Tuesday, September 29, 2009

How To Ruin A Perfect Day

Fall arrived this morning to Louisiana...well, at least for the next few days. It was the most perfect weather--mid 70s, a few clouds, and a bright, skin-warming sun.

And yet this morning's events threatened to ruin the entire day.

Last night before I turned in, I received an email with some pretty powerful, angry words thrust at me...only to wake up this morning with a follow-up email already waiting. It contained words I would never use to describe myself. Words I had hoped no one would ever use to describe me.

Before I could even go outside, I had to barricade myself inside the bathroom just so I could type a response and try to diffuse an escalating situation, even if Amelia's fussing begged to differ.

I went through the proper procedures that each teacher is required to follow when dealing with problems that just can't be resolved within the confines of the normal student-teacher relationship.

But by this point I was not only hurt. I was also angry.

Then came the third email to my box, another assault against me as a teacher, as a person. A threat to put a permanent smudge on my good name and reputation.

I didn't want to.

I really didn't want to. It's much easier to be angry than hurt.

But, I knew my day was ruined if I didn't.

So, I apologized for not being the teacher she felt I should be. And I went outside to play with my children, determined to not sin in my anger and ruin this day.

I watched Wyatt chase a butterfly to the passion fruit vine and then stop to examine some chomping caterpillars (He was braver than his mama and touched one).
I enjoyed Wyatt skipping barefoot through the freshly mowed grass.

I laughed at Wyatt singing "Clap, clap, clap your hands together" with Amelia as he tried to "help" her to clap, a skill she furiously wanted to demonstrate without his help.
And I sighed at Emerson's sweet curls, just starting to form at the nape of his neck.

After we came back inside, God spoke to my heart, letting me know He was aware of the day's events. As I sat on the floor with the twins, Wyatt went to the living room bookshelf and pulled out a random Pooh bear book for me to read--Forgive and Forget.

Of all the 150 or so books on that shelf...God is so good. His way of speaking to me is better than anything I could make up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Just Another Pot

Each morning, all three children sit on the kitchen floor and drink their milk while I rinse out the leftovers in the coffee pot.

Soggy clumped-together grounds always seem to spill a few amber drops on the floor before dropping into the trash.

As the children move on to Cheerios, I clean up the mess before filling up the pot with 8 cups of clear water and setting it back on the burner, still lukewarm from this morning's use. A filter. A roughly measured scoop of Community Dark Roast. And my act of love is finished until tomorrow.

I don't drink coffee. Can't stand the stuff. But my husband consumes it by the gallon.

He drove me crazy for months before I caved and agreed to buy this coffee maker that always keeps the water hot in the back, supposedly "perfect" for making great coffee. He then bought special "Bubba keg" mugs because anything normal-sized just didn't hold enough coffee to help him maneuver through an hour of rush hour traffic.

I seriously don't understand his (and most everybody else's) need for coffee first thing each morning. I love the smell of coffee. The aroma of fresh grounds. But not the taste.

My mom says as a young child, I would sit in my Grandpa's lap and drink the undissolved sugar in the bottom of his cup . I think it's just a story to shame me into liking coffee. You know, like the "Well, you ate it when you were little!" story I'm telling Wyatt right now about eating brocolli?

But that oft-repeated memory didn't make me like coffee any more than my tales of Wyatt eating all the broccoli off everybody's plates are working now.

I've tried to learn the art of social coffee drinking. And failed.

In college a guy asked me out for coffee. And not wanting to seem like an idiot--I mean, who on this planet doesn't drink coffee--I went and drank a whole cup.

A few months later when my future-husband arrived on the scene, I tried again to drink another cup. And that was it. I drew my line in the sand. If I were going to live with this man for the rest of my life, he had to know I hated coffee. There was no way I was going to spend the next 60 or so years pretending to like that beverage.

And I haven't drank a cup since.

But each morning, I assemble everything so my husband can stumble to the kitchen and pour the pre-measured water through the machine.

Many days, I don't tell him how much I love, appreciate, and need him. Other days, I am irritated at his not doing this or at his doing that. Sometimes, my heart pains with words I wish I could take back.

But even on those days when I'm not the best wife I could be, I still measure the water and the grounds. A small sacrifice to show my love and respect for him.

It's those small, daily sacrifices that make the difference...in my marriage, in my relationship with God, in life itself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Helping Hand

Wyatt is turning into a possessive little monster. MINE.

"But that's MY toy!" "But I wanted to play with it!" "But Emerson no want to play with it!"

The word "But" is now persona non grata in this house just like "can't," "won't," and "don't." (I'm rapidly developing a list of words that mommy really doesn't want to hear ever again.)

The twins are just as possessive--they just don't have the words to go with their actions. Yelps and grunts--yes--tears and grabbing hands--yes--but not words. Everybody wants everything someone else has.

But sometimes Wyatt surprises me by bringing each baby a toy and saying, "Here 'Melia. Have a toy." And sometimes one of the twins will hold out something towards me and grin, giving me hope that sharing might be teachable. Other times, Wyatt glares at the babies, waiting for them to drop the tractor, book, etc. so it can be his "turn." Or Emerson lunges at Amelia's toy only to be smacked in the face with it as she grabs it back.

The sharing concept just isn't too popular. But I've been trying over and over to teach Wyatt that we help share with others because Jesus expects us to. I thought it sounded like a pretty good idea--mommy doesn't want you to share; Jesus wants you to share! But that hasn't gone over well, either.

A few months ago, I gave away Amelia and Emerson's 9-month clothes. You'd have thought I was giving the babies away! I tried to explain that the twins had outgrown the outfits, showed him the armoire full of more clothes, and told him the story of the 17-year-old girl who didn't have money to buy clothes for her unexpected twins.

"Jesus expects us to help people when we can."

He listened carefully, eyes wide at the "no money" part. But still, he insisted "I not give them away" and "They not need 'Melia's clothes."

We have had the same argument each time I've given away no longer needed baby items--Amelia's & Emerson's swings, toys, the bouncers, bottles, sippy cups....

I find giving away material possessions easy. It's just "stuff." But Wyatt finds it more difficult than staying seated in the grocery cart. So today when I told him we would be bringing a bag of food to church tonight to help out the Louisiana Baptist Children's Home, I expected a meltdown on the linoleum.

I explained for the thousandth time that there were kids who didn't have mommies or daddies to take care of them. They needed our help so they would have enough food to eat. Then, I took two cans of green peas out of the cabinet and placed them in the bag.


Next came some tuna fish, a jambalaya mix, jelly, and a couple cans of corn.

No argument.

He just watched me place into a Wal-mart bag several foods he likes to eat .

As I cautiously waited for the wail of "But I wanted to eat the corn!!!", he just silently watched. Progress? Only time will tell.

Then tonight, I was faced with another opportunity to help. A woman, her young daughter, and 1-year-old granddaughter visited our church for the first time. It was obvious their lives have been much more difficult than mine has ever been. And after service, they called their ride to discover he couldn't get the car to start. They were stranded.

Here was my chance to live out what I have been preaching to my son--helping others. But if you read about the Canada trip, you know I'm terrified of being lost because of my directionless. And the lady lived on a road I was unfamiliar with.

I had a choice to make--let it be someone else's problem or walk the talk.

Pitch black country roads, drizzling rain, and no GPS.

After we dropped the trio off, Wyatt asked why. I told him the lady's car broke, something he understands because of his daddy's Jeep breaking this summer. And then I repeated again that Jesus expects us to help others.

I learned by watching my parents--to this day, my mental filing cabinet contains a clear snapshot from my childhood of my mother cooking and serving a meal to strangers who walked, not drove, to our house.

I sure hope Wyatt is watching and learning, that I'm proving enough of the right examples so he grows into a man with a servant's heart that loves others and is willing to go out of his way and overcome his fears just to lend a helping hand.

Because that's what Jesus would do.

Photo: "A Helping Hand" by Morgan Weistling

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Grand Theft Caramel-Toffee Scones

Ok…so the title just doesn’t have the punch that “Grand Theft Auto” has. But I hope my little thief never gets to that level of crime.

Each morning, all three children hurry down the steps to the carport and wide-open running spaces as far as their little legs can carry them. But until the twins can walk and explore at knee-level, I have to separate them from a definite mouthful of yummy looking pea gravel! An empty plastic pool, picnic table, and wagon block their freedom on one side while a playpen, tractor, and chair block the other end.

Wyatt usually plays beyond the barricades with his tractors while I enjoy a round of cattle, uh--twin herding. There are two escape strategies: one twin distracts mommy by eating something that escaped the broom while the other twin frantically crawls towards a hole in the barricade. Or, they simply push the barricade’s objects apart. They’re like cats—if their heads fit, their bodies will too…well, in theory, anyway.

But Wednesday, Wyatt was tired of playing in the mugginess. With cheeks deeply flushed and hair darkened by sweat, he told me he was going inside “for a week.” I smiled at this new mis-concept of time but let him go. There wouldn’t be much more outside time anyway before the building clouds spilled forth onto the cement.

Ten minutes later, I barged right into a crime in progress. The sound of a plastic lid not finding the right groove. Of feet and arms moving hastily to shove the now-almost empty container on top of the cabinet. Of a fumbling over words to explain.

A half container of his daddy’s scones, gone. Only one remained…. with a large semicircle gap in its side. Victims of what I assume is a carb-craving growth spurt.

After I got over my Wyatt-what-do-you-think-you’re-doing shock, he was in tears.

“You’re in trouble because you stole daddy’s cakes.”

“I no steal.”

“Did you ask first?”


“When you take something that’s not yours without asking first, that’s stealing.”

A penitent, still-crying little boy reluctantly followed me to the couch where we opened up the First Bible Stories book to a picture of a mountain and a short list of ten sentences: “God’s Rules.".Hard lessons. That mommy would have given him the cake….if he would have only asked. That God is sad because he stole. That the consequences of sin are worse than just not going to Opa’s one afternoon.

Today started with yet another re-reading of God’s rules, this time pausing at number five about God wanting us to obey and respect mommy and daddy.

I think I might as well just put a permanent bookmark on that page.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Small and Silent

Since college, I've had sinus infections by the dozens. Although I've prayed for ten years for deliverance, I still live in a world of weekly allergy shots, fleeing indoors each time the lawnmower sends grass dust swirling in the air, knowing the seasonal mist of yellow rain from the trees and flowers could be my demise.

But I've never felt before as if I might not be able to breathe my next breath.

So, Monday evening, with my cold rapidly turning into something worse, I sought help at the after-hours clinic...and sat for three hours to get a cortisone shot and receive reassurance that it wasn't the swine flu.

Breathe. Wait. Listen to the loud, very obnoxious woman talk non-stop for two hours--to the woman sitting beyond the wall in another section, to whomever is on the other end of her ever-ringing cell phone, and (when there is finally silence) to whomever she's texting.

Never a word to her son sitting beside her.

My eyes widen as she flippantly speaks of blowing off her kid's sick complaints that morning because she didn't want to miss work....only to realize when she walked through the door that evening he was really sick. Her actions teach that to be heard, one must be loud and never stop talking.

Breathe again. Watch another minute of some muted animated superhero show on Cartoon Network. The message is clear--to be powerful, you must be strong and violent.


I know this is not real power. But it's what I see. It's what my children will see if I don't show them power is not found in volume. Not in incessant talking. Not in big or violent.

God's ways confound the wisdom of the wise.

This cold virus that crept uninvited into my body was not loud or big. But it has been powerful. An unseen stranger in my home, attacking the twins, me, and today, my husband. Silently, without force, it has moved from person to person, sapping us of our energy, slowing our daily routine to a grinding halt, and depleting every box of Kleenex in the house. Even my goldfish are sick this week with a mysterious, totally unrelated cotton fungus!

And tonight as I sit quietly before my God, praying for his healing to wrap snugly around all who live under my roof, I don't have the words.

I'm more than tired. My body aches. The huge pot of chicken soup I thought I'd end up freezing probably isn't going to even last the week. And each little cough I hear reaches all the way down the hall to wrap its fingers around this mommy's heart.

But I am comforted, knowing I can just sit and let His Spirit read my concerned heart and pour out my unspoken words to Him.

No need for superpowers on my own. No need for violence to force God to listen. No loud, incessant talking necessary to tap into that type of holy, majestic power.

Thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Walk the Talk

I am what you see.

Nothing more. Sometimes less.

Always struggling step by careful step to walk the straight line, hand in hand with Jesus. Stumbling more than you know.

You may have known me in the past. We may have never met. But the words on this blog are who I am now, who I have become since Jesus radically began transforming my life six years ago.

One confession, though: it's much easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk.

And part of my walk now requires me to support my brother and his wife as they go off to serve God in another state and, at some point, another country.

It's one thing to believe that I should go where God calls me to go. It's one thing to believe that people all over the world need to know about Jesus.

It's quite another when God asks you to go...or your family to go....for a lifetime.

I've known about my brother's (and his wife's) decision to become a Navy Chaplain since March. Six months ago, the post I wrote shows I didn't respond well to my brother's calling. But in that short amount of time, God has brought me "this far," as David said (2 Samuel 7). He has given me more peace and comfort about their moving away than I ever thought possible.

Don't get me wrong--I am still sad at what their relocation will mean to me, my parents, and my children. I'll definitely cry about it more than once. But it's not about me or them. It's about God. About submitting to His calling. And one lifetime is just not enough to serve him with all fullness and abandon.

Such understanding is the result of a God-consciousness that I have been learning to have every moment of the day. If you would have told me in February that God had called me to start blogging to help me grow closer to Him, I would have told you that you had it wrong--God called me to blog to help others grow closer to Him. Oh how sweet are the blessings that come from obedience.

Johnathan and Liza, I wish all the blessings of heaven to pour down upon you as you embark in obedience upon this new path that God has ordained. But I'm giving you fair warning: I'm plotting to invest in an awesome web cam and will be seeking your John Hancocks on a contract that requires you to call home to me once a week even if you have nothing to say...just so I can see your faces and hear your sweet voices. Oh, and I'll be planning our family's every vacation to be wherever you are...or wherever you're willing to let the five (or seven) of us tag along.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Year in the Life Of...

It's been a somber week spent mostly in my head and in the past, catching up the twins' baby books, baby scrapbooks, and ongoing family picture albums. Thirteen months worth of events, faces, thoughts, emotions to remember and write about, trying to leave no detail to the eraser-hand of time.

Each memory of my little boy seemed to just make me more sad. I've lived the year at home with him, but I feel like I've missed it! When did Wyatt make this huge transformation from the pudgy-cheeked onesie-wearing baby with whispy curls like a halo around his head last September to the slim big boy wearing underwear, shorts, and chewed-on t-shirts that he put on himself?

Not quite a big boy. Not a baby either. A toddler...whatever that means. He'll be 3 before the year is out.

In one corner of the room is my big boy: potty trained. Independent play. Huge vocabulary. Vivid imagination. Love of complex books. Face morphing into my husband's face with every photo.

And then in the opposing corner is my little boy: A kiss for every bump. Mommy needed to watch and do everything. Fall-out tantrums and defiance. Hugs and kisses and snuggles so close that air can't get between us.

Wyatt has spent the past week skipping back and forth over the chasm that separates his "little boy" and "big boy" identities. He wants to be both and neither.

One minute, he cries "Mommy!?" when I get out of sight, howls at his daddy who tells him mommy needs a few minutes to take a bath by herself, shrieks "Mine!" when a baby takes a toy, gouges Oma's table with an inky line drawn around it's circular surface, tells daddy "I want to go home" when he's told he must apologize to Oma, and tells me "I a baby" as he snuggles close for some love.

And the next moment, he bounces up and down in a hurry to leave me for work on the hay baler with Opa, buckles himself into his car seat with no fuss, sets the dining room table without breaking anything, and comes to tell me, "I play with the babies. I laughin'" only to then bounce off down the hall where laughter fills the house, three different pitches of giggles streaming over the baby monitors as Wyatt laughs to the twins' delight.

Right now, he's only flirting with this transformation. But, I know one day soon, long before I'm ready, he'll quit stepping back and forth over this invisible line and walk away from it.

Stay a little while longer, my dear son. Let me tell you more about Jesus, about how mommy and daddy love you just like you are. There's so much I want to teach you now while you'll still listen to me.

Just let me enjoy this version of you before it's outdated and you are upgraded to Toddler 3.0.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Brick Maker

There is such a disparity between the flat earth of Louisiana where we live and the rolling hills of Michigan where I drove the roller coaster roads just a few short weeks ago.

Down here near the Gulf, there's not much "up" to be had with feet resting on the soil. We're barely above sea level, so our children live in trees--anything to get up off the ground.

But lately, God's been whispering in the everyday pieces of my life, fragments of thoughts about climbing up and about the Tower of Babel. Wind whispers that don't tell the whole message.

And Monday, my 10-month-old Amelia started climbing with tag-a-long Emerson right behind her. "What goes up must come down," I admonished. And minutes later, the self-impressed smile vanished as she tumbled down from her perch. Tears. Red cheek. But I know she'll be right back on that box again tomorrow.

And there was the reminder again. What is it about Babel? And why now?

I open the text and read, knowing something is there that I'm missing.

Genesis 11:4: "They said, 'Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.'"

A city with a tower that would pierce the clouds, higher and higher until it reached heaven.

What engineering gurus they had on board to accomplish this feat, I don't know. But they started building upward with a pride, a plan for "thoroughly" baked bricks, and a whole lot of arrogance.

It's always bothered me--a group of defiant men and women told to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. But with hands rough from making brick and slapping tar between them, they chose otherwise, desiring to reach God in the heavens on their own terms and by their own means.

And yet tonight, I see myself in this rebellious lot. My husband and I have been living an up-and-down roller coaster since his career took a permanent detour in 2005. Although I don't want to admit it, sometimes late at night I have "What were you thinking, God!?" thoughts. I have played out so many scenarios in my mind, all which cast me, not God, in the primary role.

I build my own tower, stack however many bricks it takes to be something, climb the steps upward to make a name for myself and to make what I consider to be a significant difference for God.

But in the silence, He speaks of trusting His heart. Of taking comfort that He knows my name and listens to my every word and thought. Of walking the level path of the valley He's set before me in this season. Of ceasing to strive to find ways to make a difference for Him--but to just obey in what He's given me to do. Teach. Mother. Blog. Love.

No more brick-making for this woman.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Playing Beat the Clock

Something there is that doesn't want me to go to worship service each Wednesday and Sunday.

The timer starts ticking at least two hours in advance. But every week, it's some new obstacle to overcome so I can make the short 8-minute drive to meet with God's people.

And I'm not talking about normal obstacles like the students who call as I'm walking out the door. Or the husband whose job usually chooses Wednesday to have a last-minute crisis so he has to meet us at church. Or the twins' poopy diapers that always seem to occur 5 minutes before time to leave. Or all the children's shoes that I have to put on sometimes 2 or 3 times just so they can pull them off again on the ride there.

Or the two-year old who has been saying all week that his stomach hurts and his back hurts--the only two ailments he's known grownups to have. Tonight's award-winning performance included him telling me his teeth were broken (this is a new one) and "We not go to church! That ridiculous!" His answer to "Stop whining or go to your room" was, "But I want to whine." That I believe.

Nothing this mundane to overcome.

Last week it was the flying bird who decided to poop in flight...right on my shirt as I placed Emerson in his car seat. What are the odds?

Tonight, it was two huge limbs (broken during last November's unexpected 7" snowfall) smack in the dead center of my driveway. How many other days in how many other months could they have fallen? But no. So, I had to throw the van in park and drag them off to the side.

Before I had children of my own, I never understood why my mother was always complaining about being so hot she was dripping with sweat before we stepped foot outside our well-airconditioned house.

But if her Sundays and Wednesdays were anything like this, now I get it.

I'm not sure if God is trying to see if I'm really dedicated, if I really want to worship Him? But by the time I plop into the pew, I feel like I've run a marathon! Then, as I listen and worship, my Spirit is filled. And when I go to pick up the children, even Wyatt bounces out of his class, telling me "I had fun."

I dare not ask what obstacle to expect next Wednesday night. But I'm thinking it might be best to just stick in my van a toolbox, chainsaw, lunchbox, extra change of clothes, and blue tarp...just in case.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When I Am Tempted

Temptation. In our sinful, fallen state, I believe mankind's very DNA leaves a person predisposed to succumb to one temptation or another. Without the staying hand of the Holy Spirit, we would fall headlong each time.

Everybody is tempted by something that will lead her away from Christ. Some temptations just seem less harmful than others like consuming immoral television shows versus hearkening to the siren call of an adulterous relationship.

I've been struggling with my own brand of temptation this weekend (hence, the lack of blog entries). I've spent several days in my own desert.

It may sound ridiculous to you, but I constantly suffer from the temptation to take on more paying jobs, to labor more and provide for my family.

I already have a full time online teaching schedule. But over the past few months, I've been offered more part-time additional work than the staggering unemployment rate shows is possible. And on Saturday came the offer for another contract writing job.

More money that I could earn.

I could taste it much like I imagine Eve could taste the forbidden fruit as she held it in her hand.

This temptation is built on a life-long fear of not having enough. As a child, I was never without. But when my mother audibly expressed her concerns about money, I absorbed those same concerns into the very marrow of my bones.

I have a vivid childhood memory of one of my brother's birthdays when my parents bought him crayons and drawing paper. I can visualize my mother buying and wrapping it up for him. I can see him opening that gift. And although my mother probably doesn't even remember commenting that "not having enough money" was the reason for the simplicity of the present, I can hear those words reverberate in my head.

Several decades later, I still remember.

I've prayed numerous times about this fear. Since Doug lost his career and I decided to be a stay-at-home-mom, I have spent an intense amount of time before my Father's throne, learning to trust Him to provide for us instead of trust in my own ability. And as He has continued to provide over the last three years, my trust in Him has grown.

But at times, that old fear still crawls up behind me and grabs me by the ankles, pulling me down into a pit of worry where I usually end up taking the job because of that "what if" fear.

And my relationships and health suffer.

But this weekend, I prayed. And it became obvious the job wasn't God's will. It was a temptation, just like the other 5 classes I was offered to teach this fall but turned down because I was already scheduled to teach 6.

Had I taken any of the extra offers, I would have little to no time for my relationship with God or my family.

As my Bible study taught me this past week, not every good opportunity is a God opportunity.

It still amazes me how God's lessons are always right on time to speak to my present circumstances.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Break in Routine

Those last few moments before the lights turn off for the night are some of the most precious of the day. As I walk past the open door of the boys' room, I hear my husband's deep voice pray in hushed tones with Wyatt. I want to linger, to listen to the prayer, but I feel like an intruder on such a private, intimate father and son time, and so I move quietly down the hall.

Each evening is the same--a deep muffled voice and my desire to linger at the door. But tonight was different.

Since the trip, Wyatt has reverted to being mommy's little boy where mommy has to do everything. After reading his last Winnie the Pooh book before bedtime, I told him to go say prayers with daddy and left to do some work in the kitchen.

But he followed me, whining, "You say prayers, mommy."

What mother could resist that request? Not this one.

Still full of too much energy, he bounced onto his bed, pulled the John Deere blanket up to his chin, and lay his head back against the pillow, eyes watching me expectantly.

"Tell God what you're thankful for."

"Mommy. Daddy. My teddy bear."

Then, I begin to pray over him. At "Dear God," he doesn't merely close his eyes. He squeezes them as tightly shut as possible. They're not just closed but really closed.

I'm not surprised. That's how he prays at mealtime, eyes squeezed shut as he repeats his solemn, slow version of "God is great, God is good. Let us thank for all the food. AAAmen." And if I add an extra serving of something to anybody's plate, he prays again over that new food.

I've shown Wyatt how to say sentence prayers to God all throughout the day even though our eyes are open. But apparently, his concept of prayer has been influenced more by Hermie and Wormie's "Milo the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray." And Milo always prays with his eyes closed.

Tonight, though, I don't shut mine. I watch this swiftly growing boy, thanking God for him, for our safety today on the road, for the flu shot he got today to make his body immune to the illness, for him to have a good night's rest, for God to help him be a good boy, and for God to help his mommy teach him to love Him and Jesus.

He's not quite three yet, but his daddy and I have been working to instill in him a desire to pray and a knowledge of the power of prayer.

When I was a child, praying was something I did just because I had to do it if I wanted to obey the Bible. I talked to God, and that was it. There wasn't much listening and no real comprehension of how prayer could make a difference in the small things.

This mother's desire is for prayer to be a "want to do" for my children, for them to desire a day-long conversation with God.

I close tonight's prayer with a soft "Amen," figuring that's enough for a two-year old, especially since I'm not sure how much longer he can keep squeezing his eyes that tightly closed. His eyes pop open wide, definitely not the eyes of a sleepy child. But I kiss him goodnight anyway, turn out the light, and shut the door.

holy experience

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

It's been a week and a half since I've posted, not because I'm at a loss for words but because my brain and body both feel like I'm still swirling in that tornado from The Wizard of Oz. My feet haven't touched ground yet even though we arrived home from the week-long trip after midnight early Monday morning.

Dorothy's trip to Oz has nothing on the one my family just took.

I remember her happily skipping down the yellow brick road with her dog Toto and a cute, light-weight basket. Then, I play the reel of my mother and me drooping and dragging along the concrete.

It seems everywhere my mother and I went, we each carried an "I-want-down-now" twin in one arm and dragged a suitcase in the other, all while acquiescing to the two-year-old who was screaming, "I want to hold your finger!" But through it all, God gave us joy (or a touch of insanity--not sure).

By day three of the trip, we would dissolve into delirious giggles each time we attempted to exit or enter the hotel...all while the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, and Tin Man in the lobby just sat and stared at us trying to wrangle kids, luggage, and heavy non-ADA compliant doors (Chivalry is SO dead).

Your prayers did work, and I appreciate them more than you could know--the babies and Wyatt traveled well. The twins turned on their charmer smiles for everyone we met and didn't fulfill my fears of them screaming the duration of the flight or drive. Even Wyatt only cried the first night at bedtime, and after that (and 2 hotels later), he was fine with sleeping in whatever bed I put him in.

I could have done without the 1 1/2 hour wait at the border crossings, which turned a 6 1/2 hour trip to Grandma's into a 9 hour drive. I could have survived without the twins' refusal to take naps or formula made with anything but bottled water...and their insistence on waking up two hours earlier each morning than their usual time. And I would have definitely been happier if Atlanta's airport hadn't decided to close for several hours because of the weather, delaying our arrival home by many, many hours.

But, there are several good stories I'll tell my children over and over through the years.

Meeting their Grandma Della

Discovering that cities are as fun as life in the country because they have man hole covers and grates that you can walk on as well as escalators, revolving doors, and gingerbread cookies the size of your face!

Seeing a real butterfly conservatory with thousands of fluttering wings...which I'm sure diminished the "wow" factor of the small butterfly project this mommy undertook earlier in the summer.

Being reminded of God's promise to us as He put on a HUGE rainbow show for us at Niagara Falls. Each time the sun would peek out from behind a cloud, a single or double rainbow would appear at both waterfalls.

Eating too much deliciousness to even venture a trip on the scales yet, including a much-enjoyed trip to the Hershey's store for a chocolate shake and fudge as well as our We-must-really-have-lost-our-minds adventure in "exquisite dining"(with 3 kids and only one high chair) at the Rainbow Room atop the Crowne Plaza, all so we could experience the falls glow in patriotic red, white, and blue after dark.

By the end of my stay in Oz, I was not calmly clicking my heels with my eyes closed. I was mixing formula in the airport, grabbing the wizard by his lapel and shaking him while screaming, "GET ME HOME! I ONLY HAVE EIGHT DIAPERS LEFT!!!"

I'm not ready for another trip any time soon, but I know it's do-able. And being away from home for a week makes me even more thankful for my home and for my family.