Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The busy life

I commonly joke when someone asks about my life that I have one husband, four kids, two dogs and a partridge in a pear tree.  It helps to lighten the mood and my perspective on just how busy my life is.  It wasn't always this busy.  In fact, it's never been this busy. I have two biological children and two step-children, at three different schools, and a minimum of three sports at any given time. The schedules are wonky to say the least. While I may complain and grumble about it from time to time and pine for the quiet and unhurried days of long ago, this is the life God has for me right now.  This is my ministry.  I would do well to remember that.

Here's a rundown of a typical week and a gentle reminder of how I can minister to my family each day.

Mondays - soccer practice, gymnastics practice and men's prayer night.  I don't actually have to go to any of these activities, but my family does.  I would be wise to keep them in mind when planning the rest of the week.  *Ministry for today is laundry and something good for supper as well as some special time with my man.  No kids home this night.*

Tuesdays - baseball practice, gymnastics practice, monthly booster club meeting.  My goal on this day is to make sure school clothes are clean, supper is ready and my reports for booster club are in order. Two of our kids are home this day. 

Wednesdays - soccer  practice, baseball lesson.  Today's goal is supper,clean clothes, homework, and social hour.  All the kids are home this day and they haven't seen each other in at least two days, if not five.  Lots of catching up to do. :)

Thursdays - gymnastics practice.  Supper, homework and family time.  This has become our pizza night.  It's quick, easy and relatively healthy.  This is the night that can be the toughest if I'm not at my best.  All four kids are home.

Fridays - every other week we have two kids home.  The other week, it's date night.  Ministry is either family time or something special for my man. I'd like to work into inviting another couple over on the weeks we have no kids home, at least once a month.

Saturdays - for now, it's baseball and soccer games.  Every other week we have the other two kids, or all four.  Family night is on the agenda which usually entails a movie, a rousing game of Mexican train, or just playing outside if the weather allows.  If all four kids are home, it usually ends up being girl time with my princess and the boys do "boy stuff".  I'd like to start incorporating some sort of Sabbath meal.

Sundays - church.  two kids home every other week.  Rest, rest, rest.  I've found that I NEED this.  God is so wise. :) This is the day to minister to myself: a long soak in the tub, quick mani or pedi (or both!), facial, knitting, reading, napping (bliss!)

In the midst of all this, I also work part-time for a friend's construction supply business as well as handle most of the administrative work for our family's web business.  Don't forget about laundry, the dogs, keeping the house relatively straight, more laundry, and a weekly Bible study.  Right now, those things happen as time allows.  Whew!

This has been therapeutic for me.  It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in what I think I need to get done each day, instead of focusing on where my ministry is and allowing the rest to fall into place and allow God to take care of it all. My goal is to create a better framework.

How do you frame  your week?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Going International

Wow.  I'm amazed!  I thought it was a fluke when I saw the stats that said I had a reader from Germany.  Now Canada and Russia have been added to the list.  :)

So, welcome!!  Bienvenue!  Willkommen!  Добро пожаловать! (I hope I said that right.)

I'm thankful you took time out of your busy life to drop by and read my ramblings on life, faith and family. It certainly makes this Southern girl humble and blessed.

I'd love to hear from you.  Drop me an email or leave a comment.  I'd love to know how you got to this little blog from the other side of the globe.

Who I Am

Something happened yesterday that sent me down the road of frustration, annoyance, and just plain irritation.  In the grand scheme of life, it's minor.  However, last night when I first got the information, it almost sent me into a tailspin.  Ugh.

Hence why making my thoughts captive to Christ is my focus for Lent 2012. ;)

After a few tears and bugging my husband with my rehashing of my emotions and why I was completely justified to feel the way I did, I began to pray (which is what I should have done to begin with, but I'm still learning.).  God opened my eyes to the real reason I was unhappy with this series of events.

Turns out, I'm still searching for, and expecting to find, my value in others.  So, when I encounter something I think will make me look bad or won't portray the whole story (or at least my side of it), I get all flustered and out of sorts.  I want to look good, or at the very least not as bad as someone else.

You see, this small thing will give people one impression, albeit a false one, regarding my family.  It is one very tiny facet that I would rather just ignore.  However, it is something that is out of my realm of control.  Yet, this minor thing can (and has) become a major issue for me.  I have this sense that if I'm not the one to initially set the scene (and set the record straight), then no one will believe me.  Worse yet, my value to them will be less.  I'll be an outsider to a group in which I want to be a main character. 

What God showed me is that I already am the main character.  He chose me.  Even better, I'm a main character in God's life.  He died for me so that one day I would choose Him.  My value is in how He sees me; and He sees all, including my heart and my hurt.

I've struggled with insecurity my entire life (who hasn't?).  There are days when I am confident in the woman God created me to be, confident in my skills and knowledge, confident that I matter.  There are days when my confidence is gone, utterly wiped out.

What happens to cause this drastic shift?  Has God given up on me?  Have I suddenly lost all my skills and knowledge?  Do I suddenly not matter?  Thankfully, no.

Then what pulls me to completely lose all faith in myself?  My perspective.  My willingness to listen to Satan's lies.  My own self-pity.  My wondering why I'm not prettier, or smarter, or better at ______.  Ugly, nasty stuff.

How do I keep my focus on God?  How do I keep my mind centered on Him?  How do I keep my heart full of HIS value of me?





Remember that I am who God says I am: blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and completely forgiven.

You are who God says you are.  We are lavished in grace.

" 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding." Ephesians 3:3-8

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grit: Vacuuming in Flip Flops

In my previous post I mentioned the need to vacuum today.  Being the ever-so-energetic gal that I am, I whisked the kiddos off to school in my yoga pants, t-shirt and flip-flops and scurried home to tackle the grit that perpetually resides in and on my floors.

I opened the windows for some fresh air and noticed more grit on the windowsills.  Ugh.  Tackle that later.

After successfully vacuuming the entire second floor, including those nasty corners in the bathrooms, I started on the stairs.  More grit.  Really?  Whoever cleans this joint needs to be fired.  Oh wait.  That's me. Nevermind.

I was really on a roll now.  The first floor was all that remained.  Switching out the hard floor attachment for the carpet one, I had only three rooms left; albeit the most gritty rooms in the house.  As I lugged the canister from one room to the next it happened.  The carpet attachment collided with my foot.  Yes, that same foot that was shod in flip-flops.  Heavens to Betsy!

My mind cursed my choice of footwear and suddenly FlyLady and her lace-up shoes mantra came to mind.

This was not the first, nor will it be the last, time that I vacuum in flip-flops.  Sometimes I even do it barefoot.  I know; it's not the wisest choice. It got me thinking about how many times I begin a task simply to cross it off my list, yet I don't prepare for it adequately.

Now that's an ugly, gritty truth.  My emotions, good or bad, get the better of me and I'm off and running without much if any thought to a plan of action, much less the best plan.  Getting my toes, and my heart, hurt along the way.

Company Girl Coffee

Have you noticed the little "Company Girl Coffee" button on the side bar?  (Feel free to click on it now and come on back when you're done.)

Are you back?  Don't you just LOVE Rachel's blog?  I certainly do.  She's been such an inspiration to me over the past few years.  Her daily "Simple Things" are easily done and give such a feeling of accomplishment.  Most days that is all I need; a nudge in the right direction.  Once I have some momentum, not much can stop me.

I've been sick for the past few weeks.  Nothing major, but just enough to suck all my energy and allow me the luxury of saying I was sick.  My house has suffered.  With one husband, four kids, two dogs (and a partridge in a pear tree) the house needs attention.  Every. Day.

My father-in-law will be in town tomorrow to play a round of golf with my husband.  There's a strong chance he will stay the night with us.  While he most likely won't notice or even mind that our house is a little out of sorts, I know it is.  Time to get out the vacuum and bring some semblance of order to our humble abode.

So, thank you Rachel for reminding me that although vacuuming sucks, it does make for a nicer looking and better feeling house.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Loving your Dude

Rachel over at Home Sanctuary posted about not taking our "dudes" for granted.  A very good reminder for this girl with a king and three princes in her midst.  They certainly are mysterious creatures. ;)

Loving the "Dude" in your man

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

More Lenten Ideas and a Giveaway

Ann over at A Holy Experience has some great ideas for ways to experience Lent, including a free devotional book and how to make a Jesus Easter tree.

True confession:  I want a Lenten wreath like Ann's

If you'd like to have one, too, drop me a line in the comments and tell me how you celebrate Lent, even if this year will be your first.  I'll randomly draw a name from the hat to receive your very own Way of Light wreath.  Giveaway will end Monday, February 27, at midnight EST.

More ideas from Noel Piper: Lenten Lights
and Holy Week at the Piper's

Pancakes and Bacon

One of my favorite meals growing up was breakfast for supper.  From about the time I was 10 or 11, I was responsible for supper one night a week (or two if my brother paid me to cook on his night).  At that age, my skills were somewhat limited.  My repertoire included mac 'n cheese, hot dogs, pasta, fried bologna sandwiches, grits, eggs, bacon and pancakes.  Frequently we had breakfast for supper.  It was quick; everyone liked it; I felt accomplished.

Breakfast for supper is still one of my favorites.  It's fun.  It's different.  It's unexpected.  It's what we had for supper last night, after the cookies and ice cream from the Upwards party.  We indulged. We celebrated Mardi Gras inasmuch as Southern Baptists observe the liturgical calendar.

Today marks the end of that indulging.  Today is Ash Wednesday; the first day of Lent.  Lent is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross and prepare for the celebration of his resurrection at Easter.  In turn, many Christians make some sort of sacrifice for the 40 days of the Lenten season.  Although I grew up thinking these traditions were only for the people who went to the fancy churches and cathedrals, I've learned their significance and have come to embrace them.

Sweet tea was my first sacrifice.  For this Southern born and bred girl, that was huge!  There were two drinks in my house growing up: whole milk and my mama's sweet tea. What I found was that I didn't NEED sweet tea like I had always thought. Please don't mistake me.  I love a good glass of sweet tea.  I just don't NEED it any more.  It is now my choice and not my default.

There have been other things I have given up over the years: chocolate (that was a doozy), sleeping in, and yes, even facebook.  What I have discovered is that there will always be something that can get in the way of my relationship with Christ.  They may not be full-fledged idols.  Yet.  I don't want idols.  I've had too many.  They always disappoint.  They always fall short.  They always fail to deliver what I really need...true communion and relationship with my God, my Savior.

Lent has become my time to reflect on what is encroaching on my relationship with Christ.  My time to give whatever it is to Christ, confess my sin, receive forgiveness, and reclaim that time for Christ alone.  This year it's my thoughts.  Not nearly as quantifiable as sweet tea or chocolate, but at risk to become an idol nonetheless.  2 Corinthians 10:4-6 tell us:

4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
    5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
    6Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.

Taking every thought captive to Christ is something I don't do well.  I'm apt to let my thoughts turn into emotions; emotions into words; words into actions I usually regret.  In order to prevent this, I must go to the source, my thoughts.  I need to surround myself with Truth so that my thoughts are true; flood my mind with God's Word.  I want to walk empowered by the Holy Spirit.  I want to walk in victory, knowing Christ has already won, already defeated the enemy, already conquered death.

Do you celebrate Lent?  What is keeping you from walking in the power of the Holy Spirit?  What are you turning over to Christ for the next 40 days?

*for more information on Lent check out The Season of Lent.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Habakkuk?  Really?  I think I know where that is.  Old Testament, right?  I didn't pay much attention, if any, to the focus verse for the women's retreat.  I just knew I wanted to go.  A night away with friends, old and new, in the mountains.  Someone else cooking; someone else cleaning; someone else planning.  Who wouldn't want to go?

The first speaker was engaging and funny and hit home truths I had known for some time.  Pride and fear separate us from our joy in Christ.  Did you know Satan's name means "one who separates"?  Interesting since the theme for the retreat was Inseparable. Sin is most often rooted in fear or pride, and sometimes both.  Even if we understand this truth, we may not be able to avoid stepping off the path into sin.  Perhaps we may only dip a toe in the waters to test them. Still, we sin.

The second speaker opened wide my eyes and my heart to what God wants from me - and you.  Praise in the midst of all the mess.  You see, her life has been turned upside down by someone else's actions.  Her family has been ripped apart.  Her world shattered.  Just like you and I, she went through the list of "what ifs".  You know them.  "What if I had told someone what my life was really like?"  "What if I had said this or done that?"  What if?  What if?  

So, what do we do? How do we stay on track? How do we become inseparable from Christ even in the midst of our own sin or the results of someone else's? He tells us that nothing can separate us from His love. He still chooses to love. So we change our "what if" to "even when".  Even when we lie.  Even when we murder.  Even when we steal.  Even when we have idols.  Even when we don't speak up.  Even when ________.  He loves us, even when.  So, if Christ loves us and died  for us even while we were still sinners, then why choose to not sin?  We still get His love, right?  Yes, thankfully we do.  But when we sin, we step outside of His protection and blessing.  We miss out on all the glorious things He has in store for us.  We miss out on the fruit of the Spirit.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that come only from having an intimate  relationship with the God who created you, the Savior who died for you, and the Spirit who longs to empower you.

I want that power.  I want to have a quiet and gentle spirit.  I want to have self-control.  If the only way to get there is through the Holy Spirit, then how do I accomplish my goal?  Do I need special skills?  A degree in theology?  A big notebook and 27 sharpened no.2 pencils?  A special Bible in a language I don't understand?


All that God requires of me is a willing heart.  A heart for Him.  A heart hungry and thirsty for Truth.  A heart completely devoted to Him.  A heart open to all the blessings.  A heart willing to walk the narrow path. That's where it gets hard.  The narrow path.  Life is hard.  I mean really hard.  Children die, bank accounts overdraw, families splinter, crops wither,  rains fall.  We find ourselves bombarded daily with  news of killings, floods, earthquakes, lost children.  How do we keep a quiet and gentle spirit in the midst of so much tragedy?

We cling to God.  We immerse ourselves in His Word.  We flood our minds with His Truth.  We surround ourselves with fellow believers.  So that we too can be like Habakkuk and be able to say,

"Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls,
    Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation!
    The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!"  ~Habakkuk 3:17-19 The Amplified Bible