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365Expressions

Writing these "letters" has helped me to process life as a new mother, remain thankful, and come awake to the little moments that make this pretty challenging season simply wonderful.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 118...sick baby

sick babies.  the only good claim i can make about it is the snuggles.  lots and lots of snuggles.

mommy!  hold me!

i haven't held Titus this much since he was a couple of months old.

he's been wanting snuggles all day, and i have to say, nana is right.  it is the best part of having a sick little boy.

if not for him feeling so rotten, it would have been a very splendid day.  get better my precious baby.

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 117...over eggs

i was having such a bad morning.  not awake yet.  wrong perspective.  arguing with daddy.  you were gracious to leave me alone, eat the breakfast i made for you, not keep asking me what was wrong.

sitting at the breakfast table, bowl full of scrambled cheese and eggs, you said the shifting words.

"Jesus made you so good.  You're wonderful."  

Healing words.  Refreshing words.  Righteous words.  It brought me back to truth again.
You were so sincere and gave me those reassuring eyes.
And it's not that I was having an insecure moment and needed to hear how wonderful I was.
It was truth coming from Him, through you, to me.  Once again.  It's not that my ego needed a boost.
This morning was about waking up into negativity and frustration over circumstances that, in the long run, just don't matter.  I was forgetting to look for Him in every moment.  

And He reminded me to come back.

Dear Sadie.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 116...short and sweet

right now it seems you and i are fighting for daddy. but not really.  you keep looking forward to your daddy date, and secretly i'm thinking, i know how you feel!  these days, daddy is scarce.  he's pouring himself into this new job, and we really get to see him mainly for just a couple days a week.  he feels like he's missing out, and it makes me sad.  and i'm sad to miss him so much, and see you missing him.  we have to make the most of our time together, what time we do have.  and not thinking about tomorrow, just taking one day at a time.  for that reason, i am having to keep these letters short right now so that we can do just that.  but that's a part of life, right?  keeping priorities straight?

Dear Sadie.

Day 115...childhood delights

i am very proud to say that i had a glorious upbringing.  my parents did an absolutely outstanding job, in my opinion.  i have a ton of good memories.  we literally used to say, and people said about us, that we had the "brady bunch" family.  that's not to say we were perfect.  but what family is, really?

my mom made every little thing special.  i remember going to college with her and sitting in the grown-up desks.  i went to work with her and she made me feel like i was actually helping out with the office work in my very own little office space.  i'd play with the kids at the very cluttered, very messy house she cleaned every week.  garage sales and change-of-season clothes shopping had to be my favorites.  ice creams at the mcdonald's drive thru, because they were only $.49 each.  camping trips done up right with full meals, campfires with marshmallows on sticks, and swimming in the ocean or tubing down the river.  croquet and wiffle ball in the back yard.  neighborhood friends on call.  picnics on the lawn.  slumber parties.  swimming at the club.  dad grilling out.  sleeping outside, stargazing, waking up covered in dew on our lawn chair beds.  i'll have to continue another time, as i could go on and on.  there's nothing like a childhood.  i feel blessed to have such an easy-going one.  those were the days.

now i have the privilege of walking you through yours.  i can't wait to see which memories you will take with you.  you are only three, but already i can see you making your list.  i hope your list is pleasant like mine.  something tells me it will be.

Dear Sadie.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 114...just brilliant

this is just a short and gushy one, because i really don't have anything welling up inside of me at the moment.  it's been a nice and quiet, slow day at home.  no where to run off to except church.  no schedules to keep. days like these force me to really slow down and see life as it happens, be present, see you two.  today i saw just how brilliant you both are.  not intelligent, brilliant.  although you are smart.  but i'm referring to the the distinguished, vivid, magnificent kind of brilliant.  you two are full of life and energy and love and charm.  i am better just being around you.  so thank you.

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 113...I'm hungry!

right now i am hungry.  and not in the physical sense, the spiritual one.  the truth is, i need to keep myself from writing you fully tonight so that i can just lay everything aside and feast on the Word.  i need Him sooooo bad.  so many times i choose to indulge in some other activity.  something to help me "veg," something to help me "unwind," or even to write you to keep this project going, keep the inspirations coming.  but tonight, i want you to know, that nothing in life compares to knowing Christ intimately.  the sweetest truth to me, one that i just cannot wrap my head around, is that He is always right there waiting on me.  patient, willing and ready to be with me.  and tonight, i just want to be with Him.  is that okay?  i thought so.  may you find out first-hand, for yourself, the intimacy of knowing Him and finding your satisfaction, your nourishment, in Jesus.

Okay.  Gotta go to the lounging table now!

Dear Sadie.

"those who seek the Lord lack no good thing."  Psalm 34:10

Day 112...The Sunshine Girls

if i could think of one thing that i would want to be known for, I wish it were that I brought sunshine into people's worlds.  that is my desire.  i want to be that light that people need, to brighten up the darkness, reveal the good, shoo away the bad.  i think that's what God would want.  i even believe that this is the "torch" that Jesus passed on to us, His followers.  He is the Light, and we have become his little lights.  on the mount, Jesus did say that we are the light of the world.  i know a lot of people might think this just means sharing the gospel, spreading the good news, praying with people to receive Christ...but i believe it's even more than that.  i want to be a light that expels the darkness, tells it, "You have to go!"  i want to exorcise all darkness within people with God on the inside of me.  and i want Him to get the glory.

you are my sunshine.  my only sunshine.  you make me happy, when skies are gray.
you'll never know dear, how much i love you,
please don't take my sunshine away.

it's a sweet song, but kind of a weird one if you keep on singing the rest of the verses.  you love it when i sing this song to you.  it's become a special and dear one to us.  we sing it nearly every day.

my mom has always said i'm her sunshine, that i light up her life.  now she's saying that about you.  and papa too.  daa says you "light up his house."  that brings joy to my soul, to know my daughter does that for not only me, but others she is with.  already, you are being known as sunshine.

maybe we can be the sunshine girls together.  wouldn't that be a pair, a mother and daughter dynamic-duo, delighted to carry the sunshine to whomever, whenever.  wouldn't that be something.

i pray it would be so.  i pray for more.  that we could be the SONshine girls; that we would radiate God's goodness, His good news, everywhere, with the light of His love.  a real, tangible, compassionate love, lived out through us.

Dear Sunshine Sadie.

"Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame."  Psalm 34:5


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 111...two rules for women

there are two times i know to never, ever, do any decision-making or serious thinking of any kind...

days when you had not enough sleep the night before,

and days around your period.

just expect life to feel a little bit overwhelming during those times, it you'll breathe a little easier.  it usually is.

that way, if you are feeling okay on these days, then great!  you can conquer the world!

if not, just know everything seems wrong and why, and try to read a book, lie around, or do any mindless activity you enjoy, until a brighter day comes, and it will.  then you can accomplish much more than you ever thought possible.

waiting for the storms of sleepless nights and menstrual cycles to past is one of the smartest things a woman can do, believe it or not.

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 110...toilet trauma

on days like today when you have a panic attack and start vomiting all over the place, i am reminded of just how out of control i really am.  i didn't know peeing in a cup would throw you down such a road of turmoil.  after several minutes of throwing up and crying and attempts to calm nerves, you settled down for a breath of air.  and mommy sighed relief.

i do not like to see you go through that, who does?  but it's in these moments that i realize how dependent i am on the Lord, for you are His child.  and i know He's got you.

later on i took you to Starbucks for a chocolate milk for your reward for the doctor trauma, and me an iced coffee.  i held your hand proudly as we walked over to the brown leather couch where we drank, talked, and held each other close.  i think there's no other place i would have rather have been than on that couch with you today.  i'm sad it was caused by such a terrifying experience, but i was glad to be the comforter in your crisis.  i hope you always know i am there for you.  i hope, too, that you can trust me when i say the cup won't hurt you, and you can trust me.  i think the other day when they drew blood from your arm was the worst, because there was no way to prepare you for that experience, so i didn't even try.  no wonder you had such a panic attach, for all you knew you were in for another needle and 3 tubes of blood being drawn out.  i'm just so glad you turned the corner and listened to me.  i want you to trust me.  trust daddy.  know that you don't have to panic so hard.  we got you.  God gave us to you to protect you from harm, and we will do everything in our power to protect you, and trust Him when it's out of our control.  today definitely felt like some planetary object was spinning out of orbit, but just like the brave girl you are, you came around.  what a treasure you are, funny girl.

Dear Sadie.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 109...stretched

balance.

i feel like i've written you about the balancing act before.  even if i have, i guess it's worth a repeat!  or at least i hope it is. :)

i just am constantly reminded of balance these days.  unfortunately i feel pulled in so many directions, it's easy to feel spread thin, or a little head-spinning.  i'll be going about my day and i don't know whether to sit down with God, fold some laundry, play cars or dolls, go for a walk, read a book, or think about my husband, pray for him, pray for my neighbor, pray about--what's not to pray about!  so many demands and pulls, i feel stretched and sometimes, though not all the time, i want to just shut down and not do any of it.  thankful, the Lord reminds me it's less about my doing, and more about my being.  so i when i set my eyes on Him, the roles in which i live become more clearly defined.  and yet, i know it's going to always be a struggle for me.  devoting my time to the Lord, to myself, to my kids, to being a wife.  it seems like so much.  and to think i might be sharing myself with a group of students again, how can this be?!  Lord, help me!  i know so many parents, if not  all, feel exactly the same way, and probably you will too.  what is the secret?  i think one is knowing it just never gets easy.  but easy is overrated anyways! :)  seriously though, besides knowing it's just plain hard, i'd also have to say the things that keep it simple for me are 1) worshiping daily, out of a heart of gratitude, Jesus 2) turning my thoughts away from myself, what i'm doing or not doing right, in any of my roles 3) love.  i think these are a good place to start.  i can see someone asking, but those aren't very practical?  what about--go on a weekly date with your husband?  or....set aside a morning quiet time, no matter what?  ...well, yes and know. i don't want to give a whole lecture on how i feel about those.  i think if you keep your perspective about the heart, and let the "rules" take care of themselves, you'll go far.  just thinking.

Dear Sadie.

Day 108...I wanna be like you-u-u

it's in the way you look at me.  it's in the way you make your dolls talk to each other.  in the way you ask to put on make-up with me.  cook pancakes with me.  write on a tablet of paper beside me while i pay bills.  look at us side-by-side in the mirror, smiling, together.  you want to be like me, and it's more flattering than I ever could have imagined.  my little girl.

one day it'll be the opposite and i'll want to cry.  no.  but seriously, i know it will all end when you look in the mirror and realize that you're not your mommy and you never will be (until you become a mommy, that is :).  you'll realize, hey, i'm sadie...i'm my own person, and i'm unique and different, and i don't have to be like mom. (cause by this time i won't be mommy to you anymore, sniff)

hey, i'm not saying this is a bad thing.  it's just a transition i'll have to make along side you.  it's actually really healthy and totally natural that you'll want to be an individual.  i can't wait to see how you are transformed.  i pray it will be in light of the fact that Jesus will be in your heart, and you'll be transforming into His likeness, and not conforming to patterns of this world.  i love being your pattern by which to form yourself right now, and i thank God for this opportunity and pray for the wisdom and integrity i'll need.  and i pray you set your eyes on Him and become obsessed and passionate over the one who is intimately invested in you.

Dear Sadie.

"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, perfect, and pleasing will."  Romans 12:2

(P.S.  From the Jungle book, the title) :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day 107...Clueless

If there were just one lesson I could tell you that I have learned throughout the past three years of "staying home," it's the art of keeping my hands open to God.

Plan and schedule?  Make them, and then be willing to scratch it all out at a moment's notice.

Worry about the future?  Never fruitful.

I've labored a lot in this area.  I've messed up many times, but I kept coming out on the other end going, "I should have listened to You, God."

There is peace provision when life presents you with circumstances that are unclear, future unknown, next step uncertain, and yet you fully trust His capable Fathering.  You just tend to go, "Okay, let's roll." (to God) And when it doesn't work out the way you thought it might or had hoped, you say, "Thanks for keeping me from that Lord I don't know why you did, at the moment, but I'm glad I've got You!  Now, what next?"
And you wait.  And sometimes you wait, and wait, and wait, and wait.  And nothing happens.  Waiting can make you anxious and make you do things you regret.  But if you'll completely surrender to God and entrust your life to Him in the waiting, He'll take you on an adventure.  This doesn't mean there's a lack of doing, as if waiting means you're going La la la while being a bum at home.  You do have to be okay with the "not knowing" though.  That's the hardest part.  So what's the best part?  You have a Adventure Guide that's Outta This World!  He's trustworthy and true.  If you ask Him, He will give you what you need, when you need it, and even what you want, when you least expect it.  Trusting His faithfulness is the key to killing depression, anxiety, fear, and worry in your life.  You've got a Guide that will lead you into all truth. ) John 16:13) Trusting in His truth is the best possible place to plant yourself when you haven't a clue.

"Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse!  The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True..."  Revelation 19:11

Dear Sadie.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 106...Rambling Sadie

It was a long day.  A fun one, but a lot going on.  By the end of it, we were driving home, and you kept yourself awake by talking my ear off, as usual.

You're so nice like a mommy.

Max pooped a lot.

I didn't like the cherries.

I don't like this juice.

Let's talk about the beautiful world we have.  It's a beautiful world.  I like the trees, and the lights.  I like our van...

I love Jesus.  I want to see Him.

Jesus made Santa Claus.  He made his clothes like that and He made his big belly.

And on and on you went.  Until you got quiet....

Mommy, I'm too tired to talk....all the fun got me tired.

Dear Sadie.




Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 105...Drawing near

With those smiling eyes you gladden my heart.

With your tiny hand reaching for mine you draw me in.

Arms stretched out to embrace me, you come unashamedly for my love.

Calling out for me to play with you, be with you, sit by you, I answer and I come.

It makes me think of what Abba tells us His children about His promise:

"Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you."

I have always wondered about these words.  Why wouldn't God say it the other way around?  And does this mean He never comes near to us first?  I think there is enough evidence in the Bible, and the whole story of redemption, to prove that He has, and always will, drawn near.  He has wooed us, His bride, with His passionate love.

But on the flipside, there is this thing that a mom or a Father loves about being a parent, when a child wants her mom's presence.  When a baby needs his father's touch.  When a child desperately desires the Presence of an Almighty Father.  This beckoning moves the heart of God like none other.

I cannot express the gratitude that fills my heart when you reach for me, call to me, want me near.  It draws me in, and I am yours.  I can't help but think this might be what God was after in these James 4:11 words.  We come boldly to God, because He has made the way.  No pretension, no sacrifice, just confidence that we get to come sit on Daddy's lap, anytime we want.  (Heb4:16)  Not only that, He loves being loved.  Not that He's insecure in any way.  He is all sufficient like none other.  Yet He's our Father, with children He chose, and gave a choice to.  I have to believe that it moves His deeply whenever we choose Him back.

It's easy for you to want me and know you need me.  You're a child and you see me right in front of me.  It takes a little training of our spirit to know this kind of dependency on our Heavenly Father, too.  But He can be just as real and present if we let Him.  If we want Him.  And girl, do I ever want Him!

Dear Sadie.

"In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence."  Ephesians 3:12




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 104...Skittles


You play your 30 or so bows and barrettes spread across the dining room table as if they are characters in a small world all their own.

You line up ribbons on the floor and make up a story about what they're doing.

I rearrange my furniture and pictures and find a way to make our toy box look like the window bench seat I've been dreaming about, giving our house a fresh and new look.

You rearrange a collection of shells your grandparents brought you back from the beach.

We sit on the front porch upon a furry white blanket playing with Skittles: "Guess what color is in my hand and you get to eat it!"

When you don't have money to spend, you can't help but get creative.  And creative doesn't mean you're rushing to the craft store to buy feather and buttons and glue guns.  It's becoming content with less.  It's happening upon something and you find yourself enjoying.  If ever we do have the money to spend, we'll have fun doing those things, too.  But I hope we will always keep this art of fun close to our hearts.  It's where the good memories are made.

Treasures and joy are everywhere if you are looking.

Dear Sadie.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day 103...It Feels Like Christmas, Yes, in May

Yesterday we were watching the Muppets Christmas Carol. I should say you were watching.  Iwas sitting nearby with Titus, and in and out of the room a lot.  Why did we put a Christmas movie in?  Well, why not?!  Really, primarily, the reason for it was that you just discovered you now like the Muppets, where about 6-8 months ago they didn't hold your attention all that much. And we happen to own the VHS now, so we popped this one in to see our favorite fuzzy characters.  Secondly though, I have no problem thinking about Christmas throughout the year.  I'll occasionally put in a favorite Christmas CD; and I sing Silent Night and Away in a Manger to you two all of the time.  What better songs to fall asleep to, right?


While I was not completely tuned in to the show, the catchy tune really caught me, as catchy tunes have a way of doing.  It was, "It Feels Like Christmas."  I stopped and paid attention to the lyrics; it was hard not to.  


  
It's in the singing of a street corner choir
It's going home and getting warm by the fire
It's true
Wherever you find love
It feels like Christmas
A cup of kindness that we share with another
A sweet reunion with a friend or a brother
In all the places you find love
It feels like Christmas
It is the season of the heart
A special time of caring
The ways of love made clear
It is the season of the spirit
The message if we hear it
Is make it last all year
It's in the giving of a gift to another
A pair of mittens that were made by your mother
It's all the ways that we show love
That feel like Christmas
A part of childhood we'll always remember
It is the summer of the soul in December


I am quite sure the Muppets are not the only ones to ever wish the holiday could last all year long, and not just so we can sing carols or light trees or gather with family and eat yummy food.  It goes much deeper into our souls.  And you get where I'm going when you think about these lyrics, and combine them with how I feel about Jesus.  All the ones who wrote, sang, and relate to this song can probably admit it: we all want those feelings to last, right? 


This may come across as a side-rant, but I'll go there anyways.  As I've said before, sometimes I feel like the "religious" traditions we keep around the holiday actually fall short of capturing the "magic" He puts in hearts all year round.  If I'm being honest, this is probably why I gravitate towards the secular side of the holiday, even as a Christian, because it's there that we're not really trying all that heart to "fit" Him in.  It's the feelings described in this song that really get us excited at this season, is it not?  And He is the underlying message, for a lot of us, so it's not hard to see Him in our traditions.  But I have no problem making Christmas about gifts and food and celebration and the nostalgia of childhood. I think those traditions of what we call "secular" sometimes bring us more joy and reflect Jesus' love and work in our lives even more than some of the religious activities we sometimes force upon ourselves.  Okay, enough of that spiel.

These lyrics capture my heart, how Jesus is to me, all of the time.  Even in the entirely pagan sense, having nothing to do with God, some non-religious people will admit they feel this song for all of its qualities they share.  Who doesn't want the season to last?  Well, for me, it just does with Him!  There's no other way I can put it more simply than that!  


The longing in my spirit I feel for Jesus, the deep yearning I have, and the sense of excitement He allows me; I get to have Christmas every day with Him.  It thrills me to know that holidays can awaken this desire in people, pagan or not.  But it also makes me want to share Jesus even more, because He without-a-doubt fulfills the essence of Christmas in their longing spirits.  




Now in thinking about the lyrics: the warmth, and singing, and the sense of home we all long for; all found in Him.  The finding and showing love; He is the ultimate Lover.  The part of our childhood we never want to lose; He awakens the child within each one of us.  He provides the cup of kindness we share with one another, every day.  Right now, today, in May, and every month.  Tis the season of the heart, the season of the spirit, the summer of the soul.  Whenever our hearts become redeemed, being restored now as we go along, we realize just how good this life with Him truly is.  It's what moves and drives my heart.  I'm so glad I don't have to wait until Christmas to find love and peace and warmth and home. And boy does it feel good to be a giddy kid!  As silly as that sounds.  


Thank you, Muppets!  And thank you, Christmas, for capturing the longing in our hearts for more.


Dear Sadie.






Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 102...i miss people

not that I don't love you and your brother....and not that you doubt that, either.

but i just realized today that i officially just miss people.

i know that sounds silly.

i was talking to the worker in claire's boutique today.  you, me and titus were out doing a little wandering and admiring.  i told the manager that we were just out having some fun, and then i said it out loud, "i just miss people."  she laughed and said that's exactly why she could never stay at home.  she loves her kids, but being around them 24-7 would drive her crazy.  i guess when i think of it, i'd be crazy like that too, but GOD is showing me a new way to enjoy life now.

here's a shocker: people need people!

i know i've thought about it a lot lately, and even shared it with you.  i love this season i'm in.  i'm writing through it, partly to stay sane, and partly to process, and partly to love you, and partly just to connect with anyone who may read my letters.  connecting is so vital to life.  writing makes me feel like i can use it in ways to connect with people, in a way i may not ever connect in any other way.  connecting: it gives us life to touch lives with others.

you are my world.  you and your brother, i love spending time with you.  i was watching you today at the park, how you lit up when you spotted your sibling just a few feet away, climbing the rock climbing wall; you jogged over to see him.  it just made my heart light to see you enjoying simplicity.  i wouldn't trade this time for anything.  i just have to be a little more creative and intentional about connecting with people.  i love that GOD is using this time in my life to remind me how beautiful HIS people are; and by people i even mean people in general, everybody! not just my own peeps, as wonderful as you are!  how special of a creation we are, above all other creation.  how unique of beings we are.  and the power that is put in us to bring about HIS kingdom on earth, spreading love and truth everywhere we go.  it's amazing.  and i am learning all this with the lesson of the "without" because i feel so held back and not in connection with many people at all, and yet when i get a chance i think i might just explode!

i pray i can keep pressing through this difficult, messy and glorious path i am on, glean whatever i can that will help me spread HIS good news wherever i go whenever i can.  i want to enjoy the journey and not just the destination, as they say.  the grass is definitely greener here when you stop and look.  i have so much to be thankful for.

Dear Sadie.

"each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms" 1 Peter 4:10

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 101...Life is full of boo boos

We were driving home the other night from the bookstore where you hurt yourself.  You'll remember from a few letters ago about how you tripped while running in your flip flops and went flying across the floor.  You were completely fine on the way home, but we were having a conversation about pain and injuries and what we affectionately like to call "boo boos."

I was explaining to you, "Life is full of boo boos, Sadie."

"Why?  I don't want it to be,"  you said.

"I know, Sweetie.  But that's the way it is.  God didn't want it to be like that originally, and there won't be any boo boos in heaven when we're with Him forever."

"Yeah, cause we don't need there to be hard stuff and sharp things," you said.

"No, that's right.  We don't like to get hurt.  But Jesus died so that all of our boo boos would all go away.  He died and rose again so that we would have no boo boos anymore, on our bodies, or on our hearts."

Thinking, you said, "But our hearts don't get boo boos."

"Well, they do.  If you think about it, when your feelings are hurt, that's what it means to get a boo boo on your heart.  So He died on the cross to take away all the bad stuff for us.  Isn't that great?"

"Uh huh."  And then you went on to say something about Jesus getting a big boo boo on the cross, and I can't remember what else was said, but we talked for awhile.

These conversations are always so meaningful to me.  It builds my faith up as much as I know it builds yours.

I pray the Lord is sowing truth in you, even if I screw it up sometimes.  I pray He uses me to impart Godly wisdom and understanding and revelation to you. And, I have to pray, no more boo boos for my Sadie!!! :)

Dear Sadie.

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, our glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better."  Ephesians 1:17

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 100...Desperate Housewife

Dear Sadie,
When you're at home, and your only job is being a housewife and mother, it's a little easy to be consumed by it.  Okay, a lot easy.  I mean, you are pretty much focused on these four walls and everything happening within them, or not happening, or what you're missing out on "out there."  The meals, the discipline, the cleaning, the activities, the playing, the kid shows.  You're hounded by questions all day long, "Am I teaching her enough?"  "Is he getting enough attention?"  "What can I get done in this little window of a break?"  "How can I get my children to eat better?  Eat more?  Enjoy eating?"  So much stuff to rattle the brain, and yet it's just the life you're living!  There's very little escape from it though, and it consumes you if you're not careful.  You don't have an hour lunch break to unwind.  You don't have a 30-minute drive to or from work to gear yourself or unwind.  There's very little time to gain refocus, pray, be separate of your "work" enough to recharge and re-energize.

I was thinking that this is like no other job in the world, yet it is just like every other job in the world at the same time.  And for those who think it's not a job or work, they're just plain wrong in their thinking.  I'll be nice. :)

It's like no other job because you are raising your own kids.  No one can say that except an actual mom or dad who has chosen to stay home with their kids.  (I actually don't think I chose this life; I pretty much think it chose me.  I'm so glad though.  As ambitious as I am, and as much as I loved teaching, I don't think this would have happened to me other than through circumstances.  Thank you, Lord. One of these days I'm going to have to move on to another job, possibly even very soon, and I'm going to miss this blessing of a season.)  

It's like every other job in the world, on the other hand, because everyone is tempted to think that what they "do" in life, mainly, their job, is what defines them.  I think that is where the consumption comes in.  That, and we expel so much of our time and energy on the "job," and leave so little else for anything else.

It's easy, for moms who stay home in particular, to lose oneself in the work.  Kids take so much out of us.  That, and we love them so much that we willingly give of ourselves to the nth degree, sometimes to an unhealthy degree.  I've been aware of this for some time now, but still I've only been a mom just under four years.  These are hard lessons to learn, and relearn: priorities...identity.  I'm a child of God first; a wife second; a mom, third.  How is most of me spent throughout my day?  Mom first.  I hate to admit it, but it's true.  Mostly my intentions are good.  But if I dwell in this place of exhausting myself for my family, and have nothing left to give the Lord, have I done anyone any good?

I can't tell you all the secrets, at least not yet. ;)

I sincerely hope I can live out the priorities I believe with my heart, Sadie.  Keep me in line, will you? :)

Love,
Mommy

"You shall have no other gods before me" Exodus 20:3

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Day 99...Like a child

Dear Sadie,
Tonight at the dinner table, you said something that just stopped your daddy and I in our tracks.  It was so simple, but so profound because it came from YOU!

Daddy was making a comment about his shoes being so bad for work and how sore his feet were after a long day on them.  I think he even had one up on his knee and was rubbing it, but I'm not sure.  That's when you were so quick to respond with, "That's okay.  Just pray about it."

Just like that.  It's incredible how a few tiny words from a tiny person can impact you.  It's hard for me to remember sometimes that you are just three.  You're surely an "old soul" as they say, or else just wise beyond your years.  I say anointed...from the mouth of babes.  Simple truth, but timely and childlike...and full of Jesus.

I'm glad we're sowing these seeds into you.  Prayer.  Trust.  Faith.

But I'm even more excited that you are sowing back into us.  Thank you, Lord!

Love,
Mommy

"The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (children) "  Matthew 19:14

(5.14.12)

Day 98...Nightmare before Mother's Day

Dear Sadie,
Tonight was another one of my not-so-shining moments as a mom....and right before Mother's Day, too!  After a lovely day with my mom and dad today, I decided to venture out to pick up a present at Barnes & Noble.  I tried Books a Million earlier that day, but they didn't have the specialized autobiographical journal that I really wanted to get for my mom for Mother's Day.  So we made the drive out there at 7:15 this evening.  By 7:25 you were passed out.  I thought Good, then she can get a little nap in.  This might actually be good timing, because if we really head home right now, she might really fight me if I wake her up in ten minutes, but if I go another twenty in the car, she'll be energized enough for a walk through the bookstore and a visit with Daddy at Newk's next door.  Okay, so I thought.  I started to think I should listen to the little voice in my head that said Nah, it's better not to push the kids tonight.  They're really tired.  You're going to regret it.  But no.  I had to doubt that little voice and go with the one that said I really needed to get this gift for my mom and it couldn't wait.  Pushing through traffic, I noticed gray clouds moving in up ahead, especially covering the area right where we were headed.  Oh, great.  I started to dream about the evening cup of coffee I will treat myself to for the long night I feel I am getting myself into.  Meanwhile, you were conked out, mouth hanging open, off in dreamland.  Titus was perky as as a hamster, admiring all of the trucks and big cars his little eyes could find.  Maybe this will turn out to be a success after all, I hope to myself.  The rain started pouring down.  We eventually pulled into the parking lot between Barnes & Noble and Newk's, and I thought about how convenient it was that we could kill two birds with one stone.  I would later be thinking about how great it would have been to skip both birds and call it a night.

I turned off the car and passed Titus a book, hoping also to pass a little time and add a few more valuable power-nap minutes for you.  Titus lasted maybe ten minutes with a book, a car, and a segment of a DVD.  Not bad, I thought.  Putting my own book down, I began to wake you up as gently and cheerfully as possible, hoping to avoid any cries of outrage.  From experience, I knew I would either wake up a sweet little angel with a peaceful hi and a smile, or the alternate Grouch from Dreamville crying "Noooo!"  The wide-eyes and the look around you spoke to me...It's the Grouch.  Several thrashes were your attempts to go back to sleep.  Titus got more and more anxious to get out, so I felt I needed to bite the bullet.  We came all this way, and I better stay committed no matter what.  I began to talk you into how fun it would be, what we were going to do, where we were going, etc.  Next, I pulled you out of the van in the rain, trying desperately to even keep your flip flops on you.  I grabbed Titus around the other side and ran you both to the sidewalk by the store, trying not to get us all too wet.  Of course, there was no covering until we're actually in the store.  What a way to wake up.  You were whining like crazy, "Nooo...", "Nooo..."  Nervously I'm thinking, What am I doing here?  Have I gone mad?  This is torturous!  Not just for Sadie, but for me, too!   Still trying to convince myself that everything was going to be okay, I got us into the store.  We weren't too wet, thankfully. Still pouting and on the verge of a major meltdown, you were barely even awake.  I desperately grabbed a book on animals in the doorway, thinking anything of interest to you could distract you from the horrible wake-up you  just experienced.  But you instead dropped the book and started crying.  I scooped you both up as quickly as I could and trotted over to the Starbucks inside the store, plopping you at a table.  Trying to sound not at all frazzled, I turn to you, "I know what you'll like, Sadie....How about a chocolate milk?"  You agreed.  Yes, finally a ray of hope.  The whining finally stopped; Mommy got her coffee; Titus was ecstatic about his trip chocolate chunk cookie, which we all shared; you were quieted by the sweet, chocolate milk. Again the voice, this chocolate is going to keep them up all night!  What am I doing!  Too late.  Stay committed to the mission.

Everyone is happy...temporarily.

This whole time I was thinking I really wish I had the stroller in the van...of all the times I needed it.  And I really can't hold a diaper bag, too, so I'll pray we don't have any messes and hope we can get by without it.  Right away I tried the journal section and immediately I was chasing down Titus from going this way and that way.  Ugh, I can't find one I like...and I came all this way for nothing?!  Titus had remembered the "choo choo" in the kids' section and was determined to get there with or without me. "Choo choo!  Choo choo!"  Okay.  I gave in and thought we could get that out of the way and when you kids got tired of playing we could come back and look again for the journal.  The first ten or fifteen minutes were actually relaxing at the train table.  Titus happily pushed trains; you read books; I sipped coffee while reading books.  Suddenly a feeling came over me that I knew would send us all through the roof.  I had to go to the bathroom.  Not the kind you could hold for an hour, the kind that warned, You better go now before it's too late. I decided to whisper a five-minute warning: "Mommy has to go, so we're all going to stop reading and playing and go to the bathroom in just a little bit.  Then we will come back, I promise.  You don't want Mommy to have an accident in her pants!" I kid (but not really).  You smiled up at me thinking Silly, Mommy.  I thought, Okay, this could actually go okay.  Maybe she'll be cooperative with the early warning, and she won't punish me for keeping her up passed her bedtime, or waking her up from her late-evening nap. Think again, ever-optimistic one.

Finally, I couldn't wait another minute and decided to gather the troops, hoping for the best.  Titus fussed, understandably, as I pulled him away from his very favorite toys (remember, no stroller to confine the wiggle-monkey).  Thankfully, he gave in to my arms fairly easily. Then it was your turn, but immediately you turned into a raging teenager-wannabe.  Embarrassed, I tried calmly yet sternly to sway you in my direction, trying not to make a scene to onlookers who were thinking, Oh dear.  "I'm coming!!!"  you yelled.  After several fairly patient coaxes, I tried the whole walk away and hope that she follows -tactic.  That's when things got really ugly.  Carrying Titus, who, yep, dirtied his diaper like I had feared, I walked around the corner, checking behind me to see if you were coming.  Sure enough, you came, but upset with me still, especially that I was hurrying you using the dreaded tactic, you came darting towards me as if to say, "See!  I'm coming!"  I'm sad to say, your poor little flip flops just didn't cooperate with this sentiment.  As if things weren't already bad enough with poopy-Titus and about-to-explode-me, you tripped and soared through the air, skidding across the glossy wood floors.  I panicked.  The way you landed and immediately burst into tears felt to me like a trip to the ER was about to take place.  As I tried scooping you up, Titus, of course, headed out of the kids section in a flash.  I left you to snatch him, thinking Really?  No one can stop to help a poor, panicking lady and a screaming, hurting child? ... I'm going to have to go to the ER now because I wouldn't listen to the voice in my head?  I knew this was a bad idea!!  I checked you out, seriously thinking you had broken a bone or something by the way you were crying.  Judging by the marks on the back of your upper arm, it looked to me like you were going to be okay.  Shock and surprise and pain fueled those tears.  Still I was amazed that not one person stepped in to help.  The wood floors had given you a pretty bad red burn and bruise, but thankfully that was all.  With all of my guilt and embarrassment, the bathroom still called my name, and I managed to carry both you and Titus across the colossal book store.  I guess everyone just thought you were another out-of-control kid.  Granted, many of them probably heard your protests prior to the spill, so probably they thought that was all part of the commotion, trying to "tune out" as we parents are so good at doing.  Nonetheless, I tried my best to put it all behind me and focus on the tasks at hand: finding relief, calming you down, and keeping Titus contained.  Crammed in the tiniest space imaginable (the one for the wheelchairs was conveniently a smothered, nasty mess), I finally get to go while we chat about what had just happened, all while Titus was rattling the door and hitting the walls for entertainment.  By this time you had fully recovered and even felt sorry for what happened.  You talked about how you were now like Alice from the movie with the boo boo on your arm just like her.  I tried to keep Titus from pulling at your arms and tickling you while I finished my business.  But the chocolate was surely kicking in by this point, because all he wanted to do was jump up and down and find anything to put his hands on, particularly my toilet.  What else could go wrong here!   I did manage to keep him out of the water, but come on!  Thankfully, he was happy, although wired like a two week-old puppy.  Coming out of the restroom, we noticed a friend sitting in the big comfy chairs.  A Godsend, really.  She helped me watch you kids while I picked out a journal I was fairly happy with.  We finally head to the car to change Titus' diaper, rain falling on my back while I'm leaning in, Titus lying on the floor of the van.  I was beyond ready at this point to strap kids in and speed home in the rain, but no.  Now we had to see Daddy.  You were already at this point whining about getting in there to Newk's, and Daddy was expecting it.  I was just so glad you had forgotten about my promise to head back to the kids' section prior to the fall.  I really wanted to skip Newk's, but I really didn't want to have another battle.  Plus, I really kind of needed a hug from my hubby at this point.  He was so happy to see his family.  And we were happy to see him and get hugs, even though I felt like someone should slap a "bad mommy" sticker on my forehead by this point.  The next 30 minutes of grilled cheese and milk went fairly smoothly.  Who am I kidding?  You kids bounced on the seats and played under the table while I hurried you to eat and let's go.  Luckily, at that time of night, not many customers were around to be annoyed and cast unapproving stares.   On any other night, I wouldn't have allowed this to take place.  But all I could think of at this point was, What should I expect, really? 

All of this for a thoughtful Mother's Day gift?  I'm thinking How ironic.  The night before Mother's Day, I'm trying to beat the odds to pick out a gift for my mother, and here I am shining my true colors as a mom.

I'm reminded of how things can get when we put our agenda over the needs of our children.  I call myself ambitious, but sometimes that's a actually a guise for foolish.  This is one of many wake-up calls I have had as a mom; little awakenings to the little voice I know is the Holy Spirit trying to help me walk in peace if I'll only obey.  It's a memory I hope to remember those days when I get a little prideful of my mothering and think too highly of myself.  A night I will remind myself of when I am tempted to ignore the voice and go down a path of my own.

So now the word is out.  I'm not perfect!  I have my share of horror stories.  I hope not to compile too many to share with you down the road.  But I know you know this by now.  I'm not perfect.  But I am so glad to report I am not trying to be.  Sometimes I take risks, and they end up being fun.  But other times my disobedience gets the better of me and I fail miserably.  You will too.  I wish you could learn from my mistakes, but unfortunately I know you have to have your own battles to learn from.  At least I could give you a good laugh.  Thank the Lord that He is so merciful and gracious and compassionate, and can laugh when necessary.

Love,
Mommy

"My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me."  John 10:27


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 97...Playing it Safe

Dear Sadie,
Today I had this idea floating through my head in the shower, and I don't know yet if it's from the Lord, but I thought I'd share it with you.


God did not play it safe when He created us.  Neither should we play it safe when living for Him.
Creating for Him.  Loving for Him.  Serving for Him.  
      Live boldy.
           Take risks.
                 Love fiercely.
                      Be courageous.
You might even say they He took a chance with us, and the plan failed. Genesis 6:6 does say that He was sorry that He made made on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. We know that God is omnipotent and omniscient, all powerful and all all knowing.  But, did He still take a chance with us, knowing He'd fulfill "Plan B" with Jesus' ultimate sacrifice of love and victory of life?  Yes.  Did He know we would sin, and create us anyways in love, knowing there would be a great price to pay and lots of pain and destruction to come of it?  Yes.  He is the Courageous One.  Yet, He put His Spirit together with ours when we believe on Him.  He is the One who loved fiercely and gave His live fearlessly.  We without a doubt owe Him earth-shattering, fearless faith moves only God could empower us to do.  Whatever life brings, I hope we can take steps in the danger zones, knowing that God is before us around us and in us.  After all, He gave us His life.  What's more dangerous than that?


Love,
Mommy


"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?"  Psalm 118:6, Hebrews 13:6

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 96...I've got it all!

Dear Sadie,
You know those verses, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."  Philippians 4:11-12
Let me first say that my "in want" is no where near the devastating times Paul faced.  It feels silly to even apply these verses when I cannot say I have or will ever have gone through what he went through.  Despite that, I still know God wants me to learn this  "secret of being content."  Perhaps to prepare me for more?  Maybe to show me what I really want or need is not what I am really wanting at the moment?  Whatever the case may be, I am starting to get at it.

I am not sure exactly how it is happening, my gently uncovering of this secret, for I don't think I could speak about it, teach it, or even share it even if I tried.  I struggle even to write you about it.  I just want you to know that there is a secret of contentment that comes from a knowing Paul talks about, "I know what it is to be in need...and...have plenty."  He's been there!  He's lived both sides of the coin.  It's a lesson you learn by being there.  So even though my state is nothing like that of Paul's, I can still relate because I am human, and we go through places and times similar though different.  How many times you will here--"Trust me!  I've been there!"  So yes, we all have desires and hopes.  We all dream up things.  We all have needs.

I'm trying, however failing a lot, to be here.  The wants don't seem to go away.  I'm not even sure they're supposed to.  I'm thinking it's more of the inner peace and joy that comes when you have the wants, but you're not moved by them in any negative sort of way.  What I mean is, you don't get depressed when you are thinking, "Hmm...I'd really like that" or "How are we ever going to keep up these payments at this rate?"  or "We really should be eating ramyan noodles every day...but ugh!" or "Why did I just buy that?  We can't afford it."

I pass through my house a lot.  Duh...It's where I spend 90% of my time.  Inside these walls I daily envision what I would like to put here or put there.  I daydream creating a house with designs and color and a "look" I sometimes think will never be achieved because frankly, it costs money!  Right now I'd feel lavished if I could just go pick up new socks for you kids, or put a real set of blinds on the door-window in our bedroom instead of the old curtain we shut in the door, or  pick out a real and cute basket for our shoes instead of the laundry one we have now.  Silly things.  Luxurious things.  I imagine we have a bold-colored outdoor rug for the back deck for you kids to sit and play on, cushions to go all the way around our sitting bench, a big umbrella for shade, and hanging baskets full of colorful flowers splashing over the sides.  I'd put rockers with tables on our wonderful front porch, a table and chairs on the upstairs porch.  I'd love a sandbox in the backyard, and new carpet upstairs without any stains.  Decorative cushions on our dining room table chairs.  It's hard to live and not see things how you'd want them to be.  It's hard not living in a state of waiting...waiting for the day when you can buy those shoes or have plenty of fresh vegetables that cost too much.  The key is....can you dream and not be discontent?  That is the question.

Paul closes his statements in this passage with "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

Okay, so maybe I do know the key.  Paul says it's CHRIST.  Jesus is the key.  He is the secret to our contentment.  How does He become our contentment?  That is the secret you will learn if you so desire.
He will show you.  That's all I can say in this short letter.

I am not sure if we'll ever know what it is to "have plenty" although I know that by much of the world's standards, I already do have plenty.  I am not sure if we'll ever truly be "in want" as many people unfortunately experience their whole lives.  But I am sure of this: with Christ we lack nothing.

So we can de-clutter, clean out, rearrange our stuff, and start fresh with the one simple truth,

Christ satisfies every thirst and hunger we will ever have.

It's pretty much that simple, and I thank God that it is.  If only I could live this truth out more.

Love,
Mommy

"for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things" Psalm 107:9

5.9

Day 95...The Bubble

Dear Sadie,
So I've got you kids in bed, candles are lit, my Meiko channel on Pandora in the background, and I'm ready to write.  I'm ready to step outside the "bubble" for a minute, as if that's even possible.  I'm starting to think of this life season as a bubble.  It's a fun and interesting changing shapes and colors, but one thing remains the same, it's round and enclosed and I can't get out.  Once in awhile when someone, like tonight, let's me get out "on my own," I feel like the whole trip to and from Kroger I'm coming out of my alien-like state.  I try to look the man on the bread aisle in the eyes and force a casual smile.  I breathe and attempt small-talk with the cashier.  By the time I'm heading back to my car I might feel like a normal person again.  Then I go back to my bubble.

It's nice in here.  That's because I've declared it a blessed bubble.  I'm no dummy.  I know we have it good. My Father is just that good.  But I have my days, as we all do.  Most people don't have any idea what happens inside the bubble.   Sometimes that's the part that's the hardest.  He sees though.

They don't know about the silly songs we make up about trash and diapers and grapes and suds in the bath.  They don't see us touch noses, and they don't see me tear up when you say such sweet things to my heart.  I don't get to touch people outside much besides those inside my bubble, you and our boys.  I escape out a window once in awhile, meet a friend or, like tonight, go to the grocery store without my bubble buddies.

But I've come to accept this bubble in this time and space.  It's cozy and hard and I'm learning a lot.  I'm watching you grow.  I'm taking it all in, as I'm told to do quite often, "They grow up fast!"  Sometimes I push against the wall of the bubble; I long for something different.  But then I realize it's useless, and God reminds me, "Everything's okay."  I think how hard it would be to go back to work.  Work a job and then come home and do all this!?  My heart goes out to those moms who do it "all."  Crazy-overwhelming to think of it.

I'm thankful for the bubble; this short story I am living in.  I know it's going to pop one day and I'm going to miss the small, confined space where we stared at each other all day, looking for ways to entertain ourselves, laughing together, sometimes bored, sometimes slamming doors, tickling till the hiccups start, making messes, making memories.  You guys are going to grow big and tall and hit your heads at the top of the bubble and it will burst all of a sudden.  I am going to say, "Hey, what just happened?  What now!?"

I hope I don't fall and hurt myself.

You guys will be fine.  You'll create your own bubbles.

I love you my little bubble buddy.

Love,
Mommy

(5.8)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Day 94...retreat

Dear Sadie,
One of the biggest challenges I've had with staying in tune with God, while at the same time devoting so much of myself to being a wife and a mother while not losing myself in the process, is finding that time of escape in my day to be alone with Him.  So tonight, I'm going to say this as briefly as I can, so that I can get to bed at a decent time.  I desperately need more time to retreat and pray.  Tomorrow I am going to set my alarm to go into my closet and be with Jesus for a set amount of time.  I hope to come out glowing!  I just want to tell Him that it is possible for me to follow through, I know it is.  And I am sorry for not making our fellowship more intentional and separate from the whispered prayers and songs throughout my day.  I don't have to let so many other things pull me in different directions.  I'm setting a goal, and that is that tomorrow I will go into my closet to be with the Lord, before anyone gets out of bed.  Hopefully I will not fall asleep in there.  I do not want to make a ritual I can't keep.  I just want a date.  Since I don't have a mountainside, the closet will have to do.  Or maybe the swinging bench on my upstairs porch.  Either way.  What's important is, He will be there with me.  I am excited.  I am learning, Sadie.  I am learning.
Love,
Mommy

"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." Luke 5:16

Day 93...You bother my fun!

Dear Sadie,
My poor baby girl.  While you love holding your children when they're sick, you sure do hate to see them suffer.  You fought me today on letting you play outside with Titus, but moms know best and have to make you rest at times.  Today you were so mad you spun around and yelled, 'You do that again and you're going to get...a...POP!"  Whoa.  I remained calm.  Of course I let you know this wasn't acceptable, but it's pretty easy to show you're not threatened by a three year-old frustrated and tired by strep throat, a fever, and sore feet from inflamed rashes.  Besides all that, you might be stubborn and have a mouth on you at times, but I still love you.  Like the other day, I can't remember what it was I had to keep you from at the moment, but you were mad and expressed it, "You are NOT the best mommy in the world....You just bother my fun!"
I'm glad you spring back like a rubber band though.  Those emotions come quickly, but they leave just as quickly too, and I'm so thankful for that!  We have a lot of opportunities for grace and forgiveness in our house! :)
You're learning and you're testing, and I like that about my spunky girl. All us daughters do it as some point with our mothers.  It's just part of life.  If you have a daughter someday, I'm sure she'll test you the same.  Just try not to laugh when she does.
Jesus' health to you, baby girl.
Love,
Mommy




5.7.12

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 92...a clean house

Dear Sadie,
My Grandma June, (your great grandma) had a plaque up on her wall that said, "A CLEAN HOUSE IS A SIGN OF A MISSPENT LIFE"
I'd like that plaque on my wall today, please!

Right now everyone but me has been fast asleep for a couple of hours.  We have about a hundred small toys spilled all over the living room floor, clean clothes in a heap, and pillows spread out all over the place from you kids.  Basically you can hardly walk in the living room.  The bottom of the stairs is filled with stuff to be put away.  The dining room table has a basket of cleaning supplies that have been sitting there since I cleaned out the bathroom cabinet upstairs five days ago, plus other random items.  The kitchen sink is overflowing with dirty dishes.  The washer has clean wet clothes in it.  Need I go on?

I guess we are spending our lives well!  I have been on a mini-vacation with you kids this week....going, going, going.  Every night a different event.  It's been great fun for me having such variety!  I have tried not to think about the mess I had to come home to.  When we came home tonight, my cleaning plans were interrupted by your sudden fever and belly ache, poor girl.  Now that you're slightly better and sleeping like the rest of the family, I sit at my computer writing you, looking up at the sea of chaos before me.  And you know what?  I'm not even threatened by it.  This is life!  Tomorrow is another day! Right now, I enjoy.

Mom, can I have the plaque now??

Love,
Mommy

5.6

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Day91...Get Lost

Dear Sadie,
Spontaneity.  Make space for it.  Make room in your heart for the unplanned and unexpected.  It will be part of the pathway to your freedom.

Last night your granddaddy suggested at a moment's notice that we should all pile in and visit your daddy at Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on his last night of work.  My heart was delighted, because I love spontaneity, and I really wanted to go see your dad at work one more time before the great transition and the new adventure began.  I felt like I needed to say good-bye too, as Menchie's has been a "part of the family" for nearly two years now.

But spontaneity isn't really what I had in mind to talk to you about today.  It's more about transformation and expectations in life.  I never expected to be the wife of a manager.  I did expect to have kids, and I expected to be a wife.  I expected to be 110 pound and eat whatever I wanted forever.  I did not expect to be the carefree one, willing to let anything happen to her that needed to happen.  I was the one who had her life planned and held on to self-discipline and determination to fulfill lifelong goals.  Your daddy was the one with the tattoo and the deep-end trip to Colorado of partying and snowboarding.  I expected to have time to play the piano every day of my life, and do whatever I wanted.  I had always imagined teaching in a classroom, or writing a children's book, working in a foreign land with people of darker complexion, holding hands in a playful circle with children of big, toothy grins.  You have dreams when you are a child, and sometime those dreams come true.  Sometimes they take time to happen.  Or they may never manifest at all.  The story unfolds as you go.  That is the adventure. 

Monday daddy will start a new chapter for us at a restaurant closer to home.  An answer to prayer came when our hearts had been yearning for change for some time.  With a brief phone call, I knew our long-awaited answer had come in.  And now Menchie's is gone, and Newk's is here.  Did I imagine any of this as a child?  No.  Am I in love with my husband and want to support him on his journey?  That, my daughter, is where I feel the adventure.  What I dream up in my imagination may or may not ever come to pass.  What will be absolutely fulfilling though, is when I surrender my heart to the Lord and let His peace flow in my wherever the wind blows our sails.  That's adventure.  That's peace.  I hope you will come to know that kind of life.  A life when you can let go of your plans, your expectations, and say, "Jesus, You are enough."

Advent is the hope of the second coming.  Jesus' coming.  Adventure is where we get this word of advent.  Jesus came first and will come again, in the spirit of adventure.  That is what life is like with Jesus.  It is never dull.  Life is never boring with Jesus.  It is colorful, passionate, and whimsical with Jesus.  I cannot wait to see how He uses your gifts and your heart for His kingdom.  Dream big dreams, and let His wind carry you on.  Have expectations, but let the Lord take You where He wants you.  It's fantastic.

Love,
Mommy

"Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."  Matthew 16:25

Get lost in Jesus...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 90...Neither here nor there

Dear Sadie,
Sometimes I just want to shudder at how I sometimes put labels or categories into my life...most often, spiritual vs. unspiritual.  It is true that doing the laundry is not your typical spiritual activity.  But what I am realizing more and more is....it can be!  And why is it?  And should it be?
                                               
My thoughts on the matter begin with the fact that we are spiritual beings!  God, the Spirit, created us in His own image.  And we who are alive spiritually, who have Jesus to make us born again, should keep in mind that all we are doing in these bodies are spiritual acts, whether we realize it or not, because we are spirits doing them!  So this sort of changes my mind about the gospel even!  The good news of Jesus Christ is that He has redeemed us through His death and resurrection, and so through faith in Him, we now are changed, awakened to life, becoming like Him, to live with Him forever! That's it in a nutshell!  We are now free from sin and condemnation and can walk by His Spirit imprinted on ours.  So now, moments like doing the dishes, or putting my baby to sleep at the end of the day, are sacred!  If I look hard enough, everything can matter to the Father.  Oh how this will cure my wandering spirit!  My boredom!  My lackluster!  My ingratitude!  My malcontent!  How I need to remember this and let it resonate in my deep.  Everything is spiritual because God is in ME!  He is all around me and in heaven too, but He is also in me!  Oh, Lord, renew my mind so that I can meditate on this and truly live it out!  Everything I do truly matters, because of what You've done, because You've created me for more!

I started out this letter with the words labels and categories because I see us as Christians walking through doors.  We walk in this door to have our "quiet time."  Then we come out of that room and go through another door to clean house.  Then coming away from that space and time, we call a friend, or go to church, or pay our bills, or dust the fans, or feed the dogs, or go to "work," or.....  We know there's the stuff, and then there's dessert and passion.  There's things we "have" to do, and there are things we "want" to do, and there are things we "ought" to be doing out of duty and yet we don't, and so on.  How do we get out of this matrix of compartmentalizing?  I know I want out!  It is something I am learning, but the common thread to all we do is the Peace and Presence of the LORD with us.  Emmanuel.  Prince of Peace.  I Am.  He is with us.  And not just when we're doing something "spiritual," but when we are in tune with His Spirit in and around us.  He never leaves us.  Kind of scary when you think about it!  Also, a real fact.  Scripture tells us.  So how does that impact or change my life?  If I continue to let Him increasingly have His way, let Him all the way in, I believe those walls and doors will start to fall down to the ground, one by one.  I also believe I will have more impact for His kingdom, because whatever I am doing, I will be seeing it as an opportunity for worship, for making Him known, ministry, or simply loving my Maker, thankful for His grace and mercy towards me.  Lord help us to see with your spiritual eyes all that is before us.  Let the stuff of this life be, moment by moment, opportunities for eternity to break in and steal the show.

Love,
Mommy

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, give thanks to God the Father through Him."  Colossians 3:17

Day 89...Don't be afraid to get dirty!

Dear Sadie,
I have never been one with a "green thumb" as they say.  Is this something you're born with?  Every plant I've ever owned has died, and fairly quickly at that, undoubtedly because of me.  There's so many things you have to know...how much water, how much sunlight, how often they need to be watered.  Actually, that's not very many things to learn, now is it?  So why can't I keep them alive?  Is there some green thumb gene I'm missing out on?  But somehow, the ability has to be down in me somewhere.  I think it has more to do with love (you have to first want the thing to survive because you like it), self-discipline, and attentiveness.  Because really, couldn't we all find out the basic needs of a plant, and simply follow through with them?  Or is there some magical quality we need to possess?  I happen to think it is more that a plant just needs someone who cares enough to attend to its needs, and then determines  in his/her mind to set aside the time to tend to it.  That'd probably be my best guess at the answer.
Well, today I'm kicking this idea that I can't be any good with gardening, ever, to the curb.  It's official.  Now that we  have made the decision to stay in this house, the house we love and have been so blessed to possess, I decided today, "No more excuses!"  I'm going to take care of the landscape around the house, bed by bed, weed by weed.  And so today I tackled the only real flower bed we have in the front yard.  While Titus was sleeping, I raked and soaked this dirt bed, preparing to yank all of the pesky Bermuda grass that has taken over the area. After discovering a massive colony of ants hiding in there, I waited until a few thousand escaped, and went to pulling weeds, brushing them off my hands, feet and legs as I went.  After playing with the hose and sliding down our "water slide" for a couple of hours, you went down for a much-needed nap with no fuss, and I woke Titus up from his nap to come play outside with me (he slept a good three hours!).  I showed him all the green things we were pulling out, trying to get him to attempt to help Mommy.  It felt so good to work hard, especially at something so very dirty!  And Georgia clay is nasty, too!  It occurred to me, what if I was afraid to get dirty?  I'd never get this done!  Ants and all, I kept at it.  Titus, after getting his hands completely oranged-out, understandably decided it was a little too messy for a one year-old, so he went to playing with the shovel and talking about trucks driving by.  He enjoyed just being outdoors with Mommy and needed no entertainment or task.  I just kept thinking about how good it felt to put a little sweat into getting this flower bed prepared for some fresh new flowers.  I've done a little bit of this before in previous years, but this season just felt different.  It felt as though I was investing more heart and soul.  As tedious as it was, and as dirty as it was, it felt good to accomplish something messy and laborious.  With clay staining my clothes, and mud up under my fingernails, I knew the end result would be well worth the work, and I was thankful for the muscle work out I was getting, too!

I was just reminded today that just as with anything in life, it pays to be willing to get dirty at times.  If we are not careful, laziness can get a grip on us, and we suddenly find ourselves not wanting to get uncomfortable for any reason at all.  If being comfortable is all we are after, then we miss out on the honorable and deeply rewarding parts of life.  It's a pointless fight, striving to take it easy.  I'd rather work hard and see the growth.  This is especially true for me in my relationship with God, and working to accomplish His will in my life.  It's much like tending a garden.  He empowers us to do it all, first above all else.  We must remember that; His Spirit is in our spirit, joined together, and in Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)  Then along with that, we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to do the works the Father gives us, speaking and acting in ways that match up with His story and His glory.  Then if we are seeking His kingdom in this way, it often gets messy.  We don't know what we're doing half the time.  It takes faith to step blindly into new situations and new territories of responsibility.  Often we are even called to look foolish to accomplish His purpose, Him getting the glory.  But through it all, it is a rewarding experience to give your efforts to the Lord's work.  The only way we can truly know this though, is to dive in and be willing to get dirty ourselves.  That's when the flowers begin to bloom.
Love,
Mommy
P.S.  While plants may not be my forte, what about children?  What color thumb are they?  How about pink! :)

"The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor."  1 Corinthians 3:8

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 88...Wait!

Dear Sadie,
Titus displayed such a pitiful pity party today, and all over popcorn!  I couldn't believe it.  He just lied down on the floor and sort of rolled around, fake wailing and whimpering and whining.  Popcorn!  I explained to him calmly over and over that we just didn't have any, and that we would have to wait to get some more.  He could not take it!  It wasn't even that he was tired! "Ga goan!" He was disappointed, and I guess he had to let me know!  Well did he ever.  For ten minutes he cried into the carpet (except he wasn't actually crying).  Finally, he could tell that I was telling truth and that all of his display was getting nowhere.

Tonight I was reminded of this hilarious scene when I listened to a talk about Yahweh.  He is Jehovah, God Who Saves. I Am.  Such powerful truth, knowing that our Dad rules.  So much support in the knowledge that our Father literally has us in the palm of our hands...has never been created but has always existed, and has the means to provide for us and save us at all times.  Why would we ever doubt His goodness?

Titus finally got the picture that through all of his whining and complaining, I really cared.  I listened to him, and acknowledged his popcorn pain, but it took him a while to return from his emotional crisis.  I think we're the same way with God.  Only after throwing a tantrum sometimes do we stop and listen to God, giving Him a chance to explain.  If only we'd skip the thunderous part and go to the quiet listening and contemplation.  Maybe we'd find revelation a whole lot sooner if we did!

I think Titus now knows I wasn't holding out on him, that I really did care.  I did think it was funny how he was rolling on the rug.  He is learning that he can express himself to me without me getting angry all of the time.  With calm patience, I reassured him I knew what he wanted, but that the timing of his request was just off.  I need to remember this next time I ask for something from my Daddy.

Love,
Mommy

"Rest in the LORD (Yahweh) and wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 37:7)


Day 87...Power Problems and the Power of Prayer!

Dear Sadie,
Our faith was increased the other night because of you, once again.  We pulled into Senoia in two separate cars on a Sunday evening after a fun day of visiting family.  Curiously, we found it to be extremely dark, as all of the street lights and house lights were not working.  The power had gone out once again!  Pulling into the driveway, your daddy and I realized that the main problem for us was that we couldn't get into the house without our garage door openers!  We had been putting off getting new keys made, because we have to take the doorknob to Home Depot to get one.  We don't know what happened to our keys.  So we've been saying we'd be in trouble if this ever happened.  And here we were!  So our minds were racing...what to do!  I called Julie, our neighbor, to find out when the expected time was for the power to come back on.  She had called the power company and found it wasn't supposed to be until 12:00 or 12:30am.  And they're usually quite accurate with their prediction!  That was a couple of hours away at this point.  In the meantime (this is all within a minute), you're sitting in the car with daddy as we pull up to the driveway, and you just decide to pray immediately, all by yourself, aloud: "Dear Jesus, please help the power to come back on.  Amen."  Daddy heard you, but I was in the van and didn't hear.  Moments later, I was on the phone with Julie, telling her about the garage door opener and the key situation, and how we were going to have to go to the grandparents so we can get the kids into bed....and suddenly the lights came popping back on all over the neighborhood.  We were thrilled!  I said bye to Julie happily, and as we were unloading the kids and getting into the house, your daddy stops in his tracks and says something to the effect of, "Sadie, God answered your prayer!  You prayed that the power would come back on, and they did right away!  God did that for you!"  We gave Him praise.  I was so happy to be getting into the house so soon, after thinking of how the night was going to go, driving all the way to the grandparents after a long day, tucking kids in, etc.  I was truly happy you prayed!  And what's more, I was also struck by the simple fact that you prayed and I didn't!  You really taught me, once again, to ask for things like a child, and God answers.  He is a good God, a good Daddy, who takes care of us. If we'd only just call on Him more!
Love,
Mommy
"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."  Mark 11:24