I Sing Because I'm Free

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The evolution of “Mom”

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Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

I have had the pleasure of spending lots of time with my girls over the last couple of weeks.  Ok- honestly, some of these times were not pleasurable at all, and were in fact quite the opposite! They seem to be growing and maturing at a faster rate than I can keep up with!   My oldest is quickly moving past the days of wanting to play dolls with her younger sister-which leads to a lot of conflict in the house!

Not only do I see the relationship between my girls changing, I am recognizing the way we parent them must change as well. Change is hard.  And painful.

I took my oldest daughter with me recently to run an errand.  When I saw her walking in front of me, I hardly recognized my baby.  She is becoming a beautiful young lady before my eyes.  I find myself staring at her and searching for that “baby face” I once kissed and snuggled with.  As we were shopping, I told her that “mommy” needed to pick up this and that. And then it happened…

She looked at me, rolled her eyes, and said –

“Mom, you don’t have to refer to yourself in the third person.  I know who you are!”

I felt a pang inside of me.

I am no longer mommy.  I am mom.

So why have I referred to myself in the third person for the past (almost) 11 years? I have done it since they were babies out of habit, and not once until this particular outing has either of them mentioned it. It does seem like a silly thing to still do after all these years.  So, as I see my children maturing, I am learning to make some changes myself.

I pray that in their quest for independence, they will see how much we need to depend on our Savior.  And that no matter what age they are- they will still need “Mommy” too.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. 

Proverbs 3:5-7

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A Few of My Favorite Things

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My hubby and daughters know me so well…they couldn’t wait to give me their favorite gift yesterday morning-  the anniversary addition of the Sound of Music on DVD!

I remember the very first time I saw it. I was about 8 years old. It used to come on TV around Easter.  The first scene I saw was Liesl and Rolph dancing in a gazebo, in the pouring rain.  I got butterflies in my stomach as I watched them sing- and dreamed that I, too, would one day find the man of my dreams,  sing and dance in the rain, and squeal with delight over my first kiss!

The Christmas I turned 10, I got my very first keyboard.  Another favorite thing of mine.  I can remember my grandfather visiting me and offering me a challenge- he said if I could learn to play the theme song from The Sound of Music, he would give me 20$.  I took him up on the challenge and learned to play it in no time.  My grandfather passed away this August.  I went to see him in his final hours of life, and while I was there, I remembered the challenge he gave me so long ago.  What he gave me was priceless- a passion and a desire to learn to play songs by ear- a gift that I thank God for every day!

A couple of weeks ago, I went downstairs and found my girls snuggled on the couch, watching The Sound of Music on DVD.  “Mom, sit with us!  Watch it with us,” they begged me. You see, The Sound of Music is not a spectator’s sport!  I must sing. every. song. And I must recite every. single. word.  I sat with them and as I sang, they hung on my every note.  “Mommy, you weren’t kidding!”  You DO know every word!”  I left them to finish the movie by themselves and  my heart melted.  They were too cool to sing in front of me, but once alone, they couldn’t help themselves!  I could hear them singing all the way upstairs.

How sweet it is to hear them singing these songs, much like my sister and I used to do so long ago!  It’s not just a movie to me- it’s part of my childhood. Music changed that strict, lifeless household  into a vibrant, joyful family full of passion and love!  I have always loved Maria’s positive, joyful spirit, her whimsical ways, and how she never gave up on instilling her passion for music into the hearts of each member of the Von Trapp family.

Every good and perfect gift is from Him and I could never thank Him enough for the precious gift of music- and how He has used it to draw me closer to Him all these years.  And I thank Him for passing on the love of music to my children!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights

James 1:17

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A Love Note- Hair today, gone tomorrow

I shed.

A lot.

One day I was standing in the shower, and noticed a wad of hair stuck to the shower wall.   Except that it was not just a normal wad of hair… it strangely resembled the letters EWW.

“Did you see the note I left for you?”  my husband asked me later that morning.

“Yes, yes I did.” I realized that my husband did, in fact, leave me a “hair” note in the shower.

And so the next day, I left him my own little note-

I  (heart) U

Why yes, we have taken to leaving notes in the shower with my hair.

This has continued on and off for many months now.  I admit that when I see my hair stuck to the wall, I can’t help giggling thinking about what to spell with it!

I decide today to leave him a “selfie”.  No, that is not Marge Simpson in that picture below.  It is a self portrait of me- made with love for my husband on our shower wall.   I watched my husband go towards the bathroom and I told him that I left him a note.  He did not disappoint.  I think the whole house shook with his gregarious laughter.

And like a flower quickly fading, my hair portrait is hair today and gone tomorrow.

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Making Beautiful Things

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You’re making all things 

Beautiful in Your own time

Use these hands of mine!

Early on this Christmas Season, I made a vow to do much less shopping and to spend more time making things for others.  I made a scarf several weeks ago, and although it was not perfect, my oldest daughter told me she was putting in her order early.  She wants a purple one for Christmas.

I had surgery earlier this week and knew that I would need to find something to keep me occupied while I rest and recover.  Crocheting was just the thing!  No, my crocheting is not perfect- far from it, in fact!  But as I sit here and weave the loops of bright purple yarn together, I think about how carefully God has hand-crafted each one of us- hand picked  and given special skills and talents to be used for His purposes.   I know that my daughter will love the scarf- not because it’s the most beautiful scarf she’s ever seen, but because I am making it for her with love. It has taken me a long time to realize this-

we don’t have to be the best at something for God to use us and make something beautiful out of it.

I think of all the handmade gifts my girls have made me.  They melt my heart when I look at them because they were made out of love.   It’t not the gifts that really matter- it’s the love that we show one another, the time we spend together, and the lasting memories we make together that are most important.  These are beautiful things that could never be bought.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139

Lord, I thank You for giving me hands to create things. I thank You for slowing me down a little so that I can spend more time with You. Thank You for the miraculous gift of Your Son.   Lord, You are more precious than silver, more beautiful than diamonds-and nothing I desire compares to You!

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Twilight Haiku

Evening sky from my porch in Charlottesville

Air-brushed and vibrant

His glory shines at twilight

hushing all who sees

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.  Psalm 65:8

Amazing sunsets always make me thankful.  Thankful for another day.  Thankful for a new beginning tomorrow.  Thankful for all the little things.  Like a home with a porch to stand on.  And  a phone to take pictures of sunsets.  Thankful for eyes to see His magnificent creation. In a world filled with uncertainty, I am grateful that I can lean on Him and His promises. Sunsets remind me that no matter what trials I face during the day, He is with me-making all things beautiful.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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Letting SELF get in the way of JOY

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Too many times I have let my SELF get in the way of experiencing His abundant JOY.

How many times have you declined an invitation to spend time with someone because you didn’t like the restaurant they chose, or didn’t have the right clothes to wear?  Petty things, aren’t they?

Just the other day, my husband called me while I was working and asked me if the girls and I wanted to meet him for lunch.  The girls were out of school due to a snow day and were spending the day with me.  Immediately I said no.  Not because I didn’t want to see him, not because I really had something else special planned for lunch-  I said no because of my own hang ups with food.  I said no because I know the restaurant my girls and hubby choose always results in a battle of self control on my part, and many times I leave the restaurant feeling defeated.  So I end the conversation by telling him I’ll think about it.

As I continue to work, I began to think about how blessed I am that I CAN meet my husband for lunch and also that he WANTS to spend his lunch hour with us.  I was convicted, and knew what I had to do.

So I called him and said yes to our lunch date… and yes to the battle of the buffet…

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My youngest slid into the booth beside me, and across from me sat my oldest daughter and my husband.  The blue of his sweater made his eyes sparkle in the sunlight coming through the window. I watched as he teased, sang, and played with the girls.  I fought back tears thinking of my selfishness and how I almost missed this moment in time. I pulled out my phone to take pictures of the three of them.  I made light of it, but I really wanted to remember the overwhelming gratitude I had in my heart as I watched the joy on my husband’s face.  We are never guaranteed another day.  And to think I could have missed that precious moment!

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  

Matthew 6:31-33

Lord, help me to focus less on the material things in life and focus more on You.  Help me surrender every little hang-up, every single moment to You.  Thank You for all You have blessed me with.  Rid me of my SELF  and fill me with You.  May  I not miss another moment of JOY!

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Wish I could take your place

I experienced something recently that any mother can identify with.  My 8 year old was in terrible pain and nothing I did made it better.  She had a horrible toothache and was running a fever.  I was sure she had an infection, and knew I had to take her to the dentist the next day.  Going to the dentist is her biggest fear, and just the mention of it makes her tremble.

She was up all through the night, crying and begging me not to take her to the dentist.  Honestly, I wanted to cry right along with her.  I hate seeing her in pain.  And I hate that she has this fear of going to the dentist. All I want to do is take the pain away from her.  I would do anything to sit in that dentist chair for her, and feel all the pain myself.

As I thought about how awful it is to watch your children go through pain, I began to think of Mary and imagine how she must have felt watching her Son, Jesus, experience the most horrible, terrible pain any human could imagine.  Right before her very eyes.  I wonder if she wanted to take His place on that cross.  I wonder if she knew that He was in fact, taking her place… taking my place.. taking all of our place on that cross.  There He hung, and bled on a tree, taking the pain of our sins away for all eternity. If our Heavenly Father’s grace is sufficient for Mary, surely His grace is sufficient for me.

He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. 1 John 2:2

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness  2 Corinthians 12:9

“Take Your Place”

Wide awake in pain
my baby’s up again
If I could take it away
I surely would
But I’ll do what it takes
and I pray for heaven’s sake
that He will give me strength
and make it good.
Cause I
cry a thousand tears
for every single drop
falling down your face
Cause I
wish that it were me
that I could shelter you
and I could take your place
that I could take your place

And when I visualize
the pain in Mary’s eyes
as she watched her Son
bleeding on the tree
Her baby He will be
for all eternity
and a Savior
for all the world to see
and I
cry a thousand tears
for every single drop
falling down your face
and I
wish that it were me
that I could shelter you
and I could take your place
that I could take your place.

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