"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." ~Barbara Kingsolver
Saturday was the day.
Nolan, my 14-year-old, found all kinds of other things to do in the weeks since school got out, but the inevitable had arrived. Room cleaning day.
This wasn't a little dusting a vacuuming. It was an overhaul...working all the way around the room...cleaning, decluttering, updating.
Last summer was crazy, so we didn't do the Huge Clean like we do most years. This summer it's the stretch leading into High School. So we began to clean.
First we emptied out the toybox and made it ready to receive all the things to pack up or give away...Legos, Megaman toys and Bionicles...Where the Sidewalk Ends and the Sugar Creek Gang books.
We were midway into the Legos when unbidden my tears started to fall. In truth, these toys and books probably would have disappeared a cycle ago if I had let them. Now my baby boy was far beyond ready (but was I?) for them to go for good.
It's wonderful but hard to see these boys becoming men.
So today is The Big Project day. With all the toys and children's books gone, I realized that we had decorated Nolan's room when he was 6 years old. Today we're painting and hanging new curtains. Simple projects with a big acknowledgement--he's growing up.
Monday, June 27, 2011
"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." ~Barbara Kingsolver
Friday, June 24, 2011
As a little girl, I loved rummaging through my grandmother's basement, a treasure trove of dusty souvenirs from the past. Grandma Evans grew up during the Depression, and that experience honed a frugal nature to refinement. She didn't throw away scraps of food or keepsakes or memorabilia or much of anything.
Because she was fastidious, her saving didn't cross into hoarding, but it was a source of amusement for the family. I remember her trying to get us to load her "treasures" into our car for the long trip home from Kansas to North Carolina. With a twinkle in his eye, my dad would say, "I'll take care of that for you, Lula." Grandma would quickly snatch back her offering, knowing that his words meant that it would be deposited in the nearest dump.
Among the things that I love about Jesus, I love His frugal ways dearly. In reading John's account of the feeding of the five thousand, the story ends these beautiful words in red, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." (John 6:12)
With God, even leftovers are abundant.
He uses everything and doesn't waste anything.
What seems wasted in your life? What seems like just leftovers? God has a plan for those things too. He has even accounted for our tears.
"Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll--are they not in your record?" (Psalm 56:8)
Every moment, every tear, every hair is recorded and matters until there are no more tears at all. (Rev. 21:4)
Don't you just love Jesus for that?
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Despite the fact I haven't reported in on a Wunning Wednesday for weeks, I am still wunning.
(For those of you who might have missed the original definition, wunning = running + walking).
The Susan G. Kommen has come and gone, and once again it was an inspirational experience. I drew strength from thinking about the signs on my back...In honor of Linda (my friend with two little boys who lost to cancer but GAINED heaven)...In celebration of Joy and LeaAnna (my former boss/friend and aunt).
As a race, it was a little disappointing. My neighbor, her sister and I signed up together to do the recreational race. Little did we know that there would be 24,000 total participants, the majority who did that race. We ran weaving in and out of the throngs when we could, but mostly we walked and enjoyed people watching. People really get into it--even with costumes! One girl did the race in high heeled pink shoes. How did she do it?!
I was ready to quit wunning, though, and go to walking because of knee problems. The weirdest thing that happened from running in the Kommen is that my knees don't hurt any more. Strange but true.
Because of the knee issues, I decided to invest in this wunning journey. I bought good, new running shoes. Now, even though I still haven't transitioned to actually enjoying wunning, I am grit-my-teeth-determined not to quit and waste my money. I also got some wicking clothing which is making wunning in the NC heat more bearable.
Isn't that an interesting psychological phenomenon? Investing gives me incentive to continue.
I started applying that to my spiritual life. Investing time studying my Bible makes me more determined to understand it and know God's truth. Investing time in prayer makes me more determined to persevere for those I prayed for today. Investing time in discipleship makes me more determined to see that sweet new life grow.
Wunning the race with strength is made easier with investing.
Monday, June 20, 2011
"A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken." ~James Dent
With all the rushing around at the end of school, the organization required to get Anson off for the summer and some travel (albeit to the beach which was FABULOUS), this leisurely morning felt like the first true summer morning.
Things I love about summer:
- The absence of alarm clocks
- Early morning light
- Toes in the sand
- Long evenings to talk
- She Speaks
- Spending time with my parents and in-laws
- Going to the driving range (where I stink)
- Doing my quiet time on the deck
- Chicken salad
- Watching blue birds fly in and out of the blue-bird house as they feed their babies.
- Waiting for my perennials to burst into bloom
What do you love about summer?
Friday, June 17, 2011
On Sunday, I rolled the suitcases into an empty dorm room, helped make the bed, put on a happy face during the opening meetings and then let the tears roll as I walked away from my Big Boy for six weeks.
Leaving him there.
Outside of the refuge we've created for him...in a hostile environment.
I'm trusting God to live large inside of my Big Boy and for Jesus to shine through him brightly into the darkness.
As I continue to read John, I'm falling in love with Jesus all over again. I think one of the things that I love most is how He was completely clear about how little He could trust man (John 2:24-25) but how completely He loved them.
How He called the ones who would follow.
How He saw the need at a celebration and met it.
How He knew Nicodemus' question before it was asked.
How He pierced the heart of a woman's heart of a faithless woman and poured love into the hole.
How He realized their belief was dependent on signs and wonders.
How He perceived the sin that kept a man away from healing.
How He taught that He was their only chance.
I'm praying for Jesus' discernment to fill my son so that He can see Truth clearly and still love the people around him completely.
I can leave him in a dorm room with a heart aching with missing but filled with faith, because I was also left in a dorm room where I learned to depend on God completely and love those around me passionately.
I had so much on my heart to write this morning, but I also want to share this link with you. It's a beautiful post on forgiveness from Stuff Christians Like. Read it slowly and savor.
Monday, June 13, 2011
"Time is a relentless river. it rages on, a respecter of no one. And this, this is the only way to slow time: When I fully enter time's swift current, enter into the current moment with the wieght of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here. I can slow the torrent by being all here." --Ann Voskamp
I woke at the beach this morning and stretched full of the luxury of not having to get up. A whole day of decision or complete indecision stretches in front of me. I love vacation.
And yet I struggle to find vacation in my every days. I want to move through being a wife, a mom and ministry with purpose and meaning.
It seems like Ann defined that kind of life perfectly. Purpose and meaning can only be caught by wading into the deep of time and letting the current go around us while we stay still in the moment.
I hope today can feel leisurely for you whether you're on vacation or not. Enjoy today's moments.
Friday, June 10, 2011
This morning my head is spinning, my heart is struggling and my emotions are exploding.
What I need to do is practice leaning.
Leaning on Jesus as my boy leaves for 6 weeks.
Leaning as I face a race that I'm quite honestly not ready for.
Leaning as my hormones storm. (Sorry if that's Too Much Information.)
Just the name of Jesus settles, calms, comforts.
What's causing you to need to lean today? I'll pray for you if you'll pray for me!
Sunday, June 5, 2011
A friend asked me last week about listing my current top-10 favorite reads in time for summer. If you’ve hung around blogger-land with me for a while or know me in person, you know that I’m a voracious reader.
Here’s my Top 10 in no particular order:
1. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp—I am addicted to fiction, but I work to get some non-fiction read as well. I’m not quite finished, but this book has challenged me in a way that nothing has in a long time. Not only that, but Voskamp has some of the most beautiful writing around. I can’t describe her style except to say it’s more like music than prose. Truly.
2. The Yada Yada Prayer Group series by Neda Jackson—I thought this would be pure fluff, and that’s why I actually picked up the first one. (A girl needs fluff once in a while.) While they are easy, delightful reads, Jackson actually hits some significant topics such as race relations and denominationalism. Love this series!
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett—Most of my list is Christian fiction but not all. This is a wonderful book that brings the race troubles of the early 60s to life. I can’t imagine that the movie can touch the book, but I won’t miss it either!
4. Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath—This is another of my non-fiction picks. It’s a book about how to make your message “stick” which translates to teachers, business people, marketers, and communicators of any description. I honestly struggle to get through non-fiction, but this one is a page-turner. It’s so engaging that I couldn’t put it down. I’ve got their next book called Switch on my Kindle, but I haven’t read it yet.
5. Doesn’t She Look Natural by Angela Hunt—The Fairlawn series starts with this book, and once again Angela Hunt masterfully weaves tough issues into an engaging story. The series tackles many issues surrounding death since the main character inherits a funeral home, but don’t let that theme deter you. Hunt has created books that are still saturated with humor.
6. She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen—Marybeth also takes the hard topics of perfectionism and adultery and writes a beautifully written story that’s hard to put down. I’m so proud of my friend and the fact that I couldn’t wait to get to her book on my list!
7. Embrace Me by Lisa Samson—Okay. This book comes with a serious warning. It’s extremely edgy, fairly dark and has some disturbing elements. All that said, I love Lisa Samson. She’s an out-of-the-box, Jesus-loving author. I love how she keeps me off balance and surprised. I read so much that it’s really hard to do. Quaker Summer is an easier Samson read if you want to dip your toes in without the shock factor. Themes of forgiveness and grace run throughout her books, but she’s also very interested in social justice.
8. Healing Stones by Nancy Rue—You might have noticed, but I really enjoy book series. This is the first in the Sullivan Crisp series, and I actually haven’t read it yet. I read all the subsequent books first by accident. Once I started reading Rue’s books, though, I read all of them that our church library holds. I am enamored with the way she writes realistically about hard topics while still saturating her stories with scriptural truth. Her characters aren’t over-simplified, card-board cutouts. They have layers of good and evil just like all of us. She really gets to the heart of fallen man while glorifying God in His redeeming power.
9. Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard—I rarely reread a book (except for my Bible)! There are just too many books in the world to read to spend lots of time rereading. This book is one exception. (I think One Thousand Gifts is going to be another.) It’s a classic allegory that speaks deeply to my soul every time I read it. It’s so filled with scripture that I often use it during my quiet times. If you haven’t read this book, YOU MUST!
10. TBA—There’s one more book series that I have to tell you about. Here’s the strange thing. As much as I adore these books, I can never remember the author or titles. Honestly, I’ve hunted them down in the Holly Springs Library and written them down at least twice. (I know what they look like and where they are approximately on the shelf, but I can’t seem to keep track of my little slips of paper.) The first book is the most beautiful story about true love that I’ve ever read in my whole life. The amazing thing is that it’s not a romance. It’s a story about the friendship between two women. I’ll go hunt them down this week and let you know.
Note to authors: Please don’t make the title of your beautiful book so complicated that my feeble brain can’t retain it.
Friday, June 3, 2011
He knows me inside and out.
Jesus knows me...
Every hair on my head.
Every desire of my heart.
Every question of my soul.
I was so struck by two verses in John:
"But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." John 2: 24-25
Followed by Jesus' interaction with Nicodemus:
"'...for no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.' In reply Jesus declared, 'I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'" John 3:2b-3
It's such a strange interaction, because Jesus' reply answers the question that Nicodemus has not yet been asked.
He knows me.
That truth is both comforting and disconcerting. I take comfort in the verse from Psalm 103 that God remembers that I am dust, but I squirm when I think about the dirt that He sees.
Chapter 3 ends, though, with John the Baptist explaining to his disciples that gaining eternal life is a matter of escaping God's wrath through belief in His Son.
Known but under grace and love.