Tuesday, April 27, 2010

dad's birthday...

is today. He would have been 63. I would have given him his very fave gift - a Sears gift card so he could add to his Craftsman tool collection. It's a gift I always knew he'd smile about and once I finally figured that out, it's pretty much what he got for every occasion.

The kids and I went with Mom to the cemetery to send some balloons to Dad today. It's strange the things you do when someone's gone. We've been taking him balloons each year, and the kids love to let them go and we pretend that he'll be able to catch them when they get high enough. It may be a little silly, but after the strangeness of buying birthday balloons for someone you can't give them to, there's a sweet joy in watching them fly up, up, up...

I love the book Where Do Balloons Go? by Jamie Lee Curtis. It was given to me by a friend when my sweet Daddy Pat died over eight years ago. Although it's intended as a sweet way to explain death to children, it has brought me much comfort over the years. Releasing balloons today made me think of these words:

Where do balloons go
when you let them go free?
It can happen by accident.
It's happened to me.
Where do they go when they float far away?
Do they ever catch cold
and need somewhere to stay?
Do they keep going up?
Can they ever just stop?
I'm sure that they're always
concerned that they'll POP-
maybe caught up in wires
pushed by the breeze
poked by tall buildings
or tangled in trees?. . .
Then does it get quiet?
Do the stars give a shove?
And send it on high
to that place up above?
Does it float there forever remembering me?
And know that I'm happy that it's floating free?
Where do balloons go?
It's a mystery, I know.
So just hold on tight
till you have to
let go.

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Monday, April 26, 2010

papaya-sized baby

According to thebump.com, our "baby's now the size of a papaya! Baby's little face is fully formed...minus the baby fat, of course. The next task at hand for baby: sprouting two teeny-tiny nipples!"

You may be thinking that's too much information, and I really almost didn't share the tiny nipples part, but it reminded me of something. When Dad was sick, Elijah one day pointed to his own little nipples and asked what they were called. So I told him. His pronunciation of it was "neebos." So the next time we were with Dad, I had Elijah share with him what they were called. Dad laughed and laughed. That crazy laugh he had where his cheeks would puff up. I love that memory. And the thought of that laugh. And so, it makes me happy to say today, my baby is about to sprout neebos!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

the Sunday paper

Elijah and Miles made it into the Montgomery Advertiser today. They were thrilled to see themselves, and Ella immediately regretted her choice to stay on the ground while her brothers climbed aboard Prattville's ladder truck. The kids and I had a fun time at Prattville's Touch a Truck event yesterday. Well, I had a pretty good time... lots of very loud truck honking made me a little edgy... but it was worth it to see Miles' face as he climbed in all the big trucks he loves.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I believe in you

Be warned: this one's heavy. Turn back if you aren't in the mood.

I've been feeling quite attacked lately. Attacked by the enemy through people who have no idea they are being used by him. I guess he's sneaky that way. All I'll say is that I've been left feeling unable in lots of areas of life. Oh, and last night {at church, mind you!}, I had someone say to me, "well, I think 2 children is enough" while someone else was speaking nicely to me about my pregnancy at the same time. To make sure I heard her, she said it two more times and then said, "did you hear me?" Why yes I did, loud and clear. And today was pretty tough. So much so that I didn't even know the words to pray and ask for help. It's the culmination of several things and it's become too much. And boy, do I cry ugly. The sound of it alone made me cry even harder. So glad none of you heard it!

Fortunately, I had a hair appointment scheduled for this evening, that I almost canceled, but I went on because my hair has been wild and crazy... all that to say that I had a few minutes alone in the car. I turned up my new CD and God used it to sing these words {that I so desperately needed} over me. I'm going to have to print several copies of this song at put them all over the place {maybe tattooed backwards on my forehead?} so that I can remember His sweet song.

I Believe in You by Bethany Dillon
When there's nothing to believe in, I believe in you
Forget the past and let my hand in yours be the proof
Though the strong could be my company, you're the one I choose
So remember, I believe in you

I know it feels like every eye is watching you
Waiting for you to fall, expecting you to lose
But I see victory, so all you have to do
Is remember, I believe in you

I believe, even when I see you crying
I believe, let me dream for you
When nothing comes from trying
Remember, I believe in you

There will come a day when love will lift you out of here
There will come a day when love will bring the truth
There will come a day when love will free you from your fear
And you'll remember, I believe in you

I believe, even when I see you crying
I believe, let me dream for you
When nothing comes from trying
Remember, I believe in you
And my friend Dione sent this to me today {I get it in my in box, but she and Allison know I don't always read it, so they'll forward what they know I need}. It's a devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministries. And it was perfect for the day, and did keep me from saying anything mean, because I read it early in the day. But honestly, I wanted to breathe fire. This is only part of the devotional, and the beginning was about how when people are mean to us, our mean girl comes out:

Yes, it stinks that this other person is determined to steal my joy.

It really does.

But in reality, my joy can only be stolen if I let it be stolen.

In John 15:10-12 Jesus says, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command
is this: Love each other as I have loved you."

Several things struck me as I read this verse. In each interaction I have with others, I'm faced with the choice to either remain in God's love or retreat from God's love. I can't control how this other person is acting towards me. But I can control how I act and react. If I chose to remain in God's love and react to this other person kindly, it affects my joy. Jesus interjects His joy right into the heart of a kind person. If I make the choice to be kind, instead of my joy being depleted, it will be completed.

So back off mean girl part of my brain. The Jesus girl in me is taking over. And holding on to every ounce of joy that's rightfully mine. Circumstances can steal stuff from me. But not my joy

And all Jesus' girls say, "Amen and amen!"

So, I've been reminded tonight, in such a sweet way, that God believes in me and wants to be my joy, and wants me not to focus on what others expect of me or want from me or think about me or how I live my life. I can't make them happy, only He can. I can't make them turn to Him for their joy. I can suggest to them and pray for them, but I can't force them. All I can do is remain in His love. Sounds easy enough, right? But it's a choice, a decision that I have to make daily. Thankfully, I know that:

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138:8

and for that I will praise Him.