Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Little Bunnies

There it was again. The decorative garden bunny was back in the grass. I knew I placed it up on the porch for my husband's mowing.

Every morning as I watered my geraniums, I picked up the heavy cement rabbit and set it on the patio so that the lawn could be mowed underneath the ornament. I wanted a neatly mowed yard.

My thoughts stewed --no--boiled. Who kept doing this? I know the stone bunny couldn't have hopped there by itself. Did nobody in my family care about how the grass looked?

I stomped around the patio, rearranged lawn chairs, swept and then refilled the watering can.

I stopped and walked back to the bunny. Ahaaa! The bunnies paws wrapped around the sprinkler head each time it "appeared" on the lawn. My husband was the culprit and the superhero.

He put it there because he had my teen son in training to mow the lawn. He wanted to protect the sprinkler head from this newest mower in our family. We already had replaced three sprinkler heads this summer and he was trying to avoid another mishap.

How easily I had hopped to the wrong conclusion. If I had given into my impulse to lecture the mystery bunny mover at our next family meal, I would have falsely accused and created a family argument. I also would have overlooked my husband's hard work and his efforts at training our son.

I thanked God that I heard His still small voice before I acted on my quick anger. My husband is loving and hardworking. Why should I have believed anything else? I was reminded of the verse in Song of Solomon. So often it is the little varmints that destroy the beautiful garden of our relationship.

Catch the foxes (bunnies) for us,
the little foxes that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.
Song of Solomon 2:15

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thank You, Levi

Zipping into the parking garage, I spun into the first space I could find. I jammed the car into park and collected my purse. Opening the bag of wrapped peppermints, I grabbed a handful and dropped them in my purse.

Checking my watch, I jumped out of the car and hurried inside the airport to find my three children. Running late as usual, I had just dropped the teens off at the curb to see their older sister off to college. I parked, planning to meet them inside before my daughter had to board.

My daughter was checked into her flight. I found my trio sitting outside the security gate. We had a few minutes to say good-bye. I hate farewells so I was feeling sad.

Throughout the airport, we saw soldiers dressed in fatigues with huge duffel bags over their shoulders. They too were boarding airplanes but not to attend college. They were headed into combat zones. I thought about their moms and how they must feel.

After my daughter left, we begin walking to the car when a soldier stopped us.

"Excuse me, would you have any chewing gum?" He looked young and nervous. I thought about his mom.

"No, I am sorry. If I had it, I would gladly give it to you. Where are you headed?"

The young man told us. It was a province in Iraq. I told him that we would pray for him. He told me that he would appreciate that, alot, and that his name was Levi.

As I started to walk off, I remembered the peppermints. "Hey, I have peppermints. Would that do instead of gum?"

"Yes, would you have seven?"

I thought that was a strange request and number until I looked in my purse. I had picked up exactly seven peppermints. I gathered them up and handed them to Levi.

"Good-by Levi. Thank you for serving our country. Remember, we're praying for you."

"Thank you, Ma'am." I wished I could tell his mother that someone gave her son peppermints. I wanted her to know that I told him we were proud of him and would pray for him before he boarded his plane. I said a quick prayer for his mother.

I still pray for Levi and the many soldiers who fight every day for us. I think of him every time I go to the airport. I wish I could tell him again, "Thank You, Levi!"

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

God's Graduation Gift

One graduation gift came early during my senior year. I will always treasure the miracle of its arrival.

Graduation loomed before me. As it got closer I wanted to put on the brakes and slow down my senior year.

At first, the thought of life after high school seemed exciting. The future held mystery, excitement --the unknown. Those unknown elements began turning to fears. Adult life held responsibilities and decisions. It would definitely be life outside the safe nest of home life.

I woke up early before church one Sunday early in spring. I tried to read my Bible and pray but my thoughts filled with worry and wonder about college and majors and career choices. What if I made a wrong decision?

Arriving at church, I was delighted to find my close friend home from college, I slid into the pew next to her. She gave me a quick hug as she shared her open hymnal with me.

During the second song, my friend held up one finger, silently motioning that she had something for me. She grabbed her Bible and rustled through the pages until she found what she wanted to show me.

My friend didn't know the questions or burden that I brought to church that day. Out of the blue she opened the Word to share this verse:

For I know the plans I have for you,
declares the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon me
and come and pray to me,
and I will hear you.
You will seek me and find me,
when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13

God gave me a very special graduation gift that day. It wasn't really early--it arrived just when I needed it. He heard my fears and He answered with a promise.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Temper Tantrum-Take Two

The morning temper tantrum tale has become a classic legend in our family. Our third daughter is a red head and there is something to the whole red head temper.

She came out with a bent to vent -- loudly.

One morning she was not happy about many things. I tried to talk to her and find out what she needed. She grew more angry.

I told her sisters to try ignoring her. As we talked, my angry toddler pushed her way to center of our discussion and proceeded to throw herself on the floor at our feet. We looked down at the pitiful sight and I spoke calmly and firmly to her. "Mommy cannot hear you when you talk this way."

I moved to the kitchen and started breakfast. I heard the sound of feet in plastic-coated footy pajamas come up behind me. My daughter wanted to make sure I got a better view of her temper tantrum so she threw herself onto the kitchen floor. Ouch!

Apparently linoleum is not very cushy. My daughter stopped the tears in mid cry and picked her self up. She smoothed her hair and rearranged her fall--this time on the carpet--just next to the kitchen. The wailing started up again.

We shouldn't have but my older daughters and I burst into laughter. The mid-act scene change was a plot giveaway. These were crocodile tears.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tucked between the Pages

I lurch forward and plop the last of four loaded boxes on the table. Volunteers start flipping through the books to distribute them to the sale tables. The annual book sale for our local homeschool group is in full swing and I start to panic.

It may seem silly but I felt sad to part with the books. I looked around for someone I knew. I needed support.

"Does anyone else feel the slightest bit sad?" I found several of my homeschool mom friends and pose my question. I discover that I am not alone in my nostalgia.

After 18 years of homeschooling, my youngest just finished middle school. My children were either adults or in high school now. There was no need to keep many of my books for young readers. I had all that I needed for the next four years of homeschooling.

Why do I feel the unreasonable desire to snatch up my books and cart them back home? It hit me that every book represented a precious memory.

My kids may not have considered some of the math texts or punctuation workbooks their best remembrances. However, the readers and story books each brought to my mind's eye visions of sitting on the couch with all of my children piled around me listening intently. These were definitely the best of times.

A little girl with pigtails and glasses came up to my boxes. She flipped through a picture book from the top of the stack. Obvious delight glowed on her face as she snatched one up and ran to show her mom.
Ahhh! The books were going to good homes. Maybe I'll just hang onto the memories and pass on the fun to another family. Farewell!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mommy Perfume

As moms, we probably have an arsenal of perfume somewhere. We receive it as gifts from husbands, in-laws, children and the list goes on.

Some of the perfume I receive is used up and I search for another rare bottle because it is a favorite. Others are more of a decorative item--they give me a headache and I can't use them. They sit on my shelf unused.

I remember one Mother's Day when I was in grade school, my brother and sister and I wanted to buy our mom a gift but we didn't have any money. We discussed this with the neighborhood children and we came up with a plan.

No money? No problem. We would make perfume for our mothers. We scattered to our homes to gather all of the glass jars we could scavenge. In those days everything was glass and we never threw anything away so each of us showed up in our driveway with an assortment of mayonnaise, jam and peanut butter jars.

Someone brought soap and we washed the jars inside and out. Then we began to gather the good-smelling stuff. We collected Texas lawn weeds. Some of our lucky friends had rose bushes in their yards and they contributed the rose petals.

We stood looking down at the empty jars and the pile of wilting weeds and wondered, "How do you make perfume?"

We ended up mashing the weeds and petals and distributing them to the jars. Just add water--to top it off. My friends and I rejoiced to to have an entire case for each mom--12 or more jars.

Mom appropriately and gratefully thanked us upon receiving her gift. I always puzzled why she kept it under the kitchen sink rather than on her bedroom dresser where she kept the stuff from Dad.

I don't remember when it disappeared from it's special storage place. I always believed that Mom used it up.
As moms we have the awesome opportunity to spread the sweet fragrance of Christ in our homes or smell like something best left under the sink.
But thanks be to God, who in Christ
always leads us in triumphal procession,
and through us spreads the fragrance
of the knowledge of him everywhere.
For we are the aroma of Christ...
2 Corinthians 2:14-15

What are you wearing each day? Something foraged and mashed --or are you allowing the sweet aroma of Christ to breeze through you into your children's lives?

So good to know that I don't have to come up with the fragrance --just allow Him to be the sweet aroma through me--the atomizer.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Duct Tape Grace

Trips to the grocery story with a toddler in tow are always unpredictable. One trip seemed to be going smoothly. I waited until after nap time. My two year old daughter was in a good mood.

We chattered about what she saw as we rolled up and down each aisle. I had her "find" colors and pictures on the displays as I shopped. I hoped that by keeping her engaged, it would help prevent an emotional tidal wave or meltdown.

Around one corner I encountered a neighbor. He wanted to talk a moment and I halted the cart. This could be risky with a two-year-old but I thought a few minutes couldn't hurt.

I didn't watch my daughter closely enough, however. As I talked she sorted. She sorted everything she could reach in the cart. I didn't see her lift a can of peas over the handle of the cart until she dropped it saying, "Uh oh!" -right on my toe.

I was wrong. Stopping for a few minutes to chat could hurt. My toe throbbed.
Many thought went through my head and many words rocketed to the tip of my tongue.

Let your speech always be gracious (Col. 4:6.) I so wished I had put duct tap on my grocery list -- for my mouth at that moment. Mommy was having the meltdown!