Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Conversation with God

I have a friend who I truly enjoy being with, when I get to see her. I've discovered that I hear from her predominantly when she is in need of something. Friendship-wise, there's not much depth. But when I'm with her, I enjoy her.

Now she's not feeling well...and hasn't been for a little while. I haven't been a great friend. I haven't called to check on her. I KNOW I need to.

Here's my conversation with God this morning about it:

Me: God, I know I need to call her and check on her, but she never calls ME to see how I'm doing. I don't want to call her. I guess I'm a little mad.

God: You need to call her.

Me: But God...she's really dropped off the face of my planet...unless I fit neatly into her plans for that day. My friendship is not a priority to her.

God: You need to call her.

Me: But we obviously don't have the friendship that I thought we did. She doesn't need me. I'm okay with that. OBVIOUSLY she's okay with that!

God: Call her.

Me: Why? I know you have a reason. I know I'm being proud. But WHY? Honestly, it feels better pouting about it...or ignoring her altogether.

God: What if my Son had only loved people who were warm and fuzzy to Him? Or what if He only cared about those that loved Him first?

Me: Point made. I'll call right now.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Join me for coffee.....

Just this morning, I came across this Kettle Club meeting, hosted by Exemplify blog. I love this!



Here is how it works:
• Women who want to make the commitment to spend 5-10 minutes (or more!) of time in the Word before blogging each day, will join up.

• Each month, we will post little devotional questions and encouragement to help hold one another accountable
• The last week of the month we will link up and share what we are learning in our private, devotion time.

Basically, it’s women sharing our hearts of what God is teaching us in our daily time with Him. Don’t you love that?!!

They gave us some discussion questions to choose from while discussing our March time in the Word.

Do you have a certain morning system that accompanies your quiet time?
I do! I try my best to get up between 5:30 and 6:00 am. I usually go to bed way too late to get up closer to 5:30, but I’m always striving to improve in that area. My coffee starts to brew at 5:30, so I just have to grab a nice hot cup…and plant myself on the couch, in the quiet. Currently, I am “Joining the Journey” with my church, as we study the Old Testament in 2009. After my time in the Word, I spend some time in prayer. I am a pray-out-loud-type-of-person. I love to feel that God and I are just chatting. So, needless to say…I struggle with getting frustrated, when someone tries to join me in the room. :)

Another question is:
Share a standout lesson you’ve learned this month and why it has made such an impact on you.
Since I just now discovered this today, I’ll answer only from today’s time.
In Exodus 23, God told the Israelites that He would be preparing and leading the way for them to enter the promised land. He said He would go before them and drive out the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites before them. Verse 29 reads, “But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.”

I have talked about how Bill and I are determined to pay off debt. I have taken on a part time job; we are focused, counting every penny; and we are praying. We have prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed that God would allow us to finish this much quicker. We’ve been praying for 4 years about this. God HAS provided. He HAS been faithful. But we are STILL in this battle.

This passage this morning revealed to me that although God has chosen to not yet wipe out this debt, He is still active. His plan is perfect. He knows what He is doing.

We are to be faithful to walk with Him; do what we know is right…daily; and to seek Him. We WILL “take possession of the land”. God WILL see us through. We need only to trust Him for His perfect timing.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by over at the Exemplify blog and see what other “kettle clubbers” are saying. You just might be inspired!

If you’d like, leave me a comment and share with me what YOU do in your daily time with God. I’d love to know!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Relationships...Connecting...Learning to Love....

I began to think and marvel today at all the different connections of people there are in my life.

Family, immediate and extended.
Close “inner-circle” friends.
General friends.
Acquaintances.
Work peers.
People I want to get to know.

And then today, I began looking at blog comments I am receiving. I KNOW I’m a baby blogger…and I have a very unsophisticated blog (when compared to the “big blog world”). But I am beginning to see how connections with others through blog posts can be tremendously encouraging and maybe even friendships can be formed down the line.

And then I began to think about how I interact with each of these types of people in my life.

Am I being REAL? Am I connecting at the deepest possible level?

Even when the other person really has nothing in common with me, do they feel loved by me? Do I truly seek to KNOW them as well? Am I entering into their world…and taking advantage of whatever opportunity for love and growth the Lord is giving us both?

To be honest, there are people in my life the Lord has placed there…and I’m not sure why. But my hope and prayer is that I love them well and I don’t miss ANYTHING the Lord has in store.

Think about all your many relationships.

Are YOU keeping it real?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Off the hook

I wonder if every other Mom of two toddlers feels crazy. Or is it just me? Seriously.

I turn 40 years old this year (in just a few short months) and I’m still trying to figure out how God has wired me. I guess this side of heaven, I’ll never “arrive” to exactly where I want to be.
I’ll never be 100% organized.
I’ll never be joyful in my attitude all day, everyday.
I’ll never be extraordinarily creative or eloquent.
I’ll probably never be extremely technically-minded.
I’ll probably not for a very long time have the energy at the end of any given day to read more than 5 pages of a book.

I constantly feel frustrated that I’m not “there” yet….wherever THAT is.

I have more “Mommy guilt” every single day than I ever anticipated going into parenthood.
Did they watch too much television today?
Did they read enough?
Did they feel understood and heard by me today?
Did they eat too much sugar?
Why didn’t I do more CREATIVE activities with them?
Did I draw them closer to Jesus today?
Or did I unknowingly cause them to inch away from Him, due to my reactions and my words?

Is it enough that at least I CARE about these things for them? Does that count for something, if I didn’t fully accomplish them today? I sure hope so.

Am I listening to lies I shouldn’t be? Lies that say, “When are you EVER going to get it together?”

Or am I listening to the Holy Spirit say, “I’m here for you and with you…and you don’t HAVE to have it all together. Let’s do this side by side.”

I pray I can get my head and my heart to connect on this issue…and let it all go. I hope I can struggle long and well. I love being a mother. I still can’t believe God has allowed me to take care of these little ones. Now I just need to let Him lead me. I know if I lead myself, I can’t stand up under the load I put on my own shoulders.

So for today, for right now….I will thank Him that I am who I am….I am where I am….And let myself off the hook...and enjoy His blessings.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The boys are back in town!

My sweet little men are all curled up in their own beds right now.

All is back right with the world.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tomorrow....


Oh, how I miss these little guys!
Thanks Granny Sue and Pappa Jim, for the break. I'm ready for life as usual now. :)
See you tomorrow, my precious ones.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Can you hear that???

.....silence.

That's what I'm hearing.

An update on the boys with their Granny Sue and Pappa Jim:
They're doing great!!!!

We were told that a two-year-old and a four-year-old would NOT be able to make it very long without Mom and Dad, at their grandparent's house 3 hours away, by themselves. Well guess what? Mine are doing fabulously. I wonder if they even want to come back home!

Today, they are in Hockley, TX, at the Oil Ranch , riding rides, petting animals, eating snow cones, enjoying the beautiful sunshine and their grandparents. I'm so glad they are having a wonderful time.

Me? I'm enjoying the silence. Seriously. It almost makes it hard to accomplish anything. I just want to sit. And listen...to the silence. :)

Have a great day!

The Spring Reading Thing

I really like to read. Unfortunately, I get caught up in the craziness of life...and by 9:00 at night, I want to do something completely brainless, like watch LOST on tivo. (However, if you're a LOST fan, you KNOW it takes some brain power to keep up with this complex plot!) My husband, who is an avid reader, would LOVE it if I would curl up beside him in bed and read nightly.

I have great intentions at the beginning of each year to tackle more reading...and less television.

So, here is something I'm excited about! I plan to participate in The Spring Reading Thing, hosted by Callapidder Days.


To participate, you have to come up with a list of books and reading goals you would like to complete between March 20th and June 20th. I constantly have a list of books in my head I'd like to go purchase. But for this spring, I have decided to finish the books on my shelf that I have started (sometimes more than once!) and yet to finish.

Look at my sidebar and see the books I'll be reading. Another goal I have made is to read with each of my boys for 15 minutes per day, at least 3 times/week.
I chose an autobiography to start! How fun to read about other people's interesting lives....

I'll make sure and let you know my thoughts on each book as I complete it. And if I don't finish them all, that's okay, too. I will let myself off the hook and just enjoy my reading time, laying next to my sweet husband at night. I would LOVE to know what you'll be reading this spring! Leave me a comment, if you'd like, and share.





Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quiet house....and a GIVEAWAY!

Well, my boys are gone. Their at their grandparent's house 3 hours away for a few days. I never dreamed I'd feel THIS way. I'm excited, yes, about the "kid-free" time.....but I already kinda miss the chaos and the noise! I AM enjoyng a "whine-free" zone around here, though! I'll let you know how I'm doing tomorrow.

On a different subject....check out this cute apron!


(And it's being modeled by Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers)
Head over to her blog, look around and while you're there, register to win one of these fabulous aprons by the Hip Hostess. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down and enjoy! Sandy's website is one of my all-time favorites.
Have a great day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

One of God's sweetest ways to bless.....

Friendship. I honestly haven't always known HOW to be a good friend. I've known that I've been blessed to HAVE them. I've got three women in my life now that have been friends since 6th grade (do that math....that's a loooonnnnnggggg time!) And actually, one of them has been my friend since 5 years old!!! They are wonderful, strong, fun women.

But not until as of late have I TRULY seen GOD'S hand in the gift of friendship.

Bill and I, as you know, have been on a journey to pay off debt for about 4 years. Our journey has been SLOW (can I tell you HOW slow????) due to choices we have made. We CHOSE for me to be a MOM, full-time, at home. We chose for Bill to change careers. We chose to have children. We chose to buy a house. Needless to say, we have done things the slow way...but the way we felt was right, at the time.

Now....we're sick and tired of debt! We're mad about it. We're determined. We're hopeful. And for the very first time in my life, I'm truly trusting God to show Himself mighty, bless our efforts and help us to get out of debt by the end of 2009!

With that being said, life is not easy right now. We are working our a_ _ _ s off. We are cutting back on whatever it takes. We're scrutinizing EVERY dime and penny that enters and leaves our possession. We are in a major transition time...temporarily.

My friends have come out of the woodwork with blessings!!!! I have had incredible offers of childcare, so Bill and I could spend some time together, or take care of things we've needed to do. I've had amazing gently-used children's clothing given to us, since my four-year-old's birth. We've had an abundance of meals provided on various occasions, when people just had a heart to help...no other reason. Today, someone told me they had Disney On Ice tickets for my whole family! I can't wait to bless my children with this experience. (Thank you, Colleen) AND...I KNOW we've been covered in prayer by our friends.

You know, I ALWAYS trust God. But sometimes (during the frustrating moments), I doubt He plans for our "debt deliverance" anytime in the near future. These kind gestures of love and friendship reveal to me otherwise. God is fully present....fully aware....and fully loving on me and my entire family, through other people. He WILL get the glory. He WILL grow us up more and more in the meantime.

Honestly, I wouldn't trade these "a-ha" moments. God works in the coolest ways, doesn't He?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I'm free to be me...in blog land!!!!!!!

Blogging is so interesting.
When I started my own blog, I was very into reading other people's blogs. This is what I was gaining from other writers....
  • I've enjoying hearing their perspectives on life, motherhood, spirituality and hospitality, among other things.
  • I've been gathering wonderful ideas on various "motherhood" topics and getting motivated by other moms.
  • I've collected great home decorating and gift ideas.
  • I've marveled at the creative frugality of some of the most intelligent women I've ever heard from on the subject (even though I've only encountered these women in cyberland).
  • My recipe book has been greatly expanding.
I instantly thought, "hey, why can't I do that?" If you've known me for very long, you KNOW I like to talk. So what a great avenue for me, right? Well...WRONG.

First of all, most of those other people have a 'niche', or something they predominantly focus on. For instance, some of my favorites are Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers (whose niche is hospitality), Crystal at Money Saving Mom (whose niche is frugal spending and where to find the deals), and The Nester, whose motto is "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" and whose niche is decorating on little to no budget.

In my blog, I wanted to share my thoughts, my heart, stories of my precious children and husband, and well as various other things my life seems to bring.

I have, at times in the short amount of time I've blogged, gone through self doubt about whether or not anyone reads...or even seems to be interested in...what my blog has to say. I had such hopes that my blog might be interesting. :) (Thank you, dear Nee Nee, for your encouragement at times!)

I need to tell you. I am no longer worried about it. And I feel very free! I will only speak my heart. That removes all the un-needed pressure I place on myself.

I can assure you my blog will be:
  • Thoughts on various, miscellaneous topics...no niches here!
  • From my honest heart
  • Spotty, at best...as I will only write when I have something on my heart...not out of pressure to post something
  • Sometimes interesting, and sometimes not
  • Hopefully inspiring and/or motivating at times
  • Prayed over, as I hope that maybe God will reach someone, at some point, through something I may have to say

So, thank you if you read it.

I really enjoy my time here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring is almost here!

Do you happen to love spring as much as I do?
It’s my most favorite season of the year!

Warm sunshine.
Flowers budding everywhere.
The earth turning green again.
Shorts. Barefeet. Tank tops.

There is nothing like it!
Freedom from cold, brisk weather.
Freedom from coats, gloves, in-door activities.
Even rainy days in Spring are much more enjoyable than in winter.

Colors are brighter.
People are happier.
Energy abounds.
Things seem fresher…newer… alive again.

I’m so excited it’s coming.
God has given us teasing glances into what’s coming, with a few warm sunny days behind us.
But it’s not here yet. Today it’s cold again.
Today I wore my coat and gloves.

But Spring is coming.
Did I mention how excited I am?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blessings…and the hodge podge of life

My kids are healthy.
My husband has a job.
We have a comfortable home, with a bed for each of us.
We have two working cars.
We have yummy food on our table every day.
We have healthy parents.
And I enjoy a hot cup of coffee (or 3 or 4, actually!) every day,
as I get to dig into God’s Word. (In public, if I so choose).

Life is rich. God is good.


Now to the hodge podge….

Starbucks:
I actually enjoy it. Yes, it’s tiring to cram 20 hours into one weekend. But I am surrounded by truly interesting people. And it’s fast paced. The people…..it’s so eye-opening. My “Christian bubble” has been burst! Talks about God have not yet directly come up, but my ears are aware of comments being made…like….”I’m not sure about that religious-type!”…or “so-and-so is devout, if you know what I mean…and you’re into that kind of thing”. If you’re familiar at all with the general Starbuck’s employee population, they generally tend to be rather colorful. It’s fun to be thrown into the mix. My prayer is that God will be glorified. I have no idea what that will look like. I have no idea how I will be used. I only know that God loves these people. And he’s placed me in their lives. Hmmm.

40-Day Love Dare continues:

I am actually not doing it in 40 days. It may be more like 45 or 50 days, since my weekends are crammed full. But I assure you, I still love Bill on my “off” days. There is much to chew on doing this project, but it is thought provoking. I still have much to learn about loving God’s way!

Home projects:

I am just constantly trying to keep my head above water. I hope to send the kids off to Granny Sue and Pappa Jim’s house for a couple of days next week during Spring Break, in order to get caught up on some things. We’ll see how they do. It will be their first time at their grandparent’s house, without Mom or Dad.

We are still having a compatibility issue between my camera and computer. That’s why my posts don’t have a lot of pictures yet. Pictures always make posts much more interesting than a bunch of words! But getting photos onto the computer is a little bit of a challenge right now, so bear with me, please. We hope to fix this little challenge ASAP.

I'm heading off to stir my pot of Southern Red Beans and Rice I'm cookin' up for tonight. If it's awesome, I'll leave the recipe here tomorrow. It's smells pretty great right now...
I hope you have a wonderful, simple day today! Count your blessings. Then make sure to thank God for them.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'll be back....

I have been very busy the past few days...so I haven't been able to post. PLUS, I've actually had SO MUCH bouncing around in my little brain, I wasn't even sure where to start. So I'll start tomorrow.

Tonight...I sleep.
Tomorrow I am without kids.
And I will post.

I know you understand.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why boys are fabulous....!!

video

It's March, not October...isn't this fun?!

Blogged for today....check!


Checklists…do you use them?

I love checklists. First of all, I love to feel organized enough to know what I need to do. Made my checklist. Check!

Then, I love to feel that I’ve accomplished something. Nothing makes me feel more successful than a Daytimer page filled with items checked off at the end of the day. However, the reverse of that is also true….if I have a page only partially checked off, it can potentially cause me much distress.

There is so much that can interfere with accomplishing a list of tasks for the day. Focus-robbers, that’s what I’ll call them. Unimportant distractions that are allowed into the day, such as...television….e-mail….blogging….or just Internet surfing. There are many things that can come first, if I don’t protect myself from these distractions.

Of course there are times when I consider my sweet little guys to be “distractions” from my TO-DO checklist, but those are distractions I need to spend time on daily! Time with them requires an entirely different focus.

Working through this 40-day Love Dare has been interesting so far. I’m trying to process through what I am learning….and will let you know when I process it all. The book is structured with a checklist of love dares, to do for 40 days in a row. I love this, of course, because I love checklists!

There are two take-away nuggets I have learned so far. One is that I have discovered that my marriage is also an area in my life where I truly have allowed focus-robbers. They distract me from being intentional in my marriage relationship. So many times it’s the exact same robbers I allow in my daily to-do checklists…television….e-mail….blogging…Internet….and yes, even the kids fall in this category, as it pertains to Bill. What used to be so easy in dating (time and focus) now requires intention.

The second thing I’ve learned so far is that loving the way God requires of us in His Word requires putting pride aside. I knew I was proud, but wow…..when even the simplest of actions seems so difficult, it shows me how proud I am.

I’m really excited to see what else God has in store for me to learn about this. I’ll keep you posted. So for now, I need to go do my daily love dare. I can’t wait to check it off!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Small window in a big picture

I have an obsession with simplicity. In my (hopefully not too ill) mind, simple days are not cluttered with activity. There is apple pie cooling on the window sill. Children obey… immediately, when asked. Marriage is filled with laughter and romance. Ok…I know. I’m getting carried away. I’m not sure who’s reality THAT is, but it most likely doesn’t belong to the masses. AND…is that really “simplicity”…or is that a “fairy tale”?

Again…that takes me back to one of my previous posts, where the question was “is simplicity actually fairy tale situations?” OR “is simplicity a state of mind when circumstances are less than ideal?” I still don’t know the answer. You would think 3 entire weeks later I would have this concept completely licked.

My weekly reality is filled with budget talks, working 20-hour weekends part time, and a full time job around the clock being Mom to toddlers….piled up laundry….carpets that need vacuuming…menus that need planning…and the groceries needing to be purchased.

That reality is so far from my dream of simplicity.

I constantly tell my 4-year-old that he has the CHOICE of his attitude for that particular day. It dawned on me one day….so do I! So there is a constant (and healthy, I hope!) tension between my idea of simplicity (my fairy tale in my head), my reality and my attitude about it all.

That’s what the big picture of my crazy mind looks like.

In the small windows, there are scenarios that God is working in my life. One such area is my marriage. Please know, I have a really good marriage. I am married to a wonderful man. I am blessed beyond measure. Truly. But again, reality may not always be the fairy tale. There is always room to make things better, stronger, more focused.

Bill and I watched the movie Fireproof last night. It was such a sweet, feel-good movie about God’s amazing love for us…and His ability to heal and redeem us and our marriages.

I have also started the 40 day Love Dare (mentioned in the movie). I’m on Day 4. It is a challenge to help us truly grasp what it looks like to love our spouse the way GOD intends us to. I’ll keep you posted each week on how it is going.

But for now, I will give the small scenarios and the big picture to God every day…and hold on tightly to His leading. Maybe then, I’ll even be able to enjoy some of that simple chaos in my daily life.