Friday, April 27, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

My husband didn't see me see him. But the other day, I saw him quietly peek around the curtain that hangs in the doorway of my mom's room.  She's living with us now, still weak and indescribably tired from her illness that attacked her a little over a month ago. She hadn't pushed the intercom we have next to her chair. It was all quiet. I go and check on her every so often throughout my day even if she doesn't call. I knew I did this, and my sister did it when she was here. But I didn't know Lou ever did it.

The love that welled up in me in that moment for my husband took me aback. I mean, I love that man.

So when I saw a link party Wednesday morning called "What I'm Loving Wednesday," on a blog I read, I immediately thought, "I know one thing I'm loving." My husband.

Well, I may have missed the link party, but I'm not missing out on the chance to spread a little more love!

What a great sentence to think about. What am I loving this week?

Hannah. I'm loving the fact that she came home on Sunday after being abroad for 3 months. Love and double love.

Hannah and Mary Grace

And I'm loving what's been happening at our school's track meets lately. My 4th child, Faith, has had some PRs lately. Do you know what a PR is? It's a Personal Record - as in best she's ever done. And there's an added benefit thrown in with that. She's not preventing in any way someone else from doing their best. No pesky defense, or bone breaking tackle. No yelling to distract the competition as they speed down the jumping runway. She's just out doing all she can do to the best of her ability. I love that.

Right after her PR in the Triple Jump

And Wednesday afternoon, I loved being at District Golf with my David. He didn't have a stellar round, but he and his teammates played good enough to bring home 1st place in Districts! Which was a first for our school, first for our coach - Teresa Holt. Coach Holt is an amazing person and coach and we couldn't be happier for her. Love that we got to share this memory!

Coach Teresa Holt, Nic Lacey, Tyler Tran, Haden Stevens, Josh Condran, David Harris

And finally, I love how my girls and one of their friends congregated in my mom's room the other night. We had our little pizza party with her..

I think I'm gonna love "What I'm Loving Wednesday." A midweek reminder to be alert to what is really going on around you. And not only to be alert, but to be thankful to the one who gave you the capacity to love in the first place.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Recommendation

In 2009, for 20 days between Elizabeth's and Luke's birthdays, 5 out of my 6 kids were teenagers.

Elizabeth-13, Luke-19, Hannah-18, Faith-14, David-15
Luke and Hannah are now in their 20s, but Mary Grace has joined the teen crowd - so now, we are four strong at our house.
Mary Grace-13, Faith-17, David-18, Elizabeth-15
Because of these beautiful, teenage faces that I've been blessed with, I'm constantly on the lookout for anything and everything that can help me help them navigate those tumultuous years.  Heck, I'm constantly on the lookout for anything and everything that can help me navigate my years!  A few days ago, I found a letter I wish I'd found years ago - for me, for them.  If you have kids - even if you don't have kids - I hope you click on the link below and read it. It took me about 3.5 minutes from start to finish. I think you'll find it worth your time.

The letter is by John Piper and is titled "Letter to an Incomplete, Insecure Teenager."


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I Will

"Have I told you about my "I wills?"

My sister asked me that question in the kitchen last night. And when she told me about them, I knew I'd blog about them.

At the end of 1999, she said she felt convicted to write down every time she saw an "I will" from God (or Jesus) when she read it in the Bible. So beginning January 1, 2000, (what a way to start a new millennium), with her One Year Bible, a legal pad, and a pen in hand, she began.

The One Year Bible is organized by 365 daily readings. There's a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, one Psalm, and one Proverb. Her "I Wills" are organized in that same way.

At the end of 2000, she had filled three legal pads.

Over 2000 "I Wills"

I am wowed by this. I am encouraged by this.

When I asked Kathy if any "I will" spoke to her more than another, she didn't hesitate.

"I will never leave you or forsake you."
      {Hebrews 13:5b}

Thanks, Kathy.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mom, Michelangelo, and My Trip

When I last posted, I was in Europe and my 85 year old mom was in the hospital.

I've now been home two weeks and my mom is working to regain her strength. She's sitting in her wheelchair near me as I type.

Many of you prayed for Mom (and me!) during these days. Thank you. They were felt and greatly appreciated. As I've contemplated all that's transpired - all that I've seen and experienced in Europe coupled with my mom going to the brink of death and back, one verse has come to mind.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
                                                                                                                    (Romans 7:24 ESV)
Ok, let's just get it out there. This isn't the "happiest" of verses, and why, oh why would that verse come to mind while I was on a European vacation?

If you think about my mom, it's probably obvious. My mom has felt quite "trapped" in her body. She is tired - very tired, and has expressed a deep desire to "go home." Heaven home. But God still has plans for her.

But this verse also occurred to me in Florence, Italy. It was there that I saw the one piece of art out of all that I saw that I'm still thinking about - Michelangelo's David. It is inspiring and, I believe, inspired.

You simply cannot stop looking at it. The longer you look, the more amazed you are at the God who gave Michelangelo such a gift. Until that day in Florence, I didn't know that David is poised here, stone in hand, ready to fight Goliath. That fact added a whole new level of significance for me.

The walkway leading up to David is lined with The Prisoners, half finished sculpted beings that look as though they are trying to escape the slab of stone that imprisons them. We were listening to a free Rick Steves tour of this museum (highly recommend all things Rick) as we made our way toward David. Here's what he said about The Prisoners.

These unfinished figures seem to be fighting to free themselves from the stone. Michelangelo believed the sculptor was a tool of God, not creating but simply revealing the powerful and beautiful figures he put in the marble. Michelangelo’s job was to chip away the excess, to reveal. He needed to be in tune with God’s will, and whenever the spirit came upon him, Michelangelo worked in a frenzy, often for days on end without sleep.

I couldn't help by think that I too, am like The Prisoners, halfway there, waiting to be released, waiting for the ultimate freedom, the ultimate life that will come once I am delivered from my "stone" - my earthly life.

Don't get me wrong. I like my earthly life.  But if I believe what the Bible teaches (and I do), then this earthly life pales in comparison to what's coming! Just like The Prisoners (amazing in their own right) paled in comparison to David!

Thank you God and thank you Michelangelo! Joy here and joy there. That's hopeful on every level.

And now, to finish this post, I'll close with a few pictures from my trip. And it was a great trip.

One more look at David

The spot in St. Peters where Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor.
Mary Grace and I studied this at Classical Conversations

The world under the Colosseum floor where animals and gladiators waited to enter the arena

Listening to Rick Steves tell us about the Coloseum

Statue of St. Peter in St Peter's. His toe is rubbed smooth from people touching it.
I touched it.

Rick Steves told us that if the light was on in that 2nd window on the top floor, the Pope was in his study.
I really liked imagining him in there studying.

Michelangelo's grave in Florence

Touching the Duomo in Florence

I loved the pedestrian/bike crossing sign we saw in Salzburg

These silhouettes caught my eye in Munich

Dachau Concentration Camp

Yes. Never again

We were always glad to find wifi

We had one of those corner rooms. So picturesque.
Clever cleaner names at a store in Lucerne

Ended our trip in the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland