I wish I could say I am on number 37, but I'm on number 6. In case you are thinking that I am a mean, horrible person that I've only done 5 kind things since February, I'm not. :) I've done kind things like hold open the door for the Budweiser delivery man at Circle K and return my neighbors' garbage can that had been blown into the middle of the street. But I'm not counting those...I'm trying to think of kind acts that cause me to go out of my way and in some way cost me something - time or money or effort. And friends, I am stumped! I see a homeless man living in his car off I-70 on Sunday mornings. At least, I think it's a man. I don't know for sure. Every Sunday morning, I see his car parked away from everyone else's, stuffed to the max, with jugs for collecting water on top. Every Sunday morning, I feel guilt. Jesus may be present at my place of worship, but I really think he's back in the commuter parking lot sitting next to that white car looking at me and waiting for me to do something. My problem is I don't know what that something is. Offer to get him a hotel room for the night? (A shower would be on my wish list if I was him.) Offer him some breakfast? A gift card to QT? Then the worry kicks in. What if I insult him with whatever I choose? What if he buys beer instead of gas at QT? What if he's a crazy man and freaks my kids out when we make the delivery? Then I decide not to think about any negative effects of my act of kindness and trust it will be received in the manner it was given. I'm still stuck on what that act of kindness should be though.
I'm trying not to get discouraged with this crazy idea. I get so wrapped up in my family's life that I forget to look for someone who needs kindness. I get stuck with my vision looking in instead of out. But I'm trying, and if you think of something or you need kindness yourself, speak up. I'm listening!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Today was a big day for our family. Parker along with 15 other second-graders graduated from our church's 4 year old to second grade children's program. It was also the last graduating class as our church moves to a new children's program.
I was flooded with memories today. Tony and I started volunteering with the kids over 10 years ago. At the time, we were still getting to know people and were childless. John hadn't married Christy yet and we didn't even know who they were. Now, John and Christy have Jillian. Parker asks me if it is possible to marry your best friend. I love it that I get to say I married mine. We are beyond blessed to count John and Christy as our dearest friends and Macy calls Jillian her big sister.
John has a tradition at graduation where he shares something special about each child. I made it through the first couple of kids without crying, but then John started talking about the kids that we have known since birth and toddlers. Tony said he expected me to cry at Parker's and Jillian's, but not at all the others. I replied that those kids are my babies too. These kids mean so much to me, and I am so proud that these are GOOD kids. As I watched John and Christy close a program that they started years ago with such grace and love, I was reminded that we don't serve for ourselves but for treasures in heaven. And we are blessed to work with some of those treasures on Earth.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Dear Parker and Macy,It's Mother's Day 2012. You are 8 and 3 respectively. We drove to church this morning with Parker's nose in a book and Macy belting out "Firework". I thought to myself that I want to freeze frame this moment in my memory forever. Then I imagined what Mother's Day would look like 20 plus years from now. I could barely picture you all grown up, possibly married, and even parents. I started wondering what kind of parents you would be and what lessons you would choose to keep and those things you would want to do better than we did.
I hope that you will always know that you are loved beyond measure. No matter what you have done or will do could increase or decrease our love for you. Although there are days when you bicker or create a deafening noise, I can still count it a blessing that you are driving me crazy. I know that you will always be my greatest accomplishment.
I fervently hope and pray that you will know that there is a God and he made you for greatness. Some will tell you that greatness is having the biggest house, the largest bank account, or your job title. While I hope you achieve your dreams whatever they become, I hope you will believe that true greatness is not what you have but how you act. You go out of your way to do the right thing whether it's helping your neighbor, coworker, or church family. You choose to treat all people with kindness regardless of how they look or treat you.
I hope your Dad and I have shown you that happiness is not something to be found but something you choose. Waiting for something or someone to make you happy is always a guarantee for unhappiness. Choose to rise and shine every day. Since we do not live in a perfect world, you will encounter some kind of heartache. Never let the heartache waver your belief in God. Even in your darkest moments, you will never be alone. Even when your Dad and I are gone, He will still be with you.
You have been our richest blessing - now and always.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Two friends are on my heart - one who left this world unexpectedly today and one who is beginning a personal war against cancer. The first friend you can read all about here. Everyone who knows Mr. Jackie agrees with what Jenny wrote. The second friend is so dear to me also...She knew us when when we were expecting Lauran and has since been a fixture in Parker and Macy's lives. Thinking about both of my friends today made me realize how much their personalities are alike. They both spread joy wherever they go. Both of their smiles encourage me every Sunday. And, their smiles are so freely given. I've have NEVER EVER heard these two friends complain even when one was wheelchair bound and the other watched her daughter go through the foster care/adoption process with all its emotional highs and lows. I go to church partly because these people encourage me to be better than I am. Both of them remind me to quit counting down the days and make the days count. Both of them remind me to quit being so self-centered and to be more other-centered. Both of them remind me to quit frowning and start smiling.
My sweet boy took the news of Mr. Jackie's death hard. He asked me if he could go to the funeral. To buy time to think about this request, I said I would have to check his baseball schedule. I should have known better. Parker comes back with "I would miss a baseball game for Mr. Jackie. I really want to go." Then as he does every night before dinner, he says the prayer: "Thank you for Mr. Jackie. Please help him have a good first day in heaven." I knew in an instant what Mr. Jackie has done for so many and what my other courageous friend continues to do. Their lives leave no doubt of where they will be.