Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day - Still?

(So, I started this post on Monday. Worked on it some Tuesday. And I'm finally posting it Wednesday. What a week!)

This will need to be one of those posts that is simply a sharing of thoughts instead of a thoughtfully crafted composite.

So much has been happening around here that I'm functioning like a duck.........calmly gliding on the surface of the water and paddling like crazy underneath!

Spencer continues to improve, thank the Lord! (And thank you for your prayers!)

The young prince gave us a grand treat on Mother's Day by walking all the way across the living room! When we burst into applause, he turned with a surprised expression on his face. Almost as if to say, "What's all the fuss about? I just wasn't ready to walk until today!"

So now that he knows it's possible, there's no stopping him. He holds those big blue casts out like balancing poles and takes off!

I think Poppa is the only one that hasn't taken one on the chin yet from the casts. But his turn will come, rest assured.

My wonderful tribute to a mom went by the wayside. I was taking care of Joy while she took care of Spencer. Guess that means we were both busy being moms instead of lauding moms.

A heart wrenching moment took place last Sunday when Spencer reached up to take a toy from his toy chest. A puzzled look crossed his face. Then he realized that the casts were back on and that grasping anything was now out of the question.

He hesitated while the blue "restriction" rested heavily on the edge of the toy chest. Spencer processed the new information, laid his head on the cast, and gave a little moan.

I nearly sobbed!

But within twenty-four hours of regaining his appetite, he discovered that the casts could also double as awesome bats.

Now when those bright blue eyes light up and his sweet red lips pucker with the word "BALL?" We know that we're in for it.

If I had time, I would tell of the wonderful job Joy is doing.

The casts must be kept dry and clean for five weeks. Did anyone tell the doctor that keeping casts dry and clean on a little boy is nearly impossible?!

Everyone panicked when they discovered Spencer stirring the dog's water at a friend's house this week end. Thank heavens for a blow dryer!

And Abigail seems convinced that her due date is NOW not July 6th. She continues to let her presence be known by trying to exit through Joy's belly button! We believe she will audition for Cirque du Soliel soon after her arrival. That kid has a wicked somersault routine!

Through it all, Joy remains calm and peaceful. (Not sure what family of origin that gene came from!) Only once have I stepped around the corner to find her weeping quietly in John's strong arms.

And through it all ministry continues.

On Saturday, we join with twenty-one other intrepid travelers heading for El Salvador. We will spend ten days working, singing, preaching, dancing (well, the younger team members will dance). Anything to draw a crowd and share the Good News!

Last night, the ladies of GGC helped create 125 care packages for women and 80 packages for men. We completely filled two suitcases! (We'll hand these out during ministry times.)

Frank and I would sincerely appreciate extra prayers for this journey.

Well, guess it's time for this mama duck to hurry up and paddle off to the other side of the lake. Er, I meant to say - glide!

Friday, May 11, 2012


With all the emotion I'm navigating this Mother's Day, you knew a tribute was coming, right?

First things first - Spencer is doing well! Thank you for every prayer that has been going up on his behalf.

The surgeon came out about four hours after they started and said that the fingers separated nicely. The casts will stay on five weeks this time; allowing extra healing as this surgery was more extensive.

Spencer seemed fine with one extra dose of Valium for the pain, so they released him around 3:30 and we headed home. We hit a seriously rough patch for about an hour and wondered if we'd be going back to Shriner's. But John finally figured out that the block had probably worn off and Spence was trying to get through that.

The Loritab eventually caught up. And Nana stood by a window swaying and humming every deep alto song I could remember for about forty-five minutes while Spencer slept on my chest. When he woke, everything seemed MUCH better.

We thank God!

I checked with Joy earlier, he actually slept for two long stretches last night. AND he managed to roll himself over without waking up. No small feat considering he has to move those two heavy casts that encase his little hands and reach almost to his shoulders.

It's also important to express our sincere appreciation for the incredible work they do at Shriner's Hospital in Tampa! The staff, the facilities, the innovative ideas........ The entire operation is a testimony to what happens when people and organizations join hands to meet a need.

Spencer is just one of many children whose lives will forever be impacted for good by these wonderful people wearing funny hats. If you know a Shriner, please give them a hug for us!

Shifting gears -
I do indeed have a precious tribute for moms swirling in my head. But I'll have to wait until tomorrow to complete it. Right now, I'm heading off on an adventure.

In just one short hour, I'll walk into Starbuck's in Lakeland and meet Guerrina from New England who has been a long time follower of "Embrace the Grace". While in the area to visit her son and his family, she graciously arranged time for a coffee shop meeting - with me!

Gotta tell you, I'm pretty excited!

I no longer own the white blouse in my profile picture, and my hair has changed too. So I've decide I'll stand at the door and loudly call out her name with my intense Southern drawl until she realizes she can not hide and comes forward to at least get me to shut up.

Now you'll never want to tell me if you come to Central FL for fear I'll do the same to you! These are the disadvantages of having a friend with a loud, bubbly, easily excitable personality - like me. Smile.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Let's Pray

This is an old fashioned prayer request. Plain and simple.

Tomorrow morning at 4:30, we will pick up Joy, John and Spencer. Together we'll drive to Shriner's Hospital in Tampa. And we'll entrust the little prince to some of the finest medical professionals in central FL.

It's time for his second surgery.

This time, they will separate his third and fourth fingers on both hands. This surgery will involve bone, fingernails, grafting. And the casts will be put back on for another four weeks.

I overheard Joy tell a concerned friend, "You know what, we just aren't allowing ourselves to worry. God has it under control. Spencer is in His hands."

This afternoon I received a text from Linda (NY Grandma). She's praying Psalm 90:17 over our precious man. "May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us - yes, establish the work of our hands." How appropriate!

Thanks for uplifting this precious little family as you think of them!

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have disobeyed.

I'm not talking about in my childhood. No, this isn't a confession of teenage rebellion. I'm not even making a veiled metaphorical reference. (Not sure if those terms all work together or not; but you get my drift.)

The sad truth is that God spoke an instruction to my heart and I blatantly chose to ignore it. Plain and simple.

Yes, the queen of, "Take responsibility!"
The mother who constantly said, "Delayed obedience is Dis-obedience!"
The pastor who includes the word "OBEDIENCE" in some part of nearly every sermon.

I have disobeyed. And I'm not proud of it.

Early this year, the Lord impressed on my heart that it was time to start a Bible study group in our neighborhood.

Now, I would have gladly chosen six weeks. Announced it in the bulletin and online. Cleaned house, clamored for refreshments and conducted the series in my home - for our church ladies.

But somehow, I became paralyzed with fear when I knew this was to be specifically for the women who live along my street. ONLY!

I tried bargaining:
  • "Lord, I'll do a study with the college students." - Silence.
  • "Lord, what about the young married ladies?" - Silence
  • ."The teenagers?" - Silence
I tried explaining:
  • "Lord, these ladies are busy." - Silence
  • "They'll think I'm just trying to get them to come to our church." - Silence
  • "I don't want to cram the Bible down their throats; we're just living like You." - Silence

Every devotional time it came back to me again. "Offer a Bible study for the ladies in your neighborhood."

Driving down our street, I would see the ladies and just sense that each household represented a different scenario of need.

But the REAL problem? I don't really know these women.

I've lived in this house six years. And I don't know my own neighbors enough to know what would attract them. I've done little more than wave or quickly comment on growing children on my way in and out of the cul-de-sac.

The Lord is persistent!

So I half-heartedly chose a video series. Asked Ashley to create a flier for me. Frank gave it out at our home owners meeting. And I waited.

No response,

"See, Lord?" I felt rather smug. "They aren't interested."

"Ask them personally."


So, I stuck my neck out and got a "Possible" from the neighbor directly beside me. Then the one lady across the street said, "Okay." But that's all I did.

I rushed home from the office yesterday and cleaned like a mad woman; preparing for the 6:30 launch.

"This is a lot of effort, Lord." The steam mop was hissing.

"I felt the same way looking for the one lost lamb."

"They may not even remember!" - Silence. I kept cleaning.

At 6:15, I stopped long enough to straighten my hair.

At 6:25, I put out the crackers, pretzels and cookies I'd picked up at the store.

At 6:30, I peered out the window. Hopeful. Nervous. Uncertain.

At 6:40, my living room was still empty.

At 6:45, I started putting away the refreshments.

"Well, Lord. I gave it my best!"

"No, you didn't."

I don't know about your relationship with the Father. But we've walked many miles together. And at this point in the journey, He's pretty blunt with me.

"No. You're right, Lord. I didn't." It startled me, but I knew He had put His finger on the problem.

I hadn't wanted to do the Bible study from the beginning. I drug my feet with each step of trying to contact the ladies. I disobeyed. And then I had the nerve to try and blame it on the ones He told me to help.

I bowed my head over the cracker box and repented. I took responsibility and asked for forgiveness - again.

At 7:00 my phone rang.

"Sheri, this is Beth. I'm so sorry I couldn't make it tonight. And I won't be able to come next Thursday either. But when will the next one be?"

(If we repent of our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.)

Beth and I talked several minutes and set a better time for a re-launch. We also discussed which neighbors we would invite personally

This morning I was trying my best to sneak our trash can to the road without being detected wearing my purple house coat. The lady across the street met me by the curb.

"I completely forgot about last night. But I do want to come. When is the next one?"

I'm not proud of my disobedience. I'm still nervous about having a Bible study for my neighbors. But I can promise you this, I've been reminded that obedience is better than sacrifice.

And I'm especially thankful for second chances and forgiveness!