Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"How fast can you run a mile?"

"How fast can you run a mile?" is the question recently overheard through an open window.... ( I know how dare I post that in February, I have the windows open for the cool breeze)

The neighbor boy is over to pass football with Grumpy.  Grumpy of course is the athlete that puts all other athletes to shame.  He is nimble, agile.  He is a three point master.  A touchdown scoring machine.  Although he has never played, he is a hat trick boss.  And,  I found out through eavesdropping, (come on you know you do it to your kids too) that Grumpy is really, really, really fast!

So as I hear the neighbor boy say to Grumpy in a casual manner. " So, how fast can you run a mile?"  I stop in my tracks and pay particularly close attention to Grumpy's answer.

All of you that run, have ever run, or ever desire to run, should sit down.  I am about to take the wind from your sails, the record has been set.... Drum roll please.....

"I can run a mile in like, two minutes dude. How about you?"   Well no one is going to admit that they run a mile is 5 minutes or 8 minutes after that revelation, so the neighbor quickly throws the football long, Grumpy goes after it and that quickly the conversation turns to other less dramatic boy things.

Now while the boys are in the yard, I pull up some google searches on fastest mile ever run...  and while some have broken four minute mile, and just by a small amount, there is no one that I could find that has ever run a 2 minute mile.

After the neighbor goes home, I call Grumpy in and ask him to repeat to me how fast he can run a mile.  "2 minutes!"  "How do you know that?" I ask.  "Because during PT, that is how fast I was clocked running the mile. "  "So, there is NO way you are confused about the distance that you were running?"  "Could it have been a half mile in two minutes?"  Still in my mind a highly unlikely probability, but one that I could consider.  A highly insulted and overly irritated teen boy voice screeches in my ear, "No, mom you can ask anybody.  Ask Colonel!"   "Okay, I will email him, and until we hear back from him with confirmation of your running abilities you should look at these web sites, and statistics and think about what professional, and trained athletes are doing in the world of running."   Yet in the face of the facts, 2 minute mile is his story and he is sticking to it!

Below is the emailed response from his Colonel:

Rest assured that if young Grumpy was indeed capable of a 2 min mile. You would have known about it LONG ago. The fact is he has repeatedly run 2:00 and even 1:30 Quarter miles. Which is the distance of one lap around the bus loop."

Now look, as the mom of a very concrete, special needs child, I want to do my very best each day to encourage him, not discourage him. I feel the need to not just for my own satisfaction, (although sometimes I think it would just feel so good to say nana nana boo boo, I told you so) but for his protection from the unkindness of strangers, to whom he is sharing his two minute mile story with, to set the record straight. So, I hold my tongue.  I launch into the logical and mathematical reasoning for why he is not and without training, never mind the human improbability,  will never be able to just run a two minute mile.  I think he gets it.  However, that doesn't erase the fact that in his mind, when he turns 18, the NFL is going to call to draft him ....maybe we will tackle that delusion another day.  

You really can't make this stuff up! 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Follow up to "We Pray too Much"

I do not often post about things that are non dwarf related, and while the initial "We pray too much" post was about D1 and D2 and their conversational attempt to get out of going to the church wide prayer meeting last night, this follow up post is an effort to share my heart's response to the prayer meeting from an adult perspective.

First let me state that if I have heard it one time, I have heard it said 1000's of times, "you can't judge a book by it's cover".  In the case of people, you have NO idea who is sitting beside you, behind you or in front of you at church, in a school PTA meeting,standing in line at the grocery store.  We all have a story. We all have pain.  We all have grief.  We all have joy.   Last night at prayer meeting this was played out in front of me in a way that I have never experienced. If I had, I was blind to it.   I am grateful that the Lord removed the blinders from my heart last night.  Today my day took on new meaning as my heart is tender for more opportunities to serve, share and pray for others.

Many of you know since moving to our new home we have not had that feeling of really "connecting" with our new church home.  While we feel that God has clearly called us there, we are still unsure what our mission is going to be, or what the Lord wants us to do in service to Him.  We are attending faithfully, giving faithfully, participating in the fringe of things, you know the "easy button ministries" like Thanksgiving donations for the food bank, volunteering to help with some of the activities our kids are involved in, the community outreach events (Trunk or Treat),  coaching the Upwards basketball program, and hosting a life group.  None of which requires nearly as much of a commitment that we had coming from our old church, nor has the relational attachments or foundations that we are accustomed to.  To say that we are starting all over in relationship building and carving out ministry opportunities is accurate.  I believe at this point some of the dwarfs have a deeper ministry and involvement in our church than the Prince and I do.  (Which is of course heartwarming to the Prince and I.)  All of this to say, because of our lack of personal involvement/commitment and strong relationships (which I know will take much more time to build, than the amount of time we have been here in Florida) last night's kick off prayer meeting was a step of our faithfulness in seeking Christ and a step towards our continued growth and commitment to our new church body.

Even after lecturing D1 and D2 last night about the fact that we do not pray nearly enough at  home or during our day, and discussing what praying without ceasing looks like, and why this is a necessary and  foundational principle in the Christian life, I walked out of church last night touched, overwhelmed, blessed, encouraged, and uplifted knowing that I had felt the presence of the Lord during the corporate assembly of  praying believers. 

Our church has kicked off the year with a renewed emphasis on Prayer.  We met as a group last night ( I stink at anything with numbers but I would guess more than 100 + persons)  and spent some time in worship before the staff of the church began to speak to us about their vision for the year and the three ways that we were encouraging us to structure our prayer lives.  I will not go over all the details they shared because, in it's self is just a guide for implementing what they felt the Lord laying on their hearts. The amazing part is what happened next. When the staff walked away and the people began to share.

"Sue" gave her testimony.  A testimony about how prayer gave her hope during a pregnancy for her little girl, that when she was told early in her pregnancy, her daughter would not make it because she was not strong enough.  While the pregnancy continued, with faith and hope, she prayed for this baby.  She was born in the 8th month stillborn.  At the time, she already had three boys. Fast forward years.  A grown son (and a group of his friends) that turned to drugs and for six years tore apart their family.  All her boys lives, she prayed with hope that the Lord would protect her boys and their family from drugs, and alcohol. She prayed to the Lord for her son's deliverance from this stumbling block not willing to loose another child. (2 young men lost their lives in overdoses)  She never stopped her petitions to the Lord, never getting angry, knowing that the Lord was in the details.  Her son is a recovering heroin addict.  Praise the Lord.   My struggles and those of my children are nothing in comparison to her's.   For my spouse, for my kids, for their fears, temptations, struggles, joys. I don't pray enough.

We then were instructed retrieve our prayer card we were given for the church ministries.  Pray for the wisdom of the leaders, the salvation of the lost reached by each ministry, the growth of the believers involved in each ministry, for the provision of new volunteers to the ministries and for the ministries to be build community among them and their team.  The card then listed 33 ministries of the church.  The card we were given last night had one of the ministries marked off, and each person in the room received a different card .... for a period of time we each prayed for the ministry marked off on our card in the all the areas above listed.   I prayed for life groups and the Prince prayed for the women's ministries.   Again, not being good with numbers it is my guess that each of the 33 ministries had at least 3 -5 persons praying for them.  An amazing feeling to be part of a corporate body praying for the ministries that it supports. For those fearless leaders that care for my youth, for the pastors that lead, for the support staff, for the volunteers at the church I attend,  I don't pray enough.

Now, this part is where potentially I felt the  biggest impact. Where the whole "You cant judge a book by it's cover" really became clear to me.   We were instructed to split up into small groups.  To many church goers this is where their comfort meter spins out of control, they are tempted to leave, they start sweating profusely... but the Pastor addressed this also, and indicated that while he knows that not everyone is comfortable with this, that if they tried it, he promised that they would indeed be be okay!  So the Prince and I hop up and gravitate towards a small group of people in the back of the sanctuary.  ( After all we are baptists at heart! )   We greeted one another, and as all of us do when meeting new people, we started to assess the folks that we were combining with.   Two couples, one older and one with a small child and a friend of relative, and the Prince and I made up the group. Everyone seemed "normal" like me...   Assignment - introduce yourself.  Name and where you are from. Period.  No more.  Easy.  The Prince and I, "Sam", "Sharon", "Rich", "Jamie", Rich's mom and his 19 month old daughter.  Everyone still seemed "normal" like me. 

Next assignment for our group share one personal prayer request per person. This is where the blinders came off.  My vision of normal destroyed.

Ten years ago suffered a stroke, still praying for full recovery of the left side
A son in the final stages of his FBI testing
A baby's friend that is six months old with fluid on her brain
Opportunities to witness at work
The most overwhelming request, their all consuming focus:

A mother,  and wife praying for their son/husband battling brain cancer (the father) can't be older than 30. 

Normal?  Hardly. I assumed these folks were just like me, but out of our group of 7, 5 were experiencing what I would determine to be overwhelming circumstances in their lives.    We immediately gathered around this young husband and wife, and his mother and their small daughter and prayed for healing, forgetting that there had not yet another assignment given.  What do I have to contribute to this?  The only thing that I know to do.  Pray.  Heart wrenching, sob inducing prayers to the Lord on behalf of a stranger. 

As we moved through the remainder of our group time and we brought before the Lord the prayers for healing for the lingering affects of the stroke, the strength and endurance needed for the testing, for unique opportunities to witness at work and for a dear sweet baby with some uncertain health issues.  Additionally, praying for the salvation of those that we know and interact with each day that do not know the Lord, our therapists, our neighbors, our cousins, our friends, our children. Ending with a time of prayer for missionaries across the globe, for our president and for our leaders.  I take for granted the blessings in my life.  My health, my relationships.  The leaders of our country, our state.  I have limited God.  I have limited my prayers to what is comfortable, or is situational.   There is so much need in our world.  So many hurting people. Deep, heavy burdens. Their bubbles are touching mine.  They are sitting in the back row of my church.   I do not pray enough.

"Rich" loves the Lord. You can see the peace in his eyes, but the storms ahead are raging.  He has gone through so much already with treatments, and now has to face surgery for this cancer that is in yet another spot on his body.  His ministry for Christ is in the most unusual place (doctors offices and hospitals) and with staggering personal trials and physical pain.  Yet he prays with conviction and hope.  
"Sam" is not loosing hope for his health to be restored. Ten years after a stroke.  In his "disability" each week he has the ability, and takes advantage of it, to be a witness for Christ to his therapist.

I am living a blessed life, it is humbling. There is no guarantee that it will stay this way.  Looking back on the last three weeks of my life one dwarf in particular could have caught himself on fire or been injured in a car accident that would have altered our course in life.  In these reflections I am sure no one afflicted with trials had any insight that they were coming.  While I am able, I need to develop the habit of praying consistently without ceasing. So that when I am going through a difficult time in life, I can do what I have been trained to do, seek the Lord for my strength, and for my peace.  I need to be more outwardly focused. More concerned about others.  More aware of what is going on around me.  I need to pray for those that are in the midst of a  battle, fighting.  I am not faithful enough.  I am not diligent enough. I simply don't pray enough.

These "strangers"  were able to show and share with me last night,  true faith, true commitment to the Lord and their peace that passes all earthy understanding. The condition of great unwavering faith doesn't come from situational prayer.  It comes from conditioned, trained, purposeful prayer.  If the Lord brought me all the way to Florida to show me this, I am grateful.  I am humbled and I am excited about what the Lord is going to reveal to me this year through our new church and it's emphasis on prayer.

Here is to a great year.  Eyes, and heart wide open!  I am so glad that I do not have to make this stuff up!

*Names have been changed in this post.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We pray too much!!!

Tonight is our church's kick off to a Year of Prayer emphasis. Tonight they will host the first church wide prayer service at 7PM.  Our dwarfs,  who are very involved in our regular church youth programs on Wednesday nights, are trying to wiggle out of this evening of prayer.  (Really it is at the most going to be one hour, hour and a half tops...)

Some of the dwarfs are on board, and any of you that know our dwarfs will easily be able to identify who is willing to attend the meeting and who the following naysayers are. 

This is the conversation at home today as we are preparing for the evening of suspended youth activities and the corporate evening of prayer event after school.

D1 - "Why do we have to go to the prayer service?  Can't we just stay home?" 
Me - " No, you can't stay home, we all need to work our our prayer lives."
D2 - " Why,  we pray ALL the time now as it is."
Me- " No, we do not pray ALL the time, we are situational prayers."
D1 - "What do you mean?"
D2 - "I don't understand, we really do pray ALL the time in our house." 
Me - "Tell me when do we pray?  What does ALL look like in your opinion"
D2 - " We pray at breakfast, lunch and dinner and on the way to school in the morning."
Me- staring down the dwarf that is claiming he prays at lunch time in a public school cafeteria setting.." You pray at lunchtime, at school every day?" 
D2- " Well no, only lunches that I eat home and you make me." 
Me- "D1, you got anything for me?  When do you pray? "
D1 -" Not really, Well sometimes at bedtime."
Me -" okay boys, this is situational praying.  While we have trained you to pray at specific points in your day, and those prayers are important and have value, it is not enough prayer for your day. How often does the Bible say we should be praying?" 
D1 - " when we need something?"
D2 -" I don't think God cares how much we pray, just so we are do it sometimes"
Me - " The Bible says we are to pray without ceasing.  What does without ceasing mean? "
              Dumbfounded,  they both have no idea what this means. 

Me- "We all need to learn to pray without ceasing, without stopping,  throughout our day. Praying just when we eat, or just when need something or when someone is sick, that is situational praying." Teaching you to pray at specific points in the day in no means that we pray too much.  In reality, we really pray too little at our house. 

D1- " Are you sure this is not one of those rules you are making up because you want us to go to church tonight?"
 Me- "You think I would do that?  Lie about what the Bible says to trick you into going to church?"
D1 and D2 in irritated unison- " Nooo..."  

 Well here is my proof for D1 and D2 : 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18English Standard Version (ESV) 

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 A great reminder for us all, that praying in or about specific situations is good to discipline to have, is an encouragement for others if you are interceding on their behalf , or petitioning the Lord for ourselves or for others, but to have a relationship with the Lord takes consistent ceasless prayer.  Prayer about all things, the little things and the big things, just as you would converse in a relationship with your spouse or a friend.  These conversations (prayers) with the Lord serve to build a solid relationship. The more time you spend with Lord in conversation, the easier and quicker you will be able to determine his will for your life in all things at all times.  

A great reminder for me that while we model situational prayer well, some of my dwarfs, are missing the lesson that we are really trying to instill in them.  So we will be a bit more diligent and consistent in our lessons to them, and living out loud prayer, without ceasing throughout our day.   

 Until then  D1 and D2 and I will be at a crossroads about how much is "too" much prayer. 

 You Really Cant Make this Stuff Up!  

Left, Right, Gas... leads to this...

So this happened yesterday.  Oh, I am not surprised you see, I expected it.  I assumed however that the "call" would be for a jumped curb, or to tell me that he backed into someone.  Alas, not the case.

For the record, should you ever receive a phone call from Dopey, you should become mildly alarmed as the boy never uses the phone to talk, and rarely text's with any regularlity.  When my phone rang around three yesterday, registering the dwarf's name on the phone display this sent my "spidey" senses a tingle.   Now you may say, did you just not have an "incident" with Dopey... why yes, he attempted to blow up my kitchen just a few weeks ago, and delivered the news of the fire and explosion in the same calm manner..."Mom, I had a little accident."   I believe that he actually used the same words with both calls.

In kind, I respond calmly, assuming that the "little accident" was just that, something small, however recalling his idea of "little" to the last time he uttered those words, and upon seeing that damage myself, the situation was no little thing, I leave swiftly to go meet him and assist him with the finer details of being involved in an auto accident. 

As I am leaving my neighborhood, driving to my eldest male dwarf at the accident scene, less than 2 miles from home,  I am passed on the road by the firetruck, and the sheriff vehicles.  Now my tingles are incredibly agitated. I think however, about all the senior citizen drivers in my state,  and how on any given day in a mile stretch I can see three fender benders, so I continue on driving feeling about 75% confident that all this, is not for the sake of Dopey and his "little accident".

As I arrive at the intersection where I need to turn, or as close to it as I can get because of the back log of traffic and emergency personnel,   I now for the first time become somewhat panicked and incredibly concerned about what lies in wait around the corner where my eldest dwarf is.

Of course, I am not driving a small vehicle that can easily maneuver around on the berm of the road, nor do they make sirens you can pop on the roof of your vehicle that scream, "Mom on a mission!"  OR, "This back log is because, my kid was in the accident causing this big mess! "  OR, "Get out of my way NOW !"  No, none of these things exist, so I sit and crawl along the last quarter of a mile to get to Dopey.

Can I just say at this point, the mind is a very powerful tool, and left unchecked, can reek havoc on your thoughts.  I am not prone to panic.  Dopey clearly gets this gift from me.  However, knowing what I do about the dwarf, and what the presence of emergency personnel at an accident scene typically means....that 1/4 mile snail crawl was painful.  

As I round the corner searching somewhat frantically the scene before me,  my eyes lock on the giant six foot plus dwarf, standing off to the side of the road, looking sadly out of place, sheepish and bewildered.  His car is safely to the curb, out of the way, and realize that as I pull up to park by him that my hands have shaking and I had been holding my breath.   Again, amazing, what and how your body does when you throw in a bit of stress ...  I park in front of his car, and jump out of the van and run to him and just hug him.  And he hugs me back.  All of the hype and build up of the emergency personnel is NOT for Dopey.

Since I can no longer see over his shoulder when I hug him,  I cut it short, come back to the practical aspects of what needs to be done, and start looking to see what all this fuss is about if it is not for Dopey.  Quickly, I see the driver of the other car walking towards us.  She seems to be fine, we exchange greetings and she indicates that she tried to avoid him but was unable too.  She and I both agree that our 15 year old vehicles can be replaced but that lives can not and she is so grateful that Dopey is not hurt nor was she.   I wholeheartedly agree.   It seems a passer by called 911.  It also seems that the other drivers car was totaled, as her transmission was sitting on the ground and she had a flat tire and some other damage that prevented her car from being moved off to the side of the road, so the emergency personnel in Florida were assisting with the traffic control and flow.

Now for the bad news... aside from the obvious of the car needing fixed, and the cost associated with that, aside from the new driver being in an accident and now not having a car to drive for sometime, he has been slapped with a hefty fine and points, one week into his driving career.   The  good news is however, in the state of Florida, there is an online four hour class you can take, that will allow you to have those points erased immediately from your record with proof of passing the class.  He has 30 days to take the class, pass it online, and pay the fine.  To say that he is highly motivated would be an understatement! 

We are rejoicing in the lessons of life that were learned today.
  • We rejoice that Dopey is calm in spirit, and not prone to panicking.  This is a strength that will serve him well as he pursues a career in the medical field or if he ever becomes a father himself one day.  
  • We are rejoicing that as with all things in Dopey's life, (refer to the blog about the science experiment for more proof of this) the Lord is watching and protecting him when the Prince and I are not with him to do so.   
  • We are grateful for the men and women who serve Manatee county as first responders and so grateful that they only had to provide traffic control yesterday afternoon.   
  • We recognize that there are some dwarfs in our home that need to learn things the "hard" way. No amount of conversation, or instruction is able to provide the first hand experiences that will  leave the lasting impressions and imprints on their lives as they grow to become the person that Christ desires them to be. We have come to realize as their parents that these lessons are usually hard, and costly, but necessary for their refinement.
  • Personally, I am rejoicing in how amazingly the Prince is standing up to the barrage of "incidents" we have been laying before him recently with compassion, grace and empathy.  If he is angry at all, he is doing a great job of keeping it inside!
  • Certainly not the least of these lessons, Dopey will never again forget the rule regarding looking left, right and left again, prior to pulling out into traffic.  
While I knew this post would be coming sooner rather than later, once again I am amazed that I am never at a loss for material when journaling about the lives of the Lingle's!  You really Can't Make This Stuff Up!