Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pick Me Up A Pack Of Smoke On The Way Home

There is nothing that makes me happier than watching my daughters grow in women.  Sure I sometimes long--in that nostalgic way-- to cuddle them, all swaddled and cooing in my arms, but watching them grow and foster their passions and talents brings me the most joy!

My sweet baby who entered this world in a struggle, was once tom boyish, scruffy, dirty little girl who hated lip stick (okay so she's progressed to Baby Lips tinted lip gloss), nail polish and hair product...well, my D now paints her toes and fingers funky colors, mouses her extra long tresses, steals my eye liner and loves a great pair of six inch heels as much as her took a lot of years to come into and embrace her femininity,but she has arrived--WELCOME BABY GIRL!  

On the eve of D's 18th birthday I have decided to share her confirmation faith statement.  It is a beautiful reflection of the young woman she was in the process of growing into four years ago.  A young woman of faith who has been achieving her dreams and goals ever since.  Who sets a high bar for herself, that sometimes causes stress, but in the end brings her a sense of great accomplishment (and King Ralph and I great pride).

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declared the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

This past Christmas break my sisters and I decided to watch old home movies.  In the mix was a video my parents took of my birth I had never seen.  It was in watching this video that I realized God must have had a plan for me--a plan with hope and a future.

You see I came into this world a little early, my tiny body discolored from not breathing.  In the video you can see my mom lying quietly still only breaking her silence for brief moments to ask the doctor repeatedly, "is she okay?"  My mom said her silence was consumed with prayer that the Lord would see fit to let me prosper.  Then my dad and my grandfather followed the ambulance I was put in to Children's Hospital.  While I was at Children's Hospital our pastor came to visit.  He had just walked in when a nurse was telling my parents a test they wanted to perform and the lengthy stay that would be required if the results deemed so.  That is when Pastor Schmidt looked at my parents and said he could baptize me in the hospital.  My parents a little shocked by the offer of such an option, had never considered anything else but to bring me to the water, not the water coming to me.  They believed the Lord had plans for me, to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.  The Lord heard my parents' prayers and on January 7, they gathered with my godparents around the water so that I could be feed with the promise and hope of God.

It is through confirmation I have come to have a better understanding of what reaffirming the vows my parents and godparents took for me at my baptism and the meaning of God's promise.  That the water and God's promise connect us all with the death and resurrection of Jesus--the HOPE we all long for, the HOPE we all need to fill our FUTURE.

But, it is not just my desire of hope that I have gained through knowing Christ but learning that I can share that same hope and a future to others.  Service is a huge part of confirmation, and our lives, so many different opportunities to show others God's miracles and great wonders that work through us.  Like the times we have gone to Sunshine Ministry, a shelter for homeless men.  As a teen I had a picture of homelessness that usually shows itself on the street as I pass by.  Sunshine Ministry opens our God filled hearts to realizing homeless has a different definition; and the definition looks like so many of us that fill the pews of St. Thomas/Holy Spirit longing for the foods to suppress our hunger and fill our souls.  We served these men a hot meal and then a loving helping of God's word through a simple worship service.  So while these men may have entered the shelter hopeless, hungry, tired and tattered--my confirmation classmates and I were able to show them, to tell them what the Lord declared "for I know the plans I have for you...plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

When we teens wonder about the future you would assume we would be thinking about what we want to be when we grow up or where we would choose to go to college.  But really, shouldn't we all be thinking about how our relationship with God will prosper?  And how we will cross all those faith stepping-stones that are yet to come.  So I guess what I am saying is that by making this faith statement, choosing to be confirmed, recognized as an adult in the church is that I want to have a life filled with... because, truthfully, a life without God would be empty and lonely.  I believe the Lord has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and future.

I stand here today as the proof that was at my birth and am now the Lord's plan.  You see my future has just begun as well as the never-ending journey I am taking in my faith.  So with the new stepping stone that awaits me and knowing that there are many more waiting for me in my future I realize I will not take this journey alone; for I have the people of this church and God walking beside.

Now my sweet (and spicy) D, as you go about to prosper and to find your you throw those two college choices on the scale weighing which is the best fit for you to reach for your dream of being an you prepare to sing your classically trained heart out on November 3, with the All-Suburban Mixed Choir (a goal you decided to strive for just this school year), as you conquer AP/IB Calculus and your other four AP classes, as learn to like that boy  love life--I wish you the happiest of 18th Birthdays.  You bring joy to mine and daddy's heart! With every goal you achieve, with every chord you play on the piano, with every note of song that belts from your voice, for every theatrical moment you have when you take the stage,  with every crab of late night studies, with every cringe at my fifteen kisses I plant on your yummy cheeks--you are loved more than you may ever realize.  Unplanned by your parent, but so planned from God. Happy Birthday our Freddie girl!

Hey, now that you are eighteen your Aunt Debbie was wondering if you could pick her up a pack of smokes and a lottery ticket on the way to her house.  Don't bother with the rubber cement, diet pills, porn need to sign any contracts (and that includes a marriage certificate), but BEST OF ALL you get to VOTE in the presidential election this year.

HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY to my baby!  Your journey is just beginning.  XOXO

Monday, October 08, 2012

She Struck A Deal With God

It felt like that one Saturday last March when D was ubber stressed over District Solo/Ensemble, where everything you said or did triggered her because she swore she would fail herself and get a two rating.  No matter how often her voice coach guaranteed her she was prepared she was convincing her nerves that she was not.  She was afraid for her parents, King Ralph and I to be in the room to hear her sing.  We had to stand in the noisy hall with ears pressed to the door listening. The story ended with her getting a one rating and making it to state, where she also scored a one rating. 

So this year she decided she wanted to take the chance at All-Suburban Choir.  We had the same game of stress.  It started out with D just saying it wasn't going to be about making All-Suburban but just about the experience and saying she gave it a try.  To non-stop singing of an Italian arias, to I really want to make All-Suburban, to I know I won't make it and when I don't I will cry.  Since her voice coach is a co-worker of mine he made it clear to me that she was more than prepared.  All her silly jabber and preparation for tears was nothing more than her usual audition stress.  

I went to work for her Saturday morning in that box known as the athletic field concession stand (actually it feels like I am as close to hell as humanly possible, but with a Starbucks spiced pumpkin lattte in hand with made me pretend I was getting closer to heaven) while she auditioned up north.  She finally arrived at her job at 12:30pm.  I decided to stay and continue to help her out as it was the craziest work experience I had ever had and I wasn't about to leave my baby there alone serving hot beverages to frozen children and tired crabby parents.  I think my staying with her quelled her tears that were trying to brew inside her.  She was convinced she did a horrible job at the sight reading costing her a place in the prestigious high school choir.  I texted her voice coach and he relayed that what he heard that day she had nothing to worry about.  

So off King Ralph and I went to our annual October Fest, leaving D at home waiting by her phone for any word of the audition results.  When I get a text from her voice coach that said "Sssshhh D made All-Suburban Mixed Choir."  Sssshhh what is that suppose to mean?  Was I getting privileged information?  When I replied asking if I was allowed to tell her he said "you can tell her".  I forwarded his text and then called D.  The joyous screams as she read the text was deafening.  The sweetest sound.  As sweet as her joy when she got that one at State Solo/Ensemble last spring. And I could hear the stress she had pended up inside her leave her body.   

When we got home from our party D looks at me and says"we are going to church tomorrow!"  We have been so lazy about attending lately.  I gladly agreed but it had to be the 8am service.  She says "fine but we have to go because I prayed to God that if he let me make All-Suburban I would go to church in the morning."  

So the story ends with D and I sitting in our regular fifth pew on the pulpit side of the sanctuary saying-- when one strikes a deal with God there is no going back on the deal.

Guess this means God really does answer prayers ;-)