Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cheerleaders and Trophy's

   Fall schedule is in full swing at our house, and I'll bet it is at yours too.

We were so excited when our church offered, for the first time ever, an Upward Soccer and 

Cheerleading opportunity this year.

At first I thought both of our younger kids would pick soccer, but the princess heard cheerleading and 

saw shinny pompoms and that was it-we had one soccer player and one cheerleader.

Which really was alright by me-I'm all for a cute uniform, complete with giant hair bow and 

of course the POMPOMS. 

Last Saturday was our first game.  Sisters hair was curled, uniform pressed, bow placed just so on

top of her head.  I'm know I'm just we bit biased  -but she looked adorable.

We were running just a bit behind, so I didn't stop and take a picture, thinking I could do that once 

we were there-maybe even a cute action shot-I could post on Instagram  and share the social media 

heck out of it.


We caravanned to the soccer fields, and Sister was in the car with my folks. . .and my mom being the 

amazing rock star grandma that she is, had packed a goodie bag for each kiddo, complete with a 

thermos of hot chocolate.

You can probably guess what happened next.  

Sister opened her thermos in the car, spraying hot cocoa all over her very WHITE cheerleading skirt.

Yes, we were 10 minutes away and her outfit was already ruined.

I would like to tell you that when she got out of the car I handled the situation with grace.

But, that would be a lie.

I was not happy with her.

Of course, I didn't 'yell'. . .we were in a church parking lot full of people.  I just discouraged and

demeaned through gritted teeth.  

(That last sentence was difficult to write, but it's the truth. There were several 'what were you thinking' and 'I can't believe that you just did that' being tossed about.)

She was devastated and I was aggravated.

No Instagram worthy photo now.

How will others see how cute and adorable she looked today?

That's when it hit me.

I was embarrassed.  

Yes, I was embarrassed others were going to see my daughter show up

with a stained skirt.  What would think of a mother who couldn't even wash her daughters

skirt? 

 I was aggravated I wouldn't get to post a picture.

(I hope my pettiness isn't shocking you. This is just the truth and there is really no way to sugar coat it to make me look good.)

That's when it hit me.  I was upset of what others would think of her and me. And if I'm truly, deeply

honest more me than my dear little one.

At halftime I apologized and asked her to forgive me, and because she really is a precious girl, she 

did so immediately.

But, it's left me with this thought since Saturday: "Am I rearing children, or am I polishing trophy's?"

Because you see, I truly believe that's what our children can become to us if we let our  pride

and arrogance take over.

We want athletic super stars,  leads in the play, academic achievers. And not only do we want them-

we want to tell everyone about them.  After all those accomplishments aren't just theirs-they are ours.

And, in some ways that's true -right?

That 100% on a spelling test, we helped drill those words.

Those Bible verses learned for AWANA-we helped with that.

But, we don't get to polish our kiddos and put them out on the self for everyone to walk by and oh 

and ahh about what great parents we must be because of the touchdown they scored, the hat trick in 

soccer or the award winning art project they just won a blue ribbon for.

My children's accomplishments and failures are theirs.  Theirs to learn from, theirs to find joy in,

theirs to own.

Life is messy and kids aren't perfect- and sometimes you show up to your first game with hot 

chocolate on your skirt.

And you know what? Life doesn't end.

In our American culture it's a battle we must face everyday.  . .am I rearing children who love Jesus, 

love others or am I polishing trophy's -shiny objects that never helped anyone?

More often than not, the battle is inside of me, but it's a battle worth fighting.


Fighting with you,


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Waterfalls

Turmoil. 

That is the word I would use to describe life right now.

For our family that means juggling a new work schedule for me, a new school and schedule for our 

Sophomore and new activities and schedules for our two youngest and for The Hubs a new branch

of the Post Office he's carrying at and learning six new routes and dealing with and preparing for

an upcoming surgery for our oldest.


For friends and family of ours that would include; cancer diagnoses, wayward children, several 

marriages ending, job loss, chronic illness, fractured families, complicated pregnancies and childhood

cancer .

For the world around us. . .well the news is overwhelming.

I would consider myself a news junkie but these days even I find myself needing to turn off the 

news because the turmoil that seems to be reaching every corner of the globe is just to overwhelming.


But, in the middle of the turmoil I see others thriving:  Books being published, kids excelling, 

job promotions, businesses growing and happy family lives, everything seems to be flowing their 

way.


               ____________________________________________________

When we were on vacation just last month I remember looking up at a waterfall and seeing two 

different paths coming off of the very same falls.  In fact, they weren't more than a few feet 

apart.



See the white rushing water coming off the falls?  It's easy to spot.  It's beautiful.  It's powerful.

You can see it, hear it and when standing even a few feet away, you can feel it.

But, there to your left. Can you see it?  Where the cliff is a bit darker looking. . . .there among those

very same rocks is a stream of water.  It isn't always noticeable and certainly couldn't be heard over 

the roar and rush of it's neighbor.  But it's there.

There making it's way down just like the more noticeable water.  There ending up in the very same 

place as the more noticeable water.  There coming from the very same source as the more  noticeable 

water.


                  _____________________________________________________

In the turmoil of your life-whethere it's some huge life altering turmoil, or just the stresses of 

everyday family life-do you find yourself looking at what ease or blessings someone else has

pouring out over their lives and wonder if God left you high and dry?  I know there have been times

in my life where I certainly have felt that way.

But, just like this beautiful waterfall, maybe for right now yours is just a little quieter. . .but also just

like the waterfall-it's from the very same source and working in the very same way and in the end

it ends up in the very same place.


Here's the thing though, that rushing water and the slow trickle. . .the guide told us they never

know where it will be. . .sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, sometimes in the middle and

sometimes over the entire cliff.

But, the water-the power-it's always there.

___________________________________

I know in the middle of our own personal turmoil and  in  the world around us, it can become

so easy to question if God is really there, working His will and way in us.

We see what appears to be stillness in our own lives but rushing blessings and opportunities and

peace in others around us, and we begin to think we've been forgotten.  At least, I know I can and 

have felt that way before.

But, have faith My Dear Friends, expand your courage.  The very same power that raised Jesus from 

the dead now resides in you if you believe.   No, in the turmoil it may not always feel like it, but it's 

 there.  The key is to take our eyes off the turmoil and turn them right back on to Jesus.

He alone is our safety, our peace, our rest.  



Whenever you feel alone or forgotten please think of this beautiful waterfall and remember

even in the quiet-it still flows. And in that quiet you can remember-You are not alone.


Peace,




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 !