Saturday, July 28, 2012


Right now I am suppose to be getting ready to go out with friends tonight but well, I just wanted to sit down and get down on screen a few Fia stories.  This, Suzi, is how I find time to blog............I neglect other things.  And it only takes a little bit of time and when I don't feel like it, I take a little blog breather.  Which is probably why I started a blog and not a doesn't take nearly the time or while you wonder when I find the time to do this, I will wonder how you find the time to do the things you do :)

(A little confession...........I had a little moment of awe about my friend Suzi the other day...........I wondered to my sweet husband how on earth anyone could be so beautiful, so together, so intentional, so organized, so......just........perfect.  It wasn't in envy, just wonder and a bit of amazement.  His answer?  Well, people look at you the same way, he says.  Someone out there is saying the same things about you, wondering how you get it all done, how you are the way you are, someone is looking at you with wonder...........and that, people, is called love.  I love my husband and I love the way he sees me and causes me to see myself.  Amazing.)

So, my sweet girl........the other day she spent TWO HOURS helping me can nectarines.  She and Nico washed jars, cut up the nectarines (which you don't have to peel - wonder of all wonders, never will I can a peach again - at least, not in HUGE quantities......thank you Jane at Thy Hand Hath Provided - 89 QUARTS, we did......... :), pour in the sugar water, etc.  It was amazing.  She would not have stopped but for the fact that Grandma Goats came and carried them away to Tuscora Park.  I will forever picture her cutting, with fervor, those nectarines at the counter, with her apron, standing on a folding chair.  She told me, "Mom, just keep working, we will get it done."

The next day she, very seriously, asked, "Mom, I really want to do something.  I want to start washing dishes.  Can I help wash dishes soon?"  Oh my...........YES!  YES! YES!  I have been waiting for this day since I realized that having a family of five and making most food from scratch means loading and unloading the dishwasher multiple times a day :)

Then this past week we were outside playing house.  Sofia was a daughter, I was mom and Francesca was whoever she said she was in the moment - this could range from a baby to a dog to a big just never know.  Sofia was working, sweeping the floor and cooking dinner.  She instructed me that we did not have a dad and that I needed to find one before dinner (this was always my plan in college, when it seemed that EVERY SINGLE GIRL at Grove City college was getting married and I WAS SO NOT but it never worked out.............I picked the one who didn't want to get married that lead me to the man I was to marry and THANK THE GOOD LORD that He is Lord and not me of my life........things would have turned out very differently.........thank goodness I always made it to dinner at Hicks without a husband ;) I went off and found a dad (Joe, the best dad of all) and then it was dinner.  During dinner Fia asked if we could pretend we were poor..............and had to make all of our food...................from dirt.  She was so excited.  

That's my girl.........lover of all things Little House on the Prairie.  Although, I told her I didn't think that Laura and Mary ever ate dirt.  She rolled her eyes and smiled.........then gave me a heaping plate of dirt.

How blessed am I :)

The next day she asked me if she could please, please do some chores.  Real ones.  She thought all the kids should do some.  She suggested I make a chart and list the chores that they are suppose to do and I could check them off.

Did I mention that she learned to tie her shoes on her own?  She kept asking us to teach her and then ended up learning on her own because WE ARE AWFUL PARENTS.  (Not really, but sometimes I neglect the basics when we are just trying to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AS FAST AS WE CAN BECAUSE IT IS 9:10 AND WE HAVE TO BE AT SCHOOL IN 5 MINUTES, I WILL JUST DO IT FOR YOU!!!!)  I apologize, Fia.

I think she will most likely be a better mom than I am.  Well, I know she will be better than I am........and she will be an awesome wife if I could just get her to unlearn the whole eye rolling thing that she might or might not have picked up from me.......................

Definitely her house will be run more efficiently.  But until then she is all mine.

She changed laundry today.  Said she LOVED to do this.  She was so excited.

I can't wait for Monday............maybe we will branch off into FOLDING laundry.............which would TRANSFORM MY LIFE.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Sometimes I feel I am repeating myself.

I write a post, have a conversation, pray, journal and I think.........didn't I just say that?

Didn't I already say yes to you God?  Didn't I get it right the first time?  Why I am setting off on yet another adventure?  Am I backtracking?

Part of this response is fear.   Fear that I am embarrassing myself by saying yes, publicly, again.  Like I didn't quite get it the first time.  Fear that I am getting it wrong.  That the path I followed a few months ago was wrong and I am constantly having to right myself.

Part of this response is frustration.   What am I missing?  What am I not figuring out, how can I GET. THIS. RIGHT.

This is what God showed me.

He's got it.  He never changes.  He has a picture of my life.  It is beautiful, it is complete, it is right.  He sees it all.   But here's the thing.......I don't.  He reveals what it is I am ready for.  My view starts as a pinhole.  I can just see what is in front of me and that is all.

As I grow, as I mature, my vision expands to see more of the picture and it is awesome.  I can see why things have happened in the past that I didn't understand at the time.  As the picture grows, my trust grows, my vision grows.  I see where I have come from and I see more of where I am going.

I  think of Abraham, journeying up the mountain with Isaac.   Abraham, in his obedience, said yes and saw just part of his picture.  As he was saying yes..........his view of his picture was expanded...........his son was not sacrificed, God stopped him.  Just because the outcome was different then he expected doesn't mean that God changed his mind or that Abraham heard Him wrong, it just means he didn't see the whole picture.  Once he said yes, his view was expanded, he could see the more of the plan, the picture.

My view is expanding.............................

Always an adventure..............always a process..............always stretching me.....................I love the word "unleashing".  I looked it up after I wrote it yesterday.   It means to release, as from one's grip.

 It means to relinquish.

It means it's time to get serious.....................again :)

Everything I Once Held Dear.......

I am reading through this great book right now........."Lies That Women Believe And The Truth That Sets Them Free" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  I was eager to jump into it for the second time.  The first time I read it was with a group of women just after Sofia was born.  A friend asked me to join her group, just bring the baby and join the discussion........ahem.

Remember what Fia was like?

Yeah, it was great.  Half the time she would be screaming her head off or I would be trying DESPERATELY to distract/entertain/soothe her in front of the woman I called EVERY DAY for parenting advice on how to wrangle my crazy baby into submission.  I am sure I was a picture of contented motherhood................oh wait that was the blond skinny girl next to me who had her baby around the same time I did - bouncing (oh, who am I kidding, she wasn't even bouncing that baby, he just sat there) her baby boy on her lap.  I never did hear that kid cry - not even in his carseat.........this was something akin to a miracle to me because she would put him in his seat and LEAVE HIM THERE while she talked and finished saying her goodbyes.  I would put Fia in her carseat pretending/hoping/praying that she would not turn a shade of purplish-red never seen before the INSTANT her butt hit that back of that carseat.........................NEVER HAPPENED.  I would try to nonchalantly RUN AS FAST AS I COULD OUT OF THE HOUSE with my screaming baby, saying something about her being tired/hungry/insane and pray for a better time next week.

Never happened.

I dragged countless baby contraptions to that bible study and never once did any of them work for longer than 5 seconds.................

Ahhhhh...........the good old days.....................

Oh and by the way, I saw that girl just a few months ago................she has four boys now, all around the ages of my kids - 6 and under.  She is BEING RUN RAGGED.  I tried not to smile, I really, really tried and I know that I am a horrible person but for just a moment I smiled.  You can imagine my thoughts.  No need to air my horribleness any further.   In all seriousness, though, she is one of the  most genuinely nice people I have met.  She was being run ragged and she was honest about it but you could tell that she LOVES being a mom.  I love that.  It's always so encouraging to meet someone who thinks it's more than just a job.

Anyway........I have now written so many words and haven't even gotten to my point..........I went to read this book again and in the first chapter one of the lies is "God is not enough".   There were 3-4 other lies the women buy into but that one really resonated with me.  I thought of all the ways that I buy into that lie.  I thought that many, many times I seek the approval of man and not God.  That I look to a million other things to reassure myself that I am ok, that I am kind, that I am beautiful, that I am accepted.  But where is the only place that I have to look to for those things?

Is God enough for me?

What was scary is I got to the end of the chapter and there were follow up questions.  I had answered them six years ago.  Which lie stuck out to you, which one do you believe, why, etc......

All my answers were the same.

Six years later and I still believed the lie.  I am still looking to others for approval, for confirmation, for fulfillment.  Am I going to continue to look at scale for beauty or look up?  Am I going to continue to look to my friends, my neighbors, my kids, my parents for approval or look up?  Am I going to look to the things I do, accomplish, cook, bake, can, clean, save for success or am I going to look up?  Am I going to justify His word or take Him at His word?  Do I believe what He says?  Do I believe in the power of the Almighty God and do I believe that power dwells within each of us?

Do.  I.  Believe. ?

Is God enough?

I have said He is.  I am not sure that I have meant it.  I wanted to.   I believed that I meant it.

Now God is calling me on it.

He is messing with me BIG TIME this week.

Dare I say?  Dare I respond to the call?

What will life look like?

Is He enough?

Am I enough for I reassured, beyond doubt, that He loves me and will carry me through the times when I need Him to, through every day of my life AND my children's lives?


My answer is Yes.

I feel as if I am about to embark on an adventure.  One beyond my control, one that carries me beyond the scope of what I expected for my life.   But one that holds joy, power, majesty, awe, amazement and challenge beyond my wildest expectations.

I feel an unleashing.....................

Join me?  Liga?  Rachel?  

He is calling....................

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Martha, Martha, Martha

I don't know if this comes across in my blog world............but I am a Martha.  Disregard all those posts about my messy van and my messy children and my messy's true.  I am Martha.

I am the woman running around to make sure things are picked up, things are appearing to be cleaned or organized.  No, I wouldn't pass a white glove test but for a woman with three children, constant company and a BOATLOAD of food coming in from a garden...........I am a Martha.

I worry about things appearing just so.  I worry about dirty floors, I worry about wiped counters.  I worry about hose counters being empty of the "stuff" that occupies them daily.  I feel I CANNOT relax while there is "stuff" out.

I once was given a talk about Martha by my brother.  It COMPLETELY ticked my off.  I could not believe this insensitive MAN talking about the necessity of Martha taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus.  I mean, SERIOUSLY, who was supposed to do the cooking?  Who was SUPPOSED to do the cleaning?  Who does all that?  How can we serve people out of a dirty house?  How can we serve people without feeding them?  I never did finish the cd..............

I wasn't hearing.  I wasn't able to see the message meant for me.

I don't know if I am still.

But I am trying...............................

Today we had village at our house.  It was awesome.  Not because we are awesome or our village is awesome but because God is awesome.  God is so good because as Ryan mentioned...........He's been picking our friends.   I look around our village and we are all different.  I am not sure I would have ended up in this circle had I done the choosing.

There is a woman sitting in the circle that..........runs.  I mean for real........runs.  I still have no idea why anyone would do such a thing.  This woman who takes notes (I would try every beginning of the semester to do this is college and then lost my momentum about the first week in.  After that I would draw lines to count down the seconds left in class or hold my breath and see if I could last a minute or longer..........I am more a visual person........I liked to skim the textbooks the night before the exams.........don't judge........I graduated and got a job, ok?) and is the same size I was when I was six.  I love this woman.

There is another woman.........she says she is more of an attachment parent.................and she went to a farmer's market and left with lollipops. It's like she's my opposite.  I cannot imagine a parent less attached to their baby (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my babies but well, I need a schedule or at least a routine or I lose my mind.........which is why I slightly lose my mind and don't go out in public when I first have babies............I remember my brother-in-law coming over TO THE HOUSE the day I came home with Francesca.  Apparently he did not get the memo that NO ONE is to come to the house when I come home from the hospital because that is when I hole up in my room and cry and think WHY DID I DO THIS AGAIN?!?)  and I can spend hours canning and blanching and chopping and freezing and cooking.  It would not occur to me to ever buy lollipops :)  I love this woman.

 There is another woman that had a day to herself for the first time in I can't imagine how long and she spent a few hours on her front porch and read books about God and what He is saying and spent time in careful reflection.  She said she wasn't going to run around the house like a mad woman.  She also giggles at what I cook or make, a bit incredulous.  Then says she has to learn how to do between taking care of five kids, running a photography business and so on and so forth.  She also is SCADS nicer than I am.  She actually sees so many good things in people while I just try really hard to...............sometimes.  I love this woman.

And you know what is similar in all these women?

They are Marys to my Martha.  I would imagine woman #1 is a Martha but is disciplined enough to become a Mary :)  She loves Jesus and she loves organization...............but notice who came first, she always points me to Jesus because His love shines from within her.  The other two are definitely natural Marys, sitting at the feet of Jesus.  They prompt me to spend more time there and less time sweeping the floor on which I sit.

Today at Village the booth was filled with stuff I hadn't moved.  The basement floor was unswept.  The lesson not perfect.  The cantaloupe sat uncut.  But the night before we had a great discussion and a great time with an unexpected visitor.  I read books with the kids after they woke up.  I remember forcing myself to sit there and not worrying about everything that needed to be done.  Then I ended up having a good time and relaxing a bit.  There was still frenetic activity before village and there were certainly unholy thoughts racing through my head as everything felt a bit harried and the kids all needed me at certain points.  But I don't think anyone noticed what I noticed and I am glad the extra time was spent sitting and noticing, sitting and talking, sitting and being still.

And so today...........I am thankful.  Thankful for friends God has placed in my circle, in my life.   Those natural Marys are so kind in telling me what I do for them, how I encourage them in areas of their life but they are the ones that point me to Him.  They still my body, open my heart and give me space to breathe.

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Dear Ones

I sit at church, on my hard folding chair, hearing the buzz of the old metal fans working too hard to do too big of a job.  It's hot and stuffy and people fill the room.

The preaching is fierce, the words bigger than the man who speaks them.  There are tears and there is weight to the words, these words from God.

The air is heavy with the heat but also heavy with the words.  The words are transforming the lives of the people within this building.  There is an energy, an awareness that comes only from Him.

I feel the weight of these words and while they are life-giving and reverent and mighty, I feel the weight of me.  I feel the weight of things I am not proud of, times when I did not live up to these words, I did not live up to what I want for my life.  I want to be better, I want to be more, I want to be the person He created me to be.

I hang my head.  I raise my heart to His, I ask forgiveness.  I weep.  I sink into my own despair.  It is mine, not His....

For in this hot, God-filled room surrounded by people I love I hear His voice..........

MY DEAR ONE.........MY DEAR ONE................

I hear a voice, not of condemnation, but one filled with love, filled with the power of One who sees me beyond my own despair and my guilt and my inadequacies and I hear a voice of Love.  I hear a voice of beauty.  I hear a voice that causes me to stand and walk to the front.  I go to take the bread and the cup, knowing that all is washed away.  That I no longer need to hang my head, I no longer need to weep, I no longer need to take on all that he already took on.  He is life-giving.  He is mighty.

MY DEAR ONE.........MY DEAR ONE................

I love that in this reverent moment, in this moment where I was in a crowded room but so entirely still and alone He spoke only to my heart.  He knew what I needed.

I have been wrestling with a question.  A big question.  I don't know the answer yet.  I am not even sure if I want to know the answer.  I am in need of guidance, a clear word on what He desires for my life.   Either way it goes, it entails a sacrifice.  A sacrifice of what I thought life was going to look like or a sacrifice of a different sort, a sacrifice of time and energy and a pause in what we are doing currently.

What is the answer?

Where is it to be found?

Is there a right or wrong?

I don't know.

But I know one thing......................

I am His.

Outside of whether or not we foster a child or we foster families.




I am His DEAR ONE.

And because I know this, because He spoke this to my very heart........I can speak it to others.

Whether it be one or many.

I can look into the eyes of women who are tired and frustrated and lonely and lost and scared and say....

You are LOVED.



You are His DEAR ONES.

Do you hear me?  You have been heavy on my women who are so much, do so much and mean so much.   Those of you with a child who test the limits, those of you who fear the future and what it might look like, those of you without a home, those of you with lost children, those of you who feel as if you have failed, those of you who want to quit.................

He's speaking to you.

Close your eyes.

Hear His words.

Feel His presence.

MY DEAR ONES...............MY DEAR ONES.........................

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Men

It's interesting to see your little man become a big man.  So many emotions course through a mother's body, a mother's mind.  Your heart aches to see the baby fat fall away and the lean body that replaces it.  You begin to rejoice as independence replaces the complete dependence of toddlerhood, the need your little man had for you and only you.  You look on, proud and amazed, as he conquers baseball, soccer, football, any sport he wants to play he seems to be able to catch on to the basics.  You wonder when he grew up and why you missed it and when will be the last time that he cuddles up to you in the morning - still sleepy and not fully aware that he is taking on the position of one much younger, cuddled up, snuggled up to a momma eager for her baby.

It's good.

It's bittersweet.

It's inevitable.

And my thoughts turn to the man who is training him up.............and I wonder how it is I chose so wisely.  And I thank the God I did not fully know when I met this man for leading me He watched over me, how He knew me then.  

This summer has been one of watching my men, come together, work together, growing together.  The little one watching the big one, wanting always to come along side and help out.   And it occurs to blessed I am, how blessed he he is able to come alongside one who is good, who is strong, who has integrity, who is unchanging, unmovable, full of love for the Father.  I love watching my little man watch my big man, resting in the knowledge that my husband is always watching his Father, always looking to Him.

They dig deep in the soil together to plant food for our family.  They paint long lengths of wood to secure a jungle gym.  They play soccer.  They water.  They build.  They play hard.  They work hard.

He is learning how to care for a family this summer.  He is learning the importance of a Father this summer.  He is loving his mom but bonding with his dad this summer.  He is learning what it means to be a boy, a man this summer.

And as I watch, as I let go.........I am realizing how much I love this man in my life.  This man that God lead me to, that I married eight years ago.  I know that I will be pleased, that I will be proud, that I will be amazed if my son becomes the man he grew up watching, learning from and loving.  I thank God that He knew better than I what kind of man I needed.   And my heart begins to ache in a different way, a full to bursting kind of way, when I think of this man.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord.

Thank you for a man who values his role in his children's lives.

Thank you for daddy-daughter dates.

Thank you for a man who is present.

Thank you for a man who teaches me what a servant leader looks like.

Thank you for a man who has man nights with his son.

Thank you for a man who puts my needs before his.

Thank you for a man who cherishes me.

Thank you for a man who knows strength comes from above.

Thank you for a man who leads, not only with words, but by example.

I love you, Joe.

Thank you for being so much more than I ever imagined.  God has blessed me beyond measure.