Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Honesty

Maybe you're tired tonight.  

Maybe Easter didn't "feel" like Easter. 

Maybe you were missing your family & the way families share the celebrations & lift the extra load of fun & beautiful things that make holidays "feel" festive.

 Maybe your children discarded shoes & socks immediately upon arrival at church, then gave themselves pen tattoos.  (The same toddler who bawled at head-splitting volume because he didn't want to wear "yorts!"(shorts) "I wanna wear yongs!!!" [Long pants, not shorts.]) 

And maybe all you can think about is that you didn't dye any eggs with your kids, 
you didn't do any special Easter craft, 
& you can't for the life of you find the Walmart sack that had a couple Easter treats for your children...
no beautiful Easter baskets, 
you forgot about flowers & a centerpiece for your table. 

Then the boys' sport coats were really too little 
& you should've noticed that before now.  
Oh dear, the dress you bought (first Easter dress in YEARS and too much money! And if you'd just get on with the diet plan, you wouldn't have had to have a bigger dress...) is one wrong move from a wardrobe malfunction... 

Aaaand the list goes on, doesn't it. Somehow our minds get going down that didn't/shoulda/coulda path & they don't want to stop. 

So I decided to preach my mind some resurrection power & just in case you need it, you can read it too.  

Easter happened...I don't make Easter by my observance of it. God did it! He raised My Savior from the dead, completing His plan of salvation.  Salvation that is even saving me from all my trying and wishing I could have or should have or whatever.  He is redeeming even my mistakes and certainly my feeble efforts and He is completing the Good Work He started in me, my family, our church and in the world!  I don't "have it all together," but He Does!!!

These thoughts bring grateful tears to my eyes.  I'm tired tonight.  The tired of busy mamas & pastor's wives on big days, but my soul is whole & at peace & at rest.  His resurrection power is working even now.  He lives!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Everyone has limiting realities.  I'm thinking of limits in our space, resources, time, finances, energy, even food intake.  Many people feel lonely in their limits, most of us wish for different limits, but we don't always get to choose them.  We can decide how we see them.  We can choose our perspective.  I jotted down a few thoughts about limits yesterday, and thought I'd share them here.
Living over my limits is exhausting.
Living over my limits is dishonest.
Living over my limits is uncomfortable.
Living over my limits feels trapped.
Living over my limits is discontentment.
Living over my limits creates weakness.
Living over my limits creates more limits.
Living over my limits will always show up in my health.
Living over my limits affects my family primarily and profoundly.

Living within my limits is good.
Living within my limits is refreshing.
Living within my limits is sane.
Living within my limits is honest.
Living within my limits is empowering.
Living within my limits is satisfying.
Living within my limits allows space for opportunities.
Living within my limits honors God—my Limit-giver.
Living within my limits is really living.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dear Mom,
On your birthday, I want to remember a few reasons that I love you so very much. In no particular order, here they are:
1. You care. Have I ever told you thank you for caring when I call you rejoicing about the tiniest baby victories, and milestones or caring when I call crying the blues because a small thing had made my day a challenge.You’ve always cared about the deeper struggles as well – and the very difficult moments in life. If I called and asked if you could come down here, you absolutely would (& have).
You care about others so much too – “Open arms leave the heart unprotected” you’d say. You consider loving others worth the risk – thank you for your self-less example.
2. You’re passionate. As a Schaper, by blood, you’re usually more reserved with your emotions – on the surface, anyway. But I know your heart and how your love for God, Daddy and your family are purpose-giving for you. You’re also passionate about caring for children, educating them, loving and enjoying them – thank you for the way you’ve educated me in these areas.
3. You’re very, very wise. As a young person, I remember thinking “so and so” was really something cool. And you would say, “Things aren’t always as they seem.” You’d not gossip about their problems or bother my young mind with details, but you’d just remind me not to be fascinated with people and surface things.
4. You’re beautiful. Last time I was home Shar and I were watching you and I said, “Isn’t she the most beautiful lady? Her skin is just perfect – rosey blushed cheeks, gentle eyebrows, gorgeous blue eyes…” I’ve always considered her to be the most beautiful lady I know.” Shar said, “Have you ever told her?” I don’t think I have before, so I am now… And I know you well enough to know that the beauty on the outside is just the beauty on the inside coming out.
5. You’re humble. In the last year or so I’ve thought more about this part of you…who a person is comes thru in difficult times. When there were challenged in our family, I remember hearing you crying out to God as you knelt at your bed. God used those moments to melt my heart… Your humility before Him stood you tall before me.
6. Possibly my favorite aspect of you as a mom: you don’t freak out. Or I could say, you have perspective.
You let me cook and make messes and mistakes - you didn’t freak out.
You let me cut Dad and Charlie’s hair – you didn’t freak out.
I was sorting thru old papers and found a letter you had sent to Bro. Knight at school in response to a letter he’d sent home to you about my misbehavior as a freshman. You were kind and direct and taking responsibility for my behavior even though it probably embarrassed you a lot. I never knew about that letter till a few days ago. It wasn’t something you decided to confront me about and made into a huge issue. I’m sure you prayed though…
It was that year that I called you from class and asked you to come get me. I was really struggling & felt I was at a critical point spiritually. Which crowd would I go with?? There were two crowds pulling and I had to choose. I knew I was at a decision point. You came and got me and I don’t remember how much we talked, but it didn’t involve lectures. You let me cry and work thru it and I went back to school. Looking back that was probably a turning point in my life.
You listened while I declared I’d never go on another date after that first one. We ended up laughing a lot about that.
When I was 15 and our relationship was a little strained, God sent healing in the form of a baby boy named Jareth. You called Peggy and told her to tell me that you were coming home and bringing a surprise. I met you in the driveway and was very shocked to see the tiniest baby I’d ever seen in a car seat in your car! He was jaundiced and needed a bath, but he was so precious. It was love at sight for our whole family, but especially me. You taught me how to love and care for a baby thru those months, years. He was like my own and I admired your motherly know-how. That tiny baby gave our relationship a breath of fresh air – he gave us a common goal – remember he gained a pound a week for a couple months! - and gave me something to do in those difficult growing up years.
Another moment comes to mind: a few days before graduation I stayed at a friend’s house with several girls from our class – we got the bright idea that my hair needed to be a little more blonde. We got the stuff, did the deed, shrieked laughing in the mirror at my very blonde hair…then I realized how permanent this was… I called you the next morning & told you I’d done the stupidest thing ever… you said come on home, it would be fine.
I still remember walking in to the office to your twinkling eyes telling me it was no big deal and we’d try to fix it. I think you told me about something similar you’d done when you were my age – and we laughed and I cried.
I wish I could say thanks for everything, but I don’t think there’s enough paper in the world. You’ve loved and cared for me as only a Mama can – “thanks” seems so small. But Thank You. Thank you for the grace, the gift of your unconditional love & the million ways you’ve shown it thru my almost 32 years.
All my love,
Elizabeth Joyann

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Caleb turns 3

We were honored to have Papa Gary, Grandma Ruth, Great Grandpa Schaper, & Miss Evelyn & Drew to share the special day!

Daddy helping Caleb make 3 :)
This boy is full of energy & joy & lives full throttle.  He brings so much F-U-N to our house!  Surely God has something unique planned for this little man.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Week Two with Gideon

 Papa and Nana came to visit...

 We went to Myriad Gardens where Heath practiced writing his name :)

 Darrell and Papa practiced cornhole :)

 We tried really hard to get a good picture on this little hill, but Caleb could not resist sliding down... and giggling... so we gave up.

 It was a beautiful, wind-less day here in Oklahoma so Gideon enjoyed the sunshine too!

 First family picture since Gideon's birth.

Gideon is Loved!!

 Welcome Home!

 Daddy and all the boys play a game.

 Our first Sunday Shot with Gideon.  (Caleb was having a rough time...)

Caleb really liked his "baby" spot, but he is doing well with Gideon.  He really loves the "new baby" and dearly loves to "help." :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Gideon's Second Day

 I was so happy to that my sister was able to come down the evening after Gideon was born and stay with us overnight.  It was nice to be spoiled by her nursing expertise. :)

 Gideon at 1 day old.

 Getting ready to go home. (Darrell and I are talking to him, hence our chins in the picture.)

 All ready to go home!

 Love these guys :)

 We were waiting for the nurse to take us downstairs, and he went back to sleep, so I laid him down and he pulled his legs up so cute...

Mom and Dad got to the hospital about the time we were released, so we traveled home and they got to see him up close for the first time.