Sunday, December 30, 2012

Oh my, Francesca.........

I feel the need to preface this by saying we err on the conservative side when it comes to language (with the exception of thinking gross words are funny :), movies we show to our kids, computer time, video games (we don't have a system but Nico LOVES playing with friends and I know the day is coming for this technophobe mama), etc.  All this to say:


Francesca and I are playing Candyland the other day (FOR THE 100TH TIME THAT WEEK - I kid you not, this child will play Candyland OVER and OVER and OVER again.  It's actually pretty awesome to sit at the table and sip coffee, though.  Can't REALLY is about 1000 TIMES BETTER than playing "dog" which is her other FAVORITE thing in the world.  I have to "buy" her from under the kitchen table.  Then I have to feed her, walk her, pet her, put her to bed, make her a cage, etc.  It pretty much reinforces our FIRM, ROCK HARD decision to NEVER, EVER get a dog, though - they require SO MUCH CARE......and I don't even have to clean up Francesca's poop so I have it EASY when we play dog).....ANYWAY......we were playing Candyland and in her sweet and funny voice she says to me:

"I am going to rip you eyeballs and shove them in your mouth."

Ummmm, excuse me?

"I'm going to rip your eyeballs and shove them in your mouth, mama."

Shocked silence.

Oh my word.

I am not sure where even to begin.

Processing all the people that I WOULD DIE if she said this to.......meanwhile texting Liga the exact words my child said to me because part of me thinks this is HILARIOUS.

Mumble, mumble, some words about how we should NEVER, EVER, EVER say things like this and WHERE ON EARTH DID YOU GET THIS FROM?!?

The Candyland game goes on.

Then today:

"Mama, I am going to take your head and shove it down your throat."

FRANCESCA!!!  NO!!! You are NOT allowed to say things like that!!  Please.  No more.  Where do you get this from?!?

"I just teasin' mama.  I just kiddin'."

Well, no more teasing or kidding and a few more things said after that.....................

Remember my post "My Adventure".....well, this one HAS been different.  And how I love her so.  That spunk, that certainty, that fire all in this little one......and thankfully, she told me the other day that she is not getting married because she doesn't like the kissing :)  So don't worry mamas.....your boys are safe ............................. for now :)

And please know...........I hesitated for quite awhile before posting this.  Wondering if we live in a world, a time where blond little girls holding nerf guns and a grimace on their face were still cute and funny.  Wondering if my spunky little girl with a wild imagination was not, in fact, funny but an indication of dark times and dark things.  I wondered if it was time to shelve the nerf guns, to shelve making light of the words of little ones who are discovering new words and new ways to get the attention of the big ones they love and live with.  And I came to the conclusion that for now innocence prevails.  That laughter and light reign.  That blond little girls with fierce expressions are looking to engage their daddies and their brothers and not an enemy.   I KNOW who the enemy is.  And the enemy is where joy is, threatening to take it away.  The enemy is where laughter is, threatening to take it away. The enemy is where light is, wanting to envelop it but NEVER being able to.  And so in the face of and in the weeks after such darkness, such terror, such horror.........I cling to the light.  I cling to the joy.  I cling to the innocence.  I cling to the cross.  And I find joy.  I find laughter.  I find LIGHT in the moments given to me.  My prayer is that the families everywhere find moments, brief slivers of time where light begins to poke through the darkness.......even for a moment.

What has been your "moment" this past week?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Day After: Part Two

Today I am caught up in the beauty of many moments threaten to overwhelm this mother's heart, this woman's's the day after.  And I wrote about a day after just two months ago......a different kind of day after, a new beginning........the day you dread because you have to wake up and breathe again, walk again, live again.........and you don't want to.  It's too hard.  It's too much.

And here we are again.

Another day.

Two months later.

Not the day after a baby was lain to rest.

But the day after a baby was born to save.

The day after Love came down.

The day after Hope was brought to earth.

The day after Light entered the darkness.

So that we may have many days after...........

So that when we have to live and those we love don't and we don't know why and we can't stop the pain and we can't stop the tears and we can't stop the hurt and we can't stop the heart from aching we can cling to the promise of THIS DAY AFTER.




The day we were assured that our days do not end here.

And so today I embrace the day after.

As much as I ached with the day after months before, the year before, I ached not for myself but for my brother, for my sister-in-law and also for a warrior sent home and his sweet, grieving parents.

But today.

This day.

I rejoice.

I rejoice in the loveliness of this day, this beautiful, beautiful snow, this family God has blessed me with, this warm house filled with the goodness of the day after Christmas.

But more than that.

I rejoice in the many days after this world.  I rejoice in the days I will spend holding my niece, after sweet Adalyn has been held and squeezed and hugged and loved by her amazing, always waiting parents.  I rejoice in the days I will witness Owen running with his cousins, after being held by his mother and father - whose arms have been waiting, too.  I rejoice in the lightness of those days.  I rejoice in the promise of those days.  I rejoice.  And all because..........




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just In Case You Were Wondering.....

I love you.

Yeah, I am talking to being the handsome, wonderful man I married.

Have I told you that lately?

That I truly love you?

That love is what holds me steady, that brings me back, that keeps me sane in this crazy world in which we live.   Because of your love I can imagine and believe in a greater Love.  It doesn't seem inconceivable that there is One who loves me beyond all comprehension, One who is fighting for me, who is longing for me, One who died for me...........because you show me what that kind of love looks like every day.  You show our kids that kind of love.

And yeah, you don't always get it right, you lose your cool, you make mistakes, you aren't perfect but I know that His love is perfect.

And you are a reflection of that love.

And so when things get weird and crazy and start to feel unsafe and out of control and the world is sent spinning and careening and there is hate and violence and so much arguing and talking and back and forth.........I love that you are here.  Right here.  Next to me.  Loving me.  Anchoring me.  Holding me.

Thank you.

I treasure every day with you because every day with you is a gift.

I can't quite believe that eight short, quick as a wink years later I could love you more than I did on the day I married you but I do.  So much more.  For on that day when two became one it was just the beginning.  As the years go by, faster and faster they fly, the more we become intertwined - our hearts, our lives, our dreams.

I can't wait to see what this next year brings.

Love you.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oh crap......

I am looking at my children these days, these heady days of playing games (actually fun games not annoying games like Chutes and Ladders), building lego structures, reading books and cooking together and I can't help but think.......

Oh crap.

I like these days.  No, I LOVE these days...........even the days when I hide in the bathroom and call Liga and say I CANNOT PLAY FOR ONE SECOND LONGER and then I can laugh and get out my frustrations and I can go back in the game and play and be and spend time with these precious souls on loan to me.

And so oh crap.

I am no longer looking anxiously forward - when will we ever sleep again, can I have my body back (yeah, it's never coming back......the dream has been deferred), will they ever stop needing me EVERY SINGLE SECOND ON THE DAY, when will they feed themselves, dress themselves, go to the bathroom by themselves?  They do that.  All that and more.  They are these cool little people that are actually really fun to talk to and hang out with and do nails with and create stuff with.

And so now I look at them and see how quickly they are growing and how quickly they are becoming more and more who God created them to be and it's delightful and it's amazing and it's oh so scary.

I want that pause button.  I want to freeze them at this point, even little Francesca who tries my patience like no other but oh how she makes me laugh and oh how she loves life (and as I am typing this I think this is probably how Joe would describe me :)

This December we have been hibernating and it's been awesome.  We have spent more time as a family then ever before - just hanging out, watching movies (again, movies we actually want to watch - who knew Cinderella 2 could be so darn good?!? We were all glued to the tv :), playing games (Zooreka! has got to be one of my favorite games now, AWESOME kids game!), baking, doing crafts, building and having quiet time (ahhh, blessed 7:00 quiet time with our bibles and journals, doesn't last long but it's a great space in the day).  And as I was loving this time and basking in our family time and the ages and stages of our family right now............I was reminded.

Oh crap.

I was reminded of a little phrase, a thought thrown out in a sermon or talk or sometime when our preacher said that whatever you are rich in God is going to ask you to share or give up or give away....something along those lines (SO not a detail person, can you tell?  but I get the general idea....)  And so before when I would hear this I would think oh yes, we live in a BLESSED, RICH, WEALTHY BEYOND WEALTHY country where we pretty much have MORE THAN WE COULD EVER NEED so here take our money.  Look!! LOOK!!  We are such good people and good Christians - we have Compassion children, give my husband a compassion/world vision catalogue and he is like a kid in a candy store - click, click, click goes the mouse and kids have food, families have chickens, etc., etc.  (And by the husband is a ROCK STAR at giving, truly.  His generosity never ceases to amaze me and I am truly impressed by his mad money skills - how he turns a paycheck into MORE THAN ENOUGH for us and MORE THAN ENOUGH for others......I am in awe.  If it were me I would spend a WHOLE LOT MORE on me and not so much on others but Joe is a better man and is constantly showing me how much we have and how fun it is to give) We try to be generous with all we have..........because we are rich, right?


And no.

We are pretty wealthy compared to the world.

But in the world we live in - Canton, Ohio, United States of America - we aren't exactly the wealthiest. In fact we qualify for reduced lunches and help on utility bills (which we don't take because truly we do have more than enough, so much more than we need).  But what we do have that isn't exactly in abundance these days is FAMILY.

It's something I recognized this month, in particular.  I sent a halfway irritated text to our preacher man saying I didn't appreciate his insight (isn't that wonderful when you go to such a small church that you can just text your preacher when you don't appreciate his insight, I am sure that he is SO VERY THANKFUL that I always weigh in on his preachings and teachings :)  I will share my money (because I am still not sure where it's being kept and how much we have exactly) and I will share my things (because I don't really become attached to my things - this HORRIFIES my eldest daughter and my husband and well, my son, too.  I can't tell you the number of times I find them going through the trash and pulling things out....MOM! HOW COULD YOU THROW THIS AWAY!?!?  Oh, I'm sorry I didn't realize that you wanted that scrunched up piece of paper/broken toy/rubber appliance ring/book/etc.  I am SO SORRY.) and I will try to share my time, which I am getting much better about, I think.

Ummm, but I would really rather keep my family to myself.

If that's ok with you.

Ummm, it's not?


But I like when it's JUST US.  I like the games and the building and the quiet and the peace and the love and the ease of us.  Didn't you catch the beginning of the post?  Time is flying by and I don't want to lose any by........well, by.........ummm.......I was just going to type something that wouldn't reflect well on me so I stopped.  But you know.........other people.........well, when other people are around it's messy and complicated and chaotic and LOUD and it requires me to share my precious ones.  What will happen if they don't have ME playing and reading and building with them?  Won't the world stop turning?

Oh crap.

I know.

I know.

I'll work on it.

For right now I will enjoy December and the sickness and forced captivity which is actually ok most of the time because I get to do what I want and it gets to be just US (so says the leader of Family Village where our vision is to strengthen families and be a family to others connected to LoveCanton..............which I think I have been trying to do but I am not sure how much I have been including my ENTIRE family and maybe God has been speaking to me a bit about that this December season............)

And then in January..........well, crap.

I'll get on it.

I promise.

What do YOU have to let go of in the new year?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What I Want To Say

What I want to say is different from what I am suppose to say..........

Today I sat and I saw,

I meant to read and waste some time on the internet and instead I closed my eyes........

I saw a throne.

I saw a clear, cold, hard surface.

I saw an expanse of metal, cool and clear to the touch.

I lay on that expanse, before the throne.

I saw a throne on which the Almighty sat.

I bowed down, on that expanse of cool, clean surface.

There was relief and breathing deep.

But He said,


And so I stood.

I stood and golden arms swept up, they swept up in an arc and formed a circle in the air,

And in that golden space a light shot forth........

I was encircling a light that sprang forth from the throne.

The bolts of light held forth birds that spread from the light.....................they spread their wings and flew from the brilliant light...............

Then, almost at command, the one who arose, took the golden arc and BAM.

The arc came down, the one that arose swing the arc down and slammed the circle to the ground.

The golden circle, filled with light and the birds that arose, was grounded and the light rose above.

The light rose above for all to see.

It was grounded in the certainty of Whom it came from.

It was shining for all to see.

It was reaching up to Who it was for.

All glory for Him.

All light for Him.

All focus on Him.

He is coming.

This season is for Him.

Prepare the way..............................

Monday, December 3, 2012


Dang you, Mr. Debellis, I am sure I spelled that wrong, I still can't believe you were right.

You said at a meeting a few months back that people heard from God, from the Holy Spirit even through media, through tv shows and such.  Yeah, that's silly.

Until it's not.

Until one of the most favorite posts of all time was written after viewing a movie, a post that moved it's audience of one to tears.  For that post was written for my brother, for his wife, for me........but it's a favorite of everyone who comes to this place.


I was wrong.

God uses EVERYTHING to speak His truth, His words, His power.

And tonight as I sat with my mom, my lovely mom who I treasure more than what can I say?  Except that to return to home whenever I want is such a gift.  A gift from my husband who gives me the time and a gift from my parents who stay close and stay dear.

But tonight as I sat with my mom and watched "The Voice" and watched a man, a young man, pour his  heart out on stage singing...........LOVE ME, LOVE ME...............

And I thought...........isn't that what we all want?

Isn't that what we all want?

Isn't that what we all crave?


See who I am, see what I do, see what I go through, see, see, SEE, SEE ME.



Why do we not realize that there is One who sees?

One who doesn't need us to dress up, make up, send up unrealistic views of who we are?

One who sees who we are and LOVES BIG, LOVES REAL, LOVES WHERE WE ARE AT.

I want you to know that love.

I don't want to find you on stage singing your heart out, looking for love in front of millions, beggin for acceptance when you have already found acceptance and a LOVE GREATER THAN ONE YOU HAVE EVER KNOWN.





I love you but my love can't compare.

Turn to Him.

Turn to Him.

Stop seeking Love in all the wrong places.............on stages, from your children, from your friends, from your to be an audience of Him.

Love Him.

Let Him love you.

He does.

He loves you so much.

Never doubt, always believe.

I love you.

But in such a smaller way than He does.......................

The Shattering

Yesterday I sat in my pew, flinching at the powerful words of a preacher man.  At times I closed my eyes because I didn't want to see, didn't want to hear, didn't want to feel the blows of truth to my heart. My pew grows more uncomfortable as the weeks pass because God is convicting me of things that are growing me and changing me.

And it's odd what is said is oftentimes different from what is heard.  After a service filled with worship and preaching and teaching, I will talk with others about what was said and we all hear different things.........such is the power of God to speak through others and to others using the same words to speak to His people in different ways.

And so today I want to share with you what I heard and what I saw.....................

More and more I am sure that NOTHING can be done alone.

More and more I am sure that there is power in MANY.

More and more I am sure that God is gathering His people.

More and more I am sure that idols and other gods will be struck down.

More and more I am sure that a holy light will shine forth from the many who follow God.

More and more I am sure that words on a page written long ago are there for all people and you don't need fancy language or years of study to understand that Jesus is Lord and that what is written carries simple truths.

More and more I understand grace and it's place in my life.

More and more I understand that if we are not united, together, by an uncommon God then we are limiting our worship and service to Him.

I heard the powerful words of the preacher man proclaiming one true throne, dismissing the thrones that we all have seated others on.  He spoke of picturing thrones above our head.........who is on that throne, who do you fear, upon whom do you place too much importance, who do you never say no to?  ((flinch))  Yes, I have seated others on that throne.  I see them in my mind and I see the thrones that I am seated on in other's minds.  I see how I have encouraged my placement on those thrones and I see how I have elevated those around me to heights only reserved for God.

I close my eyes.  I close my eyes after the sermon, lost in the music that fills the sanctuary and I see us all, as a people.  I see the thrones above all of our heads, the many other gods and idols sitting upon those tiny thrones.

And I see the thrones being splintered and obliterated, smashed to bits.

The thrones of the idols and gods of those around me are being destroyed, they are being wiped out, replaced by a clear path to God, the One who sits on the true throne.

And imagine the POWER and STRENGTH and MIGHT of all those in the sanctuary uniting all their love and their energy and light into worshipping GOD.

Can you see it?  Can you see the light finally being able to stream up?  Not being blocked, obstructed by our false gods but unfiltered, undiluted, PURE light streaming and meeting all together at The Source.

The windows of the sanctuary blow out, shattered by the strength of such worship.  I see the doors fling open, unable to restrain the power of the pure worship of the people within.  I have the thought that we can't afford new windows!  How can I see this happening in my mind's eye and wish with all my heart to feel that power, to see windows shattering before the power of all God's people worshipping with unfiltered hearts.

Then I think...........

How can we afford NOT to?

I have read of miracles, of signs and wonders.

I have believed.

I am ready to witness, firsthand.

Or maybe not ready............never, truly, ready for the POWER of GOD, what a fierce and fearful thing...........but I know it is coming.

Get ready for the shattering.......................

The shattering of hearts, of windows, of convictions, of long-held beliefs and..............


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Good Intentions :)

Today I came home from church fired up with words, so many words that I wanted to write and preach and speak into life here in this space.  I WAS SO EXCITED!

But I have three kids.

Who were hungry.

And one had a birthday party that she had to be at by 1:30.

So a quick lunch was made and eaten together.

And the other had wanted to read books this morning but we didn't have time because we were busy building legos, then making cards, then getting ready and then into the car for church.

So we read books.

Then we did puzzles.

Then we watched Dora because reading books and doing puzzles on little sleep is enough to induce sleep.

So there was snuggling and Dora watching but no sleep.

Then a promise to keep to a friend, a pick-up after that and home to make dinner (does anyone else find it RIDICULOUS how often people need to eat?!?  I might have mentioned to a friend once that this is evidence that we are right in using He instead of She because I feel certain if it was a She instead of a He we would only need to eat once a week and be done with it.......that, I am sure, is wrong on so many theological levels but I feel the need to throw it out there........)

Family movie night - Star Wars (Nico's birthday party was last night and it was Star Wars themed - games, pinata, cake and all........I was quite proud of myself.......well, until the "Pin the Light Saber on Luke" game was played.............Joe was was ENTIRELY inappropriate.  Let's just say that my very manly looking Luke, hands on hips and legs spread, left himself WIDE OPEN for an inappropriate light saber placement............)

It was a great day.  Relaxing.  Pretty easy (except for the NONSTOP squirming ALL OVER MOMMY and NONSTOP talking during Star Wars - oh my word.  Joe just tells me to make them stop but I feel I should ENJOY THESE EXCRUCIATINGLY WONDERFUL MOMENTS OF CLOSENESS while I can :)

But now it's 9:30 and the words that I was all fired up over at the beginning of the day are gone.  

Well, not entirely........I have started a few posts and then not finished them tonight because it just doesn't feel right.  I know that one day, soon, I will come back to them and finish them and the Holy Spirit will finish the thoughts and fill the page with words and the thinking and the typing and the writing won't seem so hard.  It will just flow and come from a different place other than my own mind and hands.

But today I was a mom.

A mom who loves Jesus.

And so I love my kids the best I can - my squirmy, LOUD, crazy, lego creatin', book readin', forever eatin' kids that God has blessed me with.

And if, perhaps, you are a mom that has been flooded :) with craziness today and not found your peace or your words or your space to be on fire for God.................remember this:

Today YOU were a mom.

A mom who loves Jesus.

And you loved your kids the best you could - your squirmy, LOUD, crazy, always movin', never stoppin', forever eatin' kids that God has blessed YOU with.

Tomorrow we'll be holy and MIGHTY and strong.

Today let Him be holy and MIGHTY and strong as He loves His squirmy, LOUD, crazy, always movin', never stoppin', forever cookin' moms who have been blessed and LOVED by Him.

Love you all.