Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: My run in with fancy

Like every Wednesday, today was my morning to volunteer in the kids' classrooms. But before my duties started at 8:15, I ran to get a coffee at Starbucks. I'm not usually a coffee drinker. But it was early, and I wanted a little something to sip while I braved the masses of children for the two hours to follow.

I guess because it was so early, I found myself alongside the working bunch, those who probably stop there every day before the morning commute. Everyone seemed to know each other's names, and were asking one another and the baristas about what the prior weekend held.

Something was distracting me, though. A really strong, but lovely, smell. Not the coffee, I realized. It was the perfume of the woman standing in front of me. It filled the room. It made me take notice of her.

She was really beautiful. Dressed in very chic but work appropriate attire, her curled blonde hair was perfect and motionless, and her high heels looked special. She wore a feminine, fitted white blazer, nipped in at the waist, and matching skirt, all trimmed in black. Her flawless makeup alone looked like a thirty minute project. She was quite a fancy sight, and I noticed she looked about my same age.

I was suddenly aware that what I'd chosen to wear today, what I'd thought earlier that morning looked somewhat cute, instead looked faded and shabby. Both the top and skirt I was wearing were bought second-hand, and if you looked closely, were pilling. My Target sandals were about to see their third summer and the polish was chipped off one of my toes. All I'd managed to get on my face was a little concealer to hide my dark circles and some blush, since I have that post-winter pale look going.

She and I crossed arms reaching for sugar, cream and cinnamon. She doctored her coffee just like I did mine. And as I headed back out to my car, lots of thoughts began to rush through my head.

I first remembered what it was like to have an income before I had kids. And the free time! How freely I shopped and spent time on my appearance. I thought about how much I've given up to have children, and then to stay home with them full-time.

I wanted to be a little judgey, actually, of her. I wanted to hate her perfume and feel better about myself through the streaks of envy I felt by saying in my mind that my job as a mother was better. But I know it's not. The fact is that she could be perfectly in the center of God's will for her life. I have no idea what God may be doing in and through her.

But I do know what God has called me to do. Today, it was to back all this artwork with construction paper.

Ten years ago tomorrow, on my first-born's birthday, becoming a mother was my calling. Working and earning a living and wearing heels on a Wednesday morning were my things to lay down. You don't really realize it because the sacrifice is a slow fade. But now that I'm ten years in, now that I stand next to mid-thirties-fancy-working-lady side by side, I can see that it's a lot. The sacrifice is a lot. In fact, it's huge.

I thought about how both the fancy lady and I had Starbucks cups on our work spaces that morning. Just imagine how different our views were between sips.

It's huge because it's meant laying down my life for others. Particularly, two others. My two littles. It hasn't been that difficult to lay it down. I'd make the same choice over and over, if given the chance. But I'll never be able to grasp how huge it has been for them. Their lives will be evidence of how huge that laying down has been. And their stories have barely begun to be written.

So I guess what I'm saying is that laying down my life to stay home and raise my children can be summed up as a big leap of faith. A leap I have to make every day. I'm having faith that all the work, the laying down, the intentionality, the love, the tears....that all of it gets rolled up in God's economy and formed into something really beautiful: well-raised children.

And because I am a hot mess on some days, a selfish, fleshy, annoyed mess, grace is what I'm counting on to be in the mix. My daily prayer is that all my offering gets rolled up with grace. Lots of Jesus-filled grace.

Grace blesses my sacrifice, fades the mess, and brightens Jesus in my kids' lives.

I'll take that over fancy any day. 


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

June sponsors are super special

I'm taking sponsors for June!

If you have a button for your blog or shop, I'd love to host it next month.

And June is special because it's the beginning of SUMMER.
And summer is my favorite season.

So if you sign up to be a sponsor in JUNE, I'm offering a Buy One, Get One month 50% off.

That's a way better deal than my standard 2-month commitment discount of 10%.  

I also have just one spot open for a
feature post and/or giveaway for June.

(I limit these spots to only two per month)

This opportunity is only $10 if you are a sponsor, and $30 for non-sponsors.
Email me as soon as possible, if you want to claim it!

Click here for all the details on my "Sponsor" page, or click the suitcases button to the right.

 Counting the days until summer is officially here....


Monday, May 28, 2012

For the unfamiliar road (a printable)

You know that road?

The one you don't seek out. Instead, you find yourself on it. Where you look around and don’t recognize anything.

You’ve never been down it before. You can’t see what’s ahead. And the road itself - something about the road - is lonely and dark, and deep down your heart hurts.

It hurts because your questions are still unanswered. .
A sickness just won't improve.
A relationship just won't heal.
The money just won't come in.
The baby just won't stop crying.

It appears as if things are going to stay the way they are forever and the biggest question is how on earth you could tolerate that.

So like every human, you teeter on the edge of panic, mustering that valiant human effort to hold yourself together.
Look for the silver lining.
Keep calm and carry on. 

I've tried that too. Mustering it up. We women are good at that. But once, I tried listening.

And in a dark place, God gave me this verse.

I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know.
In paths they have not known I will guide them.
I will turn darkness before them into light,
The rough places into level ground.
These are the things I do,
And I do not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16

It’s a fantastic promise. Its words have comforted me many times in the last couple of years. I’ve since committed it to memory so my heart can reach for it at any time. But what never ceases to stop me is the last pair of lines:
God says, “These are the things I do.” Not, “These are the things I will do," or,"These are the things I am doing.” He is not promising a particular action for a particular moment.
He is saying, “This is who I Am. This is how I roll.”

What He does is lead us on those roads we’ve never been down.

What He does is guide us with love and with truth.

What He does is bring light into our darkness.

What He does is level the ground so that we can walk securely.

And in case we’ve forgotten, He seals it with a reminder:  “I’m not going anywhere either.”

What He does is promise us Himself.

"I will not forsake you.

No matter how much you fight me.

No matter how often, in your discomfort and blindness, you sit down, stop walking, and pout about the unfamiliar road. 

When you’re angry with me.

When you decide I don’t have your best interest in mind.

When you try to grab back what you've surrendered.

When you question every good thing I’ve given.

When you turn your back on me to embrace your fears.

When you provoke me to my face.

I will not forsake you.

And when you’re ready to stand back up, I'll be holding out my hand.

When you’re ready to listen, I'll be speaking.

And I will outwait you.

Just try me.

My patience runs deeper and my love is greater than you could possibly understand.

This is how I roll.

The fierceness of His loyalty keeps me walking.

The whisper of His favor keeps me brave. 

Here is a printable for you, made iPhone-sized, by my pal Julie.

Pin it to your bulletin board, or save it to your phone
in case you someday need a reminder of
His loyalty and His love
to help you take another step.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Conversation on Faith, Part 1


Happy Memorial Day weekend, friends!

Ever wondered about the background of my faith? How it started, where God found me, led me, and grew me?

Well, I'm over at Casey's blog right now, where she and I have started a conversation on faith.

Part 1 of both our personal testimonies is up now, and Part 2 is soon to come!

Also, I wanted to share Erin's post with you. She has written a very thorough and beautiful post on the reasons why she is standing against the 50 Shades of Grey fiction series. I admired her post so much and thought it was so informative that I'm linking it up at the bottom of my own post about the same subject from earlier this week.

Otherwise, today, I'm enjoying my Sabbath. I'm choosing rest in my heart. Stopping myself from work. The kids are playing board games. I made my own hummus from scratch, which was fun and delish. The cute husband is washing my car. The turtles and the dog are asleep in the sunshine. And worship from church this morning is in my head.

my heart will sing
no other name
but Jesus, Jesus......


Friday, May 25, 2012

The Force made me do it: A Jedi party

Last weekend was the first of our two kids' birthdays, which both fall at the end of May.
My Star Wars loving son turned 7. His party on Saturday was therefore Star Wars-themed, but also Lego-influenced, because when given the choice, he prefers Lego Star Wars stuff to just regular Star Wars stuff. It's a big deal.

So what I do, during party season, is get a little theme-crazed and go overboard with ideas. I'm good at brainstorming, less good at time-budgeting, so that's a problem. But, ya know, I can sleep when I'm dead.

The Force first led me to these (the Force is all into etsy these days). Raddest invites ever. You send ewehoo your child's photo, and he becomes the star in a little print-it-yourself 8 pg comic book ending at the invite.

The party was costume-optional, and somehow we had no costumes ourselves. So I then followed/improvised a tutorial for a hooded poncho and made Jedi robes for my people.

Seriously, it was so easy I'm not even going to describe it. If you want to know, find a tutorial on Pinterest (which are mainly for little kids' beach ponchos) to get the general concept. Then do the same on a giant brown towel. The towels cost $7 each and it took three to make both robes (I cut the two hoods from the third towel). The kids are excited to use them after swimming or the beach too. But for now, here is some dramatic Jedi fighting in a dark kitchen so the lightsabers looked cooler.

I also made this bunting from a Star Wars sheet that had a run in with a jar of Mod Podge. Had to repurpose what was salvageable from that baby.

And big sister made this, the morning of the party, in honor of her brother. She even added R2's rusty spot. Such a thoughtful girl.

Back to the party.
First, 10 wild little people were funneled to a table covered in Legos. This portion was called "Buying me more time to get things ready".

Then we ate dinner, all items chosen by my little Jedi: Doritos Tacos from Taco Bell, I mean, from Tatooine, taquitos, Bantha Fodder beans and rice, Chewbacca chips and salsa, Ewok snacks (pretzels and grapes), you get the idea. The beverage was Jedi Juice, which looked awesome in my dispenser but I forgot to take a photo of it: strawberry lemonade, cranberry juice, and sparkling water.

Remember these rocks we painted last summer?? They were good weights.

Next we had our Tie-Fighter/X-wing bean bag toss. Each line of kids was either a team of Tie-fighters or X-wings. You drop the bag, your ship is toast. Last man standing wins for the team. That way I didn't have to buy prizes. What they won was PRIDE for being on the winning side! Sounds lame but it actually worked.

Then, my favorite part: Jedi training school, led by my little Jedi, in preparation for the big pool-noodle lightsaber battle. (Yep, I'm a risk taker in the name of fun.) This was ALL his idea, start to finish. I helped him write the curriculum. I was pretty shocked at his comfort level speaking to the group, as well as his ability to communicate his ideas. He had a lot of very specific ideas. I added some rules.

(Directions on the pool noodle sabers: Cut a pool noodle to about 36". Wrap about 10 inches with silver duct tape. Add strips of black electrical tape for detail. Don't forget a small square of red tape or else your Jedi may freak out that there is no way to turn the fake lightsaber on.)  He wanted a purple saber, just like Mace Windu. It's a big deal, I told you.

He also wanted his "class" to have demos on all the moves. He called up different volunteers each time to help him demonstrate. Jedis are good jumpers.

On the count of three, after all the kids were moved to the battlefield (cul-de-sac), the battle commenced. Which meant that 10 kids flew at each other swinging. It was pure, wild, hysterical chaos for a solid fifteen minutes. And thank you JESUS there was not a single tear or injury! I took some video of the battle and it was super funny. We had some "safe" territory so they could rest and catch their breath every few minutes. But it wasn't long before each was back in the action. Naturally, every picture is BLURRY.

Then came my second favorite part. The Jedi Award ceremony, where I gave them all new Jedi names and placed a medal of honor around each of their necks. They LOVED it, and giggled at everyone's altered name.

(These were made from wooden ornaments from the craft store, which I painted metallic gold and used sparkly and metallic paper on one side for the name labels. Artsy husband made me a template for the Jedi insignia I traced onto the other side and filled in with a Sharpie Paint pen.)

We sang happy birthday, and my little Jedi blew his candle out on the big pile of churros. Yep, again his choice for dessert. And just as it was getting dark, we started the movie Return of the Jedi on the big screen on our garage. The kids and grown-ups plopped into beach chairs, hauled out the blankets and grabbed a box of popcorn. All the little Jedis in the front row watched this classic with rapture. Well, after they danced behind the screen for a while when it was being set up.

It was an awesome night. I loved all the details, and so did my son. Of course he has no idea that I spent every free moment for two weeks working on it. But it doesn't matter. I saw him wear a perma-smile for about four hours, and I'm pretty sure he felt loved. Did I need to do all that for him to smile and feel loved on his birthday? Of course not. But I like to. It's my thing. It's the family culture I was raised in, and it's one time of year I can take the opportunity to bless my kid in a creative way.

Well, I guess he wasn't smiling whenever he was making cool and serious and silly Jedi faces.

Nothing went wrong, no one cried, no one got injured, and I didn't forget anything too significant. Except to slice and bring out the watermelon. But I didn't hear anyone say, "HEY! Why isn't there watermelon at this party!?"

We handed out my all time favorite party favor at the end: mix tapes (except there's no such thing as tapes anymore; I just want to call them that still. I don't care what size and shape the format is, they will always be mix tapes to me.) The compilation was half John Williams soundtrack music from Star Wars and half ultra annoying kid techno such as the Gummy Bear song and the Hamster Dance. Are these even really songs? I should have enclosed an apology.

Check out the labels I made. This is the easiest thing ever and once you make CDs for a party, you'll never hand out another sack of lame favors again. Promise. The labels are just an Avery label product you can get at any office supply store. You go onto their website, open the template, drop a photo and some text onto the template and save and print the file. I don't worry about listing out the song names. A cute label is enough. The actual songs can just be a big surprise to your recipients.  So awesome, right? And from the feedback we've had over the years when we've handed out CDs, the kids LOVE to have a customized CD of their friend's favorite music. It's a gift that really lasts.

It was a lot of planning, and it was an exhausting, late night. But memories were certainly made.

All in all, I'd say the Force was with us.  


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: in YOUR words?

So friends.

Do you know that this little series known as Grace on a Thursday began in March of last year? I was so surprised the other day to discover I have over sixty posts with the tag Grace on a Thursday. Isn't that awesome? I was looking because I wonder...I just wonder...if someday I might compile them. Maybe create a collection. Dare I say...publish them. (typed really quietly so that maybe no one even heard me say it.)

But still, even in so many posts, have I even scratched the surface of what God's grace is? I love this line from one of my favorite Christian songs called "What do I know of holy?" by Addison Road:

What do I know of you, who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood, but the shores along your ocean?  

My personal experience is so limited. I'm only 37, for goodness sakes. I am honestly a girl standing on the shore along an ocean of God's grace. How much of it can I possibly see from here?

And so I thought I'd look to you.

I wonder what you think of when you hear the word "grace."

I wonder how you've experienced it. Or shown it. Or lived and breathed by it during a dark chapter of your story.

I wonder how grace has rescued you.

I know it's rescued me, many times. And continues to, like at 5 o'clock when I haven't started dinner and someone is calling my name every thirty seconds. And when I'm so lonely. And when I've said a harsh word I wish I could quickly breathe back in.

If you have thoughts on grace or a story about how you've experienced it that you'd like to share with me, I'd love to hear them. Maybe it's a person who's lived grace when you needed it most. Maybe it was a season of strength you wouldn't have otherwise had to make it through a hard time. Maybe grace was the hardest gift you ever learned to give.

If your words are too many for a comment, you can find my email address by clicking the "email" button on the right sidebar. Please include the word "grace" in the subject line so I can spot your email quickly.

Your words, if you decide to share them with me, will be treasured and kept confidential. And I will do my very best to reply to each of you.
One of these days, Grace on a Thursday may become something more than a blog series. I'd love for you to be a part of that with me.

I wonder what God will do with our His stories of grace.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Slurpees, winners, and hugs.

I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?

How 'bout the bad news. (Because then we can end strong.)

The bad news is that most of you did not win Megan's awesome book.

Sad faces all around.

But the good news is that Wednesday, May 23rd is FREE SLURPEE DAY at 7-Eleven!

Whaaat? Yay! 

Let's talk about your favorite flavor.

Mine, hands down, is cola. That brown frozen goodness is only second to gummy cola bottles. Who's with me?  

Frowns turned upside-down because you know you want a slurpee.

I'll be honest. The dye stresses me out and my kids will choose the brightest color possible. But for one day, I'll push down the anxiety and let them smile big.

And now for the really good news if your name is Melissa or Alyssa:

You won a book!! AND you can get a free slurpee. How good is today?

Email me with your info and I'll be sending you your special prize as soon as I can.

And finally, for each of you who have taken the time to stand with me, personally email me, or comment on my last post - for those of you who are also unwilling to compromise for the sake of God's word, thank you. I'm even more inspired and strengthened by your convictions and your strength.  When we publicly stand together, we are all made a bit stronger. And for that, I'm so grateful and joy-filled.

It's such a privilege to be in the living, breathing, powerful body of believers with you all. You deserve way more than a slurpee.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fifty Shades of Compromise

There's this book. Maybe you've heard about it.

It's called Fifty Shades of Grey. It is the newest bandwagon fiction trilogy on the market.

At my local club wherehouse store last week, I saw stacks and stacks. There must have been 100 copies, showing how prepared a major store wants to be for the landslide of buyers they're expecting.

I heard it talked about on morning news. I heard it mentioned on the radio. It's being discussed in womens' chatter all over town. I've heard it's even all over Instagram. Movie rights are already arranged. And why all the fuss?

Because it's racy. Very, very racy. I'd use the "p" word, but I'd rather avoid hits on my blog from those who are seeking such material online. It's not surprising to me, at all, that a book of this nature exists. Naughty books have been on the market for centuries. Sin, in it's various forms in our culture, is not surprirsing to me.

But I was surprised to hear that some Christians, women who are daughters of the King of Kings, are reading it.

I'm not going to belabor the point, or go into what exactly this book is all about. Honestly, I don't want to know the details. I was tempted to flip through it at the wherehouse store, but I stopped myself. I remembered such things are not for me, for God's people. That is not to say that I'm not all for steaminess in my own bedroom, with my own husband. In fact, God is all for it too. But He is not all for me reading about other people's sexual affairs for entertainment, fiction or otherwise.

You can gather it's general content from the buzz. Amazon's summary for the first book in the Fifty Shades triology ends with this telling statement:

"Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever."

I don't doubt that it's true. Christians should ask themselves if the content of erotic fiction is what they want to obsess over, be possessed with, and have etched in their memories. Because the Bible is pretty clear on this kind of thing. Ephesians chapter 5 says:

 "Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret."

(vv.3-12, NLT) 

I don't take God's words here lightly. As Christians, we are set apart and we are to live our lives worthy of our calling, which means those lives should look different from the lives of those who are not following Jesus. One of my good friends shared that her Christian friend recommended the book to her. Full of grace, her answer was, "No, I'm not going to read it, and I don't think you should be either."

I so admire my friend's courage. She is an example to us all. Like her, if you call yourself a woman of God, if you are seeking to align yourself with His values and His priorities in this world, if you have any witness whatsoever with non-Christians (which you undoubtedly do), don't read it. Just don't. Such things have no place among God's people.

And if you're feeling brave like my friend, in grace and love, hold your sisters in Christ accountable too.
{Philippians 4:8 print found here by blossom & vine}

For a more thorough review of the 50 Shades series from a Christian perspective,
check out Erin's excellent post here.

In response to some comments, I wrote a follow up post with some clarifications here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: in Megan's words (with a Giveaway!)


This is a special Thursday indeed. Megan is a unique guest-poster. For one, she is an awesome girl whom I know and serve with at church. For two, she is a legit author, people. The other day, I was at Barnes and Noble, browsing the Christianity section, and my eyes landed on her book. Yep. It's there. Because she is the real deal. She wrote a book about her journey as a single, Christian woman called A Year of Blind Dates: a single girl's search for "the one".

So after I got over my tinge of envy that she has a book at Barnes and Noble (!), I asked her if she'd share her heart with you guys. I was so honored that she said YES.

I know some of you find yourself in her same shoes. And I know that some of you know and love women who are single and may need some encouragement. Well Megan has generously offered to give away TWO signed copies of her book!

To be entered, just leave a comment below. You get an extra entry for being a follower of my blog, and if you FB or tweet this giveaway (leave an additional comment for each entry). The giveaway will run through Sunday and I'll choose and announce the two winners on Monday. Awesome opportunity, right? You know how excited I get about books.

Okay, now stop thinking about wanting to win, and soak up this girl's wisdom. You're going to be blessed. Thank you so much, Megan, for sharing your heart (and your books!) with us.

*     *     *

Grace in the waiting

A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing Donald Miller speak at Mariner’s Church in Irvine. At this event, he talked about waiting. Waiting on the Lord to do something specific in your life. Something you’ve prayed for. Longed for. That thing you so deeply desire and yet, it’s still not yours. For me it is marriage and motherhood.

It is my deep desire, but at 34, my ring finger remains bare.

We all know waiting is hard and painful, but it can also be a time of conflict in our heart. A time when we just do not understand what God is doing. We know we should trust Him, but we struggle to do so. Don (I’d like to think we’d be on a first name basis) expressed how conflict (and waiting) is present over and over in the Bible, starting in Genesis 2 before The Fall. The start of conflict was not when Eve tasted the apple; the first conflict was actually Adam’s desire of wanting a helpmate and not finding a suitable one.

Then The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper who is right for him.
Genesis 2:18 

God says it, so he does it, right?

Well…yes. But, in His own time. Instead of immediately creating woman, God creates all the animals, brings them to Adam and asks him to name them. This, I am sure, took a very long time. Not days, or weeks, but most likely years and years.

Instead of Adam sitting idle, aimlessly waiting for this helpmate, God gave Adam something to do. This job, this very important job, was God’s grace in the midst of Adam’s waiting. As a result of Adam’s new title as CNG (Chief Name Giver), Adam was obeying God and making an impact. I’m confident during this name game Adam found joy and contentment, but as a human I imagine he was conflicted as he kept looking for a suitable helpmate and coming up short.

Was he always wondering if the next animal God put in his path would be The One? Was he hoping (like I am) that it would not be much longer before he had a companion?

The man gave names to all the tame animals, to the birds in the sky, and to all the wild animals. But Adam did not find a suitable helper that was right for him. So the Lord God caused the man to sleep very deeply and…used the rib from the man to make a woman, and then he brought the woman to man.
Genesis 2:20, 22

Eventually, in his own perfect time, God delivered.

“Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh” Adam says to describe Eve. Someone so perfect for him that she is made from him and one with him. I’d like to believe this is more than Adam could have ever imagined for himself. In the end he received a double dose of grace in the gift of naming animals and the gift of a suitable helpmate.

This passage in Genesis challenges me to look at my time of waiting, my season of “naming animals”, from a different perspective. As I wait, I want to see the wonderful things God as given me. From my career as a teacher, to becoming an Aunt, to climbing the Great Wall of China and publishing a book, the list is abundant. It’s rich. It’s a gift.

It is His grace in the midst of waiting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Two Types of Mothers (a.k.a. My Annual Dilemma)

This past weekend, I realized there are two types of moms on Mother's Day.

Type 1: The woman who wants to choose how to celebrate it and navigate the whole day.

Type 2: The woman who'd rather have everything planned out for her, even though the activities may not be her first choice.

Problem is that I have a hard time deciding which one I am, and that means I always end up a little disappointed. I didn't realize it until this year, but I can think back and see how this dilemma has become a yearly tradition. This year, I faced it when my husband said, "Honey, you get to choose whatever you want us all to do for Mother's Day!" But a small voice in the back of my head thought, "Wait, does that mean you didn't plan anything for me?"

Well, it depends on how you look at it, what type you are above. And while having something planned out for me sounded nice, I also liked the idea of calling all the shots and making everyone follow along without complaint. See? Issues. (Maybe my type is the "grass-is-always-greener" type, which is particularly NOT awesome for husbands.)

But since my husband was offering me the choice, I decided to take a strong Type 1 stance and force myself to think through what I would really want. If everyone could comply with my wishes, what would I choose to do?

And it was so weird. I didn't really know. Which is probably why this type has never really appealed to me.

That's what being a mom does. It erases that part of your brain where you know what you like, and replaces it with a brain that thinks of what everyone else likes first. And over time, that space in your brain which contains information on that which YOU enjoy gets so buried that it takes some serious mental work to dig it up.

All this mental work just to uncover my simple preferences meant I needed to write about this. And, as usual, my own difficultly in not only remembering what I like but also executing that agenda without weird, inappropriate guilt made me push even harder through the discomfort. I don't like being bad at stuff.

And guess what? It was a wonderful day. Here are some glimpses.

(I didn't make any of this food! So amazing.)

Miss blue toes is the one who made me a mother, nearly 10 years ago.

And this guy made it all possible.
He blessed me a lot.
The kid sticking the Baskin Robbins spoon up to the camera blesses me with his silliness.

I'm so thankful to be the mom of this family.

So for this year, anyway, I claimed Type 1. It worked out. I did things I like. Church, pedicures, board games, waffles, and having Mexican food with my mama. Not too shabby, right?  

What about you? If you had a choice, what Type would you be?


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Grace on a Thursday: Blog? What blog?

Um, have you noticed that I haven't posted since last Thursday?

Sista, I need some big, generous grace today for not being around here much. Not reading much, interacting much....all things I want to do, but things that I've had to put on the back burner for a time. That always happens to me this time of year. Every extracurricular activity has it's end of the year carnival/project/class play/award ceremony/field trip/banquet. We've been doing lots of those.

And to top it off, BOTH my kids' birthdays are within the next 4 weekends. So April/May sorta kills me. It is all great and super fun. Just busy with stuff that can't really be skipped. You know what I mean? I skip a lot of stuff we get invited to for the sake of simplifying our schedules on a regular basis. But this time of year is full of un-skippable stuff. Right?

So this poor little blog has been seriously neglected. I wanted to thank you for sticking around, though. I really loved the conversation that got started up by this post, on honoring a Sabbath day. Really great comments and input from you all. You inspire me, seriously. You encourage and exhort me in the ways of the Word, and I love that. No, I need that.

So in my blog-absence, here's a bit of what I've been up to.

A couple fun projects to keep myself sane, since I haven't been writing (which is my first choice of ways to stay sane).

A neighbor was getting rid of this amazing 5-panel wooden folding screen with chippy paint. Um. Yes please. I asked for it and he promptly carried it into my garage. Free. Awesome. Cannot wait to paint it.

Thrifted happiness.
New drapes for my bedroom.($20)
Cast iron wedge pan. ($2)
Frames for wrapping with fabric. (3 for $16)
Harajuku skinny jeans for my girl. ($1.50)

Lengthening my new drapes with a little teal chenille I had on hand. (I like the sound of that.)

More May-Sanity-Preservation: Starbucks Frappuccino 1/2 price happy hour is going on right now. I may have wandered for 15 minutes in a pet store, listening to all the locations in my house that could accommodate a hamster cage, just so I could get to Starbucks after happy hour started. If the cost of this drink starts with a $1, I'm in. My girl had to try the new chocolate cookie Frap too.

And like I said, we've been doing a lot of end-of-the-year business.

Awana award ceremony with my silly guy.

Closing performance of Annie with my little grubby pretend orphan.

Grammy and Papa in town to see their little orphan too, and then take her to get a strawberry Nutella crepe afterwards.

Chaperoning the first grade field trip to an aquarium. On a big bus. Three kids to a bench. 1 hour ride. Whoa. That's love.

I think he thought this giant taxidermied penguin looked tough.

Fish faces. This guy is so sweet. He also knows really a lot of details about the weapons each Star Wars character owns. I do, now, too. Because that was a long ride.

The trip reminded me how much I love to hang out with this precious guy, one on one, and really appreciate how amazing he is. (It also reminded me that I am old and have motion issues.)

Look at his birthday invites. I absolutely could not resist this print-it-yourself mini comic book download I found on etsy here. She inserts your image, personalizes them however you want, and then you print, cut, and assemble. So perfect for my young jedi!!

So I've been doing a lot of this. Capturing my babies in their sweet moments of glory. Planning for their special days. Listening to all their desires and dreams for their celebrations. And appreciating the gifts they are to me. Precious, precious gifts from God.  

So no deep spiritual analysis here today. Just living my life, loving on my babes, trying to maintain my house and laundry in light of the busyness, and feeling thankful for each of you and the ways in which you model faith, love, and Godly living to me.

Hopefully, I'll get to write more soon. Hugs.