Friday, March 28, 2008

Sunny mornings, new days

It is amazing how a new day can turn things around. Last week I was worn out, exhausted, sick, and just sort of done with the world. Could not see the forest for the trees or the beauty within. Whew. Glad not to be in that place anymore.

Today and the past few days, there has been peace, sunshine, renewed health (though not totally), and strength. It takes small steps some days to decide that I want to move forward, but each small step builds on another and things really do change even with just small things. Making a hot breakfast, trying a new recipe that everyone loved, those things, just small things made a huge difference. Maybe it was the act of showing love to the family by cooking - I hate cooking, so it is a huge act of love and sacrifice for me. I love leftovers because it is a ton less cooking, but to make something from scratch - whew! But when everyone loves it, it is so rewarding! In our midwestern, eastern european/german/whatever culture here in Wisconsin, food is the evidence of love. Feeding our family is evidence of love. Just sort of the way things are. So, the act of cooking speaks volumes, probably more to me than to the family. It reminds me that I am giving love, that love is an act, an action, not just a feeling. Love is a verb. Doing it reminded me of our connections. Still would not choose to do it, but of course it must be done! LOL! I would much rather be outside, with the animals, with the kids, puttering, whatever, but I am starting to find more joy in cooking than I have in the past. Whatever, who cares, it is good.

I can see God moving again. I do love the spring, love getting past St. Patrick's day. It has been 26 years now since my dad died, and I still find myself sad on that day and the days leading up to it. But knowing that it will pass, and the sadness will pass always gives hope. Still not fun to get through. Last night I sat working with an elderly gentleman at the nursing home, who is about the age my dad would be now, had he lived. It was strange to look at him, to view him as he could be who my dad would be now, and to not be somewhat grateful that my father had not gone on to dementia, loss of function and whatever may have come from the brain tumor. He lived a vibrant, strong life up until the illness came, and it was short-lived, three long months, but only three months, not years. I wish I could know what he would think of me now (I do think he would be proud of who I am now), I wish he could have met his grandchildren, I wish I could talk with him. But, it is OK. I know that someday I will see him again, and will love to talk with him then about all these things. I had the foundation he laid for me, I had that to build on. So for anyone reading this who doesn't think that you can really affect your children for life when they are little, I am here to tell you that what you do and who you are will stay with them, even if you are gone. I remember so much. It really has shaped me. My mother did too, a great deal, but the impact my dad had lives strongly, maybe because he didn't have anything further beyond that day to pour into me. So I hold on to all that he did pour into me. My mother I got to know as a real person, and in different ways, now that I am an adult too. And my dad and I were so similar in many ways, in ways that my mom doesn't understand, and that is OK. Personalities are what they are.

Life is an adventure, meant to be lived fully for each moment that we have. We do the best that we can, each moment. And that is what we can do. God has a plan, we are part of the tapestry, part of the weaving, but we won't see how it all fits together until it is done, until we can see if from above. So, we just need to follow our own little part. And time to go do my part now! Laundry, shower, chores, work, schooling the kids, hugs and kisses, I think that covers it!!! LOL!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today we are surrounded by a bit more snow, and a hazy fog. Weird but normal for spring. We are so ready for it. Hopefully if I stay well, we will be able to get a cold frame up and some seeds started in there, so we will have a headstart on the garden. But my biggest concern right now is how to keep the silly sheep and excape artist goats out of my soon to be garden! They are everywhere. Now if only the snow would finish melting so we could finish fixing the fence that the snow did in! Oh, well, that is spring in WI!

It seems like we spend so much time teaching our kids character, values, work ethic and all, but it only slowly seeps in. Thank goodness this is a journey, not a destination. If we were at the destination, we would be done for.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Throw in the towel?

What do you do when the day has just degenerated into rotten-ness (is that really a word?)? When the kids are doing everything they can to make you crazy? When they are ignoring their homework, when they are literally forgetting everything you have spent months teaching them? AGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

So, luckily dear hubby got home before I pulled all my hair out, and he took over. And I am hiding in my bedroom, resisting the urge to just scream!!!! I don't know if this is a good solution, but I intend to head to bed tonight with the newest book by Dr. Kevin Leman "How to Have a New Kid by Friday". It is unbelievable the stunts the kids are all pulling to get me to do their work for them!!!!! Ok, now I have screamed enough. Heading off, maybe to wash dishes or something, but intending to be nowhere near the kids! Whew. Thank goodness bedtime is soon!!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weird night!

I am sitting here, seeing lightning all over, while we sit surrounded by still several feet of snow. I know, and have seen and experienced, thunder snow, but this is different. There is nothing coming down, a huge amount of wind, and this huge lightning going on. Not the little sticks of lightning, but the kind that just lights up the sky. It seems almost eerie, like something out of a horror movie! What a not nice thought!!!!

I had the most interesting talk with a dear friend today - first of all, it was so nice to be able to talk about some of the details of our lives and hear that we are both struggling with some of the same things - kids, behaviors, shaping character, and on and on. Doesn't change what we are dealing with, but does help put it in some perspective. But, what really got me thinking, was that she was stating that she doesn't know who she is. She is so and so's wife, so and so's mom, a homeschooling mom, a farm wife, a Sunday school worker (or whatever), and on and on. But who is she when those roles are completed? I have to admit that I not only didn't have an answer for her, it really made me realize that this is the way I am feeling, the reason I find it so hard to be not working outside the home anymore. I am my kids' mom (a good thing), my husband's wife (another good thing), an adoptive mom, a homeschooling mom, a farm wife, a 4H parent, and on and on. But who am I? Are we separate from what we do? Yes and no. Is that why it makes me so crazy when things aren't going well in one area of my life? Because that is a portion of who I am? Hmmmm. I am going to need to ruminate on it. Each time I try to come up with something, I end up describing what I do! I take care of this, that and the other thing. I hope to be a published author someday, but once again, I think that describes what I do rather than who I am. Maybe I am looking at this the wrong way, I will need to think on it.

On another hand, I need to think about how we live out our faith. Are we Christians who go to church when we are supposed to an leave it at the door? I sure hope not, I know that we work very very hard on this. We go to church regularly because Christ does tell us to fellowship with other believers and support each other, as well as to continue to learn. So, we go. And we are active in the church, serving in various areas, actually nearly every member of the family! The kids too! Okay, but what about outside of the church? As the hands and feet of Christ, are we actively reaching out to do what He would have us do? Do we stop when someone is stuck in the ditch, and no one is there? Do we hand on things to those that need them? Do we take a moment to speak in kindness to the harried clerk, the nursing assistant dealing with a difficult patient, to lend a hand to the mom with a baby and a toddler? What about to the person who cuts us off in traffic, to the friend down the road who is having a hard time, to be a listening ear? We all have gifts, little or big. Pastor Mark spoke on the parable of the talents today, and it really brought home again that we have to use what we have. Whatever it is. It makes me so sad to see those who profess to follow Christ, refuse to be the hands and feet. They don't seem to understand that we live out our faith in what we do. We are saved by GRACE, but we demonstrate our faith through works. If we accept that Grace, which is all that Christ asks us to do, that is good. That is great. That is what God wants from us. But, if we are so saved, so redeemed, so grateful, then what do we do with that - I found myself facing that same question after I watched the Passion of the Christ in the theatre. If Christ did all of that, for me, who didn't deserve it, then what do I do with that? I can't just leave it. But that is all that Christ asks of me. On the other hand, we demonstrate our faith through our works. We are called to do for the "least of these" as we would for Christ. The verses in Matthew 24, verses 42 through 45 state it very clearly from the mouth of Christ.

What we do for others, we are doing for our Lord. How many times I have tried to tell my husband that the love and caring he shows for our children, is over and above what he shows for me, it touches me more than if he had done it for me. If that is how I feel, how must God feel? How must it touch his heart when we do something kind for someone else, just because? Even if it makes no sense to me, but just because I can? The little things seem to often count as much as the big ones, and we never see the way it is paid forward. I have to tell you, the little things people have done for me, for no reason, but just because, are such a huge gift. We have been so blessed to be gifted throughout this last season in our lives, adopting our sons and all, so many people came forward to make it happen and still ask how they can help. There have been days where I am struggling, and someone just does something little, even just caring and asking, and it can turn my whole day around. Think of what we could do!!!!! We can do that for others!!!

If each one of us were to do something, think of what we could do!!! We could change the world!!! Just with little things!!! But there is so much that we don't do, because it might put us out, or might be ... Unusual or whatever!!! Sometimes we just cannot see to extend grace to others, and we have been granted so much!!!! Sorry, I am on a rant. We were on our way to church this morning, were flagged down by a man who had his truck stuck on the edge of the road in the snow. I am proud to say that my dear hubby stopped to see if he could help. He tried to push it out, couldn't get it out. We thought we would head down the road a mile to our church, borrow a shovel and a couple guys and go back to help. Well, I was so stunned that when I asked the men who were hanging around having coffee, the responses I got - "well, I can't go", "he must have been going to fast, that's what happens", turning away and what not. I finally got one guy to come by approaching him in front of his really big teenage son. They both came, but not until after I had been turned down by ten men!!!! What is wrong with this picture????? Is this how we are responding to the gift from God of grace?? I was so crushed. What do I say to my kids? We had just been talking about being the hands and feet of Christ (and this was about 45 minutes prior to service starting, so no one was remotely going to be late).

It really made me think about being the hands and feet. It requires getting your hands and feet dirty, using your skills, whatever they may be. Don't miss the chance to push Christ out of the ditch, OK? If I had walked in and told those men it was Christ or even our pastor, they all would have been there in a heartbeat. But because it was a stranger, there were no volunteers. HUH???? No wonder no one believes that it means anything when we say we are Christians!

Sorry, done with my rant, but this really gets to me. Maybe it is because I have always worked with kids with disabilities, or because I adopted kids who needed me, or because I have been a foster parent, or just because I like to tilt at windmills!!! If we are not producing fruit, then what are we doing? How are we thanking Christ? When someone gifts one of my kids, is kind to one of my kids, it is more powerful than being kind to me. Think how God must feel.

Hope anyone who reads this has a great night!!! Thanks for letting me rant and get it off my chest, now I can sleep tonight!!! LOL!
Christy
Mom to the tribe of five (so far)
wife to the best husband in the world!
hopefully honoring Christ!