Dream God’s Dreams

My “bud” left this week. It’s been a hard couple of weeks. Leading up to him leaving, I kept thinking how it couldn’t be possible that it was approaching so fast. Then, all of a sudden, it was Monday and we had to say goodbye!

Part of me thinks, how silly that I’m sad! It’s only 13 weeks and he’ll be back. Yet, it’s so much more than just the 13 weeks. He’s not just on a trip or off to college where he could still text me and call me. He gets zero access to phones or computers the entire time, unless he earns a phone call.

The other part of it is that it’s something so huge and so hard! He’s going to what they say is the second most difficult boot camp behind Navy SEAL training. He’s going to be pushed beyond his limits daily in so many capacities. In fact, one of the ways he can earn a phone call is if he knocks another person out in one of the challenges!

I’ve been pondering all week what to say about all this. It’s been on my mind a lot, of course. And I vacillate between being so proud of and excited for him and being so sad he’s gone.

So here’s where my thoughts have landed this week.

First, we raise our kids to leave the nest. All the time, energy, tears, laughter, yelling (cuz let’s be real – there’s yelling), praying…it’s all so they can be amazing adults who can stand on their own in this crazy world! While my heart has been heavy this week, I’ve also felt such peace because this is exactly what I’ve wanted for him all along. He’s doing it! He’s adulting!

Second, Isaiah has inspired me. From the time he was little he’s told me, I’m going to travel the world and probably be in the army. Well, it’s close to true. He’s decided Marines and he’ll have to opportunity to travel all over. He’s been actively pursuing this specific dream for 2 years and what else would I want for him than to go for it! He’s inspiring me to pick up my dreams and pursue them. Push for what God is calling you to!

Third, I couldn’t be more proud of both my boys! They have both pursued God’s calling in their lives this summer. Those callings look so different and yet are both so good. Encourage your kids to follow what God has for them, whether it’s near or far. I don’t ever want to hinder my kids by telling them they have to stay close by or can only pursue certain things. I tell them to seek God and His plan and then go for it!

Lastly, while my mama heart grieves, I’m surrounding myself with people who are supportive and caring. I’ve allowed myself to cry and sleep in a bit and have the iced coffee drink. We aren’t losing it if we cry. We aren’t a mess if we’re sad. It’s ok to have those emotions too and while it’s not comfortable, I’ve given myself the space and opportunity to feel those things.

I told Isaiah on Monday, “Go! Have your adventure! Just don’t forget God!”

“Thanks, Mom. It’s gonna be ok.” He replied. Then I hugged him until he was annoyed, then hugged him one more time and made it to the car before I sobbed. I’ve got the countdown on the wall and have already written a letter to him (even though I don’t have the address yet). At the same time I’m so excited for him and so thankful he is pursuing God’s dream for his life!

Precious Time

Three weeks. My son gets married the weeks from today.

That really hit me yesterday. Hard.

I’ve been blessed to have him in my house for almost 21 years and watched him grow into an amazing man with a compassionate heart, gentle spirit, and sweet disposition. He has a great sense of humor and is so smart, especially when it comes to tearing things apart and fixing them.

He’s a man of few words, especially when there’s a crowd. But early in the morning, when the sun is just peeking through my kitchen window and the house is quiet, he talks. Usually it’s just he and I in the kitchen getting ready for the day. I’ll ask him what he has going on at school or what plans are taking shape for the wedding. It doesn’t matter so much what we talk about, just that we connect.

I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to talk to anyone or really see anyone early in the morning. I actually like that my hubby is gone early because he loves to talk right away! I like my quiet in the mornings. I know what’s coming… noise, questions, screaming from the the year old, chores, meals, running errands. It’s all good and I love my life, but being an introvert in a house of 13 people, I need a little quiet in my day.

But these mornings with just Samuel have become so precious to me. Maybe because I know they are limited and then his sweet bride gets these mornings. I’m more than happy to give him up to her; she’s amazing. It’s just a huge change and it’s hard.

But I think an even greater reason I’ve been cherubim these mornings, is that I am learning slowly but surely that my relationship with my kids is paramount. It’s more important than anything else I work on with my kids.

When Samuel and Isaiah were little my relationship with them wasn’t foremost for me. My to-do list was. Getting school checked off was. Making sure they obeyed was. And I hurt our relationship because of that.

Thanks be to God that He worked on my heart and restored our relationship despite my best efforts to damage it! I haven’t arrived yet but I’m learning and eager to do better with my younger kids.

I always tell Samuel and Isaiah that I messed up more with them than I ever will with the subsequent kids. We laugh about it but it’s probably true and I’ve asked their forgiveness for many things. But I can look back and see that it’s ok that I messed up because God is bigger than all my mess ups! He has taught and led Samuel all these years to right here.

I’m so proud of him and so thankful for his wonderful bride. I’m praising God in the midst of all the swirl of emotions that they have each other and that Samuel is the amazing man God wants him to be. I’ll cherish my last few precious mornings.

Yesterday morning I told Samuel with tears, “I’m going to miss these mornings with you.”

“I’m still going to be around, mom,” was his reply.

“I know, but it won’t be the same.”

“Yeah, I know, but I’m not going very far.”

Three weeks.

Catch In Your Spirit

After my last blog post, a friend asked, “how did you get from there to here?” Meaning, how do you go from getting frustrated and angry quickly with what your little ones are doing to being patient and gentle with them.

Well, first, I definitely haven’t arrived! I’m entangled somewhere along the bumpy, winding, overgrown path from there to here. I take a lot of wrong turns and make U turns frequently! I’ll get there by heaven!

I’ll be honest. I’m a yeller. I could blame it on my aggressive, battle-ready German blood, or on the fact that my parents yelled, or on some circumstance in my life, but it really just comes down to my own sinful heart. Don’t we all want what we want right now? I’m impatient and when I don’t have control I yell.

But every once in a while, on this messy path, I catch a glimpse of sonlight. It peeks through the anger, frustration, yelling, and imperfection and shines brightly in my face. It’s that still, small voice that whispers in my heart, reminding me to pause, to think before I act, to not just react.

That sonlight and still small voice belong to the one and only Holy Spirit. If you know Jesus, you have his Spirit within you desiring to be your guide along this tangled mess of a journey. As I’ve been thinking about my friend’s question He has come to mind as the most influential person in my mothering.

Let me draw a picture for you. You are sitting in your living room, in your favorite spot, cozied up with a blanket and a cup of your favorite hot drink. You have a book on your lap opened and you’re engrossed in the story. The house is quiet because the little ones are napping and the bigger kids are watching a movie. You flip page after page as you eagerly anticipate what’s going to happen in the book. Suddenly, you find yourself not being able to concentrate on the words on the page, but find your mind wandering to all you should be doing. You get a little butterfly like twinge in your gut, maybe a quickening of breath, and you feel fidgety. No longer can you relax and engage in the book, because you just know your responsibilities are rising to the surface and you need to get off the couch and start the dryer and get supper in the oven or the rest of the evening will go downhill quickly.

That’s what it feels like when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. That’s the best I can describe it anyway. You’re in the midst of your frustration and anger with your child, and, if you’re willing to be aware of it, the Holy Spirit is causing your mind to think of something else, something better. Maybe He’s just saying, “pause, breathe” or maybe, “there’s a better way” or “will this develop the fruit you want in your child”. If you are in God’s Word regularly, guaranteed the Holy Spirit will use those Words you’ve read to help you and guide you in those moments.

Have you ever felt that twinge in your gut? I call it a “catch in your spirit”. It’s like there’s this little invisible tug, as if the cord that attaches my spirit to the Holy Spirit is being tugged on.

In that moment, when I feel that tug, I have a choice. I can stop and listen and breathe. I can choose to take a moment and consider how big of a deal it actually is. I can decide what’s best for my relationship with my child and what will actually bring about a heart change.

Or…I can choose to plow ahead on my own, giving in to my fleshly desires and sinful heart. I can choose to react harshly and push my child away. I can choose to forget about their heart and the consequences of my actions.

Sounds so easy in writing. Yet it’s so hard on real life. Why?

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Romans 7:19 ESV
We all have a war that wages within us between our flesh and the Spirit. And we all are imperfect. And we all want to hang on to our sinful ways because they appear to give us the results we want. But in reality, they are fake results without eternal change.

for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:20 ESV

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7‭-‬8 ESV

We will reap what we sow. What do I want to sow into my kids’ hearts and my heart?

Do You Know Your Kids?

Screaming and running, he tried to jump into the lazy river and pull away from his big brother who was keeping him safe, though he didn’t think so. He just wanted what he wanted.

Years ago, a scene like this with my boys would have resulted me getting angry, scolding, and probably yelling. I most likely would have given a consequence, resulting in more tantrums and a deep seated anger in my child.

Today, thankfully I’ve learned at least a little something. Not much… but a little. When this scene took place yesterday at the water park, I picked him up hugged him and told him it would be okay. I tried to get him to tell me what was making him so angry but he was too upset, so we sat down with some water and a snack to calm down. I gave him some squeezes because he’s a sensory seeker and needs firm hugs. I kissed him playfully in his face to get some smiles. Then a he ate he told me what was so upsetting. And I told him he cannot run off or scream when he’s angry, something that he isn’t going to learn right away, but we keep working on it.

Relationship. This word has been recurring in my life so much over the past 9 months. God has been speaking to me about how important they are and what they should look like. I’m learning to really study my kids and see who they are, how they respond to different situations, and what they need in their lives.

With Lukas, I’m learning his extreme emotions need my calmness and consistent love. He needs to know he’s loved in the midst of his outbursts. He needs strong squeezes and lots of affirming words. And he needs food. That sounds funny, but it’s true. His blood sugar gets low and he gets hangry!

It’s not easy to figure out all my kids. There are eleven of them, after all! And more will be added via marriage and eventually there will be grandkids to figure out. But what’s more eternal and more important than knowing the people God has put into our lives.

Our other pursuits in life, a job, a garden, homeschooling, friendships, and anything else, won’t measure up to us knowing our children well.

It takes time and dedication and energy. But the reward at the end will be beyond our imagination! A solid relationship with our kids, having their hearts, and knowing them well will get us through the difficult times in life, of which there will be many.

And, thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for our shortcomings. I wasn’t very good at this when my oldest were little and we went through some really really hard things with one of them during the teen years. (You can read about it here. https://desiredhavenfarm.com/2019/10/02/a-privilege-to-share/) Though I’d done a lot to ruin my relationship with this child, God filled in the gaps and brought other people into his life that he needed. God also pushed him to still reach out to me and open up about his struggles so I could help him. God is good!

And, it’s never too late to really get to know your kids! Even if they aren’t little anymore, you can still discover their personalities, their needs, their likes and dislikes, and how you can have a strong relationship with them.

Here’s some things that have helped me: “The Five Love Languages”, “I Said This, You Heard That”, Marilyn Howshall at marilynhowshall.com, and God’s Word.

Light in the Midst of Crazy

I think about 50% of being a mom is cleaning up other people’s stuff. I mean, really. They leave toys, clothes, wrappers, games, laying everywhere. Sometimes there’s so many clothes in one spot I think a kid has been raptured!

Then 50% is wiping. Wiping faces, wiping hands, wiping butts, wiping spills. I should just carry a wet rag all day.

Then there’s about 10% fun. I know, doesn’t sound like a lot, but after all the picking up and wiping up there isn’t much time left in a day! (Don’t need to mention my math.)

Today we had a few moments of mostly fun. I say mostly because, if you’re a mom you know half of any fun time is you telling someone to “stop touching that”, “don’t put your hands in that”, “don’t wipe that on your shirt”.

It was egg dying day! I think overall we’ll call it a success. The two year old, after being told to gently put the egg in the cup, tossed it in, splattering dye all over, but hey, that’s to be expected, right?!

Brown eggs dye so beautifully!

In the midst of egg dying, the bird that had been trapped in our chimney finally dropped down into the fireplace. Yeah, he’d only been trapped for 24 hours. Guess he couldn’t figure out which way to go in the darkness.

Pause egg dying…chase bird around house…catch bird…bird slips out of hand…chase bird again…catch bird… release bird.

Back to eggs. All in a day’s work, right.

Actually back to that bird in the darkness. It took him 24 hours sitting in a dark flue before he most likely accidentally dropped down the vertical portion into the fireplace.

Do you ever feel like you are in the darkness? Lost? Don’t know where to turn?

This weekend is the best weekend of all for anyone lost in the darkness! It’s Resurrection Weekend!

A friend of mine calls it tue Superbowl weekend of the Christian faith. The whole reason we have a faith and can be saved!

Jesus defeated the darkness. Jesus made a way through the darkness with His perfect light! Follow His Light, His Truth, His Way out of the darkness!

What started in a lowly manger, wound its way to a brutal cross, and then finished with an empty tomb is the greatest true story in history! There’s no greater Light in the darkness than Jesus’ victory over death!

Happy Resurrection Day! May all you moms out there find light in the midst of the crazy!

Is It Here?

Spring, I mean. Is it real? If you lived in Minnesota for any amount of time, you know to question this kind of weather in March! If we know anything, we know March is deceitful. They say March is “In like a lion, out like a lamb” and vise versa. But sometimes it’s just a cute quiet little lamb or so we think. Turns out it was just a wolf in sheep’s clothing the whole time! Then April comes, exposing the lie with cold, freezing rain, snow, and blustery wind.

But, right now, on a day like this, is hard to imagine it’ll go cold again. The sun feels warm on your skin, you can see grass (even if it is brown), birds are chirping, and even the breeze feels warm. I’ll take it.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about our days. We look forward to spring, planting the garden, seeing flowers come up, taking walks again. We are always looking ahead. But really, we aren’t guaranteed the days ahead. We only truly have today.

Am I living today for all is worth? Am I glorifying God in my actions today? Feeling overwhelmed and stressed with the spring project list? Getting frustrated with the kids who can’t figure out math? Answering texts instead of listening to my kids?

I have to remind myself I can’t get it all done today. I just can’t. And I have to remind myself that’s ok. I like to check boxes and see a to do list crossed off. There’s just all these little people keeping me from checking any boxes!

And yet, God is reminding me even as I write, that these little people should be at the top of my list! These little people are the only eternal work.

As the spring project list looms and I feel buried by it, I need to remember I only have today and I have a lot of important work to do with my kids. If the apple trees don’t get pruned, it’s ok. If the basement doesn’t get cleaned, it’s ok, if the laundry piles up, it’s ok. (I’m saying this on repeat to myself all day today. )

If you have a hard time, like me, keeping yourself from worrying about the to do list, take a deep breath with me, go outside, listen to the birds, feel the sun, and enjoy. Remember those birds never worry about what they are going to eat and they are always taken care of.

Here are some gorgeous wild flowers my aunt took photos of in Germany to get you by until ours start peeking through! These flowers never worry about what they will wear and, yet, are clothed more beautifully than any of us could ever be.

So, don’t worry. Don’t even worry if this is real spring or The Spring of Deception. Your Father in Heaven cares deeply for you and knows your worries. He also knows best and only wants good for you.

Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Impromptu Getaway

“I just need a change of scenery, need to do something different,” I stated to a friend.

“Me too,” she replied.

We both were feeling the weight of winter, the doldrums of cold and darkness and more cold. The kids were too cooped up and going stir crazy, making mom go crazy.

She’s the kind of friend I can tell my struggles too and she gets it. She knows I get her too. And what I love about her is when I told her this, she was like, well, let’s go somewhere.

A little while later, we were online finding a VRBO not too far away that would fit our two families. I’ve never pulled off a vacation that quickly. We tend to be planners, not spontaneous,  jump in the car and go kind of people. It was fun just to plan something that fast and have something different to do.

Andrew took a couple days vacation, I canceled everything on the calendar, we threw clothes in bags and ran to the grocery store.

Two days later we were driving through a snow storm! A drive that should have taken 2 1/2 hours, took four through blinding snow and unplowed roads. But we made it.

We found a cabin nestled in the Mississippi River bluffs in the middle of nowhere Iowa. Didn’t really matter where we went, just that we went. But it was beautiful! And it was priceless to be with family and friends!

We did nothing and it was glorious! We ate, played games, watched movies, and stayed inside by the fire for two days. Going on vacation can be stressful, going with other families can be a lot to navigate, but not with these people. We get each other. We’re comfortable just sitting together or doing our own thing. And, very importantly, our kids love each other. They played together the entire time without fights or issue and loved every minute together.

We had some amazing laughs too, playing charades. Laughing with friends is such good medicine!

When we were leaving, her daughter said to mine, “I don’t want to leave this place. And even more, I don’t want to leave you.”

I felt the same way.

Everyone needs people to do life with. This life isn’t easy. We need people who get us, who love us, who see our need and take action. We need people who will tell us the truth and hold us accountable. We need people who will walk alongside us in trouble and in joy.

If you don’t have people like that in your life, be those people to someone else. Pray God gives you those people and pray he shows you who he wants you to come alongside. You’ll never regret it!

Role Model

As a mom I want my kids to pursue their calling. I want my girls and boys to be able to do whatever it is that God calls them too. I don’t want there to be hindrances and obstacles. I don’t want others to stand in their way.

But, I also want them to hold tight to the Truth. I want them to hold tight to their convictions and the knowledge of right and wrong. I want my girls and boys to know who they are in Christ and what He calls them to.

I don’t ever want to see my kids accomplish something great at the expense of their morals, their faith, and their soul. I don’t want them to stomp on others to get ahead. I would hate to see them set aside what they know is good, true, right, pure, and honest.

I’m sure, at this point, you’re agreeing with me. But you may disagree as I continue…

So many in the past few months are pointing their girls to a certain “role model”. Look what she’s accomplished. Look how she broke the glass ceiling. “Put your shoes on, girls, their lots of glass on the ground.” You can be anything! See, Kamala did it! She paved the way for you.

I say, hold on. At what expense did she “make it to the top”? At who’s expense did she accomplish this supposed success? At the end of her days, when she stands before God, will she be able to stand? Will her actions here on earth condemn her?

I don’t claim to know Kamala’s heart or any others, but the claims against her and what I know she stands for are disturbing. I don’t want my girls to look to her at all as a role model. I don’t want my girls to think it’s ok to give themselves away to unavailable men. I would be heart broken if they supported the murdering of babies. I would never want them to condone rioting. The list goes on.

If my girls are stay at home moms, serving their families faithfully and quietly, I’ll be proud of them. If they become doctors, lawyers, or politicians, I’ll support them. If they work at Aldi or Culvers, or travel as a missionary, I’ll walk with them.

But there’s something so much more important than status and the worldly prestige that comes with position. There’s something hundreds of time more important than “breaking the glass ceiling” in a falling society.

The status of their souls.

I want my girls to look to the folks models in this world who have remained faithful to God, who have said no to status and prestige to save their souls. Thankfully there are some amazing women in our lives that I’ve purposely made relationships with for myself and for the benefit of my girls. I want my kids to look to those people and I desire that my girls ultimately look to Jesus as their role model.

These women in our lives are not perfect, but they are redeemed. They are not without fault but they are humble, willing to admit fault, willing to stand for what’s right at all costs.

You know who you are, ladies. You are my tribe and I thank you for speaking wisdom, love, faith, forgiveness, and humility. You are the women I can count on in times of trouble, the women who tell me when I’m wrong and love me through it, the women who lift me up when I’m knocked down, the women who love my children alongside me. You don’t have to be perfect, because ou constantly point my girls and I to the one who is.

If you want a role model for your girls, be that role model and surround yourselves with women who stand for the truth, for conviction, for purity, for faithfulness, for real love. Point your girls (and boys) to Jesus, the perfect role model.

He’ll never let you down, never forsake you, never show you the wrong path. He is the perfect role model for all of us!

And, because He is perfect, the memory verse this week reminds us of this perfect role model.

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
Acts 17:24‭-‬25 ESV

Who wouldn’t want this God for a role model?!

How do you do it?

So many ask me, how do you do it?

I don’t think I do it any better than any other mom, really. I fall short plenty and in many areas!

But here’s a few things I’ve done that do help my sanity.

First, get rid of stuff. Lots of stuff. Stop having emotional attachments to things and throw them out. It might feel hard at first and it might even seem mean to get rid of your kid’s toys, but really you are helping everyone in your house. There’s so much baggage when you are attached to stuff and so much unnecessary guilt when you don’t want to clean out your kid’s excess. You will feel lighter and more free if you just remove it! Pack up 50% of the toys, get rid of the boxes you never unpacked from when you moved 5 years ago, clean out the cabinets of all those appliances you had good intentions with. And keep doing it. I probably go through my house a few times a year and haul stuff away to Goodwill. I think the junk reproduces when I’m not looking.

I have also greatly downsized my kids clothing. My kids have about 10 outfits and that’s it. And if we get new items, we pair down the old. My boys have baskets for their items and if their clothes don’t fit in the baskets we know there are too many items. So we hand them to someone else too bless them. My girls have dressers but the same thing applies. This helps immensely with laundry as well. My out of control laundry piles consist of about 6 loads. I used to have 15 loads in my out of control piles, when I didn’t get to it daily.

Second, my kids have to help. They do a lot! After each meal two kids have to clean up the kitchen and two have to clean the dining room. My kids take turns being my kitchen helper, helping me cook so they learn how to do it too. They clean house every Saturday morning – I honestly hardly help. They each have a zone in the house they have to pick up if I say, “Zones!” They have to keep their rooms in order, do their own laundry once they are 8, and take care of all the animals. Every child from about age 2 can do something around the house. At first it might feel like it takes more time to have them help, but trust me, in the long run, you’ll be glad you took that time.

David despises chores! I only got him to smile by telling him I needed to see that grumpy face.

Third, I take time for myself. Not a lot, but I try to make sure I get a little. The most important thing I do for myself is read God’s Word. I wish I could say I do it daily but it doesn’t always happen. I do try to fit it in everyday though. That’s my goal. It doesn’t matter what I read in the Word l, if I’ve read that day I can tell a difference. I have a better attitude if I’ve read and, in turn, my kids have a better attitude, and, in turn, our day goes better. I may not even remember what I read, but that connection with the Lord really makes a difference.

This is what’s happening during my “quiet time” – massive wrestling match!

I also try to work out a few times a week. This really helps my mood and helps me get back in shape after baby Dottie! It’s not easy to fit it in, but it’s worth it. I just do 20 minute workouts so they don’t take that much time. My kids even like to join in!

Another thing I try to do for myself is create. I love to paint, make boards, crochet. Sometimes I get 5 minutes to work on my latest blanket. Sometimes I get to go to a ladies art night and spend a couple hours painting.

I used to be an all-or- nothing kind of person. Like if I couldn’t do the project from start to finish I wouldn’t start. But if eleven kids had taught me anything is to fit it in where and when I can! And if it doesn’t get finished, I can come back to it. I’d still prefer to finish it all at once, but I’ve learned to give that up, a little bit.

Give yourself grace and lots of it! His mercies are new every morning so try again tomorrow if it didn’t go so well today. I can get so down in myself for not getting my workout in or my Bible reading done, or for not having a perfectly decorated house (I know, dumb). But He has asked me to care for, mold, and shape these children so that’s where my focus needs to be. It’s not easy, but it is good!

Capture One Moment

There’s those events in life that make you really stop and think about, well, life. The days you are given, the moments you should catch and hold onto.

Recently some dear friends of ours lost their 25 year old son completely unexpectedly. He was a strong, healthy, young man and then he was gone.

Then last week, we had an incident that will remain with me a long time.

We were celebrating a birthday in town and eating supper. Lukas was on my lap but didn’t want any more food so I set him down to play while I finished. He wandered over to his sister and wanted more food. Suddenly, Isaiah said, “I think he’s choking” and grabbed him and started hitting him on the back. How he knew how to do that, I don’t know, but he did. Nothing happened so I grabbed Lukas and started banging on him.

Andrew joined in. The rest of the party was totally silent. It was like time slowed down and I was aware of every person in the room sitting like statues watching Andrew and I bang on this little baby as he turned blue. I kept saying, “Breathe, baby” and “Jesus” over and over, the only prayer I could formulate. Afterwards Andrew and Isaiah said they were praying too. I love that we turn to God so quickly in the midst of scary circumstances. It’s a testimony to Him about His faithfulness in our lives!

My sister in law asked over and over, “Should I call 911?” I think I said yes, but she didn’t hear me. Finally, Isaiah (the true hero of this story) said very firmly, “Auntie Jen, call 911 now!”

By this time a couple minutes had passed and Lukas was blue and puffy in the face. I was near hysterics and could feel the panic rising in my chest. I physically had to force it down as I thought, if I start crying now I’ll freak out completely.

Finally, after what felt like eternity, Lukas coughed up a chunk of watermelon and began to raggedly suck in air. It took a few moments for him to get all the gunk out and really breathe well, but those first little cries and inhalations were like music to my ears. That’s when the tears and shaking set in.

And, that’s when the police officer came in and the paramedics showed up. Thank the Lord for those responders! Thank the Lord I didn’t really need them anymore! I was reassured by them though. They listened to Lukas and took his pulse and watched him suck his fingers and giggle.

That night when we were putting Lukas to bed, he was playing peekaboo with Andrew and laughing so hard his legs and arms were dancing. I just started to cry all over again, thinking how that moment, that sweet and simple bedtime moment may not have been.

I realized that everyday can’t be amazing and out of the ordinary. Everyday can’t be special all day long, but I can capture a moment each day. Everyday is a gift. Have you thought about that? We aren’t guaranteed a long life or a future. We don’t know if we’ll have tomorrow. I know we’ve all heard that before, but truly think about that. We really only have today. And yes, we have laundry to do and dishes to wash and kids need to get to bed. But try to capture just one moment each day, try to catch one memory each day.

We can’t control a lot in life. There are so many circumstances and situations out of our control all the time. But we can control which moments we hang onto and what perspective we’ll have in the midst of life. That memory of Lukas giggling and playing with Daddy before bed is what I choose to capture from that day. And today, I’m looking for a moment to capture as well, not on my smart phone, but in my mind, as a reminder to cherish today, because it’s really all I’ve got.

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”