Love won’t let me down

It’s a special thing when your kids grow up, move out and come back and hang out with you. My son has been married for 18 months and he and his wife live across the country.  We just had a week like that.  Having all my kids around the dinner table is a very fun moment. I find myself go quiet. I don’t talk much because I’m taking it all in and getting emotional. ‘Thank you Lord’, I whisper.
My blogs have taken me from the here and now to reflection. I like my age. I like being 47. In fact, just today I had to go to a local running store and claim my recent 5k third place age division prize. I owned it when I had to the tell the 20 something clerk that I was in the 45-49 age bracket.
It’s a snowy day today and the house is quiet. The internet is not working so no music, no tv, no computer. I’m sitting in my morning reading chair and decide to reach for the newly placed photo albums (still unpacking boxes after 6 months in the new house) and decide on opening my firstborn’s baby album. The one that poses my husband and I as kids having a kid. We were 25 and we knew nothing.
As I flipped through the pages I became painfully aware that I had no clue how my child would turn out. I didn’t know if my high school education would suffice to teach my son what he needed to know for a successful future. Who defines success? Wealth? Getting Married? A University degree? A parent wants what’s best for their kids but what determines the best?
I keep turning the pages and I’m laughing at my sick scrapbooking skills and at all the smiles. People who God surrounded us with in the early years. Wonderful godly grandparents and aunts and uncles. Cousins to play with and later confide in. Hand me downs, vacations, family pets and the many houses me lived in. But again something was very apparent in every picture. Love! Not just an obvious love a parent has for a child. That love scared me. I didn’t know I could love that much. I’m reminded of the Bible words, We love because He first loved us. Oh ya! The same love was bestowed on me since I was born. A love from God that since I was His creation he loved me unconditionally.
I’m at Jacob being 11 months old in the scrapbook now.   We went on a mission trip to Trinidad for two weeks with friends and he was fantastic. I wasn’t lucky to have a great kid. I was given books and God lead me to godly women who shared with me how I wanted to raise my kids.
I learned that giving my kids everything they needed was not showing them love.
I learned that putting Scott and our marriage first was better for my kids and therefore, showed more love when they witnessed us going out on dates and taking vacations without them.
I learned that sleep is so crucial for their well being, and mine, so we had boundaries and naps times and quiet times.
I learned (and have seen the huge benefits) of reading to my children.
I learned quickly that even though i didn’t know everything, I called the shots and didn’t let my kids walk all over me. I’m the parent. (They will thank you later)
I’m also amazed at how God gave Scott and I the strength to adopt at the age of 42. We weren’t lucky that we got a sweet, teachable girl that loves life. We did what we knew what we knew how to do.
We set boundaries and surrounded her with godly families who poured into her. Did you know that when you adopt your agent will tell you to stay home and allow your child to adapt to their new surroundings?  Don’t go on vacations right away and let them get used to who is in their immediate family.
Well our regular life is to have people over all the time. Needless to say we didn’t heed this advice.  Zoe got welcomed home to a crowd of people ready to hold her and love her and we had a different set of relatives come to visit every weekend! I know all kids are not the same but I think we sometimes make it all too difficult. Let others watch your kid. They won’t get sick if you expose them to the world right away. We did life with our kids and so glad Zoe is up to that lifestyle.
Love is definitely my word for 2018. Moving has brought new people into my life and it’s a challenge to find time for all of them.   I guess i just keep hearing God say, ‘Just love who is in front of you for that moment.’ Sometimes I make love too stressful. Jesus was surrounded by crowds and he loved the masses, yes! But He took the time to look into peoples eyes who needed Him most in the moment. If I’m honest with myself, I whisper all day long, ‘Who is it now, Lord?’


‘Love Won’t Let Me Down’ is a great song by Hillsong Young and Free


It’s good to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Just having my perspective on life is comfortable but no help to those around me. You see, my shoes don’t seem to get very dirty. They are shiny most of the time. I complain when they make my feet hurt and if I get them scratched up, look out. I’ve been wearing the more sensible pair these days. A pair that suits me for every day. I don’t need the flashy pair or the pair to impress.

I always seem to want a new pair of shoes though. Maybe it’s for a special occasion or just because. Sometimes a new pair is good therapy, isn’t it girls? Maybe I’m bored and want to try something different. Maybe this reflects how I view my life some days.

I literally just went through all my shoes as I moved into my new closet. Some are classic and will barely go out of style. At my age, I don’t care if my favorite ‘go to’ pair really is out of style. Somewhere along the way, comfort took over and I think that is coupled with age and confidence. I do secretly admire the women who can pull off high heels in the city. I sometimes watch their face and try to notice the grimace and pain that is masked with the strut and poise they try to walk with. This choice is often covering up real feelings.

Then there’s my running shoes. I’m a runner and shoes are really the number one article of clothing you need to invest in. I mean $150 is about the most I will pay but that’s every 4 months or so. A smart runner will follow these guidelines to avoid injury and problems that will sneak up on you at the most inconvenient time.

Shoes isn’t what I really wanted to write about. I was contemplating life this morning as I sit and pray for my daughter’s first day of school. My youngest, Zoe, begins second grade at her new school and I’m reflecting on how fast life goes by. Since we still have boxes around in the new house I may have recently spent some time reading some stories and journal entries from my oldest when he was in sixth grade. I don’t wish to go back but I’m always trying to figure out how to move forward without missing one thing. To have a good attitude and to learn from every experience.

On the flip side my parents just celebrated 60 years of marriage this weekend. Sixty years together! They have been through many highs and lows. They have seen the world go through crazy disasters and changes and all the while clinging to the promises God gives in His word, the Bible. More and more carrying this perspective is how I want to walk. Standing firm in something solid and unshakeable. Stilettos will not cut it. Not gracefully anyway. The future is never for sure, but it’s how I live every day, that counts.

With no cue, Zoe just woke up, walked down the stairs,  slipped my husband’s shoes on and marched them right to the door. She clearly wanted to park them where we put our shoes and she stumbled while she clumsily tried to not fall.

We can’t literally walk in someone else’s shoes. We can walk along side them, guide them along their path and hopefully be someone to lean on.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

I’m reminded this morning that my blog is titled, your journey matters. Looking to meet new people and get into their mess definitely shows love. It helps take the focus off me and notice all the beautiful shoes that are all around me.

Today I wear my shiny black converse looking sneakers. It’s past Labor Day so I can’t show my toes or wear white and I’m walking Zoe to her new school today so I’m feeling young and good about myself. Knowing that I was born with a purpose,  I can find the proper pair of size 7 shoes that are practical and help me get through the day.

May We Never Lose Our Wonder

Zoe got a new bike the other day.  She didn’t know how to ride her last bike but it was too small and Scott had hope. In her mind she was convinced that she could already ride a bike. I’m more of a skeptic. She has shied away from little hills and doesn’t like to go very fast. I always have to pop her balloon and deflate her excitement and anticipation. Scott is much more diligent to teach her. It was a family affair for the purchase of the bike. My sister was visiting from out of town so I went off with her while Scott immediately took Zoe to the park with her knew Trek.  She was grinning from ear to ear. About 39 mins later Scott shared with the family a video on WhatsApp. She was pedaling on the grass for a few seconds. You can hear Scott’s encouragement. ‘Pedal, pedal, keep pedaling. Don’t stop.’  I watch it over and over and wish I was there. My daughter’s ‘first steps’ if you will. I missed it. What am I missing out on because of busyness. I’m missing doing her homework with her. Reading the Bible. I have a front row seat to Zoe Ayame Clode’s wonder and I’m distracted. I’m selfish and I’m choosing the wrong things.
Summer vacation started a week earlier than public school for her and she is excited. She has a trip to NYC coming up to visit her brother and sister in law and she loves the pool and just wants play dates all the time. I’m in ‘building a house’ mode. I’m checking off lists for our up coming Kenya trip. I’m busy. I hate that word. Busy means you are missing out on the good stuff. The stuff that’s important. Yes I have deadlines for the new build but I’m losing my wonder for what’s important.

Zoe is my shadow. She finishes my sentences, she witnesses how I interact with store clerks, restaurant servers and strangers on the street. She hears my phone conversations and watches what I eat. I’m her internet. I’m her source of knowledge for the most part. I cannot miss out on these years. It goes by too quickly. We had a good reminder of that fact just last night when Scott and I babysat our friend’s three little kids under 3 so they could have a date night.  Wow, what a trip down memory lane. I forgot the energy needed for that age. I forgot about the fact that sitting in a chair and wanting peace and quiet is non existent. These kids found wonder in catching ants and swinging on swings.  They found wonder in playing with rocks and having a new friend over.

A new book has grabbed my attention called Look and Live by Matt Papa . It’s about seeing Gods glory all around us. Nature is one way to be reminded of the beauty God created for us.
The heavens declare the glory of God.
This book reminds me that lately I’m too busy for treasure. I’m too busy for beauty. It goes on to say ‘familiarity breeds apathy’. That stops me in my tracks every time I read it. I had to look up the word apathy to break down the weight of its meaning. It means lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
Want to read that again?
Zoe doesn’t know the meaning of apathy. Every day she wakes with anticipation for a new adventure. Where did my wonder go? To quote my book again, ‘Look to God, really look. Linger long enough to let your eyes adjust. See if He isn’t as magnificent as what the Bible describes. Examine if He might be that treasure you are seeking.
I’m challenged to live out my summer with wonder.  I was reminded of three year old Zoe getting up close and personal with a caterpillar and our family dog she loved.  I attached the picture that screams WONDER to me.  I will not run my daughter around to the point of exhaustion without some fun inserted on her behalf.  Sometimes we do this by running them to soccer and baseball too but that really is another topic.
As I embark on my up coming trip to Kenya may I never lose my wonder. May I look into the eyes of every human I come across with wonder that God created them with love and for a purpose. This might lead to a segment on Humans of Africa.  Filling me with enthusiasm and passion for each day.  Stay tuned.


Lost in a Big City

IMG_1747I love to travel. Today I’m sitting with my morning tea and waking up to a beautiful Manhattan skyline. Gazing out the window I find the sun reflecting off the buildings and the sky is clear and sparkling blue. A sight this Midwesterner has been longing for for months. Then my gaze turns to each building, each window. Thousands of lives are represented in such a small area. You can get lost in a big city.
I’m visiting my son and daughter in law and marvel at the way they navigate this city. In just 7 short months they know what subway line to take and the best times to get off at certain stops. They walk around more Which leads to seeing people more and say hello to a familiar face every time we go out which again is impressive.
It got me thinking about how everyone wants to be known. It reminds me of the old Cheers TV show theme song;

‘Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.’
Being known is important and this is sometimes easier to accomplish for some people. Recently, I’ve moved to a new little city and have realized you can’t be known by sitting in the house. So I meet my new cleaners and grocery store clerks and moms in the park and barista at the corner shop. It was the way life was intended to be. My grandfather in Scotland would walk to the nearby butcher every day. He was known and expected so much so that when he got sick before his death everyone at the store was asking for him immediately. Something was wrong if Mr. Forbes wasn’t showing up for his meat.
I’m in NYC this weekend to take my daughter in law to a Bible conference. It was a Hillsong conference that is famed by their music and founding couple. The theme was Found and as I woke this morning i couldn’t help but think how appropriate that word is in this big city. Everyone has been lost at some point or another. It’s not the best feeling, is it? Feeling helpless and not knowing where to turn is the terrible gut feeling of being lost. On the other side of the spectrum is that beautiful word, found. It’s awesome! Someone who knows you calls out your name and takes you back to familiar territory. The Bible is full of analogies that portray this word perfectly. Jesus used many parables or stories to relay the biggest and best story of the world. Yes, the world!  You were once lost but now you are found. Easter is the epitome of this message. Jesus was not known but made himself known and many rejected him. His presence conjured up so many feelings as does this blog right now. I just took it from a fun story of being lost in a big city to Jesus and what His life represents. It’s not past tense. His life and love lives on in His believers and I can truly say I will never be lost again! I’ve been found and as daunting as this city may seem to me because it’s unfamiliar territory, the Bible can be just as daunting to the sceptic. Maybe you want to be found but have no clue how to begin. Jesus said in John 14:6 ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’  Huge claims. Huge comfort.
Again I’m staring out the window to a highway across the river. Cars are whizzing by. So many people on their journey for the day. Some are relying on a gps or map app on their mobile device or some have a driver to get them to their destination. Regardless of how they get from point A to point B they had to get in the vehicle.
This Easter will you be challenged to just get in?  Whether it’s to go to church or crack open a Bible yourself your invitation to be Found will never expire. I just wouldn’t want to walk around with that lost feeling anymore than I had to. It’s Gods intent for you to be found.