Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Beautiful Circle...

As I sit on the couch popping saltine crackers, home from work today feeling nasty, I'm reflecting on a fun evening spent with Jim and Amanda and their kiddos. I immediately feel grateful for the kids in our lives. I couldn't possibly list them because I would leave some out. Our boys refer to them as "the big kids", the kids involved in our youth ministry over the years. They all line the walls of my heart; they still fill the pages of my prayer journals. Somehow they are becoming grown ups and getting married and having kids, but we will always think of them as "the big kids". They live in all parts of the country and even the world. My heart feels glad any time we get to connect with one of them.

I love thinking about the youth ministry interns Tim had over the years. Three of them are now youth ministers right around us (Don is faithfully loving on and building up kids at Bell Ridge, Nathan...we LOVE that he is showing Jesus to kids at FCC, and Jim and his wife Amanda have just arrived at Maryland). JB passionately ministers to and with kids in Owensboro, and Isaac, along with his wife, Maggie, is pushing back the darkness in Missouri. Julia is shining her light in Indy. Sara (ok, she was technically the children's intern, but I couldn't leave her out!) is building the kingdom with Andrew in Louisville.

Jim was the youth ministry intern a LOT of summers ago. From this picture (Jim is in the back row on the right), I think it was 2003 or 2004? Life's beautiful circle has made its way around, and Jim will now be our boys' youth minister. In fact, our Isaac (the little guy Tim is holding in the picture) was in our living room entertaining Jim and Amanda's toddler just last night.

How could we have known when we took that picture? We had no idea of the twists and turns. We couldn't have guessed where life would take us all. God had it all in mind even then. He went before us to prepare the way. He walked through it all with each of us. He is good. He is faithful. He is in charge. I adore him, and I'm thankful for the beautiful circles he makes in our lives.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Due to a glitch in my digital family calendar, an added football game my typically responsible 12 year old didn't mention, and a bit of pure forgetfulness on my part, today quickly changed from a day with almost nowhere to be into a day of running to and fro and being busy almost every minute.  I got grumpy as soon as I realized what was happening...really grumpy.  Somewhere in the midst of my grumpiness, a blog came to mind that I read months ago.  It was written by a busy mom who had been diagnosed with cancer and was in a season of her cancer where she was pretty much at home all of the time.  She wrote about missing the busy days of driving kids to and fro.  I haven't thought about that blog in months, but it came to mind at just the right time today.  My grumpiness vanished almost instantly.   I became grateful for the day, grateful for the beauty of the outside I was now enjoying, grateful for healthy boys, grateful for it all.

Perspective...it reminds me to be thankful for all of it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

On growing...

Recently our family has had a situation in which I have not felt like acting very much like Jesus. Isaac, on the other hand, has been the picture of grace, humble strength, and Christ-likeness. I have learned from and been convicted by his choices.

How did this happen before my very eyes? This baby I rocked and cuddled has become my brother in the kingdom, leading me when I'm not sure what the next move should be, gently correcting me when my moves are selfish and my motives impure.

Isaac, in response to Tim's thoughts on the situation and a possible scenario, responded to Tim, "I'd like to pray about it first." So this morning, Tim said to me, "there is a sense in which he is his own man now. Of course, we are still his parents and his authority, but he has a greater Father."

Yes, he does, and it's what I want for him and what we've worked for and prayed for, but there are moments when I'd like for that man-child to go back to being a baby whose issues could be solved by nursing, rocking, and singing to him.

And so we go on...navigating this world together, a world that is not our home. We long for heaven together and we spur each other on...well, Isaac spurring and me pouting under my breath.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

No, it is certainly not all bliss...

 My husband knows me, and so he surely knew this post was coming.  I am nothing if not real, and I felt the need for full disclosure on this one.

Remember the other night on facebook when I put this cutesy picture of us and said, "goin on a hot date with this guy"?  It was our 15 year anniversary, and we headed out on a hot date.  By the end of it, things were hot alright, but not in the way you might have imagined.

When dinner was almost over, things turned south...we were in a full blown argument by the time we hit Starbucks.  I managed to still order my Starbucks...few things get in the way of that, you know!  We continued to argue and could not figure out a way to solve this one.  It was a doozy.  We drove home, still not on the same page...me feeling confused and wondering why I still am learning more of the inner workings of this man I love fiercely, him feeling hurt and alone.  We went to bed mad...I know, I know...that's a no-no, but I was tired, and nothing was getting any better.

We woke up the next morning with apologies and tears and explanations and understandings.  It is hard work, this marriage thing.  It takes humility and intense listening.  It takes effort to understand and to be willing to still learn new...yes, I said NEW...things about each other.  We have been married for 15 years, and we dated for 3 years before that, and yet there are still things to be discovered.

The work is worth it, but it is work, nonetheless.  It is not always bliss.  Sometimes it is ugly.  And yet, it is ALWAYS worth it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"I'm 5 Daddy, do I look different?"

These are the words that wakened me at about 4:30 this morning.  Through the fog of sleep, I listened to Simon and Daddy discuss the details of his turning 5 today.

Yes, Simon, you are 5, and you do look different.  You are a big boy, most definitely not a baby.  Part of me is glad...no more diaper bags or strollers or staying right beside you at the park or the swimming pool.  We have certainly reached a "less hands-on" phase of parenting in those respects.  Part of me, though, gets a little misty-eyed as I think that I will never fit you in my arms completely...oh, you'll try to fit in my arms, but there are legs and arms hanging off my lap.  I don't mind, but I do miss fitting that little baby all snug in my arms.

You bring our family so many laughs, sweet Simon.  You are so funny.  I have anxiety as I think about the things you will get in trouble for when you start school this fall.  I only hope your teacher has a sense of humor the size of Texas!!  I console myself with the fact that I had the same anxieties about your mentor and older brother, Ezra, and he hasn't been expelled yet.

You LOVE to cuddle.  I think you would spend entire days cuddling if any of us would let you.  Daddy says that when it is just the two of you at home, he kneels on the floor of his study to pray and you crawl all over him for almost an hour...just loving on him.  Our family loves this...you are a gift to us.

You are a GREAT dancer and singer.  Daddy and I often look at each other with a look that says, "Is he really doing that???" as you dance and make up songs.  I can't wait to see what God does with these gifts he has placed inside of you.

I don't know what our family would do without you, Simon.  You are the perfect littlest brother.  You are loving and kind, while at the same time feisty and hilarious.

Happy birthday, Simon!!!!  YOU are 5 and you look different!!!!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


...there are just days when something sucks, you know?  Around the Woodshed, we hash it out around the dinner table, talk about it again in the living room, scratch our heads and maybe even cuss once or twice.  Then one of us realizes that its not really that bad, that life will go on, maybe even better than it would have been if things had gone the way we would have liked.  We remember God's goodness and push aside our self-focused thoughts for eternal thoughts...like "it will build our character" and "maybe it will be better this way for some reason" and "let's try to see this from the Father's perspective" that, while annoying, really are true.  

Today was one of those days.  We've hashed it out.  We've been mad.  We came around.  We'll slowly realize that life will go on.  We'll grow from it, albeit an annoying and painful growth.  

I'm glad I've got these four boys to do this life with.  I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Just some things that are true...

1.  My favorite movie ever is Pretty Woman and I can quote it, nearly word for word.  Yes, I know it's about a prostitute, and I feel no guilt.

2.  We rarely, if ever, shovel snow when it snows.  I apologize now to any former, current, or future postman who delivers to our house.

3.  I don't recall ever teaching my boys their letters or numbers, but somehow they have all learned them.

4.  I never pay attention to when our boys bathe.  Luckily, my sweet husband does.

5.  I LOVE coffee of all kinds, any time of day, and always always ALWAYS in fun mugs.

6.  I get giddy when we have snow days.

7.  I kind of hope I get to feel giddy tomorrow morning.

8.  I love nights at home with my four boys.

9.  I love nights out on the town with friends.

10.  I really love old things.

11.  I prefer new underwear, though.

12.  I am sometimes inappropriate, often prideful, and quite often too worried about myself.

13.  I am utterly hopeless without a Savior, and saved only by his grace.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

What? Homemade bread? I can't do that!

Oh yes!  You can.  We've been making our own bread for awhile and I promise you...I don't have any more extra time than anyone else.  We've gotten it down to a pretty simple process that I'm planning to share with you today.

We decided to start making our own bread mostly because we just like how it tastes...initially there were no noble reasons.  Now, however, we are glad that we get to decide what goes in the bread we eat.  I started out using all unbleached white flour, but I'm slowly adding a little bit of 100% wheat flour each time so that we don't notice.  None of us really prefer wheat bread (sorry to Polly and Mary Lou who raised us on it, but this is an area where we both rebel!), so we may not ever get to using all wheat flour.

So, here is what I do...when I know we need a loaf, I pull out the bread maker, purchased circa 1999.  Pick yourself up a cheap bread maker if you don't enjoy kneading and rising and all of that.  Some people enjoy those steps..more power to 'em, I'm too busy cleaning up boogers and wiping butts.  I put the following ingredients in the bread maker, in this order:

1 cup warm water
2 T oil*
4 T honey*
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 t salt
2 1/4 t yeast

*Here's a tip on the honey...put in 1 T oil, then 2 of the T of honey, then the remaining T of oil, then the remaining 2 T honey.  The oil on the spoon will help the honey slide out better.

Put the breadmaker on the dough only feature and then go paint your nails or play video games or change your sheets or something.  In approximately an hour, your dough will be ready to bake.  Pull it out of the breadmaker and slop it into a bread pan you have sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it for 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  You could always let it bake in the breadmaker, but then it's kind of shaped like a traffic sign and it has a weird hole in it...fine for some people, but awkward for making sandwiches that fit into our sandwich containers.  I personally think the bread tastes better when its baked in a real oven, but I've been known to have strange thoughts before.  We store our bread in a vintage (and by that I mean its REALLY old) Tupperware bread container that doesn't have a typical Tupperware seal...its not totally airtight, but definitely fits on snugly.  I put the bread in the container before it cools completely which tends to ensure it will remain more soft.  We keep the container of bread, a bread knife, and a small cutting board in a basket on the counter beside the toaster.  We also taught the biggest boy how to cut the bread...a great tip if you don't want to always be cutting bread for the little people.

There you have it....give it a whirl!!!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Morning's Sweet Perspective

When the house is quiet before the boys are awake and I pour a cup of coffee, light a candle, and snuggle in with a quilt to read God's letter of love, I feel such wonder, such gratefulness. I am reminded of what an honor it is to be married to this man, to be trusted to raise these three boys into men. I remember that I don't deserve a bit of this...that it is ALL a gift.

I will struggle to keep this perspective later in the day when the house is quite loud and the man isn't always perfect and I'm reminding the boys for the thousandth time that we don't talk to each other in "that" way. It is worth the struggle though.