Saturday, May 22, 2010

Yesterday was a long day but I'm counting my blessings

1. Appointment with the "Ick" doctor to start my day
Blessing: I'm healthy and am old enough to be scheduled for an annual mammogram.  Thankful for a proactive doctor.

2. Had to make a really tough call in small group leadership
Blessing: Strong clarification and reiteration of the purpose of groups at Living Water, and a little bit of correction and discipline from God to me.  It's healthy and very helpful, even though it's painful sometimes.

3. Wilkin is invited to his former class's picnic and I make awkward small talk with his teacher and other moms about homeschooling
Blessing: I realize that it's OK that my son isn't reading The Boxcar Children books yet or not taking the "much more difficult" ITBS test rather than the CAT standardized test.  Wilkin is progressing just right for him and I'm going to continue to chill out and be proud of him where he is.

4. Wilkin slams into another kid at the class picnic and gets the worst gusher from his nose ever (he's had too many for me to count, but this one was pretty bad)
Blessing: Dr. Mowery was at the picnic with her son (not the poor kid on the other end of the collision, thank the Lord) and knows just what to do - palpated for fractures, he's fine.  Retains his sense of humor when he recounts the incident: "We were going in opposite directions, and that was toward each other."  Ice cream on the way home helps too.

5. We pick Elisa up from school and her sore throat is pretty definitely strep
Blessing: We get an appointment quickly at the pediatrician and get her first dose in her before dinner - hoping she can still play in soccer game on Saturday.  

6. Because of Elisa's infection, I cannot attend worship team practice, as I had promised
Blessing: I get to cuddle with my kids and pretend they are small again.  When Elisa feels sick, she wants her mommy.  When Wilkin is bleeding, he wants his mommy.  I've been reading books about helping my children transition into responsible pre-teens instead of simply obedient children.  Thinking of the looming tween and teen future sometimes makes my heart ache.  Days like yesterday remind me that I'm still needed - not just for the preparation for their next phase of childhood, but for the current one.  I can still provide tender comfort and they can still fit in my lap.

P.S. Wilkin woke up with a crick in his neck.  He can only look to the left and it hurts to even try to turn his head forward.  Probably either slept on it wrong or really whacked into that kid hard yesterday and gave a jolt to his spine.
Blessing: Our chiropractor is open on Saturdays.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How am I mirroring Jesus to the world?

Our imitation of God in this life ... must be an imitation of God incarnate: our model is the Jesus, not only of Calvary, but of the workshop, the roads, the crowds, the clamorous demands and surly oppositions, the lack of all peace and privacy, the interruptions. For this, so strangely unlike anything we can attribute to the Divine life in itself, is apparently not only like, but is, the Divine life operating under human conditions.
C.S. Lewis, from his book The Four Loves

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Grandma!

By the time you get this email, I will have been through two services at Living Water, singing the special music: "Perfect People" by Natalie Grant.  The lyrics go something like this: 

There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed
and be changed by a perfect God

The sermon is about the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, which sometimes makes me feel guilty about the Mom/Wife/Woman I'm NOT.  Sometimes it challenges me to be a better person, but it always makes me grateful that God's grace is sufficient for me.

The sermon also will have a speaking part for one of my best friends, who is going to talk about how she is working to change her family history and be a better mom than her mom was to her.  Her mother is an alcoholic, and just a couple of months ago, I went to babysit while she and her husband drove to pick up her mom who was too drunk to drive home. I spent that evening thinking about you, Grandma, and how grateful I am that you raised such a powerful woman of God, my mom.  I know you faced adversity in your own home life as a child, and watched imperfect people make a life together and struggle through.  You, yourself, took a broken background and changed my family history.  You raised a daughter who loves the Lord more than anything in her life and strives to follow him wherever he leads.  You raised a daughter who puts her husband second, teaming up with him in ministry and in life.  You raised a daughter who raised her children to love Jesus and family, to be adventurous and independent, while still tethered with the bonds of faith and love.

My friend is struggling to reinvent what family means for her, her husband, and her children.  She is determined to change her family history and raise her daughters in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  I know in the not-so-distant future, her granddaughters may be sending her this same message I am sending you ... a message of gratitude for her faithfulness and determination.

With the help and grace of God, you and Grandpa - two imperfect people from imperfect backgrounds - were the turning point for me and my mom and therefore my own family's history.  Because of you and how you raised my mom, I don't have to struggle with so many challenges my friends face with their own parents, spouses, or children.  I still fall short of that virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 - that passage will forever convict and inspire me to do better - but I see you and Mom all the way through that passage, and I am encouraged that I can achieve that perfection only because of Christ Jesus.

There's no such thing as perfect people
There's no such thing as a perfect life
So come as you are, broken and scarred
Lift up your heart and be amazed
and be changed by a perfect God
Who lived and who died to give new life
To heal our imperfections
So look up and see love and let grace be enough

Be changed by a perfect God
Be changed.

Happy Mother's Day, Grandma.  I love you.
PS: I could have written this just as easily for my Grandma Dorothy Hardenbrook.  She faced so many challenges growing up it devastates me just to think about it.  What she did to overcome that pain and be the woman of God she was is a real inspiration to me.
This is my second Mother's Day without Grandma Hardenbrook, but my gratitude and love for her are still being conveyed through my prayers for my own family every day.  

Monday, May 3, 2010

Elisa's Poem for Isabelle

We have friends who are battling leukemia with their daughter, Isabelle.

As I was preparing my grocery list for today, I turned a page in my notebook and found an acrostic poem written by my 9-year-old daughter after participating in Isabelle's fundraiser:


I love you
Saying "I love you" makes me smile
A warm hug makes me stronger
Being sick is no fun
Everybody is beautiful
Loving to the heart
Like a strong laugh
Eyes of warmth and grace

Sick with cancer
Isabelle Simmons
My life is a painful story
My life is a loving story
Outstanding life
Never the same
Save me Lord
-by Elisa Hatfield

Please pray for Isabelle and her parents, Tabitha and Ben.  More information on Isabelle and how to pray can be found here.

How Not to Talk to Your Kids

My friend Josie sent me this amazing article from New York Magazine by Po Bronson, written in 2007.

Josie is traveling along with me on my journey of home teaching my son, Wilkin, and constantly supporting me with wisdom, tools, and encouragement.  We all know that Wilkin is smart - sometimes too smart for his own good.  But we also know that it's a struggle to help him learn, especially when he doesn't want to.

I'm learning more about him and myself as we travel this journey, and this article was incredibly helpful to me.  It takes a while to read, but I hope it will be as beneficial to you as it was to me.  Maybe, like me, you are you are your child's primary educator.  Maybe you're an engaged parent ... I like to consider myself a co-teacher along with my daughter's fourth grade teacher, even though she is the primary educator of my daughter.  Maybe you're a person like my friend Josie, who is invested in your friends' children because you care very deeply.  If you fit into any of those categories, you'll benefit from How Not to Talk to Your Kids: the Power (and Peril) of Praise.

I welcome your thoughts.