Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Did you read the sign?

A sign in a cotton factory read: "If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman." One day a new worker got her threads tangled. The more she tried to disentangle them, the worse the situation grew. Finally, she sent for the foreman. He asked, "Why didn't you send for me earlier?" She replied, "I was doing my best." He answered, "No, your best would have been to send for me."

This little story is often a reminder to me of how I am tempted to respond to life. I'll fix it myself. After all I would like to show them that I am capable. When the threads of my life get tangled up, It is my reminder that I am a sinner, saved by grace and in desperate need of my Savior's help.

Prayer opens up the floodgates of God's infinite grace and power to flow toward the person in need. God can act without prayer, but He chooses to operate within the boundaries of human will and invitation. He allows us to participate in His work on earth with each prayer.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My "Grandma" and a special visit.

My 91 year old grandma passed away a week ago and my husband and I were able to be a part of her funeral on Wednesday in California. We made the quick trip leaving early early Tuesday morning and returning on a red eye flight Wednesday night. Not a very good idea for two people who don't do the stay up all night thing very well. The funeral services were beautiful and the spot where she is buried is high on top of a hill directly under a huge tree right next to my grandpa. My husband did a beautiful job sharing a message of hope.

I have been thinking alot about our short trip. My brother was able to make it home from Iraq and it was wonderful to see him. We saw some of our siblings, cousins, uncles and other family members we haven't seen in years. But we made one very special stop.

Just three blocks from the ocean in downtown Long Beach on the third floor of an extremely modest apartment building lives a man who I have only known throughout my life as "daddy Jim". My mom married my dad when I was eighteen months old. He is my dad. I have only ever thought of him as my dad. He has been everything a dad should be and I am thankful that God blessed me with him. But obviously I had another "dad". That is where the name "daddy Jim" came from. Off and on as a young child I would go and visit my biological dad and somewhere he was given the name "daddy Jim" as not to confuse me since I called my dad "dad". Fast forward to today and leaving out a whole lot of details and history, I had not seen "daddy Jim" in over ten years. Last Monday when I was finishing up preparing for this trip, the Lord impressed upon my heart to contact him. I did! I know he is getting older and I didn't want to have any regrets for not making the effort to see him. I have known I needed to for several years but have not done so. And so on Tuesday morning after landing in Los Angeles we were on our way to Long Beach to visit him. I will save the details of our visit for another post since it was extremely emotional for me and I am not sure I could type through the tears.

I think it was wonderfully ironic that I would choose to go and seek him out before attending my grandma's funeral. She was my "dad's" mother and as a young girl she would often ask me if I ever hear from "daddy Jim". She genuinely cared and hoped that I would be able to see him and never never treated me as if I wasn't her very own granddaughter.

My brothers and I loved going to her house. It was always an adventure or at least we were hoping it would be. There was usually some buried treasure she was uncovering in some box. She could usually be found out in the yard pulling weeds or working on moving stuff around. She had a lot of "stuff". She never drove and could clean out a mayonnaise jar to the last drop. She loved dolls and scooped up all the orphans from the choc store downtown. She was an incredible seamstress. I have two handmade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls to prove it. She made the best cinnamon rolls and my absolute favorite was her huge ginger snaps that were always piled high in a large glass jar with a slice of bread at the top to keep the cookies soft. But the thing I will most likely remember most about my grandma was Norwegian "lefse". I would beg her to make it. She made them from leftover mashed potatoes, shortening and flour. They looked like tortillas when cooked and tasted wonderful when sprinkled with a little butter and sugar.

Thank you grandma for all the wonderful memories!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

All signs of God's blessings to me

Enjoy the laundry mountain and the flapping refrigerator door, and the screen forever open, and the flies challenging your wrist agility, and your name being called by voices of all pitches.....and keep the camera going! All signs of God's blessings to you

A dear friend sent me an email yesterday and this was the final paragraph. It was like she was standing in my home watching. Her words described the scene so well. But her words said something else that I don't want to soon forget. These are "all signs of God's blessings to me" It is so easy in the midst of it all (including the flies because the kids are continually leaving the screen door open) to forget that these children and their childhood is a "blessing to me." I have noticed some real changes this summer as my kids are getting older. We have very little to no routine, except that we know the pool opens at 1 o'clock. The summer bedtime is whenever we finally crawl into bed. Even our two year old is staying up way too late. Mealtime is 6 pm , 7:30 pm or maybe 9ish if we have been outside playing or whenever someone is hungry. Our family room is now the deck where we watch lightening bugs, tell stories or fly kites. Last night there was just enough breeze for three of our kids to get their kites in the air. It was very cool looking up to see a rocket, dragonfly, and huge rainbow colored shape high in the sky. So, I will keep the camera close, not worry about the laundry pile, ignore the continuous flapping of the refrigerator doors and treasure the many pitches of "mom" being called out throughout the day.

Here is one of my many blessings. I think he was saying, "get the fire started dad, I am ready for s'mores.!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Therefore encourage one another...

In my early days of marriage and motherhood I struggled and longed for encouragement from others. I couldn't articulate my particular need at the time, but many years later I look back and can see that I would have benefited greatly from a genuine and uplifting word of encouragement. We were very young, newly married, and experiencing the beginnings of full time ministry all at the same time. It was a dangerous mixture. I longed for an older woman to let me know if I was heading in the right direction or if somewhere I had gotten off course. I remember one particular day when a lady I had admired from a distance walked towards me after church one Sunday. As she approached me from across the room, my heart was filled with expectation and excitement at the thought that she seemed genuinely interested for a moment in my seemingly small life. To find out how this little encounter ended come visit me at CWO's blog here.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

My wonderful in-laws!

I'm home. Well, I have been home since Tuesday but my in-laws didn't leave until Thursday. We had a nice time away and a wonderful visit with my husband's parents. They took care of our five kids for six days. The kids were well cared for, the laundry was done and even after we arrived home my mother in law barely let me back in the kitchen. (I could get used to this) My father- in- law took over as the official taxi driver taking the kids to baseball games, the swimming pool and any other activities the kids had going on.
But our time together had to end and it was a hard good-bye. Mostly because we know it will probably be many many months until we see them again. The best part of their visit was how much they enjoyed our home, the church and the community where we live. They had not visited this part of the country before and really enjoyed what little they were able to see. I received a great blessing this morning when my mother-in-law called and said she missed me already. The feeling is mutual. My mother and father-in-law are such a gift to me. I appreciate them so much.