Thursday, June 28, 2012

You Make Me Smile

This is my Marz.

She has been making me smile since the day she was born.

That is to say...she has been making me smile for 14 years. 

When I hear or read the word "beauty," it is this person that first pops to mind.

Not that I haven't been priviledged to witness beauty in others around me, but so rare has it been to find what beauty is...on the inside and out, in one person.

You know what it is like to meet someone who is so filled with joy that it spills out in other ways....
...that is this girl.

And I am so lucky to call her mine.

She calls me "momma."
And it it like sweet music to my ears. 

She has so many friends, because her personality is such that she can just get along with everyone.

But her closest friends are her big brother and little sisters. 

She is so very gifted.
She loves to write.
So she does.

She loves to sing.
So she does.

She loves to play sports.
So she does.

She does what she wants to....and she does her very best.
Being the best doesn't matter as much to her
as being her best.  

In today's world, that is a big deal.
And refreshing.

I love that her "job title" on her facebook page is:  Secret Agent at Sin Stoppers.

I loves that she finds humor in life.

I love that she finds humor even in the not so fun stuff of life.

I love that she still wants to snuggle with her momma.

I love it that if I don't tuck her into bed....she will come and tuck me into bed. 

She is the very best of me
And so much more....

She is becoming the best of who God made her to be.

...and I love it. 

Happy 14th Birthday, Marz.

Mama loves you. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Just one of my favorite songs....

"How Would You Give Back?"

I recently posted a question on my facebook page that went like this:

"If money were no object, how would you give back to your community, church, school or in general?"

I didn't get a huge response, but those that did all said they would give back to children, the financially needy, orphans, or people who needed clothing, food and other resources.

I posted this question because, quite honestly, I was just curious. 

I think about this I would "give back" if money, time and resources were not an issue.....

I think it is a natural thought for everyone, every now and then, to think something like "If I had millions, I would do this and this and this....and I would give back like this...." 

I have friends who give back in ways that are nothing short of miracles for those they minister to/befriend/give back to......

But these same people are not "giving back" because of the millions they have in their bank accounts.

They are giving back because of their heart.

And sometimes....that actually costs them. 

But I have never met anyone more happy.....than those I know who are "giving back" because that is what they feel called to do.

And there are many people and organizations that I have had the priviledge of meeting through personal experience, or writing about them for the Quad-City Times, or just purely by accident who are making huge differences in the world we live in....because they are willing to roll up their sleeves and do what they have been personally called to do. 

Are they saving the entire world?


Does God call any one of us to save the entire world?

(isn't that a relief?)

Does He call us to contribute in the ways we are wired to order to make a difference in our world?

I believe He does. 

Will it change the world?

Maybe not by "wordly" standards.

But you never know when "giving back" in any small way that you can

I have been priviledged to
meet people
write about people
and become involved with people
Who are all doing small things in the world they live in
That pour into the lives of those around them.

And it is inspiring to me. 

It actually leads me to ask questions like:

How does God want us to "change the world?" 

Do you ever not "give back" because you don't think it will really make a difference?

Are you waiting for "enough time"
or "enough money"
to give back
to your own community
or circle of influence? 

You are not alone. 
I'm right there with you.

My own story is that I always thought you had to have the right
or money
or name
in order to truly make a difference.
And I also thought that in order to make a "real difference"
You had to have some sort of huge effect.... everyone knew it
for it to matter. 

That, quite simply, is just not the truth.

And it isn't even biblical:

..."The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for ONE of the lest of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Go read Matthew chapter 25.
That verse above is Matthew 25: 40.
The bolded emphasis is my own. 

The word "one" is sort of significant, don't you think? 

I do.

I can't tell you everything that I want to say right now...cuz you would just get bored.
But there are issues that keep me awake at night
And I am going to do what I can to make a difference....
....not to the whole world.
But it might just help someONE's world. 

And these things actually echo the response that I recieved on my facebook post.

So I know that I am not alone in wanting to give back in these ways.

Does it matter that I live in a small community? 


EveryONE matters. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Slight Hitch

A normal abnormality.

All words or phrases that describe the current gait that I walk in. 

(that was a wordy way to tell you that i twisted my ankle a couple nights ago and now I am limping.)

Here's what happened:  I stepped in a hole and twisted my ankle.  It hurt a little bit at the time, but a-lot-bit the next morning when my feet first hit the floor. 

I didn't think too much of it at the time.  
This is because I have a natural tendency towards tripping over imaginary objects.
I'm naturally uncoordinated. 
Read:  I'm a klutz. And I trip over things that do not exist.  But I try to pretend that they do.  Which means that I probably have issues that go beyond that of not being gifted with grace. 

Anyways, after I limped my way to the bathroom and then to my coffee on the counter, I discovered that if I walked more on the inside of my foot, I couldn't really feel much pain at all in my ankle. 

Unfortunately, I am naturally slightly pigeon toed.  So my natural walk is sort of on the outside of my foot.  This caused a lot of pain. 

So I consciously tried to walk more on the inside of my foot so I could cut down on that pain.
But walking that way still felt un-natural....So it still looked like I was limping.

And I sort of was.
It felt like the equivalent of  writing with my left hand. 
I can do it.
It just comes out pretty awkward. 

Here I am, sitting on my kitchen counter, journaling about my klutzy and awkward experience, when I sort of get this feeling that God is trying to tell me something. 
In that really-weird way that God likes to talk to me through my own bizarre limping-thru-life-experiences....

....that I journal about.
aka:  blog.

And I sort of get it.

My own pigeon-toed way of doing things that feels completely natural to me,
May not be the way that God wants me to walk (in the figurative sense here).

And when I try to walk the way He wants me to....I may still have to limp
Because it just doesn't seem natural. 

And even tho it feels uncomfortable,
it comes with a lot less pain. 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Do you find yourself limping through some stuff too?  

I'm right there with ya.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's a Busy Start to Summer....

In many ways, we are just as busy, if not more, than when school was in session....
...but in that
"unstructured" way of being busy that you don't have the luxury of pulling off while school is in session.

In a nutshell
(meaning, this is my way of scrapbooking that you couldn't probably care less about)
Here is what is keeping the calendar full:

 This girl turned TEN!
Which can CLEARLY be seen in this photo with the # 8 on it and two extra candles. 
Because 8 plus 2 equals 10 for those who are mathematically challenged. 
I could say that I did the "8" candle plus two extras as a way to keep the brains in our house sharp throughout the summer. 
Like I do every summer.
Or I could be honest and say that I didn't have enough candles that added up to 10
Because I am not as organized as I should be.
and the "8" is a leftover from when I turned 38 a year (or so) ago and I did not want anyone to go out and purchase the wax #9 for reasons that involve denial and vanity.

 Now that she's 10, I keep her busy at home doing slave work like dusting the top shelves of things.
She's smiling.
Because I am paying her for it. 
Plus she likes climbing things.
One of her goals this summer is to climb the tree outside higher than she ever has.
I am seeing an ER visit in her future.

 This kid has been keeping me busy at the baseball field. 
Where he does some real work
That seems to go largely un-noticed by people he wants to notice.
But it isn't lost on me in the least.

And if I were a "numbers" and "math" sort of person
Which clearly I am not
(see the above exhibit about candles)
Then you would be noticing him on the baseball field too.
and that is all i'm gonna say about that.

But this kid also wakes up early
Which translates to me waking up early
To go to work
Which is something else I love about this kid.
He works hard. 
At everything he tries.

 This girl is busy on the field.
Plus I sent her off on a trip to DC.
She's having fun.
This morning I started calling her Nutkin.
Because her brain seems to scatter around like a squirrel.
Which is funny.
And I love it.
She's also babysitting this summer.
Earning some money seems to make her happy too. 


Okay, so I have another kid.
But not pictures of her this summer.
I'm feeling the guilt over this.
She's got some serious summer goals.
Like running 40 laps around the track before summer's end,
reading an entire chapter book,
picking up trash whenever she sees it,
learning how to cook tuna helper.
(i will for sure get a photo of this)
She's babysitting too.
And hanging out with friends.
I'm gonna go find her and take some pictures.

I might have to embarrass her while she is "on the job"
But a mama's got to do what a mama's got to do.

That's what we are busy doing.

If you were interested enough to read through this entire post then I must ask.....
What are you busy doing so far this summer?  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!

For the record, I call all of my girls "baby girl." 

But this one....really is my baby.

And she is a whole, entire decade old.

You know that means two entire hands full of fingers and thumbs. 


Here she is in a little "pet" talk before her game.....on her birthday.

Yes she has on big glasses with big dangly, disco-ball earrings.

In case you were wondering. 

Let me tell you about my baby girl, if I may.....

She was to be a scheduled c-section when she was born.
Thanks to her HUGE brother and sisters.

And she was a big baby girl.
And she let me know she was coming
Whether or not she was "in the books" or not.....
Thankfully, she was.....
And SHE decided that SHE was going to enter the world
on exactly
the day
that the "appointment book" said she was.

Which for this mama means.......
For  not making me labor for too long
For your entry into this world. 

is named after her
GREAT uncle Dan
who shares the same birth date as she does
Her aunt Megan
whose middle name is 'danielle'
and me.
my middle name is Renae....the same is her middle name. 

"danielle renae"

Her nickname is: Tookie.

Which is totally the fault of her brothers and sisters.
Who would come up to her as a baby and tickle her tummy....
....and instead of saying
"tickle tickle tickle"
would say
"tookie tookie tookie"


Which is how she got the nickname that she loves to hate.

but mostly loves.

Here is another story that she loves for me to share with her about when she was born......

At the time of her birth, we were remodeling our house. 
So her "room" was in "my room"
which was actually big brother Nathan's room. 

Because we were remodeling, Nathan slept in the living room and Tookie slept in a teeeeny tinny baby bed right next to me in Nathan's room


Mama held her close
When she was born
And we BOTH
All night long

Because whenever she would stir.....
I would whisper.....

it's okay baby girl.  mama is here.  shhhhh.  mama loves you.
mama is here.

And guess what......

I say the same thing now.  A decade later.  And it still works. 

I don't know if it will always help her fall asleep.


It will always be true.

Mama's here.
Mama loves you.