Friday, November 28, 2008


On Tuesday I experienced one of those parental moments that blindsides you. Each day I operate fully aware of how amazing my boys are, or so I think. And then ... they take my breath away and I realize the impact of their lives, even upon me. I should say, especially upon me.

At CAK Grandparents' Day, both Seth and Reed sang a worship song with their classes to the audience of several hundred. To watch my boys sing praise with such joy was amazing. But what overwhelmed me was that the song that Seth sang was the song that I desperately needed to hear.

I watched his sweet face as the tune started to play, and as the first words passed his lips, my tears started to fall. It was the reminder I needed about the constancy of God's love, His goodness, and His faithfulness in the seasons of our lives. And I knew, as I watched Seth, that he believes with stunning faith that each word of his song is true.

I felt Seth asking me, "Mom, can you sing this too? Do you believe this is true?" This wasn't the first time I've faced this question posed through a worship song. And, just like last time, I found myself answering through thick tears, "Yes, I can sing." Yes, Seth. I do believe it's true ... He is good.

I invite you to listen and to sing along with Seth and me (click below; You Are Good by Nichole Nordeman):

Beautiful Music

Earlier I posted about Seth's participation in Junior Praise at CAK this year. This 3rd-4th-5th grade choir has been diligently preparing for their concert season all semester, and we're now in the midst of it.

Last Thursday, Tim, Reed, and I traveled with a host of other proud parents and grandparents to see Junior Praise perform at Dollywood. Here's Seth standing among his choirmates preparing to sing:

Junior Praise did a beautiful job performing a selection of holiday music. Here's a photo of the entire choir:

Their next performance was this past Tuesday at CAK Grandparents' Day. My parents were able to attend, and they were blessed by Junior Praise's song, and also by special songs that both boys sang with the student body -- Reed with the K-1st-2nd graders and Seth with the 3rd-4th-5th graders. These worship songs, "I Just Want to Thank You" and "You Are Good," were so beautiful sung by these children. (Warning: If you come to visit us, we'll probably make you watch the video ... we've turned into those kinds of proud parents!!!)

Junior Praise has a busy week, as they followed their Grandparents' Day song with a performance at the Fantasy of Trees on Wednesday. Watching Seth stand on the big stage with spotlights and all that jazz was amazing. He sang his heart out, along with the rest of the choir, and did a wonderful job (pictured below, middle of back row).

We were happy that both my parents and Tim's mom were able to attend this show.

The choir will wrap its season next Saturday with a performance at an area nursing home and a shopping center. We're so proud of the hard work Seth has put in to this experience and for his courage as he's sung in front of crowds these past few weeks. It's been a tremendous blessing, as his parents, to watch him shine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hooray! Dad's Home

The boys and I were on our own November 8-14, as Tim traveled to the Dominican Republic with a group from One Vision International. The group, comprised of several friends from our church plus a few from other area churches, went to Santa Domingo to spend a week among the locals and to help several churches with building repairs.

Needless to say, the boys and I missed Tim terribly while he was away. On the day after his return, we refused his jet lag and instead urged him out into the beautiful fall day. We went to Ijams Nature Center to enjoy a hike through spectacular foliage and along the river. Here are some pictures of our afternoon:

The fall colors were stunning! I don't know that Seth and Reed appreciated the contrast of the purple berries and the golden leaves, but it was really beautiful.

With trails to the left and right, we had a tough time deciding which way to go. Tim had the final word, and he chose a great path that led us to a boardwalk that meandered along the river.

After a week apart, Tim and I had a lot of hugging to catch up on. The boys were patient as our hike often slowed to a hand-in-hand stroll. Of course, they found the perfect sticks and were "sword fighting" most of the way, so I don't think they really noticed.

After we crossed the boardwalk, it was time to wind our way out of the woods. We took our time, enjoying the crisp air, the myriad of colors, and the pleasure of each other. It was a great day, made perfect by Tim's safe return home to us.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I'm passing the time at the computer because I don't want to go to bed. Tim's not here. He left today for a week in the Dominican Republic. After 15 years of marriage, this obviously isn't our first time apart. But, I tell you, I don't like having the bed to myself. That's why I invited two little fellas to sleep in it tonight. So, I've given them enough time to stop talking and giggling and to warm up the sheets. Hopefully they've left me some room. : )

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Trick or Treat Translation

How do you say "Trick or Treat" in Swedish? This year we had a very special Halloween, as we had friends from Sweden with us for the festivities.

When I was a freshman in high school, my family hosted a Swedish exchange student, Lotta, for the year. While she's been back to visit the States a few times through the years, we've never had the pleasure of meeting her husband or her two sons until now.

Seth and Reed were curious how they would communicate with Karl and Melker, boys their same ages who speak very, very little English. And it was interesting to watch their first meeting, as they awkwardly tried to engage each other in play. However, it didn't take long. By the time we donned our costumes, they were arm in arm like lifelong buddies as they traipsed from house to house getting their goodies.

It turns out "Trick or Treat" is an easy phrase to learn. We could hear Karl say it with gusto at each neighbor's door. In the end, the four fast friends had a great time together, and somehow Karl and Melker found room in their luggage to carry all of their sugary loot.

Making the Connection

I admit it. I get lost in movies. Swept away by a good story. Caught up in great characters. I saw a movie recently, and while I wouldn't say it had either of the above, it did have something I liked a lot: relationships. The movie is aptly titled "The Women," and its focus is on the relationships between the four women in the story.

Throughout the movie you watch these extremely busy, very different women connect with each other ... over lunch, over manicures, over the telephone ... and you get a sense of how important they are to one another. Sure, in a glance it looks superficial, but I think a deeper look reveals a picture of people investing in each other without need of excuse or the pull for productivity.

I don't know about you, but I don't spend a lot of time with my friends. I'm talking about "no agenda, no errands, no exercise, no excuse" together-for-the-fun-of-it time. In the past when I've "made time" for my girlfriends, it has been with a premise: book club, scrapbooking, exercising, Bible study, or some other pursuit. Watching the women in this film made me wonder, "Isn't relationship alone a worthy enough reason to be with one another?"

Today I had such an experience when I met two friends for lunch. Usually this means a quick bite and then we're off our separate ways to run errands. Today, however, we sat outside enjoying the unseasonable warmth and, before I knew it, two hours passed in relaxed, real conversation.

I tell you -- it was just what I needed. If it hadn't been time to pick up the boys, I probably could have sat with them for another two hours. It felt luxurious. Pampering. Good for me. And for a moment, I felt guilty. Indulgent. Selfish. (I know I'm not alone in this reaction.) Why? Why did I need to justify the two wonderful hours I spent with these friends?

The truth is we need each other. We need to invite friends into our lives. We need to invest our time in relationships. We need to share our stories. We need to relax and laugh together. It's refreshing; it's restorative; and it's really, really okay.

So, the next time I see girlfriends on the big screen, I'm going to let them serve as a reminder that I need some time with my friends. Not to DO anything ... just to BE (be together, be real, be comfortable, be content, be silly, be fed, be encouraged, be relaxed, be loved, BE).