Oh the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the rain and the spring trees…
The Lord is good to me.
Lent is a time where many people “give up” something for 40 days in honor of the great sacrifice Our Father gave up for us…His Son. Jesus died on a cross for our sins, and it is this period of Lent that leads up to the death and resurrection that we intensely remember this gracious gift. I decided to give up something simple…Words with Friends…a scrabble like game that I play on my phone many times throughout the day when I have a minute to spare. I build words with friends in places I used to live and places I now live. I even build words with my husband! However, these are precious minutes that I really could spend attending to the now in front of me verses a game board of meaningless letters. I also figured I could spend more time in HIS WORD. That is something I need to gain more of…spend more minutes reading.
Reading posts of friends on Facebook this week I noted that several of my friends are giving up Facebook. “See you after Lent!” I have taken hiatus from social media before too. That is a great thing to do from time to time…it gives you perspective on the draw it has and that you can live life without it. What else can we live without? I saw a friend post this to Facebook yesterday:
If you want to read more about this challenge click here: http://www.whitehouseblackshutters.com/40-bags-in-40-days-2014/
It doesn’t truly matter the size of the bag or the number. The thing that matters is the heart. What are you doing to clean out your heart during Lent? I am pondering that question today. I do like to give things away. Sometimes I am reluctant to give away the Word of God though. I am praying through that as well. How can I evangelize more? How can I share God’s love today and every day?
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
Found on: Sol Lym – Saved by Jesus
Where do dreams come from? I have been slowly reading through Holley Gerth’s 40 Days of Encouragement for Your Heart…Opening the Door to Your God-Sized Dream. Chapter 38 is what I read this morning. She discussed that each dream has a root…an origination. Most dreams are not unique. Others have had the same dream or someone or something has inspired you. God, family, friends, strangers, books, and our own unique minds inspire dreams.
I am a part of Holley’s “God Sized Dreamers.” My dream last year was to start a Moms in Prayer group. I did not. My dream seemed to be too big…too hard to accomplish…logistics did not fit into my schedule or the schedule of others. I opted to stay in my Community Bible Study and church fellowship on Sundays, but I did not start a Moms in Prayer group because I did not feel it was the right time. Not enough interest from others, and I found out a group all ready existed but they met on a day that I work. Sometimes dreams are deferred.
I deferred my dream in part because I was scared. Scared it would fail. Would anyone come if I set a time and place? How could I lead something like this? I’m an introvert. How could I lead women in prayer in this structured way? My friend Kim in Kansas was the one to encourage me to start a group here in Florida. Maybe I will some day. Perhaps I will try to find that group that is all ready meeting and join them next year?
Each year is full of new beginnings. I like spring. The flowers bloom, and we celebrate Easter. The ultimate new beginning. The resurrection of Christ leads us to HOPE! Our heavenly Father knew were not perfect. We are flawed, sinful, and needed the guidance and love of His Son to show us that through believing in Him we can do all things. He will give us strength.
“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” PSALM 33:11
Thank you for the gift of blogging. It is a place to journal our in most thoughts and share them with You and others. Help us to dream and to accept when dreams change a bit. We praise you for purpose you give to each of us daily.
p.s. To those that have been following my blog I took a LONG time off. I struggled again last summer with anxiety and depression. It took a few months to get back to feeling good, and I have been focusing more on my responsibilities of work, family, and friends. Blogging is fun, but it does take some time! Happy Saturday!
Where do we belong?
We belong in service. Service to those we meet on a day to day basis. Strangers, family, friends, and most importantly our Lord loves a servant’s heart. He had one. He willingly went to spend time with fishermen teaching them how to fish for the hearts of men. Jesus spent time with sinners. He healed the sick. Our Lord stooped to belong in our world.
Our world does not foster service. Children and adults want the easy road…to be served. As a mom, wife, and friend…I feel called to serve. It is an endless outpouring…
I serve our children by teaching them self-control. Our four year old wanted a mountain of Hershey kisses for breakfast today. I served him 4 chocolate kisses, a glass of milk, and a real kiss. Our seven year old would play endless hours of Wii or tablet games, but I teach him self-control by blocking out time for screen time and gently reminding him to engage in some outdoor play or real talk time with me. Oh, and he needs to eat his breakfast too!
I serve my husband by being present. I started this blog post an hour ago. It would have taken 5 minutes to write, but since he entered into the office and was heading to the shower…I stopped. We gather minutes as mothers of small children. As his wife…I chose to stop my screen time to go be present in the bathroom. Getting ready together. He has left for work now, but we are both ready and refreshed to start our days. I serve my husband by being present in cleaning our house (a little), caring for our sons, and spending the early morning and late evening moments with him…not my computer or the kids. We carve our time to serve one another.
I serve my friends. I try to send encouraging emails, post status updates that uplift on Facebook, and Tweet the Word to my Twitter friends. I serve my friends by praying for my virtual friends and my real life neighbors. People are hurting everywhere and in need of God’s peace, a smile, or a gesture of help.
We belong in service because in giving love…we are giving Christ. How can you serve someone today? Where do you belong today? Who belongs with you?
In photographing moments, I am also remembering the grace lessons. The purple flowers above were carefully selected at Home Depot in the garden department. I had the cute pot sitting unused on our back patio, and I wanted a pop of color for our pool area. I scoured the flowers for sale and found these Mexican Pentunias. I brought them home, and I shoved the too big potted plant into my pretty pot. Voila! I was excited. Sad thing was that same afternoon all the petals fell and the plant didn’t look as pretty anymore. The amazing part was this: in the morning…new blooms! Every day this plant does this…drops the blooms in the late afternoon, and each morning…grace…given. Only God can do that! We, too, fall every day, and every day his forgiveness gives us a fresh start. Love that lesson.
Behind the scenes of the other photos above, I learned that backward clothes by preschoolers should be celebrated. They don’t mind. Why does the world? If they got dressed alone, I am happy. Why do I worry about what other adults think? Funny thing is I often allow our kids to go places with backwards shoes and clothes…often the teachers send them home with the “proper correct shoes/clothes.” It annoys me a little bit. Why not just let them be!? So this week I took a picture to remember the backwards moments. We do not always get things right as adults either, and it is okay.
Finally, the orange and red flowers…they were a birthday gift from our children and my husband over the weekend. New color for the backyard again…yeah! I thought it very precious that my husband asked our sons what they wanted to get me for my birthday…one said “butterflies” and the other “flowers.” So my brilliant and thoughtful husband got us butterfly and hummingbird attracting bushes. So excited to see them planted, and to watch God’s glory grow in our midst.
Help us to realize that You are “Behind the Scenes” of every moment. You work out things for good. You are teaching us constantly if we merely take the time to look for Your glimmers of grace. Thank You for changing our expectations. You shine through in ways brighter than I can handle sometimes, and I give You thanks and praise for the sunshine that is shining this morning on a new day. Help us all to see You in our midst. Amen.
A “Behind the Scenes” look at tennis camp…Day one.
I was excited for our boys to have their first day of tennis camp. I grew up playing tennis as a child with my dad, and I started at age 4 years. I love that my dad and I share so many wonderful memories around hours spent on the tennis court. So, when this summer rolled around, I checked into tennis lessons for our boys. There are wonderful tennis programs available at community centers around the United States. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) offers child memberships and beginner lessons with special balls even geared to the age/ability of children. Our community center offers week long tennis day camp for kids ages 4-12 years.
Perfect…our boys are 7 and 4 years…they can go together! I registered them back in May, and July finally rolled around. Yesterday, I packed their gear, snapped a few pictures, and went off to my morning of freedom. Of course the youngest one was a bit camera shy, but they were both excited. A few hours later I got a call from one of the directors at camp…
“Bryan isn’t happy. He’s been crying, not participating, and he has been held for the last hour or so by one of our coaches. Are you able to come get him early?”
Dressed nicely in a sundress, I had just pulled up to a local BBQ restaurant to have a lunch date with my husband. I told the director, that “Yes, I’m close, I can be there soon.” My husband and I got take out orders, and my husband warmly reminded me: “We decided to add that character to our family.” This is a joke from a television sitcom. It is not joke though that indeed God creates each “character” to be unique. Parenting our sons has taught me how to find flexibility.
Flexibility in knowing that we have one son who is an extrovert and the other an introvert. The extrovert is eager to smile for the camera. The introvert is hiding under his hat…head down, thumb in his mouth. The extrovert thrives in new situations, and the introvert needs more hand holding. Our extrovert goes with the flow in new settings, and our introvert prefers to play in the comfort of home with family not new friends.
I’m thankful that we do have a lot of time to spend in the comfort of home. I can be flexible to the mood and energy level of the individuals (including me). If someone is feeling a little tired we can watch a kid show. If we have some energy to burn we can all go swimming or play outside. Flexibility comes in creating the day around the kids sometimes. They do dictate what we do and when we do it. Following our child’s lead is so critical. When we slow down and speed up to their pace we discover blessings. Finding flexibility in the fact that our kids are still young, variable, and need grace for the journey as they figure out the world around them…one day at a time.
Thank you for each day. Help us to greet new situations with peace knowing that you are with us. Give us courage to face new situations and the willingness to remain flexible when things do not go according to plan. Help us to remain flexible in our faith journey and accept that the ball does not always bounce in our favor.
“Mommy watch me!” exclaims Bryan…our four year old water ninja. He wants to be noticed…all summer long. Our seven year old, Addison, also wants attention but he doesn’t ask quite as often. They both want someone to notice their water tricks, their biking moves, their Lego creations, their army men lined up, and the list goes on and on. “Watch me mommy.”
Right now, I am the only one awake. I blog in the early morning hours before the rest of my household stirs. However, later in the day I often want to retreat to this same spot. My comfy office chair and laptop in the home office to check my email, facebook, twitter, and browse others’ blogs. The computer almost cries out…”watch me mommy!” However, there is no quality time here. The quality time lies with the real time spent with family.
I keep this blog for our family to have something to read in the years to come perhaps. We have become a digital age. Our photos are digitized, our stories are online, and yet, what will our children really remember? Times that they saw mom on her computer or times where my attention was undivided, and I was watching them. I’m hoping for the latter. It’s a delicate balance. I love my online community too, but it isn’t real. It isn’t forever. What matters today, is the gift of loving one another. Who is crying out for your attention? Go.
“Mommy watch me!”
“Yes, I’m watching.”
Beautiful bikes decorated for July 4th.
On Jyly huy7y…bang. Our four year old was sitting in my lap for this post. He was typing on the pull out keyboard…then bang! The drawer broke. I rushed away from the computer to my husband assuring them that we were okay. It was just a broken piece of wood. Now, nearly an hour later I return to write this Five Minute Friday post.
Sometimes moms do not even have five minutes. We have hours of time to occupy our children and our own happiness, and yet when we try to sit for five minutes and focus it is often interrupted. This is beautiful. This teaches me. I get angry, frustrated, but it does force me to reflect, breathe, and walk away from situations and screens.
Screens offer temporary beauty. Real life offers beauty in the brokenness. I calmed our son, and calmed myself. I got dressed, washed my face, and let him snuggle with dad while he got dressed for work. Then we all ate breakfast together. Sprinkles and milk for Bryan, yogurt for Daniel, and Go Lean Crunch cereal and milk for me. Beauty in the bedlam. We sat as a family to eat, and I’m not sure the morning would have gone that way had the drawer not broken.
After breakfast we attempted to make milkshakes in the blender for Bryan…letting him add Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, whole milk, ice, and chocolate chips…no go. He loved the process but refused to taste it. We are slowly trying to get him to eat new foods…occupational therapy continues reluctantly. He is tasting fruits and some new foods at OT, but at home he runs and cries. Beauty in the bedlam. We run from our Father too at times, and it is in our brokenness that he makes us whole.
Pinterest search John 15:5, no credit available
Thank you for giving me a moment of breaking. Give us each the grace to start over. We often need much more than five minutes to do anything. Thank you for your grace, peace, and strength. When we grow in you, we become whole. Amen.
Jubilation in July.
Christmas in July.
Jesus comes into us every day. Every month. Every Year.
Sonya inspired me to write this post today. She is a fellow God Sized Dreamer. We are women who are following the calls of our hearts…led by the Lord. In 2013 several women were chosen to read and respond to You Were Made for a God Sized Dream by Holley Gerth.
My God Sized Dream for 2013 is to start a Moms in Prayer group for our community. So I have been praying about this. I have been taking baby steps to talk with other moms about this idea. Here are the praises to share in a snap shot:
1. My husband has been a patient listener and encourager as I often worry about details and drama.
2. I have met some moms who are interested in coming alongside me to pray for their children.
3. We were redistricted for elementary school. We also decided to change preschools. At first I thought these changes would be a bad thing, but now I’m seeing God’s gracious goodness. Our boys are resilient, and these changes allow us to know families from 4 different schools!
4. I prayed with fellow God Sized Dreamers, and Christine suggested that I consider not doing just one elementary school but maybe approach the Moms In Prayer from a larger angle of including more schools and perhaps meeting at a church.
5. We have a new church home (we moved to Florida in March 2012). In January 2013 we found a church that fit our family after some “church shopping.” It is a small, warm congregation, and it has its own preschool (our youngest will attend in the fall) and private Christian school (another place of influence/participation for moms in prayer).
6. I gathered my courage to approach the priest at coffee hour last Sunday about my God Sized Dream, and he warmly smiled saying “That sounds like a great idea! The choir room is available in the mornings.” Joy…no red tape, no talk to someone else about that…just peace in knowing we were welcome to gather to pray for our children.
7. God has shaped my heart to look more at his command of John 13:34 “Love one another….” There are people behind each situation and in loving each other we discover grace, peace, and connection.
There you have it…seven sweet joys of jubilation in relation to what Jesus is doing for this God Sized Dream. It has been a slow moving dream. Prepping for a Fall 2013 start, I know God will continue to shape the dream. Leading with the Light of the Lord is hard and special. What is God calling you to do today? What is He calling me to do in order to shape a dream into a reality? What prayers are needed? For now…this one:
Thank you for the joy you place in our lives. When things fall into place we know that your hand is mighty and moving. Give us the words to speak, the ears to hear, and the bodies to act in Your will. Strengthen my prayer life even more. Help us to pray for our own children and ALL of God’s children (young and old) that you place on our hearts. May we walk in a way that shows Your glimmers of grace.