Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Into the Wind

I'm going to be honest...my job stinks sometimes. Yes, I'm a mom of boys. Stinky is just par for the course around here! I mean, I knew that boys were going to be smelly, but who knew it started SO early! They are 4 and 6 for goodness sake. Their feet should not produce odors like that yet!! It's inhumane to boy moms everywhere!! I just got rid of diapers less than a year ago and already new stenches are creeping up all over... but hey, I digress. That's not really what I meant. Although it does add to the stinky I was referring to. 

Sometimes it's just hard! Life is just tough. On days that are literally extra stinky, your 4 yr old is climbing the walls and winter and cabin fever haven't even set in yet (I don't want to even think about what my house is going to look like in a couple months), the toilet is full (not just clogged, but FULL) of toilet paper, there are green bean casings and seeds that have been shot out of them littering your kitchen floor, shrill Dora and Diego voices are ringing in your head (they should use these videos as torture devices for insurgents I tell ya!), you were up all night with one coughing child after another only to get them quieted so you could have a coughing snot filled fit yourself, laundry is overflowing and everyone "needs" something in a different load right now or God forbid they can't wear the comfy pants to school this morning...it stinks.  I realize there are way worse problems facing us, but these are a few of mine today and there are times when they compile and make me want to cry and scream at the same time. 

I gave up this morning and stopped doing all I was doing to sit with one of the stinky ones and grit my teeth through a Dora episode, because I needed to just sit with him. I looked out the window and saw the clouds beginning to roll in. It's been a pretty calm Fall so far. I've heard they are usually much messier and colder so I've been anticipating the clouds. Today they are here and as I peered out the window longing for Dora to find those dadgum animals at the end of the alphabet a little quicker, but also enjoying the snuggles of boy number 2, I saw a bird. 

A simple thing really, but this little guy was stuck in a wind current flying nowhere fast and I instantly related. And I thought to myself, "Little momma, when those clouds are blown in the same direction that you desire to fly what are you gonna do about it?"

Do you have clouds slapping you in the face? Or maybe they are chasing you from behind? Perhaps you haven't turned around in a long time, and when you do you realize that there is a wall of treacherous thunder clouds staring you down, trying to sneak in to steal your joy and stability.

What's going to be your course of action? What's going to be mine?

I heard a quote by William Arthur Ward a long time ago and parts of it have always stuck with me. 

  • "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." 

Many others have taken that quote since and added and morphed and shortened it to say something like "We do not direct the wind that blows us, but we can set the sail." Even then, sails can be adjusted to do many different things. 

My little bird outside the window fought hard for awhile. Pumping small but strong wings into the face of his adversarial wind. Has that ever been your course of action? I'll admit it builds endurance. It can also wear you down. But sometimes we fight. And that's good.

Maybe we look for ways to outsmart the wind? We dart around it or find a way under it's intensity. It's good sometimes when necessary to use the brain you've been given. Beat the odds and keep the course.  

But this little guy eventually did something that I'm not sure is always the easiest or our first choice. He changed course entirely. When the chance presented itself it swung it's little body around and let the wind carry it. 

How long has it been since you let the wind maker carry you? Maybe somewhere unexpected, maybe where you didn't set out to go. But none the less, in the direction He intended. That doesn't mean we stop using the wings we were created with. If we did that we'd fall right out of the sky! But instead of flapping and fighting, we use them in a different way. We stretch them out and we soar. Maybe the rain comes and makes us stop all together and find a little shelter and we have time to evaluate just what comes next, but maybe we just let Him sweep us up and deliver us where He wants us to be! 

So here's the deal...is the wind and rain smacking you in the face? Is there a huge lightening storm on the horizon exactly where you wanted to go? Heck, do you look at the forecast way too much and are you terrified to even leave the house? 

How are you going to set your sails? Are you ok with being at the mercy of the one who makes the wind? Fix your wings! And at least be content with the promise and blessing and direction that God gave us through James.

  • James1:2-7 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Don't be tossed by the wind! Ride it!! 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Ready To Go

A month and two days ago I sat in the back bedroom of my grandparents' home in the little town of Weinert, TX with an amazing man. We sat on the little love seat that pulls out into a bed that I've slept on a lot of nights. We sat there together and I cried and he held me, because I had to say goodbye. Not too long ago we learned that my Granddaddy, Alton, had cancer and a large tumor growing in his body and while I was prepared to say goodbye to my family and move to Germany I was not nearly as ready to say goodbye forever. At least an earthly forever, but that's what I had to do. 

In some ways I'm very grateful for the opportunity and that I knew that this was a goodbye til heaven kinda goodbye. But what do you say to a man that has led your family with faithful footsteps for so many years. I had no clue, I was afraid and awkward. We mostly just sat there, but there are things that he said in that conversation that I will add to my forever memories of our family's patriarch. I'll add them to the memories of the time he put my dressy church socks on wrong and we got angry with each other because we both were so determined to be right, of watching him come in so dirty from working hard in the fields all day long, of sitting in his lap after dinner eating ice cream and watching the weather on the news, of listening to his all in laughter watching shows like Home Alone and The Three Stooges and Dennis the Menace, of all the times I heard him sign praises to the Lord and all the hymns I know because of him, of signing He's Still Working On Me together... 

Some things he said that day will always be just ours, but one story he told me stuck in my head and heart and two days ago when my daddy called to tell me that he was gone, it's what I heard replaying in my head. He told me a story about an overseas mission trip to Korea that he and my Grandmother had taken and how he hadn't wanted to go. He said he remembered sitting in the back bedroom making excuses to God and somehow he got to a point while he was praying that he knew what God needed him to do and he told God, "I'm ready to go." He had to surrender and God gave him the peace that he needed. He was terrified as he went into the kitchen and had to tell my grandmother his decision. She had to get ready too. He looked at me sitting there and said again, "I just had to tell Him. 'I'm ready to go.' So I did... I'm ready to go." All I could do was hug him and say, "I'm ready to let you go." And cry of course. 

After talking to my Daddy and wishing I was there to hug him on July 1, I took a shower and cried and then words starting flowing out of me. I had to write them down because it was the only way for me not to explode with emotions. I love my Granddaddy. I love how he loved his God and how he loved my Grandmother with all of his being! I know he is where he wanted to be. He's with his Millie, who he missed so much, and they are singing songs together to their Jesus! 

Today my family is gathered at my Granddaddy's funeral and I'd be lying if I didn't say my heart feels about torn in two. I want to hug my daddy tonight. I kinda feel guilty for having a normal day. Because there is nothing normal about what my family is doing today. This is what God gave me to share with my family since I can't be there to hug them tight. 

That Simple Grin 

Just a simple glance
That was all it took
As he ran his fingers through his wavy hair
When she looked back at him
And grinned that simple grin
He knew it’d be a look they’d always share

If he’d seen the days ahead
His mind would surely burst
But the heart can hold much more than we forsee
And he said

I’m ready to go
I’m in all the way
I’ll follow you forever and day
I’m ready to fly
Let the journey begin
If you will always promise me one little thing… that simple grin

The laughs they would share
The lives they would make
And finding God together on the way
The paths they would take
The sacrifices made
Sometimes called in unexpected ways

Though at times his fears set in
Their God had said to go
The lives they’d touch would prove God worthy   
So he said

I’m ready to go
Are you in all the way?
I’ll follow Him forever and day
Let’s get ready to fly
Let the journey begin
And when stepping out in Faith he saw again…that simple grin

Two years ago she left
And the days have gotten long
And he’s missed her grin more every single day
He held to his faith
And family that they’d made
Always dreaming of her precious face

Days of sickness made him tired
He knew that it was time
And He closed his eyes and prayed a simple prayer
And he said

I’m ready to go
I’m in all the way
I want to sing with Him forever and day
I’m ready to fly
Let the journey begin
He ran into the Father’s open arms, then saw again… that simple grin

Get ready to go
Are you in all the way?
Will you follow Him forever and day?
Are you ready to fly?
Let His journey begin
And when stepping out in Faith I pray you find your simple grin

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chasing Squirrels at the Appropriate Pace!

We've landed! Here's our first family selfie in Germany! 

I'm going to be honest...I'm overwhelmed! Holy Moly, life is changing at a rapid pace. A totally expected pace, but that doesn't mean it's any less stressful or overwhelming. I'm in another country!! I live in Germany. That's the new normal. Geez Lousie!

Last night all I could think was "Man, we've all had shoes on for like 23 hours! This place reeks!" and "Is it bedtime now?" Today all I can think is "I gotta make a new list...lots of lists!!" 

Calvin walked outside on the balcony this morning and said, "Woah! It's cold out here. Feel this mommy!" That led to a conversation with Jack about there being a lot of newness to get used to and he said, "Like Indee had to get used to living with the cousins?" His mind helps simplify things for me so much. 

We had to leave our sweet friend Indee behind in the states to live with my brother and his family. The first few days she was there she went a bit overboard. She reclaimed her love of squirrel chasing. It's been a while since she's had a huge yard of grass to run in and trees full of squirrels! Oh, the joy!! (the closest things we had to squirrels in Las Vegas were pigeons.) She ran and jumped and explored and sniffed and barked and tried to keep up with my brother's Jack Russels. She staked her claim and had a blast. And then...well, let's just say she overdid it just a bit. I got a call from my brother just about a week after dropping her off telling me that she was in a bad way. 

She was breathing very roughly and couldn't even stand up to eat. Those that know Indee, know that to not be able to eat is a BIG deal. She is generally about 10% please my humans driven and 90% food driven. Just ask anyone who has ever brought a tray of brownies to our house and walked in before she has been crated, or been to a cookout at our place and seen her stalk the grill. 

For hours she just lay on the floor breathing harshly and could only stand with help and only walk in a hobbley, feeble way. We thought she may not make it. I took Jack over to say goodbye just in case and sat with her for a few hours. On the drive home, in his 6 year old prophet like wisdom he told me that she was going to be fine tomorrow. She was slower, but mostly he was right and by the day after that she was back to her old self. And by old, I also mean she remembered that she was in fact, old. She'll still chase those hairy little varmints, but I think from now on she'll take it at an 11 year old doggy pace and not a 5 year old puppy pace.  

So, today I'll take advantage of Indee's lesson and get used to living in this new backyard at a decent pace. There is no need to move at a breakneck speed, no point in chasing too many squirrels at once. It'll all get done! And we will be happier without a frazzled mom as we get it accomplished. 

And honestly as much of me that's ready to explore this new land and trudge out on an adventure, there's another part of me that is perfectly content with this lovely TLF apartment and that would love to stay inside, nice and cozy and let's face it...hide. Balance is also going to be key.

So far, things seem super nice and inviting. The weather is lovely. Everything smells fresh and clean. I woke up this morning to open windows and the sounds of birds and kiddos playing outside and as much as I want to get out there and join it all, I had forgotten what it feels like to be taken to somewhere so unknown and starkly different from where you've come, only to watch your husband put on a uniform and leave you sitting there alone and unsure in Temporary Lodging right away. It's nerve racking! This time, without even a way to call him. 

I know though, that as odd as I must feel right now, asking myself "what now?" He has to feel that much more strange and overwhelmed. The weight of the newness is on his shoulders so much more than mine; he's uprooted his family, is in a strange place, making first impressions, his career is taking a turn. As a wife, right now, part of my job is to take as much of that load as possible. To help him breath normally and not be too tired to eat like our poor pup when he gets 'home.' 

So here's what... I'm getting dressed today! The boys and I will strike out at least a little without daddy and find something new to do, or something familiar. We'll figure out how something works, we'll follow a map, we'll meet someone new. And a small bit of pressure will be lifted and tomorrow I'll conquer something bigger. 

In Matthew 6:25-34 Jesus said,

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. (where the is commissary is located and can you get there on foot, what the heck are those extra knobs in the bathroom, how soon do I need to enroll my kid in school, where do I study for a drivers license, wondering where the car is and how soon we'll have it, should we take a nap today, how do I call my mom, how soon will we find a house to rent...) Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

My ultimate goal is to seek His Kingdom first, in the midst of a land of castles and beauty. I seek his beauty. And I won't chase too many squirrels too fast. Prayers and gentle reminders are accepted! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

This is the house!

Our last Sunday in the house where our family has done the most growing would have to be Mother’s Day! Cue crocodile tears…now.

This is the house where Jackson was fully introduced to big brotherhood and all the annoyance, frustration, sacrifice and instant best friend that comes along with it! It’s the house where he learned to fully appreciate dancing in the rain (since it seldom does that here in Vegas). It's where he chose to become Jack instead of Jackson. This is where he learned about making best friends and saying goodbye to them, where he fell in awe of super heroes, where he mastered his first video game! This is the house where he grew from a toddler bed to a big boy bed and eventually grew share a room with his brother. In this house Jack learned to read, learned to say please and thank you, learned make his own sandwich. This is the house that Santa has always been real and eaten pickles and cookies left for him without complaint. This is the house where water hoses became playthings and not tools for keeping a yard. This is the house where Jack met Jesus!

This is very first house my sweet Calvin ever lived in! The only one! Here he was diapered, potty trained (by the grace of God), learned to eat solids (not meat so much…but give that kid some fruit and he’ll be your best friend), started walking and running and jumping and climbing! In this house, Calvin fell in love with Max and playdoh and Justin Time. Here is the house where once the “Z” (pacifier) ruled. This is the house where we danced to Wagon Wheel. It’s the house that Calvin first heard, after two long years of living ‘underwater’ and the house where he learned to finally talk (and hasn't stopped yet!). This is the house Calvin learned to be a little brother and to annoy and frustrate and sacrifice and love and desire to be like his big brother. This is the house that Calvin found rocks and moved rocks and stacked rocks and threw rocks. It’s where he learned to hit a ball with a bat. It’s the house he gave the best hugs ever in!

Here our family made friends we’ll have forever. We learned to conquer fears of dinosaurs and deaths and solitude. In this house we had Easter egg hunts and amazing parties, and family game nights of Candy Land and Uno and Connect Four. This is where we hauled around double strollers and hunted for lost stuffed animals. It's where Halloween was the best and most fun night of the year. This is the house we discovered that staying home and having cookouts with friends and movie nights and family meals became more enjoyable than eating out at fancy restaurants. Here we learned what Deployment means and learned that we are bigger than it! This is the house where we learned to yell “Daddy’s Home!” This is the house our family talked about God and prayed together and where we heard our children say some of their first prayers out loud.

This is the house where God allowed our family to become a family!

And in it all, our Jesus is and was the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Castles with Ladders, Dragons and Ogres...

Oh, if my biggest anxieties were castles with ladders, dragons, and ogres! Here's the news for those that haven't heard!! The Thorne's are heading to Germany! 

We've only know for a few days, but I have to say my favorite part so far has been watching Calvin, our three year old, have a conversation with our Wing Chaplain, Lt Col Michael Rash about castles. We had already told the boys that there would be castles to see in Germany. Apparently Calvin's little wheels had been turning, because this time when it was mentioned by Chaplain Rash, who has been there and seen these magnificent stone wonders for himself, Calvin blurted out, "But did you see the Dragons?!" His sweet little face was contorted with seriousness and worry. 

Their conversation continued for about 15 min about how do you get into the castles, "with ladders?" and "what about the ogres?" onto "there are brave knights with swords to slay them." They talked about the castles being on hills and many of them have rivers close by. Some of them you can sleep in overnight and they feed you breakfast in the morning! Chaplain Rash had been there a lot and never seen a dragon nor an ogre, and a few Chaplain Assistants that had also spent some time in Germany were called in to confirm, that they too had never faced a dragon. 

I sat listening, trying not to giggle, and so very thankful for the seriousness that went into silencing the little dragon of fear that was beginning to roar inside my little guy.

I'm beginning to wonder if that might be how God is looking at me right now! Pretty sure my face has matched Calvin's "contorted with seriousness and worry" for the last 30 hours or so since Aaron called and gave me the news of his assignment to Spangdahlem AFB

Of course I'm excited! What an opportunity, but my mind is rushing at light speed with all that has to be done and all that we'll leave behind. I can feel that dragon inside me rearing it's ferocious head! I remember when Jack was little and afraid of dinosaurs at night. I assured him that God is big and brave and that his angels were warriors on his side. Just like Knights! (this is a picture of how he used to sleep after he fell in love with the brave angels!)

So, once again, (not that I'm surprised at all) I learn valuable lessons from my children. Anxiety and fear will be battled here and hopefully slayed! Our adventure and quest ensues as we enter this new unknown for the Kingdom of God! 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why my brain needs a nap!

If anyone ever speaks with me after 6pm or so...maybe even earlier and wonders why my brain seems fried, let me provide you with a SMALL sample of the "Mommy, ...?" that I have heard this morning.

Mommy, can you die again once you are in heaven?
Mommy, how did the dinosaurs die?
Mommy, are their still Woolly Mammoths? 
Mommy, how many Woolly Mammoth tusks do you think archaeologists have found?
Mommy, when God flooded the earth did he flood heaven too?
Mommy, did they really send monkeys into space?
Mommy, how did monkeys fly the space ships?
Mommy, when I grow up should I be an inventor, a scientist, or a movie star?
Mommy, if God is in heaven and God is in your heart, is heaven in your heart?
Mommy, can hell be in your heart too?
Mommy, what's the best way to catch flies?
Mommy, who made the first airplane?
Mommy, did the first airplane that was made fly?
Mommy, how many airplanes did they have to make before one flew? I think it was 15.
Mommy, I just want to know a little more about you. What's your favorite candy? What's your least favorite candy?

And my favorite of the day!! --- Mommy, did cavemen wear underwear? 

And if you would like to know why I am physically exhausted at the end of the day, I'll introduce you to this little brother!

Side Note: Most of these happened in one 15min car ride this morning. I love that he's a seeker. I wish I had all the answers. I wish I wasn't so worn out to even try to answer him sometimes. I hope he never stops asking questions though.

Another Side Note: He really does say "mommy" before each question... even if I just answered one. If I hear "Mommy? pause (for a deep breath usually), I know the rapid fire is about to start.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Even If You Think It's Not Important

Aaron went to Wal-Mart for me real quick earlier this evening to grab a few ingredients for our dinner. I was feeling frustrated with my 'wild things' (aka Jack and Cal) by the time he got back and when I started unpacking the bags he'd brought in I started feeling more irritated. He had purchased a few more things than I had asked for which made my job harder. It wasn't much, but for some reason it set me off. I started feeling sorry for myself and taking my frustration out on him. It wasn't fair. (At the time I was saying that to myself in my head, but really it wasn't fair for him.)

I was still moping as dinner was being brought to the table, extra ingredients and all, and I rudely asked him why he had bought a can of spaghetti sauce. We were having grilled cheese and tomato soup. He said he hadn't and when I insisted he had, a disgusted look came over his face. "You have got to be kidding! That idiot checker." I was confused. Then he tells me this story.

While checking out he noticed everything that the elderly lady in front of him was purchasing. One can of spaghetti sauce, a box of noodles, a single bell pepper, and one roll of toilet paper. It couldn't have been more than a $4 purchase. As she was leaving and grabbing her bags she asked the young (uncaring) woman behind the register if it was just one bag and was told yes in reply, without even a glance from the attendant. Well obviously it was more than one bag, because we ended up with the little ladies dinner. 

I am seriously heart broken! My guess is she was spending all she had to cook this meal. I might not think that if it weren't for the one roll of toilet paper. Not one package mind you, one roll. Can you imagine having to choose between buying toilet paper and a meal? I so wish I knew who she was. I wish I had a way to find her and hug her and buy her a gift card full of her favorite meals and triple ply toilet paper. I hate that her can of sauce is sitting on my kitchen cabinet. Looking at it fills my heart with angst. 

But I'm leaving it there. Not in the pantry where I can't see it. On the counter, front and present. I'm leaving it there for two reasons. One, so that I can pray for her. So that when I look at it I am reminded of her specifically and others like her who save for just one meal. It will sit there so that everyday I am more thankful for all I have and remember to share and care for others much much more. But I'm also leaving it there for a second reason. 

The Bible tells us in Colossians 3 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" The checker that was working in Wal-Mart tonight was obviously not following this command. She did not take pride in her job. She did not take the small amount of time necessary to make sure that others were being cared for. But God does not tell us to work with all our hearts as long as our jobs are not tedious, or monotonous, or boring. He doesn't give us a free pass on days that the boss is extra hard to get along with or when technology doesn't want to cooperate. And he also doesn't let you off the hook when your little hooligans are tearing your house to pieces being super heroes, or beating each other up with video game remotes, or spilling orange soda on your rug, or your big hooligan is buying bacon for his grilled cheese sandwiches and you have to wash all the dishes in the sink so you can clean the only pan you have to cook bacon in, making your super quick and easy dinner idea a much more toilsome endeavor. 

Colossians also says, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

So, even if you think what you do is not important and therefore, the spirit in which you do it in doesn't matter, think again. It matters.  It matters to the students in your care watching your every reaction. It matters to the boss who is trying to hold it all together by a thread. It matters to the man who is late to work because he got a nail in his tire and is about ready blow a gasket at the next bad thing that happens to him. It matters to the person waiting on the check you are cutting. It matters to the mom that needs just an hour to breath as she gets her nails done. It matters to the husband or wife who loves you and wants to see you smile. It matters to the little lady with just noodles and green bell pepper to eat for dinner. It matters to the wild things growing in mind and spirit next to you.  It matters to me. And mostly, it matters to God.