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Friday, March 19, 2010

If I could turn back time

Today was an insanely busy day of cleaning. Trying to get the house on the market is a lot of hard work. We scrubbed baseboards, windowsills, bathrooms, and cabinets. I came down the hall at one point to see Grace (11) with Abby (3) on her shoulders wiping the top of the doorframes that Grace couldn't reach.

The hard work paid off. We were so far along on chores that we took a break to play. When Shawn got home from work we went to the park to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before a cold front rolls in tonight.

It was a bittersweet moment. Hanging out with the family was fun. Abby (3) took her shovel and pail and dug in the big sandpit. Shawn asked her, "Whatcha making?" Abby answered, "A hole." (in that "duh" voice.)

Tonight, though, was a milestone marker. For the first time ever, my son, James (13), didn't play. He stood around, he watched Abby play, and sat on a bench and stared off into space, bored. I realized that He has outgrown going to play at the park.

Watching him sitting on the bench, my mind raced back to our first trip to the park. 10 years ago,newcomers to the area, we went to Fairview Park for the first time. I slid open the door of the minivan, and James shot off across the grass to ride a big purple dinosaur bouncy thing. His blond chili bowl haircut bounced sky high as he squealed with delight.

He and Grace raced from slides to swings and back again as I followed with Katie in my hip. They played until they were exhausted, falling sweatily asleep in their carseats on the way home.

Over the years we have picnicked, birthday partied, and celebrated soccer wins at the park. We explored the creek, and imagined incredible adventures together. We conquered the gigantic climbing rock, and learned to swing on the monkey bars.

Tonight I realized that a beautiful chapter of my life is closing. Don't misunderstand me, I am excited about our future. I am enjoying my kids more at this point than probably ever before. I am certainly looking forward to the next few years left with my kids before time for college. But tonight I realized that my little blond baby boy had turned into a giant, gangly, long-legged man. And for just a few minutes I missed my baby.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"You're Old Mommy"

This was too funny to keep off the blog, even if it's a little inappropriate. Just enjoy the laugh!

On Tuesday, my third class at the gym, a cycle class, about killed me. It was taught by a serious runner. It was awesome, but it was crazy hard. My muscles were screaming. As soon as I got supper on the table, I headed off to soak my sore muscles in a steaming hot bath.

I had just drug myself up out of the burning water to shave my legs when Abby, my three year old, came in to go potty. She was extraordinarily fascinated by the shaving cream. "Mommy, how come you put on that stuff that goes kshshshshshshshshshshshshsjshshshshshshsshshshshshhshshshsshhshshshs?" I know she made that sound for a good two minutes. I explained the mystery of shaving very patiently, even though she was interrupting my relaxing me time.

It was the next comment that made me cry with laughter. She stood against the tub intently watching me shave. Then her eyes drifted to my chest. Then she abruptly lifted her shirt to look at her chest. Then she looked back at me. I fully expected to have the conversation about why her boobs are little and mine aren't, the conversation a mom has with every young daughter. But no, that wasn't what was on her mind.

"Mommy, you're old."

I'm thinking, "what the heck?" but answer, "what makes you say that?"

"cause your boobies touch your belly. That makes you old. Memaw says that happens when you get old."

At first I was confused, but then realized that hunching over to shave did make the girls hang down farther than usual. I couldn't stop laughing. And laughing. And laughing. You gotta love three year old logic.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Run With Me

Let's go. Throw on your shoes and let's hit the street. Let's run away from our stress and our burdens and our hurts. Let's connect with God and let Him speak to our soul. Let's discover God's heart and listen to Him pour out His love on us. Let's run into the wind and let it whip our hair and feel its sensual touch on our skin. Okay, so maybe you are working or busy or hate to exercise. Today you can come with me without ever leaving your comfy chair.

I started my morning with 2 cups of coffee. I knew as I drank the second cup that I would deeply regret it. I knew that by mile two I would have heartburn that felt like the fiery flames of hell in my throat, and that I would need to stop back by the house to pee, therefore messing up my running time. Of course I drank it anyway. And of course, both things became regrettably true.

While sitting in my comfy chair, drinking my coffee, I checked my weather app on my phone to see what I needed to wear. My weather app says 73 and sunny. It is a liar. I slid on my short shorts, with a green stripe. (I don't know why it mattered if they were green. Not like I needed to keep people from trying to chase me down and pinch me while I was running.) I hit the door and realized it was cloudy and cold and my legs were in danger of frostbite. I set my ipod to shuffle and headed out anyway.

As I walked the first half mile, I realized that this is my fourth season to experience while running. I started running last summer. Summer was a beautiful time to run. I usually waited until late at night after it cooled off some. I would marvel at the stunning clear summer night sky. The stars sparkled like diamonds as sweat trickled down my back and soaked my white T-shirt and tiny black shorts. Something about the combination of stars and sweat and a little Norah on the iPOD was amazing. The summer running helped me rediscover my beauty as a woman and to find confidence in my body - whatever lies the numbers on the scales try to tell me.

Gradually the hot days became cooler. I loved running in the fall. I loved watching leaves sail to the ground, one by one. I enjoyed the wind in my face, and I loved the vision of God putting the world to sleep while it waited for spring and new life. I also began to conquer distance. My running increased from seconds to minutes to miles. I found a steely strength and will power that I did not know I owned.

Wintertime running was not my favorite. Bottom line - it was cold and the cold air burned my lungs. But there was definitely something magical about running at Christmas. I loved running right at dusk and watching Christmas lights come on gradually throughout the neighborhood. Best of all, I finally achieved my goal of running 3 miles.

Springtime running may turn out to be the best. Every day that I run, I see new life popping out. It speaks so loudly of God and His creative power. I thought that today I would show you some favorite pieces of my run. So, ready, set, let's go.

These jonquils are the first sign of spring. When I was little girl they would start blooming across the yard right before the dogwood trees unfurled their beautiful colors. Seeing these today reminded me that there is always hope for the future, no matter how dry and brown and cold life becomes.

I was finally hitting my stride on my first running interval when I saw this tree. It was pruned back pretty hard because of so much deadness in the branches. As I passed it, I noticed the new growth. It reminded me that as God painfully prunes away deadness in my life and in my heart, He does so that I may experience new and beautiful growth.

As I was discussing the pain involved in this process with God, I saw something else that made me stop and think. Pruning and its subsequent growth can only occur as we are surrendered fully to the process. I probably struggle more with surrender than with any other issue in my walk with Christ. I love to try to boss God about how to best work in my life and in my future. I have to constantly be reminded that yielding is absolutely necessary to experience the best that God has for me.

This was my favorite moment today. I was rounding the corner, pushing hard to conquer the hill coming up, when I saw the sign. It's been there forever, but today I really saw it. Pushing up this hill is consistently one of the hardest, but favorite parts of my runs. I realized that many times God sends me in directions that look to be dead ends. A wise person might turn back and look for a different road, but it is in following God down some insanely crazy paths, that I have seen the greatest beauty in life. Seeing the dead end sign with the beautifully alive blooming tree behind it reminded me of all the times that I have found healing and and amazing new life when I when I've gone down what looked to be hopelessly dead ends. What looks crazy and impossible to me is often the very thing that God is planning to use to change my life the most.

Running today, God used things along the way to remind me that He is not finished in my life. That the areas of my life that seem the driest and deadest are the areas where He is getting ready to restore new life. The pruning that has to happen prior to new life can be painful, but it is necessary. The paths that God set before me that seem to be impossible dead ends are usually are the ways to new experiences that are beautiful and teach me so much about God and His love and His beauty.

Hope you enjoyed running with me today. It was a great one! Maybe next time you'll grab your sneakers and join me on the street.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chaotic Cleaning

I am a chaotic cleaner. If I am organizing my closet, I drag everything out into the floor to begin. If I am sorting toys, I dump them all into a heaping mountain, and then put them back into the toybox as I go. I think this is pretty normal, but what makes my cleaning style even more chaotic is that I may go to the bathroom in the middle of closet organizing and get sidetracked into organizing the bathroom cabinets. Or I may move from the playroom into the kitchen for a snack and get sidetracked into cleaning the ovens. This translates into big messes everywhere while I am cleaning.

Currently, there are multiple mountains of stuff laying around my house. I am slowly but surely conquering the chaos. It is just insane while I am in the middle of the mess. I have basically conquered the bedrooms and kitchen and am now working on the garage. The stuff from the garage has taken over the house tonight.

Sitting in my living room tonight staring at boxes piled high with stuff to sort made me stop and think. In order to have a genuinely clean house, I have cleaned all the places that people see, but I have also organized closets, sorted drawers, and the scariest of all - cleaned under my bed. My chaotic cleaning reminded me of how God works on cleaning up sin in our life. He does not wave a magic wand and poof it all away automatically. I sure wish cleaning was that easy. But instead, God deals with me in small sections - just a closet or a drawer at a time. Sometimes there are seasons in my life that I am struggling with some difficulty that I just cannot seem to overcome (like the garage), and God temporarily moves on to something else more manageable for a short season - like washing dishes. Then He goes back to the garage again when I am more ready to obediently deal with the big issues.

So many times in my life, I feel like there is just absolute chaos inside of me as God is working a little bit here and little bit there. Sometimes He just drags all the really scary sin out from under the bed and leaves it sitting in a big pile for awhile, letting me trip all over it, until I am ready for Him to help me make it go away. The frustrating part has to be once we clean up an area of my life, and I move on, I have to make certain that I keep it clean. It doesn't matter if I wash all the dishes today, I still have to wash them all again tomorrow. If I let them go for a week then it becomes a very nasty horrible chore all over again. Taking care of sin is like that for me. If I will do it often, and be agreeable with God about the things I need to deal with, then it is a much easier, much less horrible event. It is when I leave my sin unattended and let it grow in dark places that it feels overwhelming to try to deal with it.

I don't know that I really have a concise point to make tonight. I guess, just as I was chaotically cleaning this week, it made me appreciate the cleaning that God has to continually do in my life a little bit more. I am glad that He doesn't ever give up, no matter how big the mess gets.

Monday, March 15, 2010


My kids tend to be lazy about laundry. They will check the dryer, say the clothes are damp, and run them for another 20 or 30 minutes. I get a little irritated because it's untruthful, and expensive.

Saturday I found my breaking point. I started the dryer, then went to the gym. I came back and Grace said she restarted the laundry. I was a little peeved, but whatever, maybe they were damp. I disappeared into the blackhole of cleaning my bedroom. When I circled through 4 hours later, the dryer was still running. I went off as I threw dry clothes all over the living room. "Are you all so lazy that you won't even fold a single load of laundry. Etc, etc...." Nobody contradicted me, each asuming the others were to blame for my tirade.

Right before bed, I threw another load in the dryer and set the timer. The next morning, the dryer was still going. The timer is broken. Not only that, the heat is broken so that no matter how long the dryer runs, the clothes are still damp. It suddenly washed over me that I had unjustly and falsely accused my kids.

It made me stop and think. Their past behavior contributed to my assumptions. The evidence led me to my conclusion about their behavior, but in spite of all the past circumstances and the evidence pointing in that direction, my conclusion was wrong. The dryer was broken.

I wondered how often in life we misjudge people's actions because of their past behavior or because we have misinterpreted the evidence that we see. It reminded me of the importance of assuming the best, and asking questions before reaching a negative conclusion about others.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Monday morning update 3.14.10

Spring break Sunday along with the time change left The Crossroads missing lots of families. Around one third of our regular attendees were out. It now seems strange to look across empty seats. It made me remember the first Sunday at The Crossroads when nobody came, and it was just the launch team. That seems like such a lifetime ago!

I deeply appreciated my good friend, Rachel, filling in for our worship pastor this week. He was away visiting extended family. It's great to have people who are gifted vocally and available to be used as needed. We had a few minor mishaps occur in set up. I plugged one thing in wrong, the power strip went out that the amps were running through and had to be changed, and I couldn't get the monitor to work. But in all, I thought it went pretty well for being our first time on our own.

Shawn preached about God loving us and using us for His purposes. I have a hard time, still, wrapping my mind around God using my whole life - the good and the bad - all of it - for His glory. It's hard for me to understand that God loves me absolutely. Just as I am today. No strings attached.

Now we are headed to pick up Abby, my three year old, after a week at memaw's. I can't wait to see my sunshine! I am also looking forward to a week off from school. However, I am not looking forward to the cleaning on my schedule.