Tuesday, May 28, 2013

No greater love

"Greater love has no one than this: 

to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13

Taken in D.C. last summer at the Washington Monument by me. 

As I reflect on this Memorial Day, I am reminded of those who have given their lives not merely for their friends but for strangers, for me. I am thankful for their sacrifice. I am thankful for their example of thinking of others before themselves. I am thankful they had vision for the future generations that would benefit by their courage.Two friends are serving on active duty right now.

Thank you to all the veterans who have served for our country and to their families that also surrender their own desires for others.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Seven minutes ago OR lots of change around here lately

Son, 13, runs half-marathon (13.1 miles) with dad
One year later, son almost meets dad eye-to-eye

My, oh my, how much things can change in a year. I don't think so much physical change has happened in my children since they went from newborn to one year old as it has this past year. Sometimes my children wake up in the morning and I think, "You look like you've grown." And now I realize, "They have!"  My young boy has turned the corner to young man. I wouldn't trade it but it still takes me by surprise when I hear his voice or his steps around the house and think that it's my husband. Nope, my son.

These two pictures were taken almost exactly one year apart. Do you see how my son is well-under my husband's arm? And now their shoulders are almost even? ?

Every time I think I have embraced the change fully; I notice something new. His changes startle me. Wow! How did this happen? Years ago I was standing in line at the post office with my newborn son. It was a loooong line. A woman said to me, "It seems like 7 minutes ago that my children were that young." I had had a lot of people remark how quickly the time goes, but 7 minutes? Seven minutes ago she had been standindg where I had been in line at the post office. I thought her exaggeration was a bit ridiculous.

But now, I think, 7 minutes ago my children were little.

Over the weekend we hosted a teen night at our house. We made over 10 homemade pizzas. As I was making those pizzas I reflected on a shopping trip that I had at the grocery store with three under three. A woman at the store commented about how she missed those times with her little ones. We kept bumping into one another throughout the store and even ended up loading our groceries into our cars side-by-side. I was an exhausted young mother, tired of people saying enjoy this while it lasts, so I asked her what she missed. She said, "the hugs and kisses and snuggles. Don't get me wrong. It's still fun. We're having a bunch of friends over tonight for a soccer party. But I miss those days." As I was making ten home-made pizzas, it reminded me of all those hotdog buns into the car. Holy Smokes! They weren't kidding when they said it would feel like just seven minutes ago they were snuggling on my lap begging for me to read them one more story. Now, I'm hosting bunches of their friends over to my house just like that lady at the grocery store.

Now it seems like just 7 minutes ago, I was holding them in the post office line or at the grocery store with three littles. If the last 14 years are any indication of how quickly time flies, I can only imagine how the next 4 years will go by. And then the first one will fly the nest. Just as they came quickly, they will fly out of my nest one, two, three. My heart can hardly stand it....so since I cannot slow down time. I must try & savor the here and now.

Levi & Kip, two of my favorite men!

Linking with Jen .

Monday, May 6, 2013

How looking outside my kitchen window taught me something about faith

A few weeks ago just outside my kitchen window, the bright pink blossoms of the Japanese Magnolias sang the song of eternal hope, swaying to the rhythm that soon all will be beautiful, and glorious -- just like them. I  welcomed the song because grayness was settling ever deeper into my soul after a long journey of unique circumstances. Each time I looked outside the window, I delighted in the cheerful blooms and my heart became lighter.

This lasted only a few days.

A late spring frost descended. At first, the flowers survived. But after a second frost and more cold days, the beautiful pink blossoms died an early death. They sang their song of hope for less than a week.

Drab, dreary brown, crumpled blossoms took their place. This was much worse than the winter gray that had stared at me for months. The crumpled brown mocked my hope in the glorious, eternal spring song that the pink had just begun to sing.

The new view depressed me.

Just as the pink declared hope; the crumpled brown yelled, "Don't get your hopes up.You'll never find a new normal. It will never get better." 

Pink tree blossoms of hope crashed down into a flurry of crumpled brown before I could even write a blog post about it! 

Then, I looked at the tree with dead flowers. It looked bleak but the truth is that I knew that the tree wasn't dead.

The buds were turning into green leaves. Only the over-the-top flowers were dead. The tree itself was alive. I can't always judge the real work that is happening by only observing the outside of the tree.

A lesson of faith was just outside my kitchen window. I need to walk by faith, not by sight. Though it looks dead because of the dead flowers, the tree itself is still alive.

After a little time, green began to grow -- the steady green of late spring. It is not as glorious as unique, pink blossoms but certainly way better than crumpled brown.

Now when I look outside my kitchen window I see mostly green even though the crumpled brown is still there.  With the eyes of faith, I'm learning to trust that there is life even when I can't see it.

 Deep, true growth is hard to see. That is why I must walk by faith, not by sight.Walk steadily in the days of green while I continue to trust that in due time, the pink will come again with its glorious song of hope..

"We live by faith, not by sight." II Corinthians 5:7
Linking with Jen & Emily.
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