Monday, May 18, 2009

Chatty Update

Quiet night. I'm loving the spring weather! After this looooong, cold winter, I am so happy to feel the warm sunshine and the 80 degree temps today! I got my flowers in the ground, my tomatoes planted, and love watching my hostas come up every year.

I leave for North Carolina in two day! Thursday morning at 4:30 I leave my house to head to the airport with my brother. My heart is torn with this trip. While I'm excited to go, my heartstrings are tied tightly to home and my son who struggles so when I leave him. He's been bumming about this trip ever since it was decided I would go. I'm trying to come up with ways to make it easier for him, even as I know that it's good for him to struggle with missing someone and having to find ways to self-soothe. But I'll be making him a paper chain to countdown the day until I come home (with Katie, Dominic, Mom and Tony!). I think I'll write a message inside each link, so I'm brainstorming ideas for messages. Mom suggested "go outside and look up at the stars at 8pm...I'll do the same, and we'll be looking at the night sky together!" and the Bible verse "I'll never leave you or forsake you. God loves you so much and so do I! Just as Jesus is always with you, I'm with you in my heart too.". Kate suggested "draw or paint a picture for Katie to hang in her new apartment". Just little things to help him remember that he's loved and the time is passing until I get home. I also picked up notecards today that I'll fill out and write messages to him. I'll hide them in various places so he can find them throughout the 12 days that I'm gone. And of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, there will be text messages, phone calls and facebook comments sprinkled throughout the days to close the distance. :-)

Mostly, though, it will be good to get a break from the daily routine, to spend time with my darling nephew and favorite sister, to spend time with my mom, brother, and brother-in-law. To enjoy the WARM WEATHER in North Carolina. We'll be going to a NASCAR race, I guess. And a pedicure/manicure is definitely on the list of MUST-DO's! And, as they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, the mom in me obviously hopes that me not being here doing the hundreds of things that I do for them daily will lead to them not taking me for granted as much when I return.

If you're wondering about Cassie and how she's doing, let's just say that no news is good news. She seems to be mostly on tracke these days. She hasn't skipped school in a few weeks. We haven't found any empty cold medicine boxes or evidence of cigarettes in her room lately. We've got lots of safety nets in place to try and keep her stable. Her social worker meets with her about once a month. Another Nicollet County worker is meeting with her to work through a book about cutting and how to better manage her emotions. She'll be starting a class this summer called "On My Own" to teach her skills to manage life as she nears adulthood. She still sees her psychologist regularly and her psychiatrist every couple months to make sure all is going well with the meds.

I think the thing that has helped the most has been this 24 hour plan that her psychologist and her dad and I put into place. Every 24 hours she has the opportunity to earn her priveleges for the next 24 hours. If she meets our expectations (which she rattled off quite thoroughly, so she knows them!) then she earns her priveleges for the next day. If she doesn't meet them, we have the option of giving her one warning, and then she loses ALL priveleges from that moment until the end of the next day. That includes cell phones (thanks T-Mobile for Family Allowances!), friends, computer, movies, music. The day after we put this into place, she tested us, and ended up losing everything for almost two days (because of the time she chose not to meet the expectations). She did NOT like not having a phone for that long! And because the very next morning she had the opportunity to earn it for the next day, I think that helped cement it in her brain the link between choices and consequences.

Well, the boy is aking me to tuck him in (love that he still wants that at age 11, almost 12!). So I better go do the mom-thing! After all, I won't get to for 12 whole days!

God bless :-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Boundary Lines and Territories

I just got home from having coffee with a friend. Well, she had coffee, I had Diet Coke LOL. (I'm not grown up enough yet for coffee ha ha). Spending time with her was a blessing from God! She's one of those friends that we can go months and months without seeing each other, or even talking or emailing, and when we get together, we're immediately comfortable with each other and pick up right where we left off. Sharing our hearts, laughing over our lives, venting about our challenges. :-) I'm so thankful for the friends God has placed in my life!

He just keeps showing me over and over and in different ways how pleasant are the boundary lines He has placed around me! The territory He has given me is filled with blessing after blessing! Spending time with this dear friend clarified some of those boundary lines and how generous God is!

So on the drive home God and I chatted and I thanked Him for the many blessings He's given me. My family rents a hundred year old home, complete with crooked floors and cracks in the walls, but full of character and history. This home has been a blessing to us for six years now, and hopefully to others as well. We jokingly call ourselves "The Mohlenbrock Home for Wayward People, Animals and anything else that shows up on our doorstep". LOL. We've hosted friends, relatives, cats, a dog (that's still here!)...hopefully they've all found the space within our four walls to be a refuge, a place where Jesus Christ and His corresponding peace and love reign supreme!

Our cars are fifteen years old and on their last legs, but every car we drive has been a gift from my Father in Heaven and I couldn't be more thankful for them! My van, now fifteen years old, was literally given to us for free, and for three and a half years now has toted many, many souls to my Father's house, and our family across the country and back. I'm SO thankful for it! My husband's car, while currently incapacitated in the garage, has brought him faithfully to many workdays and will someday do so again, and in the meantime, God brings us other vehicles to transport him so he can provide for our family.

I have an amazing job where I get to create daily, work with wonderful people, and get off in time to care for my family, friends, and myself in the afternoons/evenings. They are very good to me and I get to have fun to boot!

My husband is a man chasing after the very heart of God and there isn't a blessing bigger than that! He has a heart of gold and loves to help other people.

My children are awesome! I love them so much it hurts sometimes. I have no doubt that when they are adults we will be great friends. I also have complete faith that they will serve the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their minds all the days of their lives. I love the time we spend together as a family...talking, laughing, having fun, watching movies, playing games, walking, bike riding, hiking, fishing (I can't wait to go fishing this summer!!!).

I am so blessed, that it's going to start sounding like I'm bragging if I don't stop. I don't mean it like that at all, and it's not as if my life is a few blogs back and you'll see that! However, when one stops to truly count their blessings, the trials and challenges dim in comparison. (in the reverse, if one stops to count their trials and challenges, the blessings will quickly be overshadowed. It's all in what you focus on).

See, God's been working on this boundary/territory issue for a while now. I saw a video about "Jesus" giving a girl an 8 oz can of Coke, and she loved it! Was thankful for it! Until she saw a friend who had been given a 16 oz can of Coke. And another friend who was given a 24 oz bottle. And so on and so on, and she got jealous, and she got angry, and she got disrespectful to her friends, and to Jesus because she thought that because He had given her "less" than the others, that it meant He loved them more. But, that's not it at all! Jesus personally picked out that 8oz can of Coke for her because it was perfect for her, it was exactly what He had chosen for her! And He was really hurt when she dissed it by desiring the others' Cokes.

I've done that! I've wanted more "Coke" than what God's given me! Wanting more than my allotment in life. When I need to celebrate how attentively and personally Jesus picked out my boundary lines just for me. I need to be content with them, and to celebrate them because they are pleasant, they are generous. And I am thankful!

Jesus gave me these verses as we've worked through some of these boundary issues. First:

"Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance." (Psalm 16:5-6)


"Oh that You would bless and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." (I Chronicles 4:10)

and then, a week or so ago:

"Love the Lord your God and keep His decrees...It was not your children who saw what He did for you...but it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done. Observe, therefore, all the commands I am giving you today, so that you may have the strength to go in and take over the land...It is a land the Lord your God cares for, the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today - to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul - then I will send rain on your land in its that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied." (Deut 11)

See, it's all about loving Him, seeing what He has done, how He has laid out the boundary lines in pleasant places for each of us, and as we appreciate them, and love Him, and obey Him, He keeps His eyes on the land He has given each of us, and continues to provide for our needs. But just as I'm not likely to shower my children with gifts and privileges if they are being ungrateful and complaining, neither will He grow our territory or bless our current territory if we are being ungrateful and complaining about the "Coke" He has given us!

And just a few days ago He taught me about taking care of the territory He has given me. Being honest with it, and responsible for what He has put me in charge of. To be dishonest with it means I am putting it before Him, trusting myself for provision instead of trusting God to meet my needs. I want to honor God with the territory He's given me, I want to keep Him first so that I am blessable!

So, basically, He's teaching me that instead of looking at others' Cokes, and coveting them, I need to turn my eyes to my own Coke, see how personal it is to me from my Jesus, thank Him for it, care for it, be honest and responsible with it, and trust Him to grow my Coke as He sees fit, and as He sees me caring for it as the treasure it is. Anyway, that's one of the things we've been working on together. Thanks to all my family and friends for being inside of my very, very pleasant boundary lines! Love you all! :-)