Thursday, May 24, 2012

REST

We do some pretty silly things in life, such as working our tails off just to take a vacation. Maybe it's because I have four kids, but taking a vacation sure is a lot of work. I'm in the "Oh my, I have so much to do I don't know where to start so I'm just going to blog which means I'll be up until 1am the night before we leave" phase. Know that one?

But the Lord gently reminded me tonight of what He's been trying to teach me. You see, He's had his work cut out for Him (or not, because He's God and these things really aren't so hard for Him) because He's been trying to teach me about rest. That is a word I know very little about. In fact, it's a little ironic that I'm up at 11:57 pm writing about rest. I like to be good at what I do, so I guess since I'm not good at resting, I just don't do it. But it's time for things to change.

The Word is full of verses telling us not to be lazy, to work out our salvation, and to be busy about the Lord's work. I hear those passages and it just clicks with me and I start to work like a busy little bee. But tucked away in the midst of all that working and serving, there are commands and provisions for rest. Even God rested after He threw together a little something He likes to call The Universe, and last time I checked, God doesn't even get tired. He did it as an example to us and as a picture of what we are to have in Him.

REST

There's an endless amount of work around here to do, an endless amount of opportunities to minister to my family and my friends, an endless amount of valuable things that demand my time and attention. But in the midst of all that, it's so easy to forget the One who put all these things in my life. He knew we'd get busy and frazzled and distracted and so He made one of The Big Ten (you know, commandments) to observe that day He had set aside for rest.

I am seeking to take our Sabbath (which we observe on Sunday because we're not all legalistic or anything and we love to celebrate some resurrection action!) more seriously. Not to lounge around on the couch, necessarily, but to make it more of a point on that day to be physically still and mentally and emotionally available to my family. I am trying to make that the day when I can drop everything and spend time with my Lord and my family and not feel a bit guilty about it, no matter how many piles of laundry there are. The Lord made the Sabbath for us. It must be a good thing.

Not only am I seeking to observe a day of more restfulness than busyness. I am really seeking the kind of rest that we should have every moment of every day in the depths of our being. The kind of rest the Lord is speaking of when He said, "Be still and know that I am God." The kind of rest that allowed Jesus to sleep on that boat in the middle of a life-threatening storm. The kind of rest that exists even when my body is busy working. The kind of rest Jesus promised to the weary and burdened.

If I am still and know to the depths of my soul that My Father is God Almighty and He's on His throne, what do I have to fear or worry about or get frazzled about? The One who loves me so and is more powerful that we can imagine is in charge (or in chawge as Luke likes to say). That fact should be enough to fill me to the brim with a faith that allows me to rest peacefully in the midst of the fiercest storms.

As a girl who knows all about being stressed, weary, and burdened, I am ready to be done with that. I am ready for rest. We are promised as God's children that one day we will enter His rest. We'll be with Him in heaven and our souls will be at rest forever. But I don't have to wait until heaven. Even while I'm still being tossed about and covered by waves in this flimsy little boat here on earth, I can have rest for my weary soul.

So, as I run frantically from one corner of the house to the other packing up everything and the kitchen sink, as I prepare for Vacation Bible School and the upcoming mission trip, and do everything in between, I will seek to be at rest. I will picture my strong Savior snoozing peacefully down below as others feared for their lives and know that I can be resting comfortably with Him rather than being frantic and fearful.

I will rest.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11
Nighty night.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

10

Last week, I celebrated being a mama to the sweetest daughter on the planet for a whole decade. This doesn't seem possible (because of my amazingly youthful appearance), but it's true. My fat-cheeked baby girl is slowly turning into a beautiful young woman right before my very eyes. I think the Lord must not have given us another girl because the one we had was so wonderful that a second one never could have lived up to her. :)

Madeleine is our little artist who loves playing outside, getting dirty, and making works of art out of weeds, rocks, and whatever else she can get her hands on. She's unbelievably quiet, yet I can slowly see her coming out of her shell these days. Though she may do it quietly, she's not afraid to try new things. I don't believe I've ever seen her stressed out as she is extremely laid back. That can be somewhat frustrating to her Type A mother, but I'm really very thankful she is able to slow down and enjoy life much more than I've ever been able to.

She doesn't have mobs of friends, but she has a few really good, close, sweet friends. The Lord has blessed her with kind, Godly little girls to spend time with, especially her best friend since babyhood, Kenley. What a sweet relationship they have.

Maddie is a good little mama to Luke and Sam. Sometimes when I'm at my wits' end with them, she'll step in and calmly handle the situation with a grace I could never muster up. She'll make a good wife and mama someday, that's for sure. 

I know everybody thinks their kids are the best, and that's the way it should be, but I must say that I've been blessed beyond measure with a daughter who's just about as perfect as they come. I fell in love with her sweet face ten years ago and I've been in love ever since.

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl.






Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Being a Mom

Ahh, Mother's Day. It's a day I look forward to because I feel like I have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card all day long if I choose to play it. In the end, the knowing I have it is the part that seems to make me feel good as I rarely choose to play it. Just knowing I can get out of anything I want to makes it okay. I suppose that's pride...as long as I choose to do it, it's all good. Make me do something and I don't want to. I can't imagine where the children get it.

I'm seriously considering never going to church again. Not because I've given up on God or anything, but because they make me an emotional basketcase week after week. Last week it was the graduation video of all those kids I don't even know but whose baby pictures make me bawl like a baby anyway. This week it was some cute little video with kids saying all these funny things about their moms in their sweet little kid voices. Really, that should not make me cry! What have I turned into? I'm usually the Ice Queen, but here lately I'm more like a PETA fanatic who just finished watching Bambi.

Being a mama just changes you in ways you never expected. Besides the kidney stones, root canals, and hips that will never be the same, becoming a mom has made me someone who can't watch Ice Age without getting all emotional about the little caveman baby losing his mama and having to be taken care of by a wooly mammoth and a sloth. Really? Animated prehistoric animals?

Honestly, there isn't anything totally amazing to report about today. When the kids asked what I wanted, I told them a day without fighting and tattling. They just couldn't deliver. But that's okay. I had the perfect kind of day...a regular day spent with the people I love most (including my mom, who I am so thankful for) and with a mindset that allowed me to count every little blessing in every little moment of my day.

In church today, we read about Hannah, Samuel's mom (not my Samuel, obviously, because his mom is Amy, but the Samuel in the Bible) and the subject of wanna-be-moms came up. Hannah really, really wanted to be a mom, but it just wasn't happening for her. I know women in that position now, but I was also reminded that I was once a woman in that position. It's hard for me to remember back that far 5,001 poopy diapers, 3,475 baths, and 10 years of motherhood later, but I got a good reminder today.

And it made me thankful.

God granted me the desires of my heart. Boy, did he ever. My home and my heart and my laundry basket are overflowing with blessings. My garden is growing. My quiver is full.

When I look back on the young woman I was 11 years ago...a woman wondering, worried, desperate, I find myself realizing once again what a blessed not-as-young woman I am now. And all the "Mama, I need..." and the snot and the screaming and the crumbs and the arguing and the eating of the glue sticks (for the love, why will he eat glue sticks and not chicken????) melts away.

And I have the perspective I so desperately wish to keep every moment of every day. I have been given the greatest blessing a woman could ever receive. The blessing of tending a precious garden that will one day bear beautiful fruit. The blessing of sharpening arrows that will one day be used in battle. The blessing of nurturing those baby birds that will one day fly. I don't want to waste the precious little time I have worrying about the things that just don't matter. I want to make every moment count.

So I'll seek to love them more, snuggle them longer, pour more truth into their little minds, take more walks, play more games, laugh about the little things, and rest in the grace of the Lord. They are only mine for a while and oh how I want each moment to count.

Thank you, Lord, for my four sweet blessings. Help me to be the mother they need. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

I Now Pronounce You...

Honestly, how am I supposed to throw a birthday party (at my house = cleaning...yuck!), ship caterpillars all over the continental U.S., go out for yet another night out with the girls, exercise, and keep up with a blog? Aren't you impressed by my demanding life? It's tough.

Life is racing by and I can't find the time to type it all out complete with cute photos and funny quips. Not good!

Though I'm in a hurry because I must finish cleaning (so that everyone can dirty it up again at the party) and decorating (because what 10-year-old birthday party would be complete without tacky Dollar Tree decorations?), I just can't let this cute moment of life go undocumented.

I pray now for my children to be Godly spouses one day and to find people to marry who love the Lord above all else. I pray for Maddie to be a loving, submissive, quiet, gentle, respectful helper to her husband and for my boys to love the Lord above all else and love their wives as Christ loves the church. Hopefully they can see a little bit of what a Godly marriage should look like through watching me and Chris. I feel sure they can see a lot of what they shouldn't do by watching us (mainly me), too!

So, though my little ones are still fairly little (although one did just enter double digits - gasp!), I do already think about their marriages. And it seems we got a little taste of what it's like to be parents of the groom recently.

I apologize for those of you who did not receive an invitation, but it was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment wedding (not to be confused with a shotgun wedding, please) and it just wasn't feasible for everyone to attend. However, Luke did tie the knot a few weeks ago with his prissy, adorable, feisty little friend, Annabella.



They posed for some pictures, we had delicious imaginary cake, there was dancing...



and Luke was quick to ask, "Does husbands sleep with their wife-es?" To which we answered, "Well, uh..." The funny thing was they did spend the night together, but they were chaperoned by Luke's two brothers, so it was all on the up-and-up.




They like to move quick as they got married, renewed their vows, had several children, and quickly figured out the who-bosses-who-around thing all in one night.




Is it just me or do the parents of the bride look a little worried?
 It was a fabulous occassion. Wish you could have been there! Maybe in twenty years they'll do it for real, and if you play your cards right, you might get the invite. :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hola, Amigos!

Hola! Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you've had a wonderful day of singing Cinco de Mayo carols, decorating your Cinco tree, and baking all your Cinco goodies. Or something like that.

To tell you the truth, I forget what Cinco de Mayo is even about...you know, besides salsa and margaritas. Or maybe that's all it's about. I could Google it, but who has time for that?

In honor of this day we know nothing about, we celebrated in grand style around here. First, we cancelled all our plans so we could stay home and wear our traditional festive masks.




I'm pretty sure there's something they do in Mexico involving fish masks. Am I right?

So who needs margaritas and tamales when you have albuterol? Sam threw us for a loop this week when he got wheezy when it wasn't the middle of the month or a holiday. Little did we know he and Jack had conspired for Jack to get sick on a holiday. Too bad the only thing our kids are good at sharing is germs...well, and nebulizers.

Since we were stuck at home with a sick boy, we made our own celebration. To tell you the truth, it was kind of lame, but it involved good food. (Although Jack would not agree with that statement. He wasn't a fan.)










Finally, Publix put our beloved avocados on sale again, so the homemade guacamole and salsa made a comeback at our house. If dinner had ended right there, I'd have been a happy girl.





What did everyone else do while I slaved in the kitchen? Sat on the couch and looked cute, of course.



Though I would have been happy with guac and salsa, I went ahead and whipped up some taco fritters. You could follow the recipe and fry them in a skillet (an iron skillet, no less), like this:


Or, if you prefer not to splatter hot grease from one end of your kitchen to the other and all over your lovely light pink shorts, and if you frown upon scalding your arm hair off with this same hot grease, feel free to cook them with no grease at all on a nonstick griddle, like so:


They're still delightfully yummy, you'll cut down on the clean up by an astronomical amount, and your skin (and arteries) will thank you. Just a tip from your friendly chef. No extra charge.

Here is Luke, holding up cinco fingers! See, you get to feed your family and make them multicultural all at the same time. He's even wearing a Guatemala soccer jersey that his sweet mama got him on her recent international trip. And Guatemala borders Mexico, which is where they celebrate...you guessed it...Cinco de Mayo!


Here's our fancy meal presentation. Because we pull out all the stops around here at dinner time.


And here is Sam, who shared Jack's opinion of the meal. He went cantaloupe only tonight.



And guess what else? We got our first watermelon of the season this week! See how big that bowl appears in the picture? It's really that big! Yummo! And just for fun, you get a picture of me looking old and holding a mostly empty plate. You're welcome.

I hope a look at our very exciting holiday celebration has inspired you to eat something new and yummy or at least stink up your house by frying some food.

Now I'm off to slave some more in the kitchen in my very courageous attempt to make the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. So far, not so good. It's taken way longer than I thought for step one, so at this rate, I'll be up until 1 am. Please, Lord, let these be edible.

Hasta luego!