Saturday, July 06, 2013

Water jars of the heavens

The idea of travel always appeals to me. Something refreshing. A get away to breathe in air. But different air. Far away from home air. And just be a tourist. Before I had kids, Brian and I traveled the world. And I always thought tourists were a bit goofy. 

Now I want to be one. A tourist. Somewhere. Goofy or not. 

We are that couple. The hand-holding, not knowing where they are going, walking slow, laughing about the littlest thing, loving-the-journey couple. 

And we are in paradise. Italy. My favorite place in the world. And Monte Carlo. It oozes fanciness and beauty. And coolness. 


We splurged. Just a little. A $4 fedora at the market. A few shirts. 

Not a day has gone by since we returned from our trip that I haven't thought of this city, our time there. Just my hunk of burning love and I. 



We lived experience to experience. Moment to moment. No plan. No agenda. Here is just day from our dream trip wonderfulness in Monte Carlo... I will try to post a few more from the other cities. 

Top 10 reasons I loved getting away to Europe with the love of my life:
10. He's cute to look at.
9. Sleeping until we just got good-and-done. (Yes, 12 hours + almost EVERYnight.)
8. Hearing my girls profess their love when we got back. 'Mommy, you are the best. And you are the best Mommy for me.'
7. Staring across the table at him having hundreds of interesting conversations...all of which had a start and a finish with not one interruption.
6. Room service breakfast-in-bed.  
5. Wearing a dozen different outfits....ZERO of which had baby slobber on the shoulder. 
4. Taking lots of pictures WITH him, not of them.
3. No diapers to change. Or bottoms to wipe.
2. Lingering over morning coffee with NO plans for the day. 
1. Celebrating that GOD has poured out his blessing and grace on us and given us this marriage that is better than my wildest dreams. NOT because of something we have done. We deserve nothing. But out of his GREAT MERCY. 
So of course it doesn't work for all to vacation in Europe. Or even in the next city. Be intensional about dating your husband. Love him by putting him first. Before the kids. I can ASSURE you, that's where he wants to be. And I can tell you from experience that it has strengthened my marriage to be without kids and pour into him. 

And just as soon as Brian and I returned from our European trip, our week bumped right into our annual family July 4th vacation week at the beach. It was a super charged family week. My sister and her family were there. Brian's sister and her family were there. Brian's Mom and Dad live there. It's just heavenly.

_______________________________________________



The woman walked up to Julie and me and our many many small blond babies and said:

'Oh my goodness...they are all blond....and they look so similar in age....and how many are there?' 

Julie said: 'Haha! There are 7 of them. Their ages are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.' 
'Wow' the smiling lady says. 'Your parents just love being Grandparents to all these cute ones, don't they???' 
She looked at Julie. Then me. 
Smiling and vigorously nodding up and down.



Julie and I reacted in the same way...my eyes fell a little as I decided how to answer that one....how terribly sad. It sometimes feels like the full weight of the loss of Mom and Dad hits me all over again. 

This was one of those moments. 


Do I tell her, 'I have no parents to enjoy all of these sweet children.' 

No. 
Do I cry on her shoulder as I pour out my guts to her? 
No.

I am a truth speaker....does she really want my story? Both my parents are gone. Died a year ago.... 
No.  

So we both smiled back at her and quietly mumbled the same response. 

'Yeah.'

It's hard. Still very very hard. Mom would have been with us at the beach this week. I missed them very much. 

'There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides across the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.' Deuteronomy 33:26



My husband is a big hulk of a man. Clearly not in a fat way. In a big 'man's man' way. He and my Dad are very different. My Dad was the type that drove cars fast and fixed stuff. Fixing stuff was his hobby. Brian played college football and knows how to kill stuff and trap stuff and gut stuff and throw stuff and is good at any sport. And he looks good doing it. 
But the thing I love watching him do most is parent these girls.




I am LONGING for the peace and paradise of heaven. Many friends around me continue to struggle. Cancer, broken marriages, hurting people. It makes me long to just snuggle up with the Lord. Just like in the morning my girls want to cuddle up in my lap. Oh I just want to do that with the Lord. 

One of the names of God in the Old Testament is El Shaddai. How cool that the word El means 'mighty' or 'strong'. El Shaddai is most often translated 'God Almighty', 'God the powerful one,' or 'God, the mighty one.'

Shaddai comes from the Hebrew root word shad, meaning “breast.” It gives us a wonderful picture of God as “the one who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies.” 

The word Shaddai describes power, but not in the usual sense. It is the power to nourish, to sustain life, to quiet ones longings. God’s name El Shaddai, is used 48 times in the Old Testament, 31 of those occurring in the book of Job.

The Hebrew root word shad may seem a little odd at first. But I just keep thinking about a newborn baby. If you have ever held a crying, restless or HUNGRY baby in your arms, and then watch the calm that sweeps over him when nursed, you understand. If, like Brian, you haven’t experienced it, but witnessed it, you get it too! The crying stops. The agitation is gone. The hunger is satisfied, and anxiousness melts away. And to that child, the mother is all-powerful because she is the supplier of the life-giving, soul satisfying nourishment.

For those of you have have EVER nursed, YOU KNOW. This is something that I just can't shake. I keep thinking of this example. It's not always the wailing and noisy crying of a newborn that gets me, it's also their face. Sheer unrest, almost panic. But when pulled up close, the calm that sweeps over them from head to toe is immediate and such a relief.


What a beautiful image of our God who satisfies our every need, calms our every fear, and soothes our every longing. No matter what it is that you are battling today, God is El Shaddai. You can cling to the truth that He is The All Sufficient One. He is live-giving. He wants to give, not take. Nuzzle up to El Shaddai, like a baby to a Mama. Let him calm you, your hurts, soothe and nourish you. 
 Cutie cousin.

'Open my eyes, that I may see, wonderful things in your law.' Psalm 119:18


I love this new verse I've just found. 'Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?' 
Job 38:37 

Water jars of the heavens! God emptied the water jars of the heavens onto us. It's rainy here in paradise. But only a few days of rain as it turns out. It was NOT like normal rain. Or normal summer-showers kind of rain. 


More like monsoon rain. Wake you up in the night kind of rain. The I'm-not-sure-the-earth-can-drink-anymore-at-all kind of rain. But we are at the beach. And we are wet, who cares if it's from the sea, the sky or the pool. Kids just like being wet. 

'To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.' Deuteronomy 10:14
1 Corinthians 1:13
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 
6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 
8 Love never fails. 
The kids were all piling on the golf cart. 

And one too many fussy comments had been said. 

It was hot. 
They were all sweaty. And agitated. 

Six kids 7-and-under in one house for a week. They were done with the closeness, I guess. 


So they were piling on the golf cart, I was staying at the house to wait for the carpet cleaner. They were coming to remove the lipstick that Vivian had so artistically used to decorate the white carpet. As Brian drove off with all the kids I said over and over, 'Love is patient, love is kind...love is patient, love is kind....love is patient, love is kind.' 


But its me that needs it. It starts with me. I must teach patience by being patient. 

God doesn't want me to be like the world. The world teaches women to be tough, callus.
The Lord wants me us to be tender and gentle. Kind. Loving. 
These kids learn it from me. We are their greatest teacher. 

This week, Brian the girls and I are memorizing these 5 verses:



35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

'The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.' Ezra 8:22

Gods gracious hand is on me as I look to him. 

It does seem that I am trying to keep Baby alive most days. And it's a wee-bit harder these days. She loves to almost electrocute herself by dangerously pulling off all of the outlet covers. Then she tries to short circuit our neighborhood by sticking her fingers in the sockets. She loves to crawl to the edge of the brick stairs leading out to the garage. And then almost pumple herself down them all while calling after the girls as they ride off carefree on their scooters. 

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14 NIV)

Baby accidentally said a new word at the beach. Then she was so happy with our reaction, she did it again. 'Kiss.'


The best quote I have heard recently...



You mother as well as you know your Father




I want to mother like I have memorized the face of our 




Father. 




Love is PATIENT. Love is KIND. 








 Another picture of cute cousins. :) haha Sorry Julie, I had to. 


























The highlight of my girls LIVES. 4th of July Water gun / Golf cart parade. I tell Brian every year 'I add months to my life laughing so hard at all of it.' The kids LOVE it. 


 I'm married to a man who doesn't age in terms of growing bored with life or taking himself seriously. Actually, he doesn't age physically either. He's forever a BIG KID.









The picture below is Julie's little one, Sam. He is the one who was asking about the 'NEW MOMMY' once they 
got back home last night. Aka. Me. 'New Mommy.'


He told Julie that the new Mommy is like a dinosaur. Which I totally took as a compliment considering how much he likes dinosaurs....right? :) 

For these kids, when your Mom is an identical twin, things are interesting. We are forever trying to mix them up and play tricks on them. Some of them fall for it...most don't. Kids are so perceptive and have a keen attention to detail. And then there is trying to fool a baby. Perhaps the most fun. We swapped my little one back and forth. She studied us. Our faces. We would each tell her we were her Mommy and she'd look from one face to the other. A sweet expression of confused + thrilled + amused. I think she thought. Cool, two Mommy's is definitely better than one. 





Watching the action. Pensively. Thumb firmly in place. 
 They caught me red handed. I was way across the yard, zoomed in on them...









This kid showed up and asked serious as a heart attack. 'Do you need somemore man power?' I just nodded and said 'Yes.' He picked up a water gun and went to town helping squirt everyone who passed by. 


She warmed up to it all. After 20 minutes or so. 
Leaving her perch on the golf cart...to find a new perch. 


 Don't mess with this water gun toting group!









For the past three years, I have stood on the SC shoreline with my family as a group of military aircraft have flown over my head. The beach is always packed as the huge airplanes lumber slowly over 1000's lining the beach. I always wonder how they keep them flying in the air at that speed. And I wonder if the scene is as beautiful from the sky as it is standing shoulder to shoulder on the beach waving American flags toward the sky. The planes fly the length of South Carolina's coast line every July 4th, and as they roar overhead, I can't help but get chills. 





















 She finds a friend everywhere she goes. 









I absolutely love EVERYTHING about the chaos of these pictures. 
My heart and my arms....my life is FULL. 






Happy 4th from all of us.