Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a little thought on parenting :)

I want to simply encourage those of you who have strong-willed, wild, crazy kids. Some parents think that their kids are calm and obedient because they are wonderful at parenting. Ha! We will humbly allow them to keep thinking that. But you and I, those of us who have super-determined, strong-willed kids-- we need to know this-- if our kids turn out well, we will never take credit for it because we know we have been desperate, and we are ready to give God all the glory!

One soap box I must stand on (for now)-- Do not let any book or blog (mine included) tell you how to raise your children. No one knows them like you do. No one knows your family dynamics like you do. Gleen from others, but parent your own kids. Do not be discouraged because your children will not do what the books say they should do. My kids would not sleep. They ate all the time, and they rarely obeyed the first time! Now, our stories are certainly not over yet, but my boys are growing to love God and be flexible. Yes, I love flexible!!

So gleen, gleen, my frustrated friend! But love on those babies, and snuggle them up, because mine is leaving now. He is a man, and I do not regret one single, unscheduled, precious day!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

And her numbers are.....way up!!

Mom had been working toward retirement, but this was different. This week, retirement did not look like beach trips and flights to see grandchildren. It did not feel like a well-deserved and anticipated vacation, fun times with Dad or coffee with friends. When "normal" platelet counts whisper 200-600 thousand, Mom's levels were a screaming 3 million. So the joy of her retirement "party"
 was coupled with concern, love, a few tears from friends, smiles and "everyone's complete attention."

The steller display of her giftedness as an educator had shown forth in her ability to summarize polycythemia, her complicated blood disorder, as if she were speaking to her usual third graders. "My body makes way too much blood," she explained. "and when your body knows to stop making blood, mine just keeps on making it; and I know it's not sunny in here, but I have this huge sty on my eye, so I'm wearing these crazy glasses!" she laughed, putting everyone at ease.

She continued by connecting with her fellow teachers through mentioning their shared disdain for the many achievement tests they were required to give throughout the year; and a humorous commonality of teacher woes filled the room. "But there is one Benchmark that we cannot get rid of," she announced. "That is the Benchmark of heaven, and we all have to make a 100%." She explained, with a huge smile, that none of us are perfect and that Jesus was the only perfect one. That is why his payment for our sin on the cross was enough to get us to heaven. There was nothing we could do but to trust him and believe him when he said, "I am the way."

I have never been more proud of my mother, a perfect example of being led by God's Spirit.....and preparation. For this was not a spur of the moment "oh ok, I will say a few words" speech. As a few transferring teachers had proceeded her with "a few words," the stage had obviously been set for her to share what had been on her heart for a long, long time. This two minute soliloquy was planned and met with much prayer.

I once heard a great person say, "It is not so much about how you start, but rather, how you finish." This indeed was a strong finish. "Nancy is our spiritual leader," one teacher said. Heads nodded in agreement. Eyes filled with tears and fellow teachers lingered to ask about this Benchmark--This free gift Mom spoke about.

I am so thankful I had the chance to be there, and I am thankful that my Mom had a great closure to a great career. She certainly will not retire from teaching, for she continues to teach us how to live and love and trust. And those numbers? They are going down! Now maybe Mom can think about that beach trip. She deserves it!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Twenty-five years ago today, Brian moved to Pemberton, New Jersey to begin his work as a student pastor; and exactly sixteen years ago, today, he and I packed everything we owned into a U-Haul truck and moved to Georgia with our two-year old, Taylor.

The last twenty-five years have been a testament to the faithfulness of God. We have seen God do amazing things in the lives of students and adults. Brian has watched God take teenagers and grow them up, give them families of their own, and use them to continue the work of reaching people for Jesus Christ. To those who have influenced Brian over the last twenty five years, Thank you!

It has not always been easy. No impacting profession or life work is easy. But today, we celebrate twenty-five years of Brian's partnering with God to help people on their journey of trusting Christ as their Savior and becoming fully-devoted followers. How exciting is that?! Seeing life change for twenty-five years has got to be rewarding!

So as Brian's wife, I just have to say that I love his authenticity. What you see on stage is really who he is at home. I love the fact that he shares personal stories of his life, even his imperfections and struggles. I love that he puts great amounts of time and effort into passionately sharing truth; and that after his ministry growing to a significant size, he is still burdened for people--individuals. He really cares and, in fact, agonizes over hurting people. I have watched Brian grow in leadership and influence through these years, but most of all, I am thankful that his priority has been our family. He takes his day off and prioritizes our marriage and our boys. That, to me, is healthy.

Brian, we are still having fun! Thank you for being faithful. I can't wait to see what God has in store for the next twenty five!!