Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Waving Goodbye

We all blinked and 2014 is about to be nothing but a memory.

You hear it all your life. . .about how time fly's, but you absolutely do not understand until you are a

grown up.

2014 has over all been a good year to the Wilkinson 5.

We've laughed some, cried some, yelled some, taken leaps of faith, tripped over baby steps and

learned along the way.   Some days we loved each other more, others we weren't sure what

we were doing and why we were doing it together.  But, everyday God was there.



Jerry and I celebrated twenty-two years of marriage.  It hasn't all been sunshine and roses, romance

and candlelight, but grace has flowed and God's been patient with us - and we even survived our

first ever major house remodeling project as we gutted our hall bathroom.  We laugh more than we

cried and we loved more than we were angry. I call that a success.


This year we crossed some thresholds has parents.


Chose a new school path for our oldest-who also had the audacity to turn 16- which hasn't been easy

but has been very rewarding.  Saw that same kiddo through a major eye surgery.  And let him set

out on a grand adventure with his friends were he spent six days canoeing in the remote Boundary

Waters of Minnesota.


Our Middle is stepping his toe into the Tween/Teen years, and we are gearing up to hang on.

Watching him become a man of prayer and a loving friend and big brother has inspired me on

many difficult days.  He also pushes me and makes me think which often leaves me tired and worn

out-but I wouldn't trade it for the world.  He recently finished up playing one of the main characters

in the school Christmas program. . .something so far out of his comfort zone, but he did it and did it

well.  I want to be as brave as him when I grow up.  And if I could just siphon off some of that energy

--well, I'd be rich.



Our precious baby girl, isn't a baby anymore.  She's eight and growing into a beautiful, smart, fun

young lady.  I see the 'mean girl' thing beginning to creep into her peer group at school -and oh if

I could I would shield her from every hurt.  But that is a mother's heartbreak, we can't protect them

from everything. So we teach, and love and listen.  As I watch her discovering who she is and

watch her gifts unfold, I marvel at how I could be this fantastic person's mother.




Personally, this has been a somewhat difficult year for me.  I've struggled with some health issues that

landed me in the hospital in March and still are giving me the business.  I've taken on more hours at

my children's school, which while a blessing, has also been an adjustment. I've lost a friendship

along the way that has still left me somewhat broken.

But, each step, God has been there.

I was blessed to be apart of the launch team for Beth Moore's newest Bible study, Children of the Day

and speak at a few churches and ladies groups-which I pray I never take for granted.  Women's

Ministry, and doing it well, burns deep in my bones.  The blog is like a faithful friend, even when

neglected it's still there waiting for me and I've been blessed to have several new readers and

encouragers this year, which I do not take lightly. The fact that people would take their precious time

and read my words and then comment or share them with others is a wonder and a blessing to me

each and every time.  So, thank you Dear Readers, you are more precious to me than you know.


2015 is a blank slate.  Just waiting there for us to put our stamp upon it.

Dreams and passions to pursue.  Goals to conquer.  Laundry to fold, bathrooms to clean,  groceries to

be bought--


 and grace to find in the everyday and ordinary.

What will this year bring?  I don't know. But,  I know who goes before and I know He has a plan, for

me and for you too.

Jeremiah 29:11 I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.



Blessings to you, My Friends, in this new year to come.  As you wave goodbye to 2014 I would

love to hear some highlights and how you saw God at work there.


Grace and Peace,

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Of All the Places in All the World

Christmastime is here.

Homes are decorated, city governments even have trees and decorations throughout, Linus and

Charlie Brown are on TV,  churches are filled with  music and candles-there is no denying it

we are in the throws of the season that means everything to many of us.


Each year I like to ponder and mull over a particular part of the Nativity story.

God poured so much detail into every aspect of that Holy Night, if we're not careful we'll miss it. . .

after all this is a story most of us have heard since childhood and could recite backward

and forward.


This year I've been thinking quite a bit about the Place where it all happened.

Bethlehem.

A town, full of sheep and shepherds and a harried inn keeper.

Bethlehem, 30 miles from Jerusalem -but it might have just as well been 3,000.

That little seemingly insignificant dot on the map of Israel, but where God chose to

give us Hope wrapped in clothes and laying a feeding trough.


As I've been pondering Bethlehem  I think the thing that has struck me the most is it's

seemingly insignificance to those around it.

Although, it did have a claim to fame in being the hometown of Israel's greatest king and poet, David,

those years had come and gone.

The word that keeps circulating though my mind when I think of how those who lived and worked in

Bethlehem during that time is --insignificant.

Insignificant place full of insignificant people-at least to those who didn't know better.



And as a person who has been able to recite Luke 2 since I was 5 years old this thought has struck

me in a fresh and powerful way this Christmas time.

Maybe because I found myself in what to the outside world looks like some pretty insignificant

places.

Home with babies, folding laundry and cleaning bathrooms.  Trying to stretch a dollar farther

and farther at the grocery store.  Wonder how all of 'this' could matter to the kingdom.

Perhaps you work in what my Sweet Momma has termed a 'cube farm' and you wonder how

what you do and who you are could possible matter to anything in the light of eternity.

Single, Widowed, Divorced, New Mom who hasn't figured out how to a get a shower in every day.

Sure others are doing big things for God, but you? You find yourself in the most insignificant place

you can think of.

Oh! How I love that about God! How He bends down to the most insignificant places and changes

everything.



On that night, so very long ago when the world changed forever, God sent his son, Jesus 'The Bread

of Life', to  be born in the little insignificant town of Bethlehem 'The House of Bread'.

Thirty miles away from royalty -both of kings and religion.  But, God chose that places to cradle

and care for his one and only son.

Maybe no one else-not even can you-can understand how the place you're in now can be one  of

any significance for the kingdom.  It doesn't matter.

God is writing his story.  His story that includes you.  And He knows.  He's always known.

Just like he knew Bethlehem would be the birthplace of his son--

Micah 5:2a The Lord says, “Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. 



He knows where you are, He sees you.  There is not one place that is insignificant to Him.

Be on the lookout-just like that night so long ago-He might just be ready to change everything.

Now, to the those rulers in Jerusalem  or the farmers near by, nothing physical about Bethlehem 

might have changed, but those who saw and believed -they knew-OH how they knew-everything

had changed.

God might never pick us up and physically move us. Our outside position may never change, others 

might always see where we are what we do as insignificant, but we know Who has come and the 

work He  is doing.

So, change those diapers, cook those meals, file those forms, do what you do and know that

no where is insignificant if Jesus is there.


Peace,
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Deep Waters

My oldest son  and I have adopted this song as our theme for the current school year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw

If you spend anytime at listening to Christian radio I'm sure you've heard it as it's become an anthem

for many of us.

But, as I was listening the other day the line that struck me as a fresh word was

  " Your grace abounds in deepest water". . .


I've been thinking about that deep ocean water.

Deep ocean water is uncomfortable and can be scary.  Often times it can even hide the beauty of the

ocean because you become so  focused on survival -especially if you're not a strong swimmer.

The shore, ankle deep that's comfy.  That's doable for just about everyone.

I'm not keeping my eye out for the lifeguard when I'm ankle deep.


I might be able to swim or tread the deep water for awhile, but after a time it will be become

to difficult to handle alone.

There has been some deep deep water in my life: some I've drifted into, sometimes waves have

swept me into them, other times I've jumped in with both feet. . .but I'm not sure I've prayed to swim

in those deep waters.

As I thought these past two weeks about that specific phrase,  it has been proven true in my life over

and over again. The deeper the water, the bigger the grace appears.

Don't get me wrong, there's grace along the shore line too.  There's grace ankle deep or even shoulder

deep, I just tend to not notice it as much, because I can handle most of the swimming there myself.

Am I alone in this?

But Oh! How I need that grace in the deep murky waters.  The waters that terrify me the most. The

waters full of unknown things.

Yet in the middle of all those scary, unknown things-- Grace surrounds me, and when I clearly focus

on the Grace Giver  and not those deep waters, instead of swimming in them I find myself walking on

the waves that once threatened to pull me under.



Choosing not to be scared of the ocean is a daily battle for this momma, because of course I'm not

swimming alone, I've got three little ones (well they're not so little anymore but they'll always be my

babies) swimming out behind me.  And as much as I'd like to keep them on the shore their whole

lives, deep waters come whether we want them to or not.   How I would much rather have them

see the beauty and grace in them than be terrified of those deep waters.

How about you?  Have you found yourself in the deep water recently? Are you currently trying to

tread water or are you swimming beautifully through the grace that abounds there, or have you even

found the courage to stand and walk on them toward the Grace Giver?

If you find yourself in any of those three categories know that I'm right there swimming along side

you-one moment  treading -sometimes even feeling like I might be sinking, other times swimming

like I'm Michael Phelps-even daring to try and stand and walk.   But, no matter what phase each of us

is in there is comfort in knowing the Holy Lifeguard-the Keeper of the Waters is making sure the

waves that threaten to overtake us never do.

Yes, I believe it. . .His grace does abound in the deepest waters.


Swimming in the deep with you,


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thank You Note

Shout to the Lord with joy, everyone on earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
    Come to him with songs of joy.
I want you to realize that the Lord is God.
    He made us, and we belong to him.
We are his people.
    We are the sheep belonging to his flock.
Give thanks as you enter the gates of his temple.
    Give praise as you enter its courtyards.
    Give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. His faithful love continues forever.
    It will last for all time to come.
Psalm 100





We are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.
 Hebrews 12:28




Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friends!

In this world of turmoil and chaos sometimes it is easy to forget how truly blessed we are.

So while I'm counting my blessings today I want you to know that I count  YOU among my blessings.

Thank you for each time you read, each comment you leave (the life blood of a blogger) each kind word on Facebook and each time you share a post.

I write to encourage -yet I am always the one who is the most encouraged.

We serve a great God.  I pray you feel Him near you during this holiday season.  
Remember, He is always at work around us-even in the aisle of the grocery store.


Blessing  upon Blessing to each of you,




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scars

I have had three babies.

Two of them were C-Sections which has left me with a lovely scar across my body.


Typically, it doesn't bother me but there are times when it pulls at my skin or itches and basically

becomes annoying.

Now don't get me wrong, my ugly scar is there for two beautiful reasons.  And when it's annoying

the heck out of me, I think of these two . . .and well it reminds what beauty came from that ugly scar.




But, as beautiful and full of every good gift I could ever imagine-the fact remains that

a scar was left in their wake.



I have some soul scars as well.  And they don't bother me all the time either, but every once in awhile

something will trigger them and they will begin pulling and tugging, and places that I thought were

long healed over begin to ache once more.  It doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it does still 

happen.

Some of those soul scars were put there by others, some of them I willingly inflicted upon myself.

But, no matter why or how they got there, they still tug and cause me pain.


Perhaps I am the only one, but the more time I spend on this  spinning rock, the more I'm convinced 

I'm not.

And really how could deep cuts that left us wounded and spilled out, limping along for months-

perhaps years at a time, how could they be easily forgotten?

But, heres what I do know.  There is  Hope that lets me know the deep, mortal wounding  pain doesn't 

last forever.

If I have a scar-that means my wound has healed.


The days after my c-sections left me in pain,  giant metal staples imbedded in my flesh, required high   

 dosed of medication, both for pain and to prevent infections and brought about a recovery time that 

left me needing help for the most basic of things.

But, those trying difficult moments have long passed, now when my scar bothers me it just reminds 

me of those two beauties. . .and something else it does is remind me of the outpouring of love  and  

grace during those trying days.

My  physical scar-the thing that has brought me the most physical pain in my life- shows me I've 

healed and reminds me of beauty, love and grace.



My soul scars can do the same things.

You and I both know that soul scars can cut deeper and hurt longer than even the worst physical 

scars--

But, if we let the same God who healed the scars remind us of the healing --OH! what a beautiful 

thing that can be.

The problem comes when we realize we haven't let him heal those wounds.  We're walking around

wounded-either from others or ourselves -and those wounds somehow become more sacred to us

than the healing.

We have got to stop wearing our bloody bandages  and showing them to anyone who will take a

look.

It's time to take them to the only one who can heal them, the only true Healer and Great Physician 

let him bind them up and yes over time those wounds will become scars.

Sacred Scars. 

 Scars that show where you've come from and how you've been healed.

Scars that give you the opportunity to tell everyone about your Healer.

It would be nice to make it through this life without any scars-physcial or soul, but that just

isn't going to happen.  So, we have a choice to make when we look at our scars, do we tear them

up and reopen them or do we remember where are healing come from and the beauty that come from

those scars.


Healing with you,





Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dusty Heart- A Veteran's Day Story From Long Ago

This was originally published on Veteran's Day of 2010. 
I wanted to share this again today in honor of my Hero Dad and all the other hero's we honor today.


I found it in a cardboard box long long ago on some childhood exploration.
A small black box, very unadorned.

I opened it up and looked inside.
And there settled in white silk was a ribbon and a heart.
Shiny and purple there it gleamed with the face of a man looking out at me.


I gasped in delight and was so excited.
To my little girl eyes it looked just like jewelry.
So off to Momma I ran.
Can I wear this?, I eagerly inquired?

Oh no she said with a look in her eyes I did not recognize.
For that belongs to Daddy

Where did it come from I wanted to know.

Go and ask she replied,
So he can tell you his story.

To his lap I ran
Tell me Daddy, Where did your pretty heart come from?

Silence followed for quite awhile and then he said
Now listen honey, I fought in a jungle far away so you could always be free.
I got hurt and so they gave this to me.

Oh Daddy you're so brave, my little girl heart swelled.

Daddy, I asked, Can we take your pretty heart out and put on display for all to see?

Little One, he said, Let's keep it tucked away
There were others who gave their lives in that jungle, they gave so much more than me and promise me you'll never forget all that was sacrificed for you.

You're my hero I said.
I'm no hero, I was just a boy doing what I was asked to do.

But, my little girl heart somehow knew My daddy was a hero even if he let his purple heart grow dusty.


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13
Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Boys In Blue

My blog is taking a turn today.

Please forgive this hometown girl.

Game seven of the World Series is being played minutes  from my front door tonight.

As you can imagine Kansas City (for those of you that don't live here, please understand that when

we say "Kansas City" we are talking about the actual city and all it's surrounding suburbs) is

ALL a buzz.  You can feel the excitement in the air!  Some have been true believers all along,

some are new to the party. . .either way all are welcome to cheer on our favorite Boys in Blue!


I would say I fall into the middle of that spectrum.

I grew up in the era of George Brett, Frank White, Bret Saberhagen and Willie Wilson.  The

stadium was about 20 minutes from our house and I passed it everyday to and from school.

I spent many summer night sitting in GA with my friends and youth group and in fact my first

real date was to a Royals game.  I went to church with a couple of players and their families and my

Dear Daddy and I had a standing date every year for my birthday to go to a game.

I can even claim to have sung the National Anthem twice for a Royals game.

But, after the strike in 1994 I became somewhat disillusioned with the game.

And then we had our kiddos and let's face it, for a family of five, a game isn't exactly friendly

to the wallet.  We've gone a few times over the years but mostly just kept an ear on what was

happening with the team.

Something happened along the way. . .I forgot how fun a great game of baseball can be.

And while watching all these innings of baseball the past month, it has been so delightful to

remember.

So, thank you Kansas City Royals for being a team we can be proud of-whether you win or lose

tonight.  Thank you for bringing back my love of the game.  Thank you for appreciating your fans

and loving our city just like we do.  Thank you for giving us a reason to collectively cheer about.

Twenty Nine years later and you reminded me and the world watching what a great place KC is

to live and raise a family.

What a delight it's been to watch games where no one is threatening to 'kill, smash, break' the

opponent. (Don't get me wrong I LOVE football, but it's been so lovely to be reminded that

sometimes you can play a game to see who wins against people you don't have to hate. Although

don't get me started on Joe Buck.)

In a world where the news cycle can pretty much make you want to hide under your bed, what a

great reminder its been that sometimes it's ok just to have a little fun and play ball.

We're rooting for the home team tonight.

We totally and absolutely believe --

Now

Go TAKE THE CROWN!



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I've Seen Sunshine and I've Seen Rain

A week  ago we had some days and days of rain.

Not just the "Oh what a lovely rain we're having" rain, but the flood the basement, torrential

downpour of rain, are we really in a Tornado Watch in October kind of rain.

For. Days.

When it wasn't raining it was dark. Dark and Gloomy.

These are not my favorite kind of days.



We live in an older neighborhood and  there are some HUGE trees that line both sides of the street.

As I was driving our oldest to school, in my mind I was lamenting another gloomy day.

No rain, but no sunshine either. Just dark and dreary.

Then we turned the corner where the trees aren't nearly as close together.

I could hardly believe my eyes as the glare of the sun penetrated  through the windshield.

The bright golden sun  and a beautiful blue sky-

There they were in all their  splendor providing a gorgeous fall day.

_______________________________

I've been thinking about those trees and that beautiful ball of sun a lot these past few days.

What has been rattling around in my head the most is how the sun wasn't suddenly shining and sky

bright blue.


Nope they had been there all along.


What had changed was my perspective of them.


Yes, for awhile, the giant Oak trees had formed a canopy and blocked my view of what was really

happening all around me. Causing me all sorts of lamenting that just didn't need to be.


What need changed was my perspective.


Maybe that's the way it always is in life.

When all we can see is the trouble and the gloom around us-

especially if it has been incredibly dark and stormy for along time, we can forget that even when we

can't see it the SON is still there shining.  Doing exactly what the Son does, exactly where He does it.

Others can talk about the what is happening all around them, and I just can't see-I wonder if

we are on different streets.

Perhaps we are, or perhaps my perspective just needs changing.

I've got to take my eyes off those 'trees' in my life, even though they are there.

But, what I know to be true is that always somewhere the sun is shining. Even when I can't see it.

Some times circumstances quickly change to get me to the place where I can see the sun again, other

times it's a long hard journey.

But no matter how long it takes, or how winding the road may be or how many giant trees block the

light, I know the SON is always in His place shinning down on me.

Oh how I hope you know that too.  Hold on to that promise.



Blessings along the journey,




Monday, October 20, 2014

Choosing to Believe

This past Saturday I spoke to a lovely group of ladies at Abundant Life Baptist Church.

We ended with this charge and I promised them I'd also have it available on the blog along with some

of the verses we read.

My prayer would be that this could encourage you too. Print it out, post it on your bathroom mirror, put in your Bible-some place where you can be reminded and remember to believe.
___________________________________________________________
Today I will choose to believe what God says about himself.

Today I will choose to believe what God says about me.

God says I am loved with an everlasting love.

God says I am an overcomer.

God says I am a Mighty Woman of Valor.

God says I am known and understood.

Today, even when I don't feel it: I will choose to believe that am someone who is cherished and

someone  who is especially beloved.

When life circumstances threaten to rob me of my hope--

I will choose to believe --

I am the apple of God's eye.

I am  his favorite.

I am wholly, deeply and completely loved.

And because of all of this:

I will live in obedience.

Walk in truth.

Guard my heart.

Love my neighbor

and

I WILL follow Jesus.

THERE IS NO TURNING BACK.

Amen

_________________________________

Lamentation 3:22-23
Ps 17:8
Jeremiah 29:11-14
Isaiah 40:31
Job 11:18
Ps 25:25
Zechariah 2L8
Psalm 18:6,16-18
Psalm 139

________________________________

"Faith makes the choice to believe when feelings or circumstances don't match what we are believing.
Faith says I choose to believe."




Choosing to believe with you today,


Friday, October 3, 2014

Sometimes 'Just' is all you need

I was in Walmart Saturday.

(I enjoy a challenge.)

When I overheard two ladies chatting, who apparently hadn't seen each in awhile. ( I am a major people watcher so I can't help but take these sights in . . .) And as women do, one of the ladies asked the other 'what do you do'.
Her answer may or may not surprise you.

 She said 'Oh you know, I'm just a Mom'.

 I tried to hide my smile and fight the urge to go and hug her!
I've described myself like that-recently in fact.

 Just a Mom.

Well on my drive home I began thinking of all the reasons why we do describe ourselves that way, which lead me to thinking about all the women who were 'just' something.

Eve was just first.

Mrs.Noah was just a wife standing by her man.

Jochobed(Moses mother) was just a mother trying to save a baby.

Sarah was just an old lady.

Rachel was just weeping for her son.

Rahab was just a prostitute.

Hannah was just a lady praying for a baby.

Bathsheba was just used.

Ruth was just a widow.

Naomi was just a mother in law.

Esther was just an orphan.

Mary was just a girl.

Anna was just waiting for her Messiah.

Martha was just busy.

Mary Magdalen just a women who knew what she'd been delivered from.

Priscilla was just a faithful follower.


Maybe your 'just' is something you don't think can be used.

Just divorced, just lost a child,  just lost a job,  just a single person, just a women with a career, just uneducated,  just a mom.

I'm so glad the Lord looks at my 'justs' and sees what only He can do with them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When Hope Gets Dusty

**I wrote this three years ago.  I woke up with it on my mind today and thought there might be someone out there who needed to hear this message.
It's time-Dust off your hope and let's walk this thing out.


I was dusting yesterday-a job LONG overdue-and on our bookshelves we have a little plaque made up of black letters that says HOPE.

The dust just clung to the black and was hard to get off.

It got me to thinking about the Hope in my life.

Sometimes it gets dusty.


There are lots of reasons why, but mostly it usually comes from a lack of faith or circumstances have worn me down.
Sometimes my hope can even feel forgotten by The One who I put my Hope in.

Surely,  I'm not the only one?

We talked allot about this at Bible study yesterday and maybe that is why it was on my mind.

Or maybe it was because of those I see struggling with finding a job, wayward kids, unloving marriages, infertility, sickness that doesn't feel like it will ever end. Disappointment after disappointment.

Waiting. Watching. Waining.

It can wear you down after awhile.

 When you feel like maybe peace, joy, stability. . those are for others and not yourself.

Sometimes you've got to take your HOPE down and dust it off.

Let's pour these words of hope into our weary hearts.


______________________________________________________
You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. Job 11:18

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Ps 25:25
But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, Ps 38:18

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.Ps 39:7
______________________________________________________

Today if you need to dust your Hope off-do it. Take it to the Lord, tell Him you need to shake the dust off.
And remember, WHO your Hope is in.
It's not in this world or the rulers of it. It's not in circumstances or people.
Our only hope is in Jesus.

If you need to, write these verses of hope down. Post them throughout your home, in your car, in your cube at work-wherever you  might see or need  them most.

Let them rest in your weary heart for awhile.

Then dust off your hope and let's do this thing called life-and do it well.

Remember our Hope is in Jesus, and with that hope comes the knowledge and faith that he sees us, he

knows our every circumstance and his timing is always perfect.

_______________________________________________________

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31



Hoping with you in Christ Alone,

Monday, September 22, 2014

#Blessed #thankful

It's coming.

That time of year.

Oh I'm not talking about pumpkin lattes and scarves, bonfires and hayrides and the Instagraming of

them all.  . .

although that's coming too.


The past few years it's become a 'thing' to do, to post your blessings/what you're thankful for, for

the month leading up to Thanksgiving.

And even when it's not on the calendar to be thankful (grin) there are always lots of pictures of cute

kids, beach vacations, couples having dates that are hashtagged #blessed or #thankful.

After all we want every one to know what we have or what we're doing, but we cushion it with

#blessed or #thankful so we don't look so crass. (If I had a tattoo, it could say GUILTY right across

my arm right now)

I've done the 30 day thankfulness challenge and I've posted those very same pictures.

It is always a good reminder to be grateful for what you have, for the people in your life, for

the blessings that can overwhelm us.


____________________________________________________________________


This past weekend our oldest son had some same day surgery at our local children's hospital.

{Let me say from the beginning, that we are fully and completely aware that many families

could only dream of something as simple as same day surgery.}

This is his fourth surgery.  One of those included a heart procedure.  He's been through a lot in his

soon to be 16years.

Our middle child has had two simple (HA!) surgeries.

And our daughter had major kidney surgery.

I say all that to tell you this: We have spent some time in waiting rooms.  We have spent some

time wondering, worrying if our precious ones will wake up, if the surgery will work, if there will

be side effects, changed wound dressings, watched for infections and handed out countless medicines.


_____________________________________________________________


Here is what I have observed, and what I am learning along the way.

Those time. Those trials.

In those very moments.

I am blessed.

Not often the first thing you tend to think of in these situations, but it's true.

Why are we blessed?

Because we know the Blesser. And when your eyes are stay focused on him instead of

circumstances we can remain or even become thankful.

(I fail at this everyday, in no way am I saying I am perfect. I could tell you about the fit I threw

when we recently purchased a minivan. Thankful was not the word I would use for how I was

behaving.)

______________________________________________________________


Let's be perfectly honest with each other.

We can do that, right?

Sometimes in the middle of those thankfulness challenges or when we are  hashtagging the

heck out of the word blessed, it's because we want others to see what we've got.

As if somehow because of things we have done, or just because of how great we are-

we are blessed.

When you show me the picture of your new boat and say #blessed, I think we're doing it wrong.

Your kid just scored three touchdowns and you're #blessed.  Maybe, but maybe not.


Could it be we have confused the blessings with the blesser?

Could it be that our Western idea of thinking has taken over and  we equate physical things/people

tangible, material things with blessings?

I can't speak for others, but I know in my own life I have found this to be true.

______________________________________________________________


Whether I am sitting in the hospital waiting room, or I am waiting for the test results to come back,

having the hardest parenting day- I am blessed.  And I should be thankful.

Whether my marriage is thriving or I am trying to decide if a jury of my peers would really

convict me (oh I kid-cut me some slack we are in the middle of a renovation project)

I am blessed.

Even when I am alone.

Even when I am broke.

Even when I am being unfairly judged.

Whatever you're 'even when' might be.

We are blessed.  We should be thankful.
____________________________________________________________

Not every day is your kid getting a 100% or win an award or making the winning goal.

Not every day finds you and your spouse, toes in the sand and all the warm fuzzies.

Not every day is good health.

__________________________________________________________

We've got some stuff to walk through you and I.

Some rocky roads to take, where there will be some miles we feel like we are walking alone.

Some things are going to happen and it's not all going to look good or pretty and we won't be

taking pictures to share with our friends lists.

But, if we allow ourselves to look away from circumstances-

to truly focus our eyes on the Giver-instead of the trinkets

Then we will find ourselves ever so thankful and amazed by the blessings.

_______________________________________________________

The blessings of peace in the storm

of knowing no matter what comes our way, we are the sons and daughters of God.

That this world is not the end.

_____________________________________________________

In this coming season of focus on gratitude, thankfulness and blessings

can we make a promise not to confuse pumpkin spice lattes and new boots

with real and eternal blessings?


__________________________________________________

Whether we are at the beach or in a waiting room (physically  or metaphorically)

that we will KNOW that we KNOW that we KNOW that, grace and mercy and the

peace that comes with them are the greatest blessings all of.



I am so #blessed and #thankful for each of you! (see what I did there ;) )


Blessings to you,









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 !