Friday, May 26, 2017

Our Last Tanglewood Lap

Walking down the Tanglewood Elementary steps on that bright sunny day, we thanked Mr. Williams for the school tour and he assured us, “I will know your car, your husband’s car, and Branson’s grandparents’ cars.”
I believed him.
Corbin and I looked at each other knew we were thinking the same thing. Why would we not do this? Why not move Branson here from the small private school for first grade? It felt big, but it also felt like home, felt like our own elementary school experiences.
And twelve years later looking through the rear view mirror, it was absolutely the right, right, right thing to do.
Our kids have thrived through this school community, our family has thrived, and we are so grateful.

Essie’s Fifth Grade promotion is upon us, and with it the end of an era. Feels like a lot that she’s moving on to middle school, but even more that our family is waving goodbye to elementary school.

Esther is a funny mix of very much being a little girl, but on the precipice of adolescence. Probably every one of her classmates’ parents would say the same. But more so than with my other children, because she’s the baby, I still look at her as small and young and vulnerable. Even now she sneaks in our bed during thunderstorms, prefers little kids cups and plates, and sleeps with her blankie. And I’m not in a hurry to curb those little girl habits.
anxious to be a Tiger like her sister and brothers
First day of kindergarten
Mrs. Plotner's (my high school friend) kinder class
I picked out my own Valentines outfit
Thanksgiving feast
Sharing about her Swedish ancestry (darling costume, Daboo!)
Nurse Skinner (also my high school friend) ~ cares for tender boo boos and for tender hearts

Artapalooza ~ nothing like it

5th grade

Wamstads after school everyday
Moms in Prayer - praying over 5th graders
Who doesn't love Mr. Williams?!

Goodbye Tanglewood, how you enriched our family

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

You are God's Workmanship

For YOU are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for you to do.

For You are God's workmanship.

For you are God's workmanship.

For you are God's Workmanship.

Last Sunday after the worship, after the graduating seniors (what seemed to me about thirty of them) took the microphone and shared a word of encouragement to the younger students, after our high school ministry celebrated Senior Sunday with students filling the room and parents lining the walls... this was our youth pastor's charge to the students:

You are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus.

Several of the students' words were emotional, but it was Michael's firm charge that put a lump in my throat (ok, and perhaps I got a little teary before that too). Michael repeated it several times, slowly and deliberately.

You are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus.

What if we lived like we believed it?

You ~ yes, you. And me. Not just Adam and Even and Noah and Moses. You and me in 2017.
God's ~ the Creator, the King of Creativity, the Perfect Artist.
Workmanship ~ creation, showpiece, work of art.

Several years ago we took a family cruise and enjoyed the evening shows with a cast of highly trained singers and dancers and musicians. They entertained our packed theater throughout the week with lavish costumes and choreography. One evening, however, we crowded around the circular bannister fifteen stories up as the ship's crew put on a "pre-show" in atrium. We peered waaaay down as guests circled the railings on every floor, our eyes trained on the modest stage at the bottom of the cylinder staircase. We strained to hear several comedians in broken English, endured a few dance groups, but then she emerged ~ a young woman in a simple white dress. She was introduced as a cabin maid. But when she sang out in clear, perfect pitch, her song floated up that staircase and into the hearts of all those within earshot. We were mesmerized. It was a privilege to hear that young woman's song. I imagined her days and weeks spent hidden behind quiet duty, living in cramped quarters with hundreds of other crew from small countries across the world. But given a few brief moments to shine, she shared the gift of her voice. What she was created to do.

You are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus.

I saw it recently in an elderly woman behind the counter at our neighborhood Braums. Running in to grab a gallon of milk and a few groceries, I ordered a limeade with soda and extra limes. I paid and moved over to wait, and the older woman never even looked up. She shuffled around, making my drink to order without hardly a glance my way. I wondered what circumstances put her, advanced in years, behind a fast-food counter. She shuffled back, handed me the hand-made limeade, and I took a sip as the next customer moved up. I'd made my way nearly to the door when she hollered over to me, “Well, do you like it??”
She looked straight at me with an expectant grin, her clear blue eyes boring straight into mine, waiting for an answer.
“Yes m’am, absolutely. It’s perfect.”
She nodded in approval, flashed the rest of that big smile, and then got to business with the next person in line.

You are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus.

It's why we love to watch American Idol or The Voice. It's why Britain's Got Talent's Susan Boyles garnered more than 207 million views in her audition video. It's why ESPN streams constantly on our TVs and devices. It's a privilege to get to see people do what they were created to do.

Tall, short, thick, skinny, athletic or not, musical or not, brilliant or not, God created us as His workmanship. What freedom. If we believe His Word, we can be confident that our bodies, personalities, minds and hearts were crafted to precision for the specific works He planned in advance for us to do.

What is it that we were created to do, whether in our twenties or fifties or eighties? What is it that our children were created to do? Not once they're grown up but right now ~ as children and teens ~ what is their little corner of creativity to offer?

May we rest in God's great, unique creation of us, and then ~ let's get after it! Because we, my friends, are God's workmanship in Christ Jesus!