Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I know better...

I know better than to leave my purse in the car. 
I know better.  I know better.  I know better. 
But it was just for one short hour...
But it was hidden on the floor of the back seat..
But we were just at a neighborhood pool...
Can you hear the whine creeping into my voice...
Let's get it out in the open...
Yes, I know better.  

If my husband has told me once, he's told me a thousand times.
Please don't leave your purse in the car.
His voice echoed in my mind as I looked at the back window of the car smashed out and the floorboard empty of my belongings.  
It would be insensitive for him to remind me of that when I called him with the news. 
It would be cold-hearted for that to be the first thing he said to me.
He's not insensitive or cold-hearted. 
He punctuated one full sentence before the I've told you not to leave your purse in the car comment.
No, duh. Because I haven't been thinking the exact same thing since it happened. 
I'm glad he got it out in the open so we could move on.

Lots of unspiritual knowledge has come to me since the "incident."
*First,  really, really don't ever leave your purse in the car. 
Apparently, my husband was right.  (That was hard to say.)
Maybe don't even let it out of sight in your own house...
Carry it with you at all times...pumping gas, going to the bathroom, sleeping...
You can never be too safe...
Because it's a serious PAIN if it gets stolen.  
My husband says I over-react.   I'm sleeping with my new driver's license tonight.  I don't know where he gets that idea. 

*Second, live in such a way so that if your neighbors see two cop cars in front of your home they assume something is WRONG and come running to HELP as opposed to assuming you are to BLAME and peeking curiously out of their windows.  (I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG! I wanted to yell).  But I knew that any of my male neighbors who heard my "stolen purse" story would think, You shouldn't have left your purse in the car.  Why must they have been right too?     

*Third, never, never, never judge anyone that fails the Missouri driver's license test.   My stolen Colorado driver's license resulted in a complete written, eye, and driving exam.   I felt like I was 16.  It's not that easy, People.   You tell me the following answers: "How many points are you allowed on your license in a year?"  Or "how many feet do you have to drive with your signal on before you change lanes?"  Or my personal favorite, "Which direction do your wheels need to be turned when you are parking up-hill with no curb?" Are you serious?  NO IDEA.  How about this--When I get enough points on my license, I'm sure the police officer will let me know.  Put your signal on "a little while" before changing lanes.  Face the wheels any direction you like when parking up-hill with no curb and pull the emergency break.   The computer test didn't appreciate my write-in answers.   I did pass.  Really I did.  I will, however, not be bragging about my score.   Let's just say that if my teenager scores the same on his driver's test, my husband says he'll be re-testing.   So glad he was with me.  Thrilled that he was privy to my test scores.   I tried to go alone, but I needed my husband to drive me to the test and to pay for all the licensing fees since I was cashless with no working debit card or credit card.  Typical 16-year-old.   

*Fourth, which should have been my first point, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds."  Early yesterday morning, I read the first chapter of James and found that verse pressing me through the afternoon as my spirit rebelled against any form of joy in this minor irritation.  This is a tiny trial; a minuscule inconvenience in the grand scheme; one that I'll gladly bear in light of the many heavy trials I see around me;  but I certainly didn't find that "joy" was my first response.   I do love when the Lord gives us small opportunities to test our growth.  Little faith testers.  I'll take this one.  It's a do-able size for my mustard-seed faith.    Pursuing joy in the midst, however, takes a little effort... 

Here's the really cool part to the story though...
The only reason this story is actually worth writing...
The major point of this silly blog that should have been at the very top...
After my friend dropped off the kids--she had graciously taken them so I could deal with the "crime scene"--we realized that Madelin and Josh's bags had also been stolen from the back seat.  
What were in your bags, Kids?  The Ipod?  Daddy's phone?  Your camera?  Your wallets? 
No.  None of the above.   
Our Bibles.  Just our Bibles.   
Not one Bible, but two Bibles.    
Nothing else.
How cool is God to let those bags be stolen along with my purse.           
Last night, I lay in bed imagining the desperation or depravation that permitted someone to smash in a window and steal a pile of bags. 
I also imagined the moment that they realized the bags held nothing but two, plain, leather-bound books. 
They hoped for something valuable and they got it...two copies of the Word of God.  
I'm sure they threw them aside...didn't even crack them open...tossed them in the trash...
But I do wonder...I wonder if there was a little twinge in their gut when they saw the words Holy Bible...
I wonder if their heart-rate accelerated just a bit as they touched God's message of hope to them...
That's one of those moments, I'd have loved to have seen...
The thief holding cash from my purse in one hand and God's Word in the other...
You never know...God has worked under stranger circumstances...
If anything, it makes me feel better to imagine...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Home with a Secret

Lee's Summit.  Chicago.  Hilton Head.  Mt. Airy. Lee's Summit. 
We had potty breaks in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, and the car seat. 
Our travel planner (me) underestimated our gas budget by $150.00. 
Our meal allowance diminished three days before we got home. 
Oh well.  At that point, I gave up on the dollar menu and ordered what I wanted. 
We were already over budget.  I'll take a Big Mac, please!

Only once on this crazy road trip did I wish for a limo window divider to separate the front and back seat.  The kids weren't even fighting.  They were just singing so incredibly loud.   So loud that I couldn't hear myself sing.  Normally that's a good thing considering I'm helplessly tone-deaf, but I had a brief thought as I listened to my voice ring out above the kids that maybe God "touched" my vocal chords in such a way that now I sounded a bit like Whitney Houston.  I wanted the divider so I could test my new, angelic voice. 
I was assured by someone in the back seat I did not sound like her.  I had not received a miracle.  
The truth hurts.

The trip was AWE-SOME. 
Somehow, individually, we all put our "stages" on hold for the week and just enjoyed each other.  
How amazing is that!

Favorite memories: 
-Walking on the beach of Lake Michigan.  (Had we known there was "beach" in "Chicago" we might not have made the 1020 mile trek down to South Carolina.) 
-Changing for the wedding in the McDonald's bathroom.   Luggage spread across the booth while the manager spied us suspiciously.  Umm, we'll take a coke with the use of your bathroom.    
-Watching my studly husband riding a bike and hauling a baby trailer.  Beach towels draped over his neck and a beach chair as a backpack, he bravely led our bike parade (Dad with Noah and twenty pounds of beach gear in a toddler bike trailer, Josh on a big bike, Madelin on a medium bike, Mom with Savannah on a tandem bike, Zach pulling up the rear and picking up all of the gear that fell out of our bikes)--he confidently led us 1.5 miles everyday to the beach.   Impossible to look cool, yet I think he's much cuter as a family man than he was as a football player.     
-Savannah riding on the back of my tandem bike.  Are you pedaling, Savannah, or just riding?
-Seeing the beach for the first time in years---is there anything sweeter than children running toward the water with uninhibited excitement---Watch Out for Sharks!  No one even stopped.   Why weren't they afraid?   I was.
-Entering the ocean dangerously deep (up to my hips), I attempted boogie boarding with my kids---my STINKER son, Zach, swam underwater and grabbed my leg.  I suppose hitting him with the boogie board over the head was probably not my best mom moment, but he totally deserved it!
 -Biking the beach---amateur beach bikers, we rode easily with the wind at our backs---how fun is this!  Why didn't anyone wave their hands and warn us that riding back into the wind was going to be a NIGHTMARE?   Madelin's crying, boys sweating profusely, I'm swearing under my breath.   Preston?  Preston just kept biking as his family grew smaller and smaller behind him.   Savannah, are you pedaling?  A look behind me shows that she's using the bike ride to practice some arabesque circus moves on the back of the bike.  I think I started to cry then.   Next time we'll do the one way bike ride on the beach and catch the bus back.

The trip was packed with memories.  The best part?  The best part--the unforeseen gift of the trip--was witnessing the beauty of a big family working together.  That picture is rare for us--seven intensely selfish people can create quite a chaotic household, so we treasured every moment of watching our family love...watching our kids show grace...watching our family put aside their own wants for just a week and looking out for the needs of others.  Absolutely beautiful.  Even if the kids barely remember this adventure, Preston and I have priceless snapshots hidden in our hearts and deep gratitude that God gave us the privilege of raising this large family.  For one week...one week...our big family worked.   We laughed loudly, played together, helped each other, talked together, showed grace to each other, biked together, shopped together, swam together, lost Noah together, and found Noah together.   There's a secret in big families (the secret that's often hidden from those of us in them)---when big families work--they TOTALLY ROCK!           
We're back home...back to our selfish, fleshly squabbles...back to putting our own needs first...

BUT...now, when I catch people smiling with pity at us as we attempt to go somewhere in public with all of our kiddos...when I hear someone say (daily), "Wow--don't you have your hands full?"
I can smile with a new confidence...with a new secret...(nope--not pregnant)

The secret is that Yep...we do have our hands full...and it's a sweet, outrageously, fabulous, wonderful GIFT...
That's my new secret...