Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013


Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone has a very special day. I love you!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

movement

we went to the Story tour!
 Happy times!  We are getting ready for Christmas, and having fun decorating, and preparing:) I love this time of year- and I love the Christmas songs and the worship during Advent.  Everything here is pretty good, actually. The weather has been ok (ok, not great, but not awful either), the traffic is bad, but expected (I only want to move about once a day:), and school is just plugging along (really, we don't look like this all the time).


So... what is this feeling?  What is this I'm hearing over and over again?

Well, I have heard several times over the past week (like literally, from Christian-leadership-type people) to just move- not, like, from the couch, or to another house- but spiritually- move.

To start somewhere.

Even if I can't be sure of the end goal, starting to move is imperative.

It's been a busy few months- the good kind of busy- but very, very busy.  We've had company, Halloween, traveling out of town, school, co-op, friends in crisis mode, youth retreats, doctors appointments, Thanksgiving, asthma exacerbation, more friends in crisis mode, families in crisis mode... I'm sure you get the idea... I'm sure many can relate... I'm also sure that my busy-ness pales in comparison to others'

I've had this nagging feeling, though, you know the kind:  I'm missing something, I've forgotten something, I've missed the boat...

And then Jen Hatmaker came to town to speak at my church (and I love my church- and now Jen, too- I challenge you to look her up and read about what she is doing)...

AND it's advent- prepare for God- Christmas- Birth of Christ- Emmanuel- Hope- God with us-

And it's still busy- but now I feel convicted to move.  And I don't know what my ministry is going to look like, and I don't even have a goal in mind, but I know I need to move.

Sometimes, I think, I've got this, I'm doing everything I'm supposed to be doing, but when that happens- when it gets comfortable- I think... wow... and I just keep thinking (dangerous, right?).

Here's the thing:  God came to Earth... He came for us.  He commanded us to go.  He said go- make disciples of all nations- not just the neighborhood you live in, not just the people across the street (although, that might be a good starting place), not just the people you're comfortable talking to... All nations. Make disciples. Go. Share the Light of Christ with all people...

and this:

do not be afraid. fear not.

I'm thinking I have some work to do. (and some more thinking. but even more moving!)


AND... it's Christmas-time!!  It's a wonderful time to go to church!  It's a beautiful time to renew or start your relationship with Christ.

Friday, October 11, 2013

raining again...

It is raining here- for, like, the next 3 days.  I gotta tell ya' (imagine a hint of southern accent) that when it rains like that I feel a little down.  It's OK- I'm not like confiscate-my-shoe-laces down, just a tad.  a little grumpy.   a little tired.  OK- actually a lot tired.

I do have a special place in my heart, though, for people who do suffer from mental illness- and it's been on my heart frequently, lately.


I have several friends, and friend's kids who have a wide range of mental health issues- from anxiety to schizophrenia.  It is hard to reconcile a world where people, children especially, have to suffer from illness you can't see and that is a challenge to treat.  I struggle with it, quite honestly, struggle with anxiety and struggle with 2 of my kids having severe anxiety.  Some days it's hard to just get through the day.

There are days that we end the day at 5:30... before it can get any worse.




Through it all, though, I do have faith and I rely on it, cling to it, quite strongly.  I know we live in a broken world, and it isn't anyone's fault that some things happen... While it is easy to question why- why me- why her-why them- why is there so much broken in this world?;  the greater option, for me, anyway, is to just know that my perspective is not God's perspective.  And that is what I cling to the most, I think.

and then I pray some more.

and then I try to thank Him for every opportunity to make it right, to help, to guide, to listen, to learn...

Tomorrow is another day, my friend.  And we are all created with a purpose by divine hands, and those hands belong to One that loves us with a love that humans can't understand.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Awesome!

Another Friday, Another post...

and, some crazy hair....



 SMILE!!!


I have started a Bible study with my friend, Lesley, this week, which centers on the names of GOD.  He has so many (names!) and they all mean something special- which I find, well, very, very cool.

I guess, just like we name our children with thoughtfulness (and compromise and thinking), God has many ways of referring to Himself that represent, or name how He relates to us.  Most of them (so far) are related to His awesomeness, and how He is all consuming, powerful, providing... and, you know, awesome!

It's good news.  It is The good News. And it's better news than what we read about in the paper these days, and what we see on TV.

Our Pastor preached about always rejoicing in the Lord-  It was actually our memory verse last week from Philippians: Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again, Rejoice!

Well, sometimes that is hard to do (shootings, more shootings, government shut-downs, economic crisis, furloughs, unemployment) ...

The thing, I think, is to remember: this is not our home.  We aren't here forever. God has us.  He loves us.  He has a greater perspective.  He is mighty, and awesome.  We aren't home, yet.

So- hopefully, this will brighten your day (even just a little?).


And when you feel stressed, think about looking UP!


Saturday, September 28, 2013

seasons




A new season of Fall has begun...

There is cooler air (which is actually unusual for us- it is usually blazing hot until Halloween), the leaves are just starting to change colors, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are at Starbucks (*sigh*) (yum!)...

I do enjoy this time of year. 

I think it is funny, though, that I am so ready for the next season to start and the last season to be over.  I'm ready for fall, I'm done with sweating every time I walk outside. I can't wait to start wearing sweaters. I look forward to the first snow day... well, that's probably actually it for winter... Once that happens, I'm ready for sunshine and warmth again.  So it's a short lived excitement in winter (too cold!).  Then... the newness of Spring is lovely, and fresh, and warm. Then, summer is the time to be care free again (I love to sleep in!)!

Everything has a season.

God gives each of us seasons to grow through. 

Sometimes it is a fun care free season like summer.

Sometimes it is a cold and dark season like winter.


God is growing us through these seasons, though.  He will lead us through the ups and downs if we just ask Him to.  He desires us, and uses us for His glory.  And, He makes all things work together for our good, for those who love Him.


It's hard to change (I had to update an iphone this week- trust me, I'm not a fan of change), to deal with change, to allow change... but, what if the perspective that you view your circumstances focused on growing, and learning instead of resistance and fear?  What if you could look at this time, these moments, as a season?  Then, perhaps, allowing God to work through you might just be the perspective you need to grow a little, change a little, and embrace your season, instead of resisting it...

Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 ESV

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ...


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hallo!


Pray and remember.

from google
Always in my heart...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

OK, so, Katie and I were getting in line at Wal-mart to check out with our groceries on Monday or Tuesday this week (mom brain, can't remember exactly), and the boy at check out greeted us like this: "Halloooo there!"   Katie's eyes got really wide and she pulled me down so she could whisper in my ear, "I think he might be one of those aliens on Dr. Who..."

- So, Katie is. not. subtle.  She whispers loudly, and she doesn't have any sort of a poker face.  This boy is looking at me like, 'what is the deal'... and I'm trying not to laugh because this boy really does look like David Tennant.  So, smiling, I say to him, "Well, it's like this, she thinks you're a time lord."


from google


He smiles, kind of cocks his head to the side, and says, "I'm actually OK with that!"

Then, he looks at Katie and says, "Don't blink!"  I laughed, Katie smiled, and then she promptly started to back out of the line... very slowly... trying not to blink.... this actually, kind of, made my day! She has only seen the show once or twice with Tommy (who LOVED this story, by the way, and wants to go see the guy at Wal-mart, I'm guessing, to see if he really looks like Dr. Who), but I guess she has seen it enough to make an impression. So cute!

ALSO...

Another week is almost done in the incredible adventure called the school year...  :0)

My focus this year is to not be so busy.  Our pastor preached last Sunday about how busy our earthly lives have become, and how we wear it like a badge of honor (OK, obviously not everybody, but, a lot of people do).  The message was more about how to set our sights on eternal rewards, and not earthly rewards.  Both of these thoughts resonate! I can totally relate with the busy part... and I needed to be reminded that things of this world, while important while we are here, are not going to Heaven with us... the stuff, I mean.  God isn't going to care about what car we drove, or what brand name of socks we wore, or what kind of house we had...

He's going to care about if we used our car for His glory.

He's going to wonder if our feet were beautiful because they carried the Good News.

He's going to wonder if our house raised up a generation of warriors for Him.

:) I've got some work to do...

So, I'm really trying to focus on that more this year.  I think it's my challenge.  I keep telling myself when I want the new floor (sooo badly, I can't wait to get a new floor. really. for real.)- I have a floor, it works, and, in time, the new floor will look great- but... it better be supporting a warrior, for God, that carries beautiful feet, that proclaim good news!! Right?




Right!

I know this is a choppy sort of update, but lots of other stuff going on, too...

We volunteered this week at the food pantry, and had our first co-op class day for home school.  Tom-Tom is settling in to junior (!!) year in high-school- he is really digging the criminal justice class he is taking!  Mark is training with officers from Ontario and their canine partners (happy!). 

And.... we are trying to NOT be too busy;)



Friday, September 6, 2013

first week of school....check!

I am so thankful for teachers.  I know they teach because they want to, and not because they have to...

I was trying to explain this to my 16 year old son who does not home-school with us.  He has so many needs, and learning to navigate groups of different people and situations outweigh other reasons (for now, anyway) to keep him home.  Namely, respect for teachers and educators, for example, is something he needs to get. through. his. head.  That being said, after 24 hours of calming down, I can understand why he thinks the principal dressing up as the Lone Ranger, and music from Justin Bieber (truly, not high on his list of acceptable music, and quite honestly rapidly declining on my list of acceptable music) are stupid.  Come on, people, he is autistic.  I am sure he is not the only one, either.  Principals (teachers, administrators, etc.) aren't supposed to be in anything other than casual clothes, maybe a tie, or skirt, and definitely NOT dancing, singing, miming, or even pretending to like anything by the Biebs.  I'm just sayin'.  No judgement.

It was a good lesson to teach how important character and respect are to us humans (yes, even my Tommy - superior, smarter, autistic, et al.... as he proclaims... I promise he isn't trying to be rude...).  Letting Tommy know that the administration was not out to make his day miserable, and that increasing school spirit for EVERYONE was probably the objective of the assembly, did a lot to bring him down a few notches on the anger scale.  I'm not sure we convinced him it was ok to put on a costume outside of Halloween, and for sure, nothing said about Justin Bieber was remotely received by him; but we did make the point that teachers are awesome, and they are there to. help. him.  I know enough to know it isn't for the pay check... and yes, I told him that.  Granted, I have limited teaching experience and don't generate income, but I still do it because I WANT to...  that, and because of the whole feeling that God kind of put that call on us as a family, and I don't feel released from that call...  Still...

So, thank you to all of you educators out there!!:) You all are awesome (especially those dealing with middle school... another post for another time)!!!:)

Our first week back went well, too.  I only made Katie cry once this week (this is good news, believe it or not).  Danielle has been very motivated.  Math is laid back (I can't stand math, but so far, so good).  Katie did tell me symmetry is where you put dead people.... :)

We had an awesome summer, and a great time the last week of summer at the beach in Emerald Isle!!!!  So, I'll include some pictures:

me my man!

the kiddles!

yes, that's me

coming in for a landing...

just playin' around:)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

oceans





what is it about the ocean that makes me feel closer to God?

I think that to know He created ALL this..( and then there is me...)

He made it ALL.

I am small and the ocean- it's just huge, and moving, and beautiful! It's crazy!

- I just know that I feel better, feel happier, and pray more freely at the seashore.

I do feel small next to the ocean.

I feel peace, though, too.

sitting and doing nothing but thinking-

feeling the breeze on my skin, through my hair, against my face-

walking just to walk.

I am so happy at the beach, any beach, it doesn't even have to be a certain beach... any will do!


My kids and my husband are happy, too.

I love the sound and the smell.





It's all just amazing, and I'm glad I'm here, and I'm glad that me being so small can see God, who is greater, stronger, awesome, healer, bigger, and higher...

Because, how can you not see Him here?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Always watchful



It seems that most everyone is searching for something-

Some purpose... Some truth... Some answers... Some validation...

Always something...

(but how about this? how about the ultimate relationship?)

I worry so much about the outside stuff... about choosing curricula (top of the list because school will start and I have yet to nail down what I'm doing with my youngest), jobs, choices, money... I'm searching for the answers (what, what am I doing??), the direction (should I do this, or that?), I think I'm ok with the purpose part (these kids aren't going to raise themselves, and, hello, marriage is all about reflecting God to the world), I do wonder about a lot of stuff... but, well, I can go on and on... the point is I'm worried all the time!

that being said... I'm not supposed to be worrying...

I'm in the midst of a revelation here (and it's taken lots of sermons, studying, reading, fellowship, friends, family, quiet time and PRAYER).  I believe, and I'm being more convicted about it:  

Everything, it all comes down to Christ, and my relationship with Him.

The search for this truth, for this relationship, for this feeling, this peace- the whole for the hole that feels empty- that search, for that something... it's God, and the relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Because of this relationship, I can rest, and not worry (the flowers don't worry about rain or sun, the birds don't worry either- and the Bible tells us we are greater than these to God).

When I believe this; when I accept this;  my importance is not about my job (so not generating income), my house (lots of work to be done), my good deeds (um... no comment), my mistakes (too many to even count)... WHEN I am most at peace is when I can accept that my identity (everything that is me) IN Christ is it.  Period.

Everything else, I think, falls into place when the relationship with Christ is right.

I know I've had this epiphany before (in a slightly different perspective, kind of like a different language), and I suppose I'm a little slow on the uptake... but it's going to be OK.  It's kind of liberating, actually:)

And, the bonus?  This principal can be applied to every aspect of my life (and yours).




Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer time....


Summers are traditionally a very relaxing (read: too much) time for us.  I am usually worried that the kids are inside too much, they aren't reading enough, they are watching too much TV. 

all three cuddling and getting along (nice!!)

This summer, though, has been pretty busy.

I'm thinking that we actually aren't having much down time. 

camping in the new (old) pop-up

School work?  Yeah... um... not so much.  I had planned on keeping somewhat of a summer schedule... The oldest and the youngest have done a few things... but that's about it.

and it's ok... I know it's ok...

fireworks at the beach

We've been camping, painting, reading, library-ing, swimming, and volunteering... and D has been to lacrosse camp and Christian Crossroads camp.  We've had a lot of fun. so far.

It's a season of catching up and winding down.  It is sometimes challenging to remember to NOT keep up with everyone else, but to give God the glory for everything; to do it all for the One who made you.  AND accept the slow spots, with a grateful heart, not with a 'uh-oh-we-aren't-being-busy-enough-doing-enough-studying-enough'.

(sometimes that means cuddling with the kids for a favorite TV show, or hanging out in the pajamas all day)

Believe me, I'm still learning this lesson... the feeling of not being good enough is my Achilles heel. Summer-time is definitely that time where those feelings surface because we don't have the comfort of the structure of the school year... but it's going good.  I'm working on it. Always.

And always praying.  Still praying to do better, be better, but for the right reasons of service and hospitality, not for reasons of 'keeping up' or worrying about what others think.  Still learning...

So, I guess my post is about relaxing... enjoying... being... and doing it all for God's glory, His timing, enjoying the relationships, nurturing my family and friends, growing in Christ, and trying to mentor my children to be children of the One True King:)

welcome home from camp, Danielle!

 Next year, maybe, I'll be even more organized... but probably not.  I'm learning (slowly) to be content with meeting myself where I'm at...

PEACE!!




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

life is just... a bowl of cherries:)



It is June! Yahoo! 

School is almost done (theoretically, since we always try to keep math and English up). 

No more fights about getting up in the morning (Tommy), and water on the face (Tommy), and wearing shoes (again, Tommy). 

I am always excited about new seasons.  Endings are usually sad, or at the least, bitter-sweet, but beginnings feel fresh and like a new start.  They at least feel like a "re-set" anyway...

Summer will be fun, and relaxed.  I'm challenging myself to have a tech-free day once a week for all of us (outside of communicating on our phone), and I'm going to try to keep some semblance of structure, however loose, because the oldest and the youngest need it (and I do too, actually... structure is a good thing).

So.... Today I'm thankful for the fresh starts in life; usually, they are daily.  We all need a little grace (me, especially at the end of the day).  Every day is a new day, praise God! 




Tuesday, May 28, 2013

long weekend...

It was a happy long weekend!

We got to celebrate with our friends on Saturday.  They had a party to celebrate 15 years of marriage.  There was a lovely ceremony of commitment, centered on Christ, and they thanked everyone for their prayers and support.  This couple continues to be a godly inspiration to me; they are friends and mentors.  I love how they have brought several families together and we all support and pray for one another; these friends have become so very important to me and my husband as we also work hard to make our marriage a reflection of Christ's love for His church. Did you know that is how it is supposed to be?  I didn't until a year and a half ago.  Mark and I are kind of on a new mission, now, with our relationship.  Marriage is so important.  Marriage is so much more than an ideal happy ending to a romantic relationship.  It's a commitment, a promise, a covenant.  I pray for all of us married people- it isn't easy- but it can be wonderful.  It starts with prayer.



My brother and his family came to visit, as well.  We didn't do anything big- we just hung out- and it was wonderful.  It is always great to see the kids playing outside!  The cousins all get along so well, too, so they made fairy houses, rode bikes, scooters, and skateboards, jumped on the trampoline, played in the sand box, jumped on the trampoline, slept on the trampoline (the kids with aunt Kelly and Mark), and jumped some more.  We love that trampoline...



We celebrated Memorial Day with brunch, and then a trip to the Marine Corps Museum.  We reflected on the heroic actions of everyday men and women that serve our country, past, present, and future.  Having grown up a "military brat", I am especially thankful for those who have served, and I try to teach my children how very important our military is.  My husband, my dad, my grand-pa, several uncles, and countless number of friends I know have served, and I am proud to say that I'm so proud of them!!!!


We are trying to finish up the homeschool year this week and next.  We are at that point of the year when everything is half-hearted.  We are all ready for a summer routine.  I am so tired all the time (wah- I know-)  Anyway, we are trying to finish strong, but I am relaxing the expectation of doing the curriculum the way the curriculum says to do it... And I'm thinking I'm ok with it...





Thursday, May 23, 2013

catching up on a post... story of my life, lately... always behind schedule!



Prayers for everyone affected by the severe weather in the Midwest!  It is so hard to see so much destruction in one place.  I can't even fathom, in the space of an hour, losing all of my possessions... The best things in life, though, aren't things... as the famous quote says (I don't know who said it, but that person is very, very wise).  I hope that they can experience the love of Christ through all the relief and search and rescue recoveries.  Despite the devastation, people are reaching out to one another and scores of people everywhere are praying.  Including me...



Search and Rescue dogs are awesome!!

Mark did not deploy on this mission, but would have with Tomo if Fairfax got requested.  We are all excited for Mark to get his search and rescue dog, probably some time in November.  Right now, though, he and Tomo are a deployable team!

bonding has occurred

The girls and I and my mom went to NYC to see Cinderella on Broadway (and do a little shopping) and it was AMAZING!!!  We were celebrating Mother's Day a little early.  The girls got to meet Cinderella!!!





Lots of changes are happening at our house... we are painting!!  Remember how I said I would never, ever, ever (get back together...) paint a ceiling again?  Last night, yep, last night, I was totally priming ceilings in the hallway.  It was just as bad as I remembered it... but at least that is done.  I wanted to be done with all of this so quickly, but instead, I am learning some patience and humility in letting my perfectionist husband lead the way.  It is going to look very, very good.  And... with God's grace, our marriage will be even stronger because both of us are reviewing all those communication lessons from psych 101.  It's all good.



The kids are so ready for summer.  I am too, actually.  we are trying to race through curriculum and take tests... and I know I am in charge, but I'm OCD just enough to let it bother me that we aren't finishing the curriculum in time, on time, etc.  I think part of it is that I love ancient history, but not so much the more recent history, even though it's interesting.  Plus, I'm coming to terms that auditory skills are not Katie's strength, and Danielle is just ready to be independent.  It's kind of hard to come to terms with all that!  Tommy is truckin' along.  It'll be nice to not have to fight about the 6 am wakeup call... he is so my son... I hate mornings too!


the kids and Mark chillin' with Tomo

Danielle and I at high tea at Mount Ararat

Tommy sleeps burrito-style

friends and family headed to church last Sunday


Meanwhile... the work is steady!! I'm trying to remain mindful of all the blessings around me; which isn't so much hard (I am so, so blessed), I just need to remember to think about it and be thankful for it EVERYDAY.  There is always a silver lining.  Always, God is at work. He is good.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hey, there!




It's been quite a few weeks, for sure, but last week was something else.  Our family was so upset with all the news last week.  We tried not to broadcast it too much because our youngest has extreme anxiety, but the information leaked out.  The oldest came home from school intent on getting all the information he could, talking and asking questions, getting on his Nook's web browser.  Then, of course, the explosion happened and we got that news. 

It is so hard to be positive amid chaos.  It is nearly impossible to maintain peace in the midst of terrible situations.  What to do?



Well, we could pray. 

I suggested prayer every time my oldest asked  'why?' or 'how come?'.  We prayed when the youngest was fearful that the other 'bad-guy' was still on the run.  We prayed for the firefighters, paramedics, first responders and displaced families in Texas.  We prayed for the FBI, ATF, and Boston Police, tactical teams, dogs, and anyone involved with the tracking, locating, finding, fighting in Boston.

So much to pray for.

So much to be thankful for.  Like Mr. Rogers told me, I looked for the helpers.  There were plenty.

I am so thankful for the majority of people- the people who helped -

And, hopefully, I could teach my children to be brave.  Despite my own (admittedly growing) anxiety, I could model that turning to God, and relying on faith helps to lessen the worries.  Hopefully... knowing we don't have the answers of why, or who, or motivations, that God's perspective is greater than ours.  There is evil in the world, but we know it doesn't come from God.  That we need to "be not afraid".

 So, this week will hopefully be better than the last.

We've already (this week) been to the library, Sweet Frog, the roller-skating rink, and the new counter-tops arrive today (random-but good news, right?)...

So, that is a pretty good start to a better week:)