How Can There Possibly Be an Appropriate Title for Such a Random Series of Thoughts?

I am not really the kind of person who lies awake at night worrying over the state of the environment, but I am a little concerned that my family is going to be solely responsible for the extinction of oxygen-giving trees. We have been consuming what seems to me a terribly large amount of toilet paper over the last few months. It seems like I just blink and it's time to buy another gigantic package of ridiculously expensive paper that will only be used for a split second, and for a very undignified purpose, before it's sent away to destroy the earth. This could be the very reason that God has chosen to give me three sons. If there were any more girls in this house, mankind might be wiped out in a matter of years.

In other, more serious matters, I may have to hurt the ice cream man. Did someone come up with the idea of an ice cream truck only to torment mothers on a budget who try to get their kids to eat at least one nutritious thing each day? And did they further decide to bring about our insanity by only driving through the neighborhood during naptime and dinner time? You would think, somewhere in the ice cream truck manual, it would recommend that they time their visits a little more appropriately. I'm also thinking that kids are now secretly implanted with a microchip in the hospital at birth that detects ice cream truck music from up to a mile and a half away. We were driving down the highway last week, going at least 55 mph, when we passed an ice cream truck, going the opposite direction at at least 55 mph with its music on. Thanks to the doppler effect (or whatever you call that), we heard approximately half a note of his annoying little tune. Chris and I froze with dread, but were both thinking that, surely, our children could not have noticed. Jack's little ears perked up and he said, "I just heard the ice cream truck. Can we get some ice cream?" We were in shock and awe, as well as being completely convinced that somehow, at some point, our children's brains had been secretly programmed with ice cream truck radar. Oh, the horror of it all.

Speaking of our jabber-jaw Jack, he is now the proud recipient of a swimming lesson graduation "SAR-tificate." After two weeks of morning lessons with a bunch of 3 and 4-year-olds, our 5-year-old graduated with flying colors. He can't actually technically swim, but he will finally put his head underwater voluntarily and can kind of swim underwater a little bit. Baby steps. It's all about baby steps. He really has improved a lot, but that could be because we spend at least 10-20 hours a week in the pool. Maddie is a regular little fish and can swim all the way across the pool unassisted, which is more than I can say for my pregnant self. I'm pretty sure everybody at the local pool would know who you were talking about if you mentioned the pregnant woman in the pink and white polka-dot swimsuit. I feel just a tad conspicuous, but at least for this one summer, I am not preoccupied the whole time we're swimming with sucking in my tummy. I can proudly let it all hang out, hoping that no one asks my due date and finds out it's still four months away.

Below are a few pics of the next Michael Phelps (sans marijuana allegations, of course), all taken with my new handy-dandy lens. You will notice Jack's beautiful "spoons" that he is making with his hands (as opposed to "forks"), in preparation for his dash across the pool.

C'mon. Look at that form, people. Obviously, I cut his head off on purpose, so that you could concentrate on the amazing lines of his torso and legs.

And, finally, I will praise God for getting us through one week of no husband or daddy around and ask His strength and grace to do it one more time next week. I would also ask that you all say a little prayer for me as I step out in faith to teach a class this summer at the Lovelady Center. I have felt for the last couple of months that the Lord wanted me to do it, and at the end of April, I felt like He gave me a topic for it. However, as all good Christians do, I hesitated and delayed obedience. Oh, good Christians don't do that, you say? Okay, then how about typical American Christians? Will you give me that? Anyway, I finally got up the guts to call and set it up, and I start on July 6. The Lord has really impressed upon me that this is something that I need to do completely in His strength and power, totally by faith. Yes, I should be living my life like that on a daily basis, but, let's face it - I don't. I am a planner and preparer and stresser-outer. David Platt says it better than I could ever hope to in his new book, Radical.

Surrounded by the self-sufficiency of American culture, we can convince ourselves that we have what it takes to achieve something great...we can mimic our culture planning and programming, organizing and strategizing, creating and innovating - all in an effort that will show what we can accomplish in our own ability...But there is another way...Instead of asserting ourselves, we crucify ourselves...Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express redical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in the world.

Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our own ability or settle for church according to our resources? The power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us and as a result we have no need to muster up our own might. Our great need is to fall before an almighty Father day and night and to plead for him to show his radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for his glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of his Spirit.

So, I am praying, seeking God's guidance and power. I want it to be said that He has done a mighty work and spoken His Word to these ladies. I am timid, not that smart or creative, and not really looking forward to doing this from a human point of view. However, I do ask and expect that the Holy Spirit will prove His presence and power for six Tuesday mornings this summer and, if nothing else, my faith and boldness will be strenthened for his glory. I pray that I may decrease and He may increase.


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