Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Losing the love...


Some weeks are just harder than others, not visibly to other people, but only known to the ones closest to you.  Humility is a hard dose to take, yet so vital to growth.  

"You have forsaken your first love" (Revelation 2:4) - lost or abandoned your first love, referring to the first commandment to love the Lord your God with all your heart...

Conviction filled me as I realized how often I do that.  I idolize other things before my Lord.  I worship the devotional, the author, the blogger, the newest song, more than our God they are writing about.  

I fail to stop at the instrument without going further to the conductor.  

These instruments are still important.  The fault doesn't lie with them, but instead with the musician.  When I place someone's words, someone's thoughts at a higher level than the origin behind them, then the love is lost.  Let my words not be misunderstood.  I am so thankful for the men and women that God is using daily to help me to grow as a child of God, a friend, a mother, and a wife. There have been many seasons in my life in which I firmly believe God has used the words of others to point my eyes back on Him.  But I also know there have been times in which my eyes fall short and instead of keeping my eyes on the conductor of this amazing piece of music called "life", I focus on others.  I may even idolize them.  

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it:  Love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) 

Not always as easy as it sounds.





Monday, April 7, 2014

Aspirations for April...



Can I just start by saying that God is amazing?!  This may seem like nothing to most, but to me, it was kind of cool so I had to share. The other day, on my morning crawl (which has still not reached 4 miles again), I glanced down at this lonely dandelion.  I couldn't help myself in capturing this little weed, front and center on such a gorgeous morning.  When I got home, the verse in II Corinthians came to mind, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  This weed will be gone tomorrow and so will my to-do lists and my monthly aspirations, but God's word will remain, the souls of my family and those around me will remain, and that is where my focus is to be.  Those are the things that will last forever. Then, the very next day when I woke up this verse came to mind again (which is rare for me, considering my horrible memory these days.) But then... (this is the amazing part to me) what was one of the verses in my devotions?  II Corinthians 4:18!  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  That was a God thing.

Reviewing my Musings for March:
1. Teach at least one essential oils class.  Nervous, oh my!
2. Plan (with my older girls) a ballerina/pirate party for my youngest (who is turning 4!!!)
3. Focus on discipling my girls (with an emphasis on Bible memory).
4. Let go of some things of the past... (more may be shared in the future.)
5. Spend as much time outdoors as possible (more bike rides, park visits, picnics, and maybe getting back to running 4 miles again... maybe.)

- Teaching my first essential oils class was terrifying to me.  I'm still learning and researching, so my inadequacies overwhelmed me. Yet God is so good and anything good that came from the class was only from Him.  The time with old and new friends shared over Peppermint Patties and lemon water made it worth it all.

- Sophie's party was a blast!  As usual, I eliminated half of the ideas and expectations I had for the party, but the time spent watching her dance with her sisters, cousins, & friends made the party a success.  Naomi was my planning partner, helping me sew the little tutu's for the garland (which then became doll tutu's), bake the cupcakes, make the frosting, and browse Pinterest for party ideas.  Special times with my little middle!  Chloe took the role of ballet teacher, choosing songs for both ballet and tap, planning steps for each song, and fully embracing the role with great maturity on the day of the party.  I couldn't be more proud of my girls!






- Discipling my girls has been heavy on my heart for a while.  They have worked hard on their verses for Wednesday nights at church (not quite completing all the verses, but we'll keep trying).  But through studying these important scriptures (with the use of the Evangecube), something greater has occurred that Marty and I have been praying for. 

- Little by little, I'm letting go.  

- With our crazy North Carolina weather, we did the best we could getting outside.  It would feel like spring one day, then forecasting snow the next.  I'm looking forward to more walks and trips to the park this month.

Aspirations for April...
1.  Plan a new spring menu (less grains, more veggies & protein).
2.  Point my girls to the real meaning of Easter.
3.  Start every day with a clean kitchen table.
4.  Finish two of the books I'm reading:  Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman & Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma.
5.  Truly rest on our little family spring break.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Small beginnings...


Small beginnings...  Even though I don't have wee babes anymore, my life is still full of small beginnings.  New readers, new learners, new concepts, budding believers...  Some days I fall prey to despising the small beginnings, viewing them through impatient eyes, wanting bigger results, looking to the future and possible greener grass.  Yet as James says, "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"





What's the Lord's will for my life?  This question comes to mind often.  Sometimes unsure of my place in my husband's ministry, I'm quickly reminded of my ministry.  It's wrapped up in three growing girls.  They are my ministry.  They are my disciples.  This came as a revelation to me over nine years ago when reading one of Sally Clarkson's books, The Mission of Motherhood, in which she compared the intimacy Jesus shared with His disciples to the intimacy a mother shares with her children.  The daily walking and talking, the training, the living... even in the small beginnings.   





It may come in the form of picnics outside, the making of omelets, and watching the 24th flip of the day.  It's in doing life with these precious girls and others around me!  The rewards may seem few at the moment, but the legacy, I pray, will be great!  "Our children are messengers that we are sending to a time we will not see." May our impact be great.  May we be intentional with our priorities, looking for those teachable moments.  May we understand the urgency.  

"The greatest waste in all the earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day." - Billy Graham



May we see our lives as more than full-time babysitters, but instead as disciple-makers, paving the way for future generations.  What an incredible and amazing calling!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Musings for March


This was one of my many blessings in February - watching the sunrise at Fort Caswell with some of the most precious women I know.

A Recap of my Five for February:
1.  Finish organizing the school room and hang pictures.  No more clutter!
2.  Finish A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot & read half of Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma (A Mom's 12-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement).
3.  Write 5 letters (real ones with stamps) to other women who may need encouragement.
4.  Take portraits of each of my girls (plus valentine pics).
5.  Focus on words of grace for my family.  

Once again, not 100% complete, but still progress.  

- I don't think I'll ever finish organizing the school room.  Some of you will understand...  

- The biography of Amy Carmichael was deep... but I finished it and so thankful to have read it.  Very powerful book!  

- I'm almost a third of the way through Cleaning House.  Already I'm taking mental notes.  Practical and thought provoking.

- Writing letters is often one of my good thoughts that never gets done.   They say it's the thought that counts... I don't think so.  So, all glory goes to God that envelopes were addressed and stamps were found amid the clutter in my kitchen.  (On a side note, it doesn't have to be snail mail to encourage a friend.  A simple text, an email, or message on Facebook or Instagram can make anyone's day brighter.  I've been on that receiving end several times this month and you ladies know who you are.  Thank you!  You truly don't know how uplifting your words were!)

- My portraits were simple, just up close at a park.  Valentine pics thrown together last minute to arrive to grandparents... late, once again.

- Changing my focus to grace will never be completely crossed off a to-do list.  This will forever be a daily desire, a daily dying to self, and giving of the grace that I do not deserve.  




Musings for March:
1. Teach at least one essential oils class.  Nervous, oh my!
2. Plan (with my older girls) a ballerina/pirate party for my youngest (who is turning 4!!!)
3. Focus on discipling my girls (with an emphasis on Bible memory).
4. Let go of some things of the past... (more may be shared in the future.)
5. Spend as much time outdoors as possible (more bike rides, park visits, picnics, and maybe getting back to running 4 miles again... maybe.)



Enjoy this free spring printable (as I certainly will!)





Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My three from Despicable Me...

                              

My three girls are as different as night and day and somewhere in between.  On one occasion when we took them to the movie, Despicable Me 2, my husband and I realized how similar our girls are to the three in that movie.


Our oldest so responsible (most of the time), caring for her sisters, yet has a desire to please others and win their approval.  She is ever adventurous (as long as it's not too dangerous).  Her love for constant learning, researching, inventing, and creating never ceases to amaze me.  Altogether, growing up too fast...  



Our little middle prefers to live life in a hat, not caring about the style of others, so inventing her own (which I honestly love!) She is ever patience with her younger sister who could test even the likes of Job.  She appears shy to most, but has those moments where her inner boldness abounds.  She is one of the most giving people I know. 


Our littlest could spend every day in a her tutu, fluttering from one activity to another.  She could be referred to as sassy, spunky, and a few other descriptive words.  But life would certainly not be the same without her.  Even with her daily appetizer of whine and cheese, she cuddles like no other and brings such joy to our lives.  




Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Love Story... (& what love's got to do with it)



Even though it's been a couple of days since Valentine's day, the memories of years past still sit fresh and new.  18 years ago, we went on that first Valentine date.  But what I remember the most is the first time we met.  As a gawky 15 year old with permed hair clear down my back, I was faced with another new set of faces (and American faces at that.) Nervous and shy, I remember this cute, older guy with glasses who introduced himself as soon as he stepped in the door.  "Hi!  I'm Marty."  I'll never forget how welcomed I felt (which is rare in a teenage Sunday School class).

We were friends, more like brother & sister for at least the first eight months.  Our short lived relationship as boyfriend/girlfriend lasted an entire two weeks and three days, which included that first Valentine's day.  Our friendship remained, not the same, but still there.  But we knew later that summer that our friendship would last forever.  

He is my best friend who knows me better than I know myself. When I cry uncontrollably, he gives space, yet comforts when the time is right.  He patiently puts up with my hair-brain ideas and never says "I told you so..."  He accepts me when I fail again and again.  He lets me dream when laundry should be folded and the bathroom needs cleaning. He buys me "Hallmark" cards (even if they are from Walmart) and roses to remind me of our dating days.   


He has given me three of my favorite people in the world. These girls make any day a special day.  I may not always respond with their same enthusiasm each day, but their thrill for life inspires me.


But now that Valentine's is over... what's love got to do with it?

I always thought that the opposite of love was hate.  Yet this is not the case.  Really the opposite of love is selfishness. When we choose to love others, we sacrifice some of ourselves (sometimes more than others.)  When we choose self over anyone or anything else, there is no love.  

So when it's his turn to make the bed, pull up the covers with the pride and choose to love.  When meetings go longer than planned, shower him with kisses when he walks through the door, knowing he's working hard as an act of love.  All week the song by Warren Barfield, Love is not a Fight, has been mulling through my head.  

Love is a shelter in a raging storm
Love is peace in the middle of a war
And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door
No, love is not a fight, but it's something worth fighting for

Fight for your marriages.  Love is a choice, not a feeling. Choose to love your husband above all others, including yourself.


"The success of loving is in how we change because we kept on loving - regardless of anything else changing.  The value of loving is in the value of being like Christ." - Ann Voskamp

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five for February...


January's Simple Five:
1.  Organize our school room.  (almost done...)
2.  Finish A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot
3.  Find and try 2 new, healthy recipes. 
     - Homemade Overnight Cinnamon Rolls (for our snow day)


     - Wholegrain Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread (w/o the nuts)


4.  Run up to 3 miles again.  (ok... it only happened once, but with the cold & rainy weather we've had, it wasn't as easy as I thought.)
5.  Devotions daily with my girls. (Nothing fancy.  Two to three days a week we'd review our Family Journal that follows what they are learning on Sundays.  The other days we'd either read through Chloe's devotional or You Can Change the World.

Obviously, my simple five were not completely accomplished. But I'm ok with that.  Instead, I want to strive for progress, not perfection.  More boxes were sorted through in the school room, another trash bag filled... I'm further along in my book, convicted and challenged.  Running is definitely a matter of progress, one step at a time.





Five for February:
1.  Finish organizing the school room and hang pictures.  No more clutter!
2.  Finish A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliot & read half of Cleaning House by Kay Wills Wyma (A Mom's 12-month experiment to rid her home of youth entitlement).
3.  Write 5 letters (real ones with stamps) to other women who may need encouragement.
4.  Take portraits of each of my girls (plus valentine pics).
5.  Focus on words of grace for my family.