Monday, August 30, 2010

Discouragement and Motivation...

My old friend Discouragement isn't as noisy as she used to be. She has lost her primary place in my focus and attention. Motivation has taken priority and encouraged me to drive ahead even on the days when I hear Discouragement's tempting voice to just give up. Let me tell you about them both:

Discouragement is slow. Her voice is monotone and her creativity is non-existent. She has no spark to her existence. Her heart beats with a steady unexciting pulse. She has no favorite colors because she sees only gray wherever she looks. She doesn't bother with laughter for she sees no point in it. Life just occurs around her. She sees no real reason for the pursuit of anything. She doesn't sing because she hears no melody in her heart. Most are drawn to her out of convenience and their own lack of imagination. The companionship felt with her is like prisoners locked together in the same cage. She is to be avoided. If she has captivated your attention for any length of time it is too long. She will do you no favors and bring you no peace. Her encouragement exists only to keep you with her, alone, and void of all hope. Once you walk away from her, you won't miss her, but she will keep talking if you listen.

However, my new friend Motivation is different.

Motivation is the one who now gets me up in the morning. Her voice is soft and clear as a crisp spring day. Her heart beats strong and fast. Her creativity when facing a challenge is inexhaustible. Her favorite colors are vibrant and her laugh sounds like music in my head on the days when she knows I am near victory. Her zest for life draws me deeper into risk and challenge. Her song has a  pounding baseline and a invigorating chorus. I am drawn to her with a compulsion that parallels a new romance. I cannot imagine my life without her now. She is my closest companion. My dearest friend. She whispers gentle encouragement during my weary moments and emphatically cheers my many victories. She is wise and kind. She pushes me farther and faster than I ever imagined I could go. She is the complete display of Joy, Peace and Hope.

These girls are allegory style images of what God has released me from and where He has taken me on this journey. He is the author and creator of Motivation. The enemy of my soul designed Discouragement. I pray they speak to you today, for God's revelation on these two is not for me alone.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Family Camping

One of the most wonderful things about this weekend was the unexpected surprises.

  • Like our friends cancelling at the last minute (we would have loved to have them with us, don't get me wrong, but just OUR family is such a neat little package!).
  • Then the raindrops throughout the weekend at all different times of day.
    • We sang "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord" with our sons while raindrops pelted us before we headed to bed and instead of running inside, we let everyone pick a song and sing even though we were getting wetter! 
    • We made smores in the rain too. Just tuck the graham cracker package into the open bag of marshmallows and it all works out just fine! 
    • We sat around our Sunday morning campfire with James (because his birthday is closest) leading our Sunday family church service. He prayed, we sang a song, and then he asked us all to share something we know about Jesus. It was a precious time. And it rained on us then too. We didn't care.
  •  We decided last minute on Saturday night to run over to Sandpoint to go out to dinner. I had planned dinner for camping, but one of our favorite family restaurants so close was just too tempting! We loaded up the guys and headed out to Jalapeno's and had a wonderful family dinner. It was so relaxing and enjoyable to visit with our tired guys over dinner, watch Peter eat a crazy amount of chips and salsa (that was all he wanted for dinner) and together - with all 5 spoons dipping in - devour our favorite Jalepeno's dessert - Fried Ice Cream. Everyone got enough. Everyone had fun. There were even compliments from other diners about the boys manners! Talk about a lovely surprise!
  • Saturday morning I got up as soon as the fellas woke up and got dressed to go for my Saturday run. Outside this time! I usually run on the treadmill. It was my first real run out of doors - and what a glorious morning! Wow! I loved every minute - except for the giant hill - but other than that, it was great!
  • Sunday morning we got up, before our real breakfast (Pop Tarts don't count) and took a hike down by the lake. The boys picked up sticks, running, stopping, whacking plants, posing for a picture or two, or protesting I was taking pictures (depending on the subject). I really took the time to study them.

They have changed so much these past few years. My middle guy is about to turn 5 and I wonder again where the time has gone. He has changed so much just in the last year! My oldest, now 6 is showing initiative (in good and not so good situations) and my littlest guy, he is talking in full sentences, completely and thoroughly sure he is right about all he says and if it is to be done, "I will do it by myself!".

For me, this weekend was about really LOOKING at my family. I told my husband many times what a great Dad he is. He asked me why I kept saying that. Since he wasn't really doing anything new or different and he isn't particularly insecure about such things. I told him that I was just enjoying watching, really watching him be a great dad. He responded with "OK."

I watched my boys riding their bikes, jumping over speed bumps, trying to learn to ride with one hand or with none, confident and capable on two wheels when it was only last year they were wobbly and trying to learn.

I spent 45 minutes Friday afternoon snuggling, wrestling, tickling and giggling with Peter on the grass while the big boys rode around us. Listening to his laugh, his voice say "again Mommy, again!", and just being in his presence blessed my socks off.

What treasures I enjoy on a daily basis! I am hoping the intent focus I placed on them this weekend carries through as I get back to the day-to-day business of doing life.

Full blessings. Full weekend. Wonderful!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

John's Baptism

It's Saturday morning at our church's Family Camp. I look over the schedule and see "Baptism" at 4:30pm. I get the sense we need to be there, that John is ready. I say a quick prayer of "okay Lord" and get on with the day's activities.

As 3:30 comes around the big boys who have been on their bikes or running around since 8am are exhausted and desperately need a nap. I inform them of this as the rest of our friends and their families are packing up to head for the lake. I remember the baptisms are this afternoon, but am more concerned about the "crabby" behaviors on display in my fellas.

At about 3:45, James is already asleep and Erik comes walking back to our campsite. John is hollering from his bed that he is ready to wake up (obviously shut his eyes only to blink). Peter caught an early nap so he was in great shape. We discuss the pros and cons of going down to the lake with grumpy boys. I tell Erik I feel like we need to go. He says, "well, we'd better go then!"

I climb into my bathing suit knowing how spectacular I must look in it and shove my pride away down with everything else in my "miracle suit". Some miracle. At my size, the fact that I am willing to be seen in a bathing suit is the miracle. I wish for a fleeting moment for a cute "cover-up" but figure there is no actual way to disguise the real me, so I let it go as quickly as it comes.

We get to the lake and there are many people there. Our group goes over to a more secluded spot so we can hear each other and Pastor David as he baptizes these precious members of our New Life family.

James is leaning against Erik who is sitting on a rock. I have Peter in my arms and John standing beside me holding my hand. We watch together as his friend Carson, who is just a month older than him, is baptized by Pastor David and Carson's dad. It is a precious moment. We watch as John's friend Mia, Pastor David's daughter is baptized, another sweet family moment.

John is quietly watching and while one of his new friend's dad's is baptized, he says, "Mom, I want to get baptized today." So, wondering if he is just moved by his friend's choices or if God is nudging him, I say, "no, not today, we haven't really talked about it." To which he replies, "No Mom, I want to be baptized today, right now!"

I say, "Why John?

"That is how I want to praise Jesus today. I want to obey Him and I want to be baptized. Now Mom."

I am, in that moment, reminded of the still small voice in my heart that said it was time. I walk John over to his dad and John tells him he wants to be baptized. I look over and speak to Pastor David's wife Ranell, and say, "John wants to be baptized today." She says, "Ok!" and calls out to her husband on the lake. He responds with a "Yes!" and we all wade out to where he is standing.

Erik comes alongside John on his right and Pastor David is on his left. Pastor David then asks, as he did for the other children, who have known this guy since before he was born. Our friends, many of whom walked beside us during our over nine years of infertility raise their hands. As I stand, holding my youngest on my hip, grasping my second son by the hand, I look out to the crowd of precious partners we have had on this journey. I look back to my John, the baby God promised me I would have (eight years before he was conceived), standing by his father, ready to obey his Jesus and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Tears fill my eyes as the moment sinks in.

Pastor David confirms that John is definitely ready to take this next step in his spiritual journey. He speaks of how tender John's heart is toward God and how John listens and responds already to God's voice. Pastor and Erik then baptize our Miracle, submerging him and bringing him up again, symbolizing the death we once were in, and the resurrection life that is offered to us when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior (a story I will write someday, how John and James gave their heart's to the Lord at the ages of 4 and 3).

We hug each other as a family and I whisper a prayer of gratitude that God put it on our hearts to be sure to make it down to the lake today.

I am keenly aware that my dear friend is taking pictures and all of my not so spectacular body will be seen in these pictures forever. I am more focused however, on my precious Promise had an experience on his spiritual journey that will impact him from that day on.

Since Saturday July 24, 2010, my sweet son has "written" lullaby's for his little brothers and sung them to him. He has laid hands on people and prayed for them. He continues to have a caring and sensitive heart toward others, and while he continues to have all the challenges of being six, he is diligent about asking for forgiveness when he makes unwise choices or hurts someone. He did these things before. But, I see a stronger young man in the making. One who wants to obey his God, his parents, and those in authority over him.

I am so thankful for God's perfect timing. His timing for the birth of the Promise, His time for when John gave his heart to the Lord, and His timing for him being baptized. I look forward to what is yet to come!

You can see the pictures of this special moment here: John's Baptism

Approaching Exhaustion

I am so tired! I know people say that all the time and we all have our reasons. I know mine is a combination of little boys awake in the night or super early morning, an increase in my training regimen, and a decrease in my attentiveness to eating the super healthy good stuff that fuels my body for performance not just basic function.

Yes, I have been slacking on the fruits and veggies, the lean meats, the whole grains. Toying around with sugar, white flour and fruit juice instead of the real thing, and it is getting me no where. Fast.

So, today, approaching exhaustion, I don't want to cave to it all together! I am jumping back into the fit and healthy place so my body doesn't decide to shut down and get sick or worse - injured.

I am also reminded that I am fueling my head and heart as well. As I felt myself approaching exhaustion today I found my self talk becoming more and more negative and defeated. I reached out to my earthly "coach" Tarri for a pep text and she was there, faithfully reminding me to hang on.

Once I returned to my home, I knew I needed to get fuel from my Heavenly Coach and so I put on the worship music loud and got busy attending to the dishes, floors and other stuff in my house that needs attention. The boys are happily playing downstairs and it seems God has parted a way to refresh me in the midst of the activities of my life.

Many times when I approach exhaustion, I let the mental break down - like the body is threatening to do. I end up surfing the sofa, flipping channels or staring at the computer wondering what interesting nonsense I can post when my brain feels flat-lined.

Not today.
Today I reached out.
I reached up.
I got up and now, after posting this I will continue attending to the housework and the little people that need me knowing that exhaustion will retreat as I fuel myself with the things that bless my body, heart and mind.

Who am I?

My photo
I have been married to my best friend for over 26 years and our children are 14, 13 and 10 years old. I have struggled with infertility, suffered the loss of a baby by miscarriage, and endured multiple career paths. I have experienced a crisis of faith that shook me to the core and lost dear friends to tragic death. I have a personal relationship with Jesus which is essential to surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by my heart and words. Thank you for being here..