Friday, July 10, 2015

10 and 10 June Edition

 June 10 was beautiful, filled with glimpses of God's glory, umbrellas, seashells, family, Canadian geese, and toes in the sand.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I Can't Even Make A Casserole

I am here.

They are there (or near there).

This winter my family has been faced with many trials.  This winter God has been teaching me that He is enough.  He is, was, and always will be enough.

368 miles is FAR!  It is too far away for ME to be able to rock sick babies.  It is too far away for ME to drive my mother-in-law to physical therapy for her shoulder.  It is too far away for ME to sit by my grandmother's hospital bed.  It is too far away for ME to hold my brother's hand as he endures yet another round of testing for his eye.  It is too far away for ME to hug my sister-in-law to ease her fears about my brother's eye.  It is too far away for ME to be at the hospital RIGHT NOW as my mother goes through a 3 hour stress test for her heart.  It is too far away for ME to even make a casserole.  It is too far away.

But, honestly, my casseroles aren't that great.  Sure; I add some kind of meat and some kind of potato and a random vegetable (just to make it look healthier) and, of course, butter and cheese.

But my God, the One Almighty God, makes AWESOME casseroles.  He adds HIS strength and  HIS grace.  He mixes in HIS mercy and HIS forgiveness and HIS peace and garnishes it with HIS Scripture, like

Exodus 14:14
The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.
Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Now, that is some good casserole!

God is teaching me, in the uncomfortable ways that He sometimes teaches us, that I don't need to hug sister-in-laws or hold brother's hands or rock sick babies because they are all resting in HIS Everlasting Arms.  I don't need to worry about physical therapy appointments or sitting by hospital beds because HE is the Great Physician and the Calmer of Storms. 368 miles is no distance for God.

But what can I do from 368 miles away?  I can pray.  I can fall down on my face before His throne and lift my family up into His presence and THAT is all I need to do.

Thank you, God, for being enough ALL THE TIME EVERYWHERE and for making the best casseroles.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Her name is Anabell

Her name is Anabell and she is amazing.

She is everything I strive to be in a wife, in a mother, in a grandmother and great-grandmother, in a sister, in a friend, in a woman.

She is quiet strength and warm hugs.  She is a good and faithful servant of God and a solid place to land.  She loves and cared for my Papaw all the days of his life and she gave me my Mama, who gave me the WORLD.

She washes your hair so squeaky clean that it "talks to you" for Sunday School, feeds you raw turnips when you're catching junebugs in the summer, and makes you a bowl of Rice Krispies before bed when you spend the night.

She laughs so hard sometimes that no sound comes out.

She plays the part of Hulk in my son's Avenger games and plays jewelry dress-up with my daughter.

She makes an excellent human shield in paper-wad fights.

She is beauty, charm, strength, and grace.  She is the glue.

Her name is Anabell and she is amazing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Nickname From Jesus

Have you ever had a nickname?

I've had some nicknames in my life, some good, some not-so-good, but usually they are a sign of affection.  I mean, who doesn't use Carrot Top as an affectionate term?

This week, I've had nicknames on my mind.  My Bible study group is studying the book of Mark and we're in Chapter 3, where the Bible lists the 12 disciples Jesus appointed.  In this small section of this  book of the Bible, there are 10 nicknames.  In just those few verses.

Simon - Peter
John - Sons Of Thunder (alone with his brother, James) - Boanerges - the brother of James
James - Sons of Thunder (along with his brother, John) - son of Zebedee - Boanerges
James - the son of Alphaeus
Simon - the Zealot
Judas Iscariot - who betrayed him(Jesus)

So, I got to thinking, "I wonder if Jesus has a nickname for me."

Now, Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." and 1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."
So, I know that Jesus loves me, He chose me,  and there is no condemnation for me, but....does that mean I don't sometimes drive Him a little nutty?

I love my children.  I cherish my children.  However, in those times that they drive me coo coo for cocoa puffs, I have given them nicknames (my husband, too).  Some of them you know (Mass Hysteria, Pandemonium, and Chaos); some of them you don't (Flower Pot, Booger Butt Jones, Edna, and Vernon).

When I make Jesus shake His head in exasperation, do you think He has a nickname for me?  Would it be Sally Stubborn?  Darlene Overly-Dramatic?  Tina Talks-A-Lot?  (My money's on Tina Talks-A-Lot, by the way)

But what nickname would I like to have?  What nickname do I pray to some day deserve?  What nickname do I hope Jesus one day gives me?  Franny Fisher of Men?  Charlene Cheerful Giver?  Greta Good and Faithful Servant? (Matt 4:19, 2 Cor 9:7, Matt 25:23).  Most days, I would settle for Lucy Listens.

What do you think your nickname from Jesus would be?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

To Those Who Have Wondered

"Wondered what?", you ask.

Let's begin with the crux of the matter.

Do you see this cross-section of laundry?

Yes?  Now, multiply that by 1,327.  Got it?  If you will, imagine that alarming amount of clean, unfolded laundry in 14 separate laundry baskets.  These laundry baskets will vary in size, shape, and color, some are blue and some are black, some are missing handles and most are cracked, one will impale you with spikes if you carry it the wrong way.  Are you with me?  Finally, imagine them piled on top of each other in a haphazard manner.  In your mind, you should see The Great Wall of China or the walls of Jericho, for you Bible scholars.  This is the current situation at the foot of our bed.  Poor Mass Hysteria can barely make it to his side of the bed and Chaos fears that these baskets may fall and crush his tiny body as he walks by.  Laundry Avalanche!!
These are their faces as they consider the massive laundry phenomenon that is our bedroom.

So, back to the original question...What would Rachel do to avoid all this laundry?

Would she alphabetize her spices?

Most assuredly.

Would she attempt new yoga poses?  Yes; there will, however, not be a picture of that attempt as some forms of humiliation are better left to the imagination.

Would she take a lovely photo of a shoe in the sun

and then subsequently plan places to hang the aforementioned shoe picture?
Without a doubt.

Would she watch a two-hour block of Grey's Anatomy reruns?  She certainly would.

Would she roll her hair with 25-year-old ConAir Hot Rollers?
Indeed.  Indeed.

Would she call her friend, Jennifer Early, and have a 1 hour discussion about childbirth and the heinousness of fruit cake cookies?

Yes, indeedy.

Would she write a blog post detailing ways that she would avoid folding laundry?
The proof is in the pudding.

So, to those of you who have wondered, Rachel will go to disturbing lengths to avoid folding laundry.
Thank you and have a nice day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Please Do Not Feed The Reindeer Rated PG-13

As I pack the final Christmas decorations into a box to be stored in the basement for next year and reflect on the beautiful Christmas we just enjoyed,  I am thankful that my children know that we celebrate Christmas to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Happy Birthday, Jesus!

5-year-old Chaos also found Santa Claus completely fascinating this year.  Every school day in December, his teacher would read his class a new and exciting book about Santa or the reindeer or snowmen or the North Pole, so when he decided that we had to leave carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, I wasn't completely surprised.

Enlisting Mom's help because Santa always visits the kids at Nana and PaDaddy's house, I requested that she have available milk, cookies, and carrots.  In true Nana-fashion, she exceeded expectations and bought the really good milk in the yellow jug that my kids can't get here in Ohio and cookies with reindeer on them and 2-foot-long, dirt still in the creases, organically grown, leafy top still attached, beautiful carrots.  I have an amazing mother.

We finally arrived in Tennessee and Christmas Eve was upon us.  We started to prepare the meal for Santa and the reindeer in the kitchen. We poured milk.  We put cookies on a plate.  I walked toward the sink with carrots in hand to wash them when Chaos shouted, "No!  Reindeer like carrots fresh, like in the wild."  Okkkkaaaayyy...

This presented us with a few problems.
1)  For weeks, Chaos had been telling me that he couldn't wait to see what kind of teeth-prints the reindeer would make on the carrots.
2)  I knew that I alone would be called upon to make the teeth-prints on these carrots.
3)  Ever observant Chaos would notice if these carrots were washed before teeth-prints were made.
4)  I am a child of the 70's and 80's and I know that there are starving children in Africa, which would prohibit me from spitting out the carrots after I'd made these teeth-prints.
5)  If the reindeer did not eat most or all of the carrots, Chaos would use this excuse to reinforce his anti-vegetable stance.
6)  Reindeer do not dip their carrots in ranch.

Chaos wanted to put 9 carrots on the plate.  You know, Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?  That's right; Rudolph makes 9.  Remind me to thank Chaos' teacher for his thorough reindeer education.

I talked him down to 2 carrots, citing that the sleigh is miniature and the reindeer are known as "8 tiny reindeer" and could not possibly eat a carrot of that magnitude alone.  Who knew parenting also required a working knowledge of Christmas carols, Christmas poems, Christmas stories, etc?

That evening, at midnight, after the children (and their father) were fast asleep, I sneaked around my mother and father's den, playing Santa and enjoying my cookies, room temperature milk, and carrots, while my father, Wayne Olinger, watched and laughed.  Notice he didn't offer to eat a carrot with me.

Remind me again why Mom didn't buy the cute matchstick carrots that go in salads.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Eyeball Closeups

Let's talk about FaceTime.  It's kind of a miracle, you know.  It's some real George Jetson stuff and I'm incredibly thankful that those avocado green phones that attached to your wall and sported a
9, 374 foot cord morphed into this wondrous thing that allows us to stay connected to our family so far away.  I'm not just saying this because Verizon Wireless pays for all the peanut butter in this house, either.  I really like eyeball closeups.

Mass Hysteria's


Aunt Lorrie's

Meet the family.  We have Nana and PaDaddy and UJ and Aunt Lorrie.  They are a special, special bunch.  Some are weirder than others......Dad.

Why, just today, Mass Hysteria, Pandemonium, Chaos, and I were traipsing through the frozen waffle section of Meijer when Dad first attempted to FaceTime.  I shouted, "We're buying waffles; let me call you back!".  He shouted, "OK!" then proceeded to pocket dial me 6 times.  I never claimed he was good with technology (they still have that avocado green phone in perfect working order in their basement).

So, before I tell you that he FaceTimed us so that he and the kids could snoop under a Christmas tree 7 hours away from our current location, let me tell you that my Dad loves to snoop under Christmas trees.  He likes to shake packages (maybe not a desired quality in his chosen profession as Freight Delivery Specialist - I just made that title up, by the way); he likes to guess the contents of packages; he likes to write strange paragraphs on packages (a highly interesting one involving three little kittens losing their mittens and Nancy Kerrigan comes to mind).   Today, he decided to do all those things with his grandkids through FaceTime and then sweetened the pot for Mass Hysteria by showing him the country ham awaiting him in the fridge(Ohio doesn't have country ham; poor, sad Ohio).  They have an interesting relationship.

 Also, I've spoken to my brother, Josh (the kids call himUJ - Uncle Josh) twice today, first about the breakfast casserole making procedure, second about the result of the afore-mentioned breakfast casserole making procedure.  I mentioned in passing that I'd just FaceTimed Dad and we decided to give it a go!  The experiment was a success - I saw my lovely sister-in-law and their first Christmas tree, tonight's supper on the stove, a couple of cats, and the way they've set up their house since the wedding. Though , if we're being completely honest, Josh talks with his face really close to the tiny camera hole on the iPad and when he takes you outside to see the Christmas lights, you're going to have flashbacks of the Blair Witch Project.  I mentioned that to him and he and Mass Hysteria began Blair Witch impersonations (I am so scared!  I don't know what's out there.  We're going to die here.  I am so scared! Blair Witch Project, Act 2 Scene 6).  They have an interesting relationship.

Thank You, God, that You gave me this weird, wonderful family.  Thank You that they love our kids and are amazing Christian role models for them.  Thank You for FaceTime to enjoy them on random Saturdays and thank You for eyeball closeups.