Monday, August 11, 2014

Camping and Car Rides

We rolled into town about 10pm last night after being on the road since about 10:30 that morning. . .

after being on our family vacation for 9 days . . . 6 of them that were spent camping.


You learn a lot about each other when you spend that much time together.


It's easy to post pictures on Instagram and share them on Facebook and the world might get the idea

that we have some idealistic Ward and June Clever existence.  You travel from destination to

destination while your children sit quietly in the back seat, only speaking when spoken to or sweetly

offering their part of the seat to their siblings.

   Don't get me wrong, we had a great time - a week and half  making memories that will last for a

lifetime.

We had laughed, played games, took in sights that we will never forget and heart to heart talks sitting

 on the deck overlooking the lake and we are so grateful.



We also got on each others nerves, killed more mosquitos than I even knew existed and  Momma

snapped more than once when she should have given grace and there may have been a point after

a twelve hour day of sight seeing that I may questioned all of my life choices as I rolled out of the car

at midnight barely able to move.



Why do I share all that, instead of just letting the social media pictures tell the story?




Because, the whole story is a much more beautiful picture.

Broken, flawed people living and learning together.  We don't have it all together, but we are learning

to love and to forgive and give and receive grace.



Maybe someone reading this needs to know that it's ok that their family isn't 'perfect'.

That kids who stay up until midnight and take long car rides might get cranky and talk back and

pester their siblings and that doesn't make you the worlds worst parents or your kids the descendants

of Chuckie. . .

Love your people-flaws and all. Just like Jesus loves us.

He never once asked for or expected perfection from us.

Let's stop comparing our real lives to others on-line lives.

After all aren't we glad Jesus never compares us to those flannel graph characters we learned about in

Sunday School?


Now, I'm off to wash 100 lbs of laundry and wonder what I was thinking packing all those clothes.



Blessings from this Road Weary Momma,


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Holding Your Breath

I think most moms can agree that we've come to the point of  time during summer vacation where

we have broken up more fights than bouncer at bar, planned more activities than Julie McCoy,

threatened to throw the T.V. away forever and wondered if we should call our own Dear Mother and

thank her for loving us through the tough stuff (and also secretly hoping she might invite the precious

little ones over if she heard the desperation in our voices.).

Maybe that's just in my little corner of the world, but I don't think so.

Let's face it being a parent is  hard.

Somedays are harder than others.

Somedays you just hold your breath and hope 'this' isn't what is going to send your kid to therapy

someday.

Then you make the fatal error in judgment and get on Facebook where Mommy So-and-So is making

intricate crafts and homemade, organic, gluten free cookies with her kids where she then posts a

picture of them all smiling together.

And you scroll down a little farther and another Mom So-and-So is posting pictures of her

'all-star' that they have traveled with all over the country to watch him/her compete and of course

finish first, win the gold medal-because we all know that no one post pictures of the kid who

got the participation ribbon.


You are now questioning your worth and value as a mother as you look over at your kids who are

eating high fructose corn syrup filled 'fruit' snacks and into their second hour of a SpongeBob

marathon and because they are quiet and not arguing, you don't really care.

_____________________________________

When my kiddos where babies and struggling through some virus that had flared their asthma up and

seemingly out of control, or when our oldest had to have heart surgery, or our youngest kidney

surgery, when our boys had their tonsils and adenoids out-I would find myself often-holding my

breath.

In and ER, a doctors office, surgery waiting room. . .holding my breath.


_______________________________________

Maybe your kids don't struggle with their health. Maybe it's emotional or relationally.

And you feel like you're in that place, where if every mother was honest, you find yourself

holding your breath, wondering what to do, if there's is an answer at all.

Or if perhaps the answer is that your children got the wrong mom. That this God's first mistake-

giving you these children to parent.

You are stuck in the trenches and unable to breath.

_______________________________________

Dear Momma, exhale.

Long and deep. Let that air out. And when it's gone.

Breath back in, but instead of holding it in, exhale again-and this time when you do:

1) pray- it doesn't have to be long fancy words.  Sometimes the only word we can get out is Jesus.
And that's enough.

and as you breath in again and exhale

2) remind ourselves of these truths. Over and over again until you can believe them in the moment.

*God does not make mistakes.  You are exactly that parent your child needs.  Not the 'perfect' parent-

but the one God knew your child needed.

*Even in the middle of a screaming 2 year old fit, a teenage melt down, a failed class, a phone call

that leaves you embarrassed and shamed. . .your child is who God wants them to be. . .doesn't mean

we don't help shape them, but it does mean we don't need to break them.

A dear friend said something to me a few weeks ago that I pray I never forget.

"It's a mother's honor to walk with her children through the difficult things and learn from

natural consequences"  I repeated this to myself over and over again just last week as I sat on the

edge of one of children's bed as they had a melt down.

This is my honor and privilege -even when it's hard or ugly. Even when I feel helpless and lost as a

mom.

I kept thinking of this privilege and then these thoughts came to mind as well.

Your job is to be faithful, your job is not to fix.  Your job is to love, your job is not to lament.

Your job is Follow Jesus, your job is not to quit-even when it's hard, even when you're sure

your failing.

Take a breathe and then let it out.  Slowly, deeply.  You are not in control-and that's a good thing.

__________________________________________


Can we as Momma's make a pact?  Can we promise to be real and honest with each other?

When you see another Momma struggling, whether it's with her 2 year old or her 17 year old

can we reserve the judgment and just love on her?

Because I promise she is being harder on herself than your judgmental look of condemnation

could ever be.

Instead of tearing each other down, let's lift each other up-encourage each other, pray for each other.

This journey is a difficult one, let's not make it harder for someone.



Walking this road with you . . . now I've got to go turn the TV off and have my lovies read

for a bit, so feel free to pray for me.


Love to you,













Friday, July 18, 2014

How Does Your Garden Grow

Like much of the country, we are experiencing an unusually cool summer here in the midwest.

Besides being able to walk outside without immediately feeling like you just stepped into a sauna, some of the other benefits are: our yard doesn't look like a dry patch of fire starter, flowers are in full bloom and vibrant and our shrubs out front had lots of new growth and look green and lush-in JULY.  (July in Kansas is typically when you can tell who pays for landscaping services and who just gives up and gives into the heat)

______________________________________________________________________________

While our kiddos where on a dream vacation with the Grands for two weeks at Disney World, Hubby and I were out working in the yard.  I was tackling trimming the bushes out front.  
As I was using the hedge trimmer to give them a nice little hair cut, I began to wonder if this isn't a metaphor to how we parent our children.  Or even how God parents us.

I wasn't changing the make up the bushes, I wasn't cutting them down to a stump, I wasn't trying to change them from a bush to a flower or tree. . .I was just trimming off some of the 'wild' growth and helping shape them into something more then what they could be if left on their own.

______________________________________________________________________________

In my own parenting journey, I know there have certainly been times when I've been guilty of trying to change one of my wild little  bushes into a flower-or even cutting one them down to the core.  It's easy to do when I decided my agenda is the correct one.

As I try (and fail more often times than not) to model my parenting after how the Lord parents me, and as I stood there trimming those bushes, I realized that never once has the Lord tried to change who I was at the core. Shape me-yes, trim back the wild growth-absolutly -but change me at the basic core of who and what I am-no.
Why would He? After all, He created me. . .my talents, my weakness, my quirks, my mind and my body. . .and then after He did He said I was wonderful.  (Psalm 139)

Just like God did that for me and you, He did that for our children as well.

______________________________________________________________________________


As frustrating as that might feel in the hardest moments of parenting -and trust me I've had a few- but those personality traits that drive you crazy, the quirks that can be difficult to navigate-God gave your precious ones (and mine) all those, not so we could change who they are at the core, but so we could see them for the gifts they are and help shape them to be people who follow and serve and shine for Jesus.
_______________________________________________________________________________


So, whether we're parenting a no frills, no nonsense boxwood


Or topiary crying out to be shaped like a dolphin -that takes more work and patience that every imagined possible-







That our goal isn't to change them, our goal is to shape them, so they can shine just exactly as they were created to do.






{As with most things I write, this was directed to my heart before it was directed to anyone else's -and I will never ever pose as a  parent who has it all together-or somedays, even remotely together}


May you find blessings in your gardening-even on the hot, drought ridden, weed-filled days,






















Sunday, June 29, 2014

The One

 3 out of 5 Wilkinson's are ailing today, so we are hold up at home today.

Hubby is watching movies with the kids and I'm clearing off the desk.
I'm embarrassed to say how old some of the stuff is I'm finding on the bottom of the pile.
You know the pile-please tell me  you have one. That pile that you make while cleaning and don't have an exact spot for it so you think "I'll make this pile and come back later and figure out a place for all this stuff." Yep, that pile.

Anyway, I found a poem I wrote and actually took the time and effort to copywrite a couple of years ago.  Rereading it I'm not sure how great it actually is, and I remember being afraid to share it at the time. So, I decided today's the day.
Hope it speaks to your heart.


In my minds eye

I see your sandal clad feet

Walking along the dusty roads

In old Galilee

The hem of your garment gently brushing the ground

Your back is to me

And I wonder if you know I'm here, resisting the urge to run and throw myself at your feet

Afraid to lose my dignity.

Your face turns to the side

I can tell by your profile that you are smiling

Gentle and Kind

Suddenly we are face to face

Quickly I look down, afraid to meet your eyes.

They pierce inside to the very heart of me

Then I feel your touch upon my shoulder

Warm and Tender

Pulling my chin up so my eyes meet yours

"Don't be afraid, Child" was all you would need to say

At your feet I would fall weeping, calling to all who will hear

This is Jesus Christ

My Savior 
My King.
He is THE ONE.

Then I blink and just as suddenly I'm back to the modern age

Where everything is always shifting and swirling around me

Do I even find the time or courage to say

"I follow The Way of Jesus, God's One and Only Son."

Or am I afraid that others will think I'm old fashioned and out of date.

The vision is back 
Once again I hear you say my name.

Yes, Lord, I hear you

And I will obey.

My name is Angie and I follow The Way

His name is Jesus

He came to die and rose again on the third day

He walked the earth long ago and lives still today

He will make you new, provide forgiveness too

He will be your shelter

Your Rock

Your Savior 

Your Friend

Your Father

Your Redeemer 

Your King

The Man, Jesus, who once wore sandals and had dusty feet.
Monday, June 23, 2014

Here There and Everywhere

Last week was VBS at our church.

It's always an exciting week in the life of our church and family.

We always spend the week at my folks house, they live 5 mins from church compared to our 25, and it's become a bit of a tradition.  
Our oldest volunteers for the week, and it's just a great week of serving, sharing and shining for Jesus.

This morning our boys left for church camp.
Our youngest for just 3 days and our oldest for the week.

Although, he's been old enough to go for a couple of years it just hadn't worked with our schedule, so today was JMan's first time to leave for camp.


This morning I asked him on a scale of 1-10 how excited are you?
His response: 1,000.

Bless those counselors. Bless.Them.

As our oldest pulled away on a posh tour bus, I couldn't help but think that camp has changed a lot since the 24 hours school bus ride I used to endure from KC to NC every summer.

But no matter how you get there, there is something special about being unplugged, out of your normal routine and just being able to have fun with your friends, make new ones and find yourself closer to Jesus.

With the boys both being gone during the same time. . .drumroll. . . .


For the first time in Sisters life, there's more estrogen in the house than testosterone.

Baking cookies, pedi cures, shopping and watching Frozen one or 12 times is on the agenda.

(after we  put away the aftermath of packing for camp. A woman's work is never done you know)

Summer is rolling right along for us and we're trying to squeeze every moment we can into these few short weeks.


Last night right before a storm rolled in, my two littles were outside chasing lightning bugs.
It was an iconic summer moment.

I hope you're having those.
Enjoy your people.
Enjoy the extra hours of daylight.
Enjoy the warmth.
Eat a watermelon.
Jump in a pool or run through a sprinkler- and watch your kids faces light up.

Enjoy the fact that God made a bug whose hinny lights up-just because He could. . .and I'm pretty sure the delight He gets from giggling children chasing them makes Heaven beam a little brighter.

Happy Summer !
Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Prayer For My Daughter And Yours

You know that old country song "Mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys"?

I think it could just as easily say "Mama's don't let your babies grow up".

Of course, then we wouldn't be doing our jobs would we?

It seems a bit unfair that we are given these most precious gifts that we hold so dearly and who take pieces of our hearts with them  wherever they go, only to have them grow to not need us so much and then to  eventually fly away.






Our sweet baby girl, isn't so much a baby anymore as she is a sweet young lady.

We celebrated her 8th birthday this past Sunday.



And what a gift it is to celebrate her.



In her brief little life she has taught me so much about kindness, grace giving and genuine love for people.

She was the exact gift we needed to soften the Wild Boys, and their Momma.





Here is my prayer for her-and really for all our daughters:

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of this precious girl.  Words really aren't enough to tell you how grateful I am to be her Mom.  I look at her and marvel and I wonder what grand plans you have for her.

Lord, I pray beyond anything else that she would grab hold of you and hang on and never let go.

When friends hurt her, when her heart is broken, when the world tries to break her and mold her, when her parents let her down, I pray that her mind and heart would be so in tune with you she never wanders far from you.

I pray that her light is never dimmed  by the harshness of this world.  I pray that her heart is protected from those who's intentions aren't honorable. 
I pray that she would be wise beyond her years.
I pray that the same delight she now finds in a firefly or dandelion never leaves her spirit.

I pray that she would be surrounded by friends who love You and her.  That she'll have at least one true friend to walk thru life with-that she'll know what it's like to giggle all night with a friend and dream big dreams together. 

I pray that when others are unkind, instead of growing callous to the harshness of this world, instead she'll be tough yet tender.
That the same "princess warrior" spirit she has now is never squelched  or squandered.

I pray that harm never finds her. And that her heart is never left unguarded- until the day it's ready to be handed over to another. And, I pray for that boy right now, that he'll love you and serve you and protect his heart until he's ready for my Dear Girl.  I pray that he has parents who love him and who teach him to love you.

I pray that she never lets failure keep her from trying again and that she never lets fear keep her from flying.

And, I pray when that day comes  and she is  ready to fly, that she has a Momma who sends her soaring into this world ready to make kingdom differences.

I pray that every day, every week, month and year until then, that we cherish each moment-even the hard ones-because each and every one is a gift.

We can never do it without you, Jesus.
And thank you will never be enough.

Amen.


Happy Birthday Precious Girl, I am so thankful I get to watch and help you grow up. It is a privilege and joy to be your Momma.



Monday, June 9, 2014

When The Church Parking Lot Makes You Want To Cuss

My middle guy is going with a friend to VBS at his church this week.

It's a Mega Church in our area.

They do an awesome job at VBS and we appreciate the value and importance of VBS programs and all the volunteers that make it run.

However, the parking lot and the lay out of it, just about did me in this morning.

I mean really, should a church parking lot make you want to say a potty word?

Drop off time was bad, Pick up time was worse. Much.Worse.

After much circling and waiting and circling some more, I was finally able to park and run in to pick him up.

It was hard to relish in his excitement and hear about what he'd learned, because of my aggravation level.

On the way home I was thinking about my frustration and the challenge of facing the dreaded parking lot the rest of the week-twice a day.

And then someone cut me off in traffic.

Oh Bless It All.

Here's what I've decided, my frustration in those situations come from a place of pride.

I NEED A PARKING SPACE.

MY KID SHOULD NOT HAVE TO WAIT LONGER.

WHAT I AM DOING AND WHERE I AM GOING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU AND WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Yep, nothing like the VBS parking lot to teach you about pride-and how much you have.

So, here's what I'm working on this week:  Instead of being frustrated, I will be excited and encouraged that so many kiddos are having what could be a life changing week for them.
Next time someone zooms in front of me and takes "MY" spot, I'll smile, wave and pray for them to have a blessed day.
I will not let 15 minutes of frustration ruin hearing about God at work in my boys life.
I will extend grace the way I'd want it be extended to me.

So, if you need me this week, I'll be the girl circling the parking lot, learning to let go of her pride.


Blessings from the road,