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.