Monday, February 27, 2012

Vacation to Home

The kids had all last week off for mid-winter break. We weren't able to go anywhere, so I decided to bring vacation to home...each day of the week we traveled somewhere new. I'm hoping that when they grow, they'll look back on this break with fondness and remember the fun we had together visiting many far away places right out of our very own kitchen. These sweet memories are already archived deep into my heart. Togetherness and contentment. The things that matter. Travel along with us!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Random thoughts out of the mouth of babes...

Brayden (out of nowhere, at dinner tonight), "Mom, I like your hair better when you wear it down." (note: today, my hair was worn up)

Brooke (this evening, with anxious hesitation), "Mommy, will I still live with Daddy when I grow up?" Me: "Brookie, you can live with Daddy for as long as you'd like!" Although she didn't answer with words, a big smile was painted across her face in relief.

On a more serious note, the older two have been home with me all week on break. Along with their presence, there has been an increased amount of inappropriate words coming out of their mouths that I don't particularly want their two year old sister repeating (stupid, jerk, diarrhea, etc.) While not always aimed at each other, I still don't want them repeated. I decided that my "warnings" were getting nowhere with stopping this, so I gave them an option of three possible disciplines if this is to reoccur. I repeated these three disciplines and firmly asked them, "You choose. What do you want?!" Little Berlyn innocently chimes in, "I want nice warm milk!" (as if that were one of their options). We all burst out laughing and not another "potty" word was said all night.

And while cleaning up dinner tonight, Brayden started talking about how he wants a new Wii game for Easter. In my head I am thinking, "since when do you get presents at Easter time, and how did this turn into something that's all about you?" So, I asked them, "Why do we even celebrate Easter?" And Brooke confidently answered, "Because it's Moses' birthday."

Wow! Today reminded me that my job here on earth as their mommy is far from being done. Between the messes of broken glass bowls, water spilled vases, frosting all over winter coats, and the conversations today that ensued in between, there is still much at stake and much more to clean up in regards to home and heart. I can't help but wonder what tomorrow holds?

Oh yes LORD, give me wisdom!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Daddy Daughter Dance 2012

This past Friday Brooke had a date with her Daddy.
They were to meet up with friends for an Italian dinner and then attend the Daddy Daughter Dance together.
Earlier this week Darcy lost his former boss/#1 mentor (next to his father), and good friend unexpectedly to a heart attack. Darcy and I attended the viewing together. We waited in line for almost an hour and a half at the funeral home to see the family and pay our respects (and this was even after cutting in line with Darcy's former secretary). We were there a long time with more than 500 other people who in some way or form were greatly impacted and gifted by the life of this man. Needless to say, by the time we got home, Brooke and Daddy were supposed to have met up with friends for dinner "5 minutes ago." We raced to get her ready...
and here she is, making her grand (and shy) entrance down the staircase to meet her date.












She personifies "Daddy's girl."
While they didn't make it to dinner with friends, they enjoyed a quick dinner alone at the local Coney Island. No matter to her, as long as she was in company with her Daddy.
And off to the dance they went...
She arrived home barefoot and sleeping in Daddy's arms and suitcoat.
The next morning I got to hear all of the details...macaroni and cheese dinner with a splurge of cheese fries, fun with friends all dressed up, and when asked about her favorite part of the night, it didn't take her but a second to respond, "Dancing with my Daddy!"
I'm glad she relished in this time alone with her Dad, because next year, she's most likely going to be sharing the spotlight with a boisterous, clamoring for attention, little sister...
but even then, she'll still be her "Daddy's girl."

Friday, February 10, 2012

moments to carry me through...

this week was one that was marked with emotion, and many sweet moments that have carried me through, like...

taking a bubble bath in the middle of the day with my yummy two year old.

the excitement on my 1st grader's face as she ran off the school bus to me with another toothless grin after losing her 8th tooth in the lunchroom cafeteria.

watching my 8 year old gently wrestle with his baby sister and lovingly agree to return her many eskimo kisses.

taking a moment after a long day's work to climb into bed (by invitation) with my son to talk about his day, snuggle, and pray together.

walking into my baby's bedroom at 11:00 at night to find her daddy holding and rocking her while deep in slumber because he's yet to see her awake all week and longs for precious time with her.

friends who ask questions. and listen.

beginning a new Bible study with so many extraordinary women who chase hard after the heart of God.

late night nachos on the couch with my best friend. fresh and hot out of the oven.

and yet to come...

a weekend with my sister and her beautiful family celebrating the birthdays of two of my favorite little people in this big world.

small and precious moments that whisper comfort, love, and purpose.
ones that make me feel known and cared for
and needed.
they do not go unnoticed,
but pile high treasure
on this complicated, tender, and ever-being-refined heart of mine.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Chasing

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever He does prospers."
(or as The Message reads:)
Instead you thrill to God's Word,
you chew on scripture day and night.
You're a tree replanted in Eden,
bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
always in blossom.

I'm not gonna lie. Today has been a day I'd like to toss aside and feed to the birds. I felt it coming on yesterday, thankful when the day ended because I knew new mercies were just a few hours and a pillow away. And I joyfully chased after that. But, with the dawn came a deepened awareness of my own increasing fragility.

It's been a day where struggles suffocate and discouragement makes it hard to breathe. Oh, how I beg for God to redeem this situation we find ourselves in...while at the same time faithfully attempting to be fully present and embrace the good and painful work He is doing in us in the process. I sense that He hurts to see us hurting...that He desperately wishes we could see the full plan and picture, because He knows that if we did, we would not stand in doubt or discouragement. He must think this is what's best for us right now, and I trust the One who loves us so...even on days such as this.

Ever feel like running away? All day, weepy, on the verge of tears...one small incident away from falling apart. Feels like arrows of discouragement are coming from all directions. Not a discouragement that is hopeless and despaired. Thankfully, resolve has pushed me past that point. But, in this broken world there really will be no permanent escape from discouragement until we are safe in heaven's arms.

So today, as my head said, "Run away," my heart cried louder, "Chase after Him." And that's precisely what I've done. I avoided media and cyberspace and anything that could possibly seep discouragement or envy into my fragile spirit. This meant avoiding the computer, and yes, even facebook and the glossy glamorous, yet corrupting, status updates that proclaim dreams realized and desires met and exceeded beyond expectation...and at times scream "my life is easy and always good" (or so it seems, even appears to intensify when in a state of sensitivity). Too much for this heart to handle when I am just longing, seeking, and fighting to achieve "average" and "normal."

A nice clean, healthy break. Air in my lungs...Ah, to breathe Him in.

So I've run to a place where discouragement can't possibly exist...His Word. His song. His voice. Conversing back and forth throughout my day. Beginning this very day in Psalm 5:3 fashion; "In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." I actually decided to read through the Psalms, and have started an exercise in the process (I'm sure I'll probably blog about later). And with that, encouragement has begun to shine in the dark unreachable places.

A dear intuitive, "ever listening and hearing the stir and voice of the Spirit," prayer warrior friend got in touch with me today. She recommended a healthy holy dose of Psalm 31. A quite beautiful passage, that perfectly aligned with my new "Psalm" challenge. Nuggets of truth and hope and treasure unfolded in these 24 verses. So much that they were deemed worthy of reading several times over, and in several translations.

Beginning with a heart cry of rescue and redemption. One I can relate to (verses 1-5).

Midway offering up request, "Let your face shine on your servant," "Warm me, your servant, with a smile." Enough to sustain a weary heart (verse 16).

Moving deeper into the essence of Him and the hope and life we find in Him, "How great is your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in You" (verse 19).

Allow me to pause here. I have notes in my Bible, but don't know who to credit for this insight and perspective I'm about to share below. I'm willing to bet it is either Beth Moore or our Pastor Andy. Either way, they are words of wisdom. The teacher explains: "God has great things stored up for those of us who esteem Him and take refuge in Him...not trivial earthly riches, but things that matter...Like:
-a life of purpose
-tremendous fruit
-deep satisfaction
-godly influence
-open doors for ministry
-restoration of relationships
-astonishing breakthroughs"

These are the things I am after. And you? Oh, such the gift to run from the world just to hide in Him (even for just one day). I'm chasing hard after His heart. And I believe, He too, is chasing after me. I live for those moments when we collide, when He enters my brokenness and the mess around me and graces me with His goodness. A goodness that spills over onto insecurity, discouragement, and woundedness and whispers hope in the redemption and restoration that is sure to come for those who wait upon the LORD.

Speaking of waiting...
This Psalm eloquently yet boldly ends with this:
"Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up.
Expect God to get here soon."
(verse 24)

Until then...
I remain chasing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Resolve.

Refine. Resolve. Redeem.
Stretched between the scorched and heated
desert of refinement,
and the lush, ripe, fruit-dripping
land of redemption,
I find myself in the
rivers of resolve.
Resolve:
to decide firmly on a course of action.
Resolve.
Gifted to me amongst gracefall.
Oh, these aren't rivers one may effortlessly wade in.
These rivers require work.
Spiritual muscle.
Marathon endurance.
Pushing through the rushing current of Lies
that fish for my attention,
eager to hook and sink
and pull me underneath
into the dark waters of inadequacy and failure.
But,
resolve says
I
have
enough.
Anchored.
Firm.
Steadfast.
Hope remains.
Always on the horizon.
Even in dark of night,
when the Pirate of Deceit mocks
and threatens to steal
what's not rightfully his,
just to toss it overboard as worthless plundered loot.
Resolve says
I have
and
I
am
treasure.
On a route marked with heaviness and fragility,
where deep waters attempt to chart off-course, capsize,
sink
and drown,
I am firmly choosing to stay afloat.
Afloat in belief
that the painful, and at times, relentless waves of refinement
are indeed mercy waves.
Not due to punishment or test,
but rather,
Yes rather,
birthed out of pure and perfect love,
sea boundless love.
Resolve.
Through the refinement,
that prepares a heart
to be
lacking of nothing.
That withstands heat
because
it's more precious than gold
and worth keeping,
worth perfecting.
Trading depth of doubt
for depth of determination.
That just around the riverbend,
redemption
awaits.
Resolved to wait,
to endure,
to persevere,
to claim,
to believe,
to trust
the Captain of this ship,
the Anchor for my soul,
the Author and Perfector of this course of faith.
Resolve.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
James 1:2-6

Thursday, February 2, 2012

adorning...

adorn: to make more beautiful or attractive

this life is full of passion and beauty,
movement and discovery.
today,
in the fairytaleland of age 2 wonderment and fierce independence,
we adorn.
in nothing more and nothing less than
the
"headband."
rockin' it over grocery
and on pony...

at home...

over tuna and fish of gold...


and yes,
even in slumber.

my adorning child,
oh how i adore you!