Yesterday I had a major wake up call. I had a parent/teacher conference with Isaac's preschool teacher followed by a quick talk with our preschool director at the church in the room he will be moving up to in March. My baby boy is growing up! I didn't think I would be that mom... the one who starts to get choked up talking about her kids getting older... but I think I failed. The time really is going by so fast and I can't seem to slow it down. Pretty soon Isaac will be starting a job, graduating from college and marrying a girl that is almost good enough. Excuse me while I go and sob my eyes out....
Me: Isaac, did you know that Papa is leaving again to go to India to help people? Isaac: He just went there. Why he go again? Me: Because he is a missionary and God wants Him to go and help people. Isaac: I want to do that too. Me: Well, if you were a missionary, where would you go and tell people about Jesus? Isaac: Disneyworld!
If you are a mom... especially one who has been in ministry... then you can probably relate to this post. I've realized that sometimes when life gets too busy, and there isn't much you can do about it, you just have to get creative with your family time. Tonight was one of those nights. Chris and I both had an overwhelming amount of work to do at the church, and instead of splitting it up and taking different nights to go and do it, we wanted to just take one night and leave the rest alone... that's how we came up with "PJ night at the church." The kids got in their PJs and we spent our family time at the church. Because I am a PK myself, I remember having some great times growing up and being at the church when no one was there. I'm hoping the same is true for my kids. I've learned not to get stressed out or allow myself to feel out of control, but instead, just get a little creative and allow my kids to just enjoy being together... wherever we are.
Any creative ways you have found time to spend with your family?
Yesterday we took Jeni out for her last big hoorah before her wedding day. The day started with just the sisters and our mom... massage, pedicures and lots of coffee... with lots of laughs. We then met some of the bridesmaids for lunch, rock climbing and shopping. At night we sat by the fire and showed Jeni how much we love her. It was such a special day for such a special girl!
So... rock climbing is way harder then it looks. My arms were ON FIRE. I got pretty far, but my arms were like jelly! Such a great workout!
There was a lot of smack talk going on, so we decided to take it to the court. Big props to Sarah who dominated at Knock Out!
It was very dark during dinner so I didn't get many good pictures... but our little bachelorette looked amazing! We love you Jen and are so proud of you! Only 5 more days until you are going to live with a boy!!!
Today is a day of reflection. Just trying to figure out the important things vs. the menial tasks I take on every day. My husband is having me write out a weekly schedule, hour by hour, to help force me to focus on the things that really matter and not the things that could be done another time... possibly by someone else. I worked on it today by downloading a schedule here and it was very eye opening. Yes, I have a lot going on, but I feel if I manage my time more efficiently I can do what needs to be done and still have time to breathe... or possibly finish a cup of coffee.
I have been thinking a lot about the women of the Bible... Deborah, in particular. I mean, this lady was serious business. How did she do it all? She was a prophetess and the only female judge of Israel and in Judges chapter 4 she accompanied Barak and 10,000 men to fight Sisera. (This warrior was too afraid to do it without her.) Once they had obtained the victory, Deborah and Barak break out in song in chapter 5, ending with these beautiful lyrics: "...but may they who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength."
That is what I need. To rise in strength like the sun because of my love for God. I have a feeling that when God is at the top of my list, He will give me the strength I need to finish every other task... especially the things He has entrusted to me.
Ever since his 3rd birthday last year, Isaac has been obsessed with Monster Trucks. He will even watch it on TV. So... we surprised Isaac yesterday and took him to the Monster Jam show. When he first realized where we were, he couldn't keep it together. He was so excited! Chris and I had a blast just hanging with our boy and to top it off... BLUE THUNDER won the freestyle round!!!
I did something yesterday I never thought I would be able to do. I completely purged my files! It was extremely difficult... I had a whole 4 drawer file cabinet filled to overflowing in my office. It was pretty liberating and I'm not regretting it one bit. It's a very strategic process I'm in the middle of to de-clutter my life. Unfortunately, I was unable to throw away any of the files of my college class notes. I know I won't use 95% of them, but they are very sentimental... especially because they have doodles of my husbands name all over them!
Here is an email I received this morning from a friend from college about her 3 year old daughter, Bethany, that has broken my heart. If you are able to contribute to Project:SMILE! it would be greatly appreciated. (Bethany was diagnosed with stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma in March of 2008.) You can find out more about Bethany HERE.
Hello Friends, As you may or may not have heard, we got some pretty difficult news from Bethany's doctors this week. We have never been given a time frame on Bethany's life expectancy before, but this week the doctors gave us one. The chemo that she has been having has not been working. If this continues and nothing we try does damage to the cancer, than she may only have 2-4 months left. We have been waiting to get on a brand new clinical trial. If that one works, that may add another 2-4 months. What do you say or do when someone tells you that your child has only a few short months left in this world? How do you smile? How do you find the strength to even get out of bed? The only answer that I know is through JESUS! Our families heart has been so overwhelmed with sadness these last few days. It is only by the grace of God and His mercies that we have peace. We have to now focus on the happiness of Bethany. We do not want these next few months to be miserable on her. It brakes our heart to see her feeling sick and we want to do everything we can to brighten her spirit. So, I really feel the Lord placed an idea on my heart. Here it is:
PROJECT: SMILE! We would like to brighten Bethany's day with a piece of mail from those who have been praying for her. So many people have asked me if there is anything they can do for her or our family and this would be a great idea. Help bring a smile on Bethany's face and not only her face, but her sisters and family member's faces. Send a card or postcard. She loves getting mail!! It doesn't have to be anything special. If you need an idea, she loves animals and in particular puppies. We really aren't asking for anything special, just a simple hello will do.
Our address is: 1257 Leonard Ave. Muskegon, MI 49442
We are so thankful for all of your prayers and love! May God bless each of your lives in such amazing ways!! Keep believing for that miracle!! With much love, Amy
I had the most hilarious conversation with an acquaintance this week. We were talking about personality differences, and they were sharing with me the way they perceived Chris and I. I started laughing out loud when they told me that Chris seemed "reserved, soft-spoken and practical" and I seemed "innovative, sociable and spontaneous." They were speaking in all positive undertones, and although I would like to think that we possess some of those traits, they were slightly mislead. It's interesting to me the way that people observe us verses the way that we identify ourselves. Plus, if you add in close friends and family members, you would get a completely different view. Hilarious! So... any other input on the personality traits of my husband and I? Come on... I know our siblings could give some great insight!
It's when my son randomly grabs my hand. It's when my daughter suddenly jumps into my lap with her favorite book. It's when my husband winks at me from across the table. It's then when I'm reminded: just be where you are.
Today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Did you know that roughly 2 to 4 million people are trafficked in and across borders each year? Did you know that an estimated 1.8 million of those people are children? Did you know that child beggars are sometimes maimed by their captors to generate sympathy and generosity from potential buyers? There is so much more we need to know... Here are some ways to become more aware:
I HATE throwing away food! Mostly because I remember spending money from my wallet to purchase it! I'm always excited when I can find something to do with food that is going to be wasted and couldn't wait to make my homemade orange-cinnamon potpourri with the oranges that were one day away from being thrown in the trash. I'm usually not a "potpourri" type girl, but my whole house smells amazing!
Homemade Orange-Cinnamon Potpourri Cut oranges into semi-thin slices Dab with paper towel to remove access liquid Sprinkle on cinnamon Bake right on oven rack for 1.5/2 hours @ 225 degrees. Your whole house will smell like orange-cinnamon! (I actually added some over-ripe apples as well) Thank you Counting Coconuts for the fragrant idea!
I've always given Chris a hard time about the way him and his dad go at it on who is right and who is wrong. I told him that someday his son was going to do the same thing to him. He disagreed... until this happened: (you can almost picture Chris and his dad having the same convo!)
I randomly drove by a coffee bar yesterday that I have spent a lot of time at. When I first started in youth ministry there was a girl that just started coming to our church. She had a lot of questions and needed a lot of direction so we decided to meet every week. I would pick her up from school on Wednesdays, we would go to the coffee shop for 2 hours and then I would bring her to church. We would talk about God, I would help her with her homework, she would even bring friends from school to ask me questions about Christianity. When she was struggling at school I met with her school counselor to get her on track and she even spent the night at my house twice when her mom kicked her out. We did this for almost 2 years. Unfortunately, something happened and I couldn't agree with something she was involved with and she became offended with me and took off. I haven't been able to get a hold of her since. When I drove by the coffee bar for the first time in years, my eyes filled up with water. Where was my girl? Did she remember me? Did any of my mentoring in her life make a difference? I know the answer to 2 of the 3 questions, but that doesn't stop my heart from aching. It seems to be somewhat of a common story with my friends in ministry. Sometimes the people you pour the most into are the ones who break your heart the most. This incident, and several others, did not taint my view on the importance mentorship and relational ministry, but it has made me appreciate my mentors over the years and the time and effort they have spent on me. So to all those men and women who have given up time with their families and friends to pour into me.... thank you. It has not been in vain.
We have been focusing on prayer and fasting for the month of January, with our church, as well as with our family. I was so excited when we read this tonight in Isaac's Mighty Warrior Bible: Would you want to be a superhero with superpowers? If you belong to Jesus , you are one! In fact, God says you have all the power you need to live a holy and good life through His Spirit. He even gives you a secret weapon for the fight: prayer! Prayer is our direct connection with God. By talking to God we can ask for help in every situation.
I find myself saying the phrase "not today" numerous times throughout the week. I really want to rid my daughter of her paci, but every night when she lays down I say "not today" because I know there are too many things going on the next day for her to have a rough night begging for her binkie... meetings, school, church, etc. I've done this for over a month now, every night thinking the same thing- "today is NOT that day!" I've realized that "that day" will never come. In my life, there is ALWAYS something going on tomorrow. That's just how it is... and the binkie is just an example. I tend to put some of the hard things off because I know I have to use my energy to focus on the things I need to do to survive today.... but with that attitude, growth will never come. In order to become who I need to be, I need to do the hard things... TODAY.