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A New Chapter

Glorious Autumn in the Mountains

Unbelievable that a whole summer has passed by and we are once again looking into the face of autumn. What a face it is this year, glorious russets, reds and yellows splashed against the dark emerald of evergreens. Several times in the last weeks, my breath was taken away by the views on my daily drives. However, this year the autumn is more meaningful to me for some reason.

We recently took son #2 to college (http://www.calbaptist.edu/about/) in California, a LONG ways from home. It was an emotional ride and I am just now beginning to see the reason it was so hard.

When we took our first son to college we took him to the first university I attended, just paces from the dorm I stayed in and loved 30 years ago. His choice in a college was just an hour or so from home.  (http://www.colostate.edu/). So, I did not feel like he was really leaving, just getting a new room in my “other” home. Also, Ft. Collins is on the way to our little motel so I would stop and visit as I went by often.

On the other hand, California is a fer piece from family and hearth. And, it is California, with earthquakes and so many people, twelve lane highways careening at a break neck speeds, and, and…well you get the idea.

In the weeks after we returned from the drop off, I was at our motel alone. Micah (son #3) and Mom-in-love Muff had gone home for school to start and Dave was holding down that fort (poor guy) while I finished the busiest month of the motel and closed her down for winter. I had some time to think and muse on the last 20+ years with my family. The weather was turning to fall, which for some reason always makes me long for home and the days when our kids were young.

Satan attacked with a vengeance, whispering in my ear the lines any mother post launch of a child dreads to hear. Questioning my parenting, our home environment and how we raised them up. For two weeks, I was devastated. I listened to those lies; because in every lie of the enemy there is a thread of truth dating clear back to the garden with Eve. He brought events to mind that I regret over the years and a parade of things I wish I had done differently flashed in my mind, even in my dreams.

Finally, my good friend Charlene called to check on me. I shared with her what was happening. She was there for most of those years and knew the inside story of most all the stories. She immediately identified it as an attack from the enemy. She pointed out that our boys had parents who love them and cared for them. She said we provided all we could and reminded me that GOD will use anything that we did wrong to grow them into the men He will call them to be. She reminded me that GOD is in control not me. She pointed out that most importantly we introduced each of them to JESUS, lover of their souls. What a gift that conversation was. We prayed, and after she hung up, I prayed again. I asked GOD to use any of the things we did wrong, any generational curse we kept going to stop with this generation. I was exhausted, not just from the 16-hour workdays at the motel, but from the emotional roller coaster I had just ridden for weeks.

Autumn is in full swing here and I am back at home. Seeing the beauty GOD creates, I noticed that the backdrop of the dark colored evergreens makes it more beautiful. I am praying as I have for years that our boys remember the good things about their childhoods. I remembered that hidden in the colors of fall and death of the season is the promise of spring and a new chapter in our lives.

The truth that life is but a breath and we are here for such a short ride is becoming more and more obvious to me these days. I am thankful for friends He has placed in my life to help me ride the waves and for the dear children He entrusted to our care so many years ago. AND- I am in constant prayer for ALL OUR CHILDREN, yours too. :0)

Check out this video by Trace Adkins and if you still have babies at home…enjoy every minute. These are the memories you will cherish in years to come.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBDN8yWyNYU

Keeps us humble!

Parenting…it really does keep me on my knees…which is a very good place to be!
Ok. So here is a not so funny antidote about living our lives out before everyone...I failed the other day.

My two sons were in the living room wrestling…if you have boys you may know the drill. The dog barking furiously to help… It always starts out fun, wrestling around on the living room floor, then someone gets their arm bent the wrong way or head bonked on the couch too hard and it turns into WWIII.
Maybe not at your house but almost always at ours.  :0(

I was in the kitchen, trying to make dinner and 1000 other things at the same time. I had asked them to stop several times and when they didn’t, I got angry. Instead of doing the mature thing and going in there to make them stop I proceeded to yell at the top of my lungs about obeying.
At that same moment our dear pastor appeared at our door to pick up his jugs of Kangen water and obviously heard the rucus. He stuck his head in the open screen door and said, “Hey Matthew, get off your brother and help me with these jugs will you?” 
Mortified would be an understatement. Well, having kids has done a wonderful thing for me…it keeps me humble. :0)
May GOD bless you today!

Perceptions

The Elm Street House...35 years later.

We went on a day trip to Cañon City, Colorado where I grew up this week hunting for fossils.  We went to the Royal Gorge  Bridge too. http://www.royalgorgebridge.com/

It was a blast! I love Cañon City.

On our trek we went by a couple of my old houses…ugh. Both the Elm house and the Cedar Street houses were trashed, especially the Elm one. Made me sad as I loved that house.

But 35 years later, they have gutted it and made it into a storage shed for hay. I went inside and was shocked to realize the house was probably only 800 square feet total, maybe less even. I remembered it much bigger! But then I was smaller. :0)

The last time I was by the Elm house, a few years back, all the windows were broken and there was trash everywhere. Matthew our middle child was with me and when we left he said, Mom were you guys really poor when you were growing up?

I was surprised by his question. I told him how wonderful my Mom had decorated that house. She planted flowers and a huge garden.  I shared how great it was to walk down to the river to fish any time we wanted. We had pigs and chickens and a pony named Silver to ride, and a hillside where we found shark teeth fossils right there on our property. We had acres to play on and we even discovered and old dump site from probably a hundred years ago on the property…oh the treasures we dug up from there. I remember an old brown whisky jug we found.

For a kid it was paradise…I didn’t feel poor for a minute. Hardly any of my friends were so blessed to have a pony to ride, the whole river to fish just steps away, and a Dad who liked to take his kids fishing. Autumn there was glorious too, all those yellow cottonwoods. We even had fruit trees and a walnut tree.  Heaven on earth.

Maybe we were poor by the world’s standards but my folks did a great job of making what we had seem wonderful. My mother made holidays magic. Looking back, I now know that she worked her buns off to make it special for us. I wonder if I even appreciated all her hard work. I don’t think I even realized it was her. I have thanked her many times as an adult but I don’t know if I did as a child.

I suppose that anyone who looked at the 5 homes we lived in from the time we moved Cañon City when I was in second grade to when I graduated high school 10 years later might think we were poor. But we didn’t know we were. We had food and parents that loved us and in my book that makes a person rich.

So take heart in these tough economic times. If you are feeling like you aren’t able to provide all the things you would like to for your kids…it is probably better for them anyway.

Just love them and spend time with them and do bunches of things together and they will grow up feeling rich. And while you are at it introduce them to JESUS and they truly will never be poor.

I once heard a story about a wealthy man who took his son to their “poor” cousin’s house to show him how blessed he was to be rich. After the visit the father asked his son what he thought. The son said I see what you mean Dad. We have a swimming pool but they have a river that runs forever. We have a fenced yard and they have the woods and acres and acres to run in. We have a big house and they have a big barn full of animals for pets while we have one dog. They really are rich Dad. Thanks for showing me.

One of my Mom’s signature lines while I was growing up was Bloom Where You are Planted and another was When Life Gives You Lemons~Make Lemonade. She had them posted in our home, but more than that she lived them.

 

I guess it is all about perceptions.