Wednesday, October 31, 2007
"Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
My thirty-something birthday had dawned bright and busy. Tucked into a pile of bills and credit card applications I found a card sent from my friend, Janet McHenry. The message inside wished me a “Hoopy Birthday,” and that made me smile, but the picture on the front was what really grabbed my attention. It illustrated everything I’d been feeling that dreary, getting older day.
“That’s me,” I said to my husband, poking at the black and white glossy.
Taken back in the early 1950’s, the photo showed a young woman in Greta Garbo shorts with eight or nine hula hoops swinging madly around her waist. “How does she do that?” I wanted to know.
It had been a frustrating day of too many responsibilities and not enough of me to go around. One by one, I named the Hula-Hoops I had been trying to keep in motion: wife, mother, pastor’s wife, friend, writer, piano instructor, cook, cleaning lady, and the big one—Little League mother. If we weren’t racing to baseball games, we were rushing to church; if I wasn’t folding laundry, I was stealing a few minutes to write.
“That’s me!” I laughed. I made exaggerated motions with my hips, trying to keep my invisible hoops afloat. My eyes darted from the photo to my husband’s concerned face then back again. “That’s me!”
After a few cups of chamomile tea and some chocolate chip sedatives—I mean, cookies—I calmed down and read my friend’s letter while my husband ran our kids to yet another ball game. Chatty and full of humor, Janet shared her hectic schedule and the things the Lord had been teaching her.
I finished the letter, closed the card and looked once more at the girl on the front. There were so many hoops, but she appeared calm. Her upper body seemed to be perfectly still, her arms outstretched slightly, as the hoops raced around her waist in synchronized chaos.
Her face captured me. Looking straight into the camera, she smiled peacefully as though she hadn’t a care in the world.
Then it dawned on me—I saw her secret. “She found a rhythm,” I whispered to myself. “She established her center, and then let everything move around that.”
That’s exactly what I wasn’t doing in my life. All the things I’d been trying to accomplish were important, but I had lost my center. Busy being busy, I’d forgotten to tend to my inner self, the spiritual me. Like a wheel without an axle, I’d careened through life, bouncing off one duty and onto another.
If there was adequate pause, I’d spend some time with the Lord. But lately, more often than not, my busy days had slipped by without a quiet time. And my life was revealing what my spirit had missed.
“Teach me, Lord. Show me the rhythm of life,” I found myself praying.
“Be my center.”
Life is filled with Hula-hoops. We all have responsibilities, important things that need our attention. If we’re not careful, however, our hearts and our minds can be consumed with the task of keeping them in the air. Rather than centering ourselves in Christ and letting the other elements of our lives take their rightful place around that center, we end up shifting our attention from one important to-do item to another, frantically trying to keep them all in motion.
It’s easy to forget that while there is a time to work, there is also a time to worship—and it’s the worship, the time we spend with God, that provides the serene center to a busy, complex life."
(Taken from "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver pp 99-100 Waterbrook Press)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Yesterday Daniel came home after school, and I was checking his homework. I came to his handwriting paper that he had finished at school and quickly realized he'd be doing the entire thing over. He knew it wasn't acceptable--not even close, but was obviously less than thrilled by the prospect of doing the entire thing over. I took it as more of a character lesson about working carefully and doing your best more than actually being concerned that each letter be perfect (I mean come on...I do have a heart after all!) So after a few miutes of grumbling and then a few minutes of "correcting the grumbling" Daniel started in on the assigment--for the second time. I've always worked with him on his handwriting, but he's just never "got it" before. But something clicked this time. Perhaps it's a maturing thing, and he's just got more coordination and fine motor skill all of a sudden, or perhaps it was me standing over his shoulder...both can be pretty effective...but the light bulb came on (my favorite thing to see as a teacher--that moment when the kids "get it" and their face just lights up!) We were both literally beaming when we realized that Daniel figured out how to slant his letters and make them neatly, too! I know it sounds silly, but it's a big deal to both of us! He was so proud of himself. I jokingly said it was good enough to put on the blog...and Daniel loved the idea...so here it is...Daniel has made huge strides in his handwriting--even slanting! Yahoo!!! So does this mean his IQ has suddenly dropped many points because he writes neatly? hmmmmm...
Okay...for all you teachers out there, I know it's not perfect, but trust me...the light bulb has come on and pushed us light years ahead of his handwriting before! Seeing the look of accomplishment and pride in his work made the effort worth it all...like Mastercard...priceless!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Daniel is such an 8 year old boy...I keep telling myself, "He's only 8, He's only 8" So I was in the garage putzing around Saturday afternoon--it was gorgeous outside--about 65 and sunny--we're enjoying those kind of days knowing full well they are numbered! And I hear Daniel say, "Mom, we've got a problem, but don't come out here!" So of course I went in the house and ignored him...no, that's what I wanted to do, but knew better! Not sure what he was thinking, but I heard him continue pounding with something--even after he told me there was a problem (He's only 8, He's only 8!) I went outside only to find him with the 2 foot long (or thereabouts) croquet post hammered into the ground so that only about 6 inches were above the ground. "I got a little carried away..." (he's only 8, he's only8) I explained in no uncertain terms that his father would not see the humor in the situation and he'd better do his best to get it out of the ground before Daddy realized what he had done. So what's he do? He starts digging with his fingers thinking he can dig the foot and a half down to get the stick out. I just walked away muttering "He's only 8, He's only 8!" I came back with the camera--I figured if he's crazy enough to hammer the post all the way into the ground, he can stand for me to take a picture of it and put it on the blog! (I ended up having mercy on him and somehow managed to wriggle it back and forth enough to get it to come out) Don't go thinking it's all cute and what not--to quote my friend Carissa when people tell her how cute her kids are..."It's kept them alive!"
Mr. Tim's a Senior Missions major.
Miss Lydia's a transfer student--technically she's a sophomore, but this is her first semester at Northland. We missed having our other 2 with us--Miss Nikki and Miss Julie.
Campus Kids at Northland is a big deal! Each of the students are assigned to a staff family, and the staff family acts as a family for them while they are away from home. We only have 5 campus kids since we live off campus (Those families on campus can have upwards of 12!) But Daniel and Hannah have taken a real shining to our campus kids. We had them over for dinner the other night and the kids enjoyed some good old fashioned wrestling and looking Waldo--it's what we always seem to end up doing with our campus kids. 2 of our girls weren't able to make it since they were in a block class, so we'll have to get together again soon!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Brent and Daniel are so much alike. I think if Daniel could choose to do one thing for his birthday, it would be to spend time with his Daddy either playing video games or on the computer! I'm thankful for a husband that sees the value of a daddy spending time with his children...and not just playing video games (although they both seem to enjoy it no matter how old they get!)
We always let our children choose their birthday dinner...and with a little coaxing from me they usually choose to eat out. This year Daniel chose to eat at Dairy Queen...they like to get the free Dilly Bars with their kids meals. I do have to add a side note here that Daniel won't be eating off the kids' menu for too much longer...there are meals he out eats me and Brent! His birthday was on a Wednesday so we were able to eat out before we headed over to church.
Daniel loves legos. When we were looking around familyfun.com for what kind of cake he wanted me to make for his birthday, he loved the lego cake immediately! I also made him a snake cake for his friends at church. I baked and decorated cakes all morning long (enter sigh here with a hand dramatically swiping the perspiration from said brow) but it was worth it to see how much the cake actually looked like a real lego block! Familyfun.com is an amazing website for birthday cakes, party ideas, and family crafts. The explanations about how to make super cute cakes is a great help!