Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Visitor for Bear

One of my favorite times of the day is when we are piled up on our chair or couch with a stack of books around us. Most recently we were reading a book called, "A Visitor for Bear" written by Bonny Becker. The illustrations are beautifully done and the story is really sweet. My heart was convicted as I read it. I suppose sometimes I don't slow down enough for the Lord to show me my heart and it's tendencies, but this book stopped me.

There is a grumpy bear that doesn't care for visitors. He is so very against visitors that he has even nailed a sign to his door. There is, however, a little mouse. The mouse is small and gray and bright-eyed. The bear is furious that this mouse continues to completely ignore his disdain for visitors. The mouse keeps appearing and each time the bear chases him out, he goes one step further in keeping the mouse out. He firmly locks the door, boards the windows shut, stopped up the chimney and even plugged the drain in the tub. He did not want company! Eventually the mouse wears the bear down and he allows the mouse to stay for a bit of cheese and a cup of tea. Fair enough. As they share this small time the bear begins to open up, he begins sharing jokes and tricks. He begins to soften and enjoy the company. In fact, when it is time for the mouse to leave, he begs him to stay. What happened to the bear?

He was pursued. The mouse didn't care. The mouse didn't stop at a locked door or a boarded window. Even the stopped up tub didn't phase him. I loved it. I won't tell you anymore, because it really is a precious read, I will say that the change in bear challenged me. I wondered, "Lord, is there anyone that has locked their doors, sealed their chimney, or even stoppered their tub that needs a friend?" Is there someone, somewhere that has a joke to tell by a warm fire and no one to share it with? Is there someone who can do a headstand and no one is there to watch it? Who are they Lord? Who are they and where are they? Please let me see them. Please don't let me be afraid of their barred windows and locked doors.

You see, all of us lock the doors at some point. All of us stopper the tub hoping to keep someone, or something out. As Jesus pursued me...and continues to pursue me I have to pull those nails out of the boards one at a time. Each time a bit more sunlight shines through the window. A bit more daylight warms the cold areas of my heart where I would not allow someone. As He pursues me, I pray that I would be bold enough to pursue others. To ask how people are doing, and wait for a response. I pray that I would sit and listen to stories that I may have heard before. I pray that I wouldn't mock the lonely spirit that wanders into a conversation to which they were not included. I pray that my eyes would be open and aware...looking for the souls that are locked up tight. Perhaps there is a sign on their heart, "No Visitors Allowed." I pray that I would look past that sign, ignore it all together and let them know that I am not a visitor. Visitors come and leave quickly. No, I don't want to visit. I don't want someone to put their best face on and clean up because they know they are having a "visitor." I hope that God would make me into a person that is more than a visitor, something more like a friend.

How about you? Are you the bear? Shut up nice and tight in the safety of your own world, but lonely and longing for a friend to share your life with? Or are you the mouse? Small and gray and bright-eyed that just wants to share a bit of cheese and a cup of tea? I think we are all a little bit of both, perhaps we would all make wonderful friends.

"A friend loves at all times." Proverbs 17:17

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Snow? Here? YES!!!

The Weather folks predicted it...we all laugh when we hear it. "We're expecting about ____ inches of snowfall." We still make a trip to the store and get a few things that we'll be needing. For us it was milk, ice-cream and frozen pizza. I know...real essentials. We had a blast. I will say a southern snow is the best of both worlds. You get the beauty of a white world, the canceling of everything so you can enjoy your family, and then it goes away! It started yesterday and fell steady into the evening. The kids ran around to every window to watch it fall and then pulled the curtains apart to stare at it while they drifted off to sleep. This morning they were begging to go outside, we held them off for a while and finally wrapped hands and feet in plastic, grabbed the most "snow-friendly" gear we could find, and we headed out. When we wandered into the woods the kids said that it was just like Narnia before the White Witch was dethroned! The girls and I came in first and started on some "snow-cream." My friend Jo posted it on her blog and I thought, "How fun. I'll never have the chance." How happy to have had the chance. It was pretty good. It had the consistancy of Chick-fil-A's ice cream. Our neighbor came over and the boys built a fort while the girls snuggled in my bed for some Saturday shows. Then, the laundry piled up (honestly it's been lingering...I'm struggling with it lately!) and the snow melted. Perfect. Our family up north is pretty much locked in their homes due to the snow...I know they don't love the heat...or the bugs...but I gotta say that a southern snow beats a northern snow hands down!!! Spring anyone? Enjoy the pictures!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blog Surfing...and other rambles

I was just surfing around and noticed I was getting into dangerous territory. There are people out there that take amazing vacations with their amazing money with their amazing figures. I have to be careful...I've got some pretty amazing things around here to. So, I figured while my amazing husband was snuggling with our amazing 3 year old I'd write some of these amazing people that read this blog.

Ella (the amazing 3 year old) has a cough. It's not so bad during the day, but at's making us NUTS! Twice this week I slept in her bed to help her calm down when it woke her up, and one night Mike slept with her. I think I was becoming a bit, shall we say, dramatic. The second night that I had given up my snuggly spot in my bed to snuggle with a coughing and REALLY dramatic 3 year old my feelings got incredibly hurt. I had gotten Ella water, I'd been shooting up to help her calm down all through the night. I was exhausted. Do you know what that little curly headed crazy woman had the nerve to do? She called for her FATHER!!! I was so mad. Speaking to her as though she were an adult I said, "Are you kidding me? I'm right here!" I was so offended I thought, "Yeah, go get Daddy. He'll be groggy and confused and won't be near as helpful as me. While you're up, Sugar-Pie, ask him to show you his stretch marks. What? He doesn't have any? Well, ask him to show you where we keep the toilet cleaner or the candy that you eat after lunch. What? You say he doesn't know what you're talking about? That's because I'm the one making the biggest sacrifices here! I'm the one! Look at out to ME!!!" That was a lot of talking to myself in the middle of the night, huh? Gotta talk to someone when you are the only one awake besides the wacko that won't speak to you because you aren't Daddy. Hurt. Really hurt. I almost left, then I remembered that I was the adult. Durn.

The other night I was doing the dishes, for a change actually, Mike's been doing them a lot lately...I think it's all me tonight though...there they sit and there he sleeps...anyway...dishes, I was washing the dishes and the Lord brought that to my mind. I was hoping that He was going to agree with me that I was the way better sacrificer and martyr and should be nominated for Mother of the Year...or something. Instead He said, "You do the same thing." Hmmmm. Me? "Yup. You." I ponder how that is possible. Then I saw it. When days are long and patience are short, I call for other things. I call for other people, other objects. There's Jesus, my precious Savior right next to me...again...and I am wildly out of control calling for someone or something else. I see, Jesus. "Yes, I know. You see because I have shown it to you." Sorry. "I know. I love you. I'm here. Stay calm. Cry out...and when you do, cry out to me."

Check. Who am I crying out to? Do I pick up the phone or demand that Mike stop everything to hear what I'm working through. Who do I speak to when I feel sad or left out or out of control? Lord, please help me.

The flip side of that is I'm training my children to call out to their Father. Not Mike, they will find out one day that he does fall short. I want them to consult me, but when it comes down to it, cry out their Heavenly Father, knowing that in their time of need He is the One that is Mighty to Save. Lord, help us if we ever believe that we can love our children better than you. Draw them near, hold them tight, and help us to point to You.

An unrelated comment that stopped me in my tracks. The other night Mike was going out to check on something and they wanted to know where he was going. It had been really loud in the house and he said, with a huge smile on his face, "I'm leaving...don't follow me." Writing that sounds so harsh, it was said in jest be assured. Do you know what Anson's response was, "Julia, he's totally kidding. Dads never say that." Oh, Anson...YOURS WILL NEVER SAY THAT! Daddy's do. Lord, help Daddy's stay. Help Daddy's work things out with Mommy's. Rescue marriages in America. Remind me, Lord, that what we have here is by Your grace and for Your glory.

I better get to the dishes. It just wouldn't do for my man do have dishpan hands, now would it? Maybe???