Sunday, November 1, 2009

The technofied hayride

So, we went to our friends, The Forbes' house for Halloween night. We had a great time eating, sitting by the fire pit, making S'mores and then we went on a hayride. Now let me just tell you this, you know it's a good hayride when you have to use a GPS on someone's iPhone to get you back home. If only John Deere's came with a built-in Garmin or Onstar...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The little children in China...

So, we're full-force into the "why" stage of life these days. And well, any other generally inquisitive question you might think of. So, after you gag because realize just how many things in your daily life you've purchased from Walmart, you get the question of "who made this." My new answer..."the little children in China." Ashley's response..."wasn't that nice of them?"
Yes, yes it was...except when you think about how many things "the little children in China made" for you to buy. It starts to wear on the heart. I don't know...maybe we could somehow get everyone on board with the idea of each girl having one corn-husk doll that grandma makes for her and each boy having just one wooden gun. And the two of them can share a sock horse on a stick and a sock monkey. Anybody on board with that? Just think of how many FEWER things we'd have to pick up at the end of each day to put in their places.

Okay, okay, enough ranting...but it is worth considering. Just how much of what we purchase was made by little kids in sweat shops? I'm not sure I really want to know the answer here.

On another topic, well kind-of, I think that we are all humoring ourselves to say that God has given these children to us to raise. I'm beginning to think God sends the children to us to help us to grow up and receive a few instructions, and to provide little mirrors into the depths of our lives that we so often ignore.

And, still, on another topic. Please pray for our friend Carrie and her family. She was in our youth group when we worked with the teens at our church in Richardson. She lost her dad very unexpectedly just over 3 years ago. She lost her mom just a few days ago. She's only 20 and both of her parents have already passed. Wow...I cannot imagine. We went to see her tonight at the visitation and she looked pretty well wiped out. Anyhow, if the Lord burdens your heart for her, please just pray for her and clarity and endurance as she recovers and presses forward with the things the Lord has placed in her heart. She has an amazing heart for the Lord and He has gifted her in some very special ways.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Mommy Monster

Well, I come to you all humbled over the past few weeks by some sin that has entered my life. It's been one tough month. You know how things snowball. Lack of sleep, crying kiddos, less sleep, more crying, more crying...and then you begin to break and snap and react rather than respond, and begin to feel like you're loosing it-your mind, your self-control, your gentleness, etc.

I started to see myself reacting to my children in a way that was not okay for me. I was snapping and beginning to shout. I felt what I would describe as "justified anger" toward my children. It was not okay. I would spank out of frustration, not love. I just wanted my kids to get away from me so they would stop crying about EVERYTHING and stop bothering me.

Finally, I realized that I really had lost it-I had lost my leaning on the Holy Spirit of God, trusting him to parent through me. In my own, very ugly, humanness, I was beginning to parent. I was doing it out of "my own strength." Let me just tell you folks...parenting out of our own strength is a very, very UGLY thing and yields pretty terrible results.

I have confessed to others of my fleshlyness and am seeking to shake myself empty of me moment by moment, so that His Spirit can re-invade the depths of my being, my attitude, my parenting, my everything.

It is scary to think of what life may be like for so many who, I suspect, live daily in this very scary, unfulfilling way of parenting, and living in general. I share my struggles from over the past month with you in hopes that maybe this touches your heart, or strikes up a conversation with your spouse or your friend who you may suspect is feeling "angry and frustrated" rather than under the control and guidance of the Holy Spirit. You can hear the difference in the voice. There is a sharpness there that we would cringe if we heard flow from the mouths of one of our precious little ones back to their siblings, friends or even to us. We would cringe if someone else spoke to us that way. May we not break the spirits of our children, but instead may we get to a place of self-control (possible only through the H/S) so that we don't feel and act and respond in a way that is out of His control.

In sorting through my struggles, I shared with my best friend Julie that I had really been struggling and that I was beginning to act "White Trash" as a parent. I said, "here I am, an educated person and I'm acting like I've thrown all I've learned out the window and become white trash." She said (and I'll paraphrase), "Em, it has nothing to do with status or education. It is not white trash, it is without the Holy Spirit. The educated and upper class do it too, they're just better at hiding it." She is right. So, completely right... So, next time you think in your mind, "that's White Trash," consider that maybe it really is just someone living without the grace of the Holy Spirit to act as a governor of his/her thoughts/speech/actions. Consider that maybe instead of judgement, that person is crying out for help-the help of the H/S. And maybe, just maybe, you are the one to share that hope for a better life with him or her.

For what has been broken, only He can make new. If you have struggled, as I have this past month, I urge you to confess your struggles with people who will hold you accountable to growing from that place. Though many/most/dare I say all, of us have gone/will go there, it is not an okay place to stay.

Painting, pumpkins and pimp?

Painting project today...and then I got a phone call and it went from my little angel painting to a little green monster, but still just as sweet. Too funny. I guess maybe she actually wanted to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle for Halloween.

Pumpkin carving with friends last night. Joe, of course, did the cool cat one. He's so creative. I really love it!

My little Mr. Monster. We took these pics Saturday after we did a photoshoot for some friends. I re-discovered this little hat when I was prepping for the photoshoot and just had to have Joe snap a few while we had the camera out. I just absolutely love the last one.

My little problelm solver...

Things were quiet in the know there must be a problem somewhere. So, I walk back to my bedroom and there it entire container of floss, strung out. I ask, "What are you doing, I asked you not to get into the floss." The response, "But mommy, I have some chicken stuck in my teeth."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bashin' It

We went to the 24th Annual Bois D' Arc Bash today here in Commerce, Texas. We had a fun time together as a family and were able to visit with different old and new friends as we purused the vendor tents and game areas.

We started off by watching the parade. Now folks, I know times are tough in the economy and many of us are carrying a few more pounds than we need, but there was only ONE float tossing candy. Now what in the world has happened here? What is a parade without candy to dodge? Word to the wise, if you are in a parade, please throw some candy for the sake of the children!

I was really thankful for the one parade entry throwing candy, as I told Ashley that was a part of the whole parade experience when we were learning about them the day before. Joe and I were joking that we may need to go buy some candy to give to someone to toss at our kids. Our joke nearly became a reality!

This $4 corndog (price almost killed Joe when he bought it) was nearly the size of Ashley.

Can anyone tell me why we think pony rides look so fun? They are nearly the most expensive activity for a kid to do, and then all the kids are crying and begging their parents to get off before their turn is up. This is definitely one of those "grass is always greener" situations. Although Ash is smiling in these photos, she was not exactly thrilled about her experience. Well, and then the horse in front of us (thankfully with no kiddos on it) jumped up and tried to bite or harass the horse in front of it. That was about her breaking point. And silly me, walking beside her trying to get our money's worth out of the experience. Poor priority placement on my part!

On the other hand...Ashley LOVED the bounce house. I did not think she should do it because we have a huge trampoline at home and it seemed silly to me for her to pay to jump on the same sort of thing. However, to her, this colorful castle was far from a trampoline and she had a great time in there. This activity took only 1 token. The pony rides-4 tokens. Go figure! Next time, we're sticking with the bounce house.

This is the kids, all "bashed" out after a fun day downtown Commerce.

This was at home-we were just all snuggling on the couch before nap time. Poor Jacob, he just doesn't know what to think of us sometimes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

What's in your shepherd's bag?

After Ashley told me that she would kill me (see previous post), I thought it would be good to go back and read the story of David and Goliath. While reading, I was struck by the passage pasted below. I was reminded of how we often face a battle and try to put on the "armor" that has worked for someone else instead of sticking with the armor which God has already uniquely gifted us. Sometimes others, with every good intention, try to put their armor on us.

In this passage, we read that Saul was seeking to protect and equip David by dressing David in Saul's own tunic and giving him a coat of armor and a bronze helmet. However, David was best off using the skills and tools he was already gifted and trained to use.

My prayer is that I will spend less time being like Saul-pushing my approach on others and more time like David, recognizing the talent-set the Lord has given me and actually USING it to allow HIS power to be seen. For after all, "the battle is the Lord's."

1 Samuel 17:32-40

32 David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."

33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."

34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."

Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you."

38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. "I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

David and Goliath

So tonight I was told by my daughter, "I will kill you." Alarming, right...except when you put this in perspective. Ashley has been learning about David and Goliath for the past few weeks at Sunday School. And what did David do? He threw the stone at Goliath and killed him. And who do we praise in this situation? David. Rather confusing for a 2 year old. I'm glad she aspires to be like David...but we've got to work on context of when to battle and the definition of kill. Good times...

If you were doing what you were supposed to be doing...

I cannot tell you how many times as of late I have found myself saying to Miss Ashley, "If you were doing what you were supposed to be doing, you would not have gotten hurt." I can't help but to think that this is similar to how life is for us. If we were being obedient to what God has asked us to do, we could significantly reduce the amount of undue pain and suffering we experience in life. This is not to say that complete obedience to God would eliminate all pain and suffering, because sometimes things just happen and other times God is developing our character. However, I cannot help but to think that life would be a lot more smooth if we would just stop, listen and obey.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Putting the pen to paper

Here I go with the creation of my own blog. I am a recovering journaler, who finds little time in my current life stage to actually sit down for a sacred journal session. So, here I am with hopes that I can download some of my thoughts, and stimulate others, through this blog.

I am hoping to be able to record some of the funny moments and milestones in my children's lives. I hope to record some of the ways God shows up in our family's life, as well as in the lives of those we know. And finally, I hope to use this blog to record reflections and questions from life, and maybe even record the makings of what one day will become a book. In the mean time, may we each learn from one another, and Lord, please allow your wisdom to flow through my typing fingers, just as it once did so lavishly through my pen.