Monthly Archives: March 2013

I am here with you.

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Canyon

What do I say? How can I bring you the comfort you need? There is so much I want to tell you. I want to tell you God is in control. I want to tell you not to worry, that everything will work out in the end. I want to tell you I’m feeling it too. Life can be so big and scary, like standing on the edge of a great canyon, a strong wind blowing in your face, threatening to pick you up and carry you away. And I want to tell you I am here. Right here with you.

Can you imagine what the back of this piece of art looks like?

Can you imagine what the back of this piece of art looks like?

I also want to tell you I’m excited. I am excited about what God is doing in our lives. Sure it’s messy. But we’re looking at it from the wrong side. Like looking at grandma’s cross stitching. If you are a child sitting at her feet, looking up at the underside of the cloth, it just looks like a crazy tangle of colored threads. From where we sit, there is no rhyme or reason to the mess we see. But from the top, we see a beautiful picture. A masterpiece. Truly that is what our lives are, masterpieces…pieces created by the master. And He’s not finished with us yet. “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Sometimes we are allowed little glimpses, peaks of the greater picture. What treasures! And someday we may see our lives in full, the beautiful artwork created by the great master. Until then, I am right here with you. And I am holding tight to you, waiting to see where He carries us.

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March Resolution

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shamrock

I know. March is half over. But this one took some thought. February’s resolution of getting more exercise has been a bit of a bust. It’s not that I’m not active. I have gone back to teaching at Head Start. Physical requirements of this job included being on one’s feet for long periods of time. Squatting and bending down to a child’s level. Leading (and whole-heartedly participating in) fun music and movement activities. And while we don’t generally lift our preschoolers, occasionally we get an adventurous child that finds themselves stuck on the outside of the climbing structure and in need of some assistance to reach the ground again. And just last week I was running around the playground with many of my students. This is quite a workout in itself, but when three or four (or maybe five) get a grip on the back of your coat while you’re running. Let’s just say a Biggest Loser coach could create an awesome gym using a playground and twenty preschoolers.

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So I had to decide to either continue the same resolution for March, or to create a new one. Or option three; let God tell me what the resolution will be.

We’ve not been incredibly consistent about going to church lately. Our home church is forty minutes away, and we’re often worried about the fuel to get there and to work all week. Our children are involved with a youth group and kids club at a local church, but we haven’t been going on Sundays. I have been missing the fellowship and corporate worship time at first, but didn’t realize how much until I attended a recent service. Boy #1 will be going on a mission trip this summer and we had a fundraising event after service one Sunday. After the preparations early that morning, we attended the service.

Oh, I had needed this. I just soaked up the message. I closed my eyes and listened to the voices sending up a joyful noise. And I listened to the Lord. He said “spend more time with Me.”

To say I’m a busy person is a bit of an understatement. I am married. I have five sons. I teach preschool. I have Boy Scouts. I have a Cub Scout. The boys are involved in youth group. They have band and choir and other after school activities. I am a member of a county board. I am involved with city events and planning activities. I blog. I read. I have extended family and friends I like to spend time with. And I kind of like it. I like to be busy. Actually, I’m notorious for filling my plate so full that I eventually crack. I’ve gotten better at it, but still drive poor DaddyFoster a little crazy.

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And now I need to add something else in? No. I need to invite someone else in. I’ve been so busy, I’ve sort of forgotten I can do that. I stress about this and that, discuss and complain to my closest friends and husband, run here and there. I pray. Keep my family safe and healthy, thank you for my family, my husband, the meals we eat, the home we have. Yet some things I don’t think about asking for help with. We run from specialist to specialist looking for answers for our son. How often do I let the Lord in on this discussion? We stress about money, tweaking and recreating the budget over and over. Have we remembered to thank Him and ask what He wants us to do with it? I enjoy my days working with children and their families. Do I ask Him daily to let me be His hands and feet? I am a busy bee day in and day out. When is the last time I thanked Him for the person He made me to be, and for the health to keep up with everything I do?

So this is my resolution for March. Do spend more time with my Lord. To have conversations with Him, to spend more time reading His Word, to fellowship with other believers.

Praying hands on an open bible

Growing Pains

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My boys can you tell right now…growing hurts. It stretches your muscles and makes your limbs ache from the inside out. Even with all of the pain involved, our oldest son is rather excited. He has this great desire to span the gap between his father and me, and eventually pass DaddyFoster. The pediatrician says he won’t be taller than Dad, but that doesn’t stop him from dreaming.

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I remember carrying each of these boys in my womb. It was a wondrous time as I felt the little flutters and kicks in my belly. But it was also a rather uncomfortable time. The kicks got harder, I was sure Boy #1 was using my ribs as a jungle gym, and I think boy #5 bruised my tailbone. My body stretched and moved to accommodate these temporary tenants, leading to aches and pains. But what an awesome reward we receive at the end of all those “growing pains”!

Growing pains aren’t always physical, though. As a human development professional, I am familiar with the varied and intricately intertwined domains of development. We are forever changing and growing physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. The day we stop growing is the day the Lord takes us home.

One of the areas I am growing in is learning to be more assertive. I actually find it kind of humorous. I am a very outgoing person. After having to wait for me to finish a conversation in the grocery store, the boys (or husband) will ask me, “who was that?”, to which I reply, “I have no idea, I just liked her shoes and we started talking.” My family now asks if my conversation partner was even someone I know. I will start a conversation with anyone, and often share my life story. This is nothing new. My Mom will tell you I have been doing this as long as I have been speaking.

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But gregarious does not equal assertive. When faced with an individual with a strong personality, I often step back and let them have their way. After all, I don’t want to step on any toes. Even when I believe I am right, it is difficult to speak up. I just want to be liked. But I am learning, and I am growing. And sometimes this growing hurts.

Recently I have found myself in a situation in which I feel justified, and supported, in my decisions. Yet I am met with strong resistance from another person. Of course, there is a part of me wanting to shrink back and let this other person have their way. Let’s not make any enemies. But I speak my mind, (stretch!) and I state my reasoning (more stretching!), and we continue to discuss.

DaddyFoster has been anticipating some growing pains of his own. You see, his company is transferring us 2000 miles away from our current home this summer. And he gets to go before the rest of us to find the new house. I have always dealt with the house hunting duties in this family. But this is not just a man lamenting his new duties. This is a very shy, quiet guy, having to (gasp!) meet new people. This is the man that will sit in one place after Sunday service waiting for his butterfly wife to return from all her little conversations. I collect all the information and bring it back to him. This has worked quite well for us for the past seventeen years. Now our system is being shaken up and this causes a bit of anxiety. While I will anxiously await the great pictures and information he will send me on all of the great homes he will find, he will still have to find them (stretch!). He will have to talk to the management (more stretching!), and ask all the important questions (even more stretching!).

That is what the Lord does in our lives. He stretches us, He pulls us, He grows us! He molds us to the purpose He has for us. Philippians 1:6 says “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Maybe we should be more like Boy #1. Excited about the stretching, the aches and the pains of growth. Excited about spanning the gap between who we are now and who we are meant to be.

Common Tiger Butterfly on Yellow Flower in Phuket Thailand

Happy Birthday Dear……

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…Dad!

Really, DaddyFoster’s Dad. This man is perhaps one of the best chefs the world has ever known. And the world is blessed that he has passed the talent on to other men in his family. DaddyFoster, his dad, and his oldest brother seem to have a refined palate which allows them to taste and smell a dish and know exactly what it needs. I’m sorry, they do not have a restaurant, but surely if they did, it would be fabulous! No, the greatest, most thankful, recipients of this culinary genius is the family. And we are so blessed. Happy Birthday, Dad!

…Great, Great Grandma E. Lillian Hart!

If Grandma were alive for his birthday she would be 117 years old!  This wonderful woman, born in 1896, left this earthly plane in 1986 at the age of 90.  My most vivid memories of her are of her sweet smile, and how she used to take out her teeth to entertain my younger brother and me.  We would giggle and so would she, probably amused that such a simple (and a little gross) action could bring such laughter from children.  What a privilege it must have been to see her great granddaughter grow up and have children of her own.  Some of the stories about Grandma Hart are filled in by others.  How she disliked her first name, Eliza, because children called her lizard in school.  How her house always smelled of peaches.  How in her childhood travels with her family across the country she once got in trouble for pouring out the rest of her cup of water.  Water wasn’t easy to come by on the trail, so you didn’t waste a drop!  I’m sure if she were here, she could fill us in on so much more.  Happy Birthday, Grandma!

…Theodor Seuss Geisel!

theodor seuss geisel

My favorite author, of course!  This mans imagination knew no bounds.  The rhythm of his written words roll so easily from the mouth.  Unless you are reading my favorite book, Fox in Socks.  These twisters are great exercise for your tongue!  Hours listening to his books as a child surely inspired the name of one boy.  I’ll let you guess, but know that not one of my sons is named Oliver Boliver Butt.  Happy 109th, Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, aka Theo LeSieg, aka Rosetta Stone (for Because a Little Bug went Kachoo!)!

Smetana

…Bedřich Smetana

Several years ago, I heard a wonderful piece of music on the classical station.  A song that ebbed and flowed, rose and fell, moved about in swirls.  I instantly fell in love.  Later I would learn the piece was composed by Bedřich Smetana, a Czech composer, about a river in his Bohemian homeland.  Vltava (or The Moldau) led me to the rest of the songs in Ma Vlast suite, as well as other pieces.  If you have never heard The Moldau, I encourage you to listen.  Happy 189th Birthday, Bedřich!