Friday, October 5, 2012

WELCOME Holy Spirit


Here I am writing with Lisa-Jo Baker - Five Minute Friday - Today the word is: WELCOME
This is what I felt led to write about regarding WELCOME:
 
WELCOME Holy Spirit
As an evangelical Christian who passionately believes in the trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) I welcomed Jesus into my life and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.
But how welcome is Holy Spirit?
He is as relevant and essential as God the Father and Jesus His Son.
How do I welcome Him? Do I listen for Him, walk with Him?
Holy Spirit please forgive me for the times I push You aside. I want to lead myself. I want to lean on my own understanding of situations or circumstances instead of seeing with Your insight into them.
I recognize that I am not the utmost Bible scholar but I am capable of doing a Key Word search on Biblegateway.com and being blessed tremendously by the 96 verses listed in the New International Version that speak specifically about Him.
I want to welcome Holy Spirit more. I want to develop the habit of releasing my “own understanding” knowing it is incredibly limited and based on only my own experiences.
I watched the movie “Limitless” a while back. I thought it was a good piece of entertainment. I prayed about the “pills” the character took in the movie that allowed him to utilize his brain to its fullest capacity. I asked God about His limitlessness.
God sent Holy Spirit to me so that I can be “limitless” in Him. He is the power, the strength, the wisdom, the joy, the peace, the understanding I need to navigate all the day-to-day decisions of life and the challenges that arise.
Welcome Holy Spirit! I know You are essential to my life and want You to lead me, guide me, teach me, and show me the way You would have me go. Please show me when I am tempted to push You aside and remind me I committed to listen to You first. Thank You!

 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dishwashers and Gunk

I have noticed a funky smell coming from the dishwasher. Today I decided to do what any mom is trained to do... find the source of the funky smell.

Much to my dismay there was a buildup of unknown but very stinky, sticky, greenish brown stuff in the crack where the door and the main part of the dishwasher meet. I pulled out the silverware thing and it was gunky too! ICK!

QUICK! Grab the sponge, Comet and some elbow grease and get that nasty stuff gone... and then...

subtle whispers and an internal arguement ensue.

This thing CLEANS - how can there be gunk?

It cleans GUNK - and sometimes it gets stuck.

Wait... Wait... Wait...

I clean. I deal with gunk. Does it get stuck to me?

Yes. It does.

Staying clean in a gunky world isn't easy. I need my Jesus to come in and show me where the gunk has built up when things start to stink. He's the only one with the Comet who can show me where to apply the sponge and the elbow grease. If my Love had been home I would have had him help me figure out how to get the door off so I could give it a more complete scrubbing. Sometimes I need help. I will ask when he gets home.

Oh, and if I watch for where the gunk can build up, and I clean it regularly, no stink has time to build up.

Here's to no more build-up!

Friday, August 31, 2012

CHANGE - Perspective

 
Its Friday and I am posting with Lisa-Jo Baker on Five Minute Friday - not Tuesday or Wednesday the following week! YAY!
 
 
For the past couple of weeks I have been battling a whole new layer of anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety/depression for most of my life. Someday I will elaborate on the roots of it all, but it's not relevant for the purpose of this post.
 
Most of my anxiety this time has been related to my kids going back to school. I am sure I am not the only one.
 
I am not only concerned about them returning to their other "life" that is apart from me, where they grow outside the "womb" of our home, but also concerned about how they present themselves to the world.
 
Have I taught them enough?
Will they be a blessing?
Will they reflect who they are in Christ or the sin they have seen in me?
Will others treat them like the amazing people they are?
Will there be enough grace to cover their imperfections and mine?
 
The rapid fire nature of these questions and others can make my heart race with nervous tension and my extremely solid faith in who Christ is in me quake like a 8.0 on the Richter scale.
 
But here is what rose up in my heart this morning:
 
I have given myself to Him - told Him I will do whatever He asks of me, regardless of my comfort and if I have to live like this:  
 
 At first glance its just a pair of little boy thongs, but as you look closely you see that one part is broken (a key part). I shall live - flaws exposed so that His glory may be revealed not only in the parts of me that function well, but in the parts of me that need repair. 

2 Corinthians 12:9
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.


My oldest is plunging into third grade with some learning challenges that will require lots of grace, consistency and encouragement, my middle fella is leaping into second grade with enthusiasm and younger than most second graders, and my youngest, he will be with me, serving wherever the Lord leads, on any given day adding his spicy nature into the mix of ministry and household maintenance.


 
My perspective needs a CHANGE. His has never changed. It's about Him, for Him and because of Him that I live. For those who know Him, for those who don't, and for all who are in the middle, on their journey, not sure it where it will lead - I need to be who He made me to be and teach my fellas to do the same. Every day. No matter where we are.
 
He sees the beauty of the process. He sees the beauty of who I am and who they are. My perspective needs to be His. That is the kind of CHANGE I choose.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Join (Even When It's Hard)


It's taken me until Wednesday to get my "Five Minute Friday" writing done, but this prompt took some time to germinate in my soul.
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Go

I am great at joining exciting and fun activities, events and clubs. It is pretty cool to be a part of something that influences the world in a positive way.

But...

What about joining the lost, depressed, broken or needy?

I am going to be transparent here. It isn't fun. But, you knew that.

Jesus did it. He's asked me to join Him. He's asked us all to join Him. If we call Him our Lord and Savior then we need to respond and act as He did. As He leads.

He joined even the dead (Lazarus) and brought him back to life.

He joins me in my brokenness and forgives me when I ask. His gift of Salvation sealed forever by His death on the Cross for me (and for you too).

One of the greatest gifts I can give in response to His gift to me is to join Him as He leads me to walk beside, touch, and pray with those He loves.

It is hard to climb into the muddy sticky mess of life next to someone in pain. But He did. So I will.



Stop.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stretch - Five Minute Friday with Lisa Jo Baker

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This is such a great opportunity to join with other bloggers! You will find more information HERE about how to be a part of this great community!

So here are my 5 minutes on S-T-R-E-T-C-H...

This weekend I will be taking on my 4th Sprint Triathlon. In some ways it won't be a stretch since it is the first time I have repeated a race course so I already know what to expect.  But with my sensitive achillies tendon I will be very careful on the run.

By the time I get to the last third of the triathlon - the run - I am like a barn sour horse that can't wait to get to the finish line.

But not this weekend. I am shooting for Ironman 2016 as a long term goal. I have had achillies tendonitis for months and after the doc told me to STOP running I had to listen so I wouldn't cause a permanent cronic injury. That was a stretch!!!

I went to church for a healing prayer service and God healed it. I have gone back and forth with Him about why He didn't heal me all the way complete with no residual challenge but He did not. I have heard very clearly from Him that I am to lean on Him for all of my physical endeavors and trust Him for all the finish lines He's asked me to cross.

This weekend I will stretch by most likely having to WALK the run portion. People will be passing me and telling me "You can do this!" and encouraging me to move faster. I will only run if there is NO PAIN in my achillies.

Hearing His voice, obeying it, especially in the details of life will stretch me this weekend. But it will be good. Because He is good!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Here Am I... Send Me.

http://lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday/" title="Five Minute Friday"> Five Minute Friday
(I have NO idea why the great Five Minute Friday picture isn't showing up. Those of you who know blog stuff - please drop me a note and let me know what to do! Thanks!)
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Five Minute Friday bekons me again. I didn't even get half way though my post last week. It's still saved in a draft form... maybe soon.

But this week I am carving out my five minutes to let it fall out of me - the blog-jam in my head.

"HERE" I GO:

Isaiah has always been one of my favorite books, but Chapter 6: 1-8 has held my heart for years. I recommend you take a minute to read it if you have the time.

HERE is where I am:
- I want to go where He sends me. Right now, it looks like I will most likely be sent to the kitchen to empty the dishwasher and make breakfast for my three hungry fellas.
- Then I will be sent to the shower to pull together my thoughts while I scrub the sleepys away and get ready for whatever "HERE" place He calls me to next.

The more I lean into Him for even the "small" places He wants to send me, the more I discipline myself to hear His ever present voice.

"Go into the room where they are - be with them. I know Legos aren't your thing. Be with them in their space. Let go of what you want and need. Meet their need. I will take care of you." my God says to me.

"Yes, Lord" is my common response. Even when it's hard. I am willing to be sent, even if it is just to the other room.

STOP.

Friday, June 29, 2012

His Rhythm, Our Dance...



I am participating in Five Minute Friday with Lisa-Jo Baker again. I love joining up with her! She encourages me to be a better Mom, Wife, and mostly a more attentive woman after God's heart.

The prompt is Dance...

I have 5 minutes.

Here I go...

Since most days the music of my life sounds like the practice session of the Jr High marching band down the road, I have a hard time finding my rhythm.

It is not surprising with a life-full: my amazing Love, three busy birth sons, and several heart-daughters and heart-sons that I feel my rhythm is often a little "off".

And yet, it is right on...

The days when I feel off beat, it seems that I am more accurate in my obedience to all of what God asks of me.

I have to lean on Him for my rhythm, because I have none in myself (If you've ever seen me dance, you know this is true!)

My heart's desire is to obey Him at all times regardless of my comfort or personal logic. Holding on to Him is the only way to really dance.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pressing into the Pain

I only have a few minutes to bust this out so please forgive any literary slack on my part.

I have been interceding for several people in a great deal of pain and felt the need to deposit some truth, some blessing and some prayer into cyberspace for you.

I will not go into theology on this but I pray you will take what I have to say to the Lord yourself and receive from Him what you need in this moment.

Pain is not to be feared. It is an opportunity to connect to God. He loves you. He is not the author of pain, He is the giver of Life.

Whether you know Him deeply or hardly speak to Him at all, He is passionate about you and your life. He cares more about your situation than you can even imagine and He saw all the wounds that your heart has received.

When we are in pain we often want to run, hide or medicate it.

Don't.

I know.

It's hard.

Only God knows the full depth of your heart and only He can meet the needs you have.


Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.

Ask Him to show you that He sees you.

If you are a believer in Christ as your Lord and Savior, put on some worship music and begin thanking Him. Worship and Thankfulness are like fuel to the weary soul.

If you don't know Jesus as your Lord, ask Him to be. Christianity may be a "religion" for some, but for me it is the source of the deepest, most secure and powerful relationship of my life. You need Him. Not "religion".

Find a Bible or get on Bible Gateway and read Psalm 139 it will speak of how God values you. David, who wrote it understood the height, depth and breadth of God's amazing love for him.

I pray you do too.

You matter.
You are loved.

Friday, June 22, 2012

RISK

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Five Minute Friday With Lisa-Jo --- Write straight for 5 minutes on the topic posted. No real editing or hesitating. Go back and link up and comment on the one before yours… I LOVE IT!!!

RISK

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. "   Anais Nin

 This was the quote that came to mind.

I choose to blossom – even when I want to hide.


I know that Christ is in me and He will do more through me then I could ever do on my own --- BUT the RISK (mostly to my heart) THAT is terrifying!


I’ve been hurt, I’ve let go of ones I love to Heaven and I’ve had to say goodbye. It makes me feel like a part of me is gone with them. Am I really less of me? Or am I more like Christ? Am I experiencing the “sufferings of Christ” (1 Cor 1:5) that the Bible speaks about?


I would take the verse “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13) and say it feels like, “greater RISK has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” I put that verse in my signature in the yearbooks I signed in High School. I had only a partial idea of what that looked like back then.


LOVE = RISK


The choice is intense. It opens so much up to breathtaking pain which you often have to experience before the breathtaking JOY.


The Bible says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)


The JOY set before me is walking in the call God has placed on my life (upcoming blog). Complete with all the RISKs involved. I will endure the pain, because the JOY of loving and serving my God is the only way I want to live.
 

RISK = LOVE

Monday, June 18, 2012

Healed!

It all started Friday night when I went to pick up my lovely heart-daughter from a child care job at church...

I knew they were having a healing prayer meeting in the sanctuary and it looked like they were just wrapping up. I have been "benched" for four months due to achillies tendoinitis on my right leg. I have prayed myself and I know others have prayed for me to be healed, but the last few weeks I have become more frustrated with what seems like FOREVER for it to get better.

I felt a nudge to just go in and catch the end of the meeting. I stayed at the back and literally two minutes later they asked if anyone wanted prayer to please come forward. So I did.

A few women circled around me and talked with me about my tendonitis. As they began to pray I felt the quarter size knot in my tendon get very warm. I have prayed for others before, feeling the heat in my hands even before I touched them. I know it is a sign of God's Healing touch.

My personal relationship with the Lord and my familiarity with the Bible make me confident of His concern and His passion for healing me. When they were praying for me I was reminded of a fear I have about my tendon never getting better and then I will never be able to do what I know I was made to be - an athlete. I have had a date with Ironman 2016 for a year now and I have been worried these past few months about wether it would even happen because of a threat of this becoming a chronic injury.

We prayed and asked God to take the fear away and I felt a tremendous release of something I didn't even know was lurking in the background of my mind. The heat continued on the knot and after a few minutes I reached down to touch it.

My quarter size knot had SHRUNK to the size of a pea!!! How incredible is that?!!?

I am still excited about it! So many question God's healing touch. I have known in my head that it is real but to tangibly experience it personally in a big way - THAT is AWESOME!

Later, after the prayer for healing, the group took turns praying for each other. I knew several of the people there, but not all of them. Many prayed words of encouragement regarding things I had been praying about only deep in my heart. God's presence was with us and He revealed answers to questions I had, some heart pain, and provided more clarity on the path He has led me to.

I was prayerful and tearful and touched by my brothers and sisters that love Jesus like I do. I KNOW God changed me forever that night. Without a doubt.

The next day I had the opportunity to test my freshly healed tendon. I walked the boys to the park and then later did an almost six mile bike ride with my Love. At the end of the bike ride the knot was completely gone. It did get a little more inflamation back in it later that day after my body "cooled down" a bit but it is still the size of a pea. I iced it and have taken good care of it KNOWING it has been healed.

There is no way anyone but God could have healed me. I have done everything possible to try to get it better myself and nothing has worked. But as of Friday, June 15, 2012 it has been healed. Now don't think I am going to start marathon training tomorrow, but I am definitely back to workouts and looking forward to a good run very soon!



Monday, June 11, 2012

I Am Blessed


The sweat drips from my brow as I navigate the three fellas joining my short workout. Trying not to kick, step on or punch any of them distracts me from the muscles. They delight me, they test me, they make me see the small and grab hold of the big. I am blessed.

Making muffins isn’t much of a “wow”. Basic ingredients dump together to make yummy healthy goodness. I take them to my Love.  Sitting across the desk from him I am impacted by the weight his shoulders bear for the pursuit of excellence in workplace and provision for home. I smile. He says “thank you”, but I am sure I am the one more grateful. I am blessed.

 I run, flip flop footed without losing breath the 75yards to my middle little who crashed on his scooter. The shrieks stress the neighbors but I am assured, his airway, breathing and circulation are adequate. There is some blood, but road rash does that. Carrying him from the crash I note how big he’s getting with the paradoxical feelings of joy and sorrow. Eight band aids, some antibiotic cream, a few tickles and mentions about what his flying off the scooter stunt must have looked like squeeze the giggles from his tear stained face. I am blessed.

There is a meeting in the living room. My elders sandwich a dear one. We pray together, believing for release, declaring truth and calling forth destiny. He moves with Love and Healing. We enjoy being in this place together. This is a place of family, united in heart, moved by Spirit. I am blessed.

We have an accidental puddle splash and booty landing at the park. Milkshakes with whip cream and my heart-son wait. Restaurant booth becomes “kissing booth” as two little fellas decide to smother this mother with their kisses. I make note I should sit them in booths more often. Big son smiles, hugs and pours out his blessing on little brothers with a kindness that comes from within. My youngest seeks keys, receives them and gives big hugs of thanks to legs much longer than his. I see the eyes of the fellas around me, twinkled with fullness of heart and bubbling with joy. I am blessed.

Errands done, beloved ones reunited, tall heart-daughter counsels a dear friend or two. Little boys play with keys, Legos and Wii drawing the last of their busy second wind to a close. Dinner eaten with minimal protest though dessert denied due to marginally acceptable table behaviors. Off to bed go the weary fellas for tomorrow there will be more fun to be had. I am blessed.

My Love and I land cross words in miscommunication. Tempers flare and impatience roars. We battle not against each other but for understandings lost in the shuffle of life. We press in together shifting words, navigating frayed fuses and seeking then accepting forgiveness. We know it is not wrong to duel, only wrong to leave it undone. Our marriage process is ours to live wisely, knowing those observing have hearts involved too.  Unified we remain, entwined in purpose and vision. I am blessed.

The project in the garage calls him out while the stray Crunchberries from first day of summer breakfast need swept.  Kitchen clean, leftovers contained, my fingers are drawn to keys. Given twenty-six letters I tap out a few gifts from today.  I am blessed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

More Kids, A Shiner, and Green Waffles

I started thinking about my "Fess Up Post on Tuesday. I thought the following day was Friday. Silly me. But my dear friend Kira humored me an posted what is my favorite consistent blogging endeavor...



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I made this... I have recently begun making breakfast and lunch for my husband every morning. Tuesday morning to be exact... the day I sent the idea to my friend for a "Fess Up" post. It made me laugh. Hard. At 6:15am. If my Love wasn't so cute, I'd be more annoyed about being up at that hour. But I like writing notes on his napkins and packing him carrots I am not sure if he'll eat.


I have been taking some pictures of some of the basic daily moments. Yes, that is clean laundry not put away from the night before on the back of the couch. I am not going to lie, I have started looking in the backgrounds of other pictures too... I am glad I am not the only one with random household imperfections.




I have recently aquired some additional kids... They don't require too much extra housework. Just occaisional feeding, naps on the couch, and to share their toys. They are between the ages of 19 - 25 and are interns at our church. I really like them. Nope, I love them... and they love me and my family.





I was kind of a sissy about soccer this year. It was a little crazy juggling two boys games at the same time. Several times they had games on different fields at close to the same time. AND it was VERY cold almost every single game. It would have been even harder but I have a sweet new friend with a darling little girl who came out to watch with us.




















We all love little girls!




My youngest has a thing for wearing his shirts backwards. You would be amazed at how many people ask if I know he had his shirt on the wrong way... Really?







My oldest found a kid on the playground with a short fuse. He lost his tooth the week before, but it still looks like it goes together. It was a pretty impressive shiner! He told the other kid he forgave him and they were playing together the next day at recess.










Many mornings this is what I see when I get up. I dread the day they don't fit on the couch together.


I LOVE sidewalk chalk. And my oldest thinks its a great way to mark his territory.

We've had several birthday celebrations. We had blower battles at Nana's birthday party, I had my first attempt at tie dye, made green birthday waffles, and held my tongue when my son chose a creative wardrobe. You should have seen him with the sunglasses and sweatshirt cape... I missed that picture! But the light saber cupcakes went over well.








And its June here in Idaho... which means I still haven't put away my favorite socks. But it's okay. They make me happy!




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

John Erik

Pondering the gift he is combined with the challenges specific to raising him, this is what fell out of my heart this morning:

Eight Years Old

John of my heart
Named after the disciple and your god-father
The richness of God's gift in you
Challenges me and has changed me.

The beauty of who you are
Takes my breath away.
The depth of your heart
Moves me to assess my own.

The challenge of raising you
Is my reward for a decade of prayers
Now I lean on Him trusting
He will help us shape who you will become.

I am a very grateful Mom.


Friday, June 1, 2012

See - With Your Heart


I took 5 minutes to join the Gypsy Mama on Five Minute Friday

I have often found that seeing with my eyes is pretty messy. Looking at circumstances, people, and places with just my natural sight leaves a lot of things out.

When I look at my kitchen I can see the yucky pink counter top or the fact that it is pretty much a "one butt kitchen".

But when I see it with my heart, I see the place that my boys can now make their own toast, the counter that has had countless cookies, pancakes, fingerprints, messes, and sticky spots I only find AFTER I think I've cleaned it all.

It's crazy to me that when I truly see with my heart, the things that matter stand out so much more than the things my vision picks out. And from a messy, sticky pink counter can come the richest and most delicious slices of life (and chocolate cake).

Here's to seeing with my heart today!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kisses

Yes. Kisses. I am not talking about passionate "movie star" kisses (that's what we called them when we were kids) but I am talking about right and tender affection.

I am always smooching on my sons. I have often described a mother's affection for her son and his for her as the perfect romance. She pours out her affection for him and he soaks it up like a sponge drawing all the compassion and tenderness of a mothers heart into his boy, someday will be a man, heart and then pours back to her his unbridled affection for her. All healthy, all wholesome, fully designed by God to be that way.

One of the things I do consistently is kiss my little fellas' armpits. I know it sounds NUTS but it is one of the ways I remind myself that they will only be small once. There is a short time when they aren't going to be stinky or hairy there and I want to savor that time. One of my guys even lifts his arm in the air and says, "Kiss me Mom! Is it stinky yet?" Oh, I love that. Such a reminder to be in THIS MOMENT, right now.

I never used to kiss people much. It seemed awkward unless it was my family, kids or my husband. I do have a few close friends that it didn't seem strange to kiss every once in a while, quick peck on the cheek and be done with it.

I have always chuckled at the "air kisses" - you know, you press your cheek up against someones cheek and make the smoochy sound? No offense, but I don't get it. I tried it once. Ended up with someones earlobe in my mouth... talk about AWKWARD!

So, I just have avoided it...

Until lately...

Years ago there were several mamas that really poured into me. I told one of them today how her kisses and her perfume always stayed with me --- the continuation of her blessing and love for me...

One of the things God has put on my heart is to encourage some of the young people around me. I cook for them, I listen, I pray, I hug, and now, I kiss them. Like a Mama would. Tender, motivated by God's love for them, and expecting nothing in return, just like my own Mama and a few others have done for me.

I don't write this to encourage you to start kissing each other, but to encouage you to consider giving to someone something that someone gave to you... with no expectations, a free gift.






Friday, May 25, 2012

Birthday Blog

I arrived at 41 today. Funny, it doesn’t feel much different, though I know it is.

I welcomed this birthday parked at the base of the three crosses at our church.  The center cross, lit at the base, calls to me to come, lift my heart to the One who made me and brought me this far. I worship from the depths of my soul - overwhelmed with gratitude for His mercy and grace.

The daughter He gave my heart arrived about 12:30am and wished me a happy birthday as she climbed in the car after a concert. I loved hearing about her day, soaking in the blessing of her presence. About 30 minutes later I’m in bed next to my Love, praising God for the gift he is to me.

Before 7am I had “Happy Birthdays”, hugs, been shown the inside of underwear with comments about how one of my little fellas is doing better with personal hygiene, and overheard exclamations about how loud someone just “tooted”. I opened cards from my parents, my Love, and it seems my cards from the kids are still in progress.

I even made my Love breakfast this morning, much to his surprise. I love living in the place of fullness. I am not desperate for others to acknowledge me or fill some void in my heart. I love being “seen” and appreciated, for sure. But my craving for being “served” isn’t there anymore. I am happy to receive when it happens, but my relationship with Jesus is so alive and real that I am FULL in my heart and mind.

I “feel” empty sometimes, but God is showing me that it isn’t true. There are SO many places in the Bible that remind me that He has already given me more than I could ever ask for or imagine (which can be hard to remember on challenging days). And when I get tired or frustrated He reminds me to only do what He asks me to do, not one thing more. Obeying Him in that instruction is essential to living in His fullness.

I must get moving and the request of the day is that I wear my hair in ponytails. Oh, they crack me up! I think I have a picture of this time last year with the same request fulfilled!

It is a Happy Birthday. One I am grateful for. It is a gift to be here, living life, savoring the blessings around me and enjoying the fullness of Jesus Christ in me.

Thank you for being a blessing to me. I am grateful you take the time to read my blog. Have an awesome day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Living What I Love

I am participating in a Healthy Living Challenge on Spark People.These are the specific answers to the mental challenge question for week 9 - but since I am still me - see below for my thoughts in greater detail...

Three things that currently give me happiness:
1) My God - the joy in Him is unshakable even in the worst and hardest circumstances
2) My biological family - My husband and sons give me happiness that is consistent and often about keeping perspective on the important things
3) My spiritual family -  there are many God has put in my life that bless me with their presence.

Three things I would like to do or experience that would increase my happiness:
1) Have my outside body reflect the health of my spirit
2) Taking my kids to Disneyland and NEVER having to wonder if I'd fit on the rides
3) Giving more to others.

I know above I listed the specific answers to those specific questions but it made me ponder - What does Living What I Love look like in the practical...

It's all about perspective.


How do I want to look through the lens of my mind and heart into my life?

If I see lack or disappointment or despair then how can I love anything well? There can always be more or something "better" or different but am I CHOOSING to live what I love RIGHT NOW?

I love my husband - but how do I live to love him? I respect him, I am intentional about saying thank you, I meet practical and even sometimes impractical needs he has without his even asking, I pray for him and I believe in him. If I am choosing to live what I love then I choose to do these things, because I love him.

I love my sons - they are each a mixed bag of personality, emotions, spunk, and enthusiasm - living to love them is tricky on some days. The principal and I are on a first name basis and we talk an average of once a week. Their intensity and their silliness shift so fast sometimes I am sure I have whiplash. They challenge me daily to be innovative in activities and consequences.

In this season while they are small, I can live to love them by holding them accountable for their choices, holding them close every day, looking into their eyes and smiling at them, and being creative to meet their unspoken heart needs as well as the practical- food, clean underwear, etc...

Those are just two examples of Living what I love - it is hard. I don't always "feel" like it. But if I keep in perspective that "Living what I love" doesn't mean - "living to make my life easier" then I see the challenges and trials as opportunities to act on LOVE...

Like my dear friend Roni who now resides in Heaven used to say all the time "Love is something you DO!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Our School Staff





Our School Staff
(by Jennifer Bogdanowicz)

September till June
You pour out
Reaching
Giving
To each one.

At year’s end
The gift remains
Outstretched
Thankful
Children grown.

We are so blessed to have
YOU at our school! ~  PTA

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Benched


Aching of body and mind
Endorphins blocked by “rest”
Stuck on caboose

When all are out

Active, biking, living fitness.


My own advice echoes in my head.
I would tell another

Press in and ask the One
Who allows seasons of “rest”

Seek & find what He’s after
In my heart.


I hear Him.
“Trust Me.
You can’t do this.
I have to.
So you know it’s Me
That did it.
Not you.”


“But I want to!”
I argue back.
“I know what to do!”

“I know”

He replies.





Shifting focus.
Rearrange understanding

Listen for direction
Pursue new avenues

Wouldn’t have had time.


He knows what He asks

Of me
Without Him I am

Weak, simple and worn.
Within Him I am

Victorious, fit and fully alive
Prepared to do ALL He asks of me.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Writing to Process - long version since the kids are in bed


Writing to process life and its surprises, joys and sadness
Does not come easy. I ponder all day what I’d say about this or that but once I sit down
Neither one seem to be accessible or
To coincide into something of even mediocre value or purpose.

I'm either neck deep in contemplating, praying, worshipping, venting
In process in my heart
Or trying to write from my brain loaded with soccer schedules, homework, and menus!
No wonder my
Words up to brow full!

Spilling them out as fast as I can, off-loading the dimensions and angles of my head and heart
So a breath can come, steady now, pacing myself the best I can while twenty six
Letters run fast out my fingers but it seems the
Words come out slow, wandering as if they had all day to form.

Daily they pull me like a vortex sucking me into paragraphs of life
Drawing me in - webs of complexity and transparency combined
Then out to type, tips of fingers touching, clicking, releasing
Prose from my soul.

I long to camp, pitch my tent and stay
Here for a while, resting and clicking and
Letting sentences escape their cramped quarters in my head. It seems they slosh about and as I set them free they are
Drenching the page with outpourings of hope and joy tangled with pain and challenge.

Boys unattended bring me back to the sturdy ground of grunts, yelps and squawks. They
Make their own mischief when I climb into my word worlds but I am okay with the
Evening routine paused for a few stolen moments
So I can pour out the process I’m in.

Writing to Process Short Version (longer one to come after bedtime)

Writing to process
Does not come easy
Neither one seem
To coincide.

I'm either neck deep
In process
Or trying to write
Words up to brow full.

Spilling them out
So a breath can come
Letters run fast
Words come out slow

Daily they pull
Drawing me in
Then out to type
Prose from my soul.

I long to camp
Here for a while
Letting sentences escape
Drenching the page.

Boys unattended
Make their own mischief
Evening routine paused
So I can pour out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tucked In to God

Romance draws me to You
I want to climb in to Your presence
And never, ever leave.

But I do.

Leaning on my own abilities and understanding
I move ahead of You
Thinking I know what You want from me.

But I don't.

All you want is me.
Weak me, strong me, angry me
Tired me, happy me, lost me.

But I wonder.

How can I be or do enough?
I can't be good enough or give enough, ever.
I can only be complete in You.

I need You.

More intimate than any lover
The depth of You touches me
Enveloping me in Your peace
Refreshing me with Your joy.

I receive You.

Teach me to speak and live
This love affair of ours.
Pouring out Your passion for all
Is how I declare:

I love You!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Encouragement and Input for Parents of Toddlers

I understand your toddler’s strong little personality is wearing you out. I am smiling as I type because I have three little guys whose personalities are so different from mine that often I can’t imagine where they are coming from sometimes.


Some important stuff we have learned raising three super strong very smart little fellas:


1)      You teach him to become what you model. If you model submitting to his strong little self – you teach him that he is more important than you are. For him to develop a healthy understanding of who he is he needs to know who you are. You, his mom and his dad are the most influential and essential people in his life. He needs to be taught to treat you with honor and respect. If you are making decisions based on what he wants or what he thinks he needs, you are putting him in the driver’s seat, which we both know he is unqualified for.

2)      The pain of doing what he wants now will only intensify as he gets older. There are certain times in our little fellas lives where we have to stand our ground and hold the line even if it makes us all uncomfortable (sometimes THAT is the understatement of the century!). But this discomfort now is minimal to what his wanting his way looks like in 5, 10 or 15 years. We have so many kids out there who can’t even begin to say “no” to themselves, let alone anyone else. Your child’s strength is a blessing. You and his dad have what it takes to train him well to grow into it with wisdom and dignity. Right now- his behavior is embarrassing for sure but it’s nothing compared to what will happen if he is not taught the consistent art of self-control.

3)      Much like putting your own oxygen mask on first on an airplane, you have to make sure that you are both getting what you need to parent him well. The day to day “putting your mask on first” looks like this:

Getting enough sleep! If he is not sleeping through the night and wants to be attended to you must teach him to respect your need for sleep. Even now my guys challenge me on this! Because they are capable of conversation now, I remind them if mommy doesn’t get enough sleep, mommy won’t do her very best job being a mommy. Younger toddlers lack reasoning skills, so you have to train him to sleep. He’s a strong healthy fella with no health issues so he should be completely able to sleep through the night now – he just doesn’t want to! I remember Erik and I holding each other down while our little protester demanded attention. Some well-timed advice from good friends really helped us hold out and teach him he was capable of comforting himself and going back to sleep. One key piece of info here – if you give in – it won’t stop. Then you have wasted the last 67minutes of torture because now he knows if he cries long enough he will get the results he wants. All our guys threw varying degrees of fits during the same stage you are going through now. Some took a few nights to really “get it” some took a little longer.

Get enough exercise! Don’t underestimate how badly you need those endorphins, both of you! Parenting this stage is intense and blowing off steam with quality exercise will bless your body, your brain and your baby! I promise. The girls at the fitness center I go to are outstanding! They had to peel my little guy off me so many times I lost count. Now, he adores it there.  Plan an hour for working out/hot tub time and another hour for sunbathing, reading or just sitting in the cafĂ© watching the fire. Don’t forget to make some time to go there together for a 2 hour date workout and hot tub date!

Get good fuel for your body! Eat healthy – I know you pretty much do, but I frequently re-evaluate my needs for protein, fiber, and quality carbs based on the work I am doing. Be sure you are getting ENOUGH calories for what you are asking your body to do. I am obviously still working on the eating healthy part – it is my weakest area for sure.

4)      Let go of how others view you. One day, neck deep in an airplane full of people I realized that their discomfort - while a bummer for sure, didn’t matter. Only training my son and my relationship with him mattered. Period. You are not responsible for what others think of you or your parenting skills. You are responsible for the amazing little person pitchin’ a fit however. Keep your mind and heart focused on the exercise of training him to practice self-control and treat you with respect. As he starts to learn these key things, the people around you will appreciate his self-control and respectful communication abilities. (Just so you know- we have dealt with temper tantrums in hotels, lobbies, restaurants, airports, and pretty much anywhere else you can think of except a foreign country because we haven’t taken the kids there yet!) No relationship is more important than you and his dad first then the care and wise training of your child, regardless of what family, friends, or bystanders think.

5)      Agreement – You and his dad together are a powerful force and the greatest earthly love he will ever know. You guys model marriage and healthy relationships for him. If you aren’t daily showing him how important Daddy is to Mommy and Mommy is to Daddy it can upset the balance of authority in your home. My favorite story on this happened recently – I told my youngest “no” about something and he was pretty upset with me. After giving me his grumpy stare down he punched me. Erik happened to be walking around the corner and witnessed his behavior. Before he knew what happened, Erik scooped him up and removed him to his bedroom for a very focused conversation about how important Mommy is to Daddy and to our family (at a younger  age, he or I would put them in “time out” without toys or anything in their crib and say, “be nice to Mommy, she’s special” or vice versa for Daddy- you can see by the look in his eyes at the end of a time out if he is still angry or if he got the message. Erik would model say sorry to Mommy, and my little guy would usually smile and I’d squeeze & smooch J). After his time with Daddy, he apologized to me for being disrespectful and unkind to me. He asked me to forgive him and of course I smiled big and said yes! I scooped him into my arms and let him know everything was ok. He’s a little young for much more than that. Your child needs to know that Daddy and Mommy’s relationship is tight and unified apart from him. You were together long before he came into the picture and you will be together once he leaves the nest. You two are a great team & he will be blessed to see it in action – even if it isn’t his favorite all the time! J



Having a strong child is a spectacular gift. Training him to be a fantastic, thriving and contributing member of society will be the hardest and best job you two will ever do together. You are up for it! I came across this website and I thought it had good info. He is selling stuff, but just reading the article might be all you need.



Thursday, April 5, 2012

Worth it? Am I?

This was an exercise in my Spark People Healthy Living Challenge that I am participating in. I decided to put it on my regular blog as well.

May you make a list of your own. Praying you will.

1) I am worth it because: God says so - Jesus died for me. Seriously, how can I not get that I matter?! if only I can walk it out in the day to day.
2) I am worth it because: My life is worth living well. I have been blessed with a hubby that loves me, kids that are complete miracles and I want to "live long and prosper" (Sorry for the Spock quote, I couldn't help myself!)
3) I am worth it because: I have people in my life who remind me. Often.
4) I am worth it because: If I don't choose to value myself, how will I teach my children to value themselves?
5) I am worth it because: I choose to believe that. Even when I don't FEEL it. Most of the time.
Praying you savor this Easter season aware of how much He gave for your worth. God bless you!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Are You Ready for Easter?


I wrote this two years ago and I felt led to post it again.

A few years ago my pastor preached a series on this subject. Easter Sunday morning the concept came flooding back as I was contemplating the Cross.

 I think there are three places we can be in relation to the Cross.


First, we can see it from a distance… twenty or so yards off… highlighted against a brilliant sunset or a dark cloudy day - that shape can’t help but draw our attention. We acknowledge that it exists, we know what happened on it and we might even know it is empty but we just can’t seem to approach it. Whether our feelings of inadequacy, the shame of sin - current or distant past, or just our fear of what it would mean to acknowledge our need for more than ourselves - we just can’t seem to get there.


But there is a way….


Second, we stand or kneel or even lie face down at the foot of the Cross. We are overwhelmed by our sin, inadequacies, continual failures that just reflect how damaged we are. We are devastated by how undeserving we are of Christ’s death to save us. We believe that only humble repentance at the foot of the Cross can really save us from our despair and the damage that has been done to us or that we have done to others. We can’t seem to leave the foot of the Cross.


But there is a way…


Third, we can walk beyond the Cross to the other side. Leaping forth into what the empty Cross represents. Putting to death the old and embracing the new. Reaching for the abundant life promised to us by the only One who could love us enough to die on that Cross. On the other side of the Cross we are bound for our destiny on this earth while grasping the truth that we are seated with Him in heavenly places.
 

This is the way!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Don't Freak Out!

It's that still small voice in my heart again,
"Don't freak out!"
It is not panicked or flustered.
The voice speaks stillness, clarity.

Sitting in the classroom
Called in to see the teacher
Intriguing art makes her wonder
So she couldn't just email.

I like her.
She likes me.
We work together for his best.
But sometimes we wonder...

"Don't freak out."
I hear it again.
I look into her eyes
I know she sees me.

We strategize together
A plan to help him receive
The education we both
Want for him.

She puts his focused writing
In front of my concerned eyes
I read the imagination
We wonder what he sees

"Don't freak out."
The small voice whispers big.
We agree to structured focus
On directed topics.

We hug and breathe
Fresh relief that all is well
Solutions in motion
No need to freak out.










Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stormy Sometimes

I have a few writer friends who I met with the other day. They reminded me that when words aren't allowed to come out sometimes it can trigger depression or at least the feeling of being depressed. I will be writing more to let the words out. I honestly am not sure why I am not just blabbering away in Word documents and keeping them on my hard drive. I guess I think that if I am challenged by something, I am pretty sure I am not the only one. If I am, or you think I am, kindly please keep it to yourself ;)...

Here are a couple of poems that fell out of me as I considered how I have been feeling for the past several days.

Black Hole

Black hole
Vortex threatening
Loud suction
Resist pull

But land low
Deep pit
Thrash, then sit

Want out
Still but in motion
Waiting at the bottom.
Not alone.


Not Forgotten

Living from the joy
Within me pours freely
Like an endless fountain

Until...

The black clouds storm
Coping and reasoning
Under rapid fire from
Lightning and thunder.

The wind of anxiety
Courses through my blood
With tornado like force.
Building tension.

Suddenly I'm thrashing
Like a favorite shirt
Forgotten on a clothesline
In Nebraska

I cry out for help
Rescuers come
Strange forms they take
Unexpected some

I'm battered, bruised
From the storms within
Beloved ones too
See the devastation.

I reach for the Healer
Within the tempest.
He is with me.
Always.

The joy, deep peace
Perfect Love
Hold me tethered, stable
Unlike shirt on string

I am not forgotten.
I am chosen. Blessed
By the One who speaks
And storms end.

Letting Go

I have this dream.
It's in my heart.
I no longer imagine it.
I can see it - complete.

Told to wait, believe and trust,
Sure my heart will ache
Until I see this
Dream of mine.

Then the peace floods.
God is building more
Than my dream.

Being a Mom - Things I Hate and Things I Love

I hate hearing fighting as I step into the shower.

I hate feeling like I am failing more than I succeed.

I hate missing their hearts and focusing on their behavior instead because it's in my face.

I hate that I am selfish - sometimes I want my comfort more than their training.

I hate knowing that someday they won't need me, even though that is what I am raising them to do.

I hate loving them so much it hurts.

I hate my pride that is exposed every time they resist my correction in public.

I love hearing Legos dumped out looking for that one important piece.

I love each of us singing and praying on the way to school.

I love the sound of rowdy Nerf-gun play coming from the basement.

I love the prayers prayed over sleeping heads.

I love the smiles that show me my efforts are not in vain.

I love the angry frowny faces that reveal the needs of their hearts.

I love the remiders of how long I prayed for them - before they came - even when it hurts.

I love being a mom even though it is the hardest most challenging part of who I am.


I love my God who not only gave me the one child I cried out for, but three more from my womb and many more birthed in my heart.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Creative Pores, Box Cars, and Snow Snacks

There seems to be a problem with linking up with my friend with the "Fess Up Friday" posts so I guess this one is on my own.  Here it is without the cool "button".



I haven't "Fessed Up" for a while. Trying to get back to my blog has been a long effort, but I have missed it so much I had to just jump back in and be okay if it isn't brilliant.



My oldest fella never ceases to amaze me. Creativity oozes from his pores. As you can see.




The AWANA group we are participating with this year did a "Box Car" movie night. I know confessing this will make some parents think I am a bad mom, but really, I DID NOT WANT TO BUILD A BOX CAR! I resisted until the very last minute. Literally. AWANA starts at 6:30 and I began building them at 6pm. I know, how sad. We could have spent a week, painting, planning, preparing, but no. I was many weeks in to single parenting during the week and I just wanted Daddy to be home to do this one thing. But, it turns out, building Box Cars is fun! We laughed and colored and "hurry up we have to go!" Next year, I will be ready and waiting for this event! Silly me!









We had a LOT of snow recently. It has all turned to a dribbly, squishy, puddled mess now, but for a few days it was really fun. Twizzler snacks in the snow fort was one of the highlights.

One of my favorite highlights...
Little boy hat hair!




I cannot promise weekly "Fess Ups" but I am thankful to be back up and blogging after a long time away! Thanks for reading! Blessings!

Who am I?

My photo
I am a wife and mother of 3. I have been married to my best friend for over 25 years and our children are 12, 11 and 9 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 a dear friend to a tragic death. I have had a personal relationship with Jesus for most of my life. The Bible and my relationship with Christ has been essential to my surviving and even thriving in my circumstances. I hope you will be blessed by joining me in this process of life. I thank you for showing up to read what I have written.