Sunday, September 29, 2013

There's A Mouse in the House

So here's the thing.........I have this little, tiny, hopefully slightly hidden fear of.........


Well, and mice, too.


And I don't want to give him a cookie or a glass of milk or do any fun things with him like they do in that book where the mouse is cute and funny and all that.


I never want to see him again.

I scream and fling my body about in the most odd and jerky movements possible and then hit the floor whenever I see him.

You may have seen this before if you have ever been around me when I am surprised or scared suddenly.

God forbid anyone ever throw me a surprise birthday party......I would pee my pants and fling my body to the ground therefore scarring every person there.


So that mouse got me thinking about my fear of failure.

Because, you see, I think that mouse is kind of like my fear.

I try to grab ahold of the fear, I contain it, I trap it or I try to keep it at bay, chase it away, forget it exists and move on with life.

But you know what I am sitting here thinking about?



Joe has it contained (he swears it can't get over the lip of the dividing step between the entryway and kitchen (I am allowing myself to believe him).

I am imagining how small it is and how it can't hurt me.

I am trying to forget about it (that small, black, disgusting, horrid creature that only lives to make me suffer).

I am trying to move on with my life and get some sleep (yet here I am typing this out instead of sleeping.)

Because you know what?

It's still in the house, just like my fear is still present and alive and very much wanting to EAT ME ALIVE........well, maybe that is an exaggeration but you get my meaning.

In doing everything BUT crushing the heck out of my fear and getting rid of it I am letting it still control me.

I actually asked myself tonight........what would happen if I was a crushing failure in a particularly important area of my life?  What really would happen?

I don't know.

I mean......I think about what would happen if that mouse would crawl into bed with me and bite my toe or something..........and I think I would DIE.  I certainly would probably kill my poor husband because I would scream so loud and claw him to death but would I DIE?

Stop exaggerating, Mandy.

Get a grip.

So what would happen if the village we led sucked one week, I mean really people decided not to come back sucked?

What would happen if my kid acted like a BEAST and if was ALL MY FAULT because I messed up and I needed to step up my game or let go or something else?

What would happen if I said the COMPLETELY wrong thing at the completely wrong time?

What would happen if I messed up as a granddaughter, a daughter, a mom, a wife?

What would happen if my house was trashed and someone happened to stop by in the midst of the mess and tired kids and tired momma?


Stop exaggerating, Mandy.

Get a grip.

That fear, like the mouse, seems so elusive but the closer you get you realize that it's really this tiny, little creature that you can trap, try to catch, keep at bay and forever run scared of OR you can get up close and personal and stare it down and say......






So what's it for you?  Failure?  Mice?  Or something else?

What do you live in fear of and when are you going to get up close and personal and stare it down?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Composting: A Photographic Essay (Otherwise Titled: Don't You Wish I Was YOUR Neighbor?

I always feel slightly self-conscious when posting things about what we do as parents, as people, as Christians.  Blogs don't give full pictures, just glimpses of a life and when the glimpses are all pretty and slightly perfect then the full picture is lost.  

So balance is called for.........yesterday I spoke of lopsided Christians and today I want to make sure I am not a lopsided blogger - swinging too far towards perfect or too far towards utter hopelessness :)  Although my husband would say that this is utter hopelessness..........I would point him to yesterday's post and remind him what an AWESOME mom I am for the 5 minute car ride to school every day.  In my mind that outweighs my rather eccentric composting tendencies.

I apologize to Ashley in advance...............

There is where my husband would like me to do our composting.  See the big, lovely bin?  It's....I have no idea how many feet from our back door, mathematical estimation is not my strong suit........somewhere between 5 and 500 feet from our back door.  A mere stroll in the lovely fall weather.  The best thing about this is that it keeps animals away from the composted food and makes us all feel wonderful about being responsible people who don't throw all their trash into landfills.

Here is another preferred composting option - right inside our own garden.  It's equal distance away from the back door and you don't even have to slide open a drawer thingy or anything - just dump it right over the fence.  Easy would think.

Here is another option.  This one right out the back door.  Now my patient and sweet husband has very, very nicely explained to me time and again how putting the compost in the bucket and then COVERING it with another bucket would help IMMENSELY in keeping animals away from this method of composting so that it doesn't get spread across the back door.  Another benefit to the double bucket is that swarms of insects, flies and such don't WHOOSH towards your mouth every time you open the back door.  I just like to focus on the fact that the compost made it out of the house..........and landed somewhere in the vicinity of the bucket.  YEA ME!

Now this is my husbands LEAST preferred method and my MOST preferred method.  I call it the open and shut method of composting.  I simply open the window to the backyard, dump the compost out and then shut the window.  VOILA!  It's gone.  It's not in the house and I didn't have to leave the house to do it.  Not to mention the unlimited capacity of the plot of land right outside the window.  My favorite time to do this is right after Christmas.  We JOYFULLY fling Jesus' birthday cake out the window and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS! and let the squirrels eat away.  It is VERY festive.

You can see how the compost has really been helping the weeds just grow, like........well, weeds.  It's really amazing.  You could almost say that the weeds cover the compost and so it's totally ok that I throw food out our back window.

Joe doesn't agree.

I tell him I am a work in progress......whoever thought I would compost or recycle or anything like this?

ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, that's who.

I hope you have enjoyed this photographic essay and have even learned some new ways that you, too, can be AMAZINGLY green.

Oh and one more thing about all things backyard..........have you heard of lawn confetti?

Yeah, didn't think you had.  I made it up just yesterday but I really think it will catch on.

What you do is have your children do art projects outside and then you leave them in the backyard for weeks on end until that have become just dry, withered pieces of paper scattered in your yard.  Then you mow.

And, yes, that's right.

Mow right over those babies.  No need to stop the mower and bend down and pick those bad boys up.

Let them DECORATE your lawn for you.  Watch the confetti spray right out the back and sides.  It's a thing of beauty.

Beauty because it is your precious babies artwork that is scattered so lovingly over the yard and the beauty of not wasting a single moment of your precious time bending over and picking those papers up.

Have a glorious Friday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two Questions

Who'd you bless today?

This is an often asked question in our house.

Our hope is that our kids recognize that life isn't just about them.  It's not just about having fun and what they get out of school, an activity, an outing.  It's about blessing others and showing love to others  that they may experience the love of Jesus, the light and hope of Jesus.

We talk in the morning on the way to school and over the dinner table and before bed about ways that they have blessed others or ways that they might try to bless others.

Sometimes it works.

Sometimes it doesn't :)

But the question is there, planted in their minds.........who'd you bless today?

I added to it the other morning.  We were in the car, saying our morning prayer before school - praying for other village kids and their schools and that all our children be blessings to those they saw today.....and I felt that something needed to be added.

I felt that being a blessing was only one side of the coin and so I added a phrase, a question.

I asked that God open their eyes to who is blessing them, who is loving them today.  I asked the children to be on the lookout for people who are showing THEM Jesus.

I want them to be able to identify the blessings that they have in their lives, the people that are helping and loving them.  I want them to know that they TOO need to be blessed and that they are not above receiving love and care.  I want them to feel the love of Jesus in their life and I want them to know that it comes from being in community, from letting others in and not just doing it all by themselves.

Life isn't about giving and giving and giving until you are dried up and done's about opening yourself up to receive blessings so that in the overflow you may bless others.  And it's important to me that my children recognize that, that they see the all the many ways they are blessed and out of the overflow they are eager to share with others.

Only giving is just as seductive and dangerous as only taking.  Only giving leads to inflated ego and sense of self, it isolates you and leaves you lonely, it causes people to become bitter - asking where is MY due?  Only giving is a trap of the self-righteous.

And it's not one I want my children to fall into.

And so we ask.............who blessed YOU today? alongside who'd you bless?

You can't have one without the other or you become a lopsided Christian.

We are meant to bless and be blessed.

So................who'd you bless today?

Who blessed you?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Am

I am 36 today.

And just like any other number - whether it be the number on a scale, the number of friends you have or the number of likes you have - it's part of who I am but not all of who I am.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am a wife.

I am a mother.

I am a friend.

I am a painter of windows - pumpkins, rainbows, ghosts, hearts - we do it all.

I am a laugh out loud, throw water in your face, mess-makin' kind of gal.

I am a quiet, keep to myself, read a novel a day, sometimes introvert.

I am a quick to think, quick to talk, quick to act type leader.

I am a homebody living three streets from my childhood home that dreads ever leaving this place.

I am a obsessive consumer of Diet Vanilla Cokes from Sonic.

I am an avid watcher of Parenthood, Downton Abbey and Nashville.

I am one who craves interaction and dialogue and meaningful discussion, I thrive on debate.

I am one who would rather look ten years ahead rather than ten minutes ahead.

I am a dreamer.

I am a writer.

I am a rather dramatic soul at times.

I am a child of God.

I am a weepy, emotion-driven worshipper centered on Christ and His love for us all.

I am a dancer.......when Aretha Franklin or Carole King is playing.

I am strong when I need to be.

I am a Wenger, Kossler, Codispoti mix.

I am 36 today........and surprisingly?

I am proud of that number and all the years I have lived, thus far, to be who I am.  Every year has gone into this year - making me who I am and growing me to be this person.  I am far from done and far from perfect.  And so I look forward to the next year and all those that follow..........wondering who will I be in ten? fifteen? twenty years from now.

Now I ask............who are you?

Just When You Think You Are an Awesome Parent.......

8:47pm Monday night - I am watching Downton Abbey (oh my word.......that starts and I am transported to a different time and place and I am sucked into the vortex of 1922 England.   Seriously, it's somewhat jarring to me when the credits come on and the black screen replaces the beautiful scenery of the Abbey......what? where am I?  what on earth am I doing in this bed wearing my tattered, old pajama pants and hair wrapped up in a towel and who is this young child peering at me in the darkened room......where is the abbey?  Mary?  Tom?  Mrs. Hughes? Mr. Carson?  Where did you all go?)

Nico (holding an ENORMOUS book of science experiments from the library......his other book choices?  Several Scooby-doo, a book about scoliosis, an atlas and a book about ohio - all picked out with quite a bit of care and deliberation) :  Mom.  Mom.  Mom.

Me (waking from my DA fog):  What? Yes.  Ok.  Ummmm, what?

Nico:  Mom, you have to see this experiment.  Can we do it?  Can we try this?

Me:  Ok, show me, buddy.  What did you find?

Nico:  It's a really good one........with birds.  See.  Right here.  You need a whole bunch of stuff.

Me:  Ok, buddy.  I think we have all this stuff, we can do this.  It's a homemade bird bath.

Nico:  Well, we would need a grown up to fill the water every day.  That would be you, mom.  You are home all day.  We aren't.  Francesca will have school, too.  So you can fill it up.  Well.......until you are dead.  I will probably be in college (All the while please picture that my precious boy whom I cherish has a big smile on his face and is taking this all very seriously but in that goofy, excited way he has when in the midst of planning and creating).  I will be grown up and then I can take care of it.  I probably won't even remember you............we will be so far apart. (more rambling about me being gone and him carrying on without a care in the world)

Me:  Huh. (thinking of that little boy who still requires cuddle time in the morning when he wakes up, wanting to curl into me while he adjusts to the HARSH, COLD world........far apart, not remembering me, WHATEVER.......oh he will remember me......I start plans of my own..........)

Nico: (more talk of planning and what he is going to do..............)

Me:  Well, that's a good plan buddy.  We will have to work on that tomorrow. (both of us will........operation remember mama will be in full effect)

And the other one.....................

Francesca: you think I should be when I growed up - God or a horse rider?

Me: (stunned silence)

And as always in moments like this with Francesca.........I wonder how we ended up with a mini female version of Uncle Anthony.......... :)  Oh, by the way, the silence did end and I told her she couldn't be God, there is only one God and she wasn't it.

I am not sure that she believed me..............................

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

It Starts With You

Today I met with a of the few that I allow behind the curtain......I was going to contact her but she beat me to it with an early morning text that came, I am sure, the moment she read the blog.......and we walked and we talked.

She asked me how I was on a scale of 1-10 (how I love people who get right to it) and I said about a 6, I think.......maybe a 7?  Then I laughed and said something along the lines of I am not sure I know how to say I am lower.  She laughed and said that my 6 was probably someone else's 4.

I said I am not sure what's wrong......maybe nothing.  I don't know.  It's a weird thing.

I think I need to just say the thoughts that come into my mind late at night.  I need to just give voice to the lies so they can be exposed for what they are.  I know that's what it is.......I think.

She listens.

And I felt myself getting a bit choked up, wanting to cry a bit but we were walking and I don't really like crying (except, apparently, EVERY SINGLE TIME I am at church) and so I made myself say the words.

And here's the thing.  It wasn't anything too awful.

Those words?

They lost their power once they were brought into the light.

They were exposed to truth and love in the form of a friend.

And in an e-mail (he read the blog after I was asleep and I have to admit sometimes we communicate through e-mail......judge if you want :) my husband said ok......we are going behind the curtain.  We are talking this out tonight.  And although he didn't say it I know he means business.......he loves and cares for me so much better than I love and care for myself, at times.

So tonight I will have an opportunity to say the words again and hear them spoken out loud and I will be able to identify them for the lies that they are.

We can give so much power and life to the things of our mind and the things we keep in the dark if we are not in relationship with other people.


These things that I spoke out's nothing new.  It's the same old stuff.  I know them to be lies.  I know these things are meant to keep me down and quiet and to stop me from growing and being light to others.  I know this.

And yet it doesn't matter.

On my own I will start to believe the lies once more.........

And the anxiety comes and is stirred in the night and I wake up feeling uneasy and tired and done in before the day begins.

UNTIL...........someone listens.

UNTIL............someone says I see you.

UNTIL.............someone says that is crap.

UNTIL.............someone takes the time to stop and love.

I want us to love each other like that.  I want us to lay down all the lists and the tasks and the stuff that needs to be done today and really listen to someone and love someone.  I want everyone to have people that go behind the curtain with them, that won't wait to for someone to call them but they will be on the phone ARE you......really?

Because here's the thing tasks and lists and things are easier to deal with and manage than people.

People are hard and they disappoint and they will do the same things over and over and over again until you want to bang your head on the wall or, even, bang their head on the wall.

Tasks are accomplished and completed. When you put the laundry in the wash it stays there.  When you wash a dish, you dry and then put it away......done.  It's not complicated.  It takes a bit of time but it's simple and easy.

People are anything but simple and easy.

Maybe we shy away from relationship and commitment to others for that reason.

Maybe it's easier to devote time to a task then to a person and so we fill our time with tasks.

But how about today we add to the top of our lists a phone call, a text, a short visit.

You shouldn't have 20 of these people.........remember Jesus?  He had 12.

You aren't Jesus.

Start with one.  Just one.

My friend?

We spent 45 minutes together today.  That's it.

And that 45 minutes?

It changed how I viewed myself and gave me room to breathe and space to remind myself of who I am.

And you know what?

I am pretty awesome ;)  Just ask my friend.

Who's your one?

It starts with you.

Make the time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Behind The Curtain

Here I am..........again.........

Awake when it's still dark and way too early and my mind is racing and my body is already tired from all the things it will have to do today and all the people it will have to care for and tasks it will have to accomplish and I wonder why I can't sleep.

I wonder why sleep eludes me and why when I wake in the dark that my thoughts first turn to who I am not and the very worst parts of me and the weight that never leaves - whether on my heart or my flesh.

I think of that movie in childhood......the one I never fully watched because it was scary and oh my that lady on the bike and her cackling.  I can still see her and hear the music and feel a twinge of something uncomfortable, something not quite fear but close to it.  The monkeys and the little men and the witches - both good and bad.

But what I remember now, in the dark of night, is the great and powerful wizard.  And I think how brilliant the author of this book is that he is able to see inside all of us and realize that we all have a little man,woman standing behind a curtain and we want to project this great image, this powerful image but really we are just this tiny, normal person.  Just a regular person with all the same fears and hang ups and such that accompany each person in this life.

And I am great at pulling back the curtain so that you get a glimpse of me.  You get a glimpse of the insecurities I face, the thoughts I have, the things that cripple me in the night.  But it's just a glimpse, enough for you to know that I know I am not perfect, that I have my faults and I struggle, too, with all that I am not and am.  But then the curtain gets placed firmly back in place and the smile goes on and the clothes try to hide and the body keeps moving and the little man inside is forgotten or a least shoved aside in pursuit of daily life.

And oh my there are those of us who are GREAT at the pulling back.  We sweep aside our curtains with such flair or noise that it's the pulling back of the curtain that people are taken with, the action and not the actually person standing behind it.  If you are one of these people you know what I mean.  Our great reveal is accompanied by a laugh or a story or drama because we have steeled ourself for this moment, for this reveal and in doing so the tiny person behind the curtain is overwhelmed by the reveal.

I wonder what true vulnerability looks like and if we have allowed time and space for it in our lives.   I wonder if in all our busyness and urge to good things, the right things and love and take care of one another that we are missing what's good and real and important.

We are missing the opportunity to not just pull back the curtain but to have someone step forward and, no don't close it just yet.

Can I step behind this curtain with you?

Can I take a moment to just sit with you?

Can we talk?

I just want to listen.

I want to see.

I want to see the real you and I won't shy away.

I promise.

But, of course, we do shy away and promises are broken and people are hurt and curtains are slammed shut and we go back to life as it was when we are hurt by those we love and want to be loved by.

But how about for today we don't.

We don't shy away.

We don't slam shut.

We don't walk away.

Instead we invite.

We listen.

We see.

We stop.

We love with our ears and with our eyes and with our hearts.

So today take a moment and think of who in your life needs you stop and see the person behind the curtain.  Take a moment and think who are those people for you?  We don't expose ourselves randomly and to everyone we meet........then you would be a flasher :)  Not everyone needs to see all of who you are and all your stuff.  But we do need a trusted few who know everything, who know the REAL you, who see and love all of who you are.

I have my few and most likely I need to spend a moment with them and talk.  Really talk about what's behind my curtain, what drives me to wake at night and what thoughts keep racing in my mind and not brush off my night waking.

"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
                                                    - 1 John 5-7

Who are your few?

What needs to be brought to light?

Love you all.  Thanks for showing up for my reveals and glimpses.  I am off to sleep for an hour or two before the day starts......I have a feeling I will be able to sleep a bit better now.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Ahhh.......that preacher man and now a music man and someday I will find the words to incapsulate the formidable Suzi but for now she defies description so broad is her range of amazingness that I will simply call her my friend.........these people......they leave me weepy and filled yet yearning for more and feeling tender in the presence of the Lord.......

For they are not mere humans but vessels for the Lord........they speak and sing and live in a way that they reflect the Father.......

Each Sunday I leave a building but more than that I leave a body, a people that are filled with the Holy Spirit, a people that are filled with a Love that surpasses what mere humans are capable of.....

It's a weird and perplexing thing to leave church exhausted and stretched out and tingling and wanting it to last forever and yet seeking a place to rest and search your heart for the words that God left there for the hours that you were there.

I love my church.  I love the body of the church that incapsulates the message and person of Jesus.  I love the preacher man and music man and Suzi because in them resides the yearning to serve the Father and love a big Love that defies any other description besides Jesus.

And sometimes I talk big and I act big and I am loud and too much and I can speak with conviction and force but I spoke in whispers.

God show me a picture of the Holy Spirit as a quick but graceful wind moving throughout the room......whipping in and around and through His people..........and all around the fears and anxieties and messiness of the people were being wiped from them, being gently washed from them.....

And then the forceful nature of who God is stepped the form of a mortar and pestle.......He took those fears and anxieties and all the messiness and ground it down into a fine dust..........and there it was blown away in the the quick but graceful wind moving through the was ground down and blown away.........

And all through the sanctuary I walked and spoke to His people......reassuring them of who He is and who they are and how amazing they are and what amazing things they do.......their words, their beauty, their faithfulness, their love...........God whispering words of love in the ears of His people........

Because it's not enough to identify fears and anxieties and's not enough to ground them out and down and blow them in the wind...........we must then become filled with Him, filled with the message of His love and acceptance..........

And so today I want to whisper words of love and acceptance and worthiness into your lives and tell you that He loves you with an unending, unconditional, unwavering kind of love.  That when you look into the mirror, into your heart, into your life that what you see is exactly as it should be........that you.  you alone are enough.  All this striving and trying and yearning and wanting will kill the you that you are if not accompanied by the LOVE of God.

And it's not worth it.

Achieving perfection in one area will leave you dry in another.  Striving to be more and do more and accomplish more will leave you empty.  Yearning to be different, to make a difference will leave you with the same person you started with.

So just stop.  Stop.

Look in the mirror.

Really look.

See the beauty, the amazing beauty of exactly who you are.

I's there.

Because you see.........preacher man? music man? Suzi?

They are pretty people.  They just are.  But most of the time.........I forget.

I forget their outer beauty in light of the LOVE they shine..........the LOVE they shine that comes not from them or their deeds or their accomplishments but that comes from GOD.

They SHINE his LOVE.

Preacher man's words.

Music man's melodies.

Suzi's life.

All a reflection of the beauty and knowledge of the Father's Love.

I want you to know that each one of you carry this Love.  Each one of you is loved beyond measure.  I wish for you today, I pray for you today, to hear the message of the Father's Love for YOU.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A New Season

I love today.

It's raining and dark outside........making the inside seem all the more cozy.

Don't get me wrong, sun is good.  I like warm weather.  I like being outside.  I love to eat all my meals in the backyard..........until I don't.  

It's a bit exhausting to me when it is sunny ALL THE TIME.  When it's warm and nice I feel we HAVE to be outside, we have to take advantage of every moment and soak it all up.  There is food to be pick, the lawn needs to be mowed, it's another HUGE part of the house to take care of and be in.  Plus there are countless parks, playgrounds and activities for the outdoors that seem to call me name in those summer months and I feel the need to visit them all and do them all.


Oh when it is cool and rainy and dark..............books call out my name, there are tv shows to watch (I know, I know tv is so taboo these days.....but I love it........"The Goldbergs" made me laugh just this morning as I cleaned the kitchen :), there are games and toys that sat all summer long waiting to be played, there are blankets to wrap around us all and there is more time to sit and be and be together.

I love it.

I think there is this inner lazy person that longs to break free of the ULTRA PRODUCTIVE person that I have become.  I used to spend A LOT of time lounging........A LOT.  But then came work and a house and a husband and kids and it seemed that to have any down time you needed to really capitalize on every spare second you had.  I still read a lot and I certainly get to watch my favorite tv shows but it takes on an almost manic quality.  I tend to DEVOUR to the end because the clock is ticking and there is always someone waking up, getting home, needing something, etc.  My shows are watched too late at night or while doing something else.  There is very little time when my mind is still along with my body.


I am entering a new season.  One where there is more space and time and quiet.

And I am loving it.

But unsure of how to approach it.  I am so used to moving, moving, moving.........doing, doing, doing........making sure that everything gets done and every second is used to reach the goal of........... what?  I am not sure.

It used to be dinner on the table, house reasonably cleaned, laundry done and kids played with.  That was the goal.  That was it.


I don't know.

The season of babies, that season of littles and always moving and going and doing.....well, that season seems to be coming to a bit of a youngest turned 4 yesterday and the olders are at school and QUITE happy to be there (Nico actually asked if he could have a school themed birthday party and do all the fun things they do at school at his party.......I LOVE YOU MRS. B).  When they are at home they still want to be with me and have my attention and "what are we going to do mom?" but it's much different from just a few years ago.

And so now I have to confess I am at a loss at how to slow down a bit.  It might be why I don't sleep and why I wake in the middle of the night still and why my body has not adjusted to this new season of life.   I fill my days still with constant activity and I am loathe to sit down and just read or take a break when they are gone because I feel it's cheating somehow.  How can I justify such laziness when I should be cooking, cleaning, exercising, doing laundry, working on church stuff, calling people, organizing, etc.?

Oh Mandy.

You weirdo.

Go back and read your blog.

Is anyone looking?

Is anyone judging?

Is anyone thinking any less of you for reading a book in the middle of the day when you have no kids at home?

Do you remember what you said you were going to do when all your kids were in school the first year?

Do you remember what you thought when you were down in the trenches with all the littles - covered in food stains, constantly wiping butts, chasing Nico, feeding, dressing, creating, playing, not sleeping and surviving?

You said that you were going to read novels, take naps and breathe.

That you would deserve it and you were going to enjoy it.'s slowing down and getting cooler and moving into a new season.

What are you going to do?

Pretend it's summer still or enjoy the dawning of a new day, a new season?

Friday, September 6, 2013

But What About When He Doesn't?

As soon as I lay back in my bed last night...............after writing my last post...........I thought.....

But what about when God doesn't heal?

What then?

A Healer who doesn't heal?

What to say to that?

And I have been a Christian long enough that I know all the phrases and words of comfort and what you are "supposed" to say, they can flow right off the tongue and there is truth to those words but sometimes they are not a comfort.

Because we all want healing for those we love and for ourselves.

And this weekend we are remembering.

We are remembering two who were not healed, who are not with us.

And it's hard.

Two years ago I got the call.  Two years.  She should be two years old.

But instead she remains a baby to us all and we give out sunflowers, rather than birthday presents, this weekend each year.  An idea formed by my brother and his wife, a way to celebrate and remember their girl, Adalyn Joy, on her birthday each year.

A girl, a baby who was prayed for and wished for and loved upon for so much longer than she was here on earth.

Tomorrow we are walking...........for a heart baby, who just a year ago was being prayed for and had been wished for and was being loved upon.  He spent three weeks here on earth.  And during those three weeks there were so many voices being raised in prayer, voices crying out for healing and miracles.

Please, God, please.

And yet...............this weekend we are remembering these babies, rather than holding these little ones.

What now?


Now I remember the words of the preacher man who one year ago today was reading the passage about foolishness in 1 Corinthians.  I was a weepy mess the entire service.  I had come with my big bunch of sunflowers, ready to give them out, trying to find a way to convey the grief we were feeling and yet the JOY we were feeling in knowing Jesus and in knowing that Adalyn has a savior and is with her savior.  How do you explain celebrating the death of one so young and so loved and so hoped for?

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
                          - 1 Corinthians 1:19

And yesterday..........I sat, with my bible opened, and I read those words again - the message of the cross is foolishness.......but to those who are being saved it is the POWER OF GOD.

Our belief is not in the healing but in the HEALER.

Our belief is not contingent on outcome but on the knowledge of who GOD is.

Our belief must seem foolish to so many.

Our belief is not that life is lived, exclusively, in the here and now but that life is everlasting.

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify things that are....." 
                           - 1 Corinthians 1:27-28

And so this weekend we are foolishly celebrating the life of Adalyn Joy.  We are foolishly spreading JOY to those around us through sunflowers and good deeds and kindness and thoughtfulness because the message of the life of Adalyn Joy is found in the message of the cross.

Adalyn Joy is healed.  Adalyn Joy is saved.

And it is through the power of God that may believe this and we may rejoice in her life.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


It starts small...........just a tiny throbbing, really.

I ignore it.

Because, really, it seems I will never learn.

This was last night.........I fall asleep thinking that I will be fine in the morning, right?

I wake up.

The throbbing is still there.

By 10am, all the kids are all gone, I am in the midst of tomatoes, pesto rolls and cleaning......and the throbbing has grown.

So I take a pill and there is a bit of relief.

But by late afternoon it is back and growing.  I take another pill.

The pain continues to grow and I continue to ignore the vice grip on my head until it is time for the kids to start the bedtime process with Joe.

I am stubborn but migraines are more stubborn.

The light hurts.

I am squinting.

The pain just keeps growing.

The waves of nausea come.

Until I am in the bathroom...........throwing up.........thinking that if I don't keep holding the sides of my head, it might split apart, exploding with the pain.

I am shaking.

I make it back to the bedroom.

Joe comes in and looks at me with sympathy but that look that also says you know this happens......why are you so stubborn?

I just look up and ask him to rub my neck.

As an afterthought I ask him to pray.

He does both.

As he prays he calls upon the name of Jesus.  He asks that whatever is causing this, whatever evil might be causing this to be gone, in the name of Jesus.

At that very moment it's as if a valve is opened, a hole is opened and the pain begins a slow leak out, it's leaving my body.

Where once before I was tense with pain and my body was shaking..........I begin to relax for the first time, I am not trying to hold my body together against the pain.

The force of it, the strength of gone.  The throbbing is faint and I drift off to sleep.

I wake just a few hours later.

And I think...........inconceivable.

Inconceivable is it, that at the sound of a name, that pain is wiped away.  That an offhand request, in a desperate moment, was the solution.


The power of a name.

The power of a holy touch.

And the tenacity of a husband more stubborn than any wife or migraine.

A husband who knows who the Healer is and calls freely upon His name.

And I laugh.

I smile.

And I hear the words quoted so many times by my amazing husband and his siblings.............

"You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."


It seems I may just be realizing what IS conceivable.................

Praise and glory be to God.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sharpening Pencils

It's been over three years now that we started our search for a new church.......looking at a website, digging for some information, calling a pastor.  On that website there was something about villages and their leaders.

And for some odd reason I remember thinking I want to see OUR name on that website.  I want Joe and I to be village leaders - whatever the heck that means.

I think that I was looking for a way to matter, something to do, something to proclaim myself as a Christ follower, doing something that is IMPORTANT.  But it mentioned a year long program and more that immediately cast that thought from my mind and I went on with life.

We joined that church.

And three years later we are leading a village.  Our name is on that website.

There was no year long program - just diligence, a vision laid out from God, being faithful in the little things, showing up and a bit of work.

And today as I was unpacking pencils, trying to find a sharpener and finally giving up, just to take them home and get the job done...............I laughed.

I laughed at the conceit I once had............of wanting to see my name on a website, of mistaking recognition for mattering, of thinking those up front are those who are doing the most.

For I am now up front occasionally, my name is on a website (probably one that hardly ever gets looked at but still it seemed to matter once), people are kind enough to encourage and recognize my efforts BUT..............those few moments are completely eclipsed by the many, many moments of sharpening pencils, crafting e-mails, pounding out lesson plans and documents and checklists, setting up tables, running off copies, sitting and asking God to please show up because I have NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING, reading my bible for peace/answers/rest, decorating a church room to look more like a castle/justice league, calling to check in, texting to reassure and so much more.

Now three years later I recognize.

I recognize that glory for ME is fleeting and passes quickly and is wrapped up in performance and audience and will always be a let-down, a disappointment but that glory for GOD is found in the building, the movement, the momentum that is created by Him and is made up of a million moments of diligent, daily faithfulness.

It's sharpening pencils.

It's painting walls.

It's checking in.

It's showing up.

It's going to a job you don't love so your family is taken care of and supported.

It's making tough decisions in light of the future you want.

It's reading books to children after a long day, almost falling asleep as you read but knowing this time is precious and fleeting to all of you.

It's listening.

It's asking hard questions.

It's cleaning rooms and floors and clothes that will be dirty again the next day.

It's making food that gets eaten in a tenth of the time it takes to make it.

It's coming home after a long day and chasing kids, playing games, wrestling......instead of sitting down, taking a load off and relaxing.

Those moments up front?  Those glorious moments of basking in the limelight?  The recognition, the praise?

All amazing things.

But those moments are built upon a million moments that remain unseen, unrecognized and seem unimportant...............the real glory comes from knowing that there is a higher purpose.  You are not working for you or for recognition or for perfection.  You are working for God, for His glory, for His purposes.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do works, which God prepared in advance for us to do"  
                   - Ephesians  2:10

And you know..............I used to teach first grade.......for seven years I sharpened A LOT of pencils.  It was my LEAST favorite thing to do.  Those dang pencils were ALWAYS breaking.  It was the thing that could send me right over the edge......getting ready for a test, a worksheet, a writing assignment......."MISS KOSSLER!  MISS KOSSLER!  MY PENCIL JUST BROKE!  MY PENCIL JUST BROKE!'  Oh. my. word.  Ok.  Go sharpen it.  "MINE BROKE, TOO!  CAN I SHARPEN MY PENCIL, TOO?"  (teeth gritted) Yes.  We will wait.  (Because first graders need tests read to them and worksheets explained and such)  And on and on it would go.

Every day with the pencils.

So it looks like God was just preparing me in advance for the future glory of being a village sharpening pencils.

What's God preparing in YOU?