Saturday, July 31, 2010
Speaking of roughing it, I think 6 1/2 days without my family is going to be a little rough. It was either me or Chris going on this mission trip, and I sacrificially volunteered to be the one to leave our sweet, angelic children for an extended period of time while Chris will be livin' it up in Alabama with our little cherubs. Actually, I think the decision came around the time that he was gone for two solid weeks earlier in the summer. It's a little difficult to make a rational decision after five days solo with three kids and no schedule to keep them busy, plus being pregnant. So, I quickly raised my hand when asked who would go. Of course, I was also deeply moved to go and share the gospel with unchurched children...okay, so maybe that part came a little after I almost went insane cleaning up after yet another meal and herding my kids like cattle into the bathtub. When I asked my doctor if it would be okay for me to go on this trip at 30 weeks pregnant, I easily convinced him that it would be easier for me to go rather than stay home with my own kids all week while Chris went on the trip. It's a no-brainer!
But now, a mere 15 hours before my plane departs, I start wondering at my decision. I dread saying goodbye to the kids and know that tears will threaten to burst from my eyeballs when I do. I've been cherishing sweet moments with them today, like I should everyday. It just seems a little easier to do so when you know you won't be able to for many days ahead...or when you picture yourself plunging to a fiery death in an airplane and never seeing your kids again. Yes. I'm a psycho, but I'm pretty sure I've already let all of you in on that little secret. I'm not nearly as fearful as I once was, thanks be to God, but anytime a big event like this trip approaches, I wonder if something tragic might happen. I am sad at the thought of my children not having a mama (although I'm not a really great one, and Chris could probably find a pretty decent substitute). I comfort myself with the happy thought that I could drop dead at any moment and leave them motherless. It doesn't have to be on an airplane or when I'm hundreds of miles away. Yes, I'm just a ray of sunshine.
Really, though, we're all in God's hands. He can keep us safe while we're states away, just as he can allow something to part us when we're in the same room, doing nothing in particular. I can choose to live in fear of when and what tragedy will befall us, or I can choose to trust my Heavenly Father that He is good and His plans are good...and that no matter what happens, we have the hope of eternity with Him, where tragedy will no longer exist. Most days, I am making a conscious decision to choose the latter, as I've lived many miserable years choosing the former, and it didn't work out so well for me. I tend to go with what works. I'm a genius like that.
Later on today, I will kiss my babies and my sweet husband adios and head to cooler weather (another not-so-shabby perk of this trip) and hopefully to make an impact for Christ. I don't have much to offer, but I serve a God who has everything to offer. I am hoping and praying that He will show up and change lives for the better, even though what we're going to do seems rather small in most people's eyes, including my own. I'm also hoping and praying that I survive to post on my blog...and kiss my babies and husband...again.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
2. Talk to your sister about anything besides teeth brushing.
3. Walk into the bathroom after your mom reminds you in the sweetest of voices that you're supposed to be brushing your teeth.
4. Climb up on the stool.
5. Look all around for your brightly colored toothbrush, which you eventually discover is right in front of you.
6. Ask your mom where the toothpaste is.
7. After she reminds you that it's usually in the drawer, open the drawer right beside you.
8. Look in the mirror and make up a song about underwear.
9. Search the drawer for the toothpaste, to no avail.
10. Ask your sister where the toothpaste is.
11. Once your sister comes and gets the toothpaste out of the open drawer for you, try for 3 minutes to get the cap off.
12. Wander the house looking for your mom to get the cap off of the toothpaste for you.
13. Try to think up a good reason to tell your mom why it's been ten minutes and you're just now taking the cap off of the toothpaste.
14. Once your mom has taken off the cap, walk slowly back to the bathroom so as not to disturb the tube of toothpaste so that it spontaneously squirts onto the walls, carpet, etc.
15. Climb back onto the stool and put a glob of toothpaste the size of a super bouncy ball on your toothbrush.
16. Make up a song about super bouncy balls.
17. Turn on the water and wet your toothbrush.
18. Do something which leads to bright blue toothpaste getting onto the counter, cabinet doors, mirror, and floor, baffling your mom who will later come to clean it up while smoke billows out of her ears.
19. Brush your teeth, all of them or just a choice few, for 10-12 seconds, stopping to spit out your toothpaste at least 8 times.
20. Rinse your toothbrush in the water for .5 seconds and throw it on the counter.
21. Fill a plastic cup to the rim with water and rinse your mouth 23 times.
22. Pour the remaining water out so fast that it splatters on the mirror.
23. Place the cup on the opposite side of the counter from your toothbrush.
24. Try to think of a reason why there is blue toothpaste in your hair, just in case your mom asks.
Friday, July 23, 2010
In Chan's Crazy Love, he gives such a great illustration of how most of us behave. I'm going to paraphrase, which means I won't say it nearly as well as he does. Basically, we are the extras in the movie of history and life. We are one in a giant crowd, while Jesus/God is the main character...the lead, if you will. How foolish would it be for an extra in a movie to book an entire theater and invite everyone they'd ever known to come see them star in their new movie on opening night? Then, when the movie is over, everyone looks at this person in puzzlement, because they didn't even notice his part in the movie. But that's how we behave. We act and think as though life were all about us, when, in reality, we just have a tiny part in a MUCH bigger picture. The main focus here, the star of the show, is Jesus. We are quite deluded into thinking we have a much more important part than we do.
Tozer describes the meek, or humble, man as someone not afflicted with his own sense of inferiority, but someone who has stopped being fooled about himself. "He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything...He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring...As he walks on in meekness he will be happy to let God defend him. The old struggle to defend himself is over. He has found the peace which meekness brings." Another wonderful description he gives for meekness is self-forgetfulness.
To forget myself. Wow. I find it absolutely impossible. Even when I am doing something good, my thoughts are usually directed toward myself in some way. I'm patting myself on my back for my good deed, wondering who saw me doing it, wondering what everyone else did and if it was better, etc. To live my life so totally focused on God and dependent on His strength, wisdom, power, and ablilities seems impossible. I desire to live that way, yet my feeble, selfish brain always wanders back to ME. I want that peace that meekness brings. I want to stop comparing myself to others and coming up short. I want to stop being timid when God asks me to act because of my independence. I want to stop pretending to be someone other than the wretched, blind sinner I am, yet not feel the need to apologize, put myself down, or make excuses. I desire the easy yoke of Christ's meekness...where He is enough for me and I don't care about appearances or popularity or approval from men. My prayer is that of Tozer: Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest.
The Lord has been giving me many opportunities lately to pray for and put to use humility. It seems that everything I undertake for Him ends up being small. Our weekly girls' group has dwindled over the summer months., averaging about five or six a week. I am going on a mission trip as one of only five participants to a small church in a small town to help with a small VBS. My class I'm teaching at the Lovelady Center has five students. Five seems to be a theme here. As always, I'm feeling unpopular and like the social scene has passed me by. Our Sunday School class, which Chris co-teaches, struggles with consistent attendance or commitment. But, in all these things, God keeps quietly whispering, "It's not about you, Amy." Who's to say that a mission trip with four other people to a small church plant in an obscure place is not just as important to God as a large team going to a third-world country and successfully sharing the gospel with hundreds of people? Who am I to say that the five girls who show up on any given week are not the ones that God wants to work in and through on that very night?
His thoughts are not my thoughts. They are so much higher. His ways are not my ways. They are so much greater. His story of redemption is not all about this one person out of the billions who have lived. Yet, if I was the only one here, He would provide the offer of redemption for me. That is how great His love is for this one, tiny, obscure, unimportant, sinful girl. I cannot fathom His greatness or His love. But I am thankful for them just the same. He is worthy of my every thought, affection, and desire. Maybe one day I'll realize that and never go back to the empty life focused on my own unworthy, yet gloriously saved, soul.
"This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." Isaiah 66:2
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
I Peter 5:6
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Most of all, we made more fun memories and enjoyed God's amazing creation and the blessings of family and friendship. And we were reminded that our lives are pretty fabulous. When the downside of your vacation is being tired from too much fun and applying loads of sunscreen to deliciously cute kids, I'd say life is good.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Since I don't have time to enrich your lives with pictures of our fun Fourth of July at the lake or enough brain cells to share what God's been teaching me (or actually reminding me of for the 173rd time) the last few days, I will share a recipe with you. I've never put a recipe on my blog before, mainly because I don't like to cook, when I do cook it's usually nothing worthy of sharing, and the few times I branch out and try something new, it's usually met with, "Um, yeah, it's okay."
However, I did try a new recipe Monday night, which was adapted based solely on the actual ingredients I had in my house. When baking, I stick exactly with the recipe (well, most of the time), but when cooking a meal, I have to compromise between my lack of culinary skills and my frugality, which insists I not spend lots of extra money on other ingredients when I have something on hand that will probably do the job. I whipped this up on a whim, and, miraculously, I liked it (I never like my own cooking), Chris claimed to like it, and the boys ate it without too much, "What IS this?" or "How many more bites do I HAVE to eat?" Maddie was out of town, so that accounts for the fact that at least one person did not refuse to eat it. There's always one. One last bonus is that it's pretty healthy, which I cannot say for the Tombstone Pizza we sometimes eat on a weekly basis.
So, here it is. Now, if you actually try it and hate it, please keep that information to yourself. My very fragile culinary ego cannot handle it. Just chalk it up to YOUR lack of culinary skills. :)
Bruschetta 'n Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
(How Amy did it)
What You Need
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil, undrained
1-1/4 cups Mozzarella Cheese, divided (I actually just used however much looked good)
Italian bread crumbs
3 medium boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 breasts fed 2 adults and 2 kids, but we eat small portions)
Whatever Italian Dressing you have at home (I used Ken’s Northern Italian)
Whole wheat spaghetti
HEAT oven to 350ºF.
Put raw chicken in Ziploc bag and pound as thinly as possible with rolling pin. Trim fat off chicken. (Mine actually turned into chicken mush, but I went with it anyway.)
In medium bowl, combine tomatoes (~ ½ can would work for 3 breasts), some mozzarella cheese, a good sprinkle of basil, and ¼ - ½ cup of bread crumbs.
In baking dish, put a spoonful of tomato mixture in the middle of each piece of chicken. Fold ends of chicken together (wrapping the tomato mixture) and insert a toothpick to seal. Pour some Italian dressing over the top of each chicken piece.
Bake for 45-50 minutes (could be less if you’re not paranoid about doneness, like I always am). Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on each piece of chicken and return to oven to melt cheese.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti. Drain pasta and return to pot.
Stir in remaining ½ can of tomatoes, and sprinkle with parmesan and salt. Serve alongside chicken.
Of course, we also had Texas Toast, which totally threw all the healthiness of the meal out the window. But it was yummy!
Hopefully I'll be back soon with lots of exciting updates on what we've been up to and a post about how God keeps pointing out, "You know this life's not really about you, Amy." I'm pretty sure those two posts don't go together at all. And now, to go melt my hiney off on this 97 degree day. If only it would actually melt off!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Speaking of summer, I have recently made a discovery. It's something that I had always assumed and heard from others, but now I can say with certainty. Summer in Alabama is not the best time or place to be pregnant. I have been very whiny and complained a lot...especially in my head, but sometimes out loud...and have generally felt fat, hot, and yucky. I laid in bed the other night reminding myself of what it was like ten years ago wanting desperately to be pregnant and not knowing if I ever would be. And here I've gotten to experience the miracle of pregnancy FOUR times! Still, the fact remains that the fourth time is just not quite as magical as the first was.
Since I still have 3+ months left before this baby arrives and I start complaining about how much I hate the 6-8 weeks after giving birth, I thought I should make more of an effort to appreciate this pregnancy. So, I have compiled a list of positives about having a summer pregnancy.
1. Watermelon...Seedless Watermelon, to be exact. Why do we not show more gratitude for the presence of the seedless watermelon in our lives? The one big problem with the lovely fruit of watermelon has been solved! And now I can be sure that the reason I have a huge belly is NOT because I swallowed a watermelon seed.
3. I can wear my polka-dotted swimsuit and not worry about my belly hanging out. It's expected, and even "cute" evidently.
4. We don't have to keep up with our normal, busy schedule, which leaves me plenty of time to lay around on the couch and rest. Wait, that was just in my dreams last night before I was abruptly awakened with demands for cereal and milk at 7am.
5. I can wear flip-flops day in and day out, not having to worry about those lovely lines on my swollen legs where my socks have been all day. Absolutely disgusting.
6. Since it's so hot, I don't have to actually spend time and energy getting Luke dressed. If I can get the diaper on him, we're good to go. I mean, if I'm barefoot and pregnant in Alabama, I may as well have a kid running around in nothing but a saggy diaper, too. If you're going to go redneck, go all out, I say.
7. Swimming. Not only is getting in the pool a great relief from the summertime heat, but I feel so much lighter! It's only when I have to hoist myself up the ladder that I start to regain the feeling of carrying around a bowling ball in my midsection.
And that, my friends, is all this watermelon-bellied girl can come up with. But I'm sure there are plenty of other wonderful things that I just can't think of right now because my pillow is calling my name. Or maybe that's the washing machine. They sound so much alike to me.