Monday, October 17, 2011

bringing my A game

 day 1, on a schedule: oh thaaaat's what all the fuss is about! when i would tell other people that we didn't really have a schedule, i would get looks. i would stammer and say things like, "well, it's just a very loose schedule," and it was - very loose. i know that i've only been at it for one day and a ton can change, but i really like having it all laid out in front of me, on paper, what is to happen next.
 i did wake up an hour late this morning (according to the schedule), and we did end up pushing everything back about 15 minutes. i forgot to take into account that transitions are s-l-o-w with young ins, but during nap time i got caught up with that time loss buy waking up the kiddos earlier. i thought it might help with putting them to bed and falling asleep earlier but it still took them both about an hour to get quiet in their rooms tonight - that doesn't usually happen.
 i even found that i had time that i didn't know i had! does that make sense? grant it, i'm waking up earlier, so i do have "extra time", but i feel it! so i didn't get all bent out of shape feeling like i was racing my new schedule with the clock.
 oh yeah, and the hubs was super excited about the schedule too! tonight he thanked me for "bringing my A game."
 day 2? bring it!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

time keeps on ticking ...

 here's my challenge for this week: i am going to make a schedule, pray over it, and stick to it.
 why? because their just doesn't ever seem to be enough time.
  (side note: when i awoke this morning, the first thing i said as i got out of bed was, "time keeps on ticking - ticking - ticking-" my husband, awake though i didn't know it yet, finished the line for me, "into the future - ")
 why is this a challenge you ask? because i don't like schedules, they make me feel ... rushed ... pressed for time. no need to feel this way though, because it will be an all day type of schedule, which means i've got all day. the same 24 hours each day holds, no more, no less, no rush, right? that will be what i remind myself if i start to feel anxious about it.
 why pray over it? because i want to hand my day over to the Lord - it is His day, for me to do His will. while i may have certain desires for the out come of each and every day, ultimately, i want whatever He has in store for me. so i'll be praying, making my schedule, praying over it and then be open for His changes - i'm sure they will come :)
 i'm off to go make my schedule and i'll keep a log here how it's all going. i can't say that every night i'll update, but i'll do my best :)

striving for intention

 oh hello there blog ~ i have been gone for a while. thinking...thinking...thinking about all this striving.
a little while ago i stumbled across a new blog and really enjoyed reading it. then it threw me for a loop! in this insightful, scripture filled blog, this women of God, was saying (basically speaking) stop striving.
 hold the phone!
 i know, i know - you maybe wondering what in the world did i care what this blogger was saying? i cared because i could tell she cared. i cared because i believed in what she was saying. i cared because i was striving.
 here is the difference in what she was saying and what i am doing. yes, it did take me much prayer and careful thought to understand this.
 basically, she was saying stop trying to be one person and embrace the person God created you to be. that no matter how hard you try to do right, to think right, to speak right, it will not save you. it will not get you to God. that the only one, true and honest way to Him is through His son Jesus Christ. (john 14:6) that simply saying the prayer is not all their is to it. that you have to have the heart change. the veil must be lifted from your eyes to see the difference in knowing who Christ is and accepting who He is and what He did as our saviour. to fall in love with Him because He first loved us. (1john 1:19)
 i don't know why it took me so long to see that my striving was in fact a desire to be a better slave for Him. that truly is where this blog birthed itself. i had to remind myself that i am okay with who i am - crazy as that may be! i am a daughter of the King and i do want to please Him. in that desire, i have to keep myself in check. that my mouth, hands, thoughts must all be held accountable to the blood that so lovingly washed them clean from the filth that my sin nature wants to grab for sometimes. this blog was to be my accountability. a way for me to log and share my struggles and my desires for bettering myself.
 yes striving on a daily basis can be hard but when the intention is right, it is like a Love salve for the soul. i keep reminding myself too, anything worth changing isn't going to be easy.
 so after much mulling it over in my own messy head - i am back at it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

i am sweet and sour sauce

 i love chinese food. whenever we go to a new chinese restaurant i always order sweet and sour pork (or chicken) first. it's this dish that determines my opinion of the new restaurant. no really. it should be pretty basic right? the effort put into basic should carry over into the effort put into the not so basic, right?
  in my opinion their are two types of sweet and sour sauce. good and bad.
 the good: on the thicker side, with bits of pineapple and carrots. and if they're really paying attention to detail, the carrots will be julienned and sliced penny sized!
  the bad: thin, runny, sauce; no pineapple, no carrots = no good.
  i know - i know what your thinking, maybe with the economy the way that it is, they have to cut back on pineapple bits and julienned carrot slices. maybe? but they will then end up on my "not so favorite list" of chinese restaurants.
  where am i going here,,,i know i had a point... i yeah!
  so i missed a few days - in a row - of early morning prayer, alone with the Lord. yes, i did! and i made an observation.
  i am sweet and sour sauce!
  no-really! on the days that i start off right, coffee date kept with the Almighty, my whole being, my whole spirit, is on the sweeter side. the days that i sleep extra, or just have kids waking up to the sound of my clock beeping, i am a little more sour. i'm not talking doctor jeckel and mr hyde here, not quite. but their is a significant difference.
  so much so, that when i do start my day off right, keeping my coffee date with the King, it gets blessed with pineapple bits and julienned carrot slices! not literally, they don't fall from the ceiling slathered in thick sweet and sour sauce. but rather, i notice my blessings, am quicker to point them out, quicker to point Him out, to point others to Him, to be lesser so that He can be greater.
  otherwise i feel like the sad version of sweet and sour sauce, a thin, runny sauce, with no blessing of pineapple and carrots floating around ( at least it's harder to find them ).
  call me crazy? that's alright with me. this is just the way i see it.
  a strange thing happened this morning, and perhaps this is just too far over the edge but bare with me. my clock went off at 7:00 a.m. this morning. i was up at 6:00 and should have just gotten up, but instead i thought 'oooow! i'm gonna get another hour of sleep here!' when my clock went off at 7:00 i pushed brew on my coffee maker on my bed side table and fell back to sleep - nooooooo!
  yes, but here's the thing, i had the strangest dream! i dreamt that i was picked up from work ( i don't actually work outside of my home - unless you count gardening and yard work ) picked up by a faceless man - who drove me - in reverse - from the outside of the car - through my town - while spinning fire balls in his hands and causing explosions.    
................................... i know ...................... weird! ..........................................
  when i woke up it was a minute after 8:00! way late for coffee with the King! i pictured Him (as best as any earthly being could ) sitting, coffee cup in one hand, taping the fingers of the other and maybe even one of his feet, waiting. looking around and waiting. and i never showed up! i have been standing up the king!
  shame on me!
  as i got up and grabbed my now cold coffee, the burner no longer keeps the cup warm, i kept thinking about this dream. what in the world could it mean? i know i was wanting to get up and out of bed. i know i was wanting to choose the Lord over sleep. i know i have been hard on myself for not keeping this date lately.        i kept on thinking about this dream.
  here is where i may loose you. probably the dream meant nothing at all. me? i like to find meaning in everything, so this is what i think it means.
  being picked up by a faceless man - who drove the car from the outside of the vehicle - in reverse - and spun fire around his hands and caused explosions; maybe this is what life is like when i'm not handing it all over the Lord? maybe it's like letting a faceless man - the enemy - drive me - direct me - from a slight distance - in reverse - in confusion - showing me problems and causing problems along the way.
  sound far fetched? it made sense to me.
  personally, i'd rather be driven, from very close - say my heart - in a forward facing motion - if even it's foggy and i can't see what's in front of me - whose hands hold, and heal, and love, and show grace and mercy, and instead of causing problems they mend and fix problems, that maybe even i've created, or just witnessed.
    really? it just made me sad that i missed my coffee date this morning. and don't get me wrong here, it's not that i didn't pray at all today, that still happened, tons. but tithing my first bit of the day, sacrificing my treasured sleep, making the point to keep my coffee date, and spending it alone with He who desires me most - is not to be missed - ever
.....could this be difference in choosing sweet over sour? ......
  so with all that in mind, shared and wishing to spend tomorrows quiet morning with my morning Prayer Partner, i must sign off and head to bed.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

insecurities in a mothers heart

  today's intentional challenge was to have fun with my children and make sure they had fun with me. lately life has me running a little more then usual, and at the end of the day, when tucking my children into bed, i find myself thinking "i missed you today!" even though we were together all day long! i don't want this to become our new normal so this is a great challenge for right now, although it doesn't seem like a very hard challenge. who doesn't like to have fun with their children? who doesn't want their children to have fun with them? it seems like a no brain'er.
  the day started out great, coffee with the King! when the children awoke the clouds were full and seemingly ready to pop at any minuet. we took our chocolate milk and coffee (no! i was the one drinking the coffee, silly!) and went out on the front stoop to watch the dark clouds roll in. it was a while before rain ever fell and before we knew it we were riding bikes and talking about the "night time bugs" sounding very similar to the "early morning bugs."
  when the skies did finally open up and rain fell in buckets we retreated indoors were my daughter felt it necessary to become bully to her big brother. okay, she is two, but what in the world? i had a wonderful time really listening to my four year old son talk about this and that. we learned how to fold tons of paper air planes off of youtube tutorials. we looked long and hard until we finally found darth vader's arm. but my daughter, it just seemed like i spent the whole day reprimanding her and wishing she'd get the point so she could stay off of time out. is it possible that she spent more time on time out then she did off of time out today? ,,, *thinking it over* ,,, yes!
  it's so easy for me to ask myself, what was i doing wrong? it's so easy for me to look back and think maybe she was jealous of something i was doing with my son and not her. it's soo easy for me to make excuses for her bad behavior. it's soo easy for me to overlook the fact that she has a free will and no shame in throwing her favorite toy directly at her brother, then crying because he has it in his lap, even if it's there because she threw it at him in the first place.
  do all parents do this? have these strange insecurities? even to the point where they start to blame themselves for their children's bad behavior?
  grace ~ grace ~ grace. with her, with me, and isn't that her name? did the Lord prompt me to name her Grace because it was the cherished nick-named  my mom used to call me, or because i need to remember to have tons of it? perhaps both? either way, i don't know why this sudden urge to throw objects at her brother was so stronge in her today. i do know, however, it cannot continue.
  prayer for wisdom and discernment, strength to be consistent with my reprimanding her in general, this will be at the forefront of my mind all day tomorrow. in fact, this will be one of my intentional challenges for tomorrow. what a disservice it would be to the Lord, to her, to me, her family and friends if we baby her all her life. now of course i'm thinking in drastic terms here, but we do let her get away with far more then we ever let our first born.  he's not perfect and that's not what i'm saying here, but her flesh and free will aside, we are deffinatly parenting her differently, and not on purpose. perhaps we are forgetting to parent her intentionally? we've gotten 'lax and thats what "they" say happens after the first born. but does that make it okay? maybe in some areas, but i'm sure not in all. i am overthinking this now and so i'll move on.
  i've also wanted for the past two weeks to take time out to sit and write some "snail mail." now that i'm thinking of it, i'm a month late with "thank you notes" for my daughters birthday. i love "snail mail!" i love to write it and receive it and i've been really wanting to get back into it. so much so that i have a pile of cards and stamps waiting for me to write and send off to be received with love intended for the receipients. tomorrow i want to get at least three of them finished and out in the box! intentional words of love and encouragement, who deosn't need more of that in thier lives?
  so tomorrow i will intentionally be consistant with my child training, not lazy as i have been in the past. and i will also intentionally sit and write to some friends that have been on my heart for weeks. tomorrow is bound to be a great day!


Monday, August 8, 2011

courting the Almighty

  this morning went well! i awoke at 6:00 a.m. with no alarm clock because my clock is set for 7:00 a.m.  i fell back to sleep for 50 extra minuets and yes, i could have gotten up at 6:00, but i didn't. the cool thing is, that i did stick to my 7:00 a.m. plan and spent time alone with the Lord, and that is better then the past three days!
  i was reminded today how a friend had asked me how she could get to know God better and be closer with Him. of course i told her to spend time in the Word, the bible. but the thing that i really wanted to impress upon her heart was to court the Lord. i think it kind of freaked her out at first. i asked her how she felt about her husband when they first met. how often did she see him or at least want to. how often did she talk to him or at least want to. i told her that kind of effort needed to go into getting closer with with God. that she needed to court Him. to spend time with Him. carve time out of her life and spend it with Him. sing love songs to Him. share Him with her girl friends ... well, at least tell them how much He means to you and that you really want them to have Him in their lives. court Him. court the Almighty. allow yourself to fall madly, deeply, crazily in love with Him.  become His bride.
  we kind of lost touch, this old friend of mine and i. she's doing her thing and i'm doing mine. but i'm thinking about that statement i made to her. i'm lovin' the thought of it. to intentionally fall deeply, madly, crazily in love with the Most High. to court him!  yes,  i'm lovin' falling back in love with God!
  as for my two daily challenges today, they were in fact a challenge. i had a very mentally busy day.  deep conversation with my pop pop and trying to recall bible verses when he asked me to. ( for anyone who doesn't know, i have only been able to learn bible verses to the tune of songs. oddly, these tunes are ones that i make up in my mind. how can i remember new tunes that i've never heard before and not bible verses that i study at length? strange the way the mind works, yes?) so deep theological thinking ( and i'm not naturally a deep thinker ) while making lunch and also answer questions from my nana and children, all the while tending to the needs of those wo very excited great-grand kids. what? i'm sorry, did someone say something about not multitasking my multitasking? let me just be blunt here:  EPIC FAIL! although i think i was pretty patient through it all.
  also, my son barfed big time at the dinner table tonight. and if you know my son, you know his drama. present? nope. while cleaning up that mess i did, in fact, think of another time and place. patient? nope. while he was screaming that "it felt like his head wanted to explode" my patience didn't deepen any. although all the important "hearing parts" my ears did run away to find another more quieter head to co-habitat in. i did have to ask his daddy for help with that one. usually i'm the one that does better with barf, but not tonight.
  given the circumstances i think those are reasonable times to not be so very present and all in the moment. and what better parenting skills then when you have a willing partner to tag-team in times of throw-up and temper tantrums?
  a cool thing that did happen today, while my son was laying in bed being soothed to the original superman movie (yes, i moved an old t.v. into his room so he wouldn't feel so all alone. i am serious about quarantining sickness ) my daughter being baby-sat by the most trusted four year in the whole world, caillou ( yes the bald cartoon kid from pbs who gets his way weather he deserves it or not ) my husband and i stole a moment together on the front stoop. don't call child services yet, we were within ear shot of both our children who sat quietly in front of our trusted t.v. baby sitters. (and again, their goes our nominee for "parents of the year" *sigh*)
  my husband has decided to try daily challenges of striving for intention! we talked about how sometimes we feel closer to God then others. how God never moves, He's also there, always constant and always keeps His promises. that when we feel farther away from Him, it's us that have moved. his challenge for tomorrow is pretty cool but i don't have permission to write about it, yet. i forgot to ask him before he went to sleep, so maybe tomorrow i can give you a glimpse into his striving for intention. i love how contagious this is!
  tomorrow my challenge is simple, make sure i'm having fun with my kids and that they are having fun too. this may be a difficult one if i have a sickie or two on my hands, but a great one nonetheless. sometimes our days get so busy, and i get so caught up in what i'm doing that at the end of the day, when i'm tucking my children into bed, i find myself saying to them, "i really missed you today!" the thing is we are always together. but when i feel busy and over loaded, even while i'm with them, i don't always enjoy them as i much as i wished i did. today was one of those days. tomorrow, prayerfully, will not be.

present and patient

   i've decided not to write any more about the elizabeth george book life management for busy women living God's plan with passion and purpose. for no other reason but i don't have permission to be quoting her and i'm not honestly sure i'm allowed to be giving chunks of a book away. however, please - please - please know, this is such a great book and i still stand firmly behind it and say it's a must read! unless i feel led otherwise, and i'm able to summarize better, i'm not going to be sharing any more from it. or unless elizabeth george herself gives me permission - lol! in the mean time, try to get your hands on a copy and i'll continue to share with you how i'm doing with my waking up early to be alone with the Lord.
  here is a link you should totally check out! on this website is a free ebook! it's available to download if your interested in "maximizing your mornings" with a jump start from the Lord. i found it months ago and while learning more about my net book i stumbled across the ebook that i downloaded and praise Jesus - it's all about helping you start your day off right - with the Lord! and with a few extra great ideas too! i highly recommend it. during the time i was praying weather or not to keep sharing the elizabeth george book is when i found this free ebook that i had downloaded and then forgot about (or just didn't know where it was). i started reading it and though, "hummmm, i need to share this with my blog readers! so there you have it.
   so today i've decided that my intentional challenge is going to be, to be present and patient. i'm still getting up early to have my quiet time with the Lord. i'm still also making sure to practice only doing one thing at a time and doing it for the Lord. i'm still making sure that i'm not multitasking my multitasking.
  this challenge today will be a good one because i'm excited for my grandparents to be visiting and i'll also be taking care of my new nephew in the afternoon. he may be new to our family, but he - himself isn't new. he's eight, and he and my son play very well together!
  being present and patient will be difficult for me because i'm going to want to be looking ahead to the visits and wanting to be making everything perfect for when everyone comes. their is just something about when my grandparents come, i really want everything to be ... i'm not even sure. it's not that i want the house to be spic and span beyond neat and tidy. i guess, just comfortable and welcoming for them. the temptation to buzz about like an angry bee, making everything "just so" will be great, but more then anything i'd like to have a nice morning with my children before things get busy and appreciate the quiet before the loudness arrives.
  so intentionally being in each and every moment enjoying it and shinning Jesus' love as often as i can, and intentionally being patient in each and every moment and enjoying what it has to bring are my two big challenges for tomorrow. it's late and now i need to go set up my coffee pot and my alarm clock! goodnight.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

finding grace when i miss 3 days!

  friday was a fun day! although i have to say i was up, with the whole family, at 4:00 a.m. i didn't really give much thought as to how i was going to get my early morning prayer in today, i just knew that we'd all be up really early. the kids and i had a day of fun and swimming with friends which meant that my husband had to wake up late (or should i say got to sleep in) while we woke up very early so as to drive him to work to use the shared family car during the day.
  i really did drop the ball here. i could have better planned to spend time with the Lord, even if it was only thirty minutes. i totally was not intentional here!
  saturday was a bust as well. my husband awoke unusually early and made the coffee and tended to the children as they awoke, gifting me some extra time in bed. it really was a wonderful gift for him to do that for me, but i still had guilt about sleeping in and not spending quiet time with the Lord before the house got noisy.
  that night when my husband was setting the clock for the next day (sunday) i was half asleep and didn't set my own clock on my side of the bed too. at 7:00 a.m. i woke up to the sound of silence. squinting without my glasses on, i tried to read his clock - and of coarse it didn't go off! it was set for p.m. not a.m.
  grace is good, always. even if you need to have it for yourself. i really think i was more upset about missing my mornings with the Lord, three mornings in a row, then the Lord was. i will chalk it up to excitement for monday morning's coffee date with the King.
  so that is my update on how i've been doing with intentionally getting up to spend my morning with the Lord. i was really hoping to be able to post every night how each and every day went, but as life can be very unpredictable, i have to remember to allow flexibility in my evenings. this allows for impromptu late night trips to the craft store with the whole family, and unexpected dates out with my husband! and being available to receive these as gifts! gifts from a God who loves to love on us!! thank you Jesus!!
  i want to finish sharing with you elizabeth george's five feats prayer accomplishes in our heart and life.  this comes from her book life management for busy women living out God's plan with passion and purpose. it is such a good book and has really helped me to drawl closer to the Lord. i highly recommend this book if your in need of meat to feed your soul!

  feat #3.) prayer guides us in the path of righteousness. this part of the book is so good i'm going to quote elizabeth george right from the book off page 37. "we've already discussed the necessity of praying before we read God's Word. why? because we so desperately need a soft, pliable heart so as not to miss God's message to us as we read. and there are other reasons we must pray for God's direction. for instance, because we so desperately desire to live in obedience. because we so desperately want God's leading as we make decisions, both large and small, ranging from our service to God to the schedule we make for our busy day. because we so desperately require God's help in order to live our lives His way. because looking to God helps us to love others. because our hearts are so desperately wicked (jeremiah 17:9 (niv) the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure, who can understand it?)! through prayer we open up our hearts to God. and when we do He searches them, ferrets out our motives, and afford us the opportunity to bring our wills into line with His plan." their is no better way to say it! summarizing that one would have really been a disservice!

  feat #4.) prayer assists our relationship with God. elizabeth george says, "the daily discipline and act of prayer helps maintain our relationship with God. and, when we fail, it also restores it.
  psalm 32:5 (niv) then i acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. i said, "i will confess my transgressions to the Lord" - and you forgave the guilt of me sin.
  psalm 51:1,12 (niv)   (1) have mercy on me, oh God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. (12) restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
  judges 16:23-31 although samson did not always walk closely with God he asked God to "remember" him one more time and to "strengthen" him. the Lord answered his prayer and used samson to destroy a "pagan temple and it's evil worshipers."

  feat #5.) prayer strengthens us against our tendency to sin. again i'm going to quote elizabeth george right from her book on page 38. what does the bible say to do instead of fretting, worrying, and anxiety? pray.
  phillippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  mark 11:25(niv) and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
  what does the bible say to do instead of hating those who hurt us? pray.
  matthew 5:44 (niv) but i tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
  when you are tempted to sin, pray, dear one, instead."

  good stuff, yes? yes! i can't say enough good things about this book and so i want to encourage you if you can, buy it or borrow it from someone! it's by elizabeth george and it's called life management for busy women living out God's plan with passion and purpose. i'm only going to be sharing from the third chapter called developing a passion for prayer, but the rest of the book is just as good as this special chapter!

the privilege and nurturing of prayer

   this morning i woke up at 6:23 a.m. ( what is it with that time? isn't that when i was able to finally go back to bed the other day? ) noticing the time and the silence i woke up to, no clocking beep-beep-beeping me yet, i rolled over, snuggled back under the covers and shut my eyes.
  i waited.    i snuggled down a little more, already very comfortable.     i waited   -    again.    sighed - and by golly i couldn't go back to sleep! up earlier then that dreaded alarm clock and i was up and at 'em!
 'okay, Lord' i thought getting dressed, 'i'm up.' so i guess that internal clock i've heard about is starting to adjust?
 i'm loving my morning prayer time with the Most High! my "direct line with the Creator of the Universe!" i gotta say though, i'm noticing that if i'm sitting still for a very long period of time that i get a little "off track." my mind starts to wonder. it's not that i'm even done praying. i'm wondering, i even asked God Himself, if He minded that i do laundry while we talked? somehow i felt more focused but i'll be sure to keep asking him until i have peace about it.
  the other really cool thing about early morning prayer, and i just keep praying until the kids wake up, that i'm finding myself telling the Lord, "okay the kids are getting up but i'm not ready to "hang up" yet?" as if saying, "in Jesus name i pray Amen" is like saying that it's over - isn't that funny? i've been telling the Lord, "i'm gonna say, "in Jesus' name i pray Amen," but i'm not ready to "hang up" yet so could you please just stay?" and the cool thing is - that He does!
  okay, now i sound like a loony tune, but i'm okay with that if you are =) the kids get dressed and have a cup of milk and my prayer time spills over into their prayer time and it - is - so - sweet! encouraging them to start the day in prayer and bible study is so important why not make an example of it? i love listening to young children pray and so does The Almighty! so this is one area of our lives that my waking up early to spend time alone with God has effected others in the family.
  i'd like to share a little with you from elizabeth george's book life management for busy women living out God's plan with passion & purpose. again, i truly hope i'm not violating any copy write laws here and also i really want to encourage you to buy or borrow a copy of this book! it's such great meat to feed your soul - i know i've said that before, but it's true!
  she talks about "five feats prayer accomplishes in our heart and life" today i'm gonna touch on two of them..

 feat #1.) prayer is a privilege. ( more a reality then a feat) "prayer is one way we commune with the God of the universe! she goes on to talk about how lonely people can be and how truly not alone we really are. she says, "the ears of the Creator of the world - the One who can do anything! - are open to your prayers!"
  1 peter 3:12a for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their  prayer. He wants to be your best friend!
  proverbs 18:24 a man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is Friend who sticks closer than a brother.He is the only one who will never leave nor forsake you!
  hebrews 13: 5 keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
feat #2.) prayer nurtures our trust in God. elizabeth george says "a good father would never neglect his children. and neither does your Heavenly Father."
  matthew 7:11 if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
  psalm 5:3  in the morning, o Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning i lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
  james 5:16-18 therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. elijah was a man just like us. he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

  those first two feats are a big deal! i am still marveling at the first one! the first time i read this book, almost five years ago, it hit me big time - and that statement,"the ears of the Creator of the world - the One who can do anything! - are open to your prayers!"  hits me big time still! it is my prayer that it always does! and that it hits you big time too!
  the second one, prayer nurtures our trust in God is so wonderfully true too! i know from experience that daily practice of prayer helps in the difficult times to too! instead of wallowing in the muck and mire of life, it is so much easier and i will much more quickly run to God in prayer.
elizabeth george's five feats of prayer tomorrow. again please bare with me as i'm learning that waking up early is expecting to go to bed early too. both me and my kids are resetting our schedules and our internal clocks it seems.
  this post was actually written four days ago - i just forgot to post it - so sorry!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

our call to prayer

  whoa! today was a near miss! my challenge of intentionally waking up early to spend time alone with the Lord in prayer was sabotaged by my teething two year old! up at 4:00 a.m., i'm guessing because her children's ibuprofen was wearing off, we didn't get back to bed until 6: 23! not good when the clock is about to go off at 7:00.
  climbing back into bed i prayed, "dear Lord, you know my heart, you know my desire for sleep, pleeeease! make it work" and i was off into a land of heavy slumber.
  the clock did go off at 7:00, i did wake up to turn it off, and then laid back down and shut. my. eyes!
  oooooh ~ nooooo!
  again waking up a little after 8:00 i immediately remembered my coffee date and felt horrible! waiting for it, i listened for the pitter-patter of feet from my son in the hall. slowing my panicked heart, i strained to hear my daughter awake in her crib. nothing. not. one. sound.
  'thank you Lord!!!!' i leaned over and pressed brew and ya know what? i got a good two hours of quiet time with the Lord!! it was so much needed and so much appreciated! i really was afraid that loosing 2 1/2 hours of sleep early in the morning was gonna really mess it all up, and He totally gifted me our time together! i loved it so much!!
  i have to say praying over family members, friends, needs even desires does something to me. i'm not quite sure what it is but i have to say, i love it! could it be the act of taking it all and laying it at Jesus' feet i feel freer to experience the rest of what the day has to offer? could it be the recognition that i don't have it all under control and the appreciation of not having to have everything under control? could it be the lack of clutter that usually rattles around in my brain during most days is suddenly missing? either way - i love it!
  i really want to share some of the chapter from a book, that really has me convicted to intentionally start my day early with the Lord - alone. this book is called life management for busy women living out God's plan with passion and purpose by elizabeth george. i sincerely hope i don't get into trouble by sharing some of the key points from the chapter that spoke loudly to me. here are the first few:
  a.)"observed duties maintain our credit, but secret duties maintain our life." "john flavel, a seventeenth-century english clergyman who loved to teach and write about practical religion and piety." i loved this and am still thinking on it.
  she talks about prayer being a secret duty. now you're asking yourself, "why, if it's supposed to be a secret, is this blogger writing about it?'
  honest enough - i'll tell you  - honestly. because it's something i have been struggling to do. something that i love to do and want to get back into the practice of. my striving for intention blog is my way of intentionally doing my all each and every day for the Lord. i think this is a great way to start the day and in this book i learned of it's importance. i love to to share it with whomever is interested, whomever wants to take up the daily challenge of striving to be intentional for God too. this is perhaps, the best place to start. so i hope i don't write about it in a haughty-look-at-me kind of way, that's not my intention here. but to say, "i have had the struggle of doing this in the present and i want the struggle to end."
  elizabeth george says, (b) "prayer is a secret duty...more a privilege-and responsibility. it is a privilege because of our relationship with God as His children. and it is a responsibility and a duty because of the many commands in Scripture that call us to a life of faithful prayer."
  she goes on to say that our call to prayer is from the very beginning of the bible to the very end when (c) "men and women of faith are seen (and heard!) crying out to God. indeed, whole prayers are recorded for us word for word."
   some examples elizabeth george gives are:
  jeremiah 33:3 (niv) call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
  james 1:5 (niv) if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
  matthew 7:7 (niv) ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
  matthew 6:6 (niv) but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen, then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
  of course these are but a few commands from God to pray but the important thing here is that you know it is a command. before reading this book i did not know this.
 tomorrow i will share with you elizabeth george's "five feats that prayer accomplishes in our heart and lives" but might i encourage you, buy or borrow this treasured book. it is full of meat that will feed your soul.

  this is thursday afternoon that i am rereading this post. i originally wrote it tuesday night, half asleep. i so wanted to write about my morning and share the first part of the chapter right away. however, i am finding that waking up two hours earlier has me wanting to go to sleep two hours earlier as well. why did i not see this coming? so while i was finishing i was nodding  .... off .... (for real) and decided not to post just yet - we all know about my poor grammar while i'm fully awake =) i assumed the same thing would happen last night as i was quite tired very early and just simply went to bed. i do hope to catch the blog up today but please bare with me as i figure out a new schedual for both myself and my family.

  a.) life management for busy women by elizabeth george pg. 35
  b.) life management for busy women by elizabeth george pg. 35
  c.) life management for busy women by elizabeth george pg. 36

Monday, August 1, 2011

developing a passion for prayer

  my blog my accountability ~ in a previous post in another blog i wrote about coffee with the king. here is a link in case you're interested: if in case you're not, this post is simply about how at one time in my life i used to wake up early, sometimes very early and have my morning coffee while i had my quiet time with the Lord. it was a precious time in my life and i have been trying (although not hard enough) to get back at it.
  their is always something i can blame for not getting up early to spend the crack of dawn with the maker of the whole universe, but really? is their anything other to blame then laziness? selfishness? my honest to goodness list could go on and on but i won't let it.
  instead i'll tell you about a book that really convinced me that waking up early to spend time with the Lord was not only important but a "privilege". elizabeth george wrote the book life management for busy women and in it is a chapter called developing a passion for prayer. oh boy, did it ever develop a passion for prayer in me. every time i try to get back to it something is always in the way, my alarm clock braking, my children being up all night, not having coffee filters for the pot that sits by my bedside (yes, a small coffee pot gets set the night before so that when i turn my alarm off i can also just push brew and lie there and wait as it perks) these answers are all just ploys of an enemy that does not want me to have communion with the great I AM. sound silly? it's not really.
  so this week that is my big challenge. i know it doesn't seem like much but let me tell you, i really like to sleep. this morning went pretty well. i had my coffee pot and alarm clock set the night before - intentionally so that i could get up early. at 7:00 a.m. i was startled awake and wondering why i didn't have one of those clocks that somehow monitor your heart rate and breathing and wake you up at a not so sound sleeping point. jarring is not quite strong enough of a word to how i felt when it woke me, but i woke nonetheless. except - i fell back to sleep forgetting my intention was to push brew and actually wake up! this goes to show how long it's been since i've had to wake up with a clock - lucky me! thankfully only ten minutes slipped by and i woke up and instantly remembered my coffee date. pressing brew i got up and got dressed.
  it was a beautiful morning on our front stoop, coffee in hand and eyes turned up. i have to say i only got 47 minutes alone with the Lord until i heard my daughter crying in her crib. that's okay though! those 47 minutes are 47 minutes more then i have had alone with my Heavenly Father in a loooong time!
  so for now, that is my big intentional challenge for the week. along with it, i will practice my doing my all, one thing at a time, for the Lord, and for no one else. this also ties in with my non-multitasking on top of my multitasking. which lends itself to s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. let me tell you - i have loved that whole s-l-o-w-i-n-g down thing! today i slowed down so much that i fell asleep! at least it was while i was nursing my daughter before nap time. we ended up napping together while my son snuggled up and watched thumbelina right beside us! who knew s-l-o-w-i-n-g- down could be so comfy?
  throughout the week i'd like to share some from this elizabeth george book that really convicted me of the importance of early quiet time with the Lord and also fill you in on how it trickles down throughout the rest of my day, and throughout the rest of my family.
  being that i'm getting up earlier now, i'm also having to get to bed early too - so with that in mind - goodnight!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

not abandoned - i promise:)

  hi there! my last two weeks have been very busy! as i strive for intention i'm learning the importance of s-l-o-w-i-n-g down and saying "no" to somethings. these past two weeks i have had to set my blogs on the back burner, or the "top shelf" as i say in the video clip, as to better focus on some more important things i had going on. like visiting with family and friends that we don't get to see on a regular basis and on vacation bible school.
  i'm glad i took the vacation from writing in my blogs in one sense because i just had a lot more on my plate then usual. i think adding another thing on top of everything else would have been too much. in the other sense, i so wanted to write in my blogs because i did have a lot going on that i wanted to share. hopefully i'll be able to catch my blogs up. if not, i'm sure all the next days of my life will be full of more mulling over what the Lord has to teach to me =)
  here is a short video clip i filmed while folding towels. i had wanted to post it last wednesday just to be sure you knew i hadn't abandoned my striving for intention blog and also to give encouragement to anyone who was in need. it was taking a very long time to upload and i didn't have time to be near my computer to make sure all went well ... and it didn't go well. right now though, i'll be sewing some snaps on a project that i'm finishing, so i figure i'll give it another try. i hope you enjoy it =)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the broken gift

  ***this post has a PG 13 rating due an important quote that holds a four letter word ***
  ( it happens to appear a lot in this post)
  saturday was a big challenge day! here were my intentional challenges:
  1.) intentionally not multitasking on top my multitasking
  2.) intentionally doing one thing at a time and doing it intentionally for the Lord
  3.) intentionally slowing down
  4.) intentionally not worry about my children while i'm out for the day
  5) intentionally remember that God's got everything under control and He doesn't need me to micromanage
  6.) intentionally be present and all there, in each moment, not looking ahead or behind, but enjoying each moment.
  i know! that is a lot! i've been practicing 1-3 for a few day now and while i could use much practice before it just simply happens, i've been pretty good at catching myself when i slip up. 4-6 were mostly for the bridal shower i that went to, here's how the day went.
  waking up, i knew i still needed to get a gift for this bridal shower i was attending later that day. i really wanted to go to the williams sonoma store but realized i needed to get a card, wrapping paper and a gift bag too. i'd never been to williams sonoma before so i didn't know if they'd have all that i needed, or even if any of the gifts on the registry were still available there. target it was. i had just been to target close my house the day before and i wasn't satisfied with the selection there. so i was off to the one in the next town.
  kids in tow, we listened to "the kids cookie brake" on our local radio station and sang along to character building music sung to the happy tunes of eighties sitcoms and jingles.
  when we finally got there i picked a beautiful white pedestal plate and several kitchen utensils off the registry. we choose a pretty gift bag, wrapping paper, tissue paper and a card. my son noticed a spiderman watch and tossed it into the cart.
  "mikey!" i gasped, "pleeeease don't throw stuff in the cart, if you do the pedestal plate may brake." lowering my voice i even said OUT LOUD, "and if it does brake, i just know it'll be your fault."
  can i just pause here and say, my face is red as i type this? YUCK all over my bad attitude!
  we made it home safely and i was so thankful and full of praise to the Lord that we didn't encounter any traffic, non on the highway or through town. we were able to find something quickly and get it home safely. the children were so well behaved and we had such good conversations on the way home and with no radio on. it all seemed so perfect!
  when we pulled up the drive way my husband greeted us at the front door and we stood outside chatting about how wonderful our morning was! walking up the the rest of the stairs into the house and just about to set all the bags on the dinning table, i heard it. a fall and a crash. glass braking.
  it didn't register at first what had happened. in fact, i called back through the house and asked 'what happened' as if it didn't just occur right in front of me, at my own feet. denial for a good 30-40 seconds. then my heart sank down onto the floor with the bag that slipped from my hand, and shattered in a pile of disbelief among the shards of white porcelain, the pedestal plate.
  "what was that mommy?" my small boy came running.
i sat in a chair and buried my head in my hands. i had broken the pedestal plate. i had previously scolded my son for being uncareful around it and even mentioned that he would be the culprit for braking it, if it were to brake. i drove far to find something that i could have picked up yesterday but didn't because of my indecisiveness. we had a perfectly wonderful morning fetching the perfect gift and this is how is ends? i've never even been to a bridal shower before and now i either have to get their super late so i can bring a gift in one piece, or show up on time with a gift shattered in pieces.
  "Lord," i prayed, "what is the lesson is all this?" always looking for the lesson in everything. not all that concerned with the "why" in what is going on but the lesson to be learned. "i just don't see what the lesson in this could be?" sobbing and dripping a mess on the dinning room table, my husband came in and gave me my response.
  "sometimes," he started, "sh*t  happens. theirs just no reason."
  "maybe this is a test?" i ask almost ignoring his response. "maybe the Lord wants to see how i'd react to braking the plate?"
  "or maybe sh*t happens?" my husband, always so eloquent.
  "what am i to do?"
  "go get another one," was his response.
  quickly i get ready for the shower trying to decide if rushing around to get another one and arriving late to the shower was the best choice. 'what would emily post do at a time like this?' i wondered. 'emily post would have had this gift purchased, wrapped and waiting in an appropriate box safely in the trunk the day after the invite arrived in the mail. or perhaps, in these modern times, she'd have her assistant do it for her.
  it was decided, headed down the road, i step heavy on the gas and ask the Lord for forgiveness for my speeding. quickly checking the time i realised i would have to leave my house in fifteen minutes to arrive to the shower on time. i was headed out of town only to drive a possible 40 minutes one way in the opposite direction.
  "Lord, what is the answer?"
  i heard the words "slow down".
  yeah, the speeding, i guess if  were really sorry i'd not be speeding.
  the voice again, "slow down"
  oh yeah, i am supposed to be intentionally slow today. immediately pulling into a driveway i stop the car.'what will it take for the Lord to get me to slow down today. i certainly don't need a car wreck.' i think to myself as i turn the car around and head back home.
  walking into the house, my husband's face bewildered, "i'm home to wrap a broken pedestal plate."
  i'm still not sure what the answer would have been here other then having been better prepared and not waiting last minute to buy the gift. wrapping up the broken pedestal plate i had watchful two year old eyes on my every move, "watch-ya doin' mommy?" my daughter asked, cheeto in hand.
  "wrapping a broken gift," my response with a sigh.
  always empathic my sweet, cheesy daughter leaned over and wrapped me in a tight hug. i guessed it's only perfect that i not only arrive with a broken gift but with tiny, bright orange finger prints all over my nice clothes.
  the bridal shower turned out to be great! always gracious my aunt, cousin and the bride to be, told me that the important thing was my presence and not my presents. i hadn't even given any thought about the well being of my children, they were home with daddy. it was easy for me to stay the moment even though i was so sad about having arrived with a broken gift. i was able to be present and enjoy the bridal shower and even made a new friend! i hadn't remembered about not trying to micromanage God and maybe that was what i was trying to do by heading back to target? it was kind of a freak accident. i have no idea how it happened. perhaps God did tug on the bag, perhaps he was testing my attitude, my heart? perhaps He just wants me to know that sometimes "sh*t happens." i don't know. although it sure was the pretties, nicest first bridal shower i could have ever attented and with some of the nicest and most thoughtful people to spend the afternoon with.
  as for the broken pedestal plate? i have big plans for that. let's just say it involves crazy glue, a shelf in the dinning room and fake pile of poo. what can i say? it would make a nice reminder that sometimes, "sh*t happens."

Friday, July 15, 2011

the unexpected cuts

  today started early at 5:00 a.m. and i was hoping to have all my errands done by 10:00. only problem? with a start time of five in the morning that meant that nap time should take place at ten. i wasn't nearly done with running errands. i was debating weather to stop for nap time or to push on through my day encouraging my small kids to sleep in the car off and on. that really makes for no good nap. i was determined though, and weighing my options while unloading the dish washer.
  stacking one smaller glass inside another and carring them in my right hand, left hand also carrying two glasses nestled loosely, i was reminded that one of my intentional challenges today was to stop multitasking my multitasking.
  'this isn't multitasking my multitasking, ' i think to myself, 'this is just how we stack these glasses.' moving quickly trying to decide how my children's nap was going to fit into my busy day, i banged the right handful of glasses on the outside of the cabinet, dropping first the taller, skinny glass, then the shorter, wider glass to the ground.
  in slow motion i watched as the taller glass bounced once, brace for the shatter, twice, and i wince as i notice it didn't brake. still falling to the ground i watch as the shorter, wider glass bounces once on the ground, again expecting the shatter of shard's splinter throughout the quiet of thoughts, bounces twice and lands, whole.
  "you okay mommy?" my small boy asks from the other room.
  still in disbelief that glass isn't glittering linoleum, i call back, "yeah but don't come in here until i clean it all up."
 i swear i thought i heard a crack. shaking my head, bending over to pick up the taller of the two i see it. the smaller, wider glass in the left hand, the one i was still holding, cracked and missing a huge peace of glass. standing up i wonder how in the world are the two glasses i dropped absolutely fine and the one i'm holding perfectly tight is broken?
  left hand starting to ache i realised i braced for the shattering of broking glass by gripping the others so as not to drop them too. my grip on the glass is what broke it.
  shards poking  palm i pull the taller glass out of the shorter now broken one. death grip on glass, bracing for the expected.
  is it the unexpected that cuts, death grip and all?
  when i step out and fall, i bounce. when i hold tight, gripped, full of anxiety, i brake.
  when stepping out, taking action leads to a fall, i bounce - at least i tried. when i hold tight, don't move, only wonder, i brake. stewing over this perfect illustration i rinse sparkled shards down the drain, off the palm, and remember, "i am supposed to slow down today. intentionally slow down."
  it is decided. we will all lye down and nap at 10:00 a.m. any other day we would still be rubbing sleep out of our eyes. the kids must nap and i must intentionally slow down. i will slow to a sleep.
  the day went well. the day was fun. i may not have gotten everything accomplished that i really wanted to but who does? thankfully i am not a heart surgeon but a wife and mother; running errands and trying to be intentional about choosing to be nearer to God. to experience more and more of Him.
  tomorrow i will now intentionally practice my non-multitasking on top of multitasking. as well as intentionally only doing one thing at a time, and doing it all for the Lord.
  i say practice because i really want this to become me. i want it to be part of the fabric of who i am - this is how much of a good difference if has made. grant it, it's only been two days. but i cannot see how these two things can be a bad thing. the whole intentionally not multitasking on top of multitasking has made me notice, that when i have the desire to do too many things at once, but force myself to stop and choose which thing i will do first, i breath deeper. from my diaphragm, not up in my chest all shallow.    i.    relax.    i enjoy what i am doing.  perhaps it's because i know Who i do it for? i know Who is watching and Who is appreciating and i am even less lonely these past two days. the conversations with my Lord are even easier flowing and not choppy and not mostly cries for help.
  i will also intentionally practice slowing down too. i don't need any more shattered glass in my hands, on the the floor or any where for that matter.
  tomorrow will be very different. i am used to being home mostly and with my family always. a bridal shower will have me stepping into a potentially uncomfortably nervous mind frame. being a stay at home wife and mother has made me feel slightly "off" in adult communication. leaving me to feel slightly insecure with conversation that don't involve super hero's, strawberry shortcake and, quite honestly, poop. i want to intentioanlly not worry about my children. intentionally remember that God's got every thing and doesn't need me to micromange. i want to intentionally be present in each moment and to be all there.
  i better go get an index card and write all this down to keep in my pocket. i might need to refer back it to throught my day. as long as i'm not reading it while i'm doing anything else right?  ;)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

God is moving our drapes

  okay, so today's challenge was to do my work for the Lord, no one else. and to stop multitasking my multitasking. i gotta say, i was really excited about these two challenges.
  i know that when my eyes are focused on the Lord everything changes. i also know that when i do my work for the Lord, the work changes. this quote by tagore explains it all;" i slept and dreamed that life was joy, i awoke and found that life was service. i acted and found that service was joy." but to be in the service of the Lord ~ not off far away in some desert mission field (although the thought is alluring) but here, in my home, serving Him. in what He has handed me, with what He has handed me, is pure joy. yes, even the dishes and the laundry. the thing is, i didn't even have to remind myself but once, at the very beginning of the day, "not for anyone but for the Lord." it made it all so easy to do. right away too, no putting it off.
  as for multitasking my multitasking, this has been a theory of mine for quite some time now; that all this multitasking on top of multitasking, really seems to only make my jobs harder, not easier. it's like playing the game of, "let's see how far i can stretch myself before i brake." except at the end of the game i get no prize, just the feeling of overwhelming, defeat.
  doing one task at a time, wholeheartedly, was freeing! i was free to do the tasks well and enjoy them! although this may be partial to doing them for the Lord, whose joy is my strength. these tasks that i did, one at a time, were every task. ie: if i was doing dishes and mikey came up to talk, i stopped doing the dishes, turned to face him and listened.   -  task change. -  flexibility, bending, morphing, from dish washing to listening, wholeheartedly.
  i know the usual play out, mikey talking louder, over the dishes clinking, water running, mommy asking "what?" possibly a few times. it didn't play out that way here. he spoke, i listened with my ears, my eyes, my heart. we had a short buy sweet conversation and he was off again on his merry way.
  the majority of the day went like this. usually the house is louder then i can bear and half way through we have practiced silence a lot. (yes, we practice silence in our house) this morning was so quiet we noticed the breeze blowing through the house.
  while reading about abraham and isaac i noticed that mikey wasn't paying attention. i followed his gaze to the flouting drapes. my knee jerk reaction was frustration and anger. i kept reading. he kept gazing. i got quiet and watched too for a minute. "what are you looking at?" i asked.
  he giggled and didn't respond.
  "are you watching the wind?" i asked
  he nodded and looked back up at the dancing drapes.
  "where does the wind come from?" i ask.
   "outside, mommy. the windows are opened."
  silly me. "yes, but outside, where is the wind coming from? who tells the wind to move?" coaxing in the quiet, daughter rocking baby doll near by.
   "God." he says assuredly.
   "God moves the wind, the wind moves our drapes. does that mean that God is moving our drapes?" i ask.
  he turns his smiling face up at mine, "God is moving our drapes."
and we sit and watch the drapes dance together in the quiet of morning.
   can things like this only happen when we slow down? when we choose intentionally to give our all, in each and every moment? when each and every moment is given intentionally back to the One who gave it to us in the first place?
  most of the day went this well, until the hurried rush of evening when i decided very last moment, to run to the store for a baked good.  fellow vacation bible school teachers would be arriving at our house very soon, and my wanting to have a sweet treat to share brought the ugly. the mad dash brought the madness, and the scones were only eaten by me. lesson here? when i'm in a mad dash, i want to ask myself, who is this mad dash for? me or God? i really wanted to have a sweet treat to offer the ladies while we planned and laughed, but really, was it about me and what i wanted? God wasn't in the mad dash. although the thought was nice, it was far beyond unnecessary. we planned and laughed and those scones were not anything to rush around and get frusterated over. especially after seeing my fellow vbs teachers wern't interested in them.
  tomorrow is a very busy day. i am going to be intentional about the same two things but also be intentionaly slow - no mad dash. note to self: this will mean that i have to make adjustmenst in my timing, especially considering i am late often and make mad dashes most of the time. tomorrow will be fun.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

for the glory of God

   so last night i was waaaay tired when i was writing my post. so tired that i didn't post it until this afternoon. so tired that i didn't even officially challenge myself to be intentional on anything specific today. boo-hiss on me!
  there are bible verses written with window marker and window crayons everywhere in our house. (thank you crayola - great products!) on the kitchen window above the sink i have several very helpful ones that are going to help me with my next intentional challenge. here they are:
  proverbs 31:17 she sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 25 she is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 she speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 30 charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a women who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  these verses are a great source of encouragement to me and even help to remind me that the things i do are important. a lot of the time i feel as though they aren't, and that is sad. i really enjoy my job as wife, mommy and homemaker, but often it doesn't come with any specific reward. no employee appreciation day so to say. now don't get me wrong here, getting to watch my children grow, learn, laugh, play, sing and just simply exist is quite a reward. here's the kicker: at times i look for rewards in other ways.
  i like to be told things are going well. that the house looks nice and a "hey thanks love for ________ " is something i seek often. yes to teach my children to be thankful is good and right, but is my desire to seek some sort of approval, some sort of reward for this job wrong?
  i know the One who sees all, and knows all, is the One i am doing my job for, more then anyone else. i do hope that on the day we meet face to face He will say, "well done good and faithful servant."
  servant. that is what i am. not servant to my husband, although at times it may feel that way. not servant to my children while most times it does feel that way. servant to my Savior to whom i owe my all. to whom i really want to give my all.
  when my grumbling about doing dishes again is audible - even only to me, i pray that i would remember to do it for the Lord, not for anyone else. when i wish the laundry would do itself and not grow for just a few days, i pray that i remember, i do it for the Lord, not for anyone else.
  another big thing that i do is multitask my multitasking. instead of going downstairs to print off some school papers and to start a load of clothes in the washer, i may bring arm loads of whatever down stairs as well as try to remember to bring things back up stairs all the while reading to my daughter who sits on my hip or on the dryer while i fill the washing machine. is this crazy or what? let me just say, it makes me feel crazy.
  so here are my two challenges for tomorrow. i know, two may be asking a lot of me.
tomorrow i want to intentionally do the house work for my Lord. not because i know it needs to be done. not because it makes life easier, or because i know my hubby does in fact appreciate it, but to pleasure of my Lord.
  also i want to intentionally stop multitasking my multitasking. simply do my work, one thing at a time, giving only one task at a time, my all. because really? isn't doing housework and mothering well, multitasking enough? no matter how many times that means i'll need to go up and down the stairs i will be thankfull that i don't need to pay for a gym pass. i wonder if taking two steps at a time in order to get a better thighs and buns workout while going up the stairs is considered multitasking my multitasking?

on the first day i prayed

  so today started out quite stressful but ended very well. my intention today was to see to it that i didn't stress or worry about my nana's surgery. my plan of action was to have it covered in prayer and keep myself busy. i know, this sounds like a no-brainer. how easy it is to say it. how easy it is to think it, but to really follow through with it? intentionally hand my stress and worry to Jesus and go about my day faithfully knowing that whatever the outcome, He is in control - all the time. (thankfully Him and not me.) that no matter what i am handed, i can not only get through it with Christ but that i can bring glory and honor to His decisions for my life and my families.
  sticking with my plan of hourly prayer, asking a few family and friends to pray, as they felt led, throughout the day helped me to feel like i had it covered in prayer, as much as i could. busying my mind whole heartily with regular daily tasks kept my mind from thinking on it and the many "what-if's". in fact, it made each and every daily task seem less daily, less ordinary. which lends itself to my next intentional challenge but more of that in the next post.
 this just seemed natural. isn't this the way we are supposed to handle stress? worry? "take it to the Lord in prayer" and leave it there? easier said then done sometimes. a few years ago i was so stressed about so many things, none of which i could control. the only way out of the dark pit of stress and worry was pure meditation on matthew 6:34 do not worry about tomorrow, tomorrow will worry about itself. each day has enough trouble of it's own. although my first thought after reading this verse was, "WHAT?!? tomorrow will be troublesome?!?" my next thought was, "what trouble will i have to deal with today?!?"  -lol!
 but really, one day at a time, one issue at a time, one breath at a time. i once read a quote about worrying about tomorrow only sucking the life out of today, or something like that. long story short - this verse didn't apply because my source for concern was taking place today.
 another super great scripture that i love to hold myself accountable to is philippians 4:8 finally, brothers whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. thinking of this one is super great too but sometimes it's the truth that is ugly and horrible that you have to face down, and their is nothing you can do about it because once again, God is in control.
 trying to think of another verse to mediate on during the day when i got stressed just wasn't working. so the only thing i could do was really lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there. because really, isn't all this balled up stress and worry more about my fear of the unknown? my lack of control? and who better to have in control then the maker of heaven and earth, the one Who has named every star and knows exactly how many hairs are growing on my head?
  quite frankly i am glad i'm not the one in control here. my fear of messing it all up is greater then my desire to control it all, so that kind of takes care of itself. each and every time in between prayer timers, if my thoughts would race back to nana and her surgery and all the what-if's, i'd just say "supplemental" prayers and remind myself that 'God's got this, thankfully not me' and jump head first into playing with my kids or working on school.
 the challenge to not stress or worry was so motivational that i was able to get a little creative with school. phonics became p.e., p.e. became math and we did art twice today just for the fun of it!
 all in all today was a good reminder to myself to practice what i preach - intentionally. oh yeah, nana got her new pacemaker and a new wire was also needed causing her to have an over night stay. not that i'm happy that she had to go through with all the surgery and all that comes along with the healing process, but i am glad to have gotten to see her tonight. she doesn't live here but her surgery was in my home town so the kids and i got to visit. and i think we may have helped her feel a little better too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

in the beginning

   lately i've been wondering, 'how much of my life do i just "wing it" and how much of my life do i live out intentionally?' this question came to mind while potty training my daughter. i thought, 'i'll just sit her on the potty and see what happens.'
   isn't that silly?
   as if a near two year old girl would have any idea what to do on a potty unless i intentionally teach her. remembering back to potty training my son, it was very deliberate, very much thought out. he was very encouraged by daddy, mommy, nanna the great and several others. we read potty friendly books to him. i read potty training books to myself. it took a little time but it was something we planned for and made happen.
   it got me thinking, 'how much of the many days of my life am i going to let happen and how much of the many days of my life am i going to make happen?' now this could go in several directions but for this life, the one i am living, i want to make sure i am intentionally living it out, not only on purpose, but with purpose. deliberately. thinking about the words i use before i use them. the actions i take before i take them, or in my case, just to take any action at all instead of only thinking on it.
   i have been learning s-l-o-w-l-y but surely to take my every thought captive. reminding myself often, of the imaginary but very real filter that needs to be constantly installed somewhere inside my mouth - wondering how much of that filter needs to be installed in my heart first.
   so this is my attempt at striving for intention in my life. each and every day i'll make up my mind what to specifically focus on. a problem area in my life - look out this could get personal. focus on intentionally making it right. practicing making it right until it becomes part of me - intentionally.
it's currently 11:54 pm on monday night and i need to go to bed. tomorrow morning at 6:00 am my nana will be getting a new pacemaker. this has the potential to make me stress and worry throughout my day. even forget my responsibilities as wife, mother, home maker, homeschooling teacher, friend to some and, most importantly, daughter of the King. the challenge for myself tomorrow will be an easy one for me to spot if i'm failing and i've got plenty of combat ammunition. is this starting to sound like war?
   their are three timers in my kitchen so i have no reason not to set up a timed hourly prayer vigil for my nana. this alone will help me as well. i have done this in the past for other people for all different reasons and my kids are now awear that when a timer in the kitchen goes off, it usually either means we are about to eat, or mommy's in the kitchen for five minutes of prayer. perhaps this striving for intention will rub off on my kiddos too? i'm praying it will make me more of what i can be through Christ, for Christ.