birthday lights

 

DSC_0488I left one picture on the fridge, toward the bottom, so he could see it.

It’s his birthday today.  Five years old.

When I kissed him this morning, when I told him happy birthday, I also told him Mommy didn’t have any presents for today.

I didn’t go into it.  I didn’t make excuses.  I don’t have any.

“But Grandma and Papa are coming tonight, and I bet, knowing Grandma, she’ll have lots of presents for you.  Grandma’s really good at bringing presents.”

Grandma has the gift of giving gifts.  So does her son.

“And when we get to our new house, we’ll have a party with presents just for you.”

Thankfully Hank and Carol came over Tuesday night.  They brought us supper and a special  birthday Batman cake and everything.

DSC_0477

p.s. I love you John David.

 

 

in due season

DSC_0485

Monday night I went completely lovesick over this place.

It’s been this way for a while but it finally reached it’s peak.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t sleep.  I felt sick to my stomach.  The thought of any more packing, of any more goodbyes, of any more anything was too much to feel and think about anymore.

You come to the grinding halt of trust in those moments.  There is no tomorrow.  No tonight.  No two hours from now.  There is only the presence of God in the now.  He says not to worry about the rest.  He’s already got that all taken care of.  What a promise.

So somehow we keep on going.  He keeps going with us, right beside us.  Step by step He leads us on.  A second wind here.  A thrill of hope there.  Little by little, before we even know it happened, the bedrooms are packed and our strength is revived.

The kids had a snow day today.  The power was out from morning til well into the evening.  With 72 hours to go I thought for sure this would put us behind but what actually happened is it gave us a chance to catch up.  He gave us a chance to rest.

Once again He provides all we need.

~~~

The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
~Psalm 145:14~

 

 

gerri’s first selfie

selfie

“Gerri, you ever taken a selfie?”

Gerri’s an old friend from back in the Bible study days.  She started coming right in the middle of Revelation chapter eleven, the same night we all met at Norma’s house.  She was shaken up good that night.  Her 18-year old grandson, Dylan, had just been in a horrible car accident.   He was hanging onto life in the Barnes ICU.  No one knew if he’d make it or not.  We were all so happy to see her there.

Gerri Schnitker.  That’s her all the way to left.

DSC_0237

She’d stopped by Norma’s on the way home from her weekday morning gym walking.  Norma and I were gathered for a morning of sewing and laughing and Hazelnut coffee.  Neither one of us said anything but in the back of our minds we know I’m getting ready to move and we aren’t gonna be able to sew together anymore.  So instead we talk about how Norma needs to start a Facebook account and we’re gonna switch crafts and make each other write all the stuff we keep saying we need to write down.

Norma and I invited Gerri to pick out a mug and pull up a chair.   She said the same thing we all say and need to say more of.  “Well, I really should be getting home to get started on my soup, but, well, okay!”  A few minutes later her husband Rollan came by looking for her.  Rollan’s a whole nother story.  He’s the only man I know mischievous enough to wear bright red pants to church where he always makes a point to tell me I look pretty as always.  Since he was there we figured he may as well stay.  I told him I wanted to hear his seasoned expertise on this latest national election we’re watching unfold.

After Rollan shared his impassioned opinions (my favorite kind) and told us a few stories from back in the day he got up and left.  At that point Gerri remembered her potato soup and that, well, she really should get going on that so she’d have something for her and Rollan’s lunch.  That’s when I asked her if she’d ever taken a selfie.  She hadn’t.

Well, I said, today is your lucky day.  “You, me, Norma.  We’re taking one.  We need to remember this.”  The three of us gathered on the couch.  All the while the boys played quietly on the floor.  We smashed together as close as we could.  I took Norma’s iPhone and held it up and aimed.  I knew something didn’t look right but I couldn’t put my finger on it in those split seconds.  I told everyone to smile and snapped the picture.

We thought we’d laughed hard that morning but this was something else.

I’m framing it.

 

 

 

he gave me Jesus

DSC_0421

Recently I found a shard of unforgiveness in my heart.

There was a sore spot.   It hadn’t bothered me in a while.  I thought I’d forgotten all about it.  But all the moving and the thinking and an unfortunate exchange of angry words must have been enough to reach me where it still hurt.

It goes back to the early days of Sunday morning Bible class, when I actually went.  I had a few reasons for going, but the biggest one, the most important one, was because this was my way to show my undying loyalty and love and support.

DSC_0423

I knew it was a lot to ask of myself.  But then again, I had watched my husband sludge through Greek and Hebrew just for this, for all these people.  Why didn’t more people come?  Why didn’t more want to hear the Word of God?

He’d worked so hard for this.  It was the least I could do for him.  I might not be able to listen much since the baby usually needed changed and fed and the toddler would need to go for a walk in the back.  I couldn’t do much.  But I could be there.

I would bleed myself dry, sometimes bleed myself wet, straight through my maternity church pants just so I could be there.  I did what few others would ever attempt–I came to Sunday morning Bible class with a baby and toddler.

Somehow I even managed to get our preschooler to Sunday School.

DSC_0422

It’s true I wanted to show my support.  But I also wanted sympathy.  I wanted admiration for my efforts.  I wanted him to know how hard it was to get anything out of church, how physically and emotionally exhausted I was by the time church was over.

He didn’t see my love and support.  He only saw what love and support had done to me.

DSC_0424

I could only look down.  I was thinking about all this today during the sermon, his last sermon as pastor here.  Until he said, with tears stuck in his throat, if there’s one thing he hoped he could be remembered for, not just the congregation, but his family as well

I looked up.

If he could choose the words for his tombstone they would be this:

HE GAVE US JESUS

He hadn’t been very good at this.  He’d screwed up.  He’d made a lot of mistakes.  But when they think of him, when they remember him, if they wouldn’t remember the guy who was short and had an ugly beard, if they could overlook it all and remember:

HE GAVE US JESUS

DSC_0401

I cried off and on the rest of the service as the shard came undone.

When it was time for communion, as I knelt next to my newly baptized and confirmed brother and sister on one side and our five children on the other, I waited for the pastor and the bread and the wine.  He blessed our children and gave me Jesus.

Before I took and ate I reached for his palm and kissed his hand.

I’ve always wanted to do that.

Today felt like the perfect chance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

open doors

DSC_0380

Our next door neighboring church wanted to do something nice for us.

The sister circuits were invited for an evening of games and goodbyes and fellowship and Little Nashville fried chicken.  Since our minds can’t keep up these days we showed up an hour early.  It worked out okay though.  Gave the kids a chance to play.

The same thing happened earlier that afternoon.  We had a marriage counseling appointment.  At least we thought we did.  It was gonna be the last meeting with the man before we moved.  We drove all the way to St. Louis to find nobody there.

DSC_0377

When the door was locked we called him only to find out we weren’t on his schedule today.  I could hear the conversation through the phone.   Usually he’d be free to come over anyway but today he had other appointments.  He felt so bad and was so so sorry.

I was kinda relieved actually.  I didn’t really want to go this time and I almost didn’t.   But as I sat there in the deserted office building listening to my husband thank him for all his time and help I felt extremely relieved I’d come along.  He would’ve been all alone.

DSC_0383

This last missed appointment turned out to be the best we’d ever had.  The apparent lack of communication allowed for a calm and productive conversation all the way there and all the way back.  It was one of those conversations that will last and be remembered.

I’m still amazed.

It was such a beautiful day.

DSC_0388