Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ain't nobody got time for that

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The sky is so amusing to me.  I am always captured by the sunset and I'm so thankful I have this beautiful view out the back of my house.  If I could, I'd take down every wall across the back and put windows in.  In the evenings when I'm supposed to be cooking supper, I catch myself standing at the back door, looking out at the sky while the rice cooks to mush, and the bread burns.  I usually run to get my camera and take 57 pictures while John says, "How many pictures of the same thing can you take? You did this yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that."  And he's right.  I just can't get enough.

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We have started the process of lent and after a whopping 7 days, I am pleased with how it has turned out.  Let me give you a quick run-down:
  • We as a family decided to fast from TV viewing {at night}.  I proposed, {just to give us something to go by and because I'm a little OCD about planning and scheduling} we would start our fast beginning at 4:00 every afternoon.  The TV remains turned off from then until the kids are in bed, and if after that my husband feels like he may explode without it, he turns it on to watch the same old junk over and over.  Surprisingly, he has left it off a couple of nights, and it has been fantastic.
  • I am fasting from Facebook Monday-Saturday.  Who knew how much time I would save?!  I really didn't think it took away that much out of my day.  I just checked in here and there.  But man alive!  It has been a blessing on several levels.
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{One of my favorite parts of this picture is the "Families Are Forever" sign.   In today's society that means absolutely nothing.  Even in the Christian world-view.  When it gets tough, we give up and move on to greener grass.  And yes, I know it can get really tough.  And no, I've not walked in some paths that so many have, but I do know that God intended  for a family to last forever.  There are no doubt exceptions that I believe God allows, but the VAST majority of "Biblical divorces" have nothing to do with what the Bible actually says.  I do not say that to be arrogant.  I know my marriage is NOT immune to failure.  I pray for His grace and mercy and protection on my family.  It is scary.}
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Moving on...

Just to stay super honest, in the past 7 days, I've had to be on FB two times outside my {allowed} day.  I needed to get some info from a teacher, and also let a friend know plans had changed and that was the quickest way to do so.  And I also 'shared' a blog post from another blog because I thought it was just too good not to pass along.  And just to clarify {because I still think I have to explain myself way more than I should} I can share things on Facebook without actually being on Facebook.  So that gives me the opportunity to still put things out there that may bless another person without 'breaking the rules' per say. 

Also, we did watch the Gold Rush special on Friday night.  After lots of begging {from kids AND husband}, I gave in.

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I seriously don't want to be legalistic about any of this.  I don't believe it's intended to make you feel guilt-ridden.  But instead to make you more aware of the need for Jesus and how much He gave for us. 

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While on our fast, we've had time for some pretty cool crafts, long dinner conversations, playing games, some serious hide-and-seek, more bedtime stories and snuggling, and some super duper tea parties.  And I've had more time to's been so nice.

I would even venture to say, it has somewhat simplified life.
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The time away from the social-media has been a blessing.  Don't get me wrong.  I have enjoyed Facebook.  It is super convenient.  And there are some really good aspects of it.  I just felt the need to back away somewhat.  I think I had become too dependent on it and the ability to know every little detail of other's lives had become in some crazy kind of way an added stressor that I don't need.  The break has been refreshing.

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So, after 5 days into this new {for our family anyway} idea, I am liking it.

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Life is waaaay too short.  Kids are growing waaaay too fast.  I'm getting old-er.  And that stuff just steals away my precious time more than I ever thought.

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And really, I agree with Sweet Brown.  "Ain't nobody got time for that."


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Not a sometimes love

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"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:38,39

On this Valentine's Day I'm thankful that God's love for me is not a sometimes kind of love.  His love and mercy and grace never grows thin.

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure.  That He should give his only Son, and make a wretch his treasure.  Why should I gain from his reward?  I cannot give an answer.  But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom.

Whether I deserve His love or not.  Whether I can return His love or not.  Whether I mess up.  Make big mistakes.  It doesn't matter.  His love never changes.  His is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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Before the throne of God above I have a strong and perfect plea.  A great high Priest whose name is Love.  Whoever lives and pleads for me.  My name is graven on His hands.  My name is written on His heart.

 Happy Valentine's Day friends!

I hope you know the love that's not a sometimes kind of love. 
But the kind that spared nothing.

If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" ~ Romans 8:31,32


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mr. & Mrs.

"Maybe you have communication problems over things you think are problems, but God does not. We often focus on people and situations, while God's focus is on us.  He is using the things in our lives as tools for accomplishing his work in us." ~ Paul David Tripp

I believe that God is at work in every situation to conform us to the image of His Son.  And marriage is definitely no exception.  In fact, I think it may be the greatest avenue for molding us into His image.  I found this out quick.  And it is still a fact today.  So many of us think marriage was designed to make us happy.  And I find that to be untrue.  We find ourselves in circumstances daily that prove that idea to be false.  We are two imperfect people trying to do life together.  It ain't easy, Jack.  But behind the circumstances is a God of love who is relentlessly at work to make us holy.  Rather than tell us that God has forgotten us, our circumstances shout to us that he has remembered us and will not leave until his work is complete!

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"The struggles are not a mistake.  They are tokens of redemptive love.  Trials should not lead us to doubt the love of the King; they should convince us of it." ~ Tripp
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After almost 7 short years of marriage, I can confidently say communication is the toughest thing for us to conquer.  Or figure out.  Or get.  Or even sorta-kinda become good at. 

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I'd be totally lying if I said we even have the foggiest clue on how to communicate.  Can someone please tell me...Why in heaven's name is it so hard to communicate with someone you spend the vast majority of your hours with?!!?! 

I just keep holding onto the promise that He's still workin' on me.

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A lot of days, good communication between us has gone MIA.  I feel like we are speaking a foreign language.  The problem is we're speaking two different ones.   It.just.ain't.gonna.happen. 
I found these pretty journals at Dayspring and my little brain said, "Ahha.  This could be a start." 
As I have said before, I love notes.  Notes of any kind, any size, and for any reason.  So, my idea for these little jewels was to enhance our communication skills.  Sounds like a good idea, right?  I have read in the past on several different occasions, that when you just can't seem to talk it out, try writing a letter.  We have done that a few times, and it actually worked.
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So far this is a good plan.  And what I mean by so far, is we've each written one entry.  It certainly doesn't take the place of real, live communication and it hasn't been a miracle worker, but I have hope.  And not to mention, I love to read what John writes.  I usually end up laughing out loud {more than once}, crying, and wondering why in the world we don't do this more often.  Mostly because 1.} He is not a man of many words about some things. So it takes effort. And I like to know he put forth some effort. 2.} It takes time. 3.} He doesn't like to write. {After we got married, he immediately forgot how to write a check.} 4.} He is a terrible speller.  To the point of it being humorous.  And by the way, I love that about him.
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I'll share a few lines because they are just too darn good not to:::
{Note: no corrections have been made.}
John: "I am not going to be able to write as long as you do, or I might fall asleep, or get corpotunnel syndrom or something.  I know I spelled that wrong.  You can quite laughing now.  No really you can stop laughing."

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I have been thinking a lot about this Easter season and how I really want to teach my children that Easter is not about how nice we dress or how many eggs we find, but that it's about the greatest sacrifice ever made.  I have been researching the process of lent and we have come up with how our family is going to participate this year.  Although we are not Catholic, I see nothing at all wrong with denying ourselves of a few things in an attempt to better identify with Christ in those weeks before His crucifixion.  I am very well aware of the fact that we can never know the depths of His pain, but the idea is to somewhat identify with Him through the sacrifice of cetain things we enjoy.  Things such as technology, certain foods we like, and/or entertainment whether it be T.V., internet, or movies.  Just whatever floats your boat.
I said all that to make this next entry make sense:::
Me: Wednesday starts our 6 weeks of lent.  I have decided what I am giving up for my personal sacrifice and for the 'family sacrifice' I was thinking about T.V.  What do you think?"
John: "I don't know much about it, but I already learned it isn't something that comes out of the dryer."
See what I mean!  It's just too funny not to do!!!
And to clarify, just so noone thinks I'm making fun of my husband...before I researched 'lent' I didn't know much more about it than that it wasn't something that came out of the dryer either.  And secondly, I love to read what he writes.  It somehow makes me love him even more!
Hope you and your valentine have a happy day! 
With lots of good communication ;-}

Sunday, February 10, 2013

When you're just not good enough

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"Learn to see God in the details, in the laundry, the dishes, the ants on the ground. We were created to resonate with stories. God loves stories, Jesus is a story...." ~Sarah Markley, The Best Days of My Life

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Do you see God in the details?  Most times, I can't say that I do.  I just see the details.  The laundry.  Another four loads?!  I just washed every. single. piece. in. here. yesterday!  Make the beds again?  Pay the bills?  I just paid that!!!  Cook supper?  Really?  You're hungry again?  Sweep the floor?  Not again!  Go here.  Go there. 

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"Mama, can you...?"  "Mama, will you...?"  Mama, I need...."  "Honey will you...?" 

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I think I may scream.  Or run away.  Or pretend I can't hear all the "I needs."

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I'm tired.  I fall in the bed and wonder how in the world I'll do it all over again tomorrow.  Ever feel that way?  I know you do.  We all do. 

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I truly want to do the best I can as a mom and a wife.  But some days it just doesn't work.

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My kids drive me to the brink of insanity.  They hate food.  And sometimes they hate me.  John and I bicker and fight over the little things.  The house is a mess and dinner is burnt.  The kids fight and argue over. every. little. thing.  Today my sweet baby girl took her precious little foot and stomped mine because I told her to let me button her dress.  Ughh! 

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Alone, I'm just not good enough.  I can't get it right.  I can't make it work.  I'll never get it all done.  I'll disappoint.  I'll mess up.  My kids will too.

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Far too often, I'm living for tomorrow and missing today.  Wondering what's next and missing the moment.  Planning ahead and forgetting the here and now.

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"I hear His whispers    ---purpose is lived out in the daily steps.   We are formed and continuously refined in the seemingly monotonous. My weakness makes way for the Mighty One."

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I love these precious peeps more than I could ever imagine.  And I don't want to mess up.  I don't want to miss out.  I want to be everything I can be for them. 
I am so thankful for God's love and mercy.  I am grateful that I don't have to do it alone.  He has a plan and it is bigger and better and more amazing than anything I can ever imagine.  He doesn't need me to worry about it.  He's got it covered.  And no matter how many times I mess up, He never does.

He just wants us to be content.  At peace.  And rest in Him.  He is ready to do a mighty work in us.  But maybe, just maybe we are holding back.

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."

When asked in an interview how he has been so successful, Micheal Phelps replied, "You've just got to stay in the pool longer than others."

Don't give up, Mama.  Don't get distracted, Wife.  Don't leave your work until it is finished.

Stay in the pool, girls.  And write your story on the hearts of those you love. 

Just stay in the pool.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This life

God appoints people who disappoint to point to the God who doesn’t. There are no Rock Stars here. Christ is the Rock and we are the stars who reflect His light. Success is found in servanthood and obedience right where I am. Christians aren’t about applause, they are about an altar. God wants real, honest, threadbare women to do His work His way. I’m not rain, I can’t quench the dry places. I can only point to the one who can. But I can have my voice join my sisters’ voices and together we make thunder! ~Ann, A Holy Experience

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Thank heavens for a God who never disappoints!  In a world shattered by disappointment and pain, I'm so thankful for the Rock.

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The days seem to be getting longer and we are happy happy happy.  Being stuck indoors is not how this crew likes to live life.

Kisses are pretty good.

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And hugs are good.  And I'm thankful. 

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Lipstick makes all things better.

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And so does driving...when you're 5.

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But for Mama, not much beats quite time.

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It is pretty much a necessity.  Around here, at least.

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Little helpers in the kitchen make life sweeter too.

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I have overcome the 'craft phobia'.   And I am so glad.  We are painting up a storm. 

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And Mama loves it.  Who knew?

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And puzzles....puzzles.  Oh my!  We are into the puzzles.

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Besides loving the preciousness that's putting the puzzle together, I sure do like the message of this one...

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And oh my heavens, sweet little notes.

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I am a note person.  Whether it be a reminder for myself, or a note for someone else.

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But the best kind are the short, sweet ones.  The ones for no reason.  Those really make my day.

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I am super excited about this little family project....

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I am as excited to learn more about the lenten season myself as I am about teaching my children.

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And him wanting to hold my hand is always good.
He's happy with being him.  He doesn't need to be anything else.  He hasn't learned yet to try and be anything but who he is.  Such freedom.
He doesn't know that one day he'll feel the pressure to be good enough, to be holy enough, to be fast enough, quite enough, tall enough, smart enough.........
The "enoughs" wear me out.