Thursday, April 29, 2010

The promise of forgiveness

My Caroline told a lie yesterday. I knew it was a lie as the words were stumbling from her lips. A combination of her mannerisms and instantly shameful demeanour was a dead giveaway to her mother that knows her well. Her father and I just stared at her silently, and with no real physical evidence to support what we both knew to be true, we decided to hold our tongues for the moment. We kissed her and sent her back to bed, as we had already put her to bed for the night once that evening. She carried herself upstairs and I could hear her feet were moving slow, dragging a bit from the burden that she was surely carrying with her to bed. I had a hard time sleeping last night because of it. I knew she was feeling guilty and I know my Caroline well enough to know the lie was weighing on her.

The next afternoon while we were sitting on the sofa together, I felt prompted to ask her if there was anything bothering her. Within a matter of seconds, tears pooled in her eyes and her voice was quivering. She confessed that she had lied to us last night because she was afraid she would be in trouble if she had told the truth. Had I been able to see the face of God at that very moment, I do not doubt that He would have winked at me. I smiled at the opportunity and was quick to flood that sweet girl of mine with grace and forgiveness. What a perfect chance to reflect a glimmer of the character of our Father.

God tells us in Isaiah 43:25 that He is the one that blots out our transgressions and remembers our sins no more. And just in case we missed it the first time, He repeats himself again in Jeremiah 31:34, "For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more". Not only does He forgive our sins, an act that is undeserved from a righteous God, but He promises to remember them no more. God doesn't waste words and I think He knew that we would need to know that He would remember them no more. I think He knew that we would try and pick up our cloak of shame and hide our faces underneath it's hood. I think He knew that we would always wonder "well what if 'it' gets brought up again, or what if He is up there keeping score". I think He knew that Fear would creep back in and try to rob us of God's gift by whispering "He knows what you have done". I think He knew that Caroline was going to come back into my room and say "but Mommy, I can't get it out of my brain". I think He knows us well, and He knew that we (like Caroline) would need to hear our Father say "I will remember their sins no more".

Have you let this Truth settle into the weary, shame filled parts of your soul? Did you know that it is a choice to do so? Did you know that whether or not you feel forgiven and restored, if you have asked for it, then you have received it. It is your choice to believe or not believe the promise, but rest assured that God delivers on what He promises. Before Jesus could finish his words on the cross "Father, forgive them", I believe that God had granted it. After all, He seemed to like granting the requests of His son in whom He was well pleased. And likewise, Caroline had my forgiveness before her first tear fell from her eyes...whether she believes it or not.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

It was all worth it

Many years ago, I had the privilege of listening to a "panel of married experts" discuss marriage. This panel consisted of several pastors from our church, and they were asked a series of questions and then took turns sharing their thoughts. My favorite question and then subsequent answer came from one of our elder pastors, a sweet and gentle man. He was asked what was one of the greatest gifts that he could give his children as a Christian father. His answer was "to love my wife".

I remember being a bit surprised by his response, but ten years into this marriage thing, I am learning to agree with him more and more. Life has a way of distracting us so fast, and raising children has a way of shifting the focus of importance. We all do it, it is almost unavoidable, and intimacy in marriage takes such a hit in our world. My husband and I are often quick to become so deeply wrapped into the lives of our children, that sometimes we forget that we need to first be deeply wrapped into the lives of one another. My husband is involved in a men's group in our church that often preaches "God first, then your wife, and then children". To some it may seem harsh or unfair, but I can understand the truth behind it more and more as we raise our kids together. The busyness of life can drown a couple and before you know it you are robotically walking along side of your spouse asking "what day is it?" or "which one has practice tonight?" and "how about we just plan to talk to one another in 18 years".

On most days, this is the stuff that makes life fun for us as parents. But on some days, this is the same stuff that eventually will wear you out. This past week we got away and it was indeed refreshing. We took a cruise down to Mexico, and the sun and calm sea had a way of calming our anxious hearts. It was nice to have uninterrupted talks and meals, and oh my goodness the joy of actually finishing a book! Yes, it was a lot of work to get out the door. And yes, we missed the kids and kids missed us, and no, you don't have to go away on a trip to find intimacy in your marriage. But this trip was a special treat, and once we crossed the threshold of the ship our souls settled a bit and my husband reached out his hand and said "hi, I'm Kevin, it's nice to meet you"...and it was all worth it.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is it worth it?

I am getting ready to go on a little trip, and I am having a hard time getting excited for it. Which in turn means that I am of course feeling guilty about having a hard time getting excited to have a few days away with my husband. But as I surveyed my kitchen, I decided it was time to allow my stressed out self a little grace. In order for me to actually be able to get out that door, it has indeed required a lot of work. I have been cooking all day to prepare a few meals for my in-laws to feed my children. I have been attempting to make a path from the doorway of my guest bedroom (aka: Amy's junk room) to the bed, so that there is somewhere for them to lay their heads at night. I have been rescheduling carpools for school, dance, and soccer all week. And I have been shopping for a cute pair of stinkin' white wedges to wear on this little get away, a task that is harder than you might think considering my 18 month old thinks shoe aisles are great places for hide and seek. All that to say, I'm just wondering, is it worth it?

Last weekend my sister had to set-up 5 babysitters in order for she and her husband to go see Bon Jovi in concert. They only have 4 children, but I think she was predicting that her youngest (who is affectionately know as "the terrorist") needed 2 sitters. She told her babysitters that they were "wanted dead or alive"...he, he, he, I think that's pretty funny. But again, I am just wondering, is it worth it?

What kind of crazy arrangements have you had to make in order to be able to go on vacation?


Monday, April 19, 2010

He is growing on us

I am so pleased with our choice of a new pet. Ty matches my home perfectly, off-white with black accents. Of course I'm kidding...we didn't plan that, but I do find it amusing and it will eventually work to my advantage when his fur begins shedding and is all over my furniture. Ty is making a place for himself nicely in our family. He is proving to be a smart dog and responds very well to training, another thing that will work to my advantage when he grows into those paws and weighs 80 lbs.

Caroline is still praying during her nightly prayers for Matty to get better, we just let it go because it seems to comfort her. She prays the request with such a tone of confidence and belief that I am convinced God will somehow, in His own amazing "God-like" way, someday answer her prayer. But last night for the first time, she added Ty to her prayer list. I smiled while she said it, he is wiggling his way into her heart too...even if she was just praying that he would stop chewing up all her stuffed animals.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Decorating: Mr. Miyagi style

Why oh why has no one ever told me that you can dye flowers? Did you know this? I picked up these lovelies from Costco the other day to put in my new tulipiere. I know that technically you are supposed to have tulips in a tulipiere, but for the occasion that I was purchasing flowers for, I liked these better. A friend of mine came over and I was telling her that I wanted to experiment with dyeing flowers like the ones I had just bought; and she went on and on about how she had done it many times and it was very simple. I certainly could have used this knowledge while throwing many parties in years past, but if any of you have ever done it I would love to know how it went.

In other news, this is the current center piece on my kitchen table. What do you think? My cute carpenter says it's weird, actually he said "what's up with all the little bushes on the table Mr. Miyagi"? They are technically not little bushes but rather herbs and then a ground cover moss thrown in just because I thought it was pretty. I have rosemary, lemon thyme (which smells great), and then lavender. We will see how long they last.
Happy weekend to you all!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birthday Girl!

One day, she will learn and one day she will change her password so that guest bloggers cannot enter her blog without her permission. That day may be today, but since she has not done that yet, I am taking the opportunity to let her blogger friends know that this is a very special day for Amy. I knew she would never tell you all that it's her birthday and I wanted to do something to make her day extra special and let her know how many people love her. So, Happy Birthday, Amy! Sending lots of love your way....

Your Friend,

The Sassy Seamstress

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The gift was actually in the giving

This chair was my birthday present last year. I told my husband that I would like something to lounge in while on our patio. I should have asked for a babysitter to accompany this gift, because that is the only way any lounging is going to be happening on this chair. But as it turns out, the chair is often occupied by persons other than me. They have claimed it, stolen it you might say. And yet it honestly doesn't bother me because they absolutely love sitting in it, and as their mother that makes me happy.

Why do we as children love the "stuff" of our parents? I remember thinking the same way as a child. My mom's bed was always more comfortable than mine, her brush was better at getting out the tangles than mine was, and her socks were definitely more comfortable than mine. That feeling never goes away either. Just last week while I was back visiting my childhood home, I borrowed my mom's socks and said I would give them back to her. I smiled as I unpacked my suitcase and they fell out of the stack of dirty clothes. I think deep down I knew she was never going to see those socks again, and more than likely, she knew it too. And just like when I smile at Ella and Caroline as they monopolize my chair, I bet my mom smiles at me as I walk out of her house with her socks on.

I think such things make us happy because we have been made in the image of our Father. We have been created like Him, and He has given us a new heart, a heart like His. So just as He smiles at the site of His children enjoying His gifts that He has given, so do we smile...just as we should. And as it turns out, my birthday present was not receiving the lounger after all, but rather that I could joyfully give it to my girls instead....a greater gift indeed.

Linking up with Emily today to unwrap this gift.


Monday, April 12, 2010

I can't blame the closets anymore.

I told you here that I was blaming my daughter's closets for making us late to church each week, well I cannot blame the closets anymore. The cute carpenter came through for me again, he always comes through for me. He has such a love affair going on with his power tools though, that I am not sure if he creates awesome things out of wood for my benefit, or just to satisfy his passion for woodworking. Either way, I suppose I should not complain. He gets it done, and here was the process.

The set-up:
The design process:We know the design will work as long as the Michael Kors shoes with "the bling on them" fit on the shelf?
I painted what he built:They sold lemonade:
Then my carpenter installed it all:

The best part: full extension drawers. They extend all the way out and you can see everything in the drawer at once. The old dresser that we were using almost fell over several times while the girls were searching for clothes. So I guess the best part of this project is actually that no one has to worry about dying anymore while trying to find an outfit.Closet number two now has double rows for hanging clothes. Top row for the big girl, bottom row for the little one.

Full view:

Maybe this is the best part: all concealed behind closet doors. Love it!

Linking up with Met Monday today and The Idea Room and Kimba!


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Puppy Redemption

If you had told me the day before Matty died that this is where I would be, I would have told you that you had lost your mind. But today, the only person that has lost their mind is me. I would like for you to meet Ty. I think it's critical that I introduce you to him as I am sure he is going to again come up in conversation here. Maybe something like "Ty ate another shoe" or "Ty wont stop eating our socks" or "Ty ate the kitchen table"...stuff like that.

Thank you all so much for your name suggestions and stories you shared. That post has officially gone down as one of my favorites, I loved hearing from you. My cute carpenter and I read through all of them, I laughed and he got scared. Now that our golden retriever pup is here, we mainly just have fear. This little man is proving to be a lot of work, which works out well because we had so much free time before he arrived. We often just looked at one another and said, "It's so nice to never have anything to do". Regardless, he is weaseling his way into our family and I am considering him "puppy redemption". He's not Matty, but he is taking his place in our world and helping to heal a wound...I'll keep you posted.


Monday, April 5, 2010

It's good to be home

Do you have a home that was home for a long time while you were growing up? A place that when you think of childhood, you think of very specific streets where you use to ride your bike? I do. I grew up in one town my entire childhood, so for me it is not hard to quickly go back to those familiar places in my mind; and this past week we went back there in real life. My kids got to play with cousins, nanas, and papas...something they do not get to do very often. But just like I always feel, pulling back up in my driveway after being away feels good. It's the "new home" for me and the only home my kids know, and I like that. I like that they miss home while they are away, and that as they stretch while stepping out of the car after the long trip back they have smiles on their faces. It's good to be home.