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It’s amazing how one tiny, wilted flower can instantly change a room.  This worn out gardenia bloom is permeating every corner of my family room right now and it’s power is amazing.  I went from tired and worn out (very much like this bloom actually!) to content and happy in the amount of time it takes me to inhale a slow, deep breath of heady scent.  It reminds me of my childhood.  It floods my tired brain with sweet memories… memories I wish sometimes I could go back and relive.  Surely a second time around I would absorb more, I would notice more and most importantly love more.

A pathetic looking bloom yes.  But one wiff makes me thankful.  The evening breeze blowing over it and carrying the scent through my hair as I do dishes makes me count my blessings.  All of a sudden I want to freeze time to make sure I absorb all the details of this evening.  I want to study the details of my children’s faces and the sound of their voices and of my husbands laugh as he listens to their funny stories about their day.

I am content.

I am happy.

I am forgiven and free.

I am been blessed beyond measure by my Savior who doesn’t see my tired, wilted petals but delights in the aroma of my thankful heart.

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Today is one of those days of total contentment.  A day when I wouldn’t trade in my “mommy-card” for all the money in the world.  A day when I delight in picking Hubby’s socks off the floor and hum a little tune while I tackle the permanent mountain of laundry piled high next to the washer machine.  Have you had one of these days before?

They don’t come often enough for me, I’m ashamed to admit.  Contentment doesn’t come from my surroundings, for those are the same as they were yesterday.  Instead, it is truly a matter of the heart.  It’s a choice I don’t make everyday… every moment… every breath.  And I fail miserably most days.  For some reason I’d much rather wallow in a current pity-party or allow the stress of keeping all my “hats” balanced perfectly on my head to take over and consume me. 

Today was not perfect by any means.  My whiney child was still whining.  My boys were still rowdy and out of control at times.  My chore fairy still refused to show up for work.  My family still demanded to be fed.  The dog still needs exercise and attention.   And homeschooling is still starting on Monday.

***AAAAHHHHCCKKKKK!!!***  Slow….deep….breathing….

But today, I choose contentment over strife and stress.  I choose to delight in the little things… those things that often go unnoticed or under-appreciated because I’m to caught up in something else.  I choose to take a deep breath when the stress of a moment threatens to wash over me like a tidal wave and instead of capsizing under it, I choose to smile and go start a tickle-fest or pillow fight in the living room.

Why today, you may ask?  I’d love to say it was just something I chose to do on my own.  But I’m afraid not.  Rather, it is a result of an increasing number of tragedies that has rocked the people around me in one way or another.  Sons who have died unexpectedly… families wiped out in car crashes… sweet little babies who are terminally ill… buses from my own university involved in head-on collisions… the list goes on it seems.  Sometimes I wonder if it is a sign that the devastation of this earth is closer.  That maybe the coming of my sweet Savior and Lord is just around the corner.  While I know that is true because each moment that passes brings us closer to that day, I also wonder if it’s more a result of us all being more connected through technology.  When something bad happens to a friend of a friend or co-worker, we read it on Facebook or Twitter when a year or so ago, we might not have ever heard the news. 

Whatever the reason is, the tragedies and heartaches have caused me to stop in my tracks and turn to look at those who surround me on a daily basis.  And I mean, really look… and appreciate.

Life is a gift.

Tomorrow is not promised.

And I am blessed.

This poem was shared by our speaker at our Wednesday Night Ladies Bible Study.  It was just too good not to share.  I have to take one paragraph at a time, it’s that good.  We are studying Romans and this week was Romans 6.  Ya might just want to take a gander at it before you read the poem.  God’s been showing me that I need to kill off not just my sinful nature but also those things that I think I deserve, or am entitled to: Rights.  Ouch!  I think that hurts more than killing my sin. 

Others May You Cannot

“If God has called you to be really like Christ in all your spirit, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility and put on you such demands of obedience, that He will not allow you to follow other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other good people do things which He will not let you do.
 
Others can brag on themselves, and their work, on their success, on their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.
 
The Lord will let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hid away in obscurity because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His glory, which can be produced only in the shade.
 
Others will be allowed to succeed in making money but it is likely God will keep you poor because He wants you to have something far better than gold and that is a helpless dependence on Him; that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.
 
God will let others be great, but He will keep you small.  He will let others do a great work for Him and get credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious, He will let others get the credit for the work you have done, and this will make your reward ten times greater when He comes.
 
The Holy Spirit will put strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting time, which other Christians never seem distressed over.
 
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign, and has a right to do what He pleases with His own, and He will not explain to you a thousand things which may puzzle your reason in His dealings with you.  He will wrap you up in a jealous love, and let other people say and do many things that you cannot do or say.
 
Settle it forever, that you are to deal directly with the Holy Spirit, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that others are not dealt with.
 
Now, when you are so possessed with the Living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this particular personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, you will found the vestibule of Heaven.”
 
Now print this baby up and post it above the kitchen sink.
 
And on your bathroom mirror.
 
And on the laundry detergent container. 
 
You know, all the spots we frequent and sometimes might have a not-so-great attitude about our current lot in life. 
 
Uh, if that every happens…
 
‘Cuz I’ve heard that sometimes that happens…
 
You know.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday night I broke a bowl.  My sister-in-law’s bowl.  View ImageMy sister-in-law’s vintage Pyrex bowl.  My sister-in-law’s vintage Pyrex bowl that’s part of a four-bowl nesting set. 

And I broke it to smithereens. 

S.M.I.T.H.E.R.E.E.N.E.S!!

And to add insult to injury injury to insult, I cut my hand up in the process.  Of course.

Most were tiny superficial cuts.  No big deal but they sure helped earn more sympathy from the bystanders in my kitchen.  I did have one significant cut that worried me.  A nice flap, about 3/4 of an inch in length that sat right at the base of my thumb, close to my wrist.   Of course.  Because we all know that cuts near a joint heal so easily with all that movement going on.

So, as everyone scurried around me, very efficiently sweeping up glass, holding children at bay (why is it that children are drawn like magnets to a scene of disaster that they could easily get hurt in too?!  Seriously!  They come out of the woodwork at the sound of breaking glass!  But that’s a topic for another time), vacuuming and moping up every last fleck of injury-causing glass splinters, I stood there, paper towel clamped to my wrist, inwardly wringing my hands at the thought of my sister-in-law’s broken glass bowl.  I was frantically trying to remember who gave her the bowl set and therefore the sentimental value possibly attached to it.  I was distraught at the thought of a memory I couldn’t replace.  Oh, I would replace the bowl alright.  Even if I had to scour Ebay for months in the wee hours of every morning.  But what if my my precious mother-in-law (who passed away suddenly 8 years ago) had given her the set?!  My heart absolutely seized up and refused to beat at that thought.  Seriously

My sister-in-law of course was amazingly gracious, turning down my offer of the same bowl in my own set, and joked about setting her dad on the hunt for a new bowl, since he always has to have something to hunt for.

Sorry.  Did my title say a conspiracy?  Oh! Yeah!  That’s right.  There is one.  I promise.  It’s coming up…

Hubby and I quickly glued the cut together and steri-striped it for support.   In the process, we realized that I would need to go buy some more First Aid glue since what we had on hand was drying up.  Shock of all shocks, we actually haven’t had to use it at all the last 6 months!  That’s a record for us I’m sure. 

And herein lies the conspiracy… thanks for hanging in there for so long… Me?  Long winded?  Naahhhhh! 

I can’t find that darn glue anywhere!  Not grocery stores, not pharmacies, not corner markets, not street corner drug dealers…  (I KID on that last one!)

It’s gone.  **POOF** Gone!

Wake up!  Wakie, wakie! **shaking computer monitor**  Rise and shine!  Here’s my theory finally!

I think the Government has pulled all the First Aid glue off the store shelves.

**Gasps of Horror** 

Why would They do this?  Well, I think it’s just one more step of Them pulling power away from individuals and keeping it to Themselves. 

If we can’t glue our own flaps of skin together at home, we’ll be forced to spend hours in the ER, waiting to be seen by an overworked, exhausted doctor (if you’re lucky) and billed for hundreds of dollars by our insurance company for months down the road. 

There!  I said it!

I’m already designing my protest signs. 

“Let Us Glue Ourselves!”

“Hands Off Our Superficial Wounds!!”

“I May Have Had Less Training But I’ve Had More Sleep!”

I know there have to be much whitier slogans to write but I haven’t had my second cup of coffee after being woken up 8 times last night by a toddler with nightmares… err, I mean, umm, my fingers still waking up from my 18 hours of REM sleep last night? 

Yeah!  That’s it! 

What would your sign say?  

Please pipe in if you know where I can get some First Aid glue.  Like, serious glue, folks.  Not that Liquid Bandage stuff.  It’s great and all but only for covering wounds, not holding skin flaps together while they heal.Go to fullsize image

Meanwhile I’m going to stock up on regular ol super glue.  Next thing you know, the Government’ll catch wind that desperate wounded people will resort to gluing their gashes with Super Glue.  Then **POOF** it’ll silently disappear off the store shelves too. 

Mark my words.

Just remember you heard it hear first.

Note added: No that’s not my pyrex collection in the picture at the top.  But I wish it was.  I think I’d sit on the floor and just stare at it all day and let the dirty lowly plastic dishes pilled up in the sink.  That picture is just beautiful to me.

View Image Today was another milestone… the kind that catches you off guard and takes a minute to sink in but the ton of bricks come crashing out of the sky none the less.

Lil Blue doesn’t need a step-stool anymore.  I watched today as he stretched up on his tippy toes and washed his hands at the bathroom sink.  This event followed very closely on the heels of him being able to get up on and down off the toilet without his trusty little red side kick.

At first I was excited.  No more step stool carrying through the house from one bathroom to the next.  Hooray!  No more stubbed Mama-toes during midnight bathroom trips in the dark. Hooray!  No more precious floor space used up by our stout four-legged companion.  Hooray! 

But then I heard the faint roaring sound from above… like the distant roar of an approaching earthquake.   It’s the dreaded sound of time marching on.  It’s always there, in the background.  We just usually drown out the sound with our business.  Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving… only, we can never move faster than Time.  Sometimes the roar of Time is disguised by the cheering and clapping around you as monumental event is applauded and rewarded.  It’s even been known to go crashing by in our absence. Ever miss a child’s first step because of work?  Or a first book ever read because of vacation?  ‘Nough said.

View ImageToday I wanted to desperately to jam the lifetime supply of cotton balls from the nearby bathroom cupboard (does anyone else have the same bag of cotton balls that they bought 5  years ago?!) into my ears to drown out the rumbling of Time.  If I don’t hear it, does it mean it’s moving?  No more step-stool means no more chubby little feet stepping up for a little boost of height.  No more half-naked (or all naked as the case may be) 2 year old noisily dragging the stool through the house just so he can “use your baffroom Mom”.  

No more help from mom.

Now, that’s not totally true of course.  But it’s how Time makes me feel today.  I’m being phased out.  It’s a good thing. 

But it’s a sad thing.

So while I add the step-stool to the garage sale mountain pile, I’ll relish one of my few last bathroom mom-duties…

…. reaching the soap for him.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the commercials for this new movie or not.  I think it’s an interesting concept. 

(My favorite line: “I could write a blog, I have thoughts!”)

I have to admit, I’m tempted to go finger through the shelves of the used book stores in my area for Julia’s first cookbook.  I have no idea what the recipes are but I KNOW they aren’t easy.  And frankly, at least half of them are probably dishes that my children wouldn’t touch to their lips if their lives depended on it.  I’m sure the recipes are labor-intensive, not quick 30 minute dishes that are the frequent meals that grace my table.  And I’m also pretty sure that there aren’t bright, colorful photos attached to each recipe walking me through step by step.

BUT, despite all those possible negatives… what IF, my children actually like even half the dishes?  Or, dare I say, maybe even more than half?  Like maybe even two-thirds? **gasp!**

And what IF, I realize that even though the recipes require more than three ingredients, I actually enjoy the extra cooking time?

I’m a big fan of photos… I’m a whannabe photographer afterall… but there is something so gloriously vintage about a black and white recipe page… makes me want to don my heels and scalloped apron, pretend my microwave doesn’t exist and start washing all my dishes by hand. 

This trailer has got me thinking…. What are some things you think would be cool to tackle and see through to the very, very, VERY end?

You know, if you actually had time?

And a cleaning lady?

And a laundry fairy?

I’m still trying to figure out my own answer… so many options to consider! 

Just a little food for thought.

HAH!  Get it?!!  FOOD for thought?!! 

Sorry.  I think the 100 degree heat is sizzlin’ my brain.  Please, get back to contemplating and forget my poor attempt at humor.

I stumbled acrosView Images a woman’s story from a blog I frequent.  Her story has rocked my world.   Apparently I need that every couple months; my world to be rocked that is. I’ve become so bogged down by all that is petty in my life. I’ve been let down by friends, unhappy in the routines of wife/motherhood, and felt mediocre in every aspect of my life. I had realized the past couple weeks, that I do nothing well. I have felt that I’m average in everything. Oh, I’m a better wife but not a good wife. I’m a decent cook but not a good cook. I’m a middle-of-the-road momma but not a good mom. I’m a work in progress as a child of God but I’m not a good child. I could go on but I’ll spare you the petty drama. 

But the truth is, I’ve let discontent run rampant in my life lately. And THAT is sin. And it is SATAN. It is DISTRACTION.  Satan’s goal is to simply distract as many Christians as he can.  He doesn’t have to lead astray or sway me from my beliefs.  He knows that’s too tough a battle.  Ah, but distracting me from being an effective child of God.  Now that is easy.  Frighteningly so.

And after watching Rachel’s talk, I know it’s been all about me. And it’s all been petty. It’s been me, trying to find my purpose outside of what God wants for me. And truthfully? I don’t know what His purpose is for me, not the details of it anyway. But I do know my purpose overview: To love Him and to serve Him with Joy. (I’m writing it all over my house) So that is my focus now. Today I’ve stopped listening to myself and I’m going to begin talking to myself… (writing that one everywhere too) listen to Rachel. She’ll explain. Oh! And I’m saying “Yes!” today. =0)

Death is Not Dying

Shared via AddThis

I’ve started to work on something. 

My Sabbath.

I really desire to have my “Sabbath” to be different from the rest of my week.  But that takes a week of planning in order to pull off a true day of rest.

But I think that might be the point.  Just like our worship must be purposeful and intentional, and our quiet times, our actions, our words,  so must our day of rest be.  I not only choose to set aside my daily chores for one day a week and instead spend time with my family and in prayer but it also needs to be on my mind every day of the week, planning a little more each day and getting an extra chore done each day in order to “pull it off”. 

I’ve been attempting this new (for me) Day of Rest half-heartedly the past few weeks.  Because of only half-hearted attempts, my Days of Rest have still included washing a couple loads of laundry and folding three, sweeping floors, cooking and preparing three meals, unloading and loading the dishwasher.  Less chores than a normal day, yes but far from the day of rest it could be if only I’d planned better, each day.

So this week is my first attempt at An Intentional Day of Rest.  

p1013087new-intentional-button

One day I’ll cook and freeze a dinner for Hubby and I to enjoy on our day of rest (the kids eat popcorn and fruit).  Another day I’ll catch up on all the laundry, instead of just doing a load.  I’ll decide ahead of time on our clothes for that day and make sure that if any of it needs ironing or cleaning up… yup, you guessed it… that it’s done aheadof time.  And the day before our Sabbath?  I’ll get the bathrooms cleaned, sandwiches made for our Day of Rest lunch,  unload the dishwasher so that it’s ready for quick and easy loading the next day.  The way I see it, if I plan, the only “chore” I should have to do is sweep after each meal.  

There’s not much way around that one.  

‘Cuz crunching around on three meals worth of crumbs and food chunks is just too much of a distraction for this ol heart.

So this week, as part of the intentionalpart of my Day of Rest, I will posting what I’ve done each day in preparation for my Sabbath.  I might even include a post of recipes that either freeze or refrigerate easily for quick, no-work meals.  If this is something you’d like to join in on, feel free to!  Let me know ahead of time and I’ll add a Mr. Linky so that you can link up your AIDOR (An Intentional Day of Rest) post.  You don’t need a blog to join in and share your tips and chores.  Just add a comment on my daily AIDOR post telling us what you did that day as you strive for your Day too.  My AIDOR picture is not a “button” yet but if you’d like it to be, just let me know. 

I’m excited to see the outcome after a week of working towards this goal.  It’ll be a huge for me.  Really huge.

This evening, as Hubby and I were in Church, there was a whole family of several generations, sitting in the row in front of us.  Tonight were baby dedications so there were many extended family members present who don’t normally attend our Church.

But my attention was caught by the grandmother, or rather, the GREAT-grandmother.  She was easily well into her 80’s, needing help up and a steadying hand to hold her while she caught her balance, every time we stood for a prayer or song.  I half expected her to quit standing and stay seated after the first song or two.  But no, she kept getting up each time.  Her hair was disheveled, flattened on a couple sides and sticking out straight on the others.  Her aged frame was bent from a lifetime of living and the rigors that it brings.  Her hands, though gnarled and twisted with arthritis, had well-cared for nails. 

At first, it was her hands that drew my second look.  As uncomfortable as it had to have been for her, she clapped along during every song.  Her body, too unstable to sway to a melody, remained still but her hands told a different story.   They kept time with the beat.  They moved with grace and eagerness despite their frailness. 

And so my attention was led from her hands on to her face.  Or rather, the side of her face as that was all my view would afford.  She sang along!  She wasn’t just enjoying the music, she knew the words and appeared to be singing her heart out.  This lady was praising her God.  She wasn’t going to let any old, tired, aching body stand in her way.  No ma’am.  

In my mind’s eye, I could see her as she might have been picturing herself… dancing and swaying on nimble, agile feet before the very throne of her Savior.  I’m certain that’s how our honest, true worship must look to God.  He sees our souls, our true selves, as they really are.  Our souls aren’t bogged down with earthly years of toil and the physical abuse that our bodies must endure.   And for those brief moments I watched this dear sweet lady, I saw her soul…  

Her hands, that now were beautiful and lovely to me and no longer twisted and damaged, stilled their clapping as she lifted them up, closed her eyes in concentrated praise and sang those words directly to her Lord.  The words that she was singing?

“…Take my life and let it be, all for You and for Your glory.  Take my life and let it be Yours…” 

Suddenly I was struck with the lesson this beautiful, fragrant picture of a true worship offering was showing me… this woman, with most of her life already lived, STILL found reason to devote and dedicate her life to Him.  She was still choosing to give Him her all.  She wasn’t sitting in her seat, saying to herself that she’d already done her part for Him.  That she’d paid her dues.  That she’d given Him her best days and now she was content to take it easy and let the younger folks take up the slack.  No.  She was still striving to bring Him glory.  She still wanted “in” on the blessing of glorifying Him in any and every way possible.

And then I felt the sting of regret.  This sweet lady was showing me up.  Not that it is a contest.  It’s not.  But we were practically side by side examples of worship for God to see.  And while I love worshiping my Lord.  And I love to spend my quiet times with Him.  And I strive to only become closer and more intimate with Him, never taking a step that doesn’t follow His Will… What about my days that I don’t feel good?  What about the days I’m just too tired from a night of interrupted sleep?  How much glory does God receive from me when my hair doesn’t cooperate, I feel my wardrobe is severely lacking and I’m consumed with my earthly appearance instead of my heavenly one?  During my grumpy, impatient and/or stressed out moments, would God even desire my life if I’d bothered to take my eyes off myself long enough to actually offer it to Him? 

But look at her.  Just look at her.  For all earthly accounts and purposes, she has a lot to complain about.  But tonight?  I didn’t see any complaining in her body language.  Nope.  She was pure joy.  She was happy to be at Church and she was happy to offer up, again, her life to glorify God. 

Amazing.

Ouch…

Yet another kick in the pants to get my heart jolted out of it’s funk and into the place it should be.

I’m hoping she’ll be there next week. 

I’m not the fastest learner.

View Image

Oh happy day, happy day

You washed my sin away

Oh happy day, happy day

I’ll never be the same

Forever I am changed

 

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