Tuesday, June 30, 2009

musical monday

I had such a good day yesterday hanging out with Justin, the girls and some friends here and there that when the day was done I just wanted to sit, read a book and relax. So, even though it is a day late I wanted to post my musical Monday anyway.

I am very passionate that those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ would really take time to know who they are because of that faith. I want my identity to be solely based on my relationship with Christ and not my title, position, status, stuff, etc. My worth does not come from being good, knowing the Bible well, serving in ministry, influencing hundreds but from Christ alone. That being said I still get caught up in the comparison trap, "I should do more", "I need to be more like that person", "If I could get this one area down then life would be better", "I should have this thing called life figured out by now". Those are all thoughts that cross my mind and to be honest sometimes stick around. That is why I try to regularly do spiritual inventories to see what kind of lies I am believing and how they are keeping me from being the woman God wants me to be.

Recently I have been somewhat caught in the lie that because my life doesn't look like someone else's then there is a problem with me. It may be admirable to learn from other's and take steps to emulate certain aspects of their lives but it is paralyzing to try to become like that person. God has uniqquely desinged and gifted each of us for His purpose and I don't want to loose sight of that. His love is for each of us and is so high, long, deep and wide that we will never fully understand it all. (Eph. 3:18-19)

The song I am posting is by JJ Heller and even though I can't relate personally to all the lyrics I know how easy it is to get caught in a place where we wonder if anyone really sees us. I find great comfort in knowing that someone does see me and loves me. This song is also a call for me to show love to the people who I come in contact with each and everyday. So many people are hurting and need to experience the love of Christ and people in their lives. My prayer is that you know deep down how loved you are and that you would learn how to share that love with others.

Lyrics to Love Me :
He cries in the corner where nobody sees
He’s the kid with the story no one would believe
He prays every night, “Dear God won’t you please
Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love
What love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day
She’s the woman whose husband has run away
She’ll go to the gym after working today
Maybe if she was thinner
Then he would’ve stayed
And she says…

Who will love me for me?
Not for what I have done or what I will become
Who will love me for me?
‘Cause nobody has shown me what love, what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

Here is the youtube link to listen if you want:


Friday, June 26, 2009

Fruits of our labor

The girls and I took a Hoppy Manacation this week. For those of you who don't know what that means I will explain. We went to visit my parents (who are affectionately called Hoppy and Mana) in PA this week. Justin went to the National Pastors Conference in St. Louis and we took the opportunity to visit for longer than a 24 hr period with my parents and which happens very rarely.

The girls absolutely loved it. The weather was beautiful and they are now old enough to enjoy all the wonderful outdoor experiences that living in the country provides. We went for walks, rode bikes, played with sidewalk chalk, rode swings and slides and picked berries. The girls couldn't have had a better time. Sleeping was the only difficult thing about the trip (Emma didn't) but attitudes were still great the whole time.

I got to enjoy some time with my mom courtesy of my dad. The girls loved playing games with him and swinging with him so much that they barely missed me. It was wonderful and I am very grateful for the help and the break. Emma loved swinging with my dad and kept telling him that he was a "silly guy" because of the way he would stop her and make her laugh. He even took them in a ride down the hill in a big wagon. I say hill but really I mean their street. I think God created grandparent because that is a memory a mom like me would never create for fear of crashing, rolling over and the oncoming cars.

Lydia was thrilled to ride her bike as much as she wanted. She loves riding her bike but since we don't have a flat driveway she can only ride when we go to the rail trail. She thought it was bliss to ride all over the place and was very excited that there was an extra bike that she could bring home. I think the reason she liked the bike so much was because of the bell but I really can't blame her, it is pretty cool.

The true highlight for my parents and me was probably the joy of picking wild raspberries and mulberries. A new patch of raspberries was discovered this year in their neighbors back yard and there was another berry tree there. We picked a few berries and leaves from the tree and looked it up on line to identify what kind it was and found out it was a mulberry tree. We picked berries everyday and had and absolute blast. Lydia and Emma ate more than they picked but found the whole experience quite entertaining. Lydia would direct us to where there were more and Emma just asked to eat more. I think their digestive systems are still trying to catch up with them id you know what I mean. ;)

If you have ever picked raspberries or blackberries then you already know that it is tricky work. The thorns on the bushes are quite sharp and are all over the place. You have to be very careful to wear the proper clothing, long pants and sleeves, keeping in mind that it is summer. You also have to pick every day or two to get the ripe berries so the birds don't eat them. That being said I think that the effort is worth the prize. It does require planning, dedication and the knowledge that you will probably get scratched up in the process but I love it anyway. This is an obvious and shameless observation that applies to our everyday lives. Nothing good comes without counting the costs and keeping the reward in sight.

In the end, for dinner tonight the girls and I enjoyed a nice green leaf lettuce salad (from our garden) with fresh raspberries on top. The fruits of our labor tasted good!

Monday, June 15, 2009

quick update

Wanted to let you all know that I am indeed still alive and that the summer reading is going well. I've finished the Chronicles of Narnia and am looking for my next start. Reading at night is becoming a wonderful habit and I am glad that it is so enjoyable.

I've also been going out and running most days and had a wonderful hike with Justin and the girls today at Cooper's Rock. I am going out of town next week to visit my folks while Justin is at a Pastor's conference and the girls are so looking forward to that. The following week is our vacation with my parents so the girls will be getting lots of time with their Hoppy and Manna. After mid July our summer slows down considerably but we are in full busy mode for the next few weeks and it is great. I have some wonderful things to share and hope to post memories of my girls as they are both summer babies and will be turning 4 and 2 over the next month. Hard to believe but since I have not even come close to finishing Emma's baby book and probably couldn't remember the stuff if I tried I better use this as a pseudo memory book. I will post again soon but for now I am off to spend some time with my wonderful hubby. Happy summer!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Warm Weather Bliss

I love spring, summer and fall! I love being able to go outside and do so many things. My obsession with warm weather is far more recent than not. I always preferred cool and cold weather most but that changed when I had kids and found out it is so much easier to entertain them when the weather is warm. Lydia is a very active child and quite resistant to independent play so playing inside takes a great deal of effort and planning from me. There is only so much running around in our house I can do but when spring turns up she is very content to run around our yard, play in the dirt or sandbox and swing and slide for hours. We live so close to the rail trail that most days we find ourselves at the trail, feeding the ducks at Pricketts Fort or at a local park. Both girls love feeding the ducks and walking. I also love getting the exercise. Keeping up with an athletic girl on a bike is a really great workout.

Our garden is doing very well right now. All our veggies are coming along nicely but since it is my first time I am looking forward to learning a lot. I may find that I needed to spread certain plants out more but am looking forward to a great harvest and if it goes well possibly expanding to do more next year.

The summer is also bringing about some habit changes for me. I am currently compiling a summer reading list. I'm sure that it won't include much, but I am trying to not get caught up in TV reruns of shows that I don't watch. I don't let the girls watch more than 30-45 min. of TV a day but am not as good limiting my own. I watch TV most nights of the week after the girls are in bed. This summer I want to read during the time I would normally watch TV. I will however leave room for my 1 reality TV favorite, So You Think You Can Dance?. I happen to find the show so entertaining and artistic that I will make time for it. I am now halfway through the Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis and am taking advice on other fiction that may be of interest. I am limiting myself to fiction for night time reading and non-fiction to its normal quiet time spot.

That's about it for the randomness of my life for now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Musical Monday

Hello world. That's how I feel right now because it is so early (5:30am). There is really no reason to be out of bed yet because Emma is actually still sleeping but the birds were singing outside my window and I didn't want to just lay there so I am up and in a reflective mood.

I knew I wanted to do a musical Monday post today and was trying to decide what song to post. Yesterday's church service served as a wonderful time of worship and I am having trouble deciding which song to post because God used each of the songs to touch me and speak to me. I finally decided to post None but Jesus by Hillsong United because it seemed to speak well to some of the thoughts I have been having recently.

I believe that one of my weaknesses that for me is exaggerated as a stay at home mom is I often wonder what is "normal". I can't say I obsess, dwell or worry about it but I often consider how my average day compares to other women I know. "How do they make it work to play with their kids and get housework done? Do all kids act like this? Do all moms at least feel like reacting like this?" These are just a sampling of some thoughts that run through my mind. Now I KNOW that comparison is a trap that can paralyze a person from accomplishing much of anything. So much time is spent either comparing and feeling better about your life causing pride to swoop in and do it's nasty work or on the other hand feeling completely inadequate and often helplessness, depression and a whole other host of things take over. There are people in my life who I admire. I admire their spiritual discipline and biblical knowledge, I admire their parenting, I admire their creativity or their flexibility. I admire their emotional stability. These things are wonderful character traits but what I don't want to happen is to admire them so much that I want to become them.

God made me and loves me. That is a truth that is so important to remember when tempted to play the comparison game. In turning my attention to what is "normal" I often lose sight of what is important, what God wants me to do. I too often forget that God has put me here, gifted me with my husband and my children because He knows that He has given me exactly what it takes to do my job well and with creativity. Our pastor spent much time driving home the 1st point of his message yesterday and I couldn't agree more, "Our identity is in Christ - not this world" (2 Tim. 1:1-5). My life is not defined by the normalcy of it but by the fact that I am loved by the creator of the universe and share an intimate relationship with Him. There is no doubt that God uses other peoples lives to shape me and refine me, to help me see how to better spend my time and to help me make lasting changes but God is the One who is working in me to make me more like Him.

I really met with God in worship through this song because it helps me to remember to quiet the voices other than God's that fight for my attention.

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence
I know there I am restored
When you call I won't refuse
Each new day, again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know you're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

I am yours and you are mine...

All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hope
All of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord