Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

"Show me, baby.  What is it that you are asking for?"  This is the new game we are playing in our house and we are playing it all.the.time.  Little Caroline has needs and she is not afraid to use her little finger to get whatever she is in need of.  Her language has not yet caught up with her desires, so she makes some unintelligible noises and then points.  So, we stop what we are doing, ask her to, "Show me" and then we follow her little self wherever she leads.  Usually to the kitchen!

Today while I was putting Sweet Caroline (feel free to sing the chorus) to bed she kept pointing over my shoulder and when I said, "Show me," I thought of how God shows us all the time.  I thought of Moses asking God to show him his glory.   How bold was that?  From Exodus 33:17-18, "And the LORD said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and know you by name." Then Moses said, "Now, show me your glory."  Read that again.  "Now, show me your glory." Do you know what the Lord did?  He directed Moses to a rock and when His glory passed by He put him in the cleft of the rock and covered him with His hand until He passed by.  Not only did He show Moses His glory, He made sure that it didn't kill him!  Are we allowed to say that to the Lord?  "Show me?"  I think we are.  I think we can because of Jesus.  When we ask if God cares about us or if He knows our needs or if He is really available and we say, "Show me" or "Prove it" He points to Jesus.  Want to know if He cares that you were sin-sick and in bondage?  Enter Jesus, the spotless, guiltless lamb born to die in your place.  If He knows our needs?  Jesus.  "He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him graciously give us all things?"  He offered His very finest, why would He stop there?  Want to know if He is available?  Jesus.  He walked our filthy sod and when He left He promised to leave someone with us, the Holy Spirit.  I challenge you to play the "show me" game with the Lord, I promise you will not be disappointed.  We have thoroughly enjoyed this Advent Season.  With our hearts focused on His, we have looked for Him and we have found Him.  Just like the wise men so many years ago.  Here are some of the great things he has shown me through these people I get to share my life with....

First there's my 10 year old boy, Anson.  God has shown me that even when you spend every day with your children they grow up.  Even when you teach them the right thing to do they will burp at the table and giggle about it.  They will grow out of baby breath and look and smell like boys.  They will out-read you if you don't stop to catch up and playing games will make their day.  God has shown me that I am one fortunate Mom to call that boy my son.  A peak into Anson.  Just tonight as I was typing this he was reading in bed.  As usual I forgot about him, so he wandered out at 9:30 and says, "Hey Mom, I think you'll like this book, "Homeschooling with less clutter and more joy."  HAHAhaH  I don't know if that's a peak into Anson or me!

Next is Julia.  She's my 8 year old Martha Stewart.  God has shown me that I don't have to have the gifts to nurture them in my children.  If I am willing to help with a book club or a room reorganization, He'll do the rest.  He has shown me He is the One working mightily in our children...not me.  He has shown me that she is a beautiful girl that brings out a smile in all of us around here and that there would be a huge piece of me missing if she weren't here.  Here's a peak into Julia.  Getting ready for her American Girl club I said, "Julia, if there is one thing I hope you can learn from me I hope it's that you cannot wait for your house to be perfect before you entertain.  Now, go put the dirty clothes in the bathtub and pull the curtain."  "Mom, are you serious?"  "Absolutely...go..."  She came back, "You were right, it does look better now!"  She is an incredible sister, daughter and friend.

Next is Ella.  Ella is 6 now and she's a real 6.  God has shown me that they are all different. My other kids were different than she is and I think it's a good thing that she's 6.  I have to remember that she's only a kindergartener.  She still likes to have bows in her hair.  This is a great example of Ella.  We were packing to go north for Thanksgiving and she had a pink dress with polka dots and I told her she needed tights.  She knew just the ones and ran to get them.  She came back with pink tights with polka dots.  I looked at her and smiled.  She looked back and asked, very seriously, "Do you think it's too dotty?"  I replied, "No Ma'am. I think it'll look great."  And it did.  God continues to show me that I should stop and read with her and listen to her squeaky little voice and kiss her face and love her well.  God has shown me that He breaks molds when He makes people.

Then Caroline.  She is 18 months old now and she is everyone's favorite.  Through Caroline He is showing me that babies don't make things too hard, babies make things messier and longer and more complicated...and better than before.  She toddles around here chatting and pointing and she'll even sing if she has a sheet of music.  God has shown me that I don't say, "Thank you" enough.

Mike.  God has shown me that promises are for protection and marriage is a gift.  Especially mine.  Mike is working at River Ridge Elementary fighting in the war against childhood obesity.  When he walks in the door we all yell, "Daddy's home!"  We are not the team we can be while our coach is away.  We are always glad to have him home.  He got to spend a week in Honduras with Christian Medical and Dental Association and even though he got a late start due to arriving in Atlanta with the wrong passport...his time was profitable.  We missed him, but glad to have a husband that can and will GO! After he came home he spent his summer in our backyard building bookshelves for our living room and they are beautiful!  Apparently engineers are pretty good with numbers...who knew?  We filled our bookshelves up and now our best friends are right where they belong...in our living room.  We LOVE it.  He is still gardening a bit and loves to reuse things around the house to make new things.  He is rather resourceful and I have told him that it is true anything I can do he can do better.  I think that's how it should be.  God has shown me that He is a great match-maker.

Me?  God has shown me that I can sit back and relax because I am not in control.  I don't sit back and relax easily.  Homeschool moms are pretty much self-confessed control freaks.  We aren't all type A, but we like it our way! :)  My kids are not mine and they are not for my glory.  I am more than a wife and mother. I am a woman and a child of God.  I got 2 haircuts this year and finished some books, although I'm not sure how many.  I keep plugging along, though!  I love how I spend my days.  God has shown me that through Jesus, all things are possible!

That's pretty much it. I didn't want to do a "doing" update this year, but rather a "being" update.  I have human beings living in my home.  We are not human doings, although sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. I hope for anyone who reads this, you will ask God to show you His glory.  That's what Christmas is all about after all, isn't it?  God showing us His glory. It was small and underestimated...but it was all there wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.  So, I am asking boldly for Him to show us His glory and then our task is to proclaim it to the nations!

Merry Christmas and Happy 2013




So, I just spent about an hour going through and choosing pictures to add to this and ended up with 114!  Even for those who really know and love us...that's too many.  So...here are a few...enjoy.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What to do?

We have these friends that started to adopt one little girl.  That one little girl turned into 2 and those 2 turned into 3 sisters.  They have an INSANE deadline coming up that only Jesus can make.  So, if you aren't sure what to buy for those hard to buy for folks...maybe you should consider their Give 3 Save 3 Campaign.  Head on over and read their story...maybe you can't give right now, but maybe you know someone who can...perhaps pray that God would keep their heart steady and their eyes stayed on Him.

http://www.madetoorganize.com

Blessings...
Ali

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Rain Boots?

"You seriously didn't buy them?  I thought this might be the time that you would surprise me.  Just another disappointment."  I live in Georgia.  I don't remember a time when we weren't talking about a rain deficit.  We get rain, but never enough.  The lake is nasty these days because there just isn't enough water and yet I want rain boots.  I thought they were adorable, some people make them look so cute.  They even had yellow-jackets on them.  I thought he'd go for it.  He didn't.  He went for dog food and dog food is what he got.  I continued, "I mean I know the finances too, I just thought that maybe this once you'd throw it to the wind and buy me something when it wasn't my birthday. Or Mother's Day.  Or Christmas.  A real surprise."  He stood before me, confounded. "Babe, I had no idea that you wanted them.  I'll go get them."  Say it with me ladies, "That's not the point!"

This is the battle my husband has been fighting ever since he told this insecure sinner, "I will" nearly 12 1/2 years ago.  I just want him to prove his love. I want him to gush over me every time I put dinner on the table. I want him to notice when the toilet is scrubbed and set up a cheering section when I mop.  I just want to be bathed in love and affection.  My way. I want him to love me the way I tell him to.  I almost refuse to receive love on any other terms.  I could blame it on a million things, but the truth is that I expect him to be my Savior.  I remember several years ago saying, "I'm just holding my breath.  Waiting on you to leave."  This does have something to do with my childhood.  I stared him straight in the face and said, "I just need you to promise me you'll never leave me."  He stared straight back into my fear and pronounced, "I already did."  I remember the absolute relief that rained down on me when that truth finally settled in.

Yet I still demand proof.  He has NEVER insinuated that I spend too much, or don't clean enough, or I'm too emotional or irrational, he has NEVER told me that my family (we are HIGH maintenance) is too much and we need to skip a dinner or a function.  He packs the car.  He loads the pack-n-play, he fills my cup.  He keeps his promise every.single.day.  I forgot.  I kept examining what he wasn't doing. He wasn't buying me rain boots.  UGH.   Why do I tell you all this?  Probably because the internet is such a safe place to give personal information.  HA...because I have been STRUGGLING with the Lord lately.  Because he didn't buy me rain boots either.

Our house was on the market for 10 months and finally we realized that we were home.  We settled in and I was sincerely glad about it.  Until my best friend's house got a contract.  It was ugly in my heart.  When she announced (I've told her this by the way) to our community that she had a "God story" I checked out.  I was so angry.  "Why didn't I get a God Story?"  I felt the Lord gently pick up my face and say, "Rejoice with those who rejoice."  He was right.  I didn't want to miss out, but what about my story?  After a few days I realized that I am the story.  Everyday I get to read the story and wait to see how it all plays out in my life.  It's how He loves me.  It's hardly ever on my terms, but it's always precisely how my spirit needs to be loved.  Whether it's a stern rebuke or a kind and gentle answer...a soft place to land...He made a promise too.

I seem to think that only the big stories are His.  The ones that we all say, "Who but God?"  Pay no mind to the starts that remain in the same place or the leaves that change.  The breeze that blows.  The sinner that was rescued and lives to tell the story.  The soldier spared even when he was willing to trade his life for another...who said "I do" to my baby sister...willing to care for her in sickness (and there is plenty of it) and in health.  The children made up of a million intricacies that were knit together in my very body that now live and breathe and laugh and make messes.  The broken that is slowly being healed.  They are all His stories.  We are the story.  Do we get that?  You are a "God story."  You are a witness to the saving power.  The grace and mercy.

I'm noticing the little things that Mike does for me.  I am focusing on those and I am humbled by his love.  I was at Tako Sushi.  He was doing dishes and eating leftovers.  He was putting children to bed and I was walking the shops of Aiken.  He was folding clothes and I was visiting with my mom and sisters.  I walked in and he greeted me, glad that I was home.  Still no rain boots...but I don't want them now anyway. I want him to love me how he wants to love me.

Slowly I am accepting the Lord's love as well.  Trying to receive His love for me as He sees fit.  Trying not to boss around the Creator of the universe.  I'm also noticing the little miracles...and finding that there are no small miracles.  The brand new tennis shoes the perfect size, on discount day...$5.00!  My brother making it to lunch, and happy about it.  Caroline napping, the buralp for the windows.  Every single thing...really EVERY SINGLE inch of my life is consumed by His holiness.  His providence.  His promise kept.  He did stoop to my level.  Made His home among us.  Filled His holy lungs with our polluted air and when we demand of Him to promise never to leave us...to prove to us how much He loves us, He stares right into our fear and pronounces, "I already did. And lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age."


Saturday, September 29, 2012

I just want them to fly.

His first comment upon meeting me was slightly off color...like him.  It was the reason he was so very dear to me, and countless others.  His wife wrote to him faithfully while he was in a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War.  Not yet his wife, but certainly his love, she waited patiently for her love to return.

 He was among the men that we are losing now at frightening rates per day, many of them not telling their story.  Brave and courageous men that our country should thank...but hardly knows.  Hard working.  Hard loving.  This was Mike's Pop-Pop.  I knew him only briefly.  He was a strong man.  He said, "sit" and you said, "where?"

 He found out that we didn't have the History Channel and wrote a check for us to get cable.  He thought we were missing out on some real quality programming. He'd be sad to know that the TV is now unplugged most days!  He was a pilot.  A good one.  He flew during the war, and then flew commercially for years.  His sweet wife was bringing up 4 kids and wringing chicken necks while he was gone!  She's another post entirely!

He told his story to a tape, so we could know and remember him.  It is a treasure.  I don't remember if he told this story on the tape, or to us personally, but it stuck with me and is my reason for why I homeschool.

As I said Pop-Pop was a commercial pilot.  He was old school.  He learned how to fly using math and physics and all those things people wonder "when will I use this?"  He learned how to fly when GPS was your own plan and mistakes were not really an option.  He told a story about a time when the navigation system failed in the plane he was flying.  It was during the Cold War and he was flying dangerously close to enemy territory.  He said his navigator went nuts.  Wasn't sure what to do.  Had no idea how to get them where they needed to go.

  Pop-Pop was unshaken.  He did his thing, worked the math and got his plane and all it's passengers safely to their destination.  He knew how to fly. He didn't just know how to steer.  He understood how things worked.  He knew what needed to happen. He understood how all things worked together.  He knew...and it mattered.  When he finished telling that story I thought to myself, "I want my kids to know how to fly."



Folks don't ask me anymore why I homeschool.  I suppose they figure that with 4 kids, never in school and the oldest almost 10, they can't convert me...and they can't.  I never needed anyone else to know why I was homeschooling, I needed to know.  I needed to know beyond, "The Lord has called our family to this."  I needed to know beyond, "It's just a great ratio, '1 to1...now 1-4'" I needed to know because sometimes I get a little tired.


 I am constantly working through heart issues.  Tears that come because Latin declensions weren't ringing a bell.  Tears because I was too impatient.  Tears because my heart overflows and it's not always clean.  When I heard Pop-Pop in his big strong manly voice tell that story, something resonated in me.  It screamed, actually, "That's it!"


I want the people that leave my house to know how to think.  To understand how to navigate if all they have is the head on their shoulders...is it enough?  I want them to have rigorous academics because God asks us to love Him with all of our mind.  I want them to be stretched because they will be.  I want them to be confident in their skills...that God has given them...because we are at war and the enemy's territory feels like it's expanding.  They need to know how to fly.



My Dad has issued a challenge.  He sent a picture of a river in Florence, Italy with the questions, "What bridge is this?  What river is this?  What bridge am I standing on.  You might need a map of Florence." Anson went crazy!  He was pulling all of the books that we own off the shelves trying to figure it out. Then as he looked at the picture he attempted to determine what time of day it was by the shadow being cast in the water. They opened the picture in iphoto in order to catch the time recorded on the picture.  We still have to make it to the library to check on bridges, but we've got the river...and some zeal!


Watching him I thought, "He's flying."  He's not afraid of looking, he knows how to use resources and he doesn't want to "google it."  He wants to find the information.  It was a joy to watch.  Mike and I did google it and figured it out pretty quickly, but it wasn't nearly as much fun!  Ans is enjoying the trip, the journey...the struggle to find the information.  The exhileration of locating information on his own.  I have seen that transfer to other things as well.


 As we learn the geography of ancient people and places the kids are LOVING the book of Acts.  They know that the Temple of Artemis is one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world and they know that Paul was ministering and preaching the Gospel to people who were making small statues of Artemis.  They know where he is.  They are paying attention.  They are flying.


They aren't transcontinental just yet.  Anson is struggling to learn the game of golf, and it's good for him.  He has the tools to learn.  He knows he has to learn the grammar of the game.  He knows what he needs to do.  Even if he isn't the best golfer, he'll know and understand and appreciate the game!



So, now it's time to get Anson to golf, me to the store, beds made (like physically Mike needs to build some) and enjoy these little pilots. You may not care why I homeschool, but maybe you need to ask yourself that question.  Perhaps it will help you fly with a little more determination and joy.


***Just for fun...these are a few pictures of our little house.  This is my "china cabinet"

This is my china cabinet with my white board for school...isn't it so not "schoolie"

This is the window pane where we keep our fresh flowers, our bell collection is on top

This is Caroline and our new countertops...aren't they both lovely?

So, there are some pictures for ya.  I always enjoy those blogs that are heavy on pictures, even though mine is usually only heavy on words.  I may try to add more pictures from time to time. I really can't wait to show you the beautiful bookshelves that Mike built for us...but I can't show you everything at once!!!  Now...off to make some soup!  Thanks for reading.





Sunday, August 26, 2012

I am so very sorry.

I feel just terrible.  I only invited a few people to join us and they couldn't make it. I hardly mentioned it to anyone that I speak to regularly, except to procure childcare.  Mike picked up the tickets and we had a little date with the boy to Graniteville, SC.  Crazy place for a date, probably, unless you are a HUGE Andrew Peterson fan.  Which, we just happen to be.

The year Mike and I got married I bought my first CD.  It was Mr. Peterson's first, Carried Along.  It has carried me through so many experiences.  Through the years I have collected CD after CD choosing favorite songs and those sweet melodies that ring the truth loud and clear when my world is screaming around me.  He has written books and last May we had the privilege of meeting him as he was the guest author at Mike's school.  We were all giddy with excitement and so humbled to find that he was every bit the sinner and saint that his music claims he is.  In short, he's the real deal.

So, last night we got the little girls all squared away and headed out for our evening with Andrew.  Y'all, it's just good.  It's the Gospel to music that is intricate and beautiful.  His lyrics are smart and sensitive.  He has the right combination of scoundrel and saint.  You know how some music is all, "We are so bad and so bad and so bad," where other music is, "Awesome, awesome, awesome"? I love a combination.  A song that says, "I am so bad...so lost and so wretched, but in Christ I am glorified, forgiven and free."  I also love the stories behind the music.  I have always loved music and poetry and growing up we had a TV in our room (at my Dad's).  I'd watch VH1 and MTV after a long day at the beach to see the stories behind the songs.  I love to hear how something got to music.  Andrew Peterson's concerts are full of those explanations and joy in the Lord.  I could go on...but I am bordering on creepy, right?  So, all this to say I was a little sad that I didn't send out mass e-mails annoying everyone about going to this concert.  Typically I am alone in my tastes (John Denver anyone?) and it usually ends up being more work.  So, I selfishly took the easier route.  Sitting there I thought, "Man, my friends would so love this.  They would be so refreshed by this ministry of music."  Then I thought, "Who wouldn't love Heaven?"  When was the last time I invited someone to Heaven?  When was the last time that I got super fired up about the Lover of my soul,  to the point of reading and memorizing His words, as much as I do Andrew Peterson's? I cannot listen to his music and NOT sing along.  I do not, however, know all of God's words.  I know some of them, but I've got some to go!  I wonder will I arrive in Heaven and think, "OH MY GOODNESS ______________ WOULD LOVE IT HERE!"  It was a little challenging.  My heart was a little sad.  I just wanted to say I was sorry for not telling so many folks about the concert....and Heaven. I am going to be praying for more opportunities...no, I know I have opportunities perhaps I just need to have eyes to see them...and the kind of passion that is only cultivated when you spend a lot of time listening to Someone's Words.

Am I alone in this?  Does anyone else get way more excited about the next new thing while the Creator of Heaven and Earth is preparing a place for us?  More thrilled about the amazon.com box that finally showed up than having an opportunity to bring Living Water to thirsty souls?  More fired up about the next election or sermon series looking to anything but Heaven to bring deliverance.  Guilty as charged. That's part of the struggle of living on this side of eternity.  I want to say that I don't know what the solution is, but I think I know...it's spending time thinking about Him.  It's listening to His words and allowing His finger to pen them on the tablet of our hearts, engrave them on our doorposts and be our very food.  It's loving Him.  So simple, and yet we are so divided.  Our hearts are crooked little liars leading us to almost always choose the good over the best.  The good won't kill us immediately, but over time it will dull our desires until we settle for drinking from broken cisterns.  So, next time, I'm hounding you all because if there is anything an AP concert does for me is 1. Make me want to know Jesus more, and 2. Make Him known.

New to Andrew Peterson and interested in starting your own collection?  :)  Seriously, one of our family's favorites is the Behold the Lamb of God CD.  It is a skillfully crafted story of The Story from Abraham to Jesus.  It is, absolutely brilliant.  After that...there are treasures on every single CD.  Do you have a favorite?

A few of my favorite lines...only a few....
From Just as I am on Love and Thunder (I think...they all run together)

All of my life 
I've held on to this fear 
Its thistles and vines 
Ensnare and entwine 
What flowers appeared 

It's the fear that I'll fall 
One too many times 
It's the fear that His love 
Is no better than mine 

(but He says that) 
Just as I am and just as I was 
Just as I will be He loves me, He does 
He showed me the day that He shed His own blood 
He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does 
He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does

Fool With a Fancy Guitar on Counting Stars (It's the whole song...its so good!)

It's so easy to cash in these chips on my shoulders
So easy to loose this old tongue like a tiger
It's easy to let all this bitterness smolder
Just to hide it away like a cigarette lighter

It's easy to curse and to hurt and to hinder
It's easy to not have the heart to remember
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I've got voices that scream in my head like a siren
Fears that I feel in the night when I sleep
Stupid choices I made when I played in the mire
Like a kid in the mud on some dirty blind street

I've got sorrow to spare, I've got loneliness too
I've got blood on these hands that hold on to the truth
That I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I swore on the Bible not to tell a lie
But I've lied and lied
And I crossed my heart and I hoped to die
And I've died and died

But if it's true that you gathered my sin in your hand
And you cast it as far as the east is from the west
If it's true that you put on the flesh of a man
And you walked in my shoes through the shadow of death

If it's true that you dwell in the halls of my heart
Then I'm not just a fool with a fancy guitar
No, I am a priest and a prince in the Kingdom of God

I could go on...but go on...but I have too many!  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Our House...is a very, very, very fine house.


It was almost a year that the house was on the market.  We stashed our "stuff" in storage.  Lived with a "few" school things and just made due for the year.  We waited and waited and waited.  Would today be the day the realtor would call?  The call barely came.  In fact, the house only showed twice!  That's right…in almost 10 months we got the call twice!  UGH!  I looked at Mike one night and said, "I'm done.  Pull it off the market, get our stuff out of storage and let's just be here.  Clearly this is where we are.  Then, of course, it happened.  We found our dream house.  Well, my dream house.  It's growing on Mike.

It has the sweetest porch.  It practically begs you to sit and stay a spell.  There are the sweetest planters that look like rain boots that hold pink geraniums.  The front door is rounded.  Rounded like gnomes might live there.  It almost seems magical.  Once through the front door your eyes are immediately drawn to the wood ceilings and the floor to ceiling book shelves.  What a cozy evening I imagined.  That you would just pull a book off the shelf and sit and spend the evening reading and laughing.  The mantel was old.  The house was old…and charming.  The mantel was adorned with treasures.  It seemed like each treasure may have a story simply waiting to be told.  Old bottles, a hand held mirror, and a watering can overflowing with giant flowers.  The dining room is really the same room…just defined by a table.  A small china hutch with a pattern that seemed to have had this house in mind when it was created.  Yellow with pops of red.  Fresh flowers in an old window pane.  One word…charming.  I knew that I loved it, but then I walked into the kitchen.  I was so surprised to see granite countertops.  I never thought that such an unassuming house would boast such a practical beauty.  Perhaps I should have expected it.  The cabinets still needed a little bit of work, but  nothing that a weekend couldn't handle.  The floors seemed to be freshly installed and were a color that would keep dirt hidden on days when a busy mom couldn't get to them.  It was perfect.  There were nooks and crannies with arts and crafts creatively tucked away and I knew when I saw it that this was the house of my dreams.  It was small…would probably be termed "quaint" but I imagine that the family would fill it's walls with laughter and joy.  It would force the people fortunate enough to call it home to live so close that hiding from one another would be impossible.  Tucked away at the end of an unassuming road would give them a safe haven.  A soft place to land after a long day.  If only…wait…it is….it was my house all along.  

We never meant to stay here this long.  We moved in to get out of debt.  We were only passing through.  We were a family of 4 when we moved in, and now being a family of 6, we just felt like we had a muffin top.  When sweet Caroline was a mere six weeks old, I got a burst of energy and painted, packed up books and we had a sign placed in our yard.  Then we began to wait.  We waited patiently, for the most part, anyway.  I would get fed up, declaring that the house was insanely too small and that I couldn't wait until our new house.  Then I'd back down, (sleep) and realize that it could work, and that God doesn't withhold any good thing from those that are His.  Could this possibly be the best?  Could this house be His gift to us.  Yup. It could be.  In fact, it is.  I was dumbfounded.  I think I was surprised to realize that God is HUGE, but sometimes His best gifts are sort of smaller.  Perhaps "quaint" would be a better word. :) The lifestyle that is possible as we fill this house with precious treasures is from the Lord.  The relationships that are cultivated as 3 of us sit in a chair designed for 1 are priceless.  We have to keep short accounts because there isn't room to hide.  We have to share our space, or time…our closets.  Nothing is really "mine."  It really can't be.  Although, I will tell you that "I" got new countertops. So, here we are…finally home.  As I sit in my living room that is lined with our favorite friends (that's what I call my books) looking out into the woods that occupy hours of the kids' time, I couldn't be more full.  I couldn't feel more thankful that the Lord would be so merciful to us.  He spared us missing out on this.  We have gotten down right ruthless with our space.  I've painted and purged and Mike has sanded and assembled…and we stand amazed at the amount of space that we DO have.  The truth is, we are only passing through.  Where we feel like we are finally home, we still have a home being prepared for us.  This will certainly be just fine until then.

If you are in the area and want to see what we've done and how it's working, please stop by and sit a spell.  

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Full?

The doors are opening and closing.  A freshly bathed and diapered baby is running from room to room squealing with delight...after only screaming at me for the better part of 2 days.  The older kids were excited to "renovate" their "play" room and Julia declared that the time (5 minutes) she spent with Caroline were the best of her life!  The dishes are almost finished, JJ Heller is reminding me that "I am loved and I am free...I believe"  and Mike and I will continue our 007 Marathon.  Drumsticks after spaghetti and I chatted with one of my favorite people for over an hour...UNINTERRUPTED...tired, full...and full.  Thank you Jesus for this racket, this endless noise and dirt.  The aprons while little ladies play "Mom" knowing that all too soon, they won't be playing.  My house will settle down, and the dishes won't pile up because we aren't feeding so many mouths.  The phone calls will be theirs...today, right this minute...I am giving thanks for this fullness.  This little house bursting at the seams with joy overflowing all because of a long walk, an obedient Son, and a promise kept.  3 days later...where is the sting?  Victory is mine and I can be thankful in all this mess...this work...the handwriting and math and lunch and dinner and dog and the list goes on.  I do pray, friend, that wherever you are today, you are able to see His mercies new every single day.  His love poured out amidst the fuss.  His grace abundant in your failings and His voice singing over you when you finally lay your weary head down for a quick rest between days.  Blessings.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

I am not snoring!!!!  I grew up here, in the dry, hot, south where we are always in a drought.  We try not to complain when it rains.  So, I'm not complaining.  The other night we were on our way home from soccer practice.  I had 2 little ladies with me, one of them a tad disappointed that her practice was cancelled due to some pretty ominous storm clouds paired with streaks of lightening.  By the time we were in our car the rain was falling heavily and I could tell it would be messy.  It was that sort of rain that made it difficult to see and the girls realized that.  From the back:

"Wow.  Mom, it is raining so hard!"
"Can you even see?"

Without thinking I said, "Well, it's hard to see, but I know my way home."  I repeated that to myself.  "It's hard to see, but I know my way home."  I have felt a little pushed in this summer.  My heart has just been heavy and when we have come face to face with sin, we've worked through it, but it's been hard for me to really walk in the truth.  I know the truth, I just have had to constantly ask the Lord to help me overcome my unbelief.  I can't always see when the rain is coming down so hard.  I do however, know The Way Home.  I cannot tell you how I have been able to rejoice in God my Savior.  Really seeing my need all the more, and the need that my little baby sinners have as well.  As they get older and are developing their own walks with the Lord I have found it rather challenging, but so rich, to point them to the bleeding wounds...and the empty tomb.  

I'm looking forward to this school year because there are so many things I've seen that need to be different.  So many areas that I need to defend, so many areas that I need to enjoy...and I can because even when it's really coming down and life feels cumbersome and tough...I do, indeed, know my way home.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

You are such a pathetic loser!

Harry: So you got fired again, eh? 
Lloyd: Oh yeah. They always freak out when you leave the scene of an accident, you know? 
Harry: Yeah, well, I lost my job too. 
Lloyd: Man, you are one pathetic loser. No offense. 


We've been moving into a house that we never moved out of!  How crazy is that?  Mike has spent his vacation (I don't think we should call it that) building floor to ceiling shelves in our living room to house all of our favorite treasures (our books) and we are finding space here and there to make our space functional and beautiful.  So, we have been working!  The other day we were cleaning out under our bed and Mike found his old VHS tapes...that sounds like they were bad...they were old movies that he recorded when he would have cable at random...wow that sounds even worse!  Bill Cosby Himself (so funny) So I Married and Ax Murderer and Dumb and Dumber...just to name a few.  So, we snuggled up the other night to watch a fuzzy Dumb and Dumber.  The exchange between Harry and Lloyd over losing their jobs cracks me up.  How does Lloyd NOT believe that HE is a pathetic loser?  Only poor Harry.  I know how...the plank and the speck.


It's the ole' I can see your sin because I have the same stinkin' mess going on in my own heart.  I can see the faults of others pretty clearly and as soon as the Lord reveals their sin to me (when I've got my judgement face on) I realize, "Oh man, it must be in my life too!  UGH!"  Recently we've been dealing with a lot of sin in our home.  I know, huge surprise!  Just spirits of ingratitude and always wanting just a little teeny bit more than what they've been given.  The boy has been being the typical older brother that ANNOYS the stew out of us sisters.  Just blah.  Really...blah.


How do we miss it?  How is it that we forget so quickly what we smelled like when we were pulled out of the mud and mire?  How quickly does the cross only apply to those that are really bad off?  Prostitutes and drug dealers are the only ones that really need a Savior.  Not gossipy, controlling, church folk.  I get to a place where everything is going well and I start calling others pathetic losers (obviously not to their face! DUH) not realizing the irony of the statement.  It takes one to know one doesn't it?  


You know what else?  It goes the other way, too.  When my sin is all too evident and I know my need, I can see that someone else is redeemed and an heir to the throne of God, but I act like an orphan begging for scraps outside the temple.  That is probably just as unhealthy.


You know the solution?  The Gospel.  All day every day.  The Gospel.  The truth that I have pathetic loser tendencies and without Christ I'm on the road to dumb and dumber.  With Christ I am more than victorious and a child of the Living God.  I was bought at a price and redeemed by the Son.  So, if you know me and you ever think I'm judging you...you can remind me of the stank that I came from.  You can point me to the Cross where my own sin and sorrow were laid down, then let's walk to the tomb.  Let's look inside.  Let's search like Mary did to find her precious Lord.  Let's listen for Him to call us by name and let's glory in the truth that we are not who we were...and it's all for His glory.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stopped

I just sat down for a minute in the quiet to check my e-mail and my reader and I got stopped.  The Desiring God post, "Jay and Katrina Didn't Waste Their Lives" stopped me in my tracks.  Please read the article.

I felt like I had a lot to say, but really, I just want to be fully alive like these two Jesus followers were. I just don't want to waste my life.  Jesus...protect my heart from the lies of this world and help me to fully live, where I am, that I may shine like the stars in the universe. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Kitchen is Flooding

We came home from church and the kitchen was flooded.  "Well, I'm glad we came home before we went to Mom's."  Mike put his swimming trucks on and headed to the roof to clean the gutters.  That probably would have been easier in the sunshine...but wouldn't everything?  Sometimes it just rains.  We piled the towels on the floor, grabbed what we needed for a drop-in reception and dinner at Mom's.  Somehow we weren't all that flustered.  We just did it.  We just kept moving...even in the rain.

It felt like a really long day.  By 8:30 after some snuggling and reading the kids were finally in bed.  Although Mike and I liken bedtime to trying to keep lightening bugs in an open bucket! (That's what our crazy kids do!)  We bellied up to the table for our favorite summer past time...games and the Reba McEntire station on Pandora.  Country just feels good in the summer.  All the oldies rush back...George Strait (LOVE HIM), Tracy Lawrence (Loved him briefly) some Reba (Fancy don't let me down!)...maybe some Travis Tritt...good stuff!  So, I dragged myself from my comfy chair (here's George Strait now...dancing in my chair...he's got a fool-hearted memory) to the kitchen chair and remembered I never wiped up the floor where Big C ate...and then deposited all of her unwanted food onto the floor.  Unfortunately my dog doesn't eat his veggies either!  "UGGGG I never wiped that up."  This won't last forever. 

Yesterday I caught up with my friend Hazel from up the street. I've mentioned her before and I always leave her porch with new and refreshing perspective.  She raised 3 kids in her little house, buried her husband 25 years ago, and always has time for us to sit on her porch.  Listening to Hazel talk about her children's children gives me that dose of "all life is a vapor" that I need.  She's the one that told me when I was pregnant with Ella that "the Lord always makes room for more children."  How right she was.  We are trying to remove those things that are taking up too much space and bring some order and beauty to our little abode, and it's exciting and daunting.  Mike has a HUGE task for the summer, building shelving for our living room (which is really our house) and it keeps raining. I don't feel like it's going to stop, and we sort of need the sunshine.  But, what are we to do?  In the south when it rains this is what everyone says, "Whew, would you look at that rain. Well, we sure needed it."  We always do.  We always need the rain, but it sure makes the sunshine brighter! 

So, to keep from rambling...sometimes it just rains.  We have to just keep moving.  This is a tough time of parenting.  The constant training and teaching, but then I look at my older children who are growing and changing and becoming such cool people to be with and I see the Son-shine.  The wonderful thing is that He sends the rain because we need it.  We need the rain to water our ground so that all that is green can survive.  He is planting things in our lives that will not survive without the rain.  So, we keep moving and growing and thriving and enjoying our baby and growing children amidst the mess and chaos and noise because the rain is just as much of a blessing as the sun.

Isa 45:8 -
"You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it.
Ho 6:3 - We sang this verse in Africa, and I have always loved it!
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It is HIS Name!!!!!

"Babe, what are you going to do?  Are you going to have them copy the map on paper or trace it? Do you have a song for that memory work?  I'm just saying...people are paying for this and they have expectations!" 

Last week was our Classical Conversations Parent Practicum.  Mike was asked to teach the GeoArt camp and he happily accepted.  I happily went to work micromanaging my perfectly capable husband.  I wrote the lesson plans, made the copies, checked out books...I was going to be sure the week was a success and one more teeny tiny thing...make sure that I looked good.  Yikes!  My flesh is nasty, but as usual, I learned a little something.

At the end of the week the camps come in to give a quick sampling of all they have learned. Mike's group was going to do their chant of the highest peaks on each continent (do you know them?).  So, he walked up and a few friends looked at me and grinned.  I was excited.  So they did their little thing and they really did a fantastic job.  It was great!  My one friend commented on how he had to live up to the name and I laughed and responded, "Yeah, I told him, I've made a name for us...you better not let the Wessner name down!"  HAHAHA  I also muttered something about having "pumps to fill" even though I don't often wear pumps.  Anyway...they did a great job and he didn't let the Wessner name down. 

Here's why he didn't let the name down...it's his name too!  In fact, now that I think about it, it was his name first!!!  Jiminey Christmas!  He's been a Wessner a lot longer than I have been.  He knew Ruth and Arthur, those brave souls that raised 5 boys in a Pennsylvania row home.  He knew the Wessner's that I named my children after, and never met.  He was raised a Wessner.  He has Wessner ears and brains.  He knows the name. 

I've carried the name for almost 12 years.  I carried another name.  I know the power of a name. I know that when you have a good name it's worth far more than riches. I  know that if you do something good folks remember your name.  I know if you do something horrible...folks will never forget your name.  I carry the Wessner name, and I also carry someone else's name.

Every time I mention Him, I am claiming His name.  I find myself telling Him what I told my husband.  "Don't screw up.  People are watching you. I've made a good name for you, don't you go messing it up by not showing up and showing off!"  I love the Lord, He says the same thing, "Ali, sweetheart, it was my name first."  HE is the One that has made a name for himself.  He should be telling me not to screw things up or He'll look like an idiot...not the other way around.  Still, I count my awesomeness as so helpful to God.  He totally needs me and is so glad to have me on His team.  Really?  Nah...He LETS me play on His team.  He is glad to have me...but only because of Christ.  Not because I really bring a bunch to the table, in fact, if I bring ANYTHING it's because He gave it to give.  So, as we've struggled with our house (not selling) and figuring out what we're supposed to do, I return to His Name.  His Name above all names.  The Name that saves and spares and redeems and refreshes.  The Name that was and is and is to come.  The Name that was the same yesterday, today and forever.  The Name that I carry.  The Name that was sealed in me through the Spirit poured out on me guaranteeing my inheritance. 

So, I rest.  Rest in the fact that His Name hems me in behind and before.  I rest knowing that His Name will be exalted above all other names.  I rest that I carry that name and because of Him I can't screw anything up.  His Name is sovereign, not mine. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mostly Dead

"It seems that your friend here is only mostly dead."  I love the Princess Bride.  Miracle Max makes this assessment of Westley after he has spent some time in the Pit of Despair.  I think for most of my Christian life I have been only "mostly dead."

That's weird isn't it?  Christians should be fully alive.  Hap-hap-happy all the time, right?  Well, yes, but there is one problem, we have to die first.  Even weirder, the Bible says that we were dead in our sins and that Christ brought us to life.  Hmmm  Certainly great blog material for someone way more skilled that myself.  Here's what I'm thinking.

Galatians 2:20 states
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Last night I was hanging out with Sweet Caroline while the rest of my family was enjoying an end of the year musical at my husband's school.  I have spent time in many lobbies while the rest of my family sat in their seats, enjoying the performance, but I haven't always been glad about it.  I realized the other night that I didn't mind.  Not only that, but I was thankful for the opportunity.  I thought, "I think I'm finally dead."  That's a funny thought probably to some of you.  But not to me.  Most of you know I became a Christian in college at the age of 19 and a very familiar phrase was, "Die to the vision."  We all had grandiose ideas of what we thought God could and should do in our lives, and more often than not we had to "die to the vision."  Mostly because our vision was poor. 

As I became a Mom I thought that I had to die to a lot of stuff.  Bikinis for sure!  Quick trips to the store for those last minute dinner items...or a dinner out without planning!  Movies...sleeping in....the list goes on and on!  I found myself getting frustrated regularly when things just didn't go my way.  A nap was missed, or someone woke the sleeping person.  Company stayed too long, or didn't come at all.  You name it. I couldn't take it.  I wasn't dead.  I still had my own agenda. I had my own ideas about my days.  I love Jesus.  He has kept me by His side since He called me to Himself, but I am a slow learner and have been dying a slow death.  My dreams for my house, for my children, for my spare time...they aren't mine. If I have been crucified with Christ...and He lives in me...I must surrender, "die to the vision."  Something amazing is happening though.  The more dead I become, the more alive I feel.  I'm not so quick to freak out when I hear someone stir early.  Or when someone doesn't eat, or eats too much or needs a bath...or a book...whatever it is.  God is orchestrating all of my days.  All of the days of my children as well.  I can sit down and stop conducting. I can rest...I can die.

So, I'm still working it out in my head and in my life.  But I think being "mostly dead" is where most of us live.  We put in our two cents, sigh, roll our eyes, and struggle to rest...forgetting that the LIFE is found in The Death.  Wow.  Where else does death mean life, but in Christ? 

So, this Mother's Day when I'm still "working" I'm going to dwell on dying.  I'm going to rejoice at the opportunity to lay down my life for someone else and take joy in celebrating the Life that God has given me.  How about you?  Have you spent any time in the "pit of despair?"  Are you, like Westley, only "mostly dead."  Or are you completely dead with the only Life coming from The Only Life? 

Hmmm.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

COME AND GET IT!!!

"Good Humor ice cream!  Cold soda, yogurt, froze fruit, candy and bubblegum!  Good Humor! Over 80 different kinds of ice cream!"  Then the bells again and then, "COME AND GET IT!!!"

I have no idea what his name was, where he was from or where he is now, but the "Good Humor Man" is probably one of my favorite childhood memories.  I had the privilege of spending my summers on Long Beach Island (that would be the Jersey Shore) and I don't remember a year without the familiar sound of the bell and the voice.

The shore would be littered with brightly colored umbrellas and hard working folks from the tri-state area and beyond who were looking for a little break from monotony of their everyday.  The ice cream men would come throughout the day and ring their bells from the top of the street.  Most of them carried a bell that was made up of many bells and they had a more annoying chattering sound when shaken.  Some of them would holler at the sandy folks and others would simply expect their bells to do the work for them.  Not him.

He was much older, and weathered.  The white hair that he had made a ring around his head leaving the top at the mercy of the sun.  I don't remember him having any facial hair, maybe a mustache.  Never clean shaven.  He wore a white ribbed tank top and cut off blue jean shorts.  His socks would pull up to mid shin and his loafers kept his feet safe from the sun warmed sand. He carried a cigar in one hand and the bell in the other.  You could hear him walking from the road.  He carried one bell.  Similar to the kind in a hand bell choir, but one that worked much harder...or was harder worked rather.  As he found his footing in the sand the bell would ring in time with his steps.  We all knew it was him.  You could heads look up and toward the street, checking, was this the guy?  Then he'd begin ringing it....ring a ding a ding a ding a...then the mantra, "Good Humor ice cream!  Cold soda yogurt, froze fruit, candy and bubblegum!  Good Humor! Over eighty different kinds of ice cream!" Then there would be a ringing interlude, if you will, and then, "COME AND GET IT!"  Boy would we.  We'd all grab our dollars with our sea wet hands and scramble to get in line for what seemed to be the best ice cream ever!

As you approached the truck you could hear him talking with all of the kids that had rallied around to choose their memory.  Mine?  A snowcone.  Almost every time.  It seemed to last the longest.  He'd say things like, "And for you sweetie?"  He had a heavy accent, one that was so wonderful to me.  It was rough and gentle.  Spending my school months in GA made me enjoy listening to accents that didn't start with "y'all."  He was kind...he was the Good Humor man. 

Our school year just finished and for the end of the year "party" we decided to have an ice cream man come to the church where we meet (my kids are homeschooled, it was the last day of Classical Conversations or homeschooling group that we meet with once a week).  We didn't tell the kids and they went nuts!  Imagine getting to "order" what you want from the ice cream man.  This man looked nothing like my "man" but he was good...and we all recounted our ice cream truck memories.  This made me think of another call to "COME AND GET IT!" that is found in Isaiah 55
1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor."

Everytime I hear this verse I think of those scattering and scampering up to that truck.  Buzzing with excitement.  We waited on him.  We recognized his voice.  We wanted what he was selling.

Are you thirsty?  Are you broke and hungry?  I want to invite you to come and drink of the water that will satisfy.  Come, buy and eat...that your soul may live.  Jesus is certainly more precious and valuable than any ice cream man, but this summer when you hear the music and your kids start clammoring for his wares...indulge them and then while their smiles are fresh and they are dripping with memories...share this with them.  The One who calls us out of our poverty and into His splendor...satisfying us to the end of the age with His unfailing love.

COME AND GET IT!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A New Language



When people find out that our son is taking a Latin class, they inevitably ask, "Why Latin?" It is a very common question, and doesn't bother us, but we always answer the same, "Because Latin is the foundation for practically every other language." Anson even asked one time why he was taking a Latin class. He came to the conclusion that he could be a missionary to "Latin America!" Now that is just plain funny!

Where I am not taking a Latin class, I am learning a foreign language. It's a language of Empires and Storm Troopers. It's a language of long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Guess what it is? Star Wars!!! Lego has been kind enough to develop building sets and websites for movies that make boys crazy! For a few years he's been building Y-wing fighters and collecting Anakin minifigures. It was probably a few months ago he was showing me a "Boba Fatt" guy and some weird talking alien and I thought, "I can't understand a word coming out of his mouth. I've got to get this language." So, I told Mike I needed to be trained. I would be his "Padawan." If you will.

We started small. Mike decided that Anson would watch the movies in chronological order, not the order that the movies were made. For those of you who don't know, the old movies (the ones that came out when we were kids) are actually the last 3 installments. The new movies (that came out at the end of the 90's and early 2000's) are of the beginning...you see who Darth Vader is and why he chose the Dark Side of The Force. So, that's where we started. Mike was going to watch these first, and then decide when and if Anson could watch them. That was fine with me. Until I couldn't talk to my boy. So, we watched the first one about a month ago. I enjoyed it, but wasn't crazy about it. Then a night or two later, we watched the second one and I took notes! A few of my notes, "Anakin has a lot of potential, but it's not harnessed. He is unwise. Why is Queen Amidala now a senator? Is Dooku a bad guy? Anger and fear lead to the Dark Side." Anson was quite impressed. I enjoyed the second one. So, then we were up for the third one. Anson will not be watching this one, and I will say of the 4 I've seen so far, this is the hardest to watch. It broke my heart. So much evil was present and almost all of it was for personal gain. So, last night we finished the 4th (we started it a few nights ago and I fell asleep). I enjoyed it and look forward to watching the 5th soon. So, why?

We request that our children listen to us. We request (demand) that they do what we say and do it sooner than later. When they are younger it's all about training and then when they get older, something happens. They develop interests that we may or may not care about. We enjoy the time alone while they are lost in their world for hours at a time and count ourselves lucky. Then, they grow up a bit more and they don't want to talk to us about those things that really matter. How did that happen? We were doing so well. There was peace and everyone was happy. Right? I think we lose our kids when we check out on those things that interest them. We have to earn the right to speak into their lives. They don't just hand that over. I'm watching Star Wars and talking about light sabers and siths because I want to talk about dating and marriage. I'm re-watching pod-races because I want to talk about finances. I'm going somewhere with this. It's not because I want to know why Lego has priced the Death Star at $139.00 (although that does interest me) it's that when there are matters of life and death, I want to be able to reach my son. The only way he's going to care about what I have to say later, is if I care about what he has to say now.

It's no small task raising children. We must be vigilant and engaged. We must do what it takes, no matter what that might be in order to stay involved in the lives of our children. The Dark Side beckons...may the Force be with us.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Not so Pinterested.

You're in!

I'm excited to invite you to join Pinterest, a social catalog. I can't wait to have you join our little community.

To create your Pinterest account, click the link below and push the blue "FB Connect" button. You can also join with Twitter.

http://pinterest.com/invited/?email=aliwessner@yahoo.com&invite=1c983258
Pinterest Etiquette: Try to...

Be Nice!
Be Creative. The best pinboards mix products, art, recipes and images from all across the web. Try not to pin everything from a single source.
Give Credit. If you blog about an item you found on Pinterest, it's nice to credit your fellow pinners by linking back to the original pin.
If you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Email us at hi@pinterest.com or follow us on twitter @pinterest. We also have an iPhone app.

Happy pinning!

- Ben & the Pinterest Team


How exciting is that!!! I'm in! They like me. They'll have me...there is just ONE itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny problem...no Facebook for me. You have to have a Facebook account to join, and I'm not going to join Facebook in order to join Pinterest. Are they BFF's? I suppose that since so many people are "connected" that it's their business and what not...so it's not all sad. I can still check out pins, just can't create a pinboard. Oh well. I'll just look things up, or maybe I'll just not jump into that black hole of time, because even without an account I can really get sucked in. Mike can too! So, that's how all that went down, for those of you who were waiting, hoping, and praying that I'd get in...I did...1 point for the average, run of the mill Mama...but 1 point for the super big social networking world that is taking over the for real world. Well, at least I got invited.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

You've got to be kidding me!!!

So,I finally decide that I'll join a social site...maybe it's social...and I've been put on a flippin' waiting list. Waiting for an invitation. I'm sorry is it 6th grade again and the cool kids are gathering at the cool kid house and I'm waiting, hoping, holding my breath that I'll get invited. Good grief. All I wanted to do was "pin" two things. I wanted to pin the AMAZING curl your hair with a headband and...no I guess that was it. Just create my own personal pin board, for fun, before I worked on our budget. Instead I get this super nice e-mail, here you read it...
Hi!

Thanks for joining the Pinterest waiting list. We'll be sure to send you an invite soon.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter. You can also explore a few pins.

We're excited to get you pinning soon!

- Ben and the Pinterest Team

Yeah, Ben, and the Pinterest Team...what am I waiting for? Are you checking my cool points...looking me up on Facebook? You won't find me there...this is the first site I've decided to join, but now I don't know. Maybe I won't...maybe I'll boycot you like I boycot Facebook, i-phones and cable! Maybe that'll show you how us normal average folks feel about a waiting list. Maybe you can pin this!

Off to do my budget...no waiting list there. No, standing room only...just me and my trusty pen and paper telling my money where to go. For real style. Nothing virtual about that. Just full on, real live work. Thanks for the diversion, Pinterest, thanks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just a thought

Today on the way home from church I had the girls and Mike had the boy. We don't typically take two cars, but I had to get some hair done and Mike needed to teach, so we followed behind. Anyway...on the way home we pulled up next to a car that was clearly LOVIN' the music. She was dancin' and singin' and so I sort of whispered to myself (I don't have a quiet whisper), "Let's see what she's listenen' to." I rolled the window down (what should we call that now that we don't actually "roll" the window down? Shall we call it, what, buttoning it down?) Julia heard me and she giggled and we listened. We couldn't quite get the words but we loved the beat. We even decided that we'd use it to memorize our next Catechism question (Westminster Shorter question number 20) but now we can't remember it. It was, however, super in the moment.

So, here's my thought. Do people want to hear my music? Not my for real music, although Andrew Peterson and JJ Heller are easy on the ears and let's NOT forget about John Denver. I mean the music of my life. Do people see me dancing and singing and wonder what I'm listening to? Do they wonder what makes me move and live and have my being? Do they want what I want? Do they button their window down to hear my music? I don't know. I hope so. I'll be aware of it. And...I'll play it louder so they hear the words, "There is but ONE name under heaven, whereby we must be saved." Now if that isn't freedom rock I don't know what is! Turn it up, friends!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Little Child Will Lead Them

"Mom, at the last minute I put dollars in the bag." Julia softly and carefully shared her act of bold love from the back seat. "You did?" "Yup. I put a 10, a 5, and a 1...that's, let's see, 16 dollars." So it was her all along.

Our director issued a lost change challenge to help with the cost of our dear friend's adoption. Our whole Classical Conversations community brought in loose change to contribute. At the end of the day we were counting it, and folks were commenting on the dollars in our bag. I wasn't paying much attention to much and had no idea where the dollars came from, but knew it wasn't me. I brought change. It was a competition so we were all laughing that someone broke the rules. Our community raised a whopping $339.00 to bring little Zoe Amaris home and I certainly think that's nothing to sneeze at. That was, predominately change! Then the dollars.

I wasn't sure what to say. I felt like she had been so kind and selfless. It's not like she gets money everyday, we're certainly not handing it out! "What made you want to put dollars in at the last minute, Jules?" She was gazing out the window and almost whispered, "Well, I put some change in, and it wasn't that much and something just didn't feel right." In my minds eye I can see her reaching into her little wallet, her little savings to participate in a cause that she believes in. Bringing a little one home. Where did she get that sort of generosity? I didn't even feel like I could be proud...because I didn't do anything. I felt humbled that I get to be a part of her life. Honestly, I felt like I had to give her money back or repay her or something. But, wouldn't that totally undo the work that God began? Doesn't He say that all the believers came together and gave all that they had so that no one was without. She commented that when we meet Zoe for the first time she'll know that she played a part in bringing her home. Imagine that day. When that entire family is united for the first time and all of the people that will rally around so full of love because we've been talking about her, calling her by name...loving her before we even laid eyes on her. And Julia just wanted to be a part of that. How about you?

This weekend we were part of a Trot to Adopt fundraiser and I totally dropped the ball and neglected to get sponsors and while I was standing in this crowd of excited families I thought, "I robbed folks." There are bigger things going on around us. Bigger than my piles of laundry and my little broken and dirty world. There are families to be put together...children to be brought home. Chairs to be filled and beds to be "tucked in." So, for those of you who would like to contribute to the Wilkerson's, please head over via the link below and chip in. Maybe all you have is change...it adds up. Maybe you have some dollars...those add up too. They have been on this journey for a long time and have asked a lot of people. So, I'm asking you. Maybe you would rather give to someone that you know, so that you can,like Julia see the little one and share in their life knowing that you played a small part. I just want to encourage you to share. Jesus will certainly make up the difference.

This is the the link, I was told that the donation part will be up for a week.

This is a link to Audrey's blog with a sweet little video with the big brothers hoping to bring their sister home...SOON!
Have a great day!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

He loves me.

I remember when I realized that he loved me better than I loved him and when I finally found rest in that fact. I knew that he would love me like Jesus loved the Church. Selfless and beautiful even though my heart was wounded and incomplete. My heart was still tangled with another love. A young love that was strong and real. He loved me knowing that he wasn't my first love. He loved me knowing that the ghosts in this town sometimes bump into my life, catching me off guard and throwing me off kilter. Then there was the breakthrough. The confession that set me free and changed my view of marriage. I shared that I had been, for 5 years, silently mourning the loss of my best friend. The relationship that God called me to lay down and never pick up again broke my heart. He listened to me cry and pulled me even closer. How bold is his love? How is that possible? Since that time we have welcomed more babies and more adventures and still he loves me better. He is kinder and gentler and more generous when he scoops ice cream. He is tender when I am bruised and firm when I am doubtful. He laughs with me and trusts me. So, today when the dog rolled in poop...AGAIN, I thought, "I'll let Mike deal with that when he comes home." It caught me. Really? He's been gone all day, I'm going to dinner with friends and I'm going to leave him with the 4 kids and a poopy dog? After all he has done to love me well? So, I will bathe the dog and something else...everyday he eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and for the most part he makes that himself. He doesn't love packing his own lunch. Neither do I. Couldn't I do that, though? Couldn't that small act of kindness show the man of my life that I'm thinking of him. When he comes home and finds his sandwich made and ready, would that bless his heart? More importantly, would that lead to greater acts of kindness that would preserve my marriage and our love for one another? I bet it could. I bet it will. So, along with other random resolutions I will make one in particular. I will pack his lunch. I will not let go first when he stops me in the kitchen to hug me and tell me that he loves me. I will not believe that anything is more important that the institution of marriage. I will receive his sweet and unconditional love. Have you seen marriages crumble around you? I have. Have you seen the enemy's attach on the Church in this area? We are hardly different than the rest of the world. How about you? Any small acts of kindness that will communicate how thankful you are for the man God gave you? The world is watching us. Waiting to see a difference. Let's give it something to talk about!