None of the Above

Someone is living my nightmare.

I mentioned A few weeks ago that I attended a simulcast of the if: gathering. It was a really impactful day for me but one specific story has been absolutely haunting me since the moment I heard it. A woman named April Lost her two young sons in a tornado in 2014. She herself was badly injured and didn’t walk for months. She told of lying on top of her children in the bathroom and calling out to God for him to protect them as the tornado ravaged her home and community. She woke up a few hundred yards away, barely able to move, and continued to cry out to the Lord as she had no idea where her sons and husband were. Both of her sons died from the tornado that day but she was still so eager to proclaim God’s goodness in the midst of this incredible loss. If you would like to read her full story, check it out here.

As I said, this has been totally haunting me. As I’ve thought about this, probably daily, a few things have been clear to me.

  1. My children are on loan to me. This story in particular has caused me to think about lots of different areas of our lives as a family and how I’m called to protect my children. It has heightened our family conversations about where or how we will educate our children. Will that be small private schools? Homeschool? Our local neighborhood school? How do we keep them safe and at the same time allow them to experience this life and trust God with their futures. That does not mean that I want my kindergartner to be huddled in a closet for active shooter drills, learn trivia for tests, or miss out socially so the jury is still out.
  2. April spoke about how every parent wants their children to be happy, healthy, to have a joy filled life. Although her sweet boys did not have much time on earth, her wishes for them while they were here came true. I’m a big reader and one theme has been going strong throughout several authors, and that is to raise your children to be kind. April’s story has pushed me to strategically think about the character traits that we want our children to have and the ways in which we can teach them. Over and over, it comes back to the fact that they will learn from what they see. Great. So are Dee and I kind to one another, kind to the outcast, do we care about things beyond ourselves? How are we teaching our children to be kind? One thing that was clear to me from April is that her children knew that she believed in God and that it was worth it to her to scream out to him on their behalf. I’m praying for my kids 3 billion times a day but how often are they joining me in that?
  3. There is some more room at the table. I came downstairs yesterday and Dee had placed our five month old, Jay, in a highchair. Elle was sitting next to him in her own chair. She and Dee were eating breakfast together while Jay played. It took my breath away. My sweet little family all sitting together at the table for the first time. I totally swooned. I’m obsessed with these three people and there was something so beautiful to me about seeing my little family for the first time of thousands at a table together. Most days, I really want this to be it. It’s so comfortable. I really love our family of four but I also dream about who else could sit at that table one day. I’m done getting pregnant but is there another sweet face through fostering or adoping that needs to be at our table? Surely they are no less darling or funny or great, and they may not have a table. So although I’m in love with my party of four in a couple of years couldn’t it be a great table of five? I hope so. I’d love to experience life as five.

So while I’m randomly weeping about April and the life she’s living  I’m also so filled with hope. I’m not sure how long I’ll get to live with these people who walk around with my heart but I know I want to do it well and to teach by example that our God is worth serving in the midst of nightmares and to be thankful that it doesn’t end here. Really, I could be 100 years old and weep that I didn’t have enough time with them. I’m hoping for that scenario!

Kitchen renovation plans coming soon!

None of the Above

From one decade to the next

It is the eve of Dee’s thirtieth birthday. For the first time, I’m along for the ride as he moves into the next decade. (I still have a whole 16 months until I get on my own thirtieth birthday sinking ship).

In the weirdest way I feel like I’ve grown up with him. I started chasing him right before I turned 21 and we were married when I was 22. I was so certain that I was old enough, mature enough, had my stuff together enough but the truth is I didn’t have a clue. I had some loved ones less than thrilled that I was choosing to get married so young and it is nothing but Gods grace that I not only still choose to love him but (most days) I really like him. For reasons I cannot even comprehend he still likes me back and THAT, ladies and gentleman, is all I could ever hope for.

The truth is, when you get married when you are still so young the hardest, most important thing is to change and grow together and not apart. Twenties are defining in a thousand ways and when you jump in with both feet, buy a house, have a few kids, and still want to go on a date eight years later I really think it’s nothing short of miraculous.

If you hate gushy just stop reading here. Below are 20(I realize this should be 30 but I have two kids–there just isn’t time!) of my favorite things about the man i’d choose to marry again (in no particular order):

1-He has the craziest work ethic. He works SO hard and he does things well both at work and at home.

2-He is a stud. I wish he were less of a stud while I’m still losing the last ten lbs of baby weight.

3-He is willing to fight with me. Lord knows I don’t make it easy but he knows it’s worth it. He won’t settle for good in our marriage

4-He makes being a dad look easy. Except for the time he forgot Jay downstairs at church (kidding…kind of) he is so attentive especially to throwing Elle in the air to the point of exhaustion.

5-He lets me win. Even when I shouldn’t.

6-When I was going through breastfeeding HELL ON EARTH with both of my kids he was up with me every minute through my screaming and crying pain. The man is on my team. Praise God for formula or my kids would not be with us.

7-He will be mortified by this blog post. Sorry, babe!

8-His friendships are a priority. Even when I selfishly hate his about him, I really DO love it.

9-He has an enormous amount of character and integrity. He will not utter a rude word about someone.

10-He lives and breathes community. He is made for making people feel welcome in a room full of strangers. I’m so bad at this.

11-He is willing to teach me things even when I don’t want to learn from him.

12- Hes desperate to go on a trip with me even though I’m not ready to leave the babies. I somehow married someone who is dying to take me away on an awesome trip and I’m turning him down (FOR THE MOMENT!)

13-I fell in love with him watching him lead worship at Horizon church and this is still something that brings me joy. It is certainly a time sacrifice for our family but has been such an expression of Gods faithfulness to him, it’s unreal.

14-He fights for me. Period.

15- He is the worst storyteller ever. It’s so funny.

16-He is committed to family. Monday night family dinners, holidays, serving, all of it.

17-He is learning to be affirming.

18-He works so I can be home with the kids full time. We did this before we could technically afford it and it has meant tons of sacrifices along the way but he is committed to it in the same way I am.

19-He forgives quicker than anyone I’ve ever met. He is so quick to apologize and (even more frequently) forgive me when I’m being difficult.

20-Out of the mobs of girls trying to snatch him up all at once, he somehow noticed the quiet girl in the corner of the room and chose me! Thank God!

Happy 30th birthday to my love! I’m so happy for every year I get to grow older with you. I hope we get 100 more!

None of the Above

Ten Whole Years

So I went to my ten year reunion this weekend. Ten year High School reunion, that is. Adult conversation? Margarita? Tater tots with crab dip and cheese on them? yes-I’m in!

Of course its got me really thinking about way too many aspects of my life. I have always thought of a ten year reunion as a time that you’d go back and show everyone how far you’ve come in life, maybe a little bragging, a little “I’ve made it”. I really didn’t show up with any of those feelings, though. In so many ways, I’ve “made it”. I have a stud of a husband, two kids (girl and boy), a beautiful home (except for the stinking tile kitchen that all my nightmares are made of), a college degree. I may not look the same (thank you-10.3 lb Jay!) and I really do love my life, don’t get me wrong, but I think the thing I’m proud of most is leaving behind that girl I was in high school. Insecure, exclusive with friends, preppy to the max, obsessed with status…the list goes on. I’m so glad she didn’t join me in adulthood (for the most part).

I was talking to a friend at church this morning about how I’d love to send my kids to private school and what a great experience I had. Her face scrunched up immediately and she said “not for me, I hated it, I wasn’t popular so it wasn’t a good experience”. I immediately wondered if the biggest difference between then and now is that I see people. Was I just part of the in-crowd and had no idea that my high school wasn’t a fun place for all? I was never someone to mock or ridicule people for being different but I’m sure I didn’t come to their rescue either. I think sometimes THAT kind of person is worse.

So here I am, the day after my reunion wondering if I should have shown up with a thousand apologies for being blissfully unaware. Everyone is obviously “fine”. The reunion was a blast. I have not seen, much less spoken to more than 3 people in that room and probably one or two were on purpose. Still, it was a blast catching up with each person I had a few moments with but I wonder if the real problem is that I didn’t have relationships with some of my peers at all in high school and I’m just now thinking to care about it. That is a whole lot of ugly.

As always, I end up thinking about my kids. I can pray and encourage and beg them to reach out to the loner and stick up for the person who is being ridiculed, to eat with the person whose sitting alone at lunch but one day I will drop them off at school (maybe not, that may be a blog post for another day) and just hope that they would care. I think if they would just be people who see everyone and care about them; to simply be kind I would feel like I was a major success at the parenting gig. The last thing I would hope for any of us is to coast. The most horrible thing would be for our kids to read about our current generation in history books and ask what we were doing to stop all of this chaos and we didn’t have an answer. My kids very well may ask what I did to stop human trafficking, or HIV spreading like wildfire in our own city, or racism, or mass shootings for no reason at all. I hope I will have shown them that I care deeply and I did something, that they need to care for the victims and the outcasts whether in their school or those who are simply taking up the same amount of space on earth. What a difference ten years makes. Praise God there aren’t ten year reunions for college. I’d be sleeping through that one!

Renovation, Rental, Uncategorized

The BIG sigh of relief

I’m breathing deeply again. House officially rented and Dee is done repairs, our new home is starting to come together, we’ve begun hosting things at our home again which although is hard work is definitely life giving for our family.

Nap time today had all kinds of feelings. One of the “major players” in my life had a major surgery yesterday. The big C word is no small thing but today is all about gratitude. Witnessing the waking up from surgery marked the end of a lot of questions, fears, wondering, and expectation. A whole lot of “ifs” were all laid out concerning God. He and I shared lots of bare naked moments the last six or so weeks and not once did He leave me. I went to the If:gathering a few weeks ago and Jen Hatmaker mentioned meeting God after the shock of a loved ones C diagnosis and proclaiming “He is still good”. Later in the conference another speaker mentioned her own battle with C and how her prayer changed from one of healing to begging for the absence of fear no matter the outcome. This was so timely for me.

I came home last night snuggled up to the hubs which was a bit miraculous in itself with the way I’ve been so stinking stressed(cold) lately. We took a sigh of relief, fell asleep and slept like we didn’t have kids. Until of course 4am when Jay was crying for milk 😁.

Raining or not, it’s a beautiful day today full of crazy promise and expectation.

Let me leave you with my favorite story:

Daniel 3

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[a] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. 21 So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. 22 The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, 23 and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

25 He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, 27 and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this”

May we all walk around like not a hair on our heads has been singed in the midst of fire.