Here and Now

Here and Now

From the Authors Our Story

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,Jan 27 011
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
~Lamentations 3:22-24

Potty Training.

That is the stage I have entered for the third time in my life. I don’t remember it being enjoyable or easy, but neither do I remember it being so difficult! The bribing and running around and the messes. It is difficult. But I know it won’t last forever and once it is over life is going to be a lot easier (not to mention cheaper… diapers! I tell ya!).

Also, Christmas has passed. We aren’t even through January and, for my children, the blinding luster of new Christmas toys is wearing off. Honestly I was more than disappointed at how quickly I heard the words “bored” and “there’s nothing to do” again. Add to that the son who is already compiling a birthday list- because if he gets these toys then he will “finally have fun.” You want to see a mother turn red in the face and go absolutely ballistic, then (when you add in the potty training) you have found the perfect recipe for that. Ok, I wasn’t exactly ballistic. … More like… Irritated. I was irritated at how little they appreciated all they have.

I was giving my son a good lecture on being thankful when the light bulb turned on again. I was preaching to the choir. I am the one who has not appreciated what I have. I am in the same boat as my son. I am always looking ahead to the next thing, thinking then- finally then!– things will be easier. Once we finish moving, then things will get easier. Once I get through Christmas, then things will settle down and get easier. Once the youngest is potty trained, then life will be splendid. When we make some friends in our new town, then things will be better, I will be happier, etc, etc, etc…

This is why God made me a parent. He has put all of my issues into these adorable little people I am constantly hanging out with and I can’t help noticing their problems. Then He gently says, “Ok, now do you see what I have been trying to tell you?”

Oh.

Right.

I see.

I am so busy planning for a future, running ahead to the next stage of life, and thinking that if I only had one more thing… then life would really be easy. And it causes me to miss out on the gift of here and now. My children won’t ever be this age again. This is my chance to be with them here and now. This is a lesson that I think I need to be reminded of daily. The gift of this moment. The grace of God that causes the sun to rise again every morning. I was lecturing my son on how he needs to appreciate all he has, and I just laughed to myself. Then I hung my head and thought, “I’m sorry, God. I forgot how beautiful You are. How You have put so much beauty into this day, and I just passed by it all. I’m missing it. I’m missing You.”

Because the truth is that nothing is going to fulfill that big open hole in our hearts. No birthday gift, no fully potty trained family. Only God fulfills that need, that hole, that desire. He is the one who does not let us down, who does not give up on us, and who loves us as we are.

So if you need a place to start, start there. Start with being thankful that God is exactly who he says he is. And that He is doing a good work in and through you.

Lord, thank you so much for this day. I am so sorry that I have been trying to do things in my own strength again. I am sorry that I have confused getting things done with true happiness. Make my heart new, and open my eyes to see the beauty that you have woven into my everyday life. Thank you for this season, even if it is hard or lonely. Thank you that you are with me no mater what. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

 

Christmas Bagpipes

Christmas Bagpipes

Our Story

He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” ~John 1:51

Merry Christmas!

I’ve been thinking about Grandpa again. My grandpa really wanted to be in the Von Trapp family. You know- Sound of Music? Entire family sings, dances and performs? Needless to say, we fell lamentably short of the Von Trapp Family Singers, but that didn’t stop us from trying. One of grandpa’s Christmas traditions was to hold a family-talent-show. One year, I remember spending months trying to learn a song on the guitar. Mind you, I didn’t know how to play but I could learn. That Christmas I’m sure it was as painful for my listeners as it was for my fingers.

Don't you want to squeeze the reindeer too? Or Spiderman? Or both?
Don’t you want to squeeze the reindeer too? Or Spiderman? Or both?

But then there came a year when my immediate family was going through some hard times. We didn’t really want to talk about those things at Christmas. We wanted to go, and be together, and laugh- to forget the ‘hard times’ for just a little bit. When we were in the car, en route to Grandpa’s, we realized we had not prepared for the annual (if informal) ‘Christmas Talent Show.’ I know what you’re thinking- no big deal. And it probably wasn’t. We knew that we had cousins who were gifted piano players and ballet dancers, an uncle who would read something very moving (and possibly in German- hooray for heritage), another uncle who could sing really well, and the littlest cousins were so darn cute, they couldn’t fail at anything they tried. And then there was us. We didn’t feel like we had any real talent to share at that point, but neither did we want to say so (call it German stubbornness). Which brought up the sarcastic comment, “Too bad no one here plays the bag pipes.” Well, one thing led to another, and when you have an hour long car ride, you can usually come up with something. And we did!

So that year, when Grandpa turned to our family and asked, do you have anything to share with us? We smiled really big, and said, “Yes! Human bagpipes!” Everyone looked a little confused, and then we began our performance. Basically we all made the loudest, most obnoxious sound we could think of. All at the same time, and all in different keys. While most of us continued with these odd noises, one of us would take the melody and loudly (and if it was a more nasal sound, all the better) hum and bellow the tune for Silent Night.* We didn’t even make it through the song, we were laughing so hard. We kept at it as long as we could, and everyone joined in the laughter. I think we impressed everyone in a different way that year. It wasn’t quite the piano solo of Carol of the Bells that one of my cousins did, but it was nice to have performed. Nice to escape the reality of our lives, and to have been a part of something.

But here is the great thing about Christmas. God does not ask us for a performance. He is not looking down on you, expecting you to be better, to be more than you are, to do something absolutely amazing that has never been done before. The heavy burdens we feel from striving in this world, are not from Him. He is not asking us to be perfect, nor is He pushing us away. Instead He is providing The Way. The way back to Him, the way back to where we belong, the way to peace, the way to love, and the way to simply be. He sent his son down to us, to be the way back to Him. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.** And He came so that we could live life in abundance.*** We cannot earn God’s love, nor can we lose it.**** So let that knowledge sink into your hearts this Christmas season. Let the One who created you and loves you beyond measure fill your weary hearts. Because we have been given this free and amazing gift- this gift that gives us freedom and peace. He came weak and helpless as a baby into our world, so that we could find our way back to the One who created us. So that we could be filled and whole and new again. Christmas is magical because of the expectation that God has, and is, and will continue to do great things.

Thank you God, that you provided this way back. Thank you Jesus for giving yourself freely for all of our sins. Thank you Holy Spirit for filling our hearts. I pray that this Christmas season would not pass without our hearts being touched by You. That our hearts would soften and turn towards you. That we would not be consumed by things, or by what we do or do not do. Help us to lay down the idea that we must preform to earn your love. Help us instead to pick up the peace that your son brought into this world. And give us the love we need so that we could boldly tell others of who You are, and how You love them. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*It’s really hard to explain without making the noises, I keep humming/bellowing while I’m typing trying to figure out how to better explain this atrocious musical performance?

**John 14:6

***John 10:10

****Romans 8:38

This is what happens when you take your kids to the outdoor nativity service on Christmas eve during a blizzard. They build a snowfort.
This is what happens when you take your kids to the outdoor nativity service on Christmas eve during a blizzard. They build a snowfort.

 

Hope

Hope

Our Story

Our mouths were filled with laughter,

download nov 7 2010 082
Grandpa, Auntie, and daughter.

    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
~Psalm 126:2

My family likes to laugh. All the time. We have even been caught laughing at what others might deem ‘inappropriate’ moments. I’m not going to get into the details of the nitty gritty of our lives. But I will ask that you trust that we have gone though situations that have ranged from slightly inconvenient, to terrifying, to heartbreaking, and more. And still, we have found ways to laugh. Sometimes even in the middle of these situations.

I’m sure you’ve been in situations where laughter seemed like something you would never experience again in this life time. I have a memory of being in an intensive care room with my grandfather, knowing he would probably die soon. It was a very sad and somber time for my family. But in the middle of it, my grandpa requested that bagpipes be played at his funeral. There was a surprised silence while we all dealt with our own emotions at hearing him say the word ‘funeral.’ Then one of my uncles said, “But Dad, you always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree?” Another startled silence and then we all started laughing so hard we were crying- even my grandpa! The tears were probably partly from all our stored up emotions, but what I remember is a nurse peeking in at us. I think she was wondering if we had all lost our minds. Because who could laugh at such a moment?

“We can laugh because we still have hope.”

Recently, I heard a woman share this sentiment. I almost fell over. It was exactly the line I’d been looking for! Because people really do wonder about the sanity of our family. How we can laugh in those awful situations. And it is because we are not hopeless. We serve a God who is full of love and compassion for us; a God who has promised to wipe away our tears; a restoring God; an all-things-new God; a God who is never ending. He knows our heartache and He is with us. He is with us! We have hope!

I am not belittling anyone’s pain. I am not saying that if you are experiencing something awful, you should just laugh it off. I am saying that you don’t need to give up. You can cling to hope, you can cling to the God who created you. You can rest in His promises. And I hope and pray that you will find something to laugh about. Something that will remind you that you have hope. And the hope we had for my grandpa, knowing that he was dying, was the knowledge that one day we would meet again- in a place where there would be no more tears! (at least no sad tears)

And just one final note. At grandpa’s funeral, when we arrived at the cemetery, there was a lone bagpiper playing Amazing Grace. It was so beautiful and moving, but we couldn’t help it… we all started snickering, because we were all remembering that Grandpa always said bagpipes sounded like two cats fighting in a tree. And if he was watching from heaven, I’m sure he was snickering too (that man was an excellent snickerer).*

Thank you God for laughter! Thank you that you have given us hope after hope, and that we can trust in You. Bless us to be filled with your joy! To love and laugh all our lives though. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

There is a time for everything,

At my sister's wedding.
One more of cute baby girl, because- cuteness!!

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
~Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

*so if you happened to be at a cemetery and saw a family snickering over a grave as a bagpiper played amazing grace… seriously, what would you think? We really do look like lunatics!

Thank You

Thank You

Inspiration Our Story

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” ~Luke 17:15-19

Saying “Thank you” is a big deal.

I used to teach high school math. I never thought about it before I became a teacher, but the majority of high schoolers (I could possibly even say ‘people’ here?) do not like math. In fact, most loathe math. So being a “fun” teacher was pretty much out from the beginning. Not if I wanted them to actually do hard work and learn something. Now of all the classes I taught, the most difficult was a class for those students who didn’t pass their standardized test. It was the last period of the day, the class period was about 70 minutes long, and all 35 students (none of whom were math enthusiasts to begin with) were forced to be in the class. I had to take attendance the last five minutes of class because a handful of kids would sneak out early if I was not standing at the door baring their escape.*

The term eventually ended, and I sighed with relief when I was no longer their gate keeper at the end of the school day. About a month later, the students had their test retakes. And that was when a miracle happened. There were students in that class that were well behaved, and doing their best- I just didn’t always have much time for them, as I was spending most of my time trying to figure out which student ducked out of the door with their hoodie pulled up over their head. But it was in the middle of a totally normal day when one of those students came wandering back into my room. Surprised, I greeted him, thinking vaguely that he had not given me any headaches and I really appreciated that. But then he said, “I passed the test. I wanted to tell you, because you were the one who helped me. Thank you.”

I think I just stood there and gaped at him. He probably didn’t know that I was trying really hard not to burst into tears. That I wanted to hug him, possibly adopt him. In all my years teaching, I didn’t remember ever having a student thank me for teaching them. I might have gotten a subway gift card once for teacher appreciation day. And there was another time that someone gave me a cheese and cracker tray for Christmas. But nothing like this. No one coming back after the fact and saying, “Thank you, you made a difference.”

And I remember that kid to this day. If I ran into him, I would thank him for making such a big difference in my life. I’m sure he hasn’t got a clue how much his little act of kindness meant to me. When I remember that moment, I think about those ten lepers that Jesus healed. Running off to celebrate, to tell their families, to- what? I don’t know. But only one came back to thank Jesus. One. And he wasn’t even a Jew. He was the one least expected to give thanks.

And I can’t help but think how often I’ve forgotten to throw myself at Jesus’ feet and thank him. I know I am in a rush, and often forget to thank the people I should. I especially forget to thank God (oops). But giving thanks is a big deal. I repeat: Big. Deal. I know it because of how much that one little thank you from one student touched my heart.

The Bible has a lot of verses on giving thanks. Especially giving thanks to the Lord. But, for the sake of keeping this blog short, there is just one thankful verse you really need: 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So… just checking, but when would it be a good time to give thanks? So (speaking mainly to myself here) let’s practice our thankfulness. Let’s remember to thank God for even the littlest things. And let’s thank the people in our lives too. Who knows what those little words might do in one tired heart?

Lord, THANK YOU! We thank you for all you have done for us. Give us new hearts- thankful hearts. Help us to be thankful people. Help us to remember all that you have already done, and to trust you for our future. Even when things are going poorly, even when our hearts are so full of sadness and hurt- help us to remember the good you have done, and to trust in the good you are doing. Sometimes saying thank you is a sacrifice for us, it is giving up on our ideas of what is best or right. It is trusting that- somehow- your plan is being worked out in this world. It is trusting that you have already won. We trust you, Lord. We thank you, Lord. You are worthy. And as our hearts are transformed by you, help us to reach those around us with your light, and with your good news. Bless us to be your hands and feet. In Jesus strong name, Amen.

~Lindsay

 *And there were a few who would sneak out, even if I was standing right at the door telling them not to go. I had to admire their chutzpah.

The Gift of Laughter

The Gift of Laughter

From the Authors Our Story

Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They are a garland to grace your head
    and a chain to adorn your neck.
~Proverbs 1:8-9

Mom and my daughter.
Mom and my daughter.

When I was growing up, my mom had a notepad with the quote, “Blessed is he who can laugh at himself, for he shall never cease to be amused.” Not a direct quote from the sermon on the mount, but definitely something our family lives by.

From an early age, my parents taught me to never take myself too seriously. There are times to be serious, times for grief, times for tears- but we must never forget, that at all times, life is a gift. So, they taught me to laugh as often as possible, even when laughter didn’t seem the likely outcome of a situation.

Proof of this arrived again last night when my mother texted me,

“Dad and I just came in from a walk. Something was poking his foot in his shoe. By the time he mentioned it we were a mile and a half from home. He removed his shoe to reveal a bloody foot. He found a sharp object had broken through his sole. I ran home to get the car. Wheezing and coughing up the hill.”

Now I know some of you read the message of the text and think my mom was worried, or even annoyed. But I read it and could already hear the laughter in my mother’s voice. Of course the double smiley face she texted next was confirmation of this.

These texts were followed by a wheezy phone call in which Mom reassured me that Dad was indeed fine.

Dad and my oldest son.
Dad and my oldest son.

While we were talking, Dad, who couldn’t come to the phone because he was soaking his foot, hollered to tell me about his ruined hanky and that the ability to feel pain evidently diminishes with age.

Mom thought she better tell me the whole story to explain about the hanky. Upon removing the sharp object, Dad used his hanky to blot his heel and then put his hanky in his shoe to cover the hole. He walked on for a while but then stopped to take a look. The bleeding had slowed but had not stopped. Hence the ruined hanky. At this point, Dad handed mom the car keys and she started jogging for home.  Mom had to run up a hill to get to their house (it is one of those hills that I would never choose to run up). It was while she was jogging up that hill that she was passed by a man walking his dog. And this is where her giggles erupted in her retelling. “But in my defense,” she added, “it was a big dog, and I’m pretty sure he was helping to pull his master up the hill. I didn’t have any help like that!”

After my phone call, my husband asked what all the laughing was about. And when I said, “Dad cut his foot.” My husband gave me a very confused look. I’m sure he was thinking (and rightly so) how is that funny?

Enter the gift of laughter. Choosing not to be angry, or frustrated. Choosing not to think that the world is out to get you or that you should give up. Instead, the ability to not take yourself too seriously. *

We all have different gifts from our parents. Gifts we treasure, and even ones we’ve maybe never noticed. And maybe, if we are lucky, gifts we can pass on to our children.

May the Lord open your eyes to the gifts he has placed in your family. May you be blessed to give new gifts to your children, that your ceiling would be their floor to start on and reach higher from. And may you know that whatever challenges may come, you do not need to take yourself too seriously. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*It was at about this point that my youngest son came along and pounded on the keyboard. The end result being that the ‘d’ key no longer works. I think that peanut butter may somehow be involved. Any ideas how to get peanut butter out of your keyboard? ;)

 

It’s coming…

It’s coming…

Book 1 Children From the Authors Our Story

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,9-14***

This picture summarizes kids- whether we are at home, or in public.
This picture summarizes kids- whether we are at home, or in public.

Let me (very quickly) comment on the last line, and the ‘fear of the Lord.‘ I used to struggle with this. If Jesus is my friend, why would I be afraid of him?

Now, skip to my most recent shopping adventure with three young children, where I am out in public. One child is screaming and throwing My Little Pony umbrellas on the ground, while the other two are playing a very rowdie game of hide-and-seek. I try to act like a better mom, getting down to their level and talking quietly to them. (All the while wanting to shout and tell them to knock it off.) Why not shout?* Because I don’t want people to think I’m a terrible mom. That is the kind of ‘fear’ we are talking about. I’m so worried about other people’s opinions, I change my behavior.

Now God sees us all the time. What if I worried about His opinions more? What if I cared about other people’s opinions less and instead trusted in who I am in Christ?

Fear of God is reverence and esteem for Him. It is doing what He would want you to do. Partially because He is so holy and awesome and mighty and powerful, but also because we should be so in love with Him, we want to do things His Way.**

That being said…

You may have not realized this, but this web site is part of our journey relating to the ins and outs, and ups and downs associated with writing a series of books. This blog, while not always about the books, highlights our thoughts along the way. Which is its own story.

I am excited to report, that our book team has met. We have made our final edits. We have divided up the last of the work… and… all I can say is, “It’s coming!”

May the Lord, who made you unique among all people, bless you today. May He show you the way, illuminate your path, and give you the strength you need for one more day. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*In this example, fear of the Lord lined up with worrying about other people’s opinions. God doesn’t want me to be a tyrannical mother. But my point is, I was not worried about what God would think. I was worried what people would think.

**Ta-da! The fear of the Lord! This is an abbreviated version of all my thoughts on this subject. Mostly, I want to encourage you to let God’s opinions of you determine your worth, not other people’s. Because He thinks you’re pretty amazing!

***Ecclesiastes 3**** is something to read! The whole thing, not just the above, abbreviated version.

****Ecclesiastes is also nearly impossible for me to spell.

It’s All God’s Anyways

It’s All God’s Anyways

From the Authors Our Story

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it;
Psalm 24:1 (NIV)

Can't you see him asking, "Seriously, Mom? Those curtains right behind me? Those are the curtains you can't live without?"
Can’t you see him asking, “Seriously, Mom? Those curtains right behind me? Those are the curtains you can’t live without?”

We recently moved, which involved selling our house. When we read the offer for the house, it stated that they wanted to keep all of the curtains. I sat up a bit at that, and may have thrown a small scale tantrum. “Those are my curtains!” I obstinately told my husband. And it was true. I’d sewn most of the curtains in that house (or found them clearanced and had a coupon…). My husband gave me a look, and then patiently asked me if I wanted to keep the curtains. And I thought about that. “Well… no, not really. But they are my curtains!” And then he patiently informed me that we could ask to keep the curtains, to which I scoffed, “What would we even do with those curtains? They’re not even that nice.”  I was already thinking of how they weren’t that great of quality (homemade, in my case, sometimes translates to thrown-together-as-quickly-as-possible while using the cheapest fabric I could find). Then I was thinking that we don’t even know where we will end up, and what kind of curtains we will need. And then I remembered something my husband always says, but had (wisely) not said yet.

“It’s all God’s anyways.”

It’s funny how those words change the attitude of my heart so quickly. Sometimes I forget that God is the one who owns everything. Even us. And when I say, “Well, it’s your house God, so I guess you better find someone to buy it so we can move.” Then I can also say, “Well, those are your curtains, and I guess I don’t really need them.” My selfishness sort of slowly fizzles when I stand before God openhanded and say, “All that I have, it’s not really mine, it’s Yours. All that I am, it’s not mine to boast in. It is Yours.”

So we (me, Mom, Uncle Bob, Cousin Adam) are prepping to get our first (of several) children’s books published. And it’s intimidating in it’s own way. We are standing open handed before our Lord, our God, our Savior, our Friend.

It’s all Yours anyways.

My favorite part of the Lord’s prayer is, “Not my will, but yours be done.” Not the easiest part, not by a long shot. But my favorite part, because I trust that His ways are infinitely better than mine.

And my husband and I now laugh at my moment of curtain-insanity. And it amazes me that I was so adamant about keeping ugly curtains!* But we live, we learn, and hopefully we can always find ways to laugh at ourselves.

May the Lord, protect you and keep you. May He make his face to shine on you, and fill you with peace. And may you stand before your Father in Heaven with hands opened toward him, freely giving and freely receiving. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*I also have a new way of sewing curtains that is infinitely cuter… and I may have learned my lesson about just buying the cheapest fabric. Not very fun to look at everyday.

 

Everyone Has a Story

Everyone Has a Story

Book 1 Our Story The Man Behind the Curtain

While I have been the primary blogger for our little writing group, it was never my intention to be the blogger. As we finalize our book, and are preparing to [finally] get our books published, it seemed appropriate to get some of the other voices from our group on the blog. So here is a post, written by my wonderful Uncle Bob, our very own ‘Man behind the curtain’ (in other words, the one who figures stuff out and gets things done). Enjoy! ~Lindsay

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

– I John 5:14

Uncle Bob with his great-niece and great-nephew (Lindsay's children)
Uncle Bob with his great-niece and great-nephew (Lindsay’s children)

Everyone has a story; stories that are filled with the experiences, thoughts and emotions of our every day life; stories that we tell others and tell ourselves. Stories that are filled with the ups and downs, challenges and struggles, hopes and hurts that characterize life in a 21st Century world that is moving faster and faster each day into uncharted waters.

Over the past six months, Lindsay, one of the Porkie and Pete’s storytellers and my niece, has been filling you in on bits and pieces of our family story. It’s a story of ordinary parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren who face many of the same struggles that you do. It’s a story that was inspired seven years ago when my sister Lori, the other Porkie and Pete storyteller, faced a very dark and difficult time in her life; a time, as she explained it, “When you are living one day at a time because life is so painful, unexpected, and not going the way you had planned.”

When I asked her to explain, she put it this way. “I was five years into my struggle, I was traveling home after dealing with a situation from my own life drama. I was making a ninety mile trip for the third time in one week. I was sad. I was depleted. I was PUSHing for a miracle. I didn’t think that I would make it home because I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. So, I started having a conversation with God. During the rest of the drive I became energized as a story and characters were given to me. I have no other way to explain it. I called Lindsay and began to tell her the story because I didn’t want to forget and I wanted to share.”

When I asked Lori how she made it through those difficult times, she replied, “If you are smart you reach for God. If you are patient and keep PUSHing (Pray Until Something Happens) you will be blessed in ways unimaginable.” And that’s when Lindsay got the call about the story and characters.

“I was amazed when mom called because I had been thinking about a child’s relationship with God after spending some time with one of my young nieces. My niece was learning about God, the Bible, and prayer and had asked me some simple- yet profound- questions on faith. At the exact moment my mother called, I was pondering ways to communicate who God is to a child. I listened to my mother’s idea, went home and started writing, and writing, and writing.”

And that’s how it began. “Hear My Prayer” and the other Porcupine and Moose tales that will follow are stories with a purpose; a purpose of communicating the message of hope that is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. A message about a loving Father and compassionate, caring Savior, who knows everything about us, cares deeply for us, and wants to be intimately involved in each of our lives. He is a God who will not force Himself on us, but is ready, willing, and available to “Hear our Prayers” and come alongside us and help us if we ask Him too.

Yes, everyone has a story to tell and like the young ones in our family, we want children everywhere to know about the greatest story ever told; about a God who is there for them no matter what they may be facing; a God who cares for them; a God who wants them to understand that He has a plan and purpose for their lives; a God who loves them unconditionally.

Bed Time Ritual

Bed Time Ritual

From the Authors Our Story

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. ~Psalm 63:6 (NIV)

We pray with our kids at night.
We say the same prayer with each child.

Jesus be with me,
all through the night.
Bless me and keep me
’til morning light.

Nothing fancy. Just a habit.

Here’s what I know about habits, they are sometimes hard to start- to get into the habit. But once habits are formed, they become ingrained into the rhythm of our days. We no longer work at them (unless it is exercise… or is that just me?).

I’ve been praying this little prayer every night since I can remember. As a child. I tagged my own prayers at the end of this prayer. Sometimes saying the same blessings every night. Sometimes voicing new concerns. Sometimes sharing praise. But this little prayer was my starting point.

And now it’s my kids’ starting point.

I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder... how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.
I have no cute sleeping pictures of my kids after the age of 1. Only really funny pictures, when they get into those weird positions that make you wonder… how? But this is a good reminder of a sweet time (when I was too exhausted to do anything, let alone match my clothing or put makeup on). But rather than sleep, I wanted to just stare at that newborn baby.

I say the prayer with my one-year-old. In the last few weeks, I started to leave words out. To see if he knows what is missing. And of course, having heard it every night, he does! And he says “me!” very clearly. And “let” for light… so it’s adorable.

My daughter, says the same prayer every night. She is four. She says our little starting prayer, and then adds “thank you for my family and uncles*.” The same thing every night, but her own personalized version. From her heart. I sure didn’t tell her to thank God for uncles every night of her life.

My six-year-old, he has an entire list of additions to his little prayer, and now even a second prayer.

What’s a second prayer? Well, after the kids pray, I pray. I pray for them. I add to their prayers. And I am aware that I am praying for them, talking to my heavenly father. But I am equally aware that I am setting an example. That they are listening, and learning (as proven by my one-year-old’s ability to fill in the blanks). So my older son says his little starting prayer, and the thank-you-for-this-and-that he’s been saying for years. But one night, more recently, when I finished my prayer for him, he stopped me. He had a “second prayer.” And he said it. A new depth of prayers, touching on his fears, and his needs. And somehow they became habit. So now I know to wait (or, believe me, I am called to task!) until his second prayers are over before tucking him in and turning out the light.

A new depth of prayers. A new insight into that little mind. That tiny precious heart.

Prayer. A gift to God, for God’s glory, and still, somehow, even more a gift for us.

May you be blessed to experience prayer with children. May your prayers become so habitual that you hardly even notice you are praying throughout the day. That every breath would become a prayer, and that your heart and ears would be open to hear God’s response. In Jesus name, Amen!

~Lindsay

*Oh to be loved for the amount of sugar you sneak children when their mothers aren’t looking. What a joy!

Hear My Prayer: The Long Journey

Hear My Prayer: The Long Journey

Book 1 Our Story

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV)

Did you just stumble across this blog and wonder, “What in the world?” If you did- well, you’re probably not alone. I could write a long post describing this blog… but the short answer is: we wrote a children’s book (7 years ago!) that we are trying to publish.

What does it take to place our ‘Porkie and Pete’ book into your hands? Well, a lot of work, learning, and perseverance. It’s been over a year since my mother told my uncle about these books. A year since he said, I can help with that. A year since he suggested my cousin illustrate the books for us.

We are not necessarily slow. Distracted, yes. Busy, always. But not slow. And we have been very meticulous. We rewrote, edited, and reworked the illustrations for this book- well, I’ve lost count how many times. Then we sent the book out to be reviewed. After receiving comments from our readers, we realized it needed to be edited yet again. AGAIN!?

porkie_evolution_pages

Now, I’m not afraid of hard work. Well… at least, I don’t want to be afraid of hard work. And that wasn’t the case here. But when is enough, enough?

Well, I don’t know that there is a finite answer to that. I would say: When God says it is. But let’s be honest here, He doesn’t usually send post cards that say:

Dear Child of Mine, Good work. That is quite enough. You can be done with that now. Love, your Heavenly Father.

(Wouldn’t that be nice?)

So I finally sat down with the original script of the book, the seven-year-old notes I’d made, and the beautifully illustrated ‘final’ version that had just been reviewed by friends and acquaintances. Looking between all these papers, I seriously thought about beating my head against the wall.

Then I asked myself an important question, that I maybe should have asked myself… oh… eight years ago?

What is the purpose of this book? What are we trying to tell kids with this book?

And it didn’t come right away, but as I thought and prayed, it gradually came to me. This book is to tell kids that:

  1. God hears them
  2. God knows them

To be heard and known by God, the creator of all things, your rock, provider, Ancient of Days! What an awesome gift!

So that is how we ended up with this book. Or at least, that was the start of the final edits, and the final illustrations, and the blog posts, and the parent resource pages (Mother Moose Tidbits- don’t worry, they are coming). Because we want to put a tool into parents hands to help them tell their children that God knows them, and hears them.

Being heard and understood is a big deal in our family. Big. Deal. I know one member of the family (who will remain anonymous, but you know who you are!) who will talk a point to death. Just to make sure you absolutely 110% know exactly what they are thinking/feeling. My own son will cry if he is interrupted. He is afraid that if he does not say what he has to say right-this-second, he will forget the important things he wants to say. (Important things like “Why do shoes have to go on the right feet, but socks don’t?”) At six he feels the importance of being heard and understood.

We all do. (Well, hopefully you don’t cry when you’re interrupted- but you want to be heard and understood!)

My prayer for you today is that you are blessed with the knowledge that your Father in Heaven hears you. He hears the things in your heart, even those you cannot put into words. And He knows you. He knows who you were five years ago, who you will be next week, and ten years from now. He is a good Father. The best Father. And I ask that God would bless you to help children know they are heard and understood by you, and by their Heavenly Father. Amen!

~Lindsay

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