You make beautiful things out of dust. You make beautiful things out of us. -Gungor


I took my boys out to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green yesterday. From the previews I thought it would be cute and kind of silly but I did not think I would ball. Yes ball. Catch-my-breath-face-wrinkled-up-dripping-nose-dripping-with-tears-wet-faced ball. Sometimes the dam that holds back the flood is broken with a flicker from a Disney film.

If you want to see the movie and haven't yet, SPOILER ALERT!

 A husband and wife, longing to have children, unable, faced with the reality decide to write down who their kid would be if they were able to give him birth. They place their dreams in a wooden box and bury it in the garden. A stormy night waters their wishes and a 9 or 10 year old boy covered in mud is delivered. Sounds silly I know. But I guess God could have designed kids to be born out of the garden if He wanted to.

The creation obeys the Creator. He commands birth out of bloody wombs. It's no less a wonder. No less magical. Maybe we're just used to the magic of birth by wombs.

For some, their children were born just as magically as Timothy Green, out of dreams, prayers offered, longings buried. The Creator places the fatherless in families. Yes, many times the fatherless are the ones being rescued from a terrible place, but the Creator also gives barren women a family, lifting her out of her hopelessness.

Whether we have children from our wombs, or from prayers and others' wombs, the number of days we get with them and our inability to perfectly parent them is a reality we fight against. Just like Timothy Green's parents.

The truth is the time we get to plant seeds of love and truth in the lives of the children we've been miraculously granted to raise is a great gift and responsibility. We are forever changed in the process. We get the privilege and high calling of guiding a life. We try so hard to do it right but we don't.

We have to entrust our kids to the Savior of children of raised by sure-to-not-get-it-all-right parents.

My kids are gifts. Not because they are gifted. Not because they're my trophies. Not because they make me look good. They are just gifts from the God who makes life grow out of dirt and wombs and messed up parents.

 I treasure every moment I get to be a mom. I pray for the grace to make right decisions in raising them and I fall on the grace that saves us both! What a gift. What a gift!

Quieted,
Sheila

A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches.- Proverbs 11:16









I get myopic real easy.  Especially when I'm in pain.  I need to go to church once a week if for no other reason than to get my head pulled out of the proverbial sand and aimed higher than Tuesday!

I've used up the 9 volt battery in my Tens 3000 which has effectively taken me from unbearable to bearable in the pain department.  But I'm glad that didn't happen until after my head was lifted.  It's easy to give thanks when the trouble has passed, its faith to give thanks in the midst of the trouble.

This morning, sitting there, cringing for a less painful position, faith came by hearing.  Hearing God's word.  Truth greater than my circumstance.  How petty.  Who cares!  It's gonna pass in a flash and what's waiting is better than Italy!  Thank you Lord for your patience with my numb-head self and your Word which yanks me out of the pit and into the light!

My back is actually feeling a lot better tonight after three days of rest, ice, and electricity.  I hope to learn something from either the chiropractor or the physical therapist or both that will help me prevent this from happening again.

My sister is fighting a much tougher battle with her broken wrist, post-surgical plat and pin placement.  Numbness and tendon damage may be irr-reversible.  Lift her head Lord!  Lift her head!  I pray tomorrow's follow-up brings news of surprising improvements and a positive prognosis.

Tonight I read about Christians in Syria fleeing for their lives.  My husband read about another high-school teacher having sex with her students and her husband's non-issue with it since they regularly engage in threesomes. And tonight Ryland asked me what Nine - Eleven is.  

We were asked today what on the list of 13 from Romans 12:9-13 were most missing from the Church in 2012 Phoenix Metro. 

"Abhor what is evil.  Hold fast to what is good."  I said it out loud tonight as James was reading the headlines.  I told Ryland very matter-of-factly, "Men set out to do evil on September 1, 2001."

I was convicted.  Its easy to see the evil of 9-1-01.  The evil of sexual deviance is poo-pooed not abhorred.  What about lying?  Causing division in a family?  Having a looking-down-my-nose-at-you look in my eye?  The taking of an inconvenient life? (Check here for more)

Create in me a clean heart oh God!  Renew a right spirit within me!  Cause me to abhor what You abhor for You are good.  Totally and completely good!  You are love!  You never hate something wrongly!  You don't abhor something that is ok.  You don't twist truth.  You aren't calling wrong wrong just for the fun of it.  You are good.  Nothing you hate is good.   Give me the courage and humility to say what You say.


Quieted,
Sheila

Poor in spirit

I am poor in what really counts.  I long for it.  I hunger for it.  I thirst for it.   I fear life is just too easy for a 30 something mom in a two-income house in 2012 U.S.A. to really grow rich in faith and Christ-likeness.

I want to embrace the goodness of my God with thanksgiving. I feel like I too easily accept the good gifts of my God and have to fight to make a point to give thanks lest I forget that I live in a house I did not build, wear clothes I did not sew and eat food I did not grow or harvest. But I want to know HIM, not just His provision. I want to live a life of gratitude for HIM, not just what He gives. What does that look like for the can-walk-into-any-Walmart-at-any-moment-and-choose-from-50-different-kinds-of-cereal American me?

Maybe it looks like this:

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. [Let them] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. -1 Timothy 6:17-19

And this:

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.  And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field.- James 1:9-10

Riches are relative.  I'm not rich to some people, to others I am.  Compared to the people who labored to build the house I rent, and toiled to sew the clothes I wear, and worked to plant, raise and harvest the food I eat, I am rich.

But I long to be rich in love.  I want to be wealthy in a gentle and quiet spirit.  I want to have much courage and even more humility.  I want to be overflowing in joy.  I want there to be a wealth of fruit from the Spirit of Christ being plucked off me.   Those kinds of riches won't buy me Cinnamon Rice Chex at the Neighborhood Walmart.   But I'd much rather be too broke to buy my favorite cereal than too pocket-book cushioned to gain wisdom from above.  Wisdom that is pure, peaceable, willing to yeild, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

I want to be rich like Maximilian Kolbe.  He layed down his life to save another because he was rich in Christ. He could give away his life because he was rich in Life.  From the sounds of this story, Maxamilian Kolbe was one who made himself poor but had great riches.

There is one who makes himself rich, yet [has] nothing; [And] one who makes himself poor, yet [has] great riches. -Proverbs 13: 7


The Lord has humbled me.  I am rich in this material world compared to many, and all my riches and easy life will fade away like a pretty little flower in field.  So let me make myself poor by comparison and be a giver, a sharer, storing up eternal things, riches that never fade.  Let me lay down my life to save another.  Maybe not like Maximilian, but a daily dying.  A living sacrifice.

Let me start with setting my mind on things above, where my Life is.  In Christ.

Oh Son of God, I would not breathe if You held on to Your breath.  I would not live if you held dear Your life.  I would be rich but have nothing if You were not THE One who made Himself poor though You had great riches.  I would not love if You had not layed down Your life for me.  I would not know anything of the riches of humility or gentleness or long-suffering or forgiveness or purity or peace or willingness to yield or mercy or grace or a thousand other eternal jewels worth more than all the world's wealth combined if You didn't stoop down to lift me up.  So I easily utter the words, "Thank you."  But in my heart deep calls to deep.  You know I can't even express... I'm still poor in spirit Lord! Thank You!  Thank You! Thank You for:

62.  the taste of Your goodness
63.  You bore so much shame to love me
64.  Your promise to finish the work You started in me
65.  the love spilling drip by drip out of me from Your faithfullness
66.  the courage to bend
67.  the willingness to yeild
68.  the hope that is mine because of You
69.  the service I get to give
70.  the stewardship I've been entrusted
71.  the mercy the keeps me from being consumed
72.  the faithfulness that keeps me persevering
73.  the promise of the Kingdom in my poverty of spirit
74.  the filling of my hunger and thirst for real rightness with You!

Let me keep sacrificing (Dare I say that? Sacrifice? The giving up of what? Reputation? Finicky people's approving looks? YES!  Let me lay down those vain desires!) the fruit of my lips giving thanks for 75 and beyond when I wake.




Quieted,
Sheila

The Adam and Eve Principle: No matter how good a parent you are, your child is still capable on any given day of doing something despicable, disgusting, or depraved.- John K. Rosemond








On the last week of summer break I bought a puzzle Connor asked for as an indoor activity we could do together. I learned a few things.

First, Connor is too on-the-go for puzzles (If you've known Connor for 5 minutes you know this.  I've known him from day one and yet I still bought him the puzzle.  Could be a sign of early onset dementia?). If they had puzzles you could chase, or puzzles that chase you he'd love putting one together. But since it involves sorting, more sorting and sorting some more- and nothing makes him run- it's not for Connor.

Second, puzzles are for Ryland who I'm convinced is going to be in some position of accounting or a referee one day. He likes to put things in order, he likes order, and he likes to tell people the order of things.  It'll go something like this: Connor will be the pitcher on the field, Ryland will be the ump calling balls or strikes or the CPA telling the manager of the team what to do with his money.

Third and last of all, puzzles are very frustrating and addictive for me.  I like sorting and I like putting things in order, but I can't stand leaving something unfinished on a table for 3 weeks!

This past first week back to school, for both me and the boys went fairly smooth.  Adjusting to living by a schedule again is easier for the grown-ups than the kiddos.   I'm very thankful to have a job where I get to work with kids and be home every evening and weekend with my family.

School nursing involves a lot of puzzle-like tasks: gathering, sorting and putting information together one piece at at time.  It also involves teaching kids and parents and staff about various topics pertaining to health and safety.  And because it involves teaching it also involves ongoing learning for me.  I have CE courses on heat related illness (HRI) and Asthma bookmarked to take this week.

It's too hot to do anything, even go to the pool. Which is worse, to be home bound in scorching heat for a few weeks or home bound in a depressing deluge for a few months?  I have thought I'd rather live where its hot than where its constantly cloudy, but on weeks like these I feel certain that cuddling up with a book and hot tea while the gray, rainy drizzle carries on outside would be a form of paradise!

I read an excellent parenting book this past week:  Parenting By the Book by John Rosemond.  I was convicted and motivated as I read it.

  • Say what you mean and mean what you say.  
  • Let the consequences be memorable so as to cause one to think twice before committing the crime.  
  • Be a leader with a vision for where you're leading your kids.  
  • Look to the scriptures for guidance, not people with capital letters behind their name.
These are some of the bullet points that stuck with me!  Most of what I read I already have believed and therefore put into practice.  But I've grown slack, lazy in many areas.  I am inconsistent and warn way too much.  I set out this week to lead with a powerful love and purpose again.  Its easy to fall into what-makes-my-life-easier-in-the-short-term parenting.  The monsters created by short-term parenting aren't worth the few minutes of peace one may get now.

The Bible is such a gift!  It's never proven wrong.  None of God's instructions are ever out of touch with the times!

We prayed in small groups during our second hour at church this morning.  It was powerful.  I want to do that again.  It's not what we normally do.  Our pastor went home early to rest and recoup after having a pacemaker implanted this past week.

I read this quote today:

 "God did not come to me in some mystical experience, but through a human being, a neighbor, an agent of His love."- Elizabeth Kilbourn

That's what the people of Pathway Bible Church and my pastor have been to me... agents of His love.  I'm very thankful for them all!


Quieted,
Sheila

The night before the first day of school

Well its the last night of summer break for my kids. Even though I started back to work last week on Wednesday tomorrow will FEEL like my first day back to work.

The start and end of a school year as a school nurse are the busiest. I couldn't get anything done without a legal pad and pen. Lists. I live by lists at work. Crossing things off as they get finished. And alarms. Phone alarms for all the times when kids are to get their medicines at school. Just in case I'm busy answering someone's request to verify immunization records, or fill a need for school uniforms, or clean up a skinned knee, or teach proper use of the rescue inhaler to a 2nd grader, or the many other triage situations that come walking through my door at the same time that student A needs to have his blood sugar checked and student B needs to take her daily medication and student C need his tube feeding started. If that happens, I mean, when that happens I'll hear the alarm and stop looking up the vaccine record, hand the bandaid off, make sure the inhaler got used properly, make a quick note so I don't forget and call a teacher to please send student A to the nurse's office.

All that will happen, and 15 other things that need to get done will remain on my list, and will be there the next day for me to pick up where I left off. I'm already tired thinking about it. Or maybe its the flexaril?

I started a treatment plan my dentist put me on last week to help with the constant pain I'm having from my damaged left TMJ. The damage occurred 19 years ago in a car accident when I dislocated my jaw. But the effects of 19 years of talking and chewing on that dislocated joint apparently has left me with NO cartilage or muscle in the area. Just bone to bone the CT scan shows.

What do you do for that? Apparently you start small with muscle relaxers, a mechanical soft diet, no gum, ibuprofen round the clock, heat packs, gentle massage and a retainer. We'll see how it works in about a month. I don't remember ever taking muscle relaxers before. I don't like having to take something that makes me sleepy. I sleep just fine and when I take stuff that makes me tired I wake up feeling like I didn't really sleep. There's definitely a difference between sleeping and being drugged! I'm fading fast. Better wrap it up.

After church I asked my boys what they remembered or learned. Connor said, "Not to get pressed into the worlds 'zeitgeist'????" (looking to me for assurance on pronunciation). My pastor likes to use words from other languages to explain concepts in scripture. I like that too. This word zeitgeist stuck with me and with Connor too. Ryland asked what the world's mold was. I said, "It's to think of yourself and what you want now." He responded, "Oh no! I better press real hard cause I think I'm getting squeezed!!!" Smile. Prayer ascending.

Quieted,
Sheila

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