Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

get out those measuring sticks and toss 'em!


My beautiful, creative friend Kayla who lives in East Asia and writes novels while homeschooling four amazing kids and cooking like it's nobody's business wrote this post about comparison and how it crushes our spirits.

And she's right.  Comparison is the worst.  THE WORST.  (It's the WORST).

Like I told Kayla, I'm a terrible vegan (what's life without cheese?) and my teeth are dingy. But what is so good and true is that God has unique lives for each of us. I am tempted to worry, too, when I see her amazing life in East Asia as she raises mandarin-speaking, board-splitting genius kids who are held close as she teaches them everything they need to know about life. What adventure! And for such great purpose! But the truth is that while neither one of us "have it all," both of us have what God has given and that's enough.

If only we could all see ourselves and those around us as unique and made beautiful only by the One who made us.  If we could only live before Him and Him alone.  We ALL struggle with not measuring up- me included- but the truth is we have only One person to please and if we aim to do that, we cannot lose.

We are redeemed and loved and given so much.

It's enough.

Here's to throwing away our measuring sticks!

I mean, check her out.  Kayla.  She's got skillz.  I love her and how she shares her heart just as well as she handstands.

Friday, April 25, 2014

on finishing well

Are we supposed to wear t-shirts and jeans tomorrow or our uniforms?  If it's a t-shirt day, is it only the third grade for the field trip or is it the whole school?  Do we pack a sack lunch with our name on it or a regular lunch or do we not pack a lunch because there is going to be food at the program?  Is running club cancelled and what time is the baseball game?  Is the poster due on Monday or do we just bring it on Thursday and what time is the orthodontist appointment?  Third grade presentations are at 10:30, preschool pick up is at 11:30, running club t-shirts for 1st grade but not 3rd grade (pack those in your backpack), and preschool patio play is Friday after Chapel and the all-school party.  Then dodgeball.  And don't forget field day t-shirt money is due today.  

I get it, mommas-of-children-at-the-end-of-the-school-year. 

It's hard to finish well.

our precious first grade teacher- love her!
It's tempting to complain (I'm tempted!), but in reality, skewed perspective is all it is.

Anna Grace nailed her oral report!

We live these full, rich, beautiful lives full of learning and activity and children who are healthy and well.  Ingratitude would have us whine about the flurry of activity, but our hearts can turn from that as we offer up a "thank you, Lord" for all the ways in which He blesses us.  

3rd grade program "Taste of Louisiana"

What if we pack the wrong lunch or forget to pack one altogether?  Our kids will certainly not go hungry although many kids all over the world do.  Maybe they'll think of that or maybe they'll benefit from a friend's kindness and pay it forward.

my funny bunny

And what if they wear the wrong thing to school?  Maybe our children will learn a little about what it feels like to feel out of place and different and they'll gain compassion for others when it happens to them.

Zeke is loving baseball and it's fun to watch

And what if we miss the race on Thursday because we got the time wrong?  Maybe our kids will learn grace and forgiveness for their parents who aren't perfect.

SO cute on Easter

 And what if there is a stain on their Sunday jacket and their tie doesn't sit just right?  Maybe it will help us all to remember that although we try, not one of us has it all together and that the important things aren't the outward appearance, but the heart.

Anna Grace's painting in the style of Clementine Hunter
Mommas-of-children-at-the-end-of-the-school-year, I know there is a whole lot to coordinate and remember, but we will do well to remained focus on the words of Jesus when he tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or what we will wear.  But instead we are to "...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  (Matthew 6:33-34)

before we lost our front tooth of course

A group of mommas-of-children-at-the-end-of-the-school-year and I have been praying that we would finish well.  And then I ran across this verse in Luke that I wanted to pray for my children, but after further reflection, it fits us mommas pretty well, too.  At the end of the parable of the sower in which Jesus talks about seed sown on all types of soil, he says, "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop." (Luke 8:15)

egg hunt in Texas

I pray that my children would have fertile hearts, noble and good hearts. That they would hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

May we, as mothers torn in all kinds of directions, also have noble and good hearts.  May we persevere through this fast-paced end of the year season and may we produce a good crop, forever glorifying our Father.  May we finish well.

Amen and amen.

Onward!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

displaying his splendor

Henderson, Texas


"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."  Isaiah 61:3

on a photo shoot just south of Shreveport

My fascination with trees- the tree of life in particular- continues to take root.

Monday, April 21, 2014

just believe!


"As often as we proclaim the Lord's death and sing the word 'Maranatha' in church, we join with heaven's protest against death's grip on all creation and cultivate a longing for God's victory to be complete. O Death, we keep our wounds of grief from healing knowing that your defeat is sure! The scars on the body of the resurrected Jesus assure us that pain will not be the only tie that binds us to the Christian departed."  Cory B. Wilson from his article "Why Resurrection People Remember the Dead" in Christianity Today, the best thoughts I've ever read on the subject.  

And I read it this morning again, Jesus' words to Jarius, "...'Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.'" (Luke 8:50)

While our wounds of grief for those departed remain open until He comes again, we are to live unafraid, just believing that healing is on its way with the certain coming of our risen King.

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

testing 1...2...3...


Last year, I had one of those Pinterest fail experiences.  You know the ones.

So this year, I thought I would actually test out the resurrection rolls in advance so that Easter morning wouldn't be a total fail.

And what do you know......

They worked this time!

I used this recipe from Allrecipes.com.  

I still like my friend Lydia's idea of Jesus rising out of a cake (amazing, watch the video!), but I haven't been able to find such an amazing Jesus action figure.

 

I loved my kitchen assistant.  It reminded me of this post from 2008 (another amazing video- look at my little baby girl!)  and of God's faithfulness yet again- the salvation that came from His great love.

It's Friday, but Sunday's coming. 

I hope you all have a Happy Resurrection Day! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

my bestie


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:  'What!  You too?  I thought I was the only one.'"  CS Lewis


Of course we're more than just friends but I'm so grateful for the rich and abiding friendship component of our marriage.

It's a pretty big blessing being married to your best friend in the whole world.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

gimme 5

my I'm-a-mom-and-I-have-to-clean-up-puke selfie

It happens to all of us parents, doesn't it?  At some time or another, your little bundle of joy will spew the contents of his or her stomach all over something that was NOT meant to be puked upon.  Your bed, their bed, your carpet, their floor- it doesn't matter where it is- every time it brings up a dread the likes of which is hereunto unmatched in my nine years of parenting experience.

And speaking of experience, this ain't my first rodeo if you know what I mean.  When another round of vomit poked its unwelcome head into my bedroom last night, I was ready.  I was by no means pleased, but I was ready.  So I thought I would compile a list.  Here's what I had on hand that I think could be helpful for parents everywhere experiencing the yucks:

1.  rubber gloves

They've come in handy more than once, friends.  I also like the bandana around the face method.  It keeps me from adding to the mess.

2.  good people

Friends and family.  The kind that would say, drop off laundry detergent when you've run out or the kind that would take your other non-sick child to the orthodontist and on the way home get her lunch and take her shopping.  I'm blessed beyond measure in the friends-and-family department.

3.  perspective

The Passion of the Christ happened to be on TV when everything went south at my house last night. Cross-centered lives don't flinch at the thought of cleaning up someone else's bodily fluids. Love sacrifices. The film was a timely reminder.

4.  imagination

I may be an un-showered mess cleaning up messes in my house on a rainy day, but that doesn't mean I can't go to a warm beach in my imagination.  Music helps and we happen to have access to a world of music all day everyday through the wonders of technology.  I was just thinking the other day about how underutilized our imagination sometimes is.

5.  a frozen casserole

This is something I've only recently started doing, but it is quite helpful to make double batches of dinner and stash the other half away in the freezer for a rainy day.  Or a sickly day.  Or both.  Needless to say, I am utilizing one tonight and I am thanking myself for doing myself the favor several weeks ago.

So I do believe that is a start.  If you have any other helpful hints or advice, do tell!  Unfortunately, I have a feeling I'm a few days before we're back in the clear.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

my shade

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

I don't really take my eyes off of him as I sit at our back door, folding and sorting socks, while my little one sleeps in his make-shift tent.  How much more does my Father watch over me?

He indeed is my shade.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

first 5K




Learning perseverance alongside her father, knowing her father is WITH her in the midst of the struggle to keep going.  


That'll preach.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

our EPIC adventure: the Great East 2


1ep·ic

 adjective \ˈe-pik\
: telling a story about a hero or about exciting events or adventures
: very great or large and usually difficult or impressive

It's most definitely thrown around way too much these days- the word epic- but really there's no other word to describe our 8 day, 2,270 mile spring break road trip.  It was an exciting adventure.  It was very great and very long and parts were very difficult and the hours spent in the car qualify as impressive in my book at least.  

It was epic.  

  
The first leg of our spring break adventure took us from Shreveport to Atlanta. 


photo credit AGC
greatest 13.1 miles I've ever run

A couple of our buddies from Shreveport ran a half marathon with me while Jack rocked the 5K.  In the meantime, my dear friend Carrie came at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to watch our kids while we ran (what a friend).  Asher was asleep when she got there, but upon waking, he let her know that "we eat breakfast."  He had not met her before, mind you, he just wanted her to know the rules.

So after the race, Carrie debriefed us on her Ugandan adventures and we were blessed by her love and friendship over coffee and donuts.  Carrie is a powerhouse of a little person and one of my best friends from college and I loved every minute of our time together.  It had been too long.


And then we were off to North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains just outside Waynesville.



The same friends from Shreveport who talked us into running also invited us to stay with them for a few days at her parent's mountain retreat.


It was beautiful.


don't judge


songololo - Afrikaans for caterpillar, as our hosts were from South Africa

we love these friends!


photo credit Zeke Chaney




the hospitality was outstanding

and the trampoline entertained for hours

our view the next morning!





exploring Western North Carolina Nature Center





Our next stop on the journey:  Charlotte, North Carolina.  First stop:  Discovery Place.  Yes.




More gracious hospitality met us in Charlotte.  More old friends, more catching up, more laughs and reminiscing.

Andrea represent! 

"No friendship is an accident."  O. Henry


Next stop:  Charleston, South Carolina.

Jack and Andrew reunited- college roommates and two peas in a pod even now





fast friends, born only days apart
"worst walk ever" with Andrew (except that it was the best)


don't they look great?

packing by day instead of by person- the way to go
Next stop:  Atlanta... or Peachtree City rather

more new friends for the kids, more old friends for us-  Lauren and Matt's three + our three
we even lost a tooth along the way 

Delicious fish tacos, great conversation, and prayers marked this leg of our journey.  And we barely escaped the stomach bug here.  I think Lauren and Matt's crew still may be recovering.

my red-headed chums from Auburn, Carrie and Lauren, still adorable in every way- LOVE these girls!

 Next stop:  Birmingham, Alabama.

cousin Caroline!


Mellow Mushroom of course

and we made it for Caroline's baptism




And there you have it.  Our spring break 2014 is in the books!

Thankful for all the relationships, hospitality, created beauty, and memories.

Eucharisteo!

It was epic.