Monday, December 03, 2012

Home Is Where You Are

Hello, December!

When did you get here???

If it weren't for the cold nipping at my toes and the naked tree shivering outside my bedroom window every morning, I'd say you were early - or lost - or at least a bit off course.  But alas, the multitude of inflatable Frosty's that have sprung to life overnight in all the front yards along this long country road I now call "home" and the half-a-dozen mammoth Nutcrackers that stand guard in Red Lion Square tell me that I'm the one misdirected - out of sync - a little lost in time.  And it seems you are here now, to stay, at least for your allotted 31 days, and so I welcome you and purpose to enjoy you to the fullest, all while looking back on my iphone to help me remember the whirlwind that was the last 3 months.

Mark hung most of the pictures up on the walls this weekend and spearheaded the Christmas decorating (as he so faithfully does every year), and so our big 'ol (rented) country house is starting to feel a bit more like home.



Decorating the tree was complete chaos as usual, but there was more than enough little girl ooooing and aaahhing and rowdy boy laughing and baby boy clapping that we hardly even noticed the mess.  Right, Love?  





And despite not having any of our old tried and true spots for everything, and still eating in the front room every night because I can't seem to get far enough ahead to find the table underneath all the stuff, we're making it.  We're together, and God is here.  And here is home. 

Trust your lives to the God who created you, 
for He will never fail you.
I Peter 4:19

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

100 Weeks


I got an email update late last week telling me that my littlest guy is now 100 weeks old.  How can that be?  Of course, I don't count his age in weeks anymore - in fact, with number 7, I don't even count his age in months anymore, it's just "1" and now, "almost 2."  "One hundred weeks" sounds like such a long time, and yet it feels like just a blink.



One thing I've learned in my own 2,121 weeks (that may or may not be exactly accurate - I didn't spend much time calculating it), is that whether the days seem to drag by at a snail's pace or the years seem to fly by in a blink, is that time just keeps marching along, whether you're having the time of your life or in you're in a funk, whether you're welcoming a new one into your world or bidding farewell to one you love, whether you're able to relax and enjoy each day to the fullest or you're knee deep in things to do...the days just keep coming and they just keep going.  No delay.  No fast forward.  Nice and steady.  At a regular pace.  

And I guess that's a good thing.  

Just think about it...how many times would you have sped through a season here, a season there, or just broken down altogether and never moved forward at all?  Yes, it's a good thing I'm not the maker or the marker of time.

I would have missed so much.



I'm in {another} season of learning the discipline of being content.  (And yes, I'm pretty sure it is a discipline.  Being content does not come naturally).  I'm learning {yes, because I have no other choice, but a girl's got to start somewhere, doesn't she?} not to rush through or wish away "the yucky."  I'm learning {again} not to overlook the blessing, not to devalue the gift, not to belittle the Giver.  Of course, I would never intentionally devalue or belittle God, but I think that too often I unintentionally do just that.  

When I'm not intentional about being content, then I find it way too easy to be unintentionally discontent.

And if we're all honest, I think I'm not the only one.  Life is hard.  Again, it's just plain hard.  My circumstances.  Your circumstances.  Hers.  His.  No one {regardless of the shiny facade} has it easy.  The same was true centuries ago when Paul was inspired to pen these words: "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am" (Philippians 4:11).  His life wasn't easy - especially at the time he wrote those words, in prison himself and facing death.  Yes, hard.

But hard or easy, days quick or slow, God is able and God is faithful.  A few nights ago I was looking up a passage for something else altogether and went to 2 Peter instead of 1st by mistake - or was it? - and was met with this phrase totally unexpected - "...the LORD knows how to rescue godly men from trials..."  It jumped off the page, and despite all the other hundreds of words on that page, those 10 were all I saw.  


I'm a "do-er" and currently we are in a situation that I want to "do" something about.  Something big.  In fact, if were up to me alone, I would have already done something.  Quickly.  Hastily.  It would have been done.

But instead of "doing" {my plans}, I've been praying.  And seeking.  And asking.  And listening.  

And God has been answering.  {Of course, His answers have not lined up with "what-I-want-to-be-doing"} but I have been obedient.  God has told me - more than once - and very very clearly - to wait.  He tells me in His Word, He tells me in my dreams, He tells me in the words of {random} songs, He tells me in {seemingly totally unrelated} sermons, He even tells me in  billboards.


(Funny side story - last week we drove 45 minutes further and deeper into the Pennsylvania cornfields to this exact spot on purpose with our situation heavy on our hearts and minds.  Totally unexpected, but so like God, this is how we were greeted.  All I could do was smile.)

Yes, He hears.  He knows.  And He is faithful.

Are we?


So to wrap up this really long thought, regardless of how hard each of our circumstances are, regardless of how quickly or slowly life marches on, regardless of how overwhelming our days {on this earth}may seem, take the time to learn the discipline of being content.  

Go ahead, get that sleeping baby out of bed just to rock him, just because you didn't get to see him at all that day...



Go ahead, unexpectedly eat {and serve} Cocoa Puffs for dinner one night - not only is it easy, you might even become "the best mom ever" (even if only for 15 minutes)...




Go ahead, talk to the mannequins



and play with their dogs (you'll be refreshed by the simplicity of their lives)


and overwhelmed with gratefulness for yours knowing that "whatever He has given or not given, He's done for a specific reason - a reason known only to Him perhaps, but one you can trust with full confidence" (P. Shirer).


Go ahead, be content.

Be {intentionally} content.


He loves.

He forgives.

He works for our good.

He heals.

He restores.

He creates beauty from ashes.

He is faithful.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends:
With the LORD
a day is like a thousand years,
and a thousand years are like a day.
The LORD is not slow in keeping
His promise..."
2 Peter 3: 8-9




Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Thankful Life


I read a friend's first blog post this morning.  She's brilliant and an excellent writer.  Made me think.  Well, actually I've been thinking for days.  Her words just affirmed my thoughts.

Life is hard.

This life is hard.

And for me, right now, moving {and everything about it} is hard.



I pitched a (silent) fit all day yesterday - well, it wasn't all silent - God heard.  Every last grumble.

I'm not proud of it.  

Thankfully, He listens.

And He understands.

And He forgives.

And He loves.  

He keeps on loving.

Thankfully.

Even in the midst of my fits, and even in the midst of "my" hard, I am very aware of just how fortunate I am.

We have a job - a perfectly fitted job.

We have a house - one that accommodates us nicely.

We have friends - far and near, old and new, that not only care about us, but also care for us.

We have good health and life.

We have each other.

We have hope.

Actually we have more than we really need, and yet I grumbled.

I am sorry. 

I know better.

And I am thankful.

I am thankful for forgiveness.

And I am thankful for second {and third and fourth and fifth and...} chances.



I am thankful for cute glasses, messy hair, and each newly lost tooth.



I am thankful for first-time-for-us personalized football jerseys and the fun had on the field each week.



I am thankful for happy, healthy, {crazy} rowdies 



and the critters they catch {and thankfully release} every day



(except for the slugs...I don't remember being too thankful for the slugs...but then again, that might have something to do with the fact that they didn't release them and that I found them in the middle of the night in a cup in the cabinet...no, I don't remember being too thankful for the slugs).


I am thankful for little hands that play outside so much every day that even when they are clean, they're still dirty.




I am thankful for a husband that is a better-than-I-could-have-ever-dreamed-of daddy.




And I am thankful for an awesome teenage son and the gift of special days out just with him (even if he's not the best navigator just yet - we still made it!)





Saturday, after football, he and I headed out for a "get-away-from-it-all" kind of day at Hershey Park.




I rode almost every  roller coaster with him




and he rode one or two "lame" rides with me




which I didn't think were lame at all, with views like this 




and the realization that the street lamps in downtown Hershey are shaped like Hershey kisses!


Street Lights in the Form of Hershey's Chocolate Kisses in Hershey PA


But this is the one little diddy that did me in.




It's called the Farenheit.  And actually, I was in line and all ready to ride until, right before our turn, they started sending empty car after empty car up as "test runs".  
Four or five test runs in a row were all I needed.  Especially since they ended up "temporarily" closing the ride.

We hit the rest of the park and happened upon some other fun coasters like the Lightning Racer and the Wild Mouse, the most deviously, suprisingly {not lame afterall} fun little coaster ever.





Then finally, just before close, they opened back up the Fahrenheit, but by then, I was done. I waited in line with him, but in the end, Ben rode it without me. There was something about the 90 degree vertical incline and the 90 degree vertical drop that I just couldn't wrap my mind around.  




And thankfully, he didn't need me to.



Thank you for you calls, messages, and texts.  Thank you most of all for your prayers.  I know He answers.  I know He is working.  Keep praying.  He is faithful.


"In this world you will have trouble.  
But take heart! 
I have overcome the world."
John 16:33


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Stairmaster


Our big 'ol farmhouse that we're currently renting has four stories and 56 stairs 
(and more than a half a dozen kids but we brought those with us).




And I climb every one of them, multiple - like a gajillion multiple - times a day (the stairs, not the kids).




The office and Ben's room are on the 3rd floor; the bedrooms are on the second; the kitchen and family room are on the 1st; and the laundry, storage and "extra" fridge are in the basement.




I thought I was really going to miss my gym membership at FBC, but I have to tell you, I think I work out harder here just living 
than I ever did there!


We are still transitioning.  It rained last night and that seems to have lessened the stink outside (I'm hoping beyond hope it doesn't come back even stronger tomorrow!), but it also has increased the number of ants seeking shelter indoors.  In just these 3 short weeks I've actually gotten used to their steady presence in my home, and really, one or two  ten or twelve here or there don't bother me; but when they show up in droves - like it's an ant family reunion or something - well, then we cease to coexist amiably - because basically, they cease to exist.  It seems like after awhile they would catch on, but they're stubborn like that...


Speaking of stubborn, we're still at it.  Keep praying.  
For a miracle breakthrough.  For deliverance.  For salvation.  
For longsuffering.  For peace.  For wisdom.  For trust.  
For love.


Love always protects, always trusts, 
always hopes, always perseveres.  
Love never fails.
I Corinthians 13:7-8

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend

The end of our week was long and hard.  
In the middle of it all, Saturday offered a bit of a respite.

We hit the field bright and early for the first day of flag football - 
Gabe's first year and Luke's second.  
The weather was perfect.  
The peaceful hour - healing.





The first couple of weeks will be skill focused, then they will scrimmage for a couple of weeks, and then play games in the end.  I know it's far away, but in this picture, Luke has the ball (center of the picture) and is running hard.  Gabe's in the back with his hands on his head 
like "Oh no!" or something.  Who knows what he was doing.  
They both did great and had a great time.  
It's going to be a good season.



Afterwards, we headed home, picked up the rest of the crew, and headed out to find the beach.  We're three hours from the coast but only an hour from Chesapeake Bay.  
We kept it simple and went to the bay.


The view is beautiful all on its own, 




but when you sprinkle in a few of these...




it becomes breath-taking.















(I know there's no single picture of Gabe...my bad - but he was there, I promise, and was always off doing his own squirrely thing 
and having a great time).

We stayed until the sun began its descent into the water, 
then cleaned up, got some pizza and headed home.  







A welcomed treat to the end of our week.  Please keep praying.  
These days are hard, but I know God is listening, 
and I know He is working this all together for His good, 
because that's the kind of God He is...
thankfully.





"For I know the plans I have for you, 
declares the LORD, 
plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


Friday, September 21, 2012

Settling In: Church

Alot has happened this past week - alot that is helping us settle in and make this place our home.

Top of the list of course are 1) we got hot water, 2) we got a new toilet that will now "flush solids" (I know, TMI, but ever since I heard the plumber use that phrase, just thinking about it makes me laugh!), and 3) we got a dishwasher.  The fruit flies are still here and the fertilizer smell is peaking - I no longer think the cut-down-cornfields are cool since for some reason the two coincide - and I can't walk outside without covering my face because my hypersensitive gag reflex is evoked (who would have thought a mother of 7 would have a hypersensitive gag relfex?) and well, it's just not pretty.  My hubby, however, seems to think it's quite funny.


Fortunately, we're told 1) "You'll get used to it", and 2) "By the time you do, the cold sets in and the smell goes away" - how long you I ask? - 3 weeks.  Come on winter!!!!!  It's like living in the zoo - the stinky part of the zoo - so if you're planning to come visit, I'd recommend you wait a month, unless you like the smell of the zoo...I always joked about my life being a zoo...but I really was joking, God.  Honest!

This Sunday will mark our 3rd week at our new church. 


Our church body loves, serves, and functions as a single entity but has two Sunday services that meet at the same time, a traditional one and a contemporary one.  Mark is the contemporary pastor, but on a regular rotation, will preach in the traditional service as well, and to date, has already preached in both.  It is so cool to see him at work doing what God has called him to do during this season of life.





Ben too, has already plugged in to his spot and is playing regularly with the worship team.



And the kiddos are loving their classes.  I've jumped right in to the Mothers' Time Out group which is community-wide and the mid-week women's Bible study class.  Everyone is so welcoming and loving.  They make the transition, minus the poop smell, easy.

The church building is old and beautiful.  It stands tall right on the corner of the main street right in town.




The windows in the traditional sanctuary are breathtaking.





The first Sunday here we went out to eat for lunch, and I somehow I managed to drop our car keys down a city township sewer drain. 


It really was a freak accident type thing.  Fortunately, my men are geniuses, and with a little ingenuity (a belt and a nametag of all things) they managed to fish those keys right out of there.


Thankfully despite it having rained all day the day before, there was no water in that part of the sewer, and it wasn't very deep, and my men were with me, and the belt idea worked, and...I could go on and on.  (So the second Sunday we came back home for lunch :) )

My angry 13 year old is still very angry.  The transition for her is proving to be very hard.  It is affecting every aspect of our life here, and we humbly and fervently ask for your prayers.  I know our God is faithful, and I know He has a plan.  May we stand strong in HIM, and may He heal and deliver.


"Do not be afraid.  
Stand firm and you will see 
the deliverance 
the LORD will bring you today...
The LORD will fight for you; 
you need only to be still."
Exodus 14:13-14

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