Monthly Archives: January 2013

Arctic Blast

I came home today after a much-needed play date with great friends and my house was 62 degrees. Funny how in the Spring, this temperature is cause for shorts and a trip to Captain Sundae. But during a Michigan “Arctic Blast”, this temperature is scary because it means the 1988 furnace in my basement is probably finalizing its slow death. I left my fleece on, kept gloves and blankets on the boys, and called my friend Adam who bravely began his own heating and cooling business last August. Thankfully, he came to my recuse for the second time in 24 hours and tried to explain the ins and outs of my dysfunctional furnace.

I love how, when I have that little bit of a nervous feeling around repairmen, I either smile and nod, ask exorbitant amounts of questions, or find some way to escape using dirty diapers as a reason to run from the explanations.  I don’t understand furnaces, even though I gathered some basics from Adam. In the past, I’ve pretended to know what a flame censor does or how much exactly we even pay for our energy bill (thanks for taking care of that Josh).  All I know is that I spent an hour or so facing the potential reality that my family might have a cold home in the dead of winter, and it took one grasp of Oliver’s icy little hand to give me worlds of perspective.

Josh came home from work today with stories about feeding the homeless on his lunch break.  We frequently brag about the quality of the people at Williams Group, and experiences like this woven into his work day really prove that he works for some great folks.  I can’t imagine ever being homeless, especially in the dangers of subzero weather.  But it certainly makes me appreciate the fact that 62 degrees is as low as it got here.

Since the snow arrived, I’ve been intentional about embracing winter (trying to put aside the fact that everything–especially with an infant and a broken finger–takes 3 times as long!).  I’ve bundled Ollie for snowy walks, attempted a snowman with Jack, coached him on snow angel techniques, and tomorrow we’re going to make snow ice cream.  We’ve made the most of the cozy indoors too as the house, on numerous recent occasions, has felt like a snow globe.  We’ve made breads, cookies, and bottomless cups of hot chocolate.

 

So on the days where I’m SO tired of the slush, boots coming on and off, the ice scraping, the slow traffic, the bundling–unbundling–and bundling again…at least I have a home that keeps me warm, flannel sheets, a working furnace (for now), a *hot* husband (had to work that in there), and two of the coziest kids to call my very own.  Right in the middle of the arctic blast, I’ve this to keep my heart warm:

Rules of the Game

For a long time, I told Josh I never wanted to live in Zeeland.  As a former Chicagoan, and as an extravert and busy-body, a town like Zeeland feels stale to me.  Sure, it’s cute and safe, but it doesn’t bubble with energy.  We used to drive around Zeeland when we were dating and I listened to Josh reminisce about his childhood.  Occasionally, he’d mention that he wouldn’t be opposed to life bringing him full circle, right back to the quiet little town he came from.  Once, that scared me.  However, my thirties have already proven that I might just continue to be surprised by God’s every move in my life, including the very desires I find surfacing within me. A quiet, safe little life has become more appealing to me than ever before.  And even though I don’t (yet?) live in Zeeland, I’m loving more and more the excuses to go visit my in-laws there or stop by our new favorite store downtown: Out of the Box.

Out of the Box is  a store selling games & puzzles for all ages, including a large variety of European games which are extremely difficult to find.  I grew up playing Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and a few card games.  And even has an adult, I’d rather drink coffee and talk with friends rather than take part in a mind-bending or fingernail-biting game night.  And yet, this is one of the many areas in which I’m growing and changing due to motherhood.   Jack is by nature a thinker and problem solver, and one of our favorite things to do is to visit Out of the Box, explore their expanding kids section, and choose a game that will tell us a story and keep us occupied and entertained.  Haba is our favorite company and has given us games like Lucky Pirates, Fleeting Foxes, and the most recent, 1,001 Treasures.

 

1,001 Treasures gives us the opportunity to collect as much treasure as possible, trying to escape from the cave before the bandit comes.  I just got back from my mom’s where I took the boys for a change of scenery, and our game pieces overtook her huge dining room table.  In between coloring and sledding, we came back to the table to roll the die and snatch the treasure.

Jack is an excellent gamer, and I’m amazed at his 4-year-old ability to strategize.  However, once in a while, he will decide to insert his own rules.  Suddenly, he’ll jump over a forbidden wall because “no, no, no…we’re allowed to do that now!”  or he’ll choose a replacement card from the middle of the deck rather than take the one on top.  “But Mom! I didn’t want that card!” Although I appreciate his thinking…well, Outside the Box, Josh and I continually remind Jack that games are best when the rules are followed.  Otherwise, they ultimately do not work and, in the end, do not produce the same amounts of joy and reward.

And here’s another example in my life where I find the parenting relationship a mirror for God’s parenting relationship to us.*  Currently, Engedi is doing a 30-day Bible reading Story Arc, giving the overview of the Bible in one month.  I’ve been reading and struggling through parts of the Old Testament that baffle me, mostly due to cultural contexts and differences.  But sometimes, I admit, the rules of the Old Testament frustrate me just as much as they do the unbeliever.  (And it certainly makes me grateful for the New Testament).  I was discussing my frustrations with Josh the other night, even going so far as calling circumcision “stupid”.  I don’t really understand why God chose Isreal and how that’s actually merciful rather than exclusive.  And even though I’m amazed at David’s slingshot victory over Goliath, I don’t like that David beheaded the giant and dragged his head around by the hair.  I just want to ask “Why?” and get reasonable answers.  But, just as my reasonable answers don’t satisfy Jackson over a game of 1,001 Treasures, I doubt God’s answers would really satisfy me. (Plus, the Bible gives me everything I need to know, and childishly, I still ask for more.  I’m relating more and more to the child that just asked me for marshmallows at 9 a.m.).

Progressive culture not only makes its own rules, but is ultimately convinced that these rules are for the common good.  The concept that there is a purpose to this life and a God (or any authority, really) to answer to is lost. Regardless of the complex and sensitive implications, God’s rules are for our joy and reward and ALL of culture would be better off playing by His rules rather than our own creative versions.  This is why a picture and post like this on my husband’s Facebook generates so much heated traffic (something he clearly invites):

 

Life is more tolerable when we make up our own rules. It even SEEMS more fair. But ultimately we have to trust that God is out for our good, for our joy and reward, when we surrender to His authority and play by the rules.

 

 

*I can’t help but find these connections woven in my life, and yes, currently, they’re mostly what I write about. Sorry.