Category Archives: Family life

Catching Up

Do you ever feel like you’re playing catch up? Breakfast dishes are still in the sink at 6pm and your kids are hungry and you’re wondering where the day went?

Sometimes I have such careful plans that get derailed by a Sick kid. Or a client with unexpected urgent needs. And sometimes it is my own lack of planning that kicks me at the end of the day.

today I realized a Bible study I had decided to start never got started. I was 11 days behind. I got overwhelmed just looking at how many days I had to go to catch up.

i logged into the settings and there was a button called “catch me up.” I hesitated because I thought it would double or triple the days to get me to where I thought I should be.

Imagine my relief when it simply reset the timeline.

Talk about God’s grace! I don’t have to work double or triple. God wants me to walk with Him and listen to Him daily. I miss out on the richness of life with God if I don’t.

But I’m not penalized when I run to Him. He meets me exactly where I am and pushes that lovely “catch me up” button.  And all is right again.

💜

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Grief

Easter seems to be like such a happy celebration of life. Western culture has made it the new Christmas, it seems. School spring breaks are scheduled around Easter often. Children wake up excited to find eggs the Easter Bunny hid for them–and a large basket of gifts. A new Easter dress and shoes and hat. Fancy lunch. It’s the Christian holiday of the spring.

It is celebratory. Yes, Jesus Christ conquered the grave! Yes, Christians are given new life and hope of Heaven because of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection. His life and death would have been pointless without the resurrection.

And yet–I’m filled with grief. As I read different accounts in the Bible of the events leading to Jesus’ torture and death, I’ve been moved to tears. This man, this God, loved His people. He lived to bring them Life with a capital L. He was born of a miracle, created miracles all to bring attention and glory to a God who loves all people. He taught people to love each other, to fear their own judgment and not judge others. He taught communities how to live together, how to worship together and how to resolve conflict according to the way we were created.

People were afraid because he challenged the status quo. People in power were afraid to lose their power. They feared this humble man because he had the ability to inspire people to want better, to hope for justice, to care for each other.

Because he was a threat to oppression, he was killed. The nighttime mob in the streets of Jesusalem screamed for a bloody show. The religious leaders plotted and threatened to have this man killed before he upset the “system.” Pilate refused to take responsibility and acquiesced to the crowd. Who rules who, really?

And an innocent man stood condemned for crimes he did not commit.

My grief overflows. The Hope of the world–condemned by the world. Ironic. Sick. Twisted. I imagine what it might have been like had the world accepted Jesus and sought social reform, justice, hope and love for all. I’ll see it when Heaven is at my door.

But I don’t want to miss that Jesus brought the Kingdom of God TO EARTH. It’s not missing. It’s here. It’s in my local churches. It’s in people who seek to do God’s will and love the Lord. It’s in me–because the Holy Spirit is in me and all believers. The Holy Spirit is a gift and a crucial piece of the reconciliation we so desperately need today. Believers can continue to make a difference in how they live, in how they treat others, in how they spend their time and money and gifts. Jesus is the Light of the world. I think the local church is now the Hope of the world.

Leading up to Easter, I participated in Lent. This participation included regular reading of a Lenten Bible study plan .Throughout this time, I was not just preparing my heart for the seasonal Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. I was also preparing for the death of a dear relative.

Pamela is actually my husband’s cousin. She’s our favorite relative because of her solid faith, sweet natured spirit and love for everyone she meets. She particularly had a gift with children. She and her husband were unable to conceive a baby, and so Pamela took on her nieces and nephew and my own children as some of her many projects. She has always made a point to connect with us and our children. Pamela was a social worker, placing children in foster homes and helping young adults who age out of the foster care system at 18 years old with no family and no resources. The closest I can come to describing her is that she reminds me of Rev. Fred Rogers from “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” That’s high praise, if you’ve ever been a kid who watched that show and felt the warmth and caring through your tv screen straight to your heart. Messages like “I like you just the way you are” are exactly things Pamela would tell the gaggle of children who constantly surrounded her.

About a year ago, she was diagnosed with a rare cancer. We were shocked. She has always been healthy and active. Just after Christmas, she called us and explained that the chemotherapy and surgery she’d had were no longer effective and that she was planning to enter Hospice Care. We were shocked and in denial.

How could we imagine a world without Pam??????

My husband took our daughters across the country to visit her and say their goodbyes. Pamela’s one outing that week was to the mall. She was on a mission to purchase stuffed bears from Build a Bear for our daughters. She kissed the heart that goes in each bear and recorded a voice message for each girl. They sleep with their bears every night. My family came home with a handwritten card for each of us that Pamela had written. We haven’t presented the cards to the kids yet. I don’t know what they say but I know they will be encouraging, positive and loving. As her card for me was.

As far as miracles go, I’m pretty realistic. I don’t often ask God for miraculous help but I was praying for it this time. “Please, God–heal her. Don’t take her just yet. Give her more time. Give us more time with her. We need her, God. So many people need her. Take someone else. . .”

A tiny little spark of Hope lay dormant inside me, hoping against Hope that Pamela could be a miraculous testament to the power of God.

And yet, on Easter Sunday–she died. 36 years old. We learned of it on Monday morning.

I was and am so disappointed. I felt like God let me down. Like of all people, why? How?

It’s unfair.

And yet–there is still Hope. I still have faith that God is in control. That Jesus loves us. That this world is not forsaken as long as there are people who continue to love God and love each other.

Pam died. But she’s not gone. The resurrection of Jesus means that beautiful Pamela is resting in His arms. And that one day we will be reunited.

My 12 year old daughter told her, “Think of all the babies in Heaven who are waiting for their parents. You can be THEIR mom now.”

I imagine this beautiful woman, rocking a baby, completely fulfilled with confident purpose in Heaven.

And I know that her life isn’t over but just beginning.

But I miss her so.

 

 

 

Teaching Grace Reading

A friend of mine loaned me a book called Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. It’s quite incredible. We’re on lesson 22, and Grace has learned how to sound out words and read small one and two sentence “stories.” The pace at which she learns is quite incredible. I was getting frustrated with our early attempts–she has been able to recognize all the letters in the alphabet for 2 years, but didn’t get the concept of “sounding it out.” This book changed that.

Every day, she asks if she can have “Princess Lessons.” She puts on a pretty princess dress and decides which Princess she would like to be. I’m her “teacher” and I “rescue” her from the evil stepmother or wicked queen. Reading unlocks the door to the dungeon!!!!  She loves it, and after her lesson she gets to choose a piece of candy or a sticker. It’s so cool to watch her learn.

I was reading the newspaper at 5 years old, and I’ve been a bit disappointed that she hasn’t caught on to reading as naturally as I’d expected. However, I have no idea what formal instruction I received through daycare and preschool. And I started kindergarten early, in private school.

 Anyways, this curriculum is amazing.

I rushed around this morning, making oatmeal, fending off our dogs, soothing the kids’ emotional sensitivities. I had Grace dressed and ready for school, myself dressed and wrestled with AJ for about 5 minutes to get his pjs off. Another 5-10 minutes to get his pants and shirt on, and finally he succumbed to the socks and shoes. I went to get Grace. She’s lying in her bed, with a bowl of mac and cheese. (Yes, the dogs ate her oatmeal.  . . .bad dogs!)

 She told me she felt very sick. Too sick to go anywhere. She doesn’t care for Fridays because she’s a “daycare friend” then. She goes to preschool (which is a short day–only 2 hours, instead of almost 3) and then she goes to daycare for 2 hours. She doesn’t like having to be still and rest (they watch a video) when she wants to play. I promised her a trip to the Treehouse Museum if she went nicely to daycare today. I reminded her that if she missed school and daycare, she couldn’t go to Treehouse. She was fine with that. My super clue that she’s really not well.

I suspect she’s very weak and still fighting off this horrible virus thing she and AJ contracted. So much for picking up appliques at the fabric store! Here I am, home with two ill, grumpy, oversensitive children.  I do think they’re on the mend. Grace just came down and told me “I’m so sick. Can you take care of me?”  Sweet girl.

This gives me an opportunity to clean up the living room and knit my new socks. 

What a week.

More illness

AJ’s beginning to recover from croup and then a very high temp of 104, but Grace is just starting her bout with this illness. She told me she was tired and actually asked to go to bed at 6:30pm tonight. She’s running a fever now. She was well earlier and went to school and dance class. I’m glad she went, because this is probably it until Sunday, the way things are going around here.

And I have to skip the gym, of course. So much for SPIN class. I bet I gain 2+ lbs this week. And I’m trying to LOSE!!!!! 

I should give Terry major credit. He took off Monday and Tuesday to help care for the kids–since Grace was well and AJ wasn’t, they were both extra demanding. He came home early today because AJ was napping and Grace needed to go to dance class. He took his laptop and studied while G danced her heart out. 🙂

Classes for his Masters in engineering began this week. I see how busy Terry’s going to be from now until graduation. Again. Poor guy.

Cancer Free!

My aunt Gail was diagnosed with breast cancer (her third time fighting this) last year. Chances sounded very slim that she could recover, and she has fought a long, hard battle. After her most recent pet-scan, she was declared “breast cancer free!” Hallelujah!! It’s TRULY a miracle.