Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Generations

We had the most magical meal with this amazing pair of ladies, a mother and daughter (both widows), who live together. Someday, Robin and I both will be old, and hopefully still laughing. I'm sure this blog will be long gone, but I wanted to remember this moment.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Still Allowed

"To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble." - Bill Watterson

"Getting lost will help you find yourself." from the Holstee Manifesto

It has been a quiet evening after a long couple of Goldilocks days, due to some corny food consumed by Racoon on Friday. I have so many post ideas, but every time I sit down to the computer, I hear a little voice say, "Mommy, can I have some food?" (like just now) or simply screams of frustration from either one of my children, although more often than not it's Raccoon.

Off I go to make him some supper, or whatever a meal at 10:30 pm is called. We are on the upward spiral after a rough few days, and I am thankful. Today is my husband's second to last day of working the night shift, which also makes me grateful. We have two weeks of family time before I will be a solo parent for two weeks. Christmas is coming. All of these things make me smile (except for the solo parent thing, that still has me worried), when I have a quiet moment to think of them.

In the midst of coping day-to-day, this is also a period of upheaval and re-evaluation for our family as we consider our plans, hopes, and dreams for the next three years upon our return to South America.

Invent a life that has meaning for me. I hope I can do this, and teach my children to do the same.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Discouraging Night

Someone people came to my house tonight and I overheard one of them say to another, "Don't worry, it will look better once you're living here."

I'm doing the best I can with what I've got, folks. But truthfully, the comment by itself was not really the issue, it just brought up all the things that I've been struggling with lately. My husband and I reach out to those in need, day in and day out, but it seems like no one cares about what we do. Or that we are weary. Or that we have given up so much. Or that we are the walking wounded. Our family has been through so much in the last 8 years that I just want something to finally be easy. Plus Raccoon has been sick with a fever these last few days. After losing SB, my husband and I know that life is so fragile and we both go to this dark place of fear when Raccoon or Robin get sick. It is scary to love so much.

I can feel my heart hardening, trying to protect itself from more pain and disappointment and regret, to shut out hope and faith and trust. I should have done my devotions (journaling, reading my Bible), but I turned somewhere else instead (remember my struggle with idols? Sigh). Well, it turns out that God uses fb too.

Friend #1
"And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9"

Friend #2
"God cares and He sees."

Friend #3

"Wait on God, the miracle is closer than you think. - Psalm 25:5"

Psalm 25:5, "Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day." 

I've also mentioned before about how God has to repeat things to get my attention. By the third time, I am usually ready to say, like Samuel, "Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pondering: Target Fixation

Okay, so I didn't expect a theological breakthrough here, but got one anyway:

"Another trap, target fixation, has an analogy in aviation: it occurs when pilots become so intent on delivering their ordnance that they lose sight of the big picture and crash into the target. This is a more basic human tendency than many realize. Analysts may fixate on one hypothesis, looking only at evidence that is consistent with their preconceptions and ignoring other relevant views. The desire for rapid closure is another form of idea fixation." - Wikipedia

When I want things to be so, I look for all of the reasons that I think they should be so. Then I look for verses in the Bible to confirm that they will be so. I get so fixated on what I want, what I think is best, that I miss God's point entirely. This explains why I have been twice, recently and not so recently, convinced of things that have not come to pass. Both occasions were followed by a crisis of faith because I felt like God let me down. Then I wrestled with how could this be so.

Upon reading this, I realized that God has not failed me, I just crashed into my own elaborate fabrications. I was so sure because I wanted it so badly. In my pride, I thought I could come up with a better plan than Someone who knows everything, sees everything, and is not bound by time. Of course His plan is going to end better than mine, so why do I have trouble trusting Him?

Why? Truthfully? Because there is pain involved in the process, and in the moment, I can't see how God's plan is working out for me. Until after death, at the big reveal, the only thing I have in this life are glimpses and trust. 

My plan, on the other hand, is like a child who wants to eat nothing but marshmallows. Immediate gratification. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but because there are things a child does not know (or care) about, a varied diet is a better choice, although less pleasant in the moment.

The few times I have had glimpses of God's glory, I have always regretted not trusting him more from the beginning because I would have spared myself so much agony. Again, children whose parents are able to provide for them are not worried about paying the bills or having enough food for supper, because they trust their parents to see to all those things. 

Why am I finding it so hard to trust this time around that God will provide what we need?

Because I want something - a comfortable life - that I know is not on God's to do list for me. He does not promise us that we will be comfortable, rich, or feel good all the time. In fact, it often seems like those things keep me from seeing Him clearly. 

I have no resolution for this post, only more questions.

To be continued...

I also now officially accept that this blog is probably of no interest to anyone but myself. Sorry to my 4? readers (hi mom).

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pondering: the Art of Bemoaning

"He also liked to bemoan. How hard it was to do the work, how little respect the world had for it. … But the bemoaning never grew burdensome because he kept his sense of humor and wouldn’t let himself get too carried away." - Paul O. Zelinsky about Maurice Sendak

I tend to take on the woes of the world. But humor lightens my load because I know that if I can still laugh at my troubles, then I do not need to worry just yet.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Impending Doom

This post is my storm in a teacup. If you are a single mom, or a military spouse, please do not read it. Or read and do not judge. Sorry, no Taught & Caught post today, these thoughts are consuming me.

My husband will be making several two week business trips this fall, and it will be just me and the kids. Alone. By ourselves. Alone. Am I terrified? Yes. The nightmares have already begun. Please don't judge me, I'm an INFP remember, there is no J in my type (what are these letters anyway). I'm all about flow, fun in the moment, what laundry? and peace-at-almost-any-cost. I cannot stick to a time schedule to save my life, that's a J trait (supper at 5 pm, laundry every Monday, etc). I will be dealing, on my own, with making three meals a day for a resistant eater (usually my husband and I trade-off makes things that he then refuses), nursing a baby, dishes, laundry, no one to hold the baby when I need to pee, and the word that strikes terror into my heart, dum, du dum dum... BEDTIME. That is the pinnacle of all chaos - crying baby, hungry preschooler (I have to stop saying/writing/thinking toddler, this is his last month of being three, sniff, sniff), my patience is spent, the house is at it's messiest, and the list goes on.

But ladies, you may envy me this: I have not taken out the trash, nor put gasoline in my car, for years. I don't even know where the trash bags are. I think I shall rename the two week business trips - Hubby Appreciation Weeks. I don't even think I know all the things he does to keep our household running smoothly, but I'm about to find out the hard way. You guessed it, he's the J.

My mother will be helping me out at times, but she is not available at 11 pm when I will probably need her. Don't judge me that my kids aren't in bed by 8 pm, remember - P. My mom, bless her, is a J. Are you seeing the pattern here? If you are a J and live within 30 minutes of my house, I could really use your help mid-October, because my son will be eating ice cream from the carton for supper in unlaundered clothes while my teething daughter chews on his shoes (she's obsessed with dirty shoes, what's up with that?!) and I will probably look like this:

The way I cope with impending doom is to form a PLAN. Usually I stick with each new plan for a few days, then wander off to do something more interesting. This situation calls for me to come up with some inner J-ness or else the chaos will eat us up.

I have been brainstorming about a method of getting things done that I like and more importantly, maintain. Even though I can't stick to schedules, I do like routines (you know, always drink a glass of water before bed). I have to remind myself that I have strengths too, I just need to find something that works for me.

Coming soon... the One Done system

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: First Swim

The Good Life:
Sitting in the shallow water with me on a 90 degree day, 
licking rocks and watching Dada and Gaga (aka Raccoon).
She's been to the lake plenty of times this summer, 
but today was her first day in the water.

Not exactly wordless.... oh well. Maybe I'll rename it "Few Words Wednesday." :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Excerpts from a Grandfather

I found this here, a grandfather's list of advice to his grandchildren in case he has Alzheimer's by the time they would actually listen to him. It's a long list with funny and serious ones. I connect and remember more if someone makes me laugh. The ones below are my favorites:

*Tell on yourself
*Draw closer to people when they fail. They will never forget it
*Teach truth in stories. Others will be so grateful to you for it
*Share your failures. It gives hope that authenticity is possible in a community
*Life is too short to sit in uncomfortable chairs
*Fight jealousy and envy by believing you are Jesus' favorite. You probably are
*Figure out early on how to live near the beach
*The quickest way home from embarrassment or shame is telling another what happened
*When people confess, don’t pile on. They’re risking the nearly impossible
*Set up times with your parents. They won’t badger you if they know they have access to you (Raccoon and Robin, please do this with your mother when you are older)
*Marry someone who likes to make the bed
*Be vulnerable. It gives others hope
*No one is loved like you or more than you by God

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pondering: Idolatry

"An idol is anything I turn to for comfort, to try to fill the emptiness inside, to numb the pain, or to give me strength to get through the day. In all of these circumstances, the only One who can truly satisfy my need at its source is God. I can trust Him to be there for me, always."
- me

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Taught and Caught

 "God didn't make it easy because He wanted to grow their faith through the process." - the pastor said about the conquest of Canaan.

My heart is weary this Sunday. It's a little bit of everything really. Robin wore a onesie and a dress that belonged to SB, our time living next door to my parents has an end date, and the pastor was talking about humanity's desire for home. Many bittersweet things are on my mind this morning. I need to be grounded in God's love and trust in His strength, if I my faith is to grow at all.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mommy Guilt Antidote

I think this may just be the best advice I've ever read to counter feelings of mommy-guilt:

"So you are not to waste precious energy on mommy guilt about how one facet of your life (toddlers, moving, chaos) is causing the others in your family to suffer. No. Just… no. This season is for all of you. You will be refined together." - Lora Lynn at Vitafamiliae

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I hear you, Lord

Do you ever feel like you're getting the same message no matter where you turn?

Someone once told me that if Jesus repeated something, pay attention, it's important. God doesn't get tired of sending me the same message until I get it.

The book I'm reading. The conversation I had with my mom. The blog post I stumbled across.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
- Jeremiah 17:7-8

Trust Me.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: First Day of School

Almost four years old. 
When he grows up, 
he wants to be a knight. 
Or a snake catcher.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Moment for Pondering: Happiness

"Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as he leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. While what we call ‘our own life’ remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him. What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?

The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home."
- C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain

A timely reminder for me to seek my happiness in the Lord alone; to spend time with Him when all is well. To delight in His presence, the only true well where my thirst will be quenched.