AVFM: Sometimes Action Speaks Louder…

Mom’s not here today, but she has a really great reason for taking a day or two off….

It’s been an emotional week.  I find myself raw with the weight of it all.  Lifted up by the prayers of so many family and friends, held tight by folks who consistently remind me that life continues to pulse through the hearts of those I love, and somewhat distracted by the everyday mundane.

Yesterday, I was inviting my mom and dad to my children’s living history presentation on Friday when it dawned on me that in my rush through the last few weeks…in my effort to survive through the chaffed heart that bleeds tears at the drop of a hat…I had forgotten that my daughter, Lizzy, needs to dress as Clara Barton.

I quickly ran down the list of sequined and sparkly clothing she has in her closet….do you think Clara Barton had a bedazzler? Or that her favorite colors were lime green and hot pink? No?  Weeellll….

As my mom watched this realization break over me, she picked up her debit card, grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s go get some material.” (The office we work in happens to be next door to Hobby Lobby….danger, Will Robinson..)

I watched as my mom gathered items to make my daughter a costume….from scratch…with no pattern, no picture…you know, just out of the blue…from her head…cause ya’ll, my mom is so cool!

I walked into my office this morning to find this:

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Yeah, so…she didn’t write a post for us today because she was busy being the best mom/grandma ever!  But no worries, she’ll be back later this week!

Grace and Peace,

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

Because My Mother’s Heart is Breaking….

It happens almost every morning.

As he wakes from his fitful sleep that was interrupted by sweat drenching and gut wrenching, he curls his body around the gnawing ache in his stomach, the one that threatens to wretch and heave, and he clamps his eyes shut tight and prays desperately to God for the strength to rise another day.

He is eleven.

He is my son…and I cannot help him….and it is eating me alive.

I stroke his hair and back and pray healing over his body.

I pray “Lord, help my unbelief.” My head knows You can and do heal, but my heart doesn’t trust it.

My heart rises up to choke out the words, “It’s time to get ready for school,” and he clamps shuts his eyes and nods.  “Give me just a minute, Mom.”

Tears well up and I turn away and on the inside I rail at the world and at me and at God because dear God he is only eleven and yet every morning he makes a decision that I, in my age and maturity, would struggle against.

I am transported back to the morning just a few weeks after his sixth birthday. The morning I woke up to find him asleep on the bathroom floor with his pillow and blanket. It was the first time he had not come to wake us when he got sick in the night; the first time he closed the door so we could rest.  That morning, as I held his heaving body over the toilet for the third time in an hour, I realized our life would never be the same. And as I rocked him and told him he didn’t have to go school that day…we would stay home and rest, he took my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes and said,

“Mama, this is my life now. I can’t just stop living it.”

He was six….

And so wise…wiser than I.  And my heart rose up in my throat, and tears welled up in my eyes, and a mother’s bittersweet pride filled up my chest and I railed at the world and at me and at God.

This journey has been long and arduous, hard for our whole family, and we are not near the end of it.  We had the help of doctors and healers in the beginning…until there was talk of stomach tubes and elemental formula and a growing boy who can’t eat and my mother’s heart said no.  Then we traveled alone and have for the last few years….feeling out our way….having good months and bad months…and good days and bad days…..But now, it’s been six bad months in a row and countless bad days and every morning is the same heart wrenching and gut wrenching routine.

So would you pray with me today?  Pray for Xander’s healing first and foremost, but also for heart and head wisdom for our family.  It is time to walk the journey with others again and it takes a good deal of discernment to determine who those should be.  It’s time to make some really difficult decisions about our schedule and our routine and make changes that may be painful for all of us, and it is time to face the fear that we may have harder days ahead of us, and frankly, my strength for the journey has been sapped by the miles already traveled.

Thank you, Lord, for this absolutely amazing family you’ve given me stewardship over.  Thank you for the wise little soul you knitted into my son, and for the partnership of a man who is rock solid and yet tender and gentle at the same time, and for a place where my heart feels safe enough to say “I don’t feel good enough.” Thank you, Lord, for preparing us for this journey and for walking with us every step of the way. Lord, I know you heal and restore and redeem…I declare that by the blood of Jesus Christ and the resurrection and life of Jesus Christ, that my son will be healed.  Lord, I praise you and claim that healing now.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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Thank you for your prayers.  If you’re interested in learning more about Xander’s disorder- Eosiniphilic Esophagitis check out www.apfed.org and here’s a post I wrote several years ago about where we were on this journey. 

Because sometimes someone else says it better….

I have to admit- I didn’t have a post ready for today.  I spent the weekend in Dallas at a basketball tourney for the kids full of precious times and well, now I am a bit under the weather and just don’t have the bandwidth to think through a post….

and then this from my sister from the other side of the globe.

She is off living the adventure of a lifetime while she and her family adopt a young boy with special needs from the Ukraine.  There have been many crazy adventures along the way…adventures that we have watched from afar through her blog.

We’ve fallen in love with a sweet boy with dimples.

We’ve gnawed at nails waiting for appointments.

We’ve kneeled before God when their hotel caught on fire.

We’ve watched this family…we’ve watched my sister rise up and be the hands and feet of Christ…

And then today, she writes this…and I was undone…Maybe you will be too….will you go over and read it with me? And then perhaps leave her some love please?

 

AVFM: Cocoon…for when it takes a village

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

It has been awhile since my children were in elementary school.  Cari was in the third or fourth grade and truly idolized her wonderful teacher.  When Christmas came, and Cari wanted to present her with a gift, I wrote the poem that follows and framed it for her.  Thus began a tradition I truly enjoyed as it gave me an opportunity to uniquely express appreciation and admiration for those special people who choose to teach our youth.

Today, as we had our first opportunity to skype  with our daughter, Lora,  who is in the Ukraine finalizing the adoption of my new grandson, I felt again the importance of those special people who are drawn to forming and nurturing young people.  What a legacy it is growing the generation to come!

Divine love

Cocoon

Wrapped in silky threads,
Secure against the wind,
Cocoon holds fast to tender leaf
As branches sway and bend.

Each day makes it stronger
As it feeds and grows and feeds,
And the gentle leaf it’s anchored to
Fulfills its every need.

The silken thread begins to loose
T0 free the life it holds.
The butterfly sees worlds anew
As shaky wings unfold.

Now it soars at edge of sky
With sun-drenched wings at flight,
And cocoons itself in memories
Of a tender leaf—FIRST SIGHT!

© Carlene Welch, 2012

 

 

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

AVFM:The Broken Fiddle…for when your feeling used up

This post is part of a series I like to call “A Visit From Mom.”  These posts are written by, well…my mom. I think she kind of rocks! My mom and her mother were the primary inspirations for me to starting writing way back as a little girl.  Now, I share my blog with my mom cause I think she has some things to say that you might really love.

As a youth, I was a highly successful student, becoming valedictorian of my class, and accumulating academic accolades including numerous scholarships.  It was always my intention to do the same in college and have a lucrative career changing the world.  When I met my future husband in college, we married and had a youngster, leaving my aspirations for a college degree on permanent standby.  Since so much of my personal identity was wrapped around those achievements and dreams, I spent several years deeply regretting and resenting what I considered to be a huge sacrifice. The following poem was written during that period of time when it finally dawned on me that I was holding the most significant contributions I could ever present to this world and that my self-value and legacy would always be tied to the hearts I managed to touch along the way—whether I discard the remnants of a broken fiddle or lovingly coax it back to life.

Broken Fiddle

Each strand twangs as it rends apart

Until it dangles lifelessly at the end,

Curling up in desperation and fear—

Recoiling from the dreadful bow

That tore itself across the heart once too often.

The tender melodies have long since been silenced

By the constant friction of years of meaningless abuse.

This instrument was built to be held in loving hands

And caressed and treasured.

But someone gave it to relentless children

Who used the bow as a weapon to destroy the finely tuned wires,

And then discarded the broken fiddle

To suffer its injuries in a dark, forgotten corner,

To grow mildewed and musty.

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And then she came—picking up the broken fiddle

With loving fingers, caressing the scratched and dented wood,

Mending and healing age-old wounds,

Cherishing the spirit within.

Waxed and polished and strung taut with new life,

Resurrected through reverent hands,

The fiddle shrieks in high-pitched tones—becoming accustomed

Once more to the bow scraping lightly across its tendrils.

And then. . .the violin sings its tender melody for her.

© Carlene Welch, 1979

Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom. She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know. She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts. For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com.

Five Minute Friday- Loud

 

This is an old Five Min Friday post I found in the draft folder when cleaning up my blog this week… I thought it warranted a voice, so I am posting it today….on a Monday….just a few (oh about 8 months) late…Enjoy!

For fun, for love of the sound of words, for play, for delight, for joy and celebration at the art of communication.

For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.

Won’t you join us?

Here are the rules:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link backhere and invite others to join in.

3. Most importantly: leave a comment for the person who linked up before you – encouraging them in their writing!

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes on:

Today’s prompt is:  Loud

Ready? GO!

“I’m going in the bubble now. I won’t be able to hear you for a few minutes.”

Insert plug in port and ahhhhh….the sounds of Jesus Culture, Bethel, Elevation and even David Nevue create a sanctuary away from the spring break father-son bonding that’s occurring via X-Box and video games in the next room.   Raucous laughter sprinkled with booming, “No way, Dad! I didn’t even know you could do that! You’re awesome!”

I can feel Dad beam and son admire and a quiet, secret smile spreads across my face.  I just love my boys….but man they are loud.

The sound drowns out the thoughts rattling in my head and chases them away.  Puzzle pieces of blog posts and emails to be written and tasks to be completed float through the din threatening to escape for good.

So off to the bubble I go….to create more loud to drown out the rest….hmmmm…should I be learning from that?

STOP!

Flows Like Water

“Come away with me….to the wild.” Jesus invites me to lunch.

“Ok.” I sigh and follow where he leads. I have been smiling and preaching the need for home care up and down these streets all morning and my smile feels a little pasty and crooked now.

So I follow Him to a park with benches and slides and children playing.  Here, Lord?

“Yes, but deeper.” He says.

I glance to the side. There is a sawdust path marked “Natural Planting Area.”

“Here.” He says.

Internally my eyes roll as I look down at my crisp white dress pants and my black leather pumps….Grrrreeeaaattt.  So I take my lunch and my Bible and this journal and I start up the path.

The wood chips are soft like a moon jump under my feet and my heels sink in and bounce out with each step.  I come to a picnic table nestled in this Natural Planting Area…which really means this is where God is gardener and man steps back to simply enjoy his handiwork.

At first I am chilly (the trees provide lots of shade) and I have to pee and I’m not hungry yet so I guess you could say I was a bit resistant and then I sit and eat soup with Jesus and we talk about the lady arguing with her husband on the phone because she “doesn’t have time to do it all.”

I can’t see her through the trees, but her voice raises sharp with panic and I pray peace over her and Jesus says yes and we fill her up with the love of Jesus.  She packs up her tow-headed two year old and rushes away and I pray that soon she will remember that no one has time to do it all.

All we have time for is long-lingering hugs that smell like little boy and sand castles and lunches in the trees with Jesus and I pray that God will remind me when my voice raises like panic and I dream of drowning in laundry.  I pray that God will remind me that He has filled me with His peace and love and the really important things involve filling others from that well.

I pray to Jesus.  I desperately want to hold onto this peace. I want to hold onto this presence.

And He brings to mind the fountain on More Mountain. It is a sculpture of cupped, but open hands joined at the wrists and living water gurgles up through those hands and spills out over them and down over the fingers and fills the bowl beneath until it runs over.

He says to me, “From open hands my spirit flows freely.  Don’t hold on….open your hands.”

And I think of what my pastor said this morning to his group of young shepherds.  He said that the Spirit is like a fountain. A fountain can only take in more when it has given out of its abundance and the only way the fountain continues to flow freely is when it spills out all that it has taken in and in its place there can be more.

And then God reminds me, “Cari, what does your name mean?”

Cari- Turkish- Flows like water.

And I smile and tears sting my eyes because he knew me before I was born.  Because he created me for a purpose and he created a purpose for me and OH! What a beautiful journey discovering that purpose is.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.- Ephesians 2:10