Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Dependable Blogger

At first glance, that title seems quite misplaced around this neglected part of the blogosphere. But bear with me a little longer and you'll see just how it fits.

When I first started this blog, it was out of sheer convenience for keeping a multitude of friends and family informed as we navigated the adoption process for the first time. A second short while later, we were adopting again and so the purpose of this blog was once again streamlining communications regarding our adoption.

But if you've been reading here for a while, our most recent adoption has been fraught with ups and downs: We've become first-name-only customers at our local pharmacy. I have the Pediatric Sub specialty Hospital on speed my cell phone. It has taken every ounce of energy of every person on board the ark to get through the longest days and weeks we've faced over the past eight months.

And it's left me with much to think about.

Little things like: Will my laundry room ever be clean again? (answer: probably not)

And big things like: What things can be scaled back (I mean waaaayyyy back)? What things are really important?

Given the squeaky-wheel-nature of a family of seven grade-school and younger children and a frequent-flier husband, I didn't need to wait long for an answer. Hence, the lack of blogging happening around here in this season on the Ark. It was quite clear to me that as soon as my children and family were competing with blogging, it was time for a re-organization of priorities.

The summer will be different, I think. Lazier days and fewer obligations will allow for more time to upload photos and write out thoughts---but maybe not.

I know that breaks every law in the blogging universe. If I want a high-traffic site, I have to maintain it more than once a month. A good blogger is dependable. Reliable. Someone you can count on.

There's truth to that logic, but it stretches far beyond blogging. If I can't be dependable, reliable and someone to count on first and foremost in my home than I was never a very good blogger after all.

What God Will Ask (Blog Version)
by yours truly(with apologies to the original author)

God will not ask you what your Google page rank is, but He will ask where He ranked in your daily life.

God will not ask you if you're powered by Typepad, Wordpress or Blogger, but He will ask if your work was powered by His love for you and for others.

God will not ask you how many followers you had, but He will ask if you followed Him when it mattered most.

God will not ask the size of your Technorati score is, but He will ask the size of your heart for others--especially those whom He has entrusted to you.

God will not ask what the traffic visiting your blog looked like, but He will ask if you took the time to welcome the people who visited your home.

God will not ask if your template was original and creative, but He will ask if you marveled at His perfect, original creation when you looked in the eyes of your child.

God will not ask about the number of blogs you read, but He will ask how much time you spent reading His word.

God will not ask about the number of comments each post received, but He will ask if you made time for conversation when your child or spouse called your name.

God will not ask how important your blog was, but He will ask if through it you just might have found what was truly important.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

As We Remember Those That Protect Us, On Memorial Day And Always...
Dear Heavenly Father,

We gather together this day to remember, reflect upon, and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for America and for us. Bless all who have fallen in the cause of freedom and liberty, and grant them eternal rest with You.

We remember also our brave men and women now serving in our Armed Forces, who are defending us from harm and injustice both at home and abroad. Please bless them and bring them safely home to their families, their loved ones, and to us, whom they have served so selflessly. Please bring Your peace and mercy to our world.

In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen. Poem
Take a Moment to Reflect and Pray:
To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed in December 2000 asking all Americans at 3 p.m. local time "to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps'."

Other Ways to Observe This Day:
  • Visit cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
  • Visit local memorials.
  • Fly the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
  • Fly the POW/MIA Flag
  • Pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our fallen soldiers, and to aid the disabled veterans.
Greater love than this no one has, than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13
Wishing you all a Blessed Memorial Day!

Image and Prayer courtesy of Living Grace

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stopping In...

to my poor neglected little blog to make sure that those of you in my neck of the woods caught wind about this recall.

Looks like brats and dogs for Memorial Day.

H/T Mom ;-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Mother's Day Prayer

Loving Father,

We thank You for the love of the Mothers in our lives, who cared for us when we were helpless, who comforted us when we were hurt, and whose love and care we often took for granted.

When they are down, give them comfort; when they are discouraged, give them hope; and when they feel as though they have no patience left, give them strength. May they feel Your love in their hearts, Your peace in their minds, and Your joy in their spirits.

Bless all Mothers, that their love may be deep and tender, that they may lead their children to know and do what is good, living not for themselves alone, but for God and for others. Most of all, our caring Father, we ask You to give Mothers the grace they most need and desire today.

We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Amen.

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.
They have clung to me all my life.
--Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Father Corapi on Obama at Notre Dame

After a rocky start, Father Corapi has made it his life's work to preach, teach and impart the Catholic faith to others.

Hear what he has to say about Notre Dame's commencement speaker decision and to award President Obama an honorary doctorate of law.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Simple Truth

Most of you have probably read--or at least heard of--The Purpose Driven Life...
Below is an interview by Paul Bradshaw with the author, Rick Warren. He tells about his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the book sales. He points to some simple truths that are wonderful reminders for us all.
(H/T my MIL via email)

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw, Rick said:

People ask me, what is the purpose of life? I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with him in Heaven. One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body - but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity.

This is the warm-up act.

The dress rehearsal.

God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy. We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer. I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, the you go to the mountain top, back and forth.

I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems; If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her. It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people. You have to learn to deal with both the good and bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder.

For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy...It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before.

I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease. So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians and Psalms 72.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases. Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church. Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan, to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation. Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves:

Am I going to live for possessions?

Am I going to be driven by pressures?

Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments: Praise God

Difficult moments: Seek God

Quiet moments: Worship God

Painful moments: Trust God

Every moment: Thank God

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Where Were You Last Night?

Were you outside?

Right through the dinner hour?

With six hungry children? (one of whom spied a distant concession stand)

During a rain shower that quickly progressed to a thunderstorm that went all monsoon?

To watch The Boy compete in the All-City Junior High Track Meet?

Only to have the meet delayed BEFORE The Boy competed in any of his events?

While the Captain was out of town on business?

Were you there?

Hopefully, you were somewhere considerably drier.

But the mountain of soggy clothes in our laundry this morning evidence a truth as Mother's Day approaches: We mothers will do almost anything for our babies. Even when they're not such babies anymore.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Before the day was done yesterday, as my mother-in-law phoned to announce the cancellation of our weekend track meet due (in part) to swine flu, I jokingly remarked to her that it only took a minor pandemic to garner a relaxing weekend at home.

Earlier in the day, however, my mood was less than jovial.

I had been nursing a head cold since the exact moment that the press released news of the outbreak. Then, we had to make the trip downtown to finalize Baby Girl's papers as Chicago began closing schools due to probably cases of the virus. So, it is not an understatement to say that I had begun to panic a full 48 hours prior to yesterday when I had to take Baby Girl in for her follow-up appointment. It didn't help matters that apparently our medical clinic had gotten the panic memo, too and was prohibiting entry to their facilities until each arriving patient had been "interviewed". Upon talking with Baby Girl and I about our fever-less, cough-less ailment, we were re-directed to the Urgent Care section of the clinic for evaluation. Additional masked health care providers met us at the door and did the most helpful thing for a panicked mother and child---showed us to an out-of-the-way waiting room (so we wouldn't be around any sick people, of course) and left us to sit for a while.

As five minutes turned to ten and ten to fifteen, I began to think that this process wasn't going to be as quick and easy as it seemed and I had two preschoolers to pick up from school. Flagging down one of the masked faces, I inquired about our wait time. She returned quickly only to inform me that eight more people were scheduled to be seen ahead of us. Unable to wait any longer, I headed out to my car where Beulah and Hannah had been waiting for me: reading and listening to the radio.

For those of you who are knowledgeable about automobiles and such, you might predict here what happened next.

For those of you like me, you hopped into the car, frustrated with the situation and worried about the impending apocalypse, and turned the key in the ignition expecting to make a mad dash to preschool pick up and hearing only:

The car battery was dead.

It was more than one mom could take in a day. I laid my head down on the steering wheel and between tears cried, "Nononononono--this is not happening." I pulled out my cell phone, which fortunately was charged and called the Captain.

Between sniffles and sobs, I struggled to explain my current crisis:

"I was taking Baby Girl to the doctors (sniff) and everyone at the door had on masks (sob). They're testing people for the swine flu (sob sob) and we waited for so long (sniff sniff) but I had to pick up the girls from preschool (sniffle sob sniff). Now I turned the car on and it just "click clicks" and won't go (soooooobbbbbb)."

The ever level-headed Captain assessed the situation, created a contingency plan and worked it out.

Then he called me back:

"It's okay. I'm on my way to get the girls now. Once the mechanic jumps the car, just come home. I'll meet you there."

Breathing a deep sigh of relief, I nodded in the affirmative into the phone.

"One last thing," he said with a chuckle, "Next time you call me in tears, please don't lead off with 'They're testing me for swine flu.'"

Sixteen years ago today, The Captain promised before a church full of friends and family (and a few West Point wedding tourists) to accept the role of loving me and our little family in a way that mirrors the love God has for us.

He's been watching my back ever since.