Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happy - Happy - Happy!

I am seeing the word – happy everywhere lately since preparing both for our summer trip and my heart recently for a blog I contributed to that will post here in early summer.

So much going on in my little world that has bumped into my happy that I believe I needed to see this word happy more than usual here on a coaster my girlfriend gave me.   

My girlfriend gave me this precious bag of goodies as a send off for my summer trip and it reminded me of the gift of giving encouragement - and being happy for someone else's happy!

How often do we:

*Get bummed out by someone else’s happiness…..rather than be happy for them.
*Get grumpy trying to control a situation/person…..rather than be happy and let God control. (no matter the outcome).
*Get discouraged by one thing that happened……rather than be happy and thankful for all the other things that happened.

I am blown away by girlfriends and family in my life who encourage me to be happy.  They drive me to be a better wife, mother, sister, and friend. 

And – I have to believe that God is encouraging these happy choices rather than the bummed out – grumpy – discouraging thoughts

Don’t you?

Today I am going to be cognizant and choose more happy!   I am on a hunt to find God in my day and point Him out to my boys all summer long.  What choices are you making to be more aware of God today? 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Glad On The Path...

Psalm 32:7: You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble, and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Do songs of deliverance ring your ears?  What does this sound like?

After a couple of very busy years for myself and quite a few more for my hubby we are off in just a few days, heading on our big sabbatical trip...oh to be delivered with some rest and special family time ahead.  

I have been reminiscing this week about our last sabbatical RV trip taken in 2006 up the East coast.  I cherish these memories with my boys, who were just 3 and 5 years old then. 

What an adventure! There was time for play and time for rest.

Fort Henry, NY
Lake George, NY
Trolly in Hershey, PA
Fishing at Golden Hill Lighthouse
Lake Erie

Helping dad with canoe
Canoe ride on Lake George

 Even lady bugs on the beach!

Ladybugs at Port Clinton
Sunset on Lake Erie

I am taking this down time to focus on my family and am asking God to make clear the direction of my path.  I am sensing a change on the horizon for several reasons.

Some things have come up recently for me that have caused me to take pause and re-evaluate my path- yes this Princess Path…that is why I am sharing it here.  Really, this is not a bad thing.

Do you take time to pause and evaluate your path?

 I so love this tidbit of info I got while listening to special guest, Laurie Beth Jones on Girlfriendit Radio.  You can listen here.  Laurie Beth shared 3 questions to ask ourselves in order to assess if we are on the path that God has for us…oh these were just nuggets for me:

1 – Am I doing work that honors God?
2 – Am I doing work that honors me?
3 – Am I making a living doing this work?

I am so thankful for these timely questions as I assess this path that I am on and what an opportunity for me to rest on this path and process through these questions? 

Such sweet words penned by David in Psalm 32 and I feel my body sink deeper into the cushions of my sofa as I absorb them deep within my heart.  Life is surely not perfect, but I am rejoicing in the Lord and glad to be on this path. 

A path full of joy and happiness amidst life’s uncertainty.  
Thankful for this path...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Making Room!

I sat on the porch of my dear sweet friend, my neighbor, a fellow princess wearing an invisible but still crown glistening for me to see. 

My eyes were wet with my own tears as I shared the weariness of my day with her. I struggled with thoughts of sharing.  You know it is just so much easier to share our UP moments.  God has not called me to be a Debby Downer; but He has also not called me to be a liar or dishonest with my emotions. 

I definitely don’t post many down days on Facebook or Twitter, and not everyone knows my every thought – only God does – but I do have struggles.  In the midst of trials I have been known to still have a smile on my face and it is not that I am ignoring the sadness, I just know that this present issue is not all there is and I always have multiple things to be thankful for.

But how do we walk our days honestly with those we care for and see on a regular basis.  We cannot ignore the issues and concerns of our day that quite frankly bring us down.  Those who know us see that something is not right? 

Like Naomi, there are times where we just feel like God has brought bitterness to our lives… (Ruth 1:20-21)
Who else has been there?
Who else has cried out like Hannah in utter despair to God?  (1 Samuel 1)

How can we help each other through these times?   Not ignore the pain.  Not encourage more unnecessary despair, but allow the despair to be talked about and processed?  How do we lovingly walk and encourage with truth? 

Seeing what was present on my friend’s porch opened my eyes to a lot.  I saw and felt God’s presence on my friend’s porch.

My porch is currently missing chairs, but I am on the hunt now for a pair.  I am making room for some things on my front porch…

*Room for safety (A place where confidences can be kept)
*Room for grace (Realizing neither of us live perfect lives-forgiveness and room for making mistakes)
*Room for wet eyes (Able to let emotions roll)
*Room for ME TOO – (A place where we know we are not alone)
*Room for dry eyes after (Allowing God’s truth to reign and bring hope and reminding us that this present struggle shall too pass)

This morning my heart is full and wanting to grasp more about how to keep walking when it hurts…or how to be vulnerable and share my struggles so others will too feel welcome on these chairs on my front porch.

How do you remind yourself to be brave and take a seat?
Is there room for you on your neighbor’s porch? 
Is there room on your porch?

Let’s make some room!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Upended Over FaceTime & Easter Re-Cap

It has been a couple of weeks since Good Friday.  And I have been itching to get some alone time to write and capture the weekend as well as some other rambling thoughts here.  
(Warning: This blog entry may be a bit lengthy as I recap the long weekend-thanks for amusing me and helping me not forget )

This last week, coupled with hurdling through some illnesses with my toddler, and then leading the older boys through some of their own obstacles...yada-yada-yada...can I just say it's been a busy few days, and I am worn out.   I have been struggling to balance my time these days and Plan A seems to often turn into Plan B, C or D lately.  

Do you feel weary and stretched with your time?

How much time do you spend online on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? 

Do you keep your phone attached to you at all times?  Do your kids?

Oh, I have to admit that I need to be more intentional about this time in the cyber world and focus on the faces God has right here for me to see face-to-face.  Not to mention that I am trying to model the way for my soon-to-be teenage boys who are entering the cyber world-albeit ever so slowly if I can help it.   But as you can see, by this pic below, not every moment of my time with them is spent with true face-to-face; meaningful conversation.  This ever popular i-world is beckoning for its own FaceTime. Their hands are already full and well aware of how to use this wonderful technology...iPods... iPhones..I just don't know?
A moment captured in route to the boys' practice.

{Entering the no judge zone}... Be looking for a future blogpost about this; for I will definitely be looking for your input and insight.  I will link the post about parenting teen-agers and technology management here soon.

Don't you just love it when a good girlfriend sets the stage for conversation about something close to your own heart.  Patty and Lisa chatted about this exact thing with special guest, ErikLokksmoe on last Thursday’s Girlfriendit Radio show.  Did you listen?  Did you hear Patty's heart as she was honest about her own heart in parenting her teenagers?  I so appreciate her and her heart?  Did you catch the tips from Erik and the book he coauthored, Upended?  You can download the podcast here and read a little more about the show and a blog that I posted here

For now, let's get back to my family’s Good Friday/Easter Weekend.  This is the 5th year we have celebrated Passover and Easter in this way; but the first time I have blogged about it.  I so appreciate my husband's heart (this was his idea and he allowed me to add pieces of my own flare).  I love this time mostly because we are showing our boys that FaceTime matters!  We are not perfect parents by any means and the day did not start off perfect (I think I began the day a little stressed over my to do list and desire to get the house clean--Note to self for next year, ignore spring cleaning bug that nags at my heart to begin that day; some things are okay to put off for tomorrow).  What I did feel like we did right was be intentional about  face-to-face interaction with our boys and remained fully present as we opened up all kinds of conversations about Jesus.  Lord, please helps us do this more and after day...

We actually started our festivities on Wednesday night and colored Easter eggs because the Jewish Seder Plate calls for a boiled egg, so why not get them done before Passover, right?  My littlest one really got into the dying of the eggs this year, but he also thought it was time to blow bubbles with the coloring dye. 

My husband has put together a Power Point slide show that we use to walk through the  Passover Celebration.  He gathered information online, from books and information left from his Grandmother's Jewish-Christian studies, as well as tidbits from our Jewish friends who live in Israel.  Each year, my heart has been touched hearing the scriptures that point to the death and resurrection of Jesus that had not happened yet.  It is both heart-wrenching and beautiful...only God could orchestrate such a meaningful story. 

The celebration begins with the washing of everyone's feet, usually the servants of the house would do this, but Jesus set the example and did the washing, see to the left my husband washing feet with a simple baby wipe. 
We all giggled when the youngest in the family caught on to what was going on and immediately took dad's seat and put his foot in the air and said, "Feet...feet...feet" numerous times like any other toddler repeats words they know.  I pray and I anticipate the day when he too will understand more fully.  

You can see the Seder plate we created on the left and next year, I think I am going to look to purchase a plate like this one on the right, which I found online here.  

The night was full of great face-to-face conversation and I am so thankful for the gift of teaching my husband has...he makes this kind of stuff so fun and interesting for me and my boys!  

We finished out the night with our lamb meal and watched the movie Passion of the  Christ after the baby went to sleep.  I still cannot watch that movie all the way through without closing my eyes, but I felt at peace knowing that all of our hearts had been opened to Jesus and His love...even if we had to close our eyes during some of the scenes.  My heart resonates with what Erik Lokkesmoe spoke here pertaining to movies/situations in life and whether they are characterized as secular or Christian...we find the good in all that God created and celebrate it. Thank you Jesus for allowing FaceTime.

Then the rest of the weekend was full of joy and celebrating the life we have in Christ.  There was a Flashlight Neighborhood Easter Egg hunt, brunch with our loving neighbors, church service, and Grandma's traditional Easter meal and yet another Easter Egg heart was full with all the face-to-face interaction.  (Here are some more pics of the faces I hold dear...the youngest was hamming it up for the'll see)

No more Easter Egg Hunts's two weeks past Easter, but I am off to hunt down some more Face Time today.  Hope you are too!