Thursday, February 26, 2009

a new girl to love

It is time to share someone very special with you, my precious readers (all 3 of you!). My sweet friend Allison shared a new singing girl with me recently and we LOVE HER, right, Allison? Anyway, you'll probably hear much about her from me because her new album is so very wonderful and relevant to me. It is impossible for me to pick a favorite song, so first I'll share with you then first one I listened to online just to get a taste of her sound. It immediately drew me in because it reminded me of my dad.

See, Dad was my biggest fan. When I started ice skating at 3 years old, he saw great potential in me (realize he saw it, not that it was actually there) and pretty soon started talking olympics and blah blah. Ice skating didn't last long. Enter gymnastics and repeat the first example taking out the ice and adding in bars and vaults. Didn't last long. Then came school. Relatively smart little girl, daughter of genius man get the picture, he encouraged me in making really good grades. He just forgot many times that I was not a genius!

I must admit, sometimes Dad's "encouragement" made me mad. Especially when I struggled with higher math and science. He really wanted me to get some things that I just couldn't quite grasp physics. But when I gave my salutatorian speech at my high school graduation you would have thought, based on his expression, that I was the best thing ever. When I was done speaking I immediately looked to Dad, who gave his signature thumbs up with his signature big cheeks happy face! The same he gave me when I was a teeny little ice skater. The same he gave me when I was a scared little gymnast. The same he gave me during my *very* brief stint practicing basketball. Don't laugh too hard about that last one - I won the free throw competition at basketball camp. (Remember, Carrie?)

He was for me. Always for me. He held me to a high standard. He had high expectations. But he loved me no matter what. My biggest fan without a doubt. I miss that so much. Knowing that he was watching me, even though I didn't always admit it to myself, made me try harder and made me happy, especially as I became a mother. Many times he told me what a good momma he thought I was, which is always so good for us guilt-prone moms to hear.

I miss so much this part of him. The part that was ridiculously supportive. Sometimes I felt with my grades that I just couldn't do good enough. But in other areas of my life, looking back, I realize I really could have done no wrong in his eyes. I miss having my biggest fan, you know, because who doesn't need one of those? But part of the good of Dad's leaving for home, and you must find the good, is that I've found an even bigger biggest fan in God. It has taken 32+ years for this to happen, but it has. It started with imagining what Dad thinks when he looks down on me, which I know he does, and turned into a realization that God has always looked down as well. Yes, I've always believed that he does, but I feel it now more than ever before. It's that I've had to look to God for some of what my dad used to provide me with. When you are without your dad, and you miss him so very much, you look for something to fill in what's missing. God has always been my Father, but he has become my Dad.

So, I said all of that to say that's why Kari Jobe grabbed my attention. With this song:

You Are For Me

So faithful, so constant,
so loving and so true,
so powerful in all you do.
You fill me, you see me.
You know my every move,
you love for me to sing to you.

And I know that you are for me, I know that you are for me.
I know that you will never forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that you have come down, even if to write upon my heart to remind me who you are.

So patient, so gracious,
so merciful and true, so wonderful in all you do...

Oh, and Dad loved to hear me sing. Chorus girls, do you remember how mad I'd get at Dad for sitting practically on top of us at a few of our performances? It's because he wanted to be able to hear me. He loved to be by me at church and I'd catch him not singing sometimes so he could hear me. (Wow, do I miss that.) He asked me to sing to him when he was sick. For too long, I refused, it seemed weird. In his last weeks I sang to him many times. How I treasure that now...and I still like to imagine that he's listening... and I know when he sees me on our praise team at Landmark, he is beside himself and giving me a big thumbs up.

So while this song is about my God, it is also, to me, about my dad, and where the two have met in my life. I've said it before, I'll say it many more times because it is too wonderful - I have my dad and my Father waiting for me to come home. That is something to be happy about!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

toxic synovitis is no fun

Miles complained about his leg hurting last night, but I just dismissed it and told him he was probably growing and having growing pains. This morning he cried and said his leg was still hurting and we quickly found that he had no plans of getting out of bed. He wouldn't put any weight on his leg and try to walk and each time we picked him up he winced or cried in pain. We took him to the doctor and found out that he has toxic synovitis. Poor guy. It will peak tomorrow and hopefully starting Friday he will begin to improve. If not, or if he runs a fever over 102, we are to return to the doctor for xrays. Weird, kind of scary stuff. I've had to work hard not to freak out too much - you know, the what ifs...what if it's something worse...and on and on. But my Esther study has started a work in me and I trust that no matter what if, then God will be sufficient.

This may explain why Miles made an unexpected declaration the other night. Jonathan was drying him off after a bath and had asked him a question. Miles' answer was a good one so Jonathan said, "perfect answer!" Miles became angry and said, "I'm NOT A PERFECT DANCER!" We laughed and laughed and he became even more angry. It took some work for Jonathan to convince Miles that he had not said "perfect dancer." Finally Miles said, "I'm not a perfect dancer...I don't dance anymore." I love myself some comic relief!

Monday, February 16, 2009

I feel like...

the God of heaven lifted his hand through my Beth Moore Esther study book tonight and thumped me right on the face. Now, I have been loving, no - adoring, this study. Several times I have gotten behind in my daily homework only to find that I needed a particular Word on a particular day. Boy did that happen tonight. See, there is this person, this one person, who is pretty much a mean girl (and we discussed mean girls in this study a couple of weeks ago). She is mean and rude, and not just to me, but (according to the words of several others) she is mean to the masses. And, as Beth Moore said in an earlier part of Esther, there is nothing like a mean girl to raise up your own mean girl! This person has made me so mad, quite a number of times, and to the point where I just want to be mean right back. She thinks I have been, but fortunately, she hasn't seen the mean that I am capable of. I have held back the mean. Though I am so not proud to be admitting these feelings. She's made me so mad I've wanted to cry. So mad I have cried. And I don't like people making me cry!

And then I get to day 4 of this week's homework and I read this...

Make no mistake, we serve whatever masters us, and nothing masters us more completely than the person who refuses to bow to our rights, desires, or demands. We become fixated on the one from whom we cannot get what we want.

A person becomes a snare to us any time he or she consumes an excessive and unhealthy space in our thoughts, whether negative or positive. The individual may be someone ...we feel threatened or defeated by or whose approval eludes us...

And then it hit me. I feel defeated when this person is rude to me. I want her to like me. To think I am a good and helpful person. To think I am a great mother. That I am sweet and fun and creative. To know that I love God and am raising my family in His love.

I've come to the realization that she is not going to like me. Not now, maybe not ever. I think it's mainly because I have stood my ground with her more than once, and people rarely do that with her. She likes to intimidate others. Well, I may really, really want her to like me, but I will not be afraid of her. But I learned tonight that it is not enough for me not to fear her, I must stop allowing her to be a thorn in my flesh because as Beth put it I am "letting my preoccupation with one solitary person steal the joy countless others have brought me." No more.

Do you think I am trying to make people accept me? No, God is the One I am trying to please. Am I trying to please people? If I still wanted to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

I am to try and please God alone, not people, and certainly not this one person who has decided to not be pleased by me. How do I do this?

We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
I must capture the thoughts that I have about said mean girl and make them go away. I must seek to please God. Just God. That is so much easier than trying to please everyone. Than trying to please someone who is just never going to be satisfied. I will continue my daily prayers for this person as I have said them for her for several months now. I can't change her. I will also add to this the prayer than God will help me to let it go...that I can hold captive the thoughts I have about her and concern myself only with pleasing him. And focusing on his love and "the joy countless others" bring me.

I feel better now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ella's Sweet Shoppe!

Ella's birthday party was centered around a sweet shoppe theme, which unfortunately was not my original idea, but one I saw on the blog A Little Loveliness. It was super fun to plan for and pull off. Everyone was happy with it, except some parents were a bit alarmed at the huge amount of sugar...but, hey, it was a live a little!

Ella's friend Cullen after enjoying his strawberry cupcake with strawberry icing.

Ella's cousin Samuel

Ella's cousin Kell

A gumdrop wreath welcomed guests at the front door and these gumdrop balls were hung on the kitchen lights.

Ella's cousin Ellison and outside fun with cousins and friends. Dad bought this wagon to pull behind the ride on tractor when he first became sick - it has brought a lot of fun just as he hoped it would!

looks yummy to me!

our friends!

opening presents!

let's have the cupcakes!

these are from last week when we shared butterfly sugar cookies (with pink icing and sprinkles!) with Ella's preschool friends...

Ella had about week long celebration all in all and enjoyed every bit of it. She loves telling people, "I two!" as she holds up all five fingers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

conversation with miles

On the way to drop Elijah off at school this morning the topic somehow came to angels:

Miles: I've seen a girl angel before.
Me: Was she pretty?
Miles: um-hmmm
Me: Where did you see her?
Miles: in heaven
Me: what did she say?
Miles: that she had good news for all of us...

and then the roughness of the morning seemed to ease up immediately.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ella is 2!

February 2, 2007
Eleanor Cash is born

and two years later... she's been saying "I two!"

My baby girl is now 2! All at once it has flown by but seems like she has been in my heart forever. As I put Ella to bed tonight, I prayed over her a prayer of thanks to God for her precious life. I'm forever grateful that he saw fit to give her to us even though we weren't seeking her. Read here to find out more about how Ella burst into our lives. Time and time again God has revealed the sovereignty of his perfect timing to me, and the giving of this sweet little girl to us is certainly no exception. God used Ella to "turn my mourning into joy and comfort me and make me rejoice after my sorrow..." Jeremiah 31:13 and he uses her, along with her big brothers, to give me "a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Just before we found out we were expecting Ella, God showed me this verse that just sort of ran around in my brain constantly, and at the time drove me a little crazy.

At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Ephesians 5:20

I wondered: was I supposed to thank God for my dad's death? With some healing and acceptance behind me now, I can be thankful - my dad was healed and soon my daughter was born. And in my heart I know she was born, for one thing, because my dad died.

My precious Ella,

You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I thank God for the gift that you are, knowing that every good and perfect gift is from him and him alone (James 1:17). In your two years, God has used you in a mighty way in the life of your momma - in you he gave me a new reason to rejoice and, with your groovy little self, he has certainly set my feet to dancing! I just adore you and your wonderful spirit. Know that I spend much time in prayer over your life. I pray every night that God will draw you near and fill you with his love. That you will love him all the days of your life. I pray for his protection over you and for him to pour his love and wisdom into me, so that I can be the mother that you need. That he will always remind us of who he is, as we do not know what lies ahead of us. Oh, Ella, I can hardly wait to see what else God has planned for you. Love him and share him. May the bolts of your gates be iron and bronze, and your strength in him equal your days (Deuteronomy 33:25). Always remember that he is enthralled with your beauty, so honor him because he is your Lord (Psalm 45:11).

I'll love you forever.