Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It Was "Sew" Easy

the other day I was reading this tutorial at mesewcrazy.com and my 7 yo asked me to make him the cooler than cool penguin there.

So the other day I took the five youngest children to Joann Fabrics (which was an adventure, let me tell you) and the 4 younger boys each picked out fabric for me to make them pajama pants and we got some black, white and red fleece to create this cute little guy.  (Red because *E* wanted it to look like a particular type of penguin.)

I printed the pattern and cut everything out the other day, followed the first couple of steps and realized I had no eyes for the poor guy which meant I had to take a break.

Today I went down to the dungeon/ sewing area and spent about an hour putting this baby together.  I didn't do everything exactly like the tutorial.  I left off the embroidery around the belly and I didn't make a hat for him, but isn't that the joy of making things, taking creative license?

I think he likes it. :)

I am so thankful for the creative people who share their nifty projects and ideas.  I am inspired and it encourages me to try all sorts of new things.  If you share your cool ideas, thank you!


Friday, February 24, 2012

Who's Your Daddy?

Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I've been reflecting on this verse a great deal lately.  Thinking about what I treasure, what I worship and idolize and how it impacts my heart and soul.

It is so easy to get distracted by minutia, build it up, put a fence around it, maybe even put it on an altar and worship it.

I don't want to worship stuff, as nice as some stuff is.  I mean, stuff has a habit of breaking (especially in my house).  Stuff has a habit of becoming outdated.  I find stuff doesn't provide lasting satisfaction, just like that whipped cream filled, chocolate frosted doughnut makes me feel full and happy for a little while then leaves me tired, cranky and craving more.

And worshiping people...people are human and no matter how much they love us, how good their intentions are, how brilliant or creative or generous they are, they just can't be anything more than human.  When I elevate them and put them on an altar and worship them, they feel the pressure.  They also get a little dizzy up on that altar and they tend to falter and not quite measure up to status I've given them in my mind.  Perhaps they never even intended to be the object of my worship in the first place.

This week has been one of growth, painful and scary and real.  It has been an opportunity to remember that God is in control.  It has been an opportunity to remember that no matter what stuff we have, no matter how much I love someone, sometimes that is just not enough.  It is in these times of realization that I humbly remember just exactly Who is my Father.  I remember that He loves each of us more than we can comprehend.

In this week, I have focused more on God's provision than my own ability.  My treasures are not found in things.  I love my family but I cannot love them more that God does.  My treasure is my faith in God, and when my heart is with Him, I can find peace and hope and comfort in the storms.  After all isn't that what Fathers do, give us comfort in the storms?  And He's my Daddy.  (And yours too.)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Stretch Marks

My facebook status this morning was:

God doesn't give us anything we can't handle (with his help).  At first I wished He didn't have so much faith in me, then I realized He was teaching me faith in Him.

We always talk about how easy it is to praise God in the good times and how difficult it is to sing praises in the hard times.  I try to remember that in the hard times I seem to learn more and grow more.  I write about it a lot too, I think. ;)

Yesterday I was telling a friend I am just not strong enough for "this".  She said I didn't have to be, that she and others were there to prop me up.  And she reminded me of the words I said to her a little while ago, "You've got this and He's got you."

He's got us all and He's teaching me a lot about myself, about others and about Him.  I didn't think I was strong enough, but I didn't have any choice except to walk this path.  I am not walking gracefully.  I have been known to yell about minor things, power cry in the bathroom and the silver lining..I've lost 7 pounds (I need to lose a few more, but I think I'm already regaining my appetite pfft!).

I am so thankful too, that God doesn't expect me to be graceful in my growing.  He fully expects that His teaching will stretch me and stretching tends to leave marks.  These marks are badges of our courage and strength.  It may not always be pretty in a conventional sense, but they can be a visible reminder of the experience and the lessons from that sort of growth are beautiful.

As I grow in my own life walking paths I don't think I can, I am reminded that God is walking with me.  I am learning again and again that He is always present, He is always there.   He is patiently whispering, "Have faith in Me.  I've got you."  I stretch and grow and learn that it's not that God has faith in my ability but that my faith in Him enables me to do things I never could on my own.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Just Babbling

 To say life has been surreal and a little unpleasant the past few days would be an epic understatement.

I don't think I can go into the details here, it's too raw, too unsettled...too everything.

I can tell you, though, that God is Amazing.  There are some amazing people in this world and I am thankful and grateful to have them touching the lives of my family.  They are the hands and feet of God.  And did I mention, our God is an amazing?

So I've been playing this song to remind myself that God is stronger, greater and higher.

-Peace and Love

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be Nice.

I didn't watch the Grammy's last night.  I got teary watching weddings on Walton's mountain.  I'm a geek like that.

A friend of mine posted on crackbook facebook about Taylor Swift and then I youtubed (not even a real verb, according to my grammar check) "Mean" after reading about it in the newspaper.
Aaaw.  I was that little girl with no one to sit with at lunch, the girl who was told to, "Make like a tree and leave" and heard everyone else at the table laugh as I walked away, crushed, humiliated and so alone.  (Do you know that girl's name pops up on facebook under "people I may know" once in a while and I still, to this day, get sick to my stomach?)

Now, I am the mother of 6 who knows that her kids have experienced or will experience the mean things.  I sit on the sidelines hoping I have built them up enough to not internalize the mean words.  I hug them afterward wishing I could wash that pain away.  The Husband and I try to advocate for their safety when the bullies go over the line.  It's just so...mean.

Someday I'll be living in a big old city and all you're ever gonna be is mean.  Someday I'll be big enough so you can't hit me and all you're ever gonna be is mean.  Why you gotta be so mean?

In college, a friend of mine had a poster with fancy cars parked in front of a mansion.  The caption read, "Living well is the best revenge."

I try not to teach my kids that revenge is a good option.  In fact when my oldest was being bullied in 5th or 6th grade I tried to encourage him to think about what might be going on in his tormentor's life to make him behave as he did.  I'm not sure my boy felt loved or supported with those words.  While I believe in teaching empathy and compassion, I think I neglected to show him strong enough support in that horrid time.  Regrets, I have a few...

So, now I focus on the future with all of my kids.  Life will bring people like this into our lives and we get to choose how to respond.  We can stand up for ourselves without being vengeful.  We can remember that mean words do not have to define us.  We can hopefully internalize that we are loved and cherished and uniquely and wonderfully made by God.

Someday we will have opportunities to choose to be kind. We can choose to be judgmental or accepting.  We can choose to live a life filled with joy or bitterness.  We may taste the bitter but we don't have to make a meal of it.  Most of all...we do not have to be mean.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Up Late Reading

Starting when I was in 5th grade, it was not unusual for me to stay up into the wee small hours of the morning reading.

I would get into my book and not be able to put it down.  I would devour books.  The summer after I graduated from college I did the same thing.  One of my dear friends, M, sent me a bunch of mysteries and I bought others in the series.

This habit continued and was enabled by my first post-college job in a bookstore.  (Sadly reading while working was frowned upon, but there was a generous discount.)  I married a bookstore man so after I was out of the business he would feed my habit.  (Hows that for enabling? lol)

To me there is nothing better than becoming engrossed in the story, getting to know the characters, and in a mystery, trying to solve the crime.  I will say, if I do not like the protagonist, I find it difficult to read the book. I get tired of formulaic stories (if in a series the protagonist always ends up getting herself into danger, I get annoyed.  A little common sense goes a long, long way with me.)  and I am not into graphic gore, but if I can relate (or wish to relate) to the characters, I am hooked.

So last night I stayed up too late getting lost in Marybeth Whalen's book, She Makes It Look Easy, and I loved Ariel.  It could be that I identified with her having 3 boys to my 5, it could be that she was a genuinely good person, but whatever the case I liked her.  I enjoyed the plot too, because I can see how this can and does happen every single day.  Most of all, I think Marybeth (is it too familiar to refer to the author that way, Mrs. Whalen sounds so formal?) did a great job of showing authentic life of a Christian wife and mother, not a caricature.  Ariel isn't overly pious but she is faith-filled and I believed in her.  I want to have coffee with her and chat, I want to laugh about smothering burnt toast in peanut butter and the things boys will do in packs.  

As I was laying half asleep on the couch lamenting that my children only wish to sleep late Monday through Friday, I found myself  thinking about the book and wishing, hoping, that she would make this into a series so I could get to know Ariel, her family, her friends and her neighbors better.

While I could have used a few more hours of sleep, this book brought me rest in other ways, much as I did all those years ago reading Nancy Drew as a preteen (because "tween" wasn't coined yet lol) or Diane Mott Davidson (still a favorite) in my early 20s.

Losing myself in a good story is a great way to relax and while I'm reading, if I'm reading the right things, I am able to come away focused, strengthened and renewed. So while I didn't get enough hours of sleep last night, I did get some rest.

I pray that you can find peace and rest in many different ways, in God and His word, in sleep and in other pastimes which can feed your mind and soul.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Am Never Enough

Today I was praying quite emotional prayers, head down to the ground, just crying out to God.  It was a conversation, an impassioned one.

I was crying out in fear.  Fear of my own inadequacy.  "God," I cried, "Please help me.  I am trying to do everything I can but it's never enough." As I sobbed into the carpet, I heard the whisper, "I am enough, you can never be enough, but I am enough."  He is enough.  God is enough.

I am trying to give my fear to God, to see His provision, His strength and His sword-wielding skills as enough.  (Yes, I do love that image, thank you, Lisa Harper.)  But my human self tells me I need to be in control.  The tough part is, that I cannot be in control of this.  I can act, I can make efforts, I can do my best to respond, but control is not totally mine.  I. Do. Not. Like. It.  Not. One. Bit.  It's very scary.

Wednesday night I had a dream that I had huge shards of glass in my neck and chest.  It was symbolic of my pain and as I go through each day since then, I feel those shards still.  It's unnerving. It is not of God to feel this sort of fear.  It is not of God to feel this sort of doubt.  This situation is not of  God but of lies whispered by an evil one who is able to get into the cracks in hearts and minds of people, deceiving and distracting them from the great blessings of God.

I know that things could be so much worse than they are.  I hope and pray it doesn't go down that path.  I am doing my best to prevent it but I know I need to trust in others and in God to fight this battle alongside me.  None of us is alone in this crazy world of whispers of hope and of deceit.

We can choose what we listen to and I am hopeful that the voice of Truth is loud enough to discredit the lies.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

I think what you see in the picture, writing on my hand, may (does) qualify as distracted driving.

I was driving, listening to a pastor speaking on the radio (Not something I normally, do.  Usually I like to sing along.) and he was talking about fear.

I am sure I've mentioned more than once that I tend to operate in fear mode a good part of the time.  It is something I'm working on but I have been struggling with it a lot.

So the pastor said he was going to give 5 scripture verses that the listeners could write down and refer back to.  I was at a red light, reached in my purse, found a pen (act of God in itself. LOL), and waited.  The light                           turned green before he was done, so I admit to writing on my hand while driving.  This also accounts for not being able to read all of the writing.

part two...because as I sat down to write about giving my fear to God more fully...
the phone rang and my life turned upside down and turning over fear to God became, "If I do not act, something really awful could happen."  Fear became the driving force in my life.

Is this Satan taking a foothold?  Maybe.  I know there is a battle going on and I feel like a spectator without even the words to speak in prayer.  I am reduced to the short phrase, "Please help!"."Get behind me Satan."

The other day in a devotion written by Lisa Harper (Lisaharper.net, "Marie Mondays") she wrote about remembering that God was the one holding the sword to slay the dragons.  She has the best imagery.  So I am here right now, trying to hang out behind God while he wields the sword and hope He's got it covered.

Right now I am struggling with it so if you have a few spare prayers...I'd appreciate them.