Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank You

Thank you!
Everything in me says "Thank you!" Angels listen as I sing my thanks.
I kneel in worship facing your holy temple
and say it again: "Thank you!"
Thank you for your love,
thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name,
most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in;
you made my life large with strength.

When they hear what you have to say, God,
all earth's kings will say "Thank you."
They'll sing of what you've done:
"How great the glory of God!"
And here's why: God, high above, sees far below;
no matter the distance, he knows everything about us.

When I walk into the thick of trouble,
keep me alive in the angry turmoil.
With one hand
strike my foes,
With your other hand
save me.
Finish what you started in me, God.
Your love is eternal—don't quit on me now.

Psalm 138 (The Message)

So very thankful...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Seeing a Trend Here

When I honestly view my life over the last few months, I think I have been in survival mode, getting little done and doing little....and, well, I am finished with that kind of living. My circumstances haven't really changed. David is still crazy busy with work and I am still physically and emotionally drained at the end of most days, but I am done with allowing this to determine my attitude and vision on life.

So, that being said, after writing my last post, I spent some time thinking through and praying about the different aspects of life and began to see a trend about needing to get back to the basics in other areas of life.

One of the big areas is Caleb's schooling. We finished the Sonlight P4/5 mid-October and have been floating around, kind of doing school stuff, but not really most days. And as I have learned before, days for us that are unstructured are simply not fun. Boredom brings out bad attitudes all around.

So, what does going back to the basics for Caleb's schooling look like?

1. Reading together. I don't know why, but over the last few months, our time reading books together has drastically diminished. I realized that this week when Caleb curled up on my lap this week and we read and read and read. I had missed this cozy time with my boy. He is growing up and spends most of his time playing or building. I need to make sure reading is still a big part of his day.

2. Being intentional. One of the reasons I really liked the Sonlight curriculum was because it gave us a direction each day. When it finished, we drifted. While we will begin a slew of new school stuff come January (details coming in a later post), I have an entire month to fill before then. I was really excited to find this list of activities and will try to work through it during the month of December.

3. Being flexible. I need to remember we are still in preschool here. While I don't want to waste the time I have with the boys, I also should not feel guilty when it is full of fun times with friends and each other. We will have plenty of time for formal education and have so little time left in the precious season of life we are currently in.

So back to the basics it is...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back to Basics

I have been all over the place when it comes to meal planning and couponing. I have gone from never using coupons, to sometimes using coupons, to carrying around a notebook full of coupons and only buying if it had a coupon and all the way back to never using coupons. With meal planning, I have tried planning one month, two weeks, one week and then "the dreaded fly by the seat of my pants, sure cheese sandwiches (again) are a nutritious dinner" method.

Recently, with our season of life being as it is, I have tried mainly just to get by. I haven't really tried to keep up with meal planning/couponing as much as I would like to. I have begun to see it in our grocery bill (and eating out habits) more and more....and basically, I am not too pleased.

So, I am going back to the basics. Mega-couponing is just too much for me. Plus, I realize I do not use most of the coupons out there because I do not use a lot of processed foods. That being said, I have pulled out my handy dandy small accordion coupon holder and went through the ads, clipping what I think we will use. I also went ahead and did my best to plan out next weeks meals. Hopefully, I will find myself sticking to the plan most nights.

I am hoping that this returning to the basics will not only benefit our budget, but will leave me feeling less overwhelmed at the grocery store and at dinner time. You know, habits are a funny thing...you have to do (or not do) something over and over again for the habit to form. Here is to hoping that going back to the basics will be a habit easily remembered and formed!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shalom



Buried deep in the Bible is a story about this guy named Gideon. Gideon was a normal guy (well, not really a normal guy, more like a pipsqueak of a guy- the youngest of the weakest family in the weakest neighborhood), minding his own business (well, not really minding his own business, more like fearfully hiding his business from the people who had oppressed his family and nation for years) when one day God comes visiting, telling Gideon there are about to be some big changes and God is going to use him to accomplish them.

So here is Gideon, living in the midst of oppression, fear, confusion and chaos, being told that he is going to lead his people into war....and what is his response?

"So, Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it THE LORD IS PEACE." (Judges 6:24)

Does anyone else see the irony there? Do you chuckle as you read it? Thinking, "Good one God, good one." Or is that just me?

For you see, in the midst of living in the storms of war, Gideon sees God as his peace.

Jehovah Shalom.

Shalom. Peace. Wholeness. Sufficiency. Contentment. Safety. Completeness.

In the storm of his life, Gideon knew that God alone was his fullness, his peace.

How did Gideon recognize Jehovah Shalom? The peace was not found when Gideon looked at his circumstances. His response then was "If the Lord is with us, why did all this happen in the first place?" (Judges 6:13) The peace was not found when Gideon looked at himself. His response then was "My clan is the weakest and I am the least in my family. "(Judges 6:15)

Gideon found shalom with God when he looked to God alone through worship.

"Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!...So Gideon built an altar to the Lord..."(Judges 6:22,24) This building an altar is a weird concept to the modern mind, but to Gideon the altar and the sacrifice was a sign of worship. It is tantamount to us singing praises or attending a service at church. Gideon stopped looking at the world of chaos around and within him and instead looked to Jehovah finding complete shalom in Him alone.

Gideon found shalom with God far before the battle was ever fought or won.

All Gideon is told at this point is, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" (Judges 6:14) He is not told how or when the battle will be fought. He is not told how victory will be assured. He is just told where to go and who was sending him. Yet, Gideon has enough faith in God's plan to know it is complete and he finds shalom in it.

In the storms of my life, I know I need to be more like Gideon. Instead of looking at the hardships and frustrations of life, I need to recognize the One who has a perfect plan for my life. I need to find shalom by having faith in Him before the victory is won.

You see, Jesus said shortly before leaving this earth, "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." (John 14:27) In Jesus, we too can have the same sense of shalom.

But Jesus also said, "In the world you will have troubles, but take courage, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) We will constantly be in the midst of storms of war/oppression/fear/etc. on this world. Peace in Jesus not a cliche to be said, forgotten and expected to change everything for the better. Peace in Jesus is making every effort to keep our heart and mind fixed upon Him, having faith in His plan. But in the end it is well worth it, for,

You will keep in perfect shalom
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

Only then will we, like Gideon, know THE LORD IS PEACE.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Its All About Attitude

Not only have I said it to my own boys numerous times, but to the children I have taught in Sunday School or other classes more times than I could count:

Its all about attitude.

In any given situation, more often than not, your emotions will follow your attitude. Take for instance, the last three Mondays.

Monday 1- Started with a doctor's appointment and coming home to a very messy house. My attitude quickly turned sour, I became overwhelmed by the mess and my week followed suit. Very little got done and my attitude grew worse as each day went by.

Monday 2- Started with a doctor's appointment and coming home to a very messy house. My attitude was a little better about things, I did not feel so overwhelmed and slowly throughout the week, my house grew cleaner and my attitude a little better.

Monday 3- Started with a doctor's appointment and coming home to a somewhat less messy house. My attitude this week is somewhere in the middle- neither super positive or super negative, so this week, I am somewhere in the middle I guess.

So three similar situations, three very different outcomes all because each Monday was faced with a different attitudes. My emotions, my thoughts, my actions all followed where ever my attitude chose to go. I guess God knew what He was talking about when He wrote:

A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 15:13

Go figure, God knows what He is talking about. And go figure, its all about the attitude.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Two Already!

Dearest Little Man,

It is hard to believe you turned two this week. I look back at your baby pics


and it seems just like yesterday that I held you and nuzzled you, in awe of your fat cheeks and sweet personality.


Your cheeks might be shrinking just a bit, but your personality is still just as sweet. You love to laugh and make others laugh too.


Your favorite joke, "Knock Knock! ALLIGATOR." always draws a chuckle.


You idolize your big brother and are convinced you can do anything he does.


You are a joy and a delight, even if we are in the midst of learning how to handle you in all your twoishness.

Happy Birthday Nathan!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Shifting Chariots

It is raining today...

mostly just a sprinkle...

not a downpour...

with hurricane force winds.

Not to mention, I have a warm/safe/dry home to abide in...

which is far more than hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti...

who will be facing hurricane Tomas...

living like this...

So will you join me in praying that He who makes the clouds His chariot and He who rides on the wings of the wind, keeps shifting His chariot away from the people and land who have suffered so much already?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Clothing Wars

I seriously do not know how moms of girls do it. Long ago, I realized that God made me a mom of boys for a reason. I am not a girly-girl by any stretch of the imagination. I do not like bows and frufru things.

I have never even liked the color pink.

(I only began to tolerate and like the color purple after I learned that it was the color of royalty.)

So, being the mom of two boys, I thought I would be free from the shenanigans of clothing wars, the vexations of what goes with what and the cries of "I have nothing to wear!"

Boy, was I wrong.


Caleb is incredibly choosy and stubborn about what he will and will not wear. Long sleeve, short sleeve must be determined by the weather, what exactly are work pants, when a sweat shirt has to be worn and so forth and so on.

Even Nathan, who is not yet two, demands that his jacket be blue and that his shirt either have a train, tractor or ball somewhere upon it.

I know this is just their way of trying to control some aspect of their lives. I know that it really is not that important (except when Caleb is wearing three different outfits a day and my laundry loads go up.) I know that I really need to learn to pick my battles and clothes are truly not worth the fight.

But, what I do not know is how the parents of girls do it!
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