caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Archive for the category “Bloglets”

Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

It poured today.

Like, someone-go-find-a-guy-named-Noah-and-follow-him-wherever-he’s-headed kind of rain.

The clouds loomed for hours, but didn’t release one drop until their appointed time. Which, of course, was carpool.

2:57 – drip, drip, drip

2:58 – make a decision.

Will I welcome the rain, or complain about the rain.

All of a sudden, I was flooded with memory after memory of lying on my couch.

Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year, after year, after year, after year.

I can’t tell you how many times, lying on my couch, I was able to hear the drops of rain on our skylight.

The kids would want to go and play in the rain, but once again, Mama had to say No!

Not because I didn’t want to get wet. I’d have given anything to get wet.

I couldn’t sit upright. If I could sit upright, I couldn’t move around. If I could move around, it sure wasn’t for very long.

Mama had to say No! many more times that she said Yes. Oh, how my heart said Yes, but my body said No for the better part of the last five years.

But. Not. Today.

Today, as God’s buckets in the sky poured out all over the luxury SUVs all around me, I gave thanks.

I thanked Him that my family has cover to safely keep dry from the rain.

I thanked Him I had healthy children who could dance in the rain.

I thanked Him for the warm meal we would eat once we dried off.

I thanked Him for the freedom to be silly, or spontaneous or ridiculous with my children.

I thanked Him for the pouring rain He has used to cleanse my heart of so much self-centeredness lately.

But, most of all, I thanked Him that my heart and my body were both screaming YES! when my sweet babies got into my Gracevan squealing – “Can we play in the rain when we get home!?!”

“You better believe we can!” was Mama’s reply this time.

This time, my body can handle it. This time I am healthy. This time I get to say Yes!!

I snatched up my honorary nephews across the street (sons of Super Neighbor) and took them three, along with my three (in case you’re counting, and I was, that’s six kids under eight) to play in the rain! You took six little kids by yourself out in the street to play in the rain? Are you nuts? You should know that answer by now. Here’s the deal…Super neighbor called me every single day for the entire five years of my illness. Did you read that? Every. Single. Day. I didn’t even want to talk to me every single day. But, man oh man did she don her galoshes and rain gear as she weathered this medical storm with me, right by my side. And, then, as God would have it, right across the street, as of a couple years ago. We are so blessed.

We must have played out there for almost an hour. We made tin foil boats to race down the cul-de-sac. We splashed in puddles like a marching band on parade. We turned our faces upward to rinse off our muddy faces. We laughed. We played. And, I’m pretty sure my kids made a memory today of Mama getting to say Yes!

And Lord, I give you thanks!

My sweet friend, life is hard. It is tiring, messy, draining, stressful, exhausting, overwhelming, expensive, and jam-packed.

But, other times, it is precious. Other times it is joyful, silly, spontaneous, friendly, simple, pleasantly surprising, orderly, and easy.

Please take time to play in the rain. Take it from someone who has been forced to watch her children have fun through the living room window, time after time. Your kids are getting bigger. They are one day closer to leaving your house than they were yesterday. There will soon be a day they won’t ask you to play in the rain with them.

Do it.

And give God thanks for playing in the rain kind of days.

But, do it soaking wet, with your face towards the sky.

You won’t be sorry.

I know I wasn’t.

See?

 

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Old Dogs, New Tricks

I was never a girly girl.

In fact, I was basically a little boy until womanhood hit me over the head at the ungodly early age of eleven. Not cool, God.

I liked getting dirty.

I love, love, loved sports.

I loved building and inventing.

I didn’t play with dolls.

I didn’t have an Easy-Bake oven.

And I certainly didn’t knit or crochet.

Until now.

Now, as a Mom of Miss Priss, I love playing dolls.

I love cooking and baking in my big girl oven.

And last night (dun da da duuuuun!) I bravely embarked on the world of knitting.

I mean, crocheting. Which, apparently is not the same thing.

Super Neighbor learned how to shocker! and she’s now a crochet extraordinaire. If she starts making her own bath soap or candles, I’ve told her I’m moving.

As soon as I took this picture of what she made my baby girl and her ‘best baby’, I knew I had to learn. I am aware ‘best baby’ needs a bath. Just sayin’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me started on the adorable one she made for me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OR her sweet baby boy…

 

 

 

 

 

I know, I know. Ridiculously cute, huh?!

Anyway…I had to be able to tell my little girl, “Mama made that for you!” someday. And not be lying through my teeth.

I want to learn teach her about make-up.

I want to learn how to French braid.

I want to paint her sweet little toes.

Not because i think she has to do this stuff to be a ‘real girl”. That’s dumb. But I want to be into what she is into. And she is into that stuff. Along with bugs, dirt and trying to pee on a tree like her brothers. Don’t get me started. But, these girl things may be easier than learning French without Rosetta Stone. At least, for me. But, God can teach an old dog new tricks. He can. And He’s gonna have to.

So, Super neighbor threw a little crochet girl’s night, which, a few years ago I would have laughed at, politely declined, and then teased my friends that did go. While I stayed home and watched SportsCenter.

Now, however, I am much more mature. So, I accepted the invitation, arrived, and then made fun of all of us while eating chips and queso and chocolate. I love you queso!

I generally don’t like to do things I’m not good at. It’s one of my finer qualities, of course. In some cases, I keep trying, so that once I become good at it, then and only then I enjoy it. Then, all is well. After all, my kids gotta eat. The ‘learning to cook’ stages of my life have been darn near hilarious. But, that’s for another time.

So, some of my dear friends and I sat around trying to not get kicked out of the party pay attention as Super neighbor’s sister-in-law, Anna, with the patience of a saint, explained everything. Again and again and again. Undeterred by our rascally attitudes – “I teach high school Spanish, I can handle you girls.” – Anna stayed the course. God bless her.

Let me tell you something. Crocheting is not easy. At all.

It takes patience. Discipline. Precision. Consistency.

In case you didn’t know, no one has ever described me in that way. Quite the opposite actually.

But, I am convinced that God can teach an old dog can new tricks. Eventually.

There’s something peaceful about crocheting. It is adorably mind-numbing. I appreciate that.

This hobby has been enjoyed for decades centuries? I have no clue. and has brought women together for a purposeful gathering.

To laugh. To listen. To share life. To be productive.

I kinda love that I actually sat there and tried but failed miserably to do something that generations before me have done.

A hundred years ago, women didn’t txt each other.

They didn’t blog, or post on facebook.

They gathered around and quitled, or knitted, or crocheted.

I am not saying that those two things are next on my list, Lord, help me but God once again didn’t cease to amaze me as I reflected on my attempt at this time honored tradition. He assured me that old school isn’t bad. Getting back the basics can be a beautiful thing. Pure. Lovely. Good.

I’m kinda over the whole fast-paced and culture-driven life everyone (including me!) has fallen victim to. I don’t have any desire to be a part of any rat race. I don’t know the Joneses and therefore don’t’ feel like I want to try and keep up with them. Been there, done that. Got the materialistic closet full o’ junk to prove it.

Last month, Anna lost her husband to cancer. She is thirty-nine years old. She crochets these hats for cancer patients. She gives back. She serves. She takes this beautiful trade and blesses others.

I want to do that too.

Winter is coming and God has already told me that I can be praying for some people who will need warm scarves and hats this winter. People with no heater to keep them warm and no roof to keep them protected.

So, I will keep practicing. I will make it past the eight inch straight line I made last night. Frustrated, I cried out to my friends for reassurance – “Homeless people need yarn-snake-bracelets, too, don’t they?!”

They didn’t comply.

Darn those old dogs.

I sure do love them though.

 

 

 

 

 

Ps. Look what I taught myself how to do today. Girliness, here I come.

Too bad sister friend will never sit still that long again!

Stuck

I was stuck on Ryan from the day we met. Poor guy, he didn’t stand a chance.

That was almost fifteen years ago.Sheesh, that man is getting old.

This past weekend we celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary of being stuck for good. Like, legally, and before God and everything.

Eleven years ago Saturday, we joyfully said I do and whooshed away for the honeymoon aka. thenicestvacationwewilleverhaveinourlives.

Then, we came back home to do life together. Then, I blinked. And it’s been eleven years, three moves, seven hundred hospitalizations, and three kids later.

Thankfully (and by the grace of God and the wisdom of our marriage counselor!)

We are still stuck on each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, isn’t it miraculous awesome how he never, ever gets tired of doing ‘silly pictures’ with me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love that man.

And boy, are we stuck on our kids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are pretty stinkin’ amazing.

Some things we get stuck with are good. Others…notsomuch.

Bad: Ice cream at night before bad. It happens every 28 days or so when I simply must have it. Or someone will die.

Good: Seeing your kiddo get a super cool Christian song stuck in their head all day and getting to hear them in the other room singing “All I know is I’m not home yet, this is not where I beloooong…”

Sometimes you’re not sure if it’s good or bad: A friend you love comes over, but she brings her kids who always trash your house.

I’ve had a quote stuck in my head since the instant I read it. I literally lost sleep over this thing. And I love sleep. A lot.

This book I’m reading is life-changing. I’m not sure if I’ll have any friends left after I read it, which is like a death sentence for a true sanguine like me. But, really, it calls one to truly think about how they are living out this whole Christian life thing. Basically, what the heck are you doing that looks like Jesus? What am I doing? Not praying about. Not seeking wisdom for. Not convicted about. I’m talking about what is your hiney actually getting up and moving toward in an active way that looks like Jesus.

As you may or may not know, I haven’t been ‘doing’ a lot the last five years, as far as physical activity. Unless you count getting up off the couch to go pee. In that case, I’ve done a lot.

So, from someone who loves to do and didn’t get to do, now that I’m helthy, I’ve been doing a lot. But, how much of it has been for me and how much of it has been for Jesus?

In response to me being so busy this summer, or slacking on writing, or taking a break from the Blessing Bunch, people have kindly coddled me “Oh but you deserve it! You have been through so much. You deserve to be super busy enjoying your family.”

I appreciate their willingness to encourage me, but I am bummed that I agreed with them.

I don’t deserve much.

I didn’t go through that much, really. I mean, yes, it was very tough…but c’mon now, don’t give me too much credit.

I definitely don’t get a free pass from serving like Jesus just so I can catch up on field trips and movie dates with my family.

Balance.

My life has been so swung in one direction or the other, that now I am seeking discipline. I am seeking balance.

Then I read this quote and it ‘bout knocked me flat on my face. (Thanks, once again, Jen Hatmaker! You owe me an ice cream treat by now.) In talking about the role of the body of Christ in our world today, it seems most Christians have become glitzier and happier about their faith, but not any more humble or active or servant-like. So many of us get stuck in the Pharisee role and not in the Jesus-imitator role – it’s awful.

Jen said –

“We’ve made it acceptable for people to do nothing and still call themselves Christians.”

Stuck.on.these.words.

What am I doing? Like, really doing to better those around me less fortunate. I bless blessed people often. But, those hurting? Those lonely? Those homeless or abandoned or widowed? What am I physically doing for them? Easy –

Not a dang thing.

I donate clothes I don’t want or can’t re-sell. Whoopty-freakin-doo.

We live on a budget and tithe, but I am typing with freshly highlighted hair and about to let me kids watch a show on the DVR I recorded.

I volunteer in different ways each month (before summer hit) for a couple hours. So, that’s roughly 2 hours a month I serve others. Oh ya, and 718 hours I don’t.

Congratu-stinkin-lations.

Am I the only one who is appalled at the thought that the body of Christ may becoming more concerned about making those who are already saved happy than serving the least of these?

Do we care more about who we get to sit by at Bible study than we do about those many people who would love a Bible if only they could afford one?

The other day I had an old 90’s song stuck in my head. Today it is this quote –

“We’ve made it acceptable for people to do nothing and still call themselves Christians.”

I hope, for the sake of Jesus, that this stays stuck in my head longer than Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Lord, help me.

I’m Just Gonna…

I love my three year old. Really, I do.

She is precious, hilarious, loveable, and expressive. She brings our world a lot of sunshine.

But occasionally she brings a Category 5 hurricane as well.

Not only is she is the baby of our family but she also has two big brothers. As soon as the doctor held her up and said “It’s a girl!” – we knew our lives would never be the same. It became evident very quickly that she would be spoiled. That is hard to avoid. Her big brothers literally adore her. And she loves to be adored. It’s a win-win.

But, we were determined she would not be spoiled rotten. There is a big difference between spoiled and spoiled rotten.

But, as the baby of my own family, I will admit things sometimes come to us fairly easily. We charm those around us to get our way. We pout and act mistreated, causing parents, and especially grandparents to give in. Plus, we are notorious manipulators. Abigail is already blooming into a nice little baby of our family.

What she doesn’t know is that Mama invented stubborn.

Lately, my darling girl’s had an awful case of the “I’m just gonna…”’s.

“Abigail, get your shoes on, we’ve got to go!”

“I’m just gonna wear these slippers.”

“Abigail, pick up your babies before we go to bed.”

“I’m just gonna let them sleep out here for night-night.”

“Abigail, do not get up from that table again until you have eaten your breakfast.”

“I’m just gonna eat three bites and then I be all done, ok?”

It started in a subtle way, but then the more I paid attention, the more I realized that this stinkin’ child was answering every single command with I’m just gonna…

It pissed me off.

How had I let this slip by?

Often, the thing she’s ‘just gonna’ do isn’t a big deal. I decide that ain’t the hill I’m gonna die on today. But, then it hit me that she was telling me how things were going to go, instead of the other way around.

Is it a big deal that she’s ‘just gonna’ put her shoes on in the van instead of right now when I asked her to? No. As a Mom of three small kids, I’m thrilled when we all get to the van with shoes that actually belong to us.

But that isn’t the point.

Is it a big deal that she’s ‘just gonna’ hang up her bathing suit after she cleans up her swim toys, even though I asked her to do it the reverse order? No. It’s all getting cleaned up, right?

But that isn’t the point.

The point is that she is in charge. She calls the shots. She’s. just. gonna.

No more.

How could she treat me this way when I am her mother? Pretty darn easy, apparently.

But man, oh man, do I do the same thing with my Father.

Commit to me one tenth of your income and then the rest is at your disposal.

“I’m just gonna make sure the bills are paid first and then give you my tithe.”

Do not have a love of money, but instead love your enemies and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.

“I’m just gonna buy this one more thing for me – I deserve it! Those poor people aren’t even American citizens. I’ll go take my old stuff to Good Will next weekend.”

Submit. Be humble. Serve others.

“I’m just gonna take a ‘me day’ – retail therapy is good for me. I work hard – I deserve another massage.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I throw up a bit in my mouth at the thought of it.

The audacity it takes for someone (me!) to look at the God of the Universe in the face and assume they (I!) have a better plan is down-right disgusting.

When God tells you to do something. Do it.

Do it fully. Do it with a pure heart. Do it immediately. Do it His way, not your own.

By the way, I’m writing this to myself, just so you know.

Now…’I’m just gonna’ go back and read it again. And again. And again…

Generation E

I can blame a great portion of this internal ‘stirring’ on my daughter.

She’s three and won’t know for years. I’m ok with that.

A few weeks ago, the Holy Spirit, Abigail and I were in Wal-mart. One may assume the Holy Spirit doesn’t chill out much at Wal-mart, but one would be dead wrong. Those are His peeps. The poor, the meek, the lowly – those were Jesus’ homies. Don’t believe me? Pick a gospel. Read it. then, I’ll say I told ya so. In Jesus’ Name.

He cared for poor, widowed, abandoned…but three year olds? I’m not sure. I know Jesus insisted to ‘bring the children unto Him’, but I doubt He actually meant bring three-year-olds unto Him. I think he would have passed the three-year-olds unto the disciples. Especially mine.

The fool that coined the phrase ‘terrible twos’ clearly did not have a three-year-old yet. It was probably the same man person who came up with ‘morning sickness’, ‘slight menstrual mood swings’ and  ‘post-partum blues’. Try ‘all-friggin’day sickness’, ‘menstrual speed-downhill-skiing mood shifts’ and ‘post-partum psychotic mayhem’.

But, I digress. And there ain’t no room for a digress in a bloglet.

Sister friend and I were at Wal-mart getting groceries together. I used to equate this to getting slowly pecked to death by baby chickens. Then I spent the besttwodollarsI’veeverspentEVER. Let me be clear that we never, I repeat hardly ever, reward our kids for good behavior in a store. There’s never dollar bin trips or candy rewards for not throwing a fit. My man and I personally do not believe in rewarding our kids for behavior that is to be expected anyway. We have occasionally given a treat for above normal excellent behavior, or a huge servant’s heart toward someone. But even then we talkin’ ‘bout a Hershey bar split three ways, not a $20 toy each.

But, this time, I caved in sheer anticipation of a not-napping-anymore-two-year-old + a sleep deprived pre-menstrual Mama + a looooong grocery list + coupons and price-matching on a Saturday morning (I know, we were that desperate) and how it would vomit chaos and hysteria on poor unsuspecting Wal-mart. Guaranteed. So, I bought sister-friend a princess magic wand. Save the ‘real Christians don’t teach magic’ emails please. Or I will send her to Wal-mart with you. No magic wand. Just a Bible. K?

She love-love-love-loves to ‘change’ the food on the aisles into what we want them to be. I pick up some yogurt, and she says “No, Mama, that’s not yoguht yet.” She presses her Disney Princess just let it go button and squeals “I change you into manilla yoguht!”

It’s darling.

It’s joyful to watch.

It’s allows me to leave Wal-mart with the same child I entered it with. And she’s breathing.

That, my friend is a win-win.

But, on that same day my Mama-genius was in full swing with the ‘change it into’ suggestion, my precious rascal-girl said something so profound and disturbing, I haven’t been able to shake it since. And then I go and start reading Jen Hatmaker’s books. Lord, help me.

After gleefully hugging her magic wand ever-so-tightly – she couldn’t actually change anything into anything for five solid minutes – it was time to leave the toy section. Insert me singing alto part of Hallelujah chorus.

Then it happened.

Did Abigail fuss and whine at the next fifteen aisles (with approximately 3,214 toys on each aisle) we passed insisting “Mama, I want thaaaaat!!”

Well, yes and no.

Oh, she fussed and she whined. Which ticked me off really because I hadn’t even yelled yet. And I’d brilliantly – with the creativity and patience of a Mom with one kid – come up with the ‘change our groceries into’ game. Dangit, Abigail I was gonna blog about this great Mama moment, don’t fuss now!

But it was her words that rocked me.

She didn’t say “I want thaaaaat!”

Instead – “Maaamaaa…I don’t have thaaaat!”

I stopped dead in my tracks and just stared at her.

She didn’t look like Satan. Weird.

Did she just say what I thought she said?

“Abigail, Wal-mart has fifteen freaking rows of toys, baby girl, of course you don’t have that! You can’t have all of it.”

“But, why?”

A piece of my soul died that day.

Dear friend, if you are raising children even as we speak, then your kiddos are growing up in what ‘they’ are calling Generation E.

What’s the E for?

Excess.

Entitlement.

That absolutely couldn’t be more true.

Nobody had to teach three-year-olds thirty years ago to say “I want thaaat!!” Just ask my Mom, she’ll vouch. But that was thirty years ago. Now, nobody has to teach my three-year-old that not only is she entitled to that but heck, she should have all of that. All fifteen freaking rows.

Despite the emotional gag reflex that ensues, I have replayed that phrase over and over in my mind. The subtle difference in wording shows the grave difference in the heart attitude of a kid in 2012 and a kid in 1982.

It’s tragic.

It’s depressing.

But, worst of all, it’s normal.

This came from a kid who really doesn’t get much of what she wants. Mainly cause we’re broke (or so we think!) but also because Ryan and I are desperately and with full-force trying to fight this culture beast.

Fight with me?

I have a two book Jen Hatmaker+God-rocked-my-world-apart-project I will be blogging about over the next few months. Join me.

First, we are reading Interrupted. But if you want to go ahead and save on shipping, we will read 7 next. I ain’t psychic but I know our worlds are gonna be rocked. I’ll even bet you money. I’ve got fifty cent. Cash. Not that rapper.

Maybe we will be able to fight this generation E beast.

Maybe we can raise humble kids (and selves!) whose entire self-worth isn’t wrapped up in stuff or the acquisition of more of it.

And sweet friend, maybe, just maybe, we can look, act, talk and LIVE a little bit more like Jesus.

Oh, how I hope so.

Until then, I cannot wait for my STYOWM badge my other friend Jennifer brags incessantly talks about. Read it. You’ll love it. 🙂

The Bloglet

My dear Lindsay. My sunshine. Sigh.

She is one of the dearest gifts God’s given me in my life. We met in fourth grade. Became close buddies in middle school and were connected at the hip for pretty much all the high school drama. We totally thought we were above it, of course. Oh to be young and ignorant again.

We both thought we had strong Christian convictions and incredibly strict parents (this part was pretty much true) so we clung to each other out of sheer solidarity. If we were going to not drink, smoke, do drugs, or have sex – or ever go to any sort of party where all those things were happening simultaneously – then at least we had each other.

Many a weekend were spent giggling, having sleepovers and dancing along with the final scene of Dirty Dancing. We actually didn’t have a ton in common – i.e. her athletic skills we, um, how-shall-I-say ‘yet to be bloomed’. But, we had us.

I love her deeply and miss her deeply-er. She and her precious man had to go off and follow God’s will and become missionaries in Mexico. I was completely devastated and profoundly proud all wrapped up in one chimichanga of emotion. I told God they could go serve for a year or two and I’d be fine. They laughed. God laughed more. They’ve been there 11 years. Check them out. What grande things their team is doing for God’s kingdom!

Anyway, because we were absolute idiots before it was even cool to be super hilarious, we had a ton of inside jokes and a great deal of vocabulary words we had, in fact, made up ourselves. Booyah, Webster.

One of our reoccurring trends was to add the ‘–let’ suffix to any word, yes, any word was fair game, in order to make it smaller.

A truck was a truck, but when we’d see a little bitty single cab, shouldn’t be driving in Texas, type of Frontier or something, we would say “Oh cute, hi little buddy (insert baby talk voice) aren’t you just the cutest little trucklet.”

Cups were cups. Dixie cups were cuplets.

Shoes were shoes. Baby shoes were shoelets.

Furniture was furniture. Doll house furniture was, well, a bit creepy.

You get the point.

Foretoo, (our own word which was freely and often substituted for ‘therefore’ or ‘however’ or ‘because’ or anything that made us giggle) we enjoyed miniaturizing anything for a good laugh.

I have not changed.

Waistline, yes? Ain’t no waistlinelet here.

Silly sense of humor, absolutely no!

Hence, the introduction of my following project on the discipline I so desperately lack – I will now blog something every day. Lord, help us all.

But, in an effort to not lose my seven readers, the somewhat clean house my man enjoys, and/or one of my three actual children, I will not be writing full length blogs every day. Somebody just said Amen! Instead, I will pass along to you one of the many, many ways God shows up in the most beautiful and the most bizarre ways in my everyday life. And I will do it in shortened form.

They will not all relate to each other. They will not all be grammatically superb nor exhaustively researched, but they will be here. Come hell or high water. Am I allowed to say that?

Soon, I feel confident the bloglets will center around the book that’s-wrecked-my-life-in-the-best/worst-way-possible. Interrupted? Ya, good one, Jen Hatmaker. But, alas, I didn’t pay extra for speedy shipping. And while the old me would’ve just sat back like I already have for a few days until the thing came in the mail, I decided to be disciplined about beginning this part of my discipline. Extra gold star for me.

Thus, the bloglet is born.

And there was much rejoicing. (yaaaaaaaay.) Sunshine, that one was for you, too.

That is all.

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