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… lavish some love …

Thanksgiving week is upon us.  To many that means Black and pre-Black Friday. 

But in the truest sense, it is a call to return to a fundamental need of the heart…that of offering praise to something bigger, better, and greater than ourselves…praise to God. 

This will be a very full week because shortly after Thursday, a huge praise event will happen in our family…Titus will return from Afghanistan!  It’s been six long months, and these next few days will be longer. 

I was visiting facebook on Friday, shortly before lunch hour ended.  I noticed the little green dot indicating that Titus was on the system.  I messaged him quickly…no response.   Wait for it …. ugh. 

“Titus PLEASE be on here, I have to go to work soon!”   … “Titus is typing…”

YES!

 “yes! im on!
hi mom!!”

Sweet words!  It’s just been a couple of months since we chatted before, but oh such sweet words.
 
So, after pulling myself together, we had a nice little chat.
 
I am so thankful, even still, for that small amount of time with him.  A small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love. 
And a living lesson that I don’t always have to have a huge slot of time to talk with God.  He does love that too…but so He also loves a small amount of time to connect, to share, to lavish some love.  amen amen amen.
 
Lavish some love today.
 
 

 

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the attitude

A sweet story from the archives.  This is when Erinnae was four, Titus, three.

The thunder came during dinner.

We were all four at the table–Bud, Erinnae, Titus, and me.  At the first burst of lightening, Erinnae was in Daddy’s lap and I had Titus.

Trying for a distraction, after a little while, I said to Titus, “Who made the booms?”  After a pause, he said, “God did.”  And I responded with “Everything God made is good.”

Daddy decided to get Erinnae on board with this diversion tactic, so he asked her, “Who made the booms?”

In exasperation she said, “I don’t want to discuss that right now.”

That was so adult of her.  I know,  it sounds so childish, but in practice that’s what we adults do.

You’re going 52 in a 45; and you ignore Romans 13:1 as it comes to mind.  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorit–” Wait! That was a really bad example…let me think of something that doesn’t apply to me.

Oh yes, Bud and I had a disagreement the other day.  Sometimes he just refuses to see things my way.  So I went to bed–“do not let the sun go down while you are still ang–”

I’m going to try that again.

You would think that standing right there on the ball court, the trained official in the striped shirt would be able to make an accurate call.  That was a travel–“be kind and compass–”

Okay.  So, it’s my issue too.  There is truth sitting right at my doorstep and I pull out the “I don’t want to discuss that right now” attitude.  Don’t bother me with right and wrong, just let me do this my way.

But we are to be sanctified by truth (John 17:17.)  Because of Jesus’ great love we are inspired, motivated and delighted to cooperate with God in the development of a Christlike character in preparation for heaven.  Well, we’re supposed to be, but sometimes we have “the attitude.”

 

Everyone say CHEESE -- ok, just the kids.

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quarterback

Mission Christmas Tree 2010

An extra player on the left--Abigail!

I’m sitting here at this desk, desiring to post something, feeling emotions and words and situations all churning around.  What does one post about when the heart’s ebb and flow are constricted?

I am stuck today on parenting.  This is, in my opinion, the hardest job on the face of the earth.  What are some of my reasons for thinking this?

There is no pattern. The day-to-day, step-by-step instruction sheet was lost on the assembly line of the baby shipping factory.  Or maybe it was an economic decision.  “Hey boss, seems like we have to print out a different set of directions for each model.  Gets kind of expensive.  We could save a lot of money … .  Just sayin’.”

The reality is that what was effective with one child may not be effective with the next.    All parents know that each one is different.  You’d like to tell yourself that they’re growing up in the same home, with the same parents, sharing the same experiences.  And all that “sameness” should gel together for a consistently effective method of parenting.  Think again.

Even though my children declare that they want to be treated the same, I believe that if they actually received this, they would wilt.  God doesn’t treat all his children the same.  I’m pretty certain that He would encourage all parents to know their children and bring them up accordingly.

There is little appreciation. I have to temper this by saying that as some of our children have gotten older, they have at times expressed appreciation of some type or another.  However, the general truth remains that when you’re “in the thick of it” your child will not choose to try to understand your position on the various issues.

You, the parents, are the people on this earth who love that child the most.  (In the normal scheme of things.)  You are the ones who have taken the time to know this child, love this child, nurture this child.  And you want the best for your child.  But that child may be a long way from seeing and understanding this.  Parents should and must act according to the best interests of the child, lovingly, of course.

And this is so hard at times.  I am happy to share that our kids are great kids.  We have issues at times, of course.  So I think that’s what makes it so hard.  It is rare that we have had to make tough decisions in parenting.  So when those decisions come, we are all–parents and children–a little flummoxed on how to wade through the quagmire of strong emotions that result.

There is little companionship. In honor of our children, we parents are willing to walk alone.  We are willing to take the abuse that comes from an uninformed outsider.

Most children have done it.   Comments such as: “Aw, they won’t let me.  I never get to do anything fun.”  You’ve heard your friends children do it to their parents.  And perhaps you’ve disagreed with the parents.  I know I’ve done that, thinking that the parents really should reconsider THAT decision.  (Shame on me.)

I believe it’s called “arm-chair quarterbacking.”  The coach and the quarterback know the plan.  But every sports enthusiast in the nation is watching and re-plotting a better approach–with incomplete data.  The quarterback has to stand behind his decision; the coach has to stand behind his.  And they have to be willing to be misunderstood.  And even abused.

In the world of parenting, I am so glad that I am not the coach.  I have someone with more authority leading me and showing me how to move the ball down the field.  I am the quarterback, doing my best to manage the plays for sweet success.

God is the coach (and so much more.)  He knows the plan and He directs the action.  He expects that the quarterback will do the work effectively, lovingly.  The players might not like the play but the coach works His ways anyway.

As we parents move along in life, striving to move our  teams into a position of success, let us remember that we each have our own battles involving unique personalities and behaviors.  And let us respect the decisions that are played out under God’s watchful care.

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preparing for yesterday

I have to start someplace besides yesterday. Yesterday overshadows everything right now, so I will step back further.

We’re fortunate when we know that something big is about to happen. That allows us time to prepare for the moment. It matters not if the moment is going to be great or awful, the prelude sets the stage. Our prelude was an attempt at creating memories to carry us when the moment became overwhelming.

Several weeks ago, we decided to go tag a tree. Normally early in December, we cut down our Christmas tree, decorate it accompanied by the requisite Christmas music, and savor the experience over a chili supper. But this year isn’t normal, or maybe it’s a new normal. We certainly couldn’t bring a live tree home in October, but we could preserve some of the tradition.

So on that chilly Friday, we bundled up our family plus one, grabbed our doggies and headed out to the farm. At this time of year, the farm is a pumpkin patch offering assorted decorations for fall. The mammoth barn contains a snack area, a huge apple crate full of Jonagold apples for sale individually or by the bushel, and a tricycle track. Numerous bikes, wagons, and big wheels sit in anticipation of the weekend rush of pumpkin pickers to descend on the farm. There is also an amazing “sand” pit where playful children can shovel, bulldoze, and pile dried corn–autumn’s sand.

Our outing skipped right over Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas. We got a map, found the Frasier furs and headed out, armed with our red name tags and a long piece of neon orange marking tape. Spirits high, knee-deep wet grass, we plunged into the field in search of “the tree.” While the experience lacked in the mood of Christmas, the autumn scenery was beautiful. It wasn’t long before our doggies made it known that this excursion was not their idea of fun. They were soon scooped up and zipped into Bud’s and Alethia’s coats, where their shivering subsided.

Dampness began to settle in as I listened to the shouts of “What about this one?” and “That looks like Bullwinkle!” No one really seemed willing to choose a tree and end the experience. I would choose a tree and invariably it would be declared a dud. Traipsing along, I noticed that my jeans were wet almost to my knees and Karissa was starting to shiver. It was obvious that we needed to make a decision.

I pointed to a tree asking “What about this one?” One by one the kids walked around the tree deliberating as they went. “Not too fat, not too short, not too tall, straight trunk, nice top for the angel to rest on, plenty of greenery at the bottom….yeah.” And upon Titus’ declaration, we found our tree. We broke the orange ribbon into pieces and tied them onto the tree and added the name tags. Success!

Back at home, each one enjoying hot pizza and anticipating the fresh baked brownies, we were all content. Our tradition was preserved in a new way and our need to fortify ourselves for the coming moment was fulfilled.

Titus’ departure could have been overwhelming, but the memory of this pleasant prelude now outshines the dreariness that was yesterday.

Tree2009 018Tree2009 015

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This entry, preparing for yesterday, by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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But God

I think I may have an addictive personality.  I have found this blogging place and I’ve got it all set up.  And I mostly just want to plant myself right down in my chair and write and write and write … it’s almost shameful how much I think about writing …

So, I’m working very hard at rationing myself.  I’m not sure from a “blogger’s” standpoint if that is very good…when I don’t post things, people don’t visit the site, and when they don’t visit the site, they forget about the site.  But in the interest of moderation in my life, I am sure that I have to include other activities.

So, today I cleaned the stove.  I swept the kitchen,  packed up some gift boxes for missionary ladies, taught a Bible lesson having made “pigs in a blanket” as the snack to go with the story about the possessed man of Gadarenes…  Just what you wanted to run to Linda’s blog and read about, right?  Hmmm.  Let’s see if I can do a little better than that.

More than twenty-two years ago, I had my first child,  Caleb Lincoln Baker.   I went to work on a Monday morning, left shortly afterward for a doctor’s visit, and had Caleb about lunch time via c-section.  The delivery of our baby that day was not planned, but became urgent upon learning about his breach presentation during the exam.  And my body was already progressing in the delivery process, though I did not realize what I was feeling.

So Caleb was born.  I spent the next weeks recovering from that surgery, learning about being a mom, learning about this precious little guy that was our very own blessing from God.  We enjoyed so many tender moments and, like most new parents, toughed it through the difficult night time summons.  It was all part of the joy of parenting.  Never would we have chosen anything different.

But God. . .you know, that might be a good Bible study, searching through the scriptures where we see the phrase “but God”.  There is a world of meaning in two little words.  In some cases, an eternity of meaning in those words.

In our case, it was an eternity.  Never would we have chosen anything different, but God had other plans.  We nurtured Caleb for a full six weeks before God decided it was time for Caleb to leave us.  That time in my life was surreal.  And that time holds memories of the greatest manifestation of God and His grace for me.

I am thinking about the day my son left for eternity for obvious reasons.  My second son is leaving soon.  Not, as I am aware, for eternity but for his initial foray into the world as an adult.  The Air Force will occupy the next four years of his professional life, and it all begins on November 2.

I have spent years learning how to be a mother to this very special blessing from God.  We all know there are hard times, but there are very special times as well. 

The time that he saw a turtle in the parking lot–that turned out to be a rock. 

The time he worked in the garage making me a coffee table.  He was only eight and the legs of the table are only sawed-off two by fours, but he made it and I still have it. 

The times loading up on the sleigh and sledding down the hill trying to pass the mailbox.

The time he cried because of the unfairness of the hard things in our lives.

The time he prayed to ask Jesus to be his Savior.

The time I found a whole collection of … well, I guess I should keep some secrets.

I’m paging through all of these moments and am thankful for each of them.  Every parent says it…no one ever believes it will happen to them.  But the time slipped away so quickly, where did it go?

And here he stands, this young man with a sensitive heart, a grand sense of justice, and a unique sense of humor, on the threshold of the next thing.

With the leaving of my first son, I had no choice and I have no concerns about him.

With the leaving of my second son, I have no choice.  And my concerns?  I choose to cast all my anxieties on the Lord.  I know that in the days ahead, God will manifest His amazing grace as He helps Titus on his way, and helps me to adjust.October 09 026

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Havenlife by Linda A. Baker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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