Friday, February 27, 2009

God Surprises Us in Austin

The Mom to Mom board met last week in Austin, Texas

“When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it.” That’s an Oswald Chambers observation from my favorite devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, for February 19. Isn’t it interesting how often God surprises us? How often His plans are different than ours—but always in the long run, better than ours.

God surprised us, the Mom To Mom Board, in a number of ways last week in Austin.

First, our “Event” became something quite different from what we had originally planned when the larger event was postponed and morphed into a “simplified” version (fitting with our theme, actually!). We met Friday night and Saturday morning in an intimate home setting in Austin with groups of women from a number of churches interested in starting a Mom To Mom program. What a delightful time we had as we shared ideas and swapped stories! We’re eager to see what God will do as these wonderful women begin Mom to Mom in their churches and communities.

We also had fun participating in two local Mom to Mom groups. Another God-surprise: The large Wednesday morning Mom to Mom at Lake Hills Church was in desperate need of childcare workers due to a flu outbreak. So a number of our Mom to Mom board members had the great fun of playing with kids and participating in one dynamite childcare program. The Lake Hills childcare team call themselves “The Pink Ladies” (See their picture above—I might join just to get that cute T-shirt!) but also include “Big Dog Daddy”—obviously a big favorite with the kids! It may be a Mom to Mom first—fly in a whole team of experienced Mom to Mom leaders to fill in when too many childcare workers are sick!

Lake Hills also hosted another Mom to Mom group from Westover Church of Christ. I so enjoyed meeting moms from both of these groups and hearing amazing stories of how God is working in their lives and homes and marriages.

Then two of us met on Wednesday night with a new evening Mom to Mom group at Lake Hills Church. As our small group sat in an intimate circle and discussed the Inside Out Parenting lesson, these incredible moms began to share their stories. I have to say I was simply blown away by how God had worked in their lives, pursuing them with His love and bringing them to this place. It was a true Holy Spirit moment—perhaps my favorite memory of the week. How God surprises us, appearing sometimes in the quiet, small places where we might (foolishly) least expect Him! I fell in love with these moms—and more in love than ever with the God who brought us all together.

There was one other surprise for us last week: All the events of the week, the wonderful women we met, and the stories we heard were used by God to help us focus better than ever on our next steps as a Mom to Mom board. One of our biggest prayers for our week in Austin had been that we would hear the voice of God. And we did!

“When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it.” I hope that each of you will be alert to God’s surprises in your life this week—They’re worth watching for!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sunshine, Snuggies . . . and It's February!

I woke up this morning thinking about Snuggies. You know what Snuggies are, right? They’re “the blanket with arms” that you can order for just $19.95 in a variety of colors (“one size fits all”)!

“Such a profound thinker,” you’re saying to yourself.

I woke up thinking about Snuggies because I’m still cold. My backyard thermometer reads 2 below right now. Sometimes I wonder if it will ever be warm again in Wisconsin.

But, even so, I think I’m thawing slightly. I can feel the brain freeze warming just a little bit.

It’s partly because I was in Alabama over the weekend—more on that on my speaker blog. It was a great weekend. And it was sunny! There was green grass and warm breezes. Does wonders for a frozen soul. Mostly because of the warm and wonderful women down there in Daphne. But the sunshine they live in (even in January!) doesn’t hurt any.

Back to the Snuggies. Ever since I saw the first infomercial on TV, I’ve been laughing about Snuggies. Laughing because the lady at the beginning of the commercial (the one in the blanket without arms) looks just like I used to in the house where we lived in Massachusetts. Somehow we never could get that house warm enough—so we took to walking around wearing afghans. Not only me—also, from time to time, the kids. And sometimes, when he was home and not complaining about being too warm (there’s something about Woody’s Viking blood that has thrown off his internal temperature, I’m convinced)—even Woody. No, I’m not kidding. It was quite a sight.

So when I saw the first Snuggie commercial, I nearly fell off the couch laughing. Then I actually found myself seriously considering ordering one. Though our current home is (praise God!) quite toasty…still, when it’s 10 below out there, a Snuggie sounds pretty good. “Not exactly flattering. Not real fashion-forward. But still, when you live in Wisconsin, you gotta do what you gotta do.”

Just then Woody walked through the family room and saw me contemplating a Snuggie on TV. “Don’t even think about it!” he said. Or something like that.

Then what do you suppose I saw when I turned on the Today Show this morning? There was Meredith and Matt and Al and Natalie, flanked by the rest of the crew—all wearing Snuggies! I kid you not. And I’ve gotta say they looked almost as funny as the Anderson Family used to look in our blankets!

I guess I was really on to something when I woke up this morning. According to Matt Lauer, Snuggies are actually “developing a cult-like following.” Guess I’m not alone in being cold.
So maybe I will order one. But then again there’s Woody’s feelings about them. I wonder if he’d feel any differently if they had what Al Roker suggested this morning on Today—“snuggies for two.” After all, it is Valentine’s month.

Speaking of which, aren’t you glad it’s February? Personally, I’ve always liked February better than January. And it’s not just because February is my birthday month. I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day (which we always had fun celebrating with our kids—more on that in some other blog). And hearts. And red. And candy.

Especially candy.

But this February is extra-special because of the Mom to Mom event I told you about last time. I know Texas is a long way away for most of you reading this. But I hope at least a few of you can join us in Austin February 20-21. And thanks to those of you who’ve contributed suggestions, either here or by email, for “Simplifying Motherhood.” Keep ‘em coming!

Happy February! Remember that March—and April and May and even July, when summer finally starts here—can’t be far behind.

Meanwhile, hey, it’s only $19.95...