Monday, 28 November 2011

A different kind of Remembering

Forgetful. That is what my middle name should be. If I had been born a Pilgrim and rode across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, I do believe that is what I would have been named. You know those Pilgrims were always naming their children things like that. Oh, yes I forget and have forgotten just about everything (thankfully none of the children...yet). I'm the girl that misses birthday wishes, forgets to call back, misplaces the keys, leaves her wallet random places, buys at least 2 brushes a year because all the other ones have been left at the places we have visited, writes down the appointment on the wrong day...wrong time...wrong everything.

I have been told by one of my wisest friends, however, that this might be caused by sleep deprivation and that once the kids all start sleeping through the night you start to remember things again...but then they start driving....

Thankfully, the Lord has given me a husband who usually just laughs at me and helps me remember the things I so often forget.

But what about forgetting what is most important of all. These lessons of grace, humility, dependence on the Lord, where to draw strength, being thankful...this list of lessons is long and I'm afraid that not only am I forgetful, I have spiritual dyslexia sometimes. I see things backwards through a lens of pride and independence, drawing strength from others and myself and only being thankful for the things I deem good.

Like those Israelites wandering in the desert, here I am wondering around in my own selfsufficancy, remembering the things I should forget...leave behind...and forgetting what is matters most. It isn't enough. It will, I will never be enough. I suppose I know this. I KNOW this. And I believe that they did too.  How is it possible to know and forget at the very same time??

Then the Lord, whom I do believe has a wonderful since of humor, puts me in that same situation where all of those lessons He is teaching me should be lived out and the light of Christ shines through. What is found is not the light of Christ, but self pity and defensiveness. Then you know what? He does it again...and again...he is testing me because, well I'm a forgetter and that lesson of humility is hard to swallow and he LOVES his children.  It causes me to run to Him...to chase hard after him...to work it out...to struggle and then....then, when that light does shine it is He ALONE who gets the glory because he's chosen to use a wretch like me.

Thank You Lord Jesus for loving me enough to teach me the same lessons again, for picking me up when I sin and fall, for your patience and long suffering. You alone deserve the praise for any good that shines through me.

391. journey mercies: to Frisco, then to Hale Center
392. time w/ my Papa who loved his Murr
393. early morning smooches from Gideon
394. watching Christmas movies with the kids
395. Advent challenges
396. singing Christmas songs
397. laughing hard, and long talks with my mom
398. the first TX snow
399. muddy shoes
440. trampoline jumping kids
441. time together with extended family
442. waiting for Justin to finish
443. going to the Nutcracker Ballet with Jordynn: true bliss
444. heaters to warm the house on cold days
445. grace...immeasurable, unmovable, undeservable grace


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Giving Thanks...for life

Today is the day where you gather around a big table, with a big ol' turkey, with your big ol' (or maybe not so big) family or friend and give thanks. It's one day of the year and for some of us maybe it's been a month of "giving thanks." Thanks and giving: they are not mutually exclusive. They ebb and flow together and I believe that the Lord intended it to be so. And at this very moment I humbled and ever so thankful that my mother gave me life. Thankful, I'm so thankful that God gave me to her and she thankful herself, she gave me life!

It's something that maybe I take for granted sometimes...or maybe all the time. My heart beats, I breathe in and out all the day long. But at one time...one moment in time I was just this idea (maybe not the greatest of ideas ;) ) in God's mind. There I was this idea and then at another moment in time there I was a life, a human life...a baby in the womb...growing and changing with every moment...a true miracle and blessing.

What spurred me to think upon these things is the following video (you'll have to click the link.) I don't mean to be political...that's not the point. The point is to see life....to SEE life....maybe differently than you had before...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwIou


Thank be to God, the giver of all life, the wanted and unwanted, for giving my mom the courage to give me life. ~amen

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Remembering

There are these moments in time when I am almost transported back to who I was before Christ became my Lord and Savior. It could be a place that I am visiting, a person I haven't see or talked with in awhile, a dream or oddly enough sometimes I hear songs that remind me so strongly of that girl I used to be that if I was looking in the mirror I might just think I was still her. Silly isn't it? How something like music could do this to a girl?!

Tonight, there I was standing in that pizza parlor waiting for my nephew's end of the year football banquet to get started, watching my two youngest covet the candy and toys in the 25 cent machines when I hear this song. Funny now, I can't even recall the lyrics or the song even, but the feeling: that I do remember. You know that feeling when you go over the first big hill on a roller coaster ride? Yup, that's the one I was feeling.

Ironically, I was trying to listen to my brother-in-law who was addressing the team because he helped out all year as an assistant coach. Ben, my brother-in-law, has a very commanding voice...deep and rich. I was trying to focus on what he was saying...something about sports teaching us about life. Standing there wanting to listen to what he had to say my heart ached because I couldn't block out this song in the background and this sick feeling in my stomach telling me to remember what I was. 

It was tempting, in that moment, to start to feel helpless and flog myself...again...for some of the choices that I had made, but instead I stepped a bit closer to the open room where Ben was speaking. Again, I step closer and could hear clearly now. The music was merely a muffle in my mind.  I knew it was there, but was not shaken by it.

I have often said that I wished that when Christ saved me that he would have saved me from the memories...that I would like to forget who I used to be. But it seems that grace wouldn't be so amazing if I couldn't remember who I was before I was found in Christ...before I really tasted grace for myself.

There will always be these times when every once of my being wants to forget. As long as my focus is the Lord; the One who commands my attention I don't have to wallow in despair I can now approach the throne of grace with boldness through His Son; just move closer. I am now able to glory in Christ alone and remembering only brings songs of praise from my lips for His grace, mercy and love.

"Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 

361. journey mercies: to Wichita
362. my sister, my friend, my mentor; always pointing me to Christ
363. cousin time...again...in Wichita...Yay!
384. KU games in HD TV
385. hard bedtimes; then silence
386. silly made up stories
387. deep conversations
388. visiting my sister's church family...finally
389. a reminder that remembering doesn't mean dispair
390. Jesus: the solid rock

Monday, 7 November 2011

Nothing

This Monday, I must confess...I've got nothing. Just thanksgivings...this is always enough....

347. cousin time, oh my sweet cousin
348. passionate conversations
349. 6 boys, adorable boys, playing together in cowboy hats
350. country music
351. my husband, my Love, my friend
352. strength, perseverance through the wariness
353. enjoying time with family
354. kids memorizing Bible verses
355. listening to a cousin's heart, her passion
356. freedom to worship
357. AWANA leaders
358. gentle reminders that meekness really is strength
359. discernment
360. Jesus: the bread of life

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Psalm 100

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

 1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
 2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
   come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Increase your name oh, Lord and decrease ours. My our lives be a mere reflection of your grace, love, mercy and truth. Help us, dear God to be thankful for and in all things, not because of a holiday, but every single day and especially on the hardest of days. Give us hearts that submit and open hands to you, receiving with praise and thanksgiving to whatever it is that you have for us. Mold these wisp of lives into ones that see your goodness overflowing in every situation realizing that even every breath we take is in your hands. Oh, Father you are Lord and always good. Truly, truly your mercy endures forevermore. Thank you Abba Father for your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

318. three alike, and yet SO different

319. our 3rd little love, what would we do with out him??!

320. this quiet, contemplative boy...just like Dad

321. Daddy's love

322. this one growing strong

323. the BEST big sister in the whole world!

324. going on a "treasure hunt"

325. learning patience

326. that smerk

327. these four, handed...given to me for just awhile...heart full of agape love
328. Jesus, the Light of the world
329. chocolate
330. late night, good nights from a tired Love
331. answered prayer: believing friends at training
332. the van is H.E.R.E!
333. writing down prayers
334. rosy cheeks
335. rubbing the rough patches in relationships smooth by serving
336. trick or treat fun
337. warm jackets
338. curling Jordynn's hair...will she always let me do this???
339. cousin time!
340. AWANA
341. a faithful pastor, preaching the Word in season and out
342. shoes
343. running, clean water





Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Understood

I often wonder if Christ longed to be understood. I wonder if he grew frustrated at the masses around him confusing their plans with his, calling him to an earthly kingdom when his home all along was in Heaven and  whose mission was an eternal one.  Did he ever grow weary of the constant barrage of people wanting his physical healing power only to dismiss the possibility that these miracles merely pointed to his Deity? Surly, in some way it had to be, on a human level, very hard to always be on the outside, to always be "that guy."

I look at Jesus' life and see that even his family and his closest of friends didn't really understand what he was about until after he gave his life up on the cross. I see that his focus really was on his Heavenly Father where he drew his strength from, in each moment. And from this I am comforted.

Though, the desire inside my heart to be understood is almost as great as my desire for easy, taking the road less traveled is one of grace...and peace...and joy. These 6 Popes are in good company.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
   From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
   who made heaven and earth
.
~ Psalm 121:1-2

301. air conditioning
302. sleeping children
303. chic-fil-a (yes, this is pathetic...i know)
304. answered prayer; papa is doing well and back home
305. long walks
306. even the hard parts of being a mom
307. journey mercies for Justin: to San Antonio
308. swing sets with swings
309. longing for my real home
310. answered prayer; ashley's new job!!
311. skyping with family
312. Christ, emptying himself, coming to earth, dying for me, conquering death
313. starting again...forgiveness of my Father
314. talking to my dear sister
315. an unexpected encouraging phone call...thanks susanna!
316. watching, learning from other's who live not a bit understood 
317. sweet little boys

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rain

We walk holding hands, I holding onto the stroller also, his hand in mine. Two more little boys lagging behind. The smell is almost overwhelming. How can it smell the very same way here in Dallas after the rain as it does in Lubbock? "It does, it really does," he replies. The smell of growing up, laughter and love. A smell that takes us back and propels us forward.

"I guess it was so hot and there was no rain, there were those terrible fires," I say to him. "What on their front lawns?" he jokingly says. The reminder of the summer heat is around us. The brown-green, patchy grass groans for more water. Looking, it is a site to behold. House after house smattered with this spotty looking deadened grass. Dead grass, only alive after the rain. After the rain!

The rain is necessary for life.
When every ounce of this tired body aches for easy, I am reminded the rain is necessary for life and growth. 

After weeks and of planning, packing, shuffling, organizing, running around, cleaning, packing (did I say that already?) saying the hard goodbyes and practically breathing in and out PCS jargon only to hop on an 8 hour plane ride and then another 3 hours of plane rides with four children, living with friends and then two nights on a hotel, we have finally arrived and brought the German rain with us.  As refreshing as it is to see the rain quench the grasses' parched wisps, I have grown a bit weary of it life's rain. 

Is it possible for my life to not look like that dead grass with out the rain? Oh, how I want the green grass with out the rain. My heart longs for easy, but Jesus requires the hard things...for me to choose the hard things, just as he did...every time.

Lord, thank you for the rain from above that quenches the grass and my soul. Thank you for the strength and grace your Holy Spirit provides to preserver. And though, we are weary and tired, thank you Lord for the drizzles and down pours of life for your might, power and strength are seen in them! Forgive us for always wanting easy instead of wanting more of you.

286. The Johnson family, taking us in and taking care of us
287. a week spent with family-friends and all the sweet memories
288. The Johnson girls, giving up their room and Louise sharing hers
289. Ellie, weeping at the door, saying good-bye, knowing she has loved her dear friend and my daughter
290. The Lord's constant guidance even when things looked like they wouldn't come together
291. Testing in trusting; failing; and then again...grace
292. All those "last-times"
293. Meeting again with dear friends to fellowship and pray
294. an unexpected gift...many unexpected gifts
295. travel mercies...to Baltimore...to Charlotte...to Dallas
296. my Love, now 29...growing in years and in grace
297. my first little Love, now 9....9, I can't believe it!
298. long walks and slurpees
299. hundred and hundreds of birds swooping, looping, sitting on a wire
300. a nice, long run







Monday, 26 September 2011

The Cool Waters of Change

Change is often like the big, wet, freezing cold pool of water that you face on a hot summer day. The sun is beating down on you and you long to dive right on in. There is only one thing standing in your way: take-your-breath-away-cold water. Do you jump right in, allowing the coolness to chill you to the bone? Or do you dip your toes in, then your feet, and then your shins all a little at a time allowing yourself to get acclimated to the water?

Whatever your preference, the water is always cold and the sun is what was warming you just before the water swallowed you whole. It's always hard. Change, I mean...it's always hard even if it's good change. But just like the brisk pool of water, eventually you do get aclimated to it...eventually. 

And this, my friends is the hardest part about all of the changes that come with being in the military: saying good-bye. There is almost no water colder than this.  As I look around at my bare, white walls that just this morning were full of some of the things we hold dear, saddness wells up inside me again.

Thank you Lord, again, for the gift of friendship....


269. checking things off the million mile long list of things to do before we PCS
270. a husband running toward Christ
271. bright red leaves
272. lady bugs
273. forgiving friends
274. change, even in the hard parts
275. generous friends
276. sharing life Sunday night, chatting with Jill
277. kind friends
278. servant friends
279. teaching friends
280. a lesson in giving grace
281. Dad, superhero Dad found Hunter's bike that was stolen; grace
282. funny friends
283. seeking friends
284. praying friends
285. breakfast at the bowling ally...one last time

Monday, 12 September 2011

No Good

It's the beginnings of the good byes.  I decided today that I am no good at them...really, not good. At. All.  I look behind and see it: grace. Grace is all I see. Grace in what we did, what we didn't do, what we saw, the decisions we made, the regrets we try not to hold close, and the friendships we hold closer. When you share in Christ with people, I mean really share in Christ with them it is a gift worth far more than rubies and gold.

Tomorrow I'll share in Christ while walking round a short track. We'll be walking in circles, but don't be deceived, I'll be growing, learning...sharing.  And there it is again: grace.

Thank you Lord, for the unmeasured grace you have imparted to us by giving us friends who love you and are chasing hard after You. Indeed, you are good!

252. walking and chatting with a friend whilst being encouraged...always encouraged
253. our God, always protecting
254. our God, always in control
255. finding grace in the hard parts
256. chasing hard after Christ, an example of many around me
257. reading Genesis to my Love
258. making cookies with Jordynn
259. seeing the bottom of the laundry bucket
260. new cloth diapers
261. chilly German nights
262. a port of call date
263. a good reminder-life is but a wisp...a vapor
264. something stirring inside
265. hard good byes mean rich friendships
266. slip-n-slide, sunny, summer days
267. tears
268. my Love; his big arms wrapping me up with warmth and goodness

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Decisions

Often, and I do mean often, I second guess myself. Maybe I should say at least fifty times a day I second guess the decisions I make or we make together, Justin and I. These can be small, big or somewhere in between. But if you think about it, much of life is made up of decisions. Maybe I'll keep a tally tomorrow....kidding, but that would be interesting wouldn't it?!

All of this second guessing, hemming and hawing over things or chewing the cud probably stems from being "right" and "wrong." Those of you that know me well can attest to my black and white nature. I once jokingly and on accident  said to a friend, "there is black and then there is right." It really was an accident as the words spilled out of my mouth, but if I'm even halfway honest, I also thought it was kind of brilliant after I said it.

There aren't a lot of shades of grey in my life, just ask my children....or the man that calls me Love. I like lists that I can check off. I like the Paul's books in the Bible because he gives more of lists...dos and don'ts...things of that nature. 1 John has been throwing me off because of all this talk about love, and well, love but there is no list for me to check off. How can you check off love? How is love quantified? And this is supposed to be the book in the Bible that helps me discern if I'm "in the faith" or not.  

So when it does come to those BIG decisions, there I go again. Was that the "right" decision? What should we do when the Bible doesn't say for sure, when there is no "thou shalt or shalt not?" Couple this with, in my pride, wanting everyone to understand our decisions and this can make for a lot of second guessing. So I turn to some of the most comforting words in the Word and see,

"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," ~Phil. 2:12 (ESV)


There were a lot of reasons that we BEGAN to home school, none of them, I believe based on fear of the world and yet, as with many other decisions that the Lord has walked us through these are much more rich and deeper reasons now that we're 3 years into it and at the top of that list is simple: together, being together...
























Saturday, 3 September 2011

Together


Learning together.



Dirty little feet...always makes me smile...


Bed headed Gideon



A family; a since of belonging together....




Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Legacy

 When my children are grown and my hands are wrinkled and smattered with sun patches, what will matter? What is it that I'm leaving behind? Right now, even now, I'm leaving a mark on this vapor of a life that has been given to me.  It is easy to feel like to make a difference, to really have any sort of a legacy that you must be doing something. I often ask myself, "What am I doing?"

 Here's the answer for today, 26 Aug, 2011: wake after an ENTIRE nights sleep (the first Gideon's slept through..yaaahhhooooo), corral these 4, eat...something (pretty sure it was Nutella and toast), scurry out the door for an appointment at the housing office (jealous aren't you?), come home and try not to freak out because our preinspection is next Friday (ick!), clean...and clean some more (all those places you clean only once a season), clean up a mess on the carpet which involved a diaperless baby...oops, clean the baby in the tub and then the tub, morning chores for the kids, find something else to feed the kids (peanut butter on a tortilla, oh and an apple), help Justin unclog the toilet (this is going my top 5 most gross list of motherhood), wrangle #3 into napping, put down #2, try to read and understand 1 John, kids play outside and I clean some more, drop Jordynn off at a friend's house to sleep over, run to my very favorite place...the commissary (the grocery store to you non-military peeps), schlep them all home again, clean up, put the groceries and entertain Hunter and his friends, make hamburgers, and chocolate chip cookes (of course!), eat and catch up with one ever-so tired husband, no wonder the upstairs smelled like vinegar (it got spilled)...clean that up too, watch a movie...and maybe another one (it's Friday, ok?!), boys..sweet boys snoring on the couch while I check e-mail and other blogs I love, feel convicted about freaking out a little because what trials do I REALLY have...and now I'm here typing and wondering and praying because this does not seem like important business or at least it doesn't look like it.

Looks can be decieving.

 I seem to remember a man from Nazereth who wasn't much to look at and to the shock of just about everyone on earth, turned out to be the most important man in history.

Isn't it easy to forsake the important things because they don't seem or look important in our own self centered eyes?

Isn't it easy to think that we're not doing anything really worthwhile and buy into the lie that you have to be finding a cure for AIDS, or working at the homeless shelter, or selling insurance for that matter to be making a difference. That same lie that says to be serving others outside my home is somehow more honerable than to be serving my husband and family within our home.

The Savior of the world says that he didn't come to be served, but to serve and the American dream says to get, have, aquire, do...do...do. Oh, and I deserve it too! There isn't even a limit really in all of this getting and doing. Sometimes I think I've lost sight of it all, lost sight of Jesus and the cross. Instead I've fashion Jesus into a little idol that looks almost entirely like my American Dream.

Come and die, he says. Take up your cross he bids. So that's what I do, that's what we should do. Whatever the cost, even at the expence of our own dreams. This is my heart's desire.

Merciful Father, give me the grace I need in each moment to come and die so that you may live through me. Let my life point to you, and not to myself. Forgive me for making you into a God whom I want you to be. Help me to leave a behind a humble story that merely points to your glory.

"For to me: to live is Christ and to die is gain." ~Philippians 1:21


Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Psalm 30:12

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee,
and not be silent. O Lord my God,
I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
~Psalm 30:12


241. challenging books
242. a little boy and his new boots
243. listening to Justin share the truth with little ears and hearts, not avoiding the depth; always ready to discuss the hard things
244. time with sweet friends
245. a gift: dishes washed...thanks Michelle
246. newly knitted snow hats; a labor of love
247. birthday cards with written with kind words
248. start of a new year of learning with our kids
249. seeing Jordynn's eyes light up when she put those lovely hats on her dolls
250. running errands with my love
251. Christ: sustainer



Monday, 22 August 2011

Tantrums aren't just for Toddlars

"I don't WANT to be thankful!" This is my exact thought late this afternoon whilst scrubbing the dishes...so many dishes that they all won't be able to fit into the dishwasher. Overflowing the dishes are everywhere, from last night..perhaps even the night before? "Haven't I told them at least a hundred, no a thousand times to use the SAME cup?" There are at least ten cups on my counter, in my sink, every where around the house and I don't WANT to be thankful. I want to wallow in self pity. I want to feel sorry for myself, to think that I'll never get my act together, that this mess just will always be that: a mess!

This is me. This is me throwing a tantrum. This is me throwing my first tantrum in year 29 of my life (it's only day 5 of this 29th year...it could be a long one). ;)  I cannot be discontent AND thankful at the very same time. I know this! Right then, I'm choosing discontent. Like a child I have dug my heels into the floor and I. Am. Not. Moving. I am not thanking the Lord for the food eaten, clean water that I don't have to walk hours for, a table to sit at and chairs to sit on, little smiles to behold, full tummies, a dishwasher that does the dishes for me and those sticky, little hands that help.

Then, all at once, he's there beside me so sweaty he almost looks like he showered in his ABU. Me pouting, him smiling wide. Getting up at 3 and walking home at 5:30, it's been a long day for him too and there he is with that smile. It's a quick kiss, but it's that smile that helps me remember to slow down....to give thanks.

221. another year gone by with all these lil' Popes
222. sweet birthday gifts
223. delicious fajita dinner
224. ice cream cake
225. sweet time with an even sweeter family
226. YouTube party; my very first
227. honest discussions
228. friends always challenging me with this truth; really it's only God and what he thinks of me that matters
229. early morning dew
230. refreshing rain
231. flip-flops
232. long walks
233. HOT, sunny Summer days
234. kids playing in the lil' pool
235. library books
236. Hope in Christ who changes the heart
237. Confidence in Christ
238. his smile
239. a quiet, sleepy house
240. my dishwasher

"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
~Psalm 100:4



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Giving Thanks

In a world where African babies go hungry, leaders fail us, and everything else seems to be crumbling around us, is there even much to give thanks about? Sometimes it feels a bit trite, and even condescending to those who are in much harsher conditions, but perhaps giving thanks where we're at can give a glimpse of the fullness of God's blessing and remind us that there is MORE to be thankful for especially when life is hard because in the grand scheme of things what really is too hard for the Lord?!

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."  Psalm 107:1


193. children with full bellies
194.bowling with friends
195. walking with the kids
196. 3 days of supposed to be rain....then....little rain while camping; answered prayer
197. safe travels: to Garmisch
198. makeshift campfires
199. smores
200. hot tubs
201. dirty/stinky feet
202. marshmallow fights
203. loud laughter with friends
204. listening to oldies, but goodies and...
205. the look on Jordynn's face while Kim danced to New Kids on the Block
206. gifts of possibilities and a friend's surrender to the Lord those gifts
207. new t-shirts
208. no car trouble
209. ghetto rigged propane tanks that didn't blow up
210. walking down the Alps in Garmisch; beholding God's greatness and glory
211. muddy little boys
212. week long fun for the 2 bigs at VBS
213. wonderful teachers at VBS taking the time to love my kids and teach them about Jesus
214. cool winds whisping in the back door
215. Jordynn: always a helper...even helping me to remember
216. readying a room for another year of new learning adventures
217. the steam mop
218. siblings getting dressed up like "basketball players"
219. safety while climbing the ropes course
220. almost another year behind me...almost 29 Yipeeee!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Fear

At what point do we become people of fear? When do our shrieks of adventure turn to trepidatious caution? I've been mulling this over in my mind since our recent trip to Garmisch, Germany where we spent 3 nights camping with friends. When did I become so fearful? When does fear spill over into control and control over to discontent?

Just as a disclaimer, I'm not speaking of "throwing caution to the wind" or not considering consequences of our choices. It's just that I look at my kids. I try to see things through their newer eyes; eyes that don't see through hurts, life scrapes and trials, only through what they know to be true. What is it that they know to be true that I tend to forget?

I watch a girl run around in the dark woods with friends. No flashlight in hand, just a smile on her face and a giggle in her deep brown eyes. All I can think is, "Someone is going to get hurt, someone is going to trip over themselves and get REALLY hurt." No one does, well...not really.

This same not-so little girl asks to walk with friends to the bathrooms. She doesn't want to use the "disgusting" port-a-potty. I don't blame her. "Yes," I choke out but think "what if someone tries to hurt or take you my sweet daughter?" Then there she is again, head swayed back, smile wide only a little while later.

Boys climbing on rocks, big rocks and even bigger rocks. Boys making bows and arrows out of sticks. Boys running around with out shoes on. Boys being boys. Mom is thinking, "what if...."

I see a little boy, an ornery little boy running, panting down a mountain. This isn't even those Colorado Rocky Mountains. This is an Alp. "Hold my hand....my hand...hold my hand now!" I holler loud. What if he just runs over that side of the mountain to never be seen again?

Fear. Worry. Lack of control. Discontent. These words resonate deep with in me.  Yet, even in scary situations I do not see this in my kids most of the time. What is it I'm forgetting? The answer comes soft.

"For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control." 2 Tim. 1:7


and again...

"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful." John 14:27

We are always with our children to love, help and protect them. How much more is my heavenly Father doing the same for me? Our 4 know this to be true. It isn't something they question or second guess.  The reason this is SO convicting is because of how imperfect we are, how untrustworthy and unreliable we are. The One who is deserving of that trust, whom has proven himself in every instance even unto death does not receive the same response I do from my children.

Change my heart O' God, make it ever new. Thank you for the lessons of humility taught through the eyes of my children. Thank you that I need not fear all of the "what ifs" because you are the Perfect One, embodied in love, casting out all fear.
























Thursday, 28 July 2011

Swept Clean

A home that houses 6 people, big, small and in between amasses a lot of dirt on the floor. The children are running wild outside, helping Dad in the yard, giggling silly with friends, and dragging it all in on their shoes at least a hundred times a day. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to have earthen floors during the summertime.

Again, I sweep the floors this morning and think, "Didn't I just do this last night?" "Didn't I just steam mop because it sure doesn't look like it!" And here I am, again, for the thousandth time...at least...sweeping it clean.

But what do dirty floors really mean? They mean sunshine and helping hands in the yard. They mean summertime fun with friends and making memories you will soon never forget. They mean sweaty boys who sometimes remember to wear their shoes and bike rides and scrapes, bruises, bumps and falls. They mean healthy kids who run wild, play and work with their family.

I could sweep this floor because that is what my job is. I could sweep it and dread all day the kids running in and out; getting water, going potty, finding playmobil men or barbie dolls. But what if sweeping the floor and serving my family was about being thankful for the goodness of the Lord? What if, I swept the floor clean "unto Him" and my heart was genuinely thankful because His grace abounds.

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than
for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the
inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."


Colossians 3:23-24 NASB

Monday, 25 July 2011

Understanding

Sometimes there are these moments in motherhood that I hope I never forget. They often happen with discussing the Lord or the things of him with the kids. Children really can grasp things that we don't think they can and many times I am baffled by their insight.

Tonight was a bit like that, but not at all at the same time. Justin was reading and discussing with the children about the Trinity. Justin explains that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are ONE God, but each is a separate "person or entity." When he's finished he asks Hunter, "Son so how many gods are there?" Hunter smiles like he's got this one. He blurts out, "THREE, wait...no one (looking a bit confused) or oh Dad this doesn't make since!"

Justin humbly replies, "You're right, it is hard to understand."

So thankful is this heart of mine, that I don't understand EVERY aspect of the Lord...that there are things I don't fully grasp because who wants to worship a God that my feeble mind can understand perfectly??!

Also am I so thankful for:

181. hide-n-seek
182. chilly days
183. truth and grace which can't ever be separated
184. heart wrenching prayers for a friend and a God who hears them
185. my God: healer of all wounds
186. seeing the Holy Spirit work among friends
187. hard conversations met with grace
188. my Love; growing in the Lord
189. reading about the Lord as a family
190. healthy kids
191. planning a trip to spend special time with friends
192. big sister time; reading to little brother #2

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Opposite

Do you ever feel it? The blush; that uneasy and ashamed feeling. Often, too often to admit, do I feel ashamed of my Lord Jesus and here is why: He is just SO opposite than the expectations placed on Him. Lets just start from the beginning, a mere few:

Here he comes wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger (where animals eat), born to a humble carpenter who has yet to "know" his wife. God in flesh, lying in a manger. Not what I would expect. (Luke 2:12)

An untrained Rabi, by worldly standards, Jesus chooses mostly fishermen to be his disciples. He even throws in a tax collector for good measure. Not all of them, but most were uneducated. God choosing
the simpleminded. Not what I would expect. (Luke 5)

Jesus rides into Jerusalem for passover on a colt, not even an adult donkey. He doesn't demand to be carried around like the true emperor he is. Always humble, never demanding worship or respect. Not what I would expect. (Matt. 21:7)

During Jesus' last supper with his disciples he takes the place of the lowest slave to wash all of his disciples' feet including the man he knew would betray him. Creator of the universe squatting before his followers and washing their dirty, stinking feet. Not what I would expect. (John 13)

The most shameful way for a Jewish man to die was on the cross. Obedient unto death, Jesus did this and took my shame and humiliation for me. Not what I would expect. (Luke 23-24)

 Dying to live. Humiliation to exaltation. Cross to Christ. Is it just me or does this all seem backward?

The reason for the shame I feel, is because Christ IS different in every way than what we would, as sinners expect him to be. "For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18

I praise the Lord today that He is not what I want him to be; that He is just who He said He would be.

I also praise Him for:

163. Koen saying "I lud du Momma"...I hope I never forget how he says this!
164. spending time with a wise friend, going through coupons, laughing and sharing life together
165. cousins having babies...new LIFE
166. hot Summer days...and the not-so hot ones
167. watching a baby wonder and learn a thousand things all at once
168. a friends new-to-them home
169. planning for birthday surprises
170. thinking about going home
171. my Papa Gary
172. lick your plate good chocolate chip oatmeal cookie bars...Koen did just that
173. a holy example to follow
174. a boy and his skateboard
175. reorganizing
176. teaching, and reteaching...again and again...that same lesson to a son, a good son
177. reading the Word
178. time together with my Love and a bill under $20 at Chili's ;)
179. watching Gideon learn to walk
180. a humble Savior

Monday, 11 July 2011

Good n' Perfect

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." James 1:17

146. rocking our Mighty Warrior to sleep...again, and again
147. time, time to watch our 4 grow; the together time
148. perfectly piled pancakes
149. early bedtime
150. wise friends
151. our small group family
152. littlest Love and biggest Love snuggled up close...time for sleep
153. a daddy's agape love for his children
154. a teachable spirit among friends
155. meeting together to discover, anew, just what it means to believe what the Word says
156. little working hands
157. learning something new
158. encouraging words
159. a small notebook to journal everything and nothing at all
160. remembering Who is in control, thankfully it's not me!
161. FOUND...the car keys that is
162. that God never changes, He is not like the weather, we can trust in HIM
       

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Rejoicing

"Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; Rejoice!" Phil. 4.4

123. rain, sprinkling rain; pounding rain; always refreshing rain
124. trying a new recipe
125. freedom to homeschool
126. meeting another kind soul
127. an oppurtunity to show grace
128. that carpet of green growing all around our yard
129. new challenges
130. health insurance especially at 2 AM
131. antibiotics
132. You, Lord are always faithful...giving me the rest I need
133. praying for a dear, far...far away friend
134. a know-so kind of hope...the one I cling to
135. looking back, only to be thankful ever more for this "heart of flesh" given to me
136. choosing what is true, right and good
137. the grace not to give into feelings...choosing what is hard
138. learning perserverence, patience, and when to hold my tongue
139. listening to hymns played on the piano
140. sprinklers
141. a nice, long run
142. wisdom from the wise
143. learning from the Old Testiment...SO much I don't know
144. FREEDOM found ONLY in Christ
145. praying together; heads bowed, voices low...my Love, and I to the Lord

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Perfect



"That's what you expect Kari? Perfection?" The words, the question my sister asks still ring in my ears, and I hear myself answer...yes. What a tall order! Perfection. It's almost laughable...embarssing to admit. Sometimes the truth is a bit embarassing. It's not people I expect to be perfect. No, I know people dissapoint, people hurt, people sin. But maybe, it's the perception of perfection that I desire. Maybe it's what I want people to percieve us as. This I do know in my head, that we (All 6 Popes), are but a beautiful mess but my heart sometimes screams for perfection. The mess is ok, until it is "seen" by others... until it reaches out and touches their lives.

Oh, how easily I forget that I am perfect only in Christ. It is what He has done on the cross for me that makes me perfect. Perfection is not found in anything or any one else; only in the ONE who is the great I AM. I sit at the right hand of the father, not because of anything in me for nothing in me is good. I sit at his right hand because he sees me as he sees his Son. To find perfection in anything else is to find yourself on the lonely road of dispair. I forget. I wonder. Then I am reminded. "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17

Instead of walking that long road of dispair, my heart longs to be thankful...

101. family coming to visit, all the way from the plains of Kansas to our wet wonderland
102. cousins enjoying each other
103. soft, girly giggles
104. Jodie ~ wisdom she cries out and grace has helped her find it

105. that same ol' messy lesson
106. playing like a kid
107. writing
108. grace; fill me up grace; running over, grace; all I need, grace
109. finding our way
110. forgiveness for forgetting...always forgetting
111. a listening nurse practitioner
112. did I say forgivness?
113. spending time with Jodie. listening to her sweet prayers.
114. hikes in the swiss alps
115. learning humility
116. the kids building a "mountain" out of our cushions
117. sweet squeels of kids playing outside.
118. the Sun...reminds me of the Son
119. hearing how the Lord is working in the lives of dear friend
120. an unexpected phone call...30 min. of thanksgiving!
121. what a joy to have my lil' brother around
122. that Love of mine, who sacrfices everyday for us, and wears proudly the name daddy