Saturday, April 20, 2013

What makes a miracle?

There is a lot of talk of miracles around these parts lately.  Mostly due to the fact that my dearly beloved, beautiful sister is with child.  Once a doctor told her and her knight in shining armor that being with child would not ever happen for them.  EVER, or at least not until they were 100 years old (literally).

Is her pregnancy a miracle?  Yes.  {I love God, who can do any thing, at any time and laughs in the face of those who say, "Never."}  I am not diminishing the awesomeness of  this little baby but....

I also happen to believe that the three little people on Shebal Avenue and three little people living at my house are miracles too.  All placed in our family to teach us, stretch us, and refine us.

I believe I am a miracle.  I came along 10 months after my sister and nearly killed my mom in the process.  By the statistics I should be a smoker and a drinker.  I should have been a pregnant teenager who dropped out of college.  But I am not those things, because God is a God of miracles.  He snatched me up out of more trouble than anyone will ever know. And I am so thankful that He counted me worth it.

Spring is a miracle.  The trees grow leaves.  The grass turns green.  Flowers spring up out of the ground.  All because God told them too.  And then ice comes, snow falls, branches crumble but none of them damage our house.

But the best and biggest miracle of all is that the Holy Spirit lives in me, in my beautiful sister, in my husband, and my brother in law, in Elijah and prayerfully in all those other little people (and big people) we shepard each day.  It takes a miracle for our eyes to be opened, our hearts to receive and our lives to be transformed into one who follows hard after Jesus.

So, what makes a miracle a miracle?  When God reaches down from Heaven and touches a life.  When God perfectly forms a baby.  When the unexpected happens, with no other possible explanation.

Bringing up Grandma

I keep looking for the book that will explain, in simple terms, how it is I am to raise my Grandma.  I know she is already a grown woman but many times she feels like another child I am sheparding through life.  I get to raise her with my beautiful sister, who truly does most of the hard work.

It is an interesting mix of gentle voices, honest pleas, and straight up demanding.  Grandma called on Thursday night to tell me her TV wasn't working.  Again.  We have been dealing with the saga of the TV for no less than 8 weeks now.  For whatever reason she had cable in her old apartment but no such luck in the new one.  So she was left with a digital tuner, antenna and two remotes.

This was just too much.  Used to routine, the two remotes caused many a late night phone call for help.  A couple of weeks ago, my darling man went out and bought her a new digital TV.  He connected it while Grandma marveled at how slim it was.  Her old TV weighed more than all my children put together!  One remote....problem solved.

No such luck!  The terrible ice storm, wind, rain, clouds, a passing truck all mess with her reception.  Phone calls ensue.  I understand.  When you are 87 and live alone.  TV is all you have to fill the quietness that surrounds you.  Being alone with your thoughts can be dangerous when you have lost a husband, three daughters and feel slightly abandoned by your other grandchildren and friends.

So, back to Thursday night.  With as much gentleness and honestly as I could muster at 5:30 I told Grandma it was time to look into paying for cable so she would not have to worry about if the TV would work.  She agreed and I got on the phone to set it up.  She got on the phone too and then called me back later, after having run the plan by at least 2 friends to make sure it was the right choice.  "It's too expensive.  Laura said it was $70.  Another friend said I just need to program the TV and then it will work."  The straight up demanding voice came out as I set things straight on the cost and the problem.  The next morning we had cable installed and so far I haven't had any phone calls about problems.

 I am sure a new problem will arise soon enough.  Prayerfully that book will come out soon so I can know what I am supposed to be doing!

Saturday, April 13, 2013


God uses anything and everything to bring up areas that need addressing in my life.  Like a three day weather event.

I have some issues with dependence.  I am a "I'll do it myself" kind of girl.  A lesson I learned early in life it has usually served me well.  Except it makes leaning on God difficult.  If I can do it myself I have no use for a Savior.  In most areas of my spiritual life I have been "healed" when it comes to dependence (mostly through really hard lessons).  This week, however, I needed to learn that depending on someone else is okay too.
Front Tree on Wednesday Morning
 Rain on Tuesday quickly turned to ice and led to creaking and cracking and eventually, falling branches.  It was eerie to hear falling limbs and no knowing if it was coming for the roof or the neighbors.  At 10:00 pm on Tuesday night a huge thunk brought Chris and I racing up the stairs.  A large limb had landed on the deck.  We started praying for the Lord's protection over our house.
Large branch that fell on the deck
Chris had to head out of town on Wednesday morning so I was going to be on my own.  "If we can keep electricity I can do it" I told myself.   We lost electricity when a branch fell on the power line and sparked a smoldering fire that our neighbor happened to see.  So much for being able to do it myself.  Wednesday morning dawned dark and heavy and a mere 66 degrees in the house.  Donning sweatshirts and extra socks we ate breakfast, cleared the driveway and figured out how to get the garage door open.  Then I called my sister.
Front tree on Thursday morning.  Poor poor tree.
I packed a few items for "just in case" but in my head I was still certain we would be back home by that night. Two nights and three days later we returned to a warm house.

Depending on my sister for shelter, food, and company was hard for me.  I never want to be a mooch.  She offered to help me clear the driveway but I did it myself so she wouldn't have to.  Depending on help cleaning up the destruction is hard for me.  I never want to put people out.  Thanks to a "bored" neighbor the front yard is all cleaned up and me Dad is coming during nap time so we can tackle the back yard.
Thanks Adam for cutting and cleaning up!

Cleaning up this mess in the backyard with my Dad's help
Depending on someone else is not a bad thing.  Living a communal life with my sister for three days showed me that we all need the help of someone else.  And it is wonderful to accept the help of someone else with nothing else to give in return but a simple Thank You.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dear John

Oh buddy, I cannot tell you how proud I am of you.  I cannot express with enough enthusiasm the delight you bring me.

Thanks for sticking by me this "school"year.  I know you got the short end of the stick when it came to preschool teachers (teacher is a term used loosely here).  I knew we were in for quite the ride when you cried in frustration the first day because, "Drawing lines is sooooo hard!"

But you did it!  After two months you asked if we could step it up and do two letters a month, because "one is just too boring."  We finished the alphabet in no time.  And you went from not really recognizing your letters at all to knowing them and their sounds (most of the time depending on the time of day).  Then you really wowed me when I asked to to randomly sound out a word.  You did it!  R-A-T = Rat you said with confidence.  You have even begun to write words.  "How do you spell ______?"  You like to ask and then you set out writing a word.

You aimed high with your first writing request: Robot.

We are still working on those pesky numbers but we're getting there.  The truth is, Mom isn't so great at those numbers either.  But Dad was most impressed with the Math "test" you took this week.  Adding smiles, circles, and triangles was easy for you (I already knew you were good at that since we practice in the car).

I didn't give you nearly enough credit.  You hide your intelligence behind silliness and wiggles.  You taught me that school doesn't always have to be done at the table.  Sometimes it works better on the floor, or the store, or outside.  You taught me to slow down and celebrate the learning along the way.  If I ever go back to teaching I am certain I will be better at it because of all you have taught me.

Kindergarten is quickly approaching.  You waffle on whether it is a good idea for you to go or not.  The truth is, so does Mommy. I know you now, how you process, learn and figure things out.  I think in the end, kindergarten is going to be a great launching pad for you to show the world (or at least your class) how brilliant you really are, under all that silliness and wiggling.

I love you, John-John!