Friday, February 16, 2007


Laura has a definite love for 'ditches'. Whenever she hears the sound of running water hitting suds she comes to investigate. If 'ditches' actually seems to be a possibility, she's immediately assessing which kitchen chair would be the easiest to extract from its current position and push over to the sink. After all, helping with 'ditches' is one of her favorite things.

When the thought of having two extra hands helping me by splashing suds, taking the clean dishes I've put in the rinse pile and returning them to the water, pourings sudsy water across the counter and down the front of the cabinets, and in general, spreading the suds as far as the water will take it, I interfere with her efforts with a stern "No. I don't need any help today." However, Laura isn't one to take such things so literally. She will continue to maneuver that chair towards the sink. Another "No" from me is inevitable. She ignores it once again. I move in to what I refer to as my blocking position. I'll stand right in path of the chair, preventing her from going any further in her chosen path. Not one to give up lightly, she'll quickly lay out another plan and the chair will veer to one side in an effort to get around her roadblock. Quickly I move over, hoping to thwarth her plans once again. Just as quickly she plans a new path and the chair veers once again.

After tiring of this, I'll just sit down in the chair making it impossible for her to move. The first few times I did this she stopped. Dejectedly she'd walk away, shoulders slumped and head hanging. But this didn't last. One day she hit on a new plan. As soon as I sat on the chair she was back at the table getting another chair! Diligently she pushed the new chair towards the sink, making sure to go around the now immovable one in her way. After laughing quietly to myself and marveling at her determination, I got up, sternly said "No" once again and told her to put the chairs away. Once again the sagging shoulders and hanging head told me that her sadness was complete. Slowly she put the chairs back, came over to hug my leg and then quietly headed to the family room to find a playmate.

As I was contemplating the determination of my daughter one morning it struck me that the Lord is a lot like her. He'll want us to go along with his plan for us. After all he's told me time and time again that "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11) However, we tend to block his plans with our own desires and selfishness. Wanting things done our way and not his. We stand in his way, blocking him from blessing us which means that we then must step over in to his new path, created to help get us back to where his ultimate goal for us lies. Sometimes we do just sit and muddle for awhile, thinking we are doing the right thing. I'm sure the Lord sighs and waits, planning a new route for us. When he thinks we might be ready he starts again, attempting to redirect the path around our misconceptions. Hoping that this time we'll make it where he wants us to go. Loving determination. Our heavenly Father has so much patience with us. So much love. And he'll pursue us with even more determination than my daughter uses to get to the 'ditches'.

Isn't it nice to know? :)

Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways ackowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Digging Out

The Valentine's Day Blizzard of 2007 may well be the beginning of "The Legend of Daddy" that will live on in our kids lives for years. Facing a day off due to the blizzard, my husband knew that he'd be tackling the driveway at some point. He paced periodically in front of the window going head to head with Mother Nature, trying to outsmart her in predicting when it would be best to go out and begin the Great Snow Removal Efforts of 2007. He'd note the growing snowfall and whince realizing he'd have to wait a bit before going out so he'd only have to shovel once. She'd become complacent and the snow would go from near white out conditions to barely a flurry. He'd get all excited as his pace picked up on front of the window. He'd gather his forces and begin the efforts to get everyone in to snowpants, coats, scarves, hats and gloves only to look out the window and realize She'd done him in again and it was snowing even harder now. And so the morning went.

Finally, later in the morning they could stand it no longer, and Don and the boys headed out to shovel the drive. Looking out the window just 10 minutes later I realized that the boys were much more interested in walking through the deep snow that went from their knees to their waist, depending on the drift, and Don was left to conquer the driveway on his own. After an hour or so I called them in to warm up. Don had managed to get about half of the driveway done but still had to tackle the rest as well as the great wall of ice the snow plows had left us as a gift at the bottom of the drive. As they headed in the boys mentioned that they were impressed with Dad's efforts and that perhaps after lunch they'd help.

We ate in relative silence as they devoured their warm meal and contemplated the next foray in to the winter wonderland. After finishing their hot chocolate, and with grim determination, they bundled up less than an hour later and headed back out once again. Screams of joy wafted back at me as they spilled out of the garage in to sunshine, an unexpected gift. However, when I checked on them about an hour later, the driveway was not finished. What was finished were two forts, each several feet high and reinforced with much of the snow that had previously been on the driveway. Crouched down behind one were the boys, furiously making snowballs and lobbing them with all their might across the driveway towards the other snowfort. I can only imagine they hoped to catch Dad as he popped up to lob his own in their direction.

When I glanced over to Don's fort I noted that he had taken a much more leisurely approach. Nestled down in the bunker, he was staring at the sky, watching the clouds and enjoying the sun streaming through the branches of our favorite tree. Periodically he'd take a snowball and lob it over his head towards their fort. Quickly I got the boys attention and shared the situation with them. They crept back to their fort and began to stockpile snowballs on a sled. Five minutes later I saw them sneak across the driveway, sled in tow, where the positioned themselves as high up his fort as they could. Working as a team they began an all out assault. Poor Dad didn't even see it coming. However, he was prepared beyond our wildest dreams. Immediately he began rapid fire of his own stockpile and before long I had three snowcovered, happy, exhausted boys in for a quick warm up before tackling the last of the driveway.

Unknown to us, our neighbor had been watching the whole thing while clearing his own driveway with one of those miracles of modern science - the snowblower. While Don and the boys were in warming up, he managed a sneak attack of his own. I imagine he got some joy out of clearing away the immense snow plowed pile at the bottom of our drive, all the while mentally rehearsing the 'I can conquer you" speech we give ourselves when must undo the good work the plows have done. When the troops finally headed outside to finish the job they were greeted with a cleared path. So what did they do? They immediately dove in to their snow forts and had another round. Score one for Daddy!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sometimes You Wonder

Sometimes you wonder why. Why is it that you can spend all night tossing and turning and struggling to get to sleep, finally achieving this great feat only 15 minutes before the alarm rings? Why is it that you can speak your child's name 15 times and get no response but their friends whisper their name in the midst of playing a video game because they need help and they answer right away? Why is it that you can spend an hour teaching a lesson on a wonderfully interesting subject where great conversations have led to interesting ah-ha moments and your son can't remember a thing about it four hours later at dinner? Why is it that God created men and women so differently and then ordained them to live together?

Sometimes you wonder when. When will your daughter begin to understand that the world does not revolve around her every whim? When will your house stay clean for more than an hour in the middle of the day? When will a sunny day happen at the same time that you happen to have more time to enjoy it? When will your ship come in?

Sometimes you wonder how. How will you manage all of the house repairs that need done and still keep within your budget? How will you keep your children headed in the right direction without losing their creativity or zest for life, and yet give them the ability to have a tender heart towards others, achieve self-control and know that they have a place in life even if it isn't in the same field as everyone else? How will you get everything done this week? How will you lose that weight that keeps following you around no matter how hard you try to lose it?

Sometimes you wonder. But then you realize that you only need to let go. Let go and let someone who is greater than you handle all of life's questions. The big and the small. The easy and the difficult. The confused and the sane. All of them.

Now I wonder how many times I'm going to have to remember that...