Monday, April 30, 2012

He Made It.

I'll be there.  He promised.  He had thirteen grandchildren and was going to make it to each of our high school graduations.  Some people set goals of running a marathon.  Or reading a book list.  Or saving up for a house.  Personal and somewhat selfish goals.

My Grandpa's goal was focused on his grand-kids.  A statement of his commitment to us.  An example of how proud he was to be our Grandpa.

I had begged God to let him live to fulfill that last wish.  But he didn't make it to my little brother's... the youngest Grandchild.  He died at the beginning of his senior year.

The pain of having to say goodbye to someone you love never goes away. Not a goodbye, see ya later. But a Goodbye. With a capital "G".  The kind that is forever - until heaven.

I was reminded last night of my last moments with my Grandpa.  My dad called me and told me this was it.  He asked if I wanted to talk to him.  He couldn't talk back, but I could ramble endless amounts of babble into his ear if I wanted.

Talk to him?  What do you say to someone when you know it's your last chance to talk to them on Earth?

"I love you" doesn't seem enough.

My dad has the phone to my Grandpa's ear.  I can tell from the heavy breathing and otherwise deafening silence.

Grandpa?  I manage to get that out.  I just want you to know that I love you.  I'm so proud to be your granddaughter.  I'm his favorite - he's told me.   That you are my hero.

Except I never got to finish.  In the middle of my sentence, I hear my dad on the phone.  I'm angry.  Upset that my dad got to hear the last words meant for my Grandpa and I break down in serious ugly cries.

I'm not ready, dad.  I wasn't finished.   My dad reassures me that Grandpa heard me.  That he laid his hand over his heart and tapped it a few times as if to gesture the endless amount of love he felt for me.

And then we hang up.  And I wrestle on the floor of my room - 1,500 miles away - with the closing of a chapter.  It feels too final.  Too finished.

I never got to go to the funeral and wondered if my goodbyes said on the phone were enough.  But, somehow writing this (with tears streaming down in the middle of this crowded Starbucks) makes me feel closer to him.  Like the punches of the keyboard are going straight to heaven.  And I'm able to immortalize him for one last time.

My Grandpa loved purple martins.  He put up houses for them in his front yard - homes for these beautiful creatures that come to stay in the summer time.  After my dad put up a house in our own yard, they became the source of most conversations on the phone.

Any Martin's yet?  My Grandpa would ask.  And there never were.  They'll come.  They'll come.  He would reassure us.

And come they did.  Every single summer since he died.

I remember when I saw my first one apart from the floods that came to my Grandpa's house.

We were hot and sticking to our chairs listening to name after name be read over the loudspeaker.  I was in a bored trance until the list of names started to reach the letter "M" for Murphy.  It was almost my brother's turn to cross over the stage that makes you into an adult when my mom gasped.  My dad pointed and we see a beautiful purple martin gliding down low.  Right across the sea of graduating seniors.

 My Grandpa made it.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Sweet Dreams, my love.

I'm learning to love the night time.  I'm learning to slow down as I tuck him in.  I've been told by a few weathered mothers that the traditional "tuck-in time" should not be rushed as those can be the moments of tremendous growth and times of heart to hearts.

So, I'm practicing.  And while most of our chats in the twinkle-lighted room are still about Superheroes and Yo Gabba Gabba, I know that I'm starting to pave way for an open space of truth.  A place where fears can be shared and moments relived.

I snuggle up to him and he asks, Want to go night-night on my bed, momma?  

I resist that anxious feeling of freedom that lingers beyond his closed door.  The time I get from 8pm - 11pm all to myself.  These, right here, are the moments that I won't have forever.  The snuggle times.  The wide-eyed questions.  I'm dreading the day that I'm not even allowed in his room.

So, I stay.  I snuggle.  I chat about the day.  He tells me about his favorite movie.

Then asks me a question - like a full blown adult.  He asks what my favorite movie is.  And I smile because we are getting to know each other.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Doily Crafts and Decor

A quick look around my home will show a love for all things doily.  Yes, the delicate lace once used underneath lamps and on the back of lazyboy chairs.

Not anymore.  I bring you my latest doily craft along with a round up of 11 modern ways to use doilies in your home.

 I was sending a letter inside a package and thought the envelope was too plain.  It was.  So, I took a paper doily that used in Clara's Pinterest Inspired Birthday Party and laid it over the corner of the white envelope.  Using a thin Sharpie, I traced inside each of the holes.  A short few minutes later, I had a sweet embellished envelope.

 Much cuter.

Here are a few more ideas for how to decorate and craft using doilies from some of my blogging friends.  They sure aren't your Grandma's decor anymore!

Doily Frame, Footstool, Flower Pin, Candle Holders, Wreath, Doily Pillow

  A few from around my house...

Doily Wrapped Prayer Cards, JOY letters, Spray Painted Donut Boxes, Framed Doilies

Seen any good ones on Pinterest?


PS - I'm introducing myself over on PB&J Stories today.  She has a great ETSY shop full of wonderful handpainted wood signs.  Swoon...  see?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Healing Rain

I don't remember exactly what I had done to make me feel this way.  But something that night of my junior year in college made me feel ugly.  Gross.  Dirty.

All I remember is waking up the next morning, sitting by my living room window with my journal and begging God for some rain.  Some healing rain.  Some heavy rain.  Rain that would drop so hard on my face that after one minute of being in it, I would be thoroughly drenched.

I imagined myself out in the middle of it.  Head tipped back.  Arms stretched out.  Pound after pound of each raindrop hitting so fast that I have to close my eyes and instinctively open my mouth.  I can't hear anything except that rain.  And no one else is there.  But I feel clean.  I feel refreshed in a way that a shower can't accomplish.  Because this rain - this cleansing - comes from heaven.

One more glance out the window of my living room assures me that there is no rain.  Not even a sign of rain.  No chance.

Defeated, I pack up my bag and head out the door to another day of student teaching.

The radio is on and life stops as I realize the song is about rain.  Not just that song, but the next one, too!  Every song on the radio as I drove those 10 miles to my 6th grade classroom was about rain.

God HAD sent me rain - in the form of song.  To tell me that I was clean.  I was perfect.  I was His.

And He was listening.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Lessons from the Playground {Part 1}

I have a feeling we will be spending lots of time at the playground this summer. And since I just got a new lovely to play around with, I thought it would be the perfect time to take the camera off Auto and start shooting in Manual.  {yes, I'm scared... but surprisingly happy with most of my images}

So, I have thousands of shots.  {yes, thousands - thank goodness for digital and the delete button}.  Enough to bring you a ten part serious on the playground alone.  You'll indulge me in oohing and aahing over them with me, right?  {I'm kidding about that ten part series... probably just five}.

Today we'll focus on the swings.   Hey... maybe you'll get a new idea for a photo angle {if you're a wanna be momtog, like me}. 

There is something about a swing that is relaxing and freeing for both the pusher and the swinger.  The swings are relatively safe.  I don't have to worry about treacherous ladders, steep slides, or rambunctious 15 year olds that shouldn't be on the kid's playground.

And for the swinger - they are solitary.  They are predictable.  They defy gravity.  And they are way more enjoyable while wearing a Dinosaur Hoodie.

You can be with someone, but in your own world at the same time while on a swing.  My definition of bliss.

Jonah's first time on the swing always starts this way.  I don't even think he has ever seen anyone do this - he just instinctively knew it would be fun.  I envision a face plant each time he chooses this position.  So far, so good.

Clara is the age Jonah was when I had her.  Practically a baby.  I would NEVER have planned to have her when we did.  But, I can't imagine life any different now.  15 months apart is perfect for us.  While one has no hair, and the other could afford a hair cut every week, their spunk feeds off each other.  Their excitement for life - for swings - is fresh and tangible.

Approaching the swings.  Clara is screaming her war cry of excitement and Jonah is intent... focused on the goal.  A perfect picture of their ever budding personalities.

Until part 2...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

5 Practical Ways to Pray for the World

In our home, Superheroes may be pretty popular.  The handsome looks of Spiderman and Wonderpets are hard to ignore.  This is all fine and dandy to me - the fact that my kids idolize superheroes.  {I even bought them both capes to fuel their fire.}

But the REAL superheroes in my mind are the missionaries of this world.  The people who leave everything behind to show others in far away places that Jesus can be everything to them.

These are the real life superheroes that I want my kids to idolize.  The ones I want my children to be inspired by and hope to be like when they grow up.

The best way that I know how to do this is to start surrounding them with ideas and life from outside our little city. 

So, I bring you: 5 Practical Ways to Pray for the World.

1. A few years ago, I bought this book: Portraits by Steve McCurry.  It's an amazing book filled with striking images of people around the world.  I often let my kids look through it and marvel at the creativity our God had in creating people.

Prayer idea:  Pray for the people in each photo as a representation of the people in their native country.

This picture is from awhile ago when Jonah had to wear his helmet.

2. Use your natural home decor style to remind you of God's heart for people and the world.  You saw the interchangeable wreath I made last week.  Well, I found a permanent home for her.  In between a J and a Y - found at Joann Fabrics.  {I simply added a doily to each letter by spraying it with adhesive spray and pressing the doily firmly down.  Then trimmed around the edges.}

It {obviously} spells JOY.  And I purposely put it next to my map wall art because I want to be reminded that God wants "JOY to the World" all year round - not just at Christmas!

Prayer Idea:  Pick a different country on the map each day to pray that God's peace and JOY would rule over the hearts of the people.

Tutorial on how I made the map wall art here.

3. Today, I noticed the words "made in Madagascar" written on the tag of my little one's shirt.  She was snuggling me after her nap {such a sweet time} when I noticed it.  Many thoughts ran through my head.  I wondered what the conditions of the factory were.  I hoped the workers were getting a fair wage.  I almost became irate at the thought of me supporting something that might not be treating others with respect.

Then God spoke to my heart:  Pray for the countries where your clothes are made.  Check out your labels - I think you'll be surprised how many different countries are represented. 

Prayer Idea:  Look at the label of your clothing before putting it on each morning and pray for the country where you item was made throughout the day.

4.  Use the book Operation World to open your eyes to the specific needs of each country.  Their website highlights a different country and their specific prayer needs every day.  And an entire list of free prayer resources to help guide you.

Prayer Idea:  Sign up to receive their daily email that highlights a prayer point for a specific country and pray for that country over breakfast.  If you have kids, show them where the country is on the map as you pray for them.

5.  Use globes in your home decor.  The more the merrier.  Vintage, big, small, broken, dirty, new - they all are such masterpieces and reminders of how small we really are.

Prayer Idea:  Spin the globe and pray for wherever your finger lands!  You might find some "new" countries by doing this!  {Use the Operation World book to look up specific prayer needs of the country you land on!}

I'd love to hear any more ideas/resources you use to pray for God's people of the world, too!  What an honor we have to pray for those halfway across the world.  It's powerful.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What I Want my Kids to Remember {perseverance}

Sometimes the tasks you choose to attempt seem impossible to me.  Sometimes the task doesn't make much sense.

But this is what you want.  And you are determined to finish it.

But I love that you ask for help.  Always know that it's ok.  We are all made to need each other.  Needing each other is not a sign of weakness.

Because one way or another, you always seem to finish what you set out to do.

This image has been entered into the 12 Days of Mommy Moments {Day/Prompt #10}

And your sense of pride and accomplishment are pure joy to witness. 

Keep on keeping on Little Love.  You want to put that hanger in your shirt while you're still in it?  I'm behind you all the way.  No telling you that's silly.  I want to help you embrace your feats.  To climb to the tops of the mountains {or the dining room chair}.  To swim across oceans {or get your hair wet in the bathtub}. 

This momma is here to help you become and do what you were created to do.  Let's roll!  {or hang?}

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Inspired by Family Magazine

Friday, April 13, 2012

Just You and Me

He takes the kids to the park and I'm left alone.  The house is quiet, but the dishes need done, so I turn it on.  And it plays.  And my heart screams with joy.

"Take my heart, I lay it down at the feet of you who's crowned"

My eyes close and I uncontrollably sing.  Hands wet with soapy water from the endless pit of dishes, my mind goes empty.  Empty with everything except Him.

"Take my life, I'm letting go.  I lift it up to You who's throned "

I almost didn't turn the music on.  I almost just sat at the computer and looked at the endless amounts of inspiration that overflows the Internet.  I almost didn't listen to that small voice that whispered, "meet with ME."

"Meet with Me over a sink full of dishes - I don't care."  And I have never felt more connected.  Because whenever my heart is connected, it's just me and Him.

The dishes are suddenly done, I realize that my heart is FULL.  Why don't I do all my mundane tasks in the presence of Him?

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