Saturday, January 30, 2010

He Misbehaved!

I watched in the typical motherhood horror as my 7 year old chose to misbehave on the basketball court. He's the middle boy in our set of "my three sons" and he loves sports. Every time a sign up sheet is passed around for a sport ... Yep, he signs up. And so, we were at the local Y for an afternoon basketball game. My husband was coaching his team and I was sitting in the bleachers ... pretending not to know who the little boy throwing a fit was.

But, he's mine. He didn't get the ball as many times as he wanted, he got pushed around by a few kids bigger than he is and (when he finally got his hands on the ball) he missed the shot. He had a lot to complain about but chose the WRONG time and place to voice his frustrations.

Beings that my husband is the coach, he took our 7 year old out of the game ... put him on the bench next to me. I gave him a stern "you're in big trouble" look and he got even more upset.

I was mad ... really mad! How on earth could my kid behave that way? Why would he think it was ok to act out like that? AND ... most of all ... didn't he realize everyone else could see his behavior? All the parents, relatives and fans saw him on the court throwing a fit.

So, now I'm home and thinking about it a little more. I do that pretty often ... think (or stew over) things my kids do. Please tell me other parents do that too ... you do right?

Anyway ... I'm thinking ... as Christians we do that same sort of thing. We're on the "court" called life. We want to be in the game and we want "the ball". The ball is different for each of us. Some of us want a job, others want a spouse, maybe some of us want children and others might want more money. In our effort to gain "the ball", we hurt others ... we end up trying to get what we want and step on other people in the process.

While we're out there trying to get what we want, other people are watching us. They see our behavior. They see us being mean, acting ugly.
Do you think God ever looks at us and says ... Why is My kid acting like that? Doesn't she know better ... doesn't she realize other people are watching?

The Coach takes us out of the game and gives us the stern "get your act together" look. And ... then ... He loves us. He doesn't stay mad and He doesn't make us feel like we're the worst player on the team.

I gave my 7 year old a hug and told him he needed to do better next week.

So, how are you doing out on the court?

Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fruit Inspection

"Well hello there young man." The elderly woman smiled and winked at my youngest boy.

"Hi." He gave her a bashful grin and peeked into her grocery cart.

Kregg was only three years old at the time. He sat perched in my grocery cart and talked with the stranger as if they were best friends. She told him about the things in her cart and then told him she liked the things in our cart.

A few minutes later, we left the woman to finish her shopping and walked toward the frozen section. Kregg immediately began looking over our grocery selections again.

"What are you looking for?" I quizzed.

"Just that junk that cute wrinkled lady was buyin'" He kept on digging through our selections.

"Like what, is there something special you want?"

"Nope, I just wanna make sure we don't got the same junk." He sighed and again went to digging in the cart. He passed bananas, boxed cereals, waffles and milk. Another sigh.

"Why don't you want the same groceries she has?" I wasn't catching on.

"Cause I don't wanna eat whatever made that lady all wrinkled up!"

Ok, so I admit, I laughed ... If only it were that simple. In the mind of a child it is simple and it should be simple. We finished our grocery shopping amidst a conversation on how you get wrinkles and that it has nothing to do with what you eat.

We raised our boys much the same as other parents. The typical conversation at the dinner table would include ... "drink all your milk, it makes your bones strong", "eat your veggies, they'll make you big and strong like Daddy" ...
So, in Kregg's mind, the woman got wrinkles from something she ate. At least at this point, I knew he was listening to me at the dinner table.

But, how often do I make sure my boys understand that same thing in their spiritual life? Do they understand that filling your mind with pure, right and good things ... will keep your heart and mind right with God?

If you fill your mind with junk ... than ... Basically, garbage in ... garbage out.
What we feed our minds and our spirit can change the way we behave. Spending time in God's word fills us with His light. Filling my grocery cart with the fruits of the spirit can be life changing.
So, what's in your grocery cart?
John 6:35 "Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. "

Proverbs 3:3 " Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."

Galatians 5:22-23 "But, the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

"What did you do?" I sat my purse on the table and let out a sigh. I had just walked in the door after working all day.

"Cleaned the kitchen cabinets. The least you could do is say thanks!" My husband stood across the kitchen island, hands on his hips. He had spent his day off work cleaning the kitchen.

"Yeah, but you moved EVERYTHING! The canned goods don't go over there and the cereal should be in the other cabinet. Why would you do this?" I raised my voice in frustration.

I was too upset to see he had tried to do something nice. All I could think of ... this was my kitchen and he was "messing it up". It wasn't that he felt my way was wrong, he just thought his way made more sense. For him, his way was easier and worked out best for him. But, for me, it was like he had taken over what was mine.

I love to cook, I love my kitchen and I know right where everything is ... after his clean up ... I couldn't find anything and I was mad. This was my space. I am the main cook in our family. This was MY kitchen. For weeks after, I would be in the middle of cooking a meal and ... something was missing. A particular pot, pan or spatula. My favorite spice, seasoning or special ingredient. Jerry had really tried to help, but he didn't think about my system. The kitchen was set up in a way that made my life easier, cooking after a long day at work easier and fixing meals for my family easier. The way I had my kitchen "set up" worked perfectly for me and I enjoyed working in my kitchen.

During one of my vents of frustration ... God let me in on a little secret ... that's how HE feels when I take over.

I do that to God all the time. He's the best at what He does. God knows exactly what I need each day. He knows just where to put everything and how to mix it all together so the recipe works out perfectly. But, instead of following His lead and doing things His way ... I try to take over. I think I know a better way to fix things. I think I've got a good idea and I forget to seek His heart first. I plunge ahead thinking it'll be perfect when I'm finished.

Most of the time, I really do feel like I'm following God's heart. But, I rearrange things. I try to make things happen faster than they should. Or, I try to avoid doing things His way because I'm afraid.
At the end of the day, He's right there to clean it up and put things back in order. He doesn't get mad and yell at me in frustration because things aren't the way He left them. He quietly puts everything in order.
How about you ... are there too many cooks in your kitchen?
2nd Kings 4:1-7 "The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves." Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?"
"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."
Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side." She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing. 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm His

I'm having surgery tomorrow. Nothing major ... but still, I'm nervous. And, still ... there are things I have to do in preparation. Like, I can't eat after 8:00 this evening and I can't have my much needed cup of coffee tomorrow morning. I won't be able to put on my make-up, fix my hair or ... wear my wedding rings.

As I read over the list of "do's and do not's", that was the one thing that got me ... no jewelry. I know it's only a short amount of time. I know I'll put them back on as soon as I get home tomorrow. But, still ... those rings tell everyone around me ... I'm married, I'm his. They remind me always of my commitment and they tell everyone else my heart is claimed. Without them, I feel ... lost. Even when I had our last baby, the nurse let me tape my wedding rings onto my finger. I didn't have to leave them behind.

I took my rings off this evening, sat them on my dresser and I started thinking. Thinking about my commitment to Christ. What is it that tells everyone ... I'm His?

Everyday, I slip those rings into place. I've done that everyday for the past 16 years and I will do it for the rest of my life.

But ... what is that I do everyday to let people know I'm committed to Christ? How do others know, my heart is claimed by Christ?

I have to admit, I haven't spent as much time in my devotions lately. I've been wrapped up in work, schedules and everyday life ... an everyday life that should be filled with my devotion to Christ. I know when I commit time to Christ and really seek Him, then I am clothed in His light and that light shines for others.

So tomorrow, as I leave my rings on the dresser ... I'll take light with me.

How about you ... is your heart claimed by Christ?

Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Friday, January 8, 2010


"But EVERYBODY else is doing it, Mom! Come on!" I tried in my most pleading teenager voice.

No vocal response from Mom, just the look that always said the discussion was over and the decision was final. I wouldn't be going to the movie all my friends were seeing that weekend. I had lots of choices ... other things to do, other friends to "hang out" with ... but, I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to fit in and have lots of "cool" friends.

I grew up in what most would call a conservative family. Choices were made based upon our faith, values and prayer. If something didn't fit into those shapes ... the answer was "no." I always thought my parents made it look easy ... you know, saying no. Now that I am a parent, I know the decisions may have been easy but following through on them was not. Telling your children "no" can be difficult, especially when you know it will bring disappointment. On top of that ... add in the fact that you know other kids/parents will think you and your children are prudes.

This is an area I struggle through on a regular basis. All three of my children want to have and do certain things. Their ages are spread out between 10 years. So, the wants are varied. Some decisions are easy for me but then, there are others that weigh heavy on my heart. I want my boys to enjoy their childhood and have lots of friends. How do I know what I should or should not let them do?

One thing my parents always asked me ... "would you do that or watch that if Jesus were sitting there with you?" In truth, He is always with us and knows, not only what we are doing, but He also knows our every thought. My parents question was just a way of bringing Him into my physical life not just my spiritual life.

Do you struggle with this as a parent? Or, are you somehow involved in the lives of children and find it hard to balance what they want with what you know to be right?

Something my childhood taught me ... you don't have to do what everyone else is doing to have fun or joy in your life. Having God in your life ... THAT is where the joy comes from.

I know my boys don't understand this right now. But, someday, they will.

Philippians 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Crazy Cats!

These are two of our crazy cats. You can't really tell from this picture, but they are sitting out in the middle of a snow storm. This snapshot was taken from my kitchen, looking out onto our deck. These guys sit out there regardless of the weather. It isn't that they don't have any shelter. The barn and shed are right behind our house. The hayloft is full of hay bales to keep them warm. Nope, they've decided to sit out there and wait for food. When they were little, we used to put a few leftovers out for them. Now, they're spoiled.

They know the barn is warm. They know we'll feed them every morning. They know there will be enough food for each of them. But, still ... they wait and beg.

As I watched the snow pile on top of their furry backs, I decided they were truly insane. What kind of animal would sit outside in the freezing cold, just on the chance of a snack from me?

Then, I realized ... I am that kind of animal. How often do I turn to this world for comfort, happiness or peace? I sit at the doorstep of this earth, waiting ...

In my heart, I know there is no need for me to wait there ... begging. I know God will provide everything I need. He always has ... He always will. Yet ... I wait at the doorstep of the world. I wait for the next thing to make me happy, the next person to accept me. To be honest, I guess I'm sometimes afraid I might miss something if I leave ... like someone else might get to the "opportunity" first. While the storms of this world swirl around me, I sit there ... knowing shelter is right within my reach. Why don't I turn to Him more often? Why don't I trust Him enough to leave my spot on the world's doorstep and fall into the security that's waiting?

What about you? Are you sitting at the doorstep of the world?

Deuteronomy 8:3 "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

When You Really Love Someone

When you really love someone ... everyone should see it.

I've known this woman for 11 years. We work together at the credit union.

In those 11 years, I've never heard a cross word about her husband.

Huh? Yes, you read that right ...

I mean ... never a "he's driving me crazy", "he just doesn't get it", "he's so selfish", "why can't he remember to put his clothes in the hamper"... none of those things.

On Tuesday of last week, her husband suffered a massive heart attack. He didn't make it.

As I heard the news, I began thinking about their relationship. They were happy together. Everyone knew it, everyone could see it ... what will she do without him? I talked with one of our co-workers and she agreed. There was just something about them and their marriage.

Later in the day, my thoughts turned to my own marriage ... my husband. What would I do without him? If anything happened to one of us ... what would others say about our marriage and relationship? Does my husband know how much I love him, how much he means to me and how lost I would be without him? Do other people see how much I love him?

These are the things I love about my husband ...

His brown eyes, his smile, his sense of humor (most of the time, LOL) ...

This morning, Jerry (my husband) is at work. This past week, he worked 87 hours. I don't measure his worth by how many hours he works, but I love him for working so hard to provide for me and our boys. He was unemployed for 8 months and we're still catching up on our finances. All the hours he put in last week will get us to that goal a lot faster.

For my birthday last year, he gave me a coffee maker. One that brews a cup at a time and he gave me a box of flavored coffee to go with it. He saved a little money out of each unemployment check to buy that for me. I love my coffee maker ... but I love the fact he thought ahead even more.

When we go out to eat as a family, he lets me pick the restaurant. Even though he knows it's going to be Azteca's (my favorite restaurant, not his) for the hundredth time!

He offers to go grocery shopping with me and drives to the movie theater instead. I love those kind of surprises. He's good at that ... surprises. Like when he lights candles around our bathtub and lets me take a bath and read a book while he takes care of our boys. Or, when he shows up at work with my favorite cup of coffee ... just because. Or, he sends me a text during the day just to say he loves me and is thinking about me.

Do you love someone? Really love them ... love them with actions that speak so much louder than the words "I love you"? Yes, the words are important. But, this past week, I learned that the lack of words can say "I love you". My co-worker didn't say cross things about her husband, she didn't complain about him. Without speaking a word ... she said ... she loved him.

Thank you ... Dave and Anita ... for teaching me this lesson.

1st John 3:18 "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Friday, January 1, 2010


I'm not really sure where this post will lead but, I felt like sharing my New Year's resolution. I know lots of people make the decision to ... save money, spend money wisely, drop a few extra pounds, eat healthy, be joyful ... Those are all great resolutions. But, mine is little different.

You see, I save EVERYTHING! You might not know it by walking into my home. Most of the things I save are stored in boxes and totes. They're packed in closets and drawers.

This picture is of my hutch. As you can see from the windows, it's packed full. Last week, as I hung our stockings on this hutch, I decided it was time to go through it all. So, today is the day. I woke before my boys and began pulling everything out.

I found my oldest son's teeth. All his little baby teeth, carefully stored in plastic baggies and placed in a cup (a cup we received as a wedding gift).

Every bouquet of flowers I ever carried to Proms, winter dances, homecoming dances ... all stowed in a silver dish (another wedding gift).

Beanie Babies from my oldest son's early years. Beanies that I couldn't stand to part with when he outgrew the stuffed animal age. As I set each one on my table, I remembered the occasions for each Beanie.

The cap for my middle boy's kindergarten graduation was nestled in behind a stuffed animal from my childhood. Pulling out the flowers I carried on my wedding day took me back to the "I do."

Crafts from each of my son's school days took up the majority of space. I held each one remembering ... The day my oldest son brought home a pillow with Precious Moments ironed onto the front, pinched pots from Clay and James (Kregg's will be next when he enters the first grade), Christmas ornaments from the Henry Ford Museum (not on my tree because I fear they'll break) ...

There were ticket stubs from Monster Jam 2004 and obituaries for loved ones gone. I found newspaper articles on events that touched my heart and ticket stubs from my last trip to the Henry Ford Museum (yearly vacation from my childhood). Artwork from each of my children. I think I would probably save every paper they placed a mark on if I could. This drives my husband crazy. He'll look at a colored page and start to toss it ... immediately I'm there grabbing it and stuffing it somewhere in my hutch. He laughs and shakes his head.

What's the point in all these things I keep? If they're stowed away in boxes, drawers, closets ... no one sees them. But, I know they're in there. If I get an itch to go back to my wedding day or to my children's younger years, I can open one of the boxes and ... I'm there.

So, my resolution ... it started out to be organizing all this "stuff" and getting rid of some "stuff". But, now ... now that I've held these treasures and remembered the good things I've been blessed with ...

My resolution is ... hold on to those who gave me these treasures. Enjoy each treasure and store each one in my heart.

I'm not sure what my hutch will look like by the end of the day. Right now, I'm sitting in the middle of my dining room with treasures piled on my table. I can't decide what to box up and what to keep out.

My middle boy is asking who made what and smiling because I loved his Pilgrim's hat from the Thanksgiving day program enough to keep it.

Do you save things? How do you keep/store your treasures?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”- 2 Corinthians 5:17