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    Archive for January 2015

    Kindergarten

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    We walked behind her letting her lead the way and I just stared at the big blonde curls bouncing with every step she took.

    Evaluation day is sort of like Coronation day in the eyes of my little real life princess.

    I didn't realize how much it had concerned her until her teachers told me she'd been practicing writing her name all morning and asking them if she was doing better. She's paid attention to how much big brother has worked on handwriting this year.

    My sweet girl just warms my heart.

    Watching her reminds me of how Jesus must look at us. He wants us to succeed. he wants us to be the Godly people we are called to be, working for the glory of His Kingdom.

    When we go out there and do that thing He's called us to do? Oh how His heart must burst with pride.

    As I think about some of the hard things God has sometimes called me to do-my first thought is,
    "Oh how easy it would be just to ignore this and settle for less than my best...God's best for me."

    But after I push past that initial backing away, it's like working on writing my name for a preschooler. Day in and day out, pressing toward the mark, it always makes for a more fulfilling outcome.

    When we picked her up from preschool yesterday, the first thing that she asked was, "Do I get to go to Kindergarten mom? Did they say that I'm ready?"

    "Yes ma'am, you're good to go," I told her. She pumped both little fists in the air and yelled, "Yes!"

    It was one of those finer days of motherhood.

    The kind where you feel like the good that is being poured into your child is finally starting to sink in and pay off. Watching them blossom into the beautiful person that God created just for them to be is a beautiful thing.

    My heart looked toward heaven and I said yes too.

    Yes Lord, send me on to Kindergarten….I want all you've got in store for me.

    Little Matters Most

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Every January I get antsy.

    That beautiful stretch of white sand beach from Destin down to Panama City starts calling my name and mama starts makin' some plans. There's something about the feel of the frigid cold that makes my heart long for the sound of a seagull.

    There are memories to be made, I reason in my mind. Life's too short. Book the room, go on the trip, make said memories.

    This weekend is a three day holiday weekend for my kiddos and I'm doing the same thing. Searching fervently online for a plethora of activities to keep us busy having fun.

    Because in my mind, it's not so much being as it is doing that matters...and I circle back around again to a discipline that I have to realize for myself time and again.

    It's the reverse of that being and doing thing. And somehow, right now I've got it twisted. You'd think I would get it right after so many tries. But no, we're all human and we'll all be working toward the goal until the end of time or the end of our time, whichever comes first.

    And so this morning as I was writing down a few of my grateful moments from yesterday-it hit me like a ton of bricks as I read my own words spilled out onto the page.

    "I praise you for a fun evening in yesterday, playing UNO around the table. Eating breakfast for dinner. It's what's little that matters most."

    And there in my very own fine precious prayer journal I find myself pulled back to the center by the hope that is the anchor for my soul. (Hebrews 6:19)

    It's the little things...the little things that are usually simple are what makes this life great.

    Time spent playing a card game, sharing a meal, belly laughs as we have a tickle fest before bedtime. 

    That's the good stuff that life is made up of. BEING in the moment, soaking it in and living it out. Day in and day out, nothing fancy, just being.

    We will go on trips and see faraway places every once in a while, I'm sure. We will document it in photos and marvel at the good time we had for years to come.

    I think perhaps though, that when my children are grown what I will look back on and smile most at is the way that Quinley instantly falls asleep when I snuggle close.

    The way that Tanner is so proud that he can read Kindergarten Book 3.

    The way that they feel, their tiny little feet nestled around mine as we read books snuggled under a blanket on the couch.

    At the end of the day, you really don't have to be busy DOING much at all...BEING present in the little moments is what matters most.

    Don't Lose Hope

    Monday, January 12, 2015

    Sometimes.....well sometimes that little glimmer of hope you've been waiting for....it just finds a way to crack through the clouds like a ray of sun on a cold winter day. When it does, it warms the heart and it makes music to the soul that sounds a bit like this,

    "I see a little improvement today ma'am. We'll do further testing again in two weeks to confirm."

    That was what came spilling out of me and onto social media last Thursday as the littles and I walked, skipped, RAN WITH JOY to the car after leaving the Dr.'s office.

    Just a few hours prior, we had a lot of questions, but we also had a lot of hope. Because that's what keeps you going, right? "You can lose everything girl and you'll be fine. But if you ever lose your hope, you've lost it all." Once spoken to me by a woman with wisdom beyond her years, I've clung to that line like a bee on honey ever since.

    On our way to the appointment, as we made our way off of the exit ramp and were getting a little closer to the hospital my boy had asked me, "Mama what do you think they're going to say today?"

     "Well I don't really know son," I told him. Because I don't.

     "But if I had to guess I'd say we might hear some good news," I told him. Because if I'm going to err, it's always going to be on the side of optimism.

     There's a beautiful young woman I've become aquainted with and she's dying on the other side of town. She's got two precious children and what should be her whole life full of promise ahead of her. Yet she knows that she doesn't have much longer to live here on this Earth. What does she say nearly every time I talk to her? She says that she knows God knows best and she's just going to trust in Him. No doubt about it, her body is probably racked with pain sometimes. But she doesn't lose her hope.

     A friend I've known for years just got the news that her child has leukemia.

     A sweet young lady fights for her life and the life of her precious child at the homeless shelter. A life torn apart by addictions and unfortunate circumstances, she is trying to piece it back together again and have some sense of normalcy for herself and her child.

    What would any of these people do, what would I myself do....if it weren't for the hope that is found in our Savior Jesus Christ? Romans 8:24 says that hope that is seen is no hope at all. Hope that is seen is called evidence. But hope that is not seen? That's called faith.

    To the woman whose child awaits good news, to the young mother dying with cancer, to the woman whose child suffers from leukemia and the girl fighting for her life in the homeless shelter, what does hope look like for them?

    The next verse says that we hope for what we do not have and we wait for it patiently.

    Eleven was our number. For nearly one full year we got one bad report after another concerning my boy's kidney situation. And then after eleven months we walked into a hospital room one day and were told that it looks like we've rounded a corner. There is some improvement in the situation and low and behold hope delivered and a light could be seen at the end of the tunnel.

    Friend, I don't know what your number might be, but I do know if you will wait patiently for it then you will see hope bring life to your circumstances.

    That looks different for each and every situation. The good thing is that we know that in all things, ALL THINGS, God will work the situation out for the good of those who love Him.

    That means that HE will work it out for our good even when we don't like what the outcome is. Even when it isn't what we thought it should be. Even if my boy has to have surgery again, even if he loses his kidney, if the young mother dies from cancer, the child suffers from her disease and the mother doesn't get her life back on track as quickly as she'd have liked, God is still at work. And he can turn each and every bad outcome from each circumstance into something He can use for our good.

    For our good and for His glory.

    I don't think you can go anywhere else in this world and find odds that will beat that. What a mighty God we serve.

    We live in a fallen, sin-infested world and there will always be death, delay, disease and disruptions to contend with. But we have this glorious hope.... (Titus 2:13)

    For that I am so grateful.

    The Lord Does Provide

    Thursday, January 8, 2015

    "Where is the lamb, Papa?"

     The puzzled expression was so evident on his little face. He'd seen this done many times before and knew that the most important part of the process was still missing. With eyes bright and full of wonder, he followed along. Like any other boy his age, he was always anxious to be a part of anything his father was doing.

     Abrahams's heart beat a little faster in his chest as he thought about his answer.

     It had been a long and hard journey, three days time in length. He could feel himself growing weary, but the end was almost near.

    "Don't worry my son, The Lord will provide the lamb." Abraham prophesied to his son. His mouth spoke the words in obedience that his heart clung to in faith.

    A little further ahead he could see it, the place of the sacrifice was visible in the distance. Just a little farther now. He put one foot in front of the other and carried on with the plan.

    In the midst of the biggest act of obedience of his life, he was going forward with what The Lord had asked him to do.

    Because that's what Abraham did. It's what he'd always done. He wouldn't entertain the thought of a lesser approach.

    He looked over at his young son, the one he had waited nearly all of his life for, and his eyes filled with tears.

    Oh how he had loved and cherished every minute with the boy God had promised him. Little Isaac had been much anticipated and cared for long before he ever even entered into the world. As Abraham and Sarah had watched him grow they had marvelled at the goodness of God as they watched him run and laugh and play.

    The days quickly turned into weeks and the weeks into months and years. And now the Lord had asked a very hard thing of him. To sacrifice the one and only precious Isaac as an offering back to him.

    And down through time God saw that the world would be waiting, anticipating and so desperately in need of a Savior. A spotless lamb, the Son of God would enter the world as a newborn baby. 

    Just like Isaac, he would laugh and run and play. 

    Just like Isaac, he would bring his parent's joy as they spent their days watching him grow and develop into a young man. 

    So much alike and so different at the same time. Two lives. Two time frames. One purpose. 

    To save mankind from the sin of the world; that's always been God's plan. 

     Would he come through this time, Abraham wondered? He always had been faithful before, surely He would be now.

    His hands fumbled with the rope and his body shook with fear as the steps were getting closer now. With his body trembling and tears streaming he began to bind up his son. His very own sought after, prayed for and precious son.

    Isaac must have cried, he must have wondered, perhaps even fought for his life in the fear of a young mind-but still Abraham obeyed.

    And then just as he was about to follow through with all that God had required of him, there in the far distance he saw it. Like the sun coming out after countless days of rain, a ram appeared in the bush and Abraham had his sacrifice.

    The test of faith had been passed.

    As he lifted his son off of the altar and they sacrificed the animal instead, I wonder if Abraham felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off of his shoulders?

    The bible tells us that he named the place Jehovah Jireh…. for the Lord does provide.

    When People Began Calling On God

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    So I made reference in my last post about The Husband (that's his affectionate name) and his plan for us to read through the Word in a year. You know already that I wasn't too excited about it because 1) it seemed like a big task and 2) it seemed like a really big task.

    As of January 6 I can tell you that I've already changed my mind. In a big way. Never have I been so glad to say that, "I was wrong," in my life.

    It's a beautiful thing, the flow of scripture that is. And I'm learning things just by the simple reading of the word vs. studying-that I might not have noticed otherwise.

    Like at the end of Genesis chapter four for example. By this time you've already had creation, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the Fall. Cain and Abel have warred and as Cain headed up the rebellious sin nature of the world, Abel and then Seth gave a voice to the righteous ones who follow God. I love how Matthew Henry's commentary puts it, "Then began the distinction between professors and profane, which has been kept up ever since, and will be, while the world stands."

    So that's quite a lot to happen, wouldn't you agree? A few hundred years have passed since the beginning of time and at the end of this chapter, the bible tells us that people began to call on the name of the Lord. I love that.

     Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not a biblical scholar. I'm not a theologan and I'm most definately not a preacher. Or even a teacher for that matter. I'm not even about to delve into all that scholars might differ on in this portion of scripture and take sides. I just don't have the brainpower for that even if I tried.

     I went to school for nursing, for crying out loud. And now I'm a wife and mother who stays at home. Go figure.

    But I can't help but notice that what I do with my days and whatever you may do with yours (and for that matter what Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were doing all those years ago) one thing remains the same. We all have this same innate desire to call on something bigger than ourselves. It didn't take too much disorder and chaos in the world for people to figure that out at the beginning of time.

    Left alone we will make a mess of things nearly every time we attempt to assume the role of God and take matters into our own hands. Every. single. time.

    It's not even that our desires are always bad, matter of fact we can have very noble intentions sometimes and still mess things up.

    It's possible that Eve really didn't think much harm would come from her curiosity of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Little did she know she was about to mess things up for the rest of us for all time until the end of time. 

    Cain might not have stopped to think that his jealous murderous rage would so negatively affect more than one person and that from him an entire line of profane descendants would emerge. 

    I have made some terrible choices myself. You probably have too. And wouldn't we agree that sometimes what we might not have meant for evil, when taken into our own hands, definately didn't do anybody any good.

    Thus the need to call on the name of the Lord.

    I love it that the same thing that our heart cries out to in the midst of trouble today-is the same thing that it was inclined to do way back in Genesis. Some things never change.

    Deep inside the heart of mankind there has always been a longing, a yearning to cry out to and know the God of the Universe.

    Because we know that left to our own, we can not save ourselves. His way is always best. He can see the bigger, clearer picture and knows what we need and what is best for us when we don't even realize it ourselves.

     Just as the people in Genesis looked around and recognized that since there was nothing good in them and that they could not do much left to their own with what was around them, they'd better just call on God. Today we can look around and come to just about the same conclusion with the flesh that is in us and the world that is around us.

    What a rich people we are...to be able to call on the Name of the Lord.

    Resolution to Hope

    Friday, January 2, 2015

    You've seen them glaring at you like a deer in the headlights as you scroll through any social media news feed.

     The beginning of any new year is filled to the brim and running over with newness and promises. Full of resolutions and good intentions, the masses are set to make a change as the calendar year turns a fresh page.

     But what if you're like me and you're just not sure about this new year? And what if you hardly know what to resolutely change because you aren't even sure of the state of everything that is in the interim?

    What if you hardly know what the first week of January is going to hold, much less the remaining eleven months? 

    Because it's easy to make plans and set dates with goals when you feel like you've got a pretty good grip of control on your life, but what about those plans that you just have to surrender simply because you've got more questions than answers at the time?

     All of that is what crowded in my mind as I brought in the first day of 2015.

     I'm usually pretty good with being laid back and going with the flow, but even for this non type A girl that I am, I still like to have at least some sort of a plan.

     So when the only real plan that I could come up with was to open that app that my man challeneged me to...that one that divides out the reading of The Word in a year? Well, that's what I did. Even though I'm not a fan of a checklist, I do like a challenge. Especially when God's Word is involved.

     I open the book, thinking I can fill in the box next to Romans chapter eight and I begin to read. I come across a verse that says, "Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."

    Intrigued,  I read on and the beautiful scripture that says,  "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" really starts tugging at my heart. 

    There in the middle of the book of Romans I find my resolution.

    The truth of the matter is that I really don't need a new goal for the year at all. What I need is the realization that God already knows every intricate detail of this year.

    What is my job? My job is simply to hope.

    Hope for what I do not have and hope for what I can not see.

    Then when I do not yet see what I have hoped for? I'm to wait patiently for it until indeed I do see it. 

    My mama bear heart aches with hope for a change in the wellness of my little man child in this new year.

    Next week we will walk into a building that has become all too familiar. We will sit and wait for our name to be called. We will walk down a long hallway and into a sterile room where an ultrasound will be done on his left kidney.

    We've done this enough now that I will look at the screen and before the Doctor even confirms whether or not we have had sucess or failure this time, I will know. I will know if this chapter of our lives is coming to a close or if it indeed has a few more pages, or chapters perhaps, to be written.

     Either way it goes, I have this hope....this glorious hope and we will walk into the rest of the new year full of it.

    Full of promise, because even if the screen doesn't really say what I think it should, We know that in all things, ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

    Whether that looks the way I think it should or not, may our God receive all of the glory and may His perfect will be done. He will work everything out for our good. His word says it and I believe it.

    Here's to some HOPE for the new year.