Look What Crap I Found Under Henry’s Bed This Time

I have an 11-year-old boy. Anyone else out there have boys? Yes? Then this photo will not scare you at all. In fact, you will probably roll your eyes while thinking to yourself, “That’s all you’ve got?” No? Then look away! You don’t want to see what goes on here in these posts.

Actually, this is my first post in what will be a weekly series of photos I’d like to call “Look What Crap I Found Under Henry’s Bed This Time.”

We’ll start off with a relatively tame collection of said crap. But next week, don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Now, for scale, this week’s crap is presented to you in a full-size Halloween bucket.

What did I find? I’m glad you asked!

The haul included: half a sleeve of Ritz crackers, an empty theater-sized box of Dots candy, half a 16 oz. bottle of Dr. Pepper, a Halloween card, a bottle cap, a Nerf dart, about seven mini candy bar wrappers, a cat-sized bunch of dust/cat hair/dog hair, a fabric flower from a lei, a granola bar wrapper and a small handful of pebbles.

And before you ask, NO, our house does not look like it belongs in an episode of “Hoarders.”

Stay tuned to see what’s hiding under there next week!

underhenrysbed1

Cheese and Rice

Cheese and rice! It’s been over a year since I posted anything. That’s just not cool. The problem is, every time I think of something to write about I get distracted by some mundane daily task and then…well…here we are. LOTS has happened since we last spoke. Let’s see..in order:

  1. I got hired on at Lincoln full-time. WooHoo! Great job, but even greater colleagues.
  2. In August, my husband got a job..in Huntsville, Alabama..and moved in with my parents, who happen to live there, while the kids and I stayed home in Fort Wayne to get the house ready to sell.
  3. The house in Fort Wayne.. well..it still hasn’t sold! I’ll get back to that in a bit.
  4. We went ahead and put an offer on a house in Cullman, AL- my hometown. We got it, and he moved in solo in January.
  5. Lincoln…well, good old Lincoln…new VP..re-org..position eliminated..blah blah…(sad face)…no, we’re sorry, your job is NOT going to transfer to Alabama like we said…so there was that.
  6. House still not sold, job coming to an end..the perfect time to make the official move south and get the family back together again.
  7. April 19 we said good-bye to our Fort Wayne house and friends, with lots of emotional farewells and nostalgia.

So here I sit, in Cullman, in my new house which just happens to be RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the house that I lived in in high school, the house where we stood in the drive-way and said our good-byes to my parents 14 years ago when Graehm drove me off in a big U-Haul to our house in Fort Wayne.

fort wayne fort wayne 2

There is a word for this. I wouldn’t call it full-circle. That doesn’t capture its essence. I’ll have to think on that some more and get back to you…

The First Thanksgiving: A Joyful Hope

Re-blogged from my blog over at Christlinkd.com:thanksgiving

This year, I’m going to make it a point with my children to focus on the first Thanksgiving and the role that God had in it.

The First Thanksgiving

In September 1620, the Pilgrims left England for the New World. The trip took over two months and was very hard on the passengers (just over 100 people). Enduring the elements and the storms of the open sea, the Pilgrims held fast to their mission and relied on Divine Providence to survive.  They finally arrived in what is now Massachusetts at the end of November 1620. After several days searching for a suitable place to disembark, they chose what they called Plymouth Rock on December 11. Before stepping foot on land, they signed the Mayflower Compact, which is referred to as America’s first document of civil government. 

The Pilgrims leaned heavily on prayer, and that was the first thing they did upon arrival. Unfortunately, they were not ready for the realities of a Massachusetts winter, and almost half of them succumbed to starvation or sickness before the spring of 1621. It is said that at one point their daily food ration was down to five kernels of corn each. But then- Hope. A trading vessel arrived, and the Pilgrims traded beaver pelts for corn. In the summer of 1621, assisted by Native Americans, most notably Squanto, who had accepted Jesus and become a Christian thanks to a Spanish monk after being captured and sold into slavery in Spain, the Pilgrims’ crops were plentiful. Squanto taught them to grow corn, use fertilizer, kill deer and fish. Governor William Bradford decreed December 13, 1621 a day of feasting and prayer so that the colonists could show gratitude that they were still alive. It was a three-day feast! Of Squanto, Governor Bradford said that he was “a special instrument of God for good beyond their expectations.”

Below are the joyful words of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, describing the first Thanksgiving.

“Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as… served the company almost a week… Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted; and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet BY THE GOODNESS OF GOD WE ARE… FAR FROM WANT.”

I just love those words from Mr. Winslow so much! You can practically see him smiling when you read them. How joyous and grateful the Pilgrims must have been! They were faithful to God and He provided for them. What a great message to share with our kids as we gather around the Thanksgiving table this month, almost 400 years later! God’s love never changes.

Here are some of my favorite verses to share with your kids this Thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:1-6 – O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, in whose hand are the depths of the earth; the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

As Christians, we are to be thankful and should be joyous all throughout the year, not just for one Thursday in November, but doesn’t reading the story of the Pilgrims just make your heart smile? I know it does mine, and that’s what I’ll be sharing at the table this year.

Sources: http://christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g007.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/thanksgiving-Christian.html

Image Credit: www.journeyofworship.com

It’s Simple, Really…

grief2-300x298In my life, I’ve found that the saddest circumstances can be turned around with just one moment of truth. Whether it be the stagnation of a friendship, the loss of someone who is part of your heart, the falling apart of your marriage or a fight with someone you love, it really only takes one moment, one simple statement of pure, unfiltered truth to soothe that fissure down in the deepest part of us that opens up when all is just not quite right.

It’s simple, really…doesn’t matter if you’re the one whose soul needs mending or the one who holds that balm to make it all just a little bit more bearable.

“I love you, and I care about how this is affecting you.”

I’ve never read a self-help book, but I imagine that simple phrase is probably in more than a few. But don’t write it off as cheap psychobabble. Those 12 words, when spoken unselfishly, from the depths of the heart, have the power to reach out and bring someone back from the seemingly infinite depths of grief.

Grief is real. It is powerful, and it is damaging. It can become the filter through which we view everything else in our lives, and in that way it can destroy us from the inside. And remember,  the loss of a life-long friendship or the crumbling of a marriage can cause just as much emotional damage as the death of a loved one. Grief does not discriminate.

Take my advice, if you know someone who is hurting, say those 12 words to them, but only if you mean them.

And just think, if it’s you who’s watching your marriage fall apart at your feet, what those words might have the power to achieve. Maybe, just maybe, they could turn the ship around.

It’s simple, really…

Another School Year, Another Milestone

Image Credit: sheknows.com

Image Credit: sheknows.com

Re-posted from my blog over at christlinkd.com:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”.” (Isaiah 30:21)

“Before you know it, they’ll be graduating and getting married.”

That thought has been banging around in my head all evening. Those words were spoken by my mom earlier tonight as we chatted about my kids.

Whoa. Slow down. I’m not ready for all of that!

On Monday, my daughter and son will start fifth and fourth grades, respectively. I know everyone always opines, “Where did the time go?!” or some other variation of the same lament, but it is SO TRUE. I believe as adults our own recollections of our childhoods make those precious years seem so vast, like an eternity. And as parents, we’re struck with the cold hard truth that childhood isn’t really that long at all. If we’re lucky, we get 18 short years to have our kids at home, to watch them grow and to help shape them into the young men and women that God wants them to become.

Eighteen years. We’re gifted with eighteen years before our kids are adults in the world’s eyes. As we grow older we realize just how short eighteen years are.

Yes, I’m feeling a little sappy, a little melancholy about this. If you’ve read my earlier posts, you know a little about my kiddos- my daughter the gentle spirit and my son who is perpetually set on warp-speed, both in action and words. I want to wrap them both in a gigantic bear hug and not ever let them go. But we all know that can’t happen.

And so, we will faithfully pack their backpacks on Sunday night and we’ll prepare for the start of a brand new school year. I’ll fawn over them, and they’ll let me hug them and still think it’s cool to hang out with Mom for their last official night of summer vacation. And time will march along.

But all along I am praying. Praying for God to keep them close and for them to keep Him close in their hearts.

Tonight, as I was searching for scripture to help me, I found an amazing blog post over at The Hill Hangout.  I’ve excerpted a portion below:

 Philippians 4:6-7 – Lord, I pray that my children will not be anxious for anything as they go back to school. Call them to Yourself in prayer so that they will submit their requests to You with thanksgiving. Grant them Your peace in their hearts and minds in such great measure that they are blown away.

Colossians 3:23 – Father, help my children to understand that whatever work they do is not to please teachers or even to please their parents, but it is ultimately to please You, their Heavenly Father. They work for You and not for anyone else.

2 Corinthians 12:9 – Lord, grant that my children may rest in the fact that Your grace is sufficient to carry them through whatever comes their way. When challenges arise that are too much for them, You are carrying them by Your great strength.

Philippians 4:8 – Jesus, when we compare ourselves to others, it is easy to focus on ways we don’t measure up instead of focusing on what You have made us to be. In those moments, remind my children to focus on what is true, what is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and of good report. Lord, if there is anything good or praiseworthy, help her to meditate on those things.

Isaiah 43:2 – Lord, school can be overwhelming. Turn my children’s attention to the fact that when they pass through the waters, You are with them. When they go through rivers, they will not be overtaken. When they must walk through fire, You will be with them and will protect them from being scorched.

Isaiah 54:17 – Father, the Enemy is always on the hunt to harm us. I speak Your word over my child that says no weapon formed against them shall prosper and every tongue that rises against them in judgment shall be condemned. It is their heritage as Your servants and Your righteousness will protect them.

Matthew 5:9 – Jesus, Your teach us that those who make peace in troublesome situations will be called Your sons. May my children be instruments of Your peace in situations full of strife and arguing.

Psalm 133:1 – Lord, according to Your word, it is good and pleasant when Your children live together in unity. Father, give them godly friends at school with whom they are united. Provide friends who share the same beliefs and interests so that they will have strength in numbers to stand against the schemes and temptations of the Enemy.

Matthew 5:6 – Jesus, You teach us that You will bless those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. In this world there are many distractions that my children could follow. Place in them such a hunger and thirst for Your ways that they aren’t interested in the ways of the world. Consume their thoughts, hearts, and minds with Yourself that they might be filled with You.

Proverbs 1:5 – Father, Your word tells us that a wise man will hear and increase learning and that a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. Lord, give my children godly teachers who can provide wise counsel and inspire them to search after learning. And one they have learned, give them understanding in how to apply what they know. Make them wise.

Matthew 12:35 – Jesus, You tell us that a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, while an evil man out of the evil in his heart brings forth evil things. I have tried to store up good in my child’s heart. Help them to be ministers of good so that they reap goodness from others. Quickly show them ways in which they might be sowing evil so that they can correct their ways. Give them wisdom in dealing with other children whose ways aren’t full of goodness.

Romans 12:2 – Father, this world is not our final home. Help my children not to be conformed to this world. Help them to set their minds on the fact that we live this life for a greater purpose than entertaining ourselves. Grant that they could be so gospel-minded that they aren’t swayed by the ways of the ungodly, but that they would always live with a crystal clear focus on winning this world to Your kingdom.

 

 

 

Teaching Our Kids to Lose Graciously

i060607dtm2Re-posted from my blog over at christlinkd.com:

“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

This summer my kids are playing baseball for the first time. They are in the Wildcat League, which is far less competitive than some other leagues around the Fort, such as Little League, etc. But the level of competitiveness was not a deciding factor in my choice of their summer sport. To be honest, cost was my first consideration. I did, however, want them to play their first year with a group that was a little more laid-back, especially while they’re learning the basics.

The kids wear matching hats and jerseys, but some wear shorts, some baseball pants. They share equipment and take turns playing all of the positions. Their games are fun, and the scores aren’t posted up on the board; rather, they are casually announced by the coaches as each team is coming off or going onto the field.

Yet, even in this casual and just-for-fun atmosphere, poor sportsmanship rears its ugly head, both from the players and, shamefully, from some of the parents.

As moms and dads, we all know how important it is to teach our kids to lose graciously. It starts with siblings or friends at a very early age, with simple games and competitions. Not just in sports, but in other things like board games or who gets to go first or is chosen to be the line leader in the classroom.

I believe that losing graciously, or more to the point, showing good sportsmanship, comes down to humility.  It’s about doing everything to the best of your ability. If you do that and your opponent comes out on top, it means swallowing your pride and offering a genuine “Good game!” and a handshake-and really meaning it.

It would take me months to count on fingers and toes how many times, as a mom, I’ve heard, “He/she cheated!” or “That’s not fair!” in response to one of my two kids ending up on the losing end of a situation.  Last week at baseball, as a matter of fact, a player from my kids’ team was called out at first base. Some of the kids in the dugout (including my son) started yelling, “He was safe! That’s not fair!” In fact, even at the end of the game, as we were loading up in the van, my son was still angry over that call.

It was a great teaching moment. We went over the rules of the game, the fact that the coach had a much better view of the play and that no matter what, the coach’s calls always stand.

It’s such a hard lesson to learn, losing graciously, but one that is so essential in shaping the character of our children.

There are so many examples that have made headlines of athletes, parents and coaches resorting to poor sportsmanship, public tantrums and even violence. It’s rare to find coverage of role models and GOOD sportsmanship, and that is what our kids need to see celebrated in the news.

I’ve found a few examples I’d like to share with you.

1.      Act of Sportsmanship Gives Texas High Schooler Shot at Glory

A Texas teen has set the example of sportsmanship by unselfishly surrendering the basketball to a developmentally disabled member of the opposing team so he could score a point during a game. (CBS News)

2.      Chasing Silver: The 200m Usain Bolt 2008 Olympic Race

We all know that Usain Bolt broke the World Record in the 200m race in Beijing….but do you know who got the Silver? And why was it one of the Olympics’ biggest controversies? (Bleacher Report)

  1. I Believe in Tim Tebow

Every week, Tebow picks out someone who is suffering, or who is dying, or who is injured. He flies these people and their families to the Broncos game, rents them a car, puts them up in a nice hotel, buys them dinner (usually at a Dave & Buster’s), gets them and their families pregame passes, visits with them just before kickoff (!), gets them 30-yard-line tickets down low, visits with them after the game (sometimes for an hour), has them walk him to his car, and sends them off with a basket of gifts. (ESPN)

My kids’ Wildcat baseball team has yet to win a game, but they are improving every week. It’s so wonderful watching them develop what for some of them will be a life-long love of the game.

It was during that same game with the contested ‘out’ call last week that I pinpointed my personal MVP. His name is S, and he was playing third base. My son H was pitching; the other team had the bases loaded and H was about to walk the kid at bat. S calls out from third, in a sincere and friendly voice, “You can do it, H. It’s OK!”