Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bringing Rad Back

Around our house, I am the worst parent ever about taking time to hang out and play with my kids.  I manage to get so distracted by unfinished laundry, stacks of paperwork, and weeds in the flowerbeds that I can ruin most any opportunity for fun.

When Carson turned 4, I knew what I needed to do to capture the best years of really getting to play with my boys: get out of the house.  We headed to Crystal Mountain one Sunday after church, signed all 3 boys up for ski lessons, and haven't looked back.

This week, I've watched the mountains from our house as over 4 feet of snow have piled up, and I've had this jittery, I NEED to get up there NOW, sort of feeling.  I think most skiers would get that.  It's a total addiction. Trying hard to balance my obligations with the desire to head for the snow and not return until summer...I forced myself to wait until today to ski.  My wonderful husband just looks at me and grins as I make him aware of my awesome use of self control...

Keith and the 2 oldest boys headed for Montana this morning, so I piled Carson and our gear into the car after breakfast and tried hard to do the speed limit despite my eagerness.

I may or may not have given Carson permission...or ordered get his ski gear on before we got entirely there.  But once the car was parked, we were on the lift in no time flat.  We headed for some areas he hasn't skied, and the new snow was as good as I could have imagined.

When I was 9 years old in the 4th grade, the word "rad" became a staple in my vocabulary.  I don't know how my mom didn't go entirely insane in the years to come at my overuse of "awesome", "totally", and "rad", but I don't think I could speak a sentence without using one of them.  After years, rad finally faded out.  When I started hearing it used again these past few years, I told myself I was now too old.  But I guess not...

As I led Carson, and then followed him, I was trying to figure out a description in my mind of how I felt.  I just couldn't do it.  The overwhelming sense of being on a mountain just smack dab in the middle of God's incredible creation...having a ton of fun with my kiddo...face burning from the wind and heart racing from the combination of excitement and fear of exploring some new places...

Finally, I got!  I said it in my head, and then out loud to Carson once I caught up with him...

This is RAD!

So the little guy and I played hard until his legs could take no more.  I was reminded on the last chair lift ride to the top that today was the best day ever (as it is every time), and that I'm the best mom ever.  Okay...I'll take that. :)

I actually have more dirty laundry, more unfinished paperwork, and more weeds in the flowerbeds than ever before.  What I also have are more great hours spent each week with my boys making awesome memories.  And I'll gladly take the mess in exchange for that.  I've got the rest of my life to be clean and organized.  I don't have the rest of my life to spend with my 13, 10, and 6 year olds.

Goodbye for today, Crystal.  Thanks for another rad day with my boy. :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Things That Makes Us Cry

Last week I was asked about my ministry work with Northwest Bible Church, which led into a conversation about Vacation Bible School.  Within moments of I smiled from ear to ear...I could feel giant tears welling up in my eyes.   I couldn't help but feel just a little sorry for the people sitting across from me...most likely distracted by what appeared to be a potential meltdown unfolding right there in front of them.  Before long, I pointed to my eyes, and said, "Don't worry, these are just joyful tears.  It happens all the time."

As a kid, I knew there was a God, and I knew about Jesus, but my thoughts of God were usually centered around the fear I had of Him and not His love for me.  When I did something wrong, nearly my first thought every time was to wonder if I'd just ruined my chances of going to heaven.  It wasn't until I was a teenager that I learned that God's love was unconditional, and that His grace had saved me when Jesus died on the cross to take away my sins.  It was nothing I could undo.

When the statement GOD IS LOVE became bigger for me than the question DOES GOD STILL LOVE ME?, my life changed.  And although, as a younger person, I didn't feel the calling on my life to share that news with others, God had other things in mind as He led me to the unexpected position of being a kid min director and VBS director.  Now when I talk about VBS, the desire I have for every kid on earth to know about God's love for them always surfaces.  And along with that comes tears.  Tears for the children who've come to know that...tears for those who still will...tears for the privilege of getting to be part of it...and tears for so much more.

The whole "eyes filled with tears" bit runs in my family.  My grandpa, who just turned 82, will still tell you with passion about his career through watery eyes.  His story and mine are much the same in that neither of us anticipated the work path God had chosen for us.  My grandpa was a machinist for Boeing when my grandma, a stay at home mom of 3 young kids, became very sick.  After spending lots of time and money seeing traditional doctors, they were led to a chiropractor, whose treatment saved her life.  Within a short time, their family of grandparents, my dad, and his 2 younger sisters...packed up and drove from Washington state to Iowa, where my grandpa enrolled at Palmer Chiropractic College.  He graduated in 1966, when my dad was 11 years old, and began a career that would impact many lives.  

1966 - My proud dad, 11 years old, standing beside his dad at graduation

I still love to listen to my grandpa talk about being a chiropractor.  It feels like just a few days ago, I was a young girl riding along with him in his gigantic Buick Electra, unable to see above the dashboard, hearing him passionately tell about God's creation of the human it is designed to function well, and how he felt honored to be a part of keeping people healthy without the use of drugs or surgeries.  Sometimes, as I looked at his tear-filled eyes, I would smile inside and ask myself why grandpa was crying as he told me about it yet again. But one thing became certain for me: I knew I wanted to have the passion for whatever I was going to spend my life doing, just the same as he had passion for what he did.  

Over 30 years have passed since my first memories of listening to grandpa talk about his work and watching his eyes filled with tears... and here I am, a VBS director who can't talk about that program without looking the same.  I just found a picture of our group of 7 crew leaders from our first VBS in 2004.  They touched the lives of 35 kids that year.  It was amazing!  And then, I saw our volunteer picture from 2012...where 150 volunteers worked together during VBS season to help hundreds of kids and families learn of God's love.  Amazing once again!  

2004 VBS Crew Leaders

2012 VBS Volunteer Team

I'm glad that He gives us things to be a part of that are bigger than ourselves...things that we never expected to do in our lives...and most importantly, things that fill our hearts with so much joy that we just can't help but cry. :)