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Saturday, July 28, 2012


Last night we had sort of a bad night. My husbands pain quickly escalated out of control and while I was trying to figure out the problem I discovered that our trusty pharmacy had issued us the wrong strength of medication. He was shaking uncontrollably in pain and his temperature escalated a few degrees above normal.  And to make matters worse the pharmacist at the open pharmacy I spoke with "assured" me there was nothing I could do until the next day. To say I was angry, frustrated and feeling once again helpless and defeated is an understatement.  As I waited for the on-call surgeon to call me back I put my head down on the table and sobbed. 

The surgeon called, instructed me on alternate medication and treatment techniques to get back "ahead of the pain" because we had "fallen behind." That phrase got to me, "It wasn't my fault!" I wanted to shout to the heavens, I was misinformed and given the wrong tools to care for him. He said was able to give him Motrin and 10 min after I got off the phone and administered it my husbands temperature dropped back down to normal and he was resting comfortably in bed.  My heart felt settled and we were even joking about the events of the day and although I felt awful that my in-laws were sleeping on the couch (THEY INSISTED!) I went up to bed alone.

For the last few months my husband and I have had an inside joke that may sound kind of insensitive to you all now but we referred to him as "dead" in light of all that he had been unable to do. As I climbed into bed last night all by myself and looked at that void where my husband is supposed to be, the fears and anxieties came pouring out of my eyes and my heart and I sobbed (yet again!) wondering if indeed the husband I had once known was gone forever. I had spent the day doing things that you do for your children or think you at least won't have to do for your spouse until your fading years.  "What if he never can go to the bathroom by himself again? How am I going to go to work on Tuesday?" I revelled in the courage and strength of those remarkable individuals I know who have cared for their spouses withering health and faced the death of their loved one way too early.  After all I have faced with my daughter in the last few years could I really be this weak-hearted?  Where was the tough Amanda I thought I had become? I must have fallen asleep crying and laying these thoughts at the throne of God.  Falling asleep crying is never a good thing for me.  I awoke this morning with a pounding migraine. A common problem for me that I am often treated lovingly by my husband for. But he wasn't there, he was "dead". I hiked up my "big girl panties" and scurried around to heat my rice bag, take my excedrin, start the neck exercises and self massage needed for pain relief. It wasn't working.  I crept into my husbands "sick room" and he was laying on his side and I crawled up next to him and the tears flowed, "I know you just had surgery....but I really need you." My husband reassured me that he was much better, not "dead", had no pain laying there and began to massage my head and as the tears flowed my pain melted away. 

We were able to began to start the activities of the day and a calm came over all of us. I became acutely aware of the lyrics of a favorite song of mine:

Lifted Up
He Defeated The Grave
Raised To Life
Our God Is Able
In His Name We Overcome
For The Lord
Our God Is Able

Here it is in completion for your listening enjoyment:

Sing it with me...."Raised to life, our God is able", I could sing that all day long today!

Here he is this morning, "raised to life" with pain only around a 3, all-time low since surgery.  I continue to feel blessed by God's provision. I know my God is able. And my husband was able to pull up his own pants this morning. You will have to excuse me but that is a REALLY big deal! I continue to rest in his provision.

I want to share one more thing, as I lay feeling small and alone last night, I reached for the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, last nights entry read:
"Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you. I never leave your side, and I never let go of your hand. But without the cord of hope, your head may slump and your feet may shuffle as you journey uphill with Me. Hope lifts your perspective from your weary feet to the glorious view you can see from the high road. You are reminded that the road we are traveling together is ultimately a highway to heaven. When you consider this radiant destination, the roughness or smoothness of the road ahead becomes much less significant. I am training you to hold in your heart a dual focus; my continual Presence and the hope of heaven."

That is what I read as the tears stopped and sleep came. And I am holding those thoughts close today. Full of hope and resting in his promises again from the song:
God Is With Us
He Will Go Before
He Will Never Leave Us
He Will Never Leave Us

Thank you for your continued prayers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I am not someone who has been very lucky in friendships.  I certainly haven't been very lucky in health the last decade or so. In our church our pastor has been speaking a lot lately about marriage and I have been struck on how lucky in love I am. Although I am smart enough to know it isn't luck. James 1:17 says "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  My husband and I have such a great relationship and I work hard to tell him regularly how thankful I am for the way he blesses me, how and why I love him and spend time laughing and talking with him.  I really need no greater proof of God's love for me than the fact that he ordained for him to be my husband. Brings to mind a line Victor Hugo penned in the great Les Miserables, "to love another person is to see the face of God." And truly when you open your heart up to love does not the clarity of God's promises to his children unfold like a rose blooming in spring.  This year we have had trials, my husband has been suffering with debilitating back pain since Christmas and it surprised me how it has shaken my own sense of security to the core.  I have joked of late that "this year has had a lot of 'for sicker' and 'for poorer' but I am so grateful that it hasn't had any 'for worse.'" I have clipped my husbands toenails, done the majority of the heavy lifting, done the shoveling (although God blessed me with a miraculously mild winter) and covered the extra work while he invested time going to physical therapy 3x week for nearly 5 months.  And still he is not better, and so yesterday he reluctantly had surgery. In the days and weeks prior I would vacillate between feeling confident and secure from both our experience with our daughter having had 9 surgeries in 3 years and my experience working in the hospital with patients post-operatively and feeling completely overwhelmed as a wife and mother, fearing possible ill outcomes, not wanting to see the love of my life in pain and reduced any more from the pedestal I have put him on. 

Wednesday as we checked in to the hospital our dear mentors from church, who we think of as an extra set of parents God has blessed us with in this world, came to pray with us, and as he read from Hebrews about our High Priest who can relate to our weaknesses because he was also tempted so that we can then "approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."(4:16) I was witness to a calm that came over my husband like I have hardly ever seen. The Holy made visible.  Following his surgery my husband has had pain like I don't think he has ever experienced before.  But over a 24 hr period it has slowly become lessened so we were able to come home.  I won't say that it wasn't hard to see him in pain and weakened but God energized me with the ability to spoon feed him and dress him and maneuver in a world of gait belts and hospital gowns that is foreign to most but at least familiar to me. God enabled me to minister to my husband who has been devoted to me and served me with a beautiful loving heart for the 14 years we have known each other.  And rather than feeling like it was draining me it energized me.  I really felt as though I was standing on holy ground.  I felt as though I was washing Jesus' feet with oil as Mary did, broken and spilled out, as I recalled in his word where Jesus spoke in parable that "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."(Matthew 25:40) It was a blessing to my heart. 

Today my husband grew continuously stronger but the wait to be released from the hospital seemed to get longer and longer.  I was moved to tears when my Mother in law announced her intention to stay longer as the fear and apprehension I was pushing way down deep was reassured that she would be here to help. After completing the endless checklist of requirements for release from the hospital we were finally let go straight into the belly of rush hour traffic and the to do list even just to get home seemed monumental.  And every street I turned down as I had to navigate us through all corners of the greater metropolitan area seemed to lead straight into construction.  Why does there have to be construction every where!? First a 20 min drive to get him a walker from my work.  Then another 20 min to pick up the girls.  I was humbled by the willing servants of three ladies who each had a turn caring for my girls today and even took care of transportation to save me some worries! Then before we got home we had to drop off prescriptions at the pharmacy.  I pulled into the driveway and my youngest exclaimed "I don't know where my lovee (blanket) is!" and began to cry. As the girls and my MIL went in to prepare the way I received a call on my cell. Someone from church said God had laid it on her heart to find a way to bless me she wanted to call and see if she could bring me some of her daughters clothes for hand-me-downs.  I explained that it was 6 o'clock and we were just pulling in from the hospital so now wasn't a great time.  She didn't even know my husband had just had surgery. I was standing there in the 88 deg heat, my husband dozing in the van waiting for me to lead him in, there was a pounding in my ears of a missing lovee, no food, a messy house, a broken husband. Do you have dinner? she inquired....

I can hardly wrap my mind around words to explain what I experienced tonight.  The God who rules the entire universe comes down to Earth and walks around in people.  This dear sweet beautiful woman and her daughter came into our home, gave me the chicken she had been cooking for her family, rice, rolls, veges, gravy and also a gallon of milk, 2 boxes of cereal, and granola bars and applesauce and on and on and on....She brought me GROCERIES! And homemade cookies.  And a big pile of clothes for my kids.  Minutes before she arrived I had felt so defeated.  No matter who I was caring for and how hard I was trying I couldn't do it all.  I had arranged for transportation for my kids but the precious lovee had been left.  I had cared for my husband at the hospital all day but dinner plans had been neglected.  I work with these injuries all the time but hadn't foreseen what equipment would be needed.  I had failed and I felt needy and insecure.  And just as every good gift from heaven this bright shining star of a woman swept through my house like a fresh wind that filled my sails to the uttermost.  I stood in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the food she brought and wept overwhelming tears of peace, comfort and thankfulness. That God would love me and my family so much that he would serve me, wash my feet really, with the kindness of other people.  It overwhelms me, there is no other word for it! We ate a late dinner at 7 pm and it was probably the best meal ever as we were happy, together, and feeling so blessed.  I said I felt a little like Tiny Tim in the Christmas Carol and if ever there was a moment for a "God bless us, every one" this was it!

The next few weeks will I imagine be a slow steady process of healing for my husband.  And it will be a slow steady process for me of being a patient, loving servant to my husband.  We have always always referred to each other as teammates.  And when one of your teammates is injured sometimes you need a pinch hitter or a base runner (can you tell what sport we watch in our house - Go Tigers go!) and that is my role.  When we said our vows they were for "for better or worse, for richer or poor, in sickness and in health" and I meant every single word of them.  Completely.  The Scriptures are full of vows God has made to us also "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) pretty clear that he will be here through it all, and our end of the bargain is to be strong and courageous.  That is hard for me. But I can do hard. I have a Savior who spent the last few days lavishing his love on me. 

Shortly after dinner there was a knock at the door, the lovee had returned (no it hadn't driven itself over but was ferried over by our gracious daycare provider who wanted to save us an extra trip! Thank You!!!) Lavished, people, lavished.  I was able to give my girls some much needed snuggle and reading time. We reflected together on the blessings of the day and of course prayed for Daddy. When our family has a struggle, I am constantly wowed by the maturity even my young girls can show. My daughter said "Thank you God because we know you will make Daddy better." A prayer of faith by a small child.  I have been sitting here in a perfect calm writing this reflection and even as I reflect on our vows and the mercies of today a song we sang at our wedding floods my mind,

You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
Who can stand the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above
And I stand I stand in awe of you
I stand I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you.

That is how I summarize today.  I am in awe of God. Thank you for your prayers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cupcake Wars!

You will rarely (close to never) knock on my door and have me answer with an apron on and a dusting of flour on my face or shirt boldly proclaiming "I'm baking!" Especially not if I am smiling. Baking is awful for me.  I don't know why baking and I don't get along.  Actually I do. Baking is for all you good little girls and boys.  I guess I am too stubborn and rebellious for baking.  I don't like to follow rules. I don't like to measure.  With baking....you must follow rules, you must measure.  Problem. I like eating baked goods. Mmmmmmmmmm.....I am daydreaming about freshly baked bread and cake as we speak. Most of my life I have mainly settled for the store bought variety. Yuck. I love oreos but they do not compare to any homemade cookies in the world. When I do bake, it's a big deal, usually for a special occasion and usually extremely stressful for me.  I made these recently...

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Muffins
I got the recipe from here. Only thing I changed was using my fresh minced ginger instead of ground.  I wasn't blown away, they were good don't get me wrong, anything filled with cream cheese is good, but to me the stress I go through needlessly worrying whether I am going to screw these up always seems to deaden the taste to me. What is it with me and baking?

So when my friend started her own cupcake business I thought it absolutely my duty to eat the occasional cupcake, I was just being a good friend after all.  Her cupcakes are PHENOMENAL! So good. If my wallet and waistline could afford it I would buy them every week.  (I hope she will bake for me in heaven because I know the calories won't count up there!)

Keri K's Cupcakes

Delicious, Colorful Cupcakes for order. Mission:To bring JOY to the world through baking

Flavors include but are not limited to:
Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut Butter, Banana, Coconut, Pineapple, Lemon, Almond, Butter.

Filled cupcakes / Specialty Cupcakes include but are not limited to:
Peanut Butter Chocolate, Bananas Creme Pie, Strawberry Dream, Cherry Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon Meringue Pie, Espresso Dream, Chocolate Covered Cherry, Cookies and Creme, Salted Carmel, Cookie Dough, Apple Pie, Key Lime Pie, Mint Chocolate Chip
I had her Chocolate Peanut Butter and thought I would die they were so amazing. I wish I could put that frosting on everything! 
I have had a Pineapple passion one she made when we celebrated my daughter becoming a non-diapered "Big Girl".
For Father's day we had a sampler that had those 2 flavors as well as Strawberry dream and Coconut. All seriously good!

But she doesn't just make cupcakes and sell them.  She has started adding specialty events:
SPRINKLE PARTIES: For ages 2-6yrs and they get to decorate 4 cupcakes each and do crafts.
FROSTING TECHNIQUE/MINI CUPCAKE WARS: The kids learned 3 frosting techniques and got to bring home 2 cupcakes they decorated as well as participate in the team judging portion.
 I think both of those events would make great birthday party ideas for various age groups!
She has also done weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties, showers, team parties, school parties....Cupcakes are great for any occasion really! And she even offers gluten free offerings. I have seen her make Hello Kitty cupcakes and Soccer Ball cupcakes to name a few. And if I know Keri (as one of the nicest, happiest people I know!) she will work with you to customize a flavor or decoration to get things just right for you!

So when she called me the other day and asked me to be a "celebrity" judge at her first ever Cupcake Wars competition. I laughed at the title but figured, I am definitely qualified to eat cupcakes!

All four teams did really good and were really close in score!

They had I think 25 min to think of a flavor combination and prepare 3 cupcakes

They were very harshly scored (haha, they were all so cute and yummy! It wasn't quite war!) on:
 - Technique (they had just spent an hour learning how to do the rose, swirl and squiggle frosting techniques - I guarantee these were way better than I could do!)
 - Flavor combination (they had the opportunity to flavor their filling and their frosting)
 - Creativity (based on their color choices and decoration on top). Scores were tallied and the winner was the Creamsicle (which I am demonstrating the yumminess of above)

 This flavor was created by the cupcake war team of Evelyn Schab, Brooke Bush, and Ellie Swanson at our technique party! It is a white cake with vanilla pudding filling, and frosted with an orange flavored buttercream, then sprinkled with white chocolate crumbles!

Very yummy and creative. And the best part......I got to eat them and I didn't have to bake them!

 So for your next party or chocolate craving or work meeting or anti-baking protest call Keri at (616)366-7028 or like Keri K's Cupcakes on facebook.  You won't be sorry!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Bucket list kind of a day!

Remember our summer bucket list? Well my husband doesn't work on Fridays in the summer and we had nothing going today and I thought it was a perfect day to knock a bunch of those off the list in one big sweep.  So I scoured through the list and looked for some things we could do that would involve keeping cool - since it was a mere 106deg outside today! The winners were:

Wash the car

 Girls are "helping" - aka fighting over control of the hose      My daughter decided her pink car needed a car wash too!

Slip and slide

 106deg outside my oldest went down it one time and because it was in the shade she decided it was "too freezing"

 The neighbor boy and my youngest had fun though! Glad they enjoyed it because it took about 1.5hr they had to wait while the air compressor blew it up. 

Pizza night

In the winter we often will have pizza and family movie night.  I was trying to think of what to make for dinner because it is too hot to cook. Our house is luxuriously cool with the air conditioning and I didn't want to have to turn on the oven and mess with that. So I thought, what if we did pizza night but grilled the pizzas and kept the heat out where it belongs.  Then I thought what if we did a couple different flavors.  Then I thought what if I used something for the crust that wasn't as big and it came to me like an epiphany of epic proportions...Naan!
Comes in a two pack, big enough and yet small enough, garlic flavored and pizza crust consistency! So the dream was born for four different pizzas.  A little something for everyone.  For the hubs...

Pepper Meatball Pizza
Layered marinara, peppers from our garden, meatballs chopped, and topped with mozzarella - sausage and peppers is his favorite and the poor guy rarely gets it so this is a nice way to do pizza if everyone likes different toppings! 

Bruschetta Pizza

 Layer pesto and basil leaves. Then I roasted some cherry tomatoes with garlic in a pan (would have oven roasted them but we were trying to avoid the oven remember!) then I bought tomato basil mozzarella and sliced it on top. I use this:
I use this for my bruscetta burgers too. I should really share that one with you sometime too! Yummo.

Chicken Broccoli Olive White Pizza
Layer goat cheese, broccoli, grilled chicken, and olives

 Top with Mozzarella

Thai Chicken Pizza

 Start by drizzling with peanut sauce, this is the brand I usually use, it's spicy though. I do have a recipe for homemade sauce which is more kid-friendly but I was going with easy. They can eat one of the other pizzas!

 Then I layered grilled chicken, shredded carrot, green onion, cilantro and peanuts, and some more peanut sauce...

...and topped with a little cheese.

Here are the four pizzas on their way out to the grill. You will note the Bruschetta pizzas cheese was melting at room temperature! Did I mention it is 106deg outside!? My husband was able to fit all four on the grill at once. He had our gas grill on low and they only took about 7-10 min to warm and melt.  One of the pizzas got a little crispy on the bottom but otherwise this worked great.  He has a big grilling spatula that easily transferred them.  I tried a little piece of 3 out of 4 of them. They were all great I thought!  We both said it would be a super fun party idea to have a "pizza" bar because they make a really good size I probably ate the equivalent of 1/2 so at a party you could find a buddy who wanted the same type and split it.  We will definitely be doing this again! So yummy!

Family movie night
With all the activities we didn't have time for a feature length film so we went with a shorter one on Netflix.  In the end it was my oldest - the die hard TV fan watching. I was working on this next to her, and the smallest of the small ones was "helping" daddy do the dishes (isn't my husband awesome, he grills and does the dishes!)

Ice cream sundaes
 We laid it all out and invited our little buddy over to join us and they could choose from three types of ice cream (they all chose superman) chocolate, caramel, peanuts, bananas, banana chips, marshmallows, whipped cream and cherries. What do you think they chose? Everything.

Sugar!!!! My youngest hardly ate any! She is like her dad and can only handle sweets in moderation and with a glass of milk to wash them down.  Why didn't I get that problem?

Aren't they cute!?

last but not least....

Driveway fireworks

My husband wished I had let him do these....

They are legal after all, he pleaded.  He said it was totally unfair when he was in "the tent" there were a bunch of approx 18 year old unattached males with arm loads of dangerous explosives.  But my sweet little father of two proudly gave us a show of these...
And we were thrilled! I like my man with all his fingers and toes!

Whew a long full family summer day. Straight up to bed for the kiddos after 10 pm! But that is what summer is all about.  We had a lot of fun. I feel blessed to spend some time with neighbor kids today and even got to talk to his mom a bit.  If we can show God's love to neighbors with ice cream, fireworks, and slip and slides isn't that a blessing!? I hope you are all having as much fun as we are, not getting too hot in this heat and taking time to enjoy the slow summer days. Feels good to have crossed a few things off the old bucket list. Wonder what tomorrow will bring....

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July.  It seems like everywhere there is drought, power outages, storms, flooding, wild fires.... dangerous times.  The 4th of July always instills in me the feelings of what is simple and wonderful in this world.  I want to be with family and friends, play outside, enjoy good food and even better company, celebrate the freedoms we have in this country (at least for now!), honor those who have helped establish and affirm those freedoms, and usually the fireworks are the culmination of the overflowing in my heart of goodwill and hope for America. 

This year I had just that and for a Wednesday, that makes for an awesome day.  We do patriotism pretty big in our house complete with enough outfits for 4-5days of red/white/blue, a patriotic playlist we listen to non-stop, fireworks, bbq's, parades....the works.  110deg heat index didn't stop us from our traditional pool party, we just made sure we stayed IN the pool the whole time. 

As you can see, once you can speak in our house, you must learn to sing God Bless America! I am sorry but I am somewhat smitten with these cuties!

So what to serve what dish do I bring to pass on the 4th, I hold myself to a pretty high standards at these occasions. I like to be creative because I never want to feel like, "Man, she always makes that, it's so boring", it's kind of my attempt at sharing a talent. And we have a diverse group from kids, to teens, to adults, I figure if you can get even one from each category to like a dish then you have hit a homerun. We have a number in our group who are "special needs" eaters with gluten and MSG and what not so I tend to aim for "pure" ingredients too. I think this dish was a winner, I just ate a big old bowl of leftovers and was just as happy with it today as yesterday. A few things you should know; Quinoa is a gluten free grain, it is an excellent source of protein and is super yummy and fun to say. Pronounced keen-wah my girls chant for it and consider rice a lower class citizen when compared with it's superior cousin quinoa. Jicama, pronounced hick-a-mah is often called a "mexican potato" and is part of the tuber family. It tastes like a cross between an apple and a potato. It is very dense, it was harder to chop then a regular potato almost like a sweet potato however it tastes very juicy and in the zestiness of this salad took on a sweeter flavor. This salad was a fun creation, and it was patriotic too....

Amanda's Stars and Stripes Quinoa Salad

2 cups Quinoa
3 cups water
Bring to boil together, reduce heat and simmer with cover on until liquid absorbed. Fluff with fork and transfer to bowl. Let cool (I cooled in fridge while we were at the parade.)

Red/White/Blue (and a dash of green) topping
1 pint blueberries
1 qt strawberries chopped and hulled
1/2 medium jicama (med was larger than a grapefruit!) - peeled and diced
2 handfuls basil leaves chopped (divided - half basil in topping, half in dressing)
3 Tbsp sugar

Juice of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 limes
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 limes
6 Tbsp olive oil
dash of salt and pepper

Make the quinoa, set aside to cool. Prepare (chop) up the topping, set aside to let the sugar break down the fruit a little. Made the dressing, refridgerate. Prior to serving toss or layer. I tossed. As you can see that gives you a little more of a red/pink/white/beige/blue salad. If I were making it again or even just for a pic I would have put the quinoa down and layered the salad on top and drizzled dressing over it so that it looked more true red/white/blue. Yum. Also good to know I made a huge batch for a party of 20 people. I would say if you are making it just for your fam or even for a smaller gathering at least cut it in half. I also think if you wanted to make a little more of a meal out of it some grilled chicken would taste yummy in there. Mmmmmm......I may have to make some more. Enjoy.

On a different note....(why do I always have to go there?) I was thinking about "Independence" in light of our national holiday. I tend to usually think of it on a national level, reflect on the current political situation or think of the heros who have fallen for America or the founding fathers who worked hard to send us down the right course. This year I spent a little time praying and reflecting on it in a different mindset. We had two family dramas this week, one with each small one. Last weekend while at a big family gathering at a small lake, my three year old wandered from the water undetected and made it about 200 yds up the pavilion to her Grandma however before her whereabouts were discovered the two minutes of paralyzing fear that gripped my heart and shaved a few years off my life, set a "rescue and recovery" plan in motion with lifeguards getting people out and scanning the water, whistles blowing and megaphones calling her name. Not a good feeling near a body of water, I tell you. If you ever happen to lose one of your children for a brief moment, DO NOT do it by a body of water. My three year old wanted to go see Grandma. She knew the way. She didn't need anyone to "help" her and she couldn't fathom why she would have to ask to go see Grandma so she exercised her "independence" and found her way. Second scenario wound down our holiday in a rather dramatic fashion. After leaving the fireworks as we rolled into my parents driveway to drop them off my 6 year old began to cry hysterically that her eye hurt. She had gotten one of those glowing bracelets and many times during the night I kept telling her, "do not chew on that, you can't put that in your mouth." Sure enough she had bit one clean through and the "glow juice" had squirted in her eye. My Mom (who is excellent in a crisis and I told her this and she says I gave her early training in handling these types of situations....ooops!) began right to work as skilled and collected as an eye surgeon flushing her eye with fluid and rinsing all the while she screamed and cried. It took about 10 min of nearly waterboarding her eyes and a call to poison control to get her to stop crying. My daughter was very willfully exercising her independence to verify the truth to my words "you should not bite that bracelet." I think (I hope) this lesson hit home. She doesn't always trust my wisdom and this was what my husband and I call a "significant learning opportunity" (thank you Love and Logic) and I have had to swallow my smug "I told you so" Mom feelings and reflect on how her exercising her "independence" led to pain and suffering. So did her sisters independent march (although all the pain and suffering was mine and my husbands!). Somewhere this hits home to me.

Psalm 119:32 says "I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free."
Isn't that interesting that to be free and independent in heart we have to follow His commands. Oh how I can learn from those stubborn independent little stinkers of mine (I mean where did they get this nature from anyways!) I do the same things in my own heart and life that both of those girls did. "I hear what your saying God this may not be the best thing for me but I think it will work out ok, I really want to see what happens when I go this way, I know exactly where I am going, don't worry about me...I got this!" Oh precious child feel the sting in your eyes, in your heart. You did not heed my instructions. Your way leads to death and destruction. My way, the only way, leads to life everlasting. And I know that when we ignore his leading and squirt our metaphorical "glow juice" in our eye and our tears flow he must be up there in heaven, hands on his hips, thinking "Oh no you didn't!" But he doesn't say that. He patiently and as lovingly as my Mom did, restores us with his living water, brings healing, and hope for a new tomorrow. And I am not even going to begin to think about the fact that that verse uses the word run. Oh. Snap. Good one God. Look at you putting jokes in the bible. Tomorrow, I think I'll strap on my shoes and go exercise my independence with a run.