Saturday, December 3, 2011

Trade off

A month or so ago another homeschooling Mom and I set up a terrific trade off. I am loving this. Two days a week we each get up and get going on school so that we can be done by lunch time. Then one day she brings her kids to me and on the other I take mine to her. Our kids get to be wild, go crazy and play to their hearts content. We each get to have a just a few hours of "down" time. Such a blessing.

Taking time for myself is something I am not especially good at. I give it a lot of lip service. But I am always  thinking of other stuff I should be doing. Laundry, meal prep, errands etc. I am sure everyone has their distractions. Making time for self is as challenging as making time for listening to God. Studying about Him, Yes I do that. Giving Him my laundry list of prayer requests, yes. Just quieting my mind and listening? Not so much.

This process of quieting the mind is hard. Sitting there quiet, de-cluttering thoughts, trying to think of nothing, as soon as one thought exits another pops in from a different direction. It is work to seek the Father with open mind and just listen to Him. It takes perseverance. Most of all it takes practice. I urge you to practice seeking the Lord. Allowing Him to be King in your life and to lead you. I so often feel like a small child. I want to "DO IT Myself!" The life of Christian is very hard and very tiring if we try to do it all in our power. God designed us to NEED him.  The odds are stacked against us. Yet scripture says " If God is for us who can stand against us?" (Romans 8:31a)  He will glorify Himself in our weakness, we need only to acknowledge Him. This Christian life is not hard when we walk in Him, in obedience to His Spirit. I can do it my way. In doing it my way I can be tired, worn out, and somewhat effectual. OR I can follow His way, let Him use me and be exhilarated and successful beyond my wildest imaginings.

The trade off is me being in charge or letting Him be in charge. Similar to choosing to make time for myself or choosing to push through and keep going and going until I burn out. This theme of "do it myself!" or "let him empower and lead me" keeps coming up over and over again. Sunday school, devotions, side conversations at the dentist office, I do believe the Father is trying to get through to me.

Lord help me to listen, help me to let you be God - bigger than anything the world may throw at me, able to handle it all and lead me on this journey. Daddy, help make the trade off.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pink....

This is Pixie's Non Rhyming Poem from today's Creative expression assignment

Pink...

Pink is my room
Pink is my hallelujah skirt
Pink is like taffy
Pink tastes like watermelon
Pink smells like roses
Pink looks like a party
Pink makes my heart gleam with Joy

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Refresh

      Since I feel like I am beginning again, sort of, I decided to refresh the blog's appearance.  So a new header picture, colors, and background. Check it out!

      Whisper to the wind came about because I had felt the Lord pushing me to write. Felt it for a long time. I finally stopped fighting him and decided to obey. I chose a public blog because I wanted the accountability. During this past hiatus there were 3 wonderful friends who very gently but regularly reminded me that I should be writing. I am so thankful for those precious friends. The gentle reminders that they wanted to hear from me again made coming back so much easier. You three know who are. THANK YOU!

      Looking toward 2012, My goal is to post at least once each week. I thrive on feedback, so publicly or privately, please let me know your thoughts on the things I write. My purpose in writing is to share the things God is teaching me through major milestones and day to day adventures.  Please feel free to send questions or suggestions for topics.

Caite

 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Caramel Popcorn

A few days ago the girls and I decided to make popcorn balls. MMMMMMMMMMM !!!! Melted marshmallowy goodness flavored with Jello and coating the popcorn. Joyful, happy, wonderful, mouthwatering, tasty, happiness. I like these. We made black cherry flavored popcorn balls. Then in the midst of the mess making I decided caramel popcorn sounded good too. Because, you know, if the kitchen is already a mess you might as well make it worse. I discovered my recipe had gone awol, so I went looking for one on allrecipes.com. The first recipe I looked at had a 5-star comment that began, "Do NOT make this recipe unless you have iron will power or are giving it away. You will not be able to leave it alone."


It was so right. The stuff is beyond addictive!

My kids kept saying "there seems to be less in the container, Mom. Are you eating it when we are not around?" Well, of course! You try sitting in the same house with such a massively addictive substance as caramel popcorn and not eating it!

If there's one thing I know, it is that I do not have an iron will. There are so many things far less addictive than caramel popcorn that I allow to distract me. Making time to be with the Father is the one way I can come to know Him more. Making time to be in His word. Making time to listen for his voice. Yet like a dog when a squirrel runs by, my attention goes askew and I am off on a tangent.


I lean on the Father above to strengthen my will. Only He is is enough. As I sit nibbling on the caramel popcorn and thinking about all the things in life that distract me from the Lord, I am surprised at my lack of will power. I like to think I am mature in my faith, and then I am reminded that I have so far to go. I am blessed that He will go with me. He will pull me back when the squirrels run by.


Lord, today I give my focus to you, reign in my wandering mind.


Caramel Popcorn

Non stick cooking spray
4 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup brown Sugar
1/2 cup dark (or light) Karo corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Optional: 1 cup roasted peanuts


1. Spray large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Add popcorn and place in preheated 250 degree oven while preparing caramel.

2. Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2 quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, Bring to a boil over medium heat.

3. Boil for  5 minutes w/o stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla; mix well.

4. pour syrup over warm popcorn; stirring to coat evenly ( if adding peanuts - this is the time)

5. bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally ( I did this every 10 minutes or so). Remove from oven and spread on foil or parchment that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.

6. Cool. break apart. Store in a tightly covered container. ( I recommend something not see through.)


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Return from a Far Place

Lessons, A Journey, and the world changes again.

In returning to writing, I feel awkward and stilted. The words are not flowing smoothly  from my mind. I am so out of practice and tentative. Still, I must begin. Every journey begins with a step.

Life has been wild this year.

I have decided not to go on and on about all that has happened over the summer and fall.  I am starting fresh today. This place is my place to share the things the Lord is teaching me day by day. I will also share our lives. I will share some of my struggles and many of my joys in the journey that God is leading me on! I do want to share updates on two things, home schooling & my business.

This year the Admiral and I decided that the time had come to try homeschooling. I was so freaked and nervous. Could I really stay organized enough to pull off my girls schooling? Did I want to "give up" my "free" time?  I prayed and prayed. Then decided that this was where God was leading me/us. So we started in August and I will tell you a secret.... I LOVE HOMESCHOOLING!  We are having such a great year! Life is simpler somewhat. We get up when we wake up and our schedule is smoother and less stressful. T is getting to invest a lot of practice time in her piano. It is so exciting to listen to her  play. Pixie's reading has just taken off like a shot. I get to be on the front lines of their lives.  This is not always easy but I am so glad I chose to do it. Each week is an adventure I look forward too.

Around the time I decided to home school and I also entered into the process of setting up a new company with two precious friends. It had long been a dream of mine to have my own business doing events and project management. Several important people in my life asked "What are you thinking?" others thought it loudly in my direction. I was thinking that here was my opportunity to grow my dream and be with my kids too. I think my thought was that I could work in a more structured way and still keep my priorities in line. The dream took off at lightning speed.  My partners and I spent the last 7 months birthing this amazing company. The Lord has blessed our efforts and the company is taking off. Yet through the building success I have begun to feel like the rope in a world class game of tug of war. After searching my heart and pestering God for a few weeks  I decided to resign my partnership in the company and focus on my priorities of God, husband, children and their schooling. This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. It was the right decision. I can chase my dream when my little ones are off chasing their own dreams.

I have chosen to pursue my writing while I minister to my husband and kids to the best of my ability. I am praying that I will listen more closely and be less distracted by the shiny things.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A season of busy

Well My friends.... My last post was May11th. Today  is June 8th.

Life is good. God is so good. This season has been busy, busy and productive. I am thankful. I was feeling seriously guilty about not posting. Then Father God reminded me that worry is not of Him. He is directing this season. I need to function each day in obedience to His leading not my own. I am making my time with the Father first priority. Writing must come last in this season. Please do not give up on me. I have posts they will be coming just not as frequently as in the past.
Following His leading, I have researched and built our homeschool curriculum for the 2011-2012 school year. My business - Aspire Productions LLC is getting lots of work. The many "Aspire events" are in various stages of planning and execution. We have almost completed room renovation for T's room. She will be moving is soon. Of course , Pixie is moving with her while we repaint her room. We are preparing for the the Aldersgate 2011 conference in Dayton OH.  This summer is loaded and we are ready to jump on the roller coaster. Life is so exciting! I am blessed.

Thank you each and all for reading!

More to come soon in the journey of chasing my God!

Caite

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Predictions

(written 4/2)

Right now it is supposed to be raining.

The skies were supposed to be drippy all day today. 

I woke this morning thinking, “What good are warmer temperatures if it is just going to rain for days on end?” God immediately called me to confess that bad attitude. This rain fills our water table and sees us through the dryness later and I am Thankful for it.  I told Him so. As we drove to school I marveled at the closeness of the clouds with their many hues of gray. T said “They look so real! So close!” They were close, large black thunder heads that threatened to split the sky at any moment.  The air was warm and fluid. I reveled in it, waiting for the rain.

Now, eight hours later, the rain hasn’t come down yet.

I am feeling so loved.  God knew I needed a break. Knew I needed 20 minutes at the park to watch my precious ones run, climb, laugh and yell! The breeze is blowing across me. It smells amazing. I am so very thankful that the predictions proved false.  

Predictions are good. They can help us prepare for what is to come. Predictions are also dangerous.  They set up expectations that may or may not come to pass. It is really a 50/50 proposition, predicting the future.  There are no guarantees.  Predictions of weather do not control us.  Neither do predictions of other people.   I do not have to live up to the predictions of other people.  I can live free of them because God has claimed me as His child. He has set me apart for His purpose.  I believe this.  

There is a song out right now called “the Voice of truth”. This song zings me every time I hear it. It talks about the predictions of others. 
“But the giant’s calling out my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
Time and time again ‘Boy you’ll never win
You’ll never win!’”

“But the voice of truth tells me a different story”

The voice of truth tells me a different story! The predictions of others don’t bind me.  They don’t hold you.  Live free of the negative predictions of other people.

Lord, help me listen for your voice of truth. Help me to hear your leading and not take serious the dire predictions of others.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Too much time at the Coffee Shop

          Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists
           Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can’t come up with ten, don’t worry about it—post as many as you can!


I have decided to jump on the band wagon of Top Ten Tuesdays. There are lots of get to know you style listings and I want to do a few. These will show up on random Tuesdays.  I've included a link to the originator of this program. Some weeks I will follow their prompts and other times I will do my own thing. So here goes:

Top ten signs You have spent TOO much time at the Coffee Shop

#10. You are talking faster (way faster) than normal and making very little sense.
#9. When You have met all the people who posted business cards on the bulletin board.
#8.  You have updated your facebook status more than 4 times since morning.
#7. The barista doesn't wait for you to order he just starts making your usual.
#6. The barista by passes you for the person in line behind you because he knows you haven't made up your mind yet.
#5. Other patrons avoid "your table".
#4. You have more than 5 tabs or windows open on the laptop.
#3. You briefcase smells like coffee
#2. You and your partners have been nicknamed "The View" by the baristas.
#1. The fact that all of the above is My Reality.

There you are my top ten tuesday.
Now "back to work, Back to WORK!" (Gru - Despicable Me)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Time flies...

( started April 19th)

Spring break was here.

Now it is gone.

The week since spring break is gone too.

Wow.

(You know, I always thought my mother was a little daft when she talked about how fast time moves as you get older. I was wrong, it really does go by like a speeding locomotive! Sorry Mom!)

I have lots of exciting things going on in my world. They make a little nervous (or a lot nervous, since I keep bringing the nerves up), but they also excite me. As I look to the coming summer and school year.... I want to be organized.  I want to have a system I can maintain to be a woman of Faith, Mother, Wife, teacher, and business woman. Because of this I am researching, digging, sorting, cleaning out, and organizing.

Researching home school curricula and business plans. Digging and sorting through old papers and my personal clutter. Mentally cleaning out spaces to figure out the future plan. And then...

nothing.

I last published on 4/21/11. Life has been so wild. I am so glad for the flexibility of my life. Meetings to set up structure for the new business are flowing. We are almost there. Our goal is to have our structure in place before school is out mid-June. Pray we get this established.  We are also currently working on projects that need attention. I will post about the business in a few days and fill you in all the fun details.

Through this process I have been so thankful for God's continuous grace to me. Also thankful for His strength and vision to see this through. Time flies past me. Sometimes I feel like I cannot maintain the struggle to keep up with the flow. The hope of a new future keeps me looking forward as I seek His guidance for these new ventures He is leading me toward. Where is God leading you today? What dreams is He scaring you with? Where will you follow him before time flies away?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

of Judgement....

Life brings judgment. Everyday in every activity we make judgments, receive judgments, process what those judgments mean to our lives. The misconception that life could be free from judgment is so prevalent we forget that all decisions come from judgments. Are we qualified to judge? how do we know?

I am finding that judgment is necessary. What I've found imperative is knowing your attitude. Are you making judgment on something that has no pertinence to you? Are you making your decision based on your compassion? Jesus made regular judgments - The money-changers in the temple were chased out in anger; The woman caught in adultery was not condemned. Do I make judgments based on my own frazzledness? We all do. I do it with my kids all the time. Lord, forgive me. Do you make judgments based on your own filters and understanding?  Yes. You cannot make them any other way. This is why knowing the Lord is so important.

Say you have a best friend whom you know really well. Someone asks you "Will Cherie like this?" Can you answer with confidence? Do you know Cherie well enough to make that judgment?

Likewise in our life as Christians. Do you know the heart of Christ intimately? Can you make judgments that reflect your faith and trust in Him?

This whole idea doesn't mean I think we should beat our opinions into those around us or place value on someone based on initial impressions. I think what I want to say is be cautious in your judgments that they would be thoughtful, compassionate, and focused. I pray that your judgments would not be snap, crass, or uninformed. May the Lord guide you as you are judging the world around you everyday.


Lord Jesus, Help me make my words and choices sweet since tomorrow I may have to eat them! :) In seriousness Lord, help me to be compassionate in my judgments. Help me to follow your example to love each person as you do, regardless of what they have done or how they look.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

An Unusual Place... again

This week past I served on a team ministry at a small church in Ohio. I do these throughAldersgate Renewal Ministries. This church was a neat example of love your neighbor. They genuinely cared for one another. The people wanted more of God. The hunger in this place was palpable. Coming in with the resource team to lead a retreat it was a tremendous blessing to walk into a church covered in prayer. An Unusual Place.

God did lots of things this weekend. The largest impact on me was arriving in a place covered in prayer. These people were intentional about giving the space and time to Father God. So often I try to do things in my own power. I skip the preparation of prayer and spending time with the Lord. My usual place is harried, rushed, and skittering from one task or project to the next. The other end of the spectrum is when I step into that unusual place. I can move calmly, intentionally, and be in a place of blessing others. I cover my day in prayer.  I am calling it the unusual place because I find it so hard to consistently get there amid the demands of life. I love being there in the place of quiet. I love the way I feel Him lifting me up.Yet the urgent tugs me out of the place. Bickering kids, shrilling phone, calling neighbor, they all tug at me.  Do this, go get that, stand up, sit down, write this, cook that... I am overwhelmed. I feel like my brain will implode. When I go to the unusual place, focusing on Father God, His guidance, His word, and His will, I find I can deal so much better with whatever my day throws at me.

When I entered this church for the weekend's ministry, the prayer preparation covered me like a warm blanket. It reminded me of the power of preparation, the power of listening and talking with the Lord. I am reminded of the importance of going to my unusual place.

Go to your place. Make time for Him. Let this place not be unusual but normal. Allow Him to impact your day!


Lord, Bring me to the unusual place, heal my imploding mind, prepare me to follow your guidance throughout my days! Bring me to the unusual place...Again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Scavenger Hunt

Yesterday we went on a scavenger hunt to find stuff around Grandma and Pap pap's farm. Check out our adventure!





 The Beginning! Complete with funny faces from T.
 #1 "I grow on a tree that is always green!"



Pixie exploring down the hill in the ravine.






#2 Silent and Gray, I am all that is left of animals that lived long ago.
We hunt for fossils on the creek bank.






 Look closely this rock has two fossils.







"We must stand on these rocks and look tough!"





#3 We are red and piled high, shaped like a rectangle and used for building to the sky.

T guessed the answer was a brick and Pixie found the pile!


#4 Gold and Gray, we like to "neigh" to hello and how are you today?

Annie & Shadow happy to see us - so long as we give them dinner







#5 Quiet and fun, where mousies like to run. I store the bales the Horsies like.

HayLoft Fun!



# 6 Many steps have I that lead up high, climb you might touch the sky.

They love walking about on the barn roof - testing their nerve!



 #7 Loops & loops water I spray to wash the dirt away

The hose

#8 With pride I reside on the side of a box where your food stays cold all day

Fridge drawings
#9 Woosh! you go when I am dressed in white.  - The sledding hill next door!





I love these pics!




#10 Some think I am sad as can be, but really I'm a beautiful Tree


The neighbors' Weeping Willow tree



#11 Slides and Firepoles, fun fun fun, Lots of kids have played in me!

Play house 
extra-ordinaire



#12 filled with hay and tractor pulled , I give a good ride - one of many wagons at the farm.









#13  A Prize  on wheels A pink signature makes me special

Grandma's MK Car!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Vacation thoughts

Some vacations are structured. Some are free flow.  We are on day 3 of a no plans vacation. The kids are starting to get a little stir crazy. I don't blame them. The farm is an exciting and wild place to play. But it has rained, and rained, and rained. Sunday night Grandma took the girls to the barn to feed the animals and somehow they all ended up in the creek!


Mud was everywhere. They had so much fun! Amazing what a muddy creek and grandma's sense of adventure will do for boredom. Yesterday, more rain. We stayed inside hanging out, playing Barbies. The girls even talked Pap Pap into watching "Despicable Me". It was a fun family time.


  


     The plan for this vacation was to veg out as much as possible. Visits to the Great grandmothers must be accomplished before we head home. The Admiral is upgrading Grandma's computer system as well. So today to ward off the boredom monster, we are doing some workbook pages,  having some reading time, and a scavenger hunt. My idea being to give the girls a list of clues like "a large pile of rectangle shaped red building supplies" They have to figure out where this is on the farm and take a picture there. ( answer: the old brick pile ) Then I will make a collage of their pictures. :) They are hyper excited about this adventure! I have 15 places for them to discover. Nothing fancy just fun. Tomorrow I will post the clues and the pics of the hunt!

      I look at them today and realize that too much time without plans is HARD. Hard like constantly planned activities.  I think perhaps this is because we get our selves stuck in a rut of comfortable activities. Then sooner or later they aren't satisfying any more. The challenge is conquered. It is possible that this why the Lord leads us into new areas when we are seeking His will in our lives. Challenge and learning, digging deeper to know Him more! Looking into the future, I am excited about where God is leading. I am nervous too. I haven't walked this road before. Can I really do it? This feels weird. Like a new shoe. God is Leading, I must trust Him. God made me and He believes I can do the tasks He has set before me. So lets go!  A new adventure, plan something, don't float and be a vegetable. Go. Seek. Follow. The adventure will find you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring is misbehavin'

Today ( April 1st ) is a wonderful 45+ degrees outside. A light springy breeze is blowing. It is lovely. Earlier this week that was NOT the case. It was a COLD wind. Barely 38. Cold, Cold, ugh. It is interesting to me how much more miserable it felt now since we had experienced a few warm spring like days. Wednesday we had to scrape a hard-ish frost from the van windows. As we were driving to school, T says "Mom, why is the weather behaving so much like winter when it has been spring for a whole week?" The exasperation  in her voice nearly making me laugh out loud. We live in NE Indiana. It is still March. Warm, cold, warm, cold is just the way it is.

Yesterday I was sharing the cuteness with my mom. She had snow Tuesday night at her place so I will be thankful it was just cold here. But as we were talking she said something that really made me think. "What if spring wasn't a given?" What if we couldn't count on it getting warmer at a specific time? What if the sun just didn't come up one day? We, as a culture, complain and complain. We cannot change the weather. If we don' like the weather were we are we shouldn't whine about it. We should move. The truth is I love winter. But I dislike being cold. Especially on gray rainy days. I like the more temperate summers. I take spring for granted. People want everything to suit their wants at just the moment they want it. I want to choose to be thankful for the snow and rain that fills up the water table. Thankful for the sun the continues to shine and warm the Earth so flowers might spring forth.

My daughter's memory verse this week fits this idea perfectly. "Be joyful  always. Pray continually. Give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  No matter what the weather.... be thankful. Having a horrid day? Be Thankful, count the blessings even if you have to strive to find them. Something good happen? Be Thankful. Do not take His blessings for granted.

The spring is coming. All because our God keeps his promises.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Adventures on the horizon

Life should be an adventure. A journey of experiences from which we learn and grow. Routine is important. Can adventure be part of the routine? I think so. I am out to pay more attention to the adventure. I want to focus less on the "we shoulds" and "somedays". More on the today. The Lord is bringing adventure into our lives every moment. Are you living those adventures or trying to avoid them?

Ever since I met my husband and figured out that he would be my husband I thought that if the Lord ever blessed us with children I would home school them. Then I met my first born and decided that wasn't a good idea. We are cut from the same bolt of cloth and regularly butt heads. So off to preschool she went. That was a good thing. Now, 3+ years later, she is finishing up second grade and her sister is finishing up kindergarten. These years of school days have been crazy, good, not good, ok, wonderful and my girls have learned so much! T reads everything she can get her hands on and wants more. Pixie loves "teaching" you what she has learned.

This school year has progressed and is now winding down. The Admiral and I talk about  next year with reservations. While nothing has gone "wrong" this year, it just doesn't seem like a good fit.

What to do for next school year? The scripture says that "for everything there is a season." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  I think now is our season to home school.  The Admiral does too.

Some of my frustrations this year have to do with time. The girls want to dance, play sports, and have music lessons. They want to create stuff. We get up at 6:45/ 7ish to be ready to be at school on time. This means they have to be in bed by 8pm. The 4 hours between school letting out are filled up with homework, piano practice and dinner. I am very aware that there are many many kids who go to school all day and still take part in lots of extra- curricular activities. I just haven't figured out to make that work and everyone still get enough sleep. If we home school there are lots of daytime programs. The flexibility to play soccer for 8 weeks and then swimming, followed perhaps by gymnastics, excites me!

I have a great deal of peace with this decision. That peace is allowing me to deal with my nerves as I research curriculum, activities, and make plans. Home schooling is a huge ball to keep in the air. I must decide what other balls 

I  will let you in on a little secret.

This whole idea makes me nervous. I doubt myself. I have so much peace, I know this is where God is leading our family. Now I need to get my confidence up. So I am planning, and researching for next school year. It is so wild all the options available. So friends my prayer is for wisdom and balance.

 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sick, ick, ugh, and getting moving again

Last weekend I got ahead on my writing. I was so excited. Then on Wednesday I woke up sick. Vicious headache, sore throat and other yuck. URGH! Now 2 days later I am still not 100%. But I am tired of trying rest unsuccessfully.

When something scuttles my momentum like this I find getting moving again a struggle.  So this morning I got up. Late. But I count it success. I got us out of the house with help and shockingly on time. I will count this success again. Not only that, I also have everything I needed to take with me. I am sitting here trying to remember what to do next. I hate it when my brain doesn't work like I think it should. Struggling to focus. I made a  to do list. I know there is more to go on it. But for the life of me I cannot think of what.

Then I see the daffodils that signal spring for me. They lighten my heart and remind me this is not forever.


Lord, Guide this day. Give me clarity to move and accomplish what needs done. Bless you Father for all that you are. Thank you for all that you are!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is your passion? part 2

On Saturday I discussed passion and dreams. Everyone has them. Some of  us have too many to focus on any one dream.

Yet every day we make decisions.

We make choices on which activities are the most important toward our goals for that day. Do you have big goals for the day or will you be content to get dinner on the table in a timely manner? Do you know where you are going or are you floating through your days with no thought to direction or eventual destination?  Have you thought about where you want to end up? I find myself overwhelmed by the choices of what to do with myself.

There was an after school special when I was a kid. "The Million Dollar Cat" This cat had wisdom. My favorite quote comes from this fine movie " Inch by inch, life is a cinch. Yard by yard, it's very hard!"  I feel overwhelmed thinking about the big picture. But thinking about this week or that specific project or this month, I can conquer that. It is a smaller goal that I can handle. I can grab a hold of a project. That goal is small enough to take it on. Little by little each task or goal can be broken down into tiny doable segments. When I just say I want to write a book - that overwhelms me. It is too big. Too intimidating. I must, must, break it down into pieces I can handle.

So as you think and pray about your dreams, your goals. Don't overwhelm yourself. Breakdown the goal into doable pieces. Be realistic. Make the segments small and doable. Celebrate those little successes. Focus on the the first step. Conquer it. Keep trying until you conquer it. Celebrate conquering that step. Focus on the next step. Conquer it.

Pray, pray, pray! For direction, wisdom, stamina and endurance. Ask him to light your path. Do not worry about 5 steps in the future. Work on the next step.

Lord help me to focus on the next step and trust you to keep me directed and motivated toward the goals you want to me pursue.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A blank wall

What?

I don't hear anything.

A blank page.

A blank screen.

Ideas pop in and then swoosh they are gone.

A while ago I started writing this blog because I felt the push to write. To write what the Lord was teaching me. To write the lessons in the little everyday happenings. It wasn't comfortable. I was irritated that God was asking  this of me. I chose the blog format because of the accountability. Thank you so much friends for holding me accountable and encouraging me. I want "Whisper" to grow. Then I run into the blank wall. My hearing is muffled. Is God speaking? What am I supposed to write? Other times I cannot get everything down fast enough and I lose it. So frustrating.

So now I am on the other side of yet another blank wall. I am writing again and seeking the Father for direction and wisdom. I have come to enjoy the process of writing. It is only the wall that frustrates.

I am adding a passage of scripture to my mission for this blog. That scripture is I Kings 19: 11 - 13. This passage describes Elijah being sent to the mountain for Lord is going to pass by.  The Lord was not in the wind, fire, or the earthquake. The Lord was in the silence. I have found that the blank wall fades only when I quiet myself and listen in the silence. He comes to me when I settle not when I quake or rail like a storm.

I am overcoming the wall, listening for His whisper, and whispering my own thoughts forward.

Lord help me to wait on you. Help me to listen for you in the silence.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What is your passion?

If you were guaranteed you wouldn’t fail (or look goofy) what would you LOVE to do?

Kat at Inspired to Action issued this challenge. I have thought about it all week. What would I do? What is my passion? Is it possible to have multiple passions? I have so many things I enjoy. So many things I can excel doing. So much to choose from.

I would love to make money creating events (weddings, fundraisers, banquets, etc.) for folks. I would love to be a resource speaker / writer and be in active ministry. I would love to work at a living History site (like Colonial Williamsburg) sharing stories and history with the public.

There are so many things that interest me. I find myself waffling between dreams. Which is the one? Which will be the most fulfilling, in the center of God's will?

This brings up another chain of thought. I own a small home business with amazing potential. I love the people part of my business. The being with people. The prep work and the bookwork is an annoying side note. I know, KNOW, I could be wildly successful if I would just apply myself. How to motivate myself? My up line has asked me again and again "What will motivate you?!?!"  The answer is.... "I have No Idea."

So back to the original question :
             If you were guaranteed you wouldn't fail ( or look goofy ) what would you LOVE to do?

What is you passion?     and      How do you find it?

Lord show me the passion you have for me. Show me the motivation to go after the dream that is your will for my life!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bottling it up.... Bad Idea.

So I have made a mistake.

( mass Gasp!)

This is life. We all make mistakes. The course of action should be ask forgiveness, make it right, and move on. I seem to add another step. Beat myself to an emotional pulp.  Repeat. Cry some. Repeat. Try to breathe.

For the space of a week or two I bottled up my self disgust and anger. I tried to push it into a closet or stuff it into a box that I could hideaway. Hoping it would just dissipate or vanish. You know "out of sight and out of mind"?

Did you know this doesn't work?

It causes random bursts of emotions, anxiety in otherwise calm moments, inability to think clearly. In short bottling up these emotions - bad idea.

Monday, My friend,W, came over and I unloaded my brain all over her. Thank heaven.


Friends... Are you giving in to self disgust and self hatred? Give these things to God. Find a good friend you trust who will listen and remind you when your thinking stinks. Remind you of your worth and the truth of how God views you. Tell you how precious you are. Tell you that all people make mistakes, big and small. Remind you that self disgust and anger are not productive. AND this person should be willing to push you in love to create and stick to a plan to move past the mistake.

In the words of Pray for Rain:  "you gotta let go!"

Lord help me to forgive myself and ban the beat up monster.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Spelling Bee Part 2

 Thursday dawned with a chilly school delay.  Bummer. The spelling bee wasn't until the late afternoon so all was well. I arrived just after one pm and T was up on the platform. They were working through the practice rounds. T was relaxed and seemed to be enjoying herself. She grinned at me. As the first rounds started I felt so nervous for her. Actually I was a bundle of nerves for each child. The announcer would give a word and I would think "oooohhh that is a tricky one!" The kids did wonderfully. They marched up to the microphone and gave their spelling. I was so proud of all of them.  T  went 7 or 8 rounds. The word that got her? Kept. She forgot it began with a k. I didn't care! She did so wonderful. She was so graceful as she sat down. She smiled at me, her teacher, and her friends.

God is so very good. I really think I was more nervous than T. All of her nerves the night before were gone. He does that for us, you know. He equips and calms us when we need it. When I choose to turn to Him with my nerves, fears, etc. He responds with courage in the face of fear and comfort for those nerves. Just as He calmed my T and she had a wonderful experience.


Lord remind me to turn to you with my every concern - big or little.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Spelling Bee, Part I

A week ago a note came home from school, T had been selected to represent her class in the 2nd 3rd and 4th grade spelling bee. The top 3 spellers from each classroom will spell off .  We have known about the spelling bee for about a week. We practiced a little bit. Just enough to get her comfortable with the format, I thought. I was apparently mistaken. Tonight, when she should have been snuggling into her pillow, she folded her hands behind her head and peppered me with questions about what to expect tomorrow at the spelling bee.

"Mom? What happens if I miss the first word?"
"You sit down and listen to the other kids spell"
"Mom? What if they give me word I haven't studied?"
"T, You are a great speller. You will do fine. The important thing is to let it be fun."
(Here I had an "Oh my goodness I sound lie my mother!" moment.)
"How is it fun if I mess up at the beginning?"
"Choose. choose now that you will do your best and have fun."
(Insert more parental positive talk here ending with:)
"Good night! You both need sleep!"

As I said a prayer for her nerves to settle as I came down the steps. Thinking about her precious heart and how proud I am of her. T got into the spelling bee because she is diligent about studying her spelling words. My heart could burst. She earned her place. Yet still the doubts creep in. The unknown makes her nervous. Everyday Satan tries to undermine us. Erasing the weeks of excellent spelling scores and making her think this new experience is a scary one instead of fun.

Lord, Protect her. Give her joy in the experience.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Love Stories

A friend does a top ten challenge each week on Tuesdays. You can check that out here. So last week's top ten theme was top ten literary love stories in your opinion. As we discussed the options from smarmy - "Romeo and Juliet" to heartbreaking " Gone with the wind's Scarlett and Rhett" to inspiring " Claire and Jaime - The Outlander series" to sweet "Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin" I felt that odd tugging my soul. I racked my mind to come up with ideas for this list and the quiet tug went ignored.

Shame on me.

The day went on and  I continued to ruminate on  my favorite love stories. All of them, not only literary. Isn't it interesting how we invest in love, daydream about love, soak in it's beginnings, drown ourselves in love's mystery? We as a culture are in love with love. Seeking for it, striving for it, searching for it, imagining it, creating it, and  grieving it. Romance is every little girl's dream. Love every person's desire beyond all else.

I have heard people talk about the hole in the heart that everyone is trying to fill up with something. That place that only God can fill. I think this is why people are obsessed with love and the idea of love. Because we are bombarded with images of love we get a skewed idea of what we need.

The tug comes again....

The greatest love story.... "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish,  but have eternal life." John 3:16

That Christ would have died on the cross to pay for my sin even if I was the only one who needed it.

This is the most amazing love story ever written for me.


Caite

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Focus, focus, focus

I ended my last post with "Lord give me focus." The idea of focus requires two basic things... a subject and concentration. Why am I addressing this? Well as I was catching up on the blogs I read, God used Oh Amanda to zing me.

I mean serious ZING!!!!! Her post is about being in the moment.

Elizabeth Elliot is quoted saying " Wherever you are, be ALL there" (emphasis mine)

Amanda also quoted this. The reminder is ouchie. As in "Ouch, I needed to hear that and apply it in my life." I am always trying to do 2 -3  things at once and getting none of them done well. I need to be more focused. God wants all of me. Not what is left while I am making dinner, helping with homework and coaching piano from afar.  Even now as I write this I feel pulled in a couple different directions.

So are you living in the moment? Engaging fully in each event, each part of your day? Are you drifting? Or Bouncing from thing to thing, trying to do everything?

NO.

I have learned the  power of this word. It packs a huge impact - on my life, my sanity, my family. It is acceptable to tell the world no. It is acceptable to say "No, I cannot chair every committee there is." It is ok to take time to pray. It is good to seek the Lord for what you should and shouldn't take on. By choosing carefully and cautiously what you will engage in you can have the energy to be fully in each moment.

Many many of my friends have chosen a theme for their year. I think I have found mine.

Focus.

Choose to be in all in each moment.  Thanks Amanda, I needed the zing.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Week of Action

Monday I cleaned my desk. This sounds like such a simple thing. It wasn't. I am a piler. Pile it here, pile it there, stack this stuff in the corner. Piles and stacks all over the place. My desk and the small table next to it had no less than five stacks at least 8 inches tall. The Admiral had mentioned a few times that it was getting to him. (We share the desk.) So I set Monday for the task. It took all day. But OH! the satisfaction. There is one small stack left. It is 5 folders of current projects. I feel so... so... proud of myself. The desk is functional. I have used it for more than computer time. Why? Why do I wait so long? It doesn't matter. I took action.

Another action I took this week was to implement a new system. I am one of those people for whom adventures, experiences, and activities will always be preeminent over housework. Always. Therefore I forget to do things like changing the bed sheets on any kind of a schedule. I want to be a better steward of my home. Last week the thought occurred to me to have an assignment notebook. I am list person. I love to cross things off a written list. I get much more done when I have a list. So I got a school calendar. The kind that has weekday pages between the month pages. I went through and wrote a list of tasks like changing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, school projects, special projects etc. I put the housework type things scheduled on specific days. If I don't get to something on the to do list today it moves to tomorrow. I maintained this all week. I am excited. I am also praying I will continue to be faithful to the system.






So Today I am extremely content with the week past. We had 2 snow days, 2 delay days, and still I managed to accomplish a lot. By week's end, I had vacuumed, cleaned the desk, cleaned a bathroom, took down the Christmas tree, helped Pixie with her "100 day" project, done 2/3 of the laundry, and unloaded the dishwasher 5 or 6 times. Hooray!

Friday evening we attend a family PJ Party at our church complete with fun projects and silly munchkins. We did the Christmas Tree Sunday afternoon. I am glad for the week past and the fun we had. I am thankful for a new productivity system.

Lord Continue to give me direction and help me to be focused on the things you have for me to give attention too.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Snowy Saturday

Today is Saturday. It is snowing. Large flakes flowing from the sky in a seeming river of white. They again cover everything. Coating the world in a blanket of whiteness. Looking out my window the world seems quiet and serene.

Inside, the Admiral is scrapping down a popcorn ceiling. The girls are playing clubs. One club in the mid living room and one in their bedroom. It has been discovered that fitted sheets make excellent tents.   I have written birthday greetings to my great aunt and puttered around with stuff.




I sit and watch the snow fall I find contentment.  So much of life is striving for the next goal, the next thing. This week, God through nature, slowed us down. Two snow days, two school delays, radical changes of my plans.








We had a blessed time together, my girls and I, on those two snow days. Legos, piano, friends, books, princesses, & barbies. On top of all that I got stuff done. I will talk about that more in tomorrow's post.

Friends, slow down. There is sooo much "urgent" in our lives. Slow down and play with the Legos. Choose to be content. The urgent will be there tomorrow.










Thank You Father for the slow down.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Maximize Your Mornings Challenge

Okay so I have several others that I read regularly. One is Kat at Inspired to Action. Kat's mission is to help us be intentional Moms and women of faith. Currently she is getting the winter "Maximize Your Mornings" challenge going. I have decided to go for this. I am telling you all about it because, well, I can be lazy and I need the accountability. So looking to make small sustainable changes? Check out this challenge: Maximize Your Mornings  Join me?

Caite

Thursday, February 3, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

One of my favorite faith bloggers is Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. Ann has recently released her book "One Thousand Gifts: A dare to live fully right where you are." The book is part biography, part life lessons, part journey story. I am waiting impatiently to get my copy of the book. I read the first chapter online and now I am waiting. Waiting for payday. I don't really mind waiting. Yet I am so excited to continue the journey. Ann's writing style is unique and captivating. Check out the the trailer.

 

You can win a copy of this great book today at Inspired Mama. Chelsey is giving away a copy but you have to comment on her blog to get in the drawing! There are 6 ways to win so Check it out!


Caite

New Song

The function of worship has always been one of vital importance to my faith. Coming into the presence of the most high, offering myself, all that I have, to honor and praise the Creator. I am an imperfect offering. Unworthy to look upon the most High God. Yet HE asks for my attention. HE asks for my worship. I can do no less than give my praise. The form of worship is irrelevant. I do not care if I am in a cathedral surrounded by pipes booming out His majesty or in a woods listening to the water gurgling it's joy to the maker. Hymns, choruses, songs with words, songs without, high church liturgy or free flow worship...they are all worship. Worship is the intentional honoring the High King of Heaven in relationship.

I love to worship.

I love to sing.

I mentioned in the fall that I sing on the worship team here. This has been a growing experience. It has been a good experience.  Each week I am challenged to give myself to the worship and still pay attention to what we are doing as a team. When I commented about this struggle to really worship while leading, My sister said " It will come." She has led worship for awhile. Still, I had a hard time believing her. But it turns out she is correct. I am getting there. I am getting more comfortable.

Our families came for Christmas in two shifts this year. Mine came over New Years and it happened I was scheduled to sing that Sunday. Thursday night I went to rehearsal, and practiced and our leader said "Someone needs to solo this song during communion."  I walked over to my friend who plays piano and looked at the music. "Hmmmm, I could probably do that.." Said more to myself than anyone else. We launched into rehearsing the rest of the music. When we finished our leader said to me:
"So you got the solo?" 
"Ummm..." 
Stutter... Look at piano playing friend " Do you think I can?" 
She says "It is right in your sweet spot, do you have time to practice?"
" I can make time, Mom will be here to play with the kids. "

"ok. I'll do it"

She stays and goes over it a few times with me. I am shaking and excited. It isn't difficult. But solos make me nervous VERY nervous.  By Saturday evening I am sure I should wriggle my way out of this. My sister and I go on a pizza run. I sing it for her in the car a capella... I am shaky but have the basic tune. Sis says " don't be tentative." Sis knows the song really, really well. "Okay."

Sunday morning at rehearsal I did well. I was comfortable but nervy. Prayer time helped and service started. Communion time came and I was offering the song to God. I did make a mistake. I looked at  my accompanist and she helped me get back on track. And I just sang. I worshiped and I loved it. The act of obedience will send you flying. Choosing to step out and give my nerve to Him allowed me to have an amazing experience. I will not say it was easy. But the center of His will is where I want to be.

Lord, help me set myself aside and  focus on being obedient in the center of your will.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A long week...

After very busy and wonderful weekend, about which I will post later, I have been waylaid by my own sinus irritation, my small one's tummy trouble and the lack of sleep that goes with that. It has been a long week. We are both on the mend now and ready to get back to the swing of life.

Thank you for understanding that every now and again we get run over by life.


"Lord help me to reach up and get over this bump. Restore my energy. Thank you for knowing and loving me right where I am."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Gift Moment

I sit today waiting to pick up my kids from school. I am living in a gift moment. A 20 minute window of time that is too short to go shopping in, too short to make going home worthwhile, and too long to feel efficient.

I am early.

Now, as those of you who know me personally check the sky for cracks since I am never early, I am cherishing the silence of my car. The radio is off. The wipers are off. The engine hums. The heat wooshes at a soft steady pace. I am watching the snow falling. It is swiftly rendering the windshield opaque. For now, I am ok with that.

Yesterday school closed due to ice on the roads. Part of me was thrilled. Most of me, however, struggled with the disruption to my the plan. Pixie is fighting tummy trouble was also not in my the plan. It makes her cry. I cannot help her. I can only pray for her. It doesn't feel adequate in the face of my child's pain. It is a virus we just have to get through. My grand plans to love on the Admiral in his love language were scuttled. My dreams of a fun day sabotaged. Late, late dinner. Messy kitchen. Hurting baby. I fall apart as the evil one says - "See! You really stink at this whole wife thing. What kind of Mom are you? Why don't you help the little one while she hurts?"

I buy it.

That was yesterday.

From the clear perspective of a new day, I can see where the whispers came from. I can rebuke them in the name of Christ. Pixie is still hurting, but improving. The Admiral stayed home with her today so I can keep today's appointments. I am blessed. The chili for Sunday is cooking. The cake for Saturday's party is baked. My amazing husband works on laundry when his computer is compiling.  Now I find myself enveloped in silence.

A gift.

Nothing I should be doing. No tasks to get done. Twenty minutes to sit and be with Jesus.


I sit.          I listen.         I pray.            I calm.

"Thank you Lord for a gift moment. Thank you for helping grasp it to the fullest. Your blessings overwhelm. A time alone with no job or task. 
Time just to be."   


Look back, Friends, at the week past. Do you see them? The gift moments the Father sprinkles into your days. Did you see it while you were in the moment? Tell me about your last gift moment from heaven.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Every Single Attack....

... Is a request?

A good friend shared this thought today. She was in a meeting recently with her employer and the organization's new board chair. The chairperson challenged them to work hard to view every single attack as a request.  I thought about this idea for hours.

The challenge to deal with, ward off, and dodge attacks is part of the fabric of our lives. Surviving attacks becomes the primary function of so many people's lives. This leader was saying " Don't dodge. Do not merely deal with. Don't survive. Solve."

Find the request in the attack and answer it. What are they seeking? understanding? information? permission? grace? When someone attacks  you view it as a request and reach out to them. Choosing to react to an attack as a request allows you to respond with diffusing kindness. When you receive an attack and choose to respond with anger, grumpiness, and pain, there are then two grumpy people living a negative experience. When you choose to seek the request in the attack and respond to it. You turn that experience for the positive.
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

There is one more aspect to this. That is the first word. This is not a sometimes practice. Treat Every single attack this way. Not some of them. ALL of them, big or small. When you make a practice of looking for and answering the request in each complaint, you retain control. You choose not to be reactive. You choose to be proactive.   
Luke 6:31

In my mind there is an element of this that speaks to the golden rule. I want to be treated with understanding. I want people to hear my requests. So this whole exercise isn't new. God invented it. Listen to others. Treat them the way you want to be treated. Quit defending and shift the focus off of you and onto them.


Where is your focus?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A day, A year, A lifetime

Yesterday the Admiral and I marked our 13/17th anniversary. I am continually surprised at that. Have we really been together 17 years?!?! Wasn't just a couple of years ago I sat with my daddy and watched the snow fall as I prepared to meet the Admiral at the altar? No. You say? Oh. 13 years. It has gone by so quickly.

I think back to that winter day. I was nervous and calm. Nervous because this was the biggest commitment I had ever made. Calm because this man is a man of honor, caring, my best friend. This man loves me.  I was so ready, after four plus years of dating, to join our journeys together. This memory of snowflakes, lace, and candlelight delights my heart. Music, smiles, family, and well wishes. All drops of joy.

A year goes by. Then four. We cherish, disagree, play, build and journey together. Growing. T arrived 3 days before our fifth anniversary. A gift we were never certain we would receive. Two years later, Pixie joined us. How blessed we are. In each moment we seek the Father's face.  "Guide us, Lord. Equip us to raise these treasures."

Now we celebrate 13 years of marriage and 8 years of parenthood. God is so good. I am so very thankful the Admiral. He is my best friend. He is my joy. He is my aggravation. He is my passion after Christ. I pray daily I will be the wife he needs. I pray I will be the wife God designed me to be. I pray the Lord will give me the strength and discipline to follow my husband, my leader.

Admiral, I love you.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Eight Years Ago Today...

At 3 months old
...My precious gift, T, came into the world at 6:58pm. T is an amazing young woman, sensitive, compassionate, and growing in faith. She was born three days short of our fifth anniversary.


Halloween age 5








Everyday T challenges me to live my faith. She challenges me to be a better example.
6 and a half



helping Grandma - age 7




















I am so blessed to be her Momma!


T on our Snow day 1/12/2011

Happy Happy Birthday T!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Some days school is canceled. Why? Well Tuesday the roads were treacherous. 4+inches of snow fell and lots of accidents occurred. The prediction of more snow led to a snow day Wednesday.


How did we spend this windfall of time together? We were complete bums.




The three of us stayed in our jammies until well after noon. We read books, laughed, watched Extreme Home Makeover, giggled and were generally irresponsible with our time. We did manage to put away some folded laundry. I think it ended up in the correct drawers.







Eventually we ate lunch and practiced piano.

Then we bundled up and headed out for adventure. A hill of some sort was needed so off to the college where the soccer field is cut out of a knoll resulting in fabulous mid level sliding.  I was thinking we would be there, oh, maybe 30 minutes. An hour later we had a mom popsicle and girls having the time of their lives. A wonderful memory.




Are you making memories with your babies? I have the tendency to get so wrapped up in the things that have to get done - the homework, piano, laundry, and dinner. I forget to make memories and this snow day gave me the opportunity to really focus on doing just that.



Scripture tells us children are a blessing and a gift. I know that. I love my kids but I also find myself frustrated with their kid-ness. Why can they not do their own laundry especially if they are going to change clothes 3 times every day? What is purpose of  the piano practice if you are going to get up 35 times in 30 minutes? I exaggerate. However there are days my brain overloads and I feel this way.




Then God gives me a snow day.