Birthday Memories

Today is my birthday. Yay me! I am feeling happy and relatively peaceful and relaxed. My day has been pretty ordinary, but I don’t have any errands to run. No appointments to go to. Lots of projects to work on, but no urgent deadlines. My husband is cooking supper tonight and I will probably guilt trip my kids into cleaning the house as a birthday present for me. It’s been a chilly morning and I am so happy that Fall is progressing as it should, unlike last year when summer went over several months more than we wanted it. I even lit a fire in our woodstove. 

This morning I had a sudden memory of my fourteenth birthday, and it was a fun memory to re-live. 

We were living in the North of Haiti. I was attending a little mission school at a nearby Baptist Hospital Compound. There were five of us in high school that year. We all came to school every day, sat at our little cubicle/desks and worked on our own correspondence courses. We had a grown up in the room to help us if we needed it, but we were all pretty much working independently. There was one other girl besides me, Olynda, who was a senior while I was a lowly freshman. Except, in that school, it really didn’t matter. We were all friends. 

As my birthday was approaching, Olynda and I started talking about birthday wishes. What would be the best birthday ever? I said something along the lines of being kidnapped by my friends, and then we’d all skip school and go to a nearby waterfall to play for the day. We laughed and giggled as we elaborated on the guest list and all the things we would do. 

I didn’t think too much more about it after that.

The morning of my birthday came and our family did the normal birthday tradition of getting up early to open presents. Afterwards I was getting dressed, getting ready for breakfast. My brother surprised me by asking if I had brushed my teeth yet. What? Why are you telling me to brush my teeth? That’s weird. I’ll brush them after breakfast. He was very urgent, telling me to go brush my teeth now. Good grief. Irritating older brother. 

I was standing in the living room talking to my mom when I saw her eyes flicker over my shoulder. I glanced around and there was one of the volunteers from the Baptist Hospital, an American nurse named Kristy who offered tutoring help to the highschoolers on occasion. I started to turn around. What is she doing here? It’s early morning. What on earth? Then she rushed up to me and stuck a pillowcase over my head.  I think I went into a bit of shock cause the next couple minutes were a blur. I heard Olynda’s voice and a lot of giggling and I was pushed through the house and into a car. I can’t remember exactly, but I was probably saying something along the lines of, I can’t believe you actually did this!! 

The really funny part was that this all happened during a time of political unrest, and we had to drive through a police checkpoint on our way to the Baptist Compound. Before we got there, Olynda yanked the pillow case off my head. Sorry, we can’t drive through the checkpoint with a pillow case on your head. We all smiled and looked as normal as possible as we drove through, then Olynda stuck the pillowcase back on my head.

When we got to the Compound I discovered that Olynda had arranged and prepared a birthday breakfast with our friends. And while it wasn’t hooky from school or splashing in a waterfall, it was definitely one of the best surprises I have ever had on my birthday. 

Thank you Olynda (and Kristy!) for the great memories!

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done

It’s been a little bit since I last wrote. It’s been a busy week. I’ve had a lot on my mind, thinking about different subjects. I read a really good book called “Nomad” by Aayan Hirsi Ali, and I went and listened to several of her talks on YouTube. She is an inspiration. An amazing woman. I highly recommend reading her books and listening to her talks. I pondered whether I should devote a blog to her, but I didn’t. I’ve been reading all kinds of news articles and been thinking a lot about our country. I I pondered whether I should write about that, but I didn’t. I got to take a moonlit drive through the countryside and was awestruck by the beauty of nature. I pondered whether I should write about that, but I didn’t. And last night, as I was going to bed, I started to worry a bit. I really need to write something. But what? 

Then, all through the night I kept waking up, and as I lay there, my thoughts turned to prayer and I found the same refrain on my tongue, over and over again. Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done. 

This weekend I have been aware of several different callings to prayer that have happened in our country and around the world. And though I haven’t been able to physically attend a prayer meeting, or log in to a zoom meeting, I have been praying. Specifically for our country. 

And I find myself overwhelmed as I think about the myriad problems our country is facing. I feel that I lack wisdom to even know how to pray. 

And in the end, my prayer just comes down to Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done. 

Lord, this upcoming election…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

One of our Supreme Court Members just died, she’s going to have to be replaced…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

Our country doesn’t know how to handle this pandemic…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

We have so much division in our country and our media and social network platforms are just fanning the flames, seeking to divide us more and more, how do we find unity…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

We have so many injustices happening in our country, babies being killed, children being sexually trafficked, children in the foster care system who are desperate for families, how do we fix this…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

The racial division that is consuming our thoughts, is our system corrupt, what reforms are needed, how do we move forward in peace…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

We have a disaster at our southern border, immigrants, legal and illegal, and being kept in perpetual limbo, children scared and unsettled, and no matter whose fault it is that they are there, they are still there and they need help…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

People who have lost their businesses and jobs because of the quarantine, all the people who are suffering as a result of the natural disasters that have hit us, one after the other…help them Lord…Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done…

Understand, this is not a weak prayer. This is not an absolving myself of all responsibility, putting it all on God instead. This is a prayer of desperation. Lord, I don’t have any answers. I don’t know what to do. All I know is that I want your will to reign. I want your plan to happen. I want everyone in this world to be drawn to you. I want people to be saved. I want peace. And I have no idea how to accomplish these things. But I serve a God who does know. And so I ask that he move, that he extend his hand to my country and that he bring about his Will, his Kingdom. And I am available to do whatever I need to do to help. I simply lack wisdom right now, to know what that is. And so I pray, Lord, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done. 

My Heart is Full

My heart is full right now.

Our youngest foster child has returned to our home. 

When she got here the kids had a welcome sign hanging up and there was much squealing and hugging and running around. In the midst of all the chaos, she turned to me and said, “Esther, I was waiting for you!” 

You know, I never pursued foster parenting. But it has pursued me. Over the years I have heard stories of the need and my heart would break, but I always felt helpless. What can I do? In order to be a foster parent through the state, you can only have six kids in your home. We have ten of our own. It’s going to be a long time before I can even qualify to become a foster parent. 

And then I would hear another story about the desperate need for foster homes. And my heart would break again. And finally, I told God, if you want me to be a foster parent, you’ll have to do something special to make it happen. 

And he did. 

And we walked a rocky road with these kids, full of extreme ups and downs. 

And then they left and I had no more power over the situation. And I felt bruised and battered, heartbroken. And I told God, I guess you don’t want us to do this anymore? Well, if you do, you will have to work some kind of miracle, because I can’t make it happen in my own power. 

So he did. 

Again.

And my heart is full. 

You Have Not Yet Resisted

This week and last, I have been reading a chapter a day in Hebrews. It has been more of an academic/discipline type of reading than reading to gain deep insights. I have been trying to be faithful to read every day, and think about what I have read, but it has been more a gathering of interesting information than anything spiritual. Until… Yesterday morning. I have been struggling with a feeling of unease and lack of peace for a couple weeks now and I have been skirting around the reason why. Not wanting to face it head on. But knowing that I needed to. And then I opened the Bible yesterday morning and I felt like I had opened a room and unexpectedly found Jesus sitting in a chair, waiting for me, and his face was a bit stern and he said, We need to talk. 

And this is what he said:

Hebrews 12: 4-11

12  4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

    nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I have been struggling for a long time with my health. My body simply can’t handle sugar and lots of carbs. I am prediabetic. And whenever I hit periods of stress, I throw health out the window: 

I don’t care if this is bad for me. It’s going to help me unwind. It’s going to make me feel happy for a minute. Fighting my cravings is too much to handle right now. I deserve a treat. 

And this past week I have not been feeling well. My bad habits are quickly catching up with me. And I have been whining about it. It’s not fair. I can’t do everything. How am I supposed to homeschool and also go on a diet? It’s a psychological thing, I’ve got to figure out how to deal with that part first before I try to abstain. Etc etc. Lots of excuses. 

The verse that struck me the hardest from Hebrews 12 was verse four,  “ In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

For the record, I do not think that being overweight or having diabetes or any other sickness is a sin. But for myself, I know that refusing to take care of the body that God gave me is a sin. When I know the right thing to do and refuse to do it, that’s sin. And all of my excuses looked pretty pathetic when I read verse four. I have not tried to resist to the point of shedding blood. I have actually offered up very little resistance when it comes to temptation and my eating habits. 

After my morning devotions, I went and found a black sharpie pen. I wrote on my wrist, “You have not yet resisted” so that every time I went to reach for the cookie or popsicle or whatever temptation was waiting for me I would see it on my wrist. It’s been a good reminder. 

All that to say, reading a chapter of the Bible every day is always a good idea. My kids ask me often, How do you know what God wants you to do? How do you hear Jesus speaking to you? And I always tell them, the best way to hear God’s voice is to read his word. The Holy Spirit will lead you to the right places, he’ll open your eyes to see what you need to see and understand what you need to understand. 

And I’m thankful that he did that for me this week.

The Spinning Clock

It’s Wednesday. Only two more days till the weekend. The weekend will go quickly. Then another week. Before we know it, that week will be over and then September will be coming to an end. My oldest child is turning twenty at the end of this month. And while I try to grapple with this landmark in parenting, I sit back and view the years. 

I have an image of a large clock and the hands on the clock are spinning, spinning, spinning. And I am walking in a circle, washing the clothes, cooking the food, cleaning the house, changing diapers, hugging babies, and the clock keeps spinning, and the cycle keeps repeating over and over and over again. Buy the groceries, fold the clothes, hug a child. Mow the lawn, drive to church, Christmas, hug a teenager. Celebrate a birthday, sweep the floors, scrub the toilet, wave at the young adult as they head off to college. Turn on the heater, turn on the air conditioner, pack up all the childhood memories in a box, send them off with the young adult who used to be your baby and is now moving across the country ready to start their own life. And the clock keeps spinning and spinning. 

And occasionally I yell STOP! I try to hit pause. I make a survey of my life, our lives. Where are we? What’s happening? My almost twenty year old is firmly established far away, working, going to school. My eighteen year old just let us know that he is also heading out of state soon, pursuing his dreams. I have a junior in high school who is starting to make more solid plans about her future after high school. I have a freshman in high school who might start driving soon. My baby boy has now joined the youth group, stepping into the ranks of TEENAGERS. My elementary kids are rushing through the grades, climbing, climbing steadily up the ladder. My little five year old is reading like a big boy, the three year old no longer needs diapers and he is starting to engage in some pretty grown up conversations. And the clock has been spinning and spinning. And even as I try to get a good grasp on where we are right now, it keeps spinning. The kids keep growing, time keeps zooming past. 

And I think about the book of Ecclesiastes. (1:4-7)

Generations come and generations go,

    but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises and the sun sets,

    and hurries back to where it rises. 

The wind blows to the south

    and turns to the north;

round and round it goes,

    ever returning on its course. 

All streams flow into the sea,

    yet the sea is never full.

To the place the streams come from,

    there they return again.

But, as I was imagining that clock spinning and spinning, the cycle of life, never-ending, I also saw something else. As I was cleaning, and cooking, and washing, and drying, there was a song on my lips that floated above everything else. A song of praise. A song of worship. And it was continually floating upwards, a beautiful melody going up to the heavens. 

And I think, this is life. We are on a treadmill that we can’t get off. The seasons continue to change. We have babies and they turn into adults, then they have children of their own, the cycle never-ending. Governments rise and fall, cultures change, times of plenty come, times of going without, and the clock keeps spinning. Every day we do our part, feed our bodies, sleep, get up and do it again. 

But there is beauty. There is purpose. There is gentleness, and passion. There is comfort and joy. There is the wonder that as we tread out our paths, we are not alone. We are loved by our God. And our work and toil is pleasing to him. The compassion we show others is beautiful to him. Our perseverance is acceptable. And though sometimes we can only see a never ending grinding of daily tasks, our lives are like a fragrant offering drifting up to heaven. 

And even as my children seem to be slipping out of my hands, gone to the world of adulthood, even as the clock hands seem to be spinning faster and faster, even as I straighten my spine and tackle yet another day of cooking and cleaning and washing and folding, I can still have joy. Knowing that contrary to the sentiments of the author of Ecclisiastes, life is not meaningless. My life is a drink offering poured out on the altar. My life is a noble journey. My life is a Holy Quest.

So. spin clock. Fly past, time. Each day is another day to serve God through the works of my hands, the love I share with others, and the faithfulness in the small things. 

The Perfect Day

Today has been one of those “Perfect” days. The kind where nothing overly impressive happens, you just feel connected with the goodness around you. 

We slept in this morning. Eight o’clock! Amazing! If you have a house full of small children, eight in the morning is late! 

We lazed around in our pajamas, reading books, kids playing busily. And then, sometime around eleven the kids gave me a list of things they wanted to do: go to the library, go to the park. 

Not till we get our chores done. 

So, we divided everything up and the house got clean pretty quickly. I put on my new cover for my futon couch and pulled a couple chairs from other parts of the house so I could have a living room with furniture again. (Got rid of the couches a while back, and haven’t been in a rush to put things back together again.)

I made a menu for the week and then went shopping and stayed within my budget. (Not sure why, but that is always So Satisfying!) And I bought some flowers to put on my mantel in the living room. 

The weather today is about ten degrees cooler than it has been the past month and suddenly my kids are willing to play outside again. And other neighborhood kids have emerged from their air conditioning as well and so I have a yard full of children all happily playing together. 

This coming Monday is a holiday so I don’t feel as pressured to get everything done immediately. 

My washing machine is busily doing it’s job. By Monday I will have a big mountain of clean clothes to fold and sort and put away.

One of the neighborhood kids was talking to me earlier, he’s new, never been in my house before. He looked around. 

You know, this place kind of reminds me of a mansion. 

I was startled and then laughed.

Well, it’s big, but it isn’t very fancy like a mansion. 

And I sit in my old, faded worn chair in my living room. The walls need painting, the trim has never been painted or finished in any way, still showing the marks of over a hundred years of use. My bookshelves are over-run with books. The floors have also not been finished in the past one hundred years, and my kids skating and scootering and shoving furniture all over the place has done nothing to improve their appearance. 

But things are tidy. There are bright flowers, the soothing sound of water bubbling in the fish tank, the hum of a fan. Silence. And then thunder as a horde of children run down the stairs and out the door. The sun is shining in through the windows. My fridge and pantry are full. I’ve run all my errands. We have plans to play at the park after supper. Tomorrow we get to go to church. 

Yes. It is one of those “Perfect” days. 

And it occurs to me, that most days have the potential to be perfect. It just takes an eye to see, and a heart to be thankful.

“Batter My Heart” by John Donne

After high school I attended Biola University for two years. During that time I took Composition 110A and Composition 110B from Dr. Pickett. I enjoyed his class. I learned a lot. I think what has stayed with me the most was his constant teaching that in order to write, you have to have something to say. If your thoughts aren’t in order and you don’t have a clear message, there’s not much point in writing. I have many times written an entire page and then erased the whole thing because I realized I had no idea what I was trying to say. No clear thought. I am very appreciative of the opportunity I had to take Dr. Pickett’s comp classes, and the lessons that have stuck over the years.  

 

I was organizing a giant pile of piano books and folders of music a couple weeks ago, and I found a folder that had some of the papers I wrote in college. I found a paper I had written for Dr. Pickett where we had been told to compare and contrast two poems, “Unholy Sonnet” by Mark Jarmon and “Batter My Heart” by John Donne. It was a good paper. I got a good grade, but what captured my attention was the poems. Especially the poem by Donne. Here it is.

Holy Sonnet 14

Batter my heart, three-personed God, for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

I, like an usurped town to another due,

Labor to admit you, but O, to no end;

Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,

But is captivated, and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,

But am betrothed unto your enemy.

Divorce me, untie or break that knot again;

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

As I was reading through my paper I was impressed with how much I had been able to get out of the poem. Really good analysis. But, what struck me was, I read this poem when I was eighteen years old. I wrote this paper when I was eighteen years old. At that age I did not understand the true angst that comes from failing again and again. I did not understand the desperation that leads you to call out to God, “That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me and bend Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new…”, “for I, Except you enthrall me, never shall be free…” 

 

I find myself in this place today. Insecurities that I thought I had conquered, haunting me again. Evidence of long term strongholds, staring me in the face, bending me down with discouragement. Old patterns I thought I had broken still tapping me on the shoulder. “Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain, But am betrothed unto your enemy…” 

 

And this evening, as I retreat from everyone, hide myself away, I read this poem again, and I am encouraged. “Divorce me, untie or break that knot again; Take me to you, imprison me…” I come again and say, Here I am God. Help. And his Word assures me. 

 

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

 

I find myself standing on the firm foundation of the promises of God. Romans 8 pretty much says everything that needs to be said. If you have time, go ahead and read the whole chapter. Romans 8 

 

And I end with this prayer, “Batter my heart, three-personed God…” 

My Unpopular Opinions

I had a dream last night that I was in heaven. It was a really strange dream. I was exploring, and I was aware that I was dreaming. And I kept hoping that I wouldn’t wake up, because I wanted to see more. It was peaceful. I remember, in the dream, taking note of how I felt, Hmm, I don’t feel creeped out like I usually do in dreams, this feels peaceful, it really must be heaven. But, there wasn’t very much that was “heavenly”. It was like being in a regular city. The buildings weren’t amazing, just regular city buildings. I went inside one building and it just looked like a regular building. Nothing amazing. I talked to people and there was nothing that stood out about them. Just regular people. The only two things that were different was I had a “new” body that I barely paid any attention to, and I was handed some amazing french baguette bread, and told I could eat it without worrying about gaining weight. (Yay!) And then I woke up, thinking, huh, that was a weird dream. And I’ve been thinking about it and I quickly realized what was wrong. Jesus wasn’t there. I think in the dream, I was subconsciously looking for him the whole time. And there was no sign of him, except for the peaceful feeling. And a pleasant city with pleasant people, but no Jesus? That’s just not heaven. 

 

All the biblical descriptions of heaven make it very clear that God is the center of heaven. God on his throne, angels worshipping him. 

 

Revelation 21:23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.

 

I would think that if the glory of God is the light source of heaven, you are definitely going to be very aware of his presence when you are there. In fact, if I were to give a definition of heaven, I would say, it’s being in the presence of God. 

 

And for some reason, my mind is drifting to our country and politics and the current mess that we are in as we approach an election in the Fall. 

 

I have found it pretty amazing that I have had Christian friends express the sentiment that to vote for Trump is “unchristian” and at the exact same time I have had other Christian friends tell me that to vote for Biden is “unchristian”. 

 

Can I ask a favor? Could we stop doing that? God is not setting up his kingdom solely in the United States of America. His kingdom happens to be in every single country on this earth. His kingdom does not rely on which party is in office. His kingdom does not depend on whether our country is socialist or capitalist. His kingdom does not depend on us being a republic or a democracy. There is no government that can stop the spreading of God’s kingdom. 

 

In my dream, the “heaven” I was in was nice, peaceful. Pleasant enough people, the surroundings were ok. But it wasn’t Heaven. Jesus wasn’t there. It was just a nice place. Kind of like our country. Nice place. Not heaven. 

 

For some reason, right now, Christians on both sides of the political spectrum seem to be taking a stance that if their candidate wins, we will be able to have a country where the Kingdom of God can be advanced. But, if the other side wins, the future of Christianity is in grave peril. 

I would like to put forth the idea that God is sovereign. He can and will advance his kingdom no matter who is in office. And while our country is a nice place, filled with nice people, it’s not heaven. It’s not the headquarters for God’s kingdom. God’s throne is not in Washington D.C. (thank God!). Believe it or not, this upcoming election is not going to be a deciding factor on whether God’s kingdom advances. 

 

Now, I know that by now, everyone is mad at me. I’m sorry. I understand that your political stance is very important to you. And I understand that you are very worried about the upcoming election. Thinking about our country being led by a political leader you don’t respect and don’t agree with is alarming. And right now, our political beliefs are so strong that we seem to have overset our tendencies to be polite and respectful to other people. 

 

We need to understand something though. There are born-again, on fire, devoted believers on both sides of the political spectrum. And when we start tossing around the term “unchristian” concerning our political beliefs, we are causing a LOT of division in the body of Christ. And we are living in a state of fear that is unnecessary. God is on his throne, his kingdom is not in danger. Yes, your Christian beliefs have shaped how you feel you should vote. But please understand, this is true for both sides!!

 

So, yes, have your political beliefs. Campaign for your favorite candidate. But keep in mind, this is an earthly kingdom we are talking about. Somehow, our country is going to have to gain some unity. And a good first step is to stop throwing around the term “unchristian”. 

School: Day 4

School: Day 4 

 

I’m feeling the need to try and figure out what I’m feeling about this school year. Every day this week I have rolled out of bed at 6am when my alarm goes off, jumped into the shower, took all my vitamins and supplements, sat and had my devotions. This morning I grabbed my phone, which I purposefully leave far away from my bed, so I have to get up, and then I climbed back into bed for another half hour. I’m starting to feel a little tired. My homeschooling-seventh grader is still asleep, and instead of dragging him out of bed at 7:30am to eat breakfast so we can get started by eight, I’m letting him sleep a bit longer. In the past three days I’ve figured out that we actually get our work done pretty quickly. There is no rush. 

 

I’m having mixed feelings about homeschooling. I think the primary problem is that I really don’t want to be homeschooling. I am doing it because all of our school options are wacky this year, and this is the best option for these three kids. 

 

There are things I’m enjoying. My second grader brought me a library book to read in the middle of the school day. Sure. I can read it to you. The book happened to be about a little girl in South Sudan. So, we read the book, then I thought, Hey, let’s go with this. So, I pulled out our kid’s “Circling the Globe” book, and we looked up Sudan, read about it. Googled some pictures on the internet. The story was about the need for wells and clean drinking water and so I told her some personal missionary stories that I know about providing wells and clean drinking water to people in need. 

Here’s a pic of the book. It’s actually an excellent read, I was getting teary eyed at the end. I just happened to grab it off the library shelf for a read aloud to take home. 

20200827_080641

My kindergartner was doing a rather simplistic Social Studies Lesson where he had to draw a picture of his house. I was able to go grab my “The Usborne Book of Houses and Homes” where they have pictures and descriptions of homes from all over the world. The second grader joined us and we picked out which ones were our favorites which included marsh homes in Southern Iraq and carved rock homes in Turkey. 

 

I love the fact that I can have my kids do a lesson and then send them outside to jump on the trampoline for ten minutes. The fact that we migrate around. Let’s sit on the couch for this lesson. Let’s sit at the dining room table. Let’s sit on my easy chair. I’m enjoying teaching the kids music, here, let’s clap out this rhythm! 

 

I also am enjoying the fact that I can help my second grader get caught up in areas she’s weak in. And my kindergartner has been able to just move into first grade level books, because he already knows all the kindergarten stuff. These are all good things.

 

But I’m a little worried. Worried about my mental state. Worried about whether I can maintain a positive attitude. Worried about my seventh grader getting behind in band, wondering how I can get him access to a baritone horn so he can practice at home. I’m worried about my second grader who has made it very clear to me that she is home against her wishes. She wants to be at school. And we have a daily conversation about the reasons I have kept her home this semester. I worry about how I’m going to keep these guys occupied in all our spare time. 

 

I worry about my public school kids too. Our elementary school had a hard lock down  yesterday because of something happening in the vicinity of the school. My fourth grader told me she had to hide in a closet and she was scared. And that’s just not right. These kids do NOT need this added stress in their lives. But at the same time, they are SO happy to be back at school. I won’t even go into my highschooler doing virtual school. That should have it’s very own blog. 

 

So, here I am. Happy. Worried. Determined. Worried. Frazzled. Worried. Confident. Worried. Insecure. Worried. And basically just wishing that all the uncertainty of this year was over with. 

 

The past two days I have had two different people post a bible verse that resonated with me. 

 

Habakkuk 3: 17-18

 

Though the fig tree does not bud

    and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

    and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

    and no cattle in the stalls, 

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

    I will be joyful in God my Savior.

 

This school year is not what I wanted for us. I am struggling with worry. So, I will rejoice in the Lord. He never changes. He has gone before me. He has hedged me in, behind and before. I will trust in his goodness and take it one day at a time. 

 

My Cats are Lame

My cats stink at being cats. 

 

We have had a mouse in our upstairs for a couple weeks, and you think, well, surely if you have four cats, this will not be a problem at all. In fact, the first time my daughter frantically texted me from her bedroom (on a night when my husband was not home), telling me she saw a mouse in her bedroom, my first response was, put the cats in your room! They’ll save you! (Cause I’m sure not going to do anything!) And my daughters ran and got the cats and the cats’ response was to get comfortable on my daughter’s beds (the cats are usually refused entrance to the teenaged hallowed domain). 

 

I talked to my husband about the mouse problem and he suggested that our cats would surely take care of it. Just give them a minute. 

 

Several minutes or weeks later, (today actually) my daughter complained again about a mouse in her room. Ugh. I guess it’s time to go buy some traps. I hate killing things. Even annoying mice. 

 

Then tonight as I was trying to get kids to bed, my daughter starts yelling out in the hallway. 

 

THE CAT HAS A MOUSE!! 

 

I ran to the doorway of the room I was in and saw the cat with a very alive mouse in the hall. 

 

Playing with it. 

 

Not hurting it. 

 

Not killing it. 

 

Not dragging it away out of our sight. 

 

Nope. 

 

Just letting it go and then chasing it whenever it ran. 

 

I looked around for something to jump up on, just in case the mouse ran in my direction. Little kids started running into the hall to see what was happening and I was yelling at everyone to get back into their bedrooms. Yelling at the cat to just kill the mouse or take it away! Then the mouse ran under a folded sheet that happened to be on the floor. (I have no idea why there was a folded sheet on the floor, it seems to be a favorite pastime of my children to haul things off the linen shelf and just leave them on the floor, it’s a mystery.) 

 

The cat was circling the sheet, trying to figure out where the mouse was and the five year old thought he should come and pick up the sheet, just to see what would happen. I’m yelling for him to get away before the mouse runs up his legs. Then the eleven and thirteen year old boys run out of their room. 

 

What’s going on? 

 

GET THE MOUSE!! YOUR CAT HAS A MOUSE! CATCH IT! 

 

They both quickly jumped into macho-man mode and tried to catch the mouse. Working in tandem, one son pinned the mouse to the floor with a stuffed animal. 

 

Ok. What are you going to do now? 

 

He shrugs. I don’t know. 

 

Then he lets it loose again!

 

DON’T LET IT LOOSE AGAIN!!!

 

But he redeems himself by scooping up the mouse with the sheet and making a run for the stairs to take it outside. 

 

YAY!! You are our hero!

 

Dumb cats.