Finally Getting Somewhere!

This blog will be a little different. It will be more concise, not as much fluff, but none-the-less rewarding for me to write because I have some rather important news to share.

For the past few years, many things have aligned in my life that have brought great joy, peace, happiness and love. At the top of this list is my relationship with Michael, who is the love and joy of my life. Not only are we head over heals in love, find ourselves longing to just be together and do everything together, he has become my solid rock for support and encouragement. We have proven over and over that we are better together than apart. It was totally appropriate that we played Jack Johnson's song "Better Together" at our wedding reception! He has allowed me freedoms, given me validation and helped me sort through all the toxicity of the past, all in preparation for opportunities in the future. I'm truly grateful that he has allowed me to be me, loved me on both the good days and the difficult days, and extended to me the most amazing amount of love and respect. Some days it's hard to believe. My heart is full and I'm a better, more healthy person because of him.

That said, part of the transition that he has been so supportive of has been the shifting of my life enough for the gifts and talents that I have to emerge. The most significant is my writing. My computer and I have become very good friends over the past two years with all the writing I have been doing. Through the encouragement of many friends in my inner circle, and you know who you are, this love for writing has not only taken root, but it has blossomed. So much so that I have just completed signing with a publisher to actually publish my very first book! How amazing is that!! This will be the first in a series of children's books. I will have a team of editors, designers and illustrators that I work with in order to complete this project and actually get it on the shelf! This is a HUGE deal and I'm thrilled!!

Over the next few months, I may be soliciting you for feedback on certain aspects of the project. Input from others will be so helpful in making decisions about a number of details. If you want to be included in this, please email me and let me know or send me a message through Facebook. I will put you on a list of supporters who will give me honest, objective and much needed feedback!

Walking through this process with a circle of friends will be amazing. I'm looking forward to sharing more details with you as they emerge. I would ask for prayers during this process as well, that all things will come together for the good of the project, that people will be blessed by the final result and there will be a measure of success that can be turned around and used to bless others.

Let the journey begin!

Little Prayer Book

After moving a few months ago, the other day I was unpacking yet another small box with things belonging to my office. Tucked between a number of folders, papers and other desk things, I found a little blue book. It's about the size of a small envelope, about a three by five inch size. It was held together by a black elastic band so the pages wouldn't be disturbed. On the front it says "Mommy's Little Prayer Book" handwritten with a gold pen. There is also a small angel handdrawn with the same gold pen in the top right corner. Looking at it, again I thought, "how precious." It was signed on the bottom of the front cover, "from Pookie." I sighed. 

Pookie is a nickname for my daughter, Sara. She was born with an extraordinary amount of hair for a newborn, it was dark and the top stood straight up. At the time, punk rock was becoming mainstream, with hair styles similar to my little baby. So, it seemed only fitting that she be nicknamed "punkie." Over time, that evolved to "pookie." Nevertheless, it was definitely a term of endearment, then and now. At Christmas there were the 'Sara' gifts and there were the 'Pookie' gifts. The Pookie gifts were a little more tender, a little more personal, a little sweeter, and were given from a different place in the heart. My son has similar terms of endearment, it was first Buddy, then Bud, then Bubba. Now it's just Stu. I know that will make some people laugh.

Back to the book, I removed the elastic band, opened it to the front cover. The date inside said December 25th, Christmas, 2000. This was a gift that she had made for me 10 years ago. Turning to the first page, she wrote these instructions inside:

"Everybody has special prayers sometimes. And in hard times it's nice to see how God has answered those prayers. One of the best ways to do that is to record those prayers. That way you have tangible evidence of God through the thick and thin. Don't forget to record how your prayers have been answered." 

My first thoughts upon reading this again were a testiment to the wonderful teaching that she had received at Willow in the Student Impact Ministry for high-schoolers. She learned first to pray to God, that prayers are special conversations with God, that God could be relied upon and that He is faithful during the good times and the difficult times. This was a great exercise to be an object lesson for anyone who is testing the waters of prayer and their relationship with God. What a beautiful lesson she had learned.

On the next page she wrote a more personal message. At the time she made this gift, she was just about to head off for her first semester of college. That in itself was difficult enough for me to experience, and now she left behind a little piece of herself for me to hold on to. She expressed her wish that this would be a fun and helpful little gift. She wasn't quite sure why she thought of it, but that it seemed like the right thing to do, and even gave God the credit. "Guess that's God," she wrote. The last thing she wrote was "think of me while I'm away (at college), cause I think of you. Love, Sara a.k.a.Pookie". And as usual, with her signature came a hand drawn heart, as she always does. As I read this again for the first time, tears just welled up in my eyes. How I loved that part of her that was so tender, thoughtful and loving . I just wanted to hug her right then and there.

Instead, I opened up the pages to the prayers that I had jotted down. First the prayer, then the answer. Incredible to see how specific some were and that God answered them all. Everything from praying for Sara to get a part in the play at school, to helping Chris come home from school happy once in a while. God answered both of these requests. The first within five days, the second on the same day! Wow. This was working. Not that I thought writing them down was the secret to having them answered, but that I could keep track and see the goodness of God. It helped me see a little more how directly involved He was in their lives. As a mom, this was heart-warming to say the least. My first post in the book was January 17, 2001. As I turned the pages, I thought surely there is at least a few years worth of prayers in here. I prayed for my children specifically all the time, without fail. I prayed even when I didn't know what was going on with them, but knew that God did. I was anxious to relive those prayers and remember how God answered them. Many I can recall from memory, but I was certain there were some I would have completely forgotten.

Turning the pages, I started to get a sinking feeling. There were only a few more pages of prayers recorded, the last page was August 2, 2001. No, that can't be possible. I thought for sure I had written more. Quickly I flipped through each and every page, not wanting to miss anything. What I did find was throughout the book were pages Sara had written scriptures on, words of encouragement, words of strength. If I had just kept writing I would have come to these eventually and see the message left behind for me to find. But what I did not find was a volume of prayers, with answers. Trying not to feel guilty, I am justifying it with a few excuses, life got busy, the book was placed in my bedside drawer and got covered up so I didn't see it, I didn't like to write down my deepest or even my shallowest thoughts because they were so personal. Whatever the real reason, none of those erase regret. My heart is broken at the missed opportunity to reach back into a segment of life with my children and replay those prayers that only a mom can pray on a daily basis. Not that I didn't pray, but at the time I didn't really understand the value of writing them down. I was too tired, too busy or too whatever. None of that makes sense to me right now, when all I wished I had done was written a simple sentence or two. Then it would be there on the page to read later.

In just that few moments, scanning through this tiny little hand crafted gift from my daughter, I realized that it wasn't just about what was written on the pages, it was also about what was missing from the pages. What was missing, was evidence that I had prayed for them at all. The fact that their lives were and are so rich and they are so blessed gives me great satisfaction because I see God answering prayers on their behalf all the time. I know for certain that my prayers for them did not cease, blank pages are not evidence of that. I have confidence in knowing that what I do today in praying for them is the same thing I've always done. God has always been there. I regret not completing the writing in the book. As much as I love to write now, I can see the value of being able to hold in my hand my most precious thoughts and conversations to God about my most precious possessions, my children. Even through the difficulties of these past few years, I still did not write down my specific prayers. I know that so many were very intense. I would like to have seen that evidence of God on the pages, not just in my mind's eye.

I'm not sure I'm going to use this specific little blue book, but I'm thinking that instead of regreting the next decade of unwritten, undocumented prayers, I should probably just take a moment or two during the day, and write down a sentence or two about how I'm praying for Sara, and now grandson Wyatt and Chris. On my iphone I have an app that's called "Project365." It's an app that allows me to record a photo a day for the next year on a calendar style format. Then I can turn to any day and it will remind me of an event from that specific day. I like the idea enough to adopt it for prayers...."PrayerProject 365" is what I'll call it. It would be a miracle if this time next year I actually have 365 prayer entries.

The last scripture entry that she wrote in the book says "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we REJOICE in the hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2.  I'm going to hold those words a little closer, hold the book a little tighter, and lift my children a little higher in prayer to God...for 365. Amazing what a little blue book can do for me these days. Thanks Sara, a.k.a. Pookie.