Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Small Stuff

The other day I came up to where my daughter had been playing. As I looked down, I loved what I saw.

There's something about a mother's care that is completely precious. And even though River is only 5, she has loved playing "Mommy" since she was 1. I wish I could say that I set the perfect example for her...but I can't.

This morning was one of those days where I was wishing I was on a Hawaiian vacation by 9am. I was irritated and stressed, and we were late...again. As we walked into preschool, I said hello to one of the teachers, and said something like, "I don't know why it's so hard to get here." And she just smiled and said with that older, wiser, and peaceful tone, "It's not a big deal. It's just the small stuff. It doesn't matter."

And I thought about how right she was. The truth is that the small stuff doesn't really matter at all. It doesn't matter that snot flew everywhere right when we getting into the car and I didn't have a tissue anywhere, so I had to just use my hand to help wipe it off (thankfully I found a napkin, and had hand sanitizer in the car). Or that my son couldn't get his boots on, and had to do it himself, and so we were a few more minutes behind. Or that the raincoats were so bulky that it took me 10 minutes to get the kids in the car seats. And all the little things that happen that usually make us at least 5 minutes late. That stuff really doesn't matter all that much.
The things that matter are the kisses at night. The comfort that I get to give when they hurt themselves. The songs we sing together. The hugs that let them know that I love them. The time spent playing even when the house is a wreck. The books that I get to snuggle up to with them. The cookies that I bake with them. The truth that I get to speak into their lives. The stories that I pass on to the next generation. Those are the things that matter. And those are the things I want to care more about.

Friday, March 20, 2009

T.G.I.F. because...

This has been somewhat of a hard week, so you'll have to excuse all the exclamation marks. I'm thankful it's FRIDAY!

1. NCAA tournament! GO HEELS!
2. Lots of yard sales tomorrow morning!
3. Time with friends to look forward to!
4. Date night tonight!
5. Planting our garden this weekend!
6. A day at home with no plans!
7. Answered prayers this week about some big things!

Our God is so faithful, and even though there are lots of days I celebrate lots of different things, but the beautiful thing is that He is the same today, tomorrow, and forever! That is why in the face of trials, we can truly find our joy in Him.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Green Day!

Ok, so instead of cleaning my house and taking care of things here, I'd much rather find green things to talk about.   After all, it is St. Patrick's Day!

When I was a pre-teen and teenager, my favorite color was green.  Kelly green.   You could have had a piece of balled up green paper, and I would have been like, "Can I keep it??"   I even had a green shelf in my room that held all of my green treasures.   True story.

So, to celebrate a little today, here are some of my favorite green things around here.

this made my morning trip to Harris Teeter with the toddlers a little more enjoyable (especially because today it was free!   i had to wait while they made a new pot, so it was on the house! happy st. patty's day to me!)

little lady leprachans

i can't wait to plant these!
my handsome adventurer

my "welcome home" bouquet that my sweet family surprised me with on sunday

springtime mantle (not too different from Christmas)

Here's wishing you happy green thoughts for the day!   How green was your day today?

Monday, March 16, 2009

No Place Like Home

Right before I left for the women's retreat this past weekend, my 5 year old said to me, "It's just not home without you, Mama!"    And of course my heart melted.       It was the sweetest thing I could of ever heard.  But I still was excited about getting away for a couple days.   

On the retreat we talked a lot about how our identity is in Christ.   And how, knowing Him is knowing home.    We listened to examples of the type of home that Christ longs for us to have in Him.   Like the sweetness of a newborn baby sleeping on their mother's chest, totally at peace and secure.     We talked about how knowing the Holy Spirit allows us to live out of the fruits of the Spirit.  We also talked about how our "home" - our identity- is constantly attacked.  And instead of living out of the Spirit, we doubt how secure we are in Christ.    We listen to our insecurities, responsibilities, and anxieties about life, and the safe, restful home that we have in our Heavenly Father, becomes a distant vapor that we barely can see.    Much less feel.

I think something that I have been seeing for a while now, is that if I want to truly know that place of rest in my Father's arms, I'm going to have to fight for it.    It won't just happen to me.   I'm going to have to de-clutter my life enough to be able to make room for sitting at His feet.    To make space for Him entering in.    I'm not just going to get it one day.    I'm not going to wake up, and just start feeling that "at home" type of feeling in my spirit that I long to have.

I used to look at believers that were older and wiser than me, and think, "They've really got it.  They really know the freedom in Christ that I am longing for."    The next thing that I would think is, "I wonder when I'll really have that."   The funny thing, is that I've had "it" all along.  The "it" is the One who already lives within me.   He is my home, and He is always with me.  I'm just so busy doing for Him all the time, that I'm not still enough to see and hear Him.  So often I get caught in the clutter of life, and don't even realize that I'm already home.    I'm ready to come home.    To clear away the stuff of life, and just be with my Father.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Give Aways and Good Stuff

There's too much goodness out there right now to not tell...even though by my telling, I'm making competition for myself! UGGGHHH! The rivalry. Ok, I think I've had a little too much ACC tournament for today.

Chickadee over at a Familiar Path is doing her annual super fun birthday bash for herself and us! Check out her great blog and fun giveaways.

And Kendra, who I have met in real life, and is so cute and very talented in the kitchen, is doing a survey about how you cook and eat. In return for participating in her survey, she's giving you the chance to win a set of her very own spices! Which, I'm really gonna fight you over because I WANT THEM! So go have fun, and .....GAME ON!

Girly Stuff to Come

My daughter, being recently in love with Fancy Nancy, chose to take her new book for show and tell today. As we were driving to preschool she informed me today that she wished I were more plain. I thought that was a funny request, and asked her what she meant. She continued to say that she wished she could be Fancy Nancy and dress me up, and make me all fancy. But because I already wear fancy stuff she can't do that to me.

I think it's funny because in my mind, I wear the same thing every day. Jeans. Casual top. Shoes. I usually throw my two secret weapons in there. But, similar to my little girl, I've always been the more girly girl of our family. Growing up, I liked having tea parties with my stuffed animals and wearing cute dresses. My sister, on the other hand, probably didn't own a dress, and spent most of her time at our barn riding horses and galavanting around the woods.

So, even though I am so excited that the ACC Tournament is this weekend, I am more excited about going away on a women's retreat with a ton of wonderful women from my church. There will be giggling. There will be celebrating. But more than anything, there will be fellowship.

Even though I've always been girly, I have not always loved the thought of fellowship with other women. There were years that I really did not want to go on retreats like this. Maybe I thought I would be bored. Or unable to spend a weekend away doing what I'd really like to do - eating good food, shopping in boutiques, sleeping in, and watching movies. But under all of those reasons, I think that what intimidated me most was fearing that I would be unknown, rejected, and possibly...unloved. I definitely hid any of those feelings from others, probably too well, but I think that those fears held sway for some years.

Too often in our culture, we sacrifice our relationships with other women. Maybe we feel threatened or judged, or just treated poorly. Maybe we compare ourselves so much that it's just too hard to be around them. Maybe we believe the lie that tells us, that we just get along better with men, and so we don't put time into relationships with women. But over time, I have come to value these relationships more than I ever thought I would. And I have come to see that there is a beautiful strength in those bonds, that can, if nurtured, never be broken.

It seems that we sometimes tend to think that our "girlfriends" were only for our youth. That now that we're older and possibly married, possibly mothers, or just busy women, that we don't really have time for our girlfriends. That those relationships just don't matter enough to really have to put time and effort into. But time and time again, outside of my relationship with my husband, my friends are the ones who have loved and served me, more than anyone else. I would not and could not do life without them. These women, whom I believe Satan would love to keep me from being vulnerable and open with, have become sisters in Christ that I deeply treasure.

As I pack my bag today, I am looking forward to not having to cook or clean this weekend. And I am looking forward to good times with friends. But most of all, I am anticipating growing closer to my sisters in Christ as share life and seek our Father together. If you struggle with opening up to other women, I would say to you to try again. Go on that retreat coming up. Get involved in a women's Bible study or small group. But don't settle for life without the treasure of having "sisters" in your life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Spring is in the air.    And I love it.   I know we'll get a couple more cold days, but I know that it's almost here.   I love being able to be outside and enjoy the sun shining down on me.   I find new ways to enjoy the outdoors, whether it's going to different parks, or sitting outside when I eat, or just working in the yard.    I was so excited the other day when I saw the first blossoms on the Bradford Pear trees lining the road that we travel daily.    It's always a sign that the seasons are changing.

All winter long, I wait patiently for the Spring.   It's like how I used to wait for Christmas once it was Fall.   (Or really, how I still do.)     I try to convince myself that other seasons are my favorite, but there is something different about the Spring.    I even found myself singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" the other day.   But skipping over the Christmas lyrics, and just keeping to that phrase.   I could say that it's the warm weather, or the budding flowers, or the birds singing more freely.   But what I truly believe it is, is the new life that it brings.    Or should I say, that He brings.

I walked by our dogwood tree the other day, and for many seasons, I have thought that it was about to die.   I love dogwoods, and we only have this little one in our yard.    And, it seriously is pretty skimpy, and I always think, this is it's last leg.   But somehow, it comes back to life every spring.   Even though it seems to have almost no life left in it, there are the tiniest of buds beginning to show forth.   It reminds me that I , too, have an entirely new life.   

Therefore, through baptism we were buried with him into his death so that, just as the Messiah was raised from the dead by the Father's glory, we too may live an entirely new life. (Rom. 6:4)

That because I was buried with him, when he chose to die for me, that I, too, have been given the same new life that Christ received.   He was raised by the Father's glory, and that is no small thing.   I am so thankful that the Lord not only teaches us with stories and parables that we can understand from daily life, but that He displays His glory throughout everything that we see.

I am anticipating Easter, with the hope of this new life.   And my prayer is that no matter how long I am a believer, that this new life that He offers me, would never become old to me.   That I would see His mercies new for me every morning, and know that I need His new life just as much this season, as I did the last.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Two Peas in a Pod

These two are inseparable. Maddie is our sweet little friend who spends her days with us, and Asher is my little boy. At 20 months and 2 1/2 they act like a little old married couple. Hugging and kissing, and then bickering over the silliest of things. As soon as one wakes up from their nap, they ask where the other one is. They probably are too much like brother and sister to ever want to even go on a date, but just in case they ever get married...I have some before pictures.

She said "yes!"

let us pray...

their first dance

Such a sweet little couple. You'd never even guess they were just playing ring around the rosy.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Spring's Right Around the Corner...Right?

I almost packed up our winter coats last week, when it was warming up, but boy am I glad I didn't. We woke up to see this!

We finally got the snow we'd wanted all March. It seems normal for us. I remember most years getting one last hit of winter once March finally rolled around. And this was the most snow we had all winter. We are ready for spring, but the snow was fun. I'm mad about my daffodils being killed, though. River was especially glad to stay home from preschool, and play with all her new birthday things. It was a nice to look out, all day long, and see snow. Not just for the first hour of the morning. Usually our snow is gone by lunch, but this time, it hung around for a while.

should i eat it, or throw it?

whew, that's cold!

snow angels! real ones this time!

It was a fun to stay home, have a snow ball fight with our friends, make chowder and apple pie, and enjoy some hot cocoa. What do you like to do when it snows? I'm all about some new traditions! Lay em on me!