Saturday, November 23, 2013

Gratitude

Hey Peeps—

There's nothing better than a real fire in a fireplace.  My 8 year old son Will was enjoying ours the other day—the first real cold day we've had this month.  As he was mesmerized by the flames he said to no one in particular,  "You know what I like to do with fire?".  I decided to cut him off right there.  I feel like there are some things you don't let your kid verbalize.  Cause once they say it, they feel the need to do it. 

I'm so glad it's Thanksgiving break.  I have a houseful of boys, and one man, who are  all incapacitated to some degree.  Will's wearing a walking boot, Jack's icing a particularly painful pulled muscle, and Billy's finally medicated for a nasty cough that's kept him sleeping alone on the couch for almost two weeks.  And there is nothing better than recovering at home during a little Thanksgiving break. 

Of all three of the males in our home, Will's injury has been the most serious.  And expensive, not that I'm adding it all up or obsessing about the new couch I will never buy.  We are actually just very thankful he's only in a walking boot, and on the road to recovery. Initially I had no idea of how bad Will's foot injury was.  I picked him up from school the day it happened and he limped his way into the car, complaining of how bad he hurt his ankle while getting into line after recess. 

My reaction was, "Will, please don't overreact.  You tend to make a bigger deal out of these kinds of things than they really are".

I continued to ignore Will most of the evening due to the fact that from 4-7pm every night, a variety of catastrophes usually happen.  Mothers everywhere know what I'm talking about…Getting dinner on the table, Jack's homework, Faith's piano lessons, my own selfish drama… By bedtime, I realized for the first time that my kid was in serious pain.  And it was not an overreaction.  He was suffering.  His ankle was swollen and he could not bear any weight on it at all.  I felt terrible as I finally looked at his foot.  I listened to him, really listened for the first time, about how it happened and how he was feeling.  (cue the sad music ) He had huge crocodile tears, and I did too.  I told him I was so sorry that I didn't take him seriously. 

And the MOTHER OF THE YEAR award goes to….Not me.

We are ten days post injury, and Will loves his boot.  The doctor said it was a bit "Darth Vader-ish" which obviously earned big points in our little family of Star Wars nerds.  I love his boot due to the fact he doesn't need crutches any longer.  Young boys are a hazard in crutches, to themselves, and to my walls.   The doctor reassured us we are on our way to healing, and Will's going to be better in no time!

I'm so thankful.  And not just because that's the right thing to say this time of year.    Tonight our family spent the evening with my aunt who is facing surgery in a week for cancer.  Aunt Sharon isn't pretending she's not afraid of facing her illness head on.  She's scared and has moments of shear panic.  But she knows God has every hair on her head numbered, so He must know about some stupid cancer cells too.  So she faces it with boldness and courage, and trusts in God.  I am watching her now, as I have watched my mom, my Grandma, my aunts, and my sister all trust Him as life throws us curveballs.   Sometimes the curveballs are sprained ankles and a nasty cough that keeps you awake for two weeks.  Sometimes it's raising four children you met less than six months ago.  Sometimes it's cancer.  No matter the curveball, we are not alone in this life.  For this, and so many things I am thankful. 


My life isn't perfect.  People don't like me.  I have horrible hair. I am not rich.  I'm a jerk to Billy.  My kids say "shut up".  I put myself before the needs of my own children sometimes.  I blow it all the time.   And yet I am covered in grace and forgiveness.  I will come to the table on Thursday with gratitude.  And I will bring rolls. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

What's your Jordan River?

Hey Peeps—

Did you know the phrase "me time" is in the actual dictionary?  Well, maybe not the actual Webster's dictionary, but you can Google the phrase "me time" and learn all kinds of ways to pamper yourself, contributing to what the internet calls, "your happiness quotient" and you, therefore, will end up not committing any crimes. 

I'm so happy for a bit of "me time" this afternoon, while Faith is taking her piano lesson.  I needed this hour today, as I have been running around since 8:00 am.  The first event of the day, besides the always chaotic joy of sending my children to school was to go and listen to my sister teach at a church in Boulder.  Now I know there are some folks out there who:  A. think Boulder is full of tree-hugging hipsters, B. think women should not be allowed to teach the Bible.  If you believe either A or B, or both, then I think you might be an idiot.  Boulder is full of crazies, yes, but there are people who love God in that town, and I met a few of them just this morning.  And when I say my sister brought a word from God to us at Bible study, I mean she brought a WORD. 

The gist of my sister's message today came from a book in the Bible called 1 Kings. The passage was about a king who had leprosy and wanted to be cured of it with a lot of pomp and circumstance.  I can just see a reality show today about it called, "The Healing" and the prophet that performs the most fancy, dramatic healing ends up winning the million dollars, and will be on the Today show the next day to get his giant check from Al Roker.  However, there was no t.v. back in Bible times and they had only Facebook and Twitter to rely on for social media.  Anyway, as it turned out God allowed this king to have healing through a rather monotonous and humbling process, instead of with fancy fireworks.   Simply put, all Naaman had to do was go under in the Jordan River 7 times.  At first he was all up in a "rage" about it, because there were much more resplendent rivers around, but no, God wanted him to dip in the boring, old, dirty Jordan. 

Naaman's servant's knew if he didn't dip, the only other option was death.  So they took him aside and said, "Listen, don't be an idiot, your Highness.  If you don't obey this prophet, you're toast".  Eventually he got the message, dipped in the river, and was healed. 

I loved this message so much, as my sister brought its relevance to us.  "What is your Jordan river"? she asked.  What is God asking you to do, in order to bring healing to your own life?  Are you waiting for some dramatic circumstance to bring about change and POOF, you are finally the person you've always dreamed you could be?  My sister went on to say, that healing usually comes in the mundane, ordinary stuff of life.   Choosing to do the dishes with a smile, rather than complaining.  Driving your kids to and from activities, in traffic, and singing along with them, rather than telling them all the things you still had to do that day.  Helping your 8th grader do pre-algebra with encouraging words, instead of getting frustrated and speaking to him with a harsh tone.  Or how about being a loving and forgiving wife even when your husband leaves his yogurt covered spoon sitting on the carpet for six hours.  Just today at the grocery store, I saw someone I used to know.  She hadn't always been kind to me, and at first when I saw her, I felt my heart race, and remembered how I'd been hurt.  Then I reminded myself that if God can forgive me, I can forgive her, move on, and let it go.  That's healing. 


I needed that message and to hear the gentle reminder that in order to become the kind of person I want to become, the changes are going to happen within the walls of my home.  And inside my car.  And at my church.  The true test of my lesson today will be when I get home to a house full of hungry people, who need baths, have homework, and sometimes forget to put their spoons in the dishwasher.  I hope I don't blow it.  Oh Lord, have mercy on this idiot.