Sunday, April 28, 2013

36

In 45 minutes, I will be 36 years old. Well, truthfully, I think I have a few more hours past midnight, but who's counting, right? I realized today that I'm closer to 50 than to 20. Sheesh. It all seems a little weird, but I think everybody feels that way, don't they? Don't we all just freeze at about 30 in our brains? I think I've reached the age where sometimes when I'm surprised when I look in the mirror. I know, bigger surprises await me.

I really don't like milestones. Birthdays. Graduations. The last time we'll ever buy diapers for our kids. (Okay, I might like that one, not that it's here quite yet.) They're all just a little too sentimental to me. Being the Debby Downer I am, I always feel a heaviness with the passage of time. I know I have something much better awaiting me when this life is done, but this life is comfortable and familiar and full of people I love.

Yet, I can't help but be thankful for kids who are developing and growing, for another year with the people who are dear to my heart, for a marriage that gets better with time, and for all that God has done for me for 36 years now.

Life is such a mixed bag. Bitter and sweet all smashed up together. The hard makes the easy more appreciated. The sour makes the sweet all the tastier. Change has to happen for growth to find its way in. A seed has to die for the fruit to grow.

Isn't it interesting that God made a world and a life that's so messy and so wonderful all at the same time? Wouldn't something simpler have been better? But would we cling to Him so tightly in that clean, easy, sinless world?

I met a lady today who reached quite a milestone just yesterday. She turned 90 years old, and let me tell you, she didn't look a day over 80. :) And, you know, she didn't seem one bit sad about being 90. In fact, she seemed to have enjoyed her birthday bash quite a lot and bragged on the granddaughter who'd thrown it for her. She was brimming over with stories of when God had spoken to her over the course of her 90 years, and thinking back on it now, every single one of them involved heartache.

Being five years old with a hungry tummy which a kind lady filled with chitlins. Being heartbroken when a marriage that had spanned three decades and the birth of eight children ended in divorce while simultaneously facing the death of her brother...and God showed up with a comforting word and song as she stepped into the shower. Being left fatherless after her daddy's electrocution when she was nine years old, and neighbors pitching in to finish his harvesting work and provide for her family.

And I thought, as I looked into her clear eyes, full of excitement at the chance to share of God's faithfulness to her, "I sure hope I'm a lot like this at 90."

Because she saw her story not as being about her, but about her Father in heaven who has been with her every step of the way. So, as I remember that my story isn't mine at all, but His, I'm a little more excited to watch it unfold, one day at a time. And then, as one day turns into many, I will have a beautiful story to tell of a God who is faithful to an ordinary girl like me.

That's something to look forward to.

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Thursday, April 4, 2013

He Is Risen (So Let's Eat Marshmallows)

I have a question: Do you think if I never asked my kids to pick up anything that the house would eventually be covered in a huge pile of stuff? Just wondering.

And now here are some Easter pictures to feed the illusion that we're the perfect family and that I didn't just want to cry tonight when the boys poked their lips out and decided they'd rather eat nothing for dessert rather than the "healthy" options I'd spent all day cooking.

Banana muffins anyone? No? Okay then.

Easter was wonderful...and exhausting. Unfortunately, payday and the subsequent grocery trip to replenish every food item in our house coincided with Easter weekend and the rush to get all the Peeps and ham people could afford. And then there was the panic of Last Minute Mom, who had surprisingly waited until the last minute (did I mention it was payday?) to do some sort of something for her kids for Easter. It all left me on the verge of tears (are you sensing a theme here?) and ready to crash. But there were five people waiting at home who thought dinner was a good idea.

Speaking of things people think are good ideas...I was really wrestling this year with how to make Easter special, but in a more Yay-we-love-you-Jesus kind of way instead of a yay-I-have-a-giant-basket-and-my-dress-is-fabulous kind of way. And I do mean without gathering 57 craft supplies and enduring the screaming as four kids try to figure out how to share one bottle of glue. Because that just doesn't always say Jesus to us.

So, we did the Bond family (and most other families) tradition of the Resurrection Rolls (though the nut-case of a cook who lives in this house made the dough homemade, because the partially hydrogenated stuff is just too much for me sometimes - and the ones in the marshmallows don't count because I'm not crazy enough to make those homemade....yet) on Easter morning. I would like to point out that we were still on time for church, which was our own personal Easter miracle. He is risen...and the Bonds are on time! Hallelujah!



And I pondered doing the homegrown version of the Resurrection Eggs, but I just ran out of time and I did not want it to be a horrible, stressful thing. And Jesus still lives, so it all turned out okay. Thankfully, we are blessed with fabulous friends who made Good Friday special by having us over for an egg hunt and the Lord's Supper with our families. The only part that wasn't so special was when Luke had a melt down because he was apparently starving and could not partake of the one Wheat Thin the rest of us were eating. And just like Judas, we made a quick exit from the supper. However, we did not betray anyone for any amount of money, so it all ended up okay.

Some kids come with giant coolers, ready to hunt. Others are more concerned with the new fashion involving Easter basket hats.



Maddie found the largest prized golden egg...full of last year's chocolate. Or something an animal had left in its place.





I'm not sure what Jack was thinking here, but he doesn't look too happy with the goings-on.



And then we roasted marshmallows over a huge fire. Apparently nothing says Resurrection like melted partially hydrogenated oils. But it was fun, so we're going to count it as a win.

Anyhoo....on Saturday I went on the very stressful Easter gift hunt in the middle of my very stressful grocery shopathon. And I thought I came up with an absolutely fabulous idea. Forget cheap toys that will be lost or broken before week's end or gobs of candy or other junk that I'll just have to pick up off the floor one million times before I just throw it in the trash. I was going to fulfill my kids' dreams of growing food. Some children dream of trips to Disney (okay, my kids do that) or a house full of brand new toys (not so much)...but my children have been begging me to plant a garden.

And that sounds wonderful, because you know I'm all about fresh healthy food. But there are a few problems.

1. We live on a cliff in a subdivision and have a yard full of grass that we paid to have laid.
2. I don't know anything about gardening and I hate to research and learn new things on my own.
3. It takes a lot of time (of which we have none) and work (of which my children tire after about 5 minutes and 33 seconds).

So I went to Walmart (where all real farmers shop) and bought them a couple of tomato plants and a couple of strawberry plants. And some dirt and fertilizer.

Guess what? They were thrilled! And guess what else? Almost one week has passed and only two plants have been put into pots because Genius Mom didn't buy enough soil and now it's apparently reverted to winter in the Deep South and I just could not bring myself to lug two little boys to Walmart to buy more dirt today in the freezing cold. (I'm a little worried about that horrible run-on sentence, because I think my former English teacher reads this sometimes. But my thought process is basically one frantic run-on sentence, so I think I'll just leave it.)



I have a sneaking suspicion that our crop may not be exactly as plentiful as we might hope. Time will tell. The upside is that if this turns out to be an epic fail, I'll always have this experience to point back to when the kids start begging me to grow watermelons.

No, no, children. Remember the time...

Then Easter day came, we baked our rolls, the marshmallow Jesus disappeared on cue, and we headed to church to celebrate a much more important empty tomb. And the celebration didn't stop there, because Jesus would not be happy if we forgot the obligatory Easter photos, the sweet potatoes and the cake and the egg hunt. Or maybe he doesn't so much care, but I'm hoping the fun time we had with the family he's blessed us with was pleasing to him. Because it was pleasing to me...until Monday morning came. But that's another story.

And now, at long last, for your viewing enjoyment, more Easter pictures of my family that you wanted to see in your lifetime. It's just too hard to pick. The perfect ones are lovely, but the not-so-perfect ones are so fun.


Easter baskets at Nana's. They might as well have struck gold when they saw their Pop tarts.


If only he knew how to swim.


It's Easter, baby. Oh yeah!


Let's rock it!



Finally, the miraculous almost perfect shot.


The only almost perfect shot.



He will henceforth be known as Sam the Ham.



No really. He's done.



Sam's favorite Emily.


Who unfortunately is stuck with this guy. Yes, I'm putting this on the internet because that's just how great of a sister I am.



AAAANNNNNNND...he's done.









The hunt is on.







 Nothing says Easter like guns.


And swiping other people's eggs.


Hey. Nobody's gettin' my eggs.



He is risen! He is risen indeed!