Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pressing On....

How can it be that we are at the end of yet another school year? It feels like we just got started, and now it is time to wrap everything up. Many of you have probably already started planning ahead for next year, purchasing curriculum, figuring out your calendar and scheduling classes. As for me and my house, we are just trying to get the last few days of this school year completed well. I’ll think about next school year eventually, but for now, I just want to finish strong.
This has been a good school year for my family. We have enjoyed many of the new things that we have learned and powered through the things that were less enjoyable. We have struggled, grown, cried and laughed. We have survived days that I’d rather not relive and we have had several that I wish I could rewind and press “Pause.” Our kids grow so fast and I often wish I could just freeze time.
What an honor it is to homeschool! We all have challenges but we also all have so much to be thankful for! The other day, I was realizing how spoiled I am. I was listening to one child play piano in the background while my 9 year old read aloud to me. Seriously, what a life!
Usually, at this point in my school year, I’m ready to just be done already. This year, however, I plan to just savor these last few days. This school year will never be back. My girls will never be exactly this age again and I just want to relish these moments. I think that as we finish the year with that kind of perspective, it will be so meaningful. We will review some of the things we’ve learned and strain toward what is ahead. I want to appreciate all that we’ve experienced and obtained this school year and look forward to what He has in store for us in the future. He has been faithful, my friends, and I pray that you have and excellent ending to your school year.

Monday, May 25, 2009

quick update

It's been awhile, so I thought I'd just do a random update on here.

We had a swim meet this past weekend in Salinas, and BOY did we freeze! The girls did great. The weather was never above 60 degrees and we NEVER saw the sun. Just foggy, overcast skies. These are the kind of days that have been known to really get me down. I'm so grateful for fun friends and lots of activity because (tempting though it was) I never felt blue. I enjoyed watching my girls connect with their swim pals! They had so much fun, even though they were cold. They swam a long course, which is a 50 meter pool as opposed to the 25 yard pool they are accustomed to. It was a bit daunting to look down the lane and see how far they had to swim, but they both did fantastic. Both girls grew a bit in character as well as in experience this weekend and I just love who they are!

Jacklyn has been so busy lately. What almost-two-year-old isn't?! She has been in time outs more than I can count. She has been a monkey, climbing into her crib whenever she pleases (but can't get out, thank goodness!), she's been saying funny things (as usual) and just basically keeping us on our toes. Boy, life would be dull without her. She is such a little delight! Today she's been especially cute. I wonder if it is because she had so much Daddy-time this weekend? She really is a doll and I am so thankful for her!

Welp, I'm gearing up for a busy, my husband and my 14 year anniversary on Wednesday, a trip to Vallejo Thursday for my nieces and nephew's play (Music Man) as well as a wedding to attend on Saturday. Our lives are rich and full and even though I can easily feel overwhelmed, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am so blessed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Measureless Love

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19

One of the greatest mysteries of God is His measureless love for us. We just can’t wrap our human brains around it. He loved us even before we were born. He loved us when we were in our Terrible Twos. He loved us through the good, the bad and the ugly actions and attitudes of our teenage years and yes, He loves us still. He loves us when we’re grumpy before our morning coffee, He loves us when we’re doing everything right and, oddly enough, He loves us even when we’ve completely blown it. Oh, how I long to love the way my Heavenly Father does!
Human love is so imperfect. We try to love others, but we are hopeless without Him. We need His Holy Spirit to fill us up, and love through us. On our own, we size each other up. We look to see if we, like we learned in elementary math, fit into the “Greater than,” “Less than,” or “Equal to” category. It is in our human nature to compare ourselves with others. Whether it is in our human nature or not, it can be a very unhealthy habit to develop.
Comparison almost always leads to problems. Either we feel that we come up short or someone else does. Nothing in scripture suggests that God sees us through eyes like that, so we must be very deliberate not to fall into that trap ourselves. God just loves His kids. We may see our weaknesses, but God is looking at our strengths. We may criticize others, but God’s heart is tender and compassionate towards all of us. He doesn’t have a favorite child. He loves each of us so very much. And, even though His love is all-encompassing, He is also very personal.
The love of God is the love that reaches for the highest good. When we are filled up with Him, we are empowered to love the way He does. We’ll be able to look at a person, no matter what their weaknesses are, no matter what their strengths are and always ask, “What is the greatest good I can do for this person?” In turn, we will also learn to see ourselves through God’s loving eyes. Instead of being self-critical or self-loathing, we’ll actually be able to recognize God’s creativity and favor in our lives. The transforming love of God is such a remarkable thing. I pray each of us will continually experience it like never before.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

are you my father?

Are You My Father?

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

The other day, I was reading book after book after book with my toddler. We came upon Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (A Cat in the Hat Book). My daughter loved the book; the pictures, the repetition of the question, “Are you my mother?” as well as the 45 million times I was willing to read it to her. As I read through the book, something profound hit me! I tend to be very much like this little bird. In case you aren’t familiar with the story, I will give you a quick summary.
A little bird hatches from its egg and doesn’t see its mother anywhere in sight. (Mom has gone off to get food for the baby before it pops out of the egg.) While the mother is gone, the baby bird decides to go looking for its mother. It starts off by falling down, down, down and onto the hard ground. (Maybe that should’ve been the first clue not to take matters into its own hands. I’m just saying.) Nevertheless, off baby bird goes in search of his mother.
The baby comes across a kitten, a hen, a dog, a cow, a boat, a plane and a tractor (which he calls ‘a snort’) and asks them, “Are you my mother?” Each time, he leaves disappointed at not finding what he was looking for. In the end, the “Snort” lifts him up and places him back at home in his nest. His mother comes to him, feeds him, wraps her strong, feathered wing around him and she asks him, “Do you know who I am?”
To this, he replies, “Yes, I know who you are. You are not a kitten, a hen, a dog, a cow, a boat or a plane or a Snort. You are a bird and you are my mother.”
As I reflected on this, I was discouraged to see my own actions exposed. I have often been like that baby bird and tried to take matters into my own hands. Maybe I was waiting on God for something, or looking for him in my circumstances but not finding him; always longing for a deep satisfaction but feeling like it wasn’t there. Off I’d go, from one thing to the next, trying to fill that hole. I may come upon a relationship, a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s Crème Brule ice cream, a great pair of shoes, a TV series or a new hobby. Each time asking, “Are you my satisfaction?” And, each time, going away disappointed.
So, when I’m finally at my wit’s end, God consistently puts a “snort” into my life to bring me back to the nest. He fills me up, wraps his arms around me, and asks me, “Do you know who I am?” To this, I bawl as I respond, “Yes, I know who you are. You are not my earthly relationship, you are not my bowl of ice cream, and you are not my great pair of shoes, TV series or new hobby. You are my God and YOU are my satisfaction.”

Friday, May 1, 2009

all these things

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:33

God’s love is truly amazing! You know, He has thought of everything. Not one worry crosses our mind that He hasn’t already covered. He is so good to us, so faithful, and always available to answer our cries. We have direct access to the ear, heart, and resources of God! You would think, God being God and all, it would be wise for us to keep that as a constant, conscious reminder. Where does the disconnect come in, in our lives?
You see, I have a tendency to worry. I worry about big things, I worry about small things, and I even worry about other peoples’ things. When I was younger, about 20, I had a stomach ulcer. Imagine that! What could a 20 year old possibly have to worry about? ( Author with tongue in cheek.) Then, when I became a mom, I took worry to a brand new level. Will I do things right? Will I be able to care for this little person? What if my baby gets sick or hurt or doesn’t sleep well? You get the point. I had become a prime example of the “Worrier Extraordinaire”.
There have also been times in my life where I have walked in great faith. I faced challenges that I knew, without a doubt, were way too big for me to deal with. In those trying times, I was able to fully rest on God to work everything out. As strange as it may seem, the bigger the problem = the greater my faith. In all honesty, I guess that, throughout those dilemmas, I was fully aware of my own inability to do anything and God’s amazing ability to be and to do absolutely everything.
As we read Matthew 6:33, God offers us the best solution to our worries. He tells us to seek Him first and all the things that we worry about will be taken care of. It makes perfect sense, really. When I recall the times that I’ve experienced huge faith in the face of a crisis, my eyes were clearly on God, not on the crisis. When I’m facing my day-to-day life, and the problems that go along with that, I try to figure things out on my own. My eyes are completely on earthly things and how I can make them better. The result? Constant worry.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” My goal is to make God my focus. I want to seek Him first; first thing in the morning, first thing in my crises, and even first thing in my little worries. He tells us that if we do that, all these things will be given to us as well. “All these things” will become just that; all these things. How insignificant our worries will become, in light of who our amazing, loving God is!