  Derek was up 24 straight hours so that Drake would have his dad at his side for the big race.  Working 3rd shift means that often you miss things in the day, or you dont sleep.  There was no way to miss this day…  so sleep was last on the list.  He worked for hours with Drake, and much time in prep without him, so they could finish this project on time.  Was it worth it?  The huge cheesy grin on the freckled faced redheaded boy is a resounding answer.  Absolutely worth it.

Just Sing AMEN


Sometimes there are no words to say –

Sometimes all you have is this feeling in your heart, overflowing, and you just give that to God.  You hand it to him, confused and full of pain, and all you can utter is “AMEN”…

I was driving down the road – and that was all I had to offer.  My mom was taken to the ER by ambulance.  She was just sitting at work last I knew, and next thing I know my Dad was on the other end of the phone telling me she’s not good.  I could hear it in his voice, he was scared.  What happened?  When did life go so wrong?  I had nothing.  And beyond that, nothing to offer up.  What did I have to tell the God of the Universe anyway?  Nothing He was not already keenly aware of, of that I was absolutely certain.

So I got out of the way.

I let my childlike prayer take over. It used to be how I communicated as a child ~ and you know what, it is still the best way to talk to God as an adult, I have found.   If you have never tried it – it goes like this-

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen…. (sung)  A childhood, bible school song of my youth…

When Life goes wrong, and all seems hopeless…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When all is right and beautiful and perfect…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you pass an accident and you have no idea who or what happened, but you know God does, just let your heart sing out…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you see a mother struggle in the grocery store with her willful children, don’t judge, just lift her to God…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you see the angry punk pull up his big car, nearly laying down driving, right next to you, music blaring so loud you FEEL it, don’t judge, he’s God’s baby boy…so sing it out…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you remember the silly thing your son said today, or the way your daughter hugged you as though she was not growing into a young woman right before your eyes….

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you see a freshly opened flower – sing it to HIM who made it…

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

When you are praising His blessed and Holy Name,

When you are struggling and there are no words,

When you are scared,

Alone,

Terrified,

Weary,

Exhausted,

Refreshed,

Amazed…

Sing it to HIM who knows the words, Who doesn’t need any.  Sing Him the anthem of all he deserves to hear from us, but we could never express… in just a simple- single word.

A….men, A..men, Amen , amen, amen….

He does not need our chatter – he needs our attention.  He needs to know we SEE and we KNOW HE is everything, the author and perfector.  He is all that is good and He alone is our strength, hope, and lover of our soul. Above all, He ALONE can make every wrong right.  But more than that – He can and He will!

Prayer comes naturally when we get out of the way.  He wants to hear our heart, and the heart’s song is not sung with earthly words.  Sing of His goodness with gentle Amen’s, His praises with hearty voices and then give it ALL up to Him with exuberant and loud shouts of AMEN!

Amen is not an ending to a prayer.  IT IS A PRAYER.

Amen!!!

(Journal entry 5 yrs ago…March 28 2006… and no less true)

Which side is God on?


Alli (then age 7) was getting tucked in bed and asked a simple question,

“What side is God on?”

I had no idea what she meant.

We went round and round with me trying to figure out what she was trying to say.  It just did not make sense no matter how hard I tried to understand.  Was she wondering if God was on some “good side” vs a “bad side”?  I didn’t “get her” as my girls often say.

Then she said, “Is he over here, or there,” as she emphasized by pointing to one side of her on the bed then the other.

“You mean is he beside you?”

“Yes!” she answered exasperatedly.

“Well honey,  I cant tell you that for sure. He is with you, that I do know.  But I cant tell you exactly what spot.”

I was going to go into an explanation of sorts, a little philosophical,  but she cut me off with a sad and dejected look as she turned over to face the wall.

“Honey what’s wrong?”

“I wanted to give God a hug Good Nite!” she said a bit loud, and teary.

“Oh!  Well God will feel your hug if you give yourself a big squeeze, sweetie!”  I rushed to comfort her with a dawning  understanding.

With that she hugged herself tight and the light returned to her eyes.

I kissed her good night again and knew that this conversation would play itself out again and again, because that is Alli’s way.  I tucked it away in my heart so I would be prepared next time with better answers and an understanding of where she was at.

I cherish the beauty of young faith and it’s sweet flavor on the lips of a child.

From my journal – June 2008

Does this mean I’m a villain, or just look like one?


It’s about 6:30 in the morning.  That, in my book, is an hour when if I am being a sane and nice mom – it is mostly because God has granted me some extra patience and love.  I am usually a tad frazzled at this hour, having been up for well over an hour if all went as planned and am busy getting kids ready for school … and it should be noted that I usually have not yet  had a cup of caffeine.

So when my beloved 7 year old son takes a long look at me, sticks his face right up next to mine to examine it more closely, squints his eyes a bit, then leans back thoughtfully… well, I decided to take a breath in before asking him, “what?”  I thought I was ready for whatever he would say, but I was wrong!

“What are all those lines around your mouth?”  He traces one of the lines along my face gently with his finger.

“Those are laugh lines, because I smile and laugh so much,”  I reply and smile sweetly at him to show him  how the happy creases and wrinkles have a reason.

“Hmmm, well it makes you look like the Joker from Batman,”  he says seriously.  I am agast!  What!  Before I can reply, he continues on, “You really should buy some of that  cream they have on TV that erases wrinkles, because you are getting a ton of them.”

Derek is no help at all.  NONE.  He begins to laugh a belly laugh that is unrestrained and he has tears in his eyes from the effort to stop.  Drake looks a bit confused but is happy he is making his dear father laugh so heartily.  He asks what’s funny, and repeats various quips it to see which part is the funny part.  It is obvious all of them are funny since the room is filled with laughing children and one weepy father.

I hesitantly ask him if I am like the silly joker or the scary one – as there have been several renditions as of late.  Oh, goodie, he answers that I am the silly one.  At 6:30 in the morning, in my robe, untamed hair, and caffeine deficient state, he could have easily said the scary one!

Oh yes, you have to love the honesty of children.  They keep you humble!  And the good part here?  I only LOOK like the joker, but I am still a good Mommy,  anyway, I am assured of.

Well THAT is a relief at least.  My wrinkles are not hindering my performance of my job title.

Oh GEE!

(see this in print at   http://www.moms.fortwayne.com  )

 

Desperate Housewives – as NOT seen on TV


Out there in TV land there are several shows who label themselves as reality TV or at least claim to be based on what real life is like on the home front for wives.  Uh – yeah right.  Whatever.  Why make stuff up when the reality is insane enough?  The “desperate” in the TV show’s title, that many seem to love, has nothing to do with sex on MY side of the front door.

Let’s do a step back to a day that still feels like yesterday…

Laura called to say hi on a day I had nearly had it up to my eyeballs in poopy diapers, milk curdled sippy cups found stashed in the toy box, lost keys retrieved from the bottom of the diaper pail my 3 year old had “helped” clean up, the newly emptied bookshelf with accompanying sidewalk of book trails leading out of the girls room and down the hall (created while I was nursing their brother)… just for starters.  I was a walking zombi from the previous night I had spent nearly every waking hour of rotating my infant son from freezer to steaming bathroom because of the Croup he had.  (YES, i did say freezer.  In case you aren’t aware, the cold of a freezer can help shrink the bronchial inflammation as will steam i am guessing, since this is what the doctor said i do. And NO I did not put HIM in the freezer, just his head. Perfectly legal I assure you.)

Instead of being sorry she asked, Laura started laughing.  God love her, she started laughing and told me she loved me.  She said I needed to write all this down because NO ONE would believe me otherwise.  She asked what I was doing that very minute.  She wanted a mental picture of me.  I said, “Well, I’m holding Drake over my shoulder, head in the freezer while I write a shopping list of of desperately needed items and talking to YOU.  I am still in my pajamas and bathrobe at 3 in the afternoon and the girls are half naked because Drake started screaming when they were still in the bathtub.”  How’s that for your REAL Desperate Housewife?  But no one wants to make a REAL “reality” TV show.  They want people to tune in, not run screaming from the room and refuse to give birth to children.  This is the stuff we should be putting our teens in front of when they want to go have sex at 15 because they are so “in love”.  A good dose of reality would be a healthy thing.

“Housewife” gets a bad rap sometimes out in the real world.  It most certainly does not mean “stay at home and not work all day”, as the TV would have you believe.  And it doesnt mean the wife is lazy and refuses to work a “real job”.  I am guessing that I am not alone in my daily schedule, which usually means I work from the moment my kids get out of bed at 5:45 a.m. till way after they are in bed, often till 10 or 11 at night.  I needed to catch up on laundry so yesterday, for instance, so I folded and put away clothes into darkened rooms till midnight.  I had no other time to get it done, and wanted a weekend without a day of laundry in it.  I was “paying if forward” for myself so to speak.

I clean other people’s houses for my “JOB” in life, so that I can have the honor of being a mom who’s home when her kids are.  But my real job?  Being a Domestic Diva – a glorified housewife.  Yeah – that’s right.  I am choosing to put most of my efforts into my family and to not have a career in life right now.  My kids are my career.  And that’s okay with me.  But when someone asks me, “so what do you do?” or “where do you work,”  I always cringe.  Do I say I am a housewife?  Do I say I am a house cleaner?  Do I make it sound grand and say I “run my own company?” No matter how I say it, the reality is it isn’t sexy and glorified living, like the ones on TV.

I know my friends, I know my city.  This version of reality I live is shared commonly across the street, across the isle at church, across town, and across the state.  No one gets any kudos, but we hopefully get the satisfaction of knowing the efforts we put forth will pay off in rewards rich in love and the blessing of watching our children grow and our investments take root.  The people I clean for?  They are my mission and ministry of service to those outside my home.  It is a blessing to be allowed to go into their homes, trusted and respected, and to bless them by taking care of the dirty work so they can spend more time loving on their families and less time cleaning, grocery shopping, doing laundry, and other nameless tasks.  It doesn’t sound like an amazing career, I have no cool name to put on it, but it is one I am honored to do.

This is just a day in the life of reality NOT seen on TV.