These girls😍 I love hearing them play and sing together! I pray they always use their gifts to worship God. He alone is worthy of a lifetime of praise!

sabbath.

Raise your hand if you’re sick of me saying how different the pace is around here since we started traditional school. 

That’s what I thought. And I am sorry to belabor the point, but unless you’ve homeschooled and then jumped into traditional school, you probably just won’t get it. Suffice it to say, Mama is tired. I know, I know…you think, “But you have all day alone. Why are you tired?!?” Or maybe you, like Ruby, would say to me, “Just take a nap.” It’s not that easy. Well, yesterday it was that easy. I totally took a thirty minute nap and was better for it. But for the most part, I have plenty of things to do and places to be. 

But this morning Josh took the kids to school and that allowed me to sleep in a bit. It allowed for an unrushed morning with coffee and my Bible. Petting the dog and staring out the window. For washing my sheets. There was no glancing at the time to make sure I am staying on track and getting anywhere on time. Today is totally free (until pickup at 3:15). 

I finished a book by Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms. I highly recommend it. It’s a book you read in snippets and then think about for days. The chapter on Sabbath was deeply convicting. On page 137 she reminds us, “The point of the sabbath is to honor our need for a sane rhythm of work and rest. It is to honor the body’s need for rest, the spirit’s need for replenishment and the soul’s need to delight itself in God for God’s own sake.” YES to all of that!  On Sundays especially I remind myself and our family that this day is different. Let’s try to let go of all the to-do lists we have running through our brain, turn off the phone, turn away from ourselves, our schedule, our wants, our troubles and turn fully to God. Quit worshiping ourselves or any other thing and remind ourselves Who alone is worthy of worship and adoration.  We are not God. We are not in perfect control of anything. He is. 

Barton also says, “There is something deeply spiritual about honoring the limitations of our existence as human beings—physical bodies in a world of time and space.” We need rest physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I personally love the verse in Psalm that says he is mindful that we are but dust. He knows full-well our limits and humaness. He created us! And relying on Him is how He knows this life works best. And we humans need reminding that we aren’t “all that.”

She quotes Muller’s book, Sabbath:

“Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Poisoned by the hypnotic belief that good things come only through unceasing determination and tireless effort, we can never truly rest. And for want of rest, our lives are in danger.”

I loved these words from Barton also:

“What I do know is there have to be times in your life when you move slow…times when you walk rather than run, allowing your body to settle into each step…times when you sit and gaze admiringly at loved ones, rather than racing through an agenda…times when you receive food and drink with gratitude and humility rather than gulping it down on your way to something ‘more important.’ Times when hugs linger and kisses are real………when you let tears come rather than blinking them back because you don’t have time to cry.”

So, order this book. Then, take a nap. You will thank me later.

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We forgot the baby’s birthday!

Y’all. We made a big boo-boo. And it’s pretty clear Rolo isn’t planning to let us forget it anytime soon.

Today is Rolo’s 2nd birthday!!!! And we have just now–at 4:00pm–remembered!

I told her I was sorry and will get her extra treats and a new toy this week.

But she’s still pouting.

Poor puppy.

Pumpkin Patch.

Oh yes I did. I asked Josh to take us to a Pumpkin Patch. I know my kids are way past the age for posing with pumpkins. And I know it was 93 degrees today–hardly pumpkin pickin’ temperature. But I wanted to go! So with grumbling kiddos and sweat rolling down my back, we trekked through the dusty paths and past all the toddlers posing with pumpkins and playing games while they waited their turn for the hayride. We got the kids a slushee, picked out our pumpkins, took a few photos and made our way back to the car. Josh must have been feeling extra giving towards me today because he also stopped in Pikes Nursery to buy a couple of mums (that might last a week in this heat!) for our front porch. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, he braved Hobby Lobby with me on a Saturday so I could put together some flowers in vases for our mantle. Mack started a little bit of grumbling when we got home and he was in charge of disposing of the old flowers on the front porch. I told him to hush and informed him he was filling my love tank on this sweet (or was it sweaty?) September afternoon. He zipped his lips and kept doing his job. Ruby was feeling horrible, so she came home and went to bed immediately. Molly helped unload our baby pumpkins for the table and then cleaned her room amazingly. Josh finally cleaned up his office from all manner of hunting supplies that have been strewn here, to and yonder in the leading up to and completion of a hunt; it was time to get that little office back in order. Mack watched football. And I got to work on the flowers and pumpkins and cleaning the kitchen. Overall, a great Saturday. The pace of the weekdays make Saturdays that much more precious. I am grateful for the time we got to spend together. My love tank is full, indeed!

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Overwhelmed.

It is easy to get overwhelmed these days. Overwhelmed with each kids’ needs. Their school work. Their grades.  {Remember, this is our first year of traditional school…the adjustment period is for real.} Their social calendar. Their extra curricular activities. Not to mention their personal spiritual growth. Are they reading their Bibles? Praying? Are we doing enough as a family to encourage spiritual growth? 

Overwhelmed with Josh’s schedule. When can he step in and help around here? When can we go on a real date and just talk? Is he gonna have a heart attack with all that he has on his plate? {dramatic much??!!}

Overwhelmed with my to-do list. I won’t bore you with all the mundane things that have to be done. You know.

Overwhelmed with my emotions as I am still processing grief in a million ways. It’s messy, not orderly or predictable. 

The definition of OVERWHELM is “bury or drown beneath a huge mass; defeat completely; give too much of a thing (to someone); inundate; have a strong emotional effect on; be too strong for; overpower.” 

I looked at that definition and prayed. I asked God to help me quit saying over and over “I am so overwhelmed” and start praying, “Lord, overwhelm me with Your presence. Overwhelm me with Your love. Drown me in your lovingkindness. Defeat my flesh and sin nature completely with Your presence. Have a strong emotional effect on me, Lord Jesus. Overpower all that comes against me. Overwhelm me with You.”

Maybe you are overwhelmed today. Take a deep breath and turn being overwhelmed into a good thing. A God thing.

This song has helped me, too….Run to The Father….take a listen!

I bought some readers and would sneak them out in church or wear them in the privacy of my home. I wasn’t necessarily embarrassed of them, and I don’t mind looking obviously in my forties, but they were kind of annoying. Finding them, keeping them in my purse or near my bedside or in my office. Just not ideal. The past few months my eye sight has gotten worse, for sure. I would hold my phone out, then back closer, then back out some more—unsure of what distance away from my eyes allowed for the best sight. 

I scheduled an appointment at the cutest and most savvy spec shop in town. I have loved getting to know the young optomologist and her lovely and knowledgable staff. She told me, again, that my near-sight vision was failing me and assured me this is completely normal—inevitable even. As one ages, the lenses of the eye get more rigid and less flexible, causing vision challenges. She told me “my type” were the most challenged by wearing glasses, seeing how we have lived four decades without a thought of them. Eye sight being awesome when you’re younger just makes the adjustment later a bit more difficult. But I told her I was ready to do something to help my vision. I read books often, and I am on my phone and laptop frequently. I was tired of the readers, but more tired of not being able to see what I wanted to see!

She presented me with another option—one contact lens. She said I could have monovision. My dominant eye would be used for seeing in the distance, and my non-dominant eye would be used for upclose things. Over time, my brain would adjust and allow my eyes to work together to give me a cohesive realm of vision, but each eye would be doing different things. The body is amazing.

So out of the office I went with my sample of contact lenses to try. It was a little wonky at first. Each day got slightly better. Seeing while reading books is totally back to normal. Seeing well while driving has been the most challenging to get used to—especially at night (I never feel more like my Meme than when I complain about not being able to drive past dark. Well, also when I drink coffee after 2:00 in the afternoon).

I’ve thought about this monovision a lot lately, obviously. Marveling at seeing upclose and seeing in the distance, grappling with the process, and thinking about how my brain is processing this change. The Christian life is a lot like wearing one contact. I have all kinds of every day, up close things to do. As simple as waking up in the morning and as complicated as getting my dog to quit barking at my neighbor’s dog through the fence. There are clothes to wash and there is dinner to cook, emails to send, workouts to complete, teeth to brush. Upclose, everyday decisions that have to be made. Some of these upclose decisions require a little extra thought, but for the most part, I am making the decisions or going through the motions pretty effortlessly. Day after day after day. There is also the layer of near sightedness that narrows my view to me, myself, and I. This is an exhausting way of looking at life. And just like after I have been using my left eye to focus on things near my face and then change to focus on something farther away, life gets blurry and it takes a good bit of time to reacclamate to the larger world around me after a season of being self-absorbed.

It’s a challenge to keep the long-view in mind as we walk this broken planet. I Peter 4 says “The end is near…” This little phrase caught my attention as my left eye focused on the words one morning in my time with the Lord. The end seems like it’s a far distance away, but God’s Word says it’s near.  As a believer we have to consider the “end”—ultimately heaven and Jesus—in light of what is actually “near,” our every day, in-your-face life. We must live like the end is near.

How do we stay balanced? How do we train our brain to keep both distances in mind? How do we zoom in on the day-to-day living AND zoom out to see God’s bigger picture of what truly matters for all of eternity? Zoom in on our own hearts AND zoom out to see how we can love others and grow God’s Kingdom? Zoom in on the dishes while at the same time zooming out to see how God is using my mundane mom-tasks to draw me closer to Him? Zoom in on our kid’s bad grade AND zoom out to remember that God has a bigger plan and purpose for their lives that reaches way beyong a number on a paper? Zoom in on a communication issue in our marriage AND at the same time zoom out to see that God wants to help us get through this season and allow our marriage to go the distance? Zoom in on our errands for the day and be productive AND at the same time zoom out to look people in the eyes, speak an encouraging word, hold the door open for a mom who has her hands full, or smile at a stranger who needs to know someone sees them? 

The answer is found in Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

He is our perfect example of taking the long view and the One who gives us the spiritual vision we need for our daily lives.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” {2 Peter 1:5-9}

G. Campbell Morgan says about verse 9 and the man who is near sighted, “Such a man sees the things of time and fails to discern those of eternity; he sees the material facts, but not the facts of which they are but passing expression; in short, he sees himself and his fellow men, but not God…making spiritual advancement impossible…That is to say, he has failed to respond to all the enlargement of life and vision which came to him when he received the cleansing of his nature at the very beginning of the Christian life.”

LORD, Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. {Psalm 119:18}

Sanctification — who rides in the front seat?

“What the crap??….Jerk face.”

I thought we had started out well this morning. Thursdays are chapel days, so the girls have to be at school earlier than normal to practice. Mack gets to spend some quality time with his math teacher (a little extra help never hurt anyone).

Everyone was up and dressed and out the door, seemingly happy, at 7:00am. The mumbling and commotion at the car threw me off. “What in the world is going on out here?”

“She knew I called the front seat.” 

“No I didn’t!! I didn’t hear you say anything about it, so I got up here.”

“Well, Molly heard me. I know she did. (Turns to stare at Molly) Didn’t you hear me??” (Silence from Molly) “UUUGH. Well, fine. Just sit up there every time. You know you sit up there every time. Just act like you didn’t hear me. That is fine. I don’t care.”

After trying to keep the peace, I just started driving. And praying. That is what I do most of the time these days—-drive and pray. 

Just this morning I read I Peter and was reminded of sanctification—this process of becoming holy. ( “Be holy for I am holy.” … “Allow yourselves to be built up as a spiritual house” …“Finally, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit”… “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” ) It sounds daunting, and it is. It’s dying to my flesh. It’s cooperating, staying in step with the Lord in my daily life…all of those steps in a day add up to a life, so I must mind my steps.

A Desiring God article by Scott Hubbard on the subject of sanctification was in my inbox this morning as well. He quotes Gustaf Wingren from Luther on Vocation, 73: “Sanctification is hidden in offensively ordinary tasks.” (like giving up your right to the front seat, maybe?) Hubbard goes on to write that “very often, holiness hides in small things.”

Small things like unloading the dishwasher. Small things like being patient with my kids during homework time. Small things like picking up drycleaning, taking out the garbage, opening the door for someone, making a phone call to check on a friend, or giving preference to someone else for the front seat on the way to school.

Ruby wanted to practice her song for chapel, so we played it. 

“Jesus, You’re all the world to me. My song, My life, My everything. These riches are dust beneath my feet cause Jesus, You’re all the world to me. Set my eyes upon the hope that never fades. Place my feet upon the Rock that will not shake. Turn my heart from all the things I think I need. Oh Jesus, You’re all the world to me. Oh Jesus, You’re all the world to me.”

Big words to sing. How do we get from fighting over the front seat and name-calling to Jesus being all the world to us? Well, for this mama, I started by sharing about my time with the Lord with my kids. I explained to them that I am much like them. I often want my way, my timing, my comforts, my advancement over God’s way. I am frustrated by my daily tasks and think, “Is this it? Is this what I am good for—cleaning and cooking and driving and mostly for other people???” And I went on to tell them how saints are made at the sink of dirty dishes. I grow to be more like Christ as I give preference to someone else, die to my self. I rest in His goodness when I stop fighting for the limelight. I asked them how old they would be in ten years: “25.”  “24.”  “22.”

“Ten years down the road I am sure you want to be more mature, more godly, more like Jesus, and living out His purposes for your life. Well, those ten years are made up of little steps of sanctification. Seemingly little decisions that will make up a life. It matters what we do in the small, mundane things of life. I can’t be selfish and at the same time say that Jesus is all the world to me.” 

I challenged all of us to let Jesus fill the chasm between our selfishness and His holiness.

Between fighting over the front seat and seeing Jesus as all the world to us. 

Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.”