Monday, April 22, 2013

Legacy


Hey Peeps—

Our dinner menu for this Sunday night:  Three bags of microwave popcorn, and 1 cake pan of rice krispie treats.  I know, I know.  I'm the best mom ever.  Also I bet I'm contributing to Juvenile Diabetes.  The cold hard truth is that Billy's been gone all afternoon, and when I'm left to parent alone on the weekends, quality supervision and healthy eating goes right out the window.  When I announced the dinner menu from the couch, you'd think all I heard was cheers from the children, and I did, mostly--after Will pointed out that he "prefers the popcorn with extra butter, rather than just plain butter".  I almost pointed out to him that I prefer grateful children who don't complain, but I was too tired to be snotty, after all my single parenting the last several hours.

We are on the cusp of another crazy week, as the school year winds up and summer is around the corner.  I feel a little short changed from the public school system this spring as it feels like I've spent more time with my kids this past couple of months than in previous years.  They've had several snow days (a few legit, a couple not so much).  Then there's Jack's 15 days home for "Digital Days", otherwise known as "Let's see just how stressed we can get, and then hit send before we've checked our work".   And now we enter the season of field day, Pioneer day, field trips, and root beer float parties.  I've signed up to help when I can, but between the kid's stuff, and my job, I lose a bit of the "me time" I've come to enjoy. 

Billy and I both got some "me time" together.  This rarely happens, and almost never during the actual workweek.  Billy had already gotten a day off to meet with a friend, and I also had the day off.  We'd learned earlier in the week that a dear family friend of ours passed away and we were so happy that it worked out for both of us to be able to attend the funeral.  It felt like a gift from God.  Billy was asked to sing a song at the service—which he did, through tears and sadness.  But there was joy too, for the knowledge we have that Janet is pain free, cancer free, and dancing in the presence of Jesus.  The whole service was very moving, and touching, and we both left with a feeling of fullness.

There's just something amazing about reconnecting with the people who helped shape who you are.  We saw our good friend Mark, whose always referred to me as "Lisa Lou" or when he's feeling really sassy "Lisa Dayle Dumb".  We saw women who taught my Sunday School classes as a child, and they were gracious enough to not tell me I had been a brat. We saw some of our very best friends who were grieving, yet we were able to love and laugh with them, because even in sadness they know there's a reason to have joy.  And we saw folks who never did like me much, and still don't.  But that's okay.  Sometimes you just have to admit that there are people out there who are just plain not going to like you.  And some things never change, like when you are saying hi to people with your sister and everyone has to comment on how pretty she still is.  The only "compliment" I got was, "Wow, Lisa, you look taller".  

After we got home, Billy and I had to debrief and process the whole day.  We sat and talked about how special it is to have people who have been a part of our lives since I was a kid.  We began to think about all the special people who are doing that now for our own children.  People like Mark and Beth, who ooze wisdom and grace, and exemplify God's love more than anyone else we know.  There's our lifegroup gang, who invite us into their lives and not only welcome us into theirs, they know how to make us laugh till we cry.  While all the kids are tearing up the Bulow's basement, we adults are learning how to do real life together.  It's messy, fun, and hard.  But there's a love that flows deeply, and somehow covers imperfections and helps heal wounds.  We are grateful to be involved in a church that is not without flaws, but that's partly what makes us love it all the more.  The folks there welcome us, even on those Sunday mornings when we walk in trying to cover the fact that we fought the whole way there.  These precious people invest in our kids, and give more than just their time.  They give their whole hearts in helping us raise our kids to know Truth in this cold, hard, mean world.  This is the legacy of love my parents gave me, and now Billy and I are passing it on to our own kids.  Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love never fails.  

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Miracle of the Lost Key


Hey Peeps—

Did you read in the paper today that the Vatican approved a recent miracle for someone who prayed to a saint?  I'd really like to google the whole process, because we have a miracle we'd like to get approved and on the books too.  I wonder how much paperwork is involved, because I'm not really into all that red tape, but it actually did happen.  We are claiming it is as "The Miracle of the Lost Key".  In case it never gets recognized, I'd like to share it with you here. 

Yesterday I was at work and had just a few minutes at lunchtime to call Billy and catch up on his day.  He was out of breath, and frantically talking a million miles a minute.  I told him to slow down and repeat it all again.  The bottom line:  He lost his van key.  The key that would allow him to go pick up our children in two hours from school.  He said he needed to come to my place of work and look in the car because that was the last place he'd seen it.  He'd biked to my friend Lisa's job, got her car, scared a few preschoolers during the whole process, and drove over to me.  We looked for the lost key together.  He was a mess.  Completely stressed out.  I told him to calm down, gave him my key, and sent him on his way. 

Later that day, when we'd all gotten home, we decided it was time to have a "search party" for the lost key and scour the house.  Faith looked upstairs.  Will looked downstairs.  I looked in the dirty clothes.  Billy looked in the cars and called places where he thought he might have left it.  We all looked on the credenza by his basket where it normally goes.  We all looked in that same spot at least five times.  As well as looking on the floor behind the bookshelf that sits by the credenza.  Things were not going well.  Naturally Jack's homework issues came up during this time as well, and right while we were all frantically looking for the key, he presented himself.  "Hey, does anyone know a word that rhymes with "shallow".  It was at this point I said to him, "Hey Jack, mommy needs you to not talk to me right now."  I said it in my sing songy voice that meant I was about to blow.  Things were going from bad to worse.  Billy called the Chrysler people to find out how much it cost to get a new key, and discovered it would be  $150.00.  I didn't know it at the time, but after he got this news he literally went up to our bedroom, got on his knees, and asked God to help us find that key.  He came downstairs, looked by the credenza one final time.  And there, sitting on the floor behind the bookshelf where we'd all looked, was our missing key. 

Billy collapsed on the floor in relief, after such a stressful afternoon, and thanked God for helping him find the key.  We all knew it was a complete miracle.  Maybe you don't get stressed out over a lost key, but lately it's felt like everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong.  Instead of taking a step back, and trying to look at the big picture of our lives, we have been focusing on all the tiny details and problems, and letting them completely stress us out.  We know we are doing this, and even though we don't want to be doing this, we still continue to do this.  Sounds familiar, all you Bible scholars? 

Why is it so hard for a girl like me to stop, step back, slow down, and look around?  Why can't I just see the big picture all the time?  This is the real miracle I often overlook…The one where there's a beautiful panorama of three healthy kids, a solid relationship with Billy, a job that I worked so hard to get…and all the other millions of blessing that God pours out each day.  I fear I am almost hardened to recognizing the abundance. Yesterday it took a lost key to remind me that I already have the key to living joyfully all the time.  Even when the details of life consume my thoughts, and the whispers of defeat blow in my ears, I can choose what to listen to.  The real key is learning to listen to Truth and seeing the miracles in front of my face.  Tomorrow I might even remember to do it again.  And while holding tightly to the key, I'll hold the rest a little more loosely. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A decade of Faith


Hey Peeps—

I just hit the Discount Easter candy aisle at Target, and boy my kids are going to love me when they get home.  My best friend Shan, at SuperTarget, told me as she handed me my receipt,  "You only spent about $50.00 on candy."  She was exaggerating of course, but I will admit I did go a bit overboard.  This is due to the fact that I worked on Easter, and my children awoke to a vacant kitchen table.  Not even a simple jelly bean from the Easter bunny.  Now of course they know we celebrate Easter because of Jesus, but generally I don't mind indulging in a bit of candy giving on such holidays.  But this year they got the shaft.  And all because I went and got a job. 

Being a good mother, who speaks the truth, I was sure to remind the kids on Saturday night that when they got up, there would be no Easter baskets to greet them.  Will's reply was, "Oh I bet the Easter bunny won't forget us".  All I could say was, "The Easter bunny is heading to work at 5:30 am, and it's not that she forgot you, she's only one woman".  They ended up having a great Easter morning with Billy at church, and as soon as I got home, we headed to the most populated city in Wyoming (Cheyenne) for a bit of Easter dinner with my sister and family.  The kids LOVE their cousins, and we LOVE my sister's food.  And hospitality.  Laura and Roger know how to make a family feel welcome—Billy got his pie, and I had coconut cake.  In fact in the last 36 hours, I've eaten five pieces of it.  I wish I could tell you I was kidding, but that would be a lie. 

I'm glad we ended Spring Break with a fun visit to Wyoming.  Several of the kid's friends travelled to California, Arizona, Florida…you know, for a real vacation.  At least my kids will be able to tell people if they ask that they went out of town too.  Hopefully they won't pry too much though.  Saying you went to Cheyenne isn't exactly glamorous.  (Sorry Wyoming, no offense, but you know it's true) The first few days of the break consisted of me being gone, and Billy working in the basement while the children were told to play nicely together for eight hours straight.  For the most part, they did really well, with one exception.  The bad news is Faith's old door has a hole in it, about the size of one of my boy's heels.  The good news is we will be upgrading all the doors in our house very soon. 

The other exciting event over this break was celebrating Faith's 10th birthday!  I can't believe she's been my daughter for a decade!  She remains one of the best gifts we have ever been given.  Faith is full of vigor and vim, and thinks life should always be fun!  This year she asked us to do a party for her at the mall and have a scavenger hunt for her and her friends.  (Thanks Thasiah's for the great idea.  We don't mind being copycats).  Eight of her besties, and her brother Will, broke into two teams while we searched high and low for things all over the mall.  Faith was in heaven, while wearing a new dress, and tiara that lighted up.  The girls (and Will) wore masquerade masks, and talked non stop while scavenging.  Billy's team lost, and not gracefully, while my team won, and not humbly.  It was a blast.  Faith was completely in her element and we joyfully list this in the "successful party" column. 

As I walked around the mall with Faith and her friends, I watched her carry herself confidently and proud.  She inspires me to do the same.  I'm not sure what we've done to raise a daughter who already knows who she is, while at the same time she treats others with kindness and compassion. She motivates me to walk with my head held high, even when I feel lowly and small.  Faith, who knows she is adopted, has accepted her story joyfully, and counts it a blessing to have been placed into such a crazy family as ours.  Faith, by definition is "being confident of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see".  (Hebrews 11:1)  Even when I was waiting for Faith, and couldn't see the big picture, I knew it was all going to be okay.  And you know what?  It's not just okay.  It's amazing.  Not one day goes by where I'm not aware of the gift each of my children are.  I'm not always as grateful as I want to be, but I am always aware of how blessed I am.  We laugh and we cry.  We celebrate, and we fight.  We cuddle and we play.  We are far from perfect, but we cling to the One who is.  Life is good.  And God is good.