Oct 31, 2011

Happy Hal{lelujah}!

Once upon a time there was a little girl that thought she could hide behind a mask. She thought if she could pretend to look like a Christian on the outside then her insides would be clean too. She tried to wear righteousness like a robe. She wanted to be known for how strong of a Christian she was and so the best way to prove it was to make sure that her costume was clean. Jesus had his lights on and he saw her coming. He had the greatest treat of all. He looked beyond what she had on and deep into her heart and saw her desire to follow him. He helped her out of her costume and then he asked her to remove her mask. She understood that if she wanted to look like Jesus, she had to bare herself to the world and look deeper past the masks that everyone wears to hide their fears.

Oh Lord, we need you now
Breathe your life into us
Lord, we need you now
Our churches and our families
Oh Lord, we need you now
Breathe life into this dry and weary land
Raise us up again

Oct 28, 2011

Decorated Officer.

I have my momma's memory.

I remember the clothes I wore and my feelings I had on any special occasion since elementary.

The Christmas play in second grade? My mom made me a dress that was red and black plaid and the skirt was a complete circle and tiered. It was so full that when I spun real fast you could see my underwear. I showed everyone how full it was.

My Osh Kosh jumper and double french braids in kindergarten? I got a lot of attention the days that my mom would braid my hair. Especially if it was a circle around my head.

The county spelling bee in sixth grade? Olive green v-neck sweater, gold skirt, aqua tights, tan suede flats. I went DOWN in the second round spelling emergency. I left out the g. Embarrassing but at least I looked cute.

Christmas at my Grandma Montgomery's? A red hoodie from Gap that my mom found in the bags that she had forgotten to wrap so I got a new sweatshirt the day after I had unwrapped my gifts. Pumped.

My favorite Easter dress was one that my mom made me... it was pale blue and she pieced quilt squares that were around the bottom of the dress. I was allowed to wear my new heart locket from my aunt that day to church.

Homecoming game my junior year? Brown wool blazer and matching skirt from The Limited, brown turtleneck, brown penny loafer flats. I was nervous. Homecoming parade? Green Nike sweatshirt and Levi shorts that my sister bought for me at Kohl's in Troy. I had a crush on my date and my heart pounded fast because we had matching clothes. Homecoming dance? Sleeveless black knee length dress with a bow at the bust that we bought in Fort Wayne. My parents had communion that weekend and I got ready all by myself.

I don't remember what I wore on my first real date with Nate, but I remember what HE wore... he rolled up in his old Saab wearing a striped poncho jacket, jeans, and Birk sandals. sigh

Weird, huh? I think so. Especially because most of the time I shampoo my hair three times because I can't remember if I washed it or not.

It's why I can't throw old favorites away. I don't have baby books for the boys, but all I have to do is get out their box of clothes and the memories come flooding back. It's why I made a duvet cover for Drew's old jerseys. And today, it's why I made a pillow from one of Nate's FFA jackets. Well, that, and because it doesn't fit me. He must have weighed 80 pounds in 1994.

I saved the President jacket for the boys. I just know that when they are in high school they are going to be begging me to let them wear their dad's coat.


I love all of the Pinterest language...


Call it whatever you want...
it's just plain fun to rewire old clothing found at Goodwill and make something new.

** I used two wool skirts and a wool scarf... grand total... $8.00**

Oct 25, 2011

In thy presence is fulness of joy...

"My Monday morning thoughts flooded me anew with the reminder that I wanted to live my life and build my attitudes on those truths that give life to my heart and expression to my desire to embrace beauty and goodness. I renewed my decision, that joy would be my goal, that I would look everywhere I go for God's touch, his shadow, his signature."
Dancing with My Father, Sally Clarkson.

Our MOMS group is reading this book for our monthly bible study. My pastor's wife is praying for us by name and the author is praying for our group, but in the end, it's God who can fill my heart with joy. In my own journey to joy, there are some times when I stomp my foot and say, "If THIS is joy, Lord, why does it hurt so much?" Sometimes it's the kind that makes me wave my hand and say, "I'm fine, I'm just crying because I am so happy." Sometimes it comes after God convicts our heart and the feeling that comes after being obedient. Sometimes it's the heart busted wide open kind of happiness. All of the time, it's when we take notice that God is present.

"I will show you the path of life: in my presence is fulness of joy; at my right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Psalm 16:11 (pronouns changed)

Joy is often equated with happiness, but the two are quite distinct. Happiness depends largely upon happenings: good health, congenial compa
ny, pleasant surroundings, etc. Happiness and unhappiness do not exist together; but joy and sorrow can and do.
The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary.
(I love this book that I found at Goodwill, it brings me great happiness and joy.)

Happiness is a Sunday afternoon nap while the sun beams in the windows.

Joy is when you hear truth preached and God stomps on your toes and TWISTS.

Happiness is cleaning out a closet.

Joy comes when I'm humbled by having way more than I need and I find myself jamming clothes into trash bags to donate, ashamed at my addiction to stuff.

Happiness is watching a team pull together and snap on Live Strong bracelets in honor of a mother with cancer.

Joy comes when our prayers are answered and she is declared cancer-free. Joy is hearing her quavering voice giving testimony of God's faithfulness in a season of anxiety and fear.

Happiness is squishing the coffee press handle down after three minutes.

Joy is hearing God speak to me in His Word and revealing Himself in my studies and showing up in my journal.

Happiness is going to Story Hour and listening to Miss Joyce sing Jesus Loves Me, chuckle, mouth the Quiet Song, and read a book to a rapt audience (myself included).

Joy is knowing she truly loved Jesus even more than she loved our children and we can spend eternity with her. Joy is present, even while we mourn.

Happiness is hanging Grandaddy's cane pole in my sewing room.

Joy is sharing my feedsacks with a friend, sewing a costume for one of my girls, or making pajamas at two in the morning while tears are making it hard to see.

"When entering the corridors of heaven, finally meeting Jesus face to face, I do not want to arrive gasping, out of breath, desperate, barely making it over the finish line. Instead I want to enter resiliently with a hopeful, loving heart. If joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment are what God desires for me, then God created me with those capacities so that he could fill them. God disdains dry, mundane obedience as much as I do! He wants true, pure-of-heart, devoted love - to be shared in a personal, vibrant relationship." Dancing with My Father, Sally Clarkson.

Oct 19, 2011

Coming Home

When I moved to Franklin County, I was shocked by the size of the school system. 2500 in the high school alone. The high school was the size of a small college campus with students everywhere. I learned more about the schools... 13 small elementary schools and then corralled to one middle school and one high school. All of the students in the ENTIRE county go to school together. I decided right then that it was not a good thing. The richest family at the lake goes to school with the poorest family on the wrong side of the tracks? How could this work? I took pride in the fact that I knew the names of everyone I graduated with and our biggest school rivals were in our county. I liked my way better.

Drew started at the middle school this year with 600 sixth graders. Only 40 of them went to his elementary school. I was so apprehensive. Then he began coming home with stories. "Hey Mom, remember that boy I met at church camp? He invited me to Fellowship of Christian Athletes today! Remember my church camp counselor? Well, he's the FCA leader. Remember that tall boy I played in soccer? He's in my math class. Remember Josh who moved away in 1st grade? I see him in gym! Remember that football coach? He's my gym teacher. Hey Mom, guess what? Dad built cabinets for my English teacher. Hey, I know that sophomore playing guitar at dad's concert, he rides my bus." All of a sudden, the size of the school system began to shrink.

One of Drew's favorite things to do on weekends now is go to the high school football games. Middle schoolers have a spot on the hill that they hang out, then they circle the stadium several times. Kinda like "cruising." This past weekend was Homecoming. It was perfect weather, we wore our wool jackets, found our friends on the bleachers, and wrapped up in blankets. I looked around and smiled.

So many things are different, but so many things are the same.

You peeeeer around the corner of the street. Are they coming? It's starting! Hey look, it's Jackson and Parker! Heey! We cup our hands over our mouth and shout. zing... they throw a football for Finn to catch.

Listen! I hear something! It's a chant... Gimme an e... E! Gimme an a... A! Drew whistles and wiggles his eyebrows at Nate and then through the pack we see another familiar face... Summer!

Here come the Senior Homecoming court! The tractor pulling the wagon honk honk honks and we all wave our arms around when we see Camden and Shawn in the cab. Look! It's Payton and Kelli doing the pageant wave. We laugh...

We arrive at the stadium and look across the sea of faces. As we get a little closer, we start to recognize faces... Drew's soccer coach, church family, Laurie and her friends, my bible study leader, Nate's coworkers, teachers. It feels like we know everyone around us.

The game begins and my heart beats to the taps of the marching band. Cow bells rattle and air horns blare. Mom's hide their eyes when their son gets tackled, Dad's proudly wear their boy's number. Little girls wear mini cheerleading outfits with matching bows. Sixth graders toss a football around. Second graders ask for a dollar to get popcorn and beg to do it alone. At halftime, the homecoming court is announced and they begin their walk at the 50 yard line. The girls are glowing with big smiles and high heels on. We see Caitlyn and cheer for her! We secretly hope that she gets crowned queen because we know she is an awesome light for Jesus!

The king and queen are announced and we cheer... and then we sigh, because it is just so cute that they won because they are a couple.

We snuggle in for the rest of game with our friends. I reach over and pinch Channing's rosy cheeks and Kevin laughs and says... Well, bringing Chan to the game gives a whole new meaning to "being under the blanket with my baby."

We head home and Drew and Jackson are giggling in the back seat and Finn has sleepy eyes. I look over at Nate and smile. I have a feeling I can't describe.... it feels like coming home.

The definition of hometown is the place where one currently resides or your birth place. I used to feel sad that I couldn't decide where my hometown was. Elida or Franklin County? I understand now that I don't have to pick. I am blessed to have two.

Oct 11, 2011

A man of few words and a lot of twang.

 Nate calls it "doin nuthin."

I call it "enjoying a couple hours of quiet to meditate on my Monday morning bible study while knitting a bowtie scarf from 100% wool yarn that I frogged from an old project sitting in my living room appreciating the autumn palette and blend of colors."

Nate calls it "gettin it dun."

I call it "putting my precious children in harm's way by raising them in the bucket of a tractor to trim the branches that hinder the zip line from zipping and may cause a snag which would send them orbiting to the ground at full speed.  Never mind that, now I am worried that your foot will slip and the bucket will slam to the ground which may result in death."