Saturday, February 26, 2011

One of my Top 10 Scares!

As a parent I've had many scares with my children.  When Olivia began having grand mal seizures at the age of 4, I freaked out.  She is fine now and has grown out of her epilepsy in case you are wondering.  We lost her at the zoo one time on one of their busiest days, that was really scary too.  When Anthony accidentally ingested some peanut butter and had to go to the emergency because his breathing was labored; that was also very traumatic (he is allergic to PB).  Julia has had pneumonia several times and I remember a time when Rich rushed her to the emergency when she was little and listening to her breathing in the backseat made him extremely anxious.  But it's been along time since anything scary has happened in our family . . . until Thursday.

After lunch my children ride their bikes to their piano lessons.  Dominic Reece doesn't take piano so the other three accompanied him to a friends house on the way so I was left alone with Micah for a peaceful afternoon, so I thought.  I decided to sit outside and read to him in the sunshine.  It was a beautiful 70* day in Texas and we both wanted to enjoy it.  Micah seriously loves to be outside for any reason.  When the children all left on their bikes he cried and I had to physically pull him into the house so they could all leave and he wouldn't escape out the gate. 

After we read, the breeze was blowing and the sun was so warm and nice that we just sat there and snuggled and sang songs together.  It was nap-time so I took him to the bathroom and he did his business which always gets him a treat.  So while he ate his treat, I was checking e-mail.  I was distracted and glanced out the window to the backyard because I saw Micah riding his trike outside.  We bought him a small tricycle for Christmas that he rides around the house and outside too.  The door was open because of the nice weather so he was just trying to get his trike outside to ride it around our deck.  The wind had really picked up and was opening and closing our gate to the driveway.  I heard it banging and could no longer see Micah from where I was sitting but he knows he isn't supposed to go out there alone.  I finished what I was reading and then went to check on him.  His empty tricycle sat there on the deck.  The gate was closed but I was pretty sure he had gone out the gate to the driveway.  I ran out in my socks and called for him, opening the gate expecting to see him standing there or at least he'd be in the driveway.  Nothing.  I jogged (not ran because I'm pregnant and was in my socks) to the end of our driveway to look down the alley.  I looked in both directions but he wasn't there.  Oh my Gosh!  I had just seen him.  He couldn't be far.   

I hurried back in to get shoes calling for him wondering if he had gone next door to see if he could jump on the neighbors new trampoline.  He had been over there with his brothers recently. I got my shoes and ran down the alley to the neighbors and looked through the slats of their fence hoping to see my little boy.  Nothing.  I kept calling his name and ran down to to the end of the alley to see if he was on our street.  I heard children playing but the noise was coming from the backyard of a neighbor I didn't know.  Where could he have gone?  Maybe he hadn't left the yard after all?  Maybe he was playing in the house.

I hurried down the other direction of the alley just to make sure he wasn't playing in the driveway of another neighbors house.  The wind was blowing and it was so quiet.  I called . . . no answer.  I kept running out of my shoes because they were just old slip ons that I had grabbed.  Before I check the whole neighborhood, I need to make sure he is not in the yard or in the house somewhere.  I don't want to go walking off and leave a 2 1/2 yr old at home alone!

The yard was still.  I looked in the shed since the door was open.  I looked on the side of the house.  I searched in all the rooms all the while calling his name.  Silence . .  . I grabbed a better pair of shoes and the phone as I went back out to the alley.  One place I hadn't looked was straight through the houses to the busy street that lay beyond.  I decided to call Rich because I needed help looking.  I was getting no where by myself.  

No answer.  I looked up and down the busy street but there was no Micah.  "Oh God, please help me find him!"  The last place to look was the walking path where the creek lay in the greenbelt.  It's about a half a block from our house but God forbid he would be there!  I called Rich again and he answered and I burst into tears.  "I can't find him.  Micah is nowhere and there is no one to help me look!"

I saw a man standing outside his white truck looking at me.  He looked like a city worker and when I approached him, he asked, "Are you looking for someone?"  "Yes" I said, "A little 2 1/2 yr old boy".  He proceeded to point down the walking path of the greenbelt to a man who was walking and looking himself.  He told me that man saw a little boy down there.  "Oh, thank you!" I said, and began to jog down there towards the man.  

But the man was alone.  Why if he had seen my boy didn't he have him? The man was moving very slowly because he has a bad leg or hip or something.  As I reached him, he told me he lived with his yard backing up to the greenbelt and he saw a little boy walking towards the creek all by himself.  He thought it would be a good idea for me to go on ahead down the path and he would search in the other direction.  

I called and called but the wind was drowning out my voice.  It was useless to call for him anymore in the open field. I saw the man looking along the creek in the water but I stayed on the path.  We had walked this path many times for fun.  Micah had even played in the creek with the boys before not more than a few days ago.  Could he really have gone this far? 

 I kept praying but was also beginning to panic.  The path was desolate.  The path forks at one point where you can go on up to a very busy street where lots of traffic was rushing by.  "Oh, God, please don't let him be up there!" I want to say I had a plan but I wasn't thinking straight at this point.  I just knew I had to look in the tunnel and beyond a little bit before turning back.  I had to rule out that he was beyond that tunnel.  Nothing . . . no one. . . In desperation I prayed that someone nice would find him and I began to sob.  A sense of helplessness began to creep all through me, as I realized he'd been gone for a really long time.  Would I ever see him again?  Is he now technically considered one of those missing children you see on the news?  Should I look along the waters edge to see if he was hidden by the brush along the edge or worse yet, could he be drowned, floating in the water?

I turned around and looked back from where I'd come and I saw the man I'd talked to before waving at me.  Oh God, had he found him?  I tried to call Rich again but my pone said out of range.  I began to cry out-loud a gut wrenching cry as I walked back.  I started to see things in the water that looked like a floating body but when I'd run up to them they were just rocks half in and half out of the water.  I saw Rich talking to the man with the bad leg but neither of them had Micah.

Rich was on the phone with the police and all I could hear was the wind and the wail coming from my own self.  Then Rich said, "Oh thank you!" and he began to weep.  He looked at me and said, "Someone has him back at the house!"  We began to run together as fast as my pregnant body would go.  Up the hill we went to the end of our court where we saw the Carrollton city worker with his white truck standing there.  He said, "Is this your boy in the red shirt?"  Micah was standing off a ways playing in a puddle and his pants were wet up to his knees.  Rich ran to hug him but Micah ran from him knowing he was probably in big trouble.

He was very quiet and looked ashamed.  He didn't cry or smile or say a word.  It was a little strange.  We thanked the man and walked back to our house.  I sat down on our front steps and Micah sat next to me. I cried and Rich gave God thanks for giving us our boy back.

We will never know if he went down to the creek or not.  Were his pants went from the creek or the puddle?  The afternoon was a solemn one with many tears.  Since then friends have told me that the amount of adrenaline really escalates during an experience like that and it takes sometimes a few days to feel somewhat normal again.  

The police came to the door to file a report and I had to relive it all over again for the officer.  After he left I put Micah down for his nap.  I was exhausted but I was afraid to close my eyes for fear, Micah would wander away again.  This is definitely one or our top 10 scares in our parenting lifetime.

When I tucked Micah into bed that night he requested his favorite song, the same song he requests every night.  He calls it the Jesus, Bible song. He can almost sing it word for word by himself. I cried again as we sang:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to HIM belong
They are weak but HE is strong
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.

This song has a very different meaning to me now. Praise God with me that we found our boy and he was safe.  Praise God for friendly strangers who cared enough to help.  Praise God that our little ones belong to Him.  Praise God that when we are weak, He is strong!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Intentional or Just Coasting?

I went to a Sally Clarkson conference this past weekend and really didn't know what to expect. Here is a link to her blog:  A few of my girl friends go every year and it has never been the right timing for me to go with them, until this year. In the past, I wanted to go because it sounded so appealing to spend a night in a hotel with friends, laughing, eating, and interacting with adult moms like me.  What mom wouldn't want to do this once a year?  But this year as I prepared to go, I prayed that God would speak to me.  I needed to hear from Him.  I did not want to go for selfish reasons because our days are limited on this earth.  Christ is coming back soon!  I had just been reminded again about "Redeeming the time" and I desperately needed to know that I was. Am I right where I'm supposed to be in God's calling for my life?  Or, am I living for myself striving after that American dream of happiness here on earth?

So I went with expectations that God would answer my questions and He did.  He blessed my socks off and I'm still trying to take it all in.  Do you find His goodness to be overwhelming at times?  This was one of those times. Let's see if I can have a flow to my thoughts as I try and put this all on paper.

First I want to tell you that Sally is a very entertaining speaker and really enjoys making you laugh.  She told some great stories that really captured my attention and made me realize that she could very much relate to this thing called "motherhood".  Having multiple children or even one can really make life one big curve ball!  There were many times that she thought she should be out involved in ministry instead of raising 4 little kids not because she didn't love them but sometimes it just feels so unrewarding.  I mean how can dealing with diarrhea, or bloody noses, and crying infants be serving God?

I could relate to this. It's not that I toy with wanting a career so I can feel important but in the Christian circle we think being in some sort of ministry is what helps us know we are changing lives for God. We see these little people that God has given us as secondary to changing an adult's life.  I wonder if Satan tries to distract us from making any impact by never allowing us to feel purposeful.  Whether our "calling" is at home with our children or in full-time ministry outside the home or both together, if we always wonder if we are doing enough, we will never succeed at either.  Why?  Because our own laws will keep us bound up.

God wants to direct us.  I was reminded at the conference that God has called each and every one of us to live by faith.  That looks very different in each of our lives.  Don't you look around at other moms and watch what they are doing and wonder if you are doing the right thing?  We are all so different and spend our time differently.  Some are running around trying to let each child explore his world through activities; giving them experiences so they'll know what they want to do it life.  I'll admit, sometimes I wish we had money to be able to do that and worry that our children are bored.  Other moms I know are volunteering at Gospel for Asia while their children are in public or private school.  I'll admit that sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't be adding volunteer work to my days.  Some moms have fun blogging and actually have a following!  They are inspiring other women to enjoy the small things in life like photography, decorating, or instilling spiritual truths to others through their time blogging.  This sounds fun, don't you think?  But as I watch these beautiful people God has put in my life, I realize that God is leading each of us differently. God wants us to trust and live by faith in the specific things he has asked us to do with our lives. If I run around trying to be like my friends, then I'll miss God's special calling on my life.  Right now, with baby #6 on the way, He has clearly asked me to be a mom.  That is my main ministry and I need to follow God for inspiration.

The point Sally was trying to instill in our brains is that motherhood is just as important as anything else we do in life, if not more!  We get to raise "world changers".  We get to launch our children as lights out into this dark world in dire need of a Savior!  We get to be there for our children and invest in their hearts and minds.  We have the privilege to answer their many questions and share life together.

How do we do this?  We can't unless we walk by faith.  We can't give anything unless we are growing ourselves.  One quote from her its that if we are not growing, growing, growing, we are dying.  There is no middle ground.  You can't tell the Lord that you are going to take the year off and just coast for awhile.  Being intentional in our parenting is key.  We have to be looking for God to guide us and teach us the best ways to win the hearts of our children.

I love formulas, don't you?  Unfortunately there is no formula to produce a Godly child. This is the one
thing that touched my heart the most this weekend.  The fact that God does not want me to try harder, to be kinder or more gentle.  He wants me to surrender, to release control, to rest in Him.

My favorite verse from the weekend was:

Isaiah 30 :15  For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said, "In repentence and rest you will be saved.  In quietness and trust is your strength."

So back to my question that I asked the Lord before the conference.  Am I redeeming the time?  I believe I am as I intentionally live for Him in front of my family.  No coasting here at this house.  I'm growing as I rest in Him daily and walk by faith!


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter blessings

We have had a very cold winter but especially the past week.  We are now going on our 4th day of being basically house bound.  We had an ice storm on Monday night so Tuesday morning we woke up to pure ice covering everything.  It looked like snow but is not soft.  When you step on it, you do not sink. . . at all!  You slip unless you are careful because it's a thick, inch of ice!  The schools are closed, gfa is closed and even some of the grocery stores closed for a period of time.  The roads are covered in ice and we have not had any temps above 20* since Monday.  We've lived here for 8 years almost, and never have we experienced this before.  Tonight and tomorrow morning snow is predicted.  Maybe I'll get some pictures soon.  It's just been too cold to even step outside with a camera.

I am actually a home body by nature and like the break from having to keep a steady pace with society.  We have had some fun family times with lots of reading involved.  I think one of my favorite places is in front of a blazing fire, a cup of tea or coffee in hand and a good book either being read aloud or privately.  We finished a book we've been reading aloud for about 2 months now, called Caddie Woodlawn.  It's a true story about a little girl who grew up as a pioneer in the woods of Wisconsin.  We thoroughly enjoyed it!  So much detail of the landscape, seasonal changes, and crazy adventures that children have when left to run free in the woods along the river.

Of course, I had to read to Micah a book I grew up with called Snow.  He quickly took it away from me and began to pretend he was reading instead of me.  He planted himself in my lap still wearing his snow hat that he is attached to these days.  Once we put it on him, he doesn't want it taken off.

My Mom probably remembers reading this book to me! I plan on passing down a lot of books to my children when they are grown.  I've been collecting some of my favorites.

I wish I had more pictures to share of our reading times or the winter ice outside, but I don't.  

Last night we put Micah to bed fairly early and all gathered in the living room to read around the fire.  Some had hot cider and some hot tea.  It was one of those moments that I had to treasure.  All my children except for Dominic Reece (9 yrs) loves to read.  We haven't given up instilling this love into him yet.  Anyway, the other 3 all had books they were engrossed in and we sat in silence with just the sipping of drinks and the crackling of the fire, reading.  I had to laugh a few times because the book I'm reading was so comical!  I'm reading The Hawk and the Dove by Penelope Wilcock.  Just listen to this:

In the pew behind ours sat Mrs. Crabtree; a tall, well-built, energetic, silver-haired lady in her middle seventies.  She had borne six children in her time, and was still motherly through and through, wise and kind, with a rich, ready laugh.  Unfortunately her singing was more out of tune than any I have ever heard before or since, and I set my teeth to endure as the organist struck up for the first hymn.

I love the way this author writes and her insights about life throughout the story are powerful.  I've read this book before a few years ago, but it's so good that I'm reading it again.

Tonight we found an old box of transparencies with some youth group songs on them and Rich is re-living his days as a worship leader for high school youth group and camps.  Funny, all the songs you forget about it.  As soon as your hear the tune again, you remember all the words and how it goes.  Some of them are really good but some are dorky.  So we've been singing for the kids and they are just laughing at us. Remember the song Pass it On?

I'll shout it from the mountain top, I want the world to know
The Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on

Our pipes froze yesterday at the kitchen sink.  I was doing dishes and realized I had no cold water.  Not the end of the world but certainly something we could not ignore and wish away.  We didn't know which pipe was frozen so we called a friend who is so knowledgeable about these types of things.  Just by asking a few questions he was certain it was an indoor pipe directly under the sink.  We called another friend who lives a few blocks away and asked if he had a space heater we could borrow.  Within a few minutes the kids and Rich had walked over on the icy streets to their house to pick it up and it only took about an hour to have water again.  I was filled with awe at how God takes care of his children and thankful for such good friends that we've been blessed to know.

Here are our first pregnancy pictures taken this time around.  I'm 14 weeks here and feeling great.

There is nothing cuter than a little child kissing his mommies belly in anticipation of a baby someday.