Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I'm Not Crazy

Ok, so maybe I am a little bit.
Or a lot.
Alright, stop yelling at me!
I admit it, I am crazy!
I mean I must be.
I like my kids.
I enjoy being around my kids.
I have fun with my kids.
I go to kids camp with my kids......
And here is where the crazy comes in....
plus 40 more kids.

I suppose that on some level I am still a kid at heart. What other reason could there be for going to stay in a large cabin with 12 other adults and 41 kids?
And here's the kicker...the really crazy part...
Actually enjoying it and going back year after year!

Church Kids Camp 2011-Kickin' it Old School, was a great success and a lot of fun.
My kids only go for 4 days/3 nights, but I tell you we pack a lot into that time.
We take kids from our church and combine with another church to have about 40 kids.
I absolutely love the format we do camp in. We stay at a YMCA camp, and we all stay in one big "cabin". Girls upstairs, boys downstairs, with a large common area downstairs as well.
I love the camaraderie that is built doing it this way and all staying together.
Is it loud? Yes.
Is it crazy? Yes.
Do adults sometimes want to give some kids a round house kick? Yes.
But wow, the fun!
We have our own chapel time, pool time, lake time, canoe time, game time, eating time, movie time, craft time, small group time, devotion time, and for a few precious hours we even have sleep time.

So why do I go? Why do I do this camp thing?
Because I love investing that time into the lives of my kids and the 39 other kids that are there.
One of the things I have always tried to do as a parent is to be an intentional parent.
I want my kids to grow up knowing that they can trust me, count on me, have fun with me, be sad with me, be mad at me, forgive me, learn with me, grow with me, serve with me, and genuinely navigate this life with me.

To me, part of doing all of those things involves me really knowing my kids.
I love watching my kids grow and learn and seeing them develop in all areas of their lives.
I love watching them grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
I firmly believe, and as the kids get older I believe this even more, that parents are God's sanctification tool for our kids. And really vica versa. Nothing sanctifies me more than my marriage and kids.
I believe that God gives us many unique opportunities in our parenting to point our kids hearts towards Christ, towards their need for the gospel.
These are beautiful moments. Sometimes they don't feel very profound or obvious, but then other times, they seem huge and the weight of them takes your breath away.
Both are beautiful in their own right.

And because of this, I go to kids camp.
I don't go to check up on my kids or make sure they are safe.
As a matter of fact, I make a very concerted effort to not "parent" them when we are there.
I don't remind them to pick up their clothes, or brush their teeth, or put on sunblock.
I treat all the kids at camp the same and lump my kids right in their with them.
I DO go though because I love to see my kids in action.
This is one of the ways that I really get to know my kids.
I see their strengths and their weaknesses.
I see what makes them tick.
I see where they are spiritually.
I see where the rubber is meeting the road.
And in seeing these things, I better know how to relate, deal, train, do life, with these kids God has given me.

Every year that I have gone to camp with one or both of the kids, God has given me great opportunities.
One, there is always the opportunity to laugh! We laugh a lot at kids camp!
I love that thus far the kids love me to be there and aren't embarrassed by me.
They think I am crazy and they love to laugh with me.
I loved this year having Lana and her friends wanting me to sit with them at every meal and calling us the cool table.
I loved being summoned up to a room of 12 girls to tell stories to them and have them make up and tell me silly stories in return.
I loved being swarmed in the pool by kids wanting to play and have fun.
I loved comforting kids by making them laugh when they thought they were hurt.
I loved playing games with the kids and ok-yes- I enjoyed beating them ;)

I loved doing all those things not only with my kids but the other kids.
In just a few short years these kids may all grow into teenagers and think I am the biggest dork out there. But I hope and pray that the investment I have tried to make in their lives will keep the doors open with them.
I don't claim to nor think that I have all the answers. I don't think I am particularly good at giving advice. But I do pray that spending these years with all these kids just doing something as simple as loving them through laughter, will keep the lines of communication open and that through all of it they will see that I love them and want to see them grow in their relationships with the Lord.

Number 2-which really I should list as number 1- in my list of awesome camp opportunities, is the talks we get to have about God and growing in Him.
I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that our Christian walk is this easy walk in the park/go to camp, deal. I want to see them struggle. I don't like to see them struggle, but we would all be missing out if their were no struggle. They need to wrestle with their sin. They need me to help wrestle it with them. Believe me, being a sleep deprived & competitive kid at camp will bring that wrestling match up quick fast and in a hurry. And this is where God gives me another one of His divinely appointed parenting sanctification moments.
Talking through hurt, disappointment, confusion of feelings, misplaced anger, and helping my child see through the lens of the Gospel in all of those emotions...well, its better than all the laughter and the silliness of camp.
This is why I go. To allow God to sanctify me and my children.
I am fully aware when I am pointing my child towards Christ that it is Him working in me and my heart.
I will be full on honest. Sometimes these talks make we lose my mind. I just want to yell, "Do you realize how stupid you are being?!" "Why can't you just listen to me?!" "Do we have to talk about this now?!" Sometimes I just want to lay on the ground and play possum.
When I am trying to help my child deal with their own flesh, I am still dealing with mine.
BUT GOD, being rich in mercy, demonstrates His love for me, and my child, loving us, making us alive because of Christ, bestowing grace upon us that we do not deserve, and preparing us for His purpose, allowing us in those moments to both be transformed and brought more to His image.

I love what God does for my kids at camp. I love that God allows me to walk that path with my kids. I sincerely hope and pray that I am able to do that for many more years.
I am not naive enough to think that I will go on every sort of camp or missions trip type journey with my kids. I know that as they get older, some they will go on their own and God will use other people in their lives. I am thankful for the people He has put into their lives now to help them grow and learn more about Him.
I am so thankful for this time in their lives that God is allowing me to be a part of.
In so many ways I feel ill equipped to be their mother and know that it is the Spirits work in my life that is carrying me through and getting through to them in the first place.

So there you have it.
I'm not crazy.
I'm just a Mom.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It touched Me

Several weeks ago was our VBS.
I love VBS and I love directing it.
It is a lot of work, but I believe in the ministry and I believe in the fruits that God grants from the ministry.
VBS is a lot of work. A LOT!
One of the things that takes up my energy during that week is doing the opening and closing time every night.
The opening introduces the truths for the day and sets the tone for the rest of the night, and the closing is supposed to wrap up all the truths learned from the day.

On the 2nd night of VBS, I got in the car with my family after it was all done and was feeling very frustrated. The closing time wasn't going how I thought it should. With being outside under a tent, and close quarters, I was feeling the chaos. I was feeling like I had no control over the closing time, and that it wasn't serving its wrap up all the truths learned from the day. To close the day in songs of worship.
So on the drive home that night I complained to my husband. I complained that I wasn't doing something right. That I didn't have control over the closing, and that I was frustrated with myself.

And then God like He does so many times in my life, used one of my kids to touch me.
We got home, got showered, and got settled, and Logan came to me wanting to talk and showing so much sincerity and concern that I wasn't sure what was going on.
He then proceeded to tell me what a great time he was having at VBS and how he loved to learn more about God in that setting.
He told me he couldn't believe that I was frustrated at the way things were going because he thought it was going really well.
He told me "I was really surprised to hear on the way home that you were frustrated because you would never be able to tell that when you are up there talking to all us kids."

It made my heart happy to hear all these things.

But then.....
He told me, "It amazes me how God made you. God gave you a gift for VBS. I love how God made you because you are amazing to me."

It was one of those parenting moments that gets etched into your brain. I love how God uses my kids to show me His love for me. I love to see the way the He is working in my kids and how He uses me as a Mother to show His love to them.

Needless to say, I chilled out about the closing for the next 3 nights.
And you know what? I think the last 3 nights went much better.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No Appropriate Title

There are no real words to convey all that is going on inside this brain of mine these days.
I cannot give an appropriate title to this post because none of what we have witnessed in these past few weeks has been appropriate.
The trials of the past 4 weeks have been nothing but the results of us living in this sinful and fallen world that we live in.
We have seen the depravity of man display itself in the most tragic of deaths. We have seen "Mother Nature" unleash its tole resulting in unimaginable destruction.

As I sit and try to process the events of the past few weeks, I am sometimes speechless.
I sometimes have a lot to say, but don't have the guts to say it.
Other times I cry for the lives that have been touched and forever changed.
But mostly I think about how it all fits.
What is God trying to teach me?
Why has He in His infinite wisdom allowed this past month to be filled with so much turmoil? Why did He bring people into our lives for such a short time only to be heartbroken by their choices?
Why why and more why?

In the broad sense I know the answer. For HIS glory.
But in the general sense, I have to process through how it is gloryfying to Him for a 3 year old to be beaten to death and a grown man to take his own life?
I can look at little pieces and see His mercies, but seeing the bigger picture is where none of it makes sense.

I am a firm believer in God's sovereignty. I believe that He is in control over every circumstance. I believe that all things work together for those who are called according to His purpose.
I believe these things and count them to be true...
But I still have a lot to process.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What will she be?

This picture was taken back in December when we were in Charlotte, NC.
Lana, who is named in part, after my Grandmother Margaret, wanted to go visit her grave and take flowers as well.
It was a sweet memory.

After taking some time to find the actual grave, we found that my Grandmothers was surrounded by graves with flowers while hers had none. This touched my girl. We lifted the vase and placed the flowers in it. Then we just stood there and talked. She wanted to know about the funeral (Grandmother died when I was 11 and it was also in December). She wanted to know if Grandmother would like her. She was curious about how later Paw-Paw will be buried in the same place. Lots of questions, but so sweetly asked.

I love that it is important to her that her middle name is Margaret. Even though she never met her, it seems that she feels some sort of kinship with her having shared the name.
I love that is was important to her to go and see where she is buried and to take flowers there to be sure she had some.
I love that us doing that was the most important thing on her agenda for that trip. I had to promise and then reassure that promise repeatedly.

3 months later, today, we went and visited another grave. This was the grave of her friend Ms. Eloise.
Ms. Eloise was 88 years old and died last July.
In December Lana had some Christmas money and used it to buy flowers for her grave.
We finally were able to go today and because we were able to go, it makes me wonder....

What will my sweet Lana be when she grows up?

I am amazed at the sensitivity that my 8 year old has towards elderly people and death.
Lana loved Ms. Eloise. She was a sweet little lady that had Alzheimer's, and loved the kids of our church with all her heart. She always had a quarter for Lana. Her sweet husband always made sure she had quarters to give out. Lana didn't love Ms. Eloise because she gave her quarters. She never kept them anyway, but put them in the offering plate.
Lana just loved Ms. Eloise. There was a connection she felt to that I did not realize the depth of, until today.

We spent lots of time today by Ms. Eloise's grave today talking about God, and death, and Heaven.
It was another of those awesome opportunities that God gives us to speak the Gospel to our children.

We then spent some time picking up flowers around the other graves and carefully putting them back into vases. It bothers Lana that flowers have fallen out and nobody has picked them up.
It bothers her that there are too many graves that don't have flowers and that they need to mow the grass.
She was careful to walk around the graves and not step on the places where they are buried because that is somebodies loved one.
She is sensitive to death. She is sensitive to those that death leaves behind.

What will she be someday?

Will she be a person that goes to random graves and pulls the weeds and leaves flowers instead?
Will she go to nursing homes and sit and have tea parties with little old ladies?
Will she work at a funeral home and comfort people in their hour of need?

After we picked up all the flowers, Lana asked if we could go back and spend more time with Ms. Eloise.
She then sat by her grave with one lone tear drop on her face and asked if she could have a few minutes alone.
It was the most touching thing you could see an 8 year old do.
I will never forget that moment.

Whatever Ms. Eloise's role in Lana's life was while she was alive, her role in her death has had a profound impact on me as a Mother. I have seen a love and sensitivity that I did not know an 8 year old was capable of. I have also been given one more opportunity to talk to my daughter about the great mysteries of Godliness. About life, death and God's glory in it all.

What will she be someday?
I don't know the answer to that question, but by God's Grace I know she will be something beautiful for Him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What happens when...

You have an endoscopy and your husband and children are there when you wake up?
Well I'll tell you. They laugh at you.
I know right...can you believe that?! How rude!

Here's the thing about these types of procedures. One minute you're talking to the nice nurse about homeschooling and her children, and my children...and then the next minute, she's put something into your IV and you realize she is ready for you to shut up. What nice nurse? I thought we were having a nice conversation! I mean, you were nice, and are in the medical field and did not indeed tell me as another medical professional did that I should give up on the whole homeschooling thing.
I will forgive her however, because, how was the Dr supposed to slip a camera down my throat if her and I are chit chatting.

I do love that feeling when those sleepy drugs kick in and you suddenly just dont care about anything. All is right with the world. Despite the fact that the Dr wants to look inside your stomach.

The waking up part. Well thats just weird. I think I remember a nurse helping me put my clothes on. I'm hoping it was a nurse anyways and not some crazy dude from upstairs with a video camera. If you see anything on youtube, immedietly click the X and run away.

I think I remember my husband and children coming in too.
I thought I was doing pretty well. I asked what time it was. I asked if the kids had finished their language arts.

Then I proceeded to ask those same questions again 4 times each in a span of 6 minutes.

Ok, so maybe I just need to sleep.
Well thats working well, even if it is one of those weird coming in and out of sleep.
At least I'm not repeating myself anymore.

But wait! Stacy is talking about eating Squid! I do not want to eat squid! What is he thinking?!

I sit up.
"I don't want to eat squid."

Children stop, mid sentence of their conversation to watch their crazy mother and hear more about the squid.

Husband- "I did not say anything about eating squid."
Me- "Ok, but I don't want to eat squid."
Husband- "Yes baby, nobody said anything about eating squid."
Me- "Somebody said something about eating squid and I don't want to."
Husband - ~snicker snicker~ and also wishing he would have pulled out his video phone in time for this exchange- "Ok sweetie."

Children giggle. Why are the children giggling at their mother. And did they do their language arts? What time is it?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

25 Things You Maybe Never Wanted to Know

1. I don't like monatany, but am reluctant to change.

2. I always have an opinion, you just don't always get to hear it.

3. I sure do try to find something positive about everyone. Some people just make that harder than others.

4. I think I would just about rather do anything than clean the shower. Anything but eat mayonaise that is.

5. I am mildly obsessive when it comes to buying fall and spring clothes for the kids. I have to have a plan and over analyze my purchases.

6. I want to adopt a little Guatemalan baby. My sister thinks I need a chinese baby.

7. I gag easily and hate hair balls or clumps of hair. I once threw up at a camp when confronted with a hair ball in the shower.

8. Sin is my biggest problem. Or, my lack of overcoming sin is my biggest problem.

9. I can't stand chaos.

10. I like to be organized but have a hard time staying that way.

11. I mull things over for long periods of time. Ask my husband. He loves it.

12. I always thought I wanted only boys. Can't even imagine life without LanaLou.

13. I used to be a lot more out going than I am now.

14. Listening to the sounds of video games is like the sound of nails on the chalkboard to me.

15. There is a sound, and I can't describe it, but its a certain material, and when it is rubbed, I get the goose bumps and feel like I will die. I actually feel that way just typing about it.

16. I need to know who sings a song that I am listening too. This is why I love Pandora.

17. Toilet paper over the roll. If you like it under, I think your Mother must not have potty trained you correctly.

18. Right now I like the color blue. Like Robins Egg blue. I want to paint a room that color, but it would make no sense in the rest of my house.

19. I want to lose 30 lbs. Sigh.

20. I need my space.

21. I don't understand why Aaron is spelled with 2 a's or Lloyd with 2 L's.

22. I like the idea of being an Ingalls or a Walton, but in reality, probablly wouldn't last 2 days.

23. I'm more in love with my husband than I show. I should fix that.

24. Sometimes I feel like Bob, from the movie "What about Bob".

25. Maybe there really aren't 25 things I want you to know.

Friday, February 18, 2011


After being yelled at for not maintaining my blog, (not really) I suddenly realized how much I miss blogging and how much I miss reading my friends blogs.
Which brings me to my next point.

I love having friends.
I love having true, meaningful, not pretentious, no hoop jumping, there for you, understanding, gracious, loving, funny, encouraging, Gospel loving, friends.

Not to take away from people that have made real and genuine friends on the WWW, but I sure am thankful for my real life-getting together frequently friends.

There is nothing like the sweet communion of true friendship.
Thank you friends for loving your imperfect friend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Much Neglected Blog

I have neglected my blog again. I'm sorry plates a spinning. Guess I've just been spinning my plates and have forgotten to include you in that.

Several things I need to blog about for the sake of remembering.
Soon to come:
Trip to Colorado
Snow day

I'm gonna just blog about these things and maybe you will forgive me dear blog.