Sunday, April 14, 2013

It's like my daughters booster seat.....

Lauren will be 5 this week!  Where has the time gone?  I feel like in some ways it has slowly crept by, yet in others it has flown by right before my very eyes.  It is bittersweet, to say the least.  Lauren has been in her forward facing non-infant {is that a convertible one?} car-seat since she was 15 months old. And, she has continued to stay in that same car-seat to this present day.

We have suggested a booster for her since she turned 4, but she would have none of it.  She didn't want to have a booster, she wanted her car-seat.  Even telling her that her peers were in boosters didn't make her budge.  Seeing her friends bring their boosters into preschool for field trips wouldn't make her budge.  {I'm not sure where she gets her strong will from? :)}  She would have nothing to do with a booster and that was that.  Well, ok then.

She actually rode in a booster for the first time a few weeks ago when a preschool classmate took her from the gym to gymnastics {Thank you, Angie!}  She liked it, but wasn't ready to upgrade yet.  However, today was the fateful day.  We realized that we would need an additional seat in Chad's car since I'm starting a part time job, in the event that he would need to drop off or pick up the kids.  {We have presently done the 2 seats in the van - my car and 1 seat in his car method, which has worked out ok.}  But, that all changes this week, thus needing a new seat for the car.

We decided a booster would be easier, less expensive and she is ready for it {age and weight wise, that is.}  So, off to Target we went this afternoon, she picked out her booster and that was it.  We came home, she played with her booster, practiced sitting in it, etc.  and was very happy with it.  {Small miracle, here, folks!}

It's funny how one small change can have such an impact.  I realize now how much more freedom we will have being able to have both of us being able to transport the kids.  We won't have to worry and plan as much, so it is also freeing logistically, which is nice.  And, it's a sign of our little girl growing up and being ok with it.  It is hard to see our kids grow up, but it is also a blessing, because they are healthy, they are safe, they are alive.  With the grace of God, we raise them into God loving adults who make a difference in this world.  Once Lauren was willing to ride in a booster, life got a little easier for all of us.  What do we hold onto that is tying us down?  What are we not willing to let go of, and as a result, miss out on some freedoms?  What is it that we won't change that would be for our good?  Lauren was ready for the booster, but she wasn't willing.  See, it's just like my daughter's booster seat......

Let's talk about hurting.......

What do we do with hurt?  Our hurt?  The hurts of others in our lives?  Our spouse?  Our children?  Friends?  People in our church?  Neighbors?  It's an interesting topic, if you really think about it.  So, pause and think about what we do with hurt?  When a friend tells you about a sibling who died?  That is their hurt.  But, how do you respond?  Do you ask them about the sibling?  Or, do you ignore it and hope it goes away?

Today in our Sunday School class, we had a great Spirit-filled conversation and we talked a little about this.  One of the women in the class lost her husband recently and was sharing her struggles with the recent ice storm and the decisions she had to make.  How she felt alone - alone to pick up the mess of branches, alone to make the decisions in how to have the branches removed, the financial decisions she had to face alone.  She shared that after her husbands death, someone said they were praying for her.  She replied and said she thought no one remembered her anymore.  She felt alone.  People rarely ask her about her husband, people rarely mention his name, people rarely ask her how she is doing since his passing.  Her loss seems to have been ignored as time passes.  However, from hearing her talk today, her pain is still very present and real.

Our teacher, who lost a son as well, shared that she felt the same way.  People often don't ask her about her son, or share stories.  She said she would love for someone to tell her a story about her son, or ask her about him.  Would she love to tell people about him, yes!  Would she cry, yes!  But she doesn't want him to be forgotten.

So, as I've been pondering this, it's made me ask what do we do with hurt?  If we ignore it, why do we do that?  Is it because we have so much hurt of our own that we don't know what to do with others?  Is it that we don't want to add more hurt by asking?  Is it that we are uncomfortable with hurt and don't know how to handle it?   Is it a combination of all of the above?  I think we like things pretty,not messy, we like peace, we don't like pain.  Yet hurt is messy and painful.  So, I think we avoid it, our own pain and others as well.  We don't walk into pain with others because it brings up the mess and pain that we try to avoid in our own lives.  People avoid it by work, busyness, food, drink, drugs, gambling, internet, shopping, the list goes on and on about ways people mismanage their pain.  So, when someone comes along and has pain too, it is too much to "take on," so we avoid it.  We ignore it and change the topic, or we pretend we didn't hear it, or, the list goes on and on.

What's the take away from this?  There are a few:

1. Walk into your own pain and deal with it.  Is it hard, messy, yucky and unpleasant?  Yes, but it is all for good.  The only way to be whole is to deal with the pain and walk toward healing.

2. When someone shares their pain with you, walk with them into it.  Be there for them, ask questions, listen, let them feel "safe" to share with you and pray for them.  Prayer is a powerful tool we have, friends!

While we can't fix pain or take it away from others, we can be available and accessible to walk through it with them.  I think when we do that for others, it not only blesses the one who is hurting, but it blesses us as well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Reflections on the Great Spring Ice Storm of 2013

Here it is, April and we are in the middle of a storm.  The storms I am used to in the spring involve lots of rain, wind, possibly a tornado warning or something like that.  However, this storm did not bring those things.  It brought ice - a lot of ice.  So much that power lines were down and beautiful trees are broken.  It is like a war zone here.  Trees are down everywhere.  Big beautiful trees are down, some of them by the roots.  It is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The following day, we added about six inches of snow onto the ice.  So, again, power lines were down as more weight was added to the trees.  What makes me the most sad are the trees.

Our pastor posted something on facebook that I have been mulling these past few days - "As I see all of the tree branches breaking under the weight of the ice, I am reminded that there are some things that we were never meant to carry, or we will break as well.

#castyourcaresonhim"  (Thanks, Pastor Beard!)

Wow, that hit me!  As someone who has carried a lot of things she wasn't meant to, I knew exactly what he meant!  It made me think about the things I have carried and what I do with them.  I am at a point now where there is more pruning to be done.  I have been pruned before, trust me, and I liked to think I was done with the process!  However, God has shown me He has more work to do.  Ugh, I don't like that and I don't want that, yet I need it.  It made me think about the trees that are down, all over our city.  What if no one picked them up?  They would continue to be on the ground, which is ok for a while, but eventually, they would wreak havoc.  They are somewhere doing something that is not beneficial.  Yes, they broke under the weight of things they were not meant to carry.  However, once the pruning has taken place, they will come back, strong and healthy.  Lives will continue to go on and people will benefit from the trees being where they belong. 

It is much like us, we can choose to be pruned, refined, made new, etc. and like the trees, come back stronger.  Or, we can continue to be in the mess we are in, and do nothing.  I suspect the trees whose damage isn't dealt with will perish.  It is much the same with us - we may not perish in the literal sense of the term {however, I am sure some have}.  But we could perish emotionally or spiritually or even to some degree, physically.  {Our physical health is tied to our emotional health}.   One man at the gym even commented "It is nature's way of cleaning up."  Interesting, isn't it?

So, what will you chose today?  To be pruned for your benefit and the benefit of those around you?  Or will you continue to sit in your broken mess?  The choice is yours, friend.  I know what I'm choosing......

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I love the volume you have....

Ok, so this is starting off as a post about hair, but I promise it won't end up being about hair.  It is no secret that I have very fine, thin hair.  I have a lot of it, but it is all very thin & fine, thus lacking in volume.  In college, I copied a girls hairstyle that involved teasing a part of the hair at the top of the head.  Sadly, I have continued to do that for oh, 13 years.  Lately, I have finally realized this style isn't working for me.  I'm not sure it did then, either, but oh well....I have been envious of women with similar styles with lots of volume & body.  So much so, that I even messaged a friend on fb after she posted a pic of her darling, voluminous hair.  Here is what I sent her: 

"This is kind of random, but here goes. I LOVE your hair! I love the volume you in the world do you do that? Are there certain products you use or they way you style it? Would love to know what works for you, it is adorable!!! "

She kindly replied & told me the products she used.  Shortly after, I met with another woman whose hair is similar to the friend I wrote.  Upon being able to see the hairstyle in person, I realized there was a part of my technique missing.  You see, I just took a small chunk of hair & teased it.  The real key to voluminous hair is teasing it at the roots & kind of all over the crown of the tead, not just the small patch as I had done.  Once I realized this, I had the desired result!  Ta da!

So, what does this post on my hair have to do with anything?  A lot.... I have been thinking about this application in life.  See, I had been doing something & not getting the desired result.  So, I kept doing it & being frustrated with my outcome.  Had I sat down & thought more about this or maybe even seen the woman with the voluminous hair in person I could have realized what I was doing wrong.  How many times in life do we keep doing something & not getting our desired result?  A small tweak to what we are doing would likely change the outcome.  For me, a small revision in the way I was teasing would have done the trick.  What is it for you?

I have also deduced from this that sometimes we are focusing on the wrong things.  For example, had I focused on teasing more hair than my little patch, it would have produced a different look.  I was focused on this one little bit, instead of the whole head of hair.  Where do we do this in life?  Do we focus on the one or two things that are really bad, annoying, irritating, overwhelming, frustrating, etc. so much that we miss the great things right in front of us?  I have lived much of my life this way & am striving to focus more on the positive & what I do have, rather than what is negative or what I don't have.  That kind of thinking can change your life for the better!  Focusing on the blessings & the positives far outweigh the negatives, I promise!  

Saturday, April 6, 2013


  As some of you may know, we moved here to SD for my husband to work for Sanford Hospital.  Sanford has a wonderful children's hospital, which is pictured above.  As you can tell, it is much like a castle and is pretty amazing.  I'm very impressed with everything I have seen and heard about the children's hospital.  We haven't had the chance to go inside until yesterday, as they don't let people in so they keep the sick children unexposed to germs, etc.  However, yesterday, they were doing a Cure Kids Cancer radio-a-thon, which offered activities, puppies, etc., so we were able to go inside the "castle."

I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't really have any feelings going in.  However, once we stepped inside, that quickly changed.  The kids were all excited to see the dressed up dinosaurs, parrots and other characters they had there.  They were caught up in the moment and I was caught up in the reality of what was happening here.  I had all of these feelings and emotions come over me - guilt for having my healthy kids there, bravery for the kids who are fighting or have fought cancer, compassion for those families going through cancer right now and just awe of how they do it.  It really hit me when I was walking upstairs and passed a little girl about Lauren's age who was bald and obviously fighting cancer.  I lost it.  It took my breath away.  I was struck by how fortunate we are to have healthy kids.  I take that for granted.  It was eye opening to be around people who are living my greatest fear - sick children.  Really sick, not just virus, cold or flu sick, but really sick.  Cancer sick.  It was surreal to walk into that place of fear.  I really wanted to just run away - I'm not sure if it was fear or guilt, but I didn't feel very comfortable there.   It made me realize that kids are not invincible.  It made me realize how much I take for granted - my life, my health, Chad's health, my kids health.  We have a great life!  I think it was good for me to be outside of my comfort zone and realize there is much more to life than these four walls that hold my stressors sometimes - screaming kids, disobedience, recipes that don't turn out.....really?  Yes, really, I have been caught up in my own little world and it was nice to get outside of it and realize just how blessed I am.

Father, I lift those sweet kiddos to you who are fighting cancer.  I pray for healing, in Jesus' name.  By Your wounds,they are healed.  We say no to cancer, and yes to healing.  Thank You, Lord, that You love them more than we do.  Thank You for the gift of life that we often take for granted.  In Jesus' name, amen.