Saturday, June 16, 2007


Now, anyone with little ones has an appreciation for how you sometimes feel totally exposed, totally embarrassed by your inability to control, or at least appear in control of the children to whom you gave birth. Yesterday was another "time" to add to my growing pile. But I'm learning to get past the discomfort of my own embarrassment because I'm recognizing the trend of others who are genuinely kind and giving to this mother of F5.

It was in the 90's here in Chicagoland, so I decided to take the kids to a local beach that I'd heard about. Three babies, 4.5, 3, and 1.5 years old. One mom, me. So we landed on this lovely little park with a boom. Similar to buckshot. Libby's yelling, "Swim, swim swim!" and bolting for the water, Izak's darting back and forth from me to his sister, flip-flops abandoned along the sidewalk. I'm pulling Levi out of his seat, surveying the park. If there was one person there, there were 150. I'm trying to navigate the kids toward the safe swimming area (with a LIFEGUARD, thank you , Jesus) when Libby begins making pit-stops at each picnicing site. Stopping, looking at the blankets covered with food and toys, chattering to the families. I'm half apologetic, half embarrassed. Eventually I get the kids into the water... oh, what a time! They splashed and ran on the beach, bobbed around, and made new friends. Many of the families were Latino, taking an afternoon to retreat from their busy days as well. Many of the kids spoke English, but many of the moms in the water did not. When Levi would kidnap a little girl's shovel I would return it, and we would smile at each other as if to say, "Here you go, thanks for not making a big deal out of it. " "You're welcome, I know what it's like. Have you seen my gang? I get it."

After an hour we began moving towards the minivan to return home. That's when the wheels fell off. Levi begins to scream like I'm killing him. Izak is running around the perimeter of the beach in an attempt to herd his sister, who has now discovered a whole different dimension of the beach - the PLAYGROUND. Women are watching me pass, cooing at Levi who's reaching a dog-like pitch in protest. It's buckshot all over again, but at least we're moving towards the van. And then Libby bolts. Something caught her eye at a picnic site that she'd visited on her way to the beach. I'm yelling for her to return to me, but she waltzes over and begins to pick up juice box after juice box, checking for refreshment. And as I'm still 100 feet away, yelling, (being ignored) I see the family - who has probably worked very, very hard for their money and for this picnic time - spot the poacher. They were not smiling. And I'm now starting to run. Who is this unparented child? As I get close enough to grab her she hustles off to the slides. I turn to apologize to the family, but they're still talking among themselves, not looking at me. I drag past them with the screamin' mimi on my hip, my arms full of towels and three pairs of shoes, yelling orders that (obviously) no one is listening to.

And then he was there. A tall pre-teen from the picnic site that Libby had just crashed. He stood in front of me with a cold can of Squirt. "Here, you can have this." "Oh no, no. I'm sorry she did that. I'm fine, thank you." "No really, please take it." And suddenly I'm humbled. Humbled by the F5. Humbled by the inability to do it all. Humbled by my obvious need... of help or a cold drink, or encouragement, or something. I looked over to the family who was watching me, and smiled. "Gracias." They smiled back with a look that didn't need any interpretation. You're welcome, little mother. Have a little refreshment for you or your children. But you're okay. It's going to be fine.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New pics

Still here!

Wow, friends, I am not keeping up, am I? I apologize for the long gap. It feels like I ran up next to a locomotive and grabbed on to the handle on a freight car, and now find myself running just to keep from being dragged alongside! Life is very, very good, but NUTS.

We joined the Chapel (for the curious: March 22, and last week my husband was installed as Campus Pastor for the Libertyville campus. Our campus is about 1300 strong. We're loving it. The pace is more up my husband's alley, I believe the term is frenetic. Last week and this week he also joined the teaching team, which includes delivering a message 7 times live to three different campuses and by video to two other campuses. I concentrate on learning names, faces, stories, and positions. All support staff and pastors included, the Chapel has 140 employees and continues to grow. That doesn't include volunteers. And staff spouses. And volunteers' spouses. And children. And the list goes on.

I have a good memory, but I use lots of it remembering where I saw Libby's rouge sock and the 16th piece of the Cariboo game, so to commit a long list of new names and relationships is a challenge, but I love it.

Since February I've felt this sense of bursting forth, like a butterfly leaving it's cocoon. A sense of empowerment. New trust. New eyes. A putting off of the old. A new awareness of the places where the Enemy has hooked my life and messed with my spirit, and a new determination to live in freedom. I remember back in the winter actually saying aloud, "When I die I want to be remembered as a woman of great faith." I guess I'm starting to figure out how to quit wishing and starting living. And since this year is the big 3-6 I guess you could say, "It's about time!"

The children are well. Not physically, but in all other ways. We've had this strange recurrence of ear infections since March. Izak landed his first sinus infection, and if Levi keeps going his route he may buy tubes before long. Even in the sickness they're doing great.

Libby potty trained very quickly. She is loving books from the library and playdoh. She sings almost all day long, varying the words to her particular situation. She is happy and (mostly) easy-going. Her vocabulary is exploding. She turns THREE tomorrow. I'm so proud of her and her heart.

Izak (4 1/2) is awesome. He's a sponge at church, learning and repeating his lessons and songs. He's very taken by the current sermon series call "The Mighties." It looks at the Mighty Men that surrounded King David and how God empowered them to do great things. All the staff and volunteers wear these bright red shirts with a big "M" in the center - sorta a take off of the superhero thing. Z keeps asking about the shirts, asking if he can be a Mighty too, and can he have a shirt... on and on. Last Saturday I was having prayers with him and when I finished, "and give Izak a good night's sleep. Amen," he whispered, "And help me be a Mighty when I grow up." I explained to him that anyone who has Jesus living in his heart is a Mighty. Well, can I tell you on Sunday he got his own Mighty shirt?!? - he wears it as often as possible. With his red cowbow boots. And shorts. And blue foamy sun visor.

Levi is communcating with ever increasing clarity. It feels like he adds new words every day... I've heard about these kinds of kids, and now I have one! Even at 20 months "yes" and "no" are fully intact. Have I mentioned that he air-guitars every chance he gets? He learned that from Murray Wiggle and his heros, Jeremy and Oliver.

I was so touched on Sunday during one of Scott's prayers for us during installation as he prayed that my kids would love their church and look back on it as an awesome place to grow up. Yes, let it be, Lord. And may their home be one of love, grace, innocence, and safety. And a home that makes them eager to know Jesus.

So amidst all of this I'm still finding time to connect with my husband and keep fanning the marriage into flame. I love him and admire him so much. I love his transparency and submission to others, which enhances his God-given strengths. Is it really going to be 13 years, my love? Hardly possible. I adore you.

I've been unable to figure out how to take care of all this stuff and blog too; sorry! But thanks for checking in.