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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Buoyancy in the moment.

Some days it feels as though I'm short on life preservers.

When I look in all directions there is someone who needs one.....perhaps they aren't drowning but they could use a lift, a break, a rest.....my first instinct is always to run headlong in to save the day with my cape waving in the breeze behind me.  What is it those flight attendants always say? Put on your own oxygen mask first, or you can't help the people around you...  I'm learning that my knee jerk reaction, to run in and save the day, isn't always the best response.   It's a response led by me, not Him.  Long ago a wise woman told me it's not always my job.  That by trying to rescue everyone, every time, I may actually be hurting them.  Training them to rely on me too much. Stealing opportunities for others to step in and be a blessing.   Stop trying to be everything to everyone.  People need to flounder before they will fight to swim.

I think I've gotten better but it hasn't gotten easier.  What I have learned is to not jump too quickly to respond.  To evaluate where I am most needed.....making sure that the needs of my family come first and that they are my first priority.  "No" is a hard word to say to anyone I care about...even when I know I need to say it.   It doesn't yet come out eloquently or as directly as it should.  I've also learned not to offer help unless I intend to follow through.  Unless I CAN.  This too is tough to not spit out the ready response of "let me know if you need anything".  

This season is teaching me that being fully in the right now, moment to moment, is where I need to learn to be.  Abandoning my own plans, great or small.  To be freed up to hear Him and do as He asks.

In this moment, I feel silenced.  Perhaps I would be too reactive....instead of responsive.  Perhaps He has plans to use someone else.  Whatever it is doesn't matter.  I'm trying to stay out and stay quiet until He ushers me forward.   It's not comfortable but that crazy sense of peace, that is only from Him, is there so I know its right.

Be buoyant.  Stay put.  Listen.  Watch.  Wait.  Shhh.   Be still.

Okay.  Teach me.



Blessings,
the Mrs.



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the purge

The purging process is interesting.  Much more so this time than the last.

There is a different thought process this time.  One that has surprised me.  Detaching emotions from things. This has been a hard one for me in the past.  Things tend to help trigger memories for me that might otherwise be lost.  Perhaps this marks a growth point....finally accepting that my brain injury will simply mean that some moments aren't meant to last for me but a memory meant for someone else to hold.  There is a freedom in simply being in the moment and not desperately trying to create something that will last.   There is something beautiful about not trying to secretly put the pieces together in my head, pretending to remember what someone is talking about and instead....simply asking them help me remember.

The first wave of the purge resulted in filling the back of my husbands car.  Books, movies, dishes, clothes and perhaps the item that surprised the most people....my wedding dress.  Yep.  It's gone.  My daughter stripped off a piece of the lace from the waist and that was all she wanted to keep.

How did I do it?  I started asking why.  I asked what the real value was....but NOT the monetary value of the item.   The REAL value, to me, is in the space.  The real reason I'm getting rid of things.   To be free of them, to claim space and peace and less to take care of.  To free my mind of the mental clutter objects hold.

So when I went through the sheets I kept only two summer sets and two winter sets for each bed.  No more. I went through towels and got rid of over 50% of them after finding that I had two stacks that had not been touched in over 2 years.  We now have roughly 8 bath towels for our family of four.  I've now moved several old towels into the laundry area to be re-purposed for rags and dog baths.  I replaced several washcloths that had gotten old and yucky with some that were on sale for $4 for a stack of 4 and purchased 2 new bath towels to round out the number of towels kept to be of equal quality.

I've cleaned out under our bed and gotten rid of a number of things that hadn't seen the light of day in 9 years.  Our unity candle set and stand being one of those items.  I found old post cards I'd kept from my grandmothers things, I originally kept them thinking one day I'd make something neat with them or they "might be worth something".  That is one of those tricks of the mind that gets us to keep junk.  Who defines worth?  I'd invited friends to come and look through the heaps of things I'd purged to see if anyone found anything to be of use to them.   The result was humorous.  They all mentioned that they had caught the purge bug too and didn't want to bring more things into their homes.  Then, one sweet friend started in on "but you can't get rid of this! It's probably worth something!"  Right then and there I felt that tug the world has and as I felt it I laughed.  Here I wasn't being chided about how I was donating an expensive wedding dress to goodwill but that I was getting rid of those old postcards.  "Sell them on Ebay! Bring them into an antique store!"  That's not worth my time.  Suddenly I began to feel very clear about what I considered valuable and what has worth to me.  This wasn't it.   Spending time to research or bring them somewhere had no value or worth to me, it would defeat the purpose of what I was doing.  The value was in them not being in my home.  Not being in my space.  Not being in my home, my mind, or my control.

The value was in cutting the tie.

I'm not sure if I'm talking about this purging process more than I feel like I am or what is happening but there are several people in my life making comments that what I'm doing is spreading.  They are initiating conversations with me about getting rid of things, paring down their belongings and then telling me that it is spreading out to other people they know.  Comments about my strength in emotionally detaching from things and being able to get rid of things that have sentimental value.  ....that one puzzles me.....I'm not sure if it's my perspective that is off, or theirs.  Most of the time the object doesn't have sentimental "value" but guilt attached.  I think I'm starting to sort out what that is for me.  The difference between keeping something I love because it has a pleasant memory and keeping something because whats attached is "how could you get rid of that?  It was _____'s!"  The fact that something is silver, gold, crystal or was previously owned by someone is of no consequence to me.  An object is only as valuable as the level of enjoyment I have in it.  That is it.  I no longer want to keep things because someone gave them to me and might be offended if I don't keep it.  If that's why something is on a shelf then the only thing on display is guilt, not beauty and certainly not enjoyment.

The first load of purged items are now gone.  I've taken a few weeks to enjoy the last bits of summer, a week away with family, allowing my body to rest after another bout of pain and reflecting on where I am with Him.....where we are together and what He is teaching me in this process.

School starts next week and I'm looking forward to the structure that provides to the day.  The time and solitude it lends.  I'm excited to get back into purging more of the house as well....maybe even more, what I will learn in the process.

Blessings,
the Mrs.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Finding the basics

Finding contentment.

It comes in stages.  A step here, a mistep there. Learning that even when we are retracing our steps we are still moving forward, not back.

Understanding that contentment comes from being in the moment instead of anticipating the one to come.

The Lord was good to tell me to Be Buoyant this year.  The waves have carried battle after battle during the first half of the year.  Currently it seems as if there has been a dramatic shift.  The waves have been silenced and I find myself looking out on waters still as glass.  Gently shifting to look in all directions and in awe of the clarity that is left in the absence of waves.

What I observe is how I drifted from a particular way of living and thinking.  I find myself among varying levels of clutter.  Too many things had found their way in to the home.  Too many distractions had found their way into my time and my mind.....occupying way too much space.

Again I find myself purging our home of all manner of useless things.  Things I thought had some sentimental value but really just sat hidden in a cabinet.  Did I think I would be thought heartless to discard something simply because it belonged to someone?   Did I think that somehow a piece of them would live through my ownership of an item that had no other use?

There was a time when "things" were only as good as their practical use and service.  I lost that somewhere along the line.  Time to find it and look at things differently.  It is so much easier to let go of things when you can see them simply for their usefulness.  The openness in cabinets, closets and under beds is freeing.  Soon our home will be pared back down to the basic necessities.  The children will make their own choices in their rooms but for the rest of the house...back to basics.   No more holding on to materials from the 70's simply because I have fond memories of my mother connected to them.  Frankly they are hysterically hideous and I'd never make anything from them.  So why do I keep them?  Some lie that I'd somehow be tossing my mother aside by no longer owning them?  It's silly really but grief is an odd creature full of strange habits and ways of thinking.

Time to be done and rid of the ridiculous.  Some call it Minimalism or Simple Living....I guess I don't care what it's called, I just want what I know it comes with.  Freedom.  Time.  Space.  Gratitude.  Clarity.  Joy. Availability.  Authenticity.

When stuff clutters my home it clutters my mind as well.  I've known this always but here I am realizing all the sneaky buggers that have crawled into my life, mind and space.

The biggest revelation I've had has been the hardest one to come to a conclusion on how to handle.  I can easily toss 'things' in the garbage, this is not the issue.....it's the digital clutter I've become aware of.

The irony of the fact that I am blogging about discovering digital clutter is not lost on me.  

Every time I recall when I was at my mental best, my most productive, when I was most content and happy, when my relationship with the Lord was at it's most deep, clean, clear and in an intensely personal place....I go back to the little yellow house.  Tiny and old with the barest of necessities and our finances were just as bare. I've wondered time and again what it was....the season in life?....the desperate times?.....the horrible, no good, frightening neighborhood?   I've never really been able to put my finger on it....until the last two days.

I've spent the last two days home alone, for the first time in perhaps a decade.  The Lord, I feel, has been easing me into this place.  The last few weeks have been absurdly peaceful, quiet and simple.  Stillness has been a big part.  Stopping to just listen, evaluate life, why I do what I do, how I do what I do, what I want life to be and feel but also the pace at which I not only want to live but the pace at which I need to live.  A pace that allows the freedom to be available to others but also feeds my spirit, rests my mind and body and allows me to function at my personal best.  A pace that allows me to recognize when I am speeding up or drifting off course to please someone else's expectations.  To recognize when that same pleasing pulls me in a direction that is not authentically me.  When joining the masses of what is cool, normal and trendy tap the temple with temptation and suddenly you find yourself surrounded by things and quite discontent.   So where did that come from?  When did it start and how do I shut it off?

Suddenly I found myself staring quite clearly at the difference between now and then.  The birth of a digital life.  That little yellow house had never met Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.  They had not been born yet.  There was email and land lines.  We had no cell phones.  The highest percentage of my day was spent in silence with only the noises of children and perhaps the soft sounds of the local christian radio station coming from the kitchen.   There were no iPods or MP3 players.  We kept in touch with real people in our lives.....not people we used to know, people we don't see face to face.  Effort was placed on relationships in the here and now.  Cards, letters, emails, phone calls....not tweets and posts to boast of our latest meal or random tiny endeavor for the day.  Is opening or closing the windows really newsworthy?

Suddenly it all seemed a crazy ridiculous lump of clutter.   It was visual, tactile and mental.  Suddenly I wanted to delete it all.  Then I realized that it had actually become impractical to do that.  There had been wonderful things that had come out of digital interactions.  Relationships that benefited and grew through that digital media.  It wasn't all bad.  So how to move forward from here.....

I decided I needed to approach this purge a bit more slowly.  First I recognized that this was a legitimate habit that needed to be broken and it shouldn't be simply cut off cold turkey because it involves more than just me.  My first step was to go through facebook and unfollow pages and some people.  Break it down to the first level of basics.  I did the same on the other sites too.  Next I turned off all notifications that didn't involve direct contact.  That means Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - notifications were shut off.  iMessage, Messenger, Voxer and Email were left on - these are digital connections like a phone call, they must be done with personal, direct and intentional action on the part of the sender, so it stays.   Next I moved Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest into a file on my iPod touch (I do not have a cellphone) titled: Digital distractions and placed it on the second screen.  Therefore it takes at least two intentional actions to access them as well as seeing the words Digital Distraction to remind me.    

The benefits are already being felt.  I'm also seeing posts in a new way.  Sadly I'm seeing so much less real stuff than just junk....complaining, attention seeking....general negativity.   Suddenly I'm very aware that I want to go back to a time when everyone's life wasn't in my face so much.  Its funny how you can get so sucked in to something and not see it for what it really is.  How we can become so engaged in something in an oblivious way.  I confess I've been a Facebook addict.  I've refreshed my screen I don't know how many times just waiting for then next interesting tidbit to scroll on by.  Perhaps its the voyeurism of glimpsing in a window to see how someone really lives, looking through photo albums of a stranger until you've seen so many snapshots you feel like you "really know them".  We don't of course because we edit ourselves and post in a way that makes us appear one way or another.

Now I seek to find my balance between a full digital exit and just enough to stay conveniently connected with those who I want to stay connected with.  I have a feeling there will be more editing to come...there has certainly been a lot of "hiding" individuals.  I've made no grand announcements and probably won't...seems silly to announce to the world that you'll be voting them off the island.  They probably wouldn't notice anyway.

Maybe I'll be back to update you.....or maybe......

Blessings from the digital detox trenches,
the Mrs.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The redundant invitation.

When will Christians stop with the redundant invitation?
When will there be an awareness of how arrogant it is?
Would you consider going to your neighbors house, greeting them as you enter and then proceed to invite them to join you?
Well, that would be rude, wouldn't it?

Why is the same invitation made at church every Sunday?

"Father, we invite you to join us here today."  ....in Your house....that You gave us....on the planet You created.....and told us many times over how You are always with us.....Omnipresent God that You are....yeah, never mind....um.....ahem...can I join You?

God has no need for our arrogant invitations.  He's been waiting for our RSVP.

Christianise is a messed up language.  Its full of misdirecting phrases and stuff man made up.  What bothers me the most is that these phrases plant seeds in the minds of people....seeds of a false image of God.  I don't believe they are intended.....I think they are little phrases spoken ages ago that just somehow became accepted without being questioned.

Like the woman who cut off the ends of her pot roast.  (Tell me you haven't heard this story somewhere before....) Her daughter asks her mom why she cuts the ends off her pot roast....it seems a waste of meat.  The mom says "My mother always did it....so I do too."  The daughter asks why grandma did it.  The mom can't come up with an answer so she calls to ask and the answer is surprising.   "Well, my oven and my pan were small so I cut the ends off so it would fit."  

How often do we just accept things as truth, as necessary, without examination?

Where on earth did this theory come from that says we should invite God into our presence?  Why do people not see the arrogance of that?

I'll add another phrase "Give us more of you God....Send more of your Holy Spirit."

That one makes me bite my lip to keep from uttering "Do you really think God phones it in?  Is He really just kinda half-assing His presence right now?"

"God showed up."  Another face palm moment.  

God is all knowing, all powerful and fully present....everywhere, every time and at the same time.  God does not give of Himself in partiality.  He doesn't say "Well you folks don't raise your hands enough so I'm not going to bother hanging out too long."   No.  He only gives with the fullness of Himself.

WE, the ignorant, arrogant people of this planet are the ones who need to give of ourselves.  WE need to accept HIS invitation.  WE need to SHOW UP.  He is already there....has been since before time began.  This is His creation and we cannot, do not have the ability to stop Him from being right there with us...we are breathing His very breath.

When I hear people use these phrases I hear a message being taught....seeds being planted....that God has limitations.  That God is a God who can be blocked, that He is small enough that He needs our meager invitation.  That He is a God who chooses where to be present and how present to be....a God that is contrary to the God of grace.

It is we who show up in body but not in mind or heart.  Which is exactly what He asks for.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."
Matthew 22:37 

When will we stop asking Him to do all the work and take responsibility for our part? He showed up before we did and He's waiting for us to show up.  God is fully present here in every molecule in and around us, waiting for us to be fully present and aware of Him.  God has no need for our invitation, He wants our RSVP.

Say yes.

Blessings for new awareness of the fullness of His presence, the expanse of His power and love and grace and for the courage to jump in with both feet.....because you know that He will catch you.  He never misses.

the Mrs.




Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who do you think you are?

I think everyone has that moment when they utter the words "who am I?"  Its a question that bubbles up from the depths of a soul.

When something is cracked and broken.

We are a culture that looks outside of ourselves to find our identity.  We seek labels and neat packaging with clear indicators of the contents.  We ask people who we are, who they think we are.  We eagerly wait for responses and for some reason.....we believe them.

It's taken as truth, generally unquestioned.  Until we have taken in so much conflicting "truth" that the labels and layers of packaging are so thick we really aren't sure of the contents anymore.

Then suddenly....something deep inside those layers cracks under the pressure and out bubbles "Who. Am. I.?"

When people tell us who they think that we are...shouldn't it be taken as a comment instead of a fact? ...something to be weighed and measured for truth, dismissed when false and simply taken as affirmation of what is already known if true.  But perhaps it simply says "In this moment, this is what I see in you."   And that in general often says more about the person delivering the comment.  They are telling you what you are to them, maybe what they see in you that is in themselves - whether they like it or not.

There are times where something ugly sprouts unnoticed.  We are always growing.  Frankly there are things, like weeds, that initially look like they could be a fruitful plant, so we watch....and wait to see what it emerges into.  Sometimes we don't notice that it's become something thorny and ugly and bears no fruit until it has matured and needs to be removed by the root so it doesn't return.  But this - this kind of uprooting, this kind of "commentary" that points out those weeds in our character can only be affirmed.....should only be affirmed by someone who isn't full of their own weeds.  Someone who can see you clearly.  Someone who can lovingly help you to pull the weed without damaging the fruitful plants around it.

Currently I find myself more secure in who I am than I have ever been in my life....perhaps its age...season in life....or the fruit of labor.  At the same time I find I am seeing people around me in crisis over who they are.  Desperately seeking the answer to the question: Who am I?

A friend posted this song: 


What struck me was...there is your answer.   When there is nothing left of us, when we are broken and on our knees and we find Him.....we find ourselves.  

When we try to "figure out who we are" we are typically looking with the eyes of the world.  What they see, what their measure for success is, the worlds measure of worth.  None of that matters.  

I am not worth X if I don't accomplish Y.   Who says?  Who says that you are not exactly what you were meant to be right here in this moment?  Do you honestly think that the God of the universe, the one who created you before time began, before you were even one single cell, didn't know you would be this beautiful mess right here right now?  You think He didn't know you'd make the mistakes you have?  You think He didn't already know you'd choose to compromise what He created you to be?  You think He wouldn't give you a way out?  No.

He made you.  You want to know who you really are?  Find Him.  Find your Creator and He will show you what He designed you to be.....a reflection of Himself.  He knew the flaws in yourself that you would add to His design but He wrote the program, so they aren't permanent....they can be corrected.  

The Lord is always before us but we have such a habit of looking behind us.  Trying to change where we laid our footsteps and calculate the 'what ifs' into something that might end in a more pleasing present.  

We cannot change the past.   We can learn from it, that is all.  

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; give me life in Your ways."
~Psalm 119:37

Do not search for your identity in the eyes of people around you.  They didn't create you.  They don't see you completely.  The world tells us to "find ourselves"....honestly the way the world tells us to do so is to forget the world around us and look only at ourselves.  Focus deeply on "me".  Yes, there are seasons where we need to closely self-monitor.  When we are training new patterns and trying to uproot weeds, this does take some careful introspection to find them and get the whole root.  Guess who the ultimate gardener is?  
The first One.  
When we focus only on ourselves, the way the world would tell us to, our eyes are not on Him.  We make ourselves an idol before Him.....something we are carefully crafting independently from Him.  What that really is....what it really amounts to.....fruitless labor.  We cannot undo what He has created.  We cannot change the purpose He created us for....the purpose is still there.  Used improperly for a time perhaps, but the purpose still remains.  

We do so much out of selfish desire.  We whine "what about me" all too often.  You know, I think I've finally found out that when I am whining about me, that is the precise moment that I am the most miserable.  When I am in full out "its not about me" mode.....I am the most at peace.  I am the most confident and capable person when I am simply a serving vessel.  I'm sure I'll have those moments where I will slop out an exhausted "hey I'm over here, what about me"....we all will at some point and I'm nowhere near perfect.  But I think I finally get it.....when I make it about me....I make things miserable.  I wasn't designed for me, I was designed for Him....when I am all about Him....I fulfill my purpose and find contentment.

I am not who you say that I am.  What you think I am may affirm who He created me to be, but it does not define me.  Your label doesn't stick anymore.  The layers of packaging are disappearing and what is left is who He made.  Who He asks me to be.

Who are you?  
He's told you time and time again.
You are His.

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek me with all your heart.
~Jeremiah 29:13

Blessings of beautiful brokenness that leads you to see who you really are....in His eyes only.
the Mrs.





Friday, January 25, 2013

Unlocked

There is something funny about silence.  You don't just listen, you hear more.
In a room you hear the rhythmic ticking of a clock passing time.....electronics running through cycles of reving up and cooling down....the sigh of a dog as it fully relaxes into sleep....the gurgling of my stomach.  Not necessarily the beautiful song of birds but hey...it's winter here in the tundra and we've been stuck in sub-zero temps for several days.  

In conversations you start to hear tones differently.  The emotions behind them come through more clearly. Often....maybe more often than people like....I notice that people are not aware that their tone speaks an entirely different language than their words.  A pleasant exchange about coffee or some trivial thing, for instance can reveal a tone that is speaking about being exhausted, frustrated and needing a break.  But in the context of the words....just sounds angry.

Then, there is phrasing.  The one that currently jumps out at me with flashing lights and fireworks "I am".  People have locked themselves into being stuck.  "I am not a good listener." "I am not good at asking questions."  "I am not organized." "I am not a runner." "I am afraid..."  "I am a jerk, prideful, arrogant, weak, easily manipulated, a failure, a doormat, hard to love, selfish, shy, insecure, damaged...."     In there, the message is "I can't and I won't try to change."  Perhaps it's more of a being scared to try to change, or being too lazy to put the effort forth or maybe just maybe.....it's a lie that got in there somehow, someway and it was believed.  Claimed as their own and there it sits in the illusion of truth.

The real truth is that the only thing you can't change is the past.  So when I catch myself saying things like "I am not good at asking questions."  I change my phrasing..."I haven't been good at asking questions, I'd like to change that."  I am what I choose to be.  I choose to grow and change and improve.  I choose to listen to my own language and when I catch myself claiming something as if it cannot be changed...I change that "I am" to reflect "In the past I haven't been known to be ________."   Because it's in the past.  It doesn't have to be who I am right now or in the future.

Every second is a new opportunity to choose differently.

Blessings for broken locks, wise choices and freedom to move forward into a new perspective.
the Mrs.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

be buoyant

Well hello!  It's me!  Yer friendly, random blogger.  Yep I've been absent.  Things have gotten dusty and stale.  Well, lets crack a window and let some fresh air in.  Its a new year and what lays before us is nothing but opportunity.

I've never been one for "New Years Resolutions".  It's always felt synonymous with "things I'll never follow through on" so I've never given it much thought beyond that.  I don't intend to make any but the sentiment of reflecting on the past and preparing for the future by setting some goals resonates differently in the here and now.   

We are in a long term season of transition here.  Be buoyant....are words that resonate deep within me.  

Websters defines "buoyant" as the ability to float, lightheartedness.  Buoy, in connection, is defined as an anchored float to guide navigation.  a life-saving device.  keep from sinking; sustain morally; encourage.  

The last month has been filled up with weighty things.  Big tests, changes in how we celebrate, family additions and heavy emotions to process.  None of this necessarily negative....just big and all at once.  For a while it felt like the pile just kept growing and the Lord just kept giving and there was this sense of being totally overwhelmed.

Be buoyant. 

Mostly I just let it come.  Riding the waves as they came, not really grasping the details but trying to be present.  I've had moments of being so overwhelmed by praise so gracious, I turned to a humble pile of tears.  My heart has given birth to a new child, stretched and challenged at how to love this woman...woman...how strange that feels to say.....when what I see and love is a little peanut of a girl who I want to hold and mend and guide and yet, I also want to learn so much from....how to love this woman right.   How be her Jesus momma with skin on and love her the way He desires her to be loved.  

Then there was the scripture.....the verses that He would bring strongly to mind and affirm them through others, media and any source He could to bring them to my face.  I took notes Lord....You saw.  There were topics and convictions and passions that were planted in mind and heart.   He showed with a clear awareness that I poured too much out.  My balance has been off for too long and I lost my ability to draw from the well with efficiency....leaving me dry and out of resources to fill up those around me.

December became about bookmarks and pause buttons.  As a wave would come there would be one thing that would be clear and within my grasp to hold on to.   A verse - bookmark that, we'll come back to it.  A theme or idea - press the pause button here, we'll come back to it.   I didn't know when but I knew He would bring me to a quiet time to put it all together.   As usual, He is so faithful.

Little indulgences with little consequences brought on overconfidence.  New Years Eve was celebrated with an extravagance that I'd been looking forward to.  A beautiful bottle of wine I purchased before Christmas just for the occasion.   We had a lovely gathering of friends and so much laughter that sides were sore and voices were left gritty.  I knew there would be a consequence but it was an infrequent indulgence....a day or two of my body being sore would be okay (alcoholic beverages are on my no-no list of items that will cause a reaction.  I generally indulge lightly only every few months.)...but not this time.  

"Sometimes God has to put us flat on our backs before we are looking up at Him."
~ Jack Grahm

Tis true.  However unpleasant these times are I know that that I will glean so much from them.  More than a week later and my body is still reacting.  Still tender and sore, weak and shaky. But....looking up at Him is more productive and peace producing than anything else I could be doing in this life.  While my body is disturbed, my heart and mind are totally at rest.   It is good.  

Together, as I've laid in a nest of pillows, He's shown me my focus for this year.  Scripture as my outline and two phrases to remember.

  • Read the Sermon on the Mount - Matthew 5,6, 7 - and read it often.
  • Read scripture daily - I will be using a bible ap on my iPod to read through the New Testament and Psalms.  
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
  • Joshua 1:8-9 "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
  • James 1:2-4 "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
  • Be buoyant.
  • "If it matters, you make the time.  If it doesn't, you make excuses." ~Ann Voskamp

I don't know what lies ahead but He does.  I trust that this focus, His anchor, will keep me buoyant through whatever comes our way and hopefully, by that trust....I can be His light to help guide others through the waves.

Blessings to you for solid beginnings, a view where your horizon is full of opportunity and joy that keeps you buoyant.

the Mrs.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If you teach a man to fish....

Opportunities knock.

To be in a unique place, time or relationship.

The most unexpected of blessings.   You weren't looking for it, asking for it or even thinking about it....and then there it is.   Out of nowhere, you are over the moon crazy about it.  You are willing to fight and sacrifice all while being totally baffled at how instant it was.   It changes you....how you see the world.

A random encounter last May at a wedding brought something completely off my radar and put it right in my face.  It was a God moment....one of those instances where He grips your heart and you cannot even conceive of not acting on the request.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that I'd be in the place I am right now.

Its a girl.

We have adopted her right into our hearts and love her like crazy.
Okay she isn't a girl.  She's a full grown woman.  A beautiful, 27 year old, blue eyed, sassy creation that loves the Lord and people in a way I've never encountered and she blows my mind every time she talks.

We adopted a missionary.

I didn't realize it all those months ago.  It's a small thing to do, I thought.  We agreed to be a regular supporter while she was in New Zealand for her second season, this time in leadership.  Working through YWAM first in a school setting then co-leading a group out into the mission field.

"Missionary." It always had this untouchable, strange, Mother Theresa vibe about it.....people who dressed funny and went out into the jungle and tried to bring Jesus to people who probably couldn't understand them.  It was a totally foreign, alien concept.  Probably because I really didn't think about it much....didn't really make time to even listen.

Now, my eyes are opened and I'm learning.  The phrase "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime."  It just keeps coming to me.  She is raising up missionaries in a missionary school....in my ignorant nutshell of a description.  How beautiful is that?  One pebble tossed into the lake creates ripples but toss a handful of pebbles in and watch how far those ripples reach.

I never expected how profoundly it would effect me....us.  How it would expand our view of love...  How God's power would be on display.  How deeply touched my heart would be or how many tears I'd shed for this....near stranger that was becoming like a child to me.   Birthed into my heart.  How much God would expand my understanding of how He works.....across space and time and that He would choose me...me to speak comfort and love to someone on the other side of the world.  Something I thought was so small....was revealed to be much bigger than I ever anticipated.

It's been humbling, confusing and amazing all at once.

She's being called to go again.  This time she has a mere 6 weeks to raise the funds for a full year.   There's a travel visa to purchase, plane ticket, a new backpack to live out of on outreach....supplies I had no idea were needed.

I want to introduce you to her.
Our little missionary child....Mandi.
Prayerfully consider if the Lord may want you to help support her too.  I could not be more proud of her, who she is, her heart for the Lord or the way she loves people with every cell in her being.

This is a young woman who will change nations, one heart at a time.


Blessings to you of abundance, grace and a cup that overflows.
the Mrs.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Out of the muck.

Analysis paralysis.

A good friend asked the Facebook world if they have those moments when everything gets so overwhelming that you just freeze because you have no idea where to start.  One of the comments named the moment: Analysis paralysis.   Quite clever, accurate really.

The timing was interesting as just the day before I was having one of those days.  The world felt heavy.  I was in my head, trying to keep a million plates spinning.  This typically results in an outward display of nothingness....as all my hard work is in my head and my body just can't follow that act.

I've experienced this a million times and typically the result has been me wallowing in the muck. My nature is to nurture and sometimes I can get a little lost in the needs of those around me.  Wallowing in the muck only produces more muck in my attitude.   I would go to this place of self pity.  A "Where am I in all this?  Look at all the good that I do! What about ME!" place.  Its ugly and worldly.  A "lookit me" display of epic proportions, danced out in my head with interpretive ribbon dances and wildly cheering fans (generally they are all me as well).  Interpretive dance....frankly, it makes me laugh inappropriately.   It's ridiculous.  Somehow, the Lord gets in there and grabs my face, pulling my attention away from myself just long enough that I can snap out of the prideful haze I've created.
 
This time, I changed the game.  This time I chose to look at it from another angle.  This time I felt myself slipping into the muck and said No.  Not this time.  Instead I took time to stop and feel overwhelmed and then ask myself why, what was so big?  I started to talk with the Lord about what I was feeling and the extensive list in my head.......some were tasks, some were people in general that were weighing on my heart, some were upcoming events and things needed to plan for, frustration at playing calendar cop and getting nowhere, Christmas shopping, people asking for help or guidance, people placed on my heart to intercede for, Mr studying like crazy for the next test and then leaving for a week of training, gifts to make, regular household duties and cooking.....there was sooo much going on in my head!

First, I needed it out of my head.  I pulled out a notebook and laid it on my desk with a pen.  At the top I wrote "Write it down - THEN sort it out".   I moved though the next few hours of general tasks just thinking, talking with the Lord about everything and as something was brought to mind, on the list it went.  Slowly the overwhelming feeling started to release.  As it did, I started to become aware that I was overwhelmed because I was trying to be in charge of it all.  I was trying to keep all the plates spinning by myself.  Instead.....I should have taken the plates down and put them in His hands to hold....the only safe, unbreakable place.

My perspective started to shift.  Instead of feeling overwhelmed I started to feel incredibly blessed.....overwhelmingly blessed.  Instead of feeling self important, I felt humble.....how blessed am I that people trust me with their heart, count on me for guidance, stability and support?  People have confidence in me and feel safe to be vulnerable with me, trusting that I will comfort them and remind them of His Truth in their life.  ......suddenly, instead of feeling prideful and puffed up......I became keenly aware of how utterly insufficient I am apart from Him.  There is nothing I can do for any of them without Him.  A whole new kind of "overwhelmed" came over me.  Suddenly, it all looked different.

It was still a full page of "stuff" to figure out.  There are still a lot of tasks to try and manage.  The "stuff" didn't change, but how I see it did.  Did the heaviness disappear instantly?  No.  It got a lot lighter and still is.....but that's because I'm still loosening my grip on it.  Still translating inside what I'm trying to keep control of, what my job actually is.

Reminding myself that its not about me.  Even when I want it to be.  I'm just a tool.  Time to clear the muck out of the conduit, ensure the lines are clear so there's no more interference.

"Peace I leave you; My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."   ~ John 14:27


Blessings for clear lines, clear perspective and only blessings that are overwhelming.
the Mrs.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

the cake to my diabetic soul.

"The Devil knows just what I like and just how I like it." ~ Deon Sanders

I'm not typically given to quoting athletes but I heard him say this once and it struck me as a deep truth to remember.  So into my quote book it went.

It comes to mind often....surprisingly often actually.  One of those things that makes me aware of the Lord's deep caring of my character.  The Devil may know my buttons to push but the Lord knows me, as a whole person and provides the reminders He knows that I need.

Have you ever taken a class on spiritual gifts? When I first took the class I'd never heard of "spiritual gifts" before, even having attended christian schools all my life.  It was new to me and it opened my eyes to how specially the Lord had been working in my life in a way I'd not been equipped to see before.  My relationship with the Lord became more intimate and I saw that I had a useful purpose in life - I was useful to Him!  It was a major marker in my faith walk.  Like with anything though it can have it's drawbacks.

While taking this class was tremendously positive, it lacked a firm focus on the fact that gifts are only a tool.  We are tools and like a hammer, are only useful if the carpenter picks us up to use us.  Gifts are not individual super powers to be used willy nilly.  They do not make one person more important or special than another.  A hand is no more important than a foot.  We don't praise the hammer for pounding the nail, we praise the carpenter for his skills in knowing just the right tools to use.  It should be the same with us.  We are only as useful as our relationship is close to Him.  The farther we get the more rust forms and we don't quite function as accurately or efficiently as we could.

The farther we get, the more credit we take, the more we depend on ourselves instead of Him.   Suddenly we find ourselves as a hammer on a bench glowing about how wonderful and awesome we are, yet completely useless.  Nonfunctional and totally unaware of how far we've slipped.

Been there, done that.

The thing is, we help each other get there too.  We give each other credit for the amazing things that happen as a result of our prayers.  I'm rambling off target again, I know but stay with me.  When we know what someones gift is, we give them the credit instead of God. We reduce them to that gift, tie them to it and limit them to its use.  People have often referred to me as a "Prayer Warrior".  A title that indulged my gluttonous ego. I loved it and it sucked me in to a place where I felt powerful and singled out......and every time it would cause me to stumble and fall face first into the fluffy frosted sweetness.  My gift became my badge, my identity and then who I was as a whole person seemed to disappear to everyone - including me - except God.  In His wisdom He would pull me away from whatever I was doing and set me back into a sort of "time out".   Seclusion, not isolation, but a quiet time where opportunities for me to put my foot in my mouth were farther apart, compliments were not needed, where silence helped me review and see things with new eyes, talk to Him, confess and repent...again.  Followed by a refreshment and a newly adjusted perspective.  I've been in an extended time out.  He's shown me what ministry He wants me to do and cleared me of assumptions and rules I thought I needed to follow.  He stopped my running after peace and made me sit and experience it as He put it in my lap.

He's shown me my weakness and He's shown me how it is fed.  Compliments and credit.  Now He is teaching me how to turn my weakness into a way to glorify Him.  I've so much to learn here....how to phrase a correction, turn a compliment into a praise of Him...redirecting their attention to Him and off of me.  Some respond with an intense tone that I need to stop being so "humble" and accept the praise and ownership that He has blessed me with "tremendous gifts".   No.  Here is the plain ugly truth:

I am as arrogant and prideful as they come.   Jesus and the Devil both know it too.  Compliments turn me into a fat kid in a room full of cake and no supervision.  Jesus knows I have to turn my nose up at a compliment like its poison because the temptation to stuff my pride with those luscious words is too great a detriment to my diabetic soul.  

How to handle those moments?  I haven't mastered that yet.  Right now I think I verbally flail around until the delectable morsel ends up knocked in the dirt.  It's awkward and ungraceful....and can border on offending.  On the upside I didn't devour it.......though sometimes I do secretly dig it out of the dirt.  While my spirit is covered in dirt filled frosting I turn to Him and don't even have to say "oops I did it again".  He knows.

When you know the Lord has used someone in your life to bless you......affirm them by telling them that the Lord has used them in a mighty way to bless you in your life.  Share it with them but give credit where credit is due.....to Him and Him alone.  

"The Devil knows just what I like and just how I like it." 

Frosted.

Blessings of grace and truth, moments of beauty free from flailing.
the Mrs.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

can't escape my own awesome

Okay, so I suck at this whole blogging on a regular basis business.   It's not that I don't think of it, it's just that when I do I start posting in my head and then "oh shiny" and it's all gone like someone bumped the etch-a-sketch and I'm like whatever, it's all messed up and now I have nothing to say.

What have I been doing?  Being awesome.

I know, modesty.  Anyhoo...so I made pickled veggies upon request from a friend.  Apparently they were awesome and that made me awesome and now that's the only reason they are friends with me.  They did it all for the pickles.   See....they say I'm awesome.

These same pickle lovin peeps had a party last friday.  I made vegan sugar free, dairy free banana bread.....oh dear, I don't recommend it.  It tasted great but the texture was....goobery....that's accurate as I can get it.  In the garbage it went.  It was an Xbox 360 party because they just got one.  My guys were beyond excited and I was all oh geez here we go, I'll never hear the end of how awesome it is and they will drive me crazy. I do have to disclose that we currently have a deal going with the Dude.  When he was really sick - I think I posted about this - we discussed with the doctor what his healthy weight range was and the conclusion was that he needed to lose a little over 20 lbs.  She didn't want him doing anything about it until he was back to normal of course but she actually said that an Xbox 360 with Kinect was a great way to go for someone who wasn't really into competitive sports and had a hard time finding purposeful ways to be active.  Doh.  So that's when the guys really started to amp up the "but Mo-om!"  I was all "no way" but as cold weather started to approach and we realized that the Dude needs some motivation we decided to strike a deal.  If he could lose half of the total pounds he needs to lose, we will get the Xbox to help him finish losing the rest.  Once we own it a minimum of 50% of anything played on the system is required to be physical.  In other words, I better not catch you sitting down.  He is doing well so far and I think the party was good motivation now that he has a taste of it.

We played a party game that randomly selected different sports that two teams competed at.  We had two teams of 4.  I was impressed with how accurate the Kinect was in reading the movements.  Also it was awesome to not have to hold a controller.

I am the boxing champ.  I was defeated only once....the very last match when my arms simply wouldn't move right anymore.  It was hilarious and my arms were complete and total jello at the end.  Also, they were sore for days.  Also.....I admit, reluctantly, that I loved it.  It was so cool and so much easier without controllers.

Last night the guys decided to pull out the boxing game we have for wii and start working on their skills cuz momma whooped em both!  So now I have to get back into it to stay ahead of them.  I forgot how fun it is I haven't been working out like that for a long time.  I believe my level of soreness revealed that quite nicely too....   Also....I hit myself in the face several times with the cord.....have I mentioned that not having controllers was really nice?  Guess who's on the band wagon?

I did find this crazy killer core workout that is super easy to do at home, no equipment or anything!
I found it on pinterest and then tracked it to the original posters blog.  WOW.  This chick is ripped and amazing.  Really inspiring.  Check it out here:  The Petite Athlete

The 30-day challenge ends today.  I'm looping back around to start it all over again.  The scripture is great and I feel like I need to work on more of the details of the challenge.  There was this amazing clarity that came through about attitude in general and I really felt that this 30 days ended up being about changing and growing me.  Widening my eyes about my own attitude and becoming more aware of my words and examining what they reflect about what is going on in my heart.   Now I'm going to do it again and try to be more deliberate in the areas that I fell short - the more specific statements and encouragements that were supposed to be delivered to Mr.  I don't think he missed them but he certainly deserves them.

I'll try to be back sooner.
Seriously.

Blessings of challenges met, eyes widened and a great big deep breath of awesome in your day!
the Mrs.




Thursday, November 1, 2012

a random kinda week

Tis a week where routine flew out the window as if it was it's only hope of survival.

Mr is still studying his rear off and is actually ahead of schedule.  He's doing great!  We had our first work dinner - a welcome dinner.  It was wonderful and I couldn't stop smiling and nodding as his regional leader described the way the company works, the culture of how people interact with each other and how families are appreciated.  So much confirmation that this has been the right move for our family in general but even more-so for Mr to be able to merge into this wonderful work environment that so suits him.  Makes the transition even more exciting!  No delusions that the first 2 years won't be difficult but when you know that you are where the Lord wants you, even difficult times come with great peace.

Halloween is over - and I'm grateful. November is here and finally joining its temperatures that arrived ahead of it.

Remember that "Daily Do's" worksheet I made for myself?  I now have 3 100 sheet notepads of it!  I'm kinda excited about that...go figure.  I know....I'm a nerd.  But it is super helpful to have a reference point and all things on one page.  Sure makes my day go more smoothly!   Well....when the rest of the house is normal anyway....which has NOT been this week!

The 30-day challenge is on day 18 now - this morning I realized I totally forgot to read yesterdays!  Whoops!  I've decided that I'm going to loop it and start all over from the beginning when its done.  I love the insights and the daily challenges but I am finding that the broader applications are actually distracting from the more specific actions with my Mr.  An attitude of encouragement toward him is less of a challenge for me, it's one I've intentionally worked on for many years.  It has actually been challenging me in how I treat and encourage the world I encounter.  How I think, speak and generally interact with everyone.  Its really neat how it seems to be affecting all the women in the same way, opening up how their mind works, paying attention to their attitude in general.  The feedback has been really fun to read and quite similar.   In eliminating the ability to be negative and intentionally speaking positive it is affecting how they think, feel and generally interact with people.   VERY COOL!

While I am supposed to be encouraging my Mr....I came home from errand day to find a surprise on the counter of beautiful pink roses and a seriously sweet card from him!  It was so neat!  Then as I finished up putting things away he came up to comment that he had a couple things to talk about and as I rounded the corner there was a little gift bag sitting on the coffee table!  The stinker had run out while I was gone to do all this.  In the gift bag was a new iPod Touch 5!  I was totally shocked and didn't know what to say!  There were lots of giddy hugs and crazy shocked faces from me!  What a neat unexpected blessing!  I do not have a cell phone, nor do I want one but, I did have his old iPod touch.  We are absolutely awful about pictures.  One day our kids are going to give us a really hard time about that!  The ipod simply didn't have enough megapixels to take decent quality pictures and we know that a camera just isn't going to get used.  So his phone and my ipod  are our family cameras.  I had tried ordering prints of pictures I had taken and they couldn't even be printed due to the poor quality.  The Dude started campaigning for mom to get a new ipod so he could get the hand me down. :)  Needless to say, he is THRILLED that mom got a new ipod! HA!

I knew a new ipod would be nice but as I am learning how to better put it to use, I am realizing the greater blessings that comes with it.  The ability to set reminders, organize calendars, send notes and reminders to family, use siri to dictate spontaneous things.....my broken brain is so blessed by these applications!  To be able to set a reminder for my son for after school and eliminate the struggle to try and remember it all day is huge!  Yes, writing it down is good but that means I also have to remember to read it and then speak it later....which more often than not doesn't happen during that frame of time it needs to.   I am so excited to have a tool to help me remember things!

I'm feeling good and like getting this week back on the tracks!  I have some organizing things I want to do - new folders and things to revamp my home binder and some cork tiles for the inside of the cupboard.

Blessings on your day for beauty and excitement in all the small things!
the Mrs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Witnessed in Target....

A family scoping out the dollar section, both kids (aged about 11-13) trying on turkey hats.   ....all smiles and laughter.......I smiled right back at them.

A young, frustrated mom with a 2-3 year old.  Angry voiced and ordering...I heard the 1-2-3 loud and clear at least 4 times from the other side of the isle wall.  Empty threats were made.....at every location I saw them.   Angry voice and a near empty cart.   .....put him in the cart, your angry voice won't be needed and maybe he will see his mommy smile from there......I wanted to say.

A gentleman on a cell phone greets the person on the other end with "Hello, love of my life! I just found something....."  .....I smiled as I wandered away thinking of my own Mr.

Another young mom with a little one, closely supervising him inspect picture frames.  The language was gentle but firm.... "Be careful please, we must be gentle with things that can break."  ......careful, positive instruction warms my heart.   

Two separate women on an ear-bud type phone....talking loudly.   ......both make me chuckle.....I wonder if they realize how crazy they appear.

I wandered with a smile on my face.   Each person whose eye I met received a smile just for them.  Some seemed a bit befuddled and others lit up with their own.

A smile.  It is a free gift to the world that keeps on giving.

Blessings to you for miles of smiles that emanate from within and pass on the blessing to others.
the Mrs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

organizing my thoughts...

...and my day.

Yesterday was one of those days where I wish there was some kind of Bean-O for the brain.   I couldn't seem to maintain any train of thought and caught myself just sitting there or wandering trying to figure out what on earth to do next.  I wanted to do none of it.  It was the brain fartiest of days.

So in an attempt to wake the sleeping hamster in the wheel I had two cups of coffee.  It didn't work.  Yes, I know, I "gave it up" but I'm not blindly cutting things out for all time so that I feel restricted.  I'm making choices.   Coffee is not a "can't" it's a "I don't want it daily".  Though, in the last week I've been hitting that slump that comes when sleep hasn't quite been as restful or long as it should be for too many days.  So I've been reaching for what is easy and tastes oh so yummy.   So yesterday, in a brief moment of coffee induced clarity, I realized that the coffee was probably part of the problem.  My water intake hasn't been where it usually is either.  I've not dropped to a point where I can push the precious save button on the scale in a couple of weeks and I've not been as organized in my work day as I'd like to be.

Time to get organized!

I use a planner and calendar.  But that really isn't enough.  I have my pre-made seasonal schedules that are a great guide but on a day to day basis - especially while so much is still shifting in this season of transition - I need something daily that I can modify.  There are scriptures I feel drawn to spend time in, blog posts I think I should write, people I should connect with and because it is basically just floating around in my skull it's not happening.  What I do know is that when I get really organized and get it out of my head and visually onto paper, I am much more efficient with managing my day, time and tasks.  The wonderful result is that my interactions with people become deeper and more intentional.

I need something daily.  Something to fill out and check off as I go.  Yep, I ended up on Pinterest.  I know.....you knew it.    I ended up at Simple Mom and found her free printable "Daily Docket".  It was oh so close to what I wanted but needed some modification to fit my goals.

Yep.....I'm a technological genius and have no idea why this came out sideways.  Nor how to change it.

But I'm guessing you can get the idea.  Basically this is my first try and I already have modifications I want to make.   Essentially what you see is: Top left - water intake.  I use 20oz bottles so I have 3 water glasses to check off.  The narrow bar on the top right is for the day or date.  Left column: "training ~ focus" is for a scripture or thought that I'm focusing on.  Right now that would be the verse of the day for the 30-day challenge. "Events" - meetings, tests, birthdays etc - highlight items to be aware of.  "Priority Items" - things that need to get done if nothing else does. "Daily's" - this would be where my seasonal schedule comes in.  Here is where I will put my regular daily household tasks.  These are to be done first before other tasks, I'll get to that one in a minute.  Right hand column: "meet Me here" - scripture, devotional, whatever I'm pulled to or working through.  "Whats for dinner" - I think that one is easy....but there is also a "prep" spot there so I know if I need to pull something out to thaw or the prep might take extra time.  "Connect with" - emails, phone calls etc.  "Organizing extras" - this is the project area.  The space where those random things creep into the day that I want to tackle but distract me from my "daily's".  Now, I can write it down and once the daily's are done, I can move on to this spot.  "Tomorrow" - things that didn't get done, extras I don't want to forget or just reminders.  The bottom has a "sometime this week" spot for random things.  

I'd like to redistribute some of the space, the "daily's" box is larger than I need and a "Notes" area would be helpful so I don't have random notebooks all over with things written that I find a month later....  Keeping things in one place where I can address it and organize it in conjunction with my planner will stream line things and free up extra time that I would otherwise spend wandering about the house between chores.  Not to mention the amount of notebooks lying around.  I might even get more of those "52" things checked off! 

Today will be the test run, notes on how to modify it and such and see just how much it helps.  Granted today is not a day full of tasks.  I'll be pickling veggies at the request of a friend but today is officially "food processing/cooking day" so it works.  I don't always use it as such but today I will. 

Blessings for organized productivity to you, with dashes of inspiration.
the Mrs.












Saturday, October 20, 2012

30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge - day 5

It's been an odd kind of week.  The first week of the big transition......it totally would have been nice for it to start off on a relatively normal week.  On the plus side it's been a good opportunity for the kids to see how to encourage someone.  They have been around to watch me prepare cards and little treats and see his face when he sees all three of us come down the stairs with a card we all signed and a mason jar full of chex mix that Wonderteen made.  These are the moments they learn from.  Today they might be small but my hope is that they will stick and one day emerge in their own marriage, illuminated by a whole new perspective on what it meant.

Yesterday's verse: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Eph. 4:29

(Note: As I share about this challenge I'll be speaking about the prior day...because, lets face it I'm not going to give away the days surprises.  I know that Mr reads this and there will be no spoiler alerts!)

This "Husband Challenge" feels more far reaching than I anticipated.  Its not just applicable to our husbands but to the world we encounter.  Family, friends, strangers....anyone who happens to be in front of us.  One of the effects I've noticed (but not been pleased with) is that where I've been disciplining myself to not bring down my husband, my words and tone have been a bit more negative with our kids.  I'm trying to be more aware of what that is, why that is and trying to be aware of it before it is spoken instead of after.  It could be due to the nature of this week......never truly alone, the sound of cartoons in my ear (like right now I have Spongebob yelling in my ear because the TV in the living room is literally 3 feet to the left of my desk), its not been a good week for sleep - Mr is restless and each night my sleep is filled with dream after intense dream that leaves me tired in the morning but without memory of what they were other than it was crazy intense.

The Lord is stirring something within me during this time that I can only describe as intense because I don't have direction for it.  My desire is to get into my bible to listen and search but the house is just not equipped to provide the quiet I need at this time.  Do you ever have those times where He just plants words, phrases and comments from all kinds of random sources that seem to be lit up in neon to pay attention to?  That's what He's up to in my life right now.   In that place where I know He is up to something because my spirit is so agitated that I can physically feel it....buzzing....vibrating with....I'm not even sure what yet.

There inlays an additional challenge.....pursue whatever this is that the Lord is pressing in with while maintaining an intentional focus on my husband without falling into a temptation to direct all my focus onto what the Lord is doing in my own life. Also....attempting to carve out moments to address these things with Him, seek out the scriptures He is presenting even though the timing is not convenient.... Maybe....these are part of the experience......testing my focus, working out those muscles of discipline and awareness.  The Lord is never singularly focused.  He is the multitasker of all mutitaskers. :)

Today, focus will be on my Mr.  It's his birthday today!  He has roughly a half day of studying but after that it will be a day of spoiling and fun!  I can't wait to give him his gifts and see his face.  He's been working so hard and has had focus I know that I couldn't pull off in his shoes, watching him makes me burst with pride and love and I may easily become the gushiest wife on the planet that makes people want to hurl.

But that's okay, I don't mind.

Blessings to you of edifying speech, a guard over your mouth that only allows passage to words filled with grace.
the Mrs.