Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Sessions UP!

New sessions up over at Lulu...including twins!

Make Us Desperate...

If you liked the last post, you will love this! "Keep us desperate for you so that the deceitfulness of sin does not harden our hearts." Check it out here:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm a Priest, You're a Priest...

all God's children are Priests. "When God invites us to be priests, it's an invitation to show the world who this God is and what this God is like."

This is a good read. And if the Holy Spirit lays it on your heart to read it, then listen. It is "Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile" by Rob Bell. It is an easy read...only takes a couple of days. But, it is not an easy read as it brings to surface many things that we as happy American Christians like to ignore.

God hears our cries. And when He hears, He is moved to action. He doesn't just hear the sound we scream when we are wounded, He does something about that oppressive cry. It is His nature.

As His priests, do we listen to the cries of the oppressed? Are we moved to action? Do we show the world who this God is and what this God is like? Is our nature consistent with His nature?

This is a difficult thing for me. I don't seem to struggle with hearing the cries of the oppressed. But doing something about it presents a challenge. I get so overwhelmed with where to begin. Who to help. Knowing I can't help everyone.

Perhaps showing just one person what my God is like is better than showing no one.

"It's as if God is saying, 'The thing that has happened to you--go make it happen for others. The freedom from oppression that you are now experiencing--help others experience that same freedom. The grace that has been extended to you when you were at your lowest--extend it to others. In the same ways that I heard your cry, go and hear the cry of others and act on their behalf."

The book describes America as an empire that has more resources than any group of people anywhere at any time. Ever. Since Biblical times, empires tend to run the same course: accumulate, gain a false sense of entitlement, and run around trying to preserve their blessing. This inevitably leads to forgetting God and forsaking the oppressed. Empires forget that it is the Lord that has given the ability to produce wealth. Therefore, luxuries become necessities and all perspective goes out the door.

Yes, it is easy to become indifferent to the cries of the oppressed. Still, the question lies in whether or not we will be broken and poured out like Jesus. After all, we are His body.

(Jenny, if you are reading this, then this book matches your heart exactly.)

Monday, July 26, 2010

I am buried over here...

up to my neck. help. come rescue me!

I decided that I would try out a twice yearly consignment sale (is that biannual or semiannual?) and I am absolutely buried over here. It all started a weekend or two (I have lost all sense of time) ago when Eric and I cleaned out the garage. I told him that I was going to be a big girl and sort through every item of the boys' clothing that I have been hanging onto for like, ummm, a decade. So, I put my big girl panties on and got er' done. I don't think I ever cried, but it is hard to say for certain due to the sweat that was dropping off my face.

Some pieces of clothing took me straight back in time to a certain emotion or event. I will tell ya, some of those pieces went right back into the tub to save for their children. You know, it had nothing to do with me. ahem.

In the end, I was a good girl and condensed to a few bins of clothes instead of like 10 or so. Eric will probably say it was more than that, but don't believe a word he says.

So, my time has gone into washing, ironing, tagging, entering into the computer, going thru toys and DVDs, and pinning pinning pinning. Oh, my word, I have never gone thru so many safety pins in my entire life.

I have 150 items already entered. And dad gum, it better be worth my time! Because, I assure you, sometimes I just want to call freecycle just to get this mess out of my house. I am telling you, we have three closets (that were already quite packed) FULL of clothes that must be hung up but can't be taken in for the sale for another few weeks. sigh. We shall survive.

If we go missing, just come look under the piles...and set us free! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Watermelon Feast

We cut into the juiciest and sweetest watermelon last night. The boys had a ball eating their chunks of goodness!

I am curious: How do you eat your watermelon?
Is it by stealing your friend's piece?

Is it by poking holes into the watermelon, creating crevices for the seeds to fall out once you dump the slice upside down? (And contrary to the picture below, I do indeed feed that fella!)

Do you get on all fours to eat your watermelon?

Or do you eat it with your dirty feet?

Personally, I like to have 2 huge chunks: one salted and one unsalted. I take a bite of salted watermelon and then chase it down with a bite of sweet. It is a vicious cycle that creates many trips to the bathroom later on.
How do you eat your watermelon?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hi There.

I am still here. I hate it when bloggers don't blog, so forgive me for my lapse of having anything to say or share. It is hot up in this Arkansas heat, so I find myself sitting directly in front of a fan and reading quite often these days. I loved this book by Charles Martin. I feel like our generation has lost the ability to tell "story." Perhaps it is because we text and do everything else technological except sit and talk with one another (uninterrupted.) We don't seem to have the ability to relive an event with just our memories anymore. Martin is an exception. He has the gift of "story" and I just love all his books. Buy one and try him out...but you might need some one-ply close at hand.
What has been the best book you have read this summer?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 7 and a half birthday bash.

Back in January, when Eli officially turned 7, we promised him a birthday party. Everything was ready to go and then Cade came home with the stomach bug. Since the party was at our house, we had to break the news to Eli and cancel. He was a big boy about it and we rescheduled. A week or two later, the party was ready to go and wouldn't you know it, Cade was once again hugging the toilet. If I had been Eli, I might have punched my big brother, but once again, he was cool with it.

For some reason, basketball and baseball, I think, we got really busy. So we postponed the party and decided to wait until he turned 7 and a half to throw a big celebration. The party finally happened. (And who doesn't love getting presents in the middle of the year?) It is like the 7 year old birthday that just keeps on giving.

We were supposed to play water games outside, but the rain changed things. So, we played light sabers, guns, dart guns, and hide n' go seek. The boys loved it. I think having "half birthday" parties is fun!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exchanging the Crowd for a Circle of Quiet

My mind has been a playground of sorts as of late. A playground that has left me fatigued and spent after the thoughts have run around and around the Spin-A-Bout, afterwards only to fling the rest of me onto the hard concrete wondering which way is up.

My mind is weary from all of the anxiety. In the classic story of Mary and Martha, I am reminded that when Martha didn't choose the one thing that was truly necessary...sitting at the feet of Jesus, then she was left worried and upset. Beth Moore says that "upset" is "turba" in Greek and means "crowded."

That has been my mind. It is crowded. Crowded with many ideas that don't know which way is up. Crowded to the point of exhaustion, anger, and unbelief. Ideas that aren't bad in and of themselves, but have become a root of sin as I have tried to take control and become obsessed with how to proceed with them.

I read a verse that made me thirsty. I want it in my life! Psalm 94:12-13 says "How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word, providing a circle of quiet within the clamor of evil, while a jail is being built for the wicked."

I want to trade the crowd for a circle of quiet.

I think I know the way back to that. It is like going home.

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."

"Be still and know that I am God..."

"Know that the LORD is God..."

"Commit your way to the LORD and trust in Him..."

When I was at the zoo and saw the pelican going from a state of work to a state of rest, I was just simply amazed. It wasn't like I had never seen a bird at rest, with their necks doing a 180 as they tuck their beaks into their feathers. I think it caught me off guard because I was standing about 2 feet away from him. He was oblivious to the crowd around him and decided it was time to rest. And, so he did.

Apparently, this method of rest is called the "Wing Tuck" method. The birds rest their heads on their backs while they nuzzle their beaks into their back feathers (which acts as a pillow) and allows them to rest their neck muscles and tends to help them conserve heat.

It reminds me of the verse that says "under his wings you will find refuge."

It struck me as hilarious that when my "beak" or mouth is hidden beneath His feathers, I can no longer spout off words of insecurity, confusion, anxiety and unbelief. My desire for control has basically been muzzled.

I so long for a circle of quiet to replace the crowd. I lay every single burden at the foot of your cross and choose to rest.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clothing 101 Circa 2010

Oh, you've just gotta help a girl out. I have some birthday money I have been hanging onto in hopes of some new clothes. Let me just say this about the clothing styles right now:

It is a crazy jungle out there, girlfriends.

The style is all about funky tshirts with either zippers or lace or some other 80's inspired get-up. The jeans are all skin tight with zippers in places that just shouldn't be. And there are cargoes made out of satin.

I am not even sure I like any of it, much less do I know what the heck to do with it!

Here is the real problem: Anna inspired me to give away all the clothing that I am not currently loving. Since I am not sure I love much of anything in the ol' closet, I settled on giving away things I am not wearing...either because they are circa 2005 and I am sick to death of them or because they don't fit.

One lucky gal from Freecycle must have been jumping up and down from all the loot found in the ginormous trash sack. That is, if she enjoys clothing from half a decade ago.

Don't worry, I didn't trash my favorite four-year-old-size-8-jean-capris that fit me no matter what I size I really am. These capris are like the jeans on "The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants." They are really quite magical. Nevermind the fact that they look like they are four years old.

So, my question to you is how do I go from here? I want to look cute, but also my age, and there seems to be a deep cavern between 80's rocker chick and frumpy elastic waistband crinkly cotton chick. Not there there is anything wrong with those, I just feel like I belong somewhere in the middle.

If you are a fashionista, will you help a girl out? (Doesn't blogger know fashionista is a real word?)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blue Hippos and Living in Reality

The other morning, I woke up to the most sorrowful cry. I knew it was coming from Sam. I also knew it wasn't a cry of anger, frustration, or pain. It was a cry of the heart, coming from all that was within his little frame.

I jumped out of bed and found him on his bed. He was sitting next to Eli and was cradling his stuffed animal webkinz Blue Hippo. Baby Blue Hippo is probably his most cherished stuffed animal and all the sudden, I knew the sorrow had to do with him.

I looked at Sam and behind the sobbing were huge drops of tears that cascaded down his baby soft cheeks. I tried to wipe them away, but they kept coming.

"Sam, baby, what is wrong, honey?" Through gasps he replied, "Baby Hippo has splinters." I gingerly took baby hippo and cradled him in my hands to inspect for any damage that may have been done by a big brother or dog. No damage was found. I even checked all his stitching to see if he was coming apart at the seams, because his beloved owner certainly was. All stitching was in place.

I quickly decided to not argue with Sam, but to reaffirm what Eli had been trying to do. In his hands, Eli had some "play" veterinarian devices in which he had been trying to remove the stitches. All the sudden, I loved that Eli more than words could say. He didn't argue that Baby Hippo didn't have stitches. He simply met Sam in his anguish and did his best to make it all better.

So, I told Sam in my most cheerful voice that Eli had gotten all the stitches out. Sam looked at me in simple belief, inspected Baby Hippo, and instantly changed his disposition to one of joy.

All the sudden, the tears stopped flowing and a little boy's heart was restored to wholeness.

As I was contemplating the absurdity of crying over fake splinters, the Holy Spirit whispered that His adult children are no different. We cry real tears over issues that may not even equate to reality. We lament over bad things that could happen, but never do happen. We get so engrossed in the lies of Satan that we forget the truth of God.

We are just big kids crying over splinters in blue hippos.

I believe God wants us to live in reality. He doesn't want us to blow things out of proportion. He is a God of truth and wants our minds to rest in that truth. I think it is a constant battle of the mind to find that place of reality and rest.

But, it is comforting to me that even when we can't see the truth, He is right beside as well. Just like Eli, He is sitting on the bed with us and meeting us in our anguish. He sits there until the truth permeates our beings once again, the tears stop flowing, and our hearts our restored to wholeness.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Perfect Day for: The ZOO!

This bald eagle rocks my world. I feel like this picture should be titled "Freedom Isn't Free." I am all for having animals in a zoo, but something seems wrong for our national emblem that represents freedom to be caged with his wings cut. I just seemed to feel his pain today for some reason.

These are feathers on some bird I never identified. Aren't the colors just glorious?!
This guy reminds me of Melvin in Madagascar.
Coneflower in black and white.
This guy was hungry! I have no doubt he put away every bit that was put before him.

Pelican at rest. Amazing how they totally bend their necks 180 degrees and find a resting place on top of their backs.
Cute, huh?!

And finally...the cutest things ever: my own little monkeys playing on the gym.
The weather was perfect and the animals came out to play! It was a fun memory for the boys and I. After the zoo, we went to a local park and had a picnic. It lasted about 30 minutes until I realized there was some sort of work detail happening about 50 yards from us. Work detail that was all dressed the same and guarded by a man on a horse. We decided to hightail it out of there after that sight.
Good times.

Blog Party!

The blog party was a was had by lots of little kiddies and mommies alike. It was a joy to get to see Sam hang with some peeps that were closer to his age!