Fall 2013-dark leaves

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Feast and Friends

Spinach artichoke dip, cheese balls, sausage balls, chips and salsa, brined turkey, Honey Baked ham, gravy, raisin sauce, dressing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, creamed corn, sweet potato souffle, pineapple casserole, green bean bundles, cranberry salad with cream cheese, biscuits, Sister rolls, hot spiced cider, red and white wines, good coffee, pumpkin pie, coconut creme pie, pecan pie, and chocolate torte with raspberry sauce.

It was a delicious Thanksgiving, but even better company.  We adults sat at the table for 4 hours.  The 7 kids fended for themselves beautifully.

I am abundantly blessed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gift Giving and Receiving

So Patrick gave away his favorite toy to a classmate.  I got a call the next week that the family was so touched by his gift that they wanted to bless him as well.  So they all showed up together to give him back what he's so freely given away.  We met in the parking lot after carpool pick-up, and Brock handed Patrick a wrapped gift.

Patrick wasn't sure how to react when he saw the double-sided light saber there in the package.  He listened to the mom tell him what a kind-hearted boy he is and how their family thanked God for his gift.  Patrick said thank you, gave Brock a hug, and we all agreed Brock should come over soon to get the other half of his light saber so they can have a big sword fight together.

I wasn't sure what Patrick thought of it all.  I mean, before the party when I asked him what he was going to tell Brock when he opened the present (like "It's so fun to play with" or "It's my favorite toy"), he looked at me blankly and said, "Happy Birthday."  I knew he loved playing with it, but I also wondered if he hadn't just gotten over it being a special toy to him.

Well, I got my answer, and I was completely wrong.  In a matter of minutes after pulling out of the parking lot, there were small pieces of cardboard box all over the back of the van, and a thrilled little boy saying, "Yes!  Yes!  Yes!" under his breath as he tore into the gift.

We were able to talk through how we don't need to be afraid to give when we can because God always provides what we need as we need it.  It doesn't always look like getting back exactly what we gave, but sometimes it does.  Like the light sabers.  Like the spring Brian gave away a huge chunk of money, and within six months, we'd saved that exact same amount twice (a big car part under warranty, and a professional favor from a friend) and then received that exact same amount back in an unexpected bonus just in time when we needed the cash.  Three return gifts to the penny?  It's hard to miss that it's provision from God, proof that we can trust he will provide when we need it.

Please don't hear me say that we can manipulate God in our giving.  We don't give in order to receive.  We love because he first loved us.  We give out of what was first given to us. 

Bottom line, God is good all the time.  Right?  All the time...

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Old Are You?

This afternoon I found Catherine playing in the corner behind a chair-and-a-half, having climbed over the folded laundry in the seat and the back cushion to get there.  I jumped on her--"You are too big to use furniture that way.  Do you treat anyone else's furniture this way?  How old are you?" 

"Seven."  She's seven. 

Yep, I'd say it's a very typical thing for a seven year old girl to play tucked away in the privacy of a corner behind a chair in the only quiet room in the house.  Actually when I stop to think about it, I'm very glad she'll do that.

I wish I were slow to speak and slower to anger.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Patrick's Heart

I asked Patrick this morning what he wanted to give to his friend, the fifth child of a very successful, former professional baseball player, at the birthday party at his house today.  Our go-to gift lately has been the glow sticks in the dollar section of Target.

Patrick excitedly replied, "I want to give him one side of my double light saver.  And I can give him the twisty thing too!"

I teared up instantly.  He'd waited over a year to get that light saber.  It's all he wanted for Christmas last year.  It is his favorite toy.  And yet he's eager to give it away to his friend whose family could buy him a gazillion light sabers.  Of course Patrick doesn't know that part.  He just wants to share what he loves with other people. 

This momma's heart was torn, so torn I had to call Brian to make sure that it was OK.  He wisely answered that it would hurt Patrick more to tell him no than for us to have to one day replace it.

So we're wrapping it up this morning.  I think I'll explain to his mom that it's a second-hand gift not because Patrick doesn't care about her son but because he loves to give others what he loves.

And that, my friends, really is priceless.  And a great lesson for me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Heavy Hearted

You may have noticed I've been busy lately.  This fall, Brian and I have 8 paying jobs between us, not to mention the wife and mom gig and husband/dad/seminary student thing.  We are juggling so many balls in the air, I don't have time to keep up with more than what's directly in front of me, not to mention ponder on what we've been doing.

There have also been some personal, relational struggles that have me very heavy-hearted.  Since I know we all struggle--if you're a believer, it's a guarantee that you are, so don't say you're "fine"--I thought I'd share this post about prayer.  It's real and honest and encouraging.  I need to read more of her posts; she's new to me.

Tell me what you think...