Monday, August 26, 2013

So Long, Old Man Sam!

We used to call Samuel Old Man Sam. When he was smaller, he loved to sit around in his robe and slippers. He drank tea. He talked about deep things. He learned to read at an early age so it was a normal thing to find him reading, sipping, wearing....

Sam is eleven now and Old Man Sam has gone out the window.

Sam's my adventure seeker. This summer meant para sailing and diving. It meant learning to water ski, too.

We're on the river and Sam balances on the edge of the boat, toes curling, brown arms at his side. He's about to plunge in. Then we'll hand him his skis. We'll toss in the ski rope. We'll circle around him and put the rope close and when he's ready we'll "hit it" and the boat will surge forward like mad.

My mama's heart beats a mile a minute.

Sam is in the water now. It takes a few times, but before long he's is up. He's standing, water spraying around him. He's grinning so big and he nods his head and we know the signal.

Faster, Dad.

Old Man Sam sheds and this born-to-be-wild son has arrived.

Sometimes I look at this boy and I don't know how we've gone from there to here. Sam was three when Gabe was born. Zay came two years later. I hope some of his precious time, some of those tender moments, weren't washed away in the rush of those crazy-busy years.

But it was good. Now Sam is growing. Changing. And it's a good thing, too.

Father let my son grow in the ways of Your son. Let him, like Jesus, grow in wisdom and stature and favor with You and men.

It's a prayer I lift for my boys often. That they'd grow physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, but most of all spiritually. That they'd grow in the Lord. That they'd anchor deep as they stretch into men.

Sam's arms are tired. We've turned twice. He was careful not to ski over the wake yet. I know his legs are tired, too.

Eventually he lets go of the rope and glides into the water.

For a second I sit straight in my "spotter" seat. He's wearing a life jacket but the Mississippi - it churns strong.

Then I see his head. Blondness bobbing. We pull a little closer and I see that he's beaming, too.

I love this new boy.

It's okay to hold those memories dear. That little boy will forever be in in my heart.

 But it's also okay to bid farewell to Old Man Sam.

And to reach for the new man he'll become!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Morning dear Friends,

I've recently been invited to join the beautiful ladies at SozoWomen as a site writer. Sweet blessing! The site is lovely, encouraging, insipiring. Glory to God!

I'll be posting there a couple of times a month. I'll continue to post every Monday and Thursday here, but if I've recently posted at SozoWomen, I'll post the link at Family Grace with My Five Sons.

Like today.

Learning Defense - Shawnelle Eliasen

Please click on the link above for a message I've written on finding time to nurture a marriage, right in the middle of the wild and wonderful!

Have a blessing-rich, end-of-summer weekend. The boys and I are sending warm hugs.

With love,


Monday, August 12, 2013

Closet Cleaning

It's time to think about getting my homeschool classroom in order. It's a surly mess. Last spring we were lured by the sun on our shoulders, the blue skies, the early greens that brushed like tempera paint over the winter-long browns.

We jumped ship.

Now we're wading through the whispers of last year. Math papers stacked in the cabinet. Flashcards in unbundled piles. Journals holding heart words and binders bulging with science.

And then there's the closet.

My deep, dark mess.

I open the door and step back fast. Hard telling what will come lunging out. A stray bottle of glue. A spelling book. Or worse yet. A wayward compass with a sharp, pointy end.

I sigh.

This cavern of a closet is full.

I have no choice but to dig in. I want this closet in order. This closet needs to be in order. It's my resource place. When I need a book, a text, an answer key...a stick of glue, a ruler, a pair of scissors with ripply edges, I'll need a crisp, clean closet to produce the goods.

I'll want the good stuff to flow - unencumbered by this bulging, dreary mess.

So I pull a wild stack of books from the floor and begin to sort.

A tug a basket of dumped-together art supplies and begin to sift.

Halfway through the adventure, I understand that this closet is like my heart. There are good things. Fruit of the Spirit things. Treasure chest things that hold value like gold. But there's a knot of not-so-good, too. Darker things. Messy things. Things that may clutter the goodness.

And while I'm sitting pretzel-legged in the closet, contents building around me in small mountain heaps, the cleaning becomes a prayer.

Lord, there's a green mass of jealousy in the corner of my heart. Please pull it out.

Father, there's selfish ambition lurking in the deep. Remove it with Your tender hand.

Fear, God. It moves like a shadow. Covering and consuming and making light places gray. Pluck it?

It feels good to ask the Lord to sift through the contents of my heart. To ask him to help me remove the mess. I can't just stack the junk and haul it to the trash.

But the closet door, my heart door,  is open, and His light can shine in. It may take time. But the invitation is there. And He is faithful.

I poke through the markers. Some are good. Some have crushed, dry tips.


 It's a good thing.

 And as the piles around me grow, as I pray, I feel lighter and more free on the inside.

Like my in-good-order closet, my heart will produce good things.

I'm grateful for the cleaning.

I'm grateful for the grace.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

Monday, August 5, 2013

Temptation and the Rescue Rope of Grace

There's a new Eliasen boy. His name is Flash. He's a retired racer. And because he's only known the track and kennel life, the household, the living-in-a-home experience is completely new to him.

Flash loves to be with us. He's gentle. Affectionate. Where we are is exactly where he wants to be.

And last night he wriggled under my bed.

I was perched on the edge, talking on the phone, and Flash was sprawled on his cushion. He disappeared for a moment and I thought he'd gone to seek some good lovin' from someone else. But when I finished talking and walked out of the bedroom, there was a whine. A yelp. Then an all-out cry.

I bent and peered under the bed. Flash was trapped. He tried to stand tall, to shimmy out, but he'd gone somewhere he shouldn't have been and he needed some help getting out.

"Lonny," I called. "Flash is stuck. Come lift the bed."

Lonny came to the rescue. Flash, true to his name, shot out fast.

Poor babe.

Oh, the goodness of being free!

Reminds me of myself sometimes. I'm tempted to wander into places I shouldn't go. Trapping places. Not-fitting places. Places I have really no need to be at all. Maybe it's a place of gossip. Maybe it's letting my thought life twist and travel on forbidden roads. Maybe it's allowing myself to crawl into the dark place of anger and unforgiveness.

Trapped in temptation. Stuck - just like Flash.

When I find myself in these tight-fitting spots, I'm grateful for God's promise. He tells me that when I'm tempted, trapped in temptation, He'll provide an out. An escape. A place to wriggle free.

He's a loving, helping Father - longing to let me loose.

Just like Lonny lifting the bed for pressed-in Flash.

It's a precious thing.

 This "out".

 This help.

This sweet rescue rope of grace.

Lord, thank you for rescuing me when I'm trapped in temptation. Thank you for your faithfulness.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. I Corinthians 10:7