Tag Archives: daily life

Sprintering

blossoming pear treesHeading out for my morning walk, I was besieged with the aroma of budding pear trees all over the neighborhood. I glanced down and saw all the blossoms that had been whisked out of the trees and pelted by cold rain.blossoms washed away

Spring is trying sooooo hard to break out and assert herself, then a push of winter comes back through and surprises us with its briskness.

In much the same way I often start feeling energized with the hopes of spring, trolling through garden centers and jumping into visions of green and color all around, then I’m reminded by the “helpful” cashier that there may still be a freeze which would knock out my pretties. Drat.

I may have a lot of creative energy bursting with ideas one day, then a restless night comes and the next day I’m muddling through mental fog. Or I may start the week with an ambitious gameplan, but midweek something unforeseen occurs and I’m practicing my adaptability again, forging through the weeds to find beauty in the dailyness of responsibilities. flowers vs weedsI have a hard time sorting through all the random fluctuations in my mind and body at this time of year. The mix of spring and winter features outside somehow mirrors my unsettledness…I can’t quite put my finger on how to explain it, but when I talk to others, they seem to feel IT, too. It’s like we’re Sprintering: we want to be in the robustness of spring, but winter still nudges in.

The passage in Ecclesiastes 3 about there being “a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” keeps coming to mind. It’s all about the transition — the Sprintering– between big seasons in our lives. When we are fully planted in a season, it’s easier to embrace all that particular season encompasses. Often we even have some social protocols to follow in certain seasons, clinging to these guidelines with all our might. The transitions in between are trickier, though, especially if others around you are not in your season. It’s squishy ground and we don’t like that sinking feeling of ambiguity.

So, if you’re feeling a bit unsettled or you’re having an off day, consider this: you may have a touch of Sprintering, too. Hang in there: Spring is knocking. Perhaps we have to acknowledge a few lingering lessons from Winter we still have to tuck in before we’re fully prepared to welcome Spring wholeheartedly.

blossoming redbud

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

My Most Treasured Layer: Prayer

bear and kite

A Prayer for My Family: Dear Lord, thank you for making us family. Please ingrain in me Your Love Language and Fruits on a daily basis. Fill me with Patience, Kindness, Purity and so on.  I commit my husband’s work to You, Lord,  and may Your plans be established throughout his life. (Proverbs 16:3) May we both trust You with our whole hearts, and lean not on our own understanding. Make our paths straight, Lord Jesus. And Lord, I pray that our greatest joy be to hear that all of our children walk in Your Truth!! (3 John 4)

 

winter carnation

When I’ve had a full-plate day complete with joy, laughter, accomplishment, but also disgusting tasks, disappointments and weariness, I realize these are the normal days of life. I’m thankful for full days that keep coming. I find triumph and failure daily. I walk with the Lord, but can easily go skipping down side-trails before returning to the path. At night, when it all finally calms down and the pace halts, I quiet myself and finish the day with prayer. I reflect on the day with all its ups and downs. I am never perfect in a day, but its okay; I don’t climb that pedestal anymore. I just try to please my Heavenly Father’s heart. He tells me, “You will never fail.” Oh, but I feel so inadequate so often! So I pray…

This is what Prayer is for me:

A safe harbor, an instant hot-line, a lasting legacy, a quiet to the restless.                                        

This is my Prayer layer:

I start my day with a “hello” to the Lord and His Holy Spirit. Sometimes that’s called Quiet Time. I relish those moments, but they are hard in a busy household. They most often are a quick glance at a scripture off of my phone, but that is an opening prayer-layer to my day.

After watching the movie, War Room, I wrote out some “prayer strategies” that I taped in my closet to remind me to pray. They are simple in nature, but have turned out to be very powerful tools for my days.

I add another layer on the drive to school with my boys, we pray the Armor of God over our family before we separate for the day. We rotate and all take turns praying this prayer out loud over our family as we drive down the road.

armor

–Do not let a day pass that you don’t put on the custom-designed armor the Lord has fashioned just for you.

I send up snippets of prayer interwoven throughout my day for whoever the Lord places on my heart. Nothing is happenstance; if a person comes to mind, then pray for them. God loves detailing. And the layers continue…

On days that open to it, I pray for future events in my children’s lives; like new friendships formed, pressures and stressors that may arise; prayers of future layers of God-infused living. I pray for eternal things for my family.

So at the end of this crazy-busy day, even if I feel depleted, exhausted, stressed or strained, my heart can find peace in the reminder that God sweetly keeps all prayers  close to His heart. Keep praying, never ceasing, when you feel like it or when you don’t, do it anyway. He listens and He moves through our lives. These prayers, layer our very lives. They affect our family; they impact future things, and it is a gift to us to be able to pray.

Prayer: A most precious and treasured layer.

 Be still and know that I Am God.” Psalm 46:10

Love big

As parents we often do little things each day to show our children our love. We pick up after them. We make their favorite meal. We offer spontaneous hugs. We carpool. We share a story and snack after school. We pick up after them again.

Some days we have to love BIG…to show up for our kids on their turf…doing their thing, not ours

Gold Rush day

–dressing up with them for a special school event (hoping you don’t have to make any extra stops along the way because you feel a little silly being the only cowgirl at the grocery store)

–being a parent volunteer for the zoo field trip on a rainy day and receiving some high-energy kiddos in your small group because the teacher “knows you can handle it”

–getting into the passenger seat that first time your oldest gets his permit, thinking of how those hands were the little ones you held each day not so very long ago, guiding him across the streetnew driver

–going on a family “date” with your son’s new girlfriend, navigating the awkwardness-all-round as graciously as possible

–trying to be a good sport when you’re picked out of the crowd at the annual scout banquet by the guest speaker who proceeds to blindfold you and have you put your hand in a box. When the crowd screams wildly, you peek to see that your hand is IN a box of ROACHES! Not kidding. Let’s just say that the “friendly Bug Lady” is NOT on my Christmas card list.

Yeah, some moments we LOVE BIG. We take risks and wade through tricky situations, knowing that these are all moments our children are tucking into their hearts to treasure now and later. They may laugh at us, but inside they are thrilled that we loved them BIG enough to set aside our own insecurities for their special moment.


“There is no fear in love.” I John 4:18


Dare to LOVE BIG.

Love bumps

snow pile on momAs a mom to all boys, I’m used to Love Bumps…squeezes, shoulder taps, pokes, and more recently lifts over their shoulders as they have grown in stature. Boys show affectionate in all kind of bumpy ways. I’ve developed some good reflexes and tolerance for these unique gestures of affection.

 

This week I noticed I have some physical “evidence” of Love Bumps from my head to my feet. Literally.

I helped my mom move and got a busted lip from a floor lamp landing on my face. Ouch! I’ve been sporting a bruised and scratched lip all week, but really it’s just another type of Love Bump received by helping out a loved one.

I’ve got a few Love Bumps and Scratches from doing various household chores for my family, loving them through dishwashing, meal preparation and putting away endless groceries that come in nefarious packages that leave multiple paper cuts when you finally succeed in opening them.

A couple of purplish bruises on my shins are fading from some recent mother-son basketball shootouts that got a little rambunctious.

boys wrestling

I stepped out of the shower this morning and found a greenish bruise on my foot — another Love Bump, which I figured out was from a heavy lid my hubby dropped and bounced off my foot last night when he was unloading the dishwasher for me, a colorful echo of him showing love through action.

These outward signs of Love Bumps are a reminder of the ways we love others by lending a helping hand. Some of our other Love Bumps are less visible; we may be bruised in spirit. We may be weary prayer warriors lifting up the same prayers over and over, trusting for a positive shift in a situation or healing in a tense relationship.

If we are in the nitty gritty of life with each other, we are going to sustain Love Bumps from time to time. These incidents give us a shared story and a connection that we may not otherwise have.

So, march on and steady yourself for your next Love Bump.

(Watch out for those trickster lamps though!)

“Dear children, let us not LOVE with words or speech

but with ACTIONS and in TRUTH.” I John 3:18

 

Joy

choose joyWhen we think of joy, we often think of a child’s beaming face on Christmas morning. All of the anticipation that has been building is finally at its peak. That little body is all atwitter ready to leap into the magic of Christmas. Each of us probably has some keen memories of Christmas mornings past, some that were fulfilling of all the hype and perhaps a few that were found lacking.

How long does that intense feeling of full joy last? Are we able to summon that same level of anticipation to see what our heavenly Father has in store for us each day…

or does our joy feel like it’s in bits and pieces?

Joy brokenAs adults we seem to catch glimmers of joy yet somehow that robustness of childhood joy eludes us. There are many references in the Bible about having a child-like faith. Perhaps the concept of unbridled JOY is a natural unfolding of that child-like faith: grab it with intensity and don’t let go!



“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for JOY and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14



Maybe we need to follow our children on this one…

–to discover the joy unfolding all around us, in the big and small details of everyday life

–to embrace the messy

–to surrender our agenda

–to adopt a child-like curiosity and anticipation of good things to come…the walkbig walking stick

Seeking joy throughout the year…

in the ordinary days,

not just dusted off at Christmas timeadvent cardwhere can you find YOUR joy today?

mom tackle

Self-control

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

Self-control plate

Self-control is last in this list, but perhaps during this busy season it’s one to settle on for a bit. If we get the tough one out of the way, then we can bask in the more “cheerful” Fruits of the Spirit, right?

Like a distant relative that lives in another state, we don’t visit Self-control as often as we probably should. It’s a bit uncomfortable and requires discipline.

We tend to brush up on our Self-Control when the New Year rolls in, but often it’s mired in shame and regret. Not a pleasant place to dwell. No wonder so many “resolutions” get cast aside before the February calendar page is turned. Self-control is hard.

What if we consider Self-Control as being Other-Centered? If we minimize attention on ourselves, then we have more energy and effort to focus on someone else. When we set some limits for ourselves, we have a little more margin to share with those around us. When we’re less self-absorbed, we have a greater capacity to hear the hurt in someone’s voice. When we are less self-focused, we can more clearly see the need someone else has.

clock on organizational bookThis concept of self-control rings true in many areas of our lives:

Money – if we are “good stewards” of our funds, we have more to share with someone with a pressing need

Time – if we manage our time more efficiently, we are more able to say “yes” to a quiet request for help

Food – if we manage our temptations at the holiday cookie table, we are gifting our New Year’s self with a lighter load to bear when we feel pressured with lifestyle resolutions

Devotions – if we’ve given our day over to the Lord and hidden His word in our hearts, we have greater attunement for unspoken pleas we may encounter throughout our day

coffee mugGifts – if we coach our children to consider what someone else may want, then they may have greater appreciation on Christmas morning with a present they receive. They may share more in the joy of a family member opening a gift they helped choose and wrap. It is a bit more complicated to involve the kids at the wrapping station and a lot more tape gets consumed, but they bear witness to the thought and effort involved in the gift selection and presentation process. Gift-giving becomes more meaningful to them.

The more we bless others and include others, the more our self-absorption gets whittled away. Then we can really see the joys and benefits of self-control emerging. Maybe putting this first actually makes the other Fruits of the Spirit that much sweeter? In what area do you want to give it a try?



“Therefore, prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1:13

pretzels

Make-a-plate kit  Fruits of the Spirit project