Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Caring for the Sick Ones

She's finally seeing the fruit of generosity, though she might not know it yet. From the first crossing of the threshold, big one has set the standard of giving. Bring Sissy's blankie. Find Sissy's passie. Carry Sissy's bottle to the sink. Share favorite toys with her new favorite person. She cultivated a relationship of caring. Now Sissy's responding in kind.

Bunch of sicko's yesterday. The BRAT diet and pedialyte trying to calm upset stomachs. Small one's been the longest sufferer. But when big one tripped and caught her fall with her face, small one raced to find Lambie for comfort. During afternoon pit stop, small one snatched both bottles from me and marched off to find her sister, ready to share the spoils. I still smile reflecting on how they care for each other.
Caring starts at the top. Tired from hopping out of bed to clean up sick, a migraine brewing from the lost sleep, self-pity and self-interest threatened to run the day. They learn caring and selflessness at home from mom and dad who learn from Christ. He was never too tired for the sick. I don't need to be either.

Food might not be for comfort. ButI think when sick, comforting food speed healing. My mom always made spaghetti and clam sauce. To this day, every time my nose runs, I start graving garlic and seafood. DH ate chicken noodle soup. Classic. Since he was the really sick, I set about making chicken noodle soup with no noodles and no chicken. An exercise in culinary creativity.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In the Beginning... was the Resurrection

I see the Garden in a little girl's eyes. She hurls the telling book from her lap when I poke my head in her room. Must hide the evidence of a nap time escape. Her eyes all fear over whether the lie worked. Just like her first mom, she covers her sin.

We kneel at her bed. Not a time for the rod. The heart is sick this time. The extra Boynton book doesn't matter. The heart that wants to hide her sin, cover it herself, avoid confession and the cross - that matters. I can't fix hearts, so I turn to the only one who can. We pray.

We pray for Jesus to cover our sins with His blood. For God to search our hearts and know our anxious thoughts. For humble honesty. Her words are more simple. Heavenly Father, I sorry I covered my sin. Thank you for Jesus. Amen! Hands thrown high. Her brow relaxes in a smile. The cross brings peace with the Father.

And is it coincidence that I'm reading Genesis 2-3 when I hear the bump that brings me to the great cover up? Surely not.

God covers perfectly.

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

Eating brought death. For Adam and Eve to continue living, something else had to die. In this case, an animal to provide clothes. In the overall picture of eternity, Christ Jesus our Lord to provide holiness before an almighty God. As the very first sin is committed, God demonstrates His plan of redemption for mankind.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

God's redemption is so much bigger and farther reaching than we can credit in one day or week or life time. Everyday we uncover before him to realize redemptive power in our lives and the scope of God's work in us.

Friday, February 24, 2012

do one... Lent

I'm late to post about Lent. Two days down. But the post didn't materialize yesterday. Migraine halo around most of my memories. My thoughts never composed. Even today, I'm not promising brilliance, even coherence. Please show grace. My head is still fuzzy from a day and night of pain and strong drugs.

"See one. Do one. Teach one." The learning strategy of Jesus with the disciples. See the God-given Truth. Live the Good News. Spread the Gospel. Repeat. Over and over until no one extinguishes without hearing.

I love to see, hear, learn. Let me read for hours. Listen to a dozen podcasts. Debate as long as the coffee is still warm. I love to tell people what I've learned, pass on truth. Where I fail: doing. Much easier to identify truth for others, rather than apply it to my own heart. I am the idiot with the log in her eye trying to point out specks.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

I don't want to observe Easter this year. Watch it come and go. I want to do. Make Easter my life. Lent, fasting and meditation, a daily reminder to set my face toward Jerusalem. Luke 9:51

As a child, we practiced, and I missed the point, so decided it was pointless. I assumed the practice, not my heart, must be flawed.

But I was wrong. Lent is meant to prepare for Easter, to remind and celebrate Christ's final weeks on Earth so that the Resurrection doesn't pass by, just another Sunday.
 Our mantel piece reminders are in place to help our family walk toward the Cross. The weekly meditations and readings are taken from the Mosaic Bible.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Offering Dirty Hands

Hold-a my hand, Mommy.

We sit at the lunch table. Her chubby fingers reach out. All I see is unnaturally orange mac and cheese. A mess ready to spread from one person to another.

My detrimentally practical side spoke first. The side of me that would ask Jesus to stop teaching long enough to eat my gluten free vegetarian meal. No sweetie. Look at your hands. Not until we clean up.

A holy voice questioned Is that really most important to you? Avoiding a cheese mess at the price of holding her hand? What does that teach her about her Father? Clean up first. Scrub off that sin. Then I'll love. Then you can enter my presence.

Seeking to undo damage I'm so sorry Baby. Please, can we hold hands right now?

Her sticky fingers wrap around mine, squeezing cheese and pasta glue into cracked skin. She looks in my eyes. I like you, Mommy. So quiet I might have missed it.

I like you, too Baby.  

We hold hands, and I sing silently:

Come ye weary, heavy laden, lost and ruined by the fall.
If you tarry til you're better, you will never come at all. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Reinvigorating Strength

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort...

Comfort - I think of my sister. Years of waiting to marry the man she loves. Sitting in Panera at a tall table with bottomless coffee and an egg souffle. She pours out her frustrations; I nod, murmur understanding. This-too-shall-pass speak. At ten, we part. Sis to face another week of waiting; me to send up a quick prayer and carry on until next week... when we have the same breakfast.

Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God...

Was that a comfort? She felt better in the immediate. So yes, to some extent. But God comfort? In all affliction comfort?

For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too...

Comfort. Parakaleo. To be reinvigorated with strength. To call one alongside for help or aid. To give new heartsource

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Shallow sympathy nods over coffee don't hand out new, reinvigorated hearts. My unthinking murmured "yes" does not point back to the Father. How often have we heard (or said) "I just want to know that I'm not the only one who feels this way?" Really? Is that all we need? What about Godly hope for his glory and our righteousness?

My dear friend speaks Godly truth when my courage flags. She never lets me hang up without directing me to the all powerful Word of God. The only true power to transform my heart from one degree of glory to another 2 Corinthians 3:18.

I want to be that friend for others. A listening ear who gives true comfort, a transformed, empowered heart, rather than eased feelings. Be the friend to others that I want for myself.

Lord, please give me your holy words as I speak to my friends, that I might reinvigorate their strength. Let my faith be a comfort to those around me. I know you are faithful to complete a good work in and through me. Amen!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A New Look for Nap Time

First night in new beds

 Their eyes dance when they walk in the room, unsure what to study first. Small one stands on tiptoes trying to kiss the owls. Big one jumps and squeals: G-een bed! Pointed to the footboard: Ooh, my letter! She owns all "G's." They sit sideways, toes together, hands held, bouncing with excitement.

This might be our best project yet. We've made more complicated things, but never have we constructed more harmoniously. Plenty of artsy, painting work for me; plenty of power tool, woodwork for him. We finished just under $50 with furniture we really need. That's right, two beds for $50!!

The headboard and footboard are scrapped doors, abandoned to the overwhelming church set construction pile. Old doors are furniture genius. For $20 or less at a salvage yard or Habitat Restore, you can pick up solid, reclaimed wood. These had the bonus of really neat hardware, seen better here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Growing Together

The giggling started before daylight this morning. The soft squeal of a baby fully awake and ready to explore the quiet house. I illuminate my phone, 5:30. Around the screen glow, I see small one peeking around the corner of the bed, blanket pressed to cheek, smiling around her finger.

She giggles again and throws arms wide, run walking to arms she knows are waiting. I scoop her up, pressing foreheads close.

Not yet, Sissy Bug. Back to bed. Oh, I don't want to. Let's sneak downstairs while Daddy and big one sleep on. Cuddle under a lofty blanket. Pretend she's staying newborn and snuggly and I'm her favorite forever.

Tough parenting is putting your grinning toddler back in bed and shutting the door. She's still comprehending this rail-less bed, freedom and responsibility. Must stay the course.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Breaking Bread

Monday is bread baking day. Weekends always see the loaf nibbled to the heel. Monday morning, no leftovers because I don't cook Sunday. DH takes peanut butter and jelly, nostalgic lunch deserving a paper bag. By Monday afternoon, we always need bread.

Humanity is built on bread. Hand-ground pea flour "horse bread" to Sister Shubert's yeast rolls. Baked carbs are for the top of the food chain.

A gluten free diet merely means different expectations for bread. I make dense loaves that only need one slice per sandwich and stick to ribs. No crumbly rice bread for us.

My recipe journal - allows recipes to evolve

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Un-posted Projects

The MacBook, trusty grad school purchase, came to a grinding halt this week. I watched it lag, ignored its complaints Your startup disc is full. PLEASE, for the love of Steve, delete some files! and like the overworked Sewell horse, it finally dropped to its knees, unable even to run applications thanks to the burden of my photo library.

The beauty in my computer's darkest hour: I couldn't blog during the craftiest week of my entire life. I appliqued a tragically librarian sweater, made a hooded hippo towel, and built, painted and created decals for two toddler beds. All those bragging rights and no computer.

Painting a reclaimed door turned head board and dreaming up the amazing post I would write if I could, a verse from the sermon on the mount floated between brush strokes:

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the Earth. Matthew 3:5

The January blog revival wasn't on impulse. I prayed and labored under the idea of once again tackling a project that had turned on me twice. Blogging feeds my salivating pride.

Head bowed, I asked the Lord to block my posts if I could not write encouragement based from a humble heart. Meekness. Grace. Work done in the light that others might give glory to God. Not my brain. Not my sense of humor. Not my crafting or cooking or cute kids or any other lesser thing.

God blocked solid, obvious, complete, saving me from myself. Thank You! You search my heart and know my profound weakness. In omniscient wisdom, You establish my footsteps.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Practicing Hard Joy

This week is hard joy. Truth tested. I won't recite my tale of woe. It's much like any other series of simultaneous frustrations that culminate in a tired family finding grace a hard practice.

Joy must be tested. Hope must be unseen. Otherwise, how do I know where joy and hope come from? Do I have joy in the Lord or in His easy gifts? Is my hope in God's goodness or in my comfort?

In small group, we tossed around the tired, yet always appropriate question: Why do bad things happen to good people (to my cynical brain: why do good things happen to bad people)? That's an entire blog in itself. Not for today. What was said that stuck: God gives hard to chip away the sinful, self-loving parts so Christ shines through.

That's my week. God showered me with truth in January, opened up His word and poured blessings. February He asks: Did it stick? Was sin removed that Christ might reign?

Heavenly seeds fell, but on what soil?

Rocky soil? One joyous week of God's word, happy sprouts quickly shriveled and gone. A lesson that should have blessed my whole life withering from lack of care.

Weedy ground? Cares of life, overspent, over tired, crying baby, illness. God's true and beautiful word choked out by everything else screaming for my attention.

Rich soil? Accept truth and encourage growth through meditation. Recite memory verses through the migraine. Practice grace at end of failed nap time. Force roots deep and grounded.

Where does my joy come from?

Gwennan's Potty Chart - Stickers mark accidents verse successes. A chart for my parental goals. If I fail, does my joy fail? Am I worshipping Jesus or "successful Christian parenting"?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

On a slow Saturday morning

Big one has jet fuel in her veins this morning.
We count eggs in pancakes: one, two. Spoonfuls of baking powder and sugar: one, two. She folds in raspberries, lifting the fork up and over, mommy's hand directing hers. I cooking!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love Month

Babies went down early. Hubby and I pulled out paper and scissors - a morning surprise for our sweet girls. White snowflakes and red hearts, symbols of winter and love.

We woke before the sun, wandered downstairs, bellies growling for eggs. Tim and I smiled our secret to each other. Wait to see who notices first.

Standing in the kitchen, peeling a pomelo, feel the tiny one brush my leg as she races past to see what joy is taped to the window. She squeals a cry to her sister to enjoy what she's found. Big sis runs in. She's long past walking toward something exciting. Ooo, Pretty!

What is it? I ask as they stare.

She points to the big red heart. It's Daddy. That's how little girl daddies should be known.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Value of My Life

The me not tempered by hard taught self-control is angry and selfish. I serve with expectation; I give to receive. Why is no one else working? Why do I always get left with this mess?

But I account my life as of no value nor as precious to myself, if only I might finish the course and the ministry that I received from our Lord Jesus to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

Facing imprisonment and death and leaving friends, those Paul poured his very life into for years. My life means nothing; only God, only grace.

I repeat this verse as I scrub plates, late night grocery shopping, hardened dinner mess. My anger over the mess: me valuing my life, my time worth more than "their" dishes. The Spirit whispers, Let go the perceived value of your time. Honor me in this task. Seek me here.

My bitter heart melts. Mind stops counting the hours of work done without a thank you. I recall Gwennan in the car: Jesus come back in sky. Jesus come back any time. I want Jesus! and my soul sings.


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