Friday, February 29, 2008

Lead Me On

I would have posted sooner today, but I was reading in my spot on the living room couch, and our sweet kitty Greta needed to curl up on my lap. She was so warm, and purring happily, so I sat a while longer. I'll try to hold on to that memory while I'm shoveling again the couple of inches of snow we got last night. I can't believe the snow this year.

I am very slowly making my way through the book of Joshua, (if you need to understand why I'm so slow, click here) and I'm beginning to get used to the Old Testament-ish-ness of it. There's just a lot of killing, battling, slaughtering. You don't read about a lot of that in the New Testament.

The book of Joshua is a picture of the man Joshua's leadership. Last year, I was the president of the PSO (like the PTA) at our kids' school, so I was in an official leadership position. (I actually signed up to be vice-president to my friend Karen's presidency, and then she had the nerve to move to Ohio in August. So, I kind of backed my way into that great leadership role.) This year, I am an anonymous new mom at a giant school. I haven't thought of myself as being in leadership at all this year. In my internet adventures, exploring other people's blogs around the world, I think I've changed my mind, though.

As a mom, I am in a leadership position. I may not feel like I'm a grown-up yet, or like a leader, but that don't make it so. Scott and I are the leaders, 'cuz we're the oldest ones here. If you've read anything I've written here before, you know I take the role and responsibility of mothering very seriously, I do. The idea of tacking the word "leader" to it just struck me this morning, however.

And I am encouraged by the model of Joshua. In chapter 10, the Israelites are about to enter into battle. God says to Joshua in verse 8 (and actually, He says this a lot, throughout the book), "Do not be afraid of them, for I will give you victory over them. Not a single one of them will be able to stand up to you." So then there's lots of killing and what not, and just before this battle is over, Joshua says to his men in verse 25, "Don't ever be afraid or discouraged. Be strong and courageous, for the LORD is going to do this to all of your enemies."

Here's what I saw in this story: God tells Joshua that He's with Him. Joshua puts his trust in God. Joshua fights the battle, trusting and being strong. He trusts God himself, and he reminds his men where they can put their trust--in God. My role as mom--a co-leader in this house--requires that I put my trust in God, and spread it to my kids. I need to tell them and show them. They are watching, and I am leading, whether I mean for it to happen or not. So with God's help, I'm gonna' be strong and courageous, baby!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


There was an article in the Q section of last Sunday's Trib (I don't always get to the Sunday paper on Sunday...) about privacy. It spoke of how our technology has brought about the death of privacy. Voicemails, emails, and cameras, oh my! And that it may be keeping us all honest. We're less likely to be naughty if we think someone is watching.

In the book I just finished, (Rise and Shine) Bridget talks about neighbors across the courtyard that she has watched grow up over the years. She never formally meets them, and she isn't peeping on them or anything, she just sees them living their lives as she looks out her kitchen window. Near the end of the book, as she is moving out of her apartment, she bumps into one of them on the street, and they hug her and say they'll miss her; they too had seen her out their window....

Where did we come up with this idea of privacy, anyway? Why do we think we need it? Lars is working on a project for school about Ancient Greece. When I think of the way people have lived over the last 5,000 years, I come to the conclusion that the whole concept of privacy is new. We're all about protecting our personal space, our stuff, our secrets....In Biblical times, don't you suppose everyone knew what everyone else was doing? People lived together. They ate, slept, worked, worshiped, prayed, played, went potty, everything....with everyone else knowing about it.

Today, we get our knickers in a twist about our privacy, and then battle with loneliness and feelings of isolation. We work to develop and nurture a sense of community in our schools, neighborhoods, and churches. We work on being authentic with others....It just all seems like a lot of effort. So, I've decided to never close the curtains on my windows now, and live publicly. HA! Just kidding.

But isn't it interesting how our society has gone to such lengths to create privacy, only to find there really isn't any such thing, anyway?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Best is Yet to Come

Ok, check this out. I'm trying some new technology. This is a great song, listen to the lyrics. The video is not really a video...but it's the only way I could figure out how to post the song here. Does it work?

Talk about gaining a big-picture perspective! "This is only temporary...."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Without a Doubt

I'm in a Bible Study that meets on Wednesday mornings, and we have homework to do during the week. Wouldn't you know that the homework I did this morning was about doubting? So, I'm still thinking about it. It's actually a study on the beatitudes, and in this section, the author is talking about the blessing offered to "those who are hungry and thirsty for justice" (Matt. 5:6) and looking at things that hinder us from having that kind of hunger.

Doubt is something that can keep us from hungering for, desiring, and longing for a life lived God's way. Yesterday, I quoted my pastor, who described doubt as what can happen when "our experience with God doesn't line up with our expectations of Him." I suggested taking some time to figure out what those expectations are...and then getting into the Word to see how those expectations fit with who God is. The author of our Bible Study, Angela Thomas says, "Whenever a question about God comes to me out of nowhere, the most powerful thing I can do is recite to myself what I know to be true about God." She says to look at the attributes of God; read what the Bible has to say about who God is.

You can go to and type in a word like, "unchanging" or "holy" or even a phrase like, "God's power" and it will give you a list of verses that you can click on to read what the Bible says. The verse that made me say "wow!" out loud this morning (I don't do a lot of speaking at that hour....) was Isaiah 45:18b-19. "'I am the LORD,' he says, 'and there is no other. I publicly proclaim bold promises. I do not whisper obscurities in some dark corner so no one can understand what I mean. And I did not tell the people of Israel to ask me for something I did not plan to give. I, the LORD, speak only what is true and right.'"

Well, ok. He's not keeping any's all there if you're looking and listening. My dad said to me last night that he thinks I'm making it all look so difficult. I don't know about that, I'm just saying I don't have it all figured out all the time.....but certainly God says, "Here I am!" So look into WHO He is, and what you're expecting of Him. Again I say, Wow.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Whaddya' Expect?

Another good message yesterday at church. Faith was the theme, and here are a couple of things that stood out to me. First, the idea that we all have faith in something. Even an atheist has faith in the belief that there is no God. What makes me unique is not that I have faith, it's that my faith is in Christ.

Our pastor also spoke about when we have a "crisis of faith." That's when we experience doubt, which sometimes takes us all the way back to square one, asking if God even exists, or if anything we've believed is true. The statement that really hit me was how he described these times as when our "experience with God doesn't line up with our expectations of Him." You know that made me sit up and listen. I have a thing about expectations. (You can go here to see some thoughts I've posted previously about expectations...)(sorry, I am new to the blogging thing, can't figure out how to make that a link you can just click on. helpful advice welcome!)

ANYWAY, about expectations! How about that? I have expectations of God, of course I do! And His ways are not my ways, his timing isn't on my schedule, His plans don't always make sense to me. Lots of times, he blows me away in how He provides and answers prayers in ways so awesome I couldn't have even imagined them. But sometimes, I don't initially like His answers. I don't understand what He's doing. That's when the doubt can creep in.

So, as I now climb back up onto my soapbox, I gotta say again how important I think it is to verbalize our expectations. Even to God. And ask Him to show us what is reasonable, what is not. What a cool exercise to sit down and really ask myself what I expect of God. The next step would be to get into His Word, where he will show me what's in line with who He is, and what isn't. The better I know Him and His ways, the more on-the-mark my expectations will be.

Friday, February 22, 2008

New York City!? (with the southern twang...can you hear it?)

I just finished "Rise and Shine" by Anna Quindlen this morning, and last week I finished (finally!) "A Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs. I think I'm about sick of New York City.

I always enjoy reading Anna Quindlen, and I did this time. The edition I bought is a Reader's there are discussion questions in the back, and also an interview of the author. Quindlen said that the theme of this book was "the disconnect in modern American life between appearance and we've all come to believe that what looks good is good." I think she hit it spot on, and introduced me to a family of characters I fell in love with.

How do we find the blurred line between appearance and reality? In this book, a famous morning news show anchor and her sister deal with this question. We know when we're looking at famous people that we don't really know them. We know when we watch politicians that we aren't getting a dose of reality. They're telling us what they think we want to hear, selling what we'll buy. This is not surprising.

But what about the ways we blur the lines ourselves? We all work every day to appear a certain way, to make our homes appear a certain way, to persuade our children to appear a certain way, and on and on. We can get lost in the whole appearance thing without even noticing, we can buy our own sales pitch. And find ourselves one day wondering why we're doing what we're doing. Why we've spent so much of a life on something fake.

Of course, the Bible has something to say about it. First about giving air time to what others think: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2...and for those of us who are believers, Paul has some words about what we do with our lives...."For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames." I Corinthians 3:11-15 It's not like your salvation is at stake here, it's just that you're missing out on what is available.

Is the stuff I'm working on, is the way I spend my days going to burn up? Am I being purposeful and intentional about what I'm doing? Do I know why I'm doing what I'm doing? What is my motivation? These are some nice light thoughts for the weekend.....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Did You See the Lunar Eclipse Last Night?

This is Luke learning how hard it is to take a picture of the moon. You have to hold very, very still!

Coming up with Clever Titles is Not My Favortie Part of Blogging

For our ski trip last weekend, we rented skis and boots for the kids at a store here and took them up to Michigan with us. Our thinking was that they would get equipment that fit well because we wouldn't feel rushed. Well-fitting equipment equals no pain, which equals a good experience learning how to ski.

After the first morning of skiing, Lars says his boot hurts, and at lunch he takes it off and we see a red bump on the top of his foot. Phooey. Scott looks at the boot and the insert, and plays with it a little. Lars puts it back on and says it feels ok. At the end of that day, though, he was not ok, and his foot had this bump that was getting hard. (not a doctor am I, but Scott said this was a hematoma that was becoming calcified...happens to soccer players all the time, don't ya know) Anyway, no way Lars could wear that boot the next day. So we rent a different set of skis, boots and poles at the ski hill. But not before Scott tries to "fix" that broken boot.

Here's the thing. I hate returning things. If you buy me a gift that I don't like, don't worry about giving me a receipt, I won't return it. I don't know what my great aversion is, but I have one. So Scott is saying that when "we" (that means me, but I'm sure he's there with me in spirit) take the boots back, we need to tell them there was a problem and ask the store to cover our rental costs. And the boot is now not in the same condition it was in when we rented it. Ack! I have to take something back that's broken, AND ask for additional $$. !!!! This just gives me great anxiety. To Scott's credit, we tried to get home before the store closed on Monday night, he drove over there to return the stuff himself so I wouldn't have to, and they were closed 45 minutes earlier than they said they would be.

So Tuseday morning I'm driving to the ski shop and I'm so nervous it's just silly. And I remember Philippians 4:6....don't worry about anything, pray about everything....(NLT) and I start praying. I realize God has bigger fish to fry. But it says in the good book to pray about it all. I asked God to give me the words to explain what happened in the right way so the folks at the store would understand me and know I wasn't trying to cheat them. And I left it with Him and quit thinking about it.

The whole thing went so smoothly, the gal offered me a rental credit, I never even asked. And no problem with the condition of the boot. Wow! I do know that me being anxious about a ski boot is trivial. There are real problems, and this isn't one of them. But still, I came away thanking God. He heard me, and He does get into my everyday stuff. It's an example of God's activity in my life. One of those stories where you can "make of it what you will." Call it coincidental if you want; I don't believe in coincidence.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Time Keeps on Slippin' Slippin' Slippin....

Still thinking about time. How we use it, and all that. Just thinking about how easily I slip into thinking of the days as being "mine." I think of it as "my" time. Whose time is it really? Who created the day and the night? Who came up with the concept of time? Who can slow it down? Pretty cool when it really hits me, when my little brain begins to get a sliver of understanding about WHO God IS. He is the Almighty.

Ron threw another question at me a while back about God...."If God has a personality that allows or compels him/her to plan, love, dispense justice, etc. it raises interesting questions about such a God I've wondered about for years....How deadly dull it would be to be God. I first came across this notion in a strange place, a book called "The Mountain Men" which is, believe it or not, a poetic history of the mountain men era. The poet notes that the first mountain men never knew what was beyond the next mountain. He wrote:

God only knows what wonders we might find,
And how He must be weary with His knowing!
No curiosity at all for going
And nothing new to look for anywhere!

Makes it hard not to feel sorry for God, knowing everything is not a great state to exist in. And on top of that there is the idea of God's loneliness--no friends, just the supreme leader alone on his throne. Knowing everything and nobody to share it with...."

I don't have a tidy answer for this. That's why I've been sitting on it for a while. But I guess I want to first remember that we are made in His image, not the other way around. So I don't think we can grasp what it's like to be Him. Being Him isn't like being like us. Being us is a mere reflection, and idea of what it's like being Him. He is the Almighty.

And while I don't think God is lonely, I do believe He wants us to know Him...that's what it says in my favorite verse (Acts 17:25)...that it is His plan for us to know Him. He is on His throne, but is He alone? What about Jesus sitting at His right hand? And what about the country song that says, "God must be busy...?" (kinda kidding, there) I think He made the whole earth and everything in it to share with us, and He reveals new things to us all the time. Maybe He gets a kick out of all of our ah-hah moments, kind of like a teacher seeing a student finally grasp a concept. He is the Almighty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What Are We Doing?!

I just heard some distressing news about a very dumb, but real, mess going on...well, I don't want to go into details because they don't matter. There are lots of messes all over the place.

I also was forwarded a video of a professor at Carnegie Mellon University's last lecture. He has pancreatic cancer, knows he's dying soon, and spoke to his students about how to live. These two things really have me thinking about what we are doing with our time.

Our time on earth is finite. (the professor said so, so I know its true) No matter what you believe, you can't argue with that. This life will come to an end. What are we doing with the time we get? Are we spending energy, time, effort, even money to fight with other people? What a waste.

I pray that I'm allowing God to use me, and that I'm investing the resources He's given me well. It's so easy to get wrapped up in conflict. And it can be so consuming. What a great reminder this morning to not waste the time I'm given.

Ski Trip a Success

Fun was had by all, and all three of our kids know how to ski now, and they all like it! Hee-hee, it's all downhill from here.....
See? We're all smiling!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another Holiday Weekend

Ah, yes, we wouldn't want these poor kids to get too much education in the winter time, would we? We have another four-day weekend. We haven't gone to school for five days in a row since the first week after Christmas Break. Crazy winter. But, this weekend I am happy to say, we are going on a little trip! We are going to go skiing up in da U P, 'eh.

We're staying in a "house" that sleeps 24, with our friends from MN, so that'll make 10 altogether in this place. It could be that we've found the best place ever to stay, or we may be in for quite an adventure. It's supposed to be walking distance to the ski hill, have an 8-person hot tub, a 10-person sauna, a nice big fireplace, and a big-screen tv. So, I have high hopes.

This will be the kids' second introduction to skiing.....
We won't have a computer, though!
I'll be back on Tuesday.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Blast from the Past

Ok, here is a blurb I wrote for our MOPS newsletter 8, yes, EIGHT, years ago for Valentines Day. Funny how some things change, and some things say the same....

Here we go again with Valentine’s Day. Even after almost nine years of marriage, this dumb holiday makes me question how much my husband Scott loves me. It’s ridiculous and completely irrational of me, and I know I do it, but still seem to do it again every year. There is not a gift that he could give me on Valentine’s Day that could prevent me from playing this silly game with myself the following year. The truth is, it has nothing to do with my husband or how he demonstrates his love for me; it’s really about questioning whether or not I believe that I can be loved.
I might be alone in this; maybe I need to seek some help! I kinda don’t think I am alone, though. I think women have a tendency to put a tremendous amount of pressure on their husbands (or even their friends) when they look to other people for security in this area. If I have doubts about my “loveable factor”, another person is not capable of relieving me. I have to dig down deep, I have to do this work myself. Scott can give me temporary fixes, but I have to acknowledge for myself that I can be loved.
You know what? I am loved. I am loved by God, the creator of this universe and me. (Scott loves me too, which is very nice). God loves me, more than I could ever imagine, and He loves you too! Let that sink in a little bit. He made you. Your existence is not a coincidence. He made the earth, the whole galaxy with gazillions of stars and all, and he made YOU. He made you on purpose and has a plan and good things in store for you. He loves you, even when you don’t deserve it. I don’t think God wants us spending our time and energy questioning our lovable-ness. He has made it clear that we are loveable and loved. Don’t fall prey to the silly insecurities like I have in the past. Know that you are loved and believe that you are loved! Saturate yourself with His love. --jad

Well, I'm happy to say this year I am not questioning if/how much Scott loves me. I get it. It's good. He loves me lots. It's really, really good. But it's always good to remember the author of love.
Happy Valentine's Day, loved ones!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's the Little Things

I took a "sick day" yesterday. Feeling much better today. I woke up this morning thanking God for giving the Nyquil people the recipe.

Parent/teacher/student conferences this week at school. This is our second round of conferences with the kids there, too. For the most part, I'm ok with everyone coming to the party. I'm big on the whole get our expectations of each other out on the table (see to read more) so I think it's fine for the kids to be a part of the conference about them and their work.

Here's what I worry about. You know how we hold on to some little thing someone said either to us or about us, and we carry it around our whole lives? This little thing is probably not remembered by the speaker, and probably carried little weight when it was spoken. But it's a thing that we take ownership of. Could be a word of encouragement or motivation that has had a tremendous impact on who we are today. Could be something that hurt, and it's a scab we keep picking at.

I worry about saying something in passing to a teacher in front of one of my children and having it mean more than it's intended to. I don't want my kids to grow up carrying around some flip remark I've made.

Problem easily solved, Julie, you say. Just keep your mouth shut! I will try. Of course, I need to watch what I'm saying all the time, I know, but for some reason, this is one of the things that comes to mind at conference time.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Extreme Makeover

Not feeling fabulous today, the annoying cold I've been fighting is trying to go into my chest. So I let myself watch Oprah today. A family in Seattle got a whole new house as part of a "makeover." It was very nice, made me get a little squishy, as those makeover shows always do.

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a big hit at our house. It's really something to see the incredible gift of a new home like that. We love to see the tired and old made beautiful, shiny and new.

This kind of makeover is what God offers us every day. That's what Paul is talking about in Romans 12:2, letting God transform us. "Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." (the New Living Translation)

Why isn't that as moving and exciting as a new house? A house, no matter how fabulous, is temporal. Not permanent. Not eternal. The work of making over our way of thinking, making decisions, our way of living, is certainly extreme, 'eh?

I was also thinking about how we don't really get an idea of how much work is involved on those shows. For example, on Oprah this morning, she asked Nate, her decorator guy, if there were any glitches on this project. His reply? "Millions! It was a nightmare." But we didn't see any of that. No time in an hour to reveal everything.

And we don't like to talk about the work of the transformation of hearts, either. It's not the fun part of the story. Hmmm. But there is real work to be done in me, and there'll be glitches.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Smart Aleck! (what is an aleck?)

First of all, NO SCHOOL TODAY, AGAIN!! You see, we keep getting snow, just a little each day, and all of the villages/townships are out of salt. The salt is stuck on a barge in Peoria, IL in a frozen chunk of the Mississippi River. The busing was treacherous yesterday, so they decided it wasn't worth the risk today. This seems to be a let's-have-school-every-other-day kind of winter. I am one who has a true appreciation for routine, and getting into a groove. We've got no groove here. I can't imagine how difficult it is for the teachers. And I'm really out of fun mom ideas. I have very few to begin with......By the time Monday rolls around, the kids will be begging for school.

Some thoughts from reading "The Year of Living Biblically" and I'm reading the book of Joshua right now. They did some wacky things in Old Testament times. I read yesterday about how the leaders of Israel did not consult with the LORD before signing a treaty, and that was a mistake. Because the folks they made a vow with were actually deceiving the Israelites. I have a commentary that I look at when reading the Bible. It's called "The IVP Bible Background Commentary," and it explains the cultural context of passages. It doesn't interpret the meaning of the passages, it just explains what life was like when this verse was written.

So my commentary explains that "consulting the LORD" usually meant using oracles. This could be casting lots, or some other kind of gross practices that you can research on your own, if you really need to know. I was thinking, wow, we don't do that today! I don't ask God a yes-no question and then roll the dice to get my answer. Hmmm.

And then I found myself kind of thinking of us today as being so much wiser and sophisticated than the people of those times. But wait a minute! Are we smarter? Yes, we have more knowledge, because we have the benefit of all of the wisdom accumulated through the ages. Look at the difference in technology from my childhood to my own kids' growing up. Records? No cell phones? You know.

But are the people who are turning a regular Nintendo game system into a Wii actually capable of more than Leonardo DaVinci was? But am I more intelligent than the average woman who had to spend a week once a month in a red tent? I don't think so. I don't think my cats today are more intelligent than cats were then. And I guarantee no dogs are smarter today. If they are, things must have been pretty sad back then. (tee-hee) Why would humans be different today than they were 3,000 years ago?

And, speaking of all this technology and getting smart, can't they figure out some other ways to get ice off of roads? Sheeesh.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Love, Love, Love

I got stuck watching a very mediocre Hallmark movie the other night. I don't want to give anything away and spoil it for anyone, but the reason I had to watch almost the whole thing is because they never tell you what horrible thing happened in the past until the end. That is, unless it was in the first 15 minutes, which is possible. I didn't turn it on until 15 minutes in, and kept waiting for the mystery to unfold....

Anyway, I think the point of the movie was that we need to allow ourselves to be healthy and to be loved. This girl was carrying around guilt for the horrible past thing, and as a result didn't think she deserved good relationships with others. She found out she was ill and didn't think she deserved to get well.

Yes, this was a silly Hallmark movie, and we have a possibly silly Hallmark Holiday coming up (varying opinions on this...) but it does get me to thinking about love. And how we withhold it, push it away, push it on others, search for it, embrace it. Love, like so many things in life, is not still. It is in motion, moving us toward or away from others. We do things like keep secrets and tell fibs....are these moving us toward or away from our people?

Whatcha' doin' with your love today?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Oh Yeah, Did I Mention?

I think we'll be going to school into July, for Pete's sake!

Don't Should on Me

My mother-in-law is one of those kind of people who knows the Bible. She knows where it says what, and she just has a firm grasp of the thing. I remember being so impressed when I first learned this about her, and wishing I could be that kind of person who has the Word of God hidden in her heart. See, I know--without even trying! I swear!--things like the first three characters of people's license plates, and phone numbers, but it'd be cool to tap that part of my brain for something a little more useful.

Naturally, one must spend time reading the Bible to become familiar with it. I tried the whole osmosis/diffusion thing by carrying it around, sleeping with it under my pillow, but no dice. You have to get in there.

I wanted to want to read the Bible though, not just do it because I felt I should. How do you get from should-ing to desiring? I'm not sure how it happened, and I can't think of a specific day that it happened, but that change took place in my heart. I prayed a frustrated prayer, more than once, "Lord, this is Your thing, I want to be good, but not because I should. Make me want it. Give me the desire to read Your Word, give me the desire to follow you fully." And he honored it, gradually, chipping away bit by bit at my "should" mechanism.

I actually started to get something out of my Bible reading, I learned things about who God is, and about what He has to offer me, and it was good, and I wanted to learn more.

I can share the method of reading/studying that I use. It has helped me, but I'm not sure it's the secret....I think God has to do a work in our hearts....

I read just one paragraph at a time. I spend about 20 minutes each morning (between Lars's departure and Luke & Lily's waking), and it takes months to get through a whole book, but what's the rush? I pick a book, any book, and after reading a short passage, I answer three questions in my notebook:
What's happening here?(setting, context, summary)
What does it mean? (putting it into my own words)
What can I do with this in my life? (applying it specifically to my life, today)
This is how I work my way through a book of the Bible.

I'm still no Nancy Dahlberg, but, by the grace of God, I'm not the same Julie, either.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things....

">During my senior-senior year in college (it took me longer than most...)I lived in a house that I shared with 4 other girls. Someone (Anne?) had a copy of a book called "Living a Beautiful Life" or something like that, and we would jokingly read passages out loud from it. The author was clearly in a different season of life than we were, and she shared ideas in her book to help women find beauty and joy in the everyday.

I think of that book now and then, still making fun of it sometimes. But I thought I'd make a list of things that are my favorites, many that are everyday-ish things, but that serve as reminders to be grateful, to take a minute to recognize the beauty in my life, and just make me sigh. here goes:

Coffee! I drink it black, make a pot of half regular/half decaf and drink the whole thing over the course of the day.

My coffee pot, which is a carafe that keeps the coffee hot without turning it into tar, so I can drink it all day long.

My spot on the couch in front of the big picture window. I love to read in the natural light, preferably with a cat on my lap to keep me warm.

Cooking/Baking. It feels like home when I'm making something in the kitchen.

Fresh flowers.

Sitting at the beach with a book or magazine in the summer while the kids are busy and happy in the sand and water. The sun, the heat on my skin, and laughter....

New snow that makes everything quiet and stop for a couple of hours.

Music in the kitchen. This helps get the dishes done.

The smell of my kids' skin when they first wake up in the morning.

A hot bath with a glass of wine.

An empty Saturday on the calendar.

A full Saturday on the calendar!

Acts 17:27, which says, "His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him--though He is not far from any one of us."

What about you? What makes you take that big, thankful breath of air?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Call Me

The message at church yesterday was about discovering, developing, doing and defending The Call God has for your life. I can't even say how much time I've spent trying to determine what God's call is for me. Years, for sure. And, when I had my first child, I felt a peace, I felt a sense of purpose, and I felt certain that being a mother is what God made me to do and be. Our pastor said that God's call on your life will answer that question, "what in the world am I here for? Why am I taking up space on this earth?" Mothering our children has answered those big questions for me. Being about the business of mothering, doing it very intentionally and purposefully is what God has called me to do.

I have been secure in the call to be a mother (and a wife), but there is a sense sometimes that maybe there's more. Maybe this is just the season I'm in, but not the only thing God has for me to do. When you read articles and books on mothering, they always talk about how you're supposed to be working yourself out of the job, and that you need to be careful not to wrap your entire identity up in being a mother, because these children are on loan....I also feel a push from the world to do more than be a mother and wife. 'You can have it all and do it all!' There are other things I do; I'm writing in this blog, for example. We hosted Soup Night for five years in our home. I was president of the parents organization at our school. Where do those things fit in with my call? Does my every move have to be call-related?

I actually believe all these outside things do tie to my call, are things God has put on my plate, and have helped me keep perspective and made me a better mom. But it is easy to get distracted, and listen to the world. My call seems small sometimes, and overwhelmingly enormous other times.

Our pastor also said you never retire from your calling. It may change, but you're never done. And while my children are growing (so fast!) and they'll someday leave the nest, surely I won't ever retire from being their mom. They'll always be my babes. The actions of mothering will change, they already have! But my call is clear.

Friday, February 1, 2008


The whole world is white as far as you can see. What fun to get a snow day on a Friday. So, we're all good here. Two are still sleeping, and two (Scott & Lars) are playing Tiger Woods on the Wii. Do we know how to celebrate or what?

I'm glad to have snow covering all of the work in the yard I never got to in the Fall. My secrets are safe again!