Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Epiphany

Here's my epiphany...

Someday, I may be here for my parents, instead of my parents being here for me.

Now, here's the lame part.  I'm 48 years old, and this is just now dawning in a real way.  I knew it - but I just hadn't really thought much about it.

I think my parents may have spoiled me a bit.  I've never felt spoiled, but as I've watched my mom over these recent weeks of illness and hospitalization, I've decided that I was/am spoiled.

My Mama has always, always been here for me.  She has been with me for the birth of all my children.  She came home with me and stayed for a week, cooking our meals, cleaning my house, taking care of me so I could take care of my babies.  She taught me how to be a Mom.  She taught me how to be a wife, a manager of my home, how to cook.  She has always been my friend.  She has always been a pillar of strength.  My Daddy too.

I've always thought of them as young.  They were young when I was born, and were always among the youngest of parents in my group of friends.  They've always been, and still are, very active... often wearing me out in the work they do around their house and yard, hiking in Colorado, serving in their areas of ministry, etc.

I still think of them as young, really... compared to most people their age.  (Does that make sense?)

So, as I've watched my parents deal with her illness, I've thought about all of this a lot.  My Daddy has worked like nothing I've ever seen from him in taking care of her every, single need.  It's been beautiful.

And I've thought of the thousands of times that they have taken care of my every, single need.

And I've thought that, if life goes as it naturally does, there will come a time when those roles are reversed.  They have always been here for me (it was their calling, and they answered that call) - but I, and my sister and brother as well, will one day be here for them (and it will just as clearly be a calling).  To meet their needs.

I've watched and learned this from them as well.  As they took care of their mothers.  My Granny lived to be 104.  My Mama went to see her every, single, day.  She loved her, listened to every story (some of them hundreds of times), shopped, cleaned, cared for her, made sure those providing for her were doing an excellent job - even when Granny didn't know it was happening - even when it was hard and Mama was exhausted from a full day of work herself.  That was also beautiful.

I will be here for them - a calling.

I can't imagine that it will be soon.  I fully believe this season of illness for my Mama is temporary, and she'll be back to running circles around me soon.  But someday, it's very likely to come.

Proverbs says of the wise woman, that her children will rise up and call her blessed...

My Mama is blessed - my Daddy too.

I'm so thankful that God gave me parents that, when that day of being here for them comes, will make this an honor and a privilege.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Times - They Are A Changin'

Traditionally, this is the day we drag all the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin the mass chaos of unpacking (decorations), packing (stuff that Christmas decorating crowds out), arranging, re-arranging, etc.

Traditionally, tomorrow is the day that we trim the tree.  It's really one of my favorite days of the whole season.  All the kids stay home, at the same time.  We play Christmas music, fix hot chocolate, maybe bake snickerdoodles, we get out all the tree-trimming ornaments and divvy them up.  The kids have gotten at least one new ornament and made one ornament almost every year of their lives... They are 21, 19 and 16.  That's a lot of ornaments.  There is much laughter, much joy, much arguing over whose year it is to put the tree-topper on the tree and the appropriate way to arrange ornaments on the tree.

--- As a complete aside - here's the argument:  Do you arrange ornaments together in like themes?  (i.e., Star Wars, Barbie, Action Heroes)  This would be Luke's stance.  Or, do you arrange ornaments randomly and evenly around the tree?  This would be Erin's stance.  They will each die with their strong opinion on this subject.  The only exception is when Luke will move his storm trooper out of the Star Wars arrangement to be within shooting range of Christmas Barbie. ---

Circa 1997

Circa 2009

We have, through the years, included friends, sweethearts, and extended family in this tradition, but always kept the tradition.

But, times - they are a changin'...

Last year. 2010.

We are in a current fiasco of trying to find a day that my grown kids can both be here at the same time.  Between work, school, other-side-of-the-family visits, finals, etc., this appears to be near to impossible.  It is a tradition none of them want to give up yet, but I can see the writing on the wall.

I think this the beginning of learning to release some traditions and let my kids begin to make their own.  This is a much more difficult, soul-wrenching process than I thought it would be.  What will our new traditions be in a few years, as our kids grow, move, marry, etc.?

I'm excited to see what new traditions Brian and I can create when there are many days of just the two-of-us.  I'm excited to see what traditions our kids take with them to new grown-up lives and what new traditions they create that I never thought about.  I really am excited.


I think we've come up with a day that everyone can be home around work, finals, and such.  This year.  I plan to enjoy it to the fullest - knowing the year is coming when we won't be able to. And I will be sad.


I know the new will be good, but releasing the old is always difficult.

What have you had to learn to let go of, and found that God replaced it with something just as beautiful, if not even more so?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Control Issues

I really, really suck at this part of parenting...

The youngest got his license today.  You would think after having gone through it twice before, experience would allow me to handle it a little better.  But, no.  It does not.

As I type, he is out on his first ever, all alone, drive.

Hate. It.  

I loved having young ones - babies, toddlers.  I like to pretend that's it is because I was such an amazing, fun, love-the-babies mom.  I don't think that's it though.  I think it's because I could control them - their environments - what they ate- when they slept - their friends - where they went - who they were with.  In theory, I can save them from pain, suffering, (whatever I don't like, really.)  It let me live in the illusion that I was in control.

I liked it there.

But then they grow into teenagers and young adults and any illusion of control is thrown quickly and unceremoniously out the window.  No mercy, no period of adjustment - just gone.

They get in a car and careen down the road at 30, 40, 60 miles per hour, without you there... they move to college and don't call you every time they need to make a decision... they get married, blah, blah, blah.

I'm so bad at this.  This blog  post is in lieu of a panic attack, actually.  I probably won't stop writing until he calls and lets me know he arrived safely at his destination.

The truth is - we are never in control.  Everything can change within the blink of an eye.  That would be a crippling thought to me without Jesus.  I'm so glad it rests securely in His able hands... even my near panic attack is resting securely in His able hands.

He is with my grown children as they live their lives in other cities, with friends I do not know, eating what they want, when they want, going to bed when they want.  He is with my youngest as he careens down the highway even as this is being written.  He is with them when the inevitable pain and suffering come their way.  I love that.  I cling to that.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your strong, capable hands.

Got the call.  He made it. Thank you, Jesus.  Good bye.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Half Marathon - Check.

Yesterday was the big day.  I've been working for several months to be ready for yesterday.  My first Half Marathon.  13.1 miles.  When I began running (and I use that term very loosely) about five years ago, I never dreamed I would be able to go that far.  I'm still a little amazed that I did.

If you look closely, in the background, you'll notice that I was not last!  I stand in solidarity with every single person that did it - even the one that was last, but you have to set some kind of a personal goal, and that was mine. --  To not be last in either the overall, or in my age group.  (So much for being a high achiever...)  That, and to finish in under 2 1/2 hours.  I still don't know where I fell overall, because they didn't have the results up when we left, but I just know there were people behind me.  And I came in fifth out of eight women in my age group with a time of 2:24:18.  Yay!

I know there are other endurance events that require much more than I accomplished yesterday - I know there are other things done in life that are way more important than this, but it was important for me to figure out if I could do it, and I'm thankful God got me there.  Living life successfully takes determination, planning, perseverance, vision, drive - and God showed me that, with Him, I had more of that than I thought I did.  Now I'm praying it will transfer to lots of other areas of my life.

And finally, thank you to Heather for doing training runs with me, Lanny and Kerrie for taking care of my calf and getting me back out on the road, to my many friends that continued to cheer me on - we truly do need a community and I LOVE the community God has placed me in! 

And to my best friend, my husband.  I absolutely would not have done this without him.  He never stops believing that I can do more than I believe I can.  He always encourages and always supports.  When I injured my calf four weeks from the date, he encouraged.  When I strongly doubted I could finish, he encouraged.  When I was 2 miles from the finish, and everything in me wanted to stop - I pictured him at the finish with a camera and a warm welcome - it kept me putting one tired leg in front of the other.  I couldn't ask for a better friend or husband.  So - Thank you, Brian!  We did it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In or Out? Yes.

"I want to stop it, but its the only life I know how to live..."

Dylan had another show this last weekend, in Tulsa.  He plays in interesting venues.  This particular one was the least scary, the least smoke-filled of any so far.  He does not like the term "Christian artist".  He is an artist that follows Christ.  His songs come out of what he is feeling, or has felt at moments in his life.  They are certainly not anti-Christian, but they won't play on Christian radio stations, so this gets him into some interesting venues - and I like that.  At least apart from the fact that my clothes have to be fumigated afterwards from all the cigarette smoke. :)

I love to watch him interact with the world, and still continue to reflect the Christ that lives in him.  He is very comfortable in that - and, again, I am glad.  It is a little scary, as a mom, to think about the things he will ultimately have to stand against if he continues to pursue this life.  But I believe this is what God has called all of us to.

How will they know if we don't go to them?  How will they ever even care if they don't see us?  If we spend all of our time cloistered with people just like us, how will they know?  How will they know if the only times we are around them, we appear so self-righteous that we just reinforce their beliefs that they want nothing to do with us?  It is scary - but it is necessary.

The quote at the top of this post is from a song that the headline artist sang last Friday night.  It was, basically, (if my 48-year-old brain got it) about living the same life that we've lived forever, never truly changing, or growing - not because we're not sick of it, but because we just don't know anything else.  I don't know the guy, other than meeting him that night (and he was one of the nicest guys we've met at Dylan's shows - very encouraging to Dylan - just plain nice), but I'm guessing he is on a search for truth.  I hope he saw that Truth in us last Friday - at least for the few hours we were with him.  I hope we gave him a glimpse of a different way to live...

What does Jesus think?

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,  keeping a clear conscience..."

What the world sees, is often not gentleness and respect - and we should feel shame, not a clear conscience when we claim to reflect Christ and speak in such hateful, callous ways...

"Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world."

Even if they never agree - will they respect us for our honorable behavior?

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father."

A candle in the middle of a room full of candles has little effect.  But a few candles, or even a single candle, carried into a dark room, makes a huge impact...

"The Pharisees asked his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'   On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world."

It's what He's called us to...

How are we showing our kids that we have to get out there?  Am I modeling it?  I'm afraid I've spent a lot of time content to be cloistered away.  I'm thankful that He is changing me, and that God is giving us the courage to get out there and shine our lights.

A couple of disclaimers:  

1.  I don't think we should throw our kids to the wolves.  One of the many reasons we've homeschooled is because we believe they need to develop the character and fortitude to stand against temptation before they go out - but go out, they must - that is the ultimate goal, even in our years of "sheltering", that is still the goal.  In our years of going out with him, the goal is, that one day, he will go out without us, and stand.  So, our prayer is, that we will raise them to know what they believe, why they believe it, and then take it out - out to people that need to know.

2.  This in no way takes away from how important I believe it is to be among those we are like-minded with - with other Christ-followers.  We need that - even more so when we are going out.  We need the encouragement, the teaching, the friendship, the love, that comes in that place.  So circle the wagons, love each other, encourage one another, teach one another, and then - then let's get out there and live what He's called us to live!

It's scary to go out - they might not like us (many won't), we might fail (probably will at times), we might look stupid or crazy (we will) - but if we don't, how else will they know there's another way?  

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fair? No, it isn't.

(Disclaimer:  If you don't wanna be bummed out, you might want to skip this one...)

Today we celebrated 10 years at Cornerstone.  A new part of the body was born 10 years ago this Sunday, and we've had the privilege of being a part of it the whole time.  It was such a blessing.  Old friends traveled to celebrate with us... new got to meet old.  Lots of talk about the past, the things we've learned as we've grown up together here.  It was a joy - an absolute joy - to remember, to thank God, for where He's brought us and what He's done.  He is good - truly good.  And I probably will talk about that more later, but -

At the same time, this is a day of struggle for me...

My heart is just broken for some friends today.  Friends going through such heartache and there is really nothing you can do to help alleviate the pain.  Most of the words I can think to say just seem trite and stupid - they won't help.  I want to fix it - I can't.

Life just deals such harsh, difficult, crappy, hands sometimes - and it doesn't seem fair - it isn't fair.  What's that my parents always told me? - what I told my kids? - "Life isn't fair - get used to it."

But we don't get used to it.

I think of the "one another's" of scripture.  Bear one another's burdens, mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep.  I guess, sometimes, that's the best we can do.  Sit with them, pray for them, cry with them, hold their hands and be a presence.

It seems woefully inadequate...

What do you do with the pain you feel for others?  

What do you do, say, when life is collapsing around them?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Face of Pain

"It's very easy to take sides with the perpetrators of sex trafficking... all they ask us for is our silence." Judith Herman

Dylan and I were reading yesterday about the march from Selma to Montgomery.  We have read  much of the horrific things that were done to African Americans - my heart breaks and Dylan is enraged every time we read it.  I was struck by something yesterday, when we read of one of the turning points.  When the marchers were approaching, the police and National Guard met them with tear gas, guns, night sticks and attacked them – unprovoked – attacked them.  And the media saw it.  They filmed it.  They showed it to the nation.  And we, as a nation, finally saw what was happening. 

After that moment, many who had sat comfortably in their living rooms across America denying that such injustice existed, could no longer ignore it.  People, who were horrified when they were finally able to admit it, took action.  At the next march, the National Guard protected and escorted this very same group – except now, this group was much, much larger.  It consisted of blacks and whites, rich and poor – united because many had finally accepted the reality of the injustice and decided it was their responsibility to take action.  The fight was not over – it was long and hard, and still lingers in places today – but it is being fought and won.

What is it that allows us to be content in our own success, happiness, pleasure - and turn our sight away from what is uncomfortable?  James said that religion that is pure and faultless will look after orphans and widows in their distress - it will act on behalf of those who are oppressed.  

It is difficult to look into the face of pain because it causes me pain and pain is uncomfortable.  But God does not call us to comfort - He calls us to act.  

Faith, without works, is dead.

Throughout history, injustice has been stopped when those not directly affected were willing to get off their butts, out of their comfort zones, take some risks, and do something.  We look at history and say, “How could they not see?”  “How could they not act?”  Yet, we -- I -- do the same thing today.  People all around us are hurting, victims of horrible injustice, victims of wretched poverty not of their making, children raised in abuse and neglect, people disposed of for the convenience of others, families caught in cycles of poverty and abuse that they don't even know they can be free of, families enslaved, children forced to do unspeakable things in the name of another’s “pleasure” - and they need someone to act on their behalf. 

Our God calls us to this. 

 When will our generation step up?  When we will be willing to fight for what is right, even when it does not directly bring harm to us?  When will we be willing to give up some of our comfort to bring freedom to someone else?  When will we be willing to shout, “No more!”

I am thankful for those people throughout history that stood up, declared to the world what was happening, would not get out of our faces until we faced the problem - I want to be one of those people today.   I don't want to forget, and I don't want to stop looking for ways to make a difference.  

"The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



  [mel-uhn-kol-ee]  Show IPA noun,plural -chol·ies, adjective
a gloomy state of mind, especially when habitual or prolonged; depression.
sober thoughtfulness; pensiveness.


  [pen-siv]  Show IPA
dreamily or wistfully thoughtful: a pensive mood.
expressing or revealing thoughtfulness, usually marked by some sadness

That'd be me... Why, you ask?

Because this girl:

And this boy:

Just like maybe two weeks ago, were these kids:

And this last week, they both moved out - again.

Both seem much more final this time.  Erin will get married in May, so she won't be moving back home.  Luke moved into an apartment, so it just seems much more final - like he's all grown up and settled on his own. 

I know this is the natural way of things.  We've prepared them.  They love Jesus.  They're great kids and they're making good life choices.  So why does this make me meloncholy, pensive, sad?

I think it's because I miss the little things....  Knowing how their days unfold, the things that made them laugh today, the things that may make them cry tomorrow, the funny stories, the people they meet, the things they're learning... that kinda stuff.

I've always known all of that.  And they still share much of that with me, but it's in a summarized "it-was-really-cool-at-the-time-but-now-I-can't-remember-everything-I-wanted-to-tell-you" kind of way.

And, again, I know this is the natural way of things.  But, wow, it's hard to let go.  Hard to trust that you've done the best you knew to do - mistakes and all.  Trusting that God is bigger than the stuff that will come their way.  He's bigger than the mistakes they will make.  He has a good and perfect plan for them and it's better than anything I can dream up.

Maybe I've still got as much growing up to do as they do... :)

But - I still have one at home:

And bless his only-child-at-home heart - all my need to mother children, and only one to pour it out on!