Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chronicles of the O's Opening Day

Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 7:00 AM.  The O pops his head around the wall into the kitchen, teeth-filled grin bigger than his face. 

"It's my first baeball bame!"

Immediately followed by:

"Can I put on my baeball oonifoam?"

The mom of perfection ten years ago would not have yielded to such a request.  Get a uniform dirty for opening day??? No way.  But this mom of five has been around the block a few times...she knows that bacon grease and syrup on a uniform is small potatoes.  Today there are way bigger fish to fry than uniform presentation.  She nods in compliance without batting an eye.

At 7:35 AM the mom gets one of those uncanny mom premonitions.  It tells her to make sure the glove is secure for tonight's game.  This manager of chaos is usually not one to follow through with such thoughts ten hours before game time.  That would be--just too on top of things.  But today something makes her scan the shelves in the garage for little man's glove. 

It's 7:40 in the morning on opening day and the O's glove is no where to be found.  Lost.  Left behind on a bleacher somewhere.  The O doesn't take the news very well:

And the first fit is thrown nearly before the dawn of the rooster crow.

Big brother Jeremiah tries to save the day by going and getting his glove out of this bag:  'Look O!  You can use my glove...oh no... MMMOOOOMMMM!  THIS IS BEN'S GLOVE!'

Ben?  Whose Ben?  (and by the way, whose on first, Abbott?) 

Teammate to big brother Ben, that's who.  Whose glove happens to look a whole lot like big brother's, resulting in a switch-a-roo..or would that be a switch-a-who? (is it just me, or is this starting to sound like Dr. Suess?)

'No worries, O.  This is so exciting!  You get to use Jeremiah's teammate Ben's glove for your first game ever!  Isn't that special?'

High maintenance youngest sibling of five isn't buying it. 

Recovery is looking unlikely, but then Miss Shell shows up with a special something something to commemorate opening day:

And the face does a 360.

Cupcakes with plastic baseballs save the day...once more, all is right in the world.

Shortly after the sugar consumption, I announce the next surprise:


At this point in the day, eldest son Joshua, whose concern for justice is of utmost importance, pulls me aside:

'Wow--pictures, cupcakes, haircuts, more sure are making a big deal about this first game.  Did you make this big of a deal about my first game?'

Buddy, go open the cabinet in the basement and pull out scrapbook, volume #7.  On page 250, you'll find a ten page spread, I'm sure of it.

Phew.  Glad those middle kids...what's their names...didn't pose that question.

So we mosey on down to the Sports Clips and this momma has a trump card in our back pocket...and she's so excited to pull it out, yes she is.  The last of the pack needs some trumpet noise--some announcing--every now and then.  A trump card of the Mr. T. variety:

One last look, Mimi:

And back to our red-neck roots we go:

The 'out-in-your-face-here-I-am' kind of do.  A mohawk-sportin', red-neck stylin' grand-son.  Mimi is so proud.  I know she is. 

So with the buzz of the clippers, the O's capacity for trouble just grew ten-fold.  Or, more accurately, just exposed what was already there.  (Who just knocked that kid down?  It was the boy with the mohawk.  Who is throwing a fit out there in the field?  The boy with the mohawk.  Who is stomping off from his parents again?  Oh, just the boy with the mohawk.)  Yep.  No hiding now...  No longer able to hide under the innocent locks of brown hair.  No longer.

The O is in his element, his prime.  It fits like a glove, and he can't lose this one I might add.

And finally, finally, it's 6:00 PM--the moment we've all been waiting for. 

And a slew of 'firsts' for this four-year-old happens in a matter of minutes.

His first National Anthem:

His first team huddle:

His first time to field (sportin' Ben somebody-or-other's glove):

First up to bat (with dad's assistance):

First time to score:

And amidst all his 'firsts', his fan club cheers him on:

Of course, in O fashion, he pretends to ignore the signs.  He pretends to ignore the friends, the Mimi, the aunt and cousin cheers.  He tries to look all unaffected...but the smile seeping out of the corner of his pretend somberness gives him away.  Later, when it's safe to care, he'll talk non-stop about all the people that came to share in his day of firsts.

O boy, you are one-of-a-kind.  You might be number five, but you're the first to ever sport a mohawk in this family.  And sport it well I might add.  Crooked smilin' mohawkin stylin'.  Yep.  It suits you.  It suits you just fine. 

So thankful to share in this day of firsts with you...we love you O-ee-O.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Some glorious morn--but when?  Ah, who will say?
The steepest mountain will become a plain,
And the parched land be satisfied with rain.
The gates of brass all broken; iron bars,
Transfigured, form a ladder to the stars.
Rough places plain, and crooked ways all straight,
For him with with a patient heart can wait.
These things will be on God's appointed day:
It may not be tomorrow--yet it may.
                                                ~Author unknown

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thoughtful Quotes to Get Me Through a Tired, Rainy, Monday Morning

You did not do anything to achieve your salvation, but you must do something to exhibit it.  You must "work out your own salvation" which God has worked in you already (Phil. 2:12).  Are your speech, your thinking, and your emotions evidence that you are working it "out"?  If you are still the same miserable, grouchy person, set on having your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified  you.     ~Oswald Chambers

Many prayers of believers are hindered by Satan.  Yet you do not need to fear when your unanswered prayers are piling up, for soon they will break through like a flood.  When that happens, not only will your answers flow though but they will also be accompanied by new blessings. ~Streams in the Desert

Hell works the hardest on God's saints.  The most worthy souls will be tested with the most pressure and the highest heat, but heaven will not desert them.  ~William L. Watkinson

Obedience is the fruit of faith; patience is the early blossom on the tree of faith.  ~Christina Rossetti

Happy are they who give themselves to God!  They are delivered from their passions, from the judgments of others, from their malice, from the tyranny of their sayings, from their cold and wretched mocking, from the misfortunes which the world distributes to wealth, from the unfaithfulness and inconstancy of friends, from the wiles and snares of the enemy, from our own weakness, from the misery and brevity of life, from the horrors of a profane death, from the cruel remorse attached to wicked pleasures, and in the end from the eternal condemnation of God.  We are delievered from this countless mass of evils, because placing our will entirely in the hands of God, we want only what God wants, and thus we find his consolation in faith, and consequently hope in the midst of all sufferings.  What weakness it would be then to fear to give ourselves to God and to undertake too soon so desirable a state!  ~Francois Fenelon

Monday, May 9, 2011

In Honor of My Mom...A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Well, it's not surprising that this post is a day late.  Because my mom was kind of characterized by being late :) .  'A day late and a dollar short.' -- I don't know if my mom ever said this, but she probably did.  Because she was famous for busting out little quotes like this and then laughing herself silly at what she had just said.  And that quote fits her nicely, actually.  She didn't have a whole lot in the way of monetary things.  But in the end, none of that really matters, does it. 

It's who you lived it for that matters.

My mother passed away on Feb. 17, 2007.  She was the picture of sacrifice. She never, ever did anything for herself. She sacrificed her personal time, her money, her whole life really, for us. She was one of the most giving persons I know. She raised five children all by herself and somehow kept her sanity--well, maybe partly kept her sanity :) . She always had time to talk on the phone, watch her grandkids, listen to our 'funny' stories. She had an off-the-wall sense of humor. She had a beautiful smile and fun laugh. She didn't have a materialistic bone in her body. Now, don't get me wrong. She wasn't perfect. There were times she made me mad (really mad, if I'm going to be honest! :) )  But one thing is for sure, she was ALWAYS there for us. And she loved us more than her own life.  Since her death, I have learned so much from thinking back over her life. I have gotten a small human 'glimpse' of Jesus and his sacrifice for me in the sacrificial life my mom lived for my siblings and me. Jesus died for me so that I could live; my mom died to her own 'life' so that I could have the life I now have.

This year was the first year that I can really say that I enjoyed Mother's Day--that it was more joyful for me than it was sad.  One of time's healing aspects, I suppose.  Before this year, the void was just too big.  It brought with it a stream of raw emotions.  The void is definitely still there, but it is not as painful.  I can look back on those memories now and--just enjoy.  And look around me at my five dear children and--just enjoy.  Exactly what my mom would want me to do on a day designed to celebrate motherhood. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Destructible Sin of Pride

Pride--the sin that got Satan himself thrown out of heaven.  The sin that I would daresay is the most dangerous and blinding.  The one we often have a hard time seeing in ourselves.  The sin that has self at the core like no other.  

Lately, one of our children has been struggling with this sin.  Now I know we are all going to struggle with pride to some degree because we are human.  Since the fall of man, it has been etched into our sinful nature.  However my concern for this particular child is that he has become dominated by a prideful spirit.  I've realized that the danger of pride running amok in one's life is that it results in blindness.  He ends up no longer being able to see it.  He has justified, excused or accused for so long, that he no longer takes ownership in any conflict.  He cannot see his sin.  Oh, that is such a bad place to be.

The 1828 Webster Dictionary has quite the defining list for pride:

1. Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others.

All pride is abject and mean.

Those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Dan.4.

2. Insolence; rude treatment of others; insolent exultation.

3. Generous elation of heart; a noble self-esteem springing from a consciousness of worth.

4. Elevation; loftiness.

5. Decoration; ornament; beauty displayed.

6. Splendid show; ostentation.

7. That of which men are proud; that which excites boasting.

I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. Zech.9. Zeph.3.

Pride, v.t. With the reciprocal pronoun, to pride one's self, to indulge pride; to take pride; to value one's self; to gratify self-esteem. They pride themselves in their wealth, dress or equipage. He prides himself in his achievements.

As we have been praying for this child, we have been examining our own hearts in this area, too.  We have been asking the Lord to 'search our hearts and know our thoughts and see if there be any grievous way in us (Psalm 139:23-24).'  God has opened my eyes to blind places in my own heart and has helped me to further understand this grievous sin of pride.

In the Bible, pride is associated with people who were ruthless, hateful and downright evil.  It is associated with actions that are in opposition to the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control).  James 4:6 tells us that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  On one hand, this verse is chilling:  when I am prideful, God opposes me. Standing in direct opposition of God is a scary place to be.   On the other hand, this verse is full of hope:  when I humble myself, I receive an extra portion of His grace.  Grace is poured into me--His free, unmerited love.  Grace is poured into me--His favorable influence of the Spirit, enabling me to respond and live in His power.  I guess it comes down to one question, really--Am I going to choose to stand against God with Him opposing me, or to stand with God, receiving His blessing?

Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.  Another chilling verse.  Of course, we are all going to mess up, make mistakes and fall.  Sometimes God uses a fall of some sort to teach us humility that we otherwise wouldn't have learned.  That is, if we are willing to learn.  Ultimately, therein lies the question:  Are you teachable?

Being unteachable is really at the root of this heart-issue of pride.  Choosing to not come up under authority = Unteachable.  A 'know it all' mentality = Unteachable.  Not allowing a voice into your life because you feel they are beneath you in age, experience, etc. = Unteachable.

Lastly, I have come to another conclusion lately in regard to the sin of pride:  A heart that is full of pride has a leaky mouth.  Yes, the poisonous venom of pride in one's life has a tendency to escape through the mouth. This should not surprise us because Luke 6:45 says that 'out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks.'  'Leaky mouth syndrome' comes out in a variety of ways.  Sometimes it's in the form of arrogance.  Sometimes it's mean-spirited gossip.  Sometimes it's in the form of blame-shifting, justifying or excusing.  Sometimes it's in the form of 'victim mentality', the 'woe is me' syndrome.  Whatever the form, it's primary goal is to exalt self, rather than exalt God and others.  As believers, the New Testament commands us to 'love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength' and 'love others as ourselves'.   Thus, I think we have come full circle once again:  Exalting self opposes God and 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble'.

Really, it comes down to one thing: Jesus. Jesus died for every one of our sins, including this one. My child, myself and everyone of us must humble ourselves and repent of this sin if we want to walk in freedom of it. It's a daily walk of examining ourselves, coming to the foot of the cross in humility and recieving grace.

Dear Lord,

I need a healthy heart check this morning.  Open my eyes in regard to the poisonous sin of pride.  I come before your throne of grace, asking for help in time of need.  I want to experience freedom in all areas of my life, especially in my 'blind spots'.  Open up my eyes!  Give me your eyes to see!

Help my children not fall prey to the life-taking sin of pride.  For that child in which I see pride dominating, I ask that you would open up his eyes to it.  Replace pride with 'life-giving' humility.  I know You are able to do this because You are in the business of trading death for life.  I ask for a transaction to occur on this day--I ask that Jesus' blood pump life into my child's heart and also into my own heart.  May it pump through and through so that all that we say and do will bring life and not death. 

Jesus, be my All in All today--give me Your ability, Your strength and Your power to walk in humility.  Only You can do this in me.

In Your precious name I pray,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Raining down tears

When I was in college I spent a summer in Europe. The day that I left to come back to the states, it was pouring down rain. My host family said, 'it is so sad you are leaving; the sky is even sad--it is pouring down tears.' Well, I thought of that very statement this morning as I awoke to rain and as it has continued to rain all the day long. Because today we had to say good-bye. Today it felt like the sky was sad and raining down its tears.

Dear friends, Tom and Ross--close to our heart friends--left Louisville today to move to Cleveland, Ohio. They are planting a church off of our church. We are going to miss them so much. He was our pastor; but more than that, he was a friend. She was our pastor's wife, but more than that, she was a friend. Watched my four boys wrestle Tom to the ground over and over and over last night. Watched him teach my oldest how to throw a knuckle curve ball. Watched him play football with them...oh, bittersweet, it was.

Special, special people, those two. We might be losing two incredibly gifted people, but today Cleveland is gaining. I am happy for the people of Cleveland today. Just still grieving the loss here. :(

Looking forward to the months and years ahead to see how God moves in the city of Cleveland. There are a multitude of people here in the 'Ville praying and cheering this kingdom work on! Who knew a year ago so many in Louisville would have such a vested prayerful interest in a city on the border of Northern Ohio? Who knew? I guess God did. I guess that's how He works best--always moving, dividing and shaking things up in the beloved interest of His people.

Anywho, Anyhow, Anyway--through all the moving and changing--one thing will always remain the same:


P.S.  Get that guest bedroom ready!  And, for crying outloud, START TEXTING!