Saturday, January 29, 2005


Announcement #1
My honey's grandma passed away last week. We were in Swift Current on Monday celebrating her life. It truly was a celebration. Some of the cousins got together to sing, "Blessed Be YOur Name." during the memorial. As it so happens, there are a few rather talented cousins in the mix and it totally rocked. What fun. Better yet, grandma's death seems to have birthed a desire for more connectedness amongst said cousins. Could be alot of fun.

Announcement #2

My sister is having a baby - this is way cool because they thought they were so done but TA DA!! not yet. This will be babe 5 for the happy couple. What is so cool is that a friend told me about a prophecy that was given concerning babies conceived between Sept and Dec, 2004 - that people who are not planning, anticipating or necessarily even wanting to become pregnant- would and that those babies would have a 'harvest anointing'. We have got one of those on the way! I'm jazzed!

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pleasing God

©2005, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

In many ways I am a people-pleaser. I haven’t always been that way but over the last number of years it would seem that this is where I’ve ended up. I’ve never wanted to be that. I was one of those people in high school who went against the grain, who tended to be one step out from the crowd. Not because I was nerdy, just because I seemed to experience some things sooner or in a different way than everyone else. I got into a little rebellious piece for about 6 months, decided that what I was doing was stupid and stopped – that was it. I spoke my mind, was a good leader, didn’t compromise my stand. On the other hand, my desire to belong and be part of a group was strong, too. One dear friend told me about 14 years ago that he saw me as a chameleon, constantly changing, trying to fit in to the surroundings. That isn’t always a bad thing – but it can sure cause discontent in your spirit. My longing is to be settled in my identity that Jesus has spoken into my heart.

So here I am as a mom, working at home, training my children and doing what needs to be done each day. Being a mom is hard work no matter how many children you have. You learn quickly after that blessed babe is conceived that your life is no longer your own. I love being a mom, even though at times I’d like to Fed Ex the lot of them around the corner to someone else’s house. The amazing man I’m married to is programmed for ministry, it’s in his heart, his mind and in his DNA. He loves to worship, pray, counsel, he loves to get intimate with His Lord, he loves to help others do the same. He’s a great husband and dad. Sometimes I watch what he does each day and feel like the little brown mouse by the door. Is what I do as ‘important’ as what he does? At this point in my life the door to ‘outside my walls’ ministry is very tiny. My people-pleasing nature wants to jump up and help every single plea for workers that arises. In speaking with my pastor’s wife, whose life obviously revolves around ministry and who also happens to have 5 kids I was reminded that my most important ministry is these 5 kids and my husband. I am okay, even if I say no to many other glorious opportunities. There will be more opportunities along the way that take me out of my walls, but there are plenty of opportunities that are right here inside them.

Wherever you are at today in your struggle for identity and belonging, know this. Jesus loves you right where you are. All He wants is your love and obedience. If what He is calling you to do today doesn’t look that fascinating, know that He sees where it will complete the picture as part of this great puzzle called LIFE. I wrote a song about this struggle, and while you can’t ‘hear’ it, I pray that it will ring in your heart….

The Least of These
©2005, Lani Wiens

I’m pursuing God, is He here?
Among 10 scraped knees,
A floor full of debris?
Is He here
While I clean up crumbs
And change dirty bums?
Is He here
When I’m scrubbing out the tub
And hosing off the mud?

My mountain tops are far apart
But passion burns within my heart
To see your face
Look in your eyes
Feel your arms
I long to fly
Above the normal things that are each day
The mundane stuff gets in my way
You said you would walk with me
Even here
Even now
Among 10 scraped knees
A floor full of debris
While I clean up crumbs
And change dirty bums
I am shaping history
For the very least of these
May someday be the one
That will bring many to the Son
Thank you for this ministry
There’s glory here in my four walls
While I’m on my knees
Pursuing You
I will pick up after the least of these…

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Excellent Article

The Real Life of an At-Home MotherDesperate Carla Barnhill

If modern mothers ever had an enemy, it is June Cleaver. Perhaps more than anyone else in history, June created in us the idea that the good mother spends her day happily meeting the needs of her family. She cooks a hearty breakfast, keeps a tidy house, and welcomes her weary charges home each afternoon with a plate of warm cookies and a tender smile. We never see June complain or wish for a more fulfilling role. We never see her sigh when she finally gets a minute to sit down only to be interrupted by yet another request from the Beav. She certainly never asks Ward to watch the boys for a night because she wants to go out for some "mommy time." June is the superhuman mother who sets us all up for disappointment.
The cult of the family has hijacked June as its mascot and made her even more inimitable by adding the weight of a child's spiritual well-being to June's already heavy load. Christian mothers today are expected not only to polish and iron and fix and fuss but to plan creative family devotions, volunteer to teach Sunday school, homeschool the kids, and build a family life that models the very heart of God.
Part of what makes the stay-at-home conversation so loaded is that women themselves often have conflicting feelings about their choice. Even mothers who love being home have days when they wish they were somewhere else. Traci told me, "After my first son was born, I telecommuted for a few months. During that time God really changed my heart. I realized that I would rather sacrifice the career I loved than sacrifice those early years with my young child. This is not to say that staying home was an easy choice for me. I missed work so much that sometimes it physically hurt. It took me a long time to be able to say with conviction, 'I stay home,' and to feel good about it." My friend Anna said, "On the whole, I love being a mom. It has its frustrations, but I never doubt that I am happier doing this than I was at my desk job. Being a mom often is not very intellectually stimulating, but then my job was very seldom intellectually stimulating."
Certainly being home with our children can be deeply satisfying, and I don't mean to suggest that it is hard and frustrating all day, every day. But the beautiful part of motherhood gets talked about all the time, particularly in Christian literature. What doesn't get addressed often enough is that along with the wonder and delight of raising children come intense challenges that can leave women emotionally raw.
On the surface, our Christian culture has begun to acknowledge the difficulties of being a stay-at-home mother. A whole new crop of books on the Christian market caters to the stressed-out mother and encourages her to lean on God through this often-trying season of life. But those books never address the idea that perhaps being a stay-at-home mom is difficult for some women because we have heaped an impossible load of expectations on Christian mothers, expectations that are bound to be dashed.
Traci wrote, "When women head into motherhood thinking it's going to be all flowers and sunshine, they're setting themselves and their children up for disappointment. One of my friends, who planned to stay at home with her child, returned to work after less than a year because staying home didn't meet her expectations. How could it?"
The thinking in the cult of the family also assumes that every woman knows how to mother, that the care and nurturing of children is something that comes naturally to anyone with breasts. But Alana, the mother of two preschoolers, notes, "I don't feel I have natural skills and abilities as a mom. I take care of their physical needs and keep the house organized and running smoothly, but I don't always know how to relate to my kids. Some women are just really natural with kids—even kids who aren't their own. They can talk with them and know how to prevent or quiet their tantrums. They seem to enjoy playing with them. I envy their gifts with children."
The emotional and spiritual toll of stay-at-home mother-hood is tremendous. The stay-at-home moms I surveyed spoke of the loneliness, boredom, and depression that come with hanging around with kids for hours at a time and from the constant sense of not being up to the challenge of raising a human being. Anna wrote, "It can be very isolating being at home all day without any other adult interaction. I can usually handle it for a day or two at a time, but I have to make a point to get out of the house and see other people at least a couple of times a week, otherwise I start to feel kind of crazy." Alana says,
"I got blindsided by the responsibility, the emotional ties, the worry, the exhaustion, the discipline issues, and the day-to-day care of children. The reality for me is that motherhood is very draining and tiring and humbling. On a regular basis I feel like a failure as a mom. My walk with the Lord has suffered since I became a mom. Spending time with God feels like another obligation—just one more person wanting something from me."
Nora's two children are adults now, but she says, "One of the greatest frustrations of my early years of parenting was having to put my dreams on hold. It was humbling, boring, tiring, and lonely at times (actually a lot of the time). What most stimulated and satisfied me was often not possible to have in my life. It felt like a wilderness wandering time when I learned my hardest lessons about being a servant. I felt—and still do feel—incredibly insecure about entering my parenting journey. Even to this day I think it's God's grace that has allowed my kids to become the people they are."
These are the women sitting in our churches, the women who are doing their best with very little rest or support. These are the women we are telling to do more and to do it better. And we are killing them.
Spoiled Rotten MothersSadly, so many of us hide our sense of disappointment and our discontent with our lives as stay-at-home mothers because we've been taught that this is the life God wants for us, that to want something more is selfish and worldly. We are afraid to admit that our lives aren't what we hoped for because to do so would be to reveal some deep moral flaw. That fear isn't irrational. Unfortunately, it gets reinforced on a regular basis.
In a recent article in The Christian Century, writer Debra Bendis reviewed four secular books on motherhood. Each of the books discussed the "hidden" side of motherhood; the stress, the loneliness, the fears, the superwoman complex, and so on. In her discussion of Naomi Wolf's Misconceptions, Bendis notes that Wolf is whiney and seems very caught up in her own life—a critique of the book I've seen in other places. But she then launches into a paragraph that left me gasping. She wrote,
While [young professionals] have been able to achieve much in a professional world, which supplies a social life as well as a career, they seem not to have developed the capacities for family life. They seem never to have learned about sewing, gardening, cooking or puttering—the "soft" activities that can make home a comfortable and welcome place instead of a prison of isolation. They may have prepared the occasional gourmet meal for 12, and can find the best price for a Club Med vacation, but they have never prepared three meals a day, or abandoned the gym for walks through the neighborhood. Without a habit of being at home, the mayhem of a toddler lunchtime or the tedium of a rainy day makes a day at work look like rescue—while home is only a punishment.1
I read this paragraph about six times to make sure I'd understood her correctly. And I kept thinking, Is she kidding? Does she honestly believe a mother's happiness rests in her sewing skills or that "puttering" is a cure for depression? Does she really think that moms who stay at home enjoy rainy-day tedium? Does she really think that stay-at-home moms run to Target once a week because they have to and not because they need to break up the day by getting out of the house and strapping their toddlers into a cart for a while?
Her assumption is that women who dare to be unhappy or less-than-fulfilled by making Easy Mac and reviewing spelling tests for days on end are spoiled princesses who miss their big-shot jobs and corner offices. While it's true that many stay-at-home moms, myself included, think back fondly on the working-girl perks of hour-long lunches and coworkers who notice when you get your hair cut, it's ludicrous to assume that holding down jobs before we became mothers somehow ruined our ability to be happy homemakers.
I think Bendis' statement is also inaccurate, at least as it relates to Christian women. Rather than puttering and gardening and cooking being the keys to our happiness, they are, for many women, the bane of our existence. If anything, we put too much emphasis on creating a perfect home complete with handmade centerpieces and memory books filled with theme stickers and cropped pictures of the kids at the beach. There is tremendous pressure to prove to the world that we are capable of caring for our families if only to show the secular culture that this is the life that comes from living obediently. To fail at this is to fail at God's plan.
Stay-at-home motherhood truly is a mission, one into which not all of us are led—those, for instance, who need constant support and opportunities for respite. Yes, there are many deeply fulfilling moments in the life of a stay-at-home mom; sitting across from my newly minted kindergartener is one I will never forget. But our days are often tedious, harrowing, and intensely frustrating. What we need from the church is not a set of unreasonable expectations but encouragement and prayer that God will keep giving us endless reserves of patience, compassion, wisdom, and love. We need other adults in our lives who are willing to listen when we need to vent, who will take the kids at the drop of a hat, and who will occasionally ask our opinion on something other than potty training. We need to know that we are free to listen to God's voice and follow God's leading—whether that is into our homes or into an office. We need to know that our efforts at parenting well are covered by God's rich grace and that, whether we stay at home or head to work, it is God, and God alone, who will fill our children with all that they need to love and serve in God's name.
A Case StudyI have so many inspiring stay-at-home moms in my life that my next book might have to be a Christian mom's version of "Profiles in Courage." There's Jen, who is trained as an early childhood education specialist and sees her life as a stay-at-home mother of two preschoolers as her "lab." She says, "When I do go back to teaching, I'm going to have such a different perspective because I've learned so much from my children." There's Marci, who is writing her first novel during her toddler's nap times and strikes me as the most patient human being alive. And there's my sister-in-law, Libby, who is the master of balancing her kids' needs with her own. She is committed to her Bible study and her volunteer work at the school but equally committed to making sure her children get to experience everything from art classes to electric guitar lessons. Libby has figured out how to schedule time with her husband, time for herself, and time with friends without sacrificing her relationship with her children. She might spend her day on the go, but she is incredibly close to her three kids and they are growing into fantastic people.
For me, though, the most inspiring stay-at-home mom I know is my dear friend Jill. Jill, the mother of two preschoolers, is a strong Christian. To me, she captures the spirit of what stay-at-home mothering can look like when women are allowed to listen to God's voice, given permission to find ways to fill their souls with meaningful non-mothering activities, and empowered to use their gifts in the church and the community as well as in their families.
Jill used to work in advertising sales and was terrific at it. She moved up very quickly in every company she worked for. She loved meeting clients, pitching ideas, and closing the deal. Jill shared her faith with innumerable work contacts and built a reputation for being a wonderful, strong, accomplished woman with a stellar future.
However, when Jill became a mother, she didn't hesitate to step off her career track. She could have been the head of sales at a major city newspaper, but she wanted to be home. Her family income could easily be twice what it is, but she wanted to be home. She could be enjoying the thrill of the sale, the power of being an influential player in a big city, the sense of fulfillment that comes from doing something she's very good at, but she wanted to be home. She says, "If I were working, I'd have great feedback, would enjoy the money, would have more tolerance for the kids because of the break, but God has clearly said 'No' for right now. When the kids are in school, God may have a different plan, but today, he clearly guides me to be with my children."
Jill would also be the first to admit that being at home with children can be intensely challenging, that there are days she wonders what on earth she's doing trying to raise children. She told me, "I expected myself to be more patient, more understanding, to be able to set long- and short-term goals and have a plan for getting there with my children. Sometimes the days are very long. But I believe that my ministry first is to raise my children to have a love for God and to grow them in godly character, much of which is done through my relationship with Christ and my marriage."
While Jill has chosen to give up a job she loved for now, she has kept herself open to the new ways in which God can use her during her time as a stay-at-home mom. Jill has trained for and run several marathons (I don't know how she does it either!), time she uses for prayer and fellowship with another running mom.
Jill has also discovered a gift for teaching. She and her husband met another couple through his job, and the wife expressed an interest in Christianity. Jill offered to do a Bible study with the woman once a week to help her learn more about God. In time, the study grew to include a few other women. Now, Jill's Bible study includes three separate groups of women and three rooms of childcare to watch the twenty-five children who come with their mothers. Jill says, "I never would have initiated such administrative work, but God's grown me with the call, while still growing me as a leader."
What's interesting about Jill's involvement in running and in organizing the Bible study is that neither activity is directly connected to her children. But for Jill, devoting some of her time and energy to these pursuits teaches her children something valuable. She says, "I feel like both of these areas—the running (exercise) and the small groups (fellowship)—are good for my kids to witness and emulate themselves as they grow. I feel like I'm modeling a lifestyle, not just doing what I want."
Jill is happy because she is in the place God has led her, not because she has been forced to make a choice that doesn't fit her. She has kept herself open to the ways in which God can continue to use her many gifts both in her family and in her community. Her church has encouraged her desire to use her talents and passions to disciple others and has given her the freedom to explore all the ways God can use her. Jill has continued to listen carefully for God's voice to guide her as she moves forward in motherhood, with the belief that there will never be one and only one role for her as a child of God.
Carla Barnhill is the former editor of Christian Parenting Today magazine and the mother of three. She and her family live in Minnesota. This article is excerpted from her book The Myth of the Perfect Mother: Rethinking the Spirituality of Women (Baker). Copyright 2004 by Carla Barnhill. Used by permission of Baker Books.
1. Debra Bendis, "Intruder in My Arms," The Christian Century, April 19, 2003, p. 31.Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today International/Books & Culture magazine.January/February 2005, Vol. 11, No. 1, Page 24

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Safe Place to Walk

©2005, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original

There’s been a strong desire in me lately to just write. To read other people’s writing. To see the person behind the words. I want someone to write with, to walk with me through this process of becoming. But I need someone safe, someone who is going to love me through the process, who will help me over the tough parts. I need a mentor.

My baby just started walking. It has been so fun to share this little secret with him. He started the process a few weeks ago but he didn’t tell anyone. None of his brothers or sisters or even his dad had seen those miraculous first attempts at vertical movement. They were reserved for me. After he got good at that, he told his daddy. Then he reserved walking practice for those times when there was just the three of us up and about late in the evening. How much fun was that, watching the glee on his face as he went back and forth between us, getting lots of hugs, tickles and smiles. We have had so much fun. Then he let his oldest brother in on the secret, getting up and walking to him one day, what a delight for both of them. Now that he’s pretty steady, he’s more bold in his walking when the whole tribe is around. It has been a delightful journey that we have watched closely.

This week I started walking more closely with a dear girl in our congregation. We’re talking and probing issues, providing lots of correction, love and prayer. It will be a journey together for her and I. I’m guessing it won’t all be fun, probably quite a few bumps will come up on our path. She needs to learn to walk steadily with the Lord and I get the privilege of being one of her helpers along the way. Not that I’ve arrived and am so good at being a follower of Jesus, but I walked a little longer and hopefully learned a thing or two along the way. She has a wonderful job in which she works with children and helps them in their learning, helping them find their legs as they walk through the academic world.

Our church has been on a journey towards learning more about true discipleship, depth of relationship and spiritual family. All of us desperately need safe places to practice walking, learning, growing. Our little baby knew instinctively who it would be safe to walk with. He’s observed the rhythm and flow of our home long enough to know that practice time is NOT when everyone is up and about. The girl I’m beginning to walk with and I have been getting to know each other over a number of years, we’ve built up a safe environment in our relationship that we can trust one another. The love there is strong enough to withstand whatever is going to come. God will provide someone to mentor me in my writing, a dear friend and I are starting to do a little together and she is farther down the path than I, maybe it will be her, maybe there will be many along the way.

All of us have something to give to someone else. All of us have something that we need to receive from someone else. The circle of giving, receiving, loving and learning is a precious one. All of us need to learn to be a ‘safe’ person to be with, holding each other gently and lovingly, being careful with our words and our touch. Spiritual family is a wonderful bouquet to be a part of, each stem working at holding each other up, creating startling beauty out of a mixed bag of plants.

Today, I want to provoke thought. Where are you in the bouquet? Some of us are just babes in an area of our lives, learning to walk, needing to feel safe to explore this new thing (I feel like that in my writing). Some of us are ready to encourage in an area, give guidance and help to another. We all have places where we need help, we all have places where we can give help. “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecc 4:12b). Wrap yourself in someone else’s life. Take the risk, build relationship. Have a great time doing it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

people pleasing

So, how do you stop being a people pleaser? I desperately don't want to be that but every time I find out I stepped on someone's toes or assumed something I shouldn't have or just made a simple mistake I go into a tailspin of berating myself for my stupidity. If I could change something about me, I think that would be it!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

suzie homemaker kind of day

It's been one of those homey kind of days that I just love. Playing with my kids, baking cookies, doing laundry, sewing, listening to the kids cooperate and play together with no fighting, taking time to pray, writing...all the things that I think make up a great day. Hopefully I'll get to spend time with my wonderful husband yet this evening to top things off. Yup, a peaceful, lovely day. Tired but happy...

Friday, January 14, 2005

A Little Play

But, Mom
(a one act play in three parts)
©2005, Lani Wiens
a fresh flowers original


The Mom (goes by any number of names) - of an indiscernible age dressed in typical ‘mom’ dress for a day of cleaning, running after kids, etc.
The Girl (Abby) - approximately 4 ½ years old, dressed in a colourful array of clothing that doesn’t really match
The Toddler (Samuel) – 2 ½ years old, a precocious child who has a mind of his own
The Baby (Sasha) – 1 years old, loves to explore and climb stairs


It is a typical weekday morning in the Wiens’ household. Mom is trying to get a little cleaning done while training the girl in matters of household responsibility. The girl, the toddler and the baby are more interested in playing and carrying on.

Scene 1 (the laundry room)

Mom (handing Abby a small basket with some clean folded laundry in it): Here Abby your job to help Mommy today is to carry this basket of laundry up to Samuel’s room.
Abby (looking into the basket): But these aren’t my clothes.
Mom: I know, they’re Samuel’s clothes but you can help us both out by doing this job.
Abby (bending over as the weight of the basket suddenly becomes about the same as two elephants): It’s too heavy.
Mom (recalling how Abby has been able to carry loads twice that big of her own things): I’m sure you can handle it, let’s go. (scooping up the baby and a load of towels to put away)
The children all trail behind mom up the stairs.
Mom (setting down the baby and continuing on to the bathroom to distribute her load): You go ahead and put that away while I put mine away. (mom disappears into the bathroom)
Abby (in the other room): Samuel, come up stairs with me
Samuel: No
Abby (more adamantly): Samuel, come up stairs with me.
Samuel: No
Abby (in a sing song voice): Samuel, come up stairs with me, I’ll give you something.
Samuel: No
Scene fades out as mom gets preoccupied with changing bums, etc.

Scene 2 (a little while later, mom is preparing lunch, children are playing in the dining room)

Mom (peeling something) Abby have you taken that basket upstairs yet?
Abby (coming into the kitchen): I can’t
Mom (trying to be patient and hear the reason behind the disobedience): Why not?
Abby: Because Samuel won’t come up with me.
Mom: But I asked you to do this job, you’re not obeying me.
Abby: But Mom, I can’t obey because Samuel isn’t doing what I want him to do.
Mom: Abby, you cannot make your obedience dependant on Samuel, you need to do what I ask you to do. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing.
Abby (pleading): But Mommmmmmmmmm
Mom: No buts Abby, do your job
Abby (harrumphing): Okay, fine, I’ll do it.

Scene 3 (after lunch, mom is cleaning up thinking that Abby has done her job and pleased with her little bit of wisdom on obedience – yours is not dependant on someone else’s actions – when she hears a crash which sounds alarmingly like something falling down the stairs, she runs to investigate glad that she is dressed in track pants for just such an event as this!)

Mom (breathes a sigh of relief as she sees that the baby is NOT what fell down the stairs. Puts her hands on her hips as she surveys the contents of that same basket of laundry now strewn all the way down the stairs and into the entryway and calls out): Ab - by!!
Abby and Samuel have come running to find out what the crash was all about, the baby continues climbing up the stairs oblivious to the commotion he has caused..
Mom: Abby, what is this all about?
Abby doesn’t say anything, looks around with her head down.
Mom: Abby, your disobedience is costing you more work, you now need to clean up all this laundry but more importantly you put your little brother in danger. Leaving something like that on the stairs is very dangerous for your little brothers, it just as easily could have been one of them falling down the stairs, now please clean this up and finish the job that I asked you to do.
Abby starts picking up clothes, while Mom fetches the baby off of the stairs and the toddler plays.

Later Mom notices that the repentant Abby has not only completed her job but has actually put away her brother’s clothes into his drawers. The Mom thinks to herself that this little incident is a flower – how often do we decide we can’t possibly do what God has asked because that person over there isn’t doing what we would like them to do. God isn’t going to listen to our excuses when He asks us why we didn’t do what He asked, they won’t hold any water. Our obedience or lack there of directly affects the other people in our lives, when we stall and wait around not wanting to do what God asks of us we can inadvertently put other people in a difficult or even dangerous spot. Disobedience also tends to lead to having to do more work in the end to make up for our initial shortfall. The little song that Mom sings to her kids goes through her head and she sings it as she walks off the stage, “Obedience is the very best way to show that we believe, doing exactly what the Lord commands, doing it faithfully. Action is the key do it immediately and joy you will receive, obedience is the very best way to show that we believe.”

The End

Thursday, January 13, 2005

an unoriginal concept

At the beginning of this week my husband and I did something that we haven't done before. We took some time to make a 'plan' for each of our kids. Not just one with an 'in-your-face' issue but all of them. One by one we took a look at what the biggest issue we were facing with each child then brainstormed solutions and then asked the Lord to show us the right solution for each of these areas. Some of you reading this may be going, 'DUH', but for us, we're easily sidetracked and don't always persevere doing this kind of thing for our children. We've done it for any number of other issues but never our kids. And lo and behold we're seeing results for our effort. Here's a bit of what's happened...

Samuel (2 1/2) Biggest Issue - never sits through a meal, always wandering around, drives us nuts and makes a scene at every meal. Solution - he loved his highchair, would stay content for a LOOOnng time in it, but now it's Sasha's. We purchased a portable booster seat that is his and his alone!! He is thrilled. Is eating better, meals are less stressful and he loves his new chair. We're thinking of taking it to church to see if it will have the same effect there - defined space that's all his.

Josiah (8 1/2) Biggest Issue - getting ready for bed takes forever and then won't stay in bed or go to sleep because he's 'waiting' for dad. Solution - he has to be completely ready for bed by 8:30 at which time either mom or dad will give him 15 minutes of concentrated time working on one of his many projects and the 15 minutes of Bible study, prayer and chatting. It's working, we haven't seen him out after 9 all week and he is ready by 8:30 - a lesson learned the hard way on one night where he made a bad choice that ate up all of his project time - a few tears snapped him into place and he is a little wiser!

that's all for now!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

think, think, think

It is very hard to think creatively when you are grumpy.
It is hard to think creatively when your kids are nattering at you constantly.

I need a quiet space to get the finishing touches done on my storytelling workshop and I can't seem to get a moment's peace around here..................aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Christopher's Quilt

Christopher is allowing me to mend his quilt. I don't particularly like this quilt. It came with him when he joined our family. We don't know it's history, but to me it represents his 'other woman', his birth mom. It's not a really nice quilt or particularly well made but he loves it. As a baby he chewed the corners right off and some of the patchwork has holes in it. He's let me patch the holes but never the corners. Not so long ago he brought me the quilt and asked me if I would fix the corners. I was stunned. It's been sitting in my sewing room in the mending basket for awhile and the other day I finally got to it to start working on it. It started teaching me a lesson, this ugly little quilt that I don't like. Christopher came to us with all kinds of problems, not put together too well, colors in funny places. He has lots of holes because of his birth family and the things that have gone on in his life that are completely out of his control. Little by little, as we love him, we're slowly, painfully slowly, patching up some of the holes in his spirit. There are parts that he hasn't allowed us to touch that one day he will trust us with. Slowly but surely, the quilt that is his spirit will take on a new look, it won't necessarily match any better, the underlying foundation will still be there and patching may not always look really good. But the quilt will hold together, it will be strengthened.

Isn't that how we come to Jesus? Full of holes, ugly colors, corners chewed off by life? We need Jesus to patch us up. The great thing is that His patchwork is perfect, his thread is strong and His needlework impeccable. What a glorious thing to be loved by such a wonderful master. What a privelege to be able to love such an amazing little boy and participate in his quilt.

Monday, January 10, 2005

what is it about the law

I've been walking through Psalm 119 lately. David continually extols the virtues of the law/statutes/precepts/decrees. Our cultural loves the gospels, the epistles, the psalms and prophets. What is it about the law that was so amazing to David? What was it that drew David's heart?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

sometimes I wonder why I bother

This morning was one of those days that I wonder why I bothered to go to church. Not every Sunday is like this but today we visited my parent's church where my husband was serving as a guest worship leader. We have 5 kids that are 8 and under. It was a zoo. My husband was stressed from where he was, I was stressed where I was. We both could have used major massages this afternoon. I thought it would be nice if the kids and I accompanied him this morning since there was no reason why we shouldn't. My parents would help out, all would be well. NOT. The church we were at is considerably more conservative than our home church. And of course there weren't as many helping hands. And it was a different environment than our kids are used to. It was trouble from start to finish. Fortunately the before church and after church day was great. Just one miserable hour and a half. My DH figures that a big chunk of the stress was that we were so uptight about what everyone was thinking about our wild children and my inability to keep them settled for very long. (Anyone ever tried to contain a 2.5 year old without making a scene?) Oh well, it's over now, they're all in bed, sleeping, NO, in bed, YES. Think I'll go have a cup of tea and read a book - someone else's problems are surely worse than mine!!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Random Thoughts

I've been wanting to get here just to write all the thoughts going through my head. This is for you Darcy - there are some things I like about coffee (just not the actual liquid itself).

The good things about coffee:

1. it smells great
2. a mochachino wouldn't be a mochachino without a little coffee
3. I have two great recipes that wouldn't be as good without it
4. it's really good go 'cleansing the pallet', at least the beans are - they were very useful when I was a Partylite rep.
5. it works good for staining cloth when you want that 'antique' feeling

Hope that's enough for you. That's all I can think of right now!

maybe more later

The Persevering Cry

Something my children don’t seem to lack is perseverance. At least that’s very true late at night when they have empty tummies, owies or are in need of emotional comfort. Our two youngest have decided to really practice perseverance over this last week. This has made mommy a little short on patience and a little long on feeling sorry for herself. Last night the wee one started in to crying at about midnight. My wonderful husband got up and brought him to me so I could nurse him in hopes of him going back into a blissful sleep. It was not to be. Awhile later we had put him back to bed again with the vain hope that he would just be content to go to sleep. He wasn’t. He cried. Not the ‘I’m in pain’ cry. Not the ‘I’m scared and I need you NOW’ cry, not even the ‘I’m hungry’ cry. It was the cry that said, “I really want to be with you so why don’t you just give up and get over here.” I didn’t want to go over there. I was tired. It was just past 2:00 AM. Any reasonable person would be sleeping right now if they could be. If you haven’t noticed one year olds are rarely reasonable. I employed the, maybe-if-I-ignore-him-he’ll-go-back-to-sleep plan. Neither of us went to sleep. I gave in and got up.

In the midst of the maybe-if-I-ignore-him-he’ll-go-back-to-sleep plan I contemplated prayer. There in the dark, fighting the desire in me to not get up I thought about my response to my children’s cries. There are certainly some cries that cannot be ignored for even a moment. When I hear one of those I drop everything and run. There are the whiny cries that I don’t respond to. My sister-in-law is in the midst of teaching her newly adopted son to come to her when he cries (because of some of his life experiences before he became part of their family this is a learning experience for him). So she waits for him to come to her with his troubles rather than running out to him so that he learns that it is safe to come to her. There are also times that I don’t hear my child crying because of the proximity that they are to me at the time. Whatever the circumstance these little ones seem to understand that if they persist in their crying someone will respond.

As I likened my prayers to the cries described above it made me wonder if at times I have not cried out long enough. Perhaps my perseverance in prayer has been lacking and the Lord is trying to help me learn to stick with it. Maybe He isn’t planning to answer me because I am feeling sorry for myself and the whining is hurting His ears. Maybe He’s trying to get me to come closer, to seek Him out earnestly, to bring my need to Him, even when I’m just needing to feel Him near. At those times my response is often to withdraw. As foster parents we’ve seen that time and time again, the very need that needs to be met is held far away because the fear that the need won’t be met is greater. It has become safer to self-protect.

My children are secure enough in their knowledge of us as their parents to know that we will come when they call if the need is legitimate or if they persevere until we can hear them. As earthly beings our response to the persevering cry in the middle of the night isn’t always compassionate and gentle. Fortunately our heavenly Father is not like us, His response is always at the right time, His words always quiet our spirits and bring us back to the place of peace as He wipes away the lies along with the tears.

Hebrews 11 is full of heroes of the faith who persevered even though they never saw the fulfillment of their cries. I want to be like that. To go down believing that God is faithful and will bring to pass all that He has said. I’ve never liked listening to my kids cry themselves to sleep because of that weak, plaintive sound that comes just before they fall asleep. I guess that’s why we haven’t employed that technique very often. I want to go down fighting with all that I have in me.

My encouragement to you in this new year is to go ahead and cry out! Cry loud and long. He will hear you and He will answer. You can be sure of it because His word says that He hears our cries. Go out into this year fighting the good fight of faith. Go into it with the hope and expectation of having your name added to the crew in Hebrews 11, they are all cheering you on.