Category Archives: family

Being Present

Over the holidays I read a letter from me to my parents, apologizing for something I did in college. In it I sounded like a blathering idiot, and I laughed. But I kept reading and soaked up words about what I had thought God’s will was for my life at that time. It had been based on what someone in my life had suggested, and it definitely wasn’t from God! It got me thinking, fascinated, about how all my life I’ve been searching for God’s will. Somehow those words have been etched in my memory from very early childhood. I don’t remember where I first heard that phrase, but I latched onto it.

Fast forward to this year, when I will be thirty-seven. I think I’ve finally gotten an inkling as to what God’s will is all about for life. And I’m ready to explore it.

Over the last few years, I’ve worked too much, yelled too much, eaten too much, drunk too much, and wasted time — too much. When I contemplate it, I realize that I really could have been doing more. Not more for more’s sake…just it’s that I haven’t prioritized time well. The examples of my squandered time seem endless. That little gnawing curiosity draws me to Facebook or Twitter. I fill hours over the week with random interweb surfing, usually for my own knowledge thirst (addiction?). Even when my kiddos are begging me to play or simply look at something they’ve done.

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Yeah.

I’m over it.

There are too many things gnawing at me to change. I have had a feeling in my gut that I’ve blocked for too long. So I’m finally going to let go of the things I know distract me. I think it is the only way for me to focus on what I ought to be doing. In each moment of each hour of each day, to try to be like Him. To look through my eyes and really see the people around me. To savor the moments He has given me. And finally, to share His love, freely.

No change happens until there is a change of perspective. It does not wait and wonder if the the good will happen someday. It’s in the habit of seeing the good happening right now. Life is not an emergency. It’s a gift. Why race past the gift? What else are you trying to get to — the presence of God is in this present moment. -Ann Voskamp

Letting go of personal social media and … all random internet … this year, means letting God teach me … whatever that might be, I’m wide open and yearning for it.

Blessings to you this year, and always.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

 

One Thousand Gifts

I’m reading a book now called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. My older sister gave it to both my younger sister and me with the sidenote that we will understand how she thinks when we read this book. Silly sister, I already understand you! But joking aside, this book has been simply wonderful. And timely. In this very strange time I’ve found myself in this last year, and entering a new stage even now, this book has been such a blessing.

Eucharisteo – the giving of thanks – always precedes the miracle. Jesus broke bread, gave thanks, and then gave himself, the ultimate miracle. Throughout her book we are reminded of the tough action required of us. To be thankful in ALL things in order to receive the miracle — the grace. But then we must also let that grace flow from us. When we are blessed, then so can we bless. Like the river Jordan that ends at the Dead Sea, if there is no outlet for the good that comes in — if we are not sharing that same good/blessing others — then the good flowing to us will stagnate. We must open our hands to receive grace, and our hands must stay open to give that grace to others. The more thanks we give HIM, the more humble we become, and then the more He reveals Himself. It’s that the feelings of joy begin with thanksgiving.

Try it. I’ve been blessed by focusing on being thankful for anything I can think of when James makes a mess or Anna pinches him. When the laundry piles keep multiplying and I’m staring a proposal deadline in the eyes. Give thanks. And wait for the miracle.

Thanks, Claire!

It’s a train wreck and I can’t look away…

We are rich and don’t know it.

I have felt so convicted of late about this. But I don’t know what to do about it. It started when I began this stay-at-home journey. How ironic. Maybe not. Sometimes you have to lose something to understand its true value. I’m not talking about my job, even though I did enjoy it. I’m talking about that extra money. Even with less to spend, I still find myself clicking through the emails to the sales sites, where an eager finger wants to fill the shopping basket and press the “pay now” button. But I swat it away like an annoying bug and close the screen.

It’s weird. I love a good sale, and I used to buy things even if I didn’t need them. GASP! Oh, the shock of it all! Yes, it was akin to retail therapy or something. I’ve come to think it is just a distraction to keep us from focusing on whatever the real problem is. 

Now that I don’t have extra money to play around with, I realize even more how much I don’t need. So the extravagent is kind of driving me a little crazy. Like Christmas overdone. It just seems…so…wasteful. Ah, but don’t get me started. I’ve got a whole other post for that just waiting to be written. 

I guess right now I’m very thankful for what I have, but I feel like there’s much left to be done. I just don’t know what that is. Yet.

>The Battle of the Television…and Babies

>I was reading this article that concludes that babies and TV don’t mix. In fact, its research states that babies’ development scores at 14 months are 1/3 less than others who don’t watch. OK, let’s all panic. Whatever.

Right in the middle of the article is this paragraph, which I’m cutting and pasting:
But what about “good” TV, like Sesame Street? The researchers didn’t find any pluses or minuses when compared to non-educational programs designed for small children, like SpongeBob SquarePants. Earlier research by some of the same scientists, most of whom are at New York University School of Medicine-Bellevue Hospital Center, has found that parents whose children watch non-educational TV programs like Spongebob SquarePants spend less time reading to their children or teaching them.

I’m taking issue with this, because my first child watched Baby Signing Time DVDs from about 6 months on. He can hear, but we had seen the benefit of them with my first niece. Like her, he LOVED them. Honestly, we did too, except for the catchy songs constantly running in our heads. Our son had very few tantrums. I’m pretty sure it was because he could communicate with us. It was a beautiful thing.

His vocabulary when he started talking was amazing. He was using complete sentences. I’m not trying to gush about my child, but I really think the sign language helped develop his language skills. We’ll use the dvds with our little girl, too.

I think the signing dvds are different, because they are designed to be interactive, not passive television. You can interact with your child as you watch. Anyway, my two cents coming from my own family research laboratory. 🙂

>A New Beginning…

>A new beginning is a corny title for this post, I admit it. Freely. But I also admit that I am corny with a very pun-friendly sense of humor. But it’s not for funny reasons that I entitled this post. I am entering a new beginning. Having been in the working world — full of career driven zest — I am stepping aside somewhat. In this economy (you scream)!? Yes, even now. So we will be kind of “poor”–it is nothing like what truly economically poor people experience. We have actually been saving a few nickles and dimes. We can make it through a rough patch, or a deliberate, thoughtful, prayerful decision that allows me to exit the full-time frenzy for a while. I need to focus on my family for a change.

But I’m frantic. Petrified. Completely scared out of my wits. For instance, in Target this morning–see, I can actually go to Target in the morning, one of my favorite stores ever, because I am still on maternity leave. But I digress. In Target this morning I had a panic moment, because I realized that the cute little sweaters and dresses I was looking at are not “necessary” for me to buy. WHAT!? Will I lose the ability to just buy something cute at Target…just because?! You betcha. That was the thought process that led to the panic moment. It still makes me cringe. I immediately called my little sister to whine.

So, I’m entering a new reality. My family is coming first, and sadly I feel like this is a first for a change. This workaholic will rehabilitate with some time as a stay at home mom/wife/manager of all things domestic. Ew. Why do I also cringe at that? I shouldn’t. My family is number one priority, but maybe it’s time I started thinking that way–for real.

I am changing this blog to reflect me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it yet. I have lots of interests. We’ll see where it goes, or where it takes me.  But I am excited for a new chapter.