Thursday, August 23, 2012

The "I Want Crew"

But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15 NIV) The Bug and the Pea are high maintenance. “Mom! I want…” “Dad! I want…” constantly. Whether it’s a glass of water (“you can get one yourself”) or some ice-cream (“not until after dinner”) or a trip to the roller rink (“weren’t we just there last week?”), it’s always something. Occasionally they’ll throw in a please or a thank you, but most of the time they are thinking only of themselves and their wants. (The Husband calls them the “I Want Crew” I want, I want, I want, I want.) I was thinking about prayer this morning, and how much I fit into the “I Want Crew” when it comes to speaking with my heavenly Father. I was taught to follow the acronym ACTS when I pray. A: Adoration and praise; C: Confession of sins; T: Thanksgiving for blessings; S: Supplication – requests for me and petition on behalf of others. However, I tend to skid past ACT and only concentrate on the requests. It’s pretty shocking that I can actually get to the supplication part after about 3 sentences. But I am all about The I Want factor. In fact, I have a virtual laundry list of wants that I repeat day after day after day. I imagine God gets pretty bored with our one-way conversations. I suppose it’s more of a monologue, really. “Oh Lord, I want, I want, I want…” Of course I phrase it much more politely. “Dear heavenly Father, I lift up to you…yada, yada, yada…and I ask that you…yada, yada, yada…” And forget about listening. I rush to give God my “I Wants” for the day and then I’m off tending to the busy-ness of life. I cut God off from our conversation, and rarely wait for a response. I rarely wait in the quiet for His still, small voice. What would happen if I spent just as much of my prayer time praising God for His omniscient, omnipresent, all-knowing, wonderful self? And if I spent a great deal of time confessing specifically what I had done that was counter to what God would have me do, and truly promising to repent? What if I sincerely counted the blessings, the multitude of answered prayers that God has showered upon me and my family? What if I was so in tune to God that my supplications were according to His will: To bring Him glory and to love others into His kingdom? After all, we were created to serve the LORD, and not the other way around. I need to begin serving Him instead of expecting Him to serve me. Now that is what I truly want.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Right As Rain a.k.a The Bug & The Pea Get Drenched

Right As Rain A bottle of blue soap sits on my kitchen sink. It’s called “Rain.” The scent is lovely and refreshing. I love the smell of rain. Yesterday during a storm, I stood under cover of my front porch and took deep breaths, eyes closed. The Pea thought I was out of my ever-lovin’ mind. But what a brilliant idea to capture the smell of rain in a product meant to clean, like soap. Rain is such a phenomenal cleansing agent. (Especially when we’re talking about the hood of my car, covered in bird do-do, and the rain shower cleans it off.) Doesn’t it seem as if the world is a cleaner place after a rainfall? As if the water washes away all that is wrong and leaves a shiny newness. During the summer it rains most every day in New Orleans. The beginning of the day is sweltering, but the storm comes along and cools everything off significantly. The evenings are much more pleasant than you might imagine. We try to keep umbrellas handy, especially when running errands. The general rule of thumb is: if I’m exiting the Winn-Dixie with a mound of groceries in my care = torrential downpour. The Bug and the Pea love to play in the rain. (Which is ironic since the Bug is terrified of thunder, anyhoooooo…) They make no pretense of staying dry. In fact, they don swimsuits and spin around our backyard. Their favorite spot is beneath the tree branches. They’ll reach out and gently shake the branch to experience the “shower” of water in the midst of the rain. This afternoon some sweet friends from Kentucky met up with us at Audubon Park. On our drive to the park, the kids were at each others’ throats. (Which seems to be the new norm as we near the end of summer and our 24/7 togetherness bonding time.) I mean we’re talking two seriously grumpy little girls. (“Don’t make me pull this car over!”) I warned them within an inch of their lives to behave when we were with our friends. (Especially since I’ve secretly betrothed my oldest child to my friend’s oldest son, anyhoooo…) We parked the car, hugs all around! Right on schedule, a storm rolled through. We stayed dry beneath a shelter and visited. While the grown ups chatted, the four children inched their way ever closer to the shelter’s edge. The rain came down in sheets. After a few minutes, the Bug could stand it no longer. She asked permission to run in the rain. As all lightning and thunder had subsided, I gave her my blessing. Before long, all four children were chasing each other in the rain. Pure unadulterated bliss. Splashing puddles, arms in the air. The Bug sprinted in the shelter, removed her tennis shoes, drained them out and replaced them on her soggy-socked feet. Giggling the whole time. The kids were beyond drenched. Dinnertime approached and we said our goodbyes. My girls huddled together and raced to the car, laughing along the way. Thankfully we had some dry beach towels in the car. The ride home was much more pleasant. My backseat was filled with two giggly girls in squisy-squashy shoes, hair dripping, wrapped in towels. It was as if the rain washed away all of their grumpiness and replaced it with the newness of joy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sweltering Summers & Precious Pool Time I remember the sweltering days of a Louisville summer. Each afternoon my brother and I would beg Mom to take us to the pool. We were relentless. Often the small blow-up pool in the backyard sufficed. But most times not. (The grass at the bottom of our bare feet was forever getting into the water and making it yucky.) Sometimes we’d wait until Dad came home from work, then all four of us would go to the Middletown pool. Those times were the best. Dad would always get in the pool with us and play. But first he taught us both how to swim. What seems elementary now, seemed monumentally difficult as a beginner. I was reminded of these times last week. The Bug and the Pea went to their first sleep-away camp and I accompanied the group as a chaperone. (Much to their chagrin. “Mom! You’re embarrassing us!”) Boys living in New Orleans’s Ninth Ward comprised about a fourth of our group. Many of these children had never left New Orleans, ever. Not for an afternoon, not for a day, certainly not for a week. Many of these children had never ordered their own food in a restaurant, never been offered a quick snack and drink after a “potty break stop” along the way. It was humbling to see their awe at the little things my kids and I take for granted. The most refreshing part of our day was “Swim Time.” During a week of triple digit temperatures, the pool was essential. We were assigned one hour each day that our group of forty could swim. The lifeguards conducted swim tests to make sure the children would be safe in the deep end of the pool. Most of the children jumped right in and swam from one side of the pool to the other. In fact, all of the children, save the boys from the Ninth Ward, passed the swim test. It had never occurred to me that these boys didn’t have access to a swimming pool at home, much less a suitable swim instructor. From the first day forward, the kids and chaperones set about teaching the boys to swim. The boys stayed in the 3 foot deep end of the pool where they could safely stand. Gradually they began to trust their “trainers.” One boy in particular, M, was up to the challenge. He was determined to pass the swim test before the end of the week. He surveyed the kids one by one, asking how they swam. Then he would mimic them. First the kicking, then the arm movements. M would thrash the water as if he were fighting it to stay alive. But he kept at it. Then, trusting a chaperone to catch him, he tried the slide. Then he tried the slide again. M went a bit deeper and tried to doggy paddle, but that didn’t take him too far. So he resorted to kicking and stretching his arms out, with his head under water. He came up for breath every few strokes. Tirelessly he practiced. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Going into Friday, the chaperones encouraged him to take the swim test. The counselors would be stationed at points across the pool, just in case he needed help in the deep end and wasn’t able to finish the test. He decided to take a chance. Under the watchful eyes of the lifeguard, M jumped into the water. His arms began to move, his legs began to kick, we began to chant his name. “You’re almost there!” cried one supervisor. He thrashed, he splashed, he plowed forward. In no time he’d reached the other side of the pool. Cheers erupted from the kids, the chaperones, even the lifeguard. Instead of a victory lap, he went straight to the diving board, jumped off, and swam to the side. The broad grin on M’s face was priceless.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

B-O-R-E-D & Scrubbing Potties

Dear Mom, I’m B-O-R-E-D. Bored, bored, bored. Yes, I realize you’re cleaning the house. Yes, I realize my cousins are coming tomorrow. But I can’t stand it, I’m bored. Fine, I’ll quit rolling around on the floor whining. Yes, I asked my sister if she wanted to play, but she said “No.” No, I’m not sure why. I think she’s reading a library book. Yes, I know we just got back from the library and I got a whole stack of books. But I don’t know what to do. Yes, I know I have a summer assignment before middle school starts. But I don’t want to think about school at a time like this! It’s summertime, after all. I don’t want to take a nap. Yes I know I woke you up before 7 this morning, but I was ready to start the day. Who wants to sleep-in during the summer! You said we’d go shopping so I can spend my birthday gift certificates! Why can’t we go now? Well how about AFTER you finish cleaning. It’s not gonna take you all day, is it? I want to go horseback riding. I want to go to the skating rink. I know it’s not a rainy day, but I still want to go. I’ve already played Barbies a million times. I’ve already played Legos a billion times. I’m not in the mood to build something. What do you mean my rooms a mess? I can find anything I need to find. I have my own system, I don’t need to straighten it up, it’s fine. TV is boring, there’s nothing good on. I don’t want to play on my DSi, I need a brand new game, the old ones aren’t fun. It’s too hot to play outside. I’m hungry,what’s for lunch? What do you mean we need to hit the grocery store. Not today, do that tonight after Dad gets home. I’m starving, and our refrigerator is practically empty! We don’t have any good DVDs. Can I mess with your phone? She’s annoying me again! Make her be quiet! I am so boooored. Why can’t we invite a bunch of people over, right now? Why are you handing me that scrub brush? The TOILET! Are you kidding me? I think I’ll go find something to do. I’m not THAT bored. Love, Me

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My name is Leigh Mikovch and I am a writer.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Projects, Clay and a Horse's Head

“Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” (Jeremiah 18:6)I’m sorry I haven’t written lately. I have no great excuse, other than I haven’t seemed to have anything terribly interesting to say. That being said, writer’s block be darned, I am putting something out into the great blue yonder. There are a few little girls over at our house this afternoon, “working” on a social studies project. I hear lots of giggles, tunes on the piano, Wii Just Dance music, -- and I would have sworn ice cream scoops scooping out delectable treats.
I check in on them every so often and redirect them toward the task at hand. They are supposed to be constructing a horse model out of air-dry clay. The model represents the horse racing industry, past and present. You can only imagine the banging on my kitchen table as they knead the clay, flatten (read into this: pound) the clay, roll out the clay, and shape it.
The clay must remain moist, or it will dry solid. The girls shape the clay into four legs, a body, and a head. The legs are skinny and the body is heavy. The six dissembled pieces lay on the table. The girls pause in reverence. We’ve had several “work” days at our house over the past few months. The horse has been sculpted two or three times, only to be torn apart when the girls decided it didn’t look realistic. So finally, the project nears completion.
They wonder how to piece together the parts of the whole. My clever daughter decides to use toothpicks to stick the legs to the body, and then the head to the body and then she smooths the clay to mold the six parts together into one whole.
I am reminded of the verse in Jeremiah, where the prophet relayed the LORD’s message to the Israelites after a visit to the potter’s house. Jeremiah watches as the potter shapes a pot from clay, decides the pot in marred in his hands, and then forms the clay into a new pot, shaping it as best as he could. The LORD’s message to the people: “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand.” (Jeremiah 18:6) It’s easy to draw parallels with this simile to my life. God, as the potter, takes me as I am: a lump of clay. If I surrender to Him, he molds me into a vessel through which I may carry His Word and glory to others. Often this takes a lot of banging (as if a ton of bricks just hit me), kneading (pushing out all of the ME that is there) flattening (bringing me to my knees) , rolling me out (preparing me for the task), and finally shaping me into the pot (vessel). I must remain pliable, and connected to the source of Living Water during the entire process. And once I am used as a vessel, I must carry this Living Water to my neighbors. (“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37-38)
I am being called to the kitchen. Apparently the horse’s head has fallen off, and crisis ensues. Mom to the rescue.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Feathers, Gloves & The Red Carpet of Life

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 13:13)
Put on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (I Thessalonians 5:8)
I love watching the red carpet. Only on “red carpet” nights do you find yourself pondering such philosophically important questions as, “Is that skirt completely made of feathers?” and “Is Madonna really wearing only one fingerless glove?” Anyhooooooo…
A few nights ago, the Golden Globes award ceremony ensued. Actors and actresses donned formal attire as they strolled the red carpet, all smiles for the blinding camera flashes. The Husband was flipping back and forth between TV channels, but every now and then he’d pause to watch Entertainment Tonight interview the” A-list” performers.
I was, as always, fascinated when the interview questions had little to do with actual movie or television show performances. In fact, generally only one question was asked each actress, “Who are you wearing?” Referring of course, to the designer of the gowns worn by the stars. “I’m wearing Versace,” one performer replied. “Well, Gucci designed this dress just for me,” crooned another.
Can you imagine someone responding, “Actually, I’m clothed in the Lord Jesus Christ. As you can see: faith, love, and the hope of salvation.” Boy, would that camera man topple over! The interviewer would smile and cut to a commercial.
Yet in the Bible’s book of Romans, we are told, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, don’t be headed out to an awards ceremony in your birthday suit. Rather, I think God means he wants us to follow Jesus’ way and not the way of SELF.
This week I’ve been studying Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. I came across this verse in chapter 5:8, “Put on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” Breastplates covered your heart during battle, and helmets protected your head. I think God means that faith in Jesus, love for your neighbor, and the hope brought about by the cleansing of your sins…well, these keep us going through the day to day battles of the life on earth.
Just a few thoughts to ponder.
By the way, who are you wearing?