Are you faithful?

A week ago, I could have answered this question with a resounding “YES” and gone on with my life.  Today, I’m not so sure.

A week ago yesterday, which was Friday, March 23, 2012, life changed drastically for a family we know. Technically, the Underwood family is a neighborhood acquaintance from one of our former homes.  I know now that they are friends of mine because if there was any way I could heal their son, Tanner, I would do everything in my power to do so without question or pause.  I think that qualifies as friends.

What I know for fact is that Tanner, who is a beautiful 8th grade boy, was in a car accident with his mother and brother.  What I don’t know for fact but heard many times is that the accident occurred when traffic stopped on the Interstate and Tanner’s mom slowed to a stop, but the car immediately behind them did not see until the last minute.  That vehicle (supposedly) managed to swerve and miss them, but the car following that one plowed directly into them with Tanner in the backseat.  Again, the details come through word-of-mouth sources and may not be accurate.  Either way, as a result of the accident, Tanner is fighting for his life after 8 days in the highly critical section of ICU.

Back to my original question: are you faithful?  I am afraid that I am not.  I am faithful to my wonderful husband, my Coach.  Not only do I totally adore him, I often “people watch” others and think to myself, “Thank you, Lord, for sending me Coach because I could NOT be married to THAT man over there instead!!”  I am faithful to my kids.  Every single day I praise the gift I received in being allowed to be Mom to those two amazing humans!  I am faithful to my extended family and all my close friends…I work hard to be there for them all and do what I can to support and assist when they need a helping hand.  In these ways, I am faithful.  

But these are the easy ways.  There is no test or struggle in being wife, mom, friend.  These are all the fun things.  What about the not-fun things?  What about when something terrible happens?  To people who are wonderful and kind and good?  I’m afraid that is where my faith runs shallow.

I’ve discovered this about myself by reading updates, thoughts, and prayers posted by Tanner’s parents these last 8 days.  In fact, I find myself constantly checking my email all throughout the day to see if I have missed any news.  And each time I click the link to read the journal, I am begging fervently for good news while dreading that it may very well be bad news instead.  That’s how I know my faith is lacking.

I also know that if I was in their shoes, I could in no way be the strong, steady pillar of strength that I am witnessing in the Underwoods.  They are ministering to me, TO ME, through their words, and their love, and their hope.  They are easily the most faithful family that I have ever seen.  Not just on the surface, but down deep, where it matters.

Early in the week, Mr. Underwood referred to Philippians 4:11-13.  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

This touched my heart and opened my eyes.  Here is a father not sure if his son will wake up, and he is still trusting in the Lord.  I’m not that good.  My faith is not nearly so strong.  I am in awe of the peace that Mr. Underwood’s faith provides.

Later, he posts that someone reminded him that regardless of the situation, Tanner will next open his eyes in God’s presence, it may be with us in the earthly world, or it may be in the heavenly world, but Tanner will not be alone.  The Lord is with him both places.  Again, I am blown away by the trust I read in those words.  I am not that good.  My trust is not nearly so present.

In hoping and praying and wishing that he would wake up, Mrs. Underwood told Tanner that he can take his time, as long as he needs…she will be here waiting patiently when he is ready.  From the mom who is always saying, “5 minutes and we gotta be out the door…you HAVE to get out of the bed now, or you’re gonna be late to school…hurry, hurry, hurry,” I can barely comprehend the difficulty in granting permission to take as long as you need, but I admire it so very much!

I could go on and share many more examples of how this family has touched my heart, how their faith has illustrated a place in myself that needs a lot of work, and how their words, Tanner’s story, is weaving ministry into my days.  And my nights…I fell asleep last night praying for Tanner’s recovery.  I prayed over and over that when he wakes up, he will look into his mother’s eyes and into his father’s smile, and say something adorable and so Tanner-like that the Underwoods will know they have their baby back whole and healthy.

Like so many things I try to write about (many of which get deleted before they get published here for others to actually see), there is no way I can do this entry justice.  I encourage you to go to Tanner’s CaringBridge site, and please read his story, his parents’ journal, and sign his guestbook to let them know just how many people from all around the map are sharing in this terrible, difficult journey.  If you are lucky, like I, you will absorb some of their faith and strength and patience and understanding, and you, too, will walk away changed.




Finally, I will refer you to 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  Please, for Tanner, pray without ceasing.

Craft Nook Complete

I am a firm believer in using every inch of a house, so when Coach asked the builder to leave access to the attic from both sides of the upstairs gameroom, I asked that the smaller of the two areas be floored-in as well as the larger side (which is used for typical attic storage).  My vision was a small area to put a work table, gift wrapping items that never have a great place to live, and other crafty-type JUNK that I seem to collect by the droves.

In my own defense, I tend to (slightly) overbuy all this “stuff” (there is no other word for it that is usable in polite company!!) because I need it in a pinch, and I can never remember what I have, how much may be left, or where in the world I stashed it last time I was in the same predicament.  Hopefully, I have halted my addiction and stopped my struggles all in one project.  Hopefully, I will be able to use some of this “stuff” up!  Anyone need to borrow, no – HAVE, some ribbon???

TA-DA!!!  My craft nook is complete.  HooRay 🙂

Coach installed a peg-board above a very sturdy work table that he constructed for me several years ago.  I bought a nifty pack of assorted pegs and a few individual pegs that I thought I would need.  Angel Girl spent some of her afternoon helping me sort out loose ribbon from the spools, fasten the loose ends with a straight pin, and put the spools in rainbow order:

I also believe in re-using little, glass jars.  They are truly one of my favorite things in the whole, wide world!  Indeed, I use them all over the house, and I can barely make myself throw them out when the pantry becomes overloaded.  I just adore little, glass jars!!  In the craft nook, I used one jar for the extra peg-board hardware, another jar for the peg-board straps (they came with the assortment pack and are useful if some of the pegs refuse to stay in tight), a third jar for pencils/pens/Sharpie, and an old bean can for rulers and pipe cleaners:

Luckily, I had a bit of extra ribbon to add a WOW-factor and a splash of color to those cute little things!

I put plenty of scissors on the board; three for any use, one for paper only, and one for wire-free fabric only.  I know myself well enough to know that in the moment, I will grab whatever is free, so I need to keep the right tools within reach!

I also hung up Christmas tags that I re-use each year as well as the easy-peazy-lemon-squeezy, store-bought kind and plenty of extra blank tags to have on hand:

Finally, I used my old college closet, AKA: the good ol’ ELFA drawer set (almost 20 years old and still going strong!), to organize tissue paper, craft supplies, mum making paraphernalia, and school supplies such as extra boxes of Crayons, markers, map pencils, glue, etc:

I even stacked all my empty boxes next to ELFA so that this year I will not buy empty boxes that I already own when it’s time to wrap Christmas goodies:

There is only one, tiny problem that seems to have reared it’s ugly head:  I’d really like to turn this craft nook into a craft ROOM!  And what’d’ya know?  Low and behold, I have just the attic space to do it:

Maybe I should keep that part from Coach…at least until after another season 😉

Day 1 Again…Again.

“They” say that the third time’s a charm, and right now I really hope “they” are as smart as “they” always sound because Wednesday, March 7th is Day 1 again…again.

I’m embarrassed to admit to you just how long my second attempt lasted on my 90 Day Challenge. I’ve been so ashamed that I was intimidated to even write to you all because I felt like a fraud 😦

Soooooo, here’s my confession: the shakes were working, I was feeling good, losing a little weight, and I STILL could not make myself stay on track.

I have no excuses. Being disciplined is just really, really tough for me. Some mornings I talked myself out of fixing my breakfast shake simply because I didn’t want to wash the blender. Other days, I knew I would be away from that shiny blender at lunch so I didn’t see the purpose in wasting a scoopful of shake powder on a day when I couldn’t replace two meals. Then there were the mornings when I wasn’t hungry so I convinced myself that NO calories must be even better than healthy calories so I passed completely on breakfast and promptly crawled back into bed where I was lazy and lethargic all morning (because I had no fuel!). My failures are endless; I’ll spare you anymore of my special breed of insanity.

You’re welcome!

With a glass full of optimism and my best go-getter game face, I’m here to give it another shot. Please bear with me. The trip will likely be ugly, but this time I’m gonna be honest. With myself as well as with you. In the end of the 90 days I hope to feel better mentally and physically, have a reason to splurge on a new swimsuit, and enter the summer on a “I DID IT! I DID IT!” song in my heart.

Stay tuned…