Thursday, November 30, 2006

"It's my turn to speak, speak ,speak....." Reverb implied

He stood on his chair, there was an air of both timidity and authority in his voice. Neither he- nor his listeners were sure, whether his words were a mandate or a question. He held his head high, and slowly crossed and uncrossed his arms before his chest. Almost as if he were Moses, holding out his staff to part the red sea.

"It's my turn to speak. speak. speak..." His voice lowered in volume on each repeat. He had become his own sound system, complete with re-verb.

He, is four. His name is Noah. The chair, was at our kitchen table.

Attention. We all need it, but we're not as clear in our communication of that need as Noah!

As a mom of three boys- Mike-17, Matt-14, and Noah- 4. Around out dinner table, also sits myself, and The Missional Dad. (Kyle) Dinner time, (which varies greatly based on Missional Dad's schedule) is a time for us to connect, talk about our day and be together.

It's also chaotic. In addition to being hungry,(teen boys are ALWAYS hungry) we each arrive at the table, excited to "speak, speak, speak". Sometimes it' s hard to get a word in edge-wise.

Missional Dad and I try to make sure that each one gets a turn to talk. But- occasionally, someone ends up feeling over looked. That's how Noah ended up standing on his chair.

Dividing attention,so each family member has an opportunity to talk, is just plain hard. It is at other times too. It seems that in most families, there are "talkers" and "quiet ones". It's imperative thst each one gets a chance to talk. It is equally important, that each one learns to listen. Dinner time is a great time to connect, and practice!

Some tips for family-talk time (around the dinner table or otherwise)

1) Ask questions to draw quieter family members into the conversation.
Specific questions generally will provide more discussion than general ones, especially with

  • What are you working on in math?
  • Who did you sit near on the bus?
  • How was lunch?
  • How was your day. and what did you do at school today? are notoriously answered with shrugged shoulders and "nothing" as their only answer!
2) Demand respect of each other at the table. (With an age spread of 4-17, it's important that each ones topics are respected..... The little one's discussion of Sponge Bob's newest episode, needs to be listened to as much as the oldests discussion of Russian spies and dangerous internet buying of pulonium...)

3) Adults are to be respected and listened too, as well. This isn't JUST a time for kids to talk. (However- this is a time for family appropriate discussion, couples need other time to speak, speak speak... without little -or not so little- ears.)

4) Everyone gets a turn. Don't wait for someone to stand on a chair!

Now- don't get me wrong- all is not politics and Sponge-Bob....around our table. The testoserone ocassionally must be reigned in, as talk and food leads to.... gulping of air, and well- the things that follow;)

The boys have frequently reminded me that belching after a good meal, is a compliment in some cultures. To which I always reply. "Not, this one"

Questions to think about...

  • Do you have time to talk as a family? Jesus, took time to talk to His disciples. He listened to their questions, and gave answers that were understandable. When we take time tpo both listen and 'speak speak speak" we are communicating God's love and value to our families, by our actions.
  • How balanced is your family communication? Do you need to encourage other members to talk? Are there sometimes, when a "talker" may need to be reminded to give others a turn?
  • Are there other natural times of communication, that your family shares? (driving time, before the bus, etc?)
  • Noah has made his need abundantly clear to his family. "It's my turn to speak, speak speak..." In what ways do your family members communicate this need?

The research is clear. Families that take (make) time to eat together, around a family table, are healthier- both individually, and as a unit. If it's hard for your family to eat together, are there ways that you could change this?

(My husband travels- and often works long hours. When he travels, we still eat together at the table, when he's late- everyone has snacks then we eat together when Dad gets home)

Kids schedules also be nuts these days. It's important for families not to sacrifice relationship time, for activity time.... manu families, set a limit of activities that cut into family time, say one activity per child per quarter.... what do you do?

Dear Lord- I pray that we'd, first and foremost, be listening to your voice- God I pray that I'll listen, so you'll not need to stand on a chair to get MY attention. I also pray that we'd learn to live your love incarnationally, giving love and attention, as well as discipline and instruction at the table, to our children, at the table and at all times- I love you Lord and thank you for the priviledge of being a Mom- amen.

thnxgiving at home;) 001

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The first Missionary I ever met.....

The first missionary I ever met..shipped home huge crates and boxes- from where ever he was.... I know missionaries usually receive boxes, but this one was different.

The boxes were always full of surprises. Exotic surprises that dazzled us and taught us about the land where my Grandparents were living.

For a year- the boxes arrived postmarked : Tehran, Iran. Those boxes were full of brass camels and ornate brass trays, sparkling embroidered veils, traditional Iranian clothes and the softest silk persian rug I've ever touched. There was a huge brass samovar, which, although never used- still sits in it's place of honor. There was a three legged, brass stool that is to this day, causing children to fall over.(Children+ three legged stool= not good.)

For another year- the crates and boxes were marked "Seoul, South Korea". They contained mother of pearl- inlaid black lacquer-ware and art from Korea. This was all nestled among bright colored silk robes and custom made suits. "The best tailoring in the world" The missionary exclaimed.

There were boxes from Equador, these held a conglomeration of interesting artifacts. Most memorable, (some possibly smuggled through customs) and a story of salt-water fishing- with a native guide, that resulted in a record catch marlin, that "fed the whole village"....

Even the time he spent in the Southwest of the United States, brought shipping crates. They contained silver jewelry and handwoven Native-American pieces, pottery and yes- even a set of bison horns.

The missionary saw each culture he encountered- as one to become involved with and to experience.

When the missionary returned home, (which he always did, eventually;) He regaled with stories of the people he had met and come to love. He absorbed the cultures where he had visited. And like a squeezed sponge- he shared them on his return. He grew to love the people, even if he didn't always understand them.

The most interesting fact about this missionary? He wasn't a Christian. (at the time) I suppose you could say he was a missionary of business. But- a missionary just the same. (He went to other places- learned their cultures, grew in understanding and respect for them, and then shared what he had with them. Which is really what missionaries do, isn't it? What he shared with them, just happened to be business related)

He was-also, a wonderful grandfather.

I know- because he was mine. I am convinced, that this is where my love for people of different cultures, started to grow. I remember sitting on edge, listening to the stories of meetings in Tehran where soldiers stood guard on the tops of ancient walls. (At the time we didn't know how dangerous it would soon become for Americans in Tehran- This was just a bit before the hostage crisis in the 70's) I remember my aunt's (she was still living at home and went with my grandparents) letters about teaching English to Iranian children. I remember the hours (and hours) of slide shows viewed in the basement.

I remember thinking... "Someday, I'll go to exotic places and meet new people and see new things..."

Little did I know- that my taste for these things- could be satisfied, right here, at home.

Somedays- if I walk down my street, I can smell dinner cooking, as I walk past my neighbors yards. There are scents of curries and lamb on the grills, in addition to the more American fare of ribs and hotdogs. The world has changed- where we once had to travel far to experience other cultures, we now just need to walk down the street, or travel to the next town over.

Near the end of his life- my grandfather experienced another and even more exciting adventure. He met Jesus. He grew to know and love God. It was another, new experience. One that changed not just his perspective (as did his travels) but his life.

Sometimes, I wonder--what would have happened had he not gotten so sick with cancer. I wonder, if he would have continued to travel, with a new purpose? Would he have become a missionary for Christ, instead of for business? I suppose it's possible. (he'd already "retired" from 2 different jobs, I doubt he would have stopped- traveling- had he not become ill)

I know this much for sure....

All along God had a plan that He was fulfilling, in my Grandfathers life, long before my Grandfather ever knew it. He was teaching us both a love for people, both those who are like us- and those who live differently. He was teaching me- through my Grandfather's example, that people are to be respected, and appreciated as they are, same or different from us as they may be.

Funny- but after all these years- I realize, God had been preparing me to be a Missional Mom... my whole life....

Dear Lord- I pray that you'd help me to be a missionary- right here- where I'm at. Help me to love your people, to learn about them, their cultures, their struggles and concerns, help me to share the love I have learned and received from you, with each one I meet....Oh... and Lord? Thanks for such an awesome Grandfather. I love you Lord- amen.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Idols of Motherhood....

Today- I have a question for you.... What are the idols you've run into in motherhood? In working on mmy writing project, it seems important to be able to contextualize the Gospel in Motherhood- first thing up? Identify the inter-cultural and trans-cultural idols we face as Moms.. Here is my list so far:
We sometimes worship---(hold invaluable, most valuable sometimes even in place of God...)

I don’t have it, God does. Over what happens to my child or what my child does. Our ideal future for our children- Being Godlike- our children are designed by God- not ours to re-create.
The idea that Income=Value- Mothers have value apart from their financial contribution.
Independence- I can do it all, all by myself- No one can, that’s why God gives us each other.
Our Children’s accomplishments- My child is my report card- Jesus is my righteousness
Our Childrens choices- My child is my second chance- God is your second chance… I wish I would have, My parents never…
Our ability to be a perfect parent- I can’t be a good enough parent- Nope, you can’t not on your own. Which is why we need God.
Our ability to protect our kids-from ourselves- I will break my kids- Gods love covers our sin, we fall down we get up. God uses our weaknesses for His glory.
Our identity as a Mother. Motherhood is not all I am- God knows the plans he has for you
Our dispensibility. What I do, can be done better by someone else- Yes, and no- yes- there will always be a “better mom” depending on what standard you use to measure, and no- because you are uniquely chosen by God, for your child- and they for you.
Our individuality- No one understands…the temptation the loneliness the pain- Jesus does. There is only one right way to parent- My way.
Leave your ideas in the comment section to help me out;)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another snippet--- out of order... like my house, at this point...;)

Below you'll find another snippet of my project "Missional Mom".... just for fun... the bits and pieces I share here, are roung and not ready--- but just here to let you take a peek into what I'm working on;) ts

What is a “Missional Mom”?

In the middle of the night, the missionary closed her eyes in silent prayer. “Oh Jesus, I need your help.” Since responding to the call to missions, her nights had become times of struggle, tears and exhaustion. The natives were most needy at night. It was also at night, that the missionary was most tired.

All day long, she fed the hungry, clothed the naked and bound up both broken bodies, and the broken hearted. Over time, she had gained the natives’ trust, and they requested her judgment, in their social squabbles. In meeting the needs of those she ministered to, she cleaned, she cooked and she served. She also spent time in working to support her ministry financially. It was exhausting, and exhilarating at the same time. Boring and adventurous.

“Oh Jesus, I need your help”

The same prayer was on her lips the day she discovered God’s call on her life, to join the mission field. There had been a rare, visible sign, that day. One that had made clear to her, what He was planning for her.

A visible “blue double line”, sign. Blue double lines, in the tiny window of her home pregnancy test. “Oh Jesus, I need your help” She prayed then, too.

I know this, because the missionary, is me. Those blue double lines, were one of the most concrete messages God, has ever given me. It was my “Clear Blue Easy” calling into the mission field of mothering. Since that day, it has been an adventure that has been just as dangerous, thrilling and sometimes as mind numbingly boring, as any other mission field.

I am a wife of 18 years. I am a Mom to 3 boys, 17, 14 and (surprise) 4. I am a neighbor, and a friend.

I am a missionary. I’ve clothed little naked children, I’ve fed hungry stomaches. (Sometimes, I wonder if teenagers have some kind of strange mission field parasite, that causes this never ending hunger!) I’ve been the judge over countless “native counsels” where wisdom was required. “Who’s turn is it on the computer?” is a common one, at this point.

I’ve had to learn their changing cultures, from Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, to online gaming and internet safety. I’ve grown in my skill of understanding their languages and meeting their needs. Mostly, I've learned it the hard way.

FYI: “What up, Dawg?” sounds ridiculous when it comes from a mom of teens mouth.

I’ve been supportive of my husband, through struggles and job changes, sickness and health. I’ve tried to make sure there is (at least occasionally) time for sex, in a marriage crammed with responsibilities. All along I’ve prayed the same prayer as the day I was called. “Oh Jesus, help me.”

There are languages and cultures I’ve had to learn to understand and respect, like the world of Dora the Explorer, and online gaming, The culture of a business man, and the language of a marketing executive. I have learned the socio-cultural ritual of deer hunting. I have learned to live with and love my native neighbors, whether they are Muslim, Hindi or cranky yard gestapo members. There is no doubt, that I am a missionary. Right here in my home.

If you’re reading this, I say with confidence, so are you. Regardless of how you came into mothering, whether conventionally, through marriage and pregnancy, finding your “Clear Blue Easy” double “calling” line, like I did, or through single parenting or step parenting or adoption, you are called.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Missional Mom.... A Hope and a prayer....

I have a confession. I have been holding out on you. There is something you don't know about me. I am working on a project. A BIG project... (to me) I have started writing my first book......(well, if it's not published, I may be writing fuel for a bonfire;)

Please pray with me, as I write:

"Dear Lord- I pray for your creativity, for your love and passion to be poured out, I pray that Mom's would find encouragement, tools and inspiration to to be a missionary- in their homes, and in the world around them. I love you Lord- and look forward to this adventure! amen"

The Title? Duh. "Missional Mom".

I've decided to give you a tiny (and in still very rough draft form....) taste......

Missional Mom
Chapter 1
A view from the mission field

The drum beat pounds through my chest. Boom. Boom. Boom. I can’t understand the words- that accompany, but I can feel the emotion. The words sound foreign. I can see the native’s clothing, it is odd. The colors are familiar, the fabrics are familiar, but the manner of dress is so different, from mine. I’m not even sure how the clothing is staying on their bodies. I wonder if it’s some strange power, that the natives alone, possess.

In addition to the drums, I hear a strange, light tapping sound. I turn and see another native. By stature and demeanor, I can see that he is the elder. He is busily performing his daily chores. Tip tap. Tip tap. The sound comes from his fingers, they are engaged in a strange activity, part crazy finger dance, part musical tapping. Suddenly, another sound, a buzzing sound, assaults my ears. It sounds like a bee the size of a small plane. It seems to come from a small object in a place of honor next to the elder. The elder picks up the buzzing object, without fear. He speaks. While I can hear his words, I struggle to understand.

I notice a blue glow coming from the opposite direction. Intrigued, I turn to find it’s source. I see another, a smaller native. He is awash in the blue glow, it surrounds him in both colored light and high pitched sounds. The small one is enraptured by the glow and sounds.

Through an opening in the wall of the Natives dwelling- I can see other natives. They are walking, working and going about their daily business. I hear laughter, the sounds of their tools as they work. They are familiar and foreign, at the same time.

Welcome to my mission field.

My home.

The drums? That is the music of my 2 teenaged sons, 14 and 17. Their strange clothing? Oversized sized t-shirts and baggy jeans. They are natives.

The tip, tapping and buzzing elder? That is my husband, working on his laptop, at the kitchen table. His cell phone buzzes in “vibrate mode” he answers it and talks shop. It’s almost another language, to me. He is a native.

The small native awash in a strange glow? That is my youngest, at 4 he is enraptured by Dora and Diego, He watches his Boz DVD’s with the music colors and stories that he loves. My little native.

The opening in the dwelling? That’s my front door. Through it, I see my neighbors, their cars moving in and out of driveways. I see a beautiful, sari-wrapped- Hindu woman, pushing her stroller. My Muslim neighbor is out cutting his lawn. Kids of all ages and ethnicities play basketball and soccer in the yards. Natives of all sorts.

All around me are people who need God- either to meet Him for the first time, or, to get to know Him in a deeper way. In the middle of our little suburban cul-de-sac, sits my home. In which, sits me. A Mom. A Missional Mom. A Mom called to reach out and share what she has, in hospitality, comfort and experience, right where she’s at.

A mom who’s also, afraid she’ll mess up. A mom who’s afraid she may not be able to connect with people who are different from her. Who’s afraid to offend, and turn someone off to the Gospel, because she’s a dork, or is pushy or in ignorance, may offend.

A mom whose heart breaks for the lives of those around her.

-excerpted from-" Missional Mom"-

Monday, September 18, 2006

Missional Mom on: The Ministry of Touching Toads.

missional toad

Yes. Touching Toads.

I love kids. I love how they think- I love how they communicate and soak in the truth. But- ocassionally- there are a few "challenges". See- I am a GIRL. My friends would say- the ALL CAPS in this case is necessary.

I'm not just a girl, I'm probably a "girlie girl". Yesterday? I surprised a few little guys with the fact that I'm not afraid of Toads.

I was surrounded by some of the most fabulous little ones ever. We were havin fun- at a Baptism in my friends backyard- and pool. The grills were lit, smoke from ribs and burgers tickled our noses.

The boys were doin "boy stuff" like bossing around the girls--- and chasing each other- and chasing--- well- NOTHING. They were playing with cars, "Rescue Heroes" were being segregated from the "girls toys".

Then, Joe- (one of my favorite- very big kids) found a toad. He was gonna let it go over the fence----

NO WAY. Here is my moment....what do little boys like more than a toad?


"Joe, Is that a toad? Can I have it????????" Was out of my mouth before I could think it through.

"Yeah, just let it go on the other side of the fence, when you're done.." Was the answer.

(I don't know why - maybe there is a toad infestation to be reckoned with, just outside their fence.)

I haven't held a toad in years. It had been even longer since one pee'd on me. Let's just say- today? It hasn't been long ago. I'm "current" with my Toadie quota at the moment.

It was only seconds before the "Girlie boundary " as broken. Little guys swarmed.

They wanted to hold the toad. I think they were a little surprised, that I was holding it. We giggled when the toad jumped pee on my leg. Then we giggled again, when I scooped him up. Everybody gently touched Mr Toadie. No- we won't get warts- that's an old wives tale. (take it from an old wife;) We managed not to squash him.

Then, I put him outside the fence.

OK--- so maybe you're thinking a little funny- yes. Gross- too. But was it ministry?

Well... when we go to where others are--- and reach past ourselves- to touch toads... we often find ourselves touching hearts.

Maybe it was in the reaching past the pre-concieved notions-(girls don't touch toads) or maybe it was in the shared wonder of Creation... toads may be ugly--- but they are cute and definitely are amazing. (

Maybe it was just in taking time to talk to them... but those little guys? (And girls) well- we hung out on a blanket and goofed for quite a while after that.

I think we connected.

Sometimes- we miss finding the little toads that could connect us with our kids- we're too busy- or or distracted.

Truthfully- sometimes--- I'm just not that "into" the same things as my kids.

My boys love video games. I think they are a waste of time. But- you know what? When I strap on that plastic guitar, and play a few songs on "Guitar Hero" Ok.. so I cna only play ONE song- and I'm Awful! But-aftwards.... I get a whole evening of heart to heart with them. (Once they've finished laughing- of course.)

I can't play games all day- nor can my kids, (although they'd like too, I'm sure) and I sure I can't always have a toad in my purse-(although- I suppose its possible there is one.. somewhere in the bottom- you never know what you'll find in MY Purse;)

But- what if- for just a few minutes each day- we "touched toads?" We got involved in what our kids are into---- not invading their play and not allowing them to BE... but joining them, and letting love "happen"?

sounds like ministry to me....

1 Corinthinians 9:22-24

"To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. "

Dear Lord- help us to see the missional toads in our midst- help us to love our kids- and the kids of others- in a way that makes a difference- everyday. I love you Lord- amen.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coount down to Convention....MOPS Convention, that is;)


OK... so picture this.... some 4,500 + Mom's (without their kids!) from all over the world, gathering in Nashville, Tennesse, to worship, learn, ecourage and be encouraged. For 3 days.

Can you say Pajama Party?

I'm going. Are you? MOPS International Convention.

What? You say you hate mopping the kitchen floor? Me too. MOPS has nothing to do with mopping floors. (Well- you COULD pick up hints about removing gum from carpet, I suppose, but that isn't the point;)

MOPS is not some strange cult for floor fanatics. It stands for: Mothers Of Preschoolers.

This is MOPS: (excerpted from the MOPS website)

"MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. MOPS International exists to meet the needs of every mom - urban, suburban and rural moms, stay-at-home and working moms, teen, single and married moms - moms with different lifestyles who all share a similar desire to be the very best moms they can be! MOPS recognizes that the years from infancy through kindergarten are foundational in a mother-child relationship and are filled with unique needs.MOPS helps moms through relationships established in the context of local groups that provide a caring atmosphere for today's mother of young children. MOPS also encourages and supports moms through resources such as books, this Web site, the MOMSense radio program and the MOPS International Membership. "

What will we be doing in Nashville?

Learning from some of the top Christian leaders... like:

2006 Convention Artists and Speakers:

Elisa Morgan
Ken Davis
Priscilla Shirer
Wess Stafford
Kim Hill
Donald Miller
Nichole Nordeman
Mark Schultz
Go Fish

And on Friday afternoon--- in a little room in the back somewhere-- (oh--- probably as far from my session before it, as possible.......)

Will be me, and a few hundred Discussion Group Team Leaders.... talking about Conflict.

How to resolve it... not AVOID it;)

I'm excited. Like WAY excited.

I have been involved with MOPS Intl. for somewhere around 16+ years. As a Local group Coordinator (coordinated the local groups leadership team) - as a MOPPET Coordinator (Organized a children's program for around 100 kiddos) and as Mentor Mom- where I team taught the women and developed Mentoring relationships with them.

I am now working with MOPS in a different capacity. As a Field Leader. I serve a number of local groups, with leadership training, encouragement and problem solving.

Ocasionally I get to do things like speak at local groups- or at convention- in workshops/seminars.

How cool is that? Not that I get to do it... but that there is an organization that is so sold out to their mission of growing women, that they encourage and give their leaders opportunities to step up to the plate, in different capacities?

That is awesome.

I've been attending and now serving at Convention for some 16 years.. (well- when I wasn't DUE with a baby- or when nursing made it impossible;) it is a spiritual filling and a time of fun and reflection. Challenge to grow....and eating with sharing ;) I look forward to it every year.

Will you do me a favor? See that list of speakers/artists? Will you pray for them? And me-- as we get ready to both recieve from the Lord- and to pour out to these Moms? Will you pray for the tech crews.. the convention center staff... the Moms who are struggling to leave their families behind? The families that will be surviving on macaroni and McDonald's for a few days in Mom's absense?

Dear Jesus- I pray for the leaders- for The MOPS International Staff- their families- the tech people and all those involved or affected in MOPS Convention- I pray for your presense and direction, I pray for you to fill and send out 4500 women on fire for YOU.... ready to allow you to change their hearts- their families and their world, I love you Lord- amen.

Thnx- i knew you would;)

Want to find a local MOPS group? Or find out how to start one? Click here: Immediately!

Seriously.... go.... now;) Check out the website- the forums! They are AWESOME!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Skittles, Starbursts and Sprite, can make Momma Cry

I hear the shuffle-bump of tired teenaged feet on the porch, the front door opens.....

"Noah! Guess what I brought you???"" Shouts the big boys, In varying tones of voice change.

"Spwite? Skiddles? Stawrbursts?" Guesses the little one, who's been left behind with Mom all day.

"Yep!" Say two teenagers with grins like lighthouses.

"How did you KNOW? I've been WAITING for a tweat, ALL day."

The little Skittle eater hugs the legs of both teenagers. "I love you, you're my favorite brothers" (we giggle- they are his only brothers...but he means it with all his heart. THEY are his favorite brothers.)

The teens retreat to their afterschool "downtime". I don't complain about candy before dinner, or pop rotting teeth. I just.....

Cry. The happy cry.

Sometimes- as a mom... I wonder. Are they getting it? Are we loving them enough? Are we tough enough? Are we too tough? Do they value each other? Will they EVER be thoughtful of somone elses feelings?

And then, they bring home Skittles and Sprite. Bought with their own lunch money.

To the little guy- it means they thought of him. It's like he is a "Part" of their big boy experience. They tell him about the pop-machine. They tell him about the Candy machine. He feels like they love him. They think of him....maybe even miss him.

The best part? They do this on a regular basis. At least a couple times a week, no worries though- I don't cry every time.... just when I'm PMSing;)

Yeah, they get it. And I am so thankful.

Dear Lord- I thank and praise you for my guys- I pray that you'll continue to mature them, draw them ever closer to you Lord- teach them your ways, thank you again- for my wonderful Skittle and Sprite gifting boys.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Help Meet? Meat? Sounds like strange Barbecue to me......

activplanttroy 008

Let's face it. Help meet is a weird word. I didn't make it up;) But, I did look it up!

Genesis 2:18
"And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."

A girls gotta wonder....,,... how can I HELP my husband? What? Am I supposed to do his job for him, too? I don't think so.

It seems to me- that couples are often going in two different directions. He does his job, she does hers. We often live two separate lives. This happens in traditional SAHM situations just as often as it does in dual income families. Yet, the bible is pretty clear that we were designed to help each other.

Sometimes, I wonder if moving from an agricultural society to a more industrial one, we've made our roles as husband and wife so much more difficult to fulfill. On a farm, or in a "shop" it is easy to see couple working together toward a common goal. How can that be accomplished now? We work at separate jobs in different cities! (FYI- my VAST knowledge of the agricultural society is from my childhood spent watching "Little House on the Prairie")

God's word hasn't changed, but our cultural context has. Even within the current culture, there are so many variables.

Variables like:

  • The necessity for 2 incomes for so many families.
  • The change of proximity to our jobs (most commute, Pa's work is no longer within walking distance like in "Little House on the Prairie ;)
  • Time home together is often times minimal.
  • Tag team marital situations, where one spouse arrives home from work, close to the time the other is leaving FOR work. Sometimes this is because of work schedules, and sometimes it's to minimize the need for outside childcare.

As families work hard to manage the difficult task of balancing financial , childrens' and couple's needs, we must be more and more creative in maintaining connection with each other. It will take creativity to find ways to be a "help meet."

Knowing I am designed to be a help-meet, raises lots of questions.... What does that look like?

Should I cut the grass?
Take out the trash?
Should I iron his clothes? (trust me- My husband is better of doing his own ironing, I'm AWFUL!)
Should I balance his Budget spreadsheet, or be his office manager?
Should I make an appointment with his boss to straighten out a few things???? No. Period.

There is a line between helping and being bossy, trust me, I've crossed it. But, the lines can be hard to find. "Help-meet" doesn't mean spousal micro-manager. It doesn't mean you become his mother, either. He has or had one and may still be suffering the consequences... (kidding.. kidding... mostly;)

Help meet is pretty self explanatory, you meet with help, where you can.

Each of us, has to answer this question for our families. It won't look the same. Some, may find that they can best help their husband by working; whether part time, full time or from home. Others, may take care of everything at home so DH doesn't have to worry about it, and can focus on his work....

For me, I stay home, in a traditional SAHM role. Yet, there is more to being a help meet, than laundry and restaurant services. My DH's work is important to him (and to our family) So, I work hard to find ways to be a help-meet with his work.

It's not easy. It requires effort. My primary ministry is to the people in my Home. First- to my Husband, (He'll be here after the kids are gone..;) Then to my kids. One of the ways I can minister my husband, is by helping him. Here are a few ideas that work for us:

Missional Wife's top Ten ways to be a Help-Meet:

  • 1) Google alerts for industry or company information... and/or customers or clients. (This is about learning about his job, your method of information gathering may be different... but give it a shot, show interest in what interests him... his job)
  • 2) Listen and remember: about co-workers, projects, etc. (offer to buy gifts for so-workers new babies, homes etc....)
  • 3) Ask if you can help with anything in a crunch time...... Office need to be extra nice? For a meeting? Offer to clean it. Husband putting in extra hours at the shop because their cutting back crew to save money? Offer to bring him a homecooked meal on-site. If you're kids are old enough, encourage them to cut the grass, then tell Dad they did it so Saturday can be a fun family day, instead of a work at home day.
  • 4) Be creative. Is there something you can do, that ocassionally could help him more directly with his work? proof the office for a special customer meeting, cooking treats for special ocassions. Picking up gifts for co-workers weddings and babies...(catering an event to cut costs for the company.. Etc.)
  • 5) Learn about his job/industry. Learning from your spouse is a powerful gift.
  • 6) Pray for and WITH him, about his work. (We've been known to take a ride out to Daddys work to pray for a specific meeting or issue.
  • 7) Work hard, to help without grousing. (for me, grousing is usually a pretty good indicator that my needs may not be being met see item: 10.)
  • 8) Look for ways to involve children in helping. (families that learn to support each other- stay together)
  • 9) Hold each other accountable. Life is NOT all about work. Sometimes a girls gotta lovingly remind her man of that;) Sometimes she needs to be reminded of the same, by her man.
  • 10) We can't be "help meets" when we're empty..... Make sure your needs are clearly defined and met as well.... on an airplane, you are encouraged to first put oxygen on yourself, then you are able to help someone else. Passed out exhausted, burnt out wives are not help-meets. They can't be. You can't give what you don't have. Spend time with God, the ultimate need meeter, and in rest, hobbies etc, whatever it is that takes care of yourself.

For the past few weeks, I've been helping my husband with a major project. His company opened an office in our vicinity. As he is the executive presense in this office, he wanted the office to reflect preofessionalism and bear the "branding" of the company. I offered to help. (I know- decorating on someone elses budget- I was really suffering!;)

I was honored that he trusted my instincts, and asked me to take on this project. I custom framed marketing collateral, created a black and white collage of industry events, I consulted on a major item custom framing order. I choose accessories and prints that would create the atmosphere that he was looking for. I picked plants and a fountain. I bargain shopped. ;) I'm good at that. We pulled the whole project in within budget.

Finally, in preparation for a huge meeting. I cleaned the office. Vacuumed, scrubbed walls, cleaned every picture glass. We found bowls and mints that coordinate with the corporate colors. Everything was perfect. (if I do say so myself)

Late yesterday, when all was finished, I looked over at my husband and he was near tears. He loved it. I felt like crying too- because I knew, I had ministered to him. Missionally.

It was as if I had washed his feet with windex and a vacuum cleaner. (Kind of;) I really felt like I had been a help-meet.

What about you? Are you a help-meet to your spouse? Can you be creative in finding ways to help and support your spouse in their work endeavors? Or, are you feeling empty, like you have nothing left to give? pray along with me....

Dear Jesus, I anm called to love my Husband, I am called to be a help-meet, please God, help me find creative and appropriate ways to lovingly support him, please God meet my needs so that I can meet his, in your name- amen

I found this prayer quoted from Ruth Bell Graham... over at Shannons site, I'm agreeing with her prayer as well!

Dear Lord, Thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I must have a few friends at the end.
Ruth Bell Graham

Yeah, Lord.... That's what I mean.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

My neighbors are not terrorists.

I don't think they are. But then, there are neighbors in other states surprised to find out that theirs were.

I have been pretty strong in my opinion about racial profiling. I hate it. My guys feel differently about it. To me, it smacks of prejudice. I hate prejudice. Prejudice means to Pre-judge, based on a certain set of (usually external) facts. Such as ethnicity, skin color, etc. My guys see it as a necessary way to avoid further terror attacks, and save lives. A "necessary evil" according to my oldest. (My political boy) I usually fight them tooth and nail. This week? Not so much.

This week my DH had to fly to the other end of our country. Under a heightened terror alert. While fully trusting God- I also know that bad things happen. I don't like bad things. I prefer to avoid bad things, to be honest. This week, I thought, "Maybe this profiling thing isn't so bad". At least for this flight. The whole thought process, bothered me.

Maybe it isn't bad. Maybe it is very bad. Heart hardening bad.

This afternoon, when I pulled into my driveway, I saw my neighbor family out for a walk. They are Lebanese and yes, they are Muslim. My son's have had a few "issues" with some of their sons'. Our last name is "ethnic" Jewish, actually. My neighors, (at least their sons) don't like Jewish people. I guess that means they don't like us. I've had other people not like me before (given enough time, I can be pretty annoying) but I've never had anyone not like me because of my ethnicity. Honestly... when I saw them today, I thought, "They don't like Jews....or Christians.....What If?" What if they are terrorists? Me, the one who opposes racism of all sorts, looked at her neighbor, and mentally "profiled them." Just for a moment. It made me sick.

Conflicted. See I told you. Because...I also like my neighbors. I am intrigued by their culture. I chose a neighborhood that was purposefully multi-cultural. I want my kids to grow up around people of different nationalities. So that they can love people regardless of their skin color, or last name. I have Indian Neighbors, Hindi Neighbors, African American Neighbors, Irish Neighbors, Italian Neighbors, and cranky neighbors. I like it this way. ( I actually do try to be kind to the cranky ones...)

But, this week....... I actually wondered. What IF? What IF my neighbors are terrorists?

It wasn't the fear of terrorists that bothered me, but my response. My initial response was "What if? well...then yourself far from them and be safe, smile, make nice, but keep away" That scared me. "Keep away." These people need God, and I want to recoil? To me, that is worse than if they are terrorists. How can I be a Missional Mom... if I recoil from my mission field? How can I teach my kids to love, if I don't endeavor to love those who hate us?

Why? Because, I am called into this neighborhood for a purpose. To love the neighbors I have. Regardless. I can't let seeds of fear take root in my heart and change my attitude towards my neighbors. I have to guard against looking at them as potential enemies, instead of Creations of the Most High God, whom God wants to love, through me. Even if they don't like me.

Even if they are Muslim, even if they are terrorists. Either way- I will have to stand before Jesus someday, and answer for my attitude.... His question may sound something like this... "Did you love your neighbor?"

I want to be able to answer, "Yes Lord, they may not have loved me, but I loved them"

Dear Jesus, I pray for courage, wisdom and strength to love my neighbors, all of them. Especially my Muslim neighbors. Fill me with your love for them, God I ask that you'd use me to love them. Lord, I don't have answers to political problems, but I believe you ARE the answer to spiritual ones. I ask you to help me to love, " Even if." God I ask you to help me to reach out to my neighbors, my Hindi neighbors, my African American neighbors... my just plain vanilla neighbors, I love you Lord- and want to love others well, help my boys to see and learn from our example, following after you- in Jesus name- amen

In Matthew 5: 43-48 Jesus says it this way: I hear an "Even if" in here:

Love for Enemies

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Peripheral Vision... Maintaining Accurate Perspective.

It happened in the camper.

I was standing in the kitchen. Out of the corner of my eye, in my peripheral vision- I saw a man walk past. I knew my husband was outside. The camper is a TIGHT fit. No-one could walk in without my noticing. ( I didn't have my Ipod on, and I wasn't knitting... so I was fairly observant!)

When I turned to look, I realized the MAN, was my SON.

At 16 1/2, 5'8" and over 200 lbs. He is no longer a child.
(although- he IS still a campfire- pyro;) Actually- in another 18 months- he could be one of the young men, leaving for Iraq. Amazing.

Funny, when I look straight at him, I still see the boy. I see his left hand, first finger and thumb, reach up and wiggle his eyeglasses, till they sit "just right" on his nose. They same way he has since he was 3.

When I look straight at him, I see the same crooked grin, one eyebrow raised, that means he's thinking of something JUST bad ENOUGH to say and to be funny, but not quite get in trouble. The same as he did when he was 6.

At my house, we're getting ready to make the JUMP to letting Mike (my oldest) get his drivers license. Looking straight on? I still see my little guy riding his Hotwheels Big-wheel. Out of the corner of my eye? I see a teen, who's working hard to be responsible. I see a young man, who's ready to drive on his own.

In taking a Missional approach to parenting- I'd encourage you- to ocassionally take a sideways glance at your may make it easier to minister to them, if you see them for who they really are, right now.

Dear Lord- Help me to rightly assess my kids needs, not seeing them through nostalgic eyes, or my mommy-eyes of denial of their growing up, but with eyes that see them as the true people that you are making them to be. So that I am meeting their needs- as they are now- not handing over a Big-Wheel, to a young man ready to drive. I love you Lord- and ask you to continue to grow my guys in you- amen

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Planner... and best laid vs. natural plans....

Anyone who carries one of these: (see picture at right) Is serious. Organized. I've heard that they can become a "second brain" to some. They are highly valued.

This afternoon, on the way home from picking up my son, we noticed a woman in the middle of a fairly busy street, frantically picking up pieces of paper- (the look on her face, said they were pieces of her life) while she dodged in and out of traffic, chasing down what she could salvage.

Her car was across the road, and, on our side of the street- I noticed a freshly run-over Franklin Planner--- pages blowing-off in the breeze.

All I could think, was "If that were me- I'd want some help"

We pulled over, and joined in her chase. I thought she would cry. She was surprised we'd chase her pieces of paper around a busy road. We found a blank check- (ouch, that would have been a BAD thing to lose) notecards, and many pages from her upcoming year. July 24th was one of the days we caught. I've already put her on my calendar, to pray for her on July 24th. ;)

Some of her plans, we could salvage, others were lost way below, on the freeway. (Did I mention we were racing to catch the pages before they blew off the overpass?) I'm sure she'll survive. But it will mean a lot of work. She had just left a group home, (where she supervises the workers) had placed her planner ON TOP of her car----- and well... you know the rest of the carnage. She asked what she could do for me... I said I was a Christian, and just wanted to help- it's what Jesus would want. I also said- if it was me- I'd have wanted HELP! We laighed- I hugged her- and we took off.

When I stopped, I had fully desired to just bless this woman. To help her. To pick up some of the pieces that were blowing on the road. But, what did God do with the whole situation? He turned it around to bless me.

My oldest son was with me, he helped pick up the papers. As we drove into the driveway, at home, (after finding more papers further down the road, and rusing back to find the lady...) he said this...

"I'm impressed Mom, not everybody would stop, that was the right thing to do, even if it was a pain. "

I can't tell you how many times, I've attempted and planned to teach him that lesson. Hundreds, I'm guessing, over the years. Little ways I've set out to SHOW him, that caring isn't convenient- but we do it anyway...... little lectures on giving, on helping how you can and sharing the gospel, where ever God opens. I've bought books and videos, to teach that message. Most of which he has only gotten- parts of.

Yet- today, while fully intending to bless someone else- he got the full message, written on the face of a woman in distress, who was helped, by him!

The bible says we're to- live WITH our children, and teach them through modeling, as well as with our words- at all times.

Deuteronomy 6:6-8
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

As part of our missional mom journey- we need to allow our kids to be part of what God does- so they can see His hand extended, through us!

Dear Lord- I pray for the woman with the planner- I pray that you'd bless her work, and help her to gather her plans, and needed information. I pray that she'd know that the help she received today- wasn't from us- but directly from you. I pray also that the lesson my guy experienced today- would take a deep root in his heart- I love you Lord- and thank you for every opportunity! amen.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mission to Mars... I mean MEN.

final day--- home we go.... 057 They don't LOOK like aliens... do they?

Well, not in this picture, but trust me, often I feel like they are just that, ALIENS. Of the outer space sort. ;)

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a Mom. That means I'm a FEMALE. I'm a girl.

Yet- I am called as a missionary- to MEN. (not ALL men-this isn't that kind of blog! I mean my own men, my 3 sons and hubby;) It's wondeful, funny and strange being a woman surrounded by men, in all phases of development. Mostly it's odd.

The oldest one- is my Husband. He lives in a world of business, and travel. He also plays VIDEO games. And Golfs, and camps.

Then there is the Oldest Son/alien- He's a "gamer" and a massive fisherman.

Next up- is the "Middle Child"- He's creative and a math whiz (if I go back to college- as I'd like- he'll be the one helping me with my homework)

Finally we have the little one. My Rockin' Roll Show, Everybody loves him, Preschooler.

All these men, each one unique, and different- and yet- from my perspective a bit strange as well- because they share certain characteristics that God implanted in each of them- long before my or their Fathers influence ever came into play!

Like- making everything into weapons. (yes- even dinner)
Leaving the Lid up. (I'm out numbered here- I say NOTHING, after 18 years, if I don't have sense enough to look before I sit, it's my own fault!)
Like gravitating toward super hero's and justice.
Like thinking burping is a second language.

We Mom's sometimes feel like our kids and spouses are as alien as any aboriginal tribe... (ok- so MINE are pretty close!) Yet- the truth is, we just need to understand.

Leaving the Lid up- Hello, if thats how you USE it. Then it makes sense. (mostly)
Making everything into weapons? and Super Hero's? Men are designed by God- to protect defend and provide. (contrary to my peac/animal loving nature!)
Burping as a second language?

Well, Ok- THAT one I don't GET. But- I can belch my name. (and pretty much anything on demand)

It isn't my job, as a Missional Mom, to convert my men... into WOMEN. It's my job to help them become the Men that God has planned for them to be, and live out before them, and example of what one (slightly crazy- but loving ) Woman is like.

I'm learning to LEARN from the natives. ;)

Dear Lord- help me to appreciate the differences between myself and my guys, help me to love them in a way that honors YOU, and who You've determined each of them to be, setting aside my own agenda- I love you Lord- amen!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Invitation to worship

Lion of Judah
Isaiah 11, Revelation 11

You're the Lion of Judah,
the Lamb that was slain,
You ascended to heaven and ever more will reign;
At the end of the age when the earth You reclaim,
You will gather the nations before You.
And the eyes of all men will be fixed on the Lamb
Who was crucified,For with wisdom and mercy and justice
You'll reignAt Your Father's side.
And the angels will cry: 'Hail the Lamb
Who was slain for the world, Rule in power.'
And the earth will reply:
'You shall reign
As the King of all kings
And the Lord of all lords.'

There's a shield in our hand and a sword at our side,
There's a fire in our spirits that cannot be denied;
As the Father has told us for these You have died,
For the nations that gather before You.
And the ears of all men need to hear of the Lamb
Who was crucified,
Who descended to hell yet was raised up to reign
At the Father's side.

Copyright © 1993 Daybreak Music Ltd.
If your church holds a current CCL license, you may use these lyrics for overheads or song sheets for congregational or group worship under the terms of your license.
The studio version of this song is available on Not By Might.
Live versions of the song are available on Room for Grace and Revival in Belfast.
Sheet music of this song is available in the Revival in Belfast Songbook and on the enhanced CD Room for Grace.

Ancient of Days
by Jamie Harvill & Gary Sadler©1992 Integrity's Hosanna! Music/ASCAP & Integrity's Praise! Music/BMIAll Rights Reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.This performance © 2002 Rocks Cry Out


Blessing and honor, glory and power,
be unto the Ancient of Days!
From every nation, all of creation, bow before the Ancient of Days!

Every tongue in Heaven and earth
shall declare Your glory!
Every knee will bow at Your throne in worship!
You will be exalted, O God!
And Your Kingdom shall not pass away,
O Ancient of Days!

Your kingdom shall reign over all the earth,
Sing unto the Ancient of Days!
For none can compare to Your matchless worth, Sing unto the Ancient of Days!

Days Of Elijah

These are the days of Elijah,
Declaring the word of the Lord:
And these are the days of Your servant Moses,
Righteousness being restored.
nd though these are days of great trial,
Of famine and darkness and sword,
Still, we are the voice in the desert crying'
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!'
Behold He comes riding on the clouds,
Shining like the sun at the trumpet call;
Lift your voice, it's the year of jubilee,
And out of Zion's hill salvation comes.
These are the days of Ezekiel,
The dry bones becoming as flesh;
And these are the days of Your servant David,
Rebuilding a temple of praise.
These are the days of the harvest,
The fields are as white in Your world,
And we are the labourers in Your vineyard,
Declaring the word of the Lord!

There's no God like Jehovah.There's no God like Jehovah!
Copyright © 1997 Daybreak Music Ltd.

Hillsong Australia»
Shout To The Lord
My Jesus, my Saviour
Lord there is none like You
All of my days I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love
My comfort, my shelter
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am Never cease to worship You

Shout to the Lord All the Earth,
let us sing Power and majesty
Praise to the King Mountains bow down
And the seas will roar
At the sound of Your name
I sing for joy at the work Of Your hand
Forever I'll love You Forever I'll stand
Nothing compares To the promise I have In You

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mr Rogers and Me.

Mr Rogers vs Barney... and Dora, and Power Rangers..

in a Kid Celebrity Death Match?

Do you even wonder who would win?

Mr Rogers- in a heart-beat.

Not because of his physical prowess, or manly muscle, but because a couple of GENERATIONS of people, of all walks of life would be at his aid in a moment.

Why? Because Mr Rogers communicated what we so desperately needed to hear, in a culture that was changing, where divorce fears and experiences were affecting changes in most homes and neighborhoods.... A world where what you have, or don't , or how you look, or don't, defined your value....

Mr Rogers looked thru the camera, into our hearts, and said :

"It's YOU I like."

It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair--
But it's you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you--
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys-- They're just beside you.
But it's you I like--
Every part of you, Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like,
It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.

Do I think Mr Rogers would "play" today?..Well- it's still running.

Do I think Mr Rogers' approach to children is the only one to utilize? Doubtful.

But, I'll tell you this- prior to his death- Mr Rogers, taped a short video clip for MOPS International, to be shown at a MOPS convention, where he TOLD us we were valued, we were important, that what we do as Moms MATTERED to him, and to God.

Mr Rogers sang us his song.

3,500 women wept. Because we believed him.

Did we believe him because he was so very cool....? Uhhhh no. He was NEVER cool.

Did we believe him because he was so well put together, or slick? Impressive? Nope.

We believed him because he MEANT it.

Fred Rogers was a minister, he knew the kids he was speaking too- (in a cultural sense) he knew the message he had to give, and used his unique voice to speak it, to a generation. More importantly, in my perspective, he was authentic. Believable. Cheesy, but believable.

He used methods that worked, for him. He became PART of the media, without changing his message. He was interesting to kids- though, maybe not so much adults.

Mr Rogers, is now gone. I remember the day his death was announced. Newscasters teared up, I wept. Others teared up and cried. I am sure that every MOPS Mom who was at convention the year his clip was shown... flashed back to that clip.

Mr Rogers was low-tech in a changing media culture of "The Electic Company" and "Sesame Street", There were just the people in his neighborhood, a few puppets, no big flashy animations, not blasting sound and lights......simple music, simple style.

Just a man, a sweater and a message.

Sometimes, moms feel like we are limited, how can we compete with the "media soaked culture" Our kids are in? How can we even keep up, or hold their attention? How can our simple message of love, and God's grace be heard over all the NOISE????

This struggle crosses over into women's ministry, and other relationships.

Maybe- we need to take a more Mr Roger's approach. Not be all "fancy" or "high-tech" "smooth" or "performance perfect"...(Mr Rogers wasn't exactly the most phenomenal person on camera) Maybe we just need to communicate, simply and with heart, the Gospel of God's love, His grace extended to us thru Christ. Then challenge each other to live in such a way as to honor the high-cost of that grace. Maybe we should love un-conditionally and with authenticity. Sharing the truth, in a way that points back to God--- instead of our "flash and dash show"

My Mission- at home- and in ministry, isn't to leave behind great "episodes" and "sound bites" for the media's approval. It's to leave behind a legacy of love- for my God, My Husband, my Kids and Friends.

I don't remember a single critic coming out after Mr Rogers death to criticize his lack of stage presence or his tennis shoe wearing, sweater donning image.....

Mr Rogers wasn't cool. Mr Roger's was himself.

Maybe as mom's, women, and, or wives, we should try the same.

I have read a bit about Mr Rogers, I believe he was a Christian, reaching out to a world that was quickly changing. I'm not sure why Mr Rogers shows taught truths, from scripture- without actually offering the Gospel as it's source.

Maybe it was a marketing thing, maybe it was because Mr Rogers felt differently about his unique calling, I don't know.

But I do know this, as a Mom, and a woman, I'm not bound by those things. I want to communicate the whole of the Gospel, to all those around me. In a way that is authentic and believable.

I want the "songs" of my life, to be sung after I'm gone, like the songs of Mr Rogers.
I want the message to be louder than the messenger. It's not about being cool women or Mom's ,it's about being real and being true to God's calling and truths.

Dear Lord- Help me to serve you well- help me to love my kids and my husband and friends in away that makes them BELIEVE that they are loved- by you first- then by me--- I love you Lord- amen.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Missional Mom- and my Man...My Sub "Mission" or, You were right honey.

Sub "Mission"---- just part of my Missional Mom experience.

Honestly- it can be a struggle. See- I pretty much think I know everything.

I am open to convincing... but- it takes work to do that. Debate.

There is an area of "debate" in my marriage- that has been on-going for YEARS......

It's called "The Extended Warranty". (Insert dramatic dum.dum .dum... music) My husband is a firm believer in buying the "replace and or repair warranties" I, being the "oh... nothing will go wrong- it's all good" queen, think they are a waste of money.

For years, every major purchase, renewed the debate. I finally decided- this is a stupid thing to argue about. I started buying the warranties. Usually - gritting my teeth, and thinking---"this is a waste of money."

Last December- we had a special trip planned- Mr Big Boys first trip to Disney World. We decided a faster speed Digital, would be important to catch the moments in pics. Since we already had a digital... I had a hard time spending any extra on the new one....I wanted speed- to catch that fast moving boy.... but I also wanted minimal cost.

I stood at the counter-- while the guy said----"blah blah warranty... blah blah.... "

I debated with myself. "this is such a waste- I don't want to spend an extra $'s a good quality camera.. blah blah.....then I felt like the "S" word was brought to my mind. "SUBMIT." Since-- my NATURE hears SUBMIT as a challenge for a fight... I knew this must be coming from God- and not me.

I felt like I should just buy the warranty. Even though my husband wasn't physically there--- I knew it was an issue- and his preference. So, without arguing- I bought it. (ok- so ocasionally I DO Do the right thing... who'd a thunk?)

Can you guess why my blogs have been shy of pics lately??? Because- that great camera--- the one with the Leica lens at the Panasonic price??? The one- with almost no lag time between pics... and great focus?

It broke. (see the awful washed out pic??? yeah, thats what I get now.)

I made a call- the insurance company that covers the warranties--- sent out a box. I sent in the camera... It is being either- repaired or replaced. FOR FREE. (well- for that $50 bucks actually) Here's what I learned..... sometimes- I am WRONG.

SHOCKING. I know. By experience, I am learning to trust his opinions more and more often. I also trust his character. He loves me--- and isn't just about "Makin me do stuff" just to be a jerk. Granted- it's taken us 18 years to learn this stuff by experience.

There are 2 parts to a marriage...... the Bible says to women to submit..... But, it also says to men--- to be willing to lay down your LIFE. That means- we should each be seeking to serve each other. If we're working together- to lay down our agendas- and our love of control.... to do whats BEST for the other person..... that makes submission, not just possible- but healthy.

Both parts are necessary. If there is submission on a woman's part- but a man- is not willing to lay down his life for her.... then, there is potential for abuse.

If a man is willing to lay down his life.. and a woman walks all over it.... that is abuse. Hurting others- being selfish--- doesn't bring glory to God.

In the context of a loving marriage- where each part is willing to submit to God, to put the others needs above their own, TRUST develops. On both ends.

A trust, that is way bigger than the debate of "Extended Warranties"......

When I TRUST someone- I can submit to their decisions.

The longer I am married- the more I love my husband, the more I respect him, and the more I trust him... The more I trust him.... the more I can submit.

Truthfully- my husband and I are similar in most of our opinions. There aren't a lot of things where we come down to "well... we have to decide..... what are we gonna do?" we usually are in agreement.

But- ocassionally-- there are those "things"... like warranties. Where- well- I just think he's wrong. We're not talking about sin issues here--- we're talking about opinions.

The bottom line?

I'm learning to submit. (still... it's a life long process for most of us)

Then, dang!, if he wasn't RIGHT! Honestly--- I gotta wonder--- how many times have I pushed my agenda---and been wrong? How many things would be different? I don't know.

However- this I do know---- on the whole "warranty" thing?

Yeah- honey- you were right.
And so was I. Cause I chose to submit! ;)
(thats a WIN... for us both! NOT a LOSS!)

I love you. ;)

Dear Lord--- Submission...I know it is controversial.. I know it has been abused....... but heres the thing---- it's still part of what you've called me to as a wife... a "Sub" part of my Mission..... please continue to help me to understand- and to learn- how to submit..... I also ask- that you'd continue to teach my man--- how to be willing to "lay down his life" for me.... we both have our parts---- Lord- they hold their own struggles. I love you Lord- and am glad to not have to try to figure this all out on my own! I love you Lord- amen!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

My Sumps' in the dumps.

My sump don't suck.... well, I guess in a way it sucks.

I say it all the time, I love water. I should clarify- I love water- when I'm outdoors, in the sun, on a beach.

NOT in my basement. Let's just say- today didn't quite go as smoothly as I had planned. I was scheduled to teach the Large Group- kids this morning. I have been studying and praying in prep for this morning.

I was up early, the house was quiet. ( I should have known something was amiss... quiet is almsot NEVER good here.) Everything was laid out last night. I was ready to go- EXCEPT, for a tree I wanted to use for part of the object lesson. After knocking my way thru the mess by the back door, (hmmm somebody should start putting their things away) I made my way into the basement. Good thing I did. Because, along with the pine tree (christmas decoration) I was looking for, I found a lake to complete the (kids church) outdoor theme.

But- this one wouldn't fit into my car for the teaching..... Our sump -pump failed. It's funny, how, when you're getting ready to teach something, God will give you VERY clear experiences, that will illuminate the concepts for you..... this weeks was more like and spot light illumination... than a flash light.

The Fruit of the Spirit is : Love, Joy, Peace , Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. (Gal 5:22-23)

This morning was another exercise in growing the Fruit of the Spirit in me. I am so glad, that I had been taking time to pray and be connected to God. Because, this morning- when I totally could have gone thru the roof, I felt peace. (I dont THINk it was denial;)

The basement will be cleaned up. "Things" don't matter, people do. I could be joyful- to be with the kids I had the privilege to teach- even though my basement was flooded. I was faithful, to fulfill the responsibilities that God had given- and to the commitment I have made- to teach on my scheduled days. I could love others- even though My morning had, had a rough start. I had patience- even though I felt frustrated by my situation.

I even had self control, and didn't freak- when I found the mess. I was able to be good and show kindness to others- and help with set-up- tear down pick-up etc....

THIS was God.... Not, Tracey.

Let's face it- I have plenty of days when I'm a jerk. Today, I was prepared, and, because I had been spending time focused on God. I saw it as a way to be grown, not just a problem.

For the lesson this morning- started with talking about fruit. I peeled an orange, let the kids smell it. I let the juice run off my fingers and described the fruit, we talked about their favorite fruits, then I asked them if they were hungry... almost everyone said "yes." For fruit.

Part of why God wants us to have the Fruit of the Spirit- in our lives- is to make others hungry for Him. For them to see something different- and appealing.

God calls it a FRUIT. NOT a SHOW.

Here's the thing: I can read the list- then take it as a "task list" a way "to do" list. (I have tried it) And, well, I can do ok- for a little while. But then, things start to fall apart. I get annoyed with someone. I get impatient, then pretty much blow the list out the window.

On my own, I can't maintain the fruit. It rots.I took an orange- and duct taped it to the tree. I asked the kids if it was growing. "Duh. No." Was pretty much the answer. I asked what would happen, if I left it there? "It would rot. "

I've been there. trying to force fuit to grow. It does not work, not in orchards- or people. We talked about what it takes for fruit to grow- one great girl said "roots". She was right. The Fruit of the Spirit, can only grow in us, when we're connected to God. (The Bible calls it abiding in the vine) Spending time with Him, learning His word, beign with others who encourage us to grow. Then, God give us plenty of preparation, ways to practice, opportunities to both fail, and thrive. Like rain, sun and soil- that helps fruit to grow.

Usually, I have the opportunity, to share with the kids- many of the ways that I mess up. (or did when I was their age) Today- because of God's preparing... I could enjoy sharing with them, how the Fruit of the Spirit was working in ME today.....

Which- to me- is pretty incredible. Not ME. But God in ME. Changing me, making me grow, making me more like Him. Sometimes, I think we miss the wonder of that.

Don't get me wrong- I'll surely mess up, (oh- I probably already have) again. But then--- it's all a part of the process.

Dear Lord, I pray that you'd continue to grow the Fruit of your Spirit in me. I ask you to make yourself real to the Metro-kids, to grow them as well. I love you Lord- and thank you for every opportunity to grow--- even the messy stinky wet ones. Amen.Oh- and Lord- bless that Plumber who fixed our sump---- let the extra 100 bucks because it was Sunday... bless his family, & thnx for friends who help me with my attitude- I love you Lord!

Vicki- thnx for the reminder about the extra being a blessing- to him- it really helped my attitude;)

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Missional Mom- Loving their Dad.

I'm a married Mom. After loving God, my next greatest gift to my kids... is loving their Dad.

Funny thing about that. I KNOW what makes me feel loved, but that Man? Hmmmm... the same things don't work for him.

I learned that the hard way. (What else is new?)

One of our first "marital issues" involved Chicken and Dumplings. See, everything in my Italian guts, tells me, food is a great way to show love. So, I spent an afternoon, simmering a whole fresh chicken. Then hours letting it cool. Then, probably close to an hour de-boning that bird.

The next day, I simmered the seasoned and soooo tender meat with fresh herbs, added fresh veggies- and made the sauce. Then- as a crowning touch.... perfect homemade dumplings were steamed on top. (Are ya hungry yet?) Pretty flecks of parsley through-out the light and fluffy dumplings. Everything was perfect.

I set the table. Candles. Our "Good china"... (Newlyweds.. we were so cute;) He arrived home, loved the scent. Then, he sat down, and ate like 5 bites. (THAT is not normal... My man's an eater) A few hours later, he asked of I was hungry... cause he was going to pick-up some burgers.

BURGERS??? after a dinner that took me 2 days to cook?

I was furious.

I stormed, I pouted. I let him have it.

But here's the thing. My ASSUMPTION was, that he liked chicken and dumplings. (Of course he must, I DO doesn't EVERYONE????)

He didn't. He still doesn't. I was trying to LOVE him, in a way he didn't even care about. (actually, in a way he didn't even like.)

When I look at my mission as a Mom and a wife, I know I only have so much time. I am No Wonder Woman. I can only do so much. It's important not to waste time and effort- (both emotional and physical) on making Chicken and dumplings for a husband who likes steak and potatoes. Or, roast. He loves roast. ;)

Besides, how loving is it really, to do for someone, what I would want, not what they would want?

I don't make chicken n dumplings much anymore. Once in a GREAT while I will, but if anyonw wants burgers after I have- it's really no big deal. Because, if I make it now, it's for those in our family who like it. Well- either that or I order it at Cracker Barrel. (though- their dumplings aren't as good as mine- toooo heavy)

I've also been known- to try to keep a perfectly clean house--- as an act of love- for a guy who really couldn't care less. Trust me, that's a waste.

Truth is, My husband is a lover of verbal affirmations. Especially public ones. So I try to IM him, email him, post sweet things in my blog, that speaks love to him. THOSE are things that matter to him. He's also a touchy- love person. I need to communicate love to him in that way.

Why bother with stuff that doesn't WORK?????

How about you? Are there ways that you're trying to communicate love, in a way that doesn't work?

To your spouse?

To your kids?

To your friends?

Here's a suggestion..... if you want to express love, before you start a 2 day project, and make yourself NUTS. How about asking... "hey.. babe---- do you like Chicken and Dumplings?" Or- better yet--- "hey- is there something I can do that really makes you feel loved?????

At MOPS ( we've used a book as a resource- to help open dialogue, both in marriages, and with our kids...(and our friends- too) in order to be more effective at showing our love- for each other.......

It might be something to check out.... unless you really LIKE eating an entire pot of Chicken and Dumplings, ALONE. With an audience of Burger eaters. ;)

Dear Lord- Time is short, I am busy, and I LOVE my family and friends, please help me to be creative and effective in the ways that I show Love- for them, but also to honor you, I love you Lord amen.

PS the pic??? my guys in the middle. ;)

Hmmm before you ask... the recipe?

Don't bother--- I totally cook by heart and taste.;)

though- I did cheat and use the recipe for dumplings on the Bisquick box. (tweaked)

Now- I start with boneless chicken, simmered in canned broth, (seasonings added- of course salt n pepper) with onion, celery and carrots, then thicken sauce, and then at the end- top with dumplings- tight lid over top and steam --- till finished.

That's about as much recipe as I have for that one;)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Missional Mom

Missional? Yes. A mom? Yeah.

Missional Mom? Most definitely.

From the picture you can probably surmise why. I am a Mom to 3 sons. 2 of which are teenagers (16 and 14) and one of which is a preschooler (4... so, not a preschooler for long!)

I'm also the wife of an exec. (whoopee. doesn't that sound important? it is... but, maybe not for the reasons why you may be thinking is because it's part of who my husband is, and so- is something that I care about) This is my primary mission field. The guys in my home.

As a woman.... and a SAHM.. I sometimes think they go beyond indeginous to aboriginal...let's just say men are differently "wired" than women, as are boys different from girls. (I ocassionally feel like a visiting missionary, as the belching (and worse) contests begin)

Umm... that's probably a lie. I've been "entrenched" in this culture for years, I can belch with the best of my tribe. ;)

Because these are the "Men in my life" it's my privilege to learn about them, to know them and to love them. It's also my privilege to learn from them.

I've been keeping a blog- at it is SUPPOSE to be a knitting/mothering /leadership blog. However, I've decided to add this as a purposeful place to share my adventures in Mothering, from a missional perspective.

I have been married for 18 years, a Christian for 20. A mom for almost 17. I have been involved with MOPS International for just short of the time I've been a mom. ( I serve as a Council Coordinator, helping local leaders and their groups reach the moms in their area effectively. I have worked with kids for almost 20 years, in varying capacities.

I am intentional and passionate about being a wife, and mothering. I am passionate about helping others fulfill their calling to do the same.

And dang if I don't MISS it. way too often.

I've been challenged recently, to take a look at my mothering, from a fresh perspective. The Missional perspective. I'm reading "Breaking The Missional Code" by Ed Setzer and David Putman.

In mothering- the same principles apply.

I am SENT- (called to go to my family- regardless of their movement towards me... bu not in the "stalker sense")

In order to effectively reach my mission field, I must :

1) Know (their styles and unique make-up, culturally, socially, emotionally and spiritually) to whom I am called- my family- and women and children in particular.

2) Speak , teach and relate to those I am called to reach, in a way that they can understand, authentically and with great love.

Being a "Missional Mom" is a journey. It won't end, but, it will always be changing. This blog is a scrapbook of that journey. My goal is to challenge others to engage in the mission that they are called to, and to share the hope and joy I'm finding in mine. To figure out together, how to break the Missional Code in Mothering.

Although, honestly, sometimes I suck at the whole thing.

Sometimes, I am so entrenched in my own "Mom world" that I miss what's happening in theirs. That makes me disconnected. Disconnection asphixiates relationships, like losing compression in an aircraft.. ya just can't BREATHE. Sometimes the disconnects are comical... sometimes, not so much.

Recently, while zipping along- my highschooler was talking about a group he knows "Cold Play" My Christian mom land culture entrenchment got the best of me....I pretty much listened to him without hearing a thing he said.


Because.. somewhere in my clueless brain, "Cold Play" sounded like a "rap" group. I don't LIKE rap. I probably have an attitude about it actually. (OK, so I know I do and don't like to admit it.)

Later I felt bad- because of my tune out, that was sooooo based on unfounded assumption, that I went to I Tunes and downloaded some Cold Play, just to see what was up. Ummmmmmm it's NOT rap. Actually, I liked it, kind of in a U2 type of way.

As a mom, I gotta know my guys "culture" that doesn't mean I have to be the coolest mom on the block... duh, thats NOT gonna happen. But it does mean, I need to be intentional. Open. Listening and authentically caring about and involved in the world they live in.

So here we go, embarking on a Missional Mom's Journey, together.

How are you doing as a Mom? A wife? A woman?

Do you know the culture you've been called to?

Do you know what they care about? Do you know their loves and hates?

Do you speak their language?

Your "mission field" may differ from mine, maybe you have girls, maybe you're single, maybe you're kids are in college. This isn't about us BEING the same, it's about us SEEKING the same end, to go to our families and minister to them, where they are at, and to help each other along the way.

Sounds like church to me.

"Dear Lord, I pray that you'd help me to better love my family. I pray for your wisdom and guidance in helping others to do the same, I love you Lord amen."