Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Life's Little Moments

Just enjoying the little moments of today...............

Nico helping to make crust for chicken pot pie and Francesca eating the crust for the chicken pot pie :)

The changing of the windows - the spring like weather inspiring us.

Nico's creation once again, he based it on the picture that came with the bag of animals.

We had salt for the dessert, actually grass and rocks for the mountain goat and paper for the water.

Then Francesca messed it all up and combined all the animals on the dessert/dirt area. This was apparently unacceptable. Much screaming and crying ensued but God's grace endured in the moment. Momma kept her calm, Nico went to his room and emerged a better man............after quite along time and having to think of three things he loved about his little sister. He loves eating under the table with her, her room and her toys. We'll have to work on that........loving her and not her things but it's a start.

Hope your day is filled with lovely moments...........

Walkin' On Water

Sometimes I think it's easy to take that first step.......to see Jesus and in your excitement, in your awe of who He is and what He can do through you...........you step off the boat, onto the water.  You do it without thinking, without fully thinking through the fact that you are now on water and you could sink.

This is so me.  I love the jump.

I love ideas, I love making plans, picturing big things.  I can say yes with vigor and enthusiasm.  But then, like Peter, I step onto the water......Jesus at the end.....and I look around, terrified.

I said yes in faith but will my faith sustain me once I step out?  Will I fix my eyes on Jesus or on the murky waters surrounding me?

As always it's so easy to find fault with the imperfect men and women in the Bible - but am I any different?

Not really.

And that's the wonderful part of it.  Yes, the Bible is relevant to today.  I remember so clearly when I really began to question what I believed.  I spent a lot of time convincing myself that the Bible was hard and outdated and contradictory.  I looked for loopholes, taking scripture out of context and picking and choosing what I believed.  But then one day I stopped.  I believed.  I stopped making excuses.  I stopped looking to disprove.  I stepped out in faith.  I needed God.  I cried out to God.  I was sinking and I had no one else to call upon.  I was drowning in sorrow and disbelief - I could not withstand the cruelness of this world.  It changed my life - I was answered.  It hurts a bit that my faith and my heart change came about because a beautiful nineteen year old girl died.  But I am so thankful to that young woman.  I am thankful because she gave me new life.  I don't think that I caused her death or God orchestrated that event for my benefit but I have no doubt that that young woman, who loved and was dearly loved, shone God's love into my life, that God used her to love me.  And now I recognize the Bible for what it is and in part it's a love letter to us all -- reminding us that, just like Peter, we are fully known and fully loved.  That when Peter took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink into the water, not once did Jesus take his eyes of Peter.  Peter's actions never determined the love that Jesus had for Peter, He loves us regardless.

We have been taking foster care classes again and I find myself looking at the murky waters surrounding us.  I feel fear creep into my heart and my life.  My heart dropped the other day when we got a call and I had thought it was a child who needed us.  It turned out that it was just a reminder for a class.

I was so relieved.

Then I was so ashamed.

I am taking my eyes off Jesus.  I am putting ease and comfort over what we have been called to do - what, really, I want to do.

I sat down that day and happened to open up to Matthew 14:22-32 and my heart was happy.  I read and I rejoiced in the fact that God knows.  God knows when I doubt, when I am fearful, when I shy away from the unknown and in doing so turn from what He wants.  He knows all this and still loves me, still counts me among his disciples.  He gave me His word which reassures me of His love and perfection in the midst of my imperfections.

And so when the next call comes........*hopefully* I will fix my eyes upon Jesus.  I will draw strength from Him and His love for all of us.  I will put one foot in front of the other - walking on faith, walking on water.

Monday, February 27, 2012

And So It Begins............

It's time once again to plant the seed of possibility.  To begin to imagine what will come from the soil, water, sun and hard work that is poured into these little seeds.  We have all enjoyed the rest that winter brought with it.  We have lounged and read books and watched movies and created towns and whole worlds within our home.  We have been baking and cooking and crafting.  We have played and enjoyed this time of rest away from the projects that consume us out of doors in the spring and summer.  But now it is the planting season.  We (meaning Joe) start from seed.   This past weekend the kids and Joe filled the containers with dirt.  Dirt that Nico, Joe and I had gathered a few weeks ago and the kids and Joe had sifted.  They planted and began to care for the seeds.  It's evolved into a family project - this garden that started out just as Joe's job, his project started long, long ago.  A project, a task that began when he watched his grandparents start and cultivate their own garden.  It's a tradition of sorts.   One that I hope our own children carry on.  It's one of the best ways to spend time as a family - growing, learning, talking, working, teaching.

And so it begins........................

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Some Days You Just Want What You Want

Today, my little man, you had a bit of a meltdown. It was short lived but fierce.  A nice man bought us a package of cookies at the cheese store and the owners wife who was waiting on us, but usually doesn't, forgot your sucker.  You would think delicious almond, buttery cookies would far surpass the dumdum sucker that you usually get, but it didn't.

I was so thankful that you waited until we were outside to express your disappoint and anger at not being given a sucker.  But not thankful enough......I was so very angry at your attitude.  You stood outside the van door and screamed NO!  You were ticked off and wanted everyone to know it.  Here I thought that we could get in the car and you and Francesca would be able to enjoy one of the cookies that this generous stranger had purchased for us.......but no.  I was mad.  I told you I was mad and that I was disappointed and beyond that I didn't have words because I was so put off by your ungracious attitude.  I wanted to be the cliche parent and tell you that some people don't have any food, that people are hurt and sick and have no hope and you are getting upset over a dumdum sucker.  But I didn't.  I drove on to the next stop.  At some point during the drive, the silent drive, I look back.  You had mumbled something.  I ask - what?

I'm sorry, mom.

I look back again.  I see a genuinely sad face.  You say it again.  It sounds like you mean it.

Oh I was so proud of you, my boy.

You see I never expected to have perfect children.  Well, after the first one, the reality setting in of what parenting looked like, after that short moment in time, I didn't expect perfection.  I know that you'll mess up, that mistakes will be made.  I know that emotions are crazy things and expectations can cause a mess of emotions to flare up.  I get it.  I know that we will have to work with you, teach you, guide you how to harness those feelings and emotions and go about expressing them in a more constructive manner.  I get it.  I am 34 and I still get mad and I want to scream and I want to say NO and I want to bang things and you know what........I do sometimes.  I just have a better way of disguising it than you do because I am 34 and not 4.  Sometimes when you hear a bang and I say it's the door slamming on accident or something falling on the floor........well, the door had help in getting slammed, the something had help making it to the floor.

So, buddy, today when you got mad and screamed no and acted in a way that was ungracious I was disappointed but still I loved you.  It didn't matter in the long run.  We are working on it.  We are working on teaching you to appreciate what you have, to be content with what God has given you.  We'll get there.  Look around you, buddy, there are people who are decades ahead of you and still struggle with contentedness.  What impressed me so much and made me smile was your repentant heart.

You amaze me.

I have seen it before with you.  You are learning what it took me so long to learn, what I still am working on.  You know what it means to be sorry, genuinely sorry, and to give voice to it.   I love that.  I love that I didn't threaten or cajole or tell you that you had to apologize.  You knew what had to be done and you did it.  There was no expectation after you said it either.  You didn't ask for a cookie or ask if you'll get a sucker next time.  That is what I expect.  Never perfection - yet the ability to acknowledge when you make a mistake, when you are wrong and be able to make amends, to apologize.  That's a hard thing to do.

You have a good heart, buddy, a big heart.   Thanks for showing me how it's done :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Boy

My boy.......my rough and tumble, ready for action, always creating, always thinking, dreaming big dreams and finding ways to make them come true boy.  Oh my, buddy, these days are priceless to your loving mama.  This special time when big sister is away at school and little sister is still a bit of a babe - it's me and you in the afternoon.  Once upon a time it was Fia and I - playing games, having tea parties, doing quiet work, creating art projects while you little ones slept.  But now the afternoons look a bit different :)

Oh the visions you have..........they make me smile.  Your enthusiasm, your curiosity and the belief you have that together we can create anything that you imagine.  Here's a glimpse of the projects that you have come up with in just the past week or two.  I thought it important to capture a bit of your imagination for the record.............. 

Here we are digging a prairie dog hole.   This was inspired by an episode of Diego.  You said your favorite animal was a honey badger but that you wanted to see how far you could dig down for a prairie dog.  You told me to put on my dirty clothes so we could go outside and see if we could get in the hole and explore :)  We didn't get that far down but you were very excited when my feet disappeared down into the hole. 

This was a two day project - your car garage.  You came out of your room Monday morning at
7:00 am and announced that you would be needing cardboard boxes, paint, a curtain, markers, glue and tape because you were making a play today.  I said you needed to call grandma and grandpa for cardboard boxes........but not right at that moment.  You waited until 8:30 and we went and picked some up that morning.  We painted the boxes and the next day when they were dry you decided to create a car garage.  We cut out doors, made a sign and during play by yourself time you created a street.  Marvelous!  Francesca even played with it later on in the day. 

These were two different projects inspired by the same space book that we got from the library.  I so wish you could see the AWESOME space packs that daddy had made you in this picture.  Cereal boxes, plastic bottles and tubing made into one TOTALLY COOL space pack on your back.  You wore this outfit to Target that night.  Oh my, people did smile.  I think you made quite a few people a bit happier that day.  The space rocket and space launcher were all your idea.  You helped create it, telling me where to place everything while I took control of the hot glue gun.  They have joined your treasures on your dresser.

Last but not least this is your homemade train table.  You got a lid from the basement and colored your own landscape in.  You set up the track and now it resides in your bedroom.

If this is what 4 looks like I can't wait to see what 14 brings, what 24 brings.  What will you become?  Who will you be?  I know that whatever you choose it will be amazing and I will be right with you buddy, whatever you choose.  I love you, forever and always, thank you for filling my life with your joy and enthusiasm.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

I love this day, Valentine's Day :)  I actually start looking forward to it right after Christmas.  After all the Christmas decorations are down and it's looking clean and fresh, ready for a new year, I begin to think how we can cover it all in little paper hearts.  I love to see all the red and pink everywhere and to feel the excitement of the kids.  I feel it is the one guilt free holiday we have left.  There is no agonizing over whether to let them believe or not.  There is no agonizing on what to get or how much to get - there is no getting, only giving on this day.  There is no agonizing over whether or not Christians should or should not celebrate this holiday - is it all about the candy and dressing up or is it darker than that?  I do love all holidays and am mostly at peace with our decisions about all of them (there is always room for some healthy doubt :) but Valentine's seems to just be easy and fun.   Joe and I don't celebrate Valentine's Day alone but it's, rather, a family celebration.   It's a day of heart shaped pizza, pink applesauce.  A day of hearts hanging on the walls, on the ceiling, painted on the windows.  It's a day of cookie baking and cookie sharing.  It's a day of heart games and candy stacking.  It's a day to celebrate those you love and those that love you. 

And in all................

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


I feel out of the loop.  I love to write and update my blog - sometimes for you all and sometimes for my kiddies to have a record of who I was when they were little or who they were.  But here's the thing.....life has been good this past week or so, easy, fun........I have felt a bit floaty (I know that's not a word but it's how I felt when I was taking my migraine medicine and it's always astonishing to me that I can feel that way when NOT medicated - I tell God THANK YOU for my all-natural floaty feeling rather than having it brought on by medication that I am sure could be addictive when in the wrong hands - which would be my hands thus I am not on it anymore and my AWESOME chiropractor is back in action.  Yes, this is going to be another paragraph within a paragraph......but Dr. Case in Canton, Ohio is AMAZING.  First of all sometimes I get to go without my kids and they have a fancy coffee machine in the lobby (which any machine is fancy to me but this is really cool and you get to pick what type of coffee, tea or cider you want) and there are magazines and sometimes I do REALLY early to my appointment and pretend I am on vacation or something.  Then you get to see the fabulous Dr. Case and he asks how  you are doing and you might mention something like oh I have been sleeping really well lately.  This brings on fits of happiness and joy in the man.  He goes into these detailed explanations about why this is happening and congratulates you on being wonderful when all you are doing is showing up and letting him twist various body parts.  But here's the thing.....it totally worked for me.  I had a year of migraines - went to him - POOF GONE!  Not a one.  Had to stop seeing him because my insurance visits were over - a few weeks later - MIGRAINE!  Argh.  Waited 2 months, had many migraines within that time period, and then the new year.......not a one since seeing him again.  Magical.  Love it.  Love him. Done with my paragraph within a paragraph.)  So anyway......floaty......wonderful life.......not conducive for writing :)

This week I am still retaining the floaty feeling and enjoying life and my the cooking has been fun lately (all kinds of stuff coming out of the freezer and pantry lately being made into meals - I open the freezer and see what I can use today - have had zucchini muffins/bread, lemon blueberry bread, potato soup, tomato soup, roast with swiss chard, radish top soup, all kinds of stuff - fun times).   But there is the fact that Fia has been home for two days.

It's a difference.......3 kids instead of 2.  Especially when one of them is use to being active all day at school with friends, a teacher she loves and lots of activities.

Still good.  Just a bit more work then the 2.

Plus Joe has conferences and we had a foster care class last night until 9:00 (that is an hour and half past the time that I count on to be done with my day, just so you know.  I like to be done at 7:30.  Now I still am "working" at that time but it's my time to cook or bake or do laundry or WATCH MY 100TH EPISODE OF ARMY WIVES - if you see me in the library trying to check out the fourth season PHYSICALLY RESTRAIN ME..........it's like my migraine medication - in the wrong hands it could be dangerous.....one night I was up until 11:30 making radish top soup and lemon blueberry bread and doing laundry so I could justify watching that much tv in one night.  Oh and it's not a reality show, it's an awesome drama.  I WAS ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT for every episode I watched.  And let me add............watching the show makes me appreciate you Mrs. Bluman.....I have no idea what is accurate and what is not - but it's one of those things that makes me aware that for some this isn't just a show, not just their entertainment for the week but their real life.  I am in awe of those of you who choose this path, who serve their country either by staying the course at home or in another, more dangerous place.  Although, if any of you know Miss Kelly.....it would not come as a surprise that she is able to do it - she is one strong woman.

Anyway........floaty feeling still there but a bit more going on this week.

So I am one the phone with my mom this morning around 9:45 telling her that we have been engaged in SO MUCH ACTIVITY already this morning.  Everyone's been up for ages and we have read books, I made pancakes, we have done numerous crafts, we have cleaned a few areas, we made dough for cutout cookies and have played.

It's only 9:45.

Joe comes home in 10 1/2 hours or so.

We can't go anywhere because Fia's sick but not sick enough to just want to lay there.  Sick enough to not go to school but well enough to still want to play all day and be engaged with coughing fits in between.

So we get started on our cutout cookies.  I give the kids each a ball, there is flour EVERYWHERE and they each picked out which cookie cutter they want to use.  It's actually a lot of fun.  We are all in jammies, there is a mess everywhere but everyone is engaged, being nice and having fun.  I am thinking this isn't such a big deal, I just need to snap out of my conference night mood (which I think should be an actual diagnosis because I always need to psych myself up for these days where I am on my own for the entire day and YES, I know there are single moms out there who do it every day or moms who have husbands in the army - oh, yes, I know all about those ladies after my endless hours of viewing :) but it's still a long day)

Then comes the knock.

Hmmmm.......that's weird.  Who could that be?  My mom and dad would just come in.  Hmmm.....must be Steve, our neighbor.  But he rarely knocks.  He just appears in the window.

Let's go see who it is.........me still in jammies, covered in flour in only the way you can be when making cut out cookies with three small children, hair matted, no makeup, didn't even brush my teeth (just now as I am writing this I am amazed that never once did I think maybe I should look out the window to see who it is before answering the door looking like some person who just escaped from the crazy house where they make the inmates make their own bread)........


That's right.  The Fether boys are coming today while their mom goes to the doctor's.  All four.


My three children just became seven children.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Opening

My laundry pile brought me to my knees a few weeks ago.  I was folding and folding and folding.  It was in the midst of the sickness and the vomiting and the seemingly endless parade of sheets and blankets and pajamas and it brought tears to my eyes.

I was so grateful.

I had to stop for a moment.  I thanked God for the luxury of having a washer and dryer.  I thanked Him for numerous sheets that could be slipped on and off beds - always there are clean sheets to replace the old.  I thanked Him for doctors on call, for medicine bought with ease.  I thanked Him for kids who are guaranteed to get better after a few days.

It overwhelmed me - this gratitude that I felt, I had to cry.

I felt so blessed.

Where did this come from?  This feeling of gratitude in the middle of one of my most dreaded tasks, a task that had become almost endless in those days where everyone wasn't feeling well?  I believe that God has laid on my heart and spread out before my very eyes His people, His loved ones.  I believe that He has given me an awareness of how very blessed we are, how much we have been given.  There is such ease in our lives.  

What lays before my family, before me is the question of what to do with this awareness?

I believe that this is a first step, this eye opening, opening my eyes to all His people and His love for them.  What comes next is to be seen.  It's a little scary to realize that you aren't the center of your world, that things will be expected of you that are uncomfortable, things that stretch you and move you out of your safe place.  I have spent a little time saying no and it's not time and that's just not me.  Some of the time I believe that I am not holy enough, not good enough, I don't know enough to speak to people about matters of faith (and no this area of the world, in your computer, doesn't count :)  I figure you don't have to read it and I confess often enough of my faults that you know to accept everything with a grain of salt:)

But then I remember the Bible greats and I laugh.  I laugh because the first time I read of anyone saying no to God I COULD NOT believe that anyone would come out and say that to God.  I mean who on earth did Moses think he was?  If God was asking, he should be accepting!   I had thought if it were me I would be picking up that staff and marching to Egypt.

Yeah, not so much.

I have denied God on many occasions, occasions when He was asking me to do far less than confront a pharaoh, part a sea and lead a people.  So He led me down this path, this quiet meandering path where life has been good and slow and filled with so much.  He loved me, He guided me to places where I was loved and I was taught and I was shown His love.  He has been nurturing me, teaching me, giving me experiences to lead me to this point in life.  He then forced my eyes open.  And now I am here.

Eyes open.

Heart open.

Arms open.

Yes, Lord.

The answer is yes.

Fill my eyes, let me see where I am needed.

Fill my heart with Your love so it may be poured out on and into Your people.

Fill my arms, Lord, fill my arms with your children.