Courage

| December 13, 2012

What is courage?
For over a month, we’ve been teaching our boys that courage isn’t the absence of fear. It is being scared and facing what you fear, anyway.

With three sidelined practices behind us, and another looming, we didn’t know if he’d be able to get through it. He’d gotten so scared being out there on the court with the coach yelling and a gym full of loud kids, dribbling, chasing balls and doing what seemed impossible for him:  Staying out there.
We simply asked him to make it through a night of practice and just TRY. He didn’t have to be good, keep the ball in control, make any baskets. He just had to stay out on the court. On the first night of practice, the coach didn’t teach them how to hold a ball. How to dribble. How to throw.  The coach simply told them to dribble 2 balls at once. To dribble, jumpstop, pivot, pass, all in quick succession to complete strangers. To make a layup -first thing- on the first night of shooting baskets.  For my little one, these feats seemed impossible. And, I couldn’t help feeling a bit frustrated with what was expected of him, myself. So, for three practices in a row that stretched over a month and a half, he started on the court and ended up sitting on the bench in defeat, watching his brother participate. And fearing the next practice when it would happen all over again.
This week, he left home and arrived to the practice parking lot already in a crying frustration.
Just to help him have the courage to get inside the building, his daddy told him something that must have stuck deep inside. And, I believe, God did miracles in that little heart. His dad told him, “There’s a long line of men in our family who have courage locked up, inside. When you use a little bit, it grows and becomes more.”  And, they went into the school with the understanding that our boy just had to sit on the bench and watch his brother.

I admit, after those three failed attempts, I was questioning if we should just let him stay home. I didn’t want to get through this whole basketball season, which would span 4 months, and have him live with the memories of sitting on the bench, each and every time, after an upsetting retreat from the court. But, I prayed! Oh, how I prayed! I really wanted him to feel proud of himself for facing his fear. I even prayed that if God could raise people from the dead, surely he could help my boy get through basketball practice. This mama was feeling desperate! Have you ever been there?

So, back to the gym. He must have felt some relief knowing he only had to get inside and sit on the bench with Dad. After a bit of just sitting, Dad asked him to play ball on the sidelines for a few minutes, and he lightheartedly agreed. And after a little while, Daddy asked if he might still want to give it a try on the court, adding that our bargain to go for ice cream if he could make it through the night would still be honored. To my husband’s surprise, our boy decided to go out on the court with all the other boys. My husband prayed like never before, and our boy stayed on the court. Then, my husband’s heart sank our son came to the side…. and asked to use the restroom. Would that be it for the night? NO! Upon returning to the gym, he returned to the floor with the other boys! The entire hour went by, and he continued with the practice! He stayed out there! He tried! He acted courageous! And, he was even caught smiling and laughing and having a good time.

Basketball Victory Cup

I cheerfully went out to meet my family for ice cream to celebrate this awesome victory! When I asked my boy about practice, he told me “It was easy!” When I asked if he wants to go back, next time, he said, “I will. But, when this is all done, I never want to do it again!” We agreed that was ok. We were just so happy he faced his fear and he was proud of himself for doing it.
And, when he drove home with me in my car, he told me, “Daddy told me that courage was locked up inside of me, and tonight I unlocked it.”
Yes, you did, my sweet boy. Yes, you did.

A MacBook Air with an Orange Cover

| November 30, 2012

Here’s the picture I would post if only I had a MacBook Air

I’m dreaming of a MacBook Air. I dream that I bring my little laptop with me wherever I go. In my dreams, I pull it out of it’s cute case and type out all my thoughts and ideas that will make a fine novel, someday. It has an orange cover, because orange is happy and it inspires me. It is the first computer that I’ve ever owned that wasn’t a hand-me-down. It is personalized to fit my needs. It has apps (a long-standing item on my wish list!). I strongly believe in apps. I don’t get to use them, much, yet. But, someday I will. Someday I will use my twitter account and tweet to my 48 followers who have never once received a tweet from me or a hashtag or anything, yet they are still following me. (How sweet are they?!) Someday I will have apps that help me do my crafts more creatively and write my sentences more acceptably and shop at the grocery store more healthily and go places more efficiently and learn about so many things that I’m just sure I could only know about if I had apps. And, my friend Mindy would rejoice with me because she knows about this longstanding desire. When I go to bed at night and I think of those most important thoughts that have filtered down to the end of my day and I wish I could reach over to my orange covered MacBook Air and type them in, I can’t help but believe that someday my wish will come true. I’ve been praying for God to spoil me with a MacBook Air. I’ve had 2 amazing friends offer me their used non-Mac laptops, which I truly appreciate. I’m embarrassed to admit I feel very snooty about not using them because I really, super-bad am praying that my Father will bless me with what I can truly use-a MacBook Air. You see, my entire photo library and all my previous notes and documents and newsletters and flyers and everything I use for ministry and Altered Story and my blog and anything techy is Mac-related. My smart husband doesn’t think I should attempt to make a short-term change to one of those computers and then try to make it all transfer back perfectly on that special, golden day when I do get my very own MacBook Air. And, I agree with him because in my dreams I am united with my hubby in all his apple-loving bliss. We can email each other documents that don’t need to be exported. That’s how marriage should be. And, there’s the apps to consider. So, I continue to dream. Because using his MacBook Pro late at night, like this, when I’m tired from my computer-less day of writing with pen and paper and jotting down ideas that I just might definitely make something amazing out of, if only I had a MacBook Air available to me during the sane hours of my day, makes me wonder if I’m looking a bit silly to the world in this blog post.

First Day of Kindergarten

| September 4, 2012

Since before college, I had my life planned out.
Vaguely.
I would graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology, get married to a handsome pastor, have two babies and stay at home raising them -just until the youngest went to kindergarten. THEN, I’d either go back to school for my master’s degree or begin a meaningful career. I love helping people… so counseling has always been a dream. But, I’d love to be a writer, and I thought maybe I could pursue that. Or, I would pursue a different kind of education and build on my art skills. No matter! I had lots of time to figure things out!


Life’s Check List
Marry handsome pastor – check!
Birth two beautiful kids – check!
Stay home to raise the wee ones – check!
Send off baby to first day of Kindergarten – check! (as of this morning)
Direction for what to do now – uhhhhhh?….

I don’t really have anything figured out.
My little boy is having the adventure of his life at his first full day of kindergarten. Gone from Mom. All new friends. Lots to take in and learn. I encouraged him to be brave. To have anticipation for the good in it all. To go in with a positive attitude and then just see what God can do! He has no idea what this day or this school year will bring. But, he’s pressing on and into all of it.
I’m all for God-adventures. I want the full life! I believe adventures can only be true adventures if they are a little scary, a little exciting and (at least) a little fun! I’m sure that’s what my kindergartener is experiencing on his first-day adventure.
Me? I’m at home with a lot of mixed emotions. I have a bunch of questions. I miss my boys but I’m excited for what’s to come. I have an adventure of my own to begin. Schooling & a full time career aren’t even on my radar. I’m a bit scared about life’s details, but I know I can trust God for every one.
To start, I think I’ll just take a little time to enjoy a quiet house. To rest. To seek after God’s heart and His real direction for me. To do some of the things I’ve had on the back-burner for a while. I think I’ll just give myself a teeny bit more time. I’m thankful for today and all the possibilities.
What about you? What does the start of this new school year mean for you?

Altered Story Handmade Goods

| March 19, 2012

This and other goodies available at www.alteredstory.etsy.com

Flossy The Rabbit Mixed Media Magnet Decoration - available at www.alteredstory.etsy.com

As a stay-at-home mama and busy pastor’s wife, my main focus goes to my family and church. However, I have a husband who is always encouraging me to pursue my dreams.
As my budding interest has turned into a real passion to fight modern day slavery, my husband has been my biggest encourager. And, he knows I’ve always enjoyed doing crafts… especially paper crafts. So, I’m excited to share that because of his nudging and inspiration, I’ve combined these two interests into something exciting!
In recent months, I’ve been pouring much energy into my new handmade goods business, Altered Story. By using my still-blooming talents, I’m able to make a difference in the world by spreading awareness about modern day slavery through my crafts. I alter vintage goodies and wonderful old books into new treasures. My hope is to help alter the stories of slaves around the world. I share with potential customers the reason behind what I do. And, I donate 10% of profits towards supporting anti-trafficking organizations that work to protect, rescue and restore.
I can attest to this: putting my attention and effort into helping slaves around the world by creating lovely things has given me such a GREAT appreciation for my blessed life. Surprise! This new adventure has been altering my own story for the better, too! And, I’m so thankful.

What Is Your Desert?

| April 29, 2009

 

Streams In The Desert

STREAMS IN THE DESERT

by LB Cowman

 A collection of prayerful meditations, Christian writings, and God’s written promises.  This book has become one of the most dearly loved and bestselling devotionals of all times.

Although the original version of Streams in the Desert was published in 1925, my copy was printed in 1974 and still has the author listed as Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. I think that’s how she would have wanted it to appear. It seems just as old fashioned as the language inside, but her relationship to her husband was key to building her faith. According to the foreword in my version, the book is a compilation of “thoughts, quotations, and spiritual inspiration which had helped to sustain Mrs. Charles E. Cowman during her years of missionary work in Japan and China–particularly the six years she nursed her husband while he was dying.”

Can you imagine the depths of agony, frustration and grief she must have experienced? Yet, she sought God through it all, encouraging herself through the writings of others. It makes me wonder if she thought, “hm… I think someday there will be a bestselling book of all the excerpts that I’ve been putting together.”  No, I bet she was just doing what she knew to do, to find God in it all. I bet there were some days that she found it hard to really feel comforted by what she was reading. But, she knew that it was true, and she chose to keep her focus on Christ.

I love to journal things from the Bible or the other books I’m reading. It helps me focus on truth and I can refer to them, later on. I do it all with the small perspective that it helps me grow in God. But, what if somebody comes across my journals someday? Might they compile them in a book that would encourage millions?

What about you? Maybe the author listed on your bestseller would read something like “Hospital Hansen” or “Addiction Anderson” or “Mommy Miller” or “Nine to Five Nelson.” What is that ingredient of your life that seems to be taking over your days?  Streams in the Desert might not exist if it weren’t for what Mrs. Cowman experienced with her husband. 

Be brave through what you are facing. Look to God in it all. Trust Him. Your situation is exactly what He will use to encourage somebody else, someday.