Monthly Archives: March 2009

Way Back Whensday




Today my neice Ella Faith would be 6 years old. This realization is difficult to believe. A kindergartener? Really??

Today I work with kindergarteners and first graders at church. This month we are talking about following directions and specifically Jesus’ directions on prayer and giving and not to worry in the Sermon on the Mount. My short season with Ella 6 years ago was a walk in all of these things.

First: Praying as a conversation–not to be heard. Often those painful prayers don’t even have words but the Spirit intercedes with “sighs too deep for words.” Paul’s words to the Romans confirms this.

Next:  Not To Worry…this one is more difficult…especially when a child’s life is on the line. But even then, Creator/Sustainer God is holding each and every heart in his strong and purposeful hand.  We can trust him always.  Not to get what we want, but to submit to what is BEST.

And finally: Giving.  Often giving is assumed to be mostly referring to donations of money but the gift of time is also precious and much appreciated.  Giving of yourself sounds so cliche, but to really step into someone else’s life and try to figure out what would help and then DO THAT THING often makes for a nice vacation from selfishness and discontent.

So today I remember Ella and I’m grateful for the lessons I learned from Jesus’ Little Lamb.

I am Jesus’ Little Lamb/Ever glad at heart I am
For my shepherd gently guides me/knows my need and well provides me
Loves me every day the same/even calls me by my name

Day by day at home, away/Jesus is my strength and stay/
When I hunger, Jesus feeds me/into pleasant pasture leads me/
When I thirst He bids me go/where the quiet waters flow

Who so happy as I am? Since I am the Shepherd’s Lamb
And when life on earth has ended, by His angel host attended/
He shall fold me to his breast, there within His arms to rest.


To read Ella’s whole heart story, go to  care page name:  Ella Faith Hoagland

Tantrum Tuesday


I went to a baby shower on Saturday and realized what a jaded mom-of-teens I had become. 


Wow…An 8 pack of onesies!  That’ll really help when it’s slamming its door and rolling its eyes at you.  You can make it wash the car with them.

OoooOOOooo a pacifier that takes the baby’s temperature…I’m sure it will soothe AND quiet a baby with 103.7 temperature so that both parents can be well rested for the big meeting tomorrow and you won’t at all have to cancel in order to go to the 3rd doctor’s visit in a week.

700 newborn Swaddler diapers.   For to poop out the sides of and all over that shiny multicolored Mac Daddy carseat.  Enjoy!  They’ll be destroying your MomMobile in a multitude of ways for MAAAAANY more years to come with french fries and soccer socks and Slurpees.

I was so determined to succeed as a new mom.  I lost weight, I went for walks, we discovered Gymboree and matching outfits with color coordinated burp cloths.  Even with 4 kids under 5 we went camping and to the library and on road trips.  People ALWAYS were stopping me and saying:

 1)  Are they all yours? 

2)  You better enjoy them while they’re young. 

3)  Ouch!   Stop ramming me with your stroller!

But the thing I hate more than anything is that those Grocery Store Strangers were right.  Nowadays my formerly beloved ex-toddlers take turns hating their dad and me.  For inane things such as GPA expectations and unreasonable curfews and inappropriate text messages.  And lemme just say I’m not too fond of them & their sulky “whatever” attitudes quite honestly.

If only we had saved the money we spent on Disney movies, we might be able to pay this month’s cell phone bill.

If only we stretched the New Clothes Every Day allowance from birth to 5 and returned half of those baby/toddler/preschool coordinating clothes we could have invested in size 10/12 skinny jeans.

If only we had bought less jars of food (Oh, the detested Jar Shopping) and mashed up more bananas, we would be eating less Ramen noodles today and could afford a pizza every now & then.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Except I do love them…attitudes and all.

I think God says, “You’re welcome.”


It is now 10:14 am on Monday, March 2.    I just drove my gloomy 4th and 5th grader to school for their Two Hour Delay not-so-much-snow day.  As we pull up 5th grader says to me, “I think we have SOL (standards of learning) tests today…”  I laugh hysterically.

Thank you God for SCHOOL and TESTS and TRAINING and week-old pizza and 1/8th of a bag of Tostitos she’s willing to pack for her lunch.  And a CLEAN refillable Gatorade bottle.  And that the 4th grader is willing to buy his lunch.

But before that I opened the package that came on Friday from my Sonflower Sisters–highschool friends in 4 states who together sent me love, gifts, and words of encouragement (my love language).


But before that, I got into bed at 3:30 am in my clothes.

Thank you God for my driveway and my warm bed with my sleepy hubby in it and for this dry Virginia house with electricity.

But before that, I was piled with 9 other individuals, some of them in sweaty soccer uniforms and others quite gassy and vocal about it, along with all their stuff in CrazyLoud Soccer Mom’s “holds 7 comfortably” Suburban  for 2.75 hours. 


Thank you God for dry roads and power windows.

But before that I was driving from D. C. to Williamsburg through a blinding snowstorm in the tiny Honda coup of my verge-of-tears, completely freaked out, fellow soccer mom from Korea who has never seen or driven in snow or across Ohio or Pennsylvania or Maryland or West Virginia or Plain Old Virginia or even out of the City of Virginia Beach without her husband.

Thank you God for 14 winters worth of driving in Michigan snow and an inexplicable love for all things Honda.  And thanks for inventing salt and sand, and for the scientist who figured out that to sling them across slippery white roads would be helpful. 

But before that,  I drove safely under a downed power line and avoided hitting the Suburban With 7 Comfortably Seated and Belted passengers, one of which was my daughter, which had stopped completely in front of me while the Big Red Bob’s Flooring Van full of  U-14 soccer boys, one of which was my son, ever so gently skidded plum into it.

Thank you God for seatbelts and obedient-when-it-matters teenagers, however foul mouthed and overly confident they may be, and for the Navy Seal driver of my daughter’s vehicle and the God-fearing Trained Commercial driver of the Big SAFE Red Van with my son and his teammates in it.  And that duct tape can fix hanging down headlights and minorly jiggly bumpers.

But before that, the south bound lanes covered in 4″-6″ of white snowy slush kept getting blocked up with other accidents, tow trucks, 18 wheelers, sleepy midnight travelers and overconfident fast drivers. 

Thank you God for directing us safely through the snow, construction, and accidents; and that we never met even one car head-on while driving south in the north-bound lanes together.  Several different times.  And thank you for reuniting us with our 4th vehicle that we got separated from.  And for coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts at 1:00 a.m. nowhere close to home 12 hours after we began.

But before that, the horn of the Big Red Bob’s Flooring Van was stuck honking.  Not the on & off kind of honking.  The CONSTANT kind. 


Thank you God for gas station trash cans and snowball fights in shorts and for and simple solutions to pesky loud obnoxious warning sounds. 

But before THAT the U-14 boys all had to pee and we were on the “no rest stops for 116 miles” section of starting to snow Pennsylvania.

Thank you God for empty plastic bags, Hefty cinch sacks, and recently depleted Gatorade bottles.  And for LIDS. 

But before that, we lost 2 of the three National Indoor Weekend tournament games in gray and dreary Cleveland, OH and some of our players got angry and said unkind things to the referee and got yellow and red cards.  And while they were arguing with the ref the winning team got one last goal in right at the buzzer.


But before that we beat the first team 17 – 0 and got extremely bragadocious, went swimming, ate pasta for dinner and big bowls of strawberries for breakfast, drank beverages, watched TV in cushy beds and slept in late.

Thank you that we didn’t even come close to making the finals which would have meant a departure 4 hours later.    And thank you for all those times in life when you shut my mouth.  I’m sorry you have to do that so much but please keep it up and maybe we can all help each other get better at the whole think-before-you-speak thing. 

But before that my tag-along daughter’s best friend’s family was waiting for her when we got to the hotel on Friday at 7 p.m and returned her safely on Sunday in the middle of game 3 with her homework (mostly) done, a bag from our former church’s gift store, lots of stories to share and an autographed picture of KISS which she “traded” her Michigan friend for some real Virginia Beach sand and they had no road troubles at all.


Thank you God for loving us so awesomely through ALL our friends old and new, nearby and far away, circumstances normal and challenging. 

And thank you God for Priority Mail.

priority-mail“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. 

Plans to prosper and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11