Monday, September 24, 2012

what i have learned having 5 kids...

life lessons from having 5 kids

1. life goes so quickly... don't wish this season away for the next.

2. poopy diapers are what they are and aren't the end of the world.

3. there is beauty or frustration in every moment - i get to choose which i focus on.

4. i am a better mama, a better wife, a better friend, a better human being if i get a few minutes in the Word each day.

5. the smiles and sweet sounds of a baby can wash away the fears, frustrations, and failures of the day.

6. somehow God always provides enough even when it doesn't make sense on paper.

7. noisy is relative.

8. quiet is also relative.

9. the reaction to the statement "i have 5 boys" will never get old.

10. once i hit 5 kids, strangers have no filter on the questions they ask about personal life.

11. people think i am some sort of hero or crazy woman to have 5 kids, but really i am just the same girl inside i always have been... and not that different than any other woman i know.

12. prayer is the most important key to every day... and a prayer-less day usually is a disaster.

13. God speaks constantly through the mouth of babes if i have ears to hear.

14. it is much harder to cook enough to have leftovers than it ever seems in the moment.

15. the desire to have no regrets will drive me to do or say crazy things that don't fit my "personality."

16. real friends are hard to come by and should be cherished and valued.

17. saying "i love you" sometimes can get more mileage than long talks that may waste words and time.

18. i love my parents more and more as i stumble along this parenting journey - thank you daddy and mama for the risks you took and the mistakes you made and the love you poured out because i have courage to do the same because of all you gave.

19. you don't have to be a perfect parent to be a darn good one.

20. the most important gift to give a child is an example of a real relationship with God

21. the second is a loving, though imperfect, committed marriage.

22. both relationship with God and with a spouse take work, time, and energy.

23. forgiveness is the most important lesson i can teach my kids and learn myself.

24. listen more.  talk less.

25. apologize often.  humbling myself will never go out of style.

still counting gifts to 1000...

769 - 786:

769. oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

770. soccer practices.

771. time to work on the much neglected house work.

772. feeling the connection with my boys' hearts.

773. grace to let down my guard and break down the walls.

774. the constant opportunity to bear my cross in relationships around me.

775. the humbling effect of the cross, even when i despise it.

776. that it is by grace i am saved, for i sure can't seem to do it right.

777. the tenderness of the Lord when i feel pretty small.

778. as far as the east is from the west, that's how far He has removed our transgressions from us.

779. starting to run again!

780. the evidence of the Holy Spirit's activity in my life on the occasions i am actually able to keep my mouth shut.

781. a praying grandma.

782. beauty all around me.

783. the amazing revelations on God and life that spill out of my 4 year old's mouth.

784. worship times on friday nights.

785. the frequent reminders to stay here in the moment, to be present, to soak in the now of my children and my life because it won't be the same tomorrow.

786. knitting... the moments here and there i can pick up where i left off and knit.

i am linked up at a holy experience.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

dear me at 15...

dear me at 15,

oh my.  how i look at you and have so much compassion for what you are going through.  you are a happy teenage girl who loves the Lord, but you have had a really hard year.  you are hurting still, even though you are afraid to show it.  you wonder at times if someone as young as you should have had to experience so much pain, so much loss, so much disappointment.  i know it doesn't feel fair, but God never promises life will be fair.  the good news is He really does work all things, even the really painful ones, together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  He really does.

i know you are insecure right now about breaking up with that 1st boyfriend... the one you thought you might marry someday.  i know you feel kinda dumb using the "God told me so" card and like no one really believes you.  honey, you really did hear from God.

it is going to get much more painful over the next couple years with false rumors about you, betrayal, and your heart getting ripped into so many pieces.  but what you cannot see now is he was never the one God had for you to marry.  you will wait quite a while and choose to not date (a great decision, by the way), saying even that you never are going to get married because of the pain this boy caused you, but when you are 21 you will meet just the right one.  you will be so glad you chose to not date.

you did hear God about taking that "break" that broke your heart, and you really will hear God again when He tells you to change your college major plans to graduate a year early.  because you are so willing and tender to obey Him, even when you doubt you hear Him well, you will be in brazil and meet your perfect match when you "should have" been in your senior year of college still.  it was His still small voice telling you now and will tell you then.  trust Him and keep taking the risks to obey.  it will make so much more sense looking back and the pain of right now will seem so worth it.

i know your heart is so afraid of death.  losing a friend you cared about and then both your teenage cousins in a year's time hit hard.  in some ways i am sad that you had to grow up so quickly and not feel as "invincible" as many teens do, but let me tell you it will keep you on the straight and narrow.  you will live more sober than your friends and it keeps you out of a lot of trouble.  you want to end well and you wonder how old you will be when your end will come... you know that no one, no one, is guaranteed tomorrow and you will have scotty and daron in the back of your mind for the rest of your life as you make decisions.  they really never left you in a way.

i know it hurts so badly right now and it scares you that you think you are forgetting their voices... their faces.  i know you think you will never get the images of daron hooked up to life support out of your mind or how unreal they looked in the open caskets at the viewing.  but God is going to give you the most special gift.

in a couple years you will be laying on the floor of your church during a sunday night renewal prayer time and you will get a glimpse into heaven.  daron will approach you and he will look whole.  he will look so happy and healthy, and the images of him dead will be replaced with images of him alive.  the empty space their absence left will never really be filled, but as you grow up you will start to believe more in the reality of the resurrection of our bodies and you will be filled with hope that you really will be with them again.

i don't know if i should tell you that you will have many many more people you know and care about die in the next few years.  you will struggle and wrestle with this - i want to urge you to not keep it in or simply write in your journal... talk to someone about it.  talk to your mom and dad.  they won't think you are crazy or having morbid thoughts.  i know it is so hard to experience loss and know the finite part of life right now, but it will make you more compassionate to those going through it later on.  you see, God really does work all things for good.  He uses your broken places to minister to others who are hurting.

i know there is tension in your relationship with your dad.  let me tell you that God is so faithful and He brings so much healing and it gets so so goodlisten more - he has really good advice and perspective.  react less and realize that your emotions are not good leaders.  ask him to go to coffee and lunch with you - that one on one time with him will be one of your favorite things as you get older.  right before you meet your husband you will decide that one of the most important qualities you want in a spouse is someone who can really talk to your dad.  in fact, your husband will remind you so much of your dad that it will make you smile all the time.

enjoy the times being on the worship team with your mom - so much of this will shape your future in ministry.  humble yourself and be correctable - she isn't being old fashioned when she sends you home to change your clothes because your skirt is too short.  i know you roll your eyes often now, but later you will realize that she was right and you will sound old fashioned to other young girls... and you will be proud to be just like her.

your parents are your biggest cheerleaders.  i know you want to please them so much, but realize that you don't have to earn their love - you never had to.  listen more.  be defensive less.  they really are for you and not against you - later you will advise other people of the great ways your parents raised you as a teenager with trust and responsibility.  watch carefully how they do it because in not too terribly long you will be raising your own kids and calling them asking for advice.

i guess the most important thing i want you to know even though you have strived so hard to earn God's love and the love of those around you, stop striving!  you can't be a good enough girl for God to love you more.  He already offers it so freely and He knows your weakness and isn't intimidated by your strong emotions.  He knows you will mess up many many times and be tempted to beat yourself up.  all He is waiting for is for you to come to Him and surrender.  keep purposing to walk faithful, but come to Him when you mess up.  He will forgive you as many times as it takes.  you are going to learn that humbling yourself asking for forgiveness from those around is much better than trying to be perfect - the healing God will bring to your heart and your relationships is so good.

enjoy your brother and sister.  your mom was right - they will be your best friends as you keep growing up.  laugh, have fun, be real - you guys will make awesome memories.

one more thing - next summer you are going to go spend a week and a half in santa cruz with your cousins at your grandparents' house.  you will get homesick and want to go home early.  your grandpa is going up to northern california and will offer to drive you back home to redding.  he will offer to let you drive his bmw (it will make you feel really cool and nervous at the same time) and you will have such a special talking time on that 5 hour drive.  soak it in.  remember the stories and ask all the good questions.  really listen and commit it to memory.  that one on one time with him will be one of you most special memories after he dies.  you will think back on it often and be so glad that you were homesick and got to have those good talks with him all by yourself.  you will wish you remembered better and asked even more questions.

God loves you and He will never ever leave you.  hang in there - life isn't easy but it is really really good.

your 33 year old self

ever wondered what you would say to yourself when you were a teen?  this writing exercise was healing to my heart and i saw how involved the Holy Spirit has been in my life every step of the way.  He is so good!  join in at chatting at the sky!

still counting gifts to 1000...

759 - 768:

759. tears as writing to my younger self brought so much perspective and healing.  God is so good!

760. friends with whom i can share my heart and struggles.

761. the sweet and painful conviction of the Holy Spirit on my heart.

762. priceless opportunities to get one on one time with my different kids - connecting to their hearts.

763. morning prayer time with the boys on the drive to school.

764. cleaning out the cluttered cupboards - re-establishing some order.

765. reused peanut butter jars as water glasses.

766. my sweet david making new friends at pre-k.

767. heart connect with my oldest over ways we both are struggling.

768. God works all thing together for good for those who love Him!  all things!

i am linked up at a holy experience. and chatting at the sky.

if you haven't liked this facebook page, you can in the upper right of this post.  i would love to keep in better touch with you!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

maybe all we really need...

it is the living who give thanks to You, as i do today,
a father tells his sons about Your faithfulness. isaiah 38:19

it is so easy to look at our lives and only see what we are lacking.  maybe it is money.  maybe it is a lack-luster marriage.  maybe it is opportunity in career or ministry.  maybe it is friendship.  maybe it is a family.

for me, though it seems trite, it was just about chicken tonight... or my lack of chicken... 

come and visit me at 5 minutes for faith to read the rest.  i really love you all visiting over there and offering your thoughts and feedback in the comments.  i hope to encourage you today with what i am sharing!

i am linking up with barbie this week for fresh brewed sundays.

do you like this post?  consider subscribing to this blog and/or liking our facebook page to stay connected.


Friday, September 14, 2012

inability to focus

word for the day:  focus


it is so difficult for me to just slow down enough to focus.  my mind races a million miles an hour most days all day long.  having 5 little ones to care after doesn't help the focus problem.  i laughingly told my husband tonight after reading this silly prayer for my personality profile (enfp if you were curious) that i often interrupt even my own stories to go on a bunny trail and never end up saying what i wanted to say in the first place.

i want to write here... so many things are heavy on my heart that i want to share.  good things.  hard thing too.  but by the end of the evening when the last two of the littles are finally asleep and the house is quiet i am too tired to put together two thoughts that make much sense. 

the back to school thing hit me hard like a semi truck to the face.

oh how i need help figuring out a schedule that works for me or at least settling into the one i have right now!  so much i want to do... so much i want to say... so many places i would like to be...

but as long as i am trying to run in every direction and juggle all the different balls at the same time, i don't often do anything very well.  i usually end up telling you about the bunny that ran down that trail and don't ever get to the meat of what is really going on. 

how i need the Lord to help me focus!


if you want to join in, the instructions are below.

5 minute friday rules:
1. write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. link back here and invite others to join in.
3. please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them.

if you write a 5 minute friday, let me know.  i would love to visit your blog and read your heart.

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