"I hold on to You for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post..." Psalm 63

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Overwhelming thoughts...

My day has started out on the back porch again this morning...birds are singing all around me, and if I close my eyes {and don't look to the left where a jungle has grown up in the backyard} I can almost feel as if I'm on vacation....I'm still waiting for someone to show up to make my bed and clean the bathrooms.  As I've sat here and reflected over some things that are going on in other's lives around me, the trivial things I have to post here pale in comparison. 

 There is a sense of heaviness this morning over several different situations that those I love are facing.  Teens walking a dangerous way, parents bearing the burden, a death of a young mom in the community, the reaction my sweet niece will have when she returns from camp to find her little friend's mom is gone, young adults who are buying the world's lies, marriages failing, joblessness, loneliness...so many uncertainties....
so much to care about...so many things that are WAY more important than my unpacking and settling in. 

So, even though I sat down to post some pictures of my two favorite things from yesterday...I'll wait and post them another time. I know that my life cannot stop because other's lives are in a state of emergency...I know- but my life can pause for a bit to see outside of itself to a world that is in a constant state of change and uncertainty. 

There's not a thing I can do to change any of the above scenerios...but what I can do is remind myself that not one of these things overwhelm the God I love.  He didn't turn His back, didn't step out for a moment and got sidetracked.  He didn't remove His hand for a second...He is still here.  Still cares that we feel out of control...still wants to be the one thing in our life that causes this world to make sense. 
 He holds when all is breaking...

The song that is playing in the background has played through my head all morning...and it's the consuming thought that makes life bearable on unbearable days.  He's forever Holy...and so we can be content in this day.

 Forever Holy
{by Glorious Unseen}

God, You stand when all has fallen
You embrace the long forgotten
I guess it's just hard to believe
The Grace You've poured out on me
I guess I'm just starting to see
How You're working in me

This is what makes my head spin
You're forever Holy
God of all creation
Pour Your life into me
This is so overwhelming
You're forever Holy
God of my Salvation
Clothe me in Your Glory, yeah

God, You hold when all is breaking
You restore the tired and aching
I guess it's just hard to believe
The Love You've poured out on me
I guess I'm just starting to see
How You're working in me, whoa Lord

This is what makes my head spin
You're forever Holy
God of all creation
Pour Your life into me
This is so overwhelming
You're forever Holy
God of my Salvation
Clothe me in Your Glory

Clothe me in Your Glory
Clothe me in Your Glory

This is what makes my head spin
You're forever Holy
God of all creation
Pour Your life into me
This is so overwhelming
You're forever Holy
God of my Salvation
Clothe me in Your Glory
Clothe me in your Glory

Monday, July 26, 2010

Retaining trash...

Well...it's day two after the big move.  {I say BIG because even though I filled a dumpster with all the unnecessary clutter of our home, we still managed to fill this house AND the garage}  After sleeping soundly for the second night in a row- IN MY PARENTS' {old} ROOM, NO LESS- I woke WITHOUT AN ALARM {Alex is housesitting elsewhere-no 6am wake-up call!} to the most peaceful morning I've enjoyed in MONTHS...there were no deadlines to meet, no errands that couldn't wait, and no one outside of this house needed me.  There are stacks and stacks of boxes that need attention, but even that didn't bother me.  I started my morning with a cup of coffee and some good reading on the back porch swing. {Also a little strange, because I remember my mom doing this in the very same spot}

{Sidebar...if you haven't already caught on, this moving back to the house I grew up in is taking a little getting used to.  I lived here for about 10 years when I was growing up, but I haven't lived here for 20 years...and even though it's all so familiar, it still feels so foreign.  It's like seeing your best friend from grade school 20 years after puberty.  The old friend is still there, but yet not.   The other night my nephew made the whole family dinner and my parents actually stood at the front door and rang the doorbell!  They wanted to be the first to ring it...but it was just so weird-usually they are on the INside!  Mom and dad thought it was a little strange too, seeing all the same cars in the driveway...almost as if the house hadn't actually sat empty for 1 1/2 years waiting for us.  It's all going to take some getting used to.  I'm sleeping in my parents old room...tell me THAT'S not just a little creepy! 
 My sister says, "at least you weren't conceived there"...shudder.....}

ANYway....each day has been more productive than the last, and by this evening, almost all of the boxes are outside in the garage.  There's still ALOT left to do, but I'm seeing progress.  But, this morning...before anything serious got underway there was another task that needed some attention.  In short, it involved a 16 year old boy, a 2 month old set of retainers, a lunch plate from about a week ago, and 7 garbage bags.  After being informed that he'd accumulate the cost of replacing them, Nick's day started like THIS:
Luckily it only took till the second bag....
This is where it is right now...
he's still trying to decide if he can muster up enough strength to put it in his mouth...week old trash is unspeakable, but even more so when you find pieces of week old spaghetti wrapped up around your retainer.  The orthodontist suggested we buy THIS:
We'll see about that. I say hot soapy water, a good brushing and a long night's sleep should help to erase the trauma of smelling week old food.  I'm counting on it anyway.

Things are rarely dull around here.  It's too bad, I'm rather fond of dull.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

5:40am saves the day...

This is precisely the time my eyes opened this morning...
NOT because I planned it that way OR wanted to be awake.  Certainly not because I had gone to bed early and had had enough sleep.  Nevertheless, hard as I tried to ignore the fact that I was awake, I lay there thinking through all the things of this day that need my attention...starting w/the fact that I had forgotten to get the coffee machine ready for Alex who would be waking in twenty minutes counting on the caffeine to get him to work awake.  I made a new decision this morning.  It was to get up and stay up...novel idea, I know.  I've struggled with my early mornings ever since coming back from Kentucky last week -as if it's taken me a week to make up for a week's lost sleep.  My choice to go back to bed after Alex leaves at 6:15 each morning has felt pretty good to my body, but my spirit has been lacking a good filling up.

So...after making a second pot of caffeine just for me, and even though THIS
and THIS
was all I could see around me {and was tempting me in order to distract me}...for the first time in about a week, I enjoyed some alone time reading, praying and starting my day out right.  And, like other times in my life when I've let sleep or let busyness interfere with silence, I wonder why I ever let it go on for so long.  I don't just want silence...I CRAVE it.  But I never realize it so much but when I go without it for a few days...and then I want it all the more.

This day overwhelms me.  I want it to go away and never come back.  I don't want to pack ONE MORE BOX...I don't want to load ONE MORE LOAD OF BOXES IN MY CAR...I don't want to clean ONE MORE INCH...I want to run away from it all.  Far, far away...and I don't want to come back until it's all finished.  {I know, I know...not very logical}  I hate this day...or at least I want to.  And, I'm pretty sure that this is the way I would have felt ALL DAY LONG had I gone back to bed this morning instead of soaking in the silence. 

The silence changed my attitude.  I STILL hate the things I have to do today...I still wish I did not have to face them...but I'm doing them anyway, and so I will choose to do them with joy. I'm making the plan now-at 7:51am, because I'm pretty sure that in about an hour-or less -from nowI will want to choose something different.  

While I wait on an electrician to hang ceiling fans, while I direct the kids in their packing, while I let my mom direct me in my packing {ha!  Seriously, I need my mommy! She keeps me in line and helps me think when I have no thoughts whatsoever!}, and while I go about all of the mundane and dreadful tasks that are ahead of me today, 
this is what I'll be thinking...

"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."
Isaiah 30:15

 And, even though I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of times I forget this throughout the day and will be tempted to complain and hate the process....I'm counting on the LORD to remind me that my children are watching my attitude..my actions..and my hands.  That should be enough to sweep my bad attitude up in a Gladlock and remember I choose joy for this day.

"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."
"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."
"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."
"Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me..."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

another week closer...

It's been months since we started preparing for this move.  This Saturday at 9 am it will finally happen...I'm so done with it all!  We've spent days this week cleaning up the new house and working on the last minute details that need finished before next Saturday.  Both houses look like a disaster area...but at least the new one is clean! 
Mom and Emma spent hours washing windows

{Merry Maids}

Mom decided the leaves needed to be blown off the roof...

Dad and I did alot of running to Lowes {we're thinking of asking the people at Lowe's if they want to be part of the family}for one of these...

and one of these..

and another one of these...

 and we spent alot of hours on the phone trying to
switch everything over to the new address.  

 I forgot how much is involved in moving...it's CRAZY!  I'm so thankful that both of my parents have been helpful with all of the details throughout the process.  It's a bonus that they know the interworkings of the house...like what to do if the electricity goes off and you can't get your car out of the garage w/the electric door opener, and how to find the fuse that tripped in the bathroom.

Even though it's been a long week and it feels like the process is endless, we have tried to have some fun and laugh a little throughout the long days.  Best laugh of the week goes something like this:

Extreme heat.

A can of "Fix-a-Flat" in my car

alot of yellow rags

and a permanent hole in the ceiling which protrudes to the outside of the car..
making a large "wart" on the roof.

 Yellow goo exploded all over the interior of my car.  The bottom of the can blew off completely, shooting something or other up to the roof, taking off the light on its way and embedding itself into the interior fabric of the ceiling.  A really freakish accident and an absolute mess!  It took about an hour to clean up all of the yellow...and hopefully my insurance will cover replacing the light and inverting the wart.  We marveled over and over how strange it was...it ticked me off at first because it made the car look really crappy!  But, I got to thinking how bad it could have been if someone had been in the car for some reason - it would have killed them!  So, based on that thought, I've decided that it really was funny...inconvenient timing, ridiculously inconvenient, but no one was hurt and it gave us a break from cleaning in the house! 

Be forewarned: 
If you have a can of Fix-a-Flat in your car because you think you're prepared for an unexpected emergency, you might want to store it somewhere else.  It makes no sense, I know -you'd think that is exactly where you'd want to keep it- but inless you carry some kind of lock box in your car, I wouldn't. 

Today we're enjoying a day of much needed rest...then we're back to it tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next and the next...the end is in sight, thank the Good Lord!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm back...

...but not fully.  I'm experiencing a little hangover this morning...the kind that doesn't go away with a handful of asprin or a cup of coffee.  The one in question is the kind that happens when you've spent a week away from home with 24 teenagers...in a bigger group of 6,500 teenagers...

{Photo courtesy of Amber Jacoby Photography}

...surrounded by strong speakers and leaders of worship music... 

{Photo courtesy of Amber Jacoby Photography}

It's the kind that makes you yearn for another Drink...but of the Heavenly kind. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Outta here...

In about an hour and a half I'm driving out my driveway with my middle son-on our way to a huge youth conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  We'll be joined by 22 other high school students and 4 more leaders and drive thru the night to our destination.  Our group will join about 6,500 teenagers for a week of GREAT speakers {HE will be there} and worship music {THEY will be there...and so will THEY}

You can follow our group HERE

I'm not sure if I'll update here during the week, but possibly during some downtime
I'll make my way back here to say hello...

We'll be back next week ready to pack...but I don't want to think about that now...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our Independance celebration...

Today is a special day. 
Ever since I was a little girl, the fourth of July has been a special day.  We celebrate our country's freedom at the same location every year.  We take up the same space at the same park and listen to the same orchestra playing the same music..we eat a bucket of KFC {NOT the same bucket, silly} while we wait for the fireworks to start...and we sing the same song.

It goes a little like the one playing in the background right now.

And we do it all for her...
...cause she's the same woman who has taken care of us and loved us all those years. 
I wish now that we had taken a picture of her every year- sitting on our favorite hill surrounded by our family.  If I had them, I would have posted every one of them here..I'm pretty sure she'll thank me later for not doing that. 
Happy Birthday, Mom...we never tire of celebrating you on the Fourth of July...and we can't wait to do it again today....same time, same place, same everything!

Happy Fourth of July Glittering Fireworks from FLMNetwork.com
Happy Birthday...
Thanks for being you...
and loving dad...
and us. 

Friday, July 2, 2010

The seed of perfectionism and the unforced rhythm of Grace...

"The seed of perfectionism resides within the oldest lie in the book - "You will be like God" {Gen 3:5} Ever since Eve ate the forbidden fruit, women have tried to "be like God" - controlling everything, measuring up to every standard, avoiding failure..." {Jerusha Clark}

Women get hung-up on perfectionism.  We strive daily to live up to every else's standards of what it is to measure up.  Look perfectly, parent perfectly, love your spouse perfectly, do your job perfectly, keep house perfectly, cook perfectly...the constant barrage of messages is, be anything you want, but BE PERFECT, too.  And, if I'm honest, I even feel like I get that message from God..."Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."  {Matt. 5:48}  Right...like I can do that.

If I stop to really think about the pressure the world around me puts on me to perform flawlessly I may end up curled in a ball in the fetal position...too paralyzed to even make an attempt to even exist.  Why do we do that to each other?  Seriously, the people who make those silent "demands" of us are imperfect people...we all are, you know....so why do we bother buying into it?  What makes me value someone else's opinion so much that I will break every bone in my straining body just to conform to their image of PERFECTION?  What makes any of us do it?

I've always looked at the verse in Matthew above as the reason I strive to do what is good and right...because God, too, demands my perfection.  Perfection of a different kind, but still, a command for reaching an ultimate unattainable goal.  I read this this morning:

"What Jesus asks us to do here is not strive for perfection but rather recognize that without Him, we cannot be holy, as the Father commands us to be."

I knew that.  I've learned it a million times and I really and truly believe it with all my heart.  But, I guess I have to relearn it daily.  Even though God commands me to be holy...perfect...before saying it, He knows I can't do it.  Which is His ultimate point...I CAN'T do it, because He wants to help do it through me.  What does the mean for me, really?  today? 

Well...my kids need me.  They depend on my being with it and reliable, they depend on my being who I say I am, they depend on my ability to support them and nurture them{even as teenagers, they still need this} The rest of my world depends on my being prompt and on time, on my following through on commitments...on my showing up physically and mentally.{and truth be told, on my being neat, clean, and somewhat presentable in my appearance}  Everybody wants something from me...but God wants to take the pressure off, and while asking that I attain a certain degree of rightness in my attitudes, actions and thoughts...what He really wants from me is to lay down my tools of the trade and let Him accomplish perfection in me. 

 Until I stop all my striving, because I think that's what everyone expects, I cannot find rest.  Until I stop looking to others ideals and patterns, I cannot find contentment.  Everyone else's idea of what perfectionism is changes...it's relative to whomever is speaking it.  Only God's view stays the same.  It hasn't changed in centuries...we change by the minute.  God's view of perfectionism is this:  "Do what is right, LOVE everyone around you without exception, seek wisdom from ME, look to ME for your answers, stop trying to work your way to MY approval{or anyone else's, for that matter}...and just BE.

I'll never measure up...
but I'm ok with that...

"Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out...?  Come to me.  Get away with me and you'll recover your life. 
I'll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of Grace.  I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 
Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." 
Matt. 11:28-30

I still have to live in this world.  I still have to get up out of my chair and perform my daily duties...
but it really is possible to perform them and be at rest all at the same time. 
I'm banking on it...and so is everyone around me.

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