The Runaway

So we reached a parenting milestone that I was really hoping we never would.

Ellie comes running down the stairs holding a picture that Abby drew and she’s crying and shaking it at us. After a few muffled minutes, we calm her down and realize that Abby had told her she was running away.  And she had drawn a picture to prove it. It was the outside of our house, complete with our whole family on one side (except Abby) and her on the other side, walking away.

We were understandably very sad in the picture. She, however, did not look fazed. She got a straight-line mouth instead of a sad one. I think I was waving. It was a pretty rough stick-figure scene.

“Abigail Grace, I need you to come to the kitchen right now so we can talk about this.”

I could hear her footsteps in the upstairs hallway as my mind flashed back to one of my poorly-planned attempts to get attention run away from home.

We had just moved to Cincinnati from Japan and I was about to start sixth grade. Let’s just say my idea of fashion wasn’t necessarily in line with my new American school, but for some reason I had an image of what I wanted to wear and I begged my parents to take me to the mall so I could buy it.

In the event that you’re wondering, the dream outfit included a shirt, skirt, tights, headband, and shoes that were all various and inharmonious shades of magenta.

Magenta. I was always a step ahead on the trends.

So anyway, we went to Sears. Actually I think it was Sears-Roebuck. I don’t know. I just know it was 1988 and it was time to rock some McKids clothing.

In the event that you are puzzled by that last sentence because you were in Benetton or the Limited checking out Outback Red, let me tell you. The real party wasn’t at Camp Beverly Hills.

It was at Sears. Right by Ronald McDonald himself.

And yes, it was a clothing line launched by McDonalds, display complete with a 7 foot plastic cut-out of the red-headed-creepy-clown man. I don’t see how people resisted. I wasn’t that strong, I can tell you that.

I settle on this stunning ensemble (not one that they had put together, and kudos to me for shaking it up) and walk over to my dad to show it to him. Apparently Ronald had marked up his prices a bit more than my dad was willing to pay, and he shook his head and kept browsing.

I was devastated.

So much so that I decided to make a bold proclamation. One that should send fear to the hearts of every parent.

I took my clothes back and said, “OK, fine dad. You know what? You don’t even have to buy anything, so just FORGET IT.” Then, I did the dramatic walk-away. Nothing. He wasn’t budging. Time to step it up a notch.

(Insert “whip-around move complete with fake trembling lip” here).

“Because you know what, dad? I’m not even going home with you. I am going to live here.”

My dad looks around me while I nod my head like I’m confident about my decision.

“When you say, here, sweetie, can you tell me exactly where you mean? Cincinnati?”

Time for the big dogs, people.

“No, dad (fling hair, narrow eyes). I am going to live at Sears.”

Take that, Mr. Stingy.

I could see the breakdown in his eyes. He tried to mask his terror with a stifled laugh but I could see through it. He knew he was about to lose me to Ronald. Man, was he going to regret this for the rest of his life.

He nodded while I considered my brilliant plan. I started thinking it might not be believable so I decided to walk away. Let him think about what he had done and come find me to tell me I could indeed purchase the ticket to popularity.

He went back to browsing without saying another word, so I huffed off and found a spot on the other side of the department. I set my clothes under my head for a pillow and took off my coat to drape it over me like a blanket.

A few minutes later he peeked over the rack.

“Angela, what are you doing, honey?”

“I’m just settling in, dad. Just settling in to my new place.”

I adjusted my body around while pretending to get comfortable. There was a little T.V. playing ads for the clothing line so I continued.  Poor guy. This was going to send him right over the edge.

“I mean look, dad. They’ve got T.V., they’ve got clothes, there are all kinds of nice people, and if I get hungry, I’ll just go on down to the food court.”

“Sweetie you don’t have any money.”

“Someone will help me. Some stranger will care about me and take care of me. You just go on home and don’t worry about me.”

I flipped over, staring at the wall while trying to hear if his feet were walking away.

He kneeled next to me.

“I don’t think this is a good choice Angela. Your mother, myself, and Jennifer are going to be very sad without you at the house. But, you’re a very smart girl and if you think this is the best thing for you, I want to try and help you. Why don’t I leave a little money here with you and I will make sure the saleslady watches over you. Whenever we can, we’ll come back and visit, okay?”

Awesome. Not only was I not getting my outfit, I was going to be living next to a plastic clown.

He actually got out his wallet and as soon as I heard it shuffling around I decided maybe I needed to reconsider my offer. My heart started pounding and I sat up and looked at him.

“I don’t want Jennifer to be sad. She really needs me, you know?”

He nodded, wallet still open.

“Well, kid, I’m going to head out and I’d love it if you came with me.”

I lifted the clothes from under my head and held them out for him to take to the register.

He took them from me and smiled. So really, all my hard work had paid off, despite my little circus scare.

“Thank you dad.”

“Oh don’t thank me, honey. Thank the saleslady. She’s going to help you find the racks to hang these all back up.”

Aaaaaand cue scene.

Abby walks into the kitchen and I hold up the picture. She’s looking at it, looking at me, and seeing how this new revelation is going to shake me.

“Ellie brought this to me, honey. She said you were going to run away and find a new house to live at. I don’t want you to do that, and neither do your sisters or your daddy.”

I paused. After all, I learned from the best.

“But you are a smart girl, and if you think this is a good decision, I will help you. Why don’t you take some time to pray about it and if you still think it’s best, mommy has some very nice friends who would let you stay with them for awhile.”

Her eyes widened.

I got down on my knees and looked her dead in the eye.

“And if you decide that this is not what you want, I would like for you to rip up this picture and throw it in the trash. And I do not want to hear about it again. Understood?”

“Yes ma’am.”

She walked out of the room, and approximately 14 seconds later, returned with a shredded drawing and a new lease on life.

“I’m going to stay, momma.”

“Well I’m glad. Now go upstairs and clean your room like I asked you to an hour ago.”

“Yes ma’am.”

I looked in the trash a few minutes later and started laughing. I could hear her chronicling her failed plan to Ellie and I couldn’t believe I was already on the other end of the conversation.

Later that night, I found her getaway bag in my closet (where she knew I would NEVER find it. Clever girl…). It contained 2 princess dresses, some fake grapes, a stuffed dog and her song-writing notebook.

I have to at least give her credit for the clothing choices.

Ronald would be proud.

Help Me Help Haiti!!!

Two of my favorite bloggers ever (Ree from The Pioneer Woman and Kelly from Kelly’s Korner) had the brilliant idea to donate money for every comment left on a post. I love it. In fact, the Pioneer Woman had almost 30,000 comments!!!! If you aren’t following them online, you really should. Amazing hearts for the Lord and the kind of women who take joy in giving back from what they have received.

*Sidebar* I have never met Ree, but my dad watched the kids so I could go to her book signing. After realizing the line was going to take me several hours, I decided to leave and had Jess take a picture of me craning my neck so it kind of looks like I’m standing next to her. I actually look like a creepy stalker, but whatever. So I called my dad to tell him the scoop, and here is the conversation that followed:

Me: “Hey dad, I’m just going to head on home. The line is super long and I don’t even have my cookbook with me. Just wanted to let you know.”

Dad: “Oh, Angela. Just stay. Honey, stay. The kids are fine and I don’t mind waiting.”

Me: “It’s okay. I got to see her and it was fun to just be there. Don’t worry about it.”

Dad: “Well, okay hon. Maybe you could just say hey on your way out. She’s going to be really disappointed if she doesn’t get to meet you.”

Me: “Umm, no dad, she doesn’t even know I’m…I wanted to meet her…dad, she doesn’t, umm…”

My sweet father. It’s totally him to say that. And honestly, it doesn’t have to do with me having a blog. He’s just good at loving his kids and assuming we are the most exciting thing on the planet :) . I did get a really good laugh out of it, though.

And next time, I’m braving the cattle call and waiting in line.

I’m sure Ree would want that.

:)

Anyway, back to the important stuff…

PLEASE leave a comment. For every comment left, I will donate a quarter to Compassion International to go towards helping those in Haiti who need relief so desperately right now.

Tell your friends!!! Let’s do it together :) I’ll count ‘em up tomorrow evening.

Please remember all of those who have been affected by praying for them…

Much love,
Angie

Haiti

***Updated*** Several people have asked about their Compassion children in Haiti, and I wanted to let you know that Compassion has an excellent system of notifying sponsors once they have received information. At this point I believe their contact has been limited because of the situation but I’m sure as soon as they have details they will share them.

Dear friends,

I’m assuming you’ve heard about the earthquake that has devastated Haiti. I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of a few ways that you might be able to help.

It’s been heartbreaking to see what has happened to the children and their families.  It is an honor to be a part of the body of Christ where I know there will be hundreds of thousands willing to help.  I have seen first hand how Compassion International has changed the lives of children in desperate need.

Compassion International has put together a list of essential needs and corresponding dollar amounts.

You can access those needs by this link.

If you know of other ways to help and would like to mention them, please leave a comment with a link to that site..

And please be in prayer for these families.

Angie

The Only One

Today was a good day, but it was hard too. There were a number of things that were weighing on my mind, not the least of which was the fact that today was the day we received Audrey’s diagnosis two years ago. I spent the day with Audra at a spa (a birthday treat from her hubby…complete with a LIMO!!! Shawn, you rocked it!!!) That was amazing, and we had an awesome time. I know the Lord allowed it to happen today so I would have something to distract me.

On the way home it was snowing and I was driving really slow and reflecting on the past few years. There are situations in my life that I have prayed about over and over and I feel like the Lord is just telling me to be still. It has been a long, difficult season for many reasons and today the frustration just spilled over and reminded me that my hope is in the Lord, and that only He can love me perfectly. 

Be still, Angie. I am in control. I see you and I know you…

I would love to ask for your prayer today. My spirit is heavy with the weight of life and although I am rejoicing, it’s just been a hard day emotionally. I wanted to re-post something that I spoke about at a retreat several months ago…it was published on the (in)courage website in November as well as on several twitter links, so if you have already read it, I apologize. I just wanted to share it with you because I know it’s a message I need to remind myself of today…I pray it blesses you and encourages you to chase after the Lord as one who knows what true gratitude looks like…

The Only One

I’ve felt called to spend some time studying gratitude in an effort to work on my own negative tendencies and the Lord recently gave me an amazing glimpse into Scripture.

In Luke Chapter 17, Jesus is traveling to Jerusalem when He hears ten men with leprosy calling out to Him in desperation. Most likely, they didn’t expect a response, but they were used to announcing their ailment whenever anyone walked by.

Jesus did respond, and He instructed them to show themselves to the priests. It says that as they walked, they were cleansed.

The Greek word for cleansed in this passage is “katharizo,” and it means “to cleanse by curing.”

After they are healed, one of them recognizes that he is not leprous anymore (the Greek for healed in this passage is “iaomai” which means to be cured) and goes back to thank Jesus.

So all of them are not leprous anymore but only one has returned to thank the Lord.

Upon falling at Christ’s feet, Jesus tells him to “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19)

I was intrigued by the fact that while the rest of the Greek words refer to healing of a sickness, only the leper who returns is told that he has been made well.

So what is the difference?

Actually, quite a bit.

The original meaning of the word “well” in this passage is “sozo,” and it means more than a physical healing.

It means that in the Biblical sense, the man was saved.

It seems gratitude is an intimate part of our salvation. This doesn’t mean that our salvation is earned by it, but it does challenge us to think about how we are living out that gift every day.

I want to encourage all of us to fall at His feet in gratitude, if for no other reason than that we are “sozo.” Loved from before the beginning of time.

Let’s be like the leper who returns in shameless gratitude, spilling out our thanks as we lay at His feet.

After all, He has made us well.

I want to be the one in ten.

Do you?
 

11/25/09 (in)courage

***If you don’t frequently visit the (in)courage site, I highly recommend it…LOVE these ladies!!!


Breathing Deeply…

Yesterday was a great day, and I am so proud to announce that we are going to have another baby GIRL!!!!!!! We plan to name her Charlotte (still debating middle names but because of the lack of, umm, sons, we may use James. That’s Todd’s first name and we were going to use it as a first name if we had a boy). It was hilarious as Todd looked at the ultrasound and said, “I think I see something right there! Is that a boy?” while we all shook our heads. He got this huge smile on his face we all just burst out laughing.

I was really concerned yesterday before we went in and I spent the morning in prayer, Bible on lap, asking the Lord for favor with this pregnancy. I also got schooled in both Crazy 8′s and War thanks to my eldest daughter but I’m not dwelling on it. She may have cheated. I’m sticking to that theory.

Audra came with us to the appointment and had her hand on my head while the technician scooted around my stomach. I always thought of these appointments as an opportunity to find out the gender and never really worried about the rest of it, but not anymore. She said at one point, “Here’s the bladder, here’s the kidneys, the heart…4 chambers. Here’s the…” and I breathed in that moment like I never have before. At this point, there is nothing that concerns them and we have every reason to believe that Charlotte is healthy.

Those words are heavy with relief, and this morning I am thanking the Lord for what we saw. It’s a roller coaster in a sense, though, because the freshness of Audrey’s diagnosis is still present. January 7th was the day she was diagnosed so it just feels like it’s all around.  I miss her a lot, and like a lot of other women who have been where I am, this doesn’t replace those emotions. It is joyful, wonderful, amazing, and we are praising the Lord, but Audrey is still Audrey. I think there is a fear (I have heard this from so many women) that she will be forgotten. I know that isn’t true but as a mommy I feel like I want all of my daughters to be known. One of the most amazing parts of writing (whether a blog or a book) is that you all have made me feel like you love my Audrey. I don’t think there is a way in this life to thank you for your compassion, prayers, and support as we have walked this road.

I was reading Job yesterday and reflecting on the thought that the Lord gives and takes away. We never know which it will be, so we pray to be steadfast with our prayer and worship in either case.

We are on our knees thanking Him for our 5th little girl. May she bring Him honor all of her days, no matter how many they may be.

Without further ado, please meet our sweet Charlotte…

Isn’t she precious?!?!? I am a little farther along than they thought (I have been trying to convince them of that…finally I was like, “Here’s the deal. My husband travels quite a bit. You’re gonna have to take my word for it, but I can pretty much pinpoint it for you…:)). Yesterday they took the measurements and sure enough, moved my due date to June 19th, so I am 16 1/2-17 weeks now.  And this little pumpkin is a MOVER!!!! Todd has already felt her kicking, which is hilarious. She may give Kate a run for her money…:)

My prayers are with all of you in this New Year-may we all feel the joy of salvation in a fresh, deep way as we seek to make Him famous with our lives.

Love to you all, and more gratitude than I can express…
Angie

One of Wonderful Reasons I Blog infrequently…


I have loved homeschooling my girls. We’re praying about what to do next year with Kate starting and having a new baby around, but my heart hasn’t given it up yet. It is such a special time for us to be creative, think outside the box, get our hands dirty, and laugh until we’re crying. These girls, I tell you what. They bless me every day with their sweet spirits and genuine love and appreciation for all the Lord has given. I realize I still haven’t done a formal post about homeschooling yet but I wanted to share a few pictures with you so you could see some of our typical school day. We do a lot of prayer time, art time, math, reading, science, spelling, a bit of history, music etc. We kind of let their interests dictate exactly how we do it, so if Abby is playing with something she likes, we try to make a game out of it, like, “Oh Abby I see you like those little piggies. Why don’t you bring them over here and we can count them and give them names! After that, we will write a story and you can illustrate it however you want.” It’s a great way to use things they are already drawn to in order to pull them into activities they aren’t as inclined to pursue. We talk about everything, it seems. And we aren’t afraid of chasing a little bunny trail here and there…we’ve found they lead to some of the best conversations and quality time we have had.

Homeschooling is not for everyone, and I don’t even have a soapbox I would stand on in the event that I was trying to persuade you to do it :) Every family is different and as with many other decisions, here’s my motto: “Love your God. Love your children intentionally and well.”Pray about the situation and ask God to give you wisdom with any choice you are facing. When you feel confident about what He has revealed, take a couple brave steps in the direction of His voice and just keep listening :)

Here are a couple pictures of us on a school day…welcome to the class!!! :)

                 









Kate did not approve of the food-colored spaghetti.
If you want to, ask some homeschooling questions in your responses and I will do my best to answer all of them. I am working on a little series chronicling my live and loves so that you all will get to see what takes me away from the computer all day :) I think it will be fun!
So, this is the first one. I homeschool my kids. It takes a lot of time and hard work, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
Questions?
Next up…SEWING! See y’all soon :)
Happy, happy New Year to you and yours…
Ang