Anyway, this is really the cry of my heart right now: "How I need your help!" So I'm going to keep meditating on it.
What about you?
Anyway, this is really the cry of my heart right now: "How I need your help!" So I'm going to keep meditating on it.
What about you?
Why have I been up since 3 a.m.?! Yes, I woke up to roll over onto my side from my back since I had to do it carefully since I was completely trapped by the cat sleeping between my feet, and yes, I looked at the clock, and yes, I knew the alarm was going to go off early. But not for TWO MORE HOURS!
I think it's sympathy waking for my mom who's been having trouble sleeping. Or maybe part of me is just in New York with Emma. Who knows? What I do know is that I'm going to need to lie down around 3 o'clock this afternoon in order to make it through the evening.
I did stay in bed until 4:57 when I turned off the alarm, got up, started the coffee, and grabbed my keys to drive my dad to the airport in my pajamas. After thinking long and hard about whether I'd be willing to be seen in public in my pjs.
(That's another story. Don't wear jammies in the car you wouldn't want others to see. Even if you're just going to get your man from the airport at 12:30 a.m. and think you'll be right back home in a jiffy. Because you just might end up in the ER for the next 12 hours in those same jammies while he has emergency surgery.)
Off to start the laundry and pay the bills and go for a run and whatever else needs to be done. Cause the day feels about half over and it's only 7 a.m.
When we moved to Phoenix, we fit everything we brought into a 6 x 6 x 12 U-haul trailer. Most of what we own is still in Denver, packed in boxes, stored in the basement.
Things like Christmas decorations.
It's hard not to think that if we were in Denver, I'd be sitting in my big comfy chair, having my quiet time by the lights on the Christmas tree I'd have put up yesterday. The house would smell like cinnamon candles and little bits of Christmas cheer would be tucked here and there among my favorite treasures that make a house a home.
Instead, the house looks the same as it has since the day we moved in and the sum total of my Christmas decorations are two latte mugs I bought at Walmart the other day for a grand total of $4.
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year and I'm feeling unsettled this year. Advent begins tomorrow and I don't have my Advent treasure boxes (scroll through to see all the treasures that go in the boxes), an Advent calendar like this one or these, or even a Christmas tree.
I do have some books. Which I will begin tomorrow. And maybe I'll include the rest of the family in those devotions that are usually mine alone.
This is just one more piece of this year in the desert. A harder piece than others. But a piece of the whole. And so, somehow, without this piece of it, the picture wouldn't be complete.
I've been thinking a lot about Providence (hello, Esther gals!). And choosing to believe that nothing happens by chance. God has us here in this place at this time for a purpose. To teach us, to grow us, to prepare us, to shape us, to test us, to define us. For his glory and for our good.
Emma's all packed and ready to head to NYC for the next week with her Gran. And in the midst of shopping for a few new outfits (which makes a trip so much more fun especially when it all mixes and matches and is on crazy sale at Gymboree), talking about what her Emily doll should wear to dinner at the American Girl store, and being a teeny bit jealous that Emma's getting to see the Rockettes Christmas show, it hit me.
She's going to be gone for a week.
I know, I know that Audrey did the same trip back in August. But even though she's almost nine, Emma is still my baby. She seems so grown up and so little all at the same time. My heart's just not quite sure what to do.
And I'll just go ahead and admit that if I let it, my mind can spin completely out of control into a downward spiral of fear--of all the horrible things that could happen while she's gone. But I'm just not going to go there. Not gonna.
Instead I'm going to smile and wish her bon voyage and be so excited for her.
Because what an adventure! New York City at Christmas time with the best Gran in the world? Doesn't get much better than that!
(I can remember waiting every year to do the wishbone with my sister. But I don't think I've shown Audrey and Emma how to do it. Do you save the wishbone from your turkey?)
I read a quote just yesterday that's Thanksgiving-y and has stuck in my mind:
"The seeds of depression cannot take root in a grateful heart."
And I'm wondering what other seeds don't grow in a grateful heart. Discontentment. Bitterness. Resentment.
But we can cultivate a grateful heart and out of that grows joy and contentment and love.
Grateful today for you!
Mom and Dad arrived last night for Thanksgiving! And I am thankful.
Not sure how much I'll be posting this week, but wanted to take a minute to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and an encouragement to be thankful even when it's hard.
Isn't this a great postcard? Mom gave it to me. Sort of what we might look like had we lived in Pilgrim days. Can you just imagine Toben in that collar and hat?!
And as much as I think it'd be fun to go back in time, that just reminds me how thankful I am for indoor plumbing!
I've been running lately. And while a very small part of me (a very, very small part of me) misses Jillian telling me that she wants me to feel like I'm going to die as I Shred with her and part of me knows I need to get back to doing pushups at least every once in a while, the thing that has me running is the music.
I was never much of a music girl growing up. Yes, I liked it. But now? I need it.
Something about music washes over me, influences my mind and thoughts and heart and attitudes. That feeling of my heart bursting in gratitude and worship is something I need every day.
Church on the weekend is not enough for me any more.
We were made to worship. Every single day. And we will worship. Something. Someone. The right music helps me worship the right thing. The right One.
Here's what's track 1 on my current running mix. I am LOVING this song. And listening to it over and over.
No matter the season, we have a reason to worship. We have a choice. It's a matter of the will. We will rejoice. We will declare. Songs like this tell the truth and help me determine to choose well.
Here are the lyrics. And they will preach. Yes, indeed.
The girls and I are continuing to work on Psalm 19; up to verse 8. But we'll be taking the next two weeks off of school for Thanksgiving. I'm excited about where we are in Psalm 19--talking about all the different words used to describe God's Word and what it does in and for us.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
In the meantime, I'm going to learn the verse that Lisa shared with me a couple of weeks ago. I'd like to get it tattooed on my forehead, but then it would be backwards when I look in the mirror. Though my friend Ali wants it on her forehead too, so maybe we could just look at each other!
Leave your link/verse/comment below!
My Spiritual Mothering group at church finished up on Saturday morning, but with some plans to get together again after the holidays. Which is good, because I'm not ready for it to end! How I wish we could all sit face to face too!
Especially when I've typed up my answers to the discussion questions, hit a button, and Safari locks up and loses all of my answers. Ugh. I'll do my best to go back and re-answer the questions from chapter 8, but somehow it's never as good as what I said the first time. :)
Also, I emailed Susan Hunt the other day just to say hello and thank you for the book--and she emailed me back. I would love to attend a retreat with her. Wouldn't that be great?
Okay, on to chapter 9 and the story of Dorcas!
As always, there's no expiration date on these posts, so if you're catching up, don't feel pressured. Take your time to read and absorb what you're reading, to think about it, pray about it, ponder it. The goal is not just to get it done, but to be changed by what we're learning together.
Chapter 9: The Power of Acceptance
"How do we show acceptance of women in such a way as to encourage them? What qualities should a spiritual mother embody and teach to a younger woman?"
1. Do you battle the "super-woman syndrome"? In what ways? Be as specific as you can.
2. Dorcas "shows us that it is possible to be an intelligent, organized woman who is deeply involved in ministry without making others feel guilty or pressured" (page 131).
Do you know any women like this? What are some of the things they do that prove this statement true?
3. Dorcas was careful "not to place demands on the woman but to communicate a belief in the woman's potential" (page 131).
If there were a scale for this, would you fall closer to placing demands or communicating belief in potential? Can you give an example?
4. Beginning on page 131, Hunt describes a series of "I can imagine" paragraphs about Dorcas. Is there one that stands out to you? One that you could take steps toward putting into practice this week?
5. Respond to the quote from Dobson on page 136 about the breakdown between women and women. Do you see this being true?
6. How can you help create a supportive network for women in your own sphere of influence? How can you connect with women around you and encourage them to connect with one another?
Could you start a prayer group, a book group, a play group? What about simply having women over for coffee or tea and giving them opportunity to connect? As you've talked about this book study, are there women who would like to go through this book? Could you host a group in your home?
And let's just go ahead and say it can be hard to take pictures of yourself at 11 p.m. The light's, well, dark. And the hair? A bit flat.
We had a photographer at the dance last night and I'll add pictures he took when I get them.
But for now, here's THE DRESS.
God bless Calvin Klein. And Marshall's. The end.
Just got home from church and received these photos from our friend who took pictures last night. Thanks, Jeff!
(And yes, for those of you who don't know me or Toben in real life, I am taller than him. Well, sort of. In bare feet we're almost exactly the same height. So when I wear 3-inch silver snakeskin heels--which I have on though you can't see them in the picture, I'm definitely taller!)
Thank you for my day yesterday. For the gift of a three-hour coffee with one friend, followed by a three-hour lunch with another, followed by a trip to buy jeans all by myself.
Thank you for working from home. For helping the girls with school.
Thank you most of all for being excited for me to have my day. For understanding how much I needed it.
I appreciate you. I love you.
I love a good rabbit trail. Especially when studying God's Word. When something I'm studying leads me someplace else and ends up not quite where I expected, but exactly where I need to be.
Yesterday morning I was following contentment through Scripture using the concordance in the back of my NIV Study Bible. Not exhaustive by any means, and subject to translation choices rather than the original languages, but it's what I had at the time and set me down a path that ended where I'm going. If I can stop rabbit-trailing and just tell you what I want to tell you already!
There's one reference to "contentment" in the Song of Songs. It's not really what I was looking for (which has to do with Psalm 23 as I prepare for Bible study in the spring), but was intriguing (because isn't the Song of Songs intriguing?) and I decided to come back to it this morning.
Here's what it says:
Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment.
(Song of Songs 8:10)
Something in me just expands and aches with that. Yes, my soul sighs.
I long for that to be true of me. A wife who brings contentment to Toben. O God, make this true of me for Toben, I pray!
In the Hebrew, the word that is translated "contentment" is shalom. Take a look at the definition: completeness, soundness, safety, peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, friendship, peace (from war). The noun comes from a verb that means to be in a covenant of peace, to cause to be at peace, to be complete, to be finished, to make safe, to restore.
It's not something that's just going to happen. It's going to take some effort on my part. Some asking him how I can do this--even if the answers are uncomfortable. O, to be brave!
Am I causing Toben to be at peace? Am I a safe person for him? Does he feel safe with me, or am I causing him to hide? Am I truly a helpmate? Do I refrain from warring with him? What am I doing that brings him restoration?
We're headed up to a cabin in the mountains in a few weeks for four days of intensive counseling. Our eighteenth anniversary is coming up and it's been a long time since we've sat down and really focused on where we are, where we want to be, what might need some adjusting or just plain fixing.
We all settle into routines and schedules and life just kind of goes along sometimes without much thought or intention. I suppose it will be like going to the doctor for a full check-up.
I'm a little scared. Silly, but true. And yet I'm hopeful too. And eager for time to talk and think and dream and learn how I can become the wife I long to be.
And why not? It's a little bit chilly, so we all just put on an extra hoodie and put our plates piled high with a steaming pasta dish in our laps and made it work.
Such a small thing--a change of scenery--made dinner seem adventurous and fun. The conversation wasn't much different, the food wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but the whole experience felt different.
After we finished, the girls begged for another chapter in the book we started this week for school, and Toben cleaned up the kitchen while I read out loud.
When I was a kid, we'd put the dog in the garage on Sunday nights, lay out the big green Army blanket, light a fire, and roast hot dogs in the fireplace while watching The Wonderful World of Disney. We'd eat baked beans and potato chips and roast marshmallows for dessert.
I don't remember how often we did it--I doubt it was every Sunday night, but it was often enough to have it be one of those memories I cherish and will never forget.
I'm thinking that dinner and reading outside just may need to become a regular feature around here.
I'm going to be teaching Bible study at my church this spring for six weeks--on Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings. I'm so excited to get have weeks to communicate a message, rather than just 45 minutes.
We're going to be studying Psalm 23 and learning some Bible study methods and disciplines along the way. So often, we study the Word when we're in Bible study, but on our own? Sometimes we're not so sure what to do.
We're going to take a chapter that's familiar to most of us and learn how to study it in-depth together, taking a deeper look at what it has to teach us.
So, here's my question: What do you want/need most from Bible study? Especially a study at church where someone is teaching?
I owe you a HUGE apology for taking so stinkin' long to get your giveaway prizes to you. It's been weeks, nay months!, since you won my giveaway.
I finally remembered to buy mailing envelopes at Target last night. And packaged your gifts. And will go to the post office today!
So, your prizes are on the way. Really. I promise.
I have been feeling pretty "blah" lately. Not sick, but out of sorts, sad, and just, well, blah. Blah and discontent, if I'm totally honest.
In fact, I probably have a whole list of things that would go under the "Discontent" heading; what the items are isn't really as important as the fact that I have a list and I've been checking it twice. Dwelling on it. Reviewing it. Adding to it.
I was reviewing Psalm 16 this morning--a chapter I memorized a while ago and have let get fuzzy in my mind. And as I was reading it, it's like God highlighted some very specific things: "Listen up, Joanne, and pay attention."
Apart from you I have no good thing...
LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
God reminded me that if something I want is apart from him--something he's said "no" about, something he's not giving me--it's not gonna be good for me. And my fear that I won't be happy with what he wants to give me is silly and, to be honest, insulting. He's already given his Son for me, and whatever else he wants to give me is good.
And whether I feel like it or not, my portion and my cup, my lot and my boundary lines are good. For my good. Because God is for me, not against me. And I can trust him to know what's best.
My struggles don't tend to be outward. I don't struggle as much with behaviors as I do with thoughts and attitudes and my mind. It's easier to keep the things I struggle with under wraps, to carry on on the outside, looking to all the world like I've got it all together.
But I don't.
As I've knelt on the floor this morning, face to the carpet, I've prayed that God would change my mind. That he would transform my thoughts. That he would help me to set my mind on the truth rather than on whatever temptation comes my way to let my thoughts and feelings stray down a path of half-truths and lies.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern on this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
Chapter 8 already! I have loved doing this with you and reading your responses. A couple of quick thoughts.
Life is busy. It can be overwhelming. Especially this time of year. And though we get excited about starting something, sometimes it's hard to finish. I so get that. Please don't feel pressured to answer questions, to post something every week.
What's most important is what happens between you and the Lord. What he's teaching you about this topic of spiritual mothering. If you can respond, great. If not, that's okay too. Believe me that I understand when computer time is the thing that has to give from time to time.
That said, I will say if you got the book, keep reading. Finish it...sometime! You'll be blessed and taught and so glad you did. But you pay attention to God's timing and teaching--not mine.
Yes, I am jealous for you to read and love this book as much as I do, but God uses different things in different times in our lives. We may be in the same season, or in a different season. The important thing is that we listen to God's voice in our lives and pursue what he's teaching us in that season.
Okay. Just needed to get that off my chest, to clear that up, to offer some grace, and remove any pressure.
I loved reading your responses to chapter 7. And am always tickled when I see that I underlined the same thing you did. I just want to grab your hands and look you in the eye, and say, "Me too! Me too!"
(And Ashley--I'm just giddy with you. And you can't know how your words about resentment hit me. God's timing is so perfect. Resentment and bitterness were part of the chapter I just did with the group of women at church and it's like God was saying, "I have something to say to you here, Joanne." And then I saw your comment and gulped. In a good way. Just another way God is using you all and other women to teach me. I so appreciate all of you!)
"The Ministry of Encouragement"
1. "As I learned to trust him, I learned to trust others" (page 113). How does growing in trust in God help you trust others? How have you seen the two linked in your own life?
2. "Encouragement is not just an exercise in fluff. The ministry of encouragement is hard work" (page 114). Did this chapter change your definition of encouragement? How are you thinking differently about encouragement after reading this chapter?
3. "Being with a spiritual mother who reflects Christ will encourage and equip a young woman to be like Him" (page 117). We are not mothering other women so they end up like us, but like Jesus. The goal is not a Mini Me! I think of praying that others will not see us, but see Jesus in us.
This means that we can mentor women who are nothing like us; we can ask a woman to be a spiritual mother who is nothing like us. The possibilities just expanded in a huge way! What is important is that we are like Jesus.
Does that change your perception about your ability to be a spiritual mother or a spiritual daughter?
4. Different women reflect Jesus in different ways and have different strengths (and weaknesses!). No one of us will reflect him perfectly--we benefit from multiple spiritual mothers. As you think about the women you know, what are some of the ways you see them reflect Jesus that you want to learn?
5. We've talked a lot about our becoming spiritual mothers in the past chapters. But this chapter has made me realize my own longing for a spiritual mother or two in my everyday, face-to-face life.
How might we benefit from being a spiritual daughter? As we pray to be open to mother a younger woman, let's also pray that God would guide us toward a spiritual mother of our own. If you do not have a mentor/spiritual mother, is there someone you'd like to ask?
6. Anything else you'd like to add?
We went and saw our friend at Staples the other day to get a whole stack of verse cards laminated. I've not been laminating mine (they have a safe place to live without getting beat up), but the girls get theirs done. That way they'll last. And wouldn't it be cool if they still had their stack someday when they're all grown up?
(Okay, technically the boy at Staples doesn't know he's our friend but it's always the same guy and I kind of wonder what he thinks of our verse cards. I figure that maybe he'll ask one of these visits.)
This week we're adding more verses to Psalm 19; we got 1-4 down pretty well last week especially considering we didn't do school on Monday.
One thing we need to work on is reviewing past verses we've learned to keep them fresh. I do that on my own, but it's time for the girls to do it too, for us to do it together.
Which reminds me of Sunday school yesterday. Our virtue this month is cooperation and our memory verse is Ecclesiastes 4:9. "Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do."
In everything they do.
Memorizing Scripture, cleaning house, making decisions, homework, you name it. Everything. That was a little bit eye-opening for me. Because I'm not so good at asking for help and tend to pride myself on being self-sufficient. God's really been working on that with me and I'll go ahead and tell you it's not much fun. But necessary.
Are you memorizing anything this week? If not, why not? Please don't take that as criticism, but as an honest question. What's holding you back from being disciplined about memorization?
Today is my dad's birthday--and I haven't even put a card in the mail. But here's why: He and my mom are going to be here ONE WEEK FROM TOMORROW for Thanksgiving and we are going to wait and celebrate in person. I figure in person more than makes up for a week late.
I haven't seen my dad since we moved more than four months ago. And you'd better believe I'm ready for a visit. We're going to sit outside around the chiminea every night after dinner and catch up and play cards and just be together. And we'll probably do some exploring around Phoenix--because my dad loves to go do new things.
I can hardly wait.
I don't have many pictures of my dad--somehow he's usually the one behind the camera. But here are a few...
Dad, Kristen, and me, sailing to Catalina, 1970s
Audrey, Dad, and the rocket they built together (And just like that hat says, he is the world's "#1 Papa"!)
Dad teaching Audrey the rules at a USAFA football game
Dad teaching Emma to dance
As I look at these pictures, I see something so clearly about my dad. He is a teacher.
He is patient and willing to take the time to explain things clearly and carefully--again and again--until his student gets it. He's not easily frustrated or flustered by taking something complicated and breaking it down to teach it in little pieces.
We laugh at the way he can turn the round dinner table, an apple (carved to look like the earth), and anything else on hand into a working model of the solar system to explain geosyncritist orbit (though he never explained how to SPELL it!). Or knives, forks, and salt and pepper shakers into a map of the United States.
He loves to learn and loves to share with others what he's learned.
He loves to explore places and ideas and bring others along in his discoveries.
It's funny, because those very things sometimes (okay, often!) drove me crazy as a kid. ("Another museum, Dad? Another cathedral? Can't we just play on the playground a while?") But my life is so much richer, so much fuller because of how God made my dad.
He is a godly man. A faithful husband. A hard worker. A gifted thinker. A thoughtful dad. A fantastic grandfather. God blessed our family in him.
I love you, Dad. Thanks for being who you are. And I'm so glad you're mine. There's no one I would rather call "Dad."
First I have to say thank you for your emails and comments and prayers and tweets and Facebook comments the other day. I appreciate you more than you could know. And I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who blows it BIG TIME as a mama.
In God's perfect ways, he's used it to clear the air and Audrey and I are connecting and talking better than we have in a long time. He is good!
The girls worked so hard at school yesterday. They really buckled down and persevered and were diligent--and I'm so proud of them. And told them so a lot.
(Here's that Spiritual Mothering thing coming into play--It's not enough to THINK it, we've gotta SAY it when it comes to encouragement!)
When we started school back in August, our Bible curriculum started us reading through the book of John together. And instead of just reading it, we've really been studying it together.
The girls have done a couple of things with John:
And all the while, they've been reading out loud, working on tone and inflection and pronunciation and all that good stuff.
Well, we finished John last week. The lesson plans have us starting 1 Samuel now.
So yesterday, I taught them a little bit about the book--the context, its place in Israel's history, the kinds of stories it includes. And instead of outlining the book, we're going to do something a little bit different.
Instead of reading each small section together each day, the girls will be using the day's section for their quiet time and making notes in their journals.
I'm so excited about this!
At the beginning of each week, I'll list each day's reading so they can find it quickly and easily. And I listed the kinds of things they should be noting.
We're going with answering WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW. They'll note any questions they have about the text, and write out any verse that stands out to them that they want to remember.
They know that because 1 Samuel is a narrative, they may have more than one WHO in a story. (Hello, chapter 1: Elkanah, Hannah, Penninah, Eli, Samuel!) They can pick one or more than one. I left it up to them so it doesn't get overwhelming.
This is all familiar to them from the time I spoke at their chapel last year about being Bible detectives. But no mustache yesterday! Confused? Go check out this post.
Then during our Bible lesson, they'll ask their questions and we'll search for the answers together. (Why did Elkanah have more than one wife? What does it mean to be weaned?)
Before they know it, they'll be experts at inductive Bible study method!
They started yesterday and did a great job. It was fun to see that they chose different WHOs for chapter 1 and so they were great listeners when it came time for them to share with each other what they'd written down.
I am not usually a drama queen by nature; I tend to stay pretty even tempered. (Though I will say I used to be a drama queen. Not sure if that was me, or just me having two children under the age of five for a season. Whatever it was, it was exhausting and I didn't like it much.)
Anyhow, today I was a drama queen. Or, more of a DRAMA QUEEN as the case may be.
Not so pretty. No tiara, no royal robes.
Just a good hair day and a really bad attitude.
The thing is, I don't even know what set me off. The day started fine. I blogged about my desire to get back to some discipline in my walk, some strict training in this journey of faith. I got the boys to school (my extra two!) after spending the night with them, and then went back home. I walked in the door and WHAM!
It felt like I walked into a cloud, under a cloud, into a swirling mess. Some of it feels like SUPER DUPER PMS (my friend Yvette says it should all be capitalized like that, and I agree), but some of it felt darker than that. Stifling. Suffocating.
When I said "Bring it" at the end of my last post, that is so not what I meant.
And so I struggled against it and fought the cloud and then in a fit of rage gave in. Said horrible things to Audrey. Yelled a lot and was mean.
And I have to admit that it felt good to give it free rein. For about a fraction of a second. And then it felt bad. Really, really bad.
I hate knowing that kind of thing lurks in me. I had thought it was gone--it's been years since rage has come out like that. And it scared me.
So I curled up on the floor in the living room and did the ugly cry. And then I got up and cried some more. Then read comments from you on Twitter and Facebook and listened to voicemail and cried some more.
And then I apologized to my sweet girl. Asked her to forgive me. And she did. I hope what she'll remember is me admitting I was wrong, remember my sorrow over my words rather than the words themselves.
I hope she'll remember someday when she's a grownup that it's hard to be grownup sometimes, hard to be a mom. That moms can apologize to their kids, ask for forgiveness too.
I hope she remembers that we get do-overs. That while we do have to deal with the consequences, we can forgive and move forward and start again.
Lisa sent me this verse, and it's one you might need to if you can relate to any of this. It's definitely going on a card and be written on my heart:
I will try to walk a blameless path,
but how I need your help,
especially in my own home,
where I long to act as I should.
Psalm 101:2, Living Bible
The girls and I are going to start learning Psalm 19 this week. We have a couple of weeks to get it down, so this morning we'll be making our verse cards and then heading out to the office supply store to get them laminated. We have quite a stack waiting to be done. And who doesn't love a trip to the office supply store?
I feel like I'm starting to sound like a broken record a little bit, but our discipline is still off. No excuse.
In fact, I need to confess that my own personal discipline is just off lately. My quiet times have been haphazard, sort of on the fly, and not totally honest. Which is silly, since God knows the truth no matter how I try to spin it or hide it.
Beth's video message on the Living Proof Ministry blog hit me square between the eyes this morning. And it called to mind her talk in Laramie back in May about the need for STRICT TRAINING. I said I was in then. I meant it. And I still mean it. But it's time to act like it again.
Excited and a little scared. But ready because I don't want to lose ground, don't want to coast. I want to be strong, to be mighty, to be honest, to be brave.
In the words of my dear friend Susan: Bring it.
Let's make this week's discussion a simple one. Share one or two things that you underlined and explain why.
Was it something you wholeheartedly agree with? Something that challenges you to grow? Something you want to know more about or study more in depth?
If we were sitting around in a circle at a coffee shop (picture your favorite one and maybe even tell us which one it is so we can picture it too!), how would you finish this sentence: "I underlined the quote that says ________________ because ________________."
Got up this morning and headed to Cardiff for some VG's donuts to take to the beach. Talk about a great way to start the day!
How cute are those turkey cupcakes?
While they ate donuts, I went for a run on the beach. And after I could breathe again, THEN I ate my donut. Glazed old fashioned. Cause I didn't see any kruellers, which are my all-time favorite!
I got up this morning and went for a run on the beach. So good. Then back to the house to make pancakes and bacon for breakfast. By 9 a.m., we were all ready to go and rolling down the 101 to Cardiff.
We backed into a spot right on the beach and settled in for a couple of hours. The kids built castles, played on boogie boards, and Toben got in some surfing.
It was a little bit cool today at the beach, so they were all happy to have their new surf hoodies that we picked up last night at Hansen's. Every kid needs a good surf hoodie:
My surfing kids:
I sat in the back of the car, reading and looking up to take pictures like these from time to time.
And look! I even managed to get in a picture or two...
My spot at the beach (finished another spy novel):
Me and "my" boys
After lunch, we headed to Mike McGills for some skate stuff--new stickers for Tobin's board and a cool shirt. Lowden loves Legos; Tobin (yep, another Tobin, but this one with an "i") loves to skate. So the boys each got to do their favorite thing this weekend.
Then we headed over to the Encinitas YMCA to check out the skate park. Tobin wasn't quite ready to drop in to the pool here, but said next time for sure!
Tomorrow? Donuts at the beach for breakfast for them, a run along the beach for me. Then packing up and hitting the road back to Phoenix.
We spent all day long at Legoland and we are so tired! The kids are all tucked into bed and it's quiet, so I think they're all asleep already.
I'm off to get some jammies, brush my teeth, and wash my face. Then I'm hoping I can stay awake long enough to read for a bit. If not, I'm happy to go right to sleep too.
Tomorrow we're hitting the beach. Backing the car up to the beach, letting the boys surf, the girls play. Me? I'm going to take a book and stare at the ocean in between paragraphs.
A few months ago I was overcome with the urge to quilt. And not another Seven-Year Quilt--but one I could actually quilt by hand and finish in a reasonable amount of time, like, say, a month or two.
A baby quilt would be perfect. And since I have some friends who were adopting a beautiful boy, I even had someone to make it for.
She'd asked me to make their baby bedding, and while I gave her the yardage left over, I kept a bunch of the scraps with the thought they'd make, well, something.
So I added the turquoise ovals and circles from my stash, bought the solid brown and some batting, and look! I even finished it in time for the baby shower.
I love how the back looks, but couldn't get any pictures to turn out right. And I especially love how wrinkly a quilt gets after it's all done and washed.
Every quilt needs a name. This one is "Chosen." It's embroidered on the back, under the baby's name, along with a reference from Ephesians about how we are chosen by God. This lucky boy is twice chosen!
I haven't forgotten you and am working on your prizes...
P.S. Just came back this morning to say that I posted this yesterday from my iPhone while waiting for the kids (not mine, a friend's) at school. How cool is that? Have to say, the iPhone is way cool.
We're headed to the beach tomorrow morning for the weekend and my mind is whirling with all to be done today. So welcome to my list. A list is a girl's best friend, in my humble opinion.
How I love a list! On paper, on computer, on the fridge, on the iPhone--you name it, I love it.
And, yes, I freely admit that I totally go back and add stuff I've done that wasn't on the list just to cross it off.
So here's my list for today.
Wednesday, The List
Okay, I think I'd better stop because it's starting to look overwhelming! One thing at a time...
What's on your list for the day?
Let's get to it! And if you're still feeling behind, no worries. Blog posts don't ever expire!
In this chapter, we get to take a close look at Luke 1:42-45. Go ahead and read it again (also on page 87 in the book) before we get going. "Those verses contain volumes about how older women can encourage and equip younger women to live for God's glory."
This is it--the HOW!
1. Verbal affirmation. "We must express approval...it is not impossible, and to be a spiritual mother, it is essential" (page 88).
On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not at all, 5 being very), how comfortable are you expressing verbal affirmation to others?
2. Approachable spirit. Are you approachable? Or do you hold women at arm's length? How can you work to be approachable to other women? Think about what you find approachable in other women. How can you emulate those things?
3. Challenge to be obedient. "When obedience is affirmed it usually produces more obedience" (page 90). I don't know about you, but I appreciate someone who challenges me to obedience, to greatness. How can you challenge women around you to obey the Word of God?
4. Brevity of expression. As women, we are perfectly capable of talking things to death. Yet it is often the clear, concise truths we remember the best. Are you good at "cutting to the chase"? Or do you tend to hide truth that can sometimes be hard in layers of words to soften the blow?
5. Anything else that was an "a-ha" for you in this chapter? Any question you want to ask?
The girls and I are in desperate need of a week to catch up and a week to review. We are still out of our routine (for some very good reasons) and I'm hoping that today we'll get going and work hard and set the tone for the first half of the week.
The second half? We're headed to San Diego on Thursday for a long weekend with a couple of extra kiddos so we're going to rock and roll these next three days.
And I'm going to go for a run this morning. No excuses! I'm still not totally well and feeling stuffy in the mornings, but after I get this posted and sit upright for a little while longer I'll be fine. And I'm just done. Three weeks of feeling cold-ish and some days of feeling downright awful are enough. I'm done.
All this makes me realize how much I am a creature of habit. A change in routine is hard for me. At the same time, I'm learning some flexibility--something I need desperately. On my own I am rigid and controlled to a fault. So I'm taking it a day at a time and just doing whatever comes next.
Other things to catch up on? Email, as always. I know I have a message from at least one of you who said you wanted to join in Memory Monday--and I'm afraid I haven't responded personally yet. Know I am thrilled to have you join us!
And to anyone else awaiting a response, I love getting your comments. I'd love to respond to each and every one with a personal note. Sometimes I do, sometimes I just can't. l hate that!
Do you ever feel like the reason you want more time is not to have it just for yourself or to waste it, but to spend it on other people? There are so many people I want to spend time with, get to know better. Eternity. The Bible says that God has set eternity in our hearts--and this is one of those things that brings it to the forefront for me.
Leave your verse or your link in the comments below. Love you all and so thankful for your faithfulness and encouragement and accountability. It means the world to me.