Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End and The Beginng

Today we celebrate the birth of our second child (and son) 12 years ago.  He's an amazingly imaginative and resilient boy, quirky and sweet when he's not being well, a tween boy. ;)

So we celebrated the end of 1999 with the birth of a baby a new beginning for our family.  It was very cool.

We will celebrate with some gifts and the dinner of his choice (a buffet of the family's favorite appetizers and finger foods- chicken wings, potato skins, mozzarella sticks, other various and sundry heart-unhealthy choices).

It is also a day when I look forward to a new year of new things.  I never did get to sit down and work on that plan of attack for the coming year.  I've thought about it and I've discussed, vaguely, some of it with the Husband but I didn't put it down on paper.

I'm not a big fan of the talk show people who tell us all that if we just put it down on paper we have  more likelihood of making it happen, but I do believe that being intentional and having a plan is going to be more effective than saying, "I'd like to do ____." and expecting it to miraculously happen.  I can't just wiggle my nose a la Samantha Stevens and expect magic.   

I can prayerfully consider and I can ask for God's wisdom and guidance, His intervention and help even, but even prayer requires action on my part.  I have to take that step.

I think, in a nutshell, my main goal for 2012 is to become more intentionally prayerful.  

So if I have to make one and only one resolution, one new beginning, it is to become more intentional about my prayer life, to schedule it and to make it a priority.

Wishing you an amazing day and a blessed New Year!


Friday, December 30, 2011

Planning Ahead...Sort Of

I'm planning ahead, sort of.

I am not huge on New Year's Resolutions (NYR).  I don't need a calendar page to make a change and I think it is entirely possible that the only NYR I have ever kept is, "I probably won't keep this NYR."

However, the new calendar and the 1st day of the year seems like a good time of the year to begin new things, if you like beginnings and need to prepare yourself for the change to come and want a fresh start with the new year.

That being said, I have decided that I need some organization and prioritization in my life.  I have been thinking about it.  I have lamented my new-found disorganization and I think I've written about how I feel that I have been dealing with things last minute, in crisis mode, rather than planning ahead and being prepared.  This is not a good feeling for me and it has prevented me from doing things the way I want to do them.

In the midst of preparing for the second son's birthday (tomorrow) I would like to sit down with a notebook and plan out what I want to change in the coming year, what I would like to do differently and even what I would like to accomplish.  I hope to make a schedule for myself, too.  I spend waste a lot of time being unproductive and time is one of those commodities you never get back.

I'm not going to lie, I also live in the hope that becoming more focused and organized will help 2012 go more smoothly and be more successful that 2011, which while not tragic had some rough spots, found me facing some demons and feeling more distracted and out of sync than I have in a long time.  A. Very. Long. Time.

So today, in the midst of the birthday prep and the children acting their age, I hope to sit down and prayerfully consider what I would like to do to change me in the coming year and to not shy away from setting goals and committing to keeping the ones that are in my control.  Falling off schedule is not a reason to give up but an opportunity to start again. If I prayerfully consider what I would like to, and need to do, if I listen with a quiet and open heart,  if I remember that I can do many things if I let God be my guide,  if I stop letting my old habits limit me, I will make some positive changes.

I am planning ahead for the New Year, hoping to make some positive changes to my life.  I am planning ahead fully understanding (and struggling to accept) that God's plans and mine may not be the same. (That's the "sort of", the recognition that my plan and His may not be in sync, I feel like that has been my life for the past few years.)  If I focus on prayerful planning, perhaps I will be on His page.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I guess it's stereotypical to think the conversation flows when aided by spirits,  tongue loosening agents like "adult beverages".  It's true, that lessens inhibitions.

Today though, I think it was the spirit of friendship and a willingness to be vulnerable which allowed the conversation to flow.  Over latte and hot chocolate, three women talked and shared and laughed and were honest ... and it was good.  Well, it was good for me to be able to say to people, "Sometimes I feel ____" ... and have them say, "I get that."  and I felt supported but not like they were judging or trying to tell me I shouldn't feel my feelings or even how I could fix them.  Instead, they affirmed my feelings and in doing so, they showed me grace and love (even if they didn't realize it :) ).  

We were present and authentic and I am so very thankful for the opportunity to share in that time.  

It started me thinking about how frequently in the past year I have had conversations with women who are reaching out, trying to build connections and close relationships with others.  We're all floating around each other but I suspect never quite sure how to make the leap from acquaintance to friend we can call to chat with on the phone, or have lunch with or to say, "Sometimes I feel like ___."  

I think most of us want the same thing.  Sure there are some who have plenty of friends already and cannot spare a minute for another friend, but I think most of us would love to have a few more people to share this crazy life with.  

My question for you (yes, YOU) is do you feel that way, like you need the connections and cannot seem to get from acquaintance to close friendship?  What would it take for you to be vulnerable enough to say, "Will you be my friend?" or not to say that but to start inviting and chatting and saying, "Hey, want to do lunch or coffee or a movie?"    I've written about this before here.  Obviously, it's still on my mind.  I have made headway, and yet, I still feel awkward about reaching out.  I still wonder why would someone want to be my friend?  

It is a spirit of love that encourages these relationships and this understanding.  It is a spirit of empathy that allows us to sit together and "get it".  It is a spirit of compassion that makes us care about others and want to hear their stories and share in their lives.  I think all of these are born of The Spirit, born of God and the commandment to love others as He first loved us, even when it's not easy or convenient, but gritty and emotional and real. 

This has been a gritty, emotional year for me.  I have learned to reach out and ask for the support and friendship I desperately need.  I hope that I am able to respond in kind; to be available enough and approachable enough that if someone reaches out I respond as a true friend.  I am learning to be vulnerable and it can be scary, but it has also shown me that I can trust other people.  

I am working at being more authentic and I truly believe that if we all could be "real" and honest we could be much better friends to one another.  (Not with, to, big difference.)  It isn't easy and it might not always be safe and I think we need to be careful judges about who we share our "stuff" with, but if we are building a friendship, perhaps we need to let the Spirit be our guide.  


Monday, December 26, 2011

None of My Business.

"It is none of my business what other people think of me."

I've seen it attributed to many people so suffice it to say, I heard it somewhere and I believe they are words to remember.  It's not always easy to fully embrace the sentiment, though.

Recently I heard about something said about the Husband and myself to other people who know us and I felt hurt and incredibly angry.  I found myself wishing I could set the people who heard this adjusted sense of reality straight lest they believe the stories being told.

While there are three sides to every story and perspective changes everything, the way I heard the story and the way it happened (from our perspective) are very, very different and actually paint quite a negative picture.  I imagined the listeners making judgments and thinking badly of us.

And then I thought of the saying, "It's not of my business what anyone else thinks of me." and while I still feel bothered, I realize this is not a battle in which it is worthwhile to engage.  People will believe what they want and they can consider the source....or not.  (shrug)

Calling someone on their adjusted sense of reality is usually akin to banging your head against a wall and I have tried banging my head on this particular wall before and gotten nothing for it but a nasty knot on my head and a splitting headache.

Whether other people know the truth or not, God does.  Sound cliche?  I guess it is, but really, people are going to judge or make assumptions and we are all human and see things through the filter of their own biases and experiences.  When I can accept that I have biases, make assumptions and that some people are better at pushing my buttons, I can more freely accept that, "It's none of my business what anyone else thinks of me."

I pray that we can all find peace in the knowledge that everyone has their own "side" and perception and that the only thing that matters is that we do our best to live out God' commandment to love.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Broken but Thankful

See that broken cookie, yeah that's me.  Not in the broken because I am human and by definition all humans are sinful and broken.

Broken because it's been a rough few years and we've been putting a brave face on but today something happened that highlighted how we're keeping life together with paperclips, chewing gum and the stray piece of duct tape.

I cannot express with words how grateful I am to the friends and family and church family who have been carrying us through this but there are times when it gets overwhelming to not be able to just do things as they should be done.

This morning my oldest boy went out with the car.  No problem. Right?  Until the phone rang and the same boys said, "Mom! I was in an accident!"  Want your blood to turn to ice water in your veins?  Get that phone call.  Thank God he is okay.  Shaken up and the car has some damage and he didn't get a ticket BUT...the kicker, the thing that highlights how we're keeping it together (or not so much) is that the reason for the accident is that the car's tires were unsafe.  The Husband was planning to buy new tires next week.  Now not only do we need to buy new tires, we need to come up with the deductible and... we could have lost our son.

God provides.  He watched over our son and kept him safe. He has provided for us through the tough times and continuing tough times.  I always say God has a plan and we don't always know or understand. I just wish...I wish that His plans were a little more in line with mine, with what I think of as normal.

I am thankful for all God has done for us and I will praise Him through it all.  Can you do me a favor?  Can you just pray for our family?  It would mean a great deal.

Lord, as we prepare to welcome Your son, I am thankful I still have all of mine here with me.  Thank You!

Merry Christmas from one broken but praying mom.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Wish...

On that social networking site which shall remain nameless, I saw a question from  the question was something to the effect of "If Santa materialized in front of you, what would your one wish be?"


Material things are nice but I don't know if even his magical bag is magical enough to hold a new house in the country with a big yard.  The Husband is currently in negotiations for a new (to us) van to replace the one that died on the side of the road Tuesday so that is no longer at the top of my list and I cannot think of anything else to wish for for myself.

I guess the key is that I don't think Santa can give me the things I really wish for any more than I believe that if Santa takes the year off because he has a cold and he's in a snit because he thinks we've all lost the Christmas spirit, Christmas will not come.

There are things I would like. I ooh and ahh over the Williams-Sonoma catalogue.  I wander through Barnes and Noble and sometimes drool over the books I'd love to buy, knowing they would be read in a few hours and then what?  Those are all little things, it seems to me, to use for one big wish.

The big things I would wish for are things that are mostly intangible (other than the house in the country with the big yard... Did you hear that, man in the red suit?!)

I wish for peace, for the world and for those I love and for myself.  I wish for hope, hope that is found in the belief that things happen for a reason and that everything has a purpose and can be used for good.  I wish for love, love that transcends envy and greed and is selfless.

On a night so long a ago, a baby was born to give us the gift of all these things.  Not a man in a red suit, but a helpless baby can and does grant the most meaningful and spectacular wishes...through faith.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Crafty Goodness

I don't "do" tutorials. I mean, I don't write them.  I watch them. I read them. I try to follow them.  I love to learn new things.  I like to be creative.  It's fun!

I was planning to knit up a bunch of mini stockings but time got away from me, a migraine put its spell on me and well...I just dropped that ball.  I still needed the stockings so I decided to sew some.  I went to the fabric store intending to buy some felt.  Instead I came away with some cute flannel and coordinating grosgrain ribbon.  

First I drew a pattern.
Why yes, that is an old church bulletin.  It was sitting on the desk and I do like to re-purpose.

I folded the fabric so I could cut them in pairs and then I pinned them together so they stayed together.
Here they are all lined up on on the top of my chest freezer.  (I don't have a dedicated sewing space so I do my homework and my sewing in the dungeon basement between  the HO scale train table and the chest freezer, next to the perpetually running washer and dryer.  It's not fancy but it works.)

I folded the top of the stocking over twice and top stitched each piece before pinning them right sides together and sewing around the edges.  

After looking at them I decided they needed a little "somethin' somethin'" in addition to the green grosgrain hangers.  Soooo, I ran out this morning and found some yellow buttons. Its difficult to tell in the picture, but there is some yellow running through the plaid, the buttons pull that out.


I loved making these because it was something I created from start to finish.  I like making up my own patterns better than following the store-bought ones.  I love it when I have a vision and it works out. I love doing creative, crafty things.  This is a perfect time of year for crafting and for sharing our creativity.  I wish I had been inspired earlier in the season because I have so many ideas but not enough time.  

Next year!  

And I'll start sooner. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Tiny Bit

If I was a better or different sort of blogger, I would have photo documentation of the carnage.

The carnage that was a tiny bit of dried red food coloring that fell off the flip top and hit the tile floor in my kitchen.  A tiny piece which I carelessly stepped on and than tracked through the kitchen leaving dark red blotches between the refrigerator, sink, oven and trash can.  (It is cookie baking day!)

Thank goodness I did not venture into the living room and its admittedly less-than-pristine oatmeal colored Berber carpet.  (It is not now oatmeal with red berries splotches. Phew!)

When I discovered the spots I started wiping and the spots grew and smeared and it got very messy.  My hands are a nice shade of red and a I threw the cloths I was using in the trash because I was afraid of what would happen in the wash if I tried to wash them. (I imagined a big red mess in the washing machine.  It was very, very scary.)

This is not the first time red food coloring has been an issue.  Two years ago, there was red spreading down the wall beneath the cabinet.  It look like there was blood dropping from the cabinet.  (Great, I'm living in a horror movie.  Cue the foreboding music.)  The red food coloring had gotten knocked on its side at the back of the cabinet and the flip top (who thought that was a good idea?) was ajar...hence, the horror movie effects dripping down the wall.  Lovely.

As I was wiping down the floor (with Miss M trying to help me, isn't she sweet?) I thought about how little things can have big impact.

One little speck made a whole lot of mess.  One harsh word can bring pain.  One word spoken in love can heal. One baby born in a manger...brought a whole lot of Peace.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

God and Santa and Christmas Lists

Yesterday, I was trying to get some Christmas shopping accomplished.  In my purse was a list separated by child and also lists for a few of the children, one had 4 little items, one covered the front and back of a piece of notebook paper and then I had one in between.  Three of the children did not write lists.

I texted and called the Husband multiple times.  The stuff on their lists was more of the same "stuff" already filling the basement, or it was junky or inappropriate or cost more than I could afford. ($400 Lego set, not happening.)  Two hours later I had purchased nothing.  

I was conflicted.  You see, I could buy them some of the items on their lists and they would be happy they got them for a little while.  On the other hand, I could buy them items not on their lists but that in my gut I know they would get more enjoyment or use from.  It was an internal argument and I was so afraid that they would be disappointed. (And who wants to see a disappointed (and obviously ungrateful) child on Christmas morning?) But, being their mom, I know what will have lasting value and what will be a flash in the pan or the piece of junk.  

I wanted to fulfill their lists as best I could because I love them, BUT (why yes, I did mean to put that in capital letters) sometimes what they will benefit from most and even enjoy most is not something they knew they wanted in the first place.  It's easy to get sucked in by great marketing ploys and what the world around them tells them they need and want.  

This morning I thought about how I pray very specific prayers sometimes and God does not answer...not the way I want him to, not with the answer I specifically requested.  Hello?!  The Bible tells us He will.  Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV).  That's all fine and dandy but sometimes God has a different plan and the desires of my heart are not His desires, at least not right now, and sooooo  the prayers seem to go unanswered.  

But they are not unanswered.  He says, "Not now," or "No," or "Not that way,"  He's not ignoring me or you or any of us.  

Last week I had some moments of feeling as though He had forgotten me.  I prayed with tears streaming down my cheeks, pleading and overwhelmed.  "Please, " I begged.  Now, usually when I pray I am not specific.  I am a "Your will be done" kind of pray-er, but I've been asking for something fairly specific for a long time and it's just not happening.  

Funny thing though, my "Please!" prayer got answered, quite beautifully.  That's the way God works.  He can fulfill His plan and we are taken care of, but we cannot always dictate the way it's going to happen (because I'm still waiting on that specific prayer. He's teaching me some patience, let me tell you!) 

These are opportunities to relax into my faith, to trust and to fully experience what it is to be taken care of, even when things are not going according to my plans.  

So, this morning I was reflecting on the Christmas lists and letters to Santa and how some of the boys' hearts desires will not be fulfilled.  I thought about the fact that just like the Husband and I have a plan for our children which they might not fully understand, God has one for me (and you) that we might not be fully on board for.  

May we all be aware of the ways in which prayers get answered in unexpected ways.  Sometimes we have to open our eyes to see the blessings and answers right in front of us.  I know I do. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There Are Seven...

Lately I've been going by the days of the week rather than the dates. ("There are seven days, there are seven days there are seven days in a week....")

This should tell you I am not planning more than 7 days ahead for anything.  (Okay, I know that Christmas is coming and I am horribly, terribly unprepared and avoiding it, but that is another story...)

I knew that yesterday was Tuesday, all day, except when I wanted to think it was Wednesday.  We spent the day getting the house passable for a sweet friend to come over and watch the younger kids so that we could go with the oldest son to a college interview in the evening. (She is a champ and didn't run screaming from the house when we got home so she has some serious babysitting chops, don't you think?!) 

As I sat in the coffee shop waiting for the interviewer to arrive, I noticed a holiday banner with a picture of cardinals on it. My stomach kind of clenched as I turned to the Husband and said, "Today is the thirteenth, isn't it?"  He and the son looked at me like I was mentally deficient and said, "Yes."  (Remember I'm going by the days of the week like a preschool song right now, "There are seven days, there are seven days in a week..." At least I remember to be in the right place on "Tuesday".)

And then the interviewer arrived and we all smiled and were polite...

The thirteenth was (is?) my mom's birthday.  Yesterday she would have turned 78.   The boy err man who was interviewing with a college alum was 15 months old when she died on the 16th of December.  I forgot the date, just like 19 years ago on the 11th of this month, the Husband asked me to marry him (and I told him to ask me again when he as serious, which was apparently immediately after I said that) and I remembered on the 12th what anniversary was the 11th.  

I remembered yesterday's date when I saw the cardinals and thought of my mom who loved cardinals.  (Why yes, I am living a stream of consciousness sort of life right now.)  

So there are seven days in a week and for right now, I am living in weekly increments.  It's not great for long range planning.  It's not great for things that I have to remember by a number rather than one of those days...But it is where I am right now, at this moment.  

I feel sort of badly that I was so focused on tasks that I forgot the date.  It's not that I forgot her, I just was busy with the life swirling around me.  Does that happen to you? 

Sometimes I feel like I spend my life "putting out fires" and not enough time living intentionally.  I do not love it.  I Try to keep my focus on the things that matter, but I do get wrapped up in the minutia sometimes.  

Any idea where I am going with this?  Come must...  

I have seven days every week to make the most of the life that is right here in front of me.  Sometimes I might forget things.  Sometimes I might be flying by the seat of my pants.  Sometimes...the dates might get away from me.  I do my best.  (My best.)  

"There are seven days, there are seven days, there are seven days in a week..."  I will try to rejoice in each one...which is not always the easiest task (for me, anyway).  

Wishing you the time each day to remember what is most important.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Truth

Sometimes I get messages about this blog and people tell me how peaceful I sound.

I'm NOT!

The truth is, I want to reach out and touch people (not in a creepy way, more like those old telephone company ads, remember those?) and sometimes I hear that I do.  My heart sings to know that I have reached someone, made someone feel better or connected with them.

But the truth is...I am not at peace, I do not have all the answers and sometimes, sometimes I feel like a big fraud. 

Do I believe what I write here?  Absolutely. I believe in a loving, forgiving and grace-filled God.  I believe we can trust God.  I believe we do not ever walk alone. 

Err umm I believe that you don't ever walk alone. 

The truth is, often I feel like I've ticked God off in a major way and He has washed His hand of me. (Picture him wiping his hands together to brush off the crumbs of my messiness.)  I feel it in my heart when I am feeling unlovely and maybe a little bit like everyone else's life is working out and mine is not. so. much.  I feel the envy rotting my bones.  I feel the weight of poor decisions on my shoulders.  I feel... hopeless.

I don't think anyone else should feel this way. I think God is all merciful and loving.  It's just that...I don't understand why things haven't worked out. Clearly my sins, my poor decisions and my own messiness are far worse than yours.  Right?  Because I must have done something...

So when I write, imagine me trying to find the peace through my words.  When you read, know that I am trying to find my way.  I know the Truth, but I cannot always feel it.  I know He is with me, but sometimes I feel like I cannot find Him.  His footsteps are silent, His hands so gentle that I may not notice their embrace. 

At these times, I just know that somehow, someway He will get me through. And He will get you through, too. 

I believe it, but the truth is, sometimes I don't feel it. I pray that you always do. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Piles of (Mile)stones

One in diapers, one a senior in high school and four in between.

My life is all over the place, quite literally.

I like it but it is a bit like being on an emotional roller coaster all the time.  There is always something going on, and I don't mean games and art projects, I mean the emotional, spiritual stuff of life.  I guess that's part of having six blessings to love and care for.  There is always a milestone or 2 or 6 happening.  Those milestones add up to one emotional mommy.  And FYI, I am emotional to begin with.

So tonight, after an intense weekend of grad school (my peers have said they are emotionally fried too, so it's not just me), I went to the oldest boy's LAST holiday choral concert of his high school career.  What?!  I swear I was just telling the Husband there were two blue lines on the test at this time 18 years ago.  I swear, it was just yesterday he was saying, "Do you have any idea how much diapers cost?"  (Obviously he got over that. LOL)  And my mother was saying, to me, her three-months married daughter, "I thought you were going to wait."  And here I am the mom of a high school senior with college applications submitted.

And the mother of a 6th grader and a 5th grader and a 2nd grader and a 4 yo and a 1 yo...and I have a heart so overflowing with love and gratitude and ...fear.

Every stage and phase is new and different and each child goes through each phase differently too, because they are all uniquely and wonderfully made.  The Husband and I are constantly adjusting and muddling through, hoping we're giving each child what they need to be their best self...because they each need different stuff from us, at different times and in different ways.

The truth is...The older my kids get, and the less I can micro manage their lives, the scarier it gets for me.  You see, seeing them worry and hurt and struggle with anything hurts my heart.

I thought that having 6 kids, it wouldn't be so hard to say goodbye to the stages of my oldest.  News flash:  His last Holiday Choral Concert was a milestone, a last time to sing A Night of Silence.  A last time to see my son process in singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel  a Capella with the other men.  (Men?!)

And on the other end, Miss M is starting to show her spunky personality as she runs through the house doing her impersonation of a tornado, frequently half-dressed.

I can see where he's been and where each of them may or may not be going.  I can see that each phase has it's beauty and excitement and also it's tougher parts, too.

And then there are the balls I fear I've dropped, the ways I think I've let the oldest boy down or the others or the ways I will still fail them.  And my heart aches.  And I wonder, is part of the milestones learning that I will keep dropping the ball and letting them down and being an imperfect parent, no matter How. Hard. I. Try. ?

All of these things were running through my mind today as I watched and listened and experienced His. Last. Holiday. Choral. Festival.

These phases and stages are tough and tiring and scary.  I do not have all the answers.  I will drop the ball and I will let them down.  That's a fact of life.  Want to be a big liar?  Say you have all the answers.  I don't.  You don't.  No human does.  God, however, does.

So tonight after I had my little, "ball dropping, failing my kids" moment, I sat in that auditorium watching all of those teenagers singing and can you guess what I did?  I prayed for them.  Oh yes, I did.  And I just realized, as I prayed I dropped the ball so just now, I prayed for their parents.

Through all the phases and stages and piles of milestones, I can turn to God.  I can talk to friends and the Husband and always, always I can lean on God.  So. Can. You.  I can let the fear and worry take control or I can turn to the One who has the answers and the plan and can use anything at all for good.

That sounds much better than a heart full of fear facing this big pile of (mile)stones, don't you think?

-Peace and Love

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


(Mercy Me- "The Little Drummer Boy")

Last night, I shared with you that I am supposed to be writing papers for school (still not finished, by the way, bad Stacey) and I was struggling.  

I have a confession.  I might be a wee bit of a perfectionist and I might over think things and perhaps my perfectionist tendencies sometimes impede my ability to begin or finish tasks which I feel may be....imperfect.  

The Husband has pointed out that I have modeled this particular trait so well that the oldest boy might be a wee bit of a perfectionist himself.  It is not something I am proud of. 

I wish to be proud of my work and what I produce but this morning as I was driving to MOPS listening to Mercy Me sing "The Little Drummer Boy" I got chill as I always do when they sing, "Shall I play for you? Mary looked at me and nodded, the ox and lamb kept time.  I played my drum for Him. I played my best for Christ. I played my best for Christ."  That lyric gives me goosebumps.  I played my best for Christ.

All at once I was convicted and freed.  You see, at first I started thinking about all the ways I fall short of best, all the things I don't do well enough.   I don't do them well enough in my eyes.  I am not the best at them. Convicted through my faults and failures and less-thans. 

 And then, I realized, God doesn't ask me to be the best He asks me to be my best.  Second confession of this post, I had tears in my eyes along with the goosebumps and the hair that was standing up on my neck.

That friends, is how I was freed.  Freedom to serve as only I am created to serve is doing my best.  

So whether you're writing papers for school or teaching, no matter what you're doing in your life, all you are asked to do, all you are called to do,  is your  best with the big things and the little things.  Whether you're rich or poor, playing a drum or bringing frankincense and myrrh, if you are bringing your  best, He will smile. 

So today, I will focus on doing my best, and bringing my best to all things.  

Praying you can relax into your best, too.  

-Peace and Love

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

So I Should Be Writing a Paper..

I have two papers due on Friday.  Two papers which are incomplete right now and which I am having an internal tantrum about doing.  I am struggling with certain logistical aspects of citing and I am just feeling...annoyed.

You see, I would much rather be writing here.  It's like talking to a friend or two when I post here.  I can choose my topic and as long as I'm not plagiarizing, do you care whether I use APA to cite?  Not really.  (And for the record APA is not my BFF).

So, I have been leaning on my friends through this ordeal, via crackbook FB and text, we have been chatting about the assignment, they have been offering words of support, suggestions and commiseration.  I am so thankful to have what Dr. Henry Cloud referred to as "monkeys", those friends you turn to for support.  Ever since we heard that at the Women of Faith- Imagine  event the women I went with and those who have heard the story talk about our monkeys with fondness and affection.

In fact, one of my friends posted "In Christ Alone" on the FB as a shout out to her monkeys and I find myself turning to it when I need to be reminded of all that He has done for me.  The verse that seems to catch my ears every time is: And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost it's grip on me.  For I am His and he is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ.  

I need to remember sometimes that sin doesn't have the last word.  My bad decisions do not have the last word.  The last word comes from that sacrificial act so long ago which is the most amazing gift.

I remember standing in a conference room with thousands of other women at MOPS convention and hearing Travis Cottrell sing this song and feeling it in my heart and soul, feeling that gift.  It made me get goosebumps.  I am so thankful to be reminded by a monkey of this awesome experience and opportunity to worship together with so many other women.

So although I should be writing a paper, I am babbling to you about this gift which makes me smile, makes my heart sing and makes me just want to stand up and shout, "He loves YOU!"  As I keep telling a sweet friend, "You've got this and He's got you."  He's got you and me and all of us.  Amen!

And as a side note...don't you think I should be published and paid to write?   It would solve this "writing papers for grades" issue!

Praying you find the peace and joy and gifts of grace in your life, that you have friends that remind you (even unintentionally) of what an amazing God we have and that you know that you, yes you, are loved.

(from the girl avoiding writing school-related papers)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's So Beautiful

Those were the words 4 yo *I* used to describe the park today.

The sky was a roiling mass of gray clouds, the trees were bare, the landscape shades of brown and the ground a little bit (or a lot) on the muddy side.  

The Husband and I took advantage of the younger boys' conference day to hit the trail with all but the high schooler who was still trapped in those hallowed halls of learning.

I have to agree with *I*.  I thought it was beautiful.  Much like the song The Colors of My Life from Barnum,
The colors of my life, Are softer than a breeze.  The silver gray of eiderdown, the dappled green of trees.  The amber of a wheat field, the hazel of a seed, the crystal of a raindrop, are all I'll ever need.  Your reds are much too bold, in gold I find no worth.  I'll fill my days with sage and brown, the colors of the earth, and if from by my side my love should roam.  The colors of my life will shine a quiet light to lead him home.
It's true I love the starkness of late autumn, the crispness and even the shades of brown and gray.  The Husband doesn't get my love of this season he sees as one of death.  For me, this season signifies family togetherness, comfort food, crackling fires and calm.  It means knitting and baking, quiet nights at home and...a feeling of home. 

I loved walking through the woods today.  There is something refreshing about bundling up to see the world around me that makes me feel safe and content.  I loved watching *I* talking to the birds.  I enjoyed seeing the cardinals playing chase and thinking of how my mom loved cardinals.  I laughed at *N* running ahead like a bull in a china shop and then yelling at his brothers to be quiet because he wanted to see animals. lol. 

In the quiet of late autumn, I feel in tune with the world around me.  In the quiet, I can prepare my heart and soul and mind in this season of advent for the joyous celebration and gift that is to come.  Maybe that is why the death of autumn brings me introspection and not sadness...there's a baby due in a few weeks, a beautiful savior and I need to be quiet and get ready.

Yes, sweet *I*, it is beautiful.