The “Bad Guy”

Once upon a time there was a little family. They weren’t sure how to do life, but like all families – tried to do their best. As the family grew up the mom, and dad realized there were a whole lot of things they could be doing better, and they discussed working together towards common goals, so their children could do the same. However, the one parent who always spoke up, was still the same parent that spoke up. The other parent who was always quiet, was still the same parent who was always quiet. This doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, but eventually the outspoken person became the “bad guy”.

The problem with the “bad guy” scenario is that there isn’t one “bad guy”,  there’s two, the one who wears the label, and the other one who lets it happen.

The good news is, this little family didn’t stop talking. This mom, and dad didn’t stop trying to work towards common goals so their children could do the same. Eventually both parents found their “together” voice and decided to wear the “bad guy” label together, and proudly, because suffering for saying the right thing is the best kind of pain there is.

Remember parents, you are your children’s parents, not their buddies. Always speak the truth in love, regardless of the response, and pray more than you eat, drink and sleep.

To God be the glory

 

 

 

It’s Summer Everyday, and Christmas at the Same Time!

This morning I heard a car drive up. I was expecting them. Our children were driving to a wedding in the States, but stopping by first to drop off some items and stretch their legs.

I opened the back door and there she was. Our first grandchild, just one year old, standing between her mommy and daddy’s legs in her pyjamas, blonde curls dancing in the breeze.

Her little finger points and she utters a greeting in toddler jibber jabber. I laugh, and she mimics me back. I watch her teeter in and look around, and think “this has got to be the best way to start my day!”

When our children were born, we kept our heads down and noses to the grindstone, concentrating all our efforts on getting through the sleepless nights, learning all the do’s and don’ts. Now that our grandchild is here, it is like our heads are lifted – heaven has opened, it’s summer everyday, and Christmas at the same time. My prayer list has gotten longer, but my cup runneth over, Oh yes, and my videos, and text messages:)

My daughter reminds me of the toys in the spare room, and I rush to pull them out. Willow follows behind and is delighted to meet her old friend Bear, and Fisher Price Shapes.

I put the coffee on, and pull out a watermelon from the refrigerator, slice it up and watch her Daddy put her in the new high chair we bought. There’s even a bib still hanging there from their last visit. I perch on a chair nearby and marvel at her little fingers, how they pick up, and push the fruit in her mouth. She hums as she chews, and I melt.

They’re back on the road, and the flurry of excitement is now silent and still. I could pick up the toys like I use to, keep the living room all neat and tidy, but instead I’m going to leave them scattered down the hallway. I’ll leave her bib untouched on the table too. Want to keep the moments fresh. Signs of life, signs of joy, and the promise of a bright tomorrow.

God knows just what we need in the middle of our lives to press on towards eternity with purpose and joy!

Late Night Talkin’

Digging through my files I find “Late Night Talkin'”, written in the summer of 2009.

As I read through the lyrics it isn’t hard to remember what event inspired me to write.

When your kids are small, and they scrape their knees, you get the colorful cartoon band-aids out and then follow it up with a barrage of tender kisses.  All is forgotten and healed in a matter of seconds.

When they’re not so small, and their first love rejects them, no amount of mama’s kisses will do.  So I spent a lot of late nights talking to Jesus.

“Late Night Talkin'”

Use to be I spent a lot of time dreaming, who would I fall in love with?

What would his name be and how many children, would God choose to give?

Well the wedding was sweet and my lover so fine,

and our children are better than best,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was good, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’ asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Now we always tell them to never stop dreaming, nothing is too far to reach.

Trust in the Father, and honor your parents, and be the best you can be.

Well the journey starts sweet but the world isn’t kind

and we all end up put to the test,

So why does the pain never leave? Band-aids to heart-break it seems.

Falling down never was could, at least I could kiss ’em better again.

If it wasn’t for late night talkin’, asking Jesus, precious Jesus,

please be with us – where would we be?

Save Us from the Lie of The Fairy Tale

(please realize this blog post may not fit every scenario, and is not meant to. However it is my hope we can all glean more of His truth and grow.)

It is very dangerous to assume you know what is going on in another person’s life.  When you hear someone is hurting, you probably spend a lot of time asking yourself questions.  How can I help them?  How did they get here?  What did I miss?  What can I do?  Or, who can I blame?

It is especially difficult to speculate why a couple has separated.  Just because it happens everyday, doesn’t mean the world still sits on its axis.  It isn’t our job to fix people, but let’s be honest, we can ache, and we do.  We are all affected, we can’t stand around and pretend it isn’t happening.

Our daughter was having trouble making decisions the other day.  Her choice seemed so simple, until I realized that a relative’s family break-up was behind her indecision. You don’t have to be smack in the middle of a couple’s separation to come undone – just close enough to see the knife in their eyes, and Rapunzel’s wall begins to crumble. No one comes to wake the sleeping princess.  Suddenly you realize all the fairy tales read to you before bedtime, were just that – fairy tales. The color fades from the pages, and all that is left is reality.

Today’s reality reveals that many of the princes and princesses who vowed ’till death do us part, have fallen asleep.  Many have experienced extreme difficulty in their relationships.  Some have written other story-lines in which to live in, one that allows them to be who they want to be, or one that gives them permission to disappear.

How many people marry and believe that their soul mate, knight in shining armor, or Cinderella, is going to save them?  Save them from what exactly?  Reality?  Mistaken Identity?

How can we be who we want to be, if we don’t even know who we were meant to be?  We will not find ourselves by gazing in our spouse’s eyes.  All the love song lyrics in the world can never create the perfect love story, the perfect feeling perhaps, but only for a moment.  So how do we get to the “happy ever after”?

We will not find ourselves in our children’s eye’s, either.

I suggest we look to the truth, however boring that has become to our heavily sedated entertained minds.  The truth paints a much different picture and approach than we are used to.  The truth doesn’t come in comic book color, rather a politically incorrect black and white.  However – the truth deals in reality and guarantees a happy ending.  How can this be?  This happy ending isn’t woven by our own will, but the will of a true prince.  He died to save us from the lie of the fairy tale.  He knows who we are supposed to be, and can give us abundant life in every way.  By looking in his eyes, we no longer expect others to live up to our unrealistic super human expectations.  We can make mistakes, they can make mistakes.  But the truth does not make mistakes.  Because He is faithful, we too can be faithful.

Do you know who you are?

Do you know who Jesus says you are?

James 1:23 tells us “Do not merely listen to the word and deceive yourselves, do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it, not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.

Please don’t take this verse as a recipe for “doing”.  If you do anything – dig in the word.  Ask Jesus to reveal His truth to you, and then live by it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting to Combat Apathy

In 2005 I was in South Africa listening to a very well-educated young woman speak to me about the future demise of their next generation.  Most of the adults had already died from AIDS, leaving the children to fend for themselves.  I ask you, how does our society differ?

We have a North American disease that is picking off both adults and young adults, and leaving our children to fend for themselves.  It is called APATHY.  This disease is rampant, both in our community, and our churches.  This disease does not put us six feet under immediately, at least physically, but spiritually – absolutely!  We don’t need pills to combat this disease, but there is a high cost.  A cost that is going to obliterate our nation’s future and suffocate any signs of hope for THE family.

We religiously sponsor children in other countries, to save their lives.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a generous thing to do and we should do it.  I suggest, if you are sponsoring a child right now, look around your neighborhood and get involved with a family right here, in your own home town, over and above your sponsorship.

Many choose sponsorship because relationship is not required.  Now this isn’t true for all of the sponsor organizations or sponsors involved, but if we are to be brutally honest with ourselves, and how we buy into our culture, it is – money first, relationships later, if at all – unless there is something in it for us.  This is who we really are.

We have programs that run over the school year, and camp programs throughout the summer, many designed to emphasize mentor-ship.  But all too often, once the program ends, so does the relationship.

Oh, I can hear you – “what’s wrong with the kid’s parents?”.  Take a good look in the mirror and ask that question again?  None of us are perfect and we should all be so blessed to have someone interested in walking along side us and our children, whether we’re parenting or teaching, coaching a sports team, or listening to the birds sing.

So what’s the cure for our disease?  How can we change so that our children will grow into strong caring individuals, full of purpose and joy?

One on one relationships.  Getting to know Jesus is the best one on one relationship there is.  If you catch a glimpse of His commitment to you, you will want to commit to him.  He’s going to ask you to love people.  Watch for his lead, listen for his voice.  Guaranteed – he’s not going to give you an impossible task, and He isn’t going to wait for you to become perfect.  He’s going to ask you to get involved as you are, and love others as they are, and together we will learn who He is.

Sarah Young tells us in “Jesus Calling” that a “mind preoccupied with planning pays homage to the idol of control”.  Connect instead!

No matter where you work, no matter where you play, or what program you’re involved in, find someone to mentor,  and commit.  This isn’t a trial drug, this is a cure we’re talking about.  You must be willing to commit for life.  Think about it, we commit to a whole lot of stuff, except for people?

The big picture is too overwhelming, so remember – one on one connections is the best place to begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Defining Stroke

I reached for yet another generic photo album eager to find something to throw away. Instead, I found a long forgotten door to the past, a colorful vignette of yesterday with the first tiny stroke towards who I am today – a musician.

After our third child was born, I gave myself permission to write again, with the understanding that I would also record if possible.  I had written a song that a fellow musician took a liking to, and he suggested I enter it into a competition in Estes Park, Colorado.

We found a company on the internet that would professionally score and print my song called:  We Are the Church.  I sent my entry application off, and my husband and I began planning a family vacation to Colorado – with the intent to spend a large portion of it at the 1994 music competition.

Inside the album lay several adjudication papers with scores and judge’s comments.  I read through them boldly, unabashed about what I might find.  Writing is much like art – very subjective.  The song or canvas might be a masterpiece to one person, and a scribble to another, regardless of what you the author or artist may think.

Interestingly enough, although composition is still a large part of my life, the old adjudication papers quickly found themselves at the bottom of my waste paper basket.  They had no value left.  I had won no accolades or awards, but took the experience to heart, hoping it would add color to the music of tomorrow.

After the loose paperwork had been disposed of, the plastic pages of the album were revealed – pictures of our trip to Colorado.  Treasures that had lay hidden for over 19 years.  I looked into the eyes of those faces, my 35-year-old husband, our three children and our beloved babysitter Natasha.

Perhaps the most defining stroke of the brush upon my heart,  is the one that spells mother? Is there anything worth writing about if you have not loved?  Is there anything worth writing about if you have not given birth to a child?  And I have three!

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

Eric, Natasha holding Julie, and Laura, 1994

*I scanned the photos that were most important to me and began a digital album project on http://www.onceuponadigitalstory.com, called; Estes Park, Colorado.  When it is published I will put a link to it on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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