Sunday, October 26, 2008

Upon Leaving Grand Junction

Our home is almost all packed, and we're in the final days of living in Grand Junction. I couldn't help but think today about our house, and that I will miss it. The memorable events that happened in our home over the past two years are what I'm thankful for today.

Here are just a few:

1. The fact that it is the first home that we have owned. And that is because of the generosity and help of my husband's parents. So we were able to put our own mark on it in a way we have never been able to. Painting, and other home improvements are things that we have never been able to do before.

2. Haddon took his first steps in this home.

3. Norah learned how to ride a bike in the driveway.

4. Youth barbecues, game nights and Bible studies were held in this house.

5. I hosted a bridal shower in this house, and other friends for dinner. Our home was a blessing to allow us to host members of the body for fellowship.

6. Family dinners and story times were in this house. It was in this house that our dinner table became a centerpiece of our family because before moving here, we were in someone else's home. Before that, our oldest was very young to establish family dinners and such.

7. The Christmases spent in our home here were the first celebrated on our own. Every year before, we were staying with family from out of town or living with family. So we made some of our own traditions.

8. There were some hard things that happened in this place. One was being unrightly rebuked by a respected woman in the church (she was simply wrong in handling and applying Scripture). That was hurtful and hard to handle at times. Church leaders sat in our living room and rebuked my husband in front of me. That was hard too. They were misinformed.

9. My husband and I have had movie nights, or like one week in particular, we spent a few nights in a row watching all the of the Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back. Those are sweet times.

10. This house is the house that our children most associate as home. It is where we have lived the longest. Haddon has been here a majority of his life, and Norah thinks of Colorado as her home more than anywhere else we've been.

I could go on and in more detail, but I will not. God has graciously cared for us in providing this shelter. Though we are saying good-bye to a loved place, we look to the future that God has already prepared for the Lute Family. He alone knows the days ahead. As we move ahead, may it be said of me:

"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come."
Proverbs 31:25

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Crunchy Cordates

Yesterday our doorbell rang, and there was Norma, our next door neighbor. Norma is an older woman, a widow, and is as sweet as can be to both Norah and Haddon. Whenever she is outside, our little ones love to greet her. In Norma's hands was a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

"Here Norah," she said. "These are for you. Thank you for helping me pick up my leaves."

Shyly my daughter accepted the gift, and said a quiet, "Thank you."

The day before, we had quite a few leaves fall off of the trees on our property due to heavier winds. So Norah and I were outside raking and stuffing the heart-shaped aspen leaves (cordates) into big black trash bags.

I saw Norma bending down and picking up her leaves, and noticed that she was getting winded. So we went over and started helping her, since ours were mostly picked up. After helping a bit, I had to get back to some sweeping (the dry leaves had left leaf-crumbs all over the walkway and part of the driveway), and I left Norah with her pal.

Norah scooped up leaves, and with the help of her brother, they helped dear Norma get her job done. They both even dragged the full bags of leaves to the side of her house!

I was so grateful for Norah's help. She made picking up our leaves more enjoyable for myself, but not only that, she was willing to help our neighbor. I was blessed to see that my little girl was a little light in someone's day. We don't always get a thank-you for service. Nor do we always see a reward in this world, but my little girl got to enjoy a plate of homemade cookies from a seasoned grandma- a treat she doesn't get often because we are far from grandmas and grandpas!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lute Family Wrestling Hour

Every night at 7:00 it is my goal to start unwinding. It is at that time that the kids get a cup of milk and are supposed to settle in to a more relaxing mode before bedtime at 8:00.

But that hasn't been the case in our home for the past week or so.

Seven o'clock hits, and it's: ARE YOU READY TO RUUMMBBLLEEE!

All eight of the couch toss pillows are out. The children are stripped to just a diaper or undies- whatever the case may be- and it's time to play! Norah will throw a pillow at her father. Haddon tries to tackle me. Things get downright silly in our living room. They jump on the couches and ask my husband and I to "get them." Norah wants to dance, be thrown in the air, or something of the sort.

As a mom who likes to have the kids in bed at eight, I was a little rattled by this new development, but as it turns out, they will still go to bed at eight or soon thereafter. It's just that before then, we get to goof around and laugh and be silly.

I am blessed by this. It's not long that children want mom and dad to tackle and play with them. And it's not for long that mom and dad can do that without getting too injured! (There's only so much damage a 2 and 3 year-old can do!) So I embrace the Lute Family Wrestling Hour. From seven o'clock until eight o'clock each evening, it's family time. A time to just play and have fun with each other. That's important, and I will happily continue the ruckus.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jesus Takes Care of Us

Today I got discouraged. For a moment, I was in fear of things working out and coming together like they should or need to. I was fearful of what is coming and how everything will work out and how it will affect my children. Today I had a time where I didn't trust the Living God, and that is sin.

In my moment of sin, the tears came, and I made my little girl upset. She saw her mommy lose it, and that is unsettling. I remember what my mom was to me- a rock- and if that rock ever cracked, a piece of my universe went into chaos. I am my daughter's rock, and I let her universe turn to chaos.

So, I took her in my arms and had her look me straight in the eyes. "Norah," I said. "Mommy and Daddy have a lot of things to work out to take care of our family, and sometimes we have a hard time." I went on to explain that no matter how many things are different or how things will change, we will always lover her and take care of her.

And then I found myself speaking this profound truth, "And you know who takes care of mommy and daddy and you and Haddon? Jesus takes care of us."

The smile on my daughter's face was a joy and brought conviction. Here I was speaking this great truth, that His grace is sufficient. He provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and I was in fear?! Oh, why was I downcast? What do I have to fear when my God is bigger than anything that I or my family faces?!

In speaking truth to my child, I was reminded that I am His child, and He will take care of me.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Salem Academy Crusaders in a Book of Faces

I attended Salem Academy Christian School from kindergarten, until a graduated, and in that time, I had several classmates and acquaintances. Many of those classmates remained out of touch until recent years: enter Internet social networking.

From Facebook, I have reconnected with several people that I attended high school, middle school, and even elementary school. And while there are always those who claimed faith in the past and are no longer living a life where there is evidential proof of that claimed faith, I am blessed by those who I encounter that are still living out that faith in the One true God.

I have been able to hear stories of pre-mature babies that God healed and provided financially for the great medical bills. I know of the young woman who got pregnant, raised her daughter as a single mom, and just was married this year, giving her daughter a father and fulfilling her godly desire to be a wife. I get to see pictures of others who were baptized, called to a ministry as a pastor's wife, and then married. One dear friend has experienced the healing power as God has mended her broken heart from a broken marriage. She now is seeking to further her education so that she might one day teach abroad in Africa.

There are Salem Academy Crusaders that are real life crusaders fighting for causes bigger than themselves for God's glory. My good friend works to educate people and inform them on how to adopt children with special needs or those that are older, or sibling groups- all children that are difficult to place permanently. She is fighting a good fight to find families for these children and teens, and this is after she spent a time working for the state as a social worker. Another elementary classmate lives in China where he is fundraising to build an orphanage for children who are infected with AIDS. Another schoolmate lives in Mexico ministering to college students, sharing the Gospel with them. She was just married this summer.

There are moms and dads who have beautiful families and live daily lives serving the community and raising their children to love the Lord. As I write this today, a middle school friend is being induced with her second son! Before becoming a wife and mommy, she spoke in schools educated students about abstinence. Her sister awaits a new nephew along with her daughter, born this year, after enduring the loss of miscarriage. A few of my classmates have adopted children to build their families.

I have been so blessed to know their stories, to rejoice with them in their triumphs, and grieve with them in loss. I am so glad to be counted among these Crusaders who are living lights in their communities as nurses, teachers, scientists, and other professions. And all this joy was brought to me by a silly networking site called Facebook.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another."
-Romans 12:15-16
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."
- Matthew 5:14

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lots of Lookers... any Takers?

Since putting our home on the market early this week, we have had at least five people show interest in the house. Our realtor says that it's the most action she's seen on a new listing in a long time. At a time when the economy seems shaky and there are a lot of questions about the financial future of the country, I am so blessed by these things.

So after four showings, and a fifth to be rescheduled, the possibility to sell and sell quickly seems like it could be a reality. But it could be that twenty more showings need to happen before finding a buyer!

We don't know what will be in the near future, but we do know that God is weaving a tapestry of blessings to display His glory in our lives. We have many questions like: Where and when will Casey find work? Will the house sell soon? Will we be able to pay the mortgage after November? When will we have health insurance again?

But we know the Answer to all questions, and in Him our hope and faith rests. "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God." (Psalm 20:7) With a slumping economy, inflating dollar, and rising gas prices, we do not find rest or peace. But with the Alpha and Omega, the Holy One, we find peace, hope.

I praise God for His steadfastness, and His care. He is a caring Shepherd who meets all my needs, and gives me no reason to fret. So I can truly lie down in the green pastures and have my soul restored. I can rest in His goodness.