Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Derailed Plans

I had a plan.  It seemed pretty solid, logical, and I even felt as though I had received several confirmations through other people/events, prayer, the Word, and peace in my heart.  I mean things just kept falling into place where I thought for sure they wouldn't.  Doors seemed to fly right open with barely a knock. 

The funny thing was, this plan, it was totally not me.  Like if you were to have told me only a few years ago about this plan that I had, I would have laughed and said no way.  I may have even gotten a little angry because of how staunchly against some of the ideas of this plan I was.  But that's what was making things so exciting!  I couldn't believe God would change my heart in such a way that I was now embracing something that I would have rejected years earlier.

All summer I embraced this plan.  I got ready for how this new plan would impact our family as well as myself.  I was getting excited for everything to come together and to be able share an awesome story about how God had brought me to this new place in my life.  I may have even written a blog post in my head about it.  Maybe.

Then, out of no where, the plan became completely derailed.  I mean, the door wasn't just shut, it was slammed.  Hard.  In my face.  My fingers even got caught.  I was totally caught off guard and crushed.  Even worse, I was embarrassed.  I hate it when you can't tell if you are crying because you hurt or because you are embarrassed you got hurt in the first place.   Crying over embarrassment takes so much longer to get over.

So here I am, a few weeks later, blue bruises have turned that funny yellowish green, and I feel like I'm on track for a full recovery.   I won't lie and say that I've sat quietly and waited to heal.  No, there were some ugly moments for sure.  I had some tough spots in my heart that I had to work out.  Anger, defensiveness, self-pity, and revenge just to name a few.  The thing was, my train was derailed by someone else, purposefully.

I sat before the Lord (and continue to do so as my wounds are still scabby as we speak) and asked Him, "What in the world was THAT?"  I couldn't understand what I did to deserve what happened.  I didn't understand why it had to go down the way it did, so painfully.  I was certain, I was following exactly where the Lord was leading me, each step in faith and obedience.  So why this painful derailment?

In the days that followed He was gentle to show me a few things.  First, His plans will never be thwarted.   Ever.  They are always for my best, and better than anything I could ever hope or even pray for.  There are just some things that I can't and won't understand until later.  Maybe not even on this side of eternity.  He never says "No" out of a mean spirit.  He can't be mean.  He is good.   He does good things.  It's impossible for anything bad to come from Him. 

He also gently reminded me of Abraham marching his only son, Issac, up the mountain to sacrifice him.  God had told him to do that.  He gave specific directions, and made a way for it to happen.  But!  Then at the very last moment, God changed the plan on Abraham.  (Not to be confused with God changing His mind, God knew all along that this was how it would go.)   Right before the blade touched Issac's skin, an angel of the Lord calls out to him and tells him to stop.  Imagine if Abraham just continued to march forward saying, "No, God!  This isn't the directions you first gave me.  You gave me clear instructions and even changed my heart to agree with you, so I'm moving forward."  That would've been crazy, right?  Probably about as crazy as it would have been for me to force my way back into a plan that was so decisively changed.

But why the hurt?  Couldn't the doors closed a little more gently, and maybe without my fingers in them?  I mean, I felt like I was obediently walking in faith, which, by-the-way, isn't something I'm very good at.  Then, I read about Joseph, Mary, and their newest addition to the family, Jesus.  Mary and Joseph were certainly obedient to God when, by faith, they accepted that Mary would conceive as a virgin.   And Joseph? He married her because he trusted what the angel of the Lord told him about who this baby was and how he was conceived.  He didn't waiver once he had clear instructions.  Yet, here this young couple was, delivering their child in a feed trough, and on the run under threat that the king was out to kill their child.  Not once, but twice!  I can't imagine how difficult that would have been.  Painful at times, I'm sure.  However, each painful experience led to the fulfillment of ancient prophesy, which spoke of God's perfect plan. 

A plan that would not be thwarted. 

There are days when I still feel like I am licking my wounds.  I'm not sure when they will heal completely, but I'm sure that they will.  I know that God has a perfect plan for my life, and it will not be thwarted.  Even the painful stuff, while not fun, has a purpose.  In the end, I trust I will look back at my life and say, "I wouldn't have done it any other way.  Your way was the best."  I trust that this time is growing and equipping me for something farther down the line.  So, I will continue to pray, not only to be comforted and healed, but to grow and be ready for His sovereign plan.  Whatever it may be.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Silver Lining

My house is empty.  I'm no longer packing pool bags or washing swim suits.  No more picking up or dropping off at friend's homes.  There is no TV blaring with Phineas and Ferb or Good Luck Charlie.  Outside of the 35 minutes of hustle and bustle in the morning, the house is quiet. 

The Hubs upstairs in his office, working away, the dog snoozing on her bed already tuckered out from the morning, and me with my empty calendar.  The first few days like this were blissful.  However, I'm now feeling bored.

Over the summer I had taken the free time to teach the kids some new chores.  Things like emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, picking up dog poop.  Oh, how they loved it.  While it was nice to have things done by someone other than myself, there were things that would get under my skin.  Just small annoyances.  Things like not being able to find a lid for a Tupperware container.  Or trying to open a drawer, that is usually full of organized cooking utensils, to find that I couldn't open it at all because said utensils were thrown in haphazardly and drawer slammed shut.  Or smelly laundry that should've been taken from the washer and put into the dryer days ago.  Things that happen when kids are just learning how to take care of themselves a little more.  They need gentle correction (and then I would find The Hubs and complain like I had just endured the worst type of injustice.  Don'tkidyourself...He loves it when I do that).

The last few days, though, I have done the dishes.  I'm putting all the utensils away in an orderly fashion.  Lids are put in a place where they are easily found.  Laundry is getting moved into the dryer in a timely fashion.  Okay.  That laundry one was a half-truth.  Whatever.

While my home is empty and quiet for seven hours a day, I'm doing what I can to find a silver lining in missing my kids.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Farewell, Summer 2013

Dear Summer 2013,

I'm so sad to bid you farewell on this day.  While the calendar still shows you will be sticking around for another five weeks, the reality is: School started today.  While temperatures will still be wonderful, grass and trees green, flowers still blooming, and gardens still producing, there will be no more laid back pool days, fun outings that last all day because we have nowhere to be, or sleeping in.  It's back to the grind.  Back to school lunches, homework, after school activities, and a tight schedule.

Thank you, Summer 2013, for somehow feeling like you lasted an eternity, yet also zipping by at the speed of light because of all of the fun we had.  While it was only two and a half months ago, it feels like it was already last year that we threw my sis a bridal shower.

You also gave plenty of time to get some traveling in.  We made some fun family memories as we gallivanted around the country.

Then, there is the pool.  Oh, how your lovely weather makes for a perfect pool day!  It's our favorite way to spend summer.

Thanks to your carefree days, we had time to explore the museum and zoo.  We hit every nook and cranny, and even caught an iMax and movie at the Planetarium because, why not?  There was nothing too pressing causing us to go home.  Oh, and our friends came with, you know, since they are on the same schedule.

Your warm daytime temps and frequent thunderstorms did our garden good.  It was a little slower growing than expected, but that just meant we could leave it unattended for a few days at a time.  That may or may not have led to growing our biggest zucchini to-date.

Speaking of backyards and growth, Summer of 2013, you also brought life to our backyard with some sweet little baby Robins.  Even for the most staunch bird-hater, those little sweeties softened hearts.

And because of your easy-going style, I think you also attract love-birds by the droves.  I mean, how many people do you know that have a summer wedding anniversary?  Well, add one more to the list:  My sister, the new Mrs. C!

Oh, Summer 2013, we thank you!  Thank you for all the fun, the memories, the togetherness, the warm weather, and just over-all goodness.

This morning, with sadness in our hearts, we bid you farewell.  So, sad to see you go, yet so excited to see what lies ahead!

Second and fifth grade, here we come!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Just When You Thought You Caught Your Breath-Part 2

I know I left you all hanging.  Waiting with baited breath, if you will.  Wait no more! Part two of the "Great Photo Catch-Up" is here.

First up:  Pictures I never thought I would take.

It is a well known fact that I am no bird lover.  Since I was very young, I have never been fond of birds.  Their flapping wings, unpredictability, and pecking beaks absolutely freak me out.  However.  This summer a momma bird Robin made herself a nest under our deck.  Since The Girl is a lover of all nature (and anything that needs nurturing), she was beside herself with excitement over this nest.  She was just sure that meant babies.

And she was right.

Within a day or so of noticing the nest, Momma Bird (we called her MB out of our deep fondness for her) had started laying eggs.  The Girl went right into research mode and found out that Robins lay one egg a day up to about four eggs.  Once the last egg is laid, we have a seven to nine day wait before little baby birds hatch.

Wait we did!  And somehow, I kind of grew fond of MB, and her little bundles of joy that were on the way.  When they arrived, I lost all semblance of myself, and just went into crazy bird lover mode.  No one could recognize me.  Not even myself.

Here is MB and her sweet little bundles:

The first time we noticed that MB was acting a little different, we waited for her to leave the nest and when we did we found these guys:
Here's MB (she even looks like a good momma bird, right?):
 The next day:
 And then there were four:
After waiting we met these three guys (sadly not all the eggs hatched, which we learned is normal):
These guys are a little older than freshly hatched.  We aren't sure how old, though, because we were in Orlando when they hatched.  We decided they were so ugly they were cute.

We decided it was the most cute when we could get them to open their mouths for food at us.  I know it sounds mean to trick these little guys like that, but we were careful not to bug them too much.

This is literally the next day.  These guys don't mess around.  They grow super fast.  I love their little bald heads.  Also, their opened eyes make them not so freaky looking.

Just two days later.  Not as cute, right?  Too birdy for my taste.
Then we left for our South Dakota trip and when we returned our babies had left the nest.  I was a little sad.  However, MB returned a couple weeks ago!  She rebuilt her nest, and laid three more eggs.  Just yesterday we watched as two more babies hatched and we are hoping for a third by the end of today.  I haven't taken anymore bird pictures yet.  I may have gotten my bird fill with the last batch.  The Girl, however, is in LOVE and has practically video taped the babies every waking breath.  I love that girl.

Before baby robins invaded our hearts, we had reserved almost all of our summer hearts to swimming.  This year has been a bit off swimming wise.  We were traveling a lot of the time that we had really nice weather, and then my kids have changed things up on me.  Turns out, they only like to go swimming when their friends can also come with them.  So while we have been to the pool maybe two times without friends, the rest of the time we are towing people along.  Which is great, however, we aren't at the pool all that often anymore.  Again, I can barley recognize myself.

What you can't see is all of the wildfire smoke we endured this day in order to take a dip.  The things I do for birthdays.

He calls this: Up From the Deep

Here are the kids with their dear friends from birth:

All boys love to perfect their cannon balls:

We took a break from all the wedding planning to go with this guy to the pool:

Some sort of trick:

We've even had time to spend with cousins at their grandma's private pool.  Private pool is also known as: "Do whatever tricks you've ever wanted to try in a pool".

Lastly, we celebrated The Little Man's birthday.  Hey, we were only a month late.  He wanted to take his buddies to see Despicable Me 2.  So, that meant we had to wait a month for opening day and then the holiday weekend to pass.  The movie was great, the kids were awesome, and there were lots of laughs and frozen yogurt to be had. 

All these boys, self-serving themselves frozen yogurt.  You should be afraid.  But we had fun and that's what matters, right?

 A group of happy boys after a hilarious movie:

I think the initial powerful force of the fire hydrant of photos has slowed down.  From here on out, I am hoping for a slow stream or trickle of pictures.  

You're welcome.