Sunday, January 24, 2010

Growing Pains

My oldest son turns 25 tomorrow. Somehow that seems like such a milestone birthday, much more so than when he turned 18 or even 21. Maybe because he just recently became engaged to his sweetheart of 5 years. Soon he won't be "my" boy any more, he will be someone else's. Even though my husband teases me that neither one of our sons can be rightfully called boys any more, they will both always be "my boys". (Our youngest is 16 & towers over me at 6'2"). There is something special about the bond between mothers and sons. I know our children are temporary gifts from God and I pray we have done well with those gifts.

Where does the time go? I still remember the drive to the hospital for his birth as if it were last night. It was almost 2 weeks before my due date and I was scheduled to start my maternity leave in just 2 days. It was close to midnight, I had been at work on my feet all day & I was almost done for the night when I knew something wasn't right. After calling the doctor and being told to go to the hospital, my co-workers started trying to reach my husband. (This was back "in the day" before everyone had cell phones.) My husband broke all speed records to get us to the hospital. What should have taken 45 minutes from my job only took 20. When we got to the hospital, they whisked me away to determine the extent of the complications. I was soon reassured that everything was fine. Since we already knew this baby was to be delivered by C-section and my doctor had another surgery scheduled the next morning, they decided the baby & I would be fine till then & got us settled in for the night. Not until much later did I know my poor husband had spent all of this time anxiously on the pay phone with his mother as the hospital staff forgot to tell him the baby & I were doing fine! Bless his heart, he spent the rest of the night in a chair next to me and didn't leave my side. Nor did he leave my side during the entire delivery.

The next morning, a healthy baby boy was delivered at 10:30am. I didn't get to hold or feed him right away because of the surgery and the anesthesia, but the next day I did. I still remember that tiny little baby in my hospital bed with me and the indescribable feelings welling up in me. To this day, I tell soon-to-be moms that no one can describe the depth of feelings that this tiny person will bring out in you - the awe that this little person came from you, the beauty you see in the red scrunched up face, the perfection of the little fingers & toes, the absolute wonder of it all.

And then the fear sets in - the huge responsibility of it all. This is not a baby doll that can be put away, this is a live human being that you have been given charge of. It is an awesome and overwhelming feeling. I was absolutely terrified. Again, since this was "back in the day", I was in the hospital for 5 days with my son being brought to me only when I wanted him or he was hungry, so I had lots of time to dwell on these fears & build up my inadequacies in my head.

Through God's grace and perfect timing, I began attending church 6 weeks later & started my walk with the Lord soon after. He has seen us well through these 25 years and I am so proud of the man our son has become. He is kind, compassionate, funny, and secure in who he is, and loves the Lord.

Our son has survived a new mom who didn't know what she was doing most of the time, bad advice from doctors (his first pediatrician told me I couldn't feed him any more than every 4 hours - for the first 2 weeks of his life I'm afraid I almost starved that boy!), a heart murmur, bad home hair cuts, stitches, broken bones, more than one broken heart, and lots of other growing pains.

I have survived, too. I survived being a new mom who didn't know what to do with a crying & hungry baby, his first & subsequent bouts of croup in the middle of the night, bad home haircuts, his first boo-boo, his first day of kindergarten, stitches, broken hearts, graduation, going 1000 miles away to college, and lots of other growing pains.

Someone asked me recently, "How do you let them get married?" I have prayed for this girl for him since he was a toddler and she is all that I have asked God for for him. So, with mixed emotions - joy, gratefulness, and yes, even some sadness, I share our gift. I know I will survive this growing pain, also.

Happy 25th birthday, son. We love you.

"Behold, I am doing a new thing."
Isaiah 43"19a

Friday, January 22, 2010

Life's Little Irritations

Ever had one of "those days"? Those days where a million (OK, I exaggerate - maybe just 100) little things go wrong? Nothing catastrophic, mind you, just extremely annoying things? On those days, life's little irritations seem to just keep coming and suddenly nothing is going smoothly or as planned.

I had one of those days a couple weeks ago. It was the came on the tail of 3 days of 3 different non-working coffee pots (2 of them brand new from the store). Anyone who knows me even remotely, knows you don't mess with my coffee! The cat doesn't even rub against me in the morning before I've had my coffee. But, I took that all in stride & even viewed it as somewhat comical, making jokes with the customer service person at the store as I was buying my 3rd coffee pot in 3 days. (Which by the way, we love & works just fine. Third time's a charm....)

But the next morning, when I got up to start the coffee in my brand new working coffee pot & the dishes from the night before were still in the sink and on the counter after my teenager told me he would do them before he went to bed, my humor level dropped a little. OK, so I would deal with looking at dirty dishes all day. There would just be more for him to do when he got home from school.

When my laptop wouldn't turn on, even after I plugged the power cord in and fiddled with it, I felt any level of humor I might have had plummet. So, I dragged out the old computer with the key board & bulky monitor & plugged it in and was grateful when it powered up just fine. However, I couldn't get to the internet. Irritation was quickly setting in and rising rapidly. My husband finally solved that problem for me after doing his magic with it. So, out onto the worldwide web I go. Except, none of my settings or passwords are saved on this computer. So, now I have to find the piece of paper I have somewhere with all that information. Mission finally accomplished & I got the all work done that I had wanted to, but the tone for the day had been set. What else would go wrong? Plus, I had spent much more time on this whole process than I had intended. My timing and my plans for my day off had been totally interrupted.

Not sure if that was when the light bulb went off or not - my timing, my plans? Somewhere along the way, interested only in what was inconveniencing me, I had lost sight of the fact that I could go out & buy a new coffee pot if I needed to, that we had electricity to run the coffee pot & coffee to put in the coffee pot. I had lost sight of the fact that we had food to put on dishes. I had lost sight of the fact that we even have a back-up computer. I had lost sight of the fact that I had a day off that I could enjoy. I had lost sight of all the many ways my life is so blessed. I have a roof over my head, running water, electricity, heat, food in the cupboards, a closet full of clothes to choose from, my husband & I both still have jobs (no small feat in Michigan these days), & I know where my children, my healthy children, are. I had completely lost sight of the many, many ways the Lord has blessed me.

I once heard someone say that if you own your own home you are among the richest 3% of the world's population. That blew my mind - I would never have considered us to be materially wealthy! We often have more month left than paycheck, only have one car, and for heaven's sake, don't even have cable TV! And for the most part, I am very content with that, but there are days ......

When did my joy & contentment get tied up with how my day was going & my checkbook balance? When did outside things start to matter more? I don't want to be one of those people that is never satisfied and never happy and always wants more and for the most part I am not. But there are days.....

And on those days, I must just break my Heavenly Father's heart. There is an old song that we don't sing very much at church any more, but it is strongly on my heart today.

"Count your blessings,

count them one by one.

Count your blessings,

see what God has done."

Maybe that's exactly why we have "those days". Maybe it's God's way of gently saying, "That doesn't matter, my darling daughter. All that is just stuff. Look at everything else I have done for you. It is enough."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Paper, Paper Everywhere

I have never been able to conquer the paper mess. They seem to be everywhere - on the table, on the desk, on the counter, in my purse, stuffed into my work bag.

papers to be sorted
papers to be filed
papers to be paid
papers about what I have already paid
papers to be read
papers I have already read but might want to read sometime again
papers I haven't read and probably never will but then again might someday
papers with addresses and e-mails I should use but probably won't
papers with website addresses that sound interesting but will probably never visit
papers with knitting patterns I have already made
papers with knitting patterns I would like to make
papers about meetings
papers from meetings
papers about school
papers from school
papers about great savings if only I would remember to take them to the store with me
papers about things I would like to buy but never will
papers about where the things I need to buy are the cheapest

I have read all the "organize yourself" articles, books, and websites. I probably have some of those articles laying around here somewhere. I know the "handle it once rule". I have file cabinets with hanging folders and labeled folders, alphabetized even. I have an expandable file, I have baskets on shelves, I have 3-ring binders with dividers and paper protectors. I know the "set a timer" strategy. Yet the papers remain - and more keep showing up. They haven't taken over - yet. I do not need to sign up for the crew of "Hoarders" to come to my house - yet.

The papers move frequently. They move from the table to the refrigerator, they move into the "to be filed" pile, from the kitchen to the office, out of my purse to the table, and round and round they go. When do I actually file the "to be filed" pile, another one soon mysterously takes its place.

I tell myself that I am creatively disorganized, that I can locate what I need when I need it. And I usually can. But not without first spending some time going through the things I don't need first, sometimes a long time.

The thought of sorting and organizing all these papers seems like a daunting task, yet when I think of all the time I have spent looking for a particular piece of paper, it may be one of those it pays off in the long run things. I don't want to be remembered by my boys someday by how long it took them to clean up all my papers. Is there a 12-step program for paper addicts? Maybe I'll give the "set the timer" strategy another shot.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Morning worship

Sunday morning.....
This is my first post - inspired (or not - if any one reads this you can decide if it is inspired or not!) by a conversation I had yesterday with other womem from my church while planning for an upcoming retreat. One of the topics we were discussing was worship.

It is about time to wake the family up & start the process of getting ready for church. The routine is the same every week. I get up ahead of everyone else, get showered & wake my husband & son, one at a time to use our only bathroom. While every one else is getting ready, I start getting dinner prepared so we can eat as soon as we get home. I am already wondering what to wear & whether it will be a good hair day or not, which or my friends I will see & have a chance to chat with.

With the exception of the late 70's & most of the 80's, I have gone to church on Sunday morning for my whole life. When did church (the building) become synonymous for worship (the action)?

The Israelites had to prepare before they went to the temple to worship the great Jehovah- they had to be cleansed - physically & spiritually. They had special clothes they wore, had sacrifices to make - it was not a let's sleep in as late as we can & then rush in, irritated because they had to rush, at the last possible minute. They planned & made preparations to come before their God.

So when did worship become common place & just a thing you do every Sunday? Is it a sign of the times? Or is it a sign of our hearts?

Don't get me wrong - I love going to church. I love the singing, listening to the Scriptures & the lesson for the day. But I think I will go with a new appreciation of the privilege it is to go & stand before my God & offer my worship to Him.

I have to go now - I have to finish getting prepared to worship.