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.


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?


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.


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?


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!


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?" 
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.