Friday, July 30, 2010

Diamond in the Sky

Landen played Dixie league baseball here in Marshall last Spring. (A VERY long time ago, it seems:) He made the all-star team and began traveling with the team to tournaments. They ended up as Texas state champs...and we used the word "ended" in a very "fresh start-ish" way. He and Philip & Ardyn left Thursday morning at 5 for Virginia where the fun continues at the Dixie World Series.

Home Run Derby & Skills Contests will fill the day Friday followed by an honors banquet that evening. They are guaranteed games Saturday and Sunday and we'll see how it goes from there. Championship game is Wednesday night.

When we asked Landen what he needed from us as parents -thinking he would ask us to travel with him to cheer him on - he replied, "I just need you to pray for me. This will be a big chance for me to get out in the world, but I'll probably face temptation or challenges, and I just need you to pray for me."

I think LP is an all-star in ways far beyond the baseball diamond.

Thank You, God, for my precious young man. Hold him and keep him and make him more like you.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus...Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life!" - Philippians 2:5,14-16

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do What?

Plan A was a thing of beauty. It had held firm for months.

Last week, due to some exhilarating transpirations, we were forced to come up with a new plan. We wanted to do the "right thing". We wanted to follow God's leadership. We were "torn". If I heard my husband say "I'm just torn," once...

Plans B - Q replaced each other faster than you can sing "elemenopy".

Plans R, T & W brought marital strife, while S, U, V & X are not even worth mentioning. Plans Y and Z were just plain silly. Ridiculous, in fact.

Plan AA was long as money was no object and we could figure out how to be in two places at once.

Plans BB-EE sounded too familiar to Plans B-E to be considered seriously.

Plan FF was finalized yesterday morning, then fell through.
Plan GG was finalized yesterday at noon, then fell through.
Plan HH was finalized yesterday at noon-thirty, but in true form, fell through.

I can imagine an angel, poised and ready to bring be great tidings of procedure and God holds him back. "Nope, wait just a her...she's turning another page on that little yellow pad of hers...Isn't she the cutest thing? Let's give her time to try it on her own ONE more time...I want her to be able to SEE the cardboard THROUGH the last page of yellow'll be great, you'll see."

That's when I formulated Plan II... which consisted of several tears and a coping nap. [Plan : I, I, can't even handle this anymore!]

Yesterday afternoon, God stepped in and worked a succession of miracles to meet our needs and direct our steps. It was the most amazing thing. His plan has been in the works for months, even years. His plan includes far more of His children than I would or could have enlisted. His plan is not concrete. Even today, details continue to be altered....while all my concerns continue to be altared.

I almost feel a tiny bit sorry for laid-back, people. Those folks, who roll with the punches, fly by the seat of their pants while letting junk roll off their duck-inspired backs, and then sleep deeply and effortlessly despite not knowing how it's all gonna work out...I wonder if they possess adequate appreciation for this particular aspect of God's character:)

Do oblivious souls, er, I mean, flexible, non-control-freakish types - do they know what a big deal this is? I understand. I know -in earthly shadows, with veiled perception - all that it takes to coordinate and orchestrate and prioritize and organize a group of people through the completion of inter-related, yet mutually exclusive activties. To some extent, I do it every day.

So when God - in His infinite wisdom, careful concern, and supernatural skill - when God lays out such a beautiful and well-designed plan, I stand in awe. I worship Him for His unending kindness and remarkable administration of order and grace.

Thank You, God, for being patient with me, even when I'm not patient. Thank You for having a perfect plan when all of my plans are heart-breakingly flawed. You are my One and Only:)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Tuesday, July 27, 2010...

Outside my window...steam. Like the air hovering above a pot of boiling eggs...stifling, sulfuric steam. Anyone up for a walk around the block?? I didn't think so.

I am often I've been rescued from my own foolishness - presumably by the fervent prayers of others. Mercy.

I am thankful sweet, sweet husband. (I couldn't bear to delete that line from last time. He's simply the best.)

I am creating...a brand new publication for the women's ministry at church. God is gathering up a team of friendly helpers, and I can barely contain my excitement!

I am going...go pick up the boys later and stop by the consignment shop. On his way to work, Philip dropped them by a friends house to do some yard work. Dear Lord, help them work peaceably and diligently.

I am reading..."Boomtown Book 1" to the kids [they would like to go on record as being fairly miffed at my recent lack of consistency and follow-through] AND I'm also journeying through "So Long Insecurity" during welcomed spurts of solitude. I do not use the term 'journey' lightly. Pruning is painful. There is sheer joy beyond the pain, but the pain is undeniable.

I am hoping...God will work out all the comings and goings of our household over the next 10 days. He's the only one we can trust to tackle a job of this magnitude.

On my mind... MP3 children's choir. Women's Ministry. Philip. Fish Camp. Landen. Luke. Ardyn. Ashlin. Mari Alice. Elizabeth. even Oscar. aaaaand, we're back to MP3. Women in my life. Philip. Dinner. my bathroom counter. Ministry. practicing the piano. Fish Camp. Landen's team. Should I stop?

From the learning rooms...3 weeks until we fire it up "fer realzies". The year is planned. We own the curriculum. We'll just talk more about it after Mari & I have properly celebrated our late summer birthdays:)

Noticing that...God can be a funny guy. Somedays, He carries the "working in mysterious ways" thing to a comical level. I love Him to pieces...then have to trust He'll put it all back together. He shall:)

Pondering these words... "God uses change to change us. He doesn't use it to destroy us or to distract us but to coax us to the next level of character, experience, compassion, and destiny. How will we ever change if everything around us stays the same?" --Beth Moore

From the kitchen...breakfast on a "first-come-serve-yourself" basis:)

Around the house...girls are steadily rising from slumber with messy hair and grumbly tummies.

One of my favorite things...staying home. Yesterday was the first day all month I had the opportunity to stay home all day. I'm MUCH better now.

From my picture journal..."Miss SweetCheeks"

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Smaller May Be Better, Even in Texas

I am learning to love our little town.

Living among the same small group of folks for a number of years beefs up the statistics of having a friend when you need one.

I took our alluminum cans to be recycled this morning while Ardyn was at dance camp. I drove into the gravel drive of the scrap yard and wondered where to stop. Just then, I recognized an former collegue depositing some items from ETBU. I asked him if he knew where to take cans. Not only did he point me in the right direction, but he offered to carry the cumbersome box inside for me. He patiently accompanied me through the entire process then waved a cheerful good-bye as I returned to my car - $6 richer.

Thank You, God, for small-town people.

In our little town, there may not be very many big retail stores, but there are a few wonderfully small ones.

The local jeweler also has a bridal registry. So this morning, I was able to park at the door, and walk in to be immediately greeted by the sales associate. I handed her my rings so they could be cleaned while I bought the wedding gift. She handed them to the jeweler, then escorted me over to the houseware half of the store. I made my selection and followed her back to the cash register. Just as my sparkling rings were being returned to me, she sweetly offered, “Would you like me to have this gift wrapped and sent along to the shower?”

“Well, Yah!”

Thank You, God, for small-town places.

In our little city, there is plenty of room for excitement.

Landen's all-star team is headed to Virginia to represent Texas in the Dixie World Series. But with word spreading about such an honorable venture, there is a notable emphasis placed on township representation. Our son's picture is in the local paper, his name is mentioned on the local radio station, and he's even received requests for an autograph or two. This is a big important deal to Landen and our kind fellow-citizens are raising a comparable degree of happy fuss about it.

Thank You, God, for small-town publicity.

In our cozy burg, we rely on and enjoy each other's interests and talents.

Each morning, my girls have taken dance class from an energetically gifted lady from my Sunday School class. In the afternoons, Mari has received swim instruction from an old college chum. Each week I have two gallons of fresh cow's milk and a pound of farm fresh butter delivered to my house from a lady “south o' town”. Yesterday I took my children with me to a friend's neighbor and picked up a gallon of fresh goat's milk. They were able to hold the newborn twin bucks, and several baby rabbits. After offering the herd of goats some bread, each of my “kids” got a chance to milk a goat as well.

Thank You,God, for small-town pleasures.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Internet has been down since Saturday.

Quick update:

Ardyn thouroughly enjoyed her time at Camp Bravo. After two weekend performances of the musical "Jungle Book", she shifts her focus toward dance camp this week.

Speaking of dance, Ashlin learned so much last week as she attended tap/jazz/ballet class each morning. She had "show-off"s Friday morning. Philip and I had a ball watching her.

With two more swim lessons this week, Mari wants to know when her "show-off" is. Ummmmm....the rest of the summer at the neighbor's pool??

Luke's baseball team had a reunion cook-out tonight. Those fellas sure enjoy being together. We're planning for next spring and considering a few diamond outings this fall as well.

Late breaking news from the all-star field: Landen's team won the state tournament Sunday, so they will represent Texas in Virginia at the Dixie National World Series in a couple weeks. (This item was NOT on the Johnson July calendar of approved events:)gk

Elizabeth Anne is walking! She's also picked up a little dance, swim, and a game or two of catch.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sweet Spot

"I would teach her to love a lot. Laugh a lot at the silliest things and be very serious. I would teach her to love life, I could do that." - Maya Angelou

"A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure." - Martin Tupper

"I know a pretty baby when I see one...whether I birthed her or not...I know a pretty baby, and THAT's a pretty baby!" -Great Grandma Walker

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Favorites

If you ask me what my favorite thing to do is, I'll probably say, "reading to the kids."

And I'll start to rattle off all the wonderful books we've read together.

And if you ask me which is my favorite, it would be a difficult decision - but I'll probably settle on a "Mercy Watson" book by one of my favorite authors, Kate DiCamillo.

If you ask me to read it to you, I'll probably say yes.

I'll open the book and I'll read, "Mr. & Mrs. Watson had a pig named 'Mercy'. Mercy loved to eat hot toast with a great deal of butter on it."

That very yummy thought will be really distracting. Soon we'll have to stop so I can make one of my favorite snacks: "hot toast with a great deal of butter."

The warm, buttery, toasty smell will cause the kids to come in and ask for some too.

So I'll make enough for everyone.

And after we have finished, and we all have warm, full bellies, the children will want me to sit on the couch and read them a book.

And that's ok, because reading books is one of my favorite things to do.

But we'll have to choose a good one.

And if we have to pick just one, it will probably be a "Mercy Watson" book.

So I'll open the book and read, "Mr. & Mrs. Watson had a pig named 'Mercy'. Mercy loved to eat hot toast with a great deal of butter on it."

And soon we'll have to stop...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Safe and Secure?

I finally opened "So Long Insecurity", my new book by Beth Moore. It may be noteworthy that I struggled with anxiety about even reading a book with "Insecurity" in the title.

Whisper it gently, "(head case)!"
Thirty-six pages have now entered my consciousness.

Today I spoke with a friend about her hopes and dreams for the future. She said, "I don't want the idea for this venture to be something I just WANT to do...I want it to be the right thing."

I was tickled at my inability to sympathize.

My flesh most certainly NEVER wishes for a new venture. Never ever.

To the contrary, I believe there are things that I have been distinctly directed to do, and here I cower. Locked down in self-doubt and prideful preoccupations with "what others will think". I have zero adventurous spirit. Zero. Ask Philip.

Shortly after we met, he called my parents' house. "Hi, this is Philip. I was wondering if I could come by and get you on my friend's new motorcycle. I want to take you for a ride."

I barely hesitated.

"Um. NO."

How many girls would have literally been swept off their feet by such a proposition?

I guess it was only fair to our future that he realize, straight-away, that I do not find pleasure in seeking thrills. It can almost always be said that I am perfectly satisfied right this very moment...enjoying this pleasant little rut I've carved for myself out of discipline and reservation. No need for joy rides or surprises. Everyone just calm down and have a seat. We're all good.

I'm not sure what happened after I snubbed his two-wheeled invitation. You'll have to ask him. Fortunately, it was not the end of the story. Just the beginning. (Thank You, Jesus!)

Let's see...leaps of faith...

Not a lot to choose from.

Oh gosh, there was the ropes course with our youth group after we first were married. You can see it. I'm harnessed UNattractively around the pelvic region, perched upon a tiny twelve inch plank nailed to some lofty branch of some ridiculously high tree. Philip is on the ground. I calmly announce to him that I cannot go through with the jump across the wired expanse. He sweetly encourages, "You got this, Babe." What a dull boy. I did NOT have this. The fact that he could not easily recognize this was troubling.

I also do not remember the end of THIS story. I know I bawled like a baby in front of the impressionable youth and my new husband. Did I jump or climb down? Ask Philip. I may have blacked out because I honestly do not remember.

Are we sensing a pattern?

Past challenges and opportunities for discovery remain bogged down in my memory so that the shadowed truth is forgotten, and all that remains is the clarity of my insecurity.

What was the most painful passage to read last night?

"The self-conscious person may protect herself with plain-ness and try to blend into the paint, but she also may dress herself to perfection and stand squarely in the spotlight. In either portrayal -or anything in between- she is ordinarily more aware of herself than she tends to be of any other person in the room. Whether she feels inferior or superior, she takes a frequent inventory of her place in the space. She may like it or hate it, but she's rarely oblivious to it. Never think for a moment that pride and self-centeredness have no role in insecurity. Since she keeps confusing her insecurity with humility, however, she never recognizes the self-centeredness so she can turn from it." -pg 23 SO LONG, INSECURITY, Moore

Oh, Dear Lord, please help me recognize the sin of self-centeredness. I want to turn from it. Give me courage. Give me security. Thank You for my courageously secure soul-mate. Let me learn from him and be encouraged. I want to trust Your promised comfort more than I enjoy my comfort zone. Forgive me. Thank You:)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mass Transit

As a consciously pleased cave-dweller, I must say I have been trodding the beaten path for the better part of this month. But today definitely wins the award for motion and mobility.

After watching a late night movie with Philip last night, this morning started a bit abruptly. Earlier for him than me...but not by much. My groggy approach to the day was bombarded by queries concerning food & wardrobe.

Ashlin was the first one out of bed, asking if she could eat breakfast and put on her leotard.

Mari Alice was next - needing permission to put on her swimsuit before making her own oatmeal. "I can do it, I promise. I will NOT get oatmeal on my pink suit, OK?"

Next came Ardyn. She was already dressed in what she intended to wear to drama camp, she just needed authorization to consume the last coveted stick of mozzarella string cheese for breakfast.

As she hurried out my door to race for the cheese, she announced, "Oh, yeah, Elizabeth is awake and she's totally poopy."

Good to know.

Luke lumbered into my room to state for the record that he was indeed "up". (This tidbit shared ironically after falling like a tree into a prone position atop my freshly made bed.)

Not cool.

I left him to go greet the baby girl. She had been chatting with the assortment of soft, squeaky friends in her bed. As I turned on the light, she smiled and waved her arms, as if to say, "It's true! I am totally poopy."

So I totally changed her:)

After breakfast we did our zones. They are technically supposed to be addressed before each meal, but Monday just gotta roll with it sometimes.

This system has been working beautifully for over two months, now.

The house is divided into 4 zones:
laundry/Oscar, and

Each older child is assigned a zone to defend against clutter for the week. It keeps the work load better balanced, and reinforces my "concern" for things out of I'm not the only one is peeved by folks leaving stuff laying around. The plan is for zone defense to occur just before each meal. For the most part it takes just a second or two and works really well. Also, when it's time to clean the house, we each do our bedrooms, we work together on bathrooms, and each child is responsible for the tops or bottoms of that zone --whichever we're doing.

Ok, where was I? Zones. Breakfast. Oh yes. We counted the library books and put them in the basket. Landen stayed home with Elizabeth so he could "chill" and she could roam freely and play in her room instead of being strapped into a car seat all morning.

Luke, Ardyn, Ashlin, Mari & I set out for town. We dropped Ashlin off at her very first dance class of her cute little life. She was a tiny bit nervous, but she did great. Instead of waiting in the lobby, we scooted over to the library. Turned some in. Nosed around. Checked some out.

Back to get Ashli and home again, home again, to eat some roasted hog. Seriously. Leftover Red-Pepper Roasted Pork Loin for lunch. mmmmmm.

Don't get to comfy peeps, we're off again!

"I'm taking Ardyn to drama camp. Anybody want to ride with?"
"I'm staying here."
"I'm going."
"I'm going, no I'm staying, are you staying?"
"I'm going."
"Oh, then I guess I'm going."
"Well, then, I guess I'll go too."

Full Ford. Headed that way.

Door opens. Kisses blown. Door closes.

Full Ford. Headed back.

Ah...almost 2 big fat hours at home. Check email, open mail, clean kitchen (that place looked like a bunch of nomads shuffled through, scarfed some pig, and hit it.)


Other people practiced baseball, mowed the batting cage, watched PBS, and chalked the patio while I tried to design a new t-shirt for MP3.

Oh nuts. Almost late to pick up Ardyn.

"I'm going to pick up Ardyn from drama camp. Who wants to go with?"

***long, distracted, fatigue-filled pause***

"Love you, Mom!"
"Bye, Mom!"
"I'll lock the door behind you!"

Alrighty then.

Vacant Ford. Wonderfully silent, vacant Ford. Headed that way.

Door opens. Door closes. Silence is replaced with tales from a dramatically happy travelling companion:)

A few moments later, Philip merges onto the highway behind me and follows us home.

Neat trick.

Ok. Car swap. Dinner inhalation. Pecked kisses & quick good-byes.

Philip and the boys drive to Texarkana where Landen is playing in the State All-star tournament for his age division.

I load up the girls and we drive Mari Alice to her swim lesson. After I get her in the gate, and safely within the guardianship of my good friend, we jet over to get Ardyn white shoes for her newly appointed roll in the musical.

Unload at store #1.
No go.
Unload at store #2.
We have a winner! White, size 4 1/2, on clearance.

Bag 'em. Tag 'em. Load 'em in the SUV.

Jet back over to the pool. Unload and watch Mari's last few minutes of class. Now load everybody up (for the LAST time today, Thank You, Jesus!)

We ladies made it home all safe and sound. We tidied the kitchen ('cause that place looked like a pack of wolves snarled through a loaf of bread and a couple cans of soup then hit it.) Soon, we readied ourselves for an early bedtime, and snuggled in to watch "Anne of Green Gables" all together - just girls.

As I write, the menfolk are victoriously returning home. (Landen called to say he pitched the whole game and they won 13-5...I think....don't quote me on that score... Main Idea: his team won.)

Guess what? Tomorrow we get to do it all over again...but start an hour earlier! Dance class got bumped back an hour. Yee-ha!

Thank You, God, for a great, reliable automobile with cold, blasty a/c. Thank You for all the friends my kids are getting to hang out with and all the exciting things they're learning and doing. Thank You for blessing me with a family of kids who don't mind covering for each other, who get excited about watching the others "do their thing", and who are generally fun to be around. Thank You for a handsome, hard-working husband who makes all these activities possible...oh, and for July's fuel bill...thank You for overtime. Help us keep our focus on pleasing You. We want everything we do and say to make You famous. Forgive us for the moments today when we fell short of that. Thank You for loving us.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Thursday, July 8, 2010...

Outside my window...a soggy lawn hides crickets and frogs in the dark steamy night.

I am remembering...having a season pass to White Water back in the day. Fun, or what?

I am thankful sweet, sweet husband.

I am creating...pillow case dresses. (possible addiction alert)

I am Mari Alice's second day of "swim camp" tomorrow. It's really just swim lessons, but all her silblings seem to have big, important camps, so she needed it to be "swim camp". She can technically already swim, but, like all other Johnsons who've been limited to their mother's instruction: "It works, but it ain't purdy." My name was chosen to win these lessons as a door prize at MOPS, so Mari Alice is the first Johnson to receive formal instruction. She loves it!

I am reading..."Boomtown Book 1" to the kids. "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore waits patiently atop the pile of prospective reads on my nightstand.

I am hoping...Landen makes it home safely from camp. I can't wait to hear all his stories.

On my mind... Really? We haven't the time:)

From the learning rooms...shshshsh. (We're pretending it's summer:)

Noticing room has remained neat & tidy for more than a few weeks. Yay for me.

Pondering these words..."Some folks are humbly grateful, while others are just grumbly hateful." John Yates

From the kitchen...a boatload of produce from Sam's, plus many more ingredients for a full week's worth of yummy meals, and an unbelievably sloppy floor that needs a good sweeping and mopping a.s.a.p.

Around the house...sun kissed children sleep peacefully while my oh-so-hunky-of-a-man lies awake reading. (I must be dreaming:)

One of my favorite water. I've said it before, but there is truly NOTHING better.

From my picture journal...The other night, Ardyn was sweet enough to take a new profile picture for me. In the process of minimizing a couple of my chins, she offered suggestions like, "make a kissy face" & "put your hand under there". I had no idea she was continuing to work within her trigger happiness as we laughed and bantered and ...cleaned my glasses:)

Silly girls.

To participate or simply enjoy more daybooks, visit The Simple Woman.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Confessions of a Sissy Momma

Ok, I'm gonna fess up.

This morning, as Landen was getting out the door to enjoy a week away at youth camp...

How should I phrase this?

I absolutely had a medium sized meltdown.

In the moment, I found justification in the fact that I accidentally discovered that his packing efforts had omitted a pillow, shoes, and 3 pair of pants.

But now that it's night time, and I'm alone, and it's time to get REAL honest...

My tantrum was not about linens and things. It was just a plain ol' "My Baby!!!" hissy fit. Please tell me you've had one or more of these.

Personally, I don't believe I ever have. Cognitively, I know he's entrusted into capable, if not loving hands. Spiritually, I know he belongs to the Utmost in Capability and Love. But emotionally. Boy howdy.

I don't even know where he is tonight. Oklahoma. Philip knows. Other parents know, I would imagine.

But I have remained conveniently uninformed lest - in a moment of maternal weakness - I find myself driving 6 hours to see if he's met any new friends or if he's properly laying his wet rec clothes out to dry before stuffing them into the plastic dirty clothes bag. It's simply better if I don't know.

To complicate the emotional atmosphere, the girls wanted to watch home videos tonight - vintage 2002 footage...

Landen tickling Baby Ashlin to get her to grin.

Landen climbing our highest tree with his dad.

Landen explaining how he's always wanted a "mongoose racer".

In one scene, Landen is strumming his tennis racket, and singing in his best country twang, "I love my Momma & I love my Daddy....they are always in my heart!"

I was a gonner.

Now I'm better. (not really, but it's time to move on:)

All I can say is that Philip better hurry home from that softball game.

The longer I'm awake in this quiet house, my options narrow down to: binge a thousand calories and go to bed, or google "WOW camp in Ok" and see what kind of mileage we're lookin' at.

Thank You, Lord, for Landen and that he's growing up. You know I don't really want him to stay little, it's just hard to let go a little at a time. Keep Him in Your watch care - just like You do every night. Thank You for that! Blanket him with Your Presence tonight - unless it's hot in the cabin, at that point a fresh breeze of Your Presence might be nice. You'll do the perfect thing, I know. Help me do my part to train him but help me trust You more:) I love YOU!

Girls of Summer

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Philip took the older kids (aka potty trained ones) to see firworks. The baby and I stayed home. We swam as a family this evening, so she was tuckered out. Typically on Sunday evenings, I shift into "What's on tap for this week" mode. I plan. I cook. I tidy. I make lists. I lay out clothes. But since Philip has holiday tomorrow, this evening seems like a Saturday night without the early Worship prep:)

And so...

Landen leaves for Youth Camp in the morning. Unbelievable?

Luke hopes to earn his babysitting badge in Landen's absence. Unlikely?

Ardyn has week two of drama camp this week. Unneccessary?

Ashlin has no camps this week, so she hopes to work on school. Unusual?

Mari Alice has swim camp this week. Unprecidented?

Elizabeth is the cutest thing ever. Undeniable.

Thank You, Lord, for my family. I am a rich, rich lady:) Thank You for the freedoms that we enjoy - and must stand firm to retain - here in this nation. Thank You - so much more - for the eternal & true Freedom You grant through Your perfect Son!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Friday Flashback

I am SO glad I blog. I had no recollection of this before I stumbled across the post and read it. Good memories trapped in poor memory:)

Here is a little post from Summer 2008.

I'll Take Wake-Up Calls for $400, Alex.

Wednesday, Philip called to say that he had been called out to work Hurricane Alex. I stopped by the grocery store on my way home from choir rehearsal and bought snack food for his time away. I also stocked up on bread, pb&j, apples, bananas, and oatmeal. I figured with Philip gone, the rest of us could exist on pretend meals and a tidy kitchen.

Just after dawn the next morning, he fired up the bucket truck and headed south. Before he left, he imposed each child's slumber with prayers, hugs & kisses. He and I shared some scripture and prayer and a few extra hugs & kisses as well. I was uncharacteristically emotional. All I could utter was "God, please keep him safe."

After a final wave goodbye and some quickly blown kisses, I came indoors to start my week as a single mom. I started some laundry and browsed around on facebook. I purposed my heart toward keeping a level head and being all my kids needed for the week. In the unaccustomed silence I even allowed my imagination to take me toward the possibility of his prolonged absence lasting more than a week.

When the kids got up, we had breakfast and started our Thursday house-cleaning regimen. I pretended we were on our way to a weekend tournament and made a couple dozen sandwiches so that meal prep could scoot to the back burner as I kept my focus on being calm and mildly enjoyable:)

Before I had the crumbs wiped away, Philip called. "I'm headed back home. They don't need us."

My first thought was, "Oh, wow. This is a really big relief to both my parenting stress and my overall feeling of security --not to mention my jeopardized sleep cycles."

My very next thought was, "Oh, snap. I just used most of our grocery budget on Philip's snacks, and now he's back...and he's gonna want real dinner, not oatmeal. shucks."

The morning roller coaster of emotions tickled me unexpectedly.

It reminded me of the labor pains for my firstborn.


I had been pushing and crying and I wanted to give up. Between contractions, Philip lovingly explained that quitting was not an option. (Gotta be kiddin me:) Even in my distress, I knew he was right...with a "Captain Obvious" sort of charm.

I bolstered my resolve, said a prayer, and prepared my heart and mind for another hour or two of pushing.

Landen was born the very next moment.

What a waste of inspiration!


As Philip said his good-byes, we approached the day with great resolve and purpose. No PBS. No sleeping in. Scripture. Prayer. Love.

All for nothing?

In a way, yes.

In a bigger way, no. Why does a hurricane have to threaten my husband's safety in order for me to cry out to God on his behalf? Why did the morning seem so real? Do I typically tend to pretend? Just like soggy sandwiches and oatmeal?

Gross. Stupid and Gross.

"Be very careful then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil." - Ephesians 5:15-16

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Survey of the Landscape

I looked out the front window, shocked by the "native foliage" that had overtaken my front flowerbed - and by that, I mean bushbed. Some hedges bloom occasionally, but who are we kidding? It would be dishonest to call it a flowerbed.

Though the entire entry area for our front door is surrounded by "greenery", a closer look reveals the lack of control within which the weeds have been allowed to thrive.

Landen joined me in my outward gaze. As we stood side by side, arms folded across our respective fronts, I suggested to him that we needed to weed the beds. He resisted. I compromised, "Well, at least that huge thing that towers above the rest!"

"THAT thing? That's a shrub!"

I assured him it was not. "I promise it's a weed, Landen."

He argued, "It looks like a bush. It's growing like a bush. It's sorta green and pretty like a bush."

With finality, I pronounced, "I promise it's a weed. It may continue to grow, but it will never bear flowers or fruit."

He went out to remove the intrusive plant and others along the way.

I stayed in and wondered if there are "weeds" in my life that need attention. Stuff that looks alive and well, but is working against the bigger picture.

Are there areas that are overgrown with haphazard activity - so much so that it's difficult to distinguish the good from the bad?

Show me Your ways, O Lord...