Thursday, June 23, 2011

Milestones & Waterfalls

Have you ever casually taken "that" picture while on vacation only to realize later that you hold in you hands "that" one snapshot that captures everything?

The week did not start out very good. It was the day before I was suppose to send an ENTIRE week with my 3 younger brothers for the first time EVER. If you really know me you know the planning list was long, the activity list was thorough, but the festive grocery list was even longer! So, what started out to be a routine run through the ATM lane, turned in to a $2,000 body repair on our mini van. The ATM ticket flew out of the machine, the door was opened, the car was not in park, and I heard "CRUNCH!"

Needless to say, that is not how I wanted to start one of the most important weeks of the year. My 3 brothers are 12, 11, and 9. We have spent the last 10 years building a loving and close tie despite living 2 hours away from each other. I have seen them graduate elementary school, be baptized, and laugh until milk comes out of their noses, and meet for traditional birthday lunch dates. But, how would I cope with 4 boys (including my own) under the age of 12 for a week with NO VAN!

As my hubby met me at the bank, handled all the calls with the insurance company, body shop, and car rental agency, I prayed and told the Lord that "Satan would not steal my joy!" and whispered "and please don't let him nab my peace!" UGH! I had to rely on faith that He would control this long awaited time with my younger brothers, even if I could not.

The first day = Albert and I sat on the carpet and played board games while my Jeremiah napped. In my first turn, I drew the letters S H A L O M. I felt God speak to me and reassure me that He provided "peace" like picking up letters off the floor during a game of "UPwords."

The fifth day = We hiked the Cascades. I have blogged about it before. But this time, we were Geocaching and the boys were loving it! Me? I was "glissening!" :)
(Jackson, Albert, Nicholas, me, and my Jeremiah)

I snapped a couple of pictures thinking I wanted to capture the "fun" we were having. You know, 5 miles of hiking for the girl who doesn't want to "go" in the woods. Well, that failed because after a bottle of water, I HAD TO GO! The surprise creek crossing that had me whining about having to take off my shoes and socks and go BAREFOOT...we did that TWICE! And when I said, "Well, I guess we are "MAKIN' MEMORIES!" That became the chant of the day well before we found the Geocache...and it was true!
(What treasure! Hubby & Son at bottom,
Brothers Michael, Albert, Nicholas and Jackson at top clockwise)

The eighth day = I cried the whole way home after dropping them off. Off and on, I would reminisce and waves of emotions would just wash over me. Any of you traveling through Virginia today, who passed that lady who looked like she was crying a waterfall, that was ME! There was a mix of gushing happy tears right beside cascading sad ones. I was glad that I was in one car and my hubby was in the rental. Sometimes a girl just has to cry and get it all out. In that moment, I thanked God for not having the mini van, having the time with my brothers, and milestone memories of great times with my family.

Then, if you know how good God is, this won't surprise you, when I got home, I found out that my first story of hiking the Cascades from last October had been published on the Lies Young Women Believe blog. (Click here to read.) What joy! What celebration! What love that my Father had lavished on me today! When I got the news, I thought back to this picture I had taken of the trail marker from the hike. It was this huge rock with an arrow pointing forward, marking the right path. I thought of Psalm 18 where God is praised as being My Rock. Verses 1-3 shower us with these words, "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

The van is still in the shop. The rental is still in the driveway. And, the house is quiet and I miss all the laughter and fun. But, what a milestone this week has been in my life knowing that joy can stay and peace can stand on Our Rock, even when we feel rocky.

Which way is He pointing you? Are you being asked to relinquish control of your lists? Take off your shoes and cross shallow or deep places? Or just love and make memories? Ask yourself this, Psalm 18:31, "And who is the Rock except our God?"

Look to Him to point you in ALL the right directions...and watch out for ATM lanes! :)

A special loving thank you to Jon and Susie for letting the boys stay with us. I could not have done it with out my hubby's help and week of vacation. It was definitely a milestone for me and a cascade of blessing!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mmm...Mmmm...Good! May is over!

Hello Dear Friend, June! I welcome your days!

When I was young, I CANNOT count the number of times I would introduce myself, "Hi, I am April!" only to hear, "Really? Where are May and June?" HA HA, big laughs...not after the 5,000th time!

Well, to all those that have shared that famous line, let me just tell you that this APRIL is glad that MAY is gone and JUNE is here! Amen?!

Whew...I don't know about you, but May was a whirlwind! I know, I know, some thought I was cyberfasting, others thought that I was protesting social media as some grand political or moral statement, then I was even asked, "Have you disappeared?!" Ummm, not according to my calendar! :) The truth is, I just got overwhelmed and busy.

Right now, I am sitting in our NEW deck furniture listening to crickets with rope lighting illuminating the laptop. Mmmm...Mmmm...Good! Not only am I welcoming a new month, but a fresh season. Fresh veggies! Fresh fruits! Fresh air! And a fresh page on the calendar! Welcome June!

Would you like to see where May went?

May was filled-in with Mother's Day, preschool activities, T-ball,

a speaking opportunity at a Mother/Daughter Tea,

the end of our first girls' Bible Study (with a great teaching team by the way),

Birthday Traditions,Preschool program (see red-headed clown) and graduation (see red-headed sweetheart), 2 shots at Jeremiah's 5 year check-up,

our 13th anniversary (...thus the new deck furniture)

and the most demanding time of the year for my Hubcap's job...just to name a few things on the Family Calendar. Look or sound familiar?

There was just so much going on, I had to focus on what was important and immediate. At the start of the month with several doctor appts. and tests, I even took a break from blogging, Facebook, and things that I could, when I was having some tingling and numbness in my face. Praise the Lord, I got a clean bill of health and have been feeling fine with no more symptoms. All is well, but later this summer I will follow-up with the neurologist to see if any more migrane symptoms have continued.

So, what is so fresh about June, you ask?

I wrote this verse on Jeremiah's preschool graduation inviations to go along with a poem that was printed, ..."Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). So with that in mind, I want to have more of a quality summer, than a quantity one. Are you in?!

I counted there are 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Did you know that? So, with school starting well before that, I want to be intentional about these days that I have with my family (specifically with Jeremiah before Kindergarten).

In the coming days, I hope to share about teaching Jeremiah to read (we have been working on Mmmmm...Mmmmm, as you might have guessed), our Friday Faith-Based Field Trips, family visits, and reflecting on the Liberty Home Bible Insitute Pogram as I take my last two exams. We focus so much on timing and planning, and God's Word does tell us to be mindful of our days, but so that they mmmm...mmmm...may bring us wisdom, not weariness.

So, join us for a FUN summer!