Thee Angel Project

A year of writing a little bit of everything. Writers Write, Right?


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for the love

Every year. Every. Single. Year.

This is serious stuff. Serious enough for me to navigate the changes in WordPress and actually write a post.

Every single year they are on the store shelves, and each year they drive me a little more crazy. Just ask my husband. I rant about this every year. Not because they are inherently bad, but I think the idea behind them just makes me squirm a little. I think it’s about the ease of it all. The not needing to think or plan or anticipate. The idea that all children need is big and glittery and a little sugary, oh and also breakable, and in no way shape or form lasting.

For the love of all that is good and right and yes, salutary…
Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy your children cellophane wrapped Easter baskets this year!

Buy eggs, buy a little treat. Buy a game to play with them and a book to read with them. Buy them a new outfit. Write them a poem. Hide their basket and help them search for it.

Leave their basket empty as a reminder of the empty tomb and DO this instead. Seriously, do it!

You have six days. Mom, Dad, you can do better.

 


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anonymous

Near the end of our son’s time in the hospital just one short week ago, (We had a little burst appendix incident here. He is now recovering nicely.) when his stay there was reaching 7, 8, 9, 10 days, one of the things Seth and I enjoyed with him was worship together in that tiny space. It was during that time that we heard and thought about why we were in fact still there. God’s ways are not my ways. I know that well. If I had my say in the matter, we wouldn’t have been there at all. I have no doubt however that the God of intricacies and foundations had many reasons for our time in that place.

Perhaps it had to do with a staff member there, or the man across the hall who sat with his ailing wife, our current congregation, or our first.
Perhaps it was all of the above…from the God of intricacies and foundations, I would expect nothing else.

Perhaps too it was an opportunity for people to care for us. Just the writing of that strikes me as odd, uncomfortable. That’s not usually what I think of when I consider what my husband does. I think it should be the other way around. And it is. Except for when it isn’t. Except for when it’s both.

We got an anonymous gift today. One of those gifts that make me ask, why. One of those gifts that confuse me because I honestly don’t get it. I don’t get how He could love us through you so well, in spite of our sinfulness and selfishness and mess. One of those gifts that remind me of all the other days and of all the other gifts.

Thoughtfulness too great to measure.

Gifts that have helped me to know His people better and because of that know Him just a little bit better.

I could scan back through the cards and letters we’ve saved looking for a handwriting match (totally something I would do… :)) or I could just let it be anonymous. A gift from Him. One that shows love for His children that is truly beyond comprehension.

To God be the glory.


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funeral shoes

Some people have clothing specifically designed for running. Some have one single mug that always holds their coffee. Some have a spot where they always vacation, or their very own chair in the living room.

My husband has funeral shoes.

He bought them several years ago when he was honored to be a pall bearer for the funeral of a fellow teacher. And just like you would never drink lemonade out of that coffee mug, or let the dog steal your chair, he doesn’t wear his funeral shoes to regular services.

They are set apart.

They are his funeral shoes.

They are his gardening shoes.

They are the shoes he wears when he plants his people in the ground, knowing that when Christ returns and the heavenly harvest comes he will see them all again.

For the funeral today he had to dust them off. Blessedly, there had been no other planting since we arrived.

In our first congregation the funeral shoes and dresses and jackets will be dusted off Thursday as they do a little planting of their own.

And such will be the case in every Christian congregation until Easter 2.

Yes my husband has funeral shoes, but more importantly, he has wedding attire. You do too.

And while we gladly let those funeral shoes get dusty, we keep our wedding attire freshly pressed because He’s coming soon.

Like, today would be good.

Come, Lord Jesus.


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a reason for the hope that we have

There’s a reason we sit down each evening, well most evenings, and have devotion time as a family.

There’s a reason we read His word together.

There’s a reason we teach our children to pray.

There’s a reason that three years ago we started learning hymns together too.

It’s so we can give a reason for the hope that we have.

It’s so we can say words to one another like hope and triumph and open graves and resurrection.

It’s so when he gets that call to say that a member of his flock has died and he starts to sing, we can sing too.


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i’m a better mom when…

I’m not so consumed with this place. It’s true. I fought it for a long time, but the fact is that I cannot do all of the things I want to do and do them well. Something’s got to give and because I am too anal (sorry, there is no better word) when it comes to writing, this is it.

My children will argue and make masterpieces and say all manner of things hilarious and grow by leaps and bounds and if I’m not careful, I’ll miss it.

So that’s where I’ve been these past couple weeks, knee deep in the masterpieces, and to be honest, it’s been really great. I’ll give you the quick highlights and then let you get back to your own children, because if you’re not careful, you’ll miss it too.

The boy turned 14 and seemingly grew from a child to a man overnight. Well, maybe a man in training. I just keep thinking, I have four more years with him. Four. That’s it. Oh, I’ll still show up in his dorm room and on his doorstep and be his number one stalker, but all of him is mine for only four more years. It’s not long enough and yet the anticipation of the man he is becoming is a bit intoxicating. It’s gonna be good.

Just yesterday we welcomed some dear friends back into the area. They are Oldest Middle’s godparents and to say she is thrilled might be a bit of an understatement.

Haiti. We bought our tickets! We’re going back and I. Cannot. Wait. We get to take my dad with us this time as well as a dear couple from our first church family. I’ve been looking back through my notes and blog posts and packing lists from our first trip and my heart is all aflutter with the joy and heartache and love that I know is coming.

We’re praying for all manner of things here. For friends with a difficult diagnosis, more than one. That might be one of the hardest things about moving away, not being there to bring meals or give hugs or share knowing glances or just be. Thankfully we left those that we love in some pretty capable hands. God’s hands and feet are at work and it is a joy to watch from afar.

Where Two or Three are Gathered has been a casualty of these last few weeks I’m afraid. I have been checking in occasionally, but haven’t done much commenting and cheering you on and for that I apologize. I will admit that the amount of time and energy it took to grow the group, only to have it just be a few of us, was a little frustrating. That wasn’t fair to this last month’s participants though. I have enjoyed reading your work and will continue to do so. I’m throwing a month 4 link up out there…just because.

 

The rest of our time recently has been consumed with snakes in our home…yep, that noun right there is plural…there were two…I’m so sorry! (Friends, please still come visit us!)🙂, Bible study (Love!), and trying to make sure the eight month old doesn’t eat anything she shouldn’t while trying to get her to eat something she actually should. She did open her mouth twice for some green beans yesterday. It’s progress. I’ll take it. Considering Haiti is only four months away though and she’s not coming with us…we’ve got some work to do…little stinker.

This is the day that the Lord has made! Now go, rejoice, and be glad!

We’ll talk again soon.

 


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of failure and forgiveness and fight

I love living in this place. Not this house, not this town, but this country. I do. I love it. I am beyond thankful for all my mind and body do not have to endure thanks to the country into which I was born. I am beyond thankful for the families that came before mine that fought selflessly, sacrificially, valiantly. I am living the good life. Truly.

But while this country does many things very well, there is one area in particular where we fail miserably. More than that. So much so that no word could adequately describe our…failure.

I was reminded of this yesterday as we walked downtown to meet others like us. To stand quietly by the side of the road. To have a hushed conversation with my eight year old. One that no two people should ever have to have with one another. Ever. To explain the inexplicable. To mourn.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I went in knowing exactly what this meeting meant, but was completely undone when my eyes met hers. This little one. The eyes of my four year old standing there holding the sign she chose, all smiley and completely unaware of what those words said or meant, and I knew.

Life Chain
I knew that the words she held, though I shared some with her sister, (notice, I said some, certainly not all, not even close) were beyond what I could bear to share with her. I was so thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that I could never adequately explain some expectant mothers’ fear or despair.

I knew that I could never give a reason she could accept as to why some we know and love think that it would have been good and right, if I had chosen for her to not be here.

I knew that I could not convey how much I want her to never even come close to feeling that there is any choice to be made.

I was thankful she didn’t ask, because I knew.

I knew that if she did, and if I did, she would understand. She would. My four year old. And it would forever change her. Knowing what we do. Knowing how we fail.

Failure. It has a synonym that you will no doubt recognize. Look it up. Do you see it? It’s there. Abortion.

It can be different.

It can change. I think so anyway. I’ll admit, I do have doubts. We’re in pretty deep.

It starts here though. With the message our ten year old got to share. It was one of hope and promise. It is one that reminds us that the One who created us, also restores.

It reminds us that although what we have done is atrocious, forgiveness is ours. God does heal, and we can live in a world where life is honored and precious.

Yesterday it began in my house, well, continued really, but began in a new way. Prayerfully, someday the same will be true in my town and in my country.

DSCF7906

I love this country…and at the same time I hate it. Because even with all of the technology and information we possess, we still don’t get it.

They’re worth it. You’re worth it.

Fight.

Selflessly. Sacrificially. Valiantly.


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you had me at, “2 – 9×13 pans”

So, there’s this thing about the place where we used to live that I always thought was a little strange. You know how some things just go together…like socks and shoes, Bonnie and Clyde, pizza and beer. Well apparently the same is true about chili and cinnamon rolls. Truly. I had never heard of such a thing and never experienced it, even after 8 years in the midst of adults who had grown up on the duo prepared with loving hands by their local lunch ladies, never…until the baptism of a wonderfully made little girl at our church and the lovely meal that followed. It turns out this odd duo is perfectly paired.

Fast forward to today, then rewind to a little over a month ago when I found a new cinnamon roll recipe I wanted to try. I had plans to make them for the first day of school, but really, there is already enough excitement over that, so I waited. Fast forward again…until the 34th-ish day of school. Today!

The most delicious cinnamon rolls!

This recipe…Holy Cinnamon Rolls, Batman! It is spectacular! It is a little lengthy in preparation, but so very worth it! I will tell you, instead of buttermilk, I used some slightly expired skim (You can do that you know. It’s completely legit.) and I forgot to get a lemon when I was at the store, so the freshly squeezed sunshine will have to wait for round two. Also, it was a little chilly in our home today (thus the chili) and we’re not turning on the heat…yet, so I let them rise a bit and then set them on the post lunch still warm oven and let them sit for another 2 hours or so…basically until they pretty much filled the pan. Even with my kitchen idiot changes, they were delicious!

It’s worth repeating, just so you are well aware of what you’re getting yourself into…2 – 9×13 pans…for 12 rolls…that means those 6 up there in that picture take up an entire pan ALL BY THEMSELVES…delicious and huge! Seriously.

Go therefore and try them. Chili optional.


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the 12 seconds i can’t get back

A car fire rages in the background. Her body slumps over the engine of her own broken down pick-up. She turns around revealing her shredded jeans and bloodied legs. The camera scans upward to show her matted hair, her blood stained shirt, and her gray and broken skin. Without warning, there is a yellow explosion on her head and the camera sets its sights on the junior army rangers who have just scored their first kill in this year’s zombie hunt.

the 12 seconds i can't get back

This is the scene my eight year old daughter plays over and over in her head. (I’ll warn you, before you click on the link, my description doesn’t do it justice. It’s quite disturbing.) It renders her frozen in fear and strapped to my neck as she recounts the previous day’s nightmare.

12 seconds. That’s all it took to leave an impression. It is this same 12 seconds that will no doubt be shown dozens of times between today and October 31st, a mere 36 days from today. Ugh. I didn’t take her to any theater and she’s never been on a zombie hunt. She didn’t read about it in a book or see it on Netflix. All she did was sit with me while I watched the morning news. Morning. News. You know, the program shown from 7 to 9 am…in the morning.

First I was averting my eyes and grappling with the discomfort (no pun intended) of sitting in a room with my teenage son as the Osphena women spoke of vaginal dryness while seducing the camera. Now this.

I can’t imagine that the Osphena commercial plays to the same demographic as the zombie killing one. (Perhaps it does.) Morning show advertising must be on sale this month.

Here’s the irony, at the close of every morning news program, our local CBS affiliate, the very same one that has sold airtime for this nightmare inducing graphic display, airs a segment called Moms Everyday. This is a national organization geared toward providing moms with the tools to take better care of themselves and their families. Can anyone say, Oxymoron?

Although the commercial on my local network puts knots in my stomach, I don’t much care that it exists. Ok, I care a little bit, but I don’t plan on doing any zombie hunting of my own any time soon, so normally I could just ignore it. I do care though that it is shown at 8:00 am. I do care that I have to be vigilant about remaining in the livingroom, even though my other children are rising and needing help with breakfast, just so I can be sure to distract my eight year old, should the zombies surface again.

Yes, I could turn off the television. Yes, I could watch a different morning news program (although I doubt I would find the advertising to be much different.) But, here’s the thing, why should I have to?

Is there no time in my day that I can let down my guard, even a little? Is there no point at which I can turn on the television and not worry that a random 12 seconds is going to keep my children up countless nights? Is there no criteria by which we, as society, check ourselves on the idiot scale? Is there no time at which we look at what we’ve done and realize we’ve sold our souls and the souls of our children and are taken aback? Is there no limit to what we will allow our children to see?

I’ll be writing my local station. I’ll be making contact with Moms Everyday. And, while I might just be fighting a losing battle, I’ll be fighting. Care to join me? Watch carefully. I would imagine you’ll see a similar scene on your television sometime in the next 36 days.


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Intricacies and Foundations: Home

It had been over 17 years since I last sat in that place for that specific purpose. Back then I was a student. Today I took my students. Today it looks more like a chapel space than it did back then. Beautiful stained glass and an altar to match. A pulpit now where a podium once stood. A place for baptismal remembrance as you enter. The atmosphere itself was just as I remembered it. Busy. Joyous. Reverent. Peaceful. Home.

They start each service with the common doxology. They’re uninhibited and they make a joyful noise. Today my husband got to lead them. That was a little strange. The last time he sat in that place for that purpose he was a student too. This time he got to share God’s word and a few of his own.

Children of God from various times in our lives share this space. Students from my very first years of teaching, younger siblings of his students from his first years, friends’ sons and daughters, adopted siblings, members of our current congregation, former bosses and professors. It feels like an odd sampling of every time period of our lives. Intricacies and foundations. God brought us each to this place and it is good. Very good.

I’ll be there again. Often. Even if someone else is leading. It won’t take 17 years, maybe not even 17 days. I’ve said before that I love my church body. This is one of the reasons why. Even when it’s been 17 years, it still feels completely, comfortingly, like home.