Monday, April 19, 2010

The Lost Orienteering Guy

(For the record - I have the utmost and highest respect for my husband. I do my best never to criticize him in front of others, because for every finger I could point at him...there are four more that he could point right back at me if he so desired. So this little story is not meant to humiliate him in any way...he laughed about it himself, so I believe we can now all laugh along with him. :-)

It was a Friday afternoon in April. Our local homeschool co-op group had planned to take a field trip to Rock Bridge State Park for two purposes: orienteering and caving. One dad arranged the caving aspect, and Nate, being a very experienced orienteering person, volunteered to take care of that aspect.

Being too independent to line up a park ranger to teach something that he already knew how to do, he decided he'd take our three homescooled youngsters a little early and just try out a path from "A" to "B" and see how it worked, before he took 20+ homeschoolers on the route.

An hour and a half and four miles later...he was eating humble pie. Somehow the orienteering expert got disoriented. He never took the other kids out orienteering, because by the time he finally found his way back to where they had been waiting for an hour, it was time to go explore the cave.

Mind you, this is a man who NEVER gets lost. I, on the other hand, make a right turn, and moments later don't really know if I actually turned right or left, and of course I don't have a clue if I'm driving N,S,E or W. But Nate? He can take a back road one direction - veer onto several other back roads here and there as he comes to them - and end up exactly where he wanted to go, even if he's never been on any of those roads before.

Anyway, when he returned later that afternoon with three very dirty and tired children, I had to open my mouth and ask, "So, how'd the orienteering go?"

As if on cue, all three children exclaimed "We got lost!" and Nate said, "It didn't go."

I just laughed (oops) and then tried not to laugh, and then laughed even louder. All evening long I continued to get an occasional "giggle" over the situation.  And when daughter Jessie went surveying with him a few days later, and came in the house that night exclaiming, "I got lost today!" I couldn't help myself.  I had to say it:

"Well, I guess your dad taught you well."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Finding Your Purpose

A very good friend just called to ask me a question. Her daughter is graduating next month, and she's putting together a book of letters for her. Letters that are all written by people who have touched her daughter's life in some way, shape or form. She gave me a specific topic to write my letter about - she asked if I would share about finding purpose in life - hopefully, God's purpose. It didn't take long to write the letter, as I have some fresh, new personal insights on the subject. I don't know if they're worth sharing or not - but anyway, here they are. :-)

As I think about purpose – I find it almost unbelievable that I’m sitting here typing on a computer that was given to me for an actual paying job that I’ve now had for almost one year. Why is that unbelievable? As you know, I have just been a wife and mother my entire life. I shouldn’t say “just.” Being a wife and mother is an amazing task; challenging, fulfilling, complicated, extremely rewarding, frustrating, awe-inspiring, and so much more, all wrapped up into one "occupation." However, for most of my married life, that was my sole purpose. I loved it and didn’t regret it…but I also sometimes wondered if there wasn’t something more I could do; some other purpose God might have for me. Yet with homeschooling, I didn’t want to leave home to find out what that other purpose might possibly be. I didn’t want to turn my children over to someone else 40 or 50 hours a week so I could go seek some different purpose for my life. Thus I continued, day after day, week after week, year after year, doing my “wife and mother” job and doing my best to be content in it because I knew it was God’s purpose for me.

I whole-heartedly believe Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I believe that taking a day at a time, doing and living the life God has for you, IS his purpose for your life! He doesn’t give us a 20 page report, or an outline – not even a rough draft! – of what our life will be like. He simply wants our faith and trust, day by day, so that he can make that path “straight” for us.
That’s why I’m amazed to be sitting at this particular computer, writing about this particular subject. About a year ago, the founder and executive director of Coyote Hill instant messaged me and simply asked if I’d be interested in doing some part-time work for Coyote Hill…all from my home, and all with software and a computer set-up that they would provide. Since they are a not-for-profit ministry, they receive nice items that are donated or sold to them at very reduced prices. So they had some very nice desktop publishing software (Photoshop CS4, InDesign CS4, etc), but no one in the office had time to learn it or make use of it for the ministry’s benefit. So now I actually get PAID to sit here at home and use this amazing software, update their website, create newsletters, emails and booklets to keep Coyote Hill in touch with their donors and to hopefully convince them to keep donating – and I absolutely love every minute of it! It’s incredible – I could not have chosen a more fulfilling job for myself if I had spent the past 20 years of my life working towards it. God just dumped it in my lap. It’s one of my biggest affirmations that God really does honor and bless us, when we stay faithful to doing what He wants us to do, day after day after day. A very wise person once said, “The best job for you is a job that you’d be willing to do for free if you had to.” That’s how my life has been…I am still doing the “wife and mother” job for no (earthly) pay – and I love my Coyote Hill job so much that I would do it for no pay, either, if it came to that. (Larry - you didn't hear that ;-)

Live a life that honors God and do what He puts before you to do each day, taking one day at a time…and you WILL find your purpose in life. I truly believe it's that simple.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Children and the First Easter

My pastor/husband Nate loves to pull off impromptu dramas involving children, in order to get a message across. However, this time it was 7 AM on Easter morning, at our church's outdoor Sunrise Service. It was neither the place or the time of day you would expect to see some children performing in a drama – but that was exactly what was unfolding. The costumes were transforming children into characters at the scene on that very first Easter morning. The limited amount of children awake and in attendance - half of them ours, and half belonging to friends who had been forewarned - meant that the young cast only consisted of one soldier, two angels, three women and a disciple.

Our youngest, Josiah, was playing the part of the soldier...the first on the scene and given the boring task of guarding the tomb of a dead man. Wearing soldier’s attire – complete with a Roman plumed helmet – his dad asked how he felt about being given such a seemingly unimportant task.

“Well….I have a paint brush on my head,” was Josiah's unexpected reply. What more could we expect at 7 AM?

As the “women” (Rebekah, Jessie & Ashely A.) slowly approached the tomb from the far corners, Nate swooped the two young angelic beings (Matthew & Andrew A.) onto the tomb scene. Nate told paint-brush boy to fall down as if dead – which Josiah did without reservation. Then, as the women drew near, the angels were instructed to say, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” After two or three promptings, the very shy little boys finally whispered their line, but without enthusiasm.

Thus, Nate's next prompting to the angels was stated like this, “Say, ‘He is risen’ loudly!”

Lacking the advantage of years of grammatical schooling, the five-year-old angel exclaimed, “He is raisen!” (Mind you, this "raisen" is not to be confused with a dried grape.)

The eight-year-old angel, very wise for his age, did exactly as he was told and said it word for word, “He is risen LOUDLY!”

Although the re-enactment may have varied quite a bit from the real occurrences of that first Easter morning, it was a beautiful reminder. Too often as we grow older, we become complacent and disinterested with the retelling of familiar stories – even such life-changing stories as the Resurrection. However, through the faith, enthusiasm and actions of a child, it can re-gain the freshness and excitement that it deserves.