He Sees Me as Perfect

“Do you have any questions?”  Dr. Paul smiled genuinely at Madison and then turned his question to me.  

After receiving a perfect bill of health at her two year old checkup, I believe he was surprised with my response, “Yes.  I have two questions.”  

He shifted in his seat, sat up a little straighter, and professionally awaited my questions.

“First, Madison sleeps a lot!  She sleeps at least twelve hours a night, sometimes more, and she still takes a three hour nap in the afternoon. Is this normal?”  

He smiled and assured me her sleep schedule was a great thing. 

So, I moved on to my second question, “She eats green beans allll the time.  Literally, she cries for them.  Is this a sign of Anemia or something?”

With my last question, he relaxed a little, smiled and simply commented, “Other moms would hate you.”

I had a two year old that was practically perfect in every way. And my response is, “Thank you Jesus!”  

Ya see, she shouldn’t be here. I have talked often on this blog about my little miracle baby, about my health, and how everything medical says she should have never been. But God does not care what we think, and he had big plans for a little girl that would sleep enough to let her Mommy keep the house clean, would eat her veggies, and would grow up to love every single animal she came across. 

I know she is human, I know she makes mistakes, but when her name is spoken, a word pops into my head, “PERFECT” and then I will continue to brag about her. 

And then I realize something HUGE!  This is how my Heavenly Father thinks about me, “PERFECT!”  Someone says my name and he starts to brag about me!  

Let me be the first to tell you, I have screwed up!  I mess up daily, hey…I mess up hourly!  But, not only does his love cover my multitude of sins, his love paid the price for my multitude of sins!  It was an agonizing, painful price, but he thinks I’m worth it!  

I mess up and I mess up again but my God picks me up, brushes off my scratched knees and encourages me to try again. I’m still working on it, but it’s ok, I’m growing and with my Father by my side, I can do anything. 

I am Kinda a Big Deal

July 27, 2002, my heart swelled with joy and happiness as I held the hand of a man I never thought could be mine as he pledged his life, in every circumstance, to me me forever.  James Hendry is a freakin hot, godly man, that does not take lightly his responsibility to care for his wife. ME!  I am his wife!  I hold his hand and strut through town, “Hey. Look at me!  See me holding this man’s hand?  Yeah, you got that right.  He’s mine!”

A cold February morning, a miracle baby was born. My heart swelled with pride and love as I met my baby girl for the first time. She was the most gorgeous creation that I had ever laid my eyes on, and I could not take my eyes away!  Her beautiful baby blue eyes were an answer to prayers. Her teeny tiny finger wrapped around mine was a miracle living and breathing. Caring for her was a life’s dream come true. I have the privilidge of celebrating Mother’s Day, visiting a little cutie in her classroom, making healthy little lunches, planning birthday parties, and caressing the cheeks of a little beauty that is MINE!  What an honor to watch this little miracle grow into the amazing plans that God has for her!  I am Madison’s Mommy!

The King of King’s knows my name!  He thought of and planned for ME before the creation of time!  When I cry, he comforts me.  When I pray, he answers!  He doesn’t just SAY he would do anything for me, he has proven it!  He chose to endure the most pain than any human life has ever endured TO BE WITH ME!  He is God!  He could have thrown down fire and walked away and returned to heaven at any point, but he thought about ME!  If all the earth, and all I am, and all I long to be fades away, the God that rules it all takes my hand and proclaims, “My love, do you trust me?”  YES!  I trust you with my everything!  And now, right now, he is preparing a mansion for me!  It will have a huge swimming pool in the backyard and a massive kitchen stocked with fruits and veggies that never go bad. My floors will be gold.  (Hey, if the streets are, why not my floors?). And you are invited!  Come see me!  I will have parties allll the time!  Hey, I’m kinda big stuff!  I am the daughter of the King, not just a king, THE king!

Summer Promises

The gray has turned green and yellow.  The sun is so hot, I pulled out the sprinkler to water my newly planted flowers. Madison put on her bathing suit and ran over the grass with the water falling down on her. I love summer nature!

Being outside makes our bellies hungry and we slice open a fresh watermelon. Fire up the grill, pop open a drink, and slice up some summer veggies. My girl and I will hold a contest to see who is the fastest at shucking corn and we will have to shoo away Tucker (our doggie) who would like to participate and snatch an ear of corn. I love summer food!

Two more days of school!  Two more days of waking up at 6:15.  I will set the alarm for an hour later, or maybe a little more. I will roll out of bed and grab a throw and a fresh cup of coffee and sit and write. My sleepyhead will join me just a little later and we will sit and cuddle. When we chat a bit and begin to wake up and plan our day, we will make some pancakes. I will add bananas to mine.  She will take her’s plain.  I love summer mornings!

Pretty soon I will write about late nights watching fireworks, summer weddings and my crazy dance moves, the perfection of a fire pit and a backyard full of cousins, and Madison swimming with dolphins!  The dates are set, family awaits our travel, it’s going to be a celebration to write about!  I love summer promises!

Love Covers

In the preschool years, my second home was Chick-fil-A. Madison could spend hours exhausting herself on that little playground with the excitement of new friends joining her every few minutes and I could sit (when you are a parent, just sitting is such a beautiful idea!)…I could just sit and savor a cup of coffee and admire my sweet girl living life. 

One particular day, we were in the midst of this routine. In the booth beside me, an (assuming) father was going through this same schedule, only his was not going as smoothly. 

His toddler was standing in the booth beside him holding a reciently acquired helium balloon. He stood beside his father, who was eating a chicken sandwich, and continued to bop his father in the head with the balloon.  Bop. Bop. Bop. Bop.  In the same spot, right on top of his head. Bop. Bop. Take a bite. Bop. Bop. The dad had a blank stare into the abyss as he continued to bite and chew. Bop. Bop. Bop. Bop. Bop. Bop…..

And I giggled a little to myself. I knew EXACTLY what that father was thinking. He was thinking:  “I know where my son is. He is not hurting himself. He is not making a mess. AND I get to eat my lunch.”  Bop. Bop. Bop. 

Ya see, PARENTS LOVE THEIR CHILDREN!  And we let SO MUCH go, just slide by unacknowledged or remembered because LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF WRONGS!  

I am a mother!  THERE IS NOTHING, I really mean NOTHING that I would not do for my girl!  Now, I am the first to admit that being a mom is not easy!  The whole process starts out with pain, followed by lack of sleep, a continuation of public embarrassment, the most expensive cost I have, constant wiping of another’s nose, growing to whine when she doesn’t get her way, talk back WAY before I expected THAT, leave toys for me to step on, complain about a home cooked meal, and acquire pets that I must care for!!!!  Oh how the list goes on!  And then it goes on some more!

WHY, OH WHY?!  Why did I do this on purpose?!  Why do I consider her, alongside my husband, my greatest blessing?!  

There is one reason, and only one reason:  LOVE.

I love her!  Down in the depths of my heart!  More than I care what people think about me, more than new clothes, more than sleep, more than my freedom of being spontaneous without having to hire and pay a babysitter, more than my prebirth body, more than money, more than my career, more than anything I am or anything this world has to offer!

So, while I think my girl is pretty great (SHE IS AMAZING!) being a Mom can be downright HARD!  But the truth of the Bible that “Love covers a multitude of wrongs.”  I LOVE MY GIRL past the hardships of motherhood, clear past the burden of living with and raising a human being, clear up to the level of I AM THE MOST FORTUNATE PERSON IN THE WORLD TO BE ALLOWED THE PRIVILIDGE OF BEING MADISON’S MOMMA!  Thank you Jesus for blessing me with Madison!  

And being a Momma has helped to teach me one of the biggest lessons of my entire life:  how much my Heavenly Father loves me!  Take my analogy and multiply it by a hundred, then again by a thousand, then a million, then keep doing that all day and it is only a tiny picture of what Christ has done for me!!!  

My shortcommings are far past bopping him on the head with a balloon and waking him up in the middle of the night. My sins are the painful, ugly ones. And my Father, he is perfect, literally perfect!  Knows everything, can do anything, made everything perfect!  And for some reason, he chose to bring me into this world, raise me, and prepare for me a perfect heaven!  

His love, the only perfect love, paid the ultimate sacrifice to cover my multitude of wrongs!  THANK YOU FATHER!  I LOVE YOU!

The LORD Accepts My Prayer

LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.

She had given him that very blue shirt for Christmas. Her mind followed that shirt as it was carried to the laundry room, it twisted and turned in the sudsy wash cycle, and she could feel the warm steam from the iron as she carefully pressed each sleeve.  And now she watched that very blue shirt, carrying a suitcase, walking out the door.

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me Lord, for my bones are in agony.  My soul is in deep anguish.  How long, LORD, how long? Turn LORD and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. 

When he spoke, things were accomplished. His approval was a million dollar merger, businessmen approached him with the upmost of respect, and the media applauded his success. But he lay in the solitude, just him and his little girl, squeezed together in a hospital bed, his arms wrapped around her sleeping body. His large hands stroked down the sides of her tiny bruised cheeks. Leukemia was a merger he could not close, her health was a foe that paid him no respect, and the helplessness that he felt in his bones was so overwhelming he gasped for relief. 

Among the dead no one proclaims your name. Who praises you from the grave?  I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my head with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all of my foes.

Scratching and digging in the dusty, dry earth, he sprinkled the bits on her small frame, trying to bestow some dignity to her death. He was a frantic dog scratching upon the hard core that would not give way. He had raised his sister from birth, he had loved her as his own child.  They had run from the army together, they had slept wrapped together during the stormy nights, and he had sacrificed his own meager meals to nourish her starving body. Without giving it a thought, the man in uniform had turned and shot her small heart, as if he were swatting a fly. 

Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping.  The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.  All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame. 

I drifted from this earth like a baby falling to sleep. Before me spread a city, the streets were gold, a sparkling river ran through the city. Green grass and fruit trees covered the ground. I looked to see my body, my own soul, covered in perfection. I had no fear, no worries, no pain, no tears to be shed. Those I had lost circled me in excitement, glowing with anticipation of life, life to the fullest. My God, the one who made me, made all things right. He gathered me in his arms and I could see that he was everything, my song in the morning, my wealth, my delight, he was the never ending fulfillment of my heart’s desire. He was the answer to my prayer. 

Flying Nuggets

James is a logical mind and Madison’s Momma is a creative soul.  When God put that miracle baby in my belly, he made her special in more ways than one.  She is one of the very few people in this life that I have met that is both logical and creative.

James and I are the same in personality.  We like to be around people, but we are not extremely outgoing.  We like to go and do, with a premeditated plan.  We like time to do the things we do, laid back and low key.  And in our own way, we are each perfectionists.

Aside from personality, we are complete opposites.  James pays the bills, gets the oil changed, mows the lawn, solves Math problems, opens jars,  keeps everything, runs really fast, understands the engine in a car, can follow directions, manages people well, and reads manuals.

I, on the other hand, cook, vacuum, decorate, write poetry, change diapers, plant flowers, simplify closets, enjoy Yoga, wrap presents, host parties, journal, straighten my hair, write for sheer pleasure, shop for family Christmas presents, and cry during sweet commercials.

Bless the logical man that is madly in love with the artsy woman.  I love to decorate.  I love our home, but I am constantly making small little changes and discovering little (medium, or big) projects that I want to be done.  Example:  This last weekend, I decided that our brown wood table should really be chalky white.  The floors are a dark wood and the white would be a great popping contrast.  James concludes that the table functions just as it should, despite the color.  But, I know he loves me, because we loaded up the car and drove to an artsy little store that I adore.  (Yes, he hates.)  I picked out the color I wanted and James plops it down on the counter.  Being who he is, as he is handing over his payment, he adds to the cashier, I believe owner, “I am about to ruin a perfectly good table.”  I am sure that wasn’t the first time she heard that.

My amazing husband painted the table.  And it looks incredible!  Thank you babe!

So, what happens when us two folks have a baby?  We spend more money than we should on two Leopard Geckos, one fat guinea pig, a wandering kitty cat, and a fat lazy rescued dog.  We explain things to her using Science books.  She loves to go to work with her Daddy.  And she needs to understand things to accept them.  Like her Daddy.  But, when she is supposed to be asleep at 10:30 and her parents go to check on her, she has a flashlight and can’t put down “Little Princess.”  And when she is supposed to be brushing her teeth, I find her laboring away, scratching her pencil against page four of her new story she was suddenly inspired to write.  I can’t stop her because I know the feeling, being inspired with a story is not something you chose.  So, I let her scribble away and then proudly read her new story to me.  And the title, you got it, “Flying Nuggets.”

Conveying and sharing life, for the same reason that I read novels and biographies, we all love a story and we all know that other type:  Logical or Creative.  And as I want to know and love my family, so do you, and we are in this thing called LIFE together, however we approach it.

Creatures of What Comes Easy

I am an overall healthy eater. When I first read about the military diet, I was a sceptic. “Lose up to ten pounds in three days,” was translated, to me, that if you are a hundred pounds overweight and live off cheeseburgers and coke, then you could possibly lose ten pounds. Living my life sugar-free and limiting the grease, I figured I had already made those changes. 

For some reason, I kept reading the article and I confirmed, “no way!” One slice of toast and a boiled egg for lunch?  Not the diet for me!  That sounds….HUNGRY!

But I have this problem, it is called a human body. I want to be healthy and I want to look my best in summer clothes, and as the days get warmer and warmer, I wanted to make some improvements. I needed something extreme. What is more extreme than the military?

So, I gave the diet a second glance and considered it. (I preface diets by saying that I believe in a lifestyle not a diet, per say, but sometimes I do believe in a cleansing to boost to the next level. So, from now on, read the word “diet” as “cleansing.”) I gave the diet a second glance and I took it to the expert….my sister. 

So, Ellie and I decided:  Three days?  We can do anything for three days!  

Here we are, two days down and on the last day of the military diet. And I have already lost FIVE POUNDS!  Five pounds in two days ain’t too shabby!  I am spending the last day crying and starving with my sister…I mean laughing and talking about how easy this diet is. 

When those extra five pounds poke through my outfit and torture me day after day and month after month, WHY IS A THREE DAY DIET SO HARD?!  Because I LIKE EASY! 

I like the easy road, the life of comfort, the all you can eat buffet and the fat wallet!

But the older I get (and I’m not THAT old yet) or the more mature I get or the more God graciously gives me a little more wisdom, I see that that Easy Path ain’t going where I want to go. And when I look at what I want my finished product to be, I’m talking of the physical and spiritual, it is a little bit of an upward climb.

So, here is to one more day of not eating what I WANT to, and just a little bit of that, and here’s to thinking of something other than what I WANT, because honestly the here and now desires most often lead astray. 

I want to be healthy more than I want comfort. I want to give more than I want to receive. Give me eternity vs. the here and now.  And I value a challenge more than fading pleasures. 

Claiming My Inheritance

Terror reigns in kingdoms. Insurgent kings conspire, they delay their differences to join together. They plot the destruction of peace. 
But my God laughs at them. Their reign is of this earth. Oh small earth in the galaxy. You are as proud ants that conquer a molehill. My God laughs and steps on them. 

And the God of the cells, God over all the earth, the God of the planets, the  King that can not be contained in the billions of the galaxies, he looks at me and proclaims:

You are my daughter. My eye is set on you like a Father admires their newborn babe. I will protect you as a Daddy with a dating daughter, I will spoil you as a proud grandparent.  All I have is your’s.  Just ask and I will give it.  I delight in you. 

Listen you evil doers, do no mess with this one. This child is mine. I have let the rain fall on you and the sun separate your days. I allow the food to grow in your path and keep the animals from devouring you, but if you want a demonstration on my power, go ahead, to Me, your destruction is child’s play. 

Old Sticky Love

I believe in goals.  I believe in knowing what race you are in and running toward that finish line.  I believe in knowing what road you are on and what the destination is.

Love.  I want my love to be sticky.

Newlywed James and Caroline were magnificently in love with love.  We promised and we dreamed but we were only tying on our tennis shoes and the gun had not even yet been shot.  Counseled, researched, planned, and eager, we set out in the race of marriage and a life together.  But we had not yet gotten shin splints, holes in our tennis shoes, and the weather was a perfect sixty-five degree sunny day.

Newlywed James and Caroline sat in the food court of the shopping mall, planning where the day and our life would take us.  And then we got some of the best advice new love can be given.

Their age was old.  The kind of old that can barely move and the movements are slow and thought through.  She sat with white hair and a shriveled body in a wheelchair pushed by a white haired man, leaning over using her wheelchair as a cane.  Her hand was held across her body and her fingers were gnarled.  Their short walk from the door was an exercise in and of itself.

They sat.  Sat at the table right beside us.  He slowly and patiently moved the chair at the table and replaced it with her wheelchair.  There was no talking, just slow movements.  And then, she was left, left waiting.  He, the more mobile one, departed and began a slow shuffle just a few feet away but each step was a goal accomplished.  He achieved what he had set out for and slowly returned to her side.

He dipped the spoon into the cold, creamy vanilla.  Their eyes met and they lovingly smiled at each other.  He lifted the spoon to her lips, his hands were shaking with a tremor and uncontrolled movements.  She opened her mouth as the spoon fluttered forward.

Love.  Love fed her ice cream.  Love was sticky all over her face.  Their painstaking and exhausting mission was to set out and share an ice cream.  After a couple of bites, she had it all over her face, sitting smiling, smiling at her love.

The cup was emptied.  With great labor, he threw away the cup.  With great pains, he returned the chair to the table.  And they began their slow march to the exit.

James took my hand in his.  We smiled at each other.  We each had the same goal.

Now, the gun has been shot.  We have gone through a few pairs of tennis shoes.  We have helped each other up a few times.  We run and run.  Quitting is not an option.  One day we will sit and have our celebratory ice cream and then we will pick ourselves up and soar one last time right through the finish line.

We never talked to them, but their actions spoke louder:  Love can be sticky.