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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

" You are the leaf Daddy!"

I have the privilege to sing with the worship team at our church. I sing two weeks and am off two weeks. The Sundays on which I sing I leave the house an hour earlier than the rest of my family. It becomes a fun surprise to see my girls after Sunday school. They always surprise me in their clothing choices. Sunday when they ran to greet me I noticed they were both wearing deep purple dresses. I was also wearing a strong purple sweater. I said, "Wow! We look like a bunch of grapes. Daddy didn't get the memo." The Admiral being attired in my favorite hunter green sweater. To which my wonderful oldest replied "You are the leaf, Daddy!" I laughed out loud... My delight in her creativity spilling out. They headed for the cookies and I went in the other direction. Soon I had a few moments alone and my thoughts overtook me. The leaves are on the vine shading and protecting the grapes. The leaves draw in the nourishment from the sun and rain, growing the grapes fuller, plumper, juicier.

I must derail a moment and share a struggle I have. I struggle to give the Admiral headship of our home. Now I know this is muddy water in the feminist world we live in. However it is scriptural. Ladies we are called very clearly to submit to our husbands. Ephesians 5 verse 21 makes no bones about this.
 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Submit. The word has a negative connotation. A feeling of giving up control or governance of self. Yet when I read the verse " ... out of reverence for Christ". I don't see a giving up. I see an honoring of my savior. The next verse reads:
 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
According to this verse, we, as women, are to give 'governance' or authority to our spouses.  This doesn't mean giving up my voice. This doesn't mean forfeiting who I am to my husbands whim. If you read on the  verse says "Husbands are the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church". Verse 25 and following:
 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Photo courtesy
 See the directives to the husbands? It doesn't say 'rule with an iron fist'. It doesn't say 'take and order her around for your comfort'. It says "love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." They are to care for and shelter us. The husbands are to give themselves up for their wives. So it becomes a mutual giving of authority. God designed men to lead their households. Created men to follow His example as the head of the family. Willing even to lay down his life for his family. To deny him headship is to deny his God given role in the family. Be careful here, headship is not equal to power. Headship is leading, caring, cherishing, guiding, giving, providing. The guys have huge job. 

This is a struggle for me as an independent 21st century woman. I want to be in charge. I want to call the shots. I don't want to be seen as weak. The idea of submitting to another person has been ingrained into me as bad. So I am working hard to give my husband headship of our family. I want to work with him as a team to raise our precious ones. When big girl said "You are the Leaf Daddy!" The picture in my mind blew open. I saw the Admiral as more. I saw him as our provider, cherisher, leader, lover and guide. Like the leaf that covers and protects the growing grapes, sometimes at great cost to self, I see my husband as the head of our family. I will support him in the role God has given him.

Abba, help me to affirm my husband and be an example to my girls.

Monday, January 10, 2011

In the Moment...

A time of quiet. Sunday afternoon. Time to wrap up in ones own thoughts and ideas without disturbance from siblings. Sunday afternoon quiet. Moments of bliss.

One draws, curled up in an over stuffed chair, while her ipod rocks the tunes. The other colors  in the dining room. I sit down to write. Soon I hear a little pixie voice...
"Sing Pra-a-aise to the Father,
Sing Pra-a-aise to the Son,
Sing Pra-a-aise to the Spirit, who 
ma-a-a-a-a-kes us one."
My small one is coloring away to her own score and script that only she knows. My heart bursts. I watch from afar, her sister is enveloped in her own thoughts, as Pixie gives her mind and tongue over to the praise of the God she is only just beginning to know deeper.

I celebrate quietly within. Yet I know. I know I am not always the example I should be. I know there is so much to impart. I plead, 
"Lord ! Let me a vessel worthy to raise them to hunger for you. 
Please, Papa God. Lead me to show them the way to you."

The blessings hidden in quiet time. His peace pours over me like a waterfall of love. He  reaches into my soul.
"Dear one - I love them more than you can imagine.
I'll equip you for the job I have called you to."

I do not need to be perfect. I need His equipping to be the parent They need. I must trust Him to be my guide. I will choose to hum along ... In the Moment.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Does this have eterenal value?

Does this have eternal value?

I wrote that title down months ago. I keep passing by the page it is written on in my journal. I think that I do not really want to face this idea. The idea makes me uncomfortable. If I evaluate my activities by the standard of: "Does this have eternal value?" or "What is the eternal value in this?" I see I spend a lot of energy on activities that do nothing for the kingdom or the world.  I want to do what I want to do. I like playing solitaire or other computer games. I like reading frivolous novels. But what value do these activities have? Our society spends an incredible amount of our time doing things that do not seem to have eternal value.  How do I prioritize my actions, my to do list? So many things on my to do list are things that further my desire for a better, nicer, more comfortable life. I am not wholly focused on an eternal kingdom. I admit it. I hear myself saying "I am hungry for God. I am faith focused." Really? When I am playing silly FB games ad nauseum how is that eternally focused? When I read novel for the 4th time how does that deepen my faith?  At least crafting or scrapbooking is creating something.
Image courtesy of stock.XCHNG.
This is a struggle for me. Guilt pours across my consciousness. I think carefully about what the Lord would have me doing. Through months of struggling with this and ignoring it by turn, I find myself realizing that "frivolous things" can be engaged in without guilt. IF. If my assigned tasks are completed. If I have spent time with the Lord. If I do not let the frivolous overtake the purposes God has assigned to me. Likewise weighing the things I choose to do by the eternal value needs to be a daily occurrence. Daily seeking God's guidance for His will for my activities.  I cannot take on every need, no matter how noble or necessary. I must choose based on the Father's directions.

Lord help me look to you for guidance. Help me to seek activities of eternal value as you lead me forward. Lead me to work diligently so that my tasks are completed first.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Changes and babysteps

A new year... The theme of the moment, I am sure. It is fun to think of starting anew. A new year is a fresh beginning, a chance to re-work your self and your systems.  Like the beginning of the school year, we restructure our lives repeatedly throughout each year.  So New Years for me involves looking over the fall and summer and deciding what I need to adjust or change.

We have decided that the time has come for our girls to have their own rooms. This will facilitate different bedtimes. Which I am praying will help the not sleeping problem.  Of course anytime you make a decision to change one thing.... You have to change twenty things. Beds, paint, storage organization, bedding. What an adventure... All to change one kiddo's bedtime. It will be good. When we get there.

We have committed ourselves to this big change that has been in process for a long time. I feel overwhelmed. Then today I was reminded that some amazing things are accomplished  by  little steps. Kat over at Inspired to Action wrote today about the downside of radical. This time of year we tend to go radical instead of taking baby steps in our changes. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I get all grandiose in my goals and then, pitch them out the window because they seem impossible. A classic biter off of more than she can chew. So as I evaluate and look toward the New Year, I find myself looking at tiny, baby step changes I can make and maintain. Here, today, I am making public my personal baby-steps for January.

#1 I choose to be aware of my portion sizes at meals.
#2 regular bi-weekly exercise
#3 planning my work, working my plan - having a plan for each week

Please pray for me as I work to implement my baby steps toward New Year's changes and goals.

"Inch by inch, Life is a cinch. Yard by yard, it's very hard." The Million Dollar Cat