Saturday, August 30, 2008

Balloons, Bread Baking and Boots

Yesterday we made yet another trip to the store, but this time it was a classic trip. The grocery list: milk, eggs, cheese, flour and bread. We finished our shopping, checked out, and were walking out, and Norah decided that she just had to go to the McDonald's in the grocery store. Her request was denied, and the start of a loud protest began.

Upon exiting the store, we saw that it was "Fill the Boot" time for our local fire department. One of the officers saw my disgruntled daughter and gave her a handful of balloons to blow up and some stickers.

Mood change.

When we arrived home I realized that we had forgotten bread. So rather than go back to the store, I figured that I would just make some.

So after blowing up a couple balloons, I began making homemade bread. The balloons occupied the kids for most of the time, and because I actually remembered the flour that we needed, I was able to bake bread despite forgetting the needed item.

What a blessing it was for the kind-hearted firefighter to give balloons to my grumpy child, halting her fit and allowing for entertainment for both brother and sister to enjoy while mommy baked! And just think, if I hadn't forgotten bread, then we wouldn't have the fresh, homemade bread that we enjoy right now.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Legend of Karen Fields

On April 15, 1981 I took the most significant car ride of my life. An attorney drove me from Forest Grove, Oregon to Salem, Oregon, delivering me from the arms of one unknown woman into the arms of a woman who would be known to me as mommy.

When I was handed to Karen Fields, legend has it (according to my grandmother), the first thing she said was, "Mom, isn't she beautiful?" And there I was. God had directed one woman to choose life when the highest courts of the United States had deemed it legal for her to make a medical choice about her unplanned pregnancy.

Grace covers the beginning of my relationship and permeates it throughout.

One thing that I associate most with my mother is the selflessness she demonstrated as a true hallmark of motherhood. When I was little, she stayed home, a sacrifice not readily made by many. She demonstrated to me that my sister and I were always a priority over any personal dreams or goals she may have had outside the home. She didn't buy things for herself, and admits even today that she feels guilty sometimes for buying something for herself! She has conditioned her heart and mind to always be last- putting her children and grandchildren first.

My mother never allowed any shadow of doubt to be cast about the priority of motherhood. She worked only when she had to, and even then strove to be home as much as possible to provide stability when our family was broken by divorce. No one else had to take me to doctor appointments, or come to my sports events because my mom was always there. Being an involved presence as a mother was never compromised by outside factors.

This stamp was pressed hard into my life, and as I grew up learning more of God's Word, the example that she demonstrated of the mother busy at home was solidified as truth.

Now it is a joy to follow in my mother's footsteps as a stay-at-home mom, focused on the daunting task of raising godly children and being obedient to the call of motherhood that God has placed on my life. She had left a solid legacy that I am proud to follow as I strive to sacrifice self and all that entails from the new clothes, to outside-the-home aspirations.

So thank you, mom. Thank you for being an instrument of grace. Your selflessness as a mother has set the tone for God's Word to captivate my conscience, and for me to follow your example in prioritising family over self. That grace flows through the Lute home as everyday grace from above, as Norah and Haddon learn and grow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

$30 and Gold 'n' Soft

With the economy the way it is, and with no end in near sight, I know that many can relate to making every dollar stretch- especially grocery money! So when we found ourselves really strapped when it came to our grocery budget this month, it made me feel a little discouraged. Knowing that the Lord would provide what we need, and looking at the numbers is sometimes hard to reconcile!

To add to the pressure of money, was a looming need for Haddon to have some braces to straighten his feet (they are turning in and require some correction). I was preparing to make a phone call to our medical insurance to ask a couple questions, and as I looked for his insurance card- there it was: thirty dollars! I was already planning on going to the grocery store that day and was dreading it a bit, but the thirty dollars made me feel a little better.

At the grocery store we had just finished. But as we were heading to the checkout, of course that's when I remember that we needed more margarine. Margarine is in the back of the store- so off we went! I'm looking at the shelves of dairy products in front of me, and then I see it: Gold 'n' Soft.

Gold 'n' Soft is a margarine that I grew up using. My husband grew up on it, and his parents continue to buy it. It is cheap, melts well, and tastes good. Having lived in another state on a couple different occasions, I have experienced that Gold 'n' Soft is hard to find. Never did I find it in California. Only one or two other times have I seen it here in Colorado, but that day the butter/margarine section was full of Gold 'n' Soft!

I couldn't help but say with surprise in my voice, "Gold 'n' Soft!" as I reached for a couple tubs. It was a piece of home, in a way. Sometimes we miss being closer to family. Two Christmases in a row have been spent apart from loved ones, and it has been over a year since my husband has been able to see all of his family. We have a new nephew that was born three months ago, and Casey won't be able to see him for quite a bit. We have another niece or nephew that will be born next month, and we're not sure when we will get to meet him or her. Maybe a certain type of margarine isn't a big deal, but sometimes it can be a little piece of home.

And that's what it was for me that day. I little bit of everyday grace from above. How grateful I am for being worth more than lilies and birds, and for receiving gifts of grace.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Good and Bad People

The other night as I was putting Norah to sleep, we began our time of prayer with me asking her what she's thankful for. She replied with a list of toys, and in wanting to direct her thoughts toward being thankful for more than possessions, I asked her who are some nice people that she can thank God for. Two friends were mentioned, and then she said that she was thankful for mom and dad.

But what she said next was what I found interesting. She said, "Mom, sometimes you are bad." Knowing that she was speaking the truth, I humbly answered, "yes," and looked for examples of when I'm bad- like when I lose my temper or get upset. Then we talked about how Norah does the same, but that we both are good sometimes too. We are good because that is a gift from God.

There are two things that I took from this. The first was what we were able to do right then and there. We prayed thanking God for the things that He has given to my daughter that she is thankful for, and then we also took the time to repent of times when we do not bring glory to God in our actions. What a sweet, sweet opportunity I had to instruct my daughter about our need for repentance and forgiveness of sins, and that it is God that we must be reconciled to.

The second was how sad it is that my own daughter was so quick to recognize her mommy's faults. Oh, how I fall short of God's glory! And I need His grace as I strive to raise godly and wise children.

I wrote a poem quite a while ago to remind myself of the important truth that as mothers we reap what we sow. I hope that to those who read this who are mothers, it encourages and challenges you as it does me.

A Mother’s Harvest

A mother reaps what she sows.
What she plants, she will see grow.
The Maker’s grace to show the way,
How to teach the Word every day.
Thro’ the time she gives, the love she shows,
God’s perfect love they will know.
The rod and staff from a mother’s heart,
The Good Shepherd’s law to impart.
So dear mother, keep in mind
Be patient, faithful and kind.
For what a mother sows she reaps,
And what she plants is there for keeps.