Thursday, October 13, 2011

You're Better

I've always been a confident girl. In fact, I was called "Gary" in college by a group of guys who thought I was as cocky as the NBA Seattle SuperSonics guard, Gary Payton. This cracks me up for two reasons. #1 -  I had no idea who Gary Payton was at the time and #2 -  I think this was the first time these boys ever met a confident girl. And I have my parents, especially my dad to thank for that. He quietly, mostly without words, reminded me every day that I was better. When you hear that word better it immediately draws a comparison. Who am I better than? Did I walk around school trying to prove to everyone that I was better than them? Nope. This wasn't how he used it. He told me I was better than:

  • talking behind my friend's backs.
  • talking negatively about a teacher or coach.
  • being silly or playing dumb so boys would think I was cute.
  • dressing in a way to attract attention to my body.
  • not trying my best at everything I did. School, athletics, music, plays. His attitude was, give it your all, all the time.
  • fighting with my sisters.
  • not respecting my grandparents.
  • not including someone because my feelings had been hurt before by him or her.
So for all you grandpas, dads, husbands and uncles, remind your girls that they're better. They're better than accepting anything less than the best treatment from the world, the media and their relationships.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Overwhelmed by a Loving God

overwhelm: to cover over completely, to overpower in thought or feeling

I love the word overwhelm. It's just so big and well, overwhelming. There are times when I am so overwhelmed with love for my kids and husband that my eyes fill up with tears and I thank God right then and there for these gifts he so generously has given me. This usually happens at the beach under the bright Michigan sun with the sounds of waves and giggles lapping up to my feet. I had one of those days this week and let me tell you, this refreshment of my soul can carry me through many long weeks of winter or parenting challenges or minor arguments with my husband. I'm also just so grateful that God has entered my life's story so clearly and often. Wait, that makes him sound like an unexpected house guest who enters in and out of my life but really he's always there. It's my job to see that he's with me all the time

With my mom in the hospital for most of the month of July, our family's normal summer routine was interrupted and we all slowed down, prayed more and played the role of care taker to the one who so lovingly took care of us throughout our childhood. This was a humbling experience for us all but I'm so grateful for it. Grateful that God took this really painful time and brought us closer together. Almost eight years ago, I spent six weeks in the hospital on bed rest awaiting the birth of our fifth child. (We have two baby girls in heaven who Jesus is waiting to introduce us to.) I've shared my story ... a lot. And I often feel embarrassed when asked when did you last feel God's overwhelming presence and this experience is always, always my first thought. I did feel God's presence and his peace but I also felt overwhelming fear and worry and distrust and guilt. But back to my mom's story. She really needed us to be with her in the hospital so our family set up a schedule where two sisters and my dad went to spend time with her every day. I was happy to help and hoped that I could give my mom some practical ways to help her get through her hospitalization. One day as I chatted with my mom she stopped mid-conversation and changed the subject to say, "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you more when you were on bed rest. I understand now." And God healed that nagging hurt that I had been carrying around with me. I told her I understood how hard it was for her to see me laying in a hospital bed overcome with anxious thoughts. I understand now too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Mom & Camping

I'm going to begin by saying that I'm intentionally trying to keep this post light-hearted. You can accuse me of either not being serious or playing the role of the littlest sister to a tee. But just maybe you graciously understand that if I were to write about my mom right now (who this past week suffered a stroke, underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor - thankfully benign - and is currently in the hospital receiving intensive care and therapy) I would weep until I was out of tears. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm feeling helpless but not hopeless.

So here is my Jeff Foxworthy inspired list of "You might be a (red-neck) camper if you ..."

  • You might be a camper if you pack an outfit for each day and end up wearing the same shirt all week.
  • You might be a camper if you wet wipe your feet clean before bed.
  • You might be a camper if deodorant is considered a shower. (Which in this case, it's too bad that your wife forgot to pack yours and you now smell like cucumber and melon.)
  • You might be a camper if you sleep in a sandy bed.
  • You might be a camper if you have a great tan but bad hair.
  • You might be a camper if you brush your teeth at the fire pit. (Some may use this as their nighttime urinal too but I'm not telling you who (Jeff).
  • You might be a camper if while you're driving down the highway your camper door pops open and the crank that is used to pop up your pop up falls out. Thankfully you remember you are surrounded by fellow campers who have cranks.
  • You might be a camper if you know how to make more than three different kinds of fire treats.
  • And finally, you might be a camper if you drive home from the campground in your pajamas.
Love & love to you all and if you're a praying person, heck, even if you're not - please say a prayer for my mom.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Because it's been awhile since I used the word RANDOM in a blog title.

  1. I go to bed way too late when the hubby is out of town.
  2. I am seriously and hopelessly addicted to the show, "Sports Night". If you've never seen it, get Netflix and start watching it now. And if for some reason you don't like it or think their witty banter is too fast or frustrating, please don't tell me because I may never look at you quite the same way again.
  3. I think relationships are more important than religion.
  4. I cry nearly every time my son cries. Like tonight for instance when he came to me with his bottom lip quivering and told me that he couldn't last three days without daddy because daddy is his best friend. That little statement alone will keep me faithful to my husband for well, my whole life.
  5. I read books and want to help others in really desperate need (like hide Jews in my secret room during WWII) and yet neglect to see that there is a hurting world around me.
  6. I expect grace from others and yet am slow to extend it.
  7. I think of how others can bless me instead of how I can bless them. I'm working on this.
  8. I think Josh Charles has a big nose but still is incredibly handsome. (If you don't know who this is, please read #2 again.)
  9. I raise my hands sometimes while running and listening to praise music. And I smile a lot lately while I run. It makes you run faster. Try it; I dare you.
  10. I'm starting to think I may becoming less of a campy girl and more of a cottage girl. It could just be the weather lately. Either that or I like clean feet.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Heroes. They come in all shapes and sizes. The mom on bed rest who prays hourly for her little baby. The high schooler who leaves a party when the alcohol comes out. The little girl who shares a seat on the bus with a kid with special needs. The spouse who forgives and extends grace immediately. I'm humbled and honored to know all of you heroes.

A couple months ago we studied the chapter in Jonah where he prays in the belly of the whale. (Yes, you can start singing the Veggie Tales song here.) I was so struck that this stubborn man was praising God for saving him. Wait. Isn't he still in the fish/whale? And he's thanking God for bringing "my life up from the pit"? Jonah 2:6 After thanking God he promises to make good on his vows. Jonah doesn't try and bargain his way out of that fish. He doesn't say well God, if you do this then I'll do that. So often I thank God for "getting me through" trials once they are clearly in the rearview mirror. Jonah is a great example to me of how to praise God in the midst of them. Can I be thankful in the belly of the whale?

Now Jonah proves he's less than perfect in the following chapter when he sits back and waits to see if Nineveh will be destroyed. I mean really Jonah. God has just rescued you out of a fish and you're complaining about your shade being taken away? And you look like you're waiting to watch a horror movie up on that hill. (Really, don't you expect him at any moment to say, pass the popcorn?)

But maybe that's the beauty of heroes. Heroes of faith or life. They humble us and they are us. They make bold moves and yet still sometimes complain about the weather. This new song, "This is the Stuff" by Francesca Battistelli is one of my new favorites and I pray that my little messes don't ever stop me from seeing how much I'm blessed.

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that’s getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I’m blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You’re doing
It might not be what I would choose

But this is the stuff You use

Monday, February 21, 2011


Definition of endear: To make dear or precious.

  1. My mom, whose voice catches every time she says goodbye to me on the phone. Every time. It doesn't matter if she is in town or on vacation.
  2. My daughter Paige being the activities director on a snow day. Everyone needs a Paige. The extent of my parenting so far today has been making pancakes. That's it. 
  3. My kids choosing to watch, "Worst Cooks in America" over all other shows. They may be budding kitchen stars or really mean food critics someday. It's a coin toss. 
  4. Watching my daughter Zoey throw some elbows around on the soccer field. That may not be endearing to you but boy do I get a kick out of it!
  5. Recorder concerts. I'm a sucker for a good rendition of Hot Cross Buns.
  6. Zach blushing and still running into my arms when he is embarrassed. Yesterday he tripped over a huge playground ball in front of his cousins and I opened up my arms to the sprinting, red-faced little man.
  7. Teachers who love what they do & make your kids eager to go to school every day.
  8. Nephews and nieces who still want to hang out with their old aunt.
  9. My little Sunday school kids. They're a little rowdy in the winter months but they sure are cute.
  10. Waking up to hand written notes from my husband.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Guest Blogger

So I'm supposed to be blogging in 2011 & really shouldn't have a guest blogger write for me but this post by Sonny was just too good not to share. I don't know how she got inside my head but I am grateful for friends who are sharing a similar journey and who are trusting God to meet them in the quiet and wait for His leading. Enjoy this post & even her reference to Vanilla Ice. (For you youngsters, he was a white male rapper who now apparently does home renovations and can be seen on HGTV.)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2011. The Year of the Blog?

Alright folks. Here is our Christmas and a bit of our year in review. The song is "Joy Is In Our Hearts" by Sara Groves and really the only reason I made this slideshow is because I love this song so much! :) I should have kept adding pictures so you could hear it all and I should have faded out the last few notes so it sounds more professional but I have to get to Target. 

Hope 2011 is a year of blessings for your family.