My friend is expecting her fifth blessing in the early Spring, and the fatigue I see in her eyes, that certain greeness about the gills brought back memories of too short naps and of dashing about in search of a discreet place in which to toss my cookies. So I did the only thing I could think of to helpe her (of course, I prayed, too!). It was one tiny way of standing with her. I chopped,stirred, and thanked God that those long hard days of my pregnancies served to make me a more empathetic person.
Today, I sat a bit longer in the VBS room and nursed a really lousy cup of coffee.
A mom of many (six under ten years old) and a homeschooler had introduced herself to me. I remembered days of juggling laundry, lesson plans and diapers. So I did what I could. I sat and listened and reminded her of the fruit that her labors would produce in good time. We parted with a hug and with a smile. I sent up an arrow of thanks for the long days with my kiddos when I was sure that I just couldn't do this another day. Because the grace was there and now I could point back to it.
Today, I walked around the grocery store putting soup ingredients in my basket and soundlessly weeping.
One of my favorite bloggers announced on national radio that his own cancer monster had progressed to what medical professionals would delicately refer to as "end stage". I stood with all of us who scream "WHY?!?" at the gates of heaven. I pondered my own rude good health as of late, and how one scan could shatter that perception (it's happened before).
Tonight, I'll meet a long-time Internet sister for dinner. Together we'll share a bite to eat, maybe a frosty margarita, and some girly giggles. We'll celebrate my current health and rejoice over answered prayer (she was wearing her "Pray for Heather" bracelet when I nabbed her at the airport this afternoon). As a fellow believer, she'll stand with me. We'll know it's okay to doubt, to cry and to question, but ultimately we'll stand on the fact that we don't always get the "why" of our earthly situations, but we do get the promise that He stands with us through it all.
This turn of events surprises exactly NO ONE who knows me well. Honestly, I need a "stop me before I volunteer" t-shirt.
My inability to see anyone floundering around in need of help and not step in aside, I'm having a great time. I didn't get to go to VBS as a kid, and I'm enjoying seeing my kids enjoy "Outrigger Island". The sets are fabulous, the program well organized (music to my OCD little ears). I love helping my group of third graders with their crafts and watching them worship. I also love watching Eeyore Jr. work with the younger kids...he's delightfully patient with them It doesn't hurt that Mama working there means that my little guy gets to "play with friends"...something he requests daily.
"Bible School" and "Play with friends" made in into the thank you section of last night's bedtime prayers.
Oh, and did I mention the soccer monster has awakened from its all too short "summer" hibernation (hah!). More miles on the minivan.
Please pray for "K" this week. She's our little "sandpaper" kiddo in the group. Grandma brings her and it sounds like her home situation is less than ideal. God has blessed me with lots of opportunities to see the beauty in K this week and to be able to speak encouragement to her (hooray!) but she still has a rough time in more quiet activities and we want to be able to really love her up this week.
A birthday breakfast treat.
On her new boogie board at Cocoa Beach.
Dinner at the eatery of her choice and homemade ice cream cake.
Happy Birthday Princess! We love you!
This season of TC had a definite villainess, one that probably generated more hate mail than any other season. Now, I'm guessing that this person doesn't have the most amiable personality as a rule, but let's face it, nasty characters make for good entertainment. Where would the fun be in rooting for the hero(ine) in everything from a Disney flick to a Jane Austin novel if we didn't have someone to boo as well?
Anyway, all of this got the kids and I talking. Yes, this person appeared at her absolute worst in the pressure cooker environment of the show. She yelled, she cursed, she scowled, postured, and spoke well before she thought. No wonder (according to her own reunion show testimony) people are glaring at her on the street! However, we really don't know this person. We haven't spent time with her. We just get the perspective of some editor whose job it is to maximize the entertainment drama of the show. (Note to Bravo producers: We really like the show without all the drama. Just focus on the creative process and the food, people. Seriously.)
Yes, I am getting somewhere in all of this.
First, I'm so glad that I'm not on reality TV. I have absolutely not a doubt that my worst moments could be edited together to make one heck of a villian.
Secondly, I need to live my life, or self-edit (turn that filter on!) so that I what I leave behind doesn't' need editing. As one pithy t-shirt I glanced at the Mouse House this week states: "Live your live so that the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral"!
Finally, it makes me sad that so many people see God through a heavily edited lens. We love to focus in on the character qualities that either please or displease us...wrath, justice, mercy, love,what have you. Just a reminder that to know God, I have to spend time with him--not just take what I hear (in sermons or in the context of popular culture) or see at face value.
Summer vacation has been less than restful for some of us at the Casa Redhead. Still, we've been managing to have a pretty good time.
Last week we had my nephew, J. He and the Princess (they're 17 months apart) attended Magic Treehouse theater camp at the Rep. They had a fabulous time and the Rep staff did an amazing job. I, however, got a little weary of slogging through downtown traffic twice a day and was glad when the little thespians wrapped things up with a delightful "shareformance" on Friday afternoon.
In the meantime, my sister (J's mom) and her other son A (Little Guy's BFF), came into town on Wednesday. We hit the ChickFilA Story hour and the very cool new "sprayground" at Dr. Phillip's Community Park. The shopping trip to Kohl's was less fun for the short people, but my sisters are my favorite personal shoppers, so I was thrilled. Sis also kicked us out on a real live date while she was here. The experience made me twitterpated (or maybe it was the killer sangria at the Iberian place we tried...)
My youngest was in heaven, and proclaimed to his sister during Sunday evening's bath, "I'm all alone. We need get in the car and go see my A."
TQ and Eeyore, Jr. are back at the books. EJ is taking Keyboarding via Florida Virtual School (well worth his time and not to much a of a cut into his summer calendar of Guitar Hero and Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii!). TQ is taking the big summer hit...IB Geometry five long days a week at the high school.
For the record, I only got a little weepy when I dropped her off Thursday morning. I was probably helped with my self-control by her compassionate comment, "You're not going to CRY, are you Mom??"
Friday night my husband showed up (the downside to the otherwise lovely new job is that he's gone about 13 hours a day most of the time--anyone want to buy a lovely discounted house in South Orlando??) as did my brother in law. We had a pizza dinner and spent the evening baking for the weekend.
Saturday, my aunt and uncle from Ohio, one of my cousins, her husband, and their three kids, drove in for the day (they're doing the Disney thing this week in Kissimmee). My mom and her hubby,and my other sister drove up as well. If you're counting, that was twenty of us having apps and lunch at my house that day! We had a lovely (albeit noisy) time of swimming, eating (pasta and sausage for a crowd), and catching up.
During the party, I made the comment, "Of course, now that I've got all of you here, some realtor is going to call and ask to show the house". (Things have been pretty quiet on the showing front here).
Actually, the people who wanted to see the house pulled up at the curb (with no call) as we were ushering our last guest out. Not the pristine condition that I'd like to show the house in, but a looker is a looker, right?? All in the good cause of keeping Heather humble, I suppose....
Father's Day was full of church, homemade meals, and gifts to honor Daddy. And housecleaning. LOTS of housecleaning. I was afraid that someone would call and want to see my filthy tile, er, house again that day!
I did manage to beg off Sunday School for a quiet moment at Starbucks, hoping that the time alone would help me manage the crazy storm of emotions that this day brings for me (grief for my beloved stepfather, sadness for my spiritually lost grandfather and father, bewilderment at my relationship with my biological father, thanksgiving for the godly heritage of my father in law, joy at my own husband's passionate pursuit of biblical fathering). It didn't help--I still cried about three times. Why do they show those videos on Father's Day???
Did I mention that all during this month the Princess has been giving us a countdown of exactly how many days until her birthday? Yes, Father's Day kicks off our Junebrations here...back to back birthdays this weekend and an anniversary next weekend.
But first, perhaps a summer nap is in order. Have a great week, and Happy Father's Day to all of my favorite men.