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Archive for the ‘God’ Category

Almost Generous

Webster gives such a tidy definition for generous: freely giving or sharing.  Sort of pocket-size. 

I like it.

And I’d like to think my kids understand what it means to be generous…the kind of generous that blesses the socks off of someone else…but I’m…

I’m not sure they’ve got it down just yet. 

The sourdough bread crusts my daughter said were too tough for her teeth were freely given back to me in the kitchen on an otherwise clean plate with the words, “you can have these, mom.”

That both our toothbrushes are blue was reason enough for my son to ask generously this morning if I wanted to trade with him.  As I declined, I graciously yanked mine out of his hands and rinsed it for two minutes under hot water.

When I opened the new sour cream, my son generously volunteered his finger to do the repeat sampling.  Quadruple dipping, if you will.

My daughter thought of 14 reasons why her brother should not sleep in her bed despite his being too scared to fall asleep in his own room.  However, she generously loaned him the floor by her bed, which he accepted and then zonked out tucked up like a beach ball in less than three minutes.

At the same time she didn’t share her bed with her brother, my daughter generously allowed the cat to stretch out beside her.  By which time she covered him with a blanket and he purred out of control.

A quarter of the way through sorting the clean silverware, my son decided that he would wrap the rest of the knives, forks and spoons in a towel and freely give them back to me to sort.

In the van, with threat of a time-out, my son generously allowed his sister to pass to her seat without ramming his boots on the passenger seat in front of him or causing a four minute ruckus.

My son, with unwashed potty hands, grabbed my cheeks and emptied his heart.  “I love you so much, mommy.  And I love daddy.  And I love sissy.”  And then as fast as he’d showed up, he zipped away to race a dump truck down the hallway.

Heh…do they ‘get’ it?  Not so much. 

But…dear Jesus…I pray that they will. 

I pray that they will understand that when they freely give or share, that they can’t help but be blessed as well.

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Tuesday’s Prayer

Sometimes we just need a do-over.

Like right now.

A chance to begin the day again–even at three p.m. when it’s completely windy–a miracle that will scratch the memory of the morning.  Because…

because how it started and how it snowballed isn’t who we are…or rather, it was who we were, but not who we want to be.  Not the rest of today.  Not tomorrow. 

Not ever.

So wherever kindness is hiding, say, under a limp pair of underwear–and wherever forgiveness skipped off to, I pray them back.  And may they be holding hands with laughter and joy when they come.  We could use some of those here today, too.

Thank you, Lord.

Amen.

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Oh…How God Loves Us

Nevermind the magnetic words on our fridge.  Or the directions of the letters.  They were just along for the ride.

What matters is the words that aren’t seen…

The ones our son, easily mistaken for a bumblebee here, belted from the bottom of his chest, the ones that went like this:  “HOW GOD LOVES ME…OH, HOW GOD LOVES ME…”

Which made me sniff…

And then stagger toward a dining room chair, as I didn’t want to miss a word.

Only the words changed to, “OH, WOW, GOD LOVES ME…OH, WOW, GOD LOVES ME…” and the volume…

the volume crescendoed until I could no longer just listen, but joined in instead…

And there we two sang, “how he loves us, oh, how he loves us…oh, how he loves us…”

And God’s presence…

God’s presence filled our kitchen as if to affirm every word.

Ahh…thank you, Jesus…

Amen.

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Mercy for Monday

Today’s ‘To Do’ list.

Modified from its original form.

1. Do not even ponder a shower.

2. Wear the same clothes today as were worn to bed. Courteously add a bra to the outfit.

3. Begin before dawn holding sick child in arms.

4. Wobble down stairs with sick child who claims he cannot walk on his own.

5. Hold child in arms on couch and realize holding a bag of hot coals would be somewhat the same.

6. Listen as child cries about his gourds at preschool. Wonder what gourds. Feel sad that he’s sad. Remind him his gourds will still be there tomorrow. And then hope that they are.

7. Re-situate child on lap to read books. Marvel at how he can sit there like a tiny bowling ball and not roll onto the floor each time a page is turned.

8. Make lunch for child. Watch as he turns a single bite into ten teensy nibbles. Carry his fevered body back to the couch. Audibly praise the Lord for a Dora video.

9. Gasp at what stares back in the mirror. Remind self this is not a good day to be looking.

10. Sit on couch for remaining ten minutes of video. Zonk out in sitting position with knees to chest covered in baby blanket.

11. Wake to a kick in the kidney. Beg child to take nap upstairs. Plop 37 pounds of child into own bed. Scooch in beside. Race child to sleep. Win.

12. Repeat steps 4-1o.

13. Wonder how it can still be Monday. Shrug.

14. Carry still-sick child up to bed. Sing. Pray. Promise to return.

15. Thank God that his mercies are new every morning. Sigh…thank him again…

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Heaven Help Me

Even though this morning began in the bathroom with a late warning from my son, “be careful, mommy…I forgot to wipe the seat, ” the rest of the day shaped into a glorious chaotic experience, which I can only credit to the mercy of God.

That my son would rather spin around in his sister’s Christmas and Easter dresses than sit on the sidelines in his own sad jeans has probably been duly noted.  But today was a new record for dresses.  Which began with the yellow sundress.  And ended somewhere with the same yellow sundress, only it was buried beneath one Christmas dress and two from Easter. Which, when I thought about it, was certainly more appropriate in twenty-six degrees.  Four versus one, that is.

Only four dresses was also the reason I had to wipe down the bathroom floor with dish towels, soak up what was puddled on the toilet seat, shake my head at the wall beside the toilet and then wash dress number four.  Somebody couldn’t get un-dressed in time.

In the minute or more it took me to watch cheese melt in a pan, both my children, one in just three dresses, built their version of the Grand Coulee Dam across our hallway.  No dog bed, gym mat, pillow or blanket was left behind.  Only people.  Me in the kitchen.  And them somewhere over there.  Which, if you can imagine, sucked all their energy straight from their bones, such that when it came to, say, put dog beds, pillows and blankets away, no zeal was left.  Nada.  Zilch.  Zippykins.  Only, if you could imagine that, imagine this:  Their mother–uh, me–didn’t yank her last hair out.  She didn’t even whimper her disapproval.

Because the mess seemed to have no hold on me.

And as soon as it didn’t–call it what you want–I’ll call it the grace of God–my kids and I unbuilt their architectural dam and put them dresses away. 

That I would stare at our last pound of beef in the freezer at three thirty and then hustle both kids in the van for a trip to Stewart’s for a serious portion of cow doesn’t make sense even now.  Only my daughter read to herself the whole thirty-five minutes there, and my son counted the hills.  Nobody poked anyone or whined about being poked or claimed the other was touching his seat or breathing in his face.

As I talked ground beef with the guy behind the counter, my kids clung to each other and gaped at the guy sawing the meat off the cow carcus.  Only my daughter who dreams of paintbrushes and pastels admitted she thought she wanted to be a butcher now because “you really get to explore and learn about the animals.”  By which time I told her a book on cows could do the same thing.

Anyway…all this to say or not say…

when I invited God along for the day…he came.  And when I let go…get this…

he caught me….*shaking head*…he caught me.

And, well, that’s about all I have to say about today.

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I shudder at being this honest and will likely bury my head in a sleeping bag once I’m done here and resurface some time in March, but the truth is, our house has been a magnet for friction on Sunday mornings.  That we’re bustling over breakfast and trying to funnel partially dressed children to the van, children who woke up with an agenda of their own and who have the whines to prove it, is all part of the irony, I suppose.  We’re headed to church.  Which is also why as we back out of the garage, one of us, runs back inside for a Bible, and back in again for a pen, and one more time for a coat for the kid who thought he was warm enough in thirty degrees and snow without one. 

Uh…God help us.  We be needin’ it right here in the driveway.

Then call it a ‘Miracle on 192nd Street’ but as fast or slow as I could mutter my thankfulness for anything, to include the kid with mustard on his shirt who wore matching boots, I’ll be darn if Sunday didn’t suddenly have a different hue.  A lesser shade of gray…heh.

Thank you, God…

for rescuing me…and, well…saving me from myself.

Amen.

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There’d been some confusion at our manger all December, as manger members disappeared for days at a time.  There’d be Mary, baby Jesus and a lamb.  But no Joseph.  Then Joseph would show up and the shepherd would be off doing whatever…wherever.  Only the lamb was still there.

That all three of our lost-in-route wise men showed up on Christmas morning was a household miracle.  That they’d recruited our Santa soap dispenser and were all kneeling before baby Jesus on the corner of the coffee table seemed strangely appropriate.

Only I’m not sure why.

  

I am sure, though, that we wanted our kids to know the story behind Mary.  Behind Joseph.  Behind the baby sleepin’ in the straw.  Behind the wise men and their fancy boxes.  All of it.  Which was why, before we tore the wrapping off a single present, we coraled our manger pieces…

took inventory on who was here and who wasn’t… 

and began reading the Christmas story from the Bible in Luke chapter 2.

As she heard their names, our daughter picked up Joseph and Mary and placed them in the stable.

Baby Jesus, too.

Our son did the same with our less breakable version.

Then, as I continued reading…little hands added more pieces.

Only here the shepherd’s a bit early…

’cause, per the story, the angel was still frightening them in the fields while they watched their sheep.

Only this is the only angel we have left.

Not so, uh, frightening.

Still…our shepherd hastened himself and his lone lamb to Bethlehem to see this King that had been born.

The same thing happened over here.  Except that Mary and Joseph seemed to be on the look-out for the shepherds, especially since the sheep were already there.

And even though there wasn’t mention of the wise men yet, it was too hard to resist giving them a spot beside Baby Jesus and his blue binky.

Which was when our daughter suggested we just jump ahead and pretend that Jesus was two or three years old now, so that we could put the wise men somewhere. 

And so we did.

Here’s the final gathering on our carpet.

Looking peaceful, even.

Which, if there were nothing wrapped and stacked under the tree, would be enough.

God’s peace, that is…

God’s peace.

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