Prayers for my Daddy

 

My Daddy’s Knee

 

You’ve wired houses.

Fixed toilets.

Changed the oil.

 

You’ve pitched t-ball.

Played marbles.

Rode bikes.

 

You’ve mended broken hearts.

Shared wisdom.

Prayed for hurts.

 

You’ve been there for me.

Through it all.

Every time. 

 

You’ve loved me well.

And tonight it’s my turn.

I am on my knees in prayer for your knee.

Trusting our Father with you, my daddy. 

 

Prayer, for me, is a supernatural exchange between me and my Father. I come to Him expectant, open, and willing to receive. It is not one-sided, but rather communion with the most intimate part of my self. Sometimes I talk a lot. Other times I listen.

Tonight, I am interceding. Trusting. And letting go. Will you join me in prayer for my daddy? He has knee surgery in the morning. Grateful for you. Prayer is the best gift I could ever ask for. Thank you!  

What I learned in July 2013

IMG_9488

July was a doozy of a month. It started with one of the lowest times in my life and left me on a mountain top. Life has a way of surprising you. If I could summarize July with a hymn, I would say that “grace really is amazing”!

1. The power of prayer can move mountains and heal bones. It doesn’t take your problems away, but it reorients your focus. Sometimes that’s more than taking your problems away.

2. 5 year olds bounce back much faster than 37 year olds.

3. My kids say “holy cow” way too much. We practiced saying other things in July. I helped them understand that cows are really not holy as they imply with their words. The comment from the peanut gallery {dad} was “Cows are NOT holy…they are YUMMY!” And I wonder who the little ones get their humor from…

4. Alone time in the morning before the kids wake up is like gas in my engine. Most mornings in July were spent in silence on my screened in back porch. I didn’t do much of anything but sit, pray, and listen. I have been missing this fresh air in my life for a long time. I am grateful for fresh air this month.

5. Have you ever prayed for something and didn’t really think God would answer your prayers? Well, I am here to tell you not to give up. Dream BIG! God answered a dream in my life this week that was so small and hidden in my soul I didn’t even know it was there. But He did. And He used a soul sister to birth a soul dream. Prayer. It really does change things.

6. I am still jumpy from Sean’s accident, surgery, and 5 weeks with pins and a cast on his left arm. I think I have a better understanding of PTSD. I jump at noises that were never loud until now. I physically reach for my children when I see them do normal things that never worried me. I have been on edge for weeks since Sean fell. It is better than it was earlier in the month. I wonder how bad it would have been if I had not been practicing silence this month? I don’t think I want to know that answer.

7. I am stepping into my calling. The compulsion within me. You know what I’m talking about. You hear that voice inside of you, too. I am not the ONLY cuckoo bird in the house! I leave you with this:

when we stop seeking the approval of others, we begin to step into our calling. 
when we step into our calling, others will question us.
when others question us, we may begin to doubt our calling.
when we doubt our calling, we need to stop seeking the approval of others. 

Where are you in this cycle? You can jump off the merry-go-round of seeking approval from others right now!

I encourage you to leap into the Father’s arms. He is waiting. He has called you. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of “nothing” for Him to share “something” with you. July was a great teacher. I bid her farewell. Landing in August on two feet ready to leap off the cliff where I’ve been renting space! No more renting. Taking full ownership. Putting my stake down. What about you?

Linking up over at Emily Freeman’s blog, Chatting at the Sky. Hop on over and indulge yourself in a beautiful menagerie of colorful things learned in July.  

When pain is necessary…

“I have learned that faith means trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” {Philip Yancey}

When Callie broke her arm after falling from the monkey bars, I said, “if I had been there, this would have never happened.”

Pride comes before the fall. Literally.

When Sean broke his arm, I was standing 10 feet away from him, encouraging him to take the risk. “If you fall, buddy, you will land on your feet. You can do it!”

And just like Sean questioned me on that hot and muggy June morning when my heart was shattered by my decision, “why didn’t you help me mom? I told you I couldn’t do it! I didn’t want to break my arm like Callie broke hers!” I raised my fist towards the sky and asked God the same question, “Why didn’t you protect my son?”

I could have prevented it. But, I didn’t. God could have prevented it. But, He didn’t.

Sean blamed me. I blamed God.

Over the course of the next few blurry days, I felt emotions that I’ve never experienced. Helpless and guilty. My son who would believe me if I said the sky is falling, now questioned the very core of our relationship.

Mom, I needed you. You weren’t there for me.

I understood. This left me questioning God…

God, I needed you. You weren’t there for me.

My heart ached with deep pain. I prayed and begged God for healing. Healing of bones and hearts. I would rather experience most anything than heart pain. The kind of pain that leaves its forever mark. All sorts of emotion leave forever marks.

In all my questioning, I soul knew that God had been there on that playground that day. He could have protected Sean from something much worse. I don’t even want to think about all that could have gone wrong that didn’t under those monkey bars.

It took about 4 days before I could talk to Sean about the monkey bars without crying. We finally decided to join forces and take on the monkey bars together with daddy’s chainsaw. He finally believed me when I said I was encouraging him to take a risk that I thought was safe…never in a million years would I want to hurt him on purpose.

I asked Sean many times if he needed anything while I was his at home nurse. He almost always said, “mommy, I don’t need anything but you.”

In his pain and heartbreak, he knew he could trust me even though I let him down and I didn’t meet his expectations.

Oh, how this still hurts me to my core. But, in all of the pain, healing is sprouting up like tulips in March and April.

How many times, oh Lord, have I asked for your help and in your Wisdom chose to wait or give me something else instead?

How many times, oh Lord, have I in my deepest pain told you that I don’t need anything or anyone but you…honestly, only about 3 times in my 37 years.

This was one of those times. It had nothing to do with Sean’s broken arm and everything to do with my broken heart. In seasons of painful brokenness and darkness, God never leaves. He has been by my side the entire time. His presence has been palpable.

I know He is making beauty out of the brokenness in our lives. I am already starting to see the cracks in the soil from the tulips waiting to spring forth with life and newness.

IMG_0902picmonkey

Lord, may you be near the broken hearted tonight. I know I am not alone. Hear our cries, oh Lord. Heal our broken hearts. Lead us into deeper fellowship with you. 

 

When the words flow…

csbeach

I am in the middle of preparing a book proposal to share with a publisher and an agent at the She Speaks conference next week. A lot of hard work and life experience have added up to about 35 pages of black letters on white pages.

I have stressed more over this little project than I have anything in a very long time. 35 pages of tears, sweat, and blood (well, okay, maybe not blood, but do paper cuts count??).

Then I had to create something called a One Sheet. Just imagine trying to cram the main points from those 35 pages onto one sheet of white paper…that would be called a One Sheet.

Oh, and nevermind the cover page, new business cards, hotel reservations, conference fees, and dozens of other little details.

Yet, in all the external chaos, I have internal peace. Because I know it will all work out. If I never ever publish a book, I will be at peace. If no one is interested in any book proposal I ever write, life will go on and joy will be on my lips.

He is writing my story and it is worth living. Even tonight as the cicadas serenaded me and my daughter as we were talking in the dark on the screened in porch, my soul rests. I’m not wrestling. I’m writing. I’m not worrying. I’m releasing.

It’s like Callie said, “Sometimes, mom, let’s stay out here and talk like this forever.” Sometimes the words flow and when they do, you don’t want them to stop.

May my words with Him never cease. May they magnify His name. That is worth more than any contract I could ever sign.

Seeking His Face

It started as a normal day. Friends, fun, the park, adventure, giggles, and monkey bars. Then it became the day that couldn’t end soon enough. Broken trust, pain, panic, fear, tears, and the ER.

My sweet son lying on a gurney in the ER at Wake Med Pediatric ER. His usually tan face pasty white with fear. The initial assessment before x-rays was best case out of joint and worst case broken requiring surgical placement of pens and possibly screws. Enough to make this mama weak in her knees and her baby boy cry rivers of tears.  

Sean hospital

I’ve never felt more helpless and guilty in all of my life. The worst possible emotions ever. I couldn’t fix anything and it was all my fault.

Just before Sean fell, he asked for help. Told me he couldn’t do it. Being the super protective hovering mom, I am trying to let go a little bit this summer. And with that in mind I said, “Sean, you are okay. You are not that high up. If you fall, you will land on your feet.”

Or elbow…

Through his initial screams he said to me in tears, “Mama, I asked you for help and you didn’t help me. I told you I couldn’t do it. Why didn’t you help me? I didn’t want to fall and break my arm like Callie did.”

One look at his elbow and I almost threw up. The guilt and fear and panic consumed me. I swept him up and drove a little more than the speed limit to Raleigh. I prayed and cried and begged God to help my son. To take away his pain…my pain.

I have processed a lot of what happened over the past 10 days. I am constantly brought back to this: I can only imagine what my Father felt like when His son and my Savior hung on a cross 2,000 years ago. He could have yanked His son off that wooden cross and healed all His wounds immediately. But He didn’t. He let His only Son suffer a cruel and painful death.

I have never experienced anything as heart wrenching as seeing my son who shares my facial features, blue eyes, and blonde hair lying in the ER in excruciating pain, tormented by fear of possible surgery and pins in his left arm. I felt my heart breaking in a million tiny little jagged pieces.

Sean smiling

If I could go back, I would wrap my arms around his tiny little waist and help him down from those monkey bars. I would have prevented our life from grinding to a halt. Sean would have been fine and life would have gone on as normal for another day. But, I can’t go back. I can only accept what happened with each day that passes.

Everyone who has heard this chapter in our lives read aloud always says, “But Lizzie, it wasn’t your fault. Accidents happen.”

I know accidents happen. I get that. I know my kids are going to get hurt whether I’m there or not. And I know God is their Protector, not me.

But, there is nothing worse than seeing your child in pain that you could have prevented.

Sean cast dandelion

If nothing else, this most recent chapter in our lives has helped me understand the love of God even more. Deeper. More tangible. He watched His Son suffer a wretched death.

And maybe that’s the lesson in this for me. I am so eager to ask for things from His hand. But how often do I seek His face? To gaze upon Him and not covet what He gave me or ask for more when my life is full.

He is healing more than an elbow. He is mending my heart as I am seeking His face. Redeeming what was lost and healing what was broken. Oh how beautiful He is!

 

“Oh, I want to see Him, look upon His face,
There to sing forever of His saving grace.”

RH Cornelius

 

307,138

odometer.camry1999

Oh the miles you went.

You carried a young lady to get her masters at ECU.

Then to her first post college job in RTP.

And lastly to her second job in North Raleigh.

Then, that little bit older and pregnant stay-at-home mom traded you for her husband’s Z71 because you got better gas mileage than his red gas guzzler.

You escorted him to work in RTP for 8 long years.

I bet you could make that trip to Davis Drive blindfolded with no driver.

You never gave us any problems.

Just general maintenance over the 14 years and you’ve carried us 307,138 miles.

“Yota” was your nickname and you were a fantastic machine.

We loved you so much that we bought one of your relatives today.

She doesn’t have a name yet, but she has traveled just over 150 miles .

And I can only imagine the miles she’ll take us for many years to come.

Thank you, “Yota”. You served us well.

Anthonynew.old.camry

IMG_9782newcamryodometer

Out with the old and in with the new. We test drove other vehicles over the past few months and none of them drove like “Yota”. We bought another member of the family today.

IMG_9792abcar

I am so happy for my husband who never complained about driving a 14-year-old car. She was part of our family for almost as long as we’ve been married.

The only problem we have is that our new Camry is nameless. Sean suggested “Speedy” and Callie suggested “Penguinny”. However, dad didn’t nibble on either offer. Any suggestions you have will be thoughtfully considered!

 

If you ever need a new or new to you vehicle, consider Go Automotive in Clinton, NC. We’ve purchased two vehicles from them in the past 6 years and they were first class both times. Tell them Anthony sent you! 

 

 

IMG_9790camryback

 

 

 

When You Believe In Yourself



IMG_9778seanbio2

It all started with a conversation with his teacher in January.

“He only uses his black crayon. I asked him if he wanted to use the other crayons and he told me no and he was done.”

After hearing this astute observation from his teacher, I knew something was up. I also knew that I would be having a little conversation with him as we snuggled together after family prayers.

“Buddy, what makes you only want to use your black crayon at preschool?” I asked. Lying on my side next to his warm little body, I could tell he was not too happy about the topic of snuggle conversation. Nothing like the conversations we normally have regarding legos, superheros, and why marshmallows taste so good.

“What did my teacher tell you?” he inquired.

“Well she told me that you only use your black crayon.” I answered as he physically turned on his side away from me so I couldn’t see his face.

The warmth I felt on my cheeks was no longer the heat exchange from his little blonde head.

“You are not in trouble. I was just wondering why you don’t use all of your crayons,” I continued.

What seemed like 30 seconds passed as I wrapped my arm around his little waist and pulled him closer to me. He was still facing the other way, but I could feel his resistance as he opened his heart to share.

“Callie’s the artist, not me,” he said with a firm notion that he could only use black because artists use the whole box of crayons.

This struck a chord in me so dissonant that I recognized it the instant it spilled out of his mouth. Incensed with a passionate desire to teach my son that he is an artist, too, I physically turned Sean towards me and looked into his soul windows. I said nothing at first, just took mental notes of his beautiful face. He obviously wears the strokes of a master Artist.

“Sean, baby, you are an artist. God is the Creator and He made everybody in His image. You can use the entire box of crayons when you color. What is your favorite color?” I asked with mama curiosity even though I knew the answer.

IMG_9779seanbio1

“Blue. Dark blue,” he shared.

“Well, then, by all means, use it! What things can you think of are dark blue?” I continued my colorful tirade.

“Water, bubbles, the sky, but only if it’s stormy.”

“Yes! And now you can use your dark blue crayon, right?” I asked.

“But, mommy, I didn’t know that I was an artist, too. I thought only Callie was the artist in our family,” he responded. I could tell he was trying to make sense of it all. To add some color to his monochromatic world.

“Everybody is an artist. Some people paint. Others make furniture or write or solve problems creatively or build legos! But, everyone has the capacity to create,” I explained.

As we were sharing, I could feel his body softening. The tension seemed to leave his little body as the mental realization of his new identity was taking shape.

Our conversation continued and soon he fell asleep with a new understanding of his creative ability. As he slept, I prayed over him and his new-found truths.

As the months of preschool passed by, I would check his orange folder when we got home each day. It was full of projects and worksheets all decorated with every crayon in his box.

But, the most revealing assignment that he brought home was his end of the year biography. His teacher asked them the following: What I want people to know about me. You’ll never guess what he wrote…

 

“I am an artist.”

IMG_9776seanwithpic

IMG_9774candschalkboard

Are you mad at me?

“Mommy, are you mad at me?” she pondered out loud.

“No, baby. Why do you think I’m mad at you?” I asked.

“Earlier when you were talking to daddy, you said you were angry,” she shared from the backseat. It is amazing to me how many conversations take place between the front and back seat of my taxi. I wonder how many of them I miss because I am on the phone.

I had to think for a minute about how to respond. I decided on the truth.

“Well, Callie, I am angry. I feel mad, but I don’t really know what I am angry about. I can’t put my finger on it and earlier I was sharing with daddy about how I was feeling. I really need to take some time and ask God to show me what I am so mad and frustrated about. I need to pray and ask for His help. But, I promise, I’m not mad at you or Sean.”

She was listening intently from the backseat, but wasn’t ready to respond.

I prompted her with, “does that make sense?”

She asked me about a specific situation we have been praying about and if I was mad about it. I told her no.

Then, she floored me with this:

“Mommy, what have you been thinking about lately? You know what you are thinking about can make you happy, sad, and probably angry, too.”

Yes, my 7-year-old therapist daughter said those wisdom filled words to me.

I could feel the tears flood my eyes.

“You’re exactly right. And that’s one thing I want to ask God about. I want to talk to Him about my thoughts and maybe I need to start thinking about different things. Or maybe there is some unforgiveness in my heart or maybe I need to let go of something. But, you hit the nail on the head. I am dwelling on the wrong things.”

And then she said, “I will pray for you, mommy.”

The flood came. And, I thanked God for speaking to me through a very intuitive 7-year-old.

Sometimes wisdom is not gained in years. Youth has its perks and one of them is boldness. I am grateful for my daughter’s bold and loving question recently. She will never know how much God has used her in my life. Iron sharpening iron is not just for old folks.

May I be bold and wise…like my daughter.

 

37 is the new….

….37.

Yep, that’s all. Just a number. I am so thrilled to have had another year to live that I don’t mind the numbers going up. Although they are moving up much faster than they did when I was a little younger.

To celebrate, Anthony and I went out for dinner and shopping. We talked for hours without interruptions. I asked him during one of our discussions to name some quirky things about me. His response was a grin and this statement: “Tell me when to stop.” Love him.

Here are 37 little quirky things you’ve always wanted to know about me:

1. I have never been to Disney World. On the list to do soon. 

2. I prefer salty over sweet.

3. I wish I had never quit taking piano lessons as a child.

4. I am glad I took up art as a big kid.

5. I want to learn how to really play the guitar, not just the few chords I know.

6. I am deathly afraid of heights.

7. I don’t trust easily, but if I let you in, you are a keeper for life.

8. I love floss. A little too much.

9. I like to be organized. But, I am a terrible organizer.

10. Cal Ripken was my childhood idol.

11. I prefer the beach over the mountains.

12. I am more of an introvert than most people think. I need my alone time.

13. Being bored is something that I rarely ever experience.

14. My Starbucks tea order is probably more confusing than your Starbucks drink of choice.

15. My current food obsession is sunflower seed butter.

16. I’d rather you buy me something to use in my kitchen than flowers.

17. My favorite smell is almond extract.

18. I have issues with socks. They have to fit just right.

19. I really don’t like sharing a cup or drinking behind anyone. If you have ever shared my drink, then I really, really love you. Or I didn’t drink anymore of it.

20. I don’t like feet. At all.

21. If I could be an animal, I would be an eagle.

22. Office supply stores = kid in a candy store.

23. Crayons. Yeah, I like ’em.

24. I like even numbers. I think in twos.

25. Whenever I shoot hoops, I always have to end on made shot. Started this habit as a child.

26. Snuggle time just before bedtime is my favorite time of the day.

27. If you buy me a book, you will be my best friend for life.

28. Finding a good deal on something I need is like chocolate to a “chocoholic”. I rarely ever pay full price for anything.

29. I have a secret hidden desire to compete on “Chopped”.

30. I don’t like ice cream.

31. If my hands are sticky, it will cause me high anxiety until I can wash them.

32. Emerald green is my favorite color, but army green is my least favorite color.

33. I have an issue with dull pencils. I like my pencils really sharp.

34. I have more empty notebooks than the average Staples or Office Max.

35. I have very firm convictions for me, but I never force them on others.

36. I am a little anal about my kitchen pantry.

37. I like lists. A lot. And this one was a lot of fun!!!

 

Number 36 was an interesting year of life for me. Lots of changes and all good in the end. Number 37 looks to be a banner year in many ways. I am hoping and trusting for many more years to fully live with those I love.  

 

 

The Mirror Doesn’t Lie

The Mirror Doesn’t Lie

I knew she was smart and strong.

But now, I see just how so.

Her work ethic rivaled many.

She wasn’t perfect. But then again, who is. 

She led by example, and didn’t mince words.

She loved us with a deep love and still does.

I believe she’s an artist even though she would disagree.

Her hands created and shaped many masterpieces. 

Including me and my sister.

The mirror doesn’t lie.

I look like her.

And, sometimes, I sound like her. 

I stop dead in my tracks and shake my head. 

That was mama coming out of my mouth. 

I know she won’t live forever, but I enjoy every visit, phone call, and text.

She will always be my mother and a mother’s love will live in my heart forever.