Saturday, May 28, 2011

Life's a stage

Oh, a mother's love. We sit through hours of practice, rehearsals, ticket sales all for those few moments on stage. My daughter has an uncanny dedication to dance, a quiet focus that seemed weird at age 3 but has continued on. Now at age 7 she is dedicated to ballet. She just finished her last rehearsal with one dance school and will be moving to another that specializes in Ballet.

I have to confess, I love to watch graceful ballerinas at work. I find myself longing to dance with them. My toe points on it's own, my hand curves and floats up from my side. I quickly clamp down on those urges, with a glance around to make sure no one saw.

Maybe I should take dance classes for myself. Just for the fun of it. I have no fantasies that I am graceful- I have broken a toe rather dramatically by waking into my own sofa. But sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to follow a dream that makes no practical sense at all. Why do we mother's feel guilty for having fun? Plain old, not goal oriented fun. Maybe you don't, and good for you, but I never felt more guilty for wanting to "waste" time until I became a mom. But aren't the coolest Mom's the ones who have a passion for life in general that runs in tandem with Motherhood. The amazing Photographer, the Runner, the Teacher, the Swimmer, the Cook, etc... whom you can tell loves their child to bits.

I could sugar coat my little secret by saying- Hey, I am going to take a dance class for exercise and isn't that healthy of me. It would be a lie, because if I did it, it would be because the urge to dance won the day over the urge not to. 

I hope you dance.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Leviticus Made Easy

The Bible is worth any effort it takes to draw it into your mind, but I have taken on the challenge of going through Leviticus with my 7 and 9 year old children.

I strongly feel it's the job of my husband and I to educate our children about what we believe. Anything else they get at church is bonus. The primary job is mine, because it's my example of how I feel about what I believe that will leave the most lasting impression on them.

Do my actions match my words? Do I seem to love God and his word above all else? If they see that I do, then it will imprint on their little hearts that my faith is for real and theirs should be too.

It all got started when my 9 year old son petty much deemed all the kid's devotionals I was using as "baby stuff". So, I figured he was ready for the meat and potatoes of reading the actual bible. I personally just read the bible straight through a chapter a day over and over. I thought, why don't I just read them the chapter I just read earlier in the day and we talk about it. We started in Genesis because in God's timing I was just starting over. No lie, I do substitute more kid friendly words at times (especially on grown up topics like oh, say that grand old town of Sodom) but I do not change up the message. We use a very easy to read translation.

So when we started Leviticus, which provides the detailed laws of the old covenant of God with the Jews before Christ , I faced a real challenge.

How to make this relevant to them and not impossible to understand.

I think Chapter 5 provided a perfect example how this works.

1) I read the chapter and I have to then figure out how I would explain this to and elementary age child living in 2011. This has been pretty amazing for me because I am seeing connections I have never seen before.

2.) Here's the break down of the actual chapter: Three things that a person could do that were sins against God, that might happen without the person registering they had done wrong until later. The things were: Not reporting something they witnessed in a public case,  touching something unclean and making a foolish or hasty oath/vow for good or evil. Three things were required after they realized they had done these sins: Confession to the priest, animal or grain sacrifice and a monetary offering as restitution.

3.) The break down for us is- if we realize we have withheld information in a public case, allowed ourselves to watch, hear or participate in something we know is sin (unclean to the new testament Christian) or if we foolishly promised a good or evil act in haste we need to confess to God (no priest required since the veil was torn at the Crucifixion), we need to ask the final sacrifice, Christ, to forgive our sin and we need to make right anything or anyone hurt by our act. The money offering symbolic of paying back/making right the wrong done.

I had never seen Leviticus as being so practical before. What an eye opener.

Daily Bonus Flowers just for you from my Garden:

Monday, May 16, 2011

B-day Weekend

Friday night my amazing husband fried 5 golden pounds of Godzilla sized shrimp for me. He also purchased a cheesecake sampler. We had friends over and all was well with the world. Later that night we drove through a spectacular lightening storm to see a late movie. My children were staying the night at my parent's house.
The next morning I was officially 35 years old. 35 is the first birthday that actually feels fairly solid. There is some weight to that bad boy. If I live to 70, I just hit mid-life. What?!? Well, I will take some consolation that my grandmother is now into her 90's. I think I'll wait until 40 to throw around those words, maybe even 45.
I feel wiser but not what I would call wise. My metabolism and I disagree often. I have been mocked by a teenager. So yes, I am 35.

We spent time Saturday riding bikes and enjoying "Garden of Eden" type weather. Blue skies, temps in the low 70's and a crisp breeze. Not the norm around here for sure.
This is the Gazebo at the 1/2 way point of the bike trail we use.

I have more to be thankful for than I have the ability to think of. I pray I squander nothing and I nurture/multiply all the blessing I have been given.
I recently told a friend "Look I am telling you God has stuff lined up for you that’s going to blow you away, knock your socks off and polish your toes while He’s at it!"

It's true. Trouble free-no, but wilder more profound things that the human mind can figure out will happen.
Greatest miracle of all- turning a heart of stone to a heart of flesh- I am one of those.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's day after

Yesterday, as usual I get so wound up pre-holiday that my expectations get in the way of just enjoying the day. So, I determined to "chill-lax" and just take it as it came. (I really have to get rid of this bad great expectations habit of mine, it's way too melodramatic)

So I woke up to cards and peanut butter chocolates. I ate Shrimp Alfredo, fried green tomatoes and Cheesecake for lunch- yes that's just what I wanted. I also sadly ate Cheesecake, chocolate, bacon and cashews for Dinner. I do regret Dinner- as is true often in life, getting what I wanted just gave me a tummy ache, not satisfaction. Note to self, apply more common sense to splurge days.

Motherhood is something I do not regret choosing to embrace for a nano-second. I spent the first 5 years of my marriage convinced that I would make a horrible mother due to my dramatic and explosive temper. After years of counseling, bible study and doing children's counseling myself, I got the idea that I had a God big enough to change me. - (insert dreamy smile as I look at where I am now)

Yesterday we were watching the Duggars. We don't have cable, we only watch TV through Net-flix or the Internet (financial and parenting decision), so the episode we were watching was on Net-flix from when the Duggars only had a mere 17 kids and one on the way. I was glued to the TV every time Michelle spoke. She was a natural. The soft voice, the ready laugh and smile. You never got a sense that she was on edge, gritting her teeth at any point or feeling like a simmering pot of water ready to boil like I often feel. I know TV editing being what it is can create a persona but I am sure catching her lose it would make the TV folks happier and ratings soar more than her constant calm. I really believe this lady is a natural Mom. I want to soak some of it up. I may not agree with all their choices, although I can see the sense in most of them. Mostly, I really like her mom style.

Here's to you mother Duggar and all the other Mom's who have set an example for those of us who need one.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Humble pie

Maybe you can relate, I have struggled with humility. I was born with a healthy sense of self worth. I guess I am lucky that way- it really helped me through the teen years. But as they say your greatest strength can also be your greatest weakness.

About four years ago when my children were passed the toddler age and I began to regain some "me" time, I sought the Lord's advice on what ministry He would want me to get involved in. I had begun singing in church and really thought that was where it would be- more singing or an expanded singing ministry. But what opened up before me was the position of Church secretary. Honestly a pretty thankless job, that is way behind the scenes. As I prayed about how badly I did not want to take this position, God- as he can do with crystal clarity pointed out to me, I did not want the job because it had no "glamour". I wanted people to see and admire what I was doing. Ouch, coming face to face with my own pride was harsh, so I took the position on a volunteer basis to learn a little more about humility. It really wasn't a bad job. I love to organize and had secretarial experience so it was mostly smooth sailing. 3 years later the opportunity came to pass the work on someone else and I did.

Now, I started to pray again. Oh, Lord what would you have me to do? I am all done with the humility lesson, so what new exciting thing do you have for me now? Slowly but very clearly He began pressing on my heart the word PRAYER. Prayer? As a ministry? You know the kind of thing you do alone, at home, by yourself? Sure you can go and pray for people, the home bound, hospitalized, etc... but most of my prayer happened at home. I began to also sense that this kind of ministry would require time, hours of time. Not just a quick little help so and so with this and that amen, type prayer. Wow, at this point you can almost see my face drop right. Could it get any less in the spot light?

Much to my shame I will admit I took this message and sat on it for a year. Surely if I did not act, it would change, right? Wrong-o. I just felt it more and more and more, until it was burning a hole in my conscious. Prayer is total humility. Seeking an all powerful God from a place of total powerlessness. Admitting my own schedule was not as important as hours spent quiet and still thinking and speaking with God. Guys, I am a verb person. I am type A. I do check lists.

I am finally making peace with this. I am beginning the long journey of submitting myself to this call. Over the past year God has been teaching me how important prayer is. How far beyond my minds ability to understand it goes. I have yet to set aside the largest parts of my day for prayer but it's my goal.

This week is the week of the National day of Prayer and I don't think it was an accident that God put it on my heart to share this today. God's direction to His people in His word was to take your relationship with Him and prayer seriously. 1Peter 4:7 "The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray." The following verses remind us to pray and be doing his work for the church and the lost because time is short on this earth, either by death or His return. I pray by His strength and power we would take these words to heart and determine in our hearts to pray like our lives depend on it, because they do and so do the lives of others.