Aug 20, 2008

God is at camp

I am sitting here listening to quiet music, thinking about my two big kids at camp. Some of you already know the story of Mary heading to camp, but for those of you who haven't heard, I'll tell it. Mary is most certainly not my extrovert child. There have been times when she was younger that people would walk by and say "hello" to her, and I would have to make her say "hi." If I didn't she would just look down, and hope that they would go away and stop talking to her. Her shyness has always been something that she has had to work at. New situations bring on painful stomache problems. When camp was first discussed, and she said that she wanted to go, I was shocked. This past weekend, I was happy to see her eagerly packing and chatting non-stop about camp.

Mary had everything perfectly folded, lined up neatly. She even made labels for each day....

And then, there's Matt...

Finally, the day came. We loaded up the car and headed to Aunty Tricia's house to drop off the three little ones. We said our goodbyes and left. As we drove, Matthew told Mary all that she would expect at camp. We listened to him as he relived last year's week of camp. I could tell the nerves were settling in. Her face was blank. The smile was gone, and she was just staring out the window. Then she said, "Mom, I am excited, but my stomache is hurting." I said, "Mary, you are going to have the time of your life at camp. God has some great things for you, and Satan surely doesn't want you to hear them. Don't let the worry settle in. Pray those pains away." As we exited off the highway, she was full of questions. One of them being, "Mommy, do you think that I will get that counselor that was on the cover of the camp brochure?"  This particular picture showed a sweet counselor giving a little girl a piggy back ride.  Both of them were beaming with fun and joy. You could almost hear the laughter from the picture. Of course they always show the counselor and camper having the best time on the front of these brochures. Are those people real or staged? I tried to comfort her by telling her that whoever her counselor was, she would be happy. As camp was getting closer and closer and Mary's nerves were intensifying, I  began to wonder if it was possible to call the camp and ask about this counselor.  Maybe that would help calm Mary's nerves?  The problem was that there are so many camps from North Carolina to Colorado.  I'm sure this brochure came from the North Carolina camp. Mary persisted with questions about her counselor.  I just encouraged her to pray about it.  So, she did right there in the car.

We arrived on campus. Now, I was the one with the stomach pains! I just kept praying that God would give her a good counselor. We walked into an enormous log cabin, and fought our way through registration lines, suitcases, pillows, sleeping bags, excited children and weeping moms. There was a recreational room for children to play games and get to know one another, as parents got them registered. Immediately, Matthew took off. Mary stayed by my side. A friend of hers bounded up, wearing her blue team shirt and said, "Hey Mary!! It's Coke against Pepsi this year. We're on the Pepsi team, and we're in the same cabin." Mary half heartedly smiled. "Come on, Mary, let's go," her friend tried pursuading. Mary quietly shook her head, "no." I looked down at my girl, "It's ok, honey. Go play while I get you registered." Then, it happened. Every mom's nightmare...the tears came flowing down her cheeks. She leaned her head against me. I pulled her close and whispered in her ear, "It's ok.  I'll stay here until you're ok...I promise you." Right about then, I began wondering if I should have packed my own bag. After Mary was registered, it was time meet her counselor. The big moment! Quite frankly, it was more my big moment than Mary's. I wanted to meet the college aged girl that I was leaving my child with. A cute, smiley brunette with a Red Sox hat on walked up to us. Her name was Jess. She bent down and warmly greeted my tear-stained Mary. I caught Jess's eye and whispered, "first time away from home." She smiled and said, "I'm on it." As we walked to Mary's home for the week, Jess was telling her all about the games and fun activites that were planned. Mary's room was warm and sunny, filled with bunk beds. A small pile of candy was placed on each girl's bed...a little gift from Jess. There were three other girls sitting in the room. I introduced Mary and they awkwardly introduced themselves. Jess took a seat on a bed across from Mary, and pulled some papers out of her counselor package. She said she wanted to get Mary's address to keep in contact with her. As she reached for her notebook, last year's camp brochure fell out. She picked it up. "Hey...wanna see something neat?" She turned the brochure around, and pointed to the picture on the front of the famous smiling counselor giving the camper a piggy back ride. "This is me."  My mouth fell open. I looked at Mary.  Her entire face lit up. Both of us were just beaming. My eyes filled with tears as I reached out and hugged my girl tight, "Oh Mary! God knew!! Look! You got 'THE COVER GIRL OF THE CAMP', just like you wanted!!!!  God is going to take good care of you!!!" I told Jess the story of how Mary specifically asked if she would get the "camp brochure counselor."  I also told her about my doubts that it would happen. From that moment on, Mary was completely fine. No more stomach pains.  No more tears.  No more worry. I helped her make her bed, and chatted with the sweet girls that would be her roommates for the week. Mary's tears were gone, and now replaced by her dimples. She smiled and said, "I'm ok Mommy. You can go." I hugged her goodbye and walked way, wondering why I ever worried even for one second.

I Peter 5:7 "If you pray and trust God to take this anxiety away from you He will do it because He cares for you."

God had comforted our daughter in a way that only He could. Sometimes as a mom, you want to manipulate things just a bit just to make sure that your child gets what they want, or so they won't worry...or is it so I wouldn't worry? What if I had called the camp, trying to figure out who the girl was on the camp brochure and asked them to put my daughter in that cabin?  Mary would have completely missed out on the blessing of God's comfort.  And I would have taken the glory for manipulating the situation. For the first time I saw that God was our Mary's comfort, not me! That's how I want it to be. I'm not always going to be here for them.  I want our children to learn to rely on God. He needs to be their strength, their guide, their fortress, their rock and their COMFORTER!

Now, everyone....take a deep breath, abandon your anxious thoughts, and pray. It will all work out!

We promise! :o)

(Mary with her counselor, shortly after we found out that she was the "Cover Girl" on the brochure.)

Aug 12, 2008

Supersize Me

Lately, I feel like I'm Alice in Wonderland. Things around me seem to be unusually large. As we pulled in the driveway tonight, I saw what seemed like a huge pine cone. I got out of the car and started to walk toward it. It moved. I stopped. I ever so slowly, and very cautiously inched toward it again. It moved. My heart began to pound. I felt short of breath, and began sweating. The curiosity was too much for me to stop now. What was this mystery animal??? You can never be sure what kind of wildlife you will encounter around here, so I knew I had to arm myself. With a bad mitten racket in hand, I began my pursuit once more. This time, the creature moved TOWARD me! I yelled for back-up. Joel came running to my side. "What is it?" he asked. "I don't know, but it's very, very large," I breathlessly answered. We couldn't see a thing in the darkness of the night. Joel took the bad mitten out of my hand, and managed to get this large thing into the spotlight.

This is what it was....

ISN'T HE THE SICKEST THING EVER?????!!!! GAG! and he's so big, too!!!!!!!! I think I prefer the dead squirrell over this! My toes are curling as I type this. Looks like he just finished a little winged snack. Apparently, Mamma Toad forgot to wipe his mouth before he left home. Do you know how freakishly close I had to get to him to take this picture....and all because I wanted to show you guys. I hope you're appreciative. I can't tell you how many times my husband has come up behind me and said, "Ribbit" and I've hit the ceiling! Oh, the sacrifices I make to bring you the news around here.

And Mr. Toad wasn't the only thing that has been supersized. Get a load of the mushroom Matt found this week!!!

What's happening around here? I'm afraid what will be next!!

Aug 11, 2008

Just thinking about my report card

When I was growing up, report card day was either a day I loved or dreaded, depending of course on how hard I worked for that semester. One time, when I was in first grade, I even went so far as to sign my mom's signature because I was so ashamed of what I had done. Ok, I can hear all the laughter right now. If there's one thing I learned from that situation, it's that I had to practice mom's signature a little better. :o)

This past Saturday, I bumped into a young man who I use to babysit. He is now a Sophomore in college. I introduced myself to him as his "old babysitter." (little did he know that the "old" part that I was referring to did not necessarily mean "in the past" kind of old, but just plain "old." ) His mom was standing nearby. I said, "When did he grow up?" She smiled and said, "I know. It went by so fast. I'm just as shocked as you are." I walked away from our conversation thinking about our son. Matthew is now 10. Most children leave the nest at 18. That gives me 8 years left.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

-Oh Lord please! may our son always seek you with all his heart!

As a parent, your job is never done, of course, but I wonder if we are at the half way point with the "letting go" phase. I wonder if we have given him the tools of God's word to live a life for Him. I wonder what he'll be someday. I wonder what he will grow up telling his own children about his mother. How will he describe me as a mom? Then, I think about those report card days. What if God was to give me a grade today? There's no forging anything with God. He knows exactly who I am because He is my Creator. In my heart, I know the areas where I fail Him. I also know that I am only made of flesh, and I need the Lord to guide me every moment of the day. Spending time with God doesn't just mean "going to church on Sundays." It's a continual on-going relationship. It involves reading his word, and asking Him to teach me, and talking to Him through prayer. My job as a mom should be done mostly on my knees. I know I need to pray more for these precious ones. I need to pray more for myself...that I will be the kind of mom that they can see Christ in. If I forget about God and begin doing my job on my own, I have failed as a parent. If I neglect prayer, my mothering is not being done for my Lord's glory, and I can never be the kind of mom that God will smile upon. I'd like to get a good grade, because this job is eternal. So, I beg God to keep me on my knees.

If you as a mom are not praying for your children, who is?

Aug 8, 2008

Whose 60?

Could this adorable, little girl really be 60 years old?

My sweet Mommy turned 60. God has blessed me with a mother who invested her life into being a Godly mom. She has spent countless hours in the car taking us to and from school, back and forth to basketball or volleyball games, friend's houses, shopping, making meals, doing dishes, washing clothes, but what makes her so special, is that in the midst of all the "to do's" she had on her list, she always listened. She would drop anything she was doing to talk, encourage, listen or just let us share with her our silliness. (ie, our many goofy skits that she was in the audience for.) She applauded our every little accomplishment, whether it was going down the slide for the first time or making a snowman. She made each of us feel individually special. She cared enough to tell us when we made wrong friends. She loved and forgave our mistakes. She taught us that a life surrendered to God is a life that God can use. My mom is the one that I look up to in my mothering. She is the one I turn to for advice, and the one who is always encouraging me in my walk with the Lord. Thank you for being not just "a mom," but my friend. I love you, Mommy, and I'm so proud to be able to call you "my Mom."

These past few weeks have been packed full of fun and making memories. I'll share a few pictures here.

One of my favorite pics. :o)

Sweet Daddy moments....

Look at the grin on Annie's face! Complete trust, complete joy!

Dad took the kids blueberry picking one morning. They quickly pooped out after picking about a dixie cup full of blueberries. Dad's blueberry picking stamina lasted way longer. We'll be having blueberry muffins till the year 2013!

My sweet boy, growing up way too quickly!

It has been wonderful having Krissy home for a few days. (although it's never long enough) Our family is whole when she is here. It makes me sad when I walk in her room, and see the empty closet, the bed all made and the vacuume marks still in the carpet. She fills our home with so much joy and happiness. When we dropped her off at the airport today, little Annie was frantically trying to work herself out of her carseat. When she couldn't get it, she yelled, "Sum-buddies, help me! I need to go with Aunny Kwissy!" I turned around and explained to her that she couldn't go on the airplane because Aunty Krissy lives far away. It's never fun to drive off, leaving your loved one with their suitcase on the sidewalk of an airport. I rolled down the windows as we drove away so everyone could yell their "goodbyes and I love you's" one last time. Suddenly, little Annie could bare it no more. She burst into tears and said, "Now, I have no fwend!!!!!" I turned around to look at her. She had her fists shoved in her eyes, and was crying her little eyes out. We miss you, Krissy!

Last night, after a thunderstorm, God gave us this to look at:

Just breathtaking! We have so much to be thankful for!