5 comments | published by Linda | March 30, 2010
Turning back time ten years, I can still see him run to me with his picture completed. I praised him for a job well done, and put it in its place of glory on the center of the refrigerator. This only prompted him to create more, as the prize of my pride filled him. Showing my joy over his accomplishments was crucial. 

Growing up, he has also been the first to the table, the last to leave, and the one to empty milk jugs, cookie jars and cereal boxes faster than I could keep them filled. Keeping him full has not been easy, but rewarding as I watch him grow.

Being older and much bigger now, there is more to fill. With an even larger appetite, it is clear when he is hungry. When he comes to the kitchen, I quickly see that he has come to me for far more than food. As I fill a plate, we talk. Telling him of my pride of what he is doing, and how I respect the choices he's making is what builds him up, and helps him grow. 

Boys and men need respect. This is nourishment for them. Showing pride for their accomplishments is food. Food is needed continually. It can't be offered once, then the need ignored. It's easy to assume that once a boy has grown, the need for praise is gone. Yet, the larger the boy, the larger the space to fill in order to bring him to confident manhood. 

Now standing over six feet tall, I can see he has been well fed. I still hold the pictures he made for me. I look at them as reminders of my boy, now my young man, who is still looking to me, as the prize of my pride fills him. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining    |   Tags: Hunger
5 comments | published by Linda | March 28, 2010
Sitting at the booth across from us, the tiny boy was refusing to eat his peas. Both parents sitting on each side of him were trying all sorts of creative ways to encourage him to accept the spoon filled with green goop. He would swing his head back and forth, and tightly clench his lips. As the mom was pretending the spoon was a plane coming in for a landing, the dad was telling him what a big, strong boy he was. As I watched the little guy, it was clear to me that although the parents thought the food was paramount, the peas were actually unimportant.

Later that night, my two year old daughter did not like the clothes that I picked out for her. She cried, and struggled to submit. She thought the polka dot dress would be a far better choice. Although I loved the stripes, it was again clear to me, that the outfit was unimportant.

I know the feeling. I've held a strong resemblance to the little guy with the green goop. I know what I want, and likewise, what I don't. Finding it hard at times to trust the choices God has made for me, I fight. God knows, whatever my circumstances are, they are actually unimportant.

It's the fight, the battle, the refusal and the stubbornness within me that matters to my Lord. When I get discontent and battle over what He has chosen for me in my life in any situation, He goes right to my heart, to what matters.

A heart of thankful submission and joy in whatever He has set before me, whether sunny or cloudy, should be my attitude. As He makes me aware of my stubborn heart, and I become soft before Him, I am once again thankful that He is a God that knows that the peas in my life are unimportant.
Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Unimportant Peas
7 comments | published by Linda | March 26, 2010
Whah whah, whah whah whah whah"... Charlie Brown's School Teacher

I would unroll my flannel lined sleeping bag, and spread it out across the shag carpet on the den floor in preparation of the much awaited episode of "The Peanuts". Something about watching Snoopy and the gang brought me smiles and peace. I remember how the words of the school teachers were never understood, almost as if they were too boring and monotonous to be important.

Years later, I noticed my children standing only a few feet away from me didn't seem to be aware that I was talking to them. I was probably repeating myself with some instructions they were uninterested in. It is always a pleasure to be the only one to hear your own voice in a room filled with little people who should be listening to you. I've used this as a scale to measure my communication when the audience I'm trying to hit is unaware of my words. Resembling Charlie Brown's school teacher is not a goal.

I've visited friends homes where the talking and laughter was so robust at the dinner table that it seemed no one took a breath. All chiming in at the same time, they found complete delight in hearing from the others and getting their opinion in when they could. It was clear their family was strong, they were close. I also have childhood memories of visiting a home where everyone went to eat their meal in their own room. They were busy with their own interests, seemingly uninterested in each other.  

Keeping strong communication lines open to my children is imperative. Having constant conversations with them about life is necessary. Even when we seem to debate about a subject, I am certain that when they are confronted on the issue, my words will be there, and they will stand behind them. 

Everyday I want to prepare for the daily much awaited episode of my children's lives, and have open ears and clear words to bring them smiles and peace. 

Posted in Kitchen & Dining, Play Room, Attic    |   Tags: Peanuts
4 comments | published by Linda | March 24, 2010
Proverbs 4:23
"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

I didn't think to look through his backpack. As usual, before we travel, he shovels in piles from his toy box to bring along. 

While making our way through security at the airport, I noticed they pulled his bag aside, and put it through the scanner multiple times. Concerned with what was inside, they put it on a table, opened it, and slowly sifted through the various toys he had packed.

They pulled a magical wand from his bag and inspected it as though it carried special powers. After discussing it with each other, they broke the news to us, that we could not take it with us. Made sense, safe travels is what we're looking for.

Before we try to go to sleep at night, it's important to walk through security. What thoughts are we carrying in the backpacks of our mind that could be damaging to us? We need to sift through what we have with us, and be willing to toss out what could cause us harm, stress, or anxiety.

We must be left with random toys, and cheerful thoughts that allow us to travel safely to sleep. 

Posted in Master Bedroom    |   Tags: Security
7 comments | published by Linda | March 21, 2010
While watching my son and daughter on the merry-go-round, I held my baby girl. I noticed an old woman walking toward me. She sat beside me on the bench, and began to speak. "You better enjoy these times, because they fly by. Before you know it, they will be teenagers, and it will never be the same." I gently rubbed my daughters head.

Years passed, and just as she said, they flew by. I had three more children since that day. So many little feet running through my house, leaving their marks on my floors, and my heart. Outgrown jeans, teddy bears and lego pieces fill old boxes as time has passed. I remembered what the old woman had said, and wondered what life would be like as they grew older.

Stopping at a merry-go-round recently, I stood with my older three as we watched the younger ones. While my oldest son, who now stands so tall was talking to me, one of my daughters was leaning on me as the other came up behind me and gently rubbed my hair.

I remembered the old woman's warnings, and smiled. I realized I had raised my three best friends, and knew it would never be the same. 

Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: The Old Woman
3 comments | published by Linda | March 15, 2010
Sitting beside her on the plane, my stillness was kept busy just by watching her. She is two. Exploring her surroundings, she didn't stop. The seatbelt was different. This made it necessary to buckle, and unbuckle over and over again, until it pinched her belly, and found it was no longer fun.

There was a window. A small one, yet just the right size for her little face to fill. As the other planes would pass by her view she had to let out a scream of delight. So much to take in. After a bit, she noticed a pocket of treasures just in front of her. What was that bag all about? Pulling it out of the pouch, and putting it back again was entertainment for her. An emergency card found in the pouch had three flaps that could be opened and closed. Too much to handle. The pictures on the card were bright, and they belonged to her.

She was on an airplane, and there was much to take in. She had no part in preparing the plane for take off. She had absolutely no knowledge of the many checks that took place to insure the safe flight. Being completely unaware of what was going on in the front of the plane, she just was a passenger.

The captain in the front knew. He was responsible. He was taking care of the many controls in the front. She was able to sit back, and focus on her surroundings.

Our Lord is our captain. It is his plan to take full responsibility for our flight. He never intended for us to ask, worry, or even know.

The cockpit in the front of the plane is sealed off. As passengers, we cannot even see inside, or know of the decisions being made. We have no need to. There is enough surrounding us to keep our focus. How unnecessary for my little two year old to fill her mind with concerns of why, how, and what if.  She's been given a window, a seat belt and the joy of the flight. Oh, to simply delight in what God has set before me, and to let Him be captain.
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: Simple Delight
2 comments | published by Linda | March 12, 2010
As I pull another piece of packing tape over the top of a box, I try to remind myself what was inside. The amount of stuff that I have managed to accumulate through my life is more than I'd like to admit. From the all important High School albums to the trivial baby blankets I can't bring myself to get rid of, I continue to save. It's easier to just keep it stacked in the garage, than to sift through it, make decisions, clean it out, and possibly let it go.

If I refuse to ever go through it, who will it ultimately belong to? When I am gone, it will be my children who will be responsible to go through each item, work through it, and decide to hold on to it, or let it go.

My heart is no different. I have hopes of leaving my deep love for God, my laughter, and any strengths God has given me to my children. Yet likewise, I will be leaving behind those temptations and sins that I never quite overcame. They will be dealing with my fears, insecurities, and anxieties. What motivation this offers me to work through these issues that are before me and within me in order to not leave them behind for my children to be responsible for.

God works this way. We pass it down. He works through families, and continues to work through them as generations pass. Sins that have not been properly dealt with, weaknesses and lost battles will show up in our children.

Working through the storage on my garage shelves is a mere reminder. What do I want my children to open when I am gone? What do I want to leave behind? The day will come where they become responsible for what I have left.

As I label yet another box, I must make certain this is what I want them opening and finding when I am gone.
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: When I am Gone
1 comment | published by Linda | March 10, 2010
Proverbs 2:1-5

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if  you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God."

Starting from the middle of the story, he talks to me. Being entertained by a memory of something he saw, or what he did, he begins to laugh. Realizing he has left the volume off in the beginning of his story, he fills me in. It usually includes a visual description where I find it necessary to stop what I am doing in order to receive the full multi sensory show that he is portraying for me. 

Sometimes it's a scene from a cartoon, or a part of a song he heard. I assume that once he tells it to me, it may very well be forgotten. The subject might be the simplicity of a moment, yet the subject is not what draws me to him as he speaks. His voice, animation, and desire to share with me will hold me as a captive audience as long as the curtain is open, and the words are spoken. I have been invited into the middle of his thoughts.

There are times we discuss issues of life. Our communication is open. Stopping what I am doing in order to give my full attention is a small price to pay for an open communication line to my son's heart. I soak in these moments when I can watch him delight in his surroundings, and desires for me to enjoy them with him.

Never knowing what might come up, or what questions might be asked, I am ready. He knows he can ask. Being a young man now, I know my time with him by my side is becoming shorter. As he grows, and breaks into more life experiences, I will be here. He will know that I will listen. He will have learned that we can talk.

The conversations will not include the content of cartoons, but I will always rejoice when I see him coming to me. He might already be laughing, and I will know I am being invited to the middle of his thoughts. 
Posted in Play Room    |   Tags: Talk to Me
3 comments | published by Linda | March 08, 2010
Psalm 73:23-24

"Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory."

Miles away from home, my children and I had completed our tasks in town and were ready to head home. I began to search through my purse for my keys. After some time, my son noticed them sitting inside on his sisters car seat.

Calling for help, the quiet voice on the line asked, "Are you in a safe place?" I looked around at my surroundings and replied, "I have a bunch of kids with me, a baby, and it's snowing. I'm as safe as can be expected." She laughed and promised it wouldn't be long.

My God uses such opportunities to bring my focus back on Him. As patience is not a quality I am known for, I am continually given clever opportunities to work in this area.

There have been too many times when I seem to think my busy days somehow give me the right to treat my relationship with God as I do a call to emergency road service. In a stressful moment I quickly toss up a prayer expecting an immediate rescue.

When I rush to Him in desperation I can almost hear the words, "Are you in a safe place?" I am reminded of who He is. As I look at my surroundings my only response can be one of thankfulness.

My days must never cause me to lose my focus on the safe place I am in, with Him, wrapped in His wings. 

The road service didn't arrive for almost two hours, not as fast as I would have wanted. Likewise, God's timing is His own, and I am His.

Am I in a safe place? I must wait.
Posted in Living Room, Play Room    |   Tags: A Safe Place
1 comment | published by Linda | March 06, 2010
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

There is a certain boldness that is seen in the travelers that are walking through the inside of the airport. They are independent. They know where they are going, and where they have been. They elude confidence. Over their shoulders they carry their most important belongings, and are ready to take on their upcoming adventure.

Having been there, I have seen how something happens from the terminal to the plane. Walking down the hallway to board the plane, you become more focused, less distracted. Stepping on the plane can be even more intense. From the first step, you become vulnerable, no longer in control.

Relationships are like this. When we make the step into a relationship, we become vulnerable. God intended for it to be this way. We must be willing to open ourselves up, fully knowing of the blessings and the possible hardships that could come on our journey.

He never intended for us to be alone. He designed for us to be trusting, loving, open, and even willing to be wounded if this is what He has planned as a part of our adventure.

We can have all confidence, for no matter where we are going, we know who our captain is. We can fasten our seatbelts and enjoy the flight. 
Posted in Living Room    |   Tags: The Flight
4 comments | published by Linda | March 04, 2010
Hearing the Lego crash once again, I peeked into the room. There he stood, completely distraught. His baby sister was sitting beside him with a guilty grin on her face. She had done it. 

After lifting my little destroyer from the scene, I turned to my son. Like before, I've encouraged him to continue loving her, even though right then he didn't feel like it. I realize how hard it must be for him at times to do what he knows to be right when his heart is not in it.  Yet loving her, is what's required.

When my husband walks through the door, I know what is right. I know what I'd like to offer. To be a wife that greets him with happy. To be ready to hear about his day, encourage him, laugh with him and love him completely. My head knows what to do. 

Likewise, as I look at the children around me, there is much I know I should do. But, what if I don't want to change that diaper, clean up the spilled milk again or fold yet another load of laundry? What if I don't feel like it? Does that mean I can switch gears, and follow my feelings, rather than my head?

The heart follows the head. Doing what is right is what will cause the feelings to flow more positively than I could imagine. Waiting until I feel good enough by my own standard to fulfill my roll, only stops the blessings, the joy, and the relationships with those around me.

We've been given an example of how this is to be. Our Lord was not thrilled with the idea of dying on the cross. He spent a whole night overwhelmed with strong feelings of not wanting the next day to come. He was even sweating blood. Luke 22:42 says, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." 

He was asking for relief from what God wanted of Him. Yet, not letting his feelings be his guide, he obeyed, he gave. After his death, his resurrection came. This is the picture we've been given. If we want to truly live, we have to die. 

As we look at our husbands and children, what should we do? We know. 

If we don't feel like it, and refuse to give, we miss out on the huge happy life He has designed for us.

There are Legos on the floor. How do we feel?
Posted in Living Room, Play Room, Master Bedroom    |   Tags: To Truly Live
2 comments | published by Linda | March 02, 2010
I would look forward to hearing her little sounds in the night. I knew that when she needed  me in those dark hours, I would be able to sit, hold her, and drink in her wonder.

The smell of her skin was intoxicating. I would stroke her hair, and feel her tiny hand tightly grip my finger. I became lost in her. As she found all that she needed in my presence, I found my delight in her. She had done nothing  to deserve my deep affection. She just was. 

Softly singing over her, so thankful for such moments, she would quietly drift back to sleep.

As mothers, we have the privilege to truly rejoice over our infants with all that we are. These moments cannot be forgotten. We know what it is to sing over one that we love. 

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Are we listening? Do we hear?
We have done nothing to deserve His deep affection. We just are. We can rest, listen to His singing, and find all that we need in His presence. 
Posted in Play Room, Master Bedroom    |   Tags: Over Me