Friday, May 1, 2009

It must be said

...the cutest 15 month old in the whole world happens to be my niece. And she will be here to visit starting tomorrow!!! I can hardly contain myself!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter 2009

This year, my family celebrated Easter a week early. My brother in law, Matt, and two nieces, Kaleigh and Danica, were going to be in Costa Rica on a missions trip over Easter, so we wanted to make sure they did not miss the traditional festivities. Here are a few shots from the day...

Jacob, my nephew, came in with the biggest earnings...somewhere around $35!

Yes, Trevor, my nephew who is almost 18, and Chris, my nephew who is 15, are still participating in the egg hunt.

My niece, Ava Jane. She turned 1 this month. What a cutie!

Ava Jane's big brother, Jeremiah. Jeremiah will turn 4 this month. I think he was more into the candy than the cash.

Danica. She is such a beauty at 14.

Over the Easter weekend, Dan and I traveled to Las Vegas...not your typical Easter destination, I know. Dan's big brother, Dave, and sister in law, Lisa, live there. They just had a baby boy last month, and we were eager to meet our new nephew. Elijah James Wilcut makes nephew #5 for us. We had a great time just relaxing at their house and getting to know the incredible blessing that is Elijah.

Uncle Dan.

I was sick with a cold, so I had to keep my distance, but, let me tell you, it was SO hard. I was so jealous when Elijah fell asleep in Dan's arms.


On Easter morning, Dave, Dan and I climbed a mountain behind Dave's house that gave us quite a view of the city.

The strip is difficult to see, but it is on the horizon above Dan's melon.

A fitting find considering it was Easter.
Yeah for good memories.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Distractibles

"What do you do?" is a common question I get. For some reason, I always struggle with my response. "Well, I am an education therapist...uh...basically I work with kids with learning disabilities...I help them to get caught, yeah..." After I make it through my wobbly explanation and any follow-up questioning, the usual response is, "Oh, that must be difficult work; you must have a lot of patience." Most days, I don't know if I agree with this conclusion. Yes, I am challenged each day, but my personality is well suited for my work. I love what I do...on most days. Today, however, is a different story.

Today, I wished that I worked at Del Taco and assembled tacos for a living. Oh, the simplicity of taco assembly. No complicated kids, wacky parents, bulging in boxes or lesson plans. Just me and the taco.

Dan referred to my students yesterday as "The Distractibles," like they were some race of super heroes. I laughed out loud, as his label was appropriately given; not only do I work with some amazing kids, but many of them have been diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, Tourette's, and the like. Getting them to focus, even in a one-on-one situation can be a challenge. They struggle to get through the daily rigors of academia, and I am their coach. Cheering them on and doing my best to build into them strategies that can help ease their struggle.

But Coach Angel is tired today. It is just one of those days where I am wondering if I am doing any good. I about lost it when I had to explain supplementary angles for the umpteenth time. "Point to the angle. You can do it. No, that is a vertical angle. Remember that supplementary angles form a straight line. Where do you see a straight that is a right angle." Ahhh...

I am so glad how God designed the 24 hour day. There are days when 24 hours doesn't seem to cut it, but on days like today, it is a relief to know today will soon come to a close. After a good night's rest, I am hopeful that tomorrow will mark a new beginning for me and my little kiddos. Yes, tacos might be less complicated, but when I really think about it, a tough day wouldn't be nearly enough for me to give up my front row seat--a seat that allows me into the lives of my incredible Distractibles.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy Mother's Day a little early

Dr. Laura read this on her show this week. I loved what it had said about moms. For moms out there, I , too, share a "deep admiration for the greatness you are building when no one sees." Happy reading!

The Invisible Woman
Excerpt By Nicole Johnson

It started to happen gradually…
One day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, “Who is that with you, young fella?”
“Nobody,” he shrugged.
Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only five, but as we crossed the street I thought, oh my goodness, nobody?
I would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something to my family, like “Turn the TV down, please.” And nothing would happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little louder, “Would someone turn the TV down?” Nothing.
That’s when I started putting all the pieces together. I don’t think anyone can see me.
I’m invisible.
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Obviously not. No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I’m invisible.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more.
Can you fix this?
Can you tie this?
Can you open this?
Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being.
I’m a clock to ask, “What time is it?”
I’m a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?”
I’m a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.
She’s going…she’s going…she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out of style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package and said, “I brought you this.”
It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription. “To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”
In the days ahead I would read, no, devour, the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I would pattern my work:

• No one can say who built the great Cathedrals—we have no record of their names.
• These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
• They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
• The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.”
And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece just push into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one else does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.”
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn, pride.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who will show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I’d built a shrine or monument to myself. I just want him to come home. And then if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, “You’re gonna love it here.”

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Love and Marriage

Yesterday, Dan and I attended a wedding for Natalie Luter and Ian Lopez. Natalie is the little sister of one of my dearest friends, Joanna. I've had the privilege of watching Natalie, from the time she was only six, grow into such a beauty. What a joy it was to celebrate her special day with her!

I knew very few people at the wedding, and Dan knew even less, but I am so glad he came. We have now been married for eight months (wowy!), and it was awesome to be reminded of the vows and the incredible joy involved in the uniting of two lives. Toward the end of the evening Dan and I danced--something we don't normally do--and while he held me in his arms, I was washed anew with love for this man. He had given his life to me. He is mine and I am his!

The last eight months have been a blissful flurry in a way. Time seems to just whizz by. Learning how to share my life with Dan has been so easy in a lot of ways, but there have been difficult moments. I found myself wanting to tell Natalie last night about the highlights of what I have learned...

1. Your marriage is going to need to be protected...from mainly yourself. It is so easy to let other things get in the way of making marriage your first priority. And those other things can leave you tired and drained, with nothing much to offer to your husband.

2. Let your reverence for Jesus Christ trump your reverence for your husband. You husband is human and is going to sin. In those moments when you are feeling hurt or alone or furious, your reverence for Christ can help you not to fall into sin. When you remind yourself that your behavior is a reaction to your reverence for Christ and not to your husband's action, forgiveness and grace is much easier to give.

3. Wake up each morning and ask yourself, "How can I make my husbands day great today?" I have found that my "old self" likes to make more appearances than I would prefer. I am a very selfish creature on my own; I want my needs met and my desires fulfilled. Reminding myself to put Dan's needs/desires above my own is something I need to do every single day. The beauty of this practice is that my giving is often matched by Dan's desire to bless me in return.

So this is what I would like to tell Natalie. Marriage is an incredible gift and a rich journey, but it does take work. But I am learning that the reward of a happy, thriving friendship is well worth it and beyond anything I could have dreamed of.

Congrats, Natalie and Ian!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Food of the gods

Before all the Christmas craziness began, we Wilcuts decided to celebrate on our the Melting Pot in Irvine! Our friend and roommate for the next few weeks joined us as well. (Sam is home from Biola and is staying in our guest room.) By the time we had finished the four course meal of cheese fondue, salad, broth fondue with a menagerie of meats, and a chocolate fondue, we were all feeling the early signs of a food coma. We also exchanged gift between courses. What a fun and memorable evening!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

The light still exists.
The light still shines.
Thousands of years later, the light is still...
The hope of the world.

"The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."
- John 1:9