>>Wednesday, March 08, 2006<<
Reflections (a long post)
I suppose that I am having a reflectful day. Maybe because it was for the fact that I was back at work at the YMCA after a month of being off because of my surgery. I work with children from ages 0-5. I rotate in different rooms. Today was ages 3-5.

There was something so magical about today. The kids were so excited to see me and something just came alive in me when I was around them. I became a kid again. I wasn't worried about "Do we have this document ready?, do we have this item packed?, Oh yea...where is the money coming from again?" Time stood still with the kids. At least 10 kids swarmed me as I pretended that we were having "Caroline's Cooking Class". I put on my best English accent and acted out a pretend cooking class with green playdough. Finally, all of the kids were sitting at the table extremely engaged in making "pies" and I asked them if they could make their most favorite candy or gum in the whole world what would it be?. I got many great answers "A BOTTLE ROCKET HOT PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE!!" was what this one little boy told me. I told him to start making it. So, 15 little 3-5 year olds were just as busy as could be making Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory Candy. I had the absolute best time. They were hugging on me, and I was getting into the pretend games so much and the fake accent that I lost myself. I had to come back to reality!!!

But, it made me reflect how we let the world just bog us down with so much JUNK. Today, for a brief while....I got to be one of those children. I had no worries, I had no frown lines :) I was laughing until my ribs hurt. I have bruises from so many hugs. My heart is full. I want to stop and do that more. Have childlike moments. I spend so much of my time just going and going and doing and doing and not stopping and just being in the moment.

My 5 year old daughter teaches me something all of the time. She is what I call an "old soul". It is quite strange to say. But, she has a connection with our trampoline and God that is like nothing you have ever seen. When she jumps on our trampoline, she starts talking about God as if He was standing right there. She said the other day "You know Mom....you are never alone". She was looking up at the sky while she was jumping on the trampoline and at that moment rays of sunshine were coming through the clouds. She finished saying "Because God is always with you". She kept on jumping and it was as if she and God were having a moment. But, she left me standing in complete silence with tears in my eyes.

After my father in law died, I took it harder than I ever thought that I would. Then, not so long after that, my own father got cancer that was the kind that spreads quickly and is deadly. Months before my father in law had died, I was horribly sick while I was pregnant with eclampsia and our baby could have died. She was in NICU. My father in law was able to meet her. Then, I was "let go" from my six figure job. (I am not bragging, I am just telling you so you can see where I am at now). I don't think that God could have broken me anymore than He did than during that year. But, I never questioned my faith. He brought me down to my knees. I didn't understand why. He has brought me down to my knees before. But, not so many things so harsh right behind the other.

I am happy to report that my Dad is in remission with his cancer. He has to be checked every 6 months. He is an amputee, but, he keeps on trucking. He has a great sense of humor. I suppose that is where I get it from. We tease each other all of the time. I always tell him when I am tired of walking to move out of his chair and let me have it and then he tries and runs me over with his motor wheelchair. You would have to see it to laugh about it. You just have to laugh sometimes in order not to cry. Because sometimes, life hits you too hard.

We are selling our almost brand new Toyota Sienna that is fully loaded and has everything you could ever want. GPS, rear view camera. The works. We are selling it. Yep. It hurts. But, when I was telling you earlier about being broken. I think I understand a little bit more now why I had to be broken. I don't know why my dad had to get cancer or about my daughter or the death of my father in law. But, the brokenness put a lot into perspective for me. That material things don't mean as much.

We bought that car all "pimped" out if you will when I was let go and sold some stock. We were crazed lunatics with too much money and had to go and run out and buy the most expensive car (ok van...fine...but, it is a cool van!!) I know, we weren't thinking. We thought we NEEDED it. But, now, we realize in order to bring our son home...we need to make changes in our life. Instead of buying whatever I want...we do envelopes....check out Dave Ramsey's site for more on that!!! So, I don't shop at the finest stores anymore....I was at Goodwill picking up sweaters for our trip to Russia. Hey...they were 4.00!!!! It is 70 degrees here now, why spend tons of money??? I have lost all of the friends that I had in the corporate world. I don't travel to fancy places like I did with my old company. But, I am not the same person anymore. I was broken and God has put the pieces back together in a different order. Do I miss some things....sure. But, I like the pieces God has put back together now.

Because in place of what was lost, my new life consists of a job where I get to be a kid again. I love children and I love working at the YMCA. I have made new friends, new friends at the Y and amazing friends that are the mothers of my daughters schoolmates. I am not obsessed anymore about "when am I going to get promoted?" "How much more can I make?" I always worried about being the Uber Mom. The one that made the most money, was the best mom, the best wife. I get to see my Mom and Dad more (they live nearby) But, I was making myself sick and my priorities were so out of whack. It has taken me 2 years to climb my way out of that hole. But, as strange as it sounds...I am grateful for being taken to my knees. Because, I feel like a cocoon that is about to become a butterfly.

I want to post a little bit of what my Dad sent me about what Rick Warren said...He is the man who wrote The Purpose Driven Life. He sums up what I have been rambling on in this post. The things that I have been learning through these hard couple of years. That the good times and the dark times do coincide. But, it is how you look at it that matters.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a
dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't
believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind
of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something
good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always
something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always
something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness,
"which is my problem, my issues, my pain."

But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus
off yourself and onto God and others.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity? Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better ... God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Anonymous rebeca said...
Thanks for the posting. I am able to relate on what you are talking about.

Rick Warren also says that from your biggest pain comes the place for ministering others. So, there is purpose in pain: It helps us to know God, ourselves and even helps us to relate with the pain of others.

Blogger Elle said...
I got to day 2 in The Purpose Driven Life. Mr. Warren has touched the lives of so many people. I admire him really.
To me his book is a big duh. I drove along one day and looked up and read a church bilboard. It read, "If you are already in a hole stop digging." That was my biggest 2x4 moment. My personal pain ran so deep that I forgot to stop and listen to God. It was if He had spoken to me through that sign. Life has never been the same for me.

I love my husband more every day. I work to be the strongest person I can be, and I use my faith to carry me through anything that is difficult.

It is as simple as letting go and letting God. For it is said, "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Blogger megz_mum said...
Hi there! Found you via Ipodmomma, so thought I would have a look - might just come back! I have only just started writing a blog as well - and am enjoying it!

Blogger megz_mum said...
I think you visited me at the exact time I visited you - spooky!! Could I add you to my "blogs I read" list?

Blogger Rhonda said...
Hi! Found you through Lisa's site. I agree that Purpose Driven Life is truly an awesome book. I love it when I read a book and I can just see God at work. That's how I felt when I read it.

Blogger Andrea said...
thanks for stopping by my place.

i sooo need one of your playdoe days right now. life it overdoing itself right now!!

lovely post

Blogger jeneflower said...
Where to begin. First off I forgot to mention what great things I think your Father-in-law did. I have really strong issues against the porn industry and child porn especially. I have gotten in several on-line arguments over this issue. The "other side" is completely irrational. I get tense just thinking about this. Partly because I know I didn't change their minds.

Anyway, going on. I totally understand the God/trampoline connection. I spent many a day outside on our trampoline- Laying on my back looking up at the sky contemplating God. Maybe this happens because you can feel weightless and free under a sunny sky or a starry night on a trampoline.

I think God uses trials to break us when we need to see with new eyes. I can't say I ever had a great paying job that I lost, but I have been broken at various times and have tried to come back a better person.

You have some great wisdom here. I have heard another quote that goes something like this, "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. The fact is that most putts don't drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to be just people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey...delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

Blogger ipodmomma said...
hi! thanks for the comment... since we are short on web time, I will try and get a better look at your blog ASAP, but from the bit I read, I will be back!

blessings to you this day... :)))


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Awesome, totally agree about the ups and downs in life.


Blogger Charlene Davis said...
Sometimes we can’t really hear what God is trying to tell us until we have been brought to our knees by whatever means. When we were going through the adoption process 10+ years ago with three failed adoptions before being blessed with Charlie, I also found myself on my hands and knees. That is when I heard God’s voice and had an epiphany that allowed me to see beyond the despair of that moment. From then on I stood on His promise in Psalm 37:4 “Trust in the Lord, and do good...and He will give you the desires of your heart.” He did … and still does.

God bless you sister-girl!