Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finding the Blessings in the Busyness

It's already one third of the way into December and I'm still trying to catch my breath.  Even before Thanksgiving, I knew that December would be busy.  I knew that we would have something every single evening from December 1 until the week of Christmas. My insides fought it hard.  Some of scheduling could have been avoided, but once a commitment is made there is no turning back.  

So instead of focusing on the busyness, I want to focus on the blessings in the busyness.  

As we rushed to and from ballet yesterday, I glanced over to see a grandfather and small boy standing in the rain without an umbrella as they tried to cross the street to the store.  My heart broke and I was humbled by my grumbling heart.  I have a running vehicle that is warm and dry.  My girls are all healthy and we are so fortunate to have a close, affordable, and fun ballet studio for all three girls to participate in.  Count the blessings...

The simple pleasures of clean laundry, coffee every morning, Christmas lights, baking cookies with my girls, an amazing church family, friends who not only watch my girls, but make it fun...

The list could go on, and I pray it does.  I've neglected counting His ways.  I'm so quick to focus on the stress, to get overwhelmed, and to lose sight of what this season is all about.  May we all find the blessings whether busy or not.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Choosing to Wait...

I awake, already behind schedule, and my mind starts whirling with all that needs to be done.  What should I do first?  Thankful for enough quietness to hear, the Lord reminds me, "Do this one thing and then after that, you can do another.  But don't worry about all that the day seems to hold."  

Coffee in hand, I choose what I need the most - time with my maker.  He blesses me with this verse, "Wait for the Lord, be strong & take heart and wait for the Lord."  One season of busyness is ending, yet another one is rapidly approaching.

Weeks ago, I felt this same weight of stress laying heavy, but from two different sources in the same day, I was reminded of this verse, "Wait for the Lord; be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord."  I couldn't help but smile and savor the words.

When I looked at the previous verse, Psalm 27:13, I was even more encouraged, for the psalmist wrote, "I am still confident of this.  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  Did you catch it?  The land of the living!  So instead of always focusing on the past or what's ahead in the future, I need to find goodness among the land of living, with those who are living around us whether in our homes, our neighborhoods, our work places...  May we be fully present in the upcoming season of busyness.  May we patiently wait for the Lord.  May we open our eyes enough to the beauty all around us and be thankful...

for homeschooling on location or just in the backyard...

for dog walks and baby dolls...

for the love of books...

for days of craziness and days of quiet solitude...

for my daily bread (and oatmeal)...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Loving Leaves and Letting Go...

There are seasons where life never seems to stop.  You struggle to catch your breath, getting ahead seems impossible, and moments disappear before you realize their brevity and beauty.  In ministry, this season is frequent and often a struggle, yet God is so good.  He allows late Saturday afternoons for us all to get away, to intentionally take time to catch those moments, and to stand in awe of His creation  

He is so good in allowing us the privilege of witnessing our second daughter take a step of faith.  Our little middle, who has struggled for years to even talk to others, chose to stand in front of an entire church and profess her faith in our Lord.  We have prayed again and again the verse in Deuteronomy, "Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." (31:6)  He is so good!


And when the leaves turn and fall, and school work calls to be done, God is good in the raking, the jumping, and even in the arguing of sisters.  Their mama needs reminding again and again to slow down...

- to "wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." - Psalm 27:14

- to "be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10

- that it is "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit," says the Lord. - Zechariah 4:6

"When we make the choice to let go of distraction, perfection, and societal pressure to grasp what really matters, that's when our life although a bit unbalanced and imperfect - tastes sweeter than we could ever imagine." - Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Farewell October, Welcome November!

October could not have been a more jam-packed, calendar-filled, people-lovin' month!  Back in September, I knew that it would be, which is one of the main reasons why I chose not to blog everyday in October.  My unofficial goal of the month was to instead focus on praying each and every day specifically for my girls (and my husband.)  I can't promise that every single day started with my little prayer calender, but it certainly helped to remind and encourage me to take time daily to focus and pray over the gifts God has given me. 

As already mentioned, October was busy!!  From getting to spend the first weekend away in Charleston with some dear friends of mine to heading to Fort Caswell with my family and a bus load of students to the fall activities of pumpkin picking, farmer's marketing, and ferris wheel riding, life stayed full!  It was good full, yet now that November has arrived, I long for rest.

We've already embraced the joy of hot chocolate, pumpkin cookies and muffins.  Impromtu walks, trips to the library, and more time spent in the backyard are some of my goals this month.  November is the one of the months that I just long to breathe.  The cool crisp air invigorates me and the colors and crunch of the leaves pause me, reminding me of God's hand in all of this.  

November is a month of gratitude.  It holds the only holiday that has yet to be ruined by commercialism, presents, and activities.  It simply encourages us to remember the principles our country was founded on, to remember and give thanks for all God has done for us personally, and to focus on the people He has placed around us.  

Goals for November:

1.  Rest
2.  Read more
3.  Remember & give thanks
4.  Ready our home & hearts for the upcoming Christmas season