Friday, April 11, 2014

ouch

I'm sitting in my sunny, warm living room buried under 29 pounds of sweaty little toddler boy.  My left arm has a painful little abrasion...much like a pinch that is open.  It hurts.  I got it about 3 hours ago.  I was getting out of the car at my kids' school to bring glasses to Jeremiah.  He went to the eye doctor 2 weeks ago and the kid needs glasses.  The first frames were backordered so last week we went back and chose new ones (more expensive, of course, but available).  The eye center called late morning to say they were in so I loaded up the littles in the car, even though it was noon and they were hot and tired from a fabulous play date at the park with "Auntie Fonda" who lives down the street.....and is my own personal answer to prayer.

So Josiah starts screaming in the car, on the way to the eye center, with a sticky popsycle in hand/mouth....and Precious tries to ignore him.  I get the glasses.  Joe is still screaming.  I am determined to get these glasses to Jeremiah so that he can try them out while still in school today.  I didn't want him to have to don them for the first time on Monday, which is his tenth birthday.  A half a friday is much better.  I was holding the glasses as I pulled the screaming toddler from the car and somehow, the glasses case pried open and pinched my forarm.  It stayed pinched for more seconds than it should have because I was caught up with the screaming extraction of the children....to deliver the glasses....to school....at noon on a friday.  I got them to him and as soon as Joe saw his 'Miah, he started screaming and wailing again.  When we got home he fell asleep and I couldn't tell what hurt more, my arm or my head.

Thank goodness for naps.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Grateful

1.  I am grateful for sunny spring days with birds singing and no snow.
2.  I am grateful for a day of work without sick kiddos or sick husband.
3.  I am grateful for truth.
4. I am grateful for mercy.
5.  I am grateful for daycare.
6.  I am grateful for preschool.
7.  I am grateful for friends.
8.  I am grateful for a gentle dentist who can pull a tooth on a 9 year old with compassion and swiftness.
9.  I am grateful for lent...but more so, for the cross and the ressurection and the Living Lord I love.
10.  I am grateful for the freedom to write, and vent, and purge and create something better than the mundane days I live.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"have dinner with me?"

20 years ago today, he pulled up to the curb outside of the house I shared with my friend and her daughter.  He drove a white thunderbird, and he was young and successful and handsome.   I was 26, in the spring of my first year of nurses school, and trying to make a fresh start of my life after about 8 years of rebellion and anger and sadness.

20 years ago, I had just quit smoking a week before and I only had student clothes and waitressing wardrobe so I cut class at noon and raided my mom's closet because she was, after all, a stylish 46 year old.  (wait.....that's me now!-not)  I borrowed a blazer from her so I could dress up and I came home and churned my nervous stomach the rest of the afternoon until he came to get me for dinner.

We drove an hour to a nice chinese restaraunt, and we talked and talked.  He drank too much wine because he was nervous and I didn't drink any because I was more nervous.....and afraid I'd want to smoke.  We had a nice dinner and shared a very warm farewell kiss....and I agonized over whether he would call me again or not.  He was a nice guy.  My history was with bad boys, not nice men.....I didn't want to blow it.  I prayed I didn't blow it.

He called again.  And again.  We got married.  Every year, on April 6 we remember our first date and eat Chinese food.  Today, because of the rampant vomitting and diarrhea I decided to postpone the tradition a few days.  I made chicken fried rice for lunch but otherwise, we just exchanged I Love Yous and "I'd do it all over again" with a very safe and non-infectious peck on the cheek.  He bought me a nice bottle of the best wine available.....cuz I can drink it now.  And not feel afraid to light up a cigarette.....after 20 years.

When we celebrate the anniversary of our first date every year on April 6, I'm celebrating more than just scoring a good date.  My life changed on April 6, 20 years ago.  I celebrate that, and all the good that came of it, when he asked me out to dinner.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

hungry

Claire went to a church retreat this weekend.  All week long, she was counting down the days and hours and then minutes until she could be at this bible camp with everything set up so that she could learn, and grow, and be challenged and touched by the Lord.  I know this because we talked about it.  All week long.  She couldn't wait to be there....not go there, but BE There.  Be with the Lord.  Be in the place of encounter and blessing and conviction.  She was hungry for Him.  The week was tough.  She had lots of tests and projects at school....and Tuesday, the flu came to visit the Kredits.  Jeremiah....then Josiah.....then Isaac and Claire in a minor symptomatic way that caused them to miss a bit of school but not much stress.....then Precious.  No.  Not mom.  Mom willed it away....and prayed alot...and begged the God of the universe-oops....here comes dad, home sick as well.  

Claire seldom if ever gets sick, and with some rest, she can kick about anything.  She came home Wednesday at noon in tears and I prayed for her and sent her to bed.  Thursday she was much better.  Again, she was  hungry for the retreat, hungry for the Lord.  I am so grateful that my 14 year old child can know when God is summoning her, to Himself.  I am humbled and excited by that.  

We continued to battle the flu war all week long here.  I barely got any work done, which is always frustrating.  I ran out of laundry soap because of all the dirty blankets and towels being puked on....and my hands felt chapped from the washing and sanitizing and washing and washing so as not to spread this horrid curse around more.  I got out the bleach.  I got out the dust spray and the vaccuum....and tirelessly fought this losing battle against this dumb virus that is faster and smarter than I am.

I was supposed to drive a car full of kids to the retreat, but Friday morning, when Roger was home in the bathroom ill, I called and begged for a sub.  God provided.  I was able to stay home and take care of my sick family and not get much billable work done again and tried not to stress about that.  Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.  Hungry for health.  

Claire was home from school Friday at 3:30, rushing around to pack and get ready and GO!  She was excited....not for friend time, or a peek at cute boys.  She wanted encounter and the presence of God.  Hungry for it.....so I got her to the church and she and her friend Kate joined the crew of 7th and 8th graders heading out.  I prayed for her, over and over again, throughout the evening, the night, the morning....as I cleaned up vomit, snuggled a whiney child, comforted a feverish child, made toast for a sick husband.....

Late this morning, she called me in tears.  She was throwing up.  She was more than an hour away.  She hasn't thrown up since she was about 8 years old.  Her retreat counselor was with her, the youth pastor was aware....and she was crying.  Wanna see a mama bird come undone?  Watch a phone call like that come forth on a Saturday morning when the rest of the family has been sick and demanding and needy for days and days already.  Claire did NOT want to come home.  She wanted to will this virus from her and stay...."mom, we've barely started!  I don't want to miss any of it!  I want to come home on a spiritual high....I don't want to come home sick!"...second phone call, after more vomitting, "mom, why can't I be one of the kids here who doesn't care?, who is just here for boys and fun?  why do I want more and can't have it?".....break, break, break my mama heart.  Stupid devil.  This is not from the Lord.

She was hungry.  For all the right things.  Why this?  Why?  As I drove to go get her (thanks Grandma Mary for being home and answering my frantic call....and going to get her....and bring her half way to me)....as I drove to go get her, her counselor called me.  She's a sweet college girl named Paige with a heart for missions.  Pray for her, if you think of it.  She wanted to make sure I knew that Claire wasn't at the retreat any more....and here is what I told her.

"Paige, Claire went to the retreat hungry for the Lord.  She came expecting something from Him.  She and I both feel sad she won't get that.  It's not fair.  She will come home sick....but also still hungry.  The beautiful, merciful, redemptive point of it is this.  Claire is still hungry.  For Jesus.  She's sick and sad and exhausted and deflated emotionally....but still hungry.  When Jesus does choose to feed her, it will be even more sweet because she had to wait and yearn and long for it.  She had to bend her ear and listen harder everywhere because she knew "it" was coming.  "  Paige said, "Amen."  

As Claire hugged her puke bowl on the hour ride home, I told her the same thing.  She will stay hungry awhile...and when the spiritual food comes it will be even better because of the wait.



application;


I am hungry for the Lord, too.  When my "meal" comes it will be very sweet.

conviction:

are you?  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

a question and answer

How do I find God in the chaos of the day.....

that is the question.

Today, with 4 out of 5 kids sick (Ironically, and freakishly....Precious Maryn is the only one not sick with this fever/stomach virus.....so odd) there is chaos.  I'm supposed to be working mid-week....and instead I am home pouring ginger ale, dosing tylenol.....thank goodness I have not cleaned up vomit since yesterday!

At one point in the day, Josiah was ready to sleep.  Or so I thought.  I pulled him up onto my lap and snuggled him in, and began to rock him.  I found God when I heard his voice.  Josiah began to sing to me.  A lullaby.....of jibberish and baby talk....but in the tune I sing to him.  He sang to me.  I rocked and I listened and received his lullaby as he sang to me....and did not sleep.  Eventually he slid off my lap and went to destroy something, but in that moment, God and I shared a moment.  

If the moment expanded, it may have looked like this.  The Lord and I meet at a coffee shop, and I am rested and toned and He is patient and lovely.  We share some details about me, and my family, and we laugh and He holds my hand.  We sip our coffee and listen to someone in the corner strumming a guitar, and we take deep breaths together.  He forgives me.  He offers me a few tips to help me improve and survive the next days....

I found God in the chaos of disrrupted schedule, snuggly baby, humbly submitting my agenda.  That sounds about right.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

sick kids

Yesterday, early in the morning, Josiah was on the couch with dad.  Dad said, "I think he has an ear infection.  He cried a lot in the night."  The walls are thin......I knew already.  Little man got up and proceeded to grab his ear and say, "ouch" a lot...and developed a fever, and wasn't eating.  We went to the clinic and got antibiotics for the very infected ear.....and went home armed with motrin and tylenol and vitamins and antibiotics. Doctor also suggested we go see our family pediatric pulmonologist....who helps with PRecious Maryn....because Josiah has a nagging cough that never leaves.

In the middle of the night, Jeremiah got up....bad dreams, belly ache...and by 6am he had a fever and by 8am he was vomitting with diarrhea.  Dad stayed home a few hours with him (to sleep a bit.....and watch a movie together?)....so I could do a few visits, then I came home for the change of shift.  Poor boy.....stomach ache, fever, exhaustion.....hungry but afraid to eat.....and then the sitter called.  Josiah had blow out poop twice....and now a fever.  Sigh.  or Scream.  Whichever.

Got the other kids home.  Precious complained of a tummy ache....small puke before she crashed for a much too long nap.....so I'm lookin at 3 out of 5 kids sick here.  On Tuesday.  Grr..

The best part of having sick kids is that you don't "do the day".....you eat on the couch, you stay up late.  You cancel visits.  You drink that third cup of coffee because, doggon it, you deserve it.  You don't feel guilty for not exercising.  You snuggle more and sniff the soft curly hair to see if the smell of vomit is serious enough to wash or wait.....

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Resolved, defined.

Resolved means firmly determined to do something, intent.

I think that sums up my perspective right now.  I wake up resolved to "do the day" as successfully and joyfully as possible.  Sometimes I fail at the joyful part, regretfully.

If I am determined and intentional, I am plugged in, I am paying attention, I am trying my best.

Yep.

words

I thought maybe I was "despondent", but the definition of that is disturbingly downcast and worrisome.  I considered "forlorn.....pensive...gloomy" but none of those hit the nail on the proverbial head to describe my state of being tonight.  I like words.  I like it when they make sense of feelings and validate something within me that no one is paying attention to.

I'm not angry or upset or depressed.  I am actually feeling quite grateful and sentimental and peace-filled.....but at a cost.  Maybe I am resolved.  I'll look up the definition of "resolved" and let you know for sure.

Tonight, Roger is chairing the school auction fund-raiser without me.  All the other volunteers are doing it as couples, but for us, there is just no way to do that.  2 years ago, I signed him up to "help" with the auction fundraiser because he does lots of those, doing the computer part of it.  I didn't know that volunteering him would mean being co-chair for that year.  Ironically, I was in India and he had to leave because Jeremiah got a soccer goal dropped on his head and needed a CT scan and stitches while the auction was happening last time.....and then fast-forward to this year.  I didn't know we would add a baby to the family before this auction....a baby who only wants to play outside and has melt-downs for bottles of milk and poops ever 3 hours in his diapers.  Roger is chairing the school auction without me.  I feel really bad.  I should have been able to do some of the prep work, but evening meetings do not work with our children...I've let go of almost everything I used to do at night.  I use every ounce of energy in the day just to keep myself and the rest of our family on course....and random phone calls and errands always seem to fall by the wayside.  I feel inept.  I feel left out.

I am left out.  While he was setting up for this extravagantly social and fun fund-raiser that builds school unity and fellowship....I managed to clean 2 bedrooms and get lots of laundry done.  I took a long walk with the baby and the dog in the sunshine while everyone else played with friends.  Later, when I noticed a yard-ful of children, I was blessed to be able to make a batch of banana muffins and a carafe full of hot cocoa (cuz its still cold here)....and serve them up in the warm porch.  It's
 not so bad to be resolved.

I am resolved to take care of my family and my home and my job.....in that order.  I am resolved to be left out of lots of things I could be doing, but would inevitably cause me more hassle and stress later if I did them.  I am sad because Jeremiah didn't participate in todays games for his last basketball tournament this year....and his team won their division and came home with trophies.  I'm sad he wasn't there.  I could have taken him, even with Roger chairing the auction....if we didn't have other little kids who needed me home.   He chose to stay home.....I had offered to take him and make it work.  They won and he wasn't there.  Nuts.  We have a lot of kids. I'm resolved to the truth that we have a lot of kids.  They.  All.  Need.  Me.

I'm resolved to the truth that I will be tired for a long time.  My 2 small children do not sleep well....I have wrinkles and grey-ing hair because I only sleep a couple of hours at a time.  I am over-weight because I cannot find the moments I need to exercise.....I am resolved to just be the frumpy mom for a long, long time.  Did I mention I got to treat my kiddos to warm banana muffins and cocoa on this chilly spring saturday? Oh...and after Josiah had an epic melt-down screaming fit for 20 minutes or longer....waiting in line for McDonalds at 7pm because the auction dinner was not child-friendly....we got in the house and he quieted with a bottle (yes.  a bottle) of milk and some chicken nuggets and fries....and I poured a FULL glass of wine....and I leaned in and he leaned in and we gave a kiss that sad lots of words.....our little kiss said.......

Sorry I was harsh with you, I love you, thank you for being here.....

And Precious settled in and so did Joe and I, and even if the rest of the family is out doing the thing I was supposed to be doing....I am resolved that what I did.....what I did all day....was ok.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

working and worshipping

Tonight I went to our local prayer service....to work.  I took my laptop and my list of documentation assignments, and I went to sit at this place where scripture is read and sung and prayers are spoken and sung....and I haven't been there for awhile....and I've missed it.  It was good to work there.  I would have loved to close my folder of paperwork and just worship and pray, but I would have felt guilty for leaving Roger home with the kiddos.....so I kept plugging away at the mountain of paperwork I am so behind on.  The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.  I took bite after bite....but as I chewed, I could also sign and agree in prayer.  It was a very beautiful couple of hours, and I am so grateful to have had them.

One song we sang, had these words...."I'll follow you to the homes of the broken, I'll follow you to the world"....and I was typing up contact logs for just such homes, and families.  I see broken mommies and daddies and babies every day....and I get to love them with Jesus' love.  I'm so lucky to get to do this job.

Our last song of the night as I finished up my umpteenth contact log....was "I have decided to follow Jesus"....and I have.  Decided to follow Jesus.  I have.  Sometimes I wander off a bit....but my decision stands, to follow Him.  I'm not following him to India any time soon, or Liberia, or Haiti....even though I hope to go to all those places in the future.  I'm following him...................

I follow you, Jesus, to my son's bedroom floor, scattered with toys and books.  I follow you as I receive his bum plopped onto my lap to read that same book over and over and over, and I kiss his soft neck and tickle his chubby thighs....and rejoice at the sound of his giggle.  I follow you, Jesus, to my 4 year old's heart.  It is such a deep and heavy place....and you live there, so I go again and again to her heart and meet you there.

I follow you to the info meeting for Claire's first mission trip....which I will not go on....but you will.  I follow you to the pastor who will take her.  I follow you to the spiritual formation of my two tweener sons, and to the love and support of my husband....and to my job, and to my neighbors, and to my friends.  I follow you, Jesus, to the world right outside and inside my front door....because you have expanded my territory.  Tho none go with me, still I will follow.....the world behind me, the cross before me.....no turning back, no turning back.  Easter is coming.  The cross is before me.....and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I want the world behind me....no turning back, no turning back.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014


meditating on a verse or two....

Recently, I gave Precious Maryn a verse from the bible.  I want the bible to begin to speak to her....and so I started with this passage for obvious, or less than obvious reasons.  In doing so, I am meditating on this scripture as well.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God, how vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with you."  Psalm 139:17, 18.

This is the verse I prayed over and over.....all of Psalm 139, actually, while we were waiting for Precious Maryn to come home.  God gave it to me, so that when I ran out of words, I would have something to pray....and it worked.

Anything in the bible that uses the word "precious" is special....because the Lord Hiimself named her Precious....so I figured it was a good place to start.  That, and the fact that this child fears the night, fears sleep and can only rest and find peace if she is touching me at night.....so I want her to understand that there is a promise in this.  When I awake, I am still with you (Lord).....my only hope for her ever not sleeping in my bed is if she can believe this promise and find comfort and strength in it.  As you can see.....these words are at the end of the passage God gave me for her.

Sigh.

Verse 17.  Last week I looked at the idea that the thoughts of God could be precious to me....and with conviction, wondered why they often are not.  I asked God to help me see what is precious in his mind and heart, and not just see through eyes of the world.....this week, as I look at the words, "how vast is the sum of them".....I consider the way my voice translates that.  "Lord....what were you/are you thinking?!".....I'd really like to know.

Lord, make your thoughts precious to me....show me what is precious and holy and treasure-ful in them.  I want to see things the way you do, Jesus.  How vast is the sum of them....how vast.....as far as the east is from the west....and more and more....you are so far ahead of me, God.  I defer to the wisdom and might and power of you....and I trust that in as much as your thoughts are vast....mine are not.  Hold my thoughts in the palm of your hand, Jesus, and work your redemption and your healing and your mercy into them, so that when you open up your hand, you have formed something good from the thoughts you have molded therein.  Let everything that comes from me be something you can use, Lord Jesus....

Thursday, March 20, 2014


vultures, bears, the dove.....

This week, someone contacted me who feel they may be related to Josiah.  They are asking for a DNA test and if they are related, they want to fight for custody of him.  This happened on Tuesday.  I spent some moments in panic, then called our lawyer who said "good luck, no way"....because the adoption is final.  No one can come forward any more.  Reasonable thought says that is true, but the wild mama bear that lives inside of me, is screaming in fear.  What if there is some loop-hole, some sinister evil out there that could actually cause our sweet boy to be uprooted from the only family he knows.....and removed.  By Wednesday morning, my heart and mind were completely messed up.

Roger was gone for a few days for work.....I had a full day ahead of me that involved not just parenting our kiddos but my work burden as well.....and all I could feel or think was panic and fear.  I was praying through  my tears and crying through feeble prayers.....begging God for protection and assurance that we would be ok and Josiah was safe with us......and I was feeling very handled by the forces of evil and darkness that always lurk beyond the light in the shadows.  That dirty devil was having a hay-day with my fear.  He loves my fear.  He craves it and he devours it like a dirty vulture with a carcass.....because, after all....that is exactly what he is.

I have marginal faith in the justice system....when it is applied justly.  As I cried out to God in my silent torment, I felt him tell me, "trust the process".....but maybe he didn't mean just the system that finalized our adoption and secured Josiah's safety and future forever.  Maybe He meant something more that I would blindly stumble into as I begged and pleaded with God....and fought hard to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ.  "Trust the process" for me means calling on the saints to pray and stand in the gap for me.....Whether the threat is real or just a dirty smoke screen from the devil.....whether the battle is real in my home, or only in my mind.....I know when I need prayer.

I called out for prayer, in a very vague way, over facebook since that is the place the threat began.....and rather than duck my head into the sand and hope the problem disappeared, I faced it head on with the only thing I know to do.  Pray.  I asked for prayer.....and prayer came.  Moment after moment, response after response....scripture....assurance....power....the Holy Spirit declaring victory over my heart and mind and silencing that dirty stinking vulture and his sqalking in my ears.....

Nothing more has happened.  I don't know if they have a lawyer or not, or if they will pursue this.  I can't wonder about that any more.  There may be other scenarios coming....because before Josiah came here to be my son, he encountered lots of folks and lots of situations that he can't tell me about and I'd rather not know anymore.  A sweet, Spirit-filled friend and sister in Christ told me today that this ends here.....and maybe she didn't feel the weight of her words in the spiritual realm....but I did.

Vulture of death and evil... This ends here.  Holy Spirit who looks like a dove but moves in the power of a fierce wind.....I hand the battle to you to fight.  I am not able or willing.  This one is yours, Lord.  I'll just do the daily work of raising my baby bears and peek out the window once in awhile to make sure its safe to play outside.

Feel free to join me and my very important friends in this prayer battle.  I'm not proud or falsely lulled to feeling safe.  There is a battle for this little man and for my peace as his mama.  All prayers are welcome and necessary.  From now until the end of the age.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Summing up the Sunday

1. Started the day by rushing to get all 7 of us to the 8:30 church service....successfully.
2.  Greeted the team from Royal Kids Camp who were sharing at out services today.  They need volunteers and support and prayers to run a week-long camp this summer for foster kids.  The video made we cry...the presentation made me smile.  Lord, send the workers for this harvest field.
3.  Made bubble pizza and set out fresh fruit for the family, then took Jeremiah out for the afternoon for spoil me Sunday.
4.  Talked to Jeremiah about how God made him perfect, just the way he is....challenged him to have courage to be true to himself even on hard days, and discussed the return of Jesus with him....awesome Sunday afternoon drive with my almost 10 year old son.
5.  Ate at the Japanese steakhouse and Sushi bar.  He didn't dare try the sushi but we had fun watching our chef spin his knives and chop up our meal on an open flame right in front of us.  Jeremiah giggled through out the meal....and that was worth the price tag at the end of the dinner.
6.  Shopped a bit, then came home to the masses.....
7.  Offered comfort to one of Heidi's bio kids who is hurting really bad.  Knowing her pain makes me cry fresh tears.  All kids need something of their mama.....anything.  I'm trying to help her get something to help her move forward.
8.  Helped Isaac make supper.  He is fast-becoming our pancake expert.  He made some with chocolate chips and some without...and we had bacon and fresh orange slices.  Nope, no dieting today.
9.  Oh, this was earlier, but I'm remembering it as of now...but it belongs way up there before 4, after 3 chronologically.....Claire asked me about devotions and what it means to meditate on scripture.  I got to tell her what meditating on scripture means to me.  I need to say that again.  I got to teach my child about meditating on scripture....using Psalm 139:17, 18 which I have recently claimed for Precious Maryn.....but that's another post all together.   As I shared with her, how I meditate on scripture....I got really hungry to do so again soon.  Maybe tomorrow....
10.  (Because I love to get to 10 with my list for some strange reason).....Josiah learned to do a summer sault....quite by accident.  He sort of flipped over and I squealed and cheered for him...so he proceeded to try and try to repeat it but his head is a bit large for his frame and he couldn't quite do it again.  Isaac and Jeremiah began summer-saulting around the living room to try to encourage him, which was funny enough....but the little dude couldn't remember how he did it the first time.  He fretted a bit...and then I rocked him to sleep.

And that, my friends, is a good Spoil-me Sunday.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

all the different ways that Sunday can look...