Great Moments

I love summer. I love the changing of seasons; not seasons of nature but seasons of life. The coming of summer and the end of school inherently provide a time to regroup.

I often need time to regroup.

Here is the truth of my life: I think I am getting better at it. 

I am not perfect. Obviously. But I am also not a perfectionist, I am a pragmatist. What I am constantly trying to move toward is a life that works. For me that means my calendar matches my priorities. In quantity of time my family comes first, but in priority of time my faith comes first.

This season is working for me because, as it turns out, I love to learn. In church and Bible Study I am in a fruitful season of learning God’s word and how it applies to life. In parenting, my girls are in a fantastic school–on campus a few days a weeks and at home the others. Reagan is completely in charge of her own learning, and Ryan is homeschooled a few days a week.

After four years, I may be getting the hang of it. I actually finished the school year with momentum…and I am excited about the coming year.

It’s crazy, I know. I was actually…organized.

I want to push pause on a moment. In one of our homeschool days this spring, there was a breakthrough.

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This is an activity we have done many, many times. Baking soda, vinegar, water, corn starch and food coloring have provided hours of entertaining engagement. This day we were using it as our fine motor activity. All of the squeezing and pinching making her little hands stronger on our road to learn to write.

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Mostly I sat back and watched, letting her explore and combine.

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The breakthrough came…for the first time, ever, Ryan did not combine all the colors into one big brownish-greyish gloomy mess.

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Obviously she is still a bit messy. ($3 clear shower curtains get a lot of use as craft-table covers in our home.) But she was more careful than I have ever seen her.

This summer we want to continue to strengthen her foundational skills so that we can embrace the curriculum more thoroughly this fall. We intend to read more and exercise more. In August she and I will head to Connecticut to get a thorough evaluation and several sessions with an expert in Oral Motor Placement Therapy. It is our attempt to progress in teaching her to talk.

We are not ready to give up hope.

Meanwhile, we will do all we can do to enjoy this season, these moments, this child.

“And God looked at all He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

Genesis 1:31

Burn Day

Burn Day

There may be no more satisfying yard work than a burn day.

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Our yard needs it tremendously.

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There are times when my entire life feels overgrown, in the worst way.

Happily, this is not one of those seasons. Things are steady, and my hubby and I are both energized and wanting to shift momentum radically in a forward direction.

burn day is spiritually metaphorical because it illustrates how much room you make by getting rid of that which is already dead.

As a bonus, it is a testosterone driven activity…in the best way.

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Working together was a great feeling and made for a productive day.

I am gearing up for a new Brighten A Corner project. I am giddy about it. I am so ready for the body of Christ to be the real solution to heartache and struggle. I can almost see God’s hand every where I turn.

But the past serves as a reminder that if my own home and my own life are a mess when a project begins, the process of serving for a week straight (nearly 18 hours a day) can be unnerving. I am determined not to do that this time.

Burn day was a step in that direction.

The other beautiful reminder is as we trim the trees and the plants, getting rid of all that is unhealthy, it will make future rain far more effective.

We are in a drought. The leaner and healthier the foliage, the less water it will use.

When things are in short supply, lean is the most effective way to go about life.

So this next 4 weeks, gearing up to serve, I will be getting rid of as many things as possible. I will be radically putting things away to make room for the madness to come. I will be focusing on my kids by throwing a birthday party for Ryan; supporting Reagan as she goes to Bible Study, youth group and church outings; digging in to homeschool; and maintaining routine. I will be doing my best to support my hubby in our businesses–being self employed means a lack of steady income–so if we can get a financial boost in time it will make things far less stressful for him.

I will beg God to help me overcome my laziness.

And I will grateful because, as it turns out, a burn day was a great way to get started.

Nervous Grace

Nervous Grace

“You’re making me a bit nervous,” my hubby said.

I got it. I totally did.

“There are others who are way more deserving,” said my good friend.

I understood that as well. Perhaps I even agreed, just a tad.

My adventure started when I was browsing through Facebook one Sunday afternoon a few weeks before Christmas. One of my favorite authors posted a picture showing bags her church had filled to give to prisoners for Christmas. 32,000 bags put together just to say, “We are thinking of you.”

The honest truth is this: I am the daughter of a judge. Prison ministry doesn’t compel me–even if I admire other people’s service.

It would never occur to me to judge or belittle the 32,000 bags, but many others did.

There were many, many voices who piped in claiming that those bags were an incredible waste of resources. Didn’t that congregation realize how many more deserving people would go without? Those men in prison were guilty and deserved exactly the life they were living.

On and on they went.

Somewhere, tucked in the back and forth banter of comments a woman’s voice stood out to me. “I suppose you think the strippers I take packages to are not deserving either, but what if I told you that when I was 19, that was me?”

And it struck me…I should do what that woman does. An hour away from my home, in a neighboring county, there is  a strip club. Everyone around knows the name of the place. What if this Christmas season I took gifts to the women who made their living stripping for men?

I know, I know, they make a lot of money. Some may even think they enjoy it. We live in a culture where sexiness is as powerful as gold, and in the basest, least-intmate version of the word, strippers can claim that label.

But at what cost to their souls?

I ran the idea past my little Bible Study group, and they jumped in…

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There were scarves, gift cards, books and baked goodies. The packages were prayed over and we included a note that said:

If you ever need prayer, we would love the privilege to pray for you.

I included my e-mail address.

Originally everyone who was at the Bible Study the night we discussed it was planning on coming. But life happens, and so it was just my friend Kathy and me.

This was hysterical because she and I are the staunchest, most-to-one-sidest, blackest and whitest thinking-est of the group. Clearly, God was moving…wanting, ever-gently, to knock hard edges off my personality and help fill my world with grace.

We got to the establishment and it had not yet opened. We knocked on the back door and the manager answered it. We explained who we were and what we wanted to do.

He was incredibly gracious.

He held the door open, and asked if we would be offended by coming in.

“If we were, it would certainly be our fault,” I said with a smile.

Kathy asked if there was anything we could pray for him. He said just his health. He gave us his name.

He was very kind, and it has been easy to pray blessings that are consistent with God’s character for him and his life.

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We have begun to pray for every person that walks through this door. We pray for conviction. We pray for marriages. We pray for purity. I love my Tuesday Night Ladies.

I pray for purity in this nation and a sensitivity to effective ways to do my part in that quest.

I have also begun to pray that God would bless this business–the strip club in the neighboring county–in a way that is consistent with HIS character. I have no idea what that would look like, but HE does.

What a wonderful, stretching, learning, growing thing. Thank you, Lord.